Tuesday, October 25, 2016

"Long Stairway"

From Macarthur's Romans 1-8 commentary, p. 348:

"After a businessmen's luncheon at which I spoke, a man said to me, 'I've been in this group for a long time, and I'll tell you how I think you can get to God.  You see, there is this long stairway, and at the top there is a door and behind it is this guy Jesus.  What you really want to do is try to make it up the stairs and get through the door and then hope Jesus lets you in.  As you're on your way up the stairs, you've got all these preachers and movements cheering you on, but you just continue going up the stairs your own way.  I call it the stairway of hope.  That's what I think the gospel is.'

"With a heavy heart I replied, 'Sir,you cannot be a Christian.  What you said has nothing to do with the gospel, and your stairway to heaven is hopeless.  You need to depend on Jesus Christ alone for your salvation.  You have no idea of what it means to be saved, and you cannot be on your way to heaven.'

"A person cannot invent his own way to God, no matter how sincere his efforts might be.  God has established the only way to come to Him, and that is the way of faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.  And saving faith in Jesus Christ is built on God's revelation about Him, not on men's ideas about Him.  There is divinely-revealed content to the gospel, and the person who rejects or circumvents that content gives unmistakeable evidence that he is not truly seeking God's kingdom and His righteousness."

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Every Sunday Morning

It's 8:15 a.m. on Sunday morning, and I just heard my neighbor start his truck and pull down his driveway.

We've lived in this house for two months shy of 16 years, and every single Sunday morning, unless he and his wife are out of town, I have heard him start his truck and leave his house at 8:15.  Every single Sunday morning.  You could set your clock by it.

He is an usher at his church, and he has to go early to get things set up before Sunday school and church.  And he participates in an early morning men's prayer meeting each week.

I think that that kind of faithfulness is a great testimony all by itself.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday's Fave Five 10/14/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

1. Husband is a happy man - he got a 150-lb., 8-point buck on the opening morning of deer season.  Plus he's been seeing some deer in our back yard.  That really makes him a happy man.

2. A really fun day in sophomore English.  (I've got pictures, but am not supposed to post pics of identifiable students on personal social media.)  We finished Julius Caesar and celebrated with a lunch on the stage of our cafetorium.  We ate Little Caesar's pizza, Caesar salad, and Italian creme cake, and drank grape juice.  They all brought sheets that they made into "togas" for the occasion.  And most of this was their idea!!  Very creative class.

3. A new flower bed out by the road.  Mike pulled out an old plant that hasn't done well for years, moved rocks, added railroad ties, soil, and mulch, and bought and planted pansies.  When he takes on a project - he does it right. 

4. We went to see Sully last Saturday.  Good movie.  The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) is portrayed as being heavy handed, but nevertheless, it is a feel-good movie that has very little in the way of objectionable elements.  A couple of words here and there, but not much.  We had an enjoyable afternoon.

5. Son is OK after being bucked off a horse last Sunday.  It could have been really bad, but after one uncomfortable night he is doing fine.  He may have a slightly cracked rib, but there is nothing that can be done for that anyway.  We're glad it was not worse.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


It's a new week.  It's easy to wonder - what will this week bring?

So far - it's brought one of those "Mom, I don't want to worry you, but..." phone calls.  Turns out son got himself bucked off of a horse.  Fortunately he feels much better today.

This morning brought this announcement on the intercom.  Part of the morning devotional said "God has given us immortality". . . but the girl who read it said - you guessed it - "God has given us immorality."

Later in the day, I was teaching another class, when I got off track and wandered so far away that I couldn't figure out what the purpose of the tangent was.  (Maybe there was no purpose...)  Whereupon a young man known for his wit says "Don't worry, we'll see that we get you into an Alzheimer's unit somewhere with good ventilation."

Friday, October 7, 2016

Friday's Fave Five, 10/7/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

It has been a difficult week for our community.  Ten days ago a teacher and two children, at a school about ten miles from my home, were shot as they exited their classroom to the playground.  Six days ago one of the children, a little boy, died from blood loss and accompanying cardiac arrest and brain damage.  Wednesday was his funeral.

Knowing that a sweet six-year-old boy died as a result of merely walking out from his classroom to recess is a sadness that just won't leave me, or many others in our area.  An innocence has been shattered from the entire community.  This should not have happened.  Our safety really is an illusion.

I have many more thoughts, some already shared in a previous post, and more to come.  But for now, here are some positives from a sad week for our town, county, state, and really our world.

1. The little boy loved attending Good News Club at school, and going to Sunday school at a church that we are familiar with.  That is a sweet fact to know about his life.

2. The point man for this entire tragedy is a fine pastor that we know well.  His children went to our school.   He has been a faithful pastor at the same church for many years.  He loves God and could address the people in the funerals and services with an eternal perspective.  That is a great blessing.

3. The little boy loved superheroes.  People wore superhero T-shirts to his funeral, and all over the area, people wore the same outfits to school, work, and out in public.  There has been a great show of support for the family, school, and community.  The tragedy has really brought people together.


4. In other matters:  Last Friday I got three shots in my lower back to relieve the low-grade back pain and sciatica that I have dealt with for many years.  The pain management doctor is very good.  He said the relief would not be immediate, but that over the next few weeks I should note some improvement.  That would be great.

5. And finally: Last Saturday Mike hung all my bird feeders, bought 50# of seed, filled the feeders, and trimmed the overhanging branches.  Let the migration begin, and let the winter birds start finding us!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Local Tragedy

This week's school shooting took place about 10 miles from our house, and just a little further than that from my school.  A father is dead, a first-grader is dead, two people are injured, because a 14-year-old boy snapped.

We have no direct ties to the tragic event, but we do have several indirect ties.
  • The pastor whose church the students were taken to, who has directed special services for those affected and who is preaching the funeral of the murdered father, has four children who all graduated from our private Christian school.
  • The shooting site is located very close to the location where we love to look at birds.
  • A neighbor is a teacher at the school, and was deeply affected by the tragedy. 
  • Several students in our school know the perpetrator and several know the victims.
For a very brief second, after hearing some of the horrible details, I had a fleeting thought that perhaps we really do need more control on guns.

And then I remembered:  The problem is not that gun use is out of control.  (That is an insult to the thousands upon thousands of men, women, and young people, who have responsibly used guns for hundreds of years.)

The problem is that the world contains more unstable people than ever before.

And that problem is compounded because society at large doesn't really address the root cause of the instability.  There are more unstable people because there are more sin issues in the world.  More children lonely and miserable, most because parents have failed them.  More anger issues, more homes broken beyond repair, more teens abandoned to electronics.  More people in general who have no hope, because society has minimized the knowledge of the only hope that works: faith in Jesus Christ and His saving work on the cross to rescue us from all this sin.

Are we going to quit letting children go on the playground?  We can't make schools into fortresses.  No matter how well-protected with cameras and systems they are, every single school in the U.S. can plan, and plan, and plan, and yet not come up with a solution for every possible scenario.  And that's true for every public building as well.  There is no way to completely protect people from determined pain-inflicters (and there are plenty of other ways to commit mayhem besides guns) short of digging holes and caves, and never coming out --which of course is impossible.  We can't quit going to church, shopping in malls and stores, attending events, working, or just simply living.

I am reminded again that our only hope of any peace at all has its roots in the Lord.  "The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD."  (Proverbs 21:31)  Yes - Prepare, be aware, and be careful - but realize that no one is safe in this world.  We have to first of all know the Lord personally, then have faith that He is the source of our safety - and then realize that if something bad occurs, He in His perfect will has allowed it to happen. 

A little child barricaded in the bathroom this past Wednesday said to his classmates, "We don't have to worry.  Jesus is with us." This young child may not know all the theology behind his words.  But the faith of a little child is what we all need to keep from being terrified at what our world is becoming.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday's Fave Five, 9/23/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

1. Just got back from Myrtle Beach and the biannual convention for the Association of Christian Schools from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.  We got to hear Al Mohler and John Rosemond as two of the keynote speakers - both were great, and that is #1 for the Fave Five.

2. I saw a lot of old friends and acquaintances.  This lovely lady did her student teaching with me back in 1987.  It was a privilege to have a long talk with her this morning.  The pic isn't that great but it is worth it to post it.  :-)
 3. We stayed at the Sheraton that is attached to the Convention Center.  The convenience was wonderful, and the Sheraton has the nicest beds and pillows I've slept on for a long, long time.

4. Last Saturday I went to the Carolina football game with these lovely ladies.  We had a great time and we won the game also!

5. I got home about an hour ago from the convention, and sometimes getting home is the best part of any event!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday's Fave Five, 9/16/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

1. After running a fever and having a mild cold, and also Mike being sick with a cold for several days, we're both back on our feet, and he happened to be off when he was sick.  That's always nice--hard to be sick when you've got to work.

2. A feeling of success in the classroom this week.  I have a very enthusiastic group of sophomores - they love learning.  That's a delight to begin with.  This week we finished the literature of the ancient Greeks - the Odyssey, Antigone, etc. - and they were disappointed!!  But they know the Romans and Julius Caesar are next, and they can't wait until we finish the grammar unit, get through the teachers' convention next week, and then come back to read that lit.  They've already got plans to have a lunch after finishing that unit - they want to order Little Caesar's Pizza and eat Caesar salad!  It's really a challenge, a good one, to teach a group like that.

And my junior class is covering Objectionable Elements in Literature.  I love to see a group think seriously, and hopefully get something useful for life, from a discussion like that.

The seniors are doing Great Expectations, and appear to be enjoying it.  They're following closely and staying with me as we make progress each day.  And my eighth and ninth grades--both bright groups, both hard-working groups, and have been great to teach so far.

Sometimes I think it's time to hang it up - and then weeks like this make me think, Stay at it!!

3. Gratitude for a hard-working husband.  He works so hard at his job and has been a great provider.  But when he's off and I'm working, I come home to hear things like "The sheets are back on the bed - I washed them today" and "I went to the dump today, so the smelly trash is gone."  I appreciate him so much.

4. The computer crash that wasn't.  My school computer died yesterday in the middle of the day.  (Fortunately, I had just backed it up last week.)  I thought it was gone.  The computer guy figured out it was only the battery.  Easily fixed!

5. And finally - this.  We went to get something to eat at our favorite place yesterday, where the manager is our neighbor.  At the end of our meal, the server told us that the pumpkin cake was really good - but we resisted. And then - our friend and neighbor, the manager --  brought us a piece on the house.  So what do you do?!! This is not our piece, but is a picture of the actual cake, pulled off the website of queencitypastry.com, which is the bakery where the restaurant purchased it from.  Oh, it was so good.  Just what I didn't need, but worth it!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Just Some Thoughts On Pneumonia

I've had pneumonia three times. Though the symptoms below represent my personal experience, I'm fairly certain that they are reasonably typical of most pneumonia patients. The middle time of those three, about four years ago, was the least serious of the three, and the diagnosis was almost identical to Hillary Clinton's: a small spot in one lung.

And even with only a small spot in one lung, I was sick.  Very sick.  Fever.  Strong and painful deep cough.  Hard to breathe.  Very weak.  My doctor, who usually is very lenient about things, was unequivocal:  Bed rest for five days (that time - the next episode it was for a week).  And after all that it was still several weeks before I was really back to myself.

The point is:  Hillary doesn't act like someone with pneumonia.  A pneumonia patient diagnosed just two days before wouldn't have been able to even attend that 9/11 memorial.  She wouldn't have been able to walk out from her daughter's apartment, waving and smiling; and out of regard for the possibilities of contagion, even if remote, she certainly wouldn't have hugged that small child.  She would still be in bed, weak and unable to campaign.

I'm not convinced that pneumonia was the cause of her collapse last Sunday morning.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday's Fave Five, 9/9/16

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

1. Excellent appointment at a pain management specialist today.  I've had lower back pain for over 15 years - not debilitating but still there.  This summer I had two episodes that indicated it has gone to a new level.  It took six weeks to get in to see this doctor, and since the pain has somewhat subsided, I almost canceled the appointment, but decided to go anyway.  It was well worth it.  This doctor really knows what he is talking about.  He explained a lot of things to me that I really hadn't understood; he told me about something I can get at Walgreens for a very reasonable price that should help; he is changing my anti-inflammatory to another one that may be better; and he is going to do an in-office procedure in three weeks to see if it will help for up to a year.  It was one of those appointments where you walk out and feel like you've seen some light at the end of a tunnel.

2. Last Sunday we went to the church where our son and his wife are helping with the music and teens.  It's about a little over an hour away, and is a great little church.  Andrew and I did our "Be Still My Soul" number for the service.  His in-laws were there also,  my parents came too, and we all went to a little restaurant nearby for lunch after church.  The food was good and so was the generosity of the person who paid.  :-)

3. Labor Day and a four-day work week!!  Always a pleasure.

4. Tonight, since I feel kind of flu-ish (not sure if it's from catching Mike's cold or from taking a flu shot yesterday) Mike went over to a little sandwich shop near here and brought back supper.  Sometimes, when you don't feel real great, it doesn't get much better than a sandwich and fries from a styrofoam box at your own kitchen counter.

5. Finally - this was last Saturday.  My dove hunters.  I love this picture.