Monday Fodder - December 7, 2015

One evening I was up in our OMS office. This is the view to the south - southwest. The area with the taller buildings is perhaps the most crowded place on earth. It's called Mong Kok. The population density there is 130,000 people per square kilometer or 340,000 per square mile!

Below: My niece, Katie Hanny, got married in November. My daughter, Becki, said Nathan ran up to Katie, and when he saw her and gave her a long sweet hug. Someone was able to snap the moment!

Today is Cindy’s birthday, but she’s in China for this week doing training of “Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills. She went on Sunday and will come back Saturday.

In the meantime, I had the CT scan today. One more test to go, as far as I know… a lung test a week from today.

I know some of you read the Fodder on Facebook, as I also post it there, but maybe most who are on the Fodder list only get the email. Thus for this week, I’ll just post my FB postings I did while I was in the hospital. I was supposed to be there from Monday to Wednesday, but they kept me over on Thursday for more blood work. I had home leave on Thursday afternoon as I needed to take Cindy to the airport early Friday morning. But then I had to go back to the hospital for the worst of the tests… a transesophageal echocardiogram. Here are my FB posts…

Monday - November 30

I'm checked in here at the Grantham Hospital. I'll have the heart cath tomorrow. I feel too good to be in a hospital!

Tuesday - December 1

They gave me a chest X-ray earlier today. They had to take an upper and lower one. The technician said my body was too big for their machine!

Wednesday - December 2

Why do they come in at 2:00am, and wake you up to tell you to start fasting???

One extra night in the hospital. The doctor said he needed to do some more blood work today. Seems they've taken most of it already! I've been visited by at least five small groups of medical students from Hong Kong U. They didn't do anything with the five other older patients in my ward. I guess doctors must have told them that my heart must be a good example of what it is NOT supposed to sound like!

Thursday - December 3

I'll be released about lunch time today. The next step is a CT scan, which I need to get done in a private hospital or clinic, due to the long wait in the government system for that test. After the CT scan my doctor will send all the test results to the surgeons at Queen Mary hospital where the surgery will eventually be done. That still could be weeks or months away. In the meantime, I can function normally and even do some mild exercise like walking... Just not climbing the hills like we do when hiking. Thanks for all your love and concern. It means a lot!

I was released, but barely. They gave me "home leave" rather than keeping me another night as Cindy leaves for a 8 days in China early tomorrow morning. I could have chosen to stay one more night. In any case I have to back tomorrow for another test. In yesterday's echocardiogram something was seen on my valve... bacteria, or something "old". The doctor was not sure. He said it might not be bacteria as I was not having any fever or infection that could be detected. So, tomorrow I need to have a transesophageal echo cardiogram... basically a tube down my throat with a camera. This is a more accurate test than an echocardiogram because the esophagus us close to the heart and is unobstructed by ribs, etc.

Friday - December 4

The transesophageal echo test showed that there was no infection in the heart, so that concern has been alleviated. It was the worst of the tests... getting a 1 cm tube (with camera) down my throat with the gag reflex. Once it was inserted it was not pleasant, but at least I did not gag. I'm left with a bit of a sore throat... one of the side effects of the procedure. Now I have the CT scan this coming Monday, a lung test the following Monday. and one more follow up doctor visit on Dec. 30th. After that I just need to wait until the surgery. My Dr. thought it could be done sometime from January to March. I'm so grateful to be on the fast track. That's may be the greatest answer to prayer of all. Thanks much for all your prayers. God still reigns!

I’ll leave it at that this week. Make it a great week!  Blessings, Dave



     It is tempting to look at the ancients of Israel, as they wandered and grumbled in a desert for forty years, and wonder at their behavior—or else, question the storyline, which leaves a few questions. These people are key participants in mouth-dropping events at the Red Sea, where the God who has chosen them offers a display of all that means. These same people then come to doubt God’s presence among them, God’s power, God’s concern, God’s plan for their lives. Did they really believe they could be as moved and cared for by a golden ornament, molded at their own hands, as they were with the God who split open the Red Sea?

     Whether a casual or careful reader of Israel’s story, it is tempting to keep their behavior at a healthy distance, as if in its ancient context, it is wholly un-relatable to our own. But imagining that Israel’s actions are in complete contrast with mine, I repeatedly discover, is a stretch by any imagination. The behavior of the Israelites is still among us; at times, is it frustratingly close to home.

     Though the specific events of Egypt could have similarly been held at a distance by the psalmist who was writing years later, the writer nonetheless stood poised to remember the events of Israel’s past so as to see his present situation more clearly. As if forging it in his own memory, the psalmist speaks bluntly of Israel’s experience in the desert: “Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe his promise” (106:24).

     What does it take to come to despise what once seemed promising? What would it take for you to refuse to believe the one thing you want to believe most? When hopes are dashed in trying places, I don’t believe their reaction to the desert is so far removed from our own. The Israelites were not unusually slow in understanding; they were no more stubborn than you or I am. But they were entirely disappointed; all they longed for seemed altogether unreachable. They could not believe that the wilderness was the way to Canaan. They could not see how their current trouble was consistent with a God who loved them; they could not see how their pain could possibly work for good in the end. Who among us cannot at some point relate?

     Whether people of faith or not, we long for someone or something or some place that can make right what is wrong in this world, what is wrong in our lives. And yet, carrying ideas of what that someone or something will look like, and not finding it, we end up doubting the promising thought we once held on to with hope. When the route we see in front of us seems irreconcilable with the place we thought we were going, we come to despise what once seemed hopeful, holding in its place shattered expectations, fear, and anger.

     When Jesus healed a man who was called Legion because he was possessed with so many demons, the townspeople had a peculiar response. Mark describes the scene and its aftermath as a crowd began to gather. “When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid” (5:15).

     This man was someone they were familiar with; the crowd actually recognized him. He was the one they saw dodging in and out of nearby caves, living as a total recluse, cast out of society, an outcast even of his own mind. Yet, seeing the one they were used to avoiding suddenly dressed and in his right mind evoked within them, not delight or amazement, not thanks or hopefulness, but fear. No one suspected that this was a shadow of all they longed for themselves. Seeing Jesus, the instrument of healing—the one who set right what was wrong—they were simply afraid. And they begged him to leave.

     As the Israelites beheld the desert and the townspeople beheld Legion, both missed what God was doing because they were troubled by the failures of their imagination. It brings quiet inquiries to mind. Do we not still oscillate between being too uncomfortable to trust and too comfortable to believe? How do we guard against missing our deepest hope, though we fear? And how do we not come to despise what once seemed promising, though we stand broken or disappointed in the wilderness?

     Like the psalmist, we might stand poised to remember, seeing God in history, seeing ourselves, seeing today—with imagination, with thanksgiving. Though I am tempted to keep the behavior of those who have gone before me at a distance, I am comforted by the proximity of God throughout their story, continually drawing them nearer, even in the desert. Though they grumbled and failed and begged God to leave, God continued to lead them, in mercy breaking each idol they would have settled for, prying from their hands the things that blocked their view of the promise God would not forget.

- Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Dear Mom,

I hope you are having a Happy Thanksgiving. This year we decided to do something a bit different and fry our turkey whole. I am in a Newsgroup on the Internet that just could not say enough about how great they taste fried. I even got a recipe from one of the members. It went something like this:

     1 turkey plucked and gutted - leave feet for holding turkey, & a 5 gal bucket

peanut oil. 1 extra large deep fryer heated to 500 degrees. That didn't sound too complicated, and even though I've had several kitchen disasters in the past, I thought this would be a festive way to celebrate Thanksgiving. Besides, we could do the deed outside on our wooden deck to avoid making a big mess in the kitchen. What could go wrong?

     I couldn't find a turkey with feet at the grocery store. The butcher thought I was crazy and suggested I try one of the nice frozen one's that was on sale. I figured a meat man should know, so I got one. Have you ever tried to thaw out a frozen turkey? It's a week long job. I figured the hot grease would do the trick anyhow, so why worry. Have you priced peanut oil lately? I decided some of the other stuff would work just as good. After all, cooking oil is cooking oil. I managed to get the oil in the pot just fine. Heating it was a bit tricky as it kept smoking and bubbling. But since we were outside, I thought the smoke wouldn't hurt anything.

     Now this is the part you won't believe! I threw that sucker in the pot and when the thing thawed out the oil boiled over on the wooden deck and caught the deck on fire! We got the garden hose to put it out. Who would know not to put water on a grease fire?

     It didn't really matter anyhow. In all the excitement I forgot to watch the cooking thermometer and the grease must have become too hot. I was inside the house looking for the fire extinguisher when I heard the explosion.

     Have you ever seen a mushroom cloud? It was incredible!

     After the fire department left, we decided to eat dinner out next year. Not only was our Thanksgiving dinner ruined, but the deck burned down and took half the garage with it. The dog will be just fine when his fur grows back. we've always wanted a Mexican Hairless dog anyhow. The fire department told us they make a lot of house calls about this time of the year from people frying turkeys who don't know what they are doing.

     Like, is it my fault that the grease was cheap and the stupid turkey wouldn't thaw out? They need to put consumer-warning labels on turkeys!

     Speaking of the turkey, we are still looking for it. I think it may have blown to bits as we've looked all over the neighborhood. If you see a Turkey shaped cloud of ash circling the earth, that's probably it. By the way, you may see us on the evening news on TV. A lot of people thought it was a terrorist attack. I only hope we have not been reported to the FBI.

     Anyhow, I just want to let you know that we are all fine. I don't think the house will be fixed for a while since there is a lot of smoke damage. We are moving to a motel.

     Do you think we could come to your house for Christmas this year? You were not planning on frying a turkey, were you?


@Sent by Anna Ruth


     You know, it's at times like these when I'm trapped in an airlock with an alien and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young!"

     "Why, what did she tell you?"

     "I don't know, I didn't listen!"

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     Mr. Norton was in the hospital recovering from an operation when the nurse on duty received a call from a man who asked how Mr. Norton was doing.

     ”Oh, quite well. We expect he'll be released in the morning."

     "Very good, thank you."

     "May I ask who is calling so that I can tell Mr. Norton?" inquired the nurse.

     "This IS Mr. Norton. The doctors don't tell me anything!"

@Sent by Mike Neifert