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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Love and Mercy

I was sittin' in a crummy movie with my hands on my chin
Oh the violence that occurs seems like we never win

Love and mercy that's what you need tonight
So, love and mercy to you and your friends tonight

I was lyin' in my room and the news came on T.V.
A lotta people out there hurtin' and it really scares me

Love and mercy that's what you need tonight
So, love and mercy to you and your friends tonight

I was standin' in a bar and watchin' all the people there
Oh the lonliness in this world well it's just not fair
This song was playing in my head this morning.  I pasted you the words first because they are the most important part.  Now, if you like, listen to Brian Wilson sing it.


And I thought to myself, how right he is.  But without God, without Jesus in your life, it's not really love, and it's not really mercy.  Love is Jesus dying on a cross for people who ignore, revile, spit on Him, and even when they listen, they still manage to just heap more on Him.  I know I do it all the time.  Mercy is God doing for us what we do not deserve, what He doesn't have to, in order that we end up where we could never belong.  And I felt a tear.  I said to myself (I thought)  how do we get the world to understand this?  How do we tell them that violence wins nothing, that people hurting should scare us, that loneliness can be conquered without suicide or murder or rape?

And I heard a Voice tell me, "Why don't you tell them?"

Okay, I am.  Listen to the song.  Doesn't it tell you that blowing up buildings is waste, making men live in fear robs all of us of the preciousness of life, that we don't have to be alone?


Hey, we have our first guest at the seed bell!  I heard him singing, and peeked outside:

Now here's the funny story about this.  We bought not only the bell Saturday, but two new bags for Laurie's feeder.  I encouraged her to buy this stuff called nyjer because it was supposed to attract goldfinches like our friend there.  As you can see, he preferred the bell.  Go figure.


And I have a brief bit about the Aussie Hockey League.  First, your web site SUCKS!!!  A day and a half later, and all I know about Melbourne Ice v. Perth game two is that Melbourne won 9-3.  The other two Sunday games, them I got. In a game scoreless going into the third period, Sydney's Bears scored first, but Newcastle scored twice for a 2-1 win.  In the other, Alaska native Jack Woglemuth scored twice to build a 3-2 lead for Melbourne's Mustangs, but Sydney's Ice Bears storm back with a goal and three assists from Pennsylvania native Matt Puntereri to win 5-4.  So the one division has a tie at the top with six points between  Newcastle and the Ice Dogs, and the other one Melbourne Ice already have a six-point LEAD!

By the way, I have checked local newspapers, and both teams websites.  At least Perth's site has the score, but won't let me click on the results;  Melbourne hasn't got both of last week's games in yet.  Ah, hockey in it's primitive state.  A lot like trying to follow the Israeli league without having to learn Hebrew.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

More fun walking

NOTE: after the picture post, we'll have the usual update on the weekend's AIHL action, and shortly (if not before this) I'll have a new post on the caps blog.

Yesterday was an amazingly beautiful day.  And thank God we enjoyed it, because it rained all night!  The day, though was in the 70's (21 to 26 for you Celsius-ers out there).  And bright?

How's that?  So off we went, and Scrappy was in a mood to swim.

No, that's not swimming, that's puddling.

Really starting to green up now.

Just kinda fascinated by big rocks in the woods.
Scrappy wanted me to go faster here.  Not gonna happen.

This is a nice sandy patch a few yards from the bridge on Stony Run.

Away from the bridge.

Saw a chipmunk dash up here, thought I'd take a chance...

It seemed unusual at first to go past the Alumni pond and no ducks.  This guy was hiding.

Here we are at the river.

I was trying to catch his ear whipping up in the wind.
Turtles at the swamp- just a couple of small ones.

Lotsa little frogs around, but was only able to catch this one.  Guess he failed backstroke class.

And swim #3 in the feeder south of the wooden bridge- just across from Friday's "Goose-mageddon".
Teeny tiny place with a lot of rushing water.

First contestant for the "Odd fungi of 2013" contest.

Not happy with us as we made our way towards the duck pond.

This dude thinks that one corner is his alone.  Get over yourself!


So, later on, KC comes over, and in a break in the action makes a McDonalds' run.  While gone, I see this out back:

Yep, Mr. Bunny Rabbit.  Moments later, I was telling my returning son about it and he said, "Dad...

" there's two bunnies!"  Which became funny because about a half-hour later...

...there were three!  And yes, I did look a half hour after that, and we were back down to one.

And that brings us to Hockey weekend in Oz.  As I type this Sunday morning, just like last week the details on today's games are not up yet, but here's what happened Saturday:

The Melbourne Ice got a goal and three assists from Matt Armstrong in a 5-2 win over Perth.  All seven goals were scored in the last two periods- even though Perth out shot the Ice 31-16 in those two periods.  So I guess the blame has to rest with 22-y-o Aussie goalie Michael Smart, in his first shot in the Australian big leagues.

Meanwhile, Melbourne's Mustangs were also getting a W, topping Canberra 6-4.  A back and forth game saw the 'Stangs pull ahead on 2 second period scores by Pat O'Kane, a New Hampshire Yankee fresh from Assumption College in Worcester, Mass.

And the battle of Sydney round one went to the Ice Dogs, who topped the Bears 5-4.  Did someone say back and forth?  The Ice Dogs built a 3-0 lead just shy of the halfway mark, only to see the Bears rally for 4 goals in a 8:32 span of the second period!  However, the Dogs picked up 2 in the third to win the match.

Okay, off to do the cap post!  I will update the AIHL if I get scores before this posts.

Sunday message

This week we started in Jeremiah 51.  (Hey, waitaminute, Chris, don't you tell us where we're going first?)  Well, usually, but I had to get to the end to see it, so I gotta tell it this way.  Be patient!.  Anyway, this chapter is a prophesy of what is going to happen to Babylon in the end.  All of the storm God is going to bring down on this pagan empire is bound up in God's main accusation:

17 Everyone is dull-hearted, without knowledge;
Every metalsmith is put to shame by the carved image;
For his molded image is falsehood,
And there is no breath in them.
18 They are futile, a work of errors;
In the time of their punishment they shall perish.
19 The Portion of Jacob is not like them,
For He is the Maker of all things;
And Israel is the tribe of His inheritance.
The Lord of hosts is His name.

As a result of this dull-heartedness, caused by their pagan beliefs, the prayers of others for them are in vain:

Babylon has suddenly fallen and been destroyed.
Wail for her!
Take balm for her pain;
Perhaps she may be healed.
We would have healed Babylon,
But she is not healed.Forsake her, and let us go everyone to his own country;
For her judgment reaches to heaven and is lifted up to the skies.
10 The Lord has revealed our righteousness.

Now, before you think this is an expose on Babylon, let me show you the application.  Ingredient number one- a dull-hearted, pagan people.  But God loves everybody, right? And will save them from hell in the end right???  Ingredient #2, Jesus Christ is our Foundation (1 Cor. 3:11) and our Cornerstone (1 Peter 2), and the way into Heaven.  Ingredient #3:

25 “Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain,
Who destroys all the earth,” says the Lord.
“And I will stretch out My hand against you,
Roll you down from the rocks,
And make you a burnt mountain.
26 They shall not take from you a stone for a corner
Nor a stone for a foundation,But you shall be desolate forever,” says the Lord.

Thus we could call this lesson, "You cannot build a savior in Babylon".

Unfortunately, dull-heartedness extends beyond the realm of the directly pagan.  There are things beyond blatant wickedness that become walls- or idols if you will- dividing us from true salvation.  Before you think you are good enough, see if any of these apply to you.

Number one:  But we've always done it this way!  I've told more than once the story of how my Dad assumed I'd be a registered Democrat because "we always have been."  Guess what?  That doesn't make it right.  I'm sure my Mom might have the same objections over my non-denominational status after she raised me Catholic.  Yours might have the same over being a Lutheran, a Unitarian, an agnostic, what have you.  But look in at Luke 1, specifically the story of the naming of John the Baptist, for God's take on "passed-down" religion:

59 So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. 60 His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.”
61 But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” 62 So they made signs to his father—what he would have him called.
63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God.

Well-meaning people would have denied God's will (see v 13) in the name of tradition, but faithful Zacharias said, NO.  Following what has always been done will not get you there, if God's will is a new direction.

Number two:  You have to follow the rules!  Here we look at Ephesians 2, where Paul is trying to explain God's will to people who have been told they MUST be circumcised.  There was a reason for God's commandment in the days it was given, to separate to Himself a peculiar people.  But now, Christ was opening up what the Jews were supposed to and did not- to bring the non-Jews to faith.  He was not telling the Jews not to follow the law; he was telling them that it did not apply to the Gentiles.

14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

What Paul was trying to say is, faith is not a list of regulations.  It comes from the personal relationship with Christ, to be guided by the Holy Spirit.  So don't waste time building walls God didn't order.

Number three:  SHHH!! Not so loud!  Lots of people are comfortable having a faith that doesn't show.  Don't ask, don't tell. But the prophet Amos in chapters 7-8 lets us know how high that idea flies with God:

16 Now therefore, hear the word of the Lord:
You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel,
And do not spout against the house of Isaac.’

17 “Therefore thus says the Lord:
‘Your wife shall be a harlot in the city;
Your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword;
Your land shall be divided by survey line;
You shall die in a defiled land;
And Israel shall surely be led away captive
From his own land.’”
Doesn't sound like He was too happy with Israel's silent treatment, eh?  But you say, "Chris, he was talking to these specific people and not necessarily to us".   Hold, the phone, Madge, a call's coming in- God actually lays out who He's talking to in the next chapter:
Hear this, you who swallow up[a] the needy,
And make the poor of the land fail...
Now, you see, it's talking to those who don't want to upset the apple cart of prosperity, those who want financial and societal success rather than spiritual success.  In other words, this is to the "what would the neighbors/co-workers/boss think" crowd.  And it's more than that:  Note how they used the term "House of Isaac"?  Remember that Isaac was the one who lied about his wife Rebecca, not once but twice, to save his own tukus.  Sometimes silence about God is just talking away from the truth,

Number four: Why should I, if there's nothing in it for me?  This one takes us to Genesis 38, a passage that all of us (present and former) Catholics cringe over the the thought of that one black word: Onanism.  For you non-Catholics, this is the passage that you get directed to when you ask, "Is masturbation  a sin?" even though that's not what we're talking about here.  The story actually goes like this:  Judah, son of Jacob, the "Lion of Israel", has three sons.  The first he names Er (and no, he doesn't name the second one "Umm"), and marries her off to a girl named Tamar.  Well, Er is wicked in God's eyes and kills him off.  Thus, according to Hebrew tradition, it falls upon the second son, Onan, to raise children for his brother through Tamar.  Onan, though, says to himself, why should I have a kid with this chick when if she has a boy he shoots past me and MY kids to the front of the inheritance line?  No siree!"  And he "emits his seed onto the ground," making it look like he's doing his job but Tamar's just "barren".  Next thing you know, Onan receives the same fate as wicked Er.

Moral of the story, even if you're doing the job on the outside, it is the Lord "who sees in secret" who's watching you. 

Number five:  They're going to blame YOU for this...  In Ezra 5-6, the returned exiles have been trying to build a Temple (as well as the city walls), but those who oppose them accuse them to the Persian King Artaxerxes.  They give him half the story, so he orders the Jews to stand down.  And they did.  But this is where we go back to that first chapter of Hosea we hit not long ago, because he's one of the two prophets who got on the case of the Jewish leadership.  "Consider your ways!"  Hosea said, and when they did, they asked themselves, who would we rather be accused by- man or God?  So they resumed building, and when the next King, Darius, was told the tale, "The Eye of God was upon the elders of the Jews" (Ezra 6:5), and Darius looked up Cyrus' original decree that allowed them to build the Temple, and thus the accusations failed to stop them.  Get the point here?  If you don't let accusations bother you, the Lord will bless your work for Him.  If not, you're out there alone.  With no God.  No protection.  And a lot of enemies.

So, now, do you have an idol making you dull-hearted?  Remember what we learned here:

DON'T do it just because we've always done it that way;
DON'T  do it because someone says you have to;
DON'T be silent!
DON'T look for "what's in it for you";
and DON'T listen to your accusers.

But most of all, DON'T think you can build a savior in Babylon.  You cannot live a sinful life and expect reward!  Or as Jeremiah said:

Flee from the midst of Babylon,
And every one save his life!
Do not be cut off in her iniquity,
For this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance;
He shall recompense her.
Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand,
That made all the earth drunk.
The nations drank her wine;
Therefore the nations are deranged.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Friday walk

Much to Bobby G's disappointment, I have not taken a picture of last night's full moon.  However, I did take some pics today...

As you can see, the first big news was that they've finally begun turning the former meadow into actual soccer fields...., you see Scrappy's reaction.  Actually, I was hoping for him to wait...

...until he got right here.   The lower field, not surprisingly, is still going SQUISH underfoot (even Scrappy's feet), so I'm kinda thinking that IPFW might require a "please use Tide" waiver of mothers of kids who might play on these fields.   ANNNNyway, here's some of the fun we had in the forest green.

So good to see the flowers again. 

As soon as we hit the back road, we saw Mr. Ground Hog up ahead.  He went into cover, stuck his head out to see where we were, back and forth about five times...

...before finally heading out onto the road.  At this point, the pursuit was on...

...Scrappy joyously following as fast as his Daddy could run (IOW, no varmint was harmed in this production), settling for a thorough exam of the den entrances.

Mr. Butterfly...

Pretty tree...

Ravine is pretty wet...and here are some nice shots of the east end...

As we were coming up on the feeder trail, these two geese started blaring.  We thought at first it was in our honor...

..but it was actually two pairs, and pair number two didn't like one of pair number one.  (Yeah, you try to keep up with four charging screaming, flapping geese!)

Later on, the one was getting along fine with the other two...

...once they had chased the other one clear over the fence.  I wonder what he did to not only piss the others off, but earn the indifference of his mate?