Tuesday, February 28

Favorite Things: My Featherweight Sewing Machine

It was my grandmother's, and then my mother's, and now it's mine. I still use it for buttonholes. Nothing makes more professional looking buttonholes than a Singer Featherweight sewing machine with a Singer buttonhole attachment. Nothing makes a nicer straight stitch, either (unless its a Singer treadle sewing machine), so if I'm doing something that only requires a straight stitch, like sewing quilt pieces together, I may use this little machine for that, too.

The buttonholer and case was found at a garage sale for fifty cents. I used to have one of those more modern plasticky ones, but I ditched it when I found this better, older metal one.

The copper oilcan, too, has the Singer logo stamped across it, but you can barely see it in the photo unless you click for the larger view. It's a garage sale find as well--for a dollar, I think.

And the Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book? That's a teaser for another time, when I can scan some of the pages, like the one showing you how to key your accessories to your suit color.

Update for all those who love featherweights, too: Featherweight Fanatics Home Page and Featherweight Facts and Myths.

If you want one, you can buy one here. We found one for my daughter at a garage sale for $8.50, and when we took it in to the sewing machine repairman to have it cleaned, he tried to buy it from us. Now I see why.

Bonus link: All about featherweight accessories, like buttonholers.

Update 2: Kim in Il shows us her old Singer, and points us to the place where we can look up our old Singers by serial number. Mine's from 1951, and was manufactured in Elizabethport, NJ. (I wonder if that's close to Elizabethtown, where David Brainerd's always travelling?)

Kim's is older than that, but I'm not telling how much older. Go see for yourself.

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Christian Carnival Reminder

Entries for the Christian Carnival are due by tonight (February 28) at midnight EST. Submit your entry to ChristianCarnival [ATT] gmail [DOTT] com. Include
  • The name of your blog
  • The URL of your blog
  • The title of your post
  • The URL of your post
  • A short description of the post
  • The trackback link if you have one
Then look for your entry in tomorrow's (March 1) carnival at demosthenes.

You'll find more complete information on the Christian Carnival here.

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Monday, February 27

Getting Real

Following the footsteps of others who are getting real for Monday, I give you a photo looking through the house from the middle of the living room.

What can I say? At least the laundry stacked up on the kitchen table is clean. The stuff hanging on the kitchen chairs is clean laundry that was slightly damp. The coat hanging untidily on the rocker is not mine, but belongs to the son who got up at 4:30AM to drive his sister to work so I wouldn't have to. I'm not going to complain about it. Those are wood and paper bins by the fire, and bits of tree bark on the floor. And books lying about everywhere are not considered messy in this house.

God's Gift?

In the controverial article that started the God and cancer brouhaha, John Piper also says, "You will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift." It's not just the description of cancer as God's design that some people find hard to swallow, but some also have trouble with the idea that something as nasty as cancer could be a gift.

Are they right to find the idea that cancer is a gift repulsive? Is it an insult to God and to us to think of it that way?

First off, let me say that I agree that cancer is nasty. The illness is energy sapping, nausea causing, pain making, and pretty much like rotting from the inside out. And the treatment is no piece of cake either. Any statement you make about the nastiness of the illness, you could probably say about the treatment as well, including that it can kill you.

I also agree that cancer and all other nasty diseases entered our world as a result of the fall. Cancer is the direct result of evil coming into God's perfectly created world. It is here doing it's repugnant work because our world was placed under a curse. Cancer is part of the bondage of decay that the whole of creation was subjected to by God.

How then, can it be right to call it a gift? We can call it a gift because to those who belong to God, and in whom God chooses to allow it, that's exactly what it is. For us, trials--like cancer, for example--as something God purposefully allows for us, work something good.

In a mind-boggling turnabout, what is part of the curse of creation becomes a blessing and not a curse for those who are being redeemed. God is working out the fullness of our salvation through some of the very same things that came into this world as a result of him subjecting creation to futility.
My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. (James 1:2-4 NET)
Trials test our faith and produce endurance in us. Trials sand out our imperfections and work toward giving us a flawless finish. In an awe-inspiring paradox, the futile becomes purposeful in God's hands.

That doesn't mean that trials are a piece of cake, or that we will be dancing the happy dance throughout them. They will cause us deep-pit sorrow, but those who trust God can have true joy in the midst of sorrow. Those who trust God when they are in the thick of trouble will find themselves loving God more, thanking God more, and anticipating the presence of God more. They will value what is eternal--the things that don't change or decay or rust or die--more than they ever did. They will know more than ever where they belong, and to whom they belong.

That is a gift. A true gift. A perfect gift. And "every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.... (James 1:17 NET)" And now I've going to write something that's hard for me to write, because it's something I wrestle with as much as anyone; but here goes: The true insult is in not recognizing that difficult circumstances can be God's good gift and being thankful for them.

Update: Lots of discussion on this one, so read the comments, too.

Brandon of Siris linked to my last post on this subject and added some important thoughts.
.....a key fact about hope: people get genuine hope only from something that serves as a sure foundation for it.

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Sunday, February 26

Round the Sphere Again

  • This week's Christian Carnival is at Jordan's View. Educate your soul!

  • Theology lesson: David Heddle continues his primer on justification, this time delving into the Lordship Salvation Controversy.
    In a nutshell: Once you accept Jesus as your savior, will you naturally accept Him as your Lord as well, meaning you will attempt (perhaps pitifully) to obey and do good works, or is it possible to at first accept the "savior" part and only, at a later date, accept the Lordship part?

  • Ian with the Messy Desk gives us a little lesson on the Salvation Army.

  • Scott of Magic Statistics explains why Republicans are happier than Democrats.

  • Lessons from man's best friend: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. (From Hireath.)

  • Doug has a book recommendation. I was thinking of writing a book just for Doug called Around the World without Photo ID, but I guess it's too late now.

  • Shaun Nolan of Postscript Posthaste announces a monthly podcast called Ordinary Means.
    Very, very cool! Go check it out.
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    Sunday's Hymn: The Really Oldies

    Again the Lord's Own Day Is Here

    Again the Lord's own day is here,
    The day to Christian people dear,
    As, week by week, it bids them tell
    How Jesus rose from death and hell.

    For by His flock their Lord declared
    His resurrection should be shared;
    And we who trust in Him to save
    With Him are risen from the grave.

    We, one and all, of Him possessed,
    Are with exceeding treasures blessed,
    For all He did, and all He bare,
    He gives us as our own to share.

    Eternal glory, rest on high,
    A blessed immortality,
    True peace and gladness, and a throne,
    Are all His gifts, and all our own.

    And therefore unto Thee we sing,
    O Lord of peace, eternal King;
    Thy love we praise, Thy Name adore,
    Both on this day and evermore.

    ---Attributed to Thomas a Kempis (1379-1471)

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    Friday, February 24

    Decree Math

    In this latest post on the decrees at Theologica, I introduced a couple of equations.

    Gotta love theological math, right?

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    The Go-to Person for Curling Results

    is Kevin.

    I've been wearing my Bemidji sweatshirt today in support of the team from my home-town. I would have been more proud of them if they'd not all been forcefully chewing gum when they stood on the podium.

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    God's Design?

    I'm supposed to be working on another post on the decrees of God. I've got it half done, but instead of finishing it this morning, I stuck my nose in a discussion that's been going on in the blogworld: Yes, the God and cancer controversy.

    I've been resisting, resisting, resisting.....and then I just couldn't resist any longer. If you've been oblivious to the skirmish, read all the links in the post at Smart Christian linked above, including and especially this one by John Piper that started the whole kerfuffle ball rolling by saying that when someone has cancer, it is God's design. And here is a slightly an editted version of my comments from this morning:
    I think you missed it a bit with your description of the first view. It isn't that God is the author of cancer--depending, at least on what you mean by the word author. If you mean by author that God goes around zapping people with cancer, then that isn't what Piper is saying. Here are his words:
    It will not do to say that God only uses our cancer but does not design it. What God permits, he permits for a reason. And that reason is his design.

    Piper still believes that cancer comes by means of God's permission. It's because Piper sees that God has reasons (or a purpose) for allowing it that Piper uses the word design. God has specific purposes for allowing cancer into a person's life, and that makes the cancer part of his design for their life, and in that sense, cancer is designed for us by God.

    And as long as someone believes that God knows the future, is powerful enough to prevent things like cancer from occuring, doesn't have some sort of automatic hands-off policy in his creation, and isn't capricious, I don't know how they could think otherwise. Does God choose what to allow or not? And if he chooses, does he make his choices for a reason (or reasons) or for no reason?

    Someone who says that God "only uses" things like cancer must either think that he can't prevent it, or he didn't see it coming. It's as if cancer shows up unexpectedly, catching God off guard, and then God has to scramble around after the fact to try to salvage something good from it. Where is the comfort in that? Where is the hope in that?

    As someone who lost her husband to cancer while she was still in her 40's, I can tell you that if a minister had come into the hospital room and said, "Well, we live in a fallen world, so things like this just happen," I would have had to restrain myself....seriously....and I'm a nice person. At the time that my husband was getting palliative chemo treatment, we did have an fill-in pastor that said something just like that in a sermon--accompanied by a big sigh that was probably meant to sound sympathetic--and it was the most discouraging thing anyone ever said during the whole year and a half battle we had with the cancer. There was no hope, no comfort in that statement. How could we trust in a God who had allowed us to suffer what we were suffering but didn't have a good design for it?

    Whew! But how could I not be passionate about this?

    And as long as I'm already hot under the collar, let me add. The reason I took so long to comment on this is that it really annoys me that everyone wants to defer to the opinions of people who have experienced cancer on this question, as if how God works in the world, and what sort of message really gives us hope is something that can only be understood through experience.

    Noop. You can understand this by using your noggin. God is good, he is all-powerful, he knows the future, he is purposeful. And Romans 8 tells us that God is working in everything purposefully for the good. Cancer is part of the everything God works in. Cancer is part of the everything God works purposefully in. Cancer is part of the everything God works purposefully for the good in, and that purposeful good result--that design--is our increasing conformation to the image of God's Son.

    Next up: The decrees according to Wesleyanism or Arminianism, and then this week's Round the Sphere post. I've got my blogging work cut out for me. On top if that, I'm just a little sick, and I'm working up a doozy of a sick headache, but I'm hoping ibuprofen will help.

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    Thursday, February 23

    Mixed Results

    in international sports.

  • The U. S. men's curling team hailing from my home town lost in the olympic curling semi-finals yesterday, but at least they lost to the Canadian team. The Canadians play for gold or silver tomorrow, and Pete Fenson and his guys (U.S.) play for bronze.

  • The Quest is finished, and Kevin gives the results. He's got olympic hockey results, too, and there's not much to be happy about there for Canadians, but Kevin--ever the optimist--is cheered by the thought of the 2010 Olympics.

    [Update: Hilary and Susan blog some of the Quest as race volunteers and post fun photos of dogs and mushers and Dawson City.]

  • An olympic athlete that Canadians can be proud of is Cindy Klassen, and it isn't just because she's already won four medals. Let Tim tell you a little more.

  • Youngest son left this morning for a basketball tourney in Tok, Alaska, which is an 8-10 hour drive up the Alaska Highway. No results from that yet, and you may think that since Whitehorse is so much bigger than all those little Alaska towns, son's team would be shoe-in winners of the tourney, but not so. Basket ball is the sport in Alaska, so itty-bitty towns can have spectacular teams.

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    Wednesday, February 22

    Boys Will Be Boys

    What's up with all the superhero role playing in the long underwear and cape that little boys do? The flying leaps from the coffee table or back of the couch? It's cute, sometimes a little annoying, and possibly dangerous, depending on what superhero he is, what superfeat he's attempting, and how many other superheroes there are in the room.

    They're having fun, for sure, but it's also very important work. Purposeful work. And when that little boy turns 12 or 13, give or take a few years, you'll see the former caped superhero begin to unfold into a real hero.

    It might start with a bit of a bad attitude. He thinks he knows better than his parents do. He thinks he's invincible. He doesn't like taking instruction. This can be a very difficult stage, because he doesn't know better than his parents, he's not invincible, and goodness knows, he needs instruction more than he ever did. This stage of hero development is not so much fun, but parents who hang in there may see that this, too, has a purpose.

    Youngest daughter is twenty-one and works at a gym. A week or so ago she came home and told us about her day. A young man, a customer at the gym who is the same age as youngest son and still in high school, had been hassling her to "hang out" with him.

    "We should hang out sometime," he said. He was nothing, if not persistent, even though she thought she was obvious in her refusal.

    Oldest son's response? "What's his name? I should have a talk with him." Youngest son? "I'll beat him up!"

    As it turns out, her boss had overheard the exchange and he had a talk with the young man, so things were resolved without any action from her brothers.

    Yes, youngest son needs to learn a better approach to fixing these sorts of problems--a better phase one, anyway! And I expect that to come with time. A year ago, however, it would never have crossed his mind that this situation might require something of him.

    He's one step closer to becoming a hero, and that, really, is what the briefs pulled up over the long johns when he was five were all about. Boys will be boys, and that's a good thing, because it's working to turn them into men.

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    Tuesday, February 21

    The End of the Quest

    Kevin gives the story.

    I'm a little bit disappointed, since I was hoping to get a photo of a dog sled rolling into town after traveling 1000 miles. Last year I posted one of the start of the race, and I was hoping for a matched set.

    For more local flavor, check out the update on yesterday's post on Riverside Grocery.

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    Christian Carnival Reminder

    Entries for the Christian Carnival are due by tonight (February 21) at midnight EST. Submit your entry to ChristianCarnival [ATT] gmail [DOTT] com. Include
    • The name of your blog
    • The URL of your blog
    • The title of your post
    • The URL of your post
    • A short description of the post
    • The trackback link if you have one
    Then look for your entry in tomorrow's (February 22) carnival at Jordan's View.

    You'll find more complete information on the Christian Carnival here.

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    Monday, February 20

    Only in the Yukon: Riverside Grocery

    In many ways, Whitehorse is a lot like any other town. We have our big box Walmart and Superstore and Canadian Tire, but we have our little unique places, too. Less than there used to be, since some of the old landmarks, like our quonset hardware store with it's decrepit tilting wood floors, have been torn down to make way for businesses that are more nondescript and less customer friendly.

    One remaining treasure, however, is Riverside Grocery, on the corner of one of the busiest intersections, right across the street from the main public park with the beached riverboat, and the legislative building. For many years it was open 24 hours, but now it's open 20 hours per day. There are only two small rooms of products, with a few steps up to get from one room to the other, but if you want it, they've probably got it.

    It's so chock full of stuff that it's hard to get a picture because you can't get far enough away from stacks of products to take one. See what I mean? Dog food, several styles of floor mops, garden gloves, rubber gloves, cheesecloth, irons, extension cords, brooms and whisk brooms, not to mention the corn nuts and candy. And if you go up the stairs to the far shelf in the photo, you can get fabric dye and a few other craft and sewing supplies.

    One aisle over is the frozen dairy case. There you'll find regular frozen dairy treats, but pretend for a second you can't eat milk products. Not to worry, because they've got several sorts of soy and rice milk frozen treats. Do you eat only organic food? You'd be able to stock your cupboards at this little store, too.

    If it's Halloween and you forgot to get your wee one a costume, you could buy one here at the last minute, along with a pumpkin for carving. Have you been sick? Every sort of over the counter medication you might need is here. Forgot your lunch? You can buy fresh made (or so they say!) sandwiches and brownies. Is it 1AM and you need a plunger--fast? You may pay through the nose for it, but at least they'll have it.

    I stop here mostly for the slushies and ice cream cones, or maybe a newspaper from their selection of newspapers from places south.

    From the photo at the top of this post, you'd think the building was the ordinary boxy sort, wouldn't you? It's not. It's almost triangle shaped, with one side only a few feet wide, as the photo shows. The shape of the building, I'm guessing, was determined long ago by the shape of the lot it occupied. So the outside of the store is almost--but not quite--as interesting as what's inside.
    Update: A couple of local folks have commented with their Riverside Grocery anecdotes. Suz tells of the time last summer when her family was headed for the beach and needed pails and shovels for her boys. The stopped in Riverside for them.
    The clerk could not find [them] in the store, but she checked in the back and came back with two pails, shovels attached, and at a reasonable price. And it was a small price to pay indeed for the joy of two boys who gloried that day in digging in the sand and catching minnows in their new buckets.

    Chris worked at Riverside, and he
    can attest to the wide range of goods. The only thing I was ever asked for while working there that I could not find for the customer was.....bulk nails. We had nails, just not in bulk.
    He goes on:
    Most interesting item on the shelf was electric socks.

    An item I still by there exclusively is Tempura Batter. (Can't find it anywhere else.)

    Also, if you think that the store is interesting, you should see the back room(s).
    Hey, you know you've got something good going when your customers give you free advertising.

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    Sunday, February 19

    Sunday's Hymn: The Really Oldies

    A hymn of Stephen of Mar Saba, who lived in the 8th century:
    Art Thou Weary, Art Thou Languid?

    Art thou weary, art thou languid,
    Art thou sore distressed?
    "Come to Me," saith One, "and coming,
    Be at rest."

    Hath He marks to lead me to Him,
    If He be my Guide?
    In His feet and hands are wound prints
    And His side.

    Hath He diadem, as monarch,
    That His brow adorns?
    Yes, a crown in very surety,
    But of thorns.

    If I find Him, if I follow,
    What His guerdon* here?
    Many a sorrow, many a labor,
    Many a tear.

    If I still hold closely to Him,
    What hath He at last?
    Sorrow vanquished, labor ended,
    Jordan passed.

    If I ask Him to receive me,
    Will He say me nay?
    Not till earth and not till Heaven
    Pass away.

    Finding, following, keeping, struggling,
    Is He sure to bless?
    Saints, apostles, prophets, martyrs,
    Answer, Yes!


    Who'll be the first to explain the connection between the photo and this hymn?

    *What's up with guerdon? It's a reward or payment.

    Other hymns or worship songs posted this Sunday:

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    Saturday, February 18

    Collected A Few More Stray Ducks


    What are God's works of providence?

    God's works of providence are his most holy,[1] wise,[2] and powerful preserving [3] and governing [4] all his creatures; ordering them, and all their actions,[5] to his own glory.[6]
    1. Psa. 145:17
      The Lord is righteous in all his ways
      and kind in all his works.

    2. Psa. 104:24
      O Lord, how manifold are your works!
      In wisdom have you made them all;
      the earth is full of your creatures.
      Isa. 28:29
      This also comes from the Lord of hosts;
      he is wonderful in counsel
      and excellent in wisdom.

    3. Heb. 1:3
      He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.

    4. Psa. 103:19
      The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
      and his kingdom rules over all.

    5. Matt. 10:29-31
      Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
      Gen. 45:7
      And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.

    6. Rom. 11:36
      For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
      Isa. 63:14
      Like livestock that go down into the valley,
      the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest.
      So you led your people,
      to make for yourself a glorious name.

    Question 18, Westminster Larger Catechism.

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    Could You Pass?

    You Passed the US Citizenship Test

    Congratulations - you got 10 out of 10 correct!

    My hunch is that this quiz has much harder questions than are on a real citizenship test. Of course, the only thing I have to judge by is the Canadian citizenship test.

    Full disclosure: I did get one wrong, but went back and changed an answer. Not because I was cheating, you see, so much as I couldn't live without knowing the right answer to that question.

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    Friday, February 17

    Round the Sphere Again

  • This week's Christian Carnival is at Pursuing Holiness, and it's all about love.

  • Spreading joy:
    1. Scotwise helps us be of good cheer.

    2. You can have your own magazine cover, too, thanks to Ian's Messy Desk's link to this toy from flagrantdisregard.com
  • There've been a couple requests for more Yukon content in the comments recently. Well, the Liard Hot Springs aren't really in the Yukon, but the photos were taken by a Yukoner who took a quick trip down there for a winter dip. These hot springs are a favorite stopping place on the Alaska highway, about 450 miles down toward civilization from here. Lots of wildlife there, too, like bison and caribou.

  • Yet more Canadian content from Chez Kneel.

  • Marla tells us why discernment is important.
    ....if we are so concerned with love, let us love by being truthful rather than muddling the distinctions between blogs of Christians and those of sects that have broken away from Christianity, so that seekers and newer Christians aren't taken captive into deceptive philosophies (sound familiar?).

  • Book, books, and more books:
    1. Jollyblogger on The Davinci Code: The Da Vinci Code Fallback Position

    2. At Postscript Posthaste, Shaun Nolan tells us that reading fiction is good for us.
      Fiction stirs the soul in a way that commentaries do not. Fiction exposes a man’s heart much the way the parables and stories of Jesus did the hearts of those who heard (and didn’t hear) them. Fiction offers us a glimpse not only into the mind of man, but into his motivations.
    3. From 9 Marks: A reading list for the lay person.
      Careful reading is not just the pastor's task. In fact, the members of Christian churches are charged with the responsibility of discerning error in their pastors' teaching, and of choosing teachers who will not simply tickle their ears (Gal 1:6-9; 2Tim 4:3). Reading solid books is a great way to develop your appetite for theology and your ability to discern truth and error.

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    Thursday, February 16

    I've Been At It Again


    Quest Pics

    Life with Dogs in the Yukon has photos from the Yukon Quest, so you can see some of the teams and mushers close up.

    And better yet, she's got photos of puppies.

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    Wednesday, February 15

    It's A Classic

    Unlike the rest of its slang chums, cool just never goes out of style.
    Cool just sits back and keeps getting used generation after generation and lets the whole history of the language roll off its back. (Robert Thompson, Syracuse University professor of popular culture)
    Trace the whole history of cool.

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    I've Been Nominated

    [Update: Marla points out something about awards that I hadn't noticed. Please read her post and take it into consideration.

    Yet more clarification: I'm not trying to tell you how to vote, or not to vote. Apparently these were not intended to be faith related awards. I did not realize that.

    .....for the Share the Love Blog Award given out by One Woman's World. Here are the details. I've been nominated in three categories: Best Writing, Most Inspiring, Most Thought-Provoking.

    Voting can be done here.

    Called According to Paul: Galatians 1

    An explanation of this series of posts can be found here. You'll find the previous nine posts in the series listed under Current Series in the sidebar.

    The word called is used twice in Galatians 1, first in verse 6:
    I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are following a different gospel... (NET)

    The phrase the one who called you refers to God the Father. The unified purpose but distinctive roles of the Father and Son are referred to throughout the previous verses, and in this verse, the Father calls by the grace of Chist.

    As we saw in 1 Corinthians 1, this call to the true gospel is a call that changes how the message of the true gospel is percieved. So these Galatians, having been called by the Father, have known the true gospel and have understood the power, wisdom and redemption in it, and now they are turning away from it to "another gospel" that is not really the gospel at all.

    Yet it would be a mistake to think of their turning away as simply a turning from a proper idea of the gospel. It is rather a turning from "the one who called you." This places God's call in a very personal context. It is not just a general and unspecific call, but a call from a personal God to individual people, so that the Galatians following a different gospel is a personal deserting or betrayal of the one who called them.

    To sum up what we can glean about the call of God from this verse then: the call originates with the Father; it is a call based in grace--undeserved and grounded in Christ's death; and it is personal--from a personal God to individual persons.

    Moving on to verses 15 and 16 of this chapter:
    But when the one who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I could preach him among the Gentiles, I did not go to ask advice from any human being... (NET)

    In context, it would seem clear that this call is Paul's call to apostleship. It was a call that was founded upon a choice (or a setting apart) by God before Paul was born, and resulted in God's work within Paul's life to accomplish the purpose for which he had set Paul apart. The point stressed here is God's sovereignty in calling Paul and equipping him for service. It was a call to something--apostleship--that was planned and accomplished by God.

    What more can you glean from these two texts in Galatians 1 about Paul's use of the word called as it refers to the call of God?

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    Tuesday, February 14

    It Really Is The Toughest Dog Sled Race

    Feeding the dogs after the storm.

    Five Yukon Quest teams had to be airlifted out yesterday when the weather turned extremely nasty.
    Late Sunday afternoon, a winter storm decended on the Yukon Quest Trail bringing high winds and heavy snowfall. The usual 4-5 hour leg between Mile 101 and Central Checkpoint dragged on for several teams, and stopped others in their tracks....

    With 5 Yukon Quest and 10 Yukon Quest 300 mushers and [a] lost dog team unaccounted for, Yukon Quest officials mounted a ground-based search from both Central and Mile 101 to learn the whereabouts of all the participants. When snowmachine drivers reported being unable to reach Eagle Summit due to the weather conditions at the time, and also reporting not seeing any teams in motion, Officials called for an air-based search.

    Five Yukon Quest teams were located just below Eagle Summit, and helicopter support personnel were able to air-lift these teams back to Mile 101....

    As air-lifts brought the final mushers and dogs off of Eagle Summit and down to Mile 101, it was confirmed that all participants were OK.
    Read the rest.

    From the Toronto Star:
    A gruelling, 1600-km dogsled race turned into a high-drama rescue when a blinding blizzard trapped a number of teams on a mountain in Alaska Sunday night and left many of them stranded throughout yesterday.

    Mushers and their dogs fought metre-high snowdrifts and zero visibility as they struggled against the elements and attempted to find the course - a diabolically challenging route from Fairbanks, Alaska to Whitehorse in the Yukon.
    The sighs of relief were heard round the North. There were many worried handlers and families yesterday until things were resolved in the afternoon.

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    Linky Love for Valentine's Day

  • I mentioned below that Kim in Il was posting vintage Valentines, but I'll post it here, too, so you're sure not to miss these.

  • Vicki of Windows to My Soul has posted several biblical love lists. You know how much I love lists!

  • Cindy Swanson posts one of Shakespeare's sonnets.

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    Monday, February 13

    Getting My Theological Ducks Lined Up


    Favorite Things: Vintage Birthday Cards

    Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

    I'm still on my organizing kick. Yesterday, stashed away on the bookcase in the dining room found these little birthday cards that I picked up at the Salvation Army thrift store a couple of years ago. They looked so cute and springy that I had to string a little clothesline and hang them up with tiny clothespins.

    The back part of each card has an outfit that the child can colour, so the little character on the front can wear it, paper doll style. The kitty-cat, for instance, has a nurse's outfit, and the poem inside says:

    A birthday kitten -
    Cute as can be,
    And you can
    Dress her up
    Like a nurse,
    You see!

    [Update: Like these cards? Kim in IL is posting a day's worth of Valentine cards.]

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    Sunday, February 12

    One Quest-ion Quiz

    Fill in the blank:

    1. The toughest dog sled race in the world is __________.

    Go find out the answer from Kevin.

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    Sunday's Hymn: The Really Oldies

    From Joseph the Hymnographer in the 9th century:
    Let Us Now Our Voices Raise

    Let us now our voices raise,
    Wake the day with gladness;
    God Himself to joy and praise
    Turns our human sadness;
    Joy that martyrs won their crown,
    Opened heav'ns bright portal,
    When they laid the mortal down
    For the life immortal.

    Never flinched they from the flame,
    From the torment never;
    Vain the tyrant's sharpest aim,
    Vain each fierce endeavor:
    For by faith they saw the land
    Decked in all its glory,
    Where triumphant now they stand
    With the victor's story.

    Up and follow, Christian men!
    Press through toil and sorrow;
    Spurn the night of fear, and then,
    O the glorious morrow!
    Who will venture on the strife;
    Who will first begin it?
    Who will grasp the land of life?
    Warriors, up and win it!


    Other hymns or worship songs posted this Sunday:

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    Saturday, February 11

    Saturday Evening

    Safely through another week,
    God has brought us on our way;
    Let us now a blessing seek,
    On th' approaching Sabbath-day:
    Day of all the week the best,
    Emblem of eternal rest.

    Mercies multiply'd each hour
    Through the week our praise demand
    Guarded by Almighty pow'r,
    Fed and guided by his hand:
    Though ungrateful we have been,
    Only made returns of sin.

    While we pray for pard'ning grace,
    Through the dear Redeemer's name,
    Show thy reconciled face,
    Shine away our sin and shame:
    From our worldly care set free,
    May we rest this night with thee.

    When the morn shall bid us rise,
    May we feel thy presence near!
    May thy glory meet our eyes
    When we in thy house appear!
    There afford us, Lord, a taste
    Of our everlasting feast.

    May thy Gospel's joyful sound
    Conquer sinners, comfort saints;
    Make the fruits of grace abound,
    Bring relief for all complaints:
    Thus may all our Sabbaths prove,
    Till we join the church above!

    ---John Newton

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    It Wouldn't Be Saturday Without A Quiz

    You Should Get a PhD in Science (like chemistry, math, or engineering)

    You're both smart and innovative when it comes to ideas.
    Maybe you'll find a cure for cancer - or develop the latest underground drug.

    Not bad. I was a math major, but switched to elementary education with a math concentration once I had kids.

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    Could You Be An Olympic Athlete?

    I'm not asking if you're good enough to be an Olympic athlete; but rather, could you--would you--take the pledge?

    From Challies.com:
    ....I was interested to hear the vow the athletes take. They vow to play fair "for the glory of sport."
    [Read whole post.]

    And therein lies the background for the new poll at the top of the sidebar: Would you take the Olympic athletes' pledge? Go vote, and then if you feel the need to explain your vote--and I hope you do--explain it in the comments to this post.

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    Friday, February 10

    Round the Sphere Again

    I've included a few posts that were intended for last week's Round the Sphere post, but were inaccessible because Blogger was behaving badly.

  • This week's Christian Carnival is at Part-Time Pundit.

  • A collection of stories from the lives of well-known Christians:
    1. Fanny Crosby at Historia ecclesiastica
    2. Frances Schaeffer at Grantian Florilegium.
    3. Mathematical genius Leonhard Euler at Hiraeth.

  • Some theology:
    1. Kim from ON writes of God's infinity.
    2. John Samson writes on Contending for the Trinity.
    3. Seems I'm not the only one blogging about the decrees of God. This post at Fide-o discusses the order of the decrees as they relate to the different forms of Calvinism.

  • A look at an old New Testament: Colin Maxwell compares the Tyndale New Testament with the King James Version. Colin is KJV preferred, and I'm not, and I don't agree with all of his conclusions in this piece. You might not agree with everything, either, but there are some interesting findings in this post.

  • A little reading, a little writing, but no 'rithmatic:
    1. They've been doing a lot of discussion about reading and reading lists at Together for the Gospel. Of particular interest to me: Al Mohler responds to questions from readers on reading.

    2. I've noticed lately that some readers--not at this blog, which has smart and quirky and wonderful readers--just don't understand rhetorical devices, and tend to read everything with flat literalism. This means that they end up being offended over things they read--things that wouldn't be offensive if they only knew how to read something other than a textbook.

      One of the devices I use most often is understatement (I was reared Minnesotan, after all!), but that proved to be a dangerous tool to at least one writer this week when a group of nit-wits read what he wrote literally and tried to make something of it.

      Another device I see used frequently in the blogosphere is hyperbole, which is sort of the opposite of understatement. When someone posts a rant, I can pretty much guarantee it'll contain at least one hyperbole, and that's an understatement.

      All this is to introduce A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices. Check it out. (There's a fun little test at the bottom for those who are gung-ho for devices.)

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    Thursday, February 9

    Decrees, Decrees, and More Decrees


    Wednesday, February 8

    Big News

    The piece of Canadiana once owned by Matt Gumm intended as part of the draw prize for entering the Canadian Christian Blog Showcase arrived today. Yep, it was a long time coming, but now it's here and I'll get those prizes mailed out tomorrow.

    The funny part of all of this is that part of the reason the parcel took so long to get here is that it was opened at customs. So I'm chuckling as I picture a customs agent opening the package up looking for some sort of evil contraband, and finding a Canadian desk flag instead.

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    Tuesday, February 7

    How did God create man?

    After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female;[1] formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground,[2] and the woman of the rib of the man,[3] endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls;[4] made them after his own image,[5] in knowledge,[6] righteousness,and holiness;[7] having the law of God written in their hearts,[8] and power to fulfil it,[9] and dominion over the creatures;[10] yet subject to fall.[11]
    1. Gen. 1:27
      So God created man in his own image,
      in the image of God he created him;
      male and female he created them.

    2. Gen. 2:7
      then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

    3. Gen. 2:22
      And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made [1] into a woman and brought her to the man.

    4. Gen. 2:7 (See item 2 above.)

      Job 35:11
      who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth
      and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?

      Eccl. 12:7
      and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
      Matt. 10:28
      And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
      Luke 23:43
      And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

    5. Gen. 1:27 (See item 1 above.)

    6. Col. 3:10
      and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

    7. Eph. 4:24
      and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

    8. Rom. 2:14-15
      For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them

    9. Eccl. 7:29
      See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.

    10. Gen. 1:28
      And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

    11. Gen. 3:6
      So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

      Eccl. 7:29 (See item 9 above.)

    Question 17, Westminster Larger Catechism.

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    Former President Clinton Is Wrong

    ....again. During his comments at Coretta Scott King's funeral, he labeled Episcopalians the frozen chosen. Well, anyone who knows anything knows the term frozen chosen refers to this denomination.

    (While you're at it, buy Lego!)

    Christian Carnival Reminder

    Entries for the Christian Carnival are due by tonight (February 7) at midnight EST tomorrow (February 8) at noon CST, although I suggest getting your entries in beforehand because that makes things so much easier for the host. Submit your entry to ChristianCarnival [ATT] gmail [DOTT] com. Include
    • The name of your blog
    • The URL of your blog
    • The title of your post
    • The URL of your post
    • A short description of the post
    • The trackback link if you have one
    Then look for your entry in tomorrow's (February 8) carnival at Part-Time Pundit, which the host says will be posted right after the noon deadline.

    You'll find more complete information on the Christian Carnival here.

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    Decrees and Such Things

    I started discussing the different logical order of the decrees between the different theological systems over at Theologica, but only actually got as far as defining what a decree is and explaining that all systems have them in the first post.

    Click over there to see what I did during my blogging time this morning. I know it's short, but it took more time than you might think to get that far. I'm trying to be very careful and methodical in what I write, so as not to cause more confusion than already exists on the subject.

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    Monday, February 6

    Called According to Paul: Ephesians

    An explanation of this series of posts can be found here. You'll find the previous eight posts in the series listed under Current Series in the sidebar.

    In this post, I'm going to look at all the uses of the word called or calling in Ephesians in one fell swoop. The first time Paul uses this word is in Ephesians 1:18:
    ...since the eyes of your heart have been enlightened - so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints... (NET)

    I see this as being similar to the other times Paul tell us that God's call is to something: righteousness or peace or holiness, etc. God's call, as the term is used here, is an appointment, and in this case it's an appointment to hope.

    Now, let's skip over to chapter 4 of Ephesians, where the word called or calling is used several times in the first few verses.
    I, therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live worthily of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you too were called to the one hope of your calling....

    Once again, we see the idea that our calling is like an appointment. Those called have been appointed to something, and they are called upon to live in a way that is in keeping with their appointed status. It seems that here, as we also saw in 1 Corinthians 1 and 7 (and other texts), called and calling are being used as sort of synonyms (or metonymies) for salvation. Those who are being saved are being urged to live in a way that reflects God's saving work within them, or that reflects their status as ones being saved.

    Notice, too, that in verse 4, just as in Ephesians 1:18 above, Paul says that the call is to hope.

    What can you add?

    Sunday, February 5

    Sunday's Hymn: The Really Oldies

    This hymn was written by Theodolph of Orleans, who lived from 760-821, so we know it's an old one. You may sing it in your church, although I'm guessing you don't sing all the verses.
    All Glory, Laud and Honor

    All glory, laud and honor,
    To Thee, Redeemer, King,
    To Whom the lips of children
    Made sweet hosannas ring.

    Thou art the King of Israel,
    Thou David's royal Son,
    Who in the Lord’s Name comest,
    The King and Blessed One.

    The company of angels
    Are praising Thee on High,
    And mortal men and all things
    Created make reply.

    The people of the Hebrews
    With palms before Thee went;
    Our prayer and praise and anthems
    Before Thee we present.

    To Thee, before Thy passion,
    They sang their hymns of praise;
    To Thee, now high exalted,
    Our melody we raise.

    Thou didst accept their praises;
    Accept the prayers we bring,
    Who in all good delightest,
    Thou good and gracious King.

    Be Thou, O Lord, the Rider,
    And we the little ass,
    That to God’s holy city
    Together we may pass.

    That last verse has been left out since the 17th century, which, I suppose, is just as well. I can't imagine my kids singing it without giggling!

    Updating with links to other hymns posted on other blogs recently:
    1. What Wondrous Love Is This?
    2. We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought
    3. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
    4. Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken

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    Saturday, February 4

    Know Thyself in Sixty Seconds

    Via KEG's Thoughts.

    Your Five Factor Personality Profile


    You have medium extroversion.
    You're not the life of the party, but you do show up for the party.
    Sometimes you are full of energy and open to new social experiences.
    But you also need to hibernate and enjoy your "down time."


    You have medium conscientiousness.
    You're generally good at balancing work and play.
    When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
    But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.


    You have medium agreeableness.
    You're generally a friendly and trusting person.
    But you also have a healthy dose of cynicism.
    You get along well with others, as long as they play fair.


    You have low neuroticism.
    You are very emotionally stable and mentally together.
    Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly.
    Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed - making others feel secure.

    Openness to experience:

    Your openness to new experiences is medium.
    You are generally broad minded when it come to new things.
    But if something crosses a moral line, there's no way you'll approve of it.
    You are suspicious of anything too wacky, though you do still consider creativity a virtue.

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    Round the Sphere Again

    Some of the Blogger blogs don't seem to be accessible right now, but I'm sure they will be later.

  • This week's Christian Carnival is at Attention Span. Rev-ed's done it all up in an Olympics theme.

  • The Centuri0n disagrees with a point made by Steve Saint in an interview he gave about the movie End of the Spear. (Steve Saint is the son of Nate Saint, whose story is featured in the movie as one of the five martyred missionaries.) :
    But the problem I see in Steve Saint's statement here is that he thinks that I am only relevant to the unsaved sinner if I am willing to demonstrate that I am a sinner. I think that is exactly wrong: if I am just another sinner, I have nothing to offer another sinner. What is relevant to the sinner is the solution to a sinful life.
    You'll need to read the whole post to know exactly what it is he objects to.

  • Speaking of End of the Spear, not all of the families of the martyred missionaries support the movie. Here's a letter from Dan Kachikis, whose deceased wife, Beth Youderian, was Roger Youderian's daughter.

  • Alan of The Thinklings takes on some of Brian McClaren's questions in The Unbearable Agony of Being Brian McLaren:
    ....if he won't answer basic questions, then he can't be trusted with complex ones.

  • New (and excellent) resources:
    • Countercult Apologetics Journal, put together for us by Jeff Downs, who says he prays
      this will be a tool to equip and motivate the saints and challenge false teachings...
      HT: James White.

    • For all goodies Lutheran, visit The Luther Library.
      Luther Library seeks to encourage the reading of good books by confessional Lutheran pastors, church workers, and lay people through regular reviews and recommendations.

  • Here's a long list of dog quotes from Ian's Messy Desk.

  • And some nostalgic self-indulgence: Yep, more on the Olympic Curling Teams from my hometown.

  • In local news, both Magic Statistics and Limited Thinking comment on Cliff (Who Me?) Hanna's lame attempt to by-pass one of the inevitables:
    I belong to the Jollyblogger school of Technorati tagging:

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    Friday, February 3

    She Stood Looking At It....

    ...wondering why there was a fire-hydrant in the middle of a wood...

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    Thursday, February 2

    Don't Let Me Keep You From Celebrating

    We don't do Groundhog Day here. We don't need a rodent to tell us we'll have at least six more weeks of winter.

    For those who for whom February 2 is not exactly the same as any other dreary winter day:
    Any more?

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    Whitehorse Photos

    There was a comment asking for more pictures of the town of Whitehorse itself, so I thought I'd collect a list of some of the city of Whitehorse photos that I've already posted. (What the person requesting city photos might not have known is that almost all of the photos you find here on the blog have been taken within the city limits; we just have a lot of green space within the city.) So here you go--Whitehorse in all it's glory:
    That's a start. Perhaps I'll add more later.

    (You can see all of the blog posts that have been catagorized so far at Pigeonholes.)

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