Taken from Luke 14 1-14
How do your Thanksgivings go? No, I’m not asking about who makes what. I’m not asking about who must decorate. I’m not even asking who gets to control the remote for watching football or some parade in New York. No, rather I want to know where you sit. Where do you get to lounge as you pile on the potatoes, gravy, turkey, and pumpkin pie. Do you have the kids table at your get together? At many homes through the U.S., there is not enough room for everyone to sit at the formal table. Then the jockeying occurs for where to sit. The youngest kids usually have the least priority. Your priority grows with age in comparison to others. Many kids await the call up from the kid’s table. They want to be put with the people who have influence and power. The problem is that when they are brought up to the adult table, they start from the bottom again. They are no longer the top dog of the kid’s table. No, they are the small fish in the large pond. It will take many years and many scars in life before they are sitting at the head of the head table. When we come through the ranks of the table at Thanksgiving, we do not choose our position. We know it. We do not sit at the head of the table when we are three. That is not our place. We have not been given that.
In our Gospel today, we see God tackling not just our Thanksgiving meal hierarchy, but rather a hierarchy that is in all of humanity. This hierarchy is one that humanity has come to embrace and hold fast to. It is a hierarchy of self-choosing and self-glorifying.
We begin with part 1- read 1-6. Here we find the Pharisees trying to trip up Jesus. They are engrossed in the law, but this law was over and above what was given by God. They were engrossed in making themselves look good over their neighbor. They were creating a spot for themselves that was not for them to take. They were like the 3 year olds climbing into grandpa’s chair for Thanksgiving. This was not given, nor was it to be overlooked. The Pharisees here were bound by their own laws on what they could and could not do on the Sabbath. They did not want to break the law of working on the Sabbath that they created more laws so they would not approach breaking the law of working on the Sabbath. The problem here is they made laws that were never made by God, and they made laws that then they could judge others with. They were not trying to curb their own sinfulness, but more rather to create a stumbling block for their brothers. Jesus saw into their hearts. He saw into why they were creating these laws. They were not doing it to help others. This is why he asked “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” They were too afraid to answer because they knew that Christ was brilliant. They remained silent. So he answered the question. “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” Silence again. The law of God was not written to stifle love for God or the neighbor. It was put there so that God could be worshipped in purity and the neighbor could be loved as much as one loves him or herself.
We then move to part 2 of our Gospel, where we see Christ at a wedding. We had a wedding last night in Sidney. In front we had all the movers and shakers. They were told where to sit, and they knew that they were given places of honor. How strange would it have been if a stranger off the street would have decided to go up to the bride and groom, Mikki and Shaun, and sit right between them and start eating. There would have been many confused and probably angry looks. This is the situation that we find in Luke. A guest comes to a wedding and decides himself that he should take a place of honor. Well along comes someone more distinguished and the person who seated himself is booted out of his chair and told, “Give your place to this person.” Here we see self-glorification at work again. The guest decided that he would give himself the promotion. In our Gospel, we see Christ showing the people that while you can choose to sit a certain seat in life, it does not mean that was what was given to you. Humility in what is given is key here. The host is the one that gives the seat.
So what does this say about how we are today? In our vocations in life, we are given great opportunities to serve the Lord and our neighbor in what we do. It is the Lord who gives us the time, talent, and love to give to others what he wants dispensed to them. The problem comes in when we tell the Lord what to do, or glorify ourselves in what we are doing. There can only be one mother of our Lord. There can only be one John the Baptist. There can only be one Martin Luther. It is when we strive to glorify ourselves by doing what has not been given for us, then we find ourselves being kicked out of our seat at the wedding feast. It is when we decide that we must find glory, money, and fame for what we do in either the business world, in school, or the home, then we find that we have not done the will of God in our life. In our service to others through what we do as a job, citizen, student, relative, and church member, it is not about what we receive. We cannot twist the glory of doing for others to make it about ourselves. Jesus says this in Luke about serving, “For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
We rather live in the glory of what is given to us. In the first part of our Gospel, our Savior healed a man who had dropsy. Dropsy is a disease that would retain large amounts of water all over the body. It was quite disgusting to see. Christ saw the need for healing, and decided He did not need to glorify Himself like the Pharisees. He did not need to make up laws to look down on others, but rather gave this man a new life.
This man was unclean according to the Jews. Jesus not only healed him physically, but allowed Him to be in a right relationship with God. This is what He does for you. He humbles Himself. He sits at the kid’s table. He sits in the back of the room at the wedding. He humbled Himself so much that He became a man. He was born in a part of the world that people would even declare, “Nothing good comes from there.” He was born not to kings, but to peasants. He took upon the roll of a servant so that you could be elevated. . Jesus says this in Luke about serving, “For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. He therefore took your disfigurement. He took your uncleanliness. He took on your sin. He took it all upon Himself through His humiliation. In His humiliation, He was exalting you. Therefore, His humiliation is His exultation. He has taken you by the hand and given you the seat of honor. He gives you that seat because He has purchased that seat for a steep price. That price was His life. He leads you by the hand. He is the host. He says, “Friend, move up higher.” You may not be moved up higher in this life. You may think of yourself as one at the kid’s table in this life. But that is not what Christ speaks of here. It does not matter your occupation. It does not matter your education. It does not matter how much money you have. There is story of some seminarians a while ago that were arguing about the stages of glory in heaven. A professor overheard this and told them that he would be content with just a little corner of heaven. We only need a little corner of heaven, but in reality we see that humble Christ give us all we need in this life and gives us the keys to the kingdom in the next.
You have received double of what you need at the wedding feast. This wedding feast occurs here at out altar next week, as we receive the body and blood of Christ. You all are equal partakers in that meal. You do not come up here in accordance with stature or rank. You stand by your neighbor, and are given the same body and the same blood. The same wine and the same bread. I even say the same thing to each one of you. When you are here, the forgiveness is granted to the repentant sinner, no matter what the infraction. Christ gives to you his true body and blood. He gives this because he humbled himself to be a servant.
So then what do you do as one who has been washed in the blood? What do you do when you have been told by the host to sit in the place of honor at the wedding feast? You live in Christ as you humble yourself to serve others in whatever vocations in life you have been given. The humility given to you in Christ sees and understands that we all work for the neighbor. We have been given talents not by our own doing, so we give these talents to others freely, since they do not belong to us. We strive to go up whatever ladder so that we can aid others. We don’t go up to knock others down. We help, serve, and protect in all that we do. Why? It is because Christ works through us to do His will for His people. It is because Christ works through us so that others may see the work of Christ done in among their midst.
We therefore live in what Christ did and continues to do for us. It is in the forgiveness of sins that we revel. We are no longer unclean. We are no longer cast out of the temple of Christ. We rather have a seat at the wedding banquet in heaven that will never end. Amen.
Friday July 2, 2010
Jo-Ann and I left Sheridan Wyoming to start our vacation. We drove down I-90 E to Buffalo, WY and over the Bighorn Mountains via RT-16 towards Lander, WY.
Our first stop was the Sleeping Bear RV Park in Lander, WY. Sleeping Bear RV Park was an “OK” park. They had a very small camp store with enough supply's to keep you going if need be. Their bathrooms weren't to bad and were kept pretty clean, however the showers were very small and it felt like I was showering inside a phone booth. They did have a Handicapped bathroom with a bigger shower and I was able to use it the second night we were there. ( I am handicapped , but there were a lot of folks who weren't and they were using the handicapped bathroom. ). They didn't seem to have enough bathrooms and showers for the amount of campsites they had and the bathrooms were always busy. The owners of the campground were very friendly and helpful and all and all we enjoyed our stay.
While in Lander,WY we moseyed around town, there were a few nice shops but not a lot to do in the town of Lander. ( It was a very nice little town and seemed to be kept clean ) One of the things we enjoyed most in Lander, WY was the Pioneer Museum in down town Lander, WY. It was a real nice museum featuring all sorts of cool things from the old pioneer days. On the right side of the Pioneer Museum was another type of museum. It was a town made up of all historic buildings that were moved to the site and restored. I was amazed at how little the pioneer settlers had and how they lived in these very small buildings, it made me realize how needy ( or Greedy ) we've become with our big homes and all the junk we collect but never really have a need for. This little pioneer museum town was my favorite site we visited in Lander, WY.
While staying in Lander, WY we took a ride 16 miles down the road to the Wind River Reservation to visit Sacajawea's grave site. I was really blown away at how different the Native American Indians cemeteries are from our own. The grass was un-kept as was the whole cemetery. But everywhere you looked were beautiful flowers and art effects placed on loved ones graves. It was a sight to behold. While I was in the Sacajawea cemetery a very strange thing happened to me. The sun was high in the sky and it was very hot out. But all of a sudden the wind kicked up and I felt cold, my arms had goose bumps and I felt a bit nauseous and light headed for a moment. I showed the goose bumps to my wife Jo-Ann and told her how I was feeling. On the way out of the cemetery I walked over to the entrance to take a picture of the cemetery entrance sign that said Sacajawea Cemetery and it happened again, I got cold and goose bumps and felt a little light headed. Again I showed the goose bumps to my wife. Later on that night I couldn't get that cemetery out of my mind all night, very strange indeed !!!
Sunday July 4th, 2010
Jo-Ann and I left Lander, WY and drove the Sinks Canyon Loop Road headed to Atlantic City, WY. Sinks Canyon is “Breath-Takenly” BEAUTIFUL !!! About a 1/3 of the ride was paved road ( just a guess ?? ) and then turned to a nice gravel road all the way out to RT-28 . We loved all the rugged beautiful scenery Sinks Canyon had to offer and would like to re-visit the area someday. ( Perhaps on our Goldwing ?? )
Sunday ( July 4th ) afternoon we arrived in Atlantic City, WY. Atlantic City,WY is an old Gold Mining town with a lot of the original building from the 1800's still standing but most are in poor shape. There isn't much to do in Atlantic City but it was a very cool place to visit. While in Atlantic City we drove about 5 miles up a dirt road to South pass City, WY which is another old Gold Mining Town. ( Ghost Town ) South Pass City is a lot different though. It has most of the original buildings still standing and they have all been restored to original condition. Going to South Pass City, WY was like literally stepping back in time to the era of the gold rush days of the 1800's. Every building was pain-stakenly restored to original with all original furnishings inside the buildings. It was quite the sight to see, we really enjoyed South Pass City !!!
Our original plans were to stay at Atlantic City Campground ( a BLM campground with no hook ups, but they did have vault toilets ) for 3 nights. However we ended up seeing everything we wanted to see in Atlantic City and South Pass city in the afternoon of July 4th and morning of July 5th, so Jo-Ann and I decided to hit the road on the afternoon of July 5th.
Monday July 5th, 2010
Jo-Ann had looked at the Wyoming map and decided that we would go check out Flaming Gorge so we headed down 191 south in that direction. We drove through Rock Springs, WY on the way there and got a little lost, the signs in Rock Springs were terrible. Rock Springs WY wasn't very pleasing to the eye, it looked like a dirty industrial town and didn't look very inviting, so we didn't stop there.
We kept driving down 191 south until we got to Flaming Gorge ( which is a beautiful ride once you get past Rock Springs, WY. The Gorge itself is amazing !!! Beautiful multi colored canyon walls were everywhere to be seen. While in Flaming Gorge we drove down a side road that said “ Firehole”. The road took us all the way down to the bottom of Flaming Gorge to the water. At the bottom we found another BLM ( Bureau of Land Management ) campground. This one was nicer than the one in Atlantic City and had water spickets on the side of the road so we were able to fill the fresh water tank in our camper. It also had bathrooms with a shower. The bathrooms were “OK” but had no lights at night because some “Low Life” threw a bear bottle at the solar panels that light the bathrooms. We stayed in Firehole the night of July 5th and although it was a nice campsite with wonderful views, it was “REAL” windy that night and kept us awake for quite some time.
Tuesday July 6th
We drove out of Firehole and continued our journey around Flaming Gorge ( there is a loop road that goes all the way around Flaming Gorge ) which took us through the upper western corner of Utah.
Driving around Flaming Gorge was stunning, the scenery there is just awesome !!! We even came across a bunch of Mountain Goats walking across the road and also seen a couple Badgers running along side of the road. It was a wonderful ride and one I'll never forget.
We arrived at Boulder,WY in the afternoon of July 6th. We arrived at the Highline Trail RV Park a day earlier than expected so they gave us a dry camp for one night ( for $12 ) until the next day when the camp site we reserved would be empty for us to move into.
The Highline Trail RV Park is another “just OK” campground. Their showers and bathrooms are kept clean and the campgrounds are also kept pretty clean. However there is no camp store on the campgrounds and they have washers and dryers but do not offer a vending machine to buy laundry soap and a change machine so you can get change for the coin operated washers and dryers. My computer says there is Wi-Fi here ( it says Highline 1 and Highline 2 and there is also another connection that sayd “Good reception ) and has a strong signal but the owners of the campground will not give you a password and code to log on to the internet. They told me there is a guy here who does offer internet service but charges for that service. ( I should mention that the Sleeping Bear RV Park in Lander, WY gave us their password and code for free Wi-FI at their campground. )
Today is Wednesday July 7th and we will be spending the next couple nights at the Highline Trail RV park, we have full hookups here and we came here to go to Pinedale,WY to see the Mountain Man Museum ( which we did today and it was AWESOME !!!! ) and the Green River Rendezvous which starts tomorrow July 8th.
Thursday July 8, 2010
My wife and I went into Pinedale, WY for the Green River Rendezvous. The Pinedale Mountain man Museum is a very nice and informative mountain man museum with displays like the original rifle Jim Bridger carried while trapping beaver in the mountains, the tools and trades of the mountain man as well as Native American exhibits. However, the Pinedale Mountain Man Museum in Pinedale Wyoming “Does Not” allow you to take camera's or pictures in the museum, why I don't know?? My wife & I have been to some real nice museums that were far nicer than the Pinedale Mountain Man Museum like the Buffalo Bill Cody museum in Cody Wy, the Lander Pioneer museum, the Big Piney museum in Big Piney, WY and others all who let us take pictures to bring the memories home of what we seen in the museum. I thought it was pretty un-fair for this museum not to allow pictures.
The Green River Rendezvous was nice and I enjoyed to different trade goods on display for sale, but it's not something I would like to re-visit. I expected more of an open field with men dressed in mountain man period clothing playing mountain man games and competing with one another at knife throwing contest, axe throwing contest and other things mountain men did. I guess in a few days there will be a couple demonstrations but we'll be long gone by then. Mostly it was men dressed in period clothing selling mountain man period crafts and trade goods at steep prices, not really my cup of tea.
Later on in the day we took the road that the mountain man museum is on all the way to the top witch took us all the way up a mountain past picture perfect views of crisp clear lakes and at the top was an absolute beautiful view of the Wind River Mountain Range with it's jaggered snow packed peaks, the views were very breath taking !!!
We had stopped at the Patio Grill in Pinedale for lunch and it wasn't worth the stop. There were arguments between a former employee and the owner of the patio Grill. The former employee said she quit because of all the sexual comments made towards her and the bad management. She was arguing with the owners for her tip jar and credit card tips as well as her pay and said if she didn't get it soon she would go to the IRS. The service there was bad. It took me a good 45 minutes to get a hamburger and fries and when they finally did serve it to me they walked away without asking if I needed salt or ketchup. They served another elderly guy ( who was driving a truck camper by the way ) soup and didn't give him a spoon. Best bet is to stay clear of The Patio Grill in Pinedale, just go next door to the Rock Rabbit and you'll get great service and a great meal at an affordable price.
Now we are back at the Highline Trail RV Park and we just finished our supper and I'm relaxing while typing this and listening to the local NPR radio station on my hand crank emergency radio. Have a good night. Blessings to all.
Friday July 9, 2010
We got up early and drove back into Pindale to have breakfast at the Rock Rabbit. Their coffee is real good and they have GREAT breakfast to.
Then we went back to the Pinedale Mountain Man Museum to see some of the mountain man demonstrations they were putting on. After that we took some more side roads and seen some more of the Wind River Range along with so beautiful scenery !!
We headed back to camp about 4:00 pm for the night and just “Tried” to relax at the camp ground. I say “Tried” because the last 2 nights we stayed there we had “Bad” campers next to us. Highline Trail RV sold “One” site to two families of which both had quite a few kids. As soon as they pulled in they let their dog loose and it ran through everyone camp sit crapping here and there, the owners of the dog did not pick up their dogs waste so it was left there for some other un-expecting campers to step in. The Highline Trail RV park has a leash up your dog rule and also ask their guest to make sure they pick up their dogs waste, but I guess these people think the rules are for some one else and that they are special. The manager of the HLT RV Park told this family personally to leash up and clean up after their pet, but it fell on deaf ears as the very next moring their dog was running loose agin and you guessed it..crapping to. That waste was again not picked up.
The 2 families next to us also turned all their kids loose outside before 7:00 am in the morning to make a racket while the rest of the campers were trying to relax and sleep in. Bottom line is they just had no respect for the other campers who were around them. We had their kids riding bikes and running through our camp site for 2 days, we were glad to finally leave there Saturday morning and head for home!!
Saturday July 10, 2010
We got up early ( 6:00 am or so ) and packed in for the ride home. I made sure to be very quiet as not to wake other campers around us. ( despite the disrespect we got from the people next to us for 2 days and nights ). On the way home we ran into some snow on top of the Bighorn Mountains on RT 16. and coming through in Thermopolis, WY they were chip sealing the road and a vehicle kicked up at stone and it cracked our windshield, now we need to get it replaced.
Now we're back home and relaxing. All and all it was a wonderful trip and we seen a lot of nice scenery, met some very interesting people, walked through some great museums and had fun in our truck & little Six Pac Truck Camper.
See ya on the road.
JT & Jo-Ann Tardif
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Are you a Sunday Christian, returning to your normal ways on Monday, or do you live your faith every day of the week? How many times have we heard this question? Let’s try this question in another context. Are you a Christian Motorcyclist only when you ride with your chapter, or are you a Christian motorcyclist whenever you ride?
The biking community as well as the community at large holds us as members of the Christian Motorcycle Association to a higher standard. They expect us to live our lives as an example to others both off and on our rides, in order that we may ‘earn’ the right to speak and to minister to those around us. Not only what we do and say off our bikes reflects upon us, but how they see us on the open road speaks volumes about how we live our lives as well.
If we fail to obey the laws that govern the highways and roads of our land, what does this say about the Christian Motorcycle Association and ourselves as a whole? There are times when it is hard not to ‘twist the grip’ and turn it loose, or how many of us have come to a long empty stretch of road with a couple of friends and the next thing you know it turns into a race. We have all been in this position, and it is hard to resist the temptation. But it is just that, a temptation to sin, and sin is sin no matter how large or small it may be. We should glorify God in all we do, both on and off of our bikes. A good example of this is in 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1, here Paul tells the church at Corinth, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
In Romans 13: 1-4, Paul tells us “1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” If we fail to keep the laws governing our land, when we are riding, how can we be expected to keep the civil law in any portion of our lives? If people see us breaking the laws that govern our roads, how are we able to effectively witness to those around us who have never heard the word of Christ? What of those young Christians, or those who have never heard the sweet saving word, what do they think when they see us break the laws of the road, what does this tell them? The laws of the road were placed there not only for our safety but for the safety of the general public and all civil authority was put in place by God. We should live our lives on the road as we do off the road in order to be effective witnesses for our Risen Lord.
Our Savior and Lord tells us in Luke 6:42: “42How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.”
In order to be effective witnesses, we need to remove the planks from our lives so that we may be proper ambassadors and witnesses for our risen Lord to our brothers and sisters both on and off the road. Let us try to live God pleasing lives with the aid of the Holy Spirit, so he can work through us to reach those who have never heard the blessed word of His saving grace. Lets us be effective tools both on and off the road for the Glory of God. A good verse to remember is Colossians 3:17 here Paul is telling us. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Remember the whole world is watching us.
So why do we ride? Do we ride for our glory? Or do we ride for the Glory of the One who made the ultimate sacrifice for us? We can also apply this same principle to every aspect of our lives, in all that we do. In Colossians 3: 23-24 we read, “3Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
When we pray for God’s protection both off and on the road and in our daily vocations yet purposely put ourselves in a position that we could do harm to ourselves or those around us, we pray a presumptuous prayer. James 4:17 tells us “17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.” , and in the process could cause others to sin as well.
So as we travel through society let us try to be proper ambassadors of Christ, as Paul did, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Keep the rubber side down,
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.
God has given us a free will and the ability to choose our path. It has always been our choice if we want to go to heaven or hell. Just saying we believe is not enough, just acknowledging that God exists is not enough. We have to make a choice to put our faith in Jesus and make Him Lord of our lives, and have a relationship with Him. He wont’ force us to do so, He gives us a choice and it’s up to us what we do with it. It will, however, be the most important choice we can make. It affects us and those around us.
There are other choices in life that go along with being a Christian and follower of Christ.
When life’s troubles hit us, we can choose to be resentful and bitter and have a pity party or we can turn to Jesus and ask Him what the purpose of this trial is.
David, the man after God’s own heart made a lot of choices that were very destructive, but the Lord delivered Him once David made the choice to turn back to Him. In his own words:
“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word” Psalm 119:67
“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn your statutes” Psalm 119:71
The enemy places traps all along the path of our Christian walk such as jealousy, anger, fear, pride…..We have to recognize them and choose to not give in to them. We should choose to walk by the Spirit so we will not carry out the desires of the flesh (Galations 5:16). There is no Christian walk apart from the Holy Spirit. Again we have the choice to live in our own strength or to surrender to God and let the Holy Spirit guide us. This is not just a one time choice. Every time we are faced with a decision we have to make the choice to submit it to God.
Make the choice today to change your way of thinking. Reject ungodly thoughts. When faced with life’s tragedies we can choose to feel sorry for ourselves or to keep pressing forward with the help from our Lord. Choose to take your eyes off yourself and your problems and put them on Jesus.
As we prepare to venture into a new riding season, the call of the open road and the freedom it offers is hard to resist. Paul tells us of another freedom we have. In Galatians 5:13 he tells us, “You my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in sinful nature, rather serve one another in love.” This freedom we have was bought at a price, a great price. We must now ask ourselves what we are free from. In Romans 3:23 we read, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and we read further in Romans 3:24, “and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” We are now free from the worry if we are doing enough in the eyes of the law to warrant forgiveness. In Ephesians 2: 8-9 “ For it is by grace we have been saved, through faith, and this not from ourselves, it is a gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast,” what we are free from, is condemnation and we are now free to love as we were crafted to love. Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared for us to do.”
We are free to serve “one another in love” , this is the freedom Paul speaks of. This raises some important questions, Why are we here, are we living for ourselves or are we living for others? 1 John 4:7, “Dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” We are called to serve each other, the whole of mankind, to serve all in love. We serve our brothers and sisters, without any thought or desire for ourselves; we serve not only those who know our Risen Lord, but also those who do not know our Savior, Christ the Lord. Galatians 5:13, “ We are here to serve one another in love.” We serve in the hope that the Holy Spirit uses us and will work through us to bring these lost souls to a knowledge of our Risen Lord.
In Galatians 5:13 there is a warning, “Do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature”. This sinful nature is the old Adam, the part of us that reveled in behaviors that are counter to the life we are supposed to live in Christ. We know that we are forgiven children, that Christ made satisfaction for our debts. Romans 6:1 “What shall we say, shall we go on sinning that grace may increase?” The world watches us and our actions, and there will be times that we will stumble and slip, and the world will gladly point out to us that we are hypocrites. Our concern is not of our shortcomings, our major concern is and should be helping all Christians to serve and love., to provide guidance with the help of scripture. Many have not been taught the full use of the law. Surely the law shows us our sin, Romans 3:19-20 “Now we know that whatever the law says it says to those under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law, rather through the law we become conscious of sin.” There is another use of the law, it is a curb, mirror and guide. A curb to assist us in our actions with all mankind and society, a mirror to show us our own sins, and it is also a guide for us Christians to show our love for God and our fellow man with no strings attached. No stings attached meaning that we are not saved by the law. We are now free to love and serve because it our response to the fact that we are already saved.
How thankful are we? In what ways can we show it? How can our chapter show it? Can our chapter be of one accord that we love and serve because we have already been loved and served with God’s brand of love through Christ Jesus and His Cross? There will be many opportunities in the upcoming year for us to show the love and grace God has given us; will we stand to the challenge?
We do love and serve because we are already saved, we are saved because of what Christ did for us, not what we do. Galatians 2:20-21 is a strong confessional of our faith, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing”.
So as we go forth this year in our travels and when we experience the ‘freedom’ of the open road, let it be a reminder to us of the freedom bought for us by the One who took upon himself our sins and the sins of the whole world, and show those who we meet on the open road what true freedom is.
#1003 Whosoever Christian Motorcycle Association
Cherish the Child. April and it's now National Child Abuse Awareness month. RIP Julia. You have never left my mind or my heart. The Fruit Loops are safe in my drawer.
BACA candle light vigil. I prayed hard. My feelings are still raw. One got loose.
A half cup of coffee. This will be some kind of week and I know it. By lunch I have explained for 3 hours why weapons, alcohol, and abandonment are not okay. I feel tapped already. White socks came to mind. I smiled when I found the fruit loops in my desk drawer. Thank you my buddy. By 8pm I am done talking with a kiddo about how tomorrow looks and what this means for her. We make plans to talk again this week. She consoles me over pizza and tells me that it is okay if things don't work out for her in Court. She says that she knows this to be true because God will take care of it for both of us.
How sad that I am my only witness. Seems like something this important should have taken so much longer that just the morning. I just don't get it. I don't want to.
I can't even put this day into words. But I remember that I was told God will take care of it for both of us. That girl has some faith doesn't she?
CMA Chapter meeting. Thank you Curtis. Your words caught my attention and meant a lot to me.
Tammi-I think we need to gather everyone's cell phone numbers so we can text them all with Margi's cell number during the next meeting.
Court again. And again. And again. I guess its a bigger deal than they thought. Three more kids to explain where dad went. Ouch.
Evening brings news that they found the loose one. Sigh of relief. Thats worth another candle.
I am drinking coffee-- I look at the fruit loops in my drawer. Still in the baggy. Its a good day.
Relax and stop throwing rocks. You know who you are. By today I am thinking of the teacher on the Charlie Brown cartoons-- Wah Wah Wah Wah... Yes Ma'am.
White socks--Clean white socks are awesome. I have a few pair in my desk drawer. Little people really like them. Had a child at my desk once. He was banged up and wearing only a dirty diaper. Washed his feet in the sink and put lotion and the socks on his little feet. Nothing else mattered for just a minute. Faith is like white socks.
Friday afternoon: Pizza and a long talk with a wonderful young lady about how things didn't work out. She sure taught me a thing or two this week about socks and fruit loops.
December 8 - 6:00 PM
It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I took
our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes
drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses Print. So romantic
we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow!
We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of
the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a more lovely place in
the whole world? Moving here was the best idea I've ever had! Shovelled for
the first time in years and felt like a boy again. I did both our driveway
and the sidewalks. This afternoon the snowplough came along and covered up
the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a
The sun has melted all our lovely snow... Such a disappointment! My
neighbour tells me not to worry- we'll definitely have a white Christmas.
No snow on Christmas would be awful! Bob says we'll have so much snow by
the end of winter, that I'll never want to see snow again. I don't think
that's possible. Bob is such a nice man, I'm glad he's our neighbour.
Snow, lovely snow! 8 inches last night. The temperature dropped to -20.
The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I
warmed up by shovelling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The
snowplough came back this afternoon and buried everything again.. I didn't
realize I would have to do quite this much shovelling, but I'll certainly
get back in shape this way. I wish I wouldn't huff and puff so.
20 inches forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4x4 Blazer. Bought snow tires
for the wife's car and 2 extra shovels. Stocked the freezer. The wife
wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that's silly.
We aren't in Alaska , after all.
Ice storm this morning. Fell on the ice in the driveway putting
down salt. Hurt like heck. The wife laughed for an hour, which I think was
Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere. Electricity
was off for 5 hours. I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm. Nothing to
do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should've
bought a wood stove, but won't admit it to her. I hate it when she's
right. I can't believe I'm freezing to death in my own living room.
Electricity's back on, but had another 14 inches of the stuff last
night. More shovelling! Took all day. The damn snowplough came by twice.
Tried to find a neighbour kid to shovel, but they said they're too busy
playing hockey. I think they're lying. Called the only hardware store
around to see about buying a snow blower and they're out. Might have
another shipment in March. I think they're lying. Bob says I have to
shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he's lying.
Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more inches of the white
shit fell today, and it's so cold, it probably won't melt till August. Took
me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I had to
pee. By the time I got undressed, peed and dressed again, I was too
tired to shovel. Tried to hire Bob who has a plough on his truck for the
rest of the winter, but he says he's too busy. I think he is
Only 2 inches of snow today. And it warmed up to 0. The wife wanted me to
decorate the front of the house this morning. What is she, nuts?!! Why
didn't she tell me to do that a month ago? She says she did but I think
6 inches - Snow packed so hard by snowplough, I broke the shovel. Thought I
was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the guy who drives
that snow plough, I'll drag him through the snow. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shovelling and then he comes down the street at a 100 miles
an hour and throws snow all over where I've just been! Tonight the wife
wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was
too busy watching for the snowplough.
Merry Christmas! 20 more inches of the slop tonight - Snowed
in. The idea of shovelling makes my blood boil.. I hate the snow!
Then the snowplough driver came by asking for a donation and I almost hit him over
the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. If I have to watch "It's A Wonderful Life" one more time, I'm going to irritate her again.
Still snowed in. Why the heck did I ever move here? It was all HER idea.
She's really getting on my nerves.
Temperature dropped to -30 and the pipes froze; plumber came after 14 hours
of waiting for him, he only charged me $1,400 to replace all my pipes.
Warmed up to above -20. Still snowed in. She is driving me crazy!!!
10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in.
That's the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I am?
Roof caved in. I beat up the snow plough driver, and now he is suing me for
a million dollars, not only the beating I gave him, but also for trying to
hurt him with the broken snow shovel. The wife went home to her mother.
Nine more inches predicted.
I set fire to what's left of the house. No more shovelling.
Feel so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me.
Why am I tied to the bed?
HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate expensive parts not far from the object we are trying to hit.
MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes containing seats and motorcycle jackets.
ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning steel Pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age, but it also works great for drilling mounting holes in fenders just above the brake line that goes to the rear wheel.
PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads.
HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.
VISE-GRIPS: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.
OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable
objects in your garage on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside a brake
drum you're trying to get the bearing race out of.
WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or 1/2 socket you've been searching for the last 15 minutes.
DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal
bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, splattering it against that freshly painted part you were drying.
WIRE WHEEL: Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar calluses in about the time it takes you to say, "Ouch...."
HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering a motorcycle to the ground after you have installed your new front disk brake setup, trapping the jack handle firmly under the front fender.
EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2X4: Used for levering a motorcycle upward off a hydraulic jack.
TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters.
PHONE: Tool for calling your neighbor to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack.
SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog-doo off your boot.
E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool that snaps off in bolt holes and is ten times harder than any known drill bit.
TIMING LIGHT: A stroboscopic instrument for illuminating grease buildup.
TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST: A handy tool for testing the tensile strength of ground straps and brake lines you may have forgotten to disconnect.
CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 16-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large motor mount prying tool that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end without the handle.
BATTERY ELECTROLYTE TESTER: A handy tool for transferring sulfuric acid from a car battery to the inside of your toolbox after determining that your battery is dead as a doornail, just as you thought.
AVIATION METAL SNIPS: See hacksaw.
TROUBLE LIGHT: The mechanic's own tanning booth. Sometimes called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin," which is not otherwise found under motorcycles at night. Health benefits aside, it's main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105-mm howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading.
PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the lids of old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splash oil on your shirt; can also be used, as the name implies, to round off Phillips screw heads.
AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty bolts last tightened 60 years ago by someone in Springfield, and rounds them off.
PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.
HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to cut hoses 1/2 inch too short.
This was sent to me by one of my dearest friends. Her daughter works for an OB-GYN clinic in Portland, Oregon. Recently the daughter received this e-mail from one of the doctors in the clinic about his experiences in Africa. It is a very heartwarming read.
Hello everyone !
" May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far. " ~ Irish Blessing ~
GALMI HOSPITAL, NIGER, WEST AFRICA JAN 8, 2010
It hasn’t rained in Niger in more than 3 months, since October of last year, so to say that it is dry is an understatement. To me, the temperature is pretty ideal, even a little warm…low 90’s in the afternoon and about 60 at night. The people here think it is cold with many wearing coats during this “cold season”.
Galmi Hospital is a 120 bed missionary hospital that that was started in 1950 when the Christian missionary group (SIM) asked the colonial government of the Niger Territory (a part of French West Africa) if they could build a hospital. After 15 years of negotiation the government reluctantly said yes but it had to build at Galmi. This really is in the middle of nowhere, 300 miles from Niamey, the capital and 400 miles from Zinder, the second largest city in Niger. Although it was a “wide spot in the road” back then, it is now a village of about 5000 people (it still looks like a wide spot in the road to me) with maybe as many goats. The hospital to me looks like it was built in 1950 with very little having been done to it in the interim, with the exception of the operating theater which is actually in pretty good shape. That is not to say that the surgical equipment or surgical instruments are in good shape as they are not. I would refuse to use 90+% of the instruments handed to be in the OR if I were at home. Yet they do work.
There is not much conversation during surgery here because none of the help (the surgical scrub techs, the anesthesia guys) speak English. They do speak French (but I don’t…my kids say I am linguistically challenged) and Hausa, the local language. So it doesn’t do much good to complain because they don’t understand and even if they did, they don’t have anything better than what they have given me.
It is not often at home that I, as an obstetrician/gynecologist, am fearful that the patient I am operating on or seeing as a patient will die as I am working on them, but here this happens frequently. I find it very disquieting. Often by the time someone gets to the hospital they are very nearly dead.
Several days ago just as I was getting ready to leave for lunch, they wheeled in to the office where I was working a little 15 year old girl named Ali ..I think… who had delivered 4 days ago at home. She was very near death...so near I thought she could die right in front of me before I was able to do anything. After delivering at home she had bled profusely. It took her 4 days to get here. Her hematocrit was 5!!!!! (Severely anemic) Most women in America have hematocrit’s of 38. Before I came to Africa, I didn’t think you could live with a hematocrit of 5....and she may not live long enough to give her blood. She was barely conscious, she had no detectable BP, and she could not talk, barely able to slouch in the wheel chair. Since they don’t have blood concentrates here (packed cells) it is easy to kill someone giving them blood too fast...sort of a double whammy. She’ll die for sure if she doesn’t get blood and she will die if it’s given too fast. Right now the best thing she has going for her is that she is 15 years old. At the time I admitted her I thought she had about a 20% chance of being alive at 5 PM. She was admitted to the ob ward, a large room with 18 beds. It is filled with mothers who have ob related problems or who have had c sections (about ½ of these women who have had c sections have live babies, the rest had their c sections...even though the baby was dead.. to save their lives and prevent urinary fistulas). In addition to the patients, there are at least one (often two) family member attendant...usually the patient’s mother or grandmother...who sleeps on the floor on a mat either next to or under the patient’s bed. This person provides for the personal needs of the patient, including obtaining food for the patient, if she is eating. Needless to say, lots of bodies.
Anyway, back to the little 15 year old girl Ali. She was ironically placed in bed #3…the only empty bed in the ward. I say ironically because the bed was empty only because the pregnant woman who had been there (with severe anemia secondary to malaria…a hematocrit of 7) had just died the same morning! I am happy to say that the next morning Ali was smiling, breast feeding her new baby and feeling much better and we were able to send her back home (with a now robust hematocrit of16%!). The patients don’t have hospital gowns and usually are wearing what they were wearing when they arrived. Usually the bed is a bare mattress covered mostly with a yellow piece of plastic upon which they lie. There rarely is a sheet of any kind. If there is a sheet, usually they use it to cover themselves.
Each bed now has a mosquito net to help prevent malaria. Malaria hits pregnant woman and children especially hard. It is the main reason for all the severe anemias that we see. Malaria causes the red blood cells to break causing the anemia. It can also affect the brain...cerebral malaria. I now have a patient in bed 18 who won’t eat, talk, get up (she’s actually quite catatonic), has a severe headache and fever and I think she has cerebral malaria…at least that is how I am treating her. We induced and delivered her dead 32 week baby yesterday. Malaria is one of the world’s deadliest diseases killing more than 2 million people yearly! A child dies every 30 seconds of malaria in the world TODAY. Those who survive their bout with malaria may suffer brain damage and will usually have recurring episodes of the disease several times each year.
On a lighter note, just before I ate lunch after admitting Ali I opened my Arabic (at least there is Arabic writing on the package) powered milk and was pouring it into a cup (I was making yogurt...one of my dietary staples here) and I noticed for the first time a number of little black specks mixed in with the white powder. On closer inspection it had tiny little legs that were moving...extra high protein powdered milk, I guess. I think I’ll wait and see if I can get a different box.
When people hear that I am returning to Africa, a common question I get is if I will write any emails when I am here. I really didn’t think that I would this time. I’ve always answered that I would if they came spontaneously, but that I didn’t want to “compose “them.
This is my third trip to Galmi and to Niger. I really didn’t want to come back. In fact, last fall I was able to convince myself that I didn’t need to come back. Then I realized that I really didn’t have a satisfactory reason NOT to come. I am way, way out of my comfort zone when I am here. The poverty, disease and malnutrition and death that is so common in most of the world looks at me and stares at me with penetrating convicting dark brown eyes and sad expressionless faces that leaves me totally unknowing as to their thoughts and yet full of my own thoughts of privilege, selfishness and shallowness. The feet that have never seen shoes (maybe flip flops at most) with soles that are like leather are ever present. The disgusting vulnerability and hopelessness that purely comes from being a woman in this society is staggering and appalling. If that isn’t painful enough, there is the smell of the combination of poverty, disease, infection and heat with the lack of facilities that is powerful enough to give me a mixed feeling of nausea and at the same time puts me on the edge of tearfulness.
I much prefer living in my bubble at home where I can insulate myself from all of this by changing a channel, turning the page of the newspaper, or maybe at most write a check to my favorite charity. Anything but to face the fact that I am spoiled beyond anything these poor Nigerians could imagine.
Then why did I come? This is the ever present question that I continue to ask myself. As a follower of Jesus and His teachings, I could just answer that I come to show these poor souls God’s love for them. I suspect, though in all honesty there are selfish motives hidden in there somewhere. Something crazy like that to really appreciate what I have been given…my life and the incredible privilege of having choices (there are few if any choices these people can make) that I take so for granted….that I have to experience just a little of the pain that is everyday living for so many here.
Since I first started coming to Africa a number of years ago, I realized that as a privileged American one of the hardest things for me to do is to maintain “an attitude of gratitude” and to not feel as if I “deserve better” i.e. “a spirit of entitlement”. May God forgive me for being the rich arrogant selfish person that I am and may He replace my competitiveness with compassion for the weak and poor and may I stop complaining about things I can’t change. At least I can change some things,
May He do the same for you.
These people have NO choices, they can change nothing and that hopelessness is apparent when I look into their eyes. Enjoy today the privileges that God has bestowed upon you.
I hope you have enjoyed reading his e-mail. After reading this, I have to thank our Lord for giving us the privilege of living free in the U.S.A.