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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Smart Dog!

I hope you had a happy Fourth. Gloria and I did until nightfall. Our recreation association hosted a lunch in the park. We enjoyed baby back ribs, corn on the cob, potatoes, and Diet Coke. After lunch we visited 31 Flavors for an ice cream cone. (Good thing we had opted for a Diet Coke!)

At nightfall some neighbors ignited illegal fireworks that spooked Molly, our Maltese. She panics every Fourth of July, and this year was no exception. However, a tranquilizer and soothing words seemed to calm her nerves a bit. At bedtime, she entered the bedroom as usual, but instead of entering her kennel, she disappeared. She is a great escape artist. Gloria and I searched every nook and cranny, but couldn’t find her. Finally, on a whim, I looked in Sadie’s kennel and saw two sets of coal black eyes looking back at me. Apparently, Molly had decided close fellowship would help her endure the bombarding pop bottle rockets and booming fireworks. Smart dog!

Personal trials and dangerous world conditions can jangle our nerves, but God has provided powerful resources that settle and stabilize us. Prayer and Biblical promises are two of those powerful resources, and Christian fellowship is another. Isolation can’t insulate a believer from the cold, harsh blasts of trials and threats, but close fellowship assures us we are not alone. Together, we can feel more secure as we wait for the eternal morning.

Yes, Molly is a smart dog.

Friday, July 4, 2008

One Nation Under God

Rebe Martin, a jazz singer, was supposed to sing our national anthem at Denver's State of the City speech this week, but she surprised everyone in attendance by singing Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing, the black national anthem. The singer explained later she was simply expressing herself.

Frankly, I thought the singer’s self-expression was rude. She chose the wrong time and place to sing Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing. She should have felt honored to be asked to sing our national anthem, but she disrespected the honor and valued black more highly than red, white, and blue. If I had been Denver’s mayor, I would have led the assembled dignitaries in a group rendition of our national anthem immediately after Rebe Martin’s solo. The singing might not have been on key, but the patriotism would have more than compensated for any decrease in vocal quality.

I was born in Scotland and lived in Canada through elementary school and high school. Scottish and Canadian pride blend with my deeper American pride, but I have no desire to sing Scotland the Brave or O Canada instead of The Star-spangled Banner. Americans of every race and national origin are “one nation Under God.” We need stand together, perhaps more now than at any previous time.

I’m sure your heart and mine will swell with pride on this Fourth of July as we view fireworks celebrations and hear patriotic songs. May Old Glory wave forever and may we show the rest of the world that we are “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Happy Fourth!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Original Dear Abby

“Dear Abby,” a homespun advice column begun in 1956, may attract more readers than any other newspaper column. Young and old alike turn to “Dear Abby” hoping to find help for bothersome relationships or perhaps to learn what sticky situations others have landed in. All in all, “Dear Abby” is an entertaining column that often dispenses good, old-fashioned common sense.
Pauline Phillips assumed the pen name Abigail Van Buren when she founded the Dear Abby column, and her daughter Jeanne, the column’s current writer, has kept the pen name. Pauline formed the famous pen name by combining the name of the Biblical character Abigail with the last name of the eighth President of the United States, Van Buren.
First Samuel 25 introduces us to the original Abigail, whose personality and conduct were far different from those of her husband Nabal. She was wise, cordial, and generous. He was foolish, insulting, and stingy. We may wonder how such opposites became a married couple, just as we wonder how some modern opposites ended up married to each other. Maybe Abigail’s parents had arranged her marriage.
According to 1 Samuel 25:4–11, David asked wealthy Nabal for provisions to help him and his men survive in the wilderness, but Nabal flatly refused in spite of the fact that David had protected him and his livestock from marauders. This blatant refusal made David’s blood boil to the point he decided to kill Nabal. However, Abigail wisely and graciously intervened. She took provisions to David, and explained her husband was foolish. She further expressed her confidence that God would make David king, and reasoned that killing Nabal would be out of character for righteous David. Her wisdom prevailed and defused a potentially explosive situation.
After Abigail told Nabal what might have happened to him, he died of a heart attack. Soon after his death, Abigail became David’s wife.
Our circumstances do not closely mirror Abigail’s, but we can wisely defuse potentially explosive relationships, whether they flare up at work, among family members, at church, or in the neighborhood. We can be Dear-Abby or even Dear Tom-Dick-or-Harry Christians if we employ the wisdom God has imparted to us in His Word.

© 2008, Jim Dyet

Monday, June 30, 2008

Better Than High Tech

If you are a senior, read on. If you are younger than a senior, pass these thoughts along to a senior.

“Evening, morning and noon I cry out in my distress, and he hears my voice” (Psalm 55:17).

Do you remember when a blackberry was a black berry? You ate it; you didn’t “play” with it. And you didn’t have to use your thumbs. Now we have i-Pods, i-Tunes, i-Photos, i-Chats, IDVDs, and a host of other high-tech gadgets that make our heads swim. If you know your way around computers and other techie toys, you are either a senior with a uniquely wired brain or a teenager who picked up this book by mistake. Most of us wonder how the world got so high tech and what quantum leaps lie ahead. We fear change, and we are too old to jump.

Even the purchase of a new telephone can lead us to the edge of a nervous breakdown. How do you set the date, day, and time? How do you adjust the ringer’s volume? Voice mail, call forwarding, call waiting, and setting up a frequently-called numbers directory can produce night sweats and even nightmares. You can plop the receiver down almost anywhere in the house. It doesn’t have to remain on the base station. But at our age, we tend to forget where we place an object, so who wants to turn a house upside down and inside out in search of a phone?

Think back to “the good old days.”

A manual typewriter hardly ever broke down. Occasionally, we had to clean the keys and roller and install a new ribbon, but we never had to rely on Geeks R Smart to rescue us at $100 per hour.

If we wanted to make a phone call, we simply dialed the number. Either the person we called answered or didn’t. If no one answered, we called again later. We could call a doctor’s office and talk to a live person. That made scheduling an appointment or getting test results a lot easier than what we endure today. “Please listen to all options before making a selection. If this is a life-threatening emergency, please hang up and call 911. If you are calling from a physician’s office or a pharmacy, dial 1 now. To refill a prescription, contact your pharmacy, and your pharmacist will call us. For a new prescription, dial 2 now. To leave a message for a nurse or to inquire about test results, press 3 now. To schedule an appointment, press 4 now. For billing, press 5.”

It seems high tech has gummed up most communication lines. A customer can’t even contact his telephone company without having to negotiate his way through a series of menu options that lead to a long hold followed by a response by someone who is struggling with the English language.

Fortunately, we don’t have to go high tech to reach God. Prayer gets us straight through to heaven from anywhere at any time. We never hear, “If this is a life-threatening emergency, hang up and call Michael the Archangel or Gabriel.”
God promised, “Call to me and I will answer you” (Jeremiah 33:3). Now that may not be a high tech system, but it is user friendly, voice activated, and reliable. Prayer never crashes, never experiences a power outage, and never puts us on hold.

© 2008, Jim Dyet