Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tingle Tingle Little Star

I used to watch MSNBC until Chris Matthew’s leg started to tingle when he thought about Obama. I think it could nearly be classified as worship. And Olbermann...well he’s hardly worth a I’ll just say this______________! And in addition, I change the channel even when he’s talkin’ sports!

(click cartoon to enlarge)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Hiding Place

And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. (Isa 32:2)

My mother gave me a devotional book several years prior to her death in 1999. The book is entitled "Beside Still Waters", by Hughes W. Day, M.D. It is always on my desk. Dr. Hughes Day is the originator and founding director of the world’s first Intensive Coronary Care Unit, at Bethany Medical Center, 1962...and a good friend of my father when he was Pastor of John Calvin United Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, KS. (1950-1960) I copy the first three paragraphs of his devotional for January 21st:

"We live in a weary land. The noon day heat oppresses. Life’s fierce fevers come. But our Christ is a sure hiding place from all of lifes’s trials. When we are tired and worn, we may rest in His shadow. He is our Rock. And for all of life’s thirsts, Jesus is also sufficient. If our lives are parched and dry, we need but drink of Him and find "rivers of living water." Like the woman at the well, we can leave our earthen waterpots behind, for all who drink of Him need never thirst again!

But not only for the trials of life and the thirsts of life is Jesus sufficient, He is also sufficient for the tempests of life. When great sorrow and tragedy come, when temptation almost overwhelm the soul, in Him we have a secure hiding place and a safe covert.

O fearful heart, hush thy needless poundings. Let the storms rage. He who stilled the restless waves of Galilee bids thee to hide safely in Him. Christ is sufficient!"

As the song says.."Wonderful Words of Life"!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

...In the Proper Perspective

"He was given a medal for "humility" and when he began to wear it on his lapel..they took it away from him." (read someplace that escapes me at the moment) The question of the day: Can humility and a competitive spirit co-exist?

We older folk remember Muhammad Ali and his " I am the greatest" rants from the 1960’s and 70’s concerning his boxing prowess and old man Bobby Riggs (55 yrs old) of tennis infamy with his "even an old man like me, with one foot in the grave, could beat any woman player alive" ..... statement of 1973. Then again you don’t have to be too old to remember the football players who used to dance in the end zone after some spectacular..or even after an extremely mediocre play in professional football. Eventually these rants in pro-football were outlawed and humility became the law of the gridiron. A law even today too frequently broken into many pieces!

Recently I have had the joy of watching one of my granddaughters play on her 4th grade volleyball team, the "Cougars". The kids all strive to play at their very best and if they win...fine..if they lose..fine. After each set of games the kids line up and "slap five" with the opponent just played and life ... well, life goes on. At this point in the life of a kid it’s just playin’ for the fun of it. You could actually ask many of the kids after the game who won and they couldn’t tell you..or they’d have to think about it for a moment. It’s not important! There is a child-like quality to be emulated that we see in our children at this age. They may just be, unwittingly...or even wittingly, keeping it all in the proper perspective.

Al Davis is the one credited with the mantra, "just win, baby"...and I understand that this is the noble goal of the professional teams that pay the big bucks for the very best athletes....and winning isn’t everything..It’s the only thing! (Vince Lombardi) the Kingdom of God things are reversed. Whoever humbles himself like a little child...this one is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Terrell Owens and the rest of us may have a hard time with that one. And...he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Can humility and competitive spirit co-exist? Absolutely! Ecclesiastes tells us.."whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do with (all) thy might.." (9:10) Should I hold back in work, or play, or sport? Absolutely not! The only question remains.."for whom and why are you doin’ it?" "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as unto the Lord" (Col 3:23)

The Hallmark motto as we all know states..."When you care enough to send the very best..."
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking-around life and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (Romans 12:1-2 Message Bible) Put in 17th century Westminster Confession of Faith language this hallmark question asks.."What is the chief end of man? And the answer: "To glorify God and enjoy him forever." This is the Christian work a sentence. Whether at work, at play, in sports, relationships...whatsoever you it heartily as unto the Lord! Am I glorifying Him with the talents and gifts He has given to me? That question alone should be enough to help keep a competitive spirit " the proper perspective."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Drei Freunden (Three Friends)

I have written before about the time that I served in the US Army in Germany during 1961 to 1963. See here. When I wrote about the "Waldmannspitz" I didn’t mention that there was a third man on the rope with Günther and me simply for the fact it was not germane to the story told at that time.

There was a third man on the rope when we attempted to climb the "Waldmannspitz". As you get older I have noticed that one becomes more and more sentimental and even more nostalgic. I noticed this tendency initially in Grandpa T, my wife’s father. The day he died he could reminisce so clearly about high school days, high school buddies, high school events even to the point of recalling first and last names and nicknames from 60+ years past. He could even recount particular basketball games that he played against regional opponents with vivid detail.

Now, I am not at that point in my life at this time. I struggle to remember yesterday and events and people from 40 plus years ago are but faint nebulous figures in my head from days gone by. However, I recently made contact, over the Christmas season, due to a nostalgic urge, with a buddy from those Army days. We exchanged Christmas cards and brief letters recalling those days spent together in Germany. In his letter to me he mentioned a third friend and even sent a picture of the three of us. He referred to us in German as the "Drei Freunden" (the three friends).

This contact aroused within me a desire to find out about the third friend...who happened to be the third man on the rope in the "Waldmannspitz" story mentioned above. Could I find him and perhaps could the three of us get together and renew our friendships? The internet is a powerful but insensitive tool. As I searched I found that I began this quest 12 years too late. I discovered that our buddy had died of cardiac arrest on Feb 12, 1996 at age 57. A quick e-mail to the officiating funeral home confirmed that this was indeed our buddy with whom we served in Germany.

Frank was one of those unforgettable characters. He was a big guy, 6’3" and the thing you really like in a big guy,.... he was friendly. There were some big hostile men in the US Army and I suppose in combat you’d want a big hostile man fighting alongside. Frank was an affable salesman type; he could sell shoes to a shoe salesman or refrigerators to an eskimo. He was the first one to learn the language..mostly because he loved the people that we met and wanted desperately to really get to know them. He always had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. He was the first to get to know Günther and he made the arrangements for the weekend climb of the "Waldmannspitz". By the way, Frank did make it to the top of the Waldmannspitz, unlike his buddy. I mentioned in the earlier blog that the "Waldmannspitz" was still there laughing at me for my failure to climb it. I have since found.....not true! The "Waldmannspitz" has crumbled and is no longer climbable. I would like to think it began to crumble about Feb 12, 1996....but I can’t be sure.

I know I have a better understanding of Proverbs 27:17 in having known Frank. "Genau wie Eisen schärft Eisen Freunden schärfen einander" (Just as iron sharpens iron friends sharpen each other)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2009 Predictions

‘Tis the season for the annual Physic Predictions that always fail to come to pass. How these folks have any credibility must indicate a deep-seated spiritual desire among us humans to know what disastrous events will come to pass in the near future and be gullible enough to purchase at the Super Market check-out area. Gossip rag predictions seem to sell like..well, gossip rags, especially at this time of the year. First I will list a few of the current predictions, followed by predictions from the past and finally a few of my own "sure fire guaranteed to come to pass" predictions:

Current Predictions (Also, see update)

Sylvia Browne - I predict the President elected sometime after 2008 will die in office from a heart attack. The Vice President who will finish their term will have an unpopular and mistaken intention to declare war on North Korea. By that time, North Korea will have weapons of mass destruction. In the middle of efforts to declare war, I predict the Vice President will be assassinated.
Also from Sylvia—I predict hypnotic past-life regression will become available through a group of trained psychologists on both the east and west coasts of the U.S.A. in 2009. It will prove to be quite a success and will be widely practiced by 2011. (
For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces—with Alaska reverting to Russian control.

California will form the nucleus of what he calls "The Californian Republic," and will be part of China or under Chinese influence. Texas will be the heart of "The Texas Republic," a cluster of states that will go to Mexico or fall under Mexican influence. Washington, D.C., and New York will be part of an "Atlantic America" that may join the European Union. Canada will grab a group of Northern states Prof. Panarin calls "The Central North American Republic." Hawaii, he suggests, will be a protectorate of Japan or China, and Alaska will be subsumed into Russia.
See map here of your future USA:

Failed Predictions (mostly collected from CSICOP

The Sun predicted: An American Astronaut "will give birth to a healthy baby girl during a six month mission aboard the Russian space station Mir."

The National Enquirer predicted: Good Morning America hostess Joan Lunden will become engaged to Shaquille O’Neal.

The National Examiner predicted: Comic actor Jim Carrey will get an Oscar after his face freezes in a twisted expression.

The National Examiner predicted: Nuclear missiles will be used to break up a giant asteroid found to be hurtling toward Earth.

The psychics at Weekly World News predicted that in 1995 a volcanic eruption would create a new land mass that ties the United States to Cuba; frog legs would become the rage in fast-food restaurants; and scientists would discover rapidly mutating bees, uncovering evidence "that the insects are developing an intelligence that might one day rival that of men."

Chicago "psychic" Irene Hughes predicted that Vanna White and her husband would purchase a "haunted" mansion in Beverly Hills, from which they would flee in terror a week later. Madonna’s career would be interrupted by a "mystery illness," but she would recover after having a religious vision and become a gospel singer.

The Sun predicted: The South Pacific Island nation of Tonga will land - and then strand - people on the moon. The U.S. will rescue them.

The Sun predicted: Rush Limbaugh will be the Republican nominee against Bill Clinton, picking Sonny Bono as his running mate.

The National Enquirer predicted: Barbara Walters will be kidnapped by Middle East terrorists, "but will be freed after ABC agrees to let the terrorists air their views on a three-hour broadcast hosted by Barbara."

The Globe predicted: O.J. prosecutors Marcia Clark and Chris Darden will marry; meanwhile Simpson will join a monastery.

The National Examiner predicted: Michael Jackson will undergo a "complete sex change and insist that everyone call him Michelle...His wife, Lisa Marie, will stick by him - and they’ll develop an even closer relationship."

Sure Fire Guaranteed Predictions

The Stock Market will fluctuate during 2009.
One NFL team will be crowned Super Bowl Champion..I predict on Feb 1st, 2009.
Joe Biden will put his foot in his mouth sometime during 2009.
Joel Osteen will say something positive about human nature during 2009.
Igor Panarin’s prediction above will be listed under 2011 failed predictions.
And finally...the Lord will return in 2009 IF the "fulness of time has come" (cf Gal 4:4)

(disclaimer: the Lord did not speak to me in an audible voice regarding these predictions)

H/T Noble K.