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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Upon Further Review...

No, not talking about football. (I did watch most of the first two games, and was pulling for Miami....)

But I saw this posted on another blog. The blog just had the painting, and no copy other than "A Day for Thanksgiving."
My first thought was, "Hey, this is the ten lepers from Luke 17...but the one looking back looks like a woman...weren't they all men?"

So I grabbed the Word and looked it up...nope, not listed as men...but the one who did turn back is described not only as a Samaritan, but as a male.

Which does not make me any less impressed with the painting...

And, upon even further review...just looking back doesn't mean this was the leper that went back. Maybe this one had a temporary fixation on going back, but decides not to; while another does, in fact, decide to go back.

Don't know.

Interesting, though. I had always "assumed" they were all men.

Ah, the dangers of so many areas of life...

Thursday Tozer Tidbit of Truth

“Salvation is from our side a choice, from the divine side it is a seizing upon, an apprehending, a conquest by the Most High God. Our “accepting” and “willing” are reactions rather than actions. The right of determination must always remain with God.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Does The Cross Reveal?

"The cross ultimately points not to the greatness of our worth but to the greatness of our sin...The cross sets us free from the misguided self-love to passionately love the One who redeemed us." Bob Kauflin

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Reflections 48 years later

Forty-eight years ago I was in a classroom at William S. Hart High School in Newhall, California.

Can't remember what the class was...

But I do recall a fellow student, Lloyd, rushing in the classroom shouting, "The President's been shot!"

My response?

"What's the punchline?"

But it was not a joke...and we soon learned John F. Kennedy died.

We were soon dismissed, and I and thousands of others ended up on Hollywood Blvd trying to turn tragedy into a party.

I was not a believer at the time...not a believer in anything. I was shocked at his death, but didn't feel it was the end of the world.

But from this vantage point can't help but wonder...

Not wonder if there was a "conspiracy."

Not wonder if Oswald was the lone gunman.

But wonder what would have happened had the assassination not occurred?

What if Camelot had continued?

Where would America be...what would have happened in Vietnam?

And wonder about the "what ifs" of Martin Luther King, Jr and Bobby Kennedy a few years later...

But all the "what ifs" are of little, if any value.

God is sovereign in the affairs of man.

Nothing catches Him by surprise.

The biggest "what if"? What if the Spirit of God had not convicted me of my sin and of the reality of salvation in Christ in 1974?

So I blow off the "what if" in the assurance of God's salvation, planned by the Father, purchased by the Son,  applied by the Spirit...

And though I have no clue what will happen tomorrow...I know He is already there...and He is in control...and He is good...and He is wise.

And for that I am thankful.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Stormy Reminder

"Your trials may be many and great. Your cross may be very heavy. But the business of your soul is all conducted according to an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure. All things are working togethr for your good. Your sorrows are only purifying your soul for glory;; your bereavements are only fashioning you as a polished stone for the temple above, made without hands. From whatever quarter the storms blow, they only drive you nearer to heaven! Whatever weather you may go through it is only ripening you for the garner of God. Your best things are quite safe."
                                                            J. C. Ryle

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Goofy Bros

Was great to have the whole Hager clan together for a few days, but, alas, today Joel headed back; but should be home again just before CHRISTmas...after church we all ate at Chipoltes, and Jacob gave Joel a uniquely-adoring-sort-of-look:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cross Ignored?

"All heaven is interested in the cross of Christ; all hell terribly afraid of it; while men are the only beings who more or less ignore its meaning."  Iowa Chambers

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday Tozer Tidbit of Truth

“We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. “No man can come to me,” said our Lord, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him,” and it is by this very prevenient drawing that God takes from us every vestige of credit for the act of coming. The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the out working of that impulse is our following hard after Him; and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand: “Thy right hand upholdeth me.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


"...knit together in love..." (Col 2.2)

I have long been intrigued with those words. Paul wanted his readers "hearts to be encouraged, being knit together in love..."

In Colossians 3.14 Paul states, "And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."

Knitting and binding...

I couldn't sew to save my life, but when I think of knitting I think of threads going around and through each other, and thus forming a flexible strength...

And I recognize that I need to "go around" some things that I disagree with among brothers and sisters in Christ. These "things" are not worth fighting about, arguing about, debating about.

I need to go "around" lots of stuff while still holding hands with the family of God.

We who have been redeemed are brothers and sisters in Christ, but not identical twins. We may not always see eye-to-eye, but we can...and should..walk hand-in-hand...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Man Pondereth the Outside Appearance...

Only God knows the I chuckled at this cartoon I wondered how many people tell me "doing good" in response to my "How you doing?" and are, well, lying...for whatever reason...

Cowboy Jacob

Jane and Janelle headed south yesterday to board their birthday cruiseship (along with Pam and Sarah Williams)...Jacob and I headed to a restored cabin for a look back at Missouri are a few pics:

                                                       Costumed Jacob taking care of corn

                           It was windy and chilly, so Jacob and I wondered about this guy:

                                                     A rope swing and a 9-year-old = fun

The Verse I Love to Quote - To Others

Scotty Smith writes (or rather prays) about Romans 8.28:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Rom. 8:28 ESV
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Rom. 8:28 NIV
Heavenly Father, perhaps right after John 3:16, this is one of the first verses we, your children, were taught to memorize, cherish and claim. But in reality, we don’t claim this Scripture, it claims us—it completely reorders how we think about you, our circumstances, our struggles and our future. Today we return, once again, to the homeroom of Romans 8:28.

Let us see what you see and know what is knowable. Help us trust you in the hard places; wait for you in the stressful seasons; and love you—not to get something from you, but because of everything we’ve already received in Jesus.

Hallelujah! You are a God at work. You are presently working in all things for your glory and for our good. Nothing in our past has marked us as a “Plan B” people; nothing in our present contradicts the promise of your care or the pledge of your presence; nothing in our future will separate us from the wonders of your love or alter the completion of your plan.

Hallelujah! You are a God at work in all things for our good, not merely for our liking. We praise you for not giving us everything we want, because we often ask for things that will simply make life easier, rather than trust you for things that will make us like Jesus.

Father, our foolish hearts often call good things evil and evil things good. Thank you for your patience. Our demanding hearts often treat you like Sugar Daddy, rather than Abba, Father. Thank you for not giving into our whining and spirit of entitlement. Our impatient hearts would settle for the fool’s gold of immediate relief, rather than wait for the lasting treasure of eternal inheritance. Thank you for your wisdom and “big picture” Fathering.

By the truth of the gospel, help us love you today with everything we have and are. By the power of your Spirit, enable us to surrender to your purpose, rather than stress over our plans. For the glory of your name, free us to live as a called people, excited about our future; rather than as a driven people, fearful of this day. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ tender and triumphant name.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day Thoughts

I served four years in the Army. Enlisted right out of high school. Long before Jesus captured me.

Did a couple years in Korea...discovered kimchi! Was in Korea when the "Pueblo"  was snatched by the North Koreans. Never thought we'd sell those guys out. We did. Most reading this never heard of the incident...

From Korea to Germany. Was there when the Russians invaded Czechlosvakia. Sent my unit out to the Czech border several days before it happened. Did we have a hunch? Duh.

Then went to Vietnam (with the 11th Armored Cavalry) for the remainder of my enlistment. 

Army was a lot like prison. Learned a lot there; don't wanna go back.

But the dumb decisions I made after the military were not Vietnams fault...or the Armys fault...or even the devils fault.

The decisions were influenced by all those things, and more; but the decisions were not dictated by those things.

I made my choices, my choices made me. It's called personal responsibility.

The most disgusting phrase in English? "It's not my fault." Well, yeah, it is.

We may have a lot of "excuses," but to paraphrase a military saying, "Excuses are like elbows; everyone has a couple."

And our God did not send His Son to die for excuses, but for sins. "There is a way that seems right to a man..."

I'm thankful the Lord sent His Spirit to invade my life in a Texas jail cell in 1974...and that His mercies are new every morning.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gospel or Discipleship?

What do you think about this:

“Contrary to what some might think, discipleship is not the engine of the church. The gospel is. Without the gospel, both discipleship and church fail. Without the driving force of the gospel, discipleship devolves into self-help religiosity motivated by conservative pietism. The church is reduced to a glorified non-profit in which people lose interest. But the gospel reactivates both church and discipleship!
The good news that Jesus has defeated sin, death, and evil through his own death and resurrection and is making all things new, even us, changes everything! In the gospel, God in Christ welcomes sinners and sends out disciples. The gospel, not discipleship, is central to the church. If we make discipleship the engine of the church, we’ll run quickly out of gas. But when the gospel is central, the church gets traction and disciples get depth.”
— Jonathan Dobson

Thursday Tozer Tidbit of Truth

“God works in you to will, but you are to work with God in working it out. God works in you – that is, God is always previous. God is the aggressor. God saw you in the rut and wanted you to get out it. He thought of it first, not you. The impuse to know God came from Him and not from you. God works first, and because God works we are to work with Him.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Such A Vital Message for Girls and Women

Yeah, the song has been around for a while; but the message is so, so

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Little Girl is 17?

Seventeen years ago November 4 my daughter, Janelle, was born to a young girl we met at a camp a year before.

After camp the girl stayed in touch, made some mistakes, found herself pregnant, contacted us; after prayer and consideration we started the proceedings to adopt Janelle at birth.

The birthmom was 13 when she got pregnant; 14 when she delivered. There were tense moments of wondering if the adoption would go through, but on that miraculous morning our daughter was born.

Seventeen years have, as all parents know, flown by. As she is my only daughter, of course Janelle frequently refers to herself as "Dad's favorite daughter." Which is, of course, true.

Adoption teaches us so much...and will teach us more. We are so thankful our Heavenly Father did not "have" to adopt us as His children; but He did...and though the financial cost to us for Janelle was enormous; the price God the Father paid as Jesus Christ became our substitute is unfathomable.

Janelle has brought far more warmth into our lives than this picture portrays:

And this photo depicts her utilizing one of her giftings...loving on little kids:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Don't Slam Me!

Yes, I know the world will never be "as one" as long as there is sin, Satan, and the kingdom of self...I know the UN is problematic in so many ways; but I still love this ongoing concept of recording street musicians from all over the world...reminding me how big the world is, how small that I am...and that causes me to reflect on the it has and does effect me, and my responsibility to pass it on...

Thursday Tozer Tidbit of Truth

“We must do something about the cross, and one of two things only we can do – flee it or die upon it. And if we should be so foolhardy as to flee we shall by that act put away the faith of our fathers and make of Christianity something other than it is …
“If we are wise we will do what Jesus did: endure the cross and despise its shame for the joy that is set before us … The cross will cut into our lives where it hurts worst, sparing neither us nor our carefully cultivated reputations. It will defeat us and bring our selfish lives to an end. Only then can we rise in fullness of life to establish a pattern of living wholly new and free and full of good works.
“The changed attitude toward the cross that we see … proves not that God has changed, nor that Christ has eased up on His demand that we carry the cross; it means rather that current Christianity has moved away from the standards of the New Testament. So far have we moved indeed that it may take nothing short of a new reformation to restore the cross to its right place in the theology and life of the Church.”
- A.W. Tozer, The Root of The Righteous