Thursday, August 30, 2012

We Waited for Lucie_It's Personal

Our lovely Lucie-girl before we met  "in person"_Stoneham, MA
7/31/13 update - Lucie has a horrible affliction known as kennel cough, after an unavoidable four days and nights in a (very nice) kennel in New Jersey. The house the family rented did not allow pets, we learned too late. Lucie has seen her local doctor twice, with one change of medication. Her coughing fits are fewer, but none the less difficult, mostly for her, but also for us. We love Lucie, a loyal, smart, and companionable dog. At least, she is able to enjoy chasing a rabbit or squirrel, as of yesterday. Of course she never catches them, by the way, 'though she loves to keep trying.

8/30/12 - Based on the "Waiting for Lucy" post that I added several weeks ago, the Then and the Now of the past five weeks have been a pleasure to compare: 

Then: Her name was spelled L-u-c-y.

Now:  It's L-u-c-i-e, and her new second name is "Gracie."

Then: "For someone not excited about having another pet, I still have lots to do. I'm on the trail of a little Ravens cap for Lucy, and a Nats collar, Redskins leash, and O's halter."

Now: There has not been time! to look for those special gifts for Lucie, who won't know the difference anyway. But they're still on the Lucie List.

Then: "My dear husband seems okay with all of this, and I appreciate that."

Now: My husband really likes having Lucie around.    
Then: "Soon, in addition to a potted orchid and outside plants and flowers, there will be Lucy to care for, right after family, every day, morning to night."

Now: The potted plants are getting excellent care. Along with the rain drops they get when we think to put them onto the little terrace, out from under the porch roof, they get Lucie's left over water from the day before, because of course Lucie gets fresh water in her bowl every morning.

Then: "Lucy will not sleep with us. I'm preparing a place on a soft bench at the end of our bed, and we just need to find the right 'doggie bed' to put on top of it. (Add to shopping list.)"  

Now: Lucie does not sleep with us, but she does not sleep at the end of the bed either. She sleeps in her newly bought, just for her, soft bed that sits atop the soft bench, a worn little leather ottoman that my grandmother, who lived with us, gave to me when I was in elementary school; she worried when I did homework stretched out on the floor in winter times. 

Then later, when we first met Lucie: We drove on July 17 to Saddle River, NJ, home of Mary Higgens Clark. We stayed in a suite at a dog-accepting Marriott Residence Inn, found on-line by our son-in-law in MA. Our daughter in MA picked Lucie up from her former owner in Stoneham, and she and our 13-year-old grandson traveled from there to Saddle River to meet up with us.

The four of us and Lucy had a fun day, night, and part of the next day. Lucie accepted her new bed, which we took with us for her, and she went into her familiar crate only once. I think our grandson really missed her when he and his mom pulled out the next day to return home.

Right now; Lucie is sleeping in her little bed while I work from my bed alongside, writing my last blog post for the day. She seems to be completely comfortable with the sound of the keyboard. 

She shows signs of having been well-loved and -trained in her six years prior to coming to us, now that her previous family can no longer take care of her. She is intelligent, a quick-learner, obedient, healthy, sweet-tempered,! Not a fan of toys, she loves to play with us. We love to watch her gallop down the long hallway when we say, "Lucie, Run!" and clap our hands. She is a blur of dog as she dashes toward the last bedroom and jumps into her bed. She looks up immediately for praise (I think she's smiling) and then jumps down to follow me into other parts of the house. (I wonder if she is enjoying all of this as much as I am, with her!) She seems to look for any opportunity to look up as if to say, "Want me to run?" or "What are we doing now?" Her running is good exercise for rainy days when long walks don't suit us. Even an almost-seven-pound adult chihuahua doggie needs exercise and is not fond of wet hair. Especially a girly dog.

Lucie has had her first, and very thorough, vet exam (for which she forgave me within about 10 hours). Lucie Gracie is definitely in the building...with us and at home! It was well worth the time waiting for Lucie!

Copyright (c)2012 Opinari Writers
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Friday, August 24, 2012

"What is going on?" We Struggle, yet not without Strength

Detail from Albrecht Dürer
Simon Peter_Detail from Albrecht Dürer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"...we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12-King James Bible-Cambridge Ed.).  

Spiritual health and strength need continual lookout and especially so when pressures mount. Sometimes we are caught unawares and may even feel blind-sided: "What is going on???" The quandary arises as if out of the blue.     
     "What is going on???" is often caused by the hot breath of God's opponent that paces around us. Evil's hungers are not satisfied. St. Peter advised: "Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).

Is there a difference between a struggle between God and evil and between good and evil? Not really. Good is of God, its Source. God does not struggle against evil. It is we who battle against evil. It is God who enables us, by His strength, to overcome.
     Evil has never won primacy over good and never will. In us, it may appear to have done so, yet the end that is known has not yet been revealed in existence.
     Being in the care of the Sovereign God, His children still must struggle. And is there a helping Hand? Isaiah was God's messenger, reporting Yes:   

"Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed (confused), for I am your God. 
I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with My 
righteous right arm."
__Isaiah 41:10

A Christian teacher told me years ago that references to God's right arm are references to the Son, Jesus Christ. We struggle, yes... and we cannot prevail in human strength. God, the Sovereign Strength, is with us and makes us able to overcome. Time and time again.   

Copyright (c)2012 Opinari Writers
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Love is Great and ...

Minister of The Church of Jesus Christ baptizi...
Minister of The Church of Jesus Christ baptizing in Mexico. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Love is of God, whose Spirit led Jesus Christ...

To preach good news to the meek,
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Sunday, August 05, 2012

Simple People, Salvation in Christ: The World or the Individual?

English: Their are thousands of artworks creat...
English: Their are thousands of artworks created in the art world depicting St Paul. This painting was created by the famous artist called Rembrandt. It hangs on the walls of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The World or the Individual?

“The theological equivalent of supposing that the sun goes round the earth is the belief that the whole of Christian truth is all about me and my salvation.” *

The crux of a debate between two respected Christian theologians, about justification, is summed up in the above statement by one of them.*

Tendencies of theologians to appear to be quarreling or nitpicking estrange many simple people who want the plain truth about the essentials.    

That’s why, as a simple layperson, I think of words like those from John’s gospel:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. --John 3:16

There we have it spelled out, truly beautiful because it is true... God’s love, Love's object, Love's Gift; accepting the Gift, and thereby crossing over the perishing gap of unbelief in order to have Life, which is in God through Christ Jesus, His beloved Son. 

God has given this teaching, as all of scripture, from His Son’s own lips, to and for the world and to and for individual persons.

Therefore, why the debate about justification in this point? Are not the world and individuals samely included in this salvation through Christ of the Cross and Resurrection? If not, what is the “world” that is to be saved is apart from the individual persons in it, the “whosoever”s? Are not both N. T. Wright and John Piper, then, the two differing theologians, correctly, yet differently, interpreting Paul’s teaching on justification? Is not salvation about God’s Gift to the world and including its working out individually, for the “whosoever” people?  

My view sounds simplistic; yet I believe it is truly correct. I have not, as has Wright, spent 35 years studying the writings of the apostle Paul in depth, in Aramaic or Greek versions, or in English translation. I  have not equaled Piper’s study either.

The beauty of Christ, the Son, the Teacher, is that He gave those words first to simple people. Intimately. 

Theologians like Wright and Piper study carefully, out of their sense of deep responsibility to teach correctly.

And we, as well, need to read and to think for ourselves, applying the minds and hearts that God has given to us, individually and across the entire world.

In these days where I live (USA), churches of different names often appear to be more concerned with numbers—growth, attendance, and money—than with the chief mission of exalting Christ, with preaching the Word in season and out of season, with continuing against the tide of the world’s changing scene. Each of us is called of God to grasp the Gift of salvation for ourselves as we live in Christ, the risen Lord. 

Others can debate, mindful not to get lost in it or because of it. The days are shortened. The time is short. 
*Source of quote: N. T. Wright, e-book page 23, Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision, Intervarsity Press, author’s copyright 2009.

Copyright (c)2012 Opinari Writers
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Friday, August 03, 2012

Christians Historically Swim Against the Tides of the World

Christ's Charge to Peter by Raphael, 1515. In ...
Christ's Charge to Peter by Raphael, 1515. In telling Peter to shepherd his sheep, Christ was appointing him as a pastor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"The time has come for a broad-base assault against the powers that be that want to change our culture to one of men marrying men and women marrying women" --Reverend William Owens, Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP).

We are not called of Christ to be so sympathetic with the needs or pains of others that we would endorse any solution. For example, we feel deeply for the one in so much pain that he or she wants to die; yet we will not help that person commit suicide. We sympathize with those who have gripping desires (obsessions), such as stealing for no reason; yet we will not help those persons steal. And so it goes... those who follow and obey Christ love differently, as did He.
     He who did not seek to ease the discomfort of the "rich young ruler" with human sympathy has shown that His way often seems beyond understanding. The people of the Risen Christ will continue to be quickly misunderstood and wrongly judged if they will not yield to human need first whatever the spiritual cost, rather than to seek godly responses to suffering and desire, whatever the cost to themselves. The people of God are called, also, to respond in holy love and vigor. 

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways--Isaiah 55:8. Thus says the Lord, whose word stands forever.

Copyright (c)2012 Opinari Writers
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