Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Holy Tuesday 2015


15 When Jesus returned to Jerusalem, he went into the Temple and began to throw out those who were buying and selling there. He turned over the tables of those who were exchanging different kinds of money, and he upset the benches of those who were selling doves. 16 Jesus refused to allow anyone to carry goods through the Temple courts. 17 Then he taught the people, saying, “It is written in the Scriptures, ‘My Temple will be called a house for prayer for people from all nations.’ But you are changing God’s house into a ‘hideout for robbers.’”

            Because the Jewish people were expected to make all kinds of sacrifices, they would bring their money to the Temple and buy what they needed for their sacrifice there, such as the doves. I imagine that it was just like scalping tickets to a rock concert; you would pay much more for your dove at the Temple than if you bought one at home to bring with you.

18 The leading priests and the teachers of the law heard all this and began trying to find a way to kill Jesus. They were afraid of him, because all the people were amazed at his teaching. 19 That evening, Jesus and his followers left the city.

With this kind of setup, the priests were making a lot of money off of the people, money they should have been turning over to the Temple, but which I am pretty sure they kept for themselves. I can see why Jesus was angry with them, and why they didn’t like Jesus so much.

27 Jesus and his followers went again to Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking in the Temple, the leading priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders came to him. 28 They said to him, “What authority do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?”

29 Jesus answered, “I will ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you what authority I have to do these things. 30 Tell me: When John baptized people, was that authority from God or just from other people?”

31 They argued about Jesus’ question, saying, “If we answer, ‘John’s baptism was from God,’ Jesus will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘It was from other people,’ the crowd will be against us.” (These leaders were afraid of the people, because all the people believed that John was a prophet.)

33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Jesus said to them, “Then I won’t tell you what authority I have to do these things.”

(Mark 11 New Century Version)

 Do these priests and other church leaders sound like our politicians of today? Let’s not come up with the right answer, let’s find the answer which pleases the right people. Has human nature changed much in the last two thousand years? 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Holy Monday 2015


12 The next day as Jesus was leaving Bethany, he became hungry. 13 Seeing a fig tree in leaf from far away, he went to see if it had any figs on it. But he found no figs, only leaves, because it was not the right season for figs. 14 So Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And Jesus’ followers heard him say this.

In defense of the fig tree, why would it be blooming out of season? Are we the fig tree? Do we use those excuses? “I only have time for church at Christmas and Easter.” “I have too many bills this time of year to give to the church.” “I’ll get involved when the kids are out of school.”

So what happened to that fig tree?

20 The next morning as Jesus was passing by with his followers, they saw the fig tree dry and dead, even to the roots. 21 Peter remembered the tree and said to Jesus, “Teacher, look! The fig tree you cursed is dry and dead!”

But what was the real point that Jesus was trying to make?

22 Jesus answered, “Have faith in God. 23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, fall into the sea.’ And if you have no doubts in your mind and believe that what you say will happen, God will do it for you. 24 So I tell you to believe that you have received the things you ask for in prayer, and God will give them to you. 25 When you are praying, if you are angry with someone, forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins. [ 26 But if you don’t forgive other people, then your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.]”

(Mark 11:12-14, 20-26, New CenturyVersion)


Have faith, believe, know that every prayer you send to your Heavenly Father is answered, with God’s answer and not always the one you had wanted. Do not doubt that you can bloom even out of season. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday 2015


7 They brought the colt to Jesus and put their coats on it, and Jesus sat on it. 8 Many people spread their coats on the road. Others cut branches in the fields and spread them on the road. 9 The people were walking ahead of Jesus and behind him, shouting,

“Praise God!
God bless the One who comes in the name of the Lord!
10 God bless the kingdom of our father David!
    That kingdom is coming!
Praise to God in heaven!”

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After he had looked at everything, since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve apostles.

(Mark 11:7-11) New Century Version


Today is Palm Sunday, the day of Jesus’s triumphant return to Jerusalem. It is also the beginning of Holy Week. There are some great stories in the Bible that take place between now and Good Friday. Jesus tells some of His best parables and does some of His best teaching this week. I would like to share them all with you, and I will in time. But for the next week, until Easter Sunday, let me post some of the highlights. I hope you read them all. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

2015 Day 1 - Walking the Streets of Hatchet Creek

This is the map of where I left off last year (in green and yellow), walking the streets of my hometown, having been inspired by Matt Green’s blog of walking all of the streets of New York City. My town is much, much smaller than NYC, and yet I didn’t get around to all of the streets last year. I am going to give it another go this year, getting a much earlier start.
My earliest recollection of this house on Tomahawk Avenue was that it was Nick and Sons Funeral Home. It has had a few owners over the years, most memorably a couple who called it Pride Manor (after a previous owner) and set up a graveyard in their front yard for Halloween. For a few years they offered tours of the yard, taking a free-will offering which I believe went towards a college scholarship fund.
The old Alamo Plaza restaurant was Loaders Bar for a while, but recently reopened as Ingman’s Parkway Pub. I’ve eaten there twice in the last week (and I never go out to eat), so you be the judge whether or not the food and atmosphere passes inspection.
Does anybody know what this is now? The sign says “Krabby Karen’s”. When I was a kid, it was a gas station. Remember when gas stations only had two pumps (four pumps at the most) and inside it always smelled funny, but you could pick from a selection of a dozen or so candy bars. And best of all, remember the bathrooms, always outside around back and you had to get the key from the clerk.
Redeemer Lutheran Church. They put on an addition quite a few years ago and added a day care center. Today when I walked past, when it was 29 degrees out, all the kids were outside playing, as kids should be no matter what the weather. Me? About the time I got here I was thinking it was too cold to be out walking today.
I found the Schwan’s truck on Hillcrest Drive. As I am writing this, the Schwan’s guy (whose name is Guy) was just at my house. Num, num.
The Tomahawk Armory. No words needed.
Ugly snow.
R&J Body Shop. When I had two teen-ager drivers in my household, I think we gave this business enough business that the “R” in R&J was able to take several vacations to all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean.
Next door to what was once Alamo Plaza Restaurant is what was once Alamo Plaza hotel. I don’t care what its name is now, that’s what its name will always be.
I didn't do a map of today's walk. I was still hoping to make some great technological wonder occur and be able to post a map straight from Google maps. Work is in progress. I did get Google maps to tell me that I walked about 1.86 miles. So I am getting it figured out. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Morning Prayer

Psalm 5 (from the International Children’s Bible) (ICB)

A Morning Prayer for Protection

 Lord, listen to my words.
    Understand what I am thinking.
2 Listen to my cry for help.
    My king and my God, I pray to you.
3 Lord, every morning you hear my voice.
    Every morning, I tell you what I need.
    And I wait for your answer.
4 You are not a God who is pleased with what is wicked.
    You do not live with those who do evil.
5 Those people who make fun of you cannot stand before you.
    You hate all those who do wrong.
6 You destroy liars.
    The Lord hates those who kill and trick others.
7 Because of your great love,
    I can come into your Temple.
Because I fear and respect you,
    I can worship in your holy Temple.
8 Lord, since I have many enemies,
    show me the right thing to do.
    Show me clearly how you want me to live.
9 With their mouths my enemies do not tell the truth.
    In their hearts they want to destroy people.
Their throats are like open graves.
    They use their tongues for telling lies.
10 God, declare them guilty!
    Let them fall into their own traps.
Send them away because their sins are many.
    They have turned against you.
11 But let everyone who trusts you be happy.
    Let them sing glad songs forever.
Protect those who love you.
    They are happy because of you.
12 Lord, you bless those who do what is right.
    You protect them like a soldier’s shield.

A book I’m reading, “God Called – He Needs Your Decision”, recommended the International Children’s Bible as an easy-to-read bible. Sure, it is written at the third grade reading level, but it isn’t talking down to me. I just want to understand it. Isn’t that the most important part? 

In this particle passage, I love the thought of praying to God each morning. I think a lot of us wake up whining, not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to go to work. All we want to pray to God for is the winning lottery ticket and then all our troubles will be over. Right? They say that God answers all our prayers but sometimes the answer is “no”. Can you see why that is?

But we may never be able to understand why our prayers asking for world peace or an end to suffering or for just one friend or relative to be cured of their incurable disease, why those prayers would possibly also get an answer of “no”.

It is not for us to know what is in the mind of God; it is for us to continue to pray and to not lose heart. He is listening.



Saturday, March 21, 2015

And rising from the ashes...

I know that I haven't done any walking in my hometown in a long time and my only excuse is that I am getting too old for winter. I keep telling my husband that we need to move south when the cold weather sets in in the fall, but he seems to think that we have to continue working twelve months out of the year. The days until retirement are many, but I am still going to start counting them. 

I haven't started my full-blown street-walking yet for the season, but I finally did take a walk around the block where the old Sacred Heart Hospital sat. The assisted living facility is really coming along. I can never understand how they can build like that in the winter. 

Because most of my landmarks from previous walks around this block are gone, I took a calculated guess. The new pictures are at least in the vicinity of the old ones. 

 Front side of the Hospital, on March 30 of last year. Hard to believe that was only a year ago. 
 August 25, 2014. The old building has reached the point of new return.
The new building is coming along. I think that's the same tree. 
 This one is my cherished oldie, from March of 2008, back when people were still holding out hope that this building could become something grand again. 
 Not so grand in August of last year. 
 And the walls came tumbling down in September.
But how exciting that new walls have gone up. And there's that tree again.
 I seem to have the most pictures of the ER entrance. July 11, 2014
 August 25, 2014
 September 6, 2014
 October 16, 2014
March 20, 2015

The file of pictures from this one city block stands at 145, if anyone wants to see more. Hopefully there will be pictures of other Tomahawk city blocks very soon. Pray for warm weather for me.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pedals

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” James 1:19 (NIV)

I spent the entire afternoon Saturday cleaning the inside of my car. Took everything out, vacuumed, scrubbed, cleaned the windows. As happens in the Snowbelt, the interior of my car was abysmal from salt, dirt, dog hair, lost French fries, spilled milkshakes.

My body was half outside and half on the floor of the driver’s seat. I was debating if I was getting out of control by actually washing off the foot pedals, when it dawned on me that the gas pedal is way smaller than the brake pedal.  

Why would that be? Of course, your foot is on the gas more than on the brake and when you need to find the brake pedal, it needs to  be big enough to hit with your foot without taking your eyes off the road to find it. Only a few accidents are avoided by hitting the gas; in general accidents are prevented by slamming on the brakes.


I’ve been trying to memorize Bible passages and the one above has been on my desk this week. “Quick to listen, slow to speak”. The speaking pedal should be small, while the listening pedal should be large. The listening pedal needs to be easy to find, easy to use because it prevents many an accident, keeps you safe, helps others. The speaking pedal? It maybe gets you where you want to go, but you have to be able to stop once you get there!


Dear Lord, God in Heaven, help me to remember to think before I speak and more importantly to listen before I speak. Help me to put the needs of my brothers and sisters ahead of mine and to know that I must listen for those needs first. Amen