My Newest Love

Tom and I have six children. The youngest is seven, but the next youngest is 20. Next oldest is 21! The oldest turns 31 in August, one just turned 30 and another will turn 29 in May.  We currently have four grandchildren. Three live in Oklahoma and one lives not far from us. This is our newest grandson, Michael Ryan. He is just two weeks old. We just learned a fifth grandchild is on the way. Babies are beautiful, and grandbabies are extra beautiful!

 

 

He’s Alive!

Mighty Victim from the sky,
Hell’s fierce powers beneath Thee lie;
Thou hast conquered in the fight,
Thou hast brought us life and light;
Now no more can death appall,
Now no more the grave enthrall;
Thou hast opened Paradise,
And in Thee Thy saints shall rise.

Paschal triumph, Easter joy,
Only sin can this destroy;
From sin’s death do Thou set free
Souls reborn, O Lord, in Thee.
Hymns of glory and of praise,
Father, to Thee we raise;
Risen Lord, all praise to Thee,
Ever with the Spirit be.

This is the Night

It is truly right
that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin to our eternal Father!

This is our Passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!

This is the night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
“The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy.”

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Therefore, heavenly Father,
in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church’s solemn offering.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
The strife is o’er, the battle done;
Now is the Victor’s triumph won;
Now be the song of praise begun.
Alleluia!

chains

A Special Find – A Special Name

Me with my grandpa, Oscar C. Eliason

I had a special blessing today in finding a version of my grandpa’s song, A Name I Highly Treasure, on YouTube. There are not many good quality recordings of it on there, I check once in a while for something new. I found this little gem uploaded just two months ago from a recording at a Nazarene church in 1964. The quality of the recording and the voices were a delight! It’s apparently from an LP record.

The beautiful words are true for all Christians. The world uses the name of our Savior as a curse word, walks on it, spits on it. To those of us who love Him, that name is the name above all names. A name we highly treasure.

The singers recorded verses one and three, but I have included the second verse. The powerful emphasis on that chorus really blessed my heart.

(1) I’ve learned to know a name I highly treasure.
O how it thrills my spirit thro’ and thro’!
O precious name, beyond degree or measure,
My heart is stirred whene’er I think of You!
My heart is stirred whene’er I think of Jesus,
That blessed name which sets the captive free —
The only name thro’ which I find salvation.
No name on earth has meant so much to me.

(2) That name brings gladness to a soul in sorrow.
It makes life’s shadows and its clouds depart —
Brings strength in weakness for today, tomorrow,
That name brings healing to an aching heart.
My heart is stirred whene’er I think of Jesus,
That blessed name which sets the captive free —
The only name thro’ which I find salvation.
No name on earth has meant so much to me.

(3) That name still lives and will live on forever,
While kings and kingdoms will forgotten be.
Thro’ mist or rain, ’twill be beclouded never.
That name shall shine and shine eternally.
My heart is stirred whene’er I think of Jesus,
That blessed name which sets the captive free —
The only name thro’ which I find salvation.
No name on earth has meant so much to me.

Technology Is Not Always Progress

The technology that is supposedly making our lives easier is not.  In many ways, it has made life very difficult, especially for those who are older than 45 and who are burned out by the complexity of life today.

Instead of a person answering  at a company, you get the nightmare of voice mail, now using voice (non) recognition, so that you find yourself screaming at a computer that doesn’t recognize what you’re saying. That’s usually followed by hitting random numbers in desperation, trying to either find a real person or the right department.  It’s not easier. It’s abuse of customers. And it’s just about saving money.

You can’t repair newer cars in your garage and even changing the oil yourself is not possible on some of the newest.  A technocrat described driverless cars being the norm in the next 15 years where you’re, in essence, being driven by computer code that may or may not have bugs in it. The recent crash of one was an ominous look at things to come. Imagine trying to integrate these “driverless” cars with texting and obnoxious manual drivers. The mind reels.

For every website where you have an account  you have to remember “Usernames” and “Passwords.”  The Post It notes where they’re written are either curling up with age on your desk  or already in the trash. It is not funny to be locked out of a doctor’s site you need to get on, because your tired mind can’t remember what combinations you used to get in. And there’s always more characters needed to protect from criminals trying to steal your info.

Every product you buy requires maintenance or some nonsense you have to pencil in on your schedule.   They’ll tell you that monthly, you need to do this or use this expensive conditioning product we happen to sell for $20 a bottle. My Keurig coffee maker is a prime example. It’s 18 months old, and the vinegar descaling – the descaling on the cheap – didn’t work and now it doesn’t work at all. Utter fail.  We had a home once where the previous owners had installed a spa tub with jets on it in the main bathroom. Fantastic, right? The manual said we had to buy this product from them and “once a month” do this and that and this and that to make sure “residue” didn’t build up from soap scum.  It did anyway. As IF a busy mom has time for that nonsense. With two young children to bathe at the time, I remember saying,   “Just give me a plain old bath rub I can scrub with Comet cleanser. Clean and white, for $1.50 a can. ”

Tom and I have both said we would gladly move to a 1960’s era house in terms of technology. Everything manual or basic. TV’s that didn’t require six remotes and hocus pocus so you can get the local TV channels.  TV’s like ours that I just read can be turned into listening devices because of the way they are made.   Great.  Give me a phone on the wall. Not a “smart”  phone where people text a sentence—that’s what comprises relationship now. Hey, ball’s in your court, honey. Your friend just wrote, “How ya doing?”  Nobody has time for an actual phone call much less a visit.

Yes, I hate modern life and what it’s done to the level of complexity. Just the digital photo nightmare is bad enough. I can’t delete this blog, because 10 years of our family’s life is on here. Videos I don’t know how to download are on here. If I delete this, they’ll be lost, and it’s our daughter’s childhood she will someday value. All the photo files on the computer (yes, they’re safely on a “cloud” somewhere, i.e. another computer at a tech giant) but how will my kids ever access that? We’ve forgotten the username and password. Again. (Oh, and the computer I’m writing on is telling me I have to pay more money to update my virus protection by a certain date or be at the mercy of the dark lords of hackery. It’s extortion, but who can afford to not pay it?)

It’s only going to get worse. Technocracy ultimately is going to destroy us. Mental health, social interaction, all of it has worsened in our high tech world. Yes, good has been done in certain areas. Overall, most of us over a certain age would return gladly to a simpler time when neighbors would check on each other, when people had real friends who showed up with a pot of soup when you were sick instead of sending a cheery text. “Get well soon!” A smiley face emoji is a bonus.

Tom and I were talking today about all the things we would like to simplify in our lives if we could. But the truth is, so much is out of our hands, it’s not even very possible to do anymore, particularly when you have grandchildren living far away (Facetime lets us see them), and when your isolation will only increase by shutting off your computer. Everybody else is in cyberspace. Be there or live alone even before you are elderly and unable to travel.

It’s sad that this is the way life is now. I yearn for the old simplicity, even of the 1980’s when my meanderings on this blog wouldn’t have been possible.  I’m not even kidding. But this is how we communicate now. Some irony there as I write for the readers as far away as Australia.  It’s not going to slow down any time soon. What would you like to go back to if you could? Even with inconveniences? I’ll bet a lot of people feel as I do. I read this article today on a related issue. People are supposedly more connected than ever,  but even the young are feeling the social isolation. There is no app for real friendship and human contact. Robots and artificial intelligence are all taking this to an even more psychotic level. It’s a problem of our times.

Widow: Church Doesn’t Need Any More Coffee Bars

This article linked below by Kimberli Lira needs very little introduction. When you face your darkest hour, it doesn’t matter how cool the real estate is in the church, how hip and how culturally relevant it seeks to be.  As this young mother writes so well,  you need Jesus.  The foolish American evangelical church misses the point of why they exist.

“Church leaders remember that you are not just trying to attract the hip and the cool to your church. You are reaching widows. You are reaching children who don’t have a parent. You are reaching someone battling with a disease. You are reaching a person going through a divorce. You are reaching a businessman who thinks they have all that they need. You are reaching the hurting. And the only thing they need is Jesus.”  Full article here.

A Little Audio Joy for You

Here’s a little two-minute joy blip for your day. The title should be “Schön Rosmarin”, Beautiful Rosemary. These lovely little melodies seem like the Lord opened the clouds and dropped them down. All beauty comes from God and points back to His creative genius. Our ability to even perceive beauty is from Him. So enjoy. I can’t even listen to this without smiling!

All Lives Matter – Starting in the Womb

The value of a human life in the womb should not be determined by whether or not the child is wanted by the mother.  What kind of madness is that? Throughout history we can see the piles of corpses stacked high from governments and movements and individuals who believed  that certain lives, the ones devalued and “not wanted”,  had lost any right to exist.

Those who believe a child has no value because they are not wanted by the mother should not be surprised when other people groups are also devalued and targeted for destruction. That is the inevitable outcome of situational ethics – morals that change depending on the shifting winds of public sentiment.

The only society that is safe for all is one that values life at all stages. If a society doesn’t, the creeping devaluation of all human life is inevitable. The carnage and growing violence in America, across all socioeconomic lines, is powerful evidence that violence in the womb never stays there.  The culture of death starts with the unborn child.

I’m a proud marcher for life today, even though I cannot be in Washington. God help us all, especially the most vulnerable.

marchforlife