Late Saturday Morning

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating.  I don’t mind if you want to disagree with me. Just keep it civil. No name-calling, no swearing, no obscenity, and watch the sarcasm.  I have the privilege of refusing to publish your response, so if you want to get all snarky and mean, go write your own blog. Don’t try to highjack mine.

It’s nearly 11 a.am.  I’ve been up since 8 a.m. but haven’t gotten much accomplished.

My computer printer has taken a break from active duty.  I’ve been tinkering with it, trying to figure out what’s wrong, but so far have come up with nothing I can fix.  Isn’t it amazing how the time flies when you’re involved in that type of situation?  Most of the time, my electronics work very well.  Maybe my printer needs to be retired to the Big Printer Place for eternity.  I’ve had it for over 15 years.  That’s a long time for a printer, and one of these days I’m concerned I won’t be able to find ink cartridges for it.

Image result for computer frustrations cartoon

Anyway.  I didn’t post yesterday because I had some prep to do for the class I teach every other Friday on the Constitution and Current Events.  Yesterday, I explained the Electoral College to my kids.  They had a ton of questions.  It’s really a good compromise between the heavily populated states and the not-so populated ones, similar to the compromise that created our bicameral legislature:  The House of Representatives and the Senate.  The House is decided by the population of each state.  In the Senate, each state gets two seats, no matter its population.

The purpose of all that was to keep the populous states from ALWAYS winning, leaving the less populous states with nowhere to turn when they were disregarded.

If you look at a map of the 2016 electoral vote, you will see that most East Coast and West Coast states went Democratic. (Correction:  about half the East Coast states went Blue.  It was unexpected for NC, SC, GA, and FL to go Red) That’s because their population is mostly urban, and the politicians tend to regard center America, which is less populated, as “fly-over country” that you have to endure to get to the other coast.Image result for 2016 electoral map

One notable exception in 2016 was my state, Pennsylvania.  What a shock when they went Red instead of their usual Blue!   Typically, the eastern edge goes Democrat as well as the western edge; often, though, the center of the state goes Red.  I still don’t know what happened, because in order to get Republican electoral votes, the state needs to vote for the Red candidate. Maybe we little fly-over folks are just tired of the politicians dictating what we’re supposed to think.  I hope so.

Anyway, it’s an interesting topic.  If you don’t understand the Electoral system, you can google it for a lot of good information as well as criticism.  Not surprisingly, the Blue side wants to  eliminate the Electoral system.  That way, they would almost certainly win every election  on the popular vote alone. You should educate yourselves on the topic before you decide to vote pro or con on eliminating it.  It has worked quite well for over 200 years.

One of my students asked, yesterday, why the population centers, i.e. cities, tend to go Democratic.  To get the answer for that, you only need to look at the demographics of major cities according to, for instance, income. There is more unemployment in large cities; therefore more need for things like food stamps and other government -supported programs.  Democratic legislators believe we need to do MORE than we presently are doing for the poor.  They want us to be dependent on government not just for protection from foreign invasion, but for food, housing, and healthcare. Why?  More government =more control by the government, less power to the governed. More government programs means more taxes because of more government spending.  The more they tax us, the more they own us.

The Democrats expected their longed – for Blue Wave, but they didn’t get it.  It was more like a Blue Trickle.  Yes, they took the House back.  That was expected.   Depending on how the states go who are STILL counting two weeks after the election, they might re-take the Senate as well.  But, to quote our previous President,  Trump still has a pen and he still has a phone. The gains they made in the House were not as large as they expected.  And, believe it or not, there are a few Democrats who want to put Miss Pelosi out to pasture.  We’ll see.  She has a lot of power.

Well, my word. I didn’t intend on a rant this morning. And now I really have to get a couple of things done.

P.S.  I just walked into the dining room and found Terry has my printer all taken apart on the dining room table.  Well, if the problem is mechanical, he can probably fix it 🙂

 

PSS:  It is now 1:45 p.m.  Terry cleaned up the insides of my printer, found a hardened glob of ink and took care of that.  In the meantime, I looked in my Control Panel, and found that he tried six more times  to print a document.  So seven documents were in the queue, and none of them, of course, were printing. So I checked with him, deleted all those documents, rebooted my computer, and everything is working just fine.  What a relief.

Bad Start Today

This is completely personal and has nothing to do with much of anything, except that sometimes writing is cathartic for me; also, I wanted you to know why my normal post, which should have been Isaiah 53:10, will not appear today.

I had a very bad night.  I don’t know why this seems to happen when I have an unexpected and much-anticipated day off, but there it is.  I didn’t get to sleep  until sometime after three a.m., and was awake–against my will–shortly after 8 a.m.  The lack of normal sleep set me up to be a cranky hot mess.

Related image

We’re down to only one bathroom right now because Terry is renovating.  So when I got up and saw that he was cleaning the only bathroom, my mood got worse while I waited. Isn’t that ridiculous?  I’m very spoiled, used to having my own bathroom.  Good grief. When our kids were still home, we managed SIX people with only one bathroom!

Then I decided to work on a HUGE computer mess because of a program I installed for Terry that is massive and is blocking other applications. The more I investigated possible fixes, the more frustrated I grew.  Felt like throwing things, to be perfectly honest.

And then I pulled my Bible over to work on today’s post, and I sat there feeling utterly defeated.  I couldn’t write it.  I was upset, short of sleep, short-tempered, and knowing that I’m still going to have to tackle the computer issue.  I got up and walked away, made coffee, fixed my breakfast, and played a round of Angry Birds while I ate.

Go ahead and laugh.  It made me feel better as I blasted those stupid pigs to kingdom come.

Maybe my sour mood is compounded by a couple of sessions in my counseling office yesterday.  I’m afraid I haven’t done a very good job of leaving them at the office.  Frankly, I’d like to go do an Angry Birds-type search- and- destroy on a couple of people who don’t deserve to walk free. They belong in jail. For a VERY long time.

And then I looked at an article about the invasion from south of our borders, and fueled my anger all over again.  I need to stay away from that stuff today.  It is so clearly being orchestrated and financed by someone other than the “immigrants” (read “invaders”) and timed to coincide with the Nov. 6 elections, that my blood pressure rises just thinking about it. And no, I’m not a racist or a xenophobe or any of the other popular names the Left likes to call people like me.  I’m just wondering what Mexico or Nicaragua would do with 14,000 AMERICAN “immigrants” descending on their countries, expecting shelter, food, jobs, etc.   Please.

Okay.  So you can see that I’m not in any condition to settle down with God’s Word.  I need to get my own self back under the control of God’s Word before I can honestly handle teaching it to anyone else.

So, do I feel any better, having poured all this out onto you?

Actually, yes, a little.  At least my stomach muscles aren’t  all tensed up any more. And I WILL return to my usual  sensible state of mind.  I think I just need to do some serious repenting and praying. Anger is a terrible thing.

 

Go To Work!

I just had a session with someone a little younger than I, who shares the same work ethic most people of our generation do.  She works very hard.  She fills in when people much younger than she is don’t show up because they “need some Me Time.”  She’s a department manager, expected to make sure everything runs smoothly, but she’s short-staffed and overworked because there aren’t enough employees; or they aren’t properly trained; or they just don’t feel like working, but they certainly show up on payday expecting a full paycheck.

And they don’t seem to suffer any guilt whatsoever when they leave their coworkers and managers spinning in the wind.

On the other end of this mess is the upper management that sets high expectations but don’t give her the staff she needs to meet those requirements.

She’s physically exhausted.  She’s sick with a “cold” that has now lasted for over six weeks. I think she’s headed for a breakdown, and I’m wondering if she’ll lose her job when it happens.  The emphasis seems to be totally focused on results, not on the people who are hired to create those results.

So why doesn’t she quit?  Get a better job?  Lots of factors there. One is her age. She knows she won’t be paid as well if she makes a lateral move to another store, and she is on her own. There is no golden parachute.

She’s told me stories.  Oh my,  Things that, if they had happened when I was first in the work force, would have been immediate cause for dismissal. A couple of 20-year-old guys who take half- hour breaks and two- hour lunches, and when they’re confronted they shrug and say they lost track of time. And no action is taken to discipline them. No one wants to start the process of getting them fired because it’s really, really hard to fire people these days. You could end up in court, paying them huge unemployment salaries for the next six months to a year.   Wouldn’t have happened  in 1965, when I started working.

perform

They seem to set their own hours and availabilities, too. They work when they  can schedule it in to their day.  They call out on the flimsiest pretexts.  “I’m just really tired, Man,” (Translate:  “I’m drugged to the eyeballs, or I have a hangover.  But it’s your problem, not mine.”)

Yes, yes.  I know that there are lots of good young people out there who are willing to work, who even WANT to work.  They have parents who taught them the value of work, of making their own way, of having a good work ethic and a reputation for being dependable. I know some of them. They’re great.  I wish there were more of them.

I’m just worried about my client.

 

It’s Not Helpful!

I’ve been having a rather lengthy  Facebook conversation with some former students of mine, including one of my sons.  I guess it’s not surprising that it has taken  the form of a blog post in my head, so here it is.

Believers, Christians, often experience awful, horrible, heartbreaking events. Babies die, husbands or wives leave, life-threatening illnesses occur,  violent crime takes away our feelings of safety, value, and belief in God Himself. Severe persecution in some parts of the world  threatens believers every single day, and there is no escape from it.

These hurting people often cry out, “Why?  Why are these things happening?  Where is God?  Why is He allowing this?”  Some will get answers from well-meaning people, but those answers only serve to increase their sense of helplessness and abandonment.

One of those answers, which has become ubiquitous  lately, is,”Well, everything happens for a reason.”  And that is supposed to heal the wounds, soothe the heartache, and remove the grief.

It’s a vague, formless answer that carries very little power to help. In fact, it can create even more hurt because the suffering ones can’t find that elusive reason, and they just don’t understand. It has a sort of  New Age kharmic feel about it, because it is non-specific and indicates a vague faith in. . . . well, I’m really not sure. No person, no god, no ultimate arbiter of life events is mentioned.  Just that somewhere out there sits something or someone who orchestrates terrible events in our lives for some non-specified reason.

It makes no sense to me.

So, why DO bad things happen?

For me, the answer is both simple and complex.  My worldview is biblical.  I believe that God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. He is holy, just, and sovereign; He is loving, merciful, and gracious. He cannot look on evil, so He provided the only possible perfect sacrifice to cleanse sin in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit of God, born of a pure, virgin girl who was in the line of King David.  Jesus was the One Whose blood could cleanse sin, and Whose resurrection could provide victory over sin and death. You can read all about Him in the four gospels:  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Why did God do all that?  So that we could find salvation and spend eternity with Him, because He loves us.  All of us.

Why doesn’t He, then, protect us from terrible events?

Because it’s not His job to do so. He never said He would.  What He did promise is that He would walk through the valley of the shadow of death with us (Psalm 23).  He promised never to leave us or forsake us (Heb, 13:5). He promised to be with us to the ends of the earth (Matt. 28:20).He never promised to prevent harm; He did promise to help us endure it.

Bad things happen because we live in a sinful, fallen world (Genesis 1-3). Satan is real. Evil is real. Jesus said that the rain will fall on the just and the unjust ( Matt: 5:45).

To accuse God of bringing evil into our lives is to believe the exact opposite of His true character. To demand that God should have prevented whatever happened is to demand that He conform to our wishes.

The Apostle Paul suffered greatly for his faith. Near the end of his life, knowing he was facing a painful and horrifying death, he said, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).  He did not complain about all the beatings, the stoning, the shipwreck, the snakebite, the imprisonment.  He accepted it as the price for his preaching the gospel wherever God sent him, and he rejoiced always because he knew God was always with him (Phil 4:4-5).

I know this is longer than my normal posts.  Just one more thing, and I’m done.

Instead of asking “Why,” we would do much better to ask for the what and the how. 

What can I learn from what has happened?  How can I begin to heal, or if necessary, to forgive, and move on from here? How can I use this to learn and grow, and to help someone else who is hurting?  How can I be a channel of blessing, showing the love of God to those around me in spite of the trouble that has beset me?

After all, no one suffered more unjustly than Jesus did.  He was the perfect Man, Who never sinned. Yet God allowed Him “to become sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21).

Please don’t accuse and blame God for the work of Satan.  Put the blame squarely where it belongs.  Satan’s whole purpose is to destroy all that God loves.  Evil does exist, and it finds all of us to one degree or another.  No one is immune.  God’s job is NOT to prevent all believers from ever suffering harm and evil. It is not His fault that we suffer.

“Everything happens for a reason”  is not helpful. It just makes the sufferer feel more confused, and removes permission for that person to grieve. Instead of saying that, tell the person how sorry your are for his pain, and find some way to be helpful, to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

 

Ponderings

I don’t know if it’s learned or just born-into-the-brain behavior. I only know it causes BIG problems in a marriage.

There are men who seem to believe that their contribution is to earn a paycheck, and that’s it.  They’ve put in their eight hours, they provide financially, and nothing more is required.

That, of course leaves EVERYTHING else up to the long-suffering wife and their children, as they grow older, and can help shoulder some of Mom’s burden.

4c40ce75668be0d3df312702984312f7-marriage-humor-relationship-quotes

These men truly seem to believe that all their wives do all day is–well–not much. A little cooking, a little cleaning.  Not much else, even though the men do nothing at all about maintenance of the house and property. If they enjoy doing so, they may engage in some yard work, sitting on a riding mower until the grass is cut. That’s how they “help.”  If the kids need to be driven to games, lessons, etc., that’s Mom’s job. Grocery shopping, Mom’s job. After all, what does she do all day but sit around watching the soaps?

One would think, in these days of women working outside the home just as much as men do, that this  type of behavior would be a thing of the past. Sadly, it’s not. Do the men learn it from their fathers?  Or is there a male gene that convinces them they have no business doing “women’s work”?

I am blessed to have married a man who never hesitated to change a diaper, soiled or just wet.  Never hesitated to mop up vomit  or snot, just figuring it needed doing and he was right there. He told me years ago, as he was cleaning up a wiggly child, that he actually enjoyed knowing he was making the baby comfortable and keeping diaper rash away.

Believe me, his willingness to lend a hand in no way diminished his masculinity, and I respected him all the more for seeing that I was nearing the end of my patience.  He was not a man who came home, expected to be treated like a conquering hero, and sat down for the entire evening while I cooked, cleaned up, got the kids to bed. He was a part of the process, unless he was unusually tired from the work he did.  When that was the case, I understood and expected nothing.

Maybe that’s part of the problem, though, for women whose husbands give nothing but their paychecks. Those women have learned to expect nothing, and guess what?  Nothing is what they get. If they do ask for help, they get “What do you want from me? I work my tail off all day to provide for you, and I’m tired!  You’ve had all day to sit around doing nothing.  No, I’m not going to help you. Figure it out.”

Those women do—they figure it out.  And they go to bed feeling lonely, unloved, unwanted and unappreciated. Their husbands don’t understand that getting all lovey-dovey at that moment isn’t exactly appealing to their worn-out, disappointed wives.

As I write, I’m realizing that this mostly applies to an older generation in which the wives were mostly stay-at-home wives and mothers.  Their husbands must have often thought that their wives had a pretty cushy time of it.  Unfortunately, there are women who don’t do much but the absolutely necessary, if that.  Maybe it’s in retaliation for feeling disrespected because they aren’t making any financial contribution. I don’t know.

What I do know is that this is an age-old problem, and it takes the romance out of a marriage pretty quickly. At some point, maybe I’ll write something directed a wives who expect their husbands to do far more than is reasonable. There is, after all, another side to every story.

 

Just Thinking About Things

Yesterday, our friends  Pete and Marge drove us up to JFK airport in New York so we could spend a couple of hours with our grandson Kyle, who was on his way home to South Dakota from a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.  We hadn’t seen him for nearly two years, and it was just wonderful to have this opportunity.

20046579_10158935688505456_3574894893715025521_n

After Kyle was on his way, we headed through the departure area to get the elevator to the first floor.

It was chock full of people, from all different nations, standing in lines that seemed miles long as they waited for check-in. Hundreds of people, and just in one terminal of that vast airport.

Image result for departure terminals at JFK

Pete was pushing the wheelchair I was using, and we both commented on how incredible it is to think how many people are in the air at any one time, flying all around the globe, crisscrossing each other’s flight paths, and, for the most part, landing safely and going on with their lives.

And then my mind took a different turn. I thought about all those thousands of people traveling around the globe, and what it will be like for them when Jesus calls all believers to Himself, and takes us home to heaven. We call it The Rapture, because the Greek word, harpazo, is translated in the Latin version to rapio, and it means to snatch away. 

I believe in the pre-Tribulation Rapture.  I know there are many who disagree, and that’s up to them.  I’m not writing this in order to start an argument.  I’m just picturing how it will be if, for instance, the pilots of some of those planes are believers, and suddenly they are gone!  People seated next to each other in close quarters are going to disappear. Planes will go spiraling out of control jf both the pilot and co-pilot are taken, leaving passengers screaming in terror. It will be a wonderful split-second of time for all who have trusted Jesus for forgiveness and salvation; it will be the beginning of terror and confusion for those who remain, wondering what happened, and dealing with the chaos that will ensue here on earth.

What should we be doing right now?  Easy.  We should be sharing Jesus Christ with all the people we can, every day that we can.

Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly!

 

As November Draws to a Close

I’m feeling a little nostalgic this morning. I guess that always happens at this time of year.

November has surely been an interesting month here in the States. A long and bitter election campaign finally ended on Nov. 8,  but the fall-out, I’m afraid, is going to continue for a very long time.  This whole ordeal has been hashed over and talked about ad nauseum, and I have nothing new to add that hasn’t already been said.  I do have some concern that the ugliness will affect the inauguration, and I’ll be glad when that’s over, too.

America is like a heaving ocean in a terrible storm.  Our police officers are in danger in a whole new way in this hate-engendered racial strife.  I pray often for their safety. Racial strife; class hatred, poor against rich; the rhetoric of socialism that has divided so many in our nation; fear of almost everything–all these factors are contributing to a breakdown in the fabric of our nation. I don’t know if it can be healed. As long as our colleges and universities are teaching our young people to hate America, there just doesn’t seem to be any good outcome.

I saw an article yesterday in which a black educator said, “We send our young people to universities, and they come back to us as babies.”  He’s right.  Who ever heard of such silliness as young adults needing a “cry room,” a safe place, a comfort dog, canceled tests, and so on just because they get their feelings hurt?   Because their candidate didn’t win? Because they’re being taught that their way is the only acceptable way, and everything else is to be feared and protested, and that it’s okay for them to destroy property and other people’s  safety because they’re unhappy?

Image result for american flag images

My dad was a WWII veteran.  I’m glad he’s not here today to see, only three generations later, how today’s young people have desecrated the freedom he pledged to fight and die for. I’m glad he’s not here to see an American university remove the American flag because it “represents terrorism.”  The flag itself is not sacred.  What it stands for, however, is sacred. America is not a perfect nation, because it is comprised of human beings.  It is, though, a place that has been a refuge since its inception for so many who were fleeing persecution in other places around the world.  It was the place to come where anything could happen, the poorest immigrant could rise to wealth and influence. It has also been the place people come to when they need medical help that is unavailable to them in their socialist systems.

Immigration has always been part of the American picture, and I’m not opposed to people coming here to improve their safety, their status, their health.  I am, however, opposed to people coming here with the openly stated purpose of taking over and changing us to their repressive, violent, and freedom-sucking way of life. They are not coming here to become Americans.  They are coming here to make us bow to them.  They are not hiding their purpose.  They are defiantly waving it right under our noses, and still we think we have to let them in.

Well.  This is not really the direction I was planning to take this morning, but there it is.

I love America.  I am proud to salute the American flag. I respect the policemen who have been colored with the black crayon of hatred.  I pray for them and their families. I love the freedom I have to worship God without fear, and I see the very real possibility of that freedom being destroyed.

It makes me sick, frankly, to see Thanksgiving and Christmas turned into nothing more than shopping opportunities. How much my country has changed, and how sad it makes me.  As God becomes less important and selfishness rules, we need to pray.  Christians, people of God, people who say the love the Word–we need to pray as we’ve never prayed before.  He is still God, no matter who says He isn’t.