Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The needy

And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. —Acts 4:33b-34a TNIV

<idle musing>
Perhaps that is why we have needy persons among us? We might not like the implications, but that seems to be what the text is saying...Lord, pour out your grace upon us so that there might be no needy persons among us!
<idle musing>

Monday, July 30, 2012

and then you die

"Did you ever expect to be saved from sin in this world? No; but you expect to be saved at death. Inasmuch as He has been quite unsuccessful in His efforts to sanctify your soul during your life, you think He will send death on in season to help the work through! Can you believe this? While Christians disown the glorious doctrine of sanctification by faith in Christ, present, and according to each man's faith so done to him, it cannot be expected that they will teach sinners with intelligible clearness how to look to Christ in simple faith for pardon. Knowing so little of the power of faith in their own experience, how can they teach others effectively, or even truthfully? Thus blind leading blind, it is no wonder that both are found together where the Bible proverb represents both the leaders and the led as terminating their mutual relations."—Charles Finney

<idle musing>
I have seen this over and over again. Sin 'til you die and then everything will be fine. After all, Jesus died so I don't have to die to myself—what's that you say? Scripture says we're supposed to die to self? Oh, that's just hyperbole. What? Be holy as I am holy? That's just a figure of speech.


Remember, we are hidden with Christ in God. We are seated with Christ in the heavenlies. We are partakers of the divine nature. But, it is all the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. It is not our righteousness or strength or deeds or...But, it is real and now! Praise God! That is the gospel: deliverance from sin—sin itself, not just the penalty. </idle musing>

Friday, July 27, 2012

Four weeks today

Hard to believe, but it has been four weeks already since we moved here. I think we are getting our heads together and moved in. Most of my books are still in boxes, but just about everything else has a home.

The days are falling into a bit of a rhythm. In the morning, I work via wireless for Eisenbrauns for about an hour or two. Then I clean cabins and do other miscellaneous stuff around Sawtooth Cabins. Then, I usually have to head over to Joel and Renee's to do some more Eisenbrauns work. The wireless I have access to at the cabin's slows down horrendously from about 10-5 each day—although this week, I was able to use it through out most days. My "office" there is a lawn chair outside their walk-out basement. Such a hard life I lead!

After that, I usually go over to the garden area. I am putting in three 16 x 3 beds. Because the area is slightly sloped, I terraced two the of the beds into eight foot each. I used 2x12 inch pine, untreated. Tomorrow, Joel and I will get a pick-up load of aged horse manure for them. Then we plant.

Joel and Renee already had six 4 x 4 boxes. The plan is to put up two hoop houses this fall: one over the two terraced 16 foot beds and one over the other 16 foot bed and 3 of the 4x4 squares. The middle three 4x4 squares are perfect for the cold frames that I brought from Indiana. So, I will end up with 2.5 times the area under cover that I had in Indiana. But, I also have a month shorter growing season and 6 more mouths I'm aiming to feed...I'm hoping to get carrots, peas, beans, and possibly cucumbers yet this year. It will be tight with the cukes, but it might happen. We'll also grow broccoli, sprouting broccoli, and broccoli raab in the broccoli family. There will be Romaine lettuce, Space spinach, and various other greens as well.

I'll try to get some pictures of the beds before we put manure in them—and after...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Today's challenge

"The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another.  Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor, and do not plot evil in your hearts against one another. (Zechariah 7:9, 10 HCSB)

<idle musing>
Impossible! Watch out for yourself! That's the only way to survive! But, is that really survival? I don't think so. I would rather be ripped off for loving someone than be hard and "survive."

The Christian is called to give, to die to self, to be like Christ—after all, that's what "Christian" means in Greek. I fail to see how one can embrace the current societal system and claim to be Christian. Society certainly doesn't endorse any of the values expounded in the above passage; society says watch out for number one. The Christian has a different number one, though...
</idle musing>

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Sinners must look to Christ as a remedy for all sin. To wish to make some exception, sparing some sins, but consenting to abandon others, indicates rank rebellion of heart, and can never impose on the All-seeing One. There cannot be honesty in the heart which proposes to itself to seek deliverance from sin only in part."—Charles Finney

<idle musing>
Amen! Good preaching! Too often we tend to categorize sins as very bad, not so bad, kinda bad, etc. In God's eyes, all sin is rank rebellion and must be abandoned. No wonder we don't see deliverance from sin! We don't want it!
</idle musing>

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Good thought--well maybe not good--from Habakkuk

Won't all of these take up a taunt against him,
with mockery and riddles about him?
They will say:
Woe to him who amasses what is not his-
how much longer?-
and loads himself with goods taken in pledge.
 Won't your creditors suddenly arise,
and those who disturb you wake up?
Then you will become spoil for them.
 Since you have plundered many nations,
all the peoples who remain will plunder you-
because of human bloodshed
and violence against lands, cities,
and all who live in them.
 Woe to him who dishonestly makes
wealth for his house
to place his nest on high,
to escape from the reach of disaster!
 You have planned shame for your house
by wiping out many peoples
and sinning against your own self.
 For the stones will cry out from the wall,
and the rafters will answer them
from the woodwork.
 Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed
and founds a town with injustice!
 Is it not from the Lord of Hosts
that the peoples labor [only] to fuel the fire
and countries exhaust themselves for nothing?
 For the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of the Lord's glory,
as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:6-14 HCSB)

<idle musing>
Not good, but true.

I'm not sure I'm liking the HCSB translation, but it definitely is different from the TNIV and NIV that I'm used to...
</idle musing>

Monday, July 23, 2012

Thought for a Monday afternoon

Woe to those who dream up wickedness
and prepare evil [plans] on their beds!
At morning light they accomplishe it
because the power is in their hands.
 They covet fields and seize them;
they also take houses.
They deprive a man of his home,
a person of his inheritance.
 Therefore, the Lord says:
I am now planning a disaster
against this nation;
you cannot free your necks from it.
Then you will not walk so proudly
because it will be an evil time. (Micah 2:1-3 HCSB)

Toe jam

No, really.

I jammed my big toe about 2 weeks ago and the toe nail started to fall off. Normally, I wouldn't blog about such inane things, but the response of the grand kids was fascinating. The adults didn't want to see it or hear about it. But, the grand kids, especially Rachel, wanted to see it. Each day, she would ask if it had fallen off yet. Once it did, she wanted to know what I did with it (I threw it away).

The new nail is growing in nicely. At first, they wanted to see it, but now it is no longer of interest...there must be a lesson there somewhere

Thursday, July 19, 2012

You get what you expect

"Several times within the last few years, when persons have come to me with the question, Can I anyhow be saved from my sins--actually saved, so as not to fall again into the same sins, and under the same temptations? I have said--Have you ever tried looking to Jesus? O yes. But have you expected that you should be actually saved from sin by looking to Jesus, and be filled with faith, love, and holiness? No; I did not expect that."—Charles Finney

<idle musing>
A very common response, if people would be honest with themselves...We pretend to believe, but out actions betray unbelief, don't they?
</idle musing>

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thought for the day

Woe to you who long for the Day of the Lord!
What will the Day of the Lord be for you?
It will be darkness and not light.
 It will be like a man who flees from a lion
only to have a bear confront him.
He goes home and rests his hand against the wall
only to have a snake bite him.
 Won't the Day of the Lord
be darkness rather than light,
even gloom without any brightness in it?
 I hate, I despise your feasts!
I can't stand the stench
of your solemn assemblies. (Amos 5:18-21 HCSB)

First ride

On Sunday, I took my first ride here in Grand Marais. It was only a short one—about an hour—but it was definitely a hilly one. After nine years is Indiana with its relatively short hills, it was a nice change. I've always liked hills, probably because I grew up in northwestern Wisconsin along a river.

I rode along Highway 7, which goes up for about 3-4 miles, fairly gradually, then goes down to the lake for about 3 miles in a fairly steep grade. Once you get to the end, you either ride back on Highway 61—quite busy on a Sunday. Or, you turn around and go back up. I chose to go back up :)

They guy in the bike shop told me that he thinks the climb on 7 is harder than riding up the Gunflint. I'm not sure I agree, but maybe this week I'll ride both of them and decide. The Gunflint Trail goes over the ridge right behind Grand Marais in a series of switchbacks. I'm not sure how high it climbs, but I think it is about 1000 feet in a few miles. The view of the lake is beautiful as you climb.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tense and time

"I have organized my analysis in terms of the central unifying and distinguishing feature of TAM [tense, aspect, and mood] systems: time. All three domains of TAM that are associated with verbal expression in world’s languages relate language to time and time to language. However, their precise relationship to time distinguishes among the domains: tense  has to do with the location of situations in time; the various types of aspect treat the structure of situations in time; finally, mood refers to alternative situations in relationship to time."—John Cook in Time and the Biblical Hebrew Verb (forthcoming from Eisenbrauns)

<idle musing>
There is a hot debate right now about time and tense in both Hebrew and Koiné Greek. Usually the definitions are not as nice and clear as John's. I'm having a good time reading the manuscript and can't wait for the book to be published. I don't know when it will hit the streets, probably late this year.
</idle musing>

Monday, July 16, 2012

Thought for today

The word of the Lord came to me:  "Son of man, say to her: You are a land that has not been cleansed, that has not received rain in the day of indignation.  The conspiracy of her prophets within her is like a roaring lion tearing [its] prey: they devour people, seize wealth and valuables, and multiply the widows within her.  Her priests do violence to My instruction and profane My holy things. They make no distinction between the holy and the common, and they do not explain the difference between the clean and the unclean. They disregard My Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.

 "Her officials within her are like wolves tearing [their] prey, shedding blood, and destroying lives in order to make profit dishonestly.  Her prophets plaster with whitewash for them by seeing false visions and lying divinations, and they say, 'This is what the Lord God says,' when the Lord has not spoken.  The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy and unlawfully exploited the foreign resident. (Ezekiel 22:23-29 HCSB)

<idle musing>
Sounds like what's happening in the U.S. today...
</idle musing>

Friday, July 13, 2012

Yes, I'm still alive

Yes, I'm still alive. It has been a busy two weeks. We're adjusting and learning and balancing things. Before we moved here, I was concerned I wouldn't have enough to do. We estimated the cabins would only take about 25-30 hours a week spread out over 7 days. That left a lot of hours in my mind—especially when you consider no transit time and no lunch period.

I shared that concern with a few people. As you can imagine, knowing me, they laughed. Well, they were right! I've got too many good things to do. And, I enjoy all of them. I'm learning to listen to God on what the do and when. A good lesson.

Hopefully I'll be able to write more this weekend : )

Sunday, July 08, 2012


This is the final post on our first week in Minnesota. As with all of these, it is one week behind reality...

Sunday was a slow-moving day. We spent a good part of the day with Joel, Renee and the kids. We rearranged some stuff in storage, organized and found room for other stuff. We were moving slow, but enjoying it.

We got over to the cabins late afternoon, intending to move in right away. We saw Dave as we pulled up and began talking. He pulled up a chair and we had a good time of fellowship. Again, if I'm learning anything, it is that people trump plans.

I hadn't checked e-mail since Wednesday, so in the afternoon, I checked it for the first time. Wow! Friday around 3:00 PM, a terrific storm had gone through Warsaw/Winona Lake. There were winds over 60 MPH. One of the casualties was a tree right in front of where we had been living. It hit the neighbor's shed, knocked out the power, and blocked our old driveway. Good thing we were gone! It didn't get cleared out until Sunday afternoon. We'd still be there!

Another victim of the storm was Andy's, Eisenbrauns webmaster, house. One of the huge trees on the island where they live had fallen—right on their master bedroom! No one was hurt, thankfully! Quite the storm. But, it was all wind and little rain. That part of Indiana is about 9 inches short for the year—quite dry. The storm only dropped about ¼ of an inch.

And that brings us up to date...

Saturday, July 07, 2012


You know the drill...

Saturday AM, I helped Joel put up gutter on their house. He works as a carpenter; they also do seamless gutters. When Joel and Renee bought the house, his boss had offered to let him use the machine to put gutter on. Saturday was the day it finally happened. Later, we moved the stuff over to the cabin.

Moving in always takes more time than you expect—especially when there are grandchildren to play with! We got going later than we planned, but people take precedence over plans.

We had to have the truck back in Two Harbors (1.5 hours away) by 9:00 AM on Sunday. That meant we had to return it Saturday night, That was a long 1.5 hours. The truck was empty, so I felt every bump and pothole. I felt like jello by the time we got to Two Harbors...

Friday, July 06, 2012


The events in this post happened one week ago...

As I said, I pulled in to Grand Marais around 10:00 AM. Debbie and the grandkids greeted me. We had a good time talking and enjoying each others presence. In the afternoon we walked over to Sawtooth Cabins to see Dave and Geneva. They greeted us with open arms, showed us the cabin we would be living in and told us to take our time getting settled in. We went back to Joel and Renee's and began to unpack the truck. Because the cabin is a small one bedroom that is fully furnished, most stuff was going to be stored in their basement.

So, as we unloaded the truck; we had to sort into 3 sections: One section for storage, one section for Joel and Renee (we gave them some stuff we didn't need any longer—families with growing kids always need more shelves!), one to take over to the cabins.

Once that was done, we had to organize the storage and make it all fit! You don't realize how much stuff you have until you have to move it and store it! We got rid of a lot before we moved, but we still have a lot! It all fit, and is accessible, if necessary. But, Joel and Renee don't have much space left in that ¼ of their basement!

By the time we got all that done, it was too late to take the stuff over to the cabin. Instead, we went over to the cabin with some little stuff and did some analysis...

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Travel day

Again, the events in this post were one week ago...

We were intending to leave on Thursday at 8:00 AM EDT. Leaving then allows you to get to Chicago just after rush hour and before lunch. As Dan at work says, if you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans! We still had to clean and take care of all the last minute stuff. And, more neighbors came by to say good-bye. Hands down, people are more important than plans. No exceptions. So, we praised the Lord for the additional time with people and for the changes in plans.

Last minute details always take far longer than you expect... We finally left around 3:00 PM. Just in time to hit Chicago traffic :( We debated leaving on Friday morning instead, but felt that God was telling us to leave on Thursday.

The trip to Grand Marais is about 13 hours in a car—much longer in a truck! We planned to travel separately; Debbie had the I-Pass so she could fly through the tollway. I paid at each booth. It's much easier to travel separately. We both had cell phones, so we could call each other if necessary.

We agreed that if we got too tired, we would stop and sleep. I made it to just north of Eau Claire before giving out around midnight. So, I pulled off and slept for about an hour. Debbie called me from Superior and warned about the detours from the storms there a week earlier. She was planning to keep going.

I couldn't get back to sleep, so I drove for another hour, slept for a bit, drove a bit more, slept some more. Debbie got to Grand Marais OK, just as Joel was getting up for work. He told her it was OK to go in and kiss the kids. Only Rachel woke up, but went right back to sleep. Later that morning, Rachel woke up and told Renee that she had dreamed that Neenah (that's what they call Debbie) had kissed her! When Renee told her it wasn't a dream, she was thrilled!

Meanwhile, I was driving...It was beautiful watching the sun come up over the trees. I love northern Wisconsin; every valley has a lake—sometimes its more swamp than lake! But it is fun to drive. I got to Duluth-Superior just in time for “rush hour” which just meant there were more cars than normal :)

Joel had warned us that there was a detour on 61 because of the storms, so I just took the scenic route from the start. I stopped a few times along the way at pullouts; had breakfast from the cooler at one of them. I wasn't fully believing that it was happening. I finally pulled in to Grand Marais around 10:00 AM.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


As I said yesterday, the things in this post happened exactly one week ago...

Wednesday, we loaded the truck. On Tuesday, I had gotten an e-mail notice from U-Haul that I was to pick up the truck at a different location than I had requested. My plan had been to ride my bike to the place and pick it up. It was only about a 3-4 mile ride. But the new place was about 10 miles away. Now, I love a bike ride, but this wasn't quite what I needed before loading a truck. I spent probably ½ hour on Tuesday working things out—trying to get it transferred to the closer place. In the end, the further place agreed to come and pick me up.

Marti was listening to my frustrations with U-Haul and reminded me that we had trouble with U-Haul coming down to Indiana. I had reserved a truck for Saturday; had a crew of helpers lined up; everything was set. Except that U-Haul had rented out all their trucks. No where in the entire Minneapolis-St. Paul area had a truck. I couldn't get a truck until Monday morning—and then I had to drive to Stillwater to get it! Stillwater is on the northeast side of the Metro area; we lived on the southwest side. And, I was supposed to start at Eisenbrauns on that Monday!

She said it would be poetic justice if we had to stay an extra few days in Indiana because of U-Haul to make up for the few days we lost moving there. It didn't work out that way, though. I got picked up and collected the truck without a problem. Jim Eisenbraun had offered to assist me in loading the truck, so we had a good time together loading and talking.

Later in the afternoon, Jim and Shannon came over. They brought a meal to share and we had some bittersweet fellowship together. Jim and I finished putting the odds and ends on the truck.

While Jim and Shannon were there, Kathleen, one of our neighbors, came over; she and Debbie had a good time of fellowship. Later, after Jim and Shannon left, we went over to Kathleen's house and had some more time. It was getting late, and we still had to clean the place, so we left. As we were starting to clean, another neighbor (who doesn't know the Lord) came out. She and Debbie talked for a long time about Jesus. It was an answer to prayer. They are new to the neighborhood and we had been praying for a chance to share Jesus with them.

By then, it was too late to clean, so we went to bed...

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Last day

The last week has been a blur. I finally had a chance yesterday to put down in writing what has been happening; the next few days the posts will be exactly one week after the events in them occurred...

Last Tuesday was my last day on premises working for Eisenbrauns. It was a day of mixed emotions. I am sad to be leaving Warsaw/Winona Lake after nearly nine years. But, I am excited about what God is going to do in Grand Marais, MN. The day was a flurry of last minute things that needed to get done—or at least handed over to someone else to do.

At noon, we had a lunch in the park as a company. Debbie was invited and Merna (Jim's wife—a delightful person!) was there, as well. Bev sat down beside me and said that this was not a happy day, but a sad one. I had to agree that it was sad, but it was happy as well. I have enjoyed working with all the people at Eisenbrauns over the years; they are a great bunch of people. It's more than a work place; it's almost family. People carry each other's burdens and are concerned for each other.

After lunch, it was more rush and try to get stuff done. But, lest you think it was all about stuff, it was a time of saying good-bye to people on a one-on-one basis. Some of us did a better job than others of holding in the tears. I wasn't afraid to shed tears; they are healthy.

The sadness was somewhat mitigated by the fact that I will continue to work for Eisenbrauns on a part-time, remote access basis for at least a while. My primary responsibilities will be e-mail marketing and distribution relations. But, with a new system going live today and a new web site sometime soon, there are other responsibilities as well. We're feeling our way along on how this will work.