Who’s At The Door?

The dishwasher was humming away as we settled in to the family room after dinner.  It was summer and twilight had arrived.  All was quiet, so we decided to read for a while.  We both noticed the odd scratching sound at the same time.  Olga assumed that she had locked our cat outside.  The sound started and stopped, the repeated a few minutes later.  She then decided to see if the cat was at the door to the garage. I figured that we must have left the overhead door open when we got home from work.  She proceeded to open the door to let the cat in.  Right on the two steps leading to the inside door, standing on his back legs, was a white skunk with a black stripe on its back.  Having...

Notes on John 1: The New Birth

We have, perhaps, a little foreshadowing in vss. 12 and 13 of the encounter that John will record in chapter 3. The new birth is seen here as he describes those who “receive Him”. Our physical birth is “of the will of the flesh” or “of man”. Our parents “willed” it so, and therefore had nothing to do with us. We had no choice in the matter. Yet, here he tells us that when we “receive Him” and “believe in His name” that He gives us the right to become His children. And, this adoption or birth, if you will, are all by being born not by the will of man, but of God.

Notes on John 2: Wedding Feast at Cana

Do you ever wonder why Jesus would choose a wedding feast to do His first miracle and begin His public ministry? Why something as “simple” as producing wine from water? As time would pass, he would bring sight to the blind, feed multitudes by multiplying a few pieces of bread and fish, heal folks and even raise the dead. I doubt that it was to save the guests from dying of thirst. Were those other occasions more important? Could it have been as simple as causing the host to not be embarrassed? Jesus knows our every need, does He not? Marriage is used throughout the Scriptures to illustrate God’s relationship with His people. Perhaps this is another of those times to show...

Христос воскрес

It all starts early on the Saturday morning before Easter and continues until well after the sun has set.  My Ukrainian wife will begin to prepare the array of goodies that we will enjoy the following day after church. This poses an interesting menagerie of food.  Included are the usual springtime assortment of salads containing my favorite food groups, potatoes and macaroni, but the best part is all that mayonnaise.  Nothing quite compares to that soybean oil and raw egg concoction to add healthy favors to almost anything that’s edible.  None of that low-fat stuff either.  We like the artery-clogging, cholesterol-popping “real” mayonnaise.  I can even tolerate okra...

Eternity Changed in 9 Words

They were getting what they deserved.  We don’t know what they had stolen but they had both been convicted of capital crimes and shared the same sentence.  They echoed the same insults as the rest of the crowd that had gathered on that lonely hill in Jerusalem on a peculiarly dark afternoon.  They said that if He was who He claimed to be then surely He could rescue Himself.  After all, many of them had witnessed His many miracles.  Then something that would have eternal consequences happened.  One of the thieves who was hanging there on that Roman cross said “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us.”  The other man, who was under the same sentence, suddenly...

A Meal Together

I really didn’t have a lot of rules for our sons as they reached their college years and living at home. Now they may disagree with that, but it is my perspective looking back. Our evening mealtime was, perhaps, the most important time of the day for us as a family.  We would eat dinner, then would spend some extended time at the dining room table talking about all sorts of things.  The topics ranged from the day’s events, school, sports, theology and everything in between.  There were some serious things, but mostly we told stories and laughed a lot.  There were plenty of nights that it would go on for an hour or more, depending on homework or other parts of the daily...

Coloring Easter Eggs

From time to time, my wife will invite a group of good friends and family to our house to decorate eggs for Easter.  If it happens to be the first time you’ve been invited to her annual ritual, initially you’ll conjure up visions of women and kids running around the house dipping those hard-boiled white chicken droppings into bowls full of food coloring.  Au contraire.  Olga is Ukrainian and what she has in mind is something quite different.  They call it Pysanky.  For you language buffs, that comes from the verb meaning “to write”.  I have a suspicion that it may also be translated “do not drop”, but I could be mistaken. As we prepare for the...

Where’s Your Home?

The snow was beginning to obscure the roadway as that cold January afternoon turned to evening. I had completed my enlistment and we were heading back to New York to start our new lives as civilians. It was the third day of our journey and the old yellow Plymouth station wagon was doing pretty well in the storm. It was the first time we had experienced a Nebraskan blizzard and we thought it would be better to make Norfolk before stopping for the night.  The roads were quickly becoming impassable and our three year old son, Mike, was running a fever. I pulled off into the parking lot of an aging, one story motel with a tiny diner next door. The carpets were well-worn and the furniture a bit...

V-mail

That’s not a typo. V-mail was a WWII secure system that was used to communicate with soldiers during the War.  My father contacted my Uncle Wayne via V-mail while Dad was somewhere in either England or Northern France, training for Operation Overlord. Here is part of the story from my Dad’s sister, Ada, in her own words: “Right after Pearl Harbor my brother Jim enlisted in the Army in December of 1941 and my boyfriend, Wayne enlisted in January 1942, but they didn’t know each other then.  Wayne came home on furlough in May of 1943 just before he was sent overseas.  He and I became engaged.  I wrote to Jim and told him.  Jim decided he wanted to meet the guy who...

Hello, Moe

My father and his brother, Dick, were the best of pals. I remember that greeting on so many warm summer Saturday mornings when Uncle Dick would come to our house to have coffee with Dad. They’d sit around the dinette table in our little kitchen and talk about things as friends do. I don’t remember anything very profound in those conversations but I could see the bond they had, even though I was a kid. I guess the most memorable thing was that they were always laughing about something. Mostly, I can’t ever recall a harsh word between them. I wish now I had asked how that “Hello, Moe” greeting had started or why they called each other Moe, but I’m not sure...