Monday, February 28, 2011

I'm Sick

Februar 28, 2011.

Outside my window...a pleasant, sunny spring day. The snow is melting.
I am thinking...I'm sick. I don't get sick very often, so when I do, I'm quite offended. I felt it coming on last Thursday. On Saturday, I was happy my voice held out when I spoke at the Ladies' Meeting. By the time Sunday came, I could only move my lips during the singing. I stayed home from church Sunday night because I was coughing. I'm off work tonight. I feel guilty, of course, since staffing is so bad these days, but I have no alternative. We have Leukemia patients who have no immunity. If I walk in there coughing, or speak in my hoarse voice, they'll freak out. I just hope I don't miss the whole week. I was supposed to work four nights.
I am thankful well the Ladies' Meeting went. We had a good study and discussion on Bathsheba.
From the kitchen...homemade chicken noodle soup and chicken pot pie. I tried a sauna and soup, but not much improvement. Time to drug up.
I am wearing...purple pants and a purple top.
I am reading...Her Name is Woman, Book One by Gien Karssen, as research for my talk on Mary.
I am see Kody again. He's the cutest puppy.
I am hearing...a cartoon; Phineas and Ferb. It's one of the funniest cartoons since Looney Tunes.
Around the mom is having quite a few medical tests and doctor's appointments. My eldest went back to Hamilton, my youngest is applying for summer jobs, my husband's work is going well, and I'm feeling 'blah'.
One of my favourite things...buying new books, especially when they're free. I just received a $50 gift card in the mail. I get it from collecting airmiles. This way I get to build my library for free. A little retail therapy might be just the thing to make me feel better today.
Some plans for the week...who knows? I'll have to take it one day at a time. If I'm off I'll try to write up my last message for the Ladies' meeting, on Mary. My youngest daughter is having a friend visit from out of town on the weekend.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Women in the Genealogy of Christ: Part Four: Bathsheba


The Bible
Her Name is Woman: Book One by Gien Karssen pg. 153-159
A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers pg.327-453
David by Charles Swindoll pg.162-189

Read 2 Samuel Chapter 11, Chapter 12: 1-25.

The Setting

-David has been King over Judah for over seven years. Now he is King over all Israel.
-Samuel the prophet is dead, as is his best friend, Jonathan and his great enemy, King Saul.
-David makes Jerusalem his capitol.
-He defeats the Philistines and brings the ark of God to Jerusalem.
-God promises David an everlasting dynasty.
-To this point, David was faithful toward God. He was a righteous king, treating his subjects fairly. Over and over the Lord confirmed He was with David. The name of the God of Israel became highly respected among the nations around Israel.
-David shows mercy to Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s only remaining relative, keeping covenant faithfulness to Jonathan.
-War ensues with the people of Ammon.
-The capitol of Ammon was Rabbah, and David sent Joab to besiege it. In N.T. times it was called Philadelphia, and today it is Amman, Jordan.
-Military campaigns were waged during the Spring, because the winter rains were past and the busy harvest had not yet begun.

Who are the Players in this Story?

Uriah the Hittite

-Uriah is a Hebrew name, meaning ‘the Lord is my light.’
-He was the husband of Bathsheba. They apparently had no children, possibly due to his long absences due to military duties.
-He is listed among David’s mighty men (2 Samuel 23:39). He is listed last, as a poignant reminder of David’s greatest sin.
-He proves to be nobler drunk than David is sober. He has concerns only for his fellow soldiers still in the heat of battle. He will not relax and be comfortable, nor will he take pleasure with his wife, even though he is back home for a brief respite.

King David

-David sent Joab on his military campaign, and there is some criticism of David for staying behind.
-How often do we fall into sin simply because we’re either not where we should be, or we’re somewhere we shouldn’t be?
-Also note how many examples there are in Scripture and in life of mature believers who stumble into sin. We get over confident. Paul says, “Beware lest any man thinks he stand, lest he fall.”
-The idleness was not good for David.
-“he arose from his bed”—his luxury is in marked contrast to Joab and his men. Vs. 11
-He couldn’t sleep so he took a walk on his flat roof. His palace was up on a hill, overlooking the city.
-From there he saw a woman named Bathsheba bathing.
-Re-read vs. 2. It doesn’t say she was bathing on her roof, but that from his roof, he saw her bathing, perhaps through an open window.
-Men are stimulated visually, and he wanted what he saw.
-David inquired about her.
-The servant told him her name, and that she was married to one of his best soldiers.
-This news should have deterred him, but it didn’t.
-After this, Bathsheba is referred to only as the wife of Uriah, to emphasize the impropriety of David’s actions.
-David sends for her, she arrives as summoned, and he sleeps with her.
-Soon after, she sends him a message that she is pregnant.
-The Bible gives us no doubt as to the paternity of the child. She had been cleansed from her impurity. Her menstrual period was over and she was probably ovulating.
-She leaves it up to David as to what to do with the news.
-We see here the development of sin. James 1: 14, 15
-What began as David’s dereliction to duty, progressed through his lust, to coveting, adultery, and murder.
-David broke four of the commandments: coveting his neighbour’s wife, adultery, murder and lying.
-At this point, what might have happened if the sin had been confessed?
-Instead, David attempts to cover up his sin and let everyone think Uriah is the father.
-Plan A: To do that, he summons him back from the battlefield, supposedly to get a first hand report.
-You see here the abuse of his power, first in summoning Bathsheba to him, and now Uriah, for this unnecessary report.
-He asks him a few pointless questions, then sends him home to his wife. He follows it up with a royal meal for their romantic evening.
-But Uriah wouldn’t go.
-David was not pleased, but he couldn’t order him to go home.
-Plan B: He keeps him in town, invites him to dinner and gets him drunk, but Uriah proves to be nobler drunk than David sober.
-Again, Uriah doesn’t go home.
-It’s not likely that Uriah was suspicious of anything. He explains his reasons to David.
Some people believe Uriah did suspect something, based on his mild rebuke of David about being at ease and taking pleasure with his wife.
-Plan C: Having failed to cover up the pregnancy in this way, David decides to do something extreme; take Uriah out of the picture, so he can have Bathsheba all to himself.
-At this point, David already has several wives.
-The irony is that Uriah ends up carrying his own death warrant to the man who will see that he’s killed.
-I believe he really was duped.
-David sends the orders to his general, Joab, who is only too willing to help.
-Joab was a violent man anyway, but he may have thought to have something to one day hold over David. This kind of knowledge is power. I doubt he was just being a dutiful soldier, following orders.
-Joab does as requested, putting Uriah in a dangerous situation, and then abandoning him there, so it would appear he died in battle; not unheard of for a soldier fighting in a war.
-Joab sends a messenger in response, along with instructions on how he is to break the news to the King, making it seem like, ‘oh, and by the way, Uriah the Hittite died also.’
-When David hears, he is cynical and almost seems to console his partner in crime. Vs.25 He is callous, not even concerned that Uriah would not have been the only man who died that day as a result of his sin.
-David allows Bathsheba the customary mourning period (only a week), and then he sends for her and marries her. She gives birth to a son some time later.
-Most people can count to nine. They would have had some suspicions about this new wife and her “honeymoon pregnancy”.
-For nine months, David keeps this to himself. Did he feel any guilt? Did he have questions from his other wives? Did Bathsheba have any qualms about the situation? If there was any internal conflict, it is not recorded, although many people think some of the psalms (Psalm 32:3-5) reveal his internal anguish at this time of his life.
-God was not pleased. He sends Nathan the prophet to David.
-Nathan must have had a sleepless night, wondering how to confront David.
-Nathan decided to tell a story. As with most good fiction, it can teach something without us being aware of it. How different if he had said, “David I’m ashamed of you.” This way, “Nathan had the sword an inch away from his conscience before David even realized Nathan had a sword.” Charles Swindoll.
-Nathan showed great courage in confronting David.
-When David pronounced judgment on the fictional scoundrel, he was actually passing judgment on himself. He would restore fourfold. Four of his sons would die: the first baby by Bathsheba, and then Amnon, Absalom and Adonijah would die violent deaths.
-Most people don’t want to be rebuked or corrected. David, at this point, probably thought he had gotten away with it, and was not expecting to be exposed.
-In the usual manner of prophetic judgment speeches, he begins with an accusation, then reminds David of God’s providence. He asks an accusing question and then gives the indictment. He concludes with the judgment and penalties corresponding to the crime. 12:7-11
-“You have killed Uriah” 12:9 Because of David’s murder by proxy, he is as guilty as if he had murdered Uriah by his own hand.
-David immediately repents. He does not deny it or minimize what he has done. I’m sure he also felt relief to not have to carry around his guilt.
-David recognizes that his sin, although it was against both Uriah and Bathsheba, was ultimately against God himself. Psalm 51
-Further, he would face public shame, even though he did his sin in secret.
-The reason is given in 12:14 ...“because of this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme.”
-God is concerned foremost with His glory, and sometimes, if we show contempt for His reputation, He will stop us in our tracks.
-Their child dies and David begins to see the terrible consequences of his actions.
-After this, a reprieve in judgment for a time. David and Bathsheba comfort each other, and Solomon is born. The other judgments happen a few years later.
-“Because David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.”
1 Kings 15:5


-a beautiful, young married woman.
-the daughter of Eliam, the son of Ahithophel ( 23:34) who was one of David’s most trusted advisors.
-because of this event, Ahithophel betrays David and supports Absalam’s attempted coup.

-What was Bathsheba’s role in this drama? Was she an innocent young woman, going about her business, and merely responding to a summons from an all-powerful King? Or does she deserve any blame for what happened between her and David?
-I personally, don’t think she was innocent, for the following reasons:

1) She was not an inexperienced young girl. She was a married woman who was aware that men were stimulated visually.
2) She was not a heathen, ignorant of the laws of God. She came from a family where His name had been honoured.
3) She didn’t live in immoral surroundings. She was married to a man of discipline and high moral standards who was loyal to the King. Both her husband and father were included in the list of David’s 37 mighty men, and her grandfather was David’s advisor.
4) She knew the character and reputation of the King, who was well known for his righteous life.
5) There is no record of David forcing himself on her, as Amnon does his sister in chapter 13. If it happened that way, I think it would have been recorded.
6) There is no record of any protest on the part of Bathsheba. Yes, having received a summons from the palace, as a subject she had to obey. But compare her actions to those of Joseph with Potiphar’s wife. He refused her and headed for the hills. More specifically, with David, Abigail appealed to David and he heeded her advice to avoid murder. He praised Abigail for her wisdom in stopping him from doing wrong. I think if Bathsheba had said anything, it would have been recorded. One hint from her probably would have been enough to prevent disaster.
7) Not an excuse, but possible extenuating circumstances were that she was a young, beautiful woman who was no doubt lonely due to her husband’s long absences due to military campaigns. She was probably flattered to have caught the attention of the King, a powerful and handsome man. As I said, not an excuse, but these may have been the factors in Bathsheba’s character weakness. Often there is a cocktail of factors all combining together at once to lead to sin. She may not have been an instigator in the events about to develop, but neither was she a mature believer, concerned about God’s reputation.

-According to the law, “The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.”(Lev. 20:10) both Bathsheba and David should be put to death.
-Yet God forgives them. Think about that! David was getting away with murder. He had broken four of the commandments.
-This is grace. This is mercy. On what grounds does God forgive them? Because He’s feeling generous that day? No! All Old Testament saints are saved the same way that N.T saints were, and that we Christ. In the O.T. they looked forward to the coming Messiah who would pay the price so their sin could be covered once for all. We look back on the finished work of the cross. You could say that the O.T. saints are saved on credit. The bill would be paid by Christ. 1 Cor. 10:1-4.
-That’s why David could rejoice and say, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven. Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity. and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” Psalm 32:1, 2

-Although the story of Bathsheba is more of a cautionary tale of what NOT to do, it is nevertheless an encouragement to those who feel their sins are beyond the reach of God’s forgiveness.
-We all have secret sins that we’re glad no one knows about but God. If an event from your life was written down and discussed and dissected for thousands of years, we wouldn’t be remembered well. We’ve known the shame of having some of the things we’ve done exposed publicly, as David and Bathsheba have. Public humiliation is hard to bear, especially when we realize we brought it on ourselves. They were not being slandered. Their sin was real. The facts were right there. We are also truly guilty, but only until our sins have been brought to the cross and confessed. Then our guilt is taken away.
-The freedom of having your sins forgiven by one who knows them all, even the secret sins, is liberating. It’s what gives the Christian true joy!
-Christianity is not about feeling guilty; it’s about living a life of freedom and joy because we know that God will never hold our sins against us, because He has punished them in Christ.
-“As far as the east is from west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
Psalm 103:12 (Read vs. 8-18). If you walk north, eventually you’ll be going south, or vice versa. But if you go east, you’ll keep going east, or if you go west, you’ll keep going west. That’s why this is a beautiful picture of how God doesn’t bring up our sins against us.
-So we see that David is told God forgives him. What about Bathsheba? Could she ever move past this event? She suffers the death of their first child. She must deal with the gossip and disdain of the rest of David’s family, his wives and grown sons. Does God forgive her?
-See chapter 12: 24, 25 Bathsheba is comforted by David, she is now referred to as David’s wife, God grants her conception and she gives birth to Solomon. God sends Nathan the prophet to encourage her by saying his name is Jedidiah, which means ‘the LORD loved him’. Further, of all of David’s sons, Bathsheba seems to instruct Solomon in his faith, as he mentions many times in Proverbs, and it is Bathsheba’s son, Solomon who succeeds David on his throne. 1 Kings 1:25-35
-Some say Bathsheba even had the honour of crowning Solomon (Song of Solomon 3:11).

For Discussion:
-Questions or comments?
-Discuss that God will forgive our sins, but there may still be consequences, i.e. sex outside of marriage, may result in pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, broken relationships, or a bad marriage. There is always emotional baggage as well.
-Do you think Uriah suspected anything?
-Do you think David really got away with murder? Or did he and his family suffer for that one night of pleasure?
-How do you feel about Bathsheba’s role in this event?
-Do you think these things can ‘just happen’?
-Discuss the fall of someone in church leadership.
-Discuss the confidence of being a mature believer, and its dangers.
-Discuss being in the wrong place in relation to sin and temptation.
-Read 1 Cor. 10:13 What were some ‘ways out’ for David? For Bathsheba?
-What do you think of Bathsheba’s response to her husband’s death? Do you think she suspected David of anything? After it all comes out, do you see any evidence in Scripture that she thought less of David, or held it against him?
-Bathsheba left it up to David to take care of ‘the problem.’ Do you think she was looking to David to cover for her sin?
-How do we respond when we are confronted about our actions or words or choices?
-It’s easier to see sin in someone else’s life more than our own. When you see your sin, do you hide it, handle it or confess it? Psalm 139: 23,24 1 John 1:9
-Discuss the death of their first child.
-Read Romans 8:1,2
-Restoration. Read Galatians 6:1,2 Our role in restoring others.
-Bathsheba and David’s further children 1 Chronicles 3:4b-5—four sons
-David made Solomon king 1 Kings 1: 11-14, 28-31, 47,48.
-Her ultimate blessing-Matt. 1:1-16.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


February 22, 2011.

Outside my window...mild, and not as cold or dark these days. Spring, are you there?
I am thinking...Typical Canadian justice system. They give a murderer doing a life sentence an unescorted day pass, and he doesn't return. Why would he have a day pass of any kind? Next we'll hear he re-offended. I hope they catch him soon.
I am thankful for...having my family home for the week. It's spring break for my daughters. I just finished five nights off, and of course, it went too fast. We had dinner out at the Keg, went shopping with the girls at the Eaton Centre and saw the movie, Unknown. My husband cooked supper a few nights this past week. He's very kind that way and it was much appreciated. It's the little things that matter.
From the kitchen...linguine and shrimp.
I am wearing...jeans and a green sweater.
I am reading...Unafraid by Francine Rivers.It's about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and it's background research for my next talk at the Ladies' meeting, on the women in the genealogy of Christ.
I am see some improvement in staffing at work. These new changes are making it sooooo busy and unsafe. I hope management will listen to our concerns. I was awake two hours last night worrying about it, and I'm not usually a worrier, so I was extra annoyed to lose sleep over it. I've always enjoyed my job; not so much now.
I am hearing...the train. I met a nurse I had seen around at my hospital waiting at the same station, so we griped about the staffing issues.
Around the husband's job is going well; less day-to-day stress. My youngest spent the day in court today. She wants to be a lawyer, and was invited by a relative of a friend to spend the day with him in Plea court. He's an Ontario court Justice in Newmarket. She even had lunch with the judges. My eldest is home all week, getting her dental and hair appointments out of the way, since she lives out of town. Her housemate is coming over to our house tomorrow with their new puppy, Kody. She refers to him as our grandpuppy. I'm looking forward to meeting him. I've had some productive writing days this week.
One of my favourite things...that my kids show an interest in my writing. My eldest asked me to read my story on Finland, aloud to her. We both cried at a poignant father-daughter moment. Those get me every time, even if I'm the one who wrote them.
Some plans for the three busy nights. Attend a dinner party Friday night. I'ts Nova Scotia themed (seafood). Speak on Bathsheba on Saturday morning. Church on Sunday. College and Careers meeting on Sunday night. Start all over the next day.

Monday, February 14, 2011


February 14, 2011.

Outside my window...the snow began melting this morning, but this evening there's a wicked cold wind.
I am thinking...there are some unpleasant changes at work, that may become permanent. I may have to start working weekends. I'm still too upset to talk about. I hope it doesn't happen
I am thankful husband. It's Valentine's Day today, but every Friday he buys me roses, and he has for the past ten years or so, so I feel loved every day.
From the kitchen...Louisiana chicken wings, fries, carrot sticks.
I am wearing...purple workout pants and a purple top.
I am reading...Sweet Devotion by Felicia Mason.
I am hoping...the union can sort out this weekend opening mess and shut it down, or at least delay it.
I am hearing...many conversations on a full train.
Around the house...on Friday night, we went out to eat at a Japanese restaurant, and then we had my mother-in-law come over after work for a hot tub. Saturday was a pajama day and I got a lot of writing done. I finished Bathsheba for the Ladies' meeting and worked on my Scarlet Thread project. We used the sauna twice, I worked out, and church was good on Sunday. My mother had tears in her eyes during, In Christ Alone, "no guilt in life, no fear in death", and the message was about being close to the kingdom, but not in it. Oh, Lord, please save my Mom!
One of my favourite things...seeing my W.I.P.'s (works-in-progress) printed out. I have a giant pile of eight fictional projects and the one tiny non-fiction project. To look at it, you'd think it would make more sense to complete one of the fictional stories, but nah! Although I almost wanted to hug my manuscripts. I feel like I've missed my old friends. I love each of my stories for different reasons, like my kids.
Some plans for the three nights, clean, shop, and then spend the weekend with our girls. They have the same spring break so we'll do mani-pedi's, movie, eating out, museum and whatever else we can squeeze into the weekend. I don't work till Tuesday night.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fiction vs. Non-Fiction

As much as I enjoy writing fiction, I think my easiest writing is non-fiction. I especially like writing devotionals or Bible study materials, book reviews, memoirs and journalling.
I have so many ideas, my problem seems to be completing a project. That's the discouraging part. If I can't ever complete a story, whether fiction or non-fiction, I'll never move beyond writing for the sake of writing. I know that very few get published, and that I would still write regardless, but I have to admit that being a published author is a dream I've had since childhood. I just have to pick a project and finish it.
Of my fiction W.I.P's (works-in-progress), I feel most connected to the story set in WW2 Finland. My problem is plot, which is kind of the point of fiction, isn't it? You're supposed to have a story to tell. That setting has so much potential material and I have so many scenes already in my head. Finland's story needs to be told. I just need compelling characters and a plot for it to go somewhere. I could probably use a brainstorming session with a friend.
For non-fiction, I would like to work on my memoirs. Stop laughing. I know I'm not famous, and I haven't done much that's noteworthy, but I would like to put my memories on paper while I still remember them. Perhaps some future descendant will find them interesting. I wish I had something like that from my late father, but I digress.
The other non-fiction W.I.P. that I feel has some promise is the one I started two weeks ago, called Jesus Christ: the Scarlet Thread of the Bible. I have always loved those songs or recitations of all the books of the Bible, showing how Christ is represented in each one. But I see He's represented in more than one way in several books. I've started a devotional series looking at some of the ways Christ is hidden or hinted at in the books of the Bible. It's a huge project, and as I researched, I saw it wasn't an original thought. However, I'm not trying to do a scholarly work, although because I enjoy Theology, I would like to go in-depth. I think, though, that I'll keep it to a brief overview of each; say one or two pages, and just do a devotional style on all the types and shadows I find.
I think my unique voice comes out in my writing, even in non-fiction. I'm also finding such a blessing in the process. As much fun as writing inspirational romance is, I'm loving this series of Bible studies even more. So, a decision needs to be made. To hunker down and complete one of my writing projects this year was one of my goals. Now I have to decide whether it will be fiction or non-fiction.
Okay, I think I'm leaning to the Scarlet Thread project. Thanks for listening. You've helped me come to a decision.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Bathroom Bill

February 7, 2011.

Outside my window...snowy, but not too cold. Another cold snap is headed our way tomorrow. Is winter over yet?
I am thinking...the Canadian government is close to passing a private member's bill, referred to as the Bathroom Bill, because it will allow anyone with 'gender issues' access to the washroom of the opposite sex. It will also include gender identity and gender confusion as human rights and will add them to the criminal code under hate laws. This will open the door to spurious claims of discrimination if they are not allowed into dorms or washrooms, either dressed as the opposite sex, or not. I saw this coming back when they changed the definition of marriage. Now anything goes, and if you dare speak against it, you're the one with the problem. I'm afraid this law will probably pass, but I wrote to my M.P. regardless.
I am thankful for...daughters who are saved. This week my husband had a change at work and he was a little nervous about it. When he woke up, my daughter had left post-it notes with encouraging Bible verses on them for him. There's nothing better than that!
From the kitchen...shrimp and okra soup (see recipe under Soups), because it was just me and my husband for supper tonight.
I am wearing...purple work out pants, a white top, and a grey cardigan.
I am reading...David by Charles Swindoll.
I am finish up my Bathsheba message by the weekend, so I can start on the one on Mary.
I am hearing...the train, and people from an HR department discussing how to fill out forms.
Around the husband led his first Lord's supper as an Elder, yesterday. I was in the nursery, but managed to get upstairs in time for most of it. My eldest's housemate got a puppy named Kody. He's an Australian Shepherd/Labrador Retriever mix and he's very cute and shy. Now she's begging for us to get one. Not likely. My youngest is dealing with friends who have serious life issues. She's so sensitive and takes everything so hard, but wants to be there for her friends. I went to the dentist and then for a workout this morning. It needed to be done, but it made my Monday more meh! Isn't that a great word?
One of my favourite things...scents in the hot tub. We got juniper/basil/cypress and it smells so fresh. We also got snowed on while we were in there. It's the best.
Some plans for the four nights. Hopefully get more writing done this weekend. Maybe have guests over on Sunday.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Theology: The Study of God

Read Psalm 19 and Romans 1:18-32

Theology has been called the queen of sciences because there is no greater topic to study than God Himself. But unlike other sciences, in theology, we sit under our Subject, waiting to learn what He will reveal about Himself; for it is by revelation that we know anything at all about God. We can’t put Him under a microscope; such a God wouldn’t be worthy of worship.
How do we know anything at all about God? First, He has revealed Himself in creation. We see that in Psalm 19. We see His power and goodness, His design and providence. Throughout the world, no matter the language, the book of creation shouts that God exists, but men willingly suppress this knowledge.
Knowing that God is Creator leaves us without excuse that He exists, but it doesn’t tell us how to get right with this God. For that we need another book; the Bible; the written Word of God. It’s here that we hear the bad news that man sinned, and we hear from story after story the tragic effects of that fall. We also see God’s mercy, forgiveness and love demonstrated throughout history again and again.
We see the arrival of the Person of the Son of God, the promised Deliverer. This is the good news. Gospel means ‘good news’. We read about His perfect life and the defeat of sin on the cross of Calvary.
In the letters, or epistles, we learn the implications of the life of Christ on the life of the believer. Finally, we get a glimpse of things to come, when we are finally free from sin forever. Christ came to deliver us from the penalty of sin, the Holy Spirit was sent to save us from the power of sin, and when we get to Heaven, we’ll be free from the presence of sin. Done, done and done!
That’s why it’s worthwhile to study theology. In studying our great Subject, we learn to know Him personally, as He reveals more and more of Himself. He is a truly inexhaustible subject, and we’ll be forever learning new things about Him throughout eternity. It’s like the gospel is a multi-faceted diamond. Every way you look at it, you see something you haven’t seen before, and it is amazing!
If I were a castaway on a deserted island and could have only one book, I would choose the Bible. If you take any other book, it’s always the same; but the Bible is alive. It keeps revealing more new things about God every time we read it.
Life is short, and even if we were to study God’s Word our whole life, we could only conclude that there is still so much to know that we don’t even know how much we don’t know.
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” John 21:25

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Games People Play

Growing up, we didn't have many toys. That's one of my poor girl stories I always tell my kids. They say "Yes, Mom we know, you only had a soap dish with a hole in it."

I had no Barbies, but my sister had two and wouldn't share. I had no cars, but my sister had two Matchbox cars and wouldn't share. Do I sound bitter?

We would get an occasional board game for Christmas. We had Monopoly, but I never liked it because it was endless and I always lost to my sister. We had Sorry, Trouble, and Don't Spill the Beans, which had a pot and you loaded one kidney bean at a time until it fell one way or the other. It was a rather pointless game and eventually the beans were scattered thoughout our perpetually messy, shared attic bedroom. We also had Yahtzee and Probe, which was some kind of language game.

I had a few dolls. One early one was the Drowsy Doll, she had pink polka dot pajamas and sleepy eyelids. If you pulled her string, she said eight different things, like. "I'm tired," or "Mommy, cover me up." My mom gave it away thinking I was too old to play with dolls. I was heartbroken.

I was sent a Finnish doll from my grandmother in Finland. She was dressed in traditional clothing and had brown curly hair and looked like my mom. But I wasn't allowed to play with her as she was just a decoration.

Then I had another pretty doll with blonde curly hair. She was a favourite. One day I came home to find it, too was given away. This time to a daughter of a co-worker who was visiting. I was heartbroken again, and angry, too. As if I had so many toys I could stand to part with them!

One of my favourite Christmas presents was around the age of eleven, when I got a chalkboard on a stand. At this age we played school a lot and wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. That Christmas Eve night, I stayed up late playing with it. At the time, I thought it must have been expensive, but it was more that we were poor.

In the bathtub, I had no toys. I used the soap dish as my boat. Unfortunately, it had a hole in it, so it became a submarine. Maybe that's when my love for submarines began! I'm trying to gain insight here, people. Stay with me.

We didn't have any craft games, either, except my sister had a Spirograph, but I wasn't allowed to use it much. We had colouring books on rare occasions. My sister was given a paint by numbers set as a gift, but I never had one. Man, the more I think about it, the more deprived I feel. I feel cheated all over again.

Since we didn't have much to play with inside, there was this place called Outside, and there was a lot to do out there. We had a large group of kids in the neighbourhood and most of us could play outside until the street lights came on. That was the signal, whether my mom was home or not. Usually she worked in a restaurant in the evenings.

We played kick-the-can on rare late nights, or hide-n-seek with a two block limit. It was a drag being "IT". That meant we would roam through laneways behind houses or cut through people's yards. I guess we weren't very sensitive to the idea of private property.

We also played Red Rover, Green green red, Mother May I?, Frozen Tag (Statue), Simon Says, British Bull Dog, and War. I loved War. Maybe I was a closet megalomaniac and loved the power.

We didn't have much in the way of sporting equipment. My sister had marbles. If I ever had them, I lost them to her in a game. We had a rubber ball, which occupied us much at home and school, playing sing-song games against walls, like Meemies-Tabapsies. We also had a game where you put the ball into the foot of a leg of old panty hose and stood with your back to the wall and banged it around at various points around you as you sang a song. At least, we were only allowed to use old ripped up panty hose, but other kids would buy new ones for that purpose. We also played hop scotch if anyone had chalk, or we'd use a stick and play in the gravel driveway.

I asked for a skipping rope, but only ever got a single skip rope. The girls at school would have the long ropes for double-dutch and we spent many recesses occupied with those games, particularly in grades 5-8. Our other favourites were dodge ball and clapping games like Concentration or Categories. We also made cootie-catchers, but I don't recall if we had a name for them. They were the folded paper things that had numbers and answers in them and they were the deciding factor in disputes, or the answer to any question posed to them.

For baseball, my sister had a glove. I only had a glove from Finnish baseball, or pesapallo. I hated standing out, but having such an odd thing when every one else had a regular baseball glove certainly did that. It had a pocket that sat at the top of your fingers, so you had to try to miss the palm of your hand to catch it in the pocket on top. If the ball hit the palm of your hand it would hurt, because there was no padding on it.

I think we had, or my sister had, a frisbee, which she occasionally shared. She also had a hula hoop and kerplunkers, which were large marbles attached by a string at the top and you let them smack against each other. It was kind of a dangerous toy. She also had a slinky, silly putty, play-doh and a yo-yo. Are you sensing a pattern here, as well, or is it just me?

I had some hand-me-down skates and cross-country skiis. I had a mediocre bike. Whenever the police constables would come to school to do a community safety check, my bike would always fail, but I couldn't afford the upgrades, like a light, or a basket, or extra reflectors. Of course, helmets weren't required back then, but I can recall several incidents where one would have been useful.

The neighbourhood kids would play outside all summer, playing baseball on the street, instead of in a park. We would yell, Car! like kids who play street hockey. We would lose our ball to the neighbourhood crabby lady, who would come outside in her dressing gown, and if it landed in her yard, she'd confiscate it and say, "It's mine, now!" But we would get her back by 'knick-knocking', as we called it. Late at night, we'd either knock on her door or ring the doorbell, and then run away. Mischievous, I know.

We also had a deck of cards and our mom taught us several versions of Solitaire, and Rummy 500. With our friends, we played Go Fish, War, and many other games whose names I don't recall. A deck of cards was cheap entertainment.

I think we needed less entertainment than kids today. We had to use our imaginations. Also, it helped to have such a large group. We didn't seem to fight or need an adult to direct us. And we had that great place called "Outside" that was always available. In winter, we'd go tobogganning or skating at the local homemade rink at school or at the park. We occasionally played in playgrounds. We preferred to play group games with the neighbourhood kids.

Finnish Strawberry Shortcake

This is my favourite variation of this cake, but you can use any fresh or canned fruit. Canned mandarin oranges are also nice.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and sugar glass lasagna pan, or two round cake pans but decrease baking time by about five minutes.

Using 3 equal sized glasses side by side, break 5 eggs into one glass, then measure out an equal amount of sugar and flour into the other glasses.
Add 1/2 tsp. vanilla to the eggs. Beat together the eggs, vanilla and sugar with a hand mixer. Add the flour and 1 tsp. baking powder.
Add 1/2 cup melted margarine.

Bake approx. 30 minutes until golden brown. Divide lengthwise. Boil 1/2 cup water and dissolve 2 tbsp. strawberry jam in it, or use the juice in the can of mandarin oranges to soak the top of the bottom layer. Top with fresh whipped cream and sliced strawberries. Add top layer of cake, cover with whipped cream and more berries.

Hassleback Potatoes

One of our families' favourite ways to eat potatoes. Very nice side dish to ribs or chicken. Smells wonderful as it cooks and is very inviting to guests.

Peel and slice potatoes into small pieces. Use your favourite type of potato.
Melt margarine and brush on potatoes.
Mix: Bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese and seasoned salt.
Sprinkle on potatoes.
Bake in a shallow dish with a small amount of water. Bake uncovered for approximately one hour at 350F. Brush occasionally with melted butter. Serve with sour cream as a condiment.

Chili Con Carne

Prepare two regular size cans of tomato soup or one family size tin, with the required water, in a large pot.
Brown 1 lb. hamburger; drain fat. Add pepper. Saute one onion. Add meat and onion to soup. Add 3 tbsp. chili powder. Add 2 cans red kidney beans. Bring to a boil, then simmer 45 minutes until thickened. Cut recipe in half for family of four. This serves 8-10 people. Also nice to add sauteed mushrooms and can of corn. Serve with salad and crusty bread. Top chili with cheddar cheese or a dollop of sour cream. We also like it topped with cheddar cheese and served with nacho chips on the side, for dipping. May be frozen.

Macaroni and Cheese Bake

1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cups cooked elbow macaroni
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Boil macaroni, strain. Prepare cheese sauce. Top with bread crumbs and parmesan and a little more cheddar cheese. Bake in an uncovered casserole dish.
Makes four servings. Prep time 15 minutes. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes.

Pina Colada Punch

1 can frozen pina colada mix
1 can water
1 can frozen apple juice
1- 2 litre bottle of ginger ale

Cream of Leek Soup

Slice one large leek into 1/4 inch pieces. Boil leeks in 1-1/2 to 2 cups water. Save water. Add 3 tbsp. flour to 2 cups milk. Add 1 pkg. chicken base to milk. Combine leeks, water and milk. Salt to taste. Simmer.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

These are both pretty and rich and delicious. A fun thing to bring to a party or pot luck.

1 8 oz. pkg of cream cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten,
1/3 cup sugar
pinch salt

Add 6 oz. pkg of chocolate chips to above mixture and set aside.

1- 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix second set of ingredients together well, Fill lined muffin tins 1/3- 1/2 full. Drop a large spoonful of the cheese mixture on top. Makes 18.
Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes.