Sunday, November 25, 2012

“Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Outside my window...cold. We had our first snowfall yesterday, but it has since melted.
I am husband has been sick for almost four weeks. Still coughing. Probably bronchitis He’s got antibiotics but it’s still hanging on. I tried to make him take a homemade cough syrup I found on Pinterest, made of cayenne pepper, ginger, honey, apple cider vinegar and water. He took it twice, but no more. I’m not usually one for home remedies, but nothing else seemed to be working.
I am hoping...these body aches, headache, and exhaustion aren’t the beginning signs of that illness going around. “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” (You gotta see that on Youtube). No, really. I don’t have time to be sick. I’m hoping the flu shot will lessen the severity of whatever is coming.
I am thankful for...Advil for my body aches.
From the kitchen...roast beef, oven roasted potatoes, baby carrots.
I am hearing...the fan on our fireplace. It’s so loud we hardly use it. I’m all bundled up and drinking tea.
I am wearing...p.j.’s since I just had a two hour Sunday afternoon nap.
I am reading...Ezekiel. Trying to catch up with my Bible reading on my kindle. Such a busy month. I tend to get stymied when I get to Ezekiel in my Bible reading plan. He’s so hard to understand. I’m going to tell him that when I meet him.
Around the house...I decked my halls yesterday, but we decided to wait two weeks for the tree, since we’re getting a real one, and we’re away next weekend and don’t want needles dropping.
One of my favourite things...fresh flowers and Norfolk pines.

Some plans for the four nights. Last week I ended up only having to work three nights, but Wednesday in particular was crazy busy with a very sick patient. Finish up my Christmas letter and get it printed. Send a Christmas parcel to a Christian soldier in Afghanistan. He’s been home from Iraq for over a year. He especially loves my mom’s Finnish gingersnaps, so I’m sending a tin of them. His wife and daughter live in the western U.S. I chose a topic for the Women of Faith Christmas brunch, and I will also do a Christmas themed game of Jeopardy. My eldest daughter has a job interview on Monday for social work in her area. Then we'll travel to London, Ontario for our Finnish side family Christmas celebration. We have a friend who’ll stay overnight with our dog while we’re out of town.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Written by the Finger of God

Because God is spirit and doesn’t have a body like ours, it’s necessary for Him to condescend to explain Himself in terms we would understand. This is called an anthropomorphism.

The term comes from the Greek words, anthropos, meaning man, and morphe, meaning form. Man is made in God’s image in terms of personality; we have a will, emotions, etc. God, in Jesus, took on our form. There are many verses in Scripture that speak in terms of God having human form; with feet, hands, mouth, heart, eyes, and voice. The Israelites were prohibited from making images in any form; since God is spirit.

For example, when we hear, “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry,” Psalm 34:15 we understand that it means He is omniscient and He hears their prayer.

Once we realize that God doesn’t have body parts like we do, we need to try to look beyond the literal and see the figurative image it’s trying to convey. I was thinking today of the verses about the finger of God.

In the following verse, “Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, ‘This is the finger of God.’ But Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, just as the LORD had said.” Ex. 8:19 the finger of God seems to relate to work of God in judgment, when He brought the plagues on Egypt.
We also see the finger of God when He personally wrote the ten commandments on tablets of stone. “And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.” Ex.31:18 This shows His personal interest in this important event. The Law is sometimes called a transcript of His holiness. By revealing to us that we can’t keep the law, we see His holiness in contrast.

Jesus also mentions it, in relation to his miracles. “But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Lu.11:20 They didn’t believe the miracles proved He was God and the promised Messiah, so it was a judgment on them. The finger of God, in this case relates to His power.

I think the most interesting time the term is used, is when a woman caught in adultery was brought before Jesus. In this case, it was no longer an anthropomorphism, since God had now taken a human body and lived among us.

 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.  Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.  Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.  When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

 She said, “No one, Lord.”And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more. John 8:2-11

Here, once again we have God writing with His finger. What did He write? Scripture doesn’t tell us, but based on the response of the scribes and Pharisees to what they saw Him write, I would guess He was again writing the ten commandments, reminding them they hadn’t kept them. Convicting them of sin. Perhaps He wrote, “Thief”, “Liar”, “Adulterer”, “Murderer”. Beginning with the eldest, they dropped the stones and walked away.

Since He silenced the critics who were hoping to place Him in a quandary about the law, He again dealt masterfully with them, as only the God Who created the law can do. By pronouncing judgment in this case, forgiving the woman who, according to the law, deserved to die, He proved Himself to be the Lawgiver, Who was able to forgive without being unjust. How did she get away with her sin? Because He would soon pay the price for it. That’s how God can justify the ungodly, and yet remain just, Himself.

In this narrative of Jesus with the woman caught in adultery, we see the finger of God relates to His power to forgive and His personal interest in this situation. We also see His ability to pronounce judgment in this case because He is the Lawgiver, and His humanity because He did not pronounce judgment from Heaven, but from earth, in the actual circumstance.

So we see from these verses that God can convey so much meaning about Himself and His character by using things that are familiar to us, much like we adjust our teaching of deep truths to the age and understanding of our hearers. He is a gracious God and a patient teacher.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Levels of Preparedness

So, if my earlier post, Why I am a Prepper, has convinced you that you need to be prepared for emergencies, catastrophes and unforeseen events, what next?

Three Day Go-Bags
These are also called Bug-Out bags. You have one for each member of the family, including pets, in which you have a few essentials and comfort items that you may need if you were forced to leave your home, or bug-out, suddenly. For example, the police knock on the door that there is a stand-off in the neighbourhood and there may be gunfire. Or a fire threatens your neighbourhood, or a train derails with a dangerous chemical aboard (remember the Mississauga train derailment?) You don’t want to be running around trying to gather supplies. You probably couldn’t think straight. It's enough to deal with the stress of the emergency, itself.

These bags would include a 3 day supply of toiletries, snacks and diversions, and a few articles of clothing as well. You would have them in an accessible place, like a hall closet or the garage, so you can just grab and go. I’ve been working on ours, and I find a knapsack holds enough for 24 hours, but if I want to take 72 hours worth of stuff I consider important, I’d have to use a duffle bag, but then, I’m a bit of a princess. J Find what works for you. I’ll do a later post with my list of go-bag items.

Three Day Shelter-in-Place
This scenario assumes you cannot leave your home for a few days to replenish supplies or travel anywhere. A snowstorm or icy conditions could literally imprison you in your home for a day or two. There could also be a disruption in food re-supply due to weather or a truckers’ strike. You should have at least three days of food, water, toiletries and medications on hand to be self-sufficient, and to avoid the mad rush on supplies in the stores in advance of an impending storm.

Three Week Emergency
This would be for longer term emergencies and natural disasters. Remember the Quebec/Ontario ice storm and power failure? It happened in winter, just down the highway from us. Our girls were young at the time, and it made me realize I had only enough supplies for the next day or two. I had no camp stove or any other emergency supplies. Nothing. I began my collection of camping supplies then, and was able to use it to cook with when the Eastern Seaboard blackout occurred.

There are extremes in Prepping, as in most things in life. There are those who won’t prep at all, feeling they are trusting God more than those who do prepare for emergencies. I addressed this in my earlier post, Why I am a Prepper. There is the other extreme, usually Americans, (no offence intended), who encourage you to stockpile weapons and ammunition, build secret rooms, start gardening, set up rain barrels, and stockpile enough food for years. Some even build radioactive fallout shelters.  That’s your call. But how about if you accomplish the first two scenario preps, and then you can consider whether or not you want to take it to the next level?

Long Term—Months to Years
This is also known as TEOTWAWKI or The End Of The World As We Know It. It would be a major disaster, terrorist attack, E.M.P. (that’s a topic for another post), government or economic collapse, war, break in food supply, or famine. There would be mass panic and anarchy. This would probably be when you’d be thinking you should have listened to the Americans and stockpiled weapons and ammo. J This stage of planning requires a methodical approach, a willingness to think “worst-case-scenario” and a plan to deal with each eventuality. There are great websites about this out there. Just do a search of Survivalist and Prepping and you’ll see a wide spectrum of scenarios and approaches.  For this time of prep, you are aiming for a “deep pantry” and it will require money and a dedicated person to plan it.

What Now?
Focus on the first two scenarios first. Assemble 72-hour go-bags for each member of your family, and make sure you have enough food, medications, diapers, formula, etc. if you had to shelter-in-place for three days. That should keep you busy for a while, gathering supplies.

Next time I'll give you the list of contents in our 72-hour Go-Bags.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gearing up for Christmas

Outside my window...mild and sunny.  Not typical for the end of November.
I am thinking...not quite sure what’s happening between Israel and Gaza, but I hope it stops before it escalates.
I am hoping...they remembered at work that there are only two of us on tonight, and don’t accept extra patients as if there were three nurses. Oh, and the staff meeting last week went okay. I was quite stressed over it, but I spoke my mind, and my boss agreed that we would float off the unit by reverse seniority, so I’m safe 90 % of the time.  (sigh of relief)
I am thankful for...a great SGF assembly. So encouraging to hear reports from our sister churches and from ministries around the world. Great preaching by Steve West.
From the kitchen...Atlantic salmon, basmati rice, and green beans.
I am hearing...silence. I like that sometimes.
I am wearing...still in my p.j.’s after my pre-work nap, but I’m just about to get ready to go to work.
I am reading...Jeremiah. Trying to catch up with my Bible reading on my kindle. Such a busy month.
Around the house...must start my Christmas decorating this week. Maybe one or two things per day, and finish on Saturday with a tree.  
One of my favourite things...fresh Atlantic salmon on sale.
Some plans for the four nights. Finish up my Christmas letter and get it printed. Get a haircut. Send my bio and picture for the second retreat brochure. Write two blog posts. Send in my College of Nurses registration. It’s kind of important if I want to keep working. Finish the article for Barnabas. I’m doing a marriage theme in light of our daughter’s recent wedding. Begin Christmas shopping for our Finnish side family Christmas celebration the first weekend of December. Choose a topic for the Women of Faith Christmas brunch, probably one I already have done, to save time. Church on Sunday.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Writing Room

Outside my window...grey, rainy and windy, again. But this morning when I walked the dog it was mild.
I am thinking...I’m so excited. I worked hard this afternoon, setting up a writing room in my married daughter’s old room.  I also organized two other storage bookshelves. At least now it’s controlled chaos, and it feels mighty good.

I am hoping...not to catch my husband’s cough. He’s had it over a week already. He missed church and was sent home from work. There’s something going around with a cough that lasts a few weeks, headache and possible fever. I hope the flu shot I got last week protects me from it.
 I am thankful for...a rare Monday night off.

From the kitchen...we bbq’d Lick’s burgers in the rain. Or should I say, my husband did?
I am hearing...Storming Juno about the Canadians on D-Day.  It’s Remembrance week.

I am wearing...jeans, a blue print top and a navy cardigan.
I am reading...nothing this week. I’m too busy writing on my commute.

Around the house...same old, same old. Trying to get myself organized. I was asked to write another guest column for Barnabas, plus I’ve got to write our Christmas letter and send out the Christmas cards, write my messages for the retreats in the new year, and do my next lesson for the Women of Faith. Oh, and of course, still trying to keep up with my NaNo novel, which is falling behind.
One of my favourite things...having a designated writing room.

Some plans for the three nights. I’m hoping to get the third one off because we’re heading to Cambridge on Friday morning for our Sovereign Grace Annual Assembly. We’ll stay at a hotel one night. Church on Sunday. I think I’m in the nursery.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Don't Judge Me

Outside my window...grey, rainy and windy. The time has changed so it’s pitch black when I’m on the train to work in the evening. No, seriously, I can’t see a thing out the window, not even shapes of things.
I am this is election day in the States. I wonder who will be President. It’s funny how Canadians are so aware of American politics, but not the other way around.

I am keep going on NaNoWriMo. It stands for National Novel Writing Month and basically you just write like crazy and keep track of it and try to finish a 50,000 novel in 30 days. It’s 1,667 words a day. It’s a first draft and they don’t even expect you to know where it’s going, plot-wise, but just turn off the internal editor, or should I say, infernal editor and keep going. It’s not like I have the time, since I have 25 writing projects on the go, but I need to push myself or I feel too lazy. This is my second time attempting it. Last time I got to the end of the first week and 11,000 words. The main reason is that November is a very busy month. I would prefer it if it was some other time of the year. My genre is Biblical historical fiction, which I like to read. They say, write the book you want to read, so here goes. It’s from the point of view of an obscure Old Testament person, one of David’s mighty men, Benaiah.

I am thankful for...days when I don’t have to cook.

From the mom’s lasagna. Nice not to have to cook today.

I am family talking.

I am pajamas still. Don’t judge me, I just woke up.
I am reading...research on Benaiah.

Around the house...Poor puppy. He only gets the walk I give him in the morning after my night shift, since it’s so dark now. He goes a little stir crazy.

One of my favourite things...hazelnut chocolate and coffee. Don’t judge me, I just woke up.

Some plans for the three nights. I’m driving in with my husband on Friday for a rare day at work. We have a day of inservices and CPR recertification. I hardly know what my hospital looks like in the daylight. People are always surprised to see I still work there since they never see me in the day. Then I am teaching about King Solomon as a type of Christ at the Women of Faith meeting Saturday morning. It was a lot of prep this time, more than most, because I was looking at his whole life rather than just one passage like the Mediator in Job. But I feel like I know King Solomon better and look forward to seeing him in Heaven. Surprised? Read the post on the-scarlet-thread blog in a week and you’ll see why I think that. We also have a Providential dinner planned at church for Sunday.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Why I am a Prepper

Don’t worry if you’ve missed Emergency Preparedness Month (May in Canada and September in the U.S.). It’s never too late.
Emergency preparedness is preparing for emergencies, disasters and unforeseen events in advance of them, so that your family can be self sufficient. It’s the ‘in advance’ that most people miss. They assume they’ll just run out and get a few things when they hear a storm is approaching. So will thousands of others, and stores only have a limited supply. Then what?
I am a Prepper for personal, spiritual and practical reasons, not necessarily in that order.
I am a nurse, so I tend to think “worst case scenario” with everything.
My reputation as an over packer on trips. Sure, they mock me at the time, but who do they come to when they need a Tylenol, nail clippers, an extra towel, or feminine products? That’s right. Same idea, here. I don’t want to suffer any more than I have to. I also don’t want my family to suffer. It’s my job to look after them.
My temperament. I find I have less anxiety if I am prepared, and I figure the emergency itself is stressful enough.
I feel I’m being a prudent manager of my household, like the Proverbs 31 woman.
That said, I don’t trust in my preparedness, I still rely on God.

The verse in Matthew 6:25  “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” is a verse often used against prepping, but the verse is about worrying about these things, not providing them. Who doesn’t plan their food for the week or clothing for the season?This is the same thing, with a little extra set aside for a rainy day, or a stormy day. I don’t worry, but I do work.
I think it’s prudent and foresighted. Emergencies, disasters, and unforeseen events happen. Being prepared will let me be in a position to help others at the time.
Emergencies: power failures. Remember the Eastern Seaboard blackout? How ready was your family?
Disasters: This past week we experienced an earthquake on the west coast and Hurricane Sandy on the east coast. We weren’t hit as hard as many Americans on the east coast, but the whole thing made people ask if they would have been ready. Snow storms happen here. Remember the ice storm of 1998? Montreal and Kingston were without power for weeks in winter. I had young children then and it made me realize I didn’t have even a camp stove to cook on if I was without power. There have been tremors and earthquakes in Ontario and Quebec, tornadoes (Barrie 1985) and local floods. The west has had crop failure when the Red River flooded the plains.
Unforeseen Events: These are things like terrorist attacks, short term power failures, water quality issues, or disruptions in food supply due to labour issues. Remember when Mississauga residents had to be evacuated from their homes in the middle of the night due to a chlorine gas spill from a derailed train? Or the recent evacuation of a northern Ontario street when it was discovered that a man had a room full of bombs in his basement? They were out of their homes for at least a week. Also, there can be police stand-offs in the neighbourhood, like in Whitby a few weeks ago. You get a knock on the door and you’re told to leave immediately because there could be gunfire.
Just those few examples show you it CAN happen here. So how prepared are you? Could you leave at a moment’s notice and not have to run around finding medications and clothing and other necessities if you had to stay away 1-3 days? Could you shelter-in-place? If you had a snow storm and couldn’t get out to the store, would you have enough food and water  for everyone in your family for at least 3 days? How about 3 weeks? How’s your toilet paper supply? It never seems like a big deal until you run out.
 So what are some Scriptural examples?
“Go to the ant, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise,
 Which, having no captain,
Overseer or ruler,
 Provides her supplies in the summer,
And gathers her food in the harvest.”
 Prov. 6:6-8
Solomon tells us to learn from nature to prepare food for winter in summer.
Noah and his family stored at least a year’s worth of food in the ark.
Joseph was considered the wisest man in Egypt because he stockpiled food during the seven years of plenty for the seven years of famine, keeping a nation alive.
 “Now therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt.  Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years.  And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine.” Genesis 41:33-36
The virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 prepares for storms. The word scarlet is also translated as “double garments”, or winter clothing.
“She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.”
Prov. 31:21
She prepares. She provides. It’s her job.
Convinced yet?
Stay tuned for what to do now that you know you need to do it.