Tag Archives: ideas

Adult/ Last Section

11 Jul

DSC_0849What Jay said at Isaac’s memorial service:

Hello, I am Jay Miller, Isaac’s Dad.  To all of you who are Isaac’s friends, I invite you to our home.  Stop in and talk any time in the weeks, the months, the years ahead.  Deborah and I would love to hear your stories about Isaac, and about yourselves. You also come with beautiful  purposes  written on your hearts, written on your souls, with possibilities only you can hold.

We spent years loving and raising Isaac and awoke last Saturday to news of his death.  Immediately devastating.  Long-term life changing.  The precious, the irreplaceable—gone.

The law of sowing and reaping works even if one ignores it. Like gravity, it does not care if you are a Christian.  My hope is in God’s word: that in everything God works for good for those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.

The death of a young person tests our convictions.  His death forces our real beliefs into the open.  What is the meaning of life?  Can Isaac’s death fit into it?

I serve a God of love and mercy who raised Jesus from the dead.  Isaac’s whole life with us, and even before he came to us, was surrounded with grace and with God moving powerfully on his behalf.  The loving merciful God kept our boy from an early death in Bolivia and placed him in a loving family.  God gave him many friends, great experiences and opportunities, and meaningful work.

Our culture says that Isaac’s life was cut short, that his life was incomplete.  Those thoughts assume we are masters of our own destiny.  It assumes we can fix ourselves rather than God fixing us.

I will not let Isaac’s death erase the joyful memories of years gone by.  God’s word says not one sparrow falls to the ground without our Father’s notice.

To find our own meaningfulness we must acknowledge our Creator.  It is good for us to know we can do nothing.  Why should we think death stumps God?  It stumps us, not him. God does not make mistakes.  He decided Isaac completed his purpose here on earth.   Who is like God?  Not one of us.  God had a good plan for Isaac.

As a childless couple we waited and suffered for years before Isaac came to us. We had him with us twenty years.   We believe we will all be together again in our far home.  Our best wishes for you would be that you would be there, too.

__________

1 Corinthians 15

35 But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” 36 What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. 37 And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. 38 Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed. 39 Similarly there are different kinds of flesh—one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.

40 There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. 41 The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory.

42 It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.

53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die,[j] this Scripture will be fulfilled:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.[k]
55 O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?[l]

56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

DSC_2404

Growing Up

8 Jul

1g

Below are remarks made at Isaac’s memorial service by Susan Barr.  Susan taught and worked with Isaac in 4-H public speaking, church plays and summer children’s programs among others.

Smile of Christ

 

Isaac had a smile that was bigger than his face.  Of all the faces in our congregation, Isaac’s reminded me most of Christ.  His eyes were gentle, his face welcoming, his smile genuine.
Isaac was an enthusiastic children’s church worker in middle school.  He was gentle, encouraging, and compassionate.  He loved the younger children and enjoyed being useful.  Isaac was resourceful.  When glitches arose, he was one of the teens who jumped to resolve them.
I saw Isaac often when he came home from college.  He hurried over to chat in church and at Target.  He was cheerful and full of plans.  He still had a big heart, big ideas.  He knew he was disappointing his parents; there was sadness and wonder in his eyes when he said that.  But he thought he could straddle two worlds.
I knew the world was tempting him.
Parents wish our children came with guarantees.  Do these things, follow these steps, and your children will be safe.  Because what we pray for is faithful followers of Christ.  Jay and Deborah were devoted parents: kind, loving, firm, encouraging, creative, fun, sincere.  They got most things right.  Yet the world dazzles.  Our kids get the idea that Christ can be reduced to something small and manageable, folded into their back pocket, or stored on a shelf for later.  That they can manage two masters.
And so Isaac continued with all his gifts, yet walked a path that caused his friends to worry and pray.
Isaac was a talented pianist.  He played Easter services while he was in high school.  I asked him to play last year and his eyes lit up, a joyful yes.  Deborah was surprised and gratified at his faithfulness in practicing.  Easter morning we waited, . . . and Isaac never came.  He slept through his alarm.  This was a snapshot of his life at that moment.  Joy and potential, acknowledgement of Our Savior, yet missed opportunities, disappointments.
Of all the faces in our congregation, Isaac’s reminded me most of Christ.
zDCP_0575_edited

The Light of Christ

20 Dec

An Advent piece I wrote in 2004.

 

Isaiah 9:1-2, Matthew 4:12

 

Let’s walk out and meet the morning.  It is an hour or more before dawn.  Wear lots of layers — it is cold outside. How dark it is!  We can distinguish the dark grey of the road, the black trees, the lumps of houses, and the midnight blue night sky — impenetrable save for the diamond stars.  Careful — stay on the road — without a light it is easy to stumble in the dark.  There are countless stars shining their feeble light like shiny bits of glass on dark velvet.  And up above us is the Milky Way.  The Incans thought it was the road to heaven. They did their best to find a path to God in the dark.

 

If we keep moving we will eventually warm up. You probably know that most ancient nations believed the sun was a god.  Many myths anticipate some aspect of Jesus’ coming.  The Aztecs thought only human blood sacrifice would keep the sun rising each day. The Incans chose special children to be messengers to the sun.  The Greeks have the story of Helios daily driving his chariot of the sun through the sky dragged by fiery horses.  Though his father tried to save him, Phaeton, Helios’ human son, wanted to be just like Dad and tried one day to drive the sun chariot.  The result was chaos and destruction for earth and death for Phaeton.  All peoples were walking in darkness, longing to know God.

 

Look– the eastern sky is becoming pale.  The dark and the stars fade.   Truth is stranger than any fiction.  From time’s beginning the Triune God planned the death of His only begotten son to bring mankind redemption through a new covenant.   Jesus stepped off His throne and came to us robed in flesh as a human baby.  The road to heaven is through Him–God’s messenger to mankind.  He came not as an equal to His Father, but as a servant, laying down his life. He fulfilled man’s longing.  The sky displays the majesty of a god coming: just above the horizon is a pale butterscotch; the clouds overlaying it are bright fuchsia and an incandescent orange.  All stories were swept away by the True Son’s coming just as the veil of night is swept away by the sun’s rising.  Jesus, the Great Light,  came to all who live in the land of the shadow of death.

 

Wow–Look at that sky!  Dark rose and pink now spread high up into the clouds in the eastern sky, and are reflected even in the west. A scarlet thread of light is seeping, bleeding across the dark horizon’s edge. Each dawn is a symbol of the mercy and forgiveness available to all through the blood of Christ. The sun shines on all people.  It gives light and heat even if hidden by stormy weather.  Just so, God’s redeeming love is available to all, regardless of circumstances.   Now we people of the Light prepare our hearts anew to celebrate the coming of our King of Light.  Let us shine His glory upon those around us who still walk in darkness and live in the shadow of death.  Dawn has come; God Himself came to be with us.  The sky is turning golden– here comes the great light once again.

 

Angels We Have Heard

19 Dec

There are quite a few scripture passages about people being afraid when they see angels.  And the angels are not described, so we assume

they look human-like. Winged messengers from God.  But what if:

There are giant chicken angels over the one small nativity we have out so far this year.

One of the visiting chickens, a Red Comet, accidentally stayed outside Thursday night when there were high winds.  Jay found her Friday morning wandering by the side of the house and returned her to the coop. We think she spent the night in the giant rhododendron. Chickens are not meant to spend the night out-of-doors in the cold winds. There were small spots of blood on the snow where she walked.  Her back end was icy.

Yet she seemed OK until Saturday  late in the day when Jay noticed she was not eating and was hanging apart from the other hens.  She was very light.  He moved her into a pen in the basement, warmer, dry.  Jay coaxed her to start drinking; she was interested but kept falling asleep–or was very hypothermic.  Eventually she started drinking, then drinking with gusto, then eating again; wheat, corn meal, apple.  I put her out with the others this morning.

Field Trip

31 Oct

The four-foot-long orange Corn snake, Goldilocks, who lives here and helps by eating rodents we catch, went on a field trip last week.  A young lady from the local herpotology club picked her up from Jay’s office and then brought her back home after she had visited the local middle school.  She is a perfect color for a Halloween visit!

When the young lady learned that we feed Goldilocks live and freshly dead mice and voles, she was alarmed.  It seems to her captive snakes should be fed only freshly dead captive raised mice!  When I inquired about the reason for her belief, she said that “wild rodents carry disease and may bite the snake”!

Umm.  Yes.  We think that God designed snakes to deal with bites and germs.

Now I am assuming, which is not a wise thing to do, but it is to make a point.  Why would a good Darwinist not want a snake to be challenged by live prey?  Survival of the fittest, and all that.

For my part, I think it is cruel to keep a snake in a tank all its life and never be able to constrict its own prey, never able to hunt, however artificial it is in the confines of the tank, never to eat “natural” food.

For a similar reason I take Goldilocks outside and let her slither around.  Under observation.  Perhaps that is not “safe” either, but, gee whiz, life is not all about safety, even for a pet snake!

MSG and emotional volatility

10 Oct

For some time I have suspected that the emotions of our daughter may be influenced by MSG.

She really likes ramen noodles.  The taste of them, rather.  Those little flavor packets containing MSG high up on the ingredient list.

Myself, I get migraines if too much MSG is ingested.  Since I cook most of our food from scratch, that leaves only snack-type stuff.  Which we do not routinely have in the home.

The girl didn’t think MSG had any impact.  So Saturday lunch we ran a little test.  She had ramen.  I added a half cup of homemade salsa, and a bit of onion and carrot.  She complained that they did not taste like they should.  It seems she uses half the water the recipe calls for.  Hmm.

In nine hours time she was saying things she should not have.  Then bedtime.

The next morning (Sunday) the extreme emotional volatility continued until about 6.00 PM.  It was a day of hell.

My few minutes of research on Pubmed this morning indicates 1)L-glutamate is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS).  This paper indicates that if the glutamate removal system is impaired, your retina (ergo your eyesight) will suffer.  Not to mention the neurotransmitter will just keep those neurons firing.

2) MSG is used to induce metabolic syndrome (obesity and its attendant characteristics) in lab animals.

3) Exposure to glutamate in young lab animals can induce seizures (think epilepsy).  Makes sense: an exitatory neurotransmittor set loose in a young, still  forming brain…

4)MSG is used as the agonist (stimulator) of choice where measurements of specific brain activity in research mice where measurements are needed.

 

Today, it must be noted, she was sweet as pie.  And she seems more amenable, at this time, about watching the contents of what she eats.

 

Free At Last, But Not Really

4 Oct

They are on their own.   They come and go as they please.  But they are not free, really, because they are dependent upon us to provide food for them.  Like some people.

This was in the hutch before we moved the box.

 

This is the day of the move.

 

At home up high.

Earl, who had the broken leg?  He bullies Merle.  Merle has figured out he must fight back or run and hide when he has food that Earl wants.

They come down two to three times a day for food interaction.  And they eat as they wish from food we leave out for them on the woodpile.

We gave them a small antler:  they have chewed over 1/2 inch off one tip so far.  Is that not interesting?  I think so.  That is how they are getting their trace minerals and calcium now.  And we didn’t have to teach them!

 

%d bloggers like this: