Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Holiday Is Over

John Podhoretz has an insightful comment on this morning's news:

The horrifying assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan this
morning comes only one week before the Iowa caucuses and 12 days before New
Hampshire. It is a sobering and frightening reminder of the challenges and
threats and dangers posed to the United States by radical Islam, the nature of
the struggle being waged against the effort to extend democratic freedoms in the
Muslim world, and the awful possibility of a nuclear Pakistan overrun by
Islamofascists. This is what the next president will be compelled by
circumstance to spend a plurality of his or her time on. This is what really
matters, not the cross Mike Huckabee lit up behind his head in his Christmas ad.

American politics would dearly love to take a holiday from
history, just as it did in the 1990s. But our enemies are not going to allow us
to do so.

As John says, hopefully that holiday will come to a sudden halt. We remain at war because our enemies remain at war. We forget that at our peril, and only through deliberate ignorance bordering on pathological denial.

What a day to be proclaiming the wonderful message of the wonderful grace of God! Let's "get in the battle" for the truth and do our part--yea, go "beyond measure"--to get that message out to the masses about us. That's my New Year's wish!


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Our TV Is Back On ESPN

When we moved into our home in 1987 the local cable company offered to hook us up for free. With three boys, their offer of four sports channel made it an easy decision! Since the boys grew
into adult life, we seldom watch ESPN type channels. Thus it struck me this morning that the TV has been on ESPN almost continually since Saturday (with the exception of the Disney Channel and Nog/n when the smaller grandkids are in front of it).

That’s because our boys are back home.

All three with their families are here for the week. What a treat! They seemed to think that since I have become a cancer patient it would be a good idea. Whatever the motivation, I agree! Since becoming grandparents, Cynthia and I have often said that we should have skipped kids and gone straight to grandkids. They are everything you’ve ever heard they are. For sure they are God’s reward for not killing your own kids along the way!

We had family feasts on both Monday and Tuesday—Tuesday was a Jody’s home in Yorkville. Cynthia made her “to-kill-for” oyster dressing and we have been busy trying to pack a year into one week.

Rick is teaching for me tonight at Shorewood. I went to the doctor this morning only to discover that I now have shingles. I broke out with skin eruptions last Thursday and they are spreading over my back. Just something else to “enjoy” along the journey.

Frankly, cancer doesn’t seem such a frightening word with ESPN back on our TV. Sure, I still have a bit of hesitancy when I speak the word out loud. But I’m discovering that cancer is really weak. It can’t break love. It has only made stronger, more vibrant the love of my wife and my children and my grandchildren and my friends—and more real than ever the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.


Monday, December 24, 2007

"Only One More Sleep To Christmas"

Our friend Linda Nash sent an email reminder that there is "'Only one more sleep to Christmas' as the Muppet movie says in their 'Christmas Carol' personal favorite of the Dickens's story."

It really comes down to one simple fact: At Bethlehem a child was born who was God in human flesh. This is the central truth of the Christian faith—that God became a man. Everything else we believe derives from that essential truth--a fact we celebrate every day.

If you'd like to spend a bit of time in the Word, try John Verstegen's message What To Do About Christmas (HT to Charolette R.).


Friday, December 21, 2007

Welcome New Readers

The current issue of The Grace Journal will have arrived in mail boxes about now and I want to welcome those who are visiting us for the first time. I put a note in the Journal and hoped you'd drop by. I would be happy to hear from you via the Comments, email or snail-mail. This isn't just a one way street!

Just a quick update on my ongoing physical battles: the radiation treatment for the cancer has taken more of a toll on my than I had anticipated. I just did a questionnaire for the study I'm in and it was interesting that of the five categories they were concerned about, I am only experiencing things in two of them. That means I'm doing lots better than I otherwise could have! Joy! I plan to be back on the road in January. The Florida conference is scheduled for January 11-13 and we look forward to a great time in the Word.

Thanks for all the kind notes and calls--and especially your prayerful interest. It is heartwarming for Cynthia and me. It seems that "virtual hugs" are great!

On the home front, we finally finished the remodeling of our downstairs living area, just in time for David and his family to arrive from Florida. Rick and his family come in on Sunday evening (they leave AZ after he preaches Sunday a.m.). So we will have a full house for the holidays. Not often we can get everyone together at one time! We will be having dinner on the 25th at Jody's house. Oyster dressing is naturally on the menu. Rick will teach at Shorewood on Wednesday evening.

The last weekend of the year we have a conference scheduled at Shorewood with Ted Fellows preaching for us. He and Sue will arrive before everyone has gone home, so its a good thing he doesn't take up much room! If you are in our area, come join us for a great weekend. It concludes with a Watchnight on the 31st. If you can't make it, join us via the Internet. Go to and follow the video prompt. It is real time, live and in color!


Alt. Ending to the Story

Keith Drury suggests some alternate endings to the story. Here is a slightly edited version:

1. A mom says no.
What if Mary had responded to the angel with, “No way. Not with me you won’t!”

2. A man gets a divorce.
What if Joseph had done what everyone else did—dump this girl who was pregnant-but-not-by-him?

3. A dad stays home.
What if Joseph had ducked his duty to enroll in the census so that an evil government would not get more money—besides, would God expect such a long journey with a wife 39 weeks pregnant?

4. A family skips church.
What if Joseph and Mary had skipped the temple visit so soon after childbirth—wouldn’t God be better served if they stayed under Herod’s radar?

5. Old saints keep quiet.
What if Anna and Simeon felt prompted to say something about a little child but suppressed their thoughts and kept their prayers to themselves?

6. Scholars continue to study.
What if the Wise Men had delayed action to continue studying—wouldn’t God expect them to be more thorough?

7. Workers go back to sleep.
What if the shepherds had applauded the angelic choir then rolled over and went back to sleep?

8. A Family doesn’t move.
What if Joseph had dismissed his crazy dream and stayed in Nazareth—certain it is a better place for Messiah than Egypt!

9. Scholars invite the king to worship.
What if the Wise Men did what they were told to—travel back to Jerusalem giving Herod the location where he could go worship the child?

10. A family stays put.
What if Joseph just stayed put in Egypt after Herod died—couldn’t the Savior of the world come from Egypt just as well as Israel?

Let this thought encourage you: Your life may seem rather mundane, but you never know what God will do through you. Who knows? You may be part of something much bigger than anything you can imagine! In fact, Col. 1:9-23, for example, demonstrates that “in Christ Jesus” you are!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Word of the Year

For dictionary (and current trend) lovers, Merrian-Webster has just released their annual Word of the Year winner. Selected by the vote of thousands of participants, the winner is….wOOt.

I know. I didn’t know it either, but there really is a word “wOOt” (note the double zeros, which is a tip off that it has its roots in the world of online computer gaming).

And what does it actually mean? Well, therein is the fascination: in computer-game-speak, it is an acronym for “We Owned the Other Team.” M-W has a bit more dictionary appropriate definition: They list it as an interjection “expressing joy (it could be after a triumph, or for no reason at all); similar in use to the word yay.’” Ex.: wOOt! I won the contest!” Interestingly, they do not give a pronunciation!!

Second place went to facebook,” which is listed as a verb: “I facebooked Sid and posted a picture on his wall. He hasn't replied yet.” I also like blamestorm and sardoodledom.” In fact I knew the latter from being around 5 year kindergartners! But its hard to beat wOOt. Try it, you might like it!

P.S. None of the above words are in my spell-checker! Time to upgrade?


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Promotion To Glory!

Just to let you know that a fairly new GSB student, Bob Schuder, unexpectedly went to be with the Lord last night. He was in the hospital and just had a tonsillectomy, and apparently died during the night from complications or whatever. He was only 36 years old. I just spoke with him on the phone a couple months ago when he called so excited about receiving his first lessons.

I want to quote his statement of faith from his GSB application:

For years I thought I was saved through the Kingdom program of repentance and water baptism and "accepting Jesus into my heart." Then I read the manuscript of an end times novel given to me by Rita Bauschard and written by Deborah Kuzenski. I learned the truth about being saved by grace and faith alone and right division. I was so delighted, that I helped Deborah publish the book. Now my goal is to learn as much as possible from GSB and hopefully spread the message in Alaska.

In the face of "present sufferings" what a demonstration of the joy and rejocing of our hearts! And what a testimony to the importance of having a certainty of eternal life as a present possession!


Friday, December 7, 2007

Having a Rascally Day?

I received the following note and thought it might apply to those reading my blog also:

"One day God was looking down at earth and saw all the rascally behavior that was going on. So, He called one of His angels and sent him to earth for a time. When the angel returned, he told God, 'Yes, it is bad on earth: 95% are misbehaving and only 5% are behaving.'

God was not pleased with this so He decided to e-mail the 5% who were behaving to encourage them and to give them a little something to keep them going in the right direction.

Do you know what the e-mail said?


Okay, just wondering. I didn't get one either!"

I am ever so glad that I don't need to await a daily e-mail from God to tell me how I'm doing! He has already provided everything I need to know in His written Word, the Bible. And it is an overwhelming joy to know that He has provided so that it is available for me in my own language in the King James Bible! What a treasure; what a joy-divine; what a responsibility!

When you come to realize the complete acceptance we have in Christ Jesus and the total sufficiency of His revelation to us in His Word, life takes on new purpose and direction. No longer need I wander around seeking to "read" and "interpret" my circumstances or feelings or impressions so as to find God's will for my life. I already have all of that in complete form in my Bible. Now, I can simply give myself to understanding His Word (that's what right division is all about) and thus be "filled with a knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding." That enables me to see my life, with all its varied situations and circumstances, for what it truly is: the stage upon which I can by faith apply His Word and will and thus "walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work."

But, perhaps, you knew all that, didn't you!--because Colossians 1:9-10 already told you!! I just like to repeat it so I don't forget! Thanks for listening--and don't be looking for any e-mails for heaven, you simply don't need them. It's already all in the Book!


Pearl Harbor Day

Today is Pearl Harbor Day, a day to "live in infamy." It was our parent's generation's "911." It also resulted in what has become known as "the Greatest Generation" taking the field. Would that a similar generation were among us!

Today, Pearl Harbor Day reminds me of two things:

First, I'll turn 60 tomorrow! Hardly seems possible, but it is true. I can remember when 50 seemed over the hill. Hey, I can remember when 30 did too! But time changes all that. One's life is often broken up into 20 year brackets, with the 60-80(?) period labels with a title of eldership (or some such equivalent). It is true that your perspective changes--matures, you like to think--with the experience that the passing years provide. I taught Galatians 6:1 on a recent Sunday evening and one brother told me afterward, "I can't believe how much wisdom you have." I couldn't either! At least the perspective of experience gives a richness to the words on the page.

Several years ago a dear friend wrote to exhort me that I hadn't really suffered enough to appreciate the depth of the truths we proclaim. As I grow older, I remember that exhortation and find nothing but truth in it. How wonderful it is to not just grow older but to grow in grace and knowledge of our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The other thing I am reminded about is water boarding. Now that is an odd topic, I realize, but is one I've intended to comment on. I have been struck by the recent hesitation to acknowledge water boarding to be what it in fact is: a ancient and time tested method of torture. Anyone familiar with the techniques of the Inquisition will recognize its use by the papists in their campaign to force recantations from those they branded heretics. I recognize there are political considerations that make some desire to hedge on this point, but its simply nonsense. Even if there were a justifiable reason to use it, water boarding is torture. Not to admit that is to play the fool.

The reason I mention this is that while having the seed implant procedure I was reminded how horrendous such a thing can be. No, I wasn't water boarded! No even close. The folks talking care of me were more than wonderful. BUT: while being prepared to be "put under," the doctor put a mask on my face. All of a sudden my anxiety level wentout the roof. The sensation of my sinuses filling was overwhelming; my lungs seemed to be totally useless. My reaction caused the attendants to immediately remove the mast, increase the dosage of the dream potion and in seconds I was wonderfully asleep. It was, however, an emotionally anchoring experience that has left me with the jitters every time I relive it.

My experience is only a very, very, very, very mild comparison to real water boarding (no matter what the actual technique used). But I can testify to the fact that it is torture, even if politicians will not admit it in order to cover their political assets.

I'm really not too concerned about the political mud slinging over this issue. But as a believer I'm aware that the potential in passages like II Timothy 1:8 and 2:3,4 is all too real. We have brothers and sisters around this planet who are daily subjected to real persecution--yes, torture--for their stand for the Saviour. The day is closer at hand that this will be true in our land. Water boarding has been used for that purpose before; it may be again.

My conviction has always been that we should be standing for Christ all along. That way when the time comes when we need to "take a stand" we will already be standing! Even if it means water boarding.