Friday, April 2, 2010

Wilderness Outcry, June 14-18, 2010

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
-- 2 Chronicles 7:14

"I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one. Thus I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their way I have brought upon their heads," declares the Lord GOD.
-- Ezekiel 22:30-31

No greater power is available to humankind than the power of prayer and worship. When these are corporate - when many people come together in unity to seek God's face - that power is magnified exponentially.

Never has our country needed such power more than it does today. Even many nonbelievers sense that something is terribly wrong. The United States of America was founded as a Christian nation, yet it has turned away from God to the extent that it can no longer be considered truly Christian. Many of its people, including some who call themselves Christian, don't know what true Christianity is. Now we're seeing the results in the news every day.

We can't fix these problems ourselves. Political, social, and economic solutions might help a little, but they're really just Band-Aids. All they do is treat the symptoms.

What we need is to get at the root of the problem. We need to change what caused this situation in the first place. America must turn back to God. If we don't, things are going to get worse. The Bible clearly shows that there are serious consequences for sin and for ignoring God. But He's also merciful when He sees true repentance.

A group led by Dutch Sheets and Lou Engle are calling for a time of corporate repentance, prayer, and worship this summer. On June 14-18 the Wilderness Outcry will be held on Moriah Ranch in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. People of all ages are being called from around the nation to cry out to God for a revival, for a Third Great Awakening to be poured out on America. It will be a time of radical commitment and consecration.

Even if you can't attend - even if you don't totally agree with their approach - please consider joining your prayers with theirs, particularly during this time. Our country needs all the help it can get!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reminded Once Again

There's this person at work who's been driving me nuts for the last month or so. There's no need to get into all the gory details here, of course. Let's just say it seemed he was constantly interfering and trying to control. I've always had trouble getting along with controlling, interfering types — I'm far too independent for that — and I was getting really frustrated with him.

I had a meeting with him today. I was ready to be all over him. I even had stuff I'd printed out to document all the things he'd been doing wrong. Fortunately, I let him go first.

You know what?

Turns out he had no idea he was being such a jerk. He was completely unaware of how mad I was at him. He thought much better of me than I realized and was taken aback when he found out I thought he had a bad attitude toward me.

There were a few things that needed to be cleared up. I did have one or two legitimate complaints. But he's not a big green monster. A lot of the problem was my own misunderstanding. I just didn't have all the facts. I'd gotten emotional and let my imagination run loose. It ran in the wrong direction.

"Jerks usually don't know they're being jerks," Dad told me once. I didn't take him seriously at the time. The jerk in question should have known better, as far as I was concerned. That "jerk" and I are now getting along again as coworkers.

This isn't the first time I've had this happen. I realized a long time ago that my perceptions can be deceptive, and when my emotions start heating up this way, I need to be careful. No question, I've encountered a few truly nasty people. But most folks are just ordinary folks, and if I give them a chance, usually we can work things out.

Once again I'm reminded:

Don't jump to conclusions. And don't ever write people off until they prove they really deserve it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Fine Book Out Of Rome

I'm Protestant, but I decided long ago that I don't believe the Pope is the Anti-Christ. I think Catholics can be every bit as much true Christians as any Protestant, and I'd rather listen to a good priest than a bad minister. I don't agree with everything the Catholic Church teaches, but I have to say the same for every Protestant church I've ever attended. And I admire how the Catholic Church handles certain issues, such as abortion. Really, as far as I'm concerned, Catholicism is just another denomination.

This past weekend I finished a book that provides a wonderful example of what I mean: Can God Be Trusted?: Finding Faith in Troubled Times by Father Thomas D. Williams. Fr. Williams is a Vatican analyst for CBS News and a professor of theology at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome. Not exactly your everyday priest!

And yet I found this book through Crossings Book Club, a Protestant book club that I've belonged to for many years. I can't remember ever seeing them offer a book by a Catholic before.

This book's great! It's gentle, wise, balanced, and highly readable. It has a lot to say about God's love and grace, but also about our personal responsibility and our need to have a right understanding of what God does and doesn't promise. It emphasizes a key point that I've become keenly aware of in recent years: The Lord's blessings are largely contingent upon our obedience. There are numerous Bible references. There was one reference to a verse in the Apocrypha, but all the rest can be found in the same Bible that Protestants use. Fr. Williams quotes quite a few writings by Pope Benedict XVI and other Church fathers and saints, but that's to be expected and I didn't see anything to take issue with. I think this book is as sound as anything a Protestant might have written.

Considering where I found it, obviously I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Fr. Williams has a number of other books out there, which seem to be as highly regarded as this one. And some of his quotes from the Pope have piqued my interest too. Who knows, I may be reading more Catholic books in the future.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bush and the Iraq War: My Take

President George W. Bush and the Iraq War... Why did we go in? Was the invasion justified?

I really hadn't thought much about these things for quite awhile, until a recent discussion brought them to mind again. Then I became keenly aware of the condemnation being heaped on Bush. No WMDs were found, the war was a huge mistake, and we had no business going over there and disrupting the lives of the Iraqi people.

That's not what I remember!

Mulling it over later, I decided I needed a refresher. So I went on the Internet to see what I could find. Not surprisingly, there's enough out there to keep any historian happy for a lifetime. I'm not a historian though, and I just wanted a quick overview of some basic facts. So I headed to a couple of (to me) obvious sites. Below is some of what I found.

Wikipedia, the Internet's online encyclopedia, has a lot of information about the Iraq War. A couple of representative articles include "Rationale for the Iraq War" and "Iraq War". A scan of these shows that the reasons and issues surrounding the invasion were very complex. A couple of items from the second article that I want to point out include:
  • Hans Blix, the lead weapons inspector, said that "Iraq's declarations with regards to WMD still could not be verified."

  • And this: "After investigation following the invasion, the U.S.-led Iraq Survey Group concluded that Iraq had ended its nuclear, chemical, and biological programs in 1991 and had no active programs at the time of the invasion, but that they intended to resume production if the Iraq sanctions were lifted."
(That's what I find there as of this writing, anyway. Someone could come along and edit these articles later.)

And here's a list of articles I found at, a favorite news and opinion site. Notice their dates. I purposely looked for material from that time because I wanted to see what the thinking was back then, not what it is today.
  • WMD's by Emmett Terrell, June 19, 2003. Apparent evidence for their existence.

  • WMD's and the Iraq War by Mona Charen, June 24, 2003. Reasons for the invasion. Reasons why other countries can have WMDs but Iraq couldn't.

  • Discovering WMD by Robert Novak, August 9, 2003. Pending revelation of post-invasion successes in finding evidence of WMDs.

  • 'Just in time' WMD by Charles Krauthammer, October 10, 2003. More evidence and theorizing about what happened to Saddam's WMDs.

  • Who thought Iraq had WMD? Most everybody by Larry Elder, May 25, 2006. The title speaks for itself. It's interesting to note some of the names on the list, including foreigners and some notable Democrats.

  • The real story on WMDs needs to be told -- but carefully by Hugh Hewitt, June 22, 2006. More post-invasion evidence of WMDs. And terrorists were looking for them too.
OK, enough. I'm not trying to write a book!

Now, before I say anything else, let me say this: For purposes of this discussion, forget hindsight! What we now know, or think we know, is totally irrelevant here. Bush didn't have that information available to him then. He had to make his decision based on what was known and believed at that time.

It happens to all of us sooner or later, doesn't it? We have big decisions to make. We find out all we can, get advice, think long and hard... Then we make what seem to us to be the best choices, often with a lot of uncertainty. Later we realize that, despite our best efforts, we were wrong. Subsequent events provide new evidence; we find new information; or maybe we just grow up a bit and become a little wiser. Whatever the case, there's no point beating ourselves up over it. All we can do is learn what we can from our mistakes and then move on.

Why can't we extend the same charity to others? Including President Bush and all the other leaders who decided to invade Iraq?

So what are the facts?
  • The President of the United States is the Commander-In-Chief of the United States Armed Forces. Our national security is his number one responsibility. I'm sorry if this sounds cold, but the fact of the matter is that Bush's concern was us, not the Iraqis. The one who was supposed to be looking out for them was their own president, Saddam Hussein. That said, I'm sure most Americans realize that, with some exceptions, our military did go out of their way to avoid unnecessary harm to the Iraqi people.

  • The invasion was authorized by Congress. Congress voted its approval. That includes people who are now opposed to the war. (They have awfully short memories, don't they?)

  • The widespread belief at that time was that Saddam Hussein was a very real threat. That wasn't just Bush's personal opinion. Republicans, Democrats, and international leaders thought so too, and had suspected it for years. There were also intelligence and weapons inspection reports that seemed to confirm it.

  • Saddam Hussein's own behavior gave credence to those suspicions. I don't doubt he would have continued to be a problem for as long as he remained in power.

  • Have we really proven there were no WMDs? I don't think so. And even if there weren't any at that time, there's reason to believe Saddam would have tried to get them again when he thought he could get away with it.
So, should we have invaded Iraq or not? I don't know. I've never had a strong opinion about that one way or the other, and I still don't. What do I really know? I wasn't there. I didn't hear the discussions or read the intelligence reports. I don't know what went through President Bush's mind. I do know there were undoubtedly many factors which most people aren't aware of.

But one thing I don't question. George W. Bush is basically a decent man. Right or wrong, I believe he made this decision in good faith, based on the best judgment he could make, using the information he had available to him at that time.

I think the contempt he's getting now is unjust.

This past Saturday The Kansas City Star published a quote from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was Bush's ally and is now getting the same kind of flak from his own people. He said: "This isn't about a lie or a conspiracy or a deceit or a deception. It's a decision. And the decision I had to take was, given Saddam's history, given his use of chemical weapons, given the over 1 million people whose deaths he had caused, given 10 years of breaking U.N. resolutions, could we take the risk of this man reconstituting his weapons program or is that a risk it is responsible to take?"

Bush could have said that.

What if we hadn't invaded Iraq? Only God knows. Maybe Saddam Hussein would never have been more than an irritating gnat. But I wouldn't bet on it.

There's a fact of history that I find particularly haunting: Adolf Hitler could have been stopped much sooner than he was. But Europe was still recovering from the Great War — World War I — and wanted to avoid another conflict at any cost. European leaders tried to appease Hitler instead. Appeasement didn't work. It seldom does, not with that kind of evil. All it accomplished was to allow Hitler to keep going. You know the rest.

Bush didn't risk that mistake.

The photo is by Eric Draper and is in the public domain.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Word From Dutch Sheets

I'm on the mailing list of Dutch Sheets Ministries. For those of you who might not know of him, Dutch sheets is an author and visionary evangelist. Perhaps his best-known book is Intercessory Prayer, although he has several others that are well regarded. He's also a prayer warrior with a compelling desire to see revival and reform in America and around the globe. He's traveled extensively, leading prayer gatherings to usher in revival.

I had an email from DSM recently, and he's at it again. He's now on an Awakening and Reformation Tour. Here's what the Tour's website says, in part:

"We are convinced that awakening/revival is imminent for America. We believe this awakening will begin with the youth and young adults and then spread to all. God is waiting on us to hear His strategies and begin to light the fires for this awakening around the nation."

You may or may not agree with Dutch Sheets' theology. But there are three things I think most Christians can agree on:
  • This country is in trouble and needs help!

  • God is our hope.

  • Prayer and repentance is the way to bring His help.
Let's join our prayers with Dutch Sheets' team!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Financial Crisis: Consider This

I came across this editorial in the current weekly digital edition of U.S. News and World Report:

Who to Blame for the Financial Crisis by Mortimer B. Zuckerman

You might not agree with every detail in this editorial. But I think his overall point -- that there are no innocent players in this mess -- is well worth considering.

I read this magazine instead of Time and Newsweek because it seems to me a little more balanced and fair-minded.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Drama At the Bus Stop

I really wish I'd had my camera with me this afternoon. I'd love to share a picture of what I saw at the bus stop in front of my workplace. Well, I can describe it, anyway.

First, some background. The bus stop is on the north side of the building where I work. It's a cutout curb alongside a busy 4-lane city throughfare, with just enough room for two city busses. It's very clearly marked, with seats, a "Bus Stop" sign, and a "No Parking" sign. I don't know how anyone could mistake it for anything other than what it is.

Problem is, many employees use it as a drop-off and pickup point. A lot of the time there are private vehicles parked there, often several of them. Many times the busses can't use the bus stop the way they're supposed to. They can't pull up to the curb, so they have to stop in the traffic lane next to it. Result: blocked traffic, people walking in front of cars, riders struggling to get up and down from high steps that were designed to fit curbs.

And wheelchair users who need help boarding because they can't get down from the curb themselves. That's what I watched this afternoon. There's this one guy, an employee who uses a wheelchair because he's missing part of a leg. This afternoon two cars were in the way and his bus was forced to stop a whole lane away from the curb. I watched as another passenger helped him get his wheelchair down into the street and the driver put the bus's wheelchair ramp down right in front of a parked car. Then after he boarded, the driver had to get out — into the traffic lane on the other side of the bus — to manually start the ramp before he could get it to fold back into the bus.

Can you see the safety hazards here? Traffic, a blocked lane, parked cars that could move at the wrong moment, possible damage to the wheelchair when it went off the curb, possible injuries from several potential sources. I'm sure that isn't an exhaustive list.

At least this guy was in a basic wheelchair, relatively lightweight, and could help move himself. We have a couple of other employees who are even more disabled. They use heavy electric wheelchairs.

This is all because of people abusing a bus stop with a clearly posted "No parking" sign. They're supposed to go use the public garage across the street. Most of them know that — management has reminded them repeatedly. Sure, it requires a little bit of a walk, but they can go through a perfectly safe tunnel under the street, out of the weather and away from traffic. There are a few disabled employees who would have a real problem making that trip, and I don't begrudge them using the bus stop instead. But the rest? Hm?

Puh-leeze, folks! "No parking" signs are up there for a reason. Honor them! Park somewhere else. That little bit of extra exercise will be good for you. And you don't know what kind of trouble you won't be causing for someone else.

Monday, January 18, 2010

An Eyewitness Account From Haiti

My Sunday School teacher, Dan Hurst, sent out an email with this link today:

The Apparent Project Blog: "Everything that can be shaken will be shaken"

He said a friend sent it to him, and he wanted to share insight from it. I agree, it's very astute.

A comment from me: It seems to me the United States should sit up and take note of the warnings in the author's comments about why this happened. We're no better than Haiti, and no more immune to such things than they are. These things could happen to us? Darn right they could!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Meet My Boys

Here's a picture of my two little boys on their playgym in my office:

On the left is 5-year-old Joey. I got him when he was 4 months old, a rambunctious baby who got into everything. He still is! The one on the right is 10-year-old Petree. I got him when he was 5 years old. His previous owner named him after the flying dinosaur in the movie The Land Before Time. He's a reserved, dignified little character.

Both of them are Pied (or Harlequin) cockatiels. These are a type of parrot, native to Australia and related to the larger cockatoos. From beak to tip of tail, they're around a foot long.

These guys' personalities and intelligence are amazing! Anyone who uses "bird brain" derogatively to mean "stupid" has probably never gotten to know a parrot. And they're so different from each other. Petree is definitely an introvert. I think of him as a CPA — a certified public accountant — and imagine him dressed in a black suit and tie, carrying a black leather briefcase. He'd be happy crunching numbers in an office. Joey, on the other hand, is an adventurous extrovert and can be aggressive at times. He's also my little cuddlebun, wanting lots of attention and petting -- except near bedtime, when it seems he wants to avoid being put back in his cage. I sometimes think of him as a car salesman, complete with an orange plaid suit.

I've heard of cockatiels being described as perpetual two-year-olds. That sounds about right. I'm eternally amazed at how childlike animals are. These guys are generally sweet, but I've known them to have occasional tantrums, especially at bedtime!

Joey, by the way, is proof that aspirin is for the birds. Look at how he's climbed up and perched on that high seed dish. He couldn't do that last summer. His vet, an avian (bird) specialist named Julie, doesn't know what's wrong with him. Blood tests indicated inflammation, but that can come from a whole array of underlying causes and really didn't tell her anything. Some sort of autoimmune problem, maybe?

Julie suggested trying aspirin for a few days while she gave it some thought. The dosage: one standard unbuffered tablet dissolved in two cups of water, given in his water dish daily. The results were dramatic! He was showing marked improvement in less than 24 hours. After several months of daily aspirin, we agreed to reduce it to every other day. He seems to be doing fine with that. He still isn't 100%, but acts so much more like a normal bird.

We were going to reduce the aspirin further in December, but I couldn't tell for certain that he doesn't feel the difference on the days when he's off, so we decided to leave him on this dose permanently unless he starts having problems with it. Julie tells me that, as far as she can tell from the available literature, birds don't seem to have the kind of problems with aspirin that humans have.

Here are a few bird care pointers I've learned over the years:

  • Yes, definitely do keep their wings clipped! And even then, watch them -- they may still be able to fly enough to get into trouble. Petree in particular is smallish for a cockatiel, and therefore amazingly aerodynamic. I know, I know... They were made to fly. But so many birds escape because of this, and often the results are tragic. Besides, have you ever chased a flighted parrot that didn't want to come down off those high perches?

  • When you let them out of their cages, make sure you know where they are at all times. And let them know the floor is off limits. Yes, they're smart enough to learn that, and you don't have to make them understand why. If you lose sight of them, be very careful. It's too easy for a parrot, especially a small one like a cockatiel, to get stepped on or caught in the footrest of a recliner.

  • Let them out of their cages when you can. They like their freedom too! I've known my birds to get frustrated and angry when they didn't get enough out-of-cage time.

  • Parrots like to chew and destroy things. Don't try to stop them — that's their idea of play, and it's good for their beaks. Be very careful to keep them away from unsafe items, such as electrical cords, jewelry, and toxic plants. And watch out for your windowsills. You can find lots of safe bird toys at pet stores — lava rock, rope and string, leather, soft wood... Also look for toys that provide mental stimulation. One of Joey's favorites is a birdie noisemaker where he has to push buttons that light up.

  • Give them attention! And don't give up if a bird isn't tame. Gentle persistence will usually win out eventually. Petree wasn't used to being handled when I first got him, but now he likes to be petted as much as Joey does — sometimes — and has begun to ask for attention. Believe me, those neck feathers are wonderfully soft. And birds appreciate having the plastic-like coating rubbed off their new head feathers, which they can't reach to preen themselves. Just be careful not to be too aggressive. Those new feathers are tender when they first come in.

  • Yes, they bite. But often it's a means of self-expression, not aggression, and shouldn't be punished. Birds don't have hands, so they use their beaks as tools instead. Learn to know when your bird is expressing itself and when it really means to bite.

The Bird Channel and its Bird Talk Magazine are great sources for more information and news about birds and bird care.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Another Blogger's Thoughts: Jealousy

I've been following Kristine Kathryn Rusch's Freelancer's Survival Guide blog for a few months now. Today she has an entry on "Professional Jealousy." It's incisive, with wise advice. It applies to any kind of jealousy, not just professional jealousy.

Freelancer’s Survival Guide: Professional Jealousy

There were a couple of things that came into my mind as I was reading this:
  • Jealousy is included in pride. And pride plus rebellion was what turned Lucifer into Satan.
  • I've long suspected that the current tendency to expeect the government to play Robin Hood is, in many cases, really just jealousy masquerading as social justice.
At any rate, I think Rusch has given us a post that's worth thinking about!

Live long and prosper.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I've Been Using What?!

I was just about out of hand lotion — I'd been procrastinating and then forgetting when I was at the store. And it was too cold and dry for middle-aged skin to do without. So finally I grabbed something during a Saturday grocery shopping trip. I do mean grabbed — I was in a hurry and barely glanced at it. I saw "Olay," "Shea," and "Moisture," and that was all I needed. I hadn't used that product before, but I knew I liked Olay and I liked shea butter. Off to the checkout counter I went.

I started using it that night. Funny, it came out very liquid but then thickened and became hard to spread as soon as it hit the air. Note to self: I don't like this stuff, so get something else next time I'm in the store. But lotion is lotion, and I really didn't have anything else on hand, so I continued to use it.

It wasn't long before my skin let me know, in no uncertain terms, that it didn't like the stuff either. It rebelled. It turned red and angry. I popped into the drugstore to get something else first chance I got.

This was horrible stuff! How could a reputable company like Olay be selling something so terrible? Everyone needed to be warned! So I went to my favorite online drugstore site,, intending to write a scathing review.

That's when I finally took a good look at the bottle the stuff came in:

Body... WASH?!

I've been leaving... soap... on my skin?!

No wonder my skin's so unhappy. I'd have done better to use nothing at all.

Lesson relearned. Pay attention to labels. I know that, of course, but needed a reminder... A strong reminder.

I didn't post that scathing review. Actually, judging by other people's reviews, this is a popular product. But I don't intend to give it another chance either. I don't use body wash, not on purpose anyway. Besides, I'd have bad memories about it.

Talk about feeling like an idiot! I hope I'm not the only person who's done something so dumb...

The photo is from Olay's site,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Uh... Pink?

If you're a member of the African Violet Society of America,then you may have seen the semi-miniature "Irish Flirt" on its Honor Roll. That means this little beauty, with its white and green flowers, is widely considered to be one of the best African violet varieties available.

I bought a couple of Irish Flirt leaves last summer and grew a litter of babies from them. As usual, I've given most of them to friends, keeping just one for myself. Well, my little Flirt has recently had its first blooms. Here's a picture of what it looks like:

Pink and green? Hmmm...

African violets are known to sometimes sport, or mutate. And I'd heard of named sports. So I did a Web search to see if there's one for Irish Flirt. Sure enough, there is. It's called "Sassy Sister" and it looks just like mine.

So apparently what I have is a Sassy Sister, not an Irish Flirt. Will it stay that way? My guess is yes, but it'll be interesting to watch this plant in the months ahead.

I do like my Sassy Sister, but I still want a real Irish Flirt. I think I'll try again this spring.

By the way, the AVSA also has a list of named African violet sports. I notice several of my other plants are on this list. None of them have bloomed yet. I'll be watching to see if I have any more varieties-that-aren't.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Where I live in the Midwest, we normally get some snow every winter. But I have to say that what we've been getting since Christmas Eve is definitely more than "some"! Five or six inches at a time isn't too unusual, but we started with seven plus through Christmas Day, and have had several additional snowfalls since. No one seems to know the total, but I'm guessing somewhere around 18 inches. I've built up a fort around my driveway, trying to keep it cleared.

We did get one day of above-freezing temperatures early last week, though. Here's a picture showing one result at my place.

Someone told me that's the biggest difference between our area and places further north. They just get snow. We get a lot of ice. Is that true? Hm. Well, then, maybe Northerners shouldn't laugh when we Midwesterners whine about a few inches of the white stuff!

And the whining really has settled in. I've noticed on Facebook that quite a few of my family and friends are calling for spring already. I'm with them. Don't blame us — some years we don't get a whole 18 inches all winter! It makes me want to ask "What global warming?!"

I'm eyeballing the weather forecasts. If they pan out, maybe we'll get to see the grass again next week...

Keep warm and safe!

Friday, January 1, 2010

He Ain't Fussy!

It's a new year, and I'm making a fresh start at reading the New Testament. Last year I used one of those through-the-Bible-in-one-year Bibles, and found it a bit overwhelming to keep up with that much reading every day. So this year I'll try just the New Testament.

Today I started with Matt. 1:1-10, where Matthew gives Jesus' genealogy beginning with Abraham. Yep, that's one of those lists of "begats," except that in the New Living Translation the "begats" are updated to modern English. Not the most interesting stuff to read... usually.

I paid attention this time, though, and noted some interesting names on the list:

  • Tamar. She committed incest with her father-in-law, Judah, because he wouldn't marry her to his youngest son in fulfillment of his family responsibilities. (Gen. 38)

  • Rahab. She was a prostitute. She was the one who protected Joshua's two spies from the Canaanites, and was later spared when Jericho was destroyed. (Josh. 2, 6)

  • Ruth. She was a gentile, meaning not a Jew, not one of God's "chosen people". She herself was obviously a very fine lady. But she was from Moab, a highly idolatrous tribe descended from Lot's son / grandson Moab, who was the product of incest. (Book of Ruth; Gen. 19)

  • Manasseh. A descendent of David, he was probably the most evil king in the kingdom of Judah. God punished him and he did repent, but later the entire kingdom of Judah suffered because his sin was so great. (2 Kings 20, 21, 24:2-4)

That's the kind of people Jesus had in his lineage. A lot of the others were imperfect too. One thing I find particularly interesting is that, with the exception of Solomon's mother Bathsheba — who had issues of her own — the above three ladies are the only women mentioned in the list. Remember, this was a highly male-oriented society, and ancestry was mainly traced through the father.

Just think... That Almighty God, the most superior Being in all the universe, would join the human race at all is astounding enough. But to descend from such people? He could have arranged for his Son to have only top-quality people in his ancestry, but he didn't. He used ordinary folks, and folks who, even today, would still be considered low class. He ain't fussy!

I've asked God many times to show his love to me, and he really seems to have made quite a project out of that for about the last decade. He's brought myriad little things to my attention, things just like this. Sometimes he takes my breath away.

Well, folks, time to go. Happy New Year, and I hope you have a blessed 2010!