I had to change the name of the Monday Fodder online from “Weekly Blog” as It’s not been weekly… more like monthly. It’s been nearly a month since I posted the last one. The only reason I still call it “Monday Fodder” is that sometimes i start it on Monday.
Thanks for your prayers for Cindy as she arrived safely back in Hong Kong late last Monday evening. Her time in the States didn’t really turn out as expected. Our decision about what to do about the in-law suite addition to our place near Columbus is still on hold. We’ve not made any decision yet. With the building boom in the area, it would turn out to be more expensive than we initially envisioned. The builder that we had chosen has also been busy and been rather slow to respond to revisions in the plan that we’d like to see.
In any case, she was able to do some necessary research and personal business relating to our retirement while she was there… where it’s easier to contact the people we need to, and we’re not working with a 12-hour time difference to do business.
There are so many things to consider when retiring. Perhaps it would be different if we were living there, but being overseas for virtually all our working lives, and it’s not easy.
On another front, several people have written and asked about the results of the tests I had done at the end of August. These are still tests that are geared for trying to find out the reason for my high blood pressure in February that caused the tear in my aorta vessel.
I had an endoscopy done, and the results of that were that there was nothing abnormal there.
The more important test was the CT scan. The results were mostly good, but there was one new concern. The tear had healed up nicely, but the abdominal aorta had ballooned somewhat. There is no need for an intervention yet, but if it becomes much larger, a stent might need to be put in. They are scheduling another CT scan in 6 months.
For now, things are quite normal and stable. I’m walking 3 or 4 times a week. Usually, in my hour’s timeframe given to me by the doctor, I walk 4.1 miles or about 6.7km without running, which I’m still not supposed to do.
Thanks for your prayers. Blessings, Dave
God in the Pews
Why isn’t God more obvious? This question is often asked in many ways and in many contexts, by people of all levels of faith. When prayers go unanswered, why is God silent? When suffering or tragedy strikes, why would God allow this to happen? Why wouldn’t God want more people to know God’s good news? When all the “evidence” seems to counter the biblical narrative, why doesn’t God just give the world a sign? If God was revealed through many wondrous signs and miracles throughout the Bible, why doesn’t God act that way today? All of these examples get at the same issue: the seeming “hiddenness” of God.
Atheist Bertrand Russell was once asked what he would say if after death he met God. Russell replied that he would say: “God, you gave us insufficient evidence.”(1) While many who have found God quite evident would balk at Russell’s audacity, a similar struggle ensued between the psalmist and his hidden God. “Why do you stand afar off, O Lord? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” Indeed, the psalmist accuses God of being asleep in these plaintive cries: “Arouse, yourself, why do you sleep, O Lord? Awake, and do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face, and forget our affliction and our oppression?”(2)
In fact, belief in a God who can be easily found, a God who has acted in time and space, makes the hiddenness of God all the more poignant and perplexing. Theologians have offered many explanations for God’s hiddenness: because God seeks to grow our faith, because our sins and disobedience hide us from God and keep us from seeing God properly, or because God loves us and knows how much and how often we need to “find” God. If we are honest, we are just as likely to hide ourselves from God just as the first humans did in the Garden when God sought after them. Even so we cry out just like Job did and wonder why God stays hidden away in unanswered prayers and difficult circumstances: “Why do you hide your face, and consider me the enemy?”
The hiddenness of God is problematic for theists and atheists alike. And Christians often take for granted the narrative of Scripture which gives witness to God’s revelation. We have the benefit of a book full of God’s speech. God speaks in the wonder and mystery of creation; God speaks through the history of the nation of Israel; God speaks through the very Word of God incarnate, Jesus Christ. His life reveals the exact nature of God, and places God’s glory on full display.
But still we may wonder if we must always and only look to the past to hear God’s voice, while we wonder why God isn’t more “talkative” today? Is there any other source for God’s presence and activity in the world today?
In fact, God is often found in one of the last places many might guess: the church. At its best, the church re-tells the story of God speaking across the ages and definitively in Jesus Christ through the preaching of the gospel. But the church can also create community where God may be encountered in the faces of others as a result of the empowering Holy Spirit. Such a community is to be the symbol of God’s presence among us and with us as “God-found,” not “God-hidden.” It is to be the arms of God around us when we are hurting, or the voice of God speaking when we feel we haven’t heard from God in years. Such a community can be God’s voice, God’s hands and feet going towards the broken places of the world to bring healing, help, and comfort. Through worship and liturgy, prayer and communion, service and sacrifice the church can reveal the God who spoke and is still speaking.
God is not often revealed in the roar of the hurricane or the loud-clap of thunder, but in a “still, small voice”—a voice that is barely audible except to the most patient and still. But when the Church, broken and human as it is, seeks through the power of the Spirit to be who it is, we see God and hear God, and find God beautifully obvious.
For those who long to see God, who long to find God in the darkest hour, we may not find God in the dramatic or the victorious, the miraculous or the stupendous. Instead, we may yet hope to find him in the pew, at the table of the Lord’s Supper, in a simple hymn, or in the gift of fellow seekers longing to find God too.
~ Margaret Manning Shull is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Bellingham, Washington.
(1) Cited in Dr. Paul K. Moser’s booklet, Why Isn’t God More Obvious: Finding the God who Hides and Seeks (Norcross, GA: RZIM, 2000), 1.
(2) Psalm 10:1, Psalm 44:23-24.
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Just bought a thesaurus at the store and brought it home to find out the pages are all blank. I have no words to describe how angry I am.
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- If the person who named walkie talkies named everything:
- Stamp = Lickie Stickie
- Defibrillator = Hearty Starty
- Bumblebee - Fuzzy Buzzy
- Pregnancy Test - Maybe Baby
- Fork = Stabby Grabby
- Socks = Feetie Heatie
- Hippo = Floatie Bloatie
- Nightmare = Screamy Dreamy
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A man walks into a shoe store, and tries on a pair of shoes.
"How do they feel?" asks the sales clerk.
"Well... they feel a bit tight," replies the man.
The assistant promptly bends down and has a look at the shoes and the man's feet.
"Try pulling the tongue out," offers the clerk.
"Nath theyth sthill feelth a bith tighth," he says.
The Wednesday-night church service coincided with the last day of hunting season.
The following week, our pastor asked who had bagged a deer.
No one raised a hand.
Puzzled, the pastor said, "I don't get it. Last week many of you said you were away because of hunting season. I had the whole congregation pray for your deer."
One hunter groaned, "Well, it worked. They're all safe."
Taxiing down the tarmac, the jetliner abruptly stopped, turned around and returned to the gate. After an hour long wait, it finally took off.
A concerned passenger asked the flight attendant, "What was the problem?"
"The pilot was bothered by a noise he heard in the engine," she explained.
"It took us awhile to find a new pilot."
Some guy bought a new fridge for his house. To get rid of his old fridge, he put it in his front yard and hung a sign on it saying "Free to good home, You want it -- you take it."
For three days the fridge sat there without even one person looking twice at it. He eventually decided that people were too un-trusting of this deal - looks to good to be true - so he changed the sign to read "Fridge for sale $50."
The next day someone stole it.
My sister has the courage--but not always the skills--to tackle any home-repair project.
For example, in her garage are pieces of a lawnmower she once tried to fix. So I wasn't surprised the day my other sister, Dianne, and I found our sister attacking her vacuum cleaner with a screwdriver.
"I can't get this thing to cooperate," she explained when she saw us.
"Why don't you drag it out to the garage and show it the lawnmower?" Dianne suggested
A golfer came home from a hard eighteen-hole golf match with some of his neighbors.
His wife greeted him and said, "Well, honey, did you win the game today?"
"Well," he said, "let's put it this way. I got to hit the ball more times than anyone else."
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