Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Do not give heed to all the things that men say

Ecc 7:21-22  Do not give heed to all the things that men say, lest you hear your servant cursing you; your heart knows that many times you have yourself cursed others.

Following yesterday's post on snickering at others, this verse stood out to me.  Granted, I don't run around cursing others.  But it does bring up some interesting ideas.

1.  Don't listen to all that is said against you, as it is likely you've said wrong things as well.  How easy it is to forget that we are not sinless when we desire to be angry with someone else over something said.  I was talking with a friend the other day about arguing.  We weren't arguing right then, but we have in the past.  I don't like it.  I get my feelings hurt.  I never could tell if she did though at the time, so I think I unconsciously assumed it didn't bother her.  Apparently she gets her feelings hurt too!  She is not alone in sometimes saying hurtful words, as I (probably more frequently than her) spit them out as well.

2.  Maybe we should stop doing that.  Sometimes when I'm thinking a particularly nasty thought I try to remind myself that somebody could be thinking something similar, or nastier, of me.  I am not perfect. I should not be judging of others.

~~~

The dogs continue to do well.  I think I've convinced Hercules he gets more love from me if he sits.  He's just so happy to see me when I come home or out in the morning though he tends to forget.  He runs so fast through the kitchen he slides on the floor, just like those toilet paper commercials with the puppy.  Only he weighs 50+ lbs so it is somewhat more dangerous.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Scattered Tuesday Thoughts

This was supposed to post yesterday.  No idea why it did not...


Just a few more days until Easter!!!


Pro 24:17-18 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the LORD see it, and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him. 

I always have to stop when I'm reading this part and think back to the last time I did just this.  It usually was the same day.  It is just so easy to be pleased when someone we don't care for has a problem.  Not a serious problem; as that wouldn't be entertaining of course.  But a minor issue, something that is annoying, something to take their time.  Or even just a setup for a perfect "I told you so" moment.  I certainly wouldn't want someone snickering at my failure.

~~~

I was at Adoration today and the past few times I've gone, I've been distracted by the sounds of construction going on outside.  I don't mind, as the church needs maintenance sometimes, but it does make it more difficult to pray.  I was also distracted from what I wanted to pray about today, as the choir was next door practicing for this week.  What a wonderful distraction though as they sang Amazing Grace multiple times!


~~~

Please keep J, the lady I am sponsoring, in your prayers.  This Saturday she will be Baptized, Confirmed, and receive her First Communion.  :-)


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dogs

Well, I was finally able to get some shots of Hercules as he got less shy.  He's a bit underweight right now, and so only weighs as much as Starbuck (50lbs).  He should weigh 60lbs at least, so he'll get even bigger!


Here he is hanging out in the laundry area by himself.

Starbuck decided the rug was hers too (she's totally the alpha) and so when the gate came down she took it.


Today, Hercules surprised me by grabbing one of her toys and picking a play fight with her.  No growling, but 100 lbs of romping in my living room!

Here we see her with the upper hand, tail wagging!

Palm Sunday & Holy Week

Today is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week.  Readings may be found here.

I've found some interesting links regarding today and this week.  I hope you enjoy them.
The Sacred Page:  The Jewish Roots of Palm Sunday
What Does the Prayer Really Say:  Palm Sunday
Deacon's Bench: Homily for Palm Sunday
Catholic Online: Why is this week called Holy?
Catholic News Agency: An Introduction to Holy Week

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fear of the Lord

Sir 2:15  Those who fear the Lord will not disobey his words, and those who love him will keep his ways.  Those who fear the Lord will seek his approval, and those who love him will be filled with the law. Those who fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and will humble themselves before him. 

I'd like to explore the idea of fearing the Lord.  When I think of fear, I think more of being afraid as a bad thing.  It isn't pleasant.  But this isn't the terror associated with a snake. It can be terrifying, as we've done nothing to end up anywhere but Hell.  We should be fearful of offending our Heavenly Father.  This is out of love for Him, and all He has provided for us.

Below are some things I found when I searched for "fear the Lord" or "fear of the Lord."  The best part is at the end, because I found out this is something we can learn!

Fear of the Lord is considered to be one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Isa 11:2-3  And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord, He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears. (DRB)

The fear of the Lord is commanded several times in the Old Testament:
  • Deu 6:13  You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve him, and swear by his name.
  • Deu 6:24  And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as at this day.
  • Deu 10:12  "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
  • Deu 10:20  You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve him and cleave to him, and by his name you shall swear.
  • Jos 24:14  "Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.
  • 1Sa 12:24  Only fear the LORD, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you.
  • Psa 33:8  Let all the earth fear the LORD, let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!  
  • Psa 34:9  O fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no want!
  • Pro 23:17  Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.
  • Pro 24:21-22  My son, fear the LORD and the king, and do not disobey either of them;  for disaster from them will rise suddenly, and who knows the ruin that will come from them both? 
  • Sir 1:28  Do not disobey the fear of the Lord; do not approach him with a divided mind.  
  • Sir 7:29  With all your soul fear the Lord, and honor his priests.  
The idea is not dropped in the New Testament, however, as it is also referenced.
  • Act 9:31  So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was built up; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit it was multiplied.
  • 2Co 5:11  Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men; but what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 
It can call people to repentance and belief:
  • 1Sa 12:17-18  Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call upon the LORD, that he may send thunder and rain; and you shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking for yourselves a king." So Samuel called upon the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel. 
  • Exo 14:31  And Israel saw the great work which the LORD did against the Egyptians, and the people feared the LORD; and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.  
Those who fear the Lord will stay away from evil:
  • Pro 8:13  The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. 
  • Pro 16:6  By loyalty and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil. 
  • Pro 14:27  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death. 
  • Pro 3:5-8  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Wisdom and fear of the Lord are tied together:
  • Psa 111:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who practice it. His praise endures for ever!  
  • Pro 1:7  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.  
  • Pro 1:28-31  Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me.  Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way and be sated with their own devices.  (Wisdom abandons those with no fear of the Lord)
  • Pro 9:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.  
  • Pro 15:33  The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility goes before honor.  
  • Job 28:28  And he said to man, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.'" 
  • Sir 1:14-20  To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; she is created with the faithful in the womb. She made among men an eternal foundation, and among their descendants she will be trusted. To fear the Lord is wisdom's full measure; she satisfies men with her fruits; she fills their whole house with desirable goods, and their storehouses with her produce. The fear of the Lord is the crown of wisdom, making peace and perfect health to flourish. He saw her and apportioned her; he rained down knowledge and discerning comprehension, and he exalted the glory of those who held her fast. To fear the Lord is the root of wisdom, and her branches are long life.
  • Sir 1:27  For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and instruction, and he delights in fidelity and meekness. 
  • Sir 19:20  All wisdom is the fear of the Lord, and in all wisdom there is the fulfilment of the law. 
My favorite part in studying this though was the discovery that fear of the Lord is learned.
  • Psa 34:11  Come, O sons, listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
  • Pro 2:1-5  My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.
  • Deu 6:1-2  Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the ordinances which the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it; that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son's son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life; and that your days may be prolonged.
  • Deu 17:18-19  And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, from that which is in charge of the Levitical priests; and it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them;
  • Deu 31:12-13  Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as you live in the land which you are going over the Jordan to possess.
I think it is rather exciting there's something I can do to help learn a gift of the Holy Spirit!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

More Job Thoughts

After I spoke they did not speak again, and my word dropped upon them.  Job 29:22

Job is talking about how he used to be treated.  People respected him, and once he was done talking they didn't argue or add anything.  This just flew out at me, because I have the tendency to want to talk last.  Or at least I think I do.  It certainly isn't necessary or useful at times.

In another section, my commentary quoted St Catherine of Sienna:
You, Eternal Trinity, are like a deep ocean; the more I seek, the more I find, and the more I find, the more I spurred on to seek you.  You satisfy the soul in a way that leaves the soul insatiable; it always feels hunger and an appetite for more - desiring ever more greatly that your light would reveal to us the light that is yourself.

I liked that quite a bit.  :)


I did get a dog yesterday.  He is camera shy so no good photos yet!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A pro-life entry

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, "Behold, we did not know this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not requite man according to his work?  Proverbs 24:10-12


People wonder why we get so worked up.  Oddly, I had an atheist explain it best once.  She said that if she believed there was a God who put a soul into the body at conception, then she'd have to be pro-life.  Abortion would be murder.  There is no other logical conclusion that can be drawn.  Pro-choice "Christians" confused her greatly.

When does a baby become a child, a real live person, subject to all the protections the rest of us are?  When is he or she guaranteed "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?"  Even apart from God, how does one decide something like that when the only obvious objective point in that process is conception?

I heard a baby's heartbeat inside of my friend last Friday.  There's this little tiny human inside of her belly, pushing and kicking and going about its business.  It has a heartbeat, and a personality.  I just can't imagine thinking that his or her life is somehow less important than the decision someone else would make for it.

And while I am on my little rant, I'd like to include all the Catholic members of Congress who voted anti-life, as well as the Catholic Health Association and the small group of religious sisters that spoke out against the US Bishops in their opinion regarding this bill.  You suck.  Do you have any understanding of the role of the bishops?  Either they are the teaching authority of Christ on earth, or they aren't, at which point you probably ought not to be Catholic.  Sure you can say you are Catholic, but why?  It is like being on a soccer team and intentionally using your hands, or playing baseball and running the wrong way.  Nobody would fault you if you didn't like the game and refused to play, but once you play you should follow the rules.  I understand you apparently think your politics and religion shouldn't mix - but what good is your religion unless it affects you?  God is either in charge of everything, or He is not.  Political expediency is lame next to God.


For more information:
National Right to Life
USCCB: Bishops to House of Representatives: Fix Flaws or Vote No on Health Reform Bill
USCCB: U.S. Bishops says cost is too high, loss is too great for Health Care Bill not to be revised
USCCB: Health Care for Life and for All

Please pray for the children affected by this, and for young mothers who feel they have no choice.

If I speak, my pain is not assuaged, and if I forbear, how much of it leaves me?

If I speak, my pain is not assuaged, and if I forbear, how much of it leaves me?  Job 16:6

I'm in the midst of Job, which I definitely did not get the first time I read it.  It makes more sense now!  A little bit of knowledge and a lot of help from the commentary go a long way.  A variety of verses have struck me as I've been going through it, including the one above.

I've been trying to fight the temptation to argue with people recently.  Arguments don't usually gain much, and this verse reminded me that even telling them what I think doesn't actually make me feel better.  That little voice inside that says "You should defend yourself against this injustice," or "It'll be better after you discuss it," or "If you don't vent your anger it will build up," is lying most of the time.  Sure there's things that need defending, but how frequently does that actually happen?


In completely unrelated news, I'm getting a second dog tonight.  A black German Shepherd named Hercules to play with my rowdy girl Starbuck.  We'll see how it goes, and I'll have pictures!

Monday, March 22, 2010

So all fall short, except maybe this guy...

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God, and turned away from evil.  Job 1:1

Job was blameless, Noah was blameless and righteous (Gen 6:9), Abraham was blameless (Gen 17:1), Hezekiah had a perfect heart (2 Ki 20:3), Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous (Luk 1:6), and Joseph was a just man (Mat 1:19).


...since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God... Romans 3:23

Let's avoid the Mary question altogether here and talk about the people the Bible says are righteous, blameless, and otherwise perfect.  It doesn't say they are trying hard to please God, it doesn't say they've placed their faith in God, it doesn't say anything aside from indicating they were indeed free from sin.  What is going on here?

(Yes, I realize the hilarity of asking a question like this when I have 1.5 readers.  But someday, someone will be able to answer my question!)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Claiming to be wise, they became fools

Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools... Romans 1:20-22

I used to think Christians were happy because they had something to do with their free time.  They had a goal.  They were happy about this guy that sounded nice.  They were confused, but a happy confused, and hey no harm, no foul, right?  And perhaps they spoke of how unhappy I must be or how confused I must be, but that obviously wasn't the case.  I was neither confused nor unhappy.  I believed in heaven but not hell, thought church would be a fine way to spend an hour if they didn't talk about all this stuff I had to do, and I figured God didn't care what I did with my life.  I was quite wise.

It is strange now to try to explain the difference Jesus makes to people who think the same way I did.  I'm not sure all the reference books in the world would help.  It was only my pride that got me to look for God, to prove my own terrible logic.  Fortunately He was there, waiting.  Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.  (Proverbs 16:18)  And what a fall - perfect and painful both at the same time.

At the time I wasn't angry with God.  I just figured I knew more than all the people who'd ever believed in Him.  I owned a Bible but never looked anything but a verse or two up (to prove something, inadequately since I cared not for the context).  I did not even know what Christians claimed to believe regarding free will, sin, and the role of Jesus.  I frequently asked, "Why doesn't God just open the gates to Heaven from there?  Doesn't He have a universal remote control for that kind of thing?  Why do we need Jesus?"  Today I am thankful someone answered that question for me.  More thankful than words can describe.  The timing was just right, the situation just so, and the force of the truth unimaginable.

I'm currently struggling with how to communicate this to others.  Specifically some others I know personally, and fear I won't see after I die.  Some are smarter than God, some are angry at God, some are both.  Until the timing is right, I guess I will have to emulate St Monica in prayer and perseverance. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What's your job?

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

I sometimes get hung up on one particular thing and relate everything to it.  I hear that's pretty common!  Before, it was 2 Peter 1:5-8:   For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  There's this stuff we're supposed to be doing to keep us from being ineffective!  You know I'm all about efficiency, so I liked this one quite a bit.  It was on my mirror in the bathroom.

Matthew 5:16 is now on my bathroom mirror, as well as part of St. Patrick's Breast PlateChrist in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me, Christ in every eye that sees me,Christ in every ear that hears me.  This idea that we're supposed to be like Christ to others is obvious, and yet so hard to remember and even harder to implement.  We have a job to do!  We are "here on the King's business."

When I was younger I'd mock the WWJD bracelets, but now I can see that is such an important question.  What would Jesus do?  It isn't the answer we sometimes hear.  He loved all, but He had no problem correcting sins as well.  The answer to WWJD could involve chasing people out of their business area and flipping over their tables...  Everything Jesus would do would be with love, though, and it is hard to remember that, much less implement it.

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1

And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit; so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  Ephesians 5:1-2

Obviously knowing more about God and what He wants and how Jesus did live is critical to this component of our lives.  And the more we read, the more we learn, and the more we remember.  We must actively choose to follow Jesus' life.  What would Jesus do?  This takes a commitment to learn it!  We can't just make it up based on a few stories of Jesus, or what we'd like Jesus to be like.

... for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. Romans 1:21-23

We will make up our own version of Jesus if we allow ourselves to do so.  The "images" above could be physical idols or things we just deem more important and more practical and more worthy of our time than God.  This may include a God we make up, because He'd be easier on us.  It is far easier to make up a God that cares not what we do in the privacy in our bedrooms and is disinterested in how we complete our tax forms.  An imaginary God doesn't care if I whine, or use inappropriate language, or set a poor example for the teens I am responsible for.


We have a job to do.  And just like any job, we must read the company policies and enact them.  You would never assume on a new job you could guess what your boss wanted without asking, would you?  Why then do so many of us claim to know what our true BOSS wants without searching what He has given us to find out?  If our job is to be like Him, then the obvious course of action is to get to know Him, through reading our Bible, early church fathers, and prayer.  You'd go talk to your boss at work to find out what to do, wouldn't you?

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him  James 1:5

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St. Patrick's Breast-Plate

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.


From Catholic Encyclopedia

Post-It notes from God

I have laid up thy word in my heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psa 119:11

I don't actually use a lot of Post-It notes.  I prefer a single task list for things that I need to do.  But sometimes, I place them strategically on my computer at work to remind me of things I need to do.  They don't take up a lot of space and I rarely look at them, but they are just enough to do the job.

The other day, I was telling a friend why I was trying to not complain about certain things so much.  Complaining / whining is such an easy sin for so many reasons.  Everybody does it, it gives us something to talk about, there are no obvious or immediate natural consequences to it, we typically can receive sympathy from the person we're speaking to, and in some cases we seem to feel better after we share our woes.  Telling someone something that is a problem isn't particularly bad by itself, but we so infrequently stop there.  Furthermore, the decision to whine comes about in an instant.  There's not enough time to do a full analysis of the wisdom of saying whatever it is we're saying.  Sometimes, the only reason I can catch myself and not do it is because I know God doesn't want me to.

I would not have known this without reading the Bible.  If you've not given it much thought (and I had not), you might assume God doesn't have an opinion on the matter.  This is true for so many things, like swearing.  Unless we go and look in the Bible or listen to church leaders or read church history, we might not know God has an opinion on a particular topic.  I was amazed to discover the Bible even has an opinion on rising early (good thing to do, both to accomplish more work and to pray).  The more I read, the more I learn, and the more that sticks out.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world... Philippians 2:14-15.  Do all things without grumbling.  Well, that's a pretty specific opinion on it, isn't it?

I relayed this to my friend and shared I think of this verse when I want to whine.  It just pops up in my head.  She texted back "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."  We chatted about how God's Word is in us when we read it, and can remind us of what to do and what not to do.  It is like a Post It note in our head from God in these instances.

They can be so irritating on some days when we really want to do wrong.  I was wanting to brag about something minor the other day.  I had all sorts of reasons for it and tried to argue against the Post It notes in my mind, but Post It notes from God are always right.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Happy Pi Day

Today, 3/14, is Pi Day, in honor of the number pi.

e to the x
e to the y
e to the x dx dy
cosine secant tangent sine
3.14159
PV = nRT
C'mon Miners, victory!


That's the unofficial fight song of Missouri University of Science and Technology, fka the University of Missouri - Rolla.  I attended UMR and graduated in 2004 with a degree in Engineering Management.  Memories of UMR are a mixture of things I enjoyed and an even larger portion of things I wish I'd not done.  This was just going to be a post about the beauty of Pi, but it has really made me think of a few things from my college days.

College would have been easier had I been following the Lord at that time.  I spoke with a young woman about how life gets easier with God yesterday.  Follow God's plan for your finances and you seem to have more money.  Help others before helping yourself and you find that you have fewer needs.  I've never been as happy as I have been in the past few years, and if you'd told me five years ago the things I enjoy doing now I would have thought you were crazy.  I thought I was happy but had no idea how happy I could be or how easy my life could become.

Five years ago, I did not want to entertain in my home.  It was easier to either go out or stay in by myself (I'm an introvert).  Other people could also be problematic if I didn't know them very well, as they'd likely be annoying in what they talked about or want things from me.  A few years ago, there was an ice storm and some people I barely knew showed up and gave me food and took care of some of my ice-laden tree branches.  I felt compelled to have them over for dinner after the power was back on, and a few months later they talked to me about God.  Now I have people over all the time, with my volunteer group seeing my house as more of a loving bed and breakfast.  And I love it!

Five years ago, I carried a balance on my credit card (a 0% APR one though, as I'd plan ahead at least for those special credit offers).  Charity was if I walked by someone collecting for a good cause and I had cash in my pocket I didn't plan on using in a vending machine.  I was never terribly stressed about money, but I was never comfortable about it either.  Now I have a detailed budget, with God at the top (meaning I "take home" less than I did), and yet suddenly I have more to spend, no credit card balance, an emergency fund, and no need to even think about my budget unless I'm trying to decide if I'm going to buy something.

I have all sorts of other examples, but really I cannot believe how wonderful my life is now that I follow Jesus.  Being in the service of the King is the most incredible job ever!

This weekend some Catholics will have the Gospel reading of the Prodigal Son, which as a revert to Catholicism is one of my favorites.  I remember returning to the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time after so many years at a communal penance service.  The reading then was also the Prodigal Son, and afterward I went and told the priest how long I'd been away.  I was fearful of what he might say, but he didn't even wait for me to finish before he got a huge grin and exclaimed "Welcome HOME!"

God wants all of His children back, no matter how far they have strayed.  Our God is indeed an awesome God!  I'll leave with a link to The Sacred Page again, this time on the Prodigal Son.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Repeat Offenders

Moving right into the middle of 2 Kings, I read today of another account of Baal worshipers not having much luck (2 Kings 10:18-28).  They apparently didn't get the memo.

When I was teaching Confirmation, we talked about how Israel was a lot like a teenager who kept doing the same thing over and over again even though they got punished.  My girls commented that wasn't very bright, but of course admitted they do the same thing.  We talked about how God uses (used) punishments to get His people back in line, like parents do to teenagers.  I just pray some of it stuck, though I had like 17 of them at the time and there were too many!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cheesecake

I got to experience the fun of a walk in clinic yesterday.  I've had a cold for a week and yesterday it started getting worse.  I've not been able to sleep because of it, so I'm sure that didn't help.  Enter the sinus infection.  We go way back, me and sinus infections.  I can usually create a restraining order with the help of my good friend garlic, but not so much this time. Anyway, I'm on antibiotics and I was sitting here thinking I ought to post something meaningful. 

I have no deep thoughts currently though so here's something I thought of last week:  God gave us cheesecake.  Lots of other food too, but I was thinking specifically of cheesecake in Adoration.  I had to stop myself from telling the woman in front of me, loudly, that God gave us cheesecake.  It wasn't all that deep and really was rather obvious, but at the time it made me giddy.

We'll also have a link to someone who is thinking more deep thoughts: Progressive Bible Quotes #8.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Proverbs 31

A good wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. Pro 31:10 (RSV)


I am not a wife, but I recognize that (hopefully) one day I will be and so I've been interested in the topic of what wives are supposed to be doing. I figure it is better to research now than later, after I'm married. I have read Created to be his Help Meet, which I recommend. The same author is going to be publishing Preparing to be his Help Meet, which I am looking forward to reading. I've read loads of other articles on the subject, and I still have a hard time getting a handle on the concept.

Originally I just thought wives being submissive to their husbands A) was made up by men (it wasn't in the Bible), B) included being submissive to all men, and C) was definitely a bad thing. After reading the Bible, I now know they did not make it up. It is in there several times, by different authors. I don't buy the line that it was part of the custom at the time - the New Testament authors were being put to death because what they were saying was so out of the norm; one more "out of the norm" thing wasn't going to be a problem.

It does not say anything about being submissive to all men, though as Christians we're called to be submissive to others and to be submissive to our preachers/priests. In this context though, it is just the husband.

It is not a bad thing. I realized this when a friend explained it like a chain of command. Businesses and the military have a chain of command. To have two people with equal authority over the same tasks is a precursor to chaos. No one on the chain of command is less important or less of a person, but they have different roles. That's what this is about. Women have a different role. This is perhaps most obvious in our ability to have children, which men do not have. We are clearly not the same in some of the tasks we are meant to accomplish. God is simply identifying an order for us to follow so we have a pattern that is efficient and limits the amount of conflict. All the married people I know who believe this still have discussions and the woman still has a lot of power, but if no agreement can be had then, well, he's in charge.

I also discovered the man is called upon to live the wife like Christ loves His Church. And He loves His Church so much he dragged a heavy cross to his own execution site after being nearly whipped to death all so he could die a horrible death. That's a pretty high bar, in my mind. Probably a bit higher than just going along with what the husband wants if we can't decide.

And here's the thing - even if I didn't like it, it is still true. Maybe I don't like that the sky is blue. But it still is blue, and no amount of me not liking it will change it.

So I'm on board with this idea, but sometimes struggle with what it looks like. Fortunately, Proverbs 31 talks about the ideal wife for us. I'd read it before and she does sound pretty spiffy. She is not the "sit around and look pretty doing nothing until your husband comes home so you can smile at him" woman I had always thought of when I envisioned a submissive wife. She's managing the household, buying fields, making money on the things she does, and taking care of her family while reaching out to the poor. She is no slacker.
  1. A good wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
  2. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
  3. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
  4. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
  5. She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from afar.
  6. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and tasks for her maidens.
  7. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
  8. She girds her loins with strength and makes her arms strong.
  9. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
  10. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
  11. She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy.
  12. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
  13. She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
  14. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
  15. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers girdles to the merchant.
  16. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
  17. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
  18. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
  19. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
  20. "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all."
  21. Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
  22. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Prov 31:10-31

A few weeks ago in the Esther study, we looked at Prov 31:10. Instead of "good," the NASB translates it as "excellent." The KJV translates it as "virtuous." The DRB uses "valiant." I'm not sure any of those words do it justice, when we look at where else this word is found. The KJV translates it as ARMY 51 times, host 28 times (not as in hosting a party, but a host of soldiers going forth to battle), valiant 20 times, forces (again, as in army) 14 times, strength 12 times, riches 11 times, wealth 10 times, power 9 times, substance 7 times, might 6 times, strong 5 times, and on going... When the Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land, the "mighty men of VALOR" were prepared for battle. The woman in this verse is no weak woman!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wait for the Lord!

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isa 40:28-31


I'm doing an Esther study at a friend's church, and I love it. We're doing the one from Beth Moore, and I'd recommend it to anyone. This particular passage was from a few weeks ago, and since I'm only on my second trip through the majority of the Old Testament, I didn't remember it. She made the very valid point that when we wait on things or events, we exhaust ourselves. To wait for the Lord is an entirely different thing. Sounds all good and logical and stuff, but how does one do that? Sounds too hard. Must not be all that important...

Lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation; for thee I wait all the day long. Psa 25:5
May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for thee. Psa 25:21

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the LORD! Psa 27:14 I memorized this Psalm last year. Guess I wasn't paying attention.

For the wicked shall be cut off; but those who wait for the LORD shall possess the land. Psa 37:9

Wait for the LORD, and keep to his way, and he will exalt you to possess the land; you will look on the destruction of the wicked. Psa 37: 34

Do not say, "I will repay evil"; wait for the LORD, and he will help you. Prov 20:22

Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame. Isa 49:23

The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. Lam 3:25


Those were just a few of the ones that had the same term! I've been amazed at how often I do not do just this. I'm waiting for a thing, or a person, or an event. I get stressed out, I worry, I exhaust myself thinking about this thing or person that hasn't even showed up yet. And what I need to do is wait for God, and just wait for God. I can't control time or 99.5% of the events in my life, but He can and certainly does!

The Esther study has been great for me in so many ways. I've learned more about Providence, and waiting, and reading my Bible, among other things.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Connections

I love the connections in the Bible and I love it when someone points them out for me, as sometimes I can be awesomely dense.  Stuff like this at The Sacred Page. That's just spiffy.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Lord of the Rings

When the movie Lord of the Rings was about to come out, I realized I was surrounded by people who had read the books and knew more than me. This was upsetting to me for some reason, so I ran off and bought the books and proceeded to read them as quickly as possible. That's very quick indeed, as I speed read, and can easily tackle 100+ pages in an hour. I read Dune one boring summer day between a late breakfast and dinner.

As I said a few posts ago, I am trying to work my way through the Bible with commentary by the start of September. This is primarily so I am done with that task by the start of a class I'm thinking of taking. I must be careful to slow down though, so I do not miss the storyline. Today I finished 1 Kings. I am also doing a more in depth study, with the Esther group, but I do want to read through the Bible again this year.

Normally, I have good reading comprehension and retention, but as the speed goes up my actual intake of the information goes down. In the case of Lord of the Rings, I was about halfway through when I realized that Sauron and Saruman were two different people. I also never kept up the difference between Merry and Pippin, but that never had as drastic of a consequence. I just could never figure out how the S-Bad-Guy (the name in my head) managed to be at Isengard and Mordor at the same time. After looking at the map, I determined something had gone horribly wrong and stopped to analyze the problem. Then I had to restart, as it became a whole new story when that was all cleared up!

This is the second time I've read through the Bible, though I frequented some of the books more regularly since my first reading in 2007. Like Lord of the Rings, it is a whole new story! The first time though I was attempting to read it very quickly, and somehow managed to get quite confused regarding the division of Judah and Israel. Kings was a very problematic read at the time, as I had no idea what was going on. Now it is much more enjoyable as through other studies I managed to pick up on the idea they were divided and there were two sets of kings to track!

Perhaps this is made even more funny to me given the circumstances of my first read through. Like Lord of the Rings, I discovered that there were people who knew more about the Bible than me. It irritated me, and so I set out to read the Bible as quickly as possible. I was very successful in catching up with my counterparts in LOTR - within a year I was an expert! I had even delved into the history of Middle Earth via Tolkien's other books on the subject and written an exhaustive outline/summary of The Silmarillion. I made online crossword puzzles, because I am a geek. And thus I approached the Bible, thinking I would conquer most others in knowledge with the same speed.

This was, obviously, incorrect. But at the time it seemed perfectly logical. Of course, at the time, I also thought the only differences between Protestants and Catholics was the Pope. That's for another entry!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened

Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire to it." 1 Kings 18:25



As I read this today, I had to wonder if at that point, they knew they were in trouble. Or perhaps they really thought their "god" existed and was going to help them out. I decided probably the latter, or they wouldn't have worked so hard on it all morning or cut themselves up to get his attention. So here we have a bunch of guys who really think they are doing the right thing and worshiping a true god, only to discover (with quite permanent consequences) they were wrong. Most people hate being wrong, but it seems altogether less pleasant in this case. I do love this story though. The crowd starts off non-responsive and then after the display is moved to kill the false prophets at Elijah's order. I also wonder what their faces looked like after his sacrifice was set aflame.


I have a terrible cold today and left work early. This is most unfortunate as I was planning on attending the Esther Bible Study this evening. Orange juice, raw garlic, and sleep seem to be in my immediate future though.


Fire graphic from here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fail to plan - plan to fail

The last time I started here... wait. Two times. The last two times I started, I had no goal. No purpose. No ideas. I was going to write about how I felt. It didn't end well because how I feel is really not something I want to share most of the time, and furthermore it really isn't important in the grand scheme of things. To quote a friend, "feelings are not important."

Obviously they are on some matters. I like feelings. I like having them. But feelings don't change the world, or God for that matter. God will exist and continue to exist no matter how I feel about it. I really like that about God. His existence and love for us is completely independent of how we feel about it! (See, I did sneak some feelings in there).

So my new goal is not all about me. My goal is to talk about God, because that's truth and truth is very important. It is the only important thing. And a lot of people don't understand truth. All truths are not created equal! For instance, the truth to one person may be that God does not exist. They are allowed that opinion, but it is not as true as the opinion God does exist. He either does exist or He doesn't exist. It cannot possibly be both.

Where can we find out what truth is? Scripture; and if you're Catholic, the Catholic Church. But it doesn't really matter if you're Catholic, or at least not for this blog. Regardless, I'll probably be focusing more on Scripture because I LOVE it.

I am currently reading the Bible through with the commentary provided by Navarre. The goal is to get done by September. I'm in 1 Kings. I have a spreadsheet to track my progress, obviously. After that I'm looking at an online Bible certificate course, but we'll have to see...