Category Archives: News and Notes

January 19 – $769 a month can’t touch peace of mind

The advertisements on a social media feed are custom fed to each one of us.  They take our demographics, our browsing history, and whatever other bits of information we drop along the way and build an ad campaign just for us. In the weeks before Christmas I kept seeing ads for dollhouse furniture on my Facebook feed. Becky was looking for a Christmas gift for one of our granddaughters and sent me some links. Google told Facebook all about it.  For several weeks Santa’s would-be suppliers tried to entice me with deals on their most popular lines. Little Ada loved the gift, but I am not sure the ad campaign had much effect.

I wondered what the digital oligarchy was thinking this morning when they offered me a new Maserati for $769 a month.  What do they know about me, and why did they think I might be tempted?  Have they discovered that people who are interested in dollhouse furniture are often in the market for expensive Italian luxury cars?  I’ll send Becky the link and see what she thinks.

The Maserati people are not just tempting me with a really nice car, however.  Rightly so, they reminded me that peace of mind is priceless, and then they added in a three-year maintenance deal to the $769 lease.  Peace of mind may be priceless, but for $769 a month you get the Maserati and the three-year maintenance deal – maybe that is as close to peace of mind as you can get in this tired old world.

I wonder what they know about me?

The Maserati looks really nice, but I am leaning towards keeping my nine-year old Honda Civic and looking for peace of mind elsewhere.

Psalm 3 is a psalm with a story.  One of the editors of the ancient text tells us the Psalm is “a Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.” The reference is to 2 Samuel 15:14–15 and Absalom’s rebellion, “Then David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, ‘Arise, and let us flee, or else there will be no escape for us from Absalom. Go quickly, lest he overtake us quickly and bring down ruin on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.’ And the king’s servants said to the king, ‘Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king decides.’”

The story ends with Absalom’s death and David’s mournful cry, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33)

In the midst of all the chaos a broken and hurting world brings into his life – betrayal, death, anguished mourning – David writes, “I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.” (Psalm 3:5)

Peace of mind is priceless, and $769 a month won’t get us close to it. God offers it to us as a gift.

Right before he fall to sleep, David writes,
But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the LORD,
and he answered me from his holy hill. (Psalm 3:3-4)

In a world where it seems elusive, we may be tempted to lease just a little peace of mind for $769 a month.

Jesus, Son of David, says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30)

I’m keeping the Civic.

January 12 – LPC, the cesspool, and a hand-held keratometer

Springs of Living Water or a cesspool?

This morning’s newsfeed is abuzz with reports that President Trump has likened countries in the global south, specifically Haiti, El Salvador, and all of Africa, to cesspools; his word choice was coarser than mine, however. Though multiple reports confirm the comments, the president denies the particular words, but says his language was tough.

The president’s reported words are troubling if for no other reason than the continued degrading of our public discourse. But there are other reasons. Christians know the President’s cesspool countries to be a part of the world our God loves so much as to send his only son for its redemption and renewal. Christians never see a cesspool. They see the possibility of a spring of Living Water bubbling up to eternal life. Continue reading

January 5 – Our Help in Ages Past, Part 2

Last week I invited you to tell some stories of how God had been at work in your lives in 2017.  Thank you for your responses; they are a gift to all of us. Some of our stories are printed below. While not attributed, some of the posts suggest their author more clearly than others. The point is not to guess who wrote what, but to listen to the ways God was at work in the lives of those who shared. I find these words encouraging and helpful, and pray that you will, too. You may not have had time to write your response, but as you read these, consider again, how was God at work in your life in the past year – and how is he your hope for years to come?

So, God at work in 2017: Continue reading

December 29 – Our Help in Ages Past

They will be everywhere for the next few days. It may be best to ignore the majority of them. You know, those “year in review” reports at your favorite news source, on social media, or in whatever niche your special interest happens to lie. I looked at the NBC News Year In Review and found in depressing. 2017 was not bad on all fronts, however. I once bought Becky a gift from a knitting supply company and found myself on their mailing list. I’m not kidding, there’s a “Knitting Year In Review” post they’ve invited me to view. It turns out that 2017 was a pretty good year in the world of knitting.

But what about your world, knitter or not? As you look back on 2017, what do you see?  “Our God, help in ages past, our hope for years to come,” Isaac Watts writes in his paraphrase of psalm 90.  How did you see God’s helping, sustaining, joy-giving, sorrow-comforting, hope-inspiring presence in this year now nearly past?

I would love to hear stories of God at work in 2017.  Would you be willing to share one or more with me?  You can text, Facebook Message, or email me (LPC readers who read the email version of this post can simply reply to the email). 

Unless you say otherwise, I will alter your stories for anonymity sake and then post some of the responses – an encouragement for those of us who journeyed with Christ through 2017.

December 22 – We Three Kings, LLC

Talk of taxes was in the air. Caesar Augustus had ordered the taxation, the Affordable Oppression and Extortion Act (AOEA), and the pundits were scrambling to figure out just what it would mean to people throughout the Empire. While the child tax credit and the standard deduction were up, experts were still not sure how betrothal would be treated under the new law. Would a small business such as a village carpentry shop be able to take advantage of the steep reduction in corporate taxes? The threshold for claiming medical expense deductions had been lowered, but most tax law professionals questioned the deductibility of manger straw, though swaddling clothes might meet the AOEA definition of medically necessary supplies. Continue reading