Friday, October 31, 2008

Turtle Quote--James B. Conant

"Behold the turtle. He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out."
--James B. Conant (chemist, educational administrator and government official)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart"

Lord, Thee I love with all my heart;
I pray Thee, ne'er from me depart,
With tender mercy cheer me.
Earth has no pleasure I would share.
Yea, heav'n itself were void and bare
If Thou, Lord, wert not near me.
And should my heart for sorrow break,
My trust in Thee can nothing shake.
Thou art the portion I have sought;
Thy precious blood my soul has bought.
Lord Jesus Christ,
My God and Lord, my God and Lord
Forsake me not! I trust Thy Word.

Yea, Lord, 'twas Thy rich bounty gave
My body, soul, and all I have
In this poor life of labor.
Lord, grant that I in ev'ry place
May glorify Thy lavish grace
And help and serve my neighbor.
Let no false doctrine me beguile;
Let Satan not my soul defile.
Give strength and patience unto me
To bear my cross and follow Thee.
Lord Jesus Christ,
My God and Lord, my God and Lord,
In death Thy comfort still afford.

Lord, let at last Thine angels come,
To Abr'ham's bosom bear me home,
That I may die unfearing;
And in its narrow chamber keep
My body safe in peaceful sleep
Until Thy reappearing.
And then from death awaken me,
That these mine eyes with joy may see,
O Son of God, Thy glorious face,
My Savior and my fount of grace.
Lord Jesus Christ,
My prayer attend, my prayer attend,
And I will praise Thee without end.

Text: Martin Schalling, tr. Catherine Winkworth
Tune: Zwey Bucher...Tabulatur, Strassburg, 1577

The music of this hymn is so beautiful, and the words are so powerful. It's awesome to pray the words of this hymn. And the last verse, speaking of death, gives me goosebumps. Because of Christ, we can die unfearing and know we have so much to look forward to. Awesome!

Analyze This

This 1999 film is about a mobster, Paul Vitti, (Robert De Niro) who, after experiencing panic attacks, forces a psychiatrist, Ben Sobel, (Billy Crystal) to treat him. Their exchanges are hilarious--lots of sarcastic humor. Though Sobel resents being on call 24/7 while he is trying to treat other patients and spend time with his fiance, he does strive to help his unique patient.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nehemiah 9:5-33

5 And the LevitesJeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah—said: "Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. "

"Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. 6 You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.

7 "You are the LORD God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham. 8 You found his heart faithful to you, and you made a covenant with him to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites and Girgashites. You have kept your promise because you are righteous.

9 "You saw the suffering of our forefathers in Egypt; you heard their cry at the Red Sea. 10 You sent miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his officials and all the people of his land, for you knew how arrogantly the Egyptians treated them. You made a name for yourself, which remains to this day. 11 You divided the sea before them, so that they passed through it on dry ground, but you hurled their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters. 12 By day you led them with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire to give them light on the way they were to take.

13 "You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good. 14 You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses. 15 In their hunger you gave them bread from heaven and in their thirst you brought them water from the rock; you told them to go in and take possession of the land you had sworn with uplifted hand to give them.

16 "But they, our forefathers, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and did not obey your commands. 17 They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, 18 even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, 'This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,' or when they committed awful blasphemies.

19 "Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the desert. By day the pillar of cloud did not cease to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. 20 You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. 21 For forty years you sustained them in the desert; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.

22 "You gave them kingdoms and nations, allotting to them even the remotest frontiers. They took over the country of Sihon king of Heshbon and the country of Og king of Bashan. 23 You made their sons as numerous as the stars in the sky, and you brought them into the land that you told their fathers to enter and possess. 24 Their sons went in and took possession of the land. You subdued before them the Canaanites, who lived in the land; you handed the Canaanites over to them, along with their kings and the peoples of the land, to deal with them as they pleased. 25 They captured fortified cities and fertile land; they took possession of houses filled with all kinds of good things, wells already dug, vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees in abundance. They ate to the full and were well-nourished; they reveled in your great goodness.

26 "But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they put your law behind their backs. They killed your prophets, who had admonished them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies. 27 So you handed them over to their enemies, who oppressed them. But when they were oppressed they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies.

28 "But as soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight. Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that they ruled over them. And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven, and in your compassion you delivered them time after time.

29 "You warned them to return to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, by which a man will live if he obeys them. Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen. 30 For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you admonished them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you handed them over to the neighboring peoples. 31 But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.

32 "Now therefore, O our God, the great, mighty and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love, do not let all this hardship seem trifling in your eyes—the hardship that has come upon us, upon our kings and leaders, upon our priests and prophets, upon our fathers and all your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until today. 33 In all that has happened to us, you have been just; you have acted faithfully, while we did wrong.

There are some awesome themes in this passage. God does not abandon His people. Even though we are sinful and stubborn and turn away, God keeps His covenant, forgives, and is faithful to us. God is compassionate and loving. He cares for those Whom He has created and delivers them. Lots of comfort for us here!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"A Hymn to God the Father" by John Donne

Wilt Thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin, through which I run
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done;
For I have more.

Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sins their door?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallow'd in, a score?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done;
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by Thyself, that at my death Thy Son
Shall shine, as He shines now and heretofore:
And having done that, Thou hast done;
I fear no more.

This poem always deeply moves me when I read it. Donne speaks of our constant struggle with sin and our need for forgiveness. And then he speaks of the comfort of the Gospel--knowing Christ died for us, we truly need not fear. I love Donne's work.

Chocolate Temptations

This is a wine from the Willow Creek Winery in Silver Creek, New York. At first I wasn't sure how chocolate wine would taste. I mean, I love chocolate and I love wine, but I didn't know how chocolate wine would be. But I absolutely loved it and can't wait to have more of it. Great chocolaty taste!

Red Robin

Red Robin is known for their gourmet burgers. Yes, they are a little pricey, but they are so good! I like the variety they have. Some of my favorite burgers include the Santa Fe Burger which has poblano pepper, guacamole, sauteed onions, and crisp tortilla strips, the Banzai Burger which is marinated in teriyaki and topped with grilled pineapple, and the Bleu Ribbon Burger which has a tangy steak sauce and Bleu cheese crumbles and is served with onion straws. I keep wanting to try the 5 Alarm Burger. Good stuff!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nehemiah 8:10

(end of v. 10) "Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

Nehemiah has been speaking to the people and they wept when the law was read. But Nehemiah tells the people to not grieve and reminds them "the joy of the LORD is your strength." What awesome words! We are so weak and powerless, and are reminded of this all the time. And we are utterly incapable of keeping God's Law. But we rejoice that Christ kept the Law perfectly for us and took the punishment we deserved. We are filled with joy because of God's grace and forgiveness, and celebrate the victory we have in Christ, and the promise of God to continually strengthen us.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Man Who Knew Too Much

I like the 1956 version of this Hitchcock film, which stars Jimmy Stewart. This is a great suspense movie about a family vacationing in Morocco who stumble onto an assassination plot. This is up there as one of my favorite Hitchcock movies.

Steak n Shake

I dig the burgers at Steak n Shake, and the Frisco Melt is my favorite thing to order. I also really like the shakes. My favorite is when they offer the White Chocolate shake (usually in the winter). The Coffee Mocha and Dark Chocolate shakes are good too.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Sting

This 1973 movie starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman is a great caper film about two grifters who con a mob boss. It's a lot of fun to watch, and the cast is awesome. The film won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Directing, and Writing Original Screenplay.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article VII The Holy Supper (par 69-71)--Chemnitz, Selnecker, and Andreae

(Speaking regarding worthiness and the Lord's Supper)
"Some Christians have a weak faith and are shy, troubled, and heartily terrified because of the great number of their sins. They think that in their great impurity they are not worthy of this precious treasure and Christ's benefits. They feel their weakness of faith and lament it, and from their hearts desire that they may serve God with stronger, more joyful faith and pure obedience. These are the truly worthy guests for whom this highly venerable Sacrament has been especially instituted and appointed. For Christ says:
Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28).

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. (Matthew 9:12)

[God's] power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him...for God has welcomed him. (Romans 14:1-3)

Whoever believes in [the Son of God, be it with a strong or with a weak faith,] may have eternal life. (John 3:15)

Worthiness does not depend on the greatness or smallness, the weakness or strength of faith. Instead, it depends on Christ's merit, which the distressed father of little faith (Mark 9:24) enjoyed as well as Abraham, Paul, and others who have a joyful and strong faith."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Spiritual Blessings of Christian Friendship Quote--Martin Luther

"Throughout life a faithful friend is a very great blessing (bonum) and a precious treasure. This is true not only in view of the ordinary dangerous difficulties in which he can offer help and consolation but also in view of spiritual temptations.

For even though your heart is thoroughly confirmed by the Holy Spirit, there is nonetheless a great advantage to having a friend with whom you can talk about religion and from whom you may hear words of comfort."
--Martin Luther

I thank God for the faithful friends He has given me. They are indeed a great blessing!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Kansas City, Missouri

My friend Lisa and I took a trip to Kansas City in 2003. There was really quite a lot to do there. Kansas City is known for having a lot of fountains (over 200), so it was fun to see some of those. And of course while in Kansas City, one must go hear some jazz. We visited a couple jazz clubs including Jardines.

Shopping is big in Kansas City. The Plaza features 180 shops and restaurants. And the Westin Grown Center Hotel connects to a mall. How cool to walk inside from your hotel room right to a nice shopping area! The Hallmark Visitor's Center is a must see attraction where you can see Hallmark displays from past years and learn about how cards are made.

Other great attractions in KC include the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, The Zoo, Union Station and the Liberty Memorial which is the nation's only public museum specifically dedicated to the history of World War I. The Liberty Memorial has a 217 foot tower; great views of the city from the top.

As I said, there's really a lot to do in KC, and I definitely want to go back--especially in the winter when the plaza is all lit up.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

2 Chronicles 32:7-8

7 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. 8 With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles." And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.

These are the words King Hezekiah speaks to encourage his people when the king of Assyria is threatening Jerusalem. What a comfort for us too as we face our daily battles--there is a greater power with us! God helps; God fights our battles. We daily take comfort that Jesus won the battle against sin death, and the devil. By faith in Christ, that victory is ours, and we can face anything. That is our confidence!

Monday, October 13, 2008

"Down Under" Men at Work

What a great song! It was great in the 80s and it's still great now! I love it not just for the music, but because it is about Australia, a place I have always wanted to visit. The flute part in the song is really cool, and is actually based around the tune "Kookaburra."

A year ago or so I was in a coffee house and heard an acoustic version of "Down Under" which I really dug. Colin Hay, lead singer of Men at Work, had released an acoustic version of the song. I think I may like that even more than the original. But hey, they're both good; it all depends on if you're in the mood for upbeat or mellow.

Listen and/or purchase Men at Work version

Colin Hay versions (There are 2 on his album, but the acoustic version is better, in my opinion)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Popcorn Balls

What a delicious snack (and low in calories)! I love popcorn, and popcorn balls which have some kind of sugary component/glaze to them are really good. Act II sells popcorn balls before Halloween, so I always try to get some in the Fall each year. I've heard homemade are way better, so I'll have to make some sometime.

Antwone Fisher

This 2002 film is inspired by the true story of Antwone Fisher (he is credited as screenwriter) and is based on Fisher's autobiography Finding Fish. The film tells the story of how Fisher, while serving in the Navy, is sent to a psychiatrist after displaying a lot of anger and aggression. The naval psychiatrist helps Fisher to confront and make peace with his traumatic past.

I enjoy films that deal with counseling/psychology and appreciated how this movie explored how past events that are not dealt with can affect a person later on and how a counselor can build trust and help a person heal and move forward.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article VII The Holy Supper (par 44-47)--Chemnitz, Selnecker, and Andreae

"Consider this true, almighty Lord, our Creator and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, after the Last Supper. He is just beginning His bitter suffering and death for our sins. In those sad last moments, with great consideration and solemnity, He institutes this most venerable Sacrament. It was to be used until the end of the world with great reverence and obedience. It was to be an abiding memorial of His bitter suffering and death and all His benefits. It was a sealing of the New Testament, a consolation of all distressed hearts, and a firm bond of unity for Christians with Christ, their Head, and with one another. In ordaining and instituting the Holy Supper He spoke these words about the bread, which He blessed and gave: 'Take eat; this is My body, which is given for you,' and about the cup, or wine: 'This is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.'

We are certainly duty-bound not to interpret and explain these words in a different way. For these are the words of the eternal, true, and almighty Son of God, our Lord, Creator, and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. We cannot interpret them as allegorical, figurative, turns of phrases, in a way that seems agreeable to our reason. With simple faith and due obedience we receive the words as they read, in their proper and plain sense. We do not allow ourselves to be diverted from Christ's words by any objections or human contradictions spun from human reason, however appealing they may appear to reason.

When Abraham heard God's Word about offering his son (Genesis 22), he had reason enough to debate whether the words should be understood literally or with a tolerable or mild interpretation. They conflicted openly not only with all reason and with the divine and natural law, but also with the chief article of faith about the promised Seed, Christ, who was to be born of Isaac. Nevertheless, when the promise of the blessed Seed from Isaac was given to him, Abraham honored God's truthfulness. He confidently concluded and believed that what God promised He could also do, although it appeared impossible to his reason (Hebrews 11:17-19). So also about Isaac's sacrifice he understood and believed God's Word and command plainly and simply, as they read according to the letter. He committed the matter to God's almighty power and wisdom, which, he knew, has many more modes and ways to fulfill the promise of the Seed from Isaac that he could comprehend with his blind reason.

We, too, are simply to believe with all humility and obedience our Creator and Redeemer's plain, firm, clear, solemn words and command, without any doubt and dispute about how it agrees with our reason or is possible. For these words were spoken by that Lord who is infinite Wisdom and Truth itself. He can do and accomplish everything He promises."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Take 5

This is a pretzel, caramel, peanut, peanut butter filled, milk chocolate coated candy bar from Hershey (the "5" in the name refers to combination of the 5 above mentioned ingredients). I tried this recently for the first time, and I think it's become my new favorite candy bar. The sweet salty combo of chocolate and pretzels is always good. And with the caramel, peanut butter and peanuts--amazingly good!