About 50 minutes after Christmas ended, Baby Annabel was born. She belongs to my sister Sarah and her husband Marcel, and joins their little boy who's 4.
I wanted to post a picture, but the only one available to me is very tiny, an avatar photo from Facebook. Well, Annabel's cute anyway. Mother and daughter are doing well and their family is settling into their new, happy life.
I was pleased a few months ago to discover John MacArthur's sermons online HERE. He's got some great stuff! I was just listening to a series on "The Basics of Christianity" and decided to blog about what he says in this series in context with goals in the new year.
Here's the question: what is your life goal?
a) to glorify God b) to glorify self
And really, every goal we pursue falls under one of these two categories.
If you do, in fact, belong to God, you should deeply desire to glorify Him and not yourself. So, what does this look like?
1. The first thing is that we must confess Jesus as Lord. His is the name that is above all other names, that all those in heaven and on the earth and under the earth will kneel to. (Philipians 2:9-11) Those who pursue God, but do not recognize Christ as God/man and resurrected redeemer, do not, in fact, glorify Him.
2. recognize that we are saved for HIS glory, and not primarily for our own blessing in avoiding hell. (1 John 2:12)
3. aim all in our life to God's glory -- even the most mundane and menial things. Just ask yourself before each action: will this glorify God, or me? It's a good habit to develop.
And then, you can test yourself to see if you do, in fact, prefer Him:
1. are you looking for His benefit or yours?
2. are you content to do His will no matter what it costs (dreams/ambitions), or do you want what you want?
3. do you hate to be exposed to things that offend Him? (eg swearing with His name, bad actions in movies, etc.)
4. do you rejoice when others succeed? are you content to be outdone by others as long as God is glorified?
5. do you confess sin?
6. do you trust God even when you don't understand what's going on?
7. have you produced fruit in your attitudes and actions?
8. do you praise Him for His attributes and His past actions? You may wish to keep a notebook for your requests and responses.
9. do you pursue peace? (for example, if someone cuts you off in traffic...)
10. are you obedient to His will even if you know it may hurt your own plans?
Meet the wiliest of all coyotes: Hit by a car at 75mph, embedded in the fender,road for 600 miles - and SURVIVED!
When a brother and sister struck a coyote at 75mph they assumed they had killed the animal and drove on. They didn't realize this was the toughest creature ever to survive a hit-and-run. Eight hours, two fuel stops, and 600 miles later they found the wild animal embedded in their front fender - and very much alive.
Daniel and Tevyn East were driving at night along Interstate 80 near the Nevada-Utah border when they noticed a pack of coyotes near the roadside on October 12. When one of the animals ran in front of the car, the impact sounded fatal so the siblings thought there no point in stopping. 'Right off the bat, we knew it was bad,' Daniel explained. 'We thought the story was over.'
After the incident around 1am, they continued their 600 mile drive to North San Juan - even stopping for fuel at least twice. But it was only when they finally reached their destination at 9am did they take time to examine what damage they may have sustained.
At first it looked as though it was going to be quite gruesome. 'Daniel saw fur and the body inside the grill,' Tevyn East said. 'I was trying to keep some distance. Our assumption was it was part of the coyote - it didn't register it was the whole animal.'
Daniel East got a broom to try and pry the remains out of the bumper and got the shock of his life. 'It flinched,' Tevyn East said. 'It was a huge surprise - he got a little freaked out.'
'We knew it was bad': Tevyn East, who was in the car when it hit the coyote, bends down to take a look at the fur poking through the fender.
Fur Pete's sake: What Mr. East spotted as he bent down to inspect the damage to his car - the body of the coyote poking out through the radiator.
Wily coyote: The animal's head can be seen as rescuers took apart the front fender to save it after it was struck by the car at 75mph.
Miracle escape: As the animal struggled, wildlife protection officials put a loop around its neck to prevent it from further injuring itself.
The front of the car is completely taken apart as the coyote begins to wriggle free and voila! Tricky the toughest coyote ever rests in a cage after its ordeal - which it survived with just some scrapes to its paw .
I am reading through Thessalonians now, and as I opened the Word this morning I came across this verse in 2 Thessalonians 3:2: "And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith." Dear Friends, I have been so troubled watching as one measure after another comes against our country. I do not call the "leaders" evil, but certainly their policies are designed to hurt our country -- to lower our defenses, to reallocate our resources, to steal freedom in the latest ploy, "Universal Health Care," whose idea sounds so good but whose execution is horrific.
Evil should not stand, ever. This country is the manfestation of many peoples' dream, and has stood as a shining beacon of freedom and hope to many peoples for many generations. I believe the USA is a gift the Lord has given to the world. Since it is in the world it will not stand forever, but there is no reason that if the Lord wills He cannot prolong it a little longer. There is so much good here, and to just allow what we have to slip away is, I believe, a sin.
People have tried letters and phone calls and emails and visits to the Capital to walk the halls. People have attended "Tea Parties" to protest the workings of our representative leaders, who turn a deaf ear to what the people want.
Proverbs 21:1 says "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord. He directs it like a stream of water anywhere he pleases." Paul writes, "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." (1 Cor 1:27)
Dear Friends, let us be foolish and weak and use prayer as our weapon.
Too many downer blogs lately, so it's time for something that will bring you a smile :-) This is a truly coolio animation by Alan Becker sent to me by my boy. The interaction with the computer operating system in the cartoon is brilliant!
I admit it -- When I have time to read them, I find the newspaper's obituaries section a keen source of interest and imagination. The short encapsulations of someone's life can be poignant, and I often wonder about what isn't said -- what the person thought about the places he had lived, or what he was most proud of, or what he would say if he could make one final statement to his dearest ones. What happens to those he leaves behind? Often the cause of death is not listed, and especially for someone young, I have questions. If donations in lieu of flowers are requested for the American Cancer Society, for example, I can make a shrewd guess. Still, I wonder what the person thought, and how he coped with such a scary diagnosis. If an accidental death, I wonder what the person might have done differently if told that the grim reaper had an appointment with him on a highway next Tuesday...
Last week I scanned the obituaries at my parents' house. At the bottom of the page were two memorial statements: two men who had died on that date in a different year (one 35 years old in 1979, one 56 years old in 1984). The difference in the statements struck me.
The first one, for the 35 year old man, was from a woman who talked to him like a friend: "I miss you, but am looking forward to seeing you soon..." She talked about how she'd found Christ from his example, and how she smiled to think of him in Jesus' presence, and wondered if he sang his goofy songs to the Lord. It was so hopeful, and made me smile.
The second one, for the 56 year old man, was restrained. "We miss you so much. We visit your grave, but there is nothing left of you..."
I wondered about how these two men might have seemed if I'd met them. The first one sounded as if he'd been on fire for the Lord, quoting verses and doing silly magic tricks for kids, whose purpose was to point to God. The second man had a restrained family. He might have been restrained too, working hard, quietly living his life, quietly dying and being buried in a respectable plot at the corner cemetery. Maybe the family had put a cross on the gravestone, maybe not. The family even now quietly despaired his loss.
What are you living for? And when Death comes for you, when it is your time, how will you respond?
These Pearl Harbor photos were found in an old Brownie stored in a foot locker, and just recently taken to be developed. They were taken by a sailor who was on the USS Quapaw ATF-110.
On Sunday, December 7th, 1941 the Japanese launched a surprise attack against the U.S. Forces stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. By planning his attack on a Sunday, the Japanese commander, Admiral Nagumo, hoped to catch the entire fleet in port, but as luck would have it, the Aircraft Carriers and one of the Battleships were not there. The USS Enterprise was returning from Wake Island, where it had just delivered some aircraft. The USS Lexington was ferrying aircraft to Midway, and the USS Saratoga and USS Colorado were undergoing repairs in the United States.
In spite of the latest intelligence reports about the missing aircraft carriers (his most important targets), Admiral Nagumo decided to continue the attack with his force of six carriers and 423 aircraft.. At a range of 230 miles north of Oahu , he launched the first wave of a two-wave attack. Beginning at 0600 hours his first wave consisted of 183 fighters and torpedo bombers which struck at the fleet in Pearl Harbor and the airfields in Hickam, Kaneohe and Ewa. The second strike, launched at 0715 hours, consisted of 167 aircraft, which again struck at the same targets.
At 0753 hours the first wave consisting of 40 Nakajima B5N2 'Kate' torpedo bombers, 51 Aichi D3A1 'Val' dive bombers, 50 high altitude bombers and 43 Zeros struck airfields and Pearl Harbor. Within the next hour, the second wave arrived and continued the attack.
When it was over, the U.S. Losses were:
Casualties US Army: 218 KIA, 364 WIA. US Navy: 2,008 KIA, 710 WIA. US MarineCorp: 109 KIA, 69 WIA. Civilians: 68 KIA, 35 WIA.
Battleships USS Arizona (BB-39) - total loss when a bomb hit her magazine. USS Oklahoma (BB-37) - Total loss when she capsized and sunk in the harbor. USS California (BB-4 4) - Sunk at her berth. Later raised and repaired. USS West Virginia (BB-48) - Sunk at her berth. Later raised and repaired. USS Nevada - (BB-36) Beached to prevent sinking. Later repaired. USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) - Light damage. USS Maryland (BB-46) - Light damage. USS Tennessee (BB-43) Light damage. USS Utah (AG-16) - (former battleship used as a target) - Sunk. ------------------------------------- Cruisers USS New Orleans (CA-32) - Light Damage.. USS San Francisco (CA-38) - Light Damage. USS Detroit (CL-8) - Light Damage. USS Raleigh (CL-7) - Heavily damaged but repaired. USS Helena (CL-50) - Light Damage. USS Honolulu (CL-48) - Light Damage.. ------------------------------------- Destroyers USS Downes (DD-375) - Destroyed. Parts salvaged. USS Cassin - (DD -3 7 2) Destroyed. Parts salvaged. USS Shaw (DD-373) - Very heavy damage. USS Helm (DD-388) - Light Damage. --------------------------------- Minelayer USS Ogala (CM-4) - Sunk but later raised and repaired.. ------------------------------------------ Seaplane Tender USS Curtiss (AV-4) - Severely damaged but later repaired. -------------------------------------------- Repair Ship USS Vestal (AR-4) - Severely damaged but later repaired. -------------------------------------- Harbor Tug USS Sotoyomo (YT-9) - Sunk but later raised and repaired. ------------------------------------------ Aircraft 188 Aircraft destroyed (92 USN and 92 U.S. Army Air Corps.)
Thinking about this past year, I’ve decided that while I didn’t hit everything I ambitiously wanted to do, I did quite a bit. The biggest thing, of course, was that Lever was released on January 12th. I spent a good six months doing almost full-time marketing with it, and still invest one day a week more or less to this. I also redid my story development for Nest Among the Stars, the prequel for Lever. While it’s a great story, it doesn’t grab me as it did last year, and I’ve decided to put it on hold for awhile, maybe start with the sequel or another idea I’ve been kicking around for awhile. I also have done a huge amount with developing Story Template, and am looking into different venues for getting that out. I presented at a writer’s conference this summer on story structure, and have other lectures lined up for the new year. So, not too bad eh?
With less than a month before the new year, it seems like a propitious time to organize a plan of action for goal-setting. By doing it now, before the Christmas rush, you have time to draw up any progress charts you may want to keep, and maybe even start with a plan of action so you’re up and running on January 1st. I always like to use four categories to come up with my goals for the new year: body, mind, spirit, and interacting with others (includes relationships, business, and other). I’ve already spent about two hours free-writing what I want to accomplish this next year, and hope you take the time to do so also! Once I have my goals, I break them down to get an idea of a timeline to work for each month, and so on and so forth. It’s hard to reach all of these goals, but certainly helpful for a guideline.