Apeeling

This post is a response to a “flash fiction challenge” posed by Stephen Black over at https://fracturedfaithblog.com/2018/09/21/flash-fiction-challenge-4/

I can highly recommend that you check out the goings-on over there.  All those followers can’t be wrong, so you are not relying on just my opinion.

I found the receipt on our home office desk. It seemed odd to me that my wife would have purchased a peeler at the same time as two items cryptically identified as “prepared fruit”. I made a mental note to communicate my bemusement at breakfast in the morning. She is used to it, I suppose. “It” being my quirky sense of humor. I have even been known to guffaw at miserable excuses for puns. All who know me eventually have to face it; I am easily amused. Simple pleasures for simple minds, my Granny used to say.

Breakfast turned out to be a special treat, as well as explaining the fruit and peeler purchase. I don’t know about you, but I think having a spouse who tolerates one’s eccentricities because she inexplicably adores you is icing on the cake of life – layer upon layer of wonderfulness! I completely forgot about poking fun at the peeler purchase, as it had clearly been a gift for my own enjoyment.

The toaster was ceremoniously ejecting a perfectly browned quartet of fragrant English muffins as I entered the dining nook, even as the butter dish waited at the ready, with the knife resting across opposite corners of the inverted cover. My wife would never leave the room with the lid off of the butter, lest our aging white cat Vanna had heard the inevitable muted clatter as the dish was set down on the table. The youngest son had succumbed to her raspy meowing for some often enough. He would dab a little on the top of a front paw for her to lick off. Though the son had been married and tending his own butter dish for some years, Vanna clearly still remembered. Funny the memories that the most common things evoke – even for cats.

To go with the warm buttered toast, was a medium-sized bowl. I could smell the delicious contents even over the steaming coffee in the tall mug next to my place at the small round dark-walnut table. The early sun seemed to especially please Pricey, our calico cat. She was already dozing on the window sill next to my wife’s chair. It was, it seemed, her favorite spot this time of year as the mornings turned more crisp with the advent of early fall. I savored the sight of my lovingly-prepared breakfast. It was a feast for the senses and I could hardly wait to taste it. I offered a prayer of heartfelt thanksgiving with my lovely spouse. The first sliced strawberry that my fork located was lovely. I savored it’s sweetness as well as the grainy texture of the tiny seeds dotting the circumference. I know it was “store-bought”, but it was still delightful. I put the fork down and had a sip of dark coffee. The vapor rising over the rim of the cream-colored mug slightly fogged my glasses and the first sip of the morning was particularly satisfying. My wife talked of something her mother had said on a recent visit, as though to draw my attention away from the extra effort she had put into this morning gift.

As she spoke, I picked up my fork and speared one of the uniformly sliced wedges of pineapple as though I had solved the puzzle of the second “prepared fruit” item on the aforementioned receipt with all the prowess of a seasoned MI-6 field agent. Obviously, the yellow confection had never seen the inside of a can.

The crowning glory of our meal explained the peeler and I looked out the bay window at the pear tree in the back yard, heavy with Divinely-provided produce. My wife must have been daily watching closely to detect the very first to ripen this season. In my bowl, the firm cream-colored flesh of the freshly-peeled pear slices beckoned next to the strawberry-pineapple garnish that topped them. There is nothing more edible than a perfectly ripened pear, in my estimation.

And so, as I chatted with my wife and thoroughly enjoyed the moment with her at the start of the day, it entered my mind that I was going to have a difficult time making a decision what aspect of this morning’s experience that I was going to write as a gratitude statement in my journal. You see, a couple of years back, my wise companion had made a suggestion at this very table that I open my morning journal with a single statement of something that I was grateful for. I must say, that following that advice has made a larger difference in my overall attitude about life than I would have ever imagined. Today, I think, it will be to give thanks for the gift of a wife who goes to great lengths to express love for me. I have a receipt to prove it. There is nothing to poke fun at in that.

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If

Featured photo from Garden of the Gods – Colorado Springs Colorado

 

I am grateful that You are loving!

 

If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. John 15:10

 

Me:

Good morning Jesus!

 

Jesus:

Good morning Jon!

 

Me:

If I didn’t know better, from verses like Romans 5:8 (But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.), I could read John 15:10 as a statement of condition for God’s love.

 

Jesus:

“If” precedes a statement of condition, by definition. But it is not the condition that has come first to your mind. The condition is not stating that God will love you only if you behave in a particular way. The condition stated is that God – because He loves you – has prepared a beneficial (saving, growing, healthy, vibrant, giving, amazing, purpose-fulfilling, life-changing, joyful, …, and on and on) way for you to walk and has told you about it. The “if”, therefore, refers to whether you will accept His goodness and walk in the Way He has prepared; His plan for your good (Jeremiah 29:11).

 

“Don’t play in the street”, a parent tells his child. Is this a command?

 

Me:

Yes, it is.

 

Jesus:

Is it given to prevent the child from enjoying the wonders of the roadway?

 

Me:

It is given to protect the child whose experience is not developed enough to avoid the mortal dangers of traffic speeding along the street.

 

Jesus:

Is protection an expression of love?

 

Me:

Yes, it is. An expression of love by a parent meeting a critical need of the child.

 

Jesus:

Do all children obey?

 

Me:

No. Not all. Perhaps none obey all of the time.

 

Jesus:

Does disobedience in this matter dissolve the love of the parent for the child?

 

Me:

Not even if the worst actually happens.

 

Jesus:

So it is with God.

 

Me:

Thank You Jesus! I love You!

 

Jesus:

You are welcome! I love you!

deerCropped
Town Deer – Woodland Park Colorado

Grateful for Wrath

A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1

It seems Jesus used some harsh words, calling the Pharisees “whitewashed tombs”, “hypocrites”, “brood of vipers”, and other such things.

Which stirred up anger.

Resulting in His crucifixion, according to the eternal plan of the Father.

And resulting in the written record of unmistakable condemnation of the hypocritical behavior of the religious leaders.

Satan is also known for wrath, but of a different sort.  There is no turning away or appeasement of Satan’s wrath. He is consumed and identified by it (Revelation 12:12). The Pharisees were channeling it.

Most Bible verses containing the word wrath refer to God’s. God’s wrath is against evil. Satan’s wrath is against God and those who are His.

The Greek is instructive. ὀργῆς (orgēs) wrath – intrinsically/settled and constitutionally opposed. (As used in Revelation 6:16 of the Lamb.)

Ours is usually of a lesser sort. [F]or the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. James 1:20

As you see from the Greek, God’s wrath – His opposition to evil – is precisely because He is good. He cannot be good and wink at evil¹. We visualize wrath from our own experience with anger, which unredeemed, is based in fear, and certainly not of God. His wrath and righteousness are not mutually exclusive, but complementary and protective (of us, for example).

Satan’s wrath fits the same definition but is pointed in the opposite direction; he has become constitutionally opposed to good.

Me:
I have not (ever?) meditated on Your wrath, Father. Probably, I should have. I thank You for Your wrath. I am grateful that it is Your nature to oppose evil – the corruption of Your creation under the influence of sin. I love you! Thank You for Your wrath! Thank You that Jesus bore Your wrath on my account!  It was right that You oppose the evil I have done. Sometimes mindlessly, always selfishly, never justifiable.  It was pure mercy that He bore my penalty.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

[1] Phrase remembered from C. Spurgeon?

Doll Bed 3

I am grateful, Lord, for revelations of Your majesty! In the eyes of the one who dares to examine the smallest part of Your mighty works, You leave no doubt of Your power. Nor will the one who seeks refuge in You fail to understand that You are strong to save! You overcome those who hate us on Your account. You draw us close to You in safety. Blessed are we, in You!

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Keeping a promise, today will complete a short series on making a doll bed for my granddaughter. Here is a link to the previous installment.

Mortised Bed Posts

The four mortised bed posts are seen in the photo above, and four identical cross pieces are required with a matching tenon cut on each end.  I did not capture a picture, but all of these have to have a slot cut on the inside centerline to inset the plywood that makes the closed head- and foot-boards.  It is tempting to want to cut this slot with the dado blade on the table saw, and that could work for the cross pieces where the cut extends from end to end.  For the bed posts, the slot is limited to the area between the mortises.  I cut these slots 3/16″ deep with 1/4″ straight router bit.  Because it is really difficult to get a saw setup to match the router setup exactly, I cut all the slots with the router.  These can be done with only the top and bottom guides to keep the cut in the center of the board.  One just has to be careful not to cut past the mortise on the posts.

Glue-up of foot-board

The picture above shows the glue up of the foot-board with the plywood captured in the slot.  One should always test fit all assemblies without glue.  Once satisfied that it goes together correctly, then add glue to the mortise and tenon joints only.  The plywood inset floats freely in the slots, allowing for expansion and contraction with humidity and temperature without splitting or cracking.

Basic Assembly

The bed rails in my design are painted angle iron.  I welded a bracket on the end to take a screw to hold the whole bed together.  This allows the bed to be broken down flat for storage.  It would be perfectly acceptable to make these out of wood, but then I would not have gotten to practice with my new flux wire welder!  Besides, I had the angle laying around from a previous project. The bottom deck is the same 3/16″ plywood that is inset in the head- and foot-boards.

Finished Doll Bed

The side rails are made from the same 1×2″ oak as the rest, except they are ripped in half to give a 3/4″ by 3/4″ finished cross section.  In between five vertical 3/8″ dowels are glued in to complete the rails.  Holes for the dowels were drilled using a drill press, so the depth is easily controlled.  The rails are mounted to the head- and foot-boards with dowels that are glued into the rails but not into the bed posts.  This arrangement allows for disassembly for flat storage.

Finally, the finish (after some light sanding) consists of two coats of a simple wipe-on poly.  I like this type of finish for items that get wear and tear because it can be refreshed  to deal with scratches with a light sanding and a new coat.

Escanaba River, Gwinn MI

Gratitude Journal, 12/28/2017

I am grateful for this week off from work to rest my mind from the urgencies of the office, the opportunity to more clearly fix my attention on things above and to cultivate a keener perspective on the proper place of temporal pursuits.

 

At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

 

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:25-30]

Rejecting Poison, Accepting Healing

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (Romans 12:4-5)

 

15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. (1 John 4)

 

Me:

Good morning Holy Spirit!

 

Holy Spirit:

Good morning Jon!

 

Me:

These two passages are all over that mysterious spiritual transformation whereby we become one with You and with each other. It is so different from the spirit of division and dissension that the enemy has been working so hard to foment among all. I lament the complicity of the news media and even the downward-accelerating effect of so many negative voices that make use of the various social outlets available to everyone on the Internet. These seem to be whipped into a froth with anger and worry and even despair. So contrary to Your message!

 

Holy Spirit:

Consider these words of Paul: (Philippians 3:17 – 4:9)

Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

I Am telling you what you need to know and to do to counter those tactics of the enemy, of which you lament. Healing of wounded relationships does not take place by changes to society, but by love and by making peace between two, as this example given of strife between Euodia and Syntyche. Society is made better when the two of them return to love. This strength is not in them, or in you. I Am near. Let your requests be to Me. Let your attitude be marked by thanksgiving. The change will be so striking that it will not be comprehensible by human understanding.

 

About that media. Whatever you fill your attention with gets control of your thoughts and attitudes. The message of the enemy is destructive by design. How much poison do you think it is prudent to ingest? You will hear his message, for it is pervasive. [They sharpen their tongues as a serpent; Poison of a viper is under their lips. Psalm 140:3] Do not volunteer your time to it. Do not fear it either, for that is part of his purpose, to engender fear. He feeds on it. When you hear the negative message, recognize the source and that is simply not the truth. I Am true. My Word is true. Fill your attention with that, and peace will be yours and you will then not be weakened by a steady diet of poison.

 

Instead, see yourself with this calling: These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues;they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17-18) The prevailing “tongue” of the media is like George Orwell’s “new speak”; designed to control by lies. Your new tongues shall not be so, but shall be truth and light and love. Speak these things and live. Rescue the perishing by the truth. Free the captives with the Word. Look to Me and be empowered.

 

Me:

I am continually rendered in awe of You, Holy Spirit! Thank You for your encouragement and for Your healing Word. I love You!

 

Holy Spirit:

You are welcome! Walk with Me and take My Word upon your lips and keep My vision before your eyes and in your heart!

Truth in Flesh Appearing

The sum of Your words is Truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting. Psalms 119:160

 

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6.

 

In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. James 1:18

 

Me:
Thank you Father, for the Truth that You have bestowed upon us in the Son! I look around me and the planet is filled with those who are concerned with their “messaging” and with “controlling the narrative”. I suppose this is due, in part, to the narrow perspective from which what they are saying can reasonably be claimed true. It is not so with You. Whatever the perspective, seeking in adoration or railing in denial, what You put forth simply is. I love the stability of Your Truth and therefore the reliability.

 

ABBA:
You are welcome! I bestow because I love. Yes, I Am. I will be found true, though every man be found a liar (Romans 3:4). Let My word be in your mouth for My word will never return void but will accomplish that which I sent it to do (Isaiah 55:11). Jesus told you this (John 8:28,38). Follow His example.

 

Me:
Thank You Father! I love You!

 

ABBA:
You are welcome! I love you!