Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Again

It's amazing anymore how quickly the weeks roll by. It's the mileage, I guess.

I heard from my daughter this morning and she will go with me to have my eyelid surgery on the 10th.  I hope Amie doesn't get hold of me before then and have a job for me. I imagine I will need to be off work several days while the eyelids heal.

I slept fairly well last night. I awoke at 2:00 and it was at least an hour before I got back to sleep.  But I did finally get back to sleep. I awoke again at 5:00 and got up.

Missy and I are out under the carport. She is watching a squirrel very carefully and I am working on my blog here.  She is stalking a couple of squirrels now. It will be a miracle if the old kitty can catch anything anymore. At least there are no other cats out here right now.

If the new landlord doesn't mow today, I will need to mow myself later today.  They are not keeping the property up properly.  I am used to keeping my lawn neat and the old landlord did too. It is very aggravating.

More later....

Karan called me about 8:30. She was back in the emergency room last night in the middle of the night with awful chest pain. It turned out to be pleurisy from all her heart went through yesterday. They released her to come home again. She was in bed when I went over to take Bobby some lunch.  Poor Karan. She's had a time!. 

More even later....

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sunday's Sermon

“Make Us One”
June 1, 2014
John 17: 1 -11
“Father, the time has come. Honor your son so your son may honor you. Just as you have giving him authority over all humankind, so he can award real life: to know you to everyone you have given him.  This is real life: to know you as the one true God, and Jesus, the one you sent.  I honor you on earth by completing the labors you gave me to do. Now, Father, honor me with your own presence, the presence I enjoyed before the world. 

I have made your name known to all those you gave me out of the world. They were yours, you gave them to me and they have kept your word.  They now recognize that everything you gave me is really from you. I passed on to them the things you gave me to say, and they have been receptive and have come to know truly that I have come from your presence.  They have also come to believe you sent me.  I plead on their behalf. I am not pleading for the world but for those you turned over to me because they are yours.  Everything that belongs to me is yours and everything that belongs to you is mine, so I have been honored by them. 

Jesus says he has completed the work God gave him. Part of that work was to grant people eternal life. In this prayer, Jesus says eternal life is the same thing as knowing God. 

According to Jesus (as described in John), eternal life is not just about life after death. Eternal life is about a new and better quality of life that begins when people come to know God. In the Old Testament “to know” meant to have intimate physical relations. 

Here we understand that eternal life means to have an intimate spiritual relationship with God. Once that spiritual relationship begins it changes a person and how that person relates to the people of his or her community. This new life is so rich and energized that even death cannot put an end to it.

In this prayer Jesus does not pray for everyone in the world but specifically for his disciples and for believers. Believers are the people who have understood that Jesus came from God and that Jesus’ teachings were of God.

Jesus then petitions God on behalf of his disciples. The first and main thing Jesus asks for is unity. Above all Jesus hoped his disciples and believers in general would unite. Some people say Jesus’ prayer remains unfulfilled. Today Christianity is divided into many factions and denominations. Perhaps the fulfillment of this prayer depends on Christians themselves. When Christians find ways to come together and work on common causes they answer Jesus’ prayer.

People of the church might come up with different lists of what is most important for believers to seek. These lists might include correct doctrine, faith, spirituality, or other traits. But Jesus’ prayers focused on asking for unity. This prayer should guide believers and the church today as it tries to live out Christ’s mission in the world.

Jesus’ farewell prayer was enormously influential in the church’s definition of the relation between Jesus and God in the 4th and 5th centuries and in many ways it provides a summary of the Fourth Gospel writer’s understanding of the message and mission of Jesus. The gospel of John looks back, as it were, on the alienation of John’s community from “the world”.   It indicates that the Johannine community is already one generation removed from Jesus: a second generation has received the testimony of the first generation and they have become believers. The prayer also calls for the unity of believers so the whole world may also believe.  

All of this reflects the special interest of the fourth evangelist. Nothing in it can be traced back to the parables or sage retorts of Jesus remembered and recorded in the other gospels.  All the key phrases, words, and formulations are characteristic only of the Gospel of John. 

All this makes us realize that disunity in the church is not the characteristic of just our generation.   It had begun as early as the end of the first century.  In, fact, as we study the writings of the earliest writer, Paul, we see the beginnings of the disunity even then. And Paul wrote just a few years after the crucifixion. 

So how do we promote unity in the church?  What is it that divides Christians?
I believe it is doctrine and dogma.  The Christian church in general has lost sight of the message Jesus brought. 

His most important message had to do with the makeup of God’s kingdom…as opposed to the reign of the Romans.  It had to do with mercy, peace and justice.  When asked the most important commandment, what was the answer Jesus was  given? It was to love God with all our might, mind and soul and our neighbor as ourselves.  

The writer of Matthew goes even a little further when he recalls from the oral tradition in Matthew 25 Jesus discussion about the judgment:

It reads like this:

"All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

      “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

      Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

What would happen if more Christians were willing to care for their neighbor as well as they care for themselves?  If eternal life comes from knowing God, why would all Christians not want to be unified?  Christian  believers who want the kind of eternal life Jesus describes, should work together to seek unity, even if it means making other goals secondary.

When you read our earliest Gospels – Matthew, Mark, and Luke – and apply to them the sensible historical criteria that historians of antiquity have devised for looking at such things, it is quite clear that Jesus’ overarching message was that the Kingdom of God was soon to arrive.   This would be a real kingdom, with a ruler, and rulers serving under that ruler.  People would be allowed in or they would be excluded.   Those who were allowed in would lead a utopian like existence.  Those outside would be miserable.

This kingdom was to be brought by a cosmic judge of the earth that Jesus called (following Daniel 7:13-14) the Son of Man.   This figure was coming from heaven in judgment on the earth.   All who sided with God would be rewarded at his coming; those who sided with the evil powers of this world, which were in control of this age (and who were therefore making life miserable for those who sided with God), would be destroyed, or at least punished.

There would then be a massive reversal of fortunes when this kingdom arrived.  Those who were in power now (by having sided with the forces of evil) would be wiped out then, and those who were oppressed and suffering now would be exalted then.  The first will be last and the last first.

This coming of the Son of Man was imminent.  It was going to happen right away.  It would be within Jesus’ own generation.  His disciples would see it.

And so people needed to prepare for the arrival of the Kingdom of God.  They would be saved at the appearance of the Son of Man if they were devoted to God, loving him with all their heart, soul, and strength, and loving their neighbors as themselves.  This, for Jesus, was the heart and core of the Law of Moses, the Torah, the Law God had given Israel and found in the Hebrew Bible (in what is now called the Pentateuch – the first five books).   God was particularly concerned that people live lives of love, not hating, oppressing, acting violently against others, but doing what was best for others and looking forward to the day when God would right all that is wrong with this world.

Those who did so – Jesus’ own followers – were already beginning to see in a very small way what was about to happen in a BIG way when the end came.   In the kingdom there would be no war, and so Jesus’ followers were to be peacemakers now; in the kingdom there would be no hatred, and so Jesus’ followers were to love even their enemies now; in the kingdom there would be no oppression, so Jesus’ followers should work for justice now; in the kingdom there would be no disease or demons, so Jesus’ followers should heal the sick and cast out demons now; in the kingdom there would be loneliness, and so people should visit the widows and orphans now.   The kingdom could be realized in a small way in the here and now, in preparation for its coming for real and forever very soon.

Doing such things, for Jesus, was living according to the Law of God that God had given to Moses.   Yes, you should keep the Ten commandments, all the time.  And yes you should do everything else that God has told you to do.  But it is not simply a matter of adhering to the letter of the law without following the real intent of the law.  And the real intent of the law was to treat others with love and respect in preparation for the coming of the end.

Those who did so would enter into the kingdom when it arrived.  And that was going to be very soon.  So no one should wait: all should prepare.   The matter was urgent, and so Jesus delivered his message with urgency.   Entering the kingdom depended on living the way God had demanded in the Torah.  Anyone who was living otherwise needed to repent and change their ways, and look forward to the time when this miserable world was transformed back into paradise, with the coming of the Son of Man. 

That was the message of Jesus as found in the very earliest gospels.

The people of our small community seem to be more of one heart and one mind then many larger churches. Somehow even with our differences in personal theology, we manage to maintain unity.  We tend to always work together to promote common goals.

Our mission...the most important to help find God's Kingdom here on earth ...a kingdom of love, peace and hope. 

Quiet Thursday

Well, it was about to be a quiet Thursday anyhow but one of my friends, Karan, called this morning to say she was in ICU. She had been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.  She awoke in the night with chest pain and it rotated to her jaw and she had her husband take her to the emergency room. They are still trying to get her converted.  So far, that has not happened. She was concerned that an elderly man she visits in the nursing home on Thursdays would be looking for her to come and would be disappointed if he didn't know what had happened so, after I prayed over her, Bob and I went to the nursing home and told him she would not be coming today.

I got the goulash made for tomorrow and will soon start the hamburger steaks for today's lunch. Leslie had sent me home some of the new potatoes she fixed for Monday evening and I still had some of my french cut green beans too. Bob will bring a salad. Marlene, my granddaughter-in-law, sent me home some of her strawberries from her garden so I will fix them too for dessert.

Later, after lunch, I will go back out to see Karan again. 

More later...

I went out to see Karan again after lunch and she still had not converted and was still in ICU.   I will go back out this evening and check on her again.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Exercise and the Doctor

We went to exercise classes this morning at 9:00.  After that, at 10:00 we left for Joplin to eat at Olive Garden and then on to the mall and then on to see the doctor.

The doctor told me he could take up the slack on both eyelids but I really need two surgeries. The second one would raise my eyebrows.  But that one would be my responsibility to pay. I told him I have no resources to pay for a surgery. So he will have his nurse, Betty, schedule my eyelid surgery only. That one will be done under a local in his office. That's how Medicare wants it done.  She did not call me this evening to make the appointment so perhaps she will call tomorrow. I still have not heard from Amie about my job either. Hurry up and wait, they both say.

Bob will come over this evening for wine and then we will watch Nature and Nova.  He went with me to the doctor at Joplin to help me remember what the doctor said. He did say he could not guarantee the eyelids would no droop again. He says my eyebrows need to be lifted.  I will just have to take my chance again.

I finally got my system under control. I have eaten the second of the yogurts I bought yesterday. That added some good bacteria to my system and took care of my problem.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cake Tuesday

Today we take our cakes to Independence for the dinner at the First Christian Church there this evening.  I will leave at 9:00 and Bob will go too. It is also time for our haircuts. Then we will eat a mini pizza at Big Cheese. I need to check to see that I have enough money.  I baked my cake yesterday morning and iced it after it was cool.  Before we went to the kids' last night, I called Phyllis and Karan to tell them we were leaving at 4:30 and would not be back until late and if they wanted to bring over their cakes, they should do it before then.  Phyllis did but I guess Karan will bring hers over this morning. Bob has his done and iced but has not brought it over yet.

We are to have rain all week. It rained off and on all day yesterday.

Tomorrow Bob and I will go exercise class at 9:00 and then afterward to Joplin for my doctor's consultation appointment for my drooping eyelids. First we will eat lunch at Olive Garden. It may rain on us all day. It is forecast.

Bobby just called to find out when we were leaving for Independence. I told him 9:00 and he said they would be bringing the cake over before then. 

More later...

We went to Independence and delivered our cakes and then got our haircuts.  After that we ate at Big Cheese and then I went to the bank up there to sign papers and pick up a debit card.  Then we stopped at the church and finished putting the letters on the other side of the sign  there.

Then we came home and I read most of the afternoon. I think Bob took a nap. I took the paper over there awhile ago and he will be over at 6:00 to watch TV for awhile.

I went over to Braums awhile ago and bought some yogurt. I need to get some good bacteria back in my gut after taking all that antibiotic for the cat bite. I am feeling somewhat better now.  I ate one awhile ago and that was a beginning to get things balanced again.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Monday

We got some much needed rain last night and I guess drought ridden Oklahoma did too. We live about a mile north of Oklahoma in southeast Kansas and are in the area of the Tulsa TV coverage. We are to get rain all week.

Yesterday would have been my Bob's 84th birthday.  

I slept until 5:15 and then got up to get dressed and eat something. I had one of the biscuits I baked yesterday for Keith and Esther and I fixed some coffee and went out on the carport with Missy. While we were sitting there, one of the larger foxes came trotting up the road from the creek nearby. We sat very still until he disappeared into the culvert in front of the apartment complex. Missy was spooked. She waited by the door to get back into the apartment.

Bob and I will go out to John and Leslie's this evening for a cookout. John is quite a fisherman and he will grill some fish. I am to bring french cut green beans. They will serve that homemade ice cream for dessert that they served to Keith and Esther on Saturday afternoon.   I need to go to the market today. I need several things....among them..the green beans. I have a list.

More later.... 

We had a great time at John and Leslie's but were the first to leave. I ate way too much and two big bowls of homemade ice cream but stayed up to watch American Experience when we got back home. Then I took my bath and went to bed.. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Laid Back Sunday

The kids left this morning at 6:20 on their eighteen hour drive back to Phoenix. They will take turns driving. They will rest up Monday before going back to work on Tuesday. They had a wonderful time! I am so glad!  It was Keith's 40th reunion and it was a big one. They met at a classmate's home and he served hot dogs and hamburgers. Keith got there early and helped the classmate set up for it.  Then he cooked the hot dogs and hamburgers.

They also enjoyed the homemade ice cream at John and Leslie's last night. They got to see Jeromy, their son too. (my grandson) Jeromy is building on to his house and so was later getting there. 

I got ready for church after they left this morning.  I read the paper and then took it over to Bob. He will read it and take it to my son in law after church.

After dinner out today I will do my letters and get them ready for Tuesday's mail.  There will be no mail tomorrow because of the holiday. Tomorrow  evening we will go back to John and Leslie's for grilled fish and homemade ice cream.

More later......

I got my letters finished and out on the mailbox even though they won't go out until tomorrow because of the holiday. I was working with the new laptop trying to figure out the address book when Everett and his daughter, Tricia came. They came to decorate graves for Memorial weekend. Everett is the widower of my cousin, Pat, who died a couple of years ago. They stayed the better part of an hour and once again Everett invited me to come visit them in Houston. I don't have the resources for such a trip but it was nice to be invited anyhow. I wish I had taken some photos but I didn't think of it. I did call Bob to come over and visit with them. We had a good visit.

Later  Bob and I walked over to Braums and had an ice cream cone instead of something for supper.  He stayed to watch 60 Minutes and an episode of Big Bang Theory.

I got to bed about 10:00 and slept well.