Thursday, January 31, 2008 An Interesting Article

Among the many things I do which I generally enjoy (and also make money from) is to do online tutoring for There is an interesting article about this service on the NY Times website here:
I encourage you to read it. I am not mentioned in the article.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Wisdom From The Family

My brother Adam had the following editorial published in the Patriot-News (view it here if you wish). The comments are wise; this is probably his best editorial yet.

Choice Was Made

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I read with disgust the answers given by Dorothy Fulton concerning abortion (Jan. 13). She states, "A woman is not free unless she can control her own body and choose whether she will or will not be a mother."

If a woman is seeking an abortion because she does not want children, then she has already lost control of her body. She gave up that control when she engaged in an act that caused the pregnancy. The choice was made; it is now a matter of what to do with the consequences.

Many women make the choice of whether to have children, but they do so responsibly, via birth control or abstinence.

What has this innocent child done to deserve such an abrupt ending to a life that is just beginning? The pro-abortion, anti-consequence crowd would have us believe that this child is the enemy.

What has caused society to devalue life to this degree?

God created human beings in His image. It is my opinion that people are trying to kill off God (in their heart and mind) by killing off those who are created in His image.

-- ADAM MATESEVAC, Lower Swatara Twp.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

$400,000,000 and counting

It is Sunday, 1/27/08, at 5:00 EST. The Granholm Tax Increase Counter (bottom of this page) has just reached $400,000,000.

This does not make me proud to live in Michigan. But there's an election in November....

Hymn of the Week: Saved, Saved

The words of this hymn speak clearly and simply to some of the most basic doctrinal truths: My Saviour loves me. He saved me, and secures my soul forever. He guides me, keeps me, and protects me.

"Life now is sweet and my joy is complete..." If you are saved and that phrase does not describe your existence today, pray to that One whose "love is ever true" and ask Him to change your life. It may involve repentance, forgiveness, dealing with bitterness, or dealing with a specific trial; but only Jesus can make your life fit the description of this hymn.

And if you are not saved, and you want these words to describe your life, please contact me. I would love to share the gospel of salvation with you.

Words & music by Jack P. Scholfield (1911)

Saved, Saved

I’ve found a Friend, who is all to me,
His love is ever true;
I love to tell how He lifted me
And what His grace can do for you.


Saved by His power divine,
Saved to new life sublime!
Life now is sweet and my joy is complete,
For I’m saved, saved, saved!

He saves me from every sin and harm,
Secures my soul each day;
I’m leaning strong on His mighty arm;
I know He’ll guide me all the way.


When poor and needy and all alone,
In love He said to me,
“Come unto Me and I’ll lead you home,
To live with Me eternally.”


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Obama Wins South Carolina Primary

Do you see the sign in the background? I sense a change is already in order here.

My earlier prediction on percentages in this primary race came true; you may be able to squint and see them in the photo. However, my comments about the SC flag issue coming into play were apparently incorrect.

Hillary must really be unhappy with this. Bill, too. Oh well.

A Moral Tale for Today

From the great e-mail files:

The Ant and the Grasshopper

Two Different Versions! Two Different Morals!


The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.

The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!


The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and
plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and
demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor
grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper, and everybody
cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green.'

Jesse Jackson stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, 'We shall overcome.' Jesse then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.

Nancy Pelosi & John Kerry exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.

Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a
defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Bill Clinton appointed from a list of single-parent welfare recipients.

The ant loses the case.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he doesn't maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Prayer: A Lesson From Acts 4:23-31

In Acts 3-4, the narrative begins with Peter and John healing a lame man. This is followed by subjection to questioning and threats from the Jewish leadership, and then they are released. They return "to their own company" to share what happened, and to pray. This is their prayer:

24 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
The prayer is seven verses long in our Bible (vs. 24-30). A few observations:
  • The first five verses are used in praising God! Do we spend approximately 5/7 (or 5/70, for that matter) of our prayers in praising the One to Whom we speak?
  • The only "current" reference to their situation is in vs. 29: "behold their threatenings." They do not ask God to strike down or to curse their enemies—they merely ask the all-knowing God to "be aware" of their situation. I see an implication of trust, that God will not only be aware, but meet the needs of the situation.
  • They make three requests:
    • To speak the Word boldly
    • Healing from the hand of God
    • Signs and wonders to be done in Jesus' name
  • These three requests are clearly made so that God be glorified, not so that they be better off in some way or another.
Are our prayers similar to this? And is the response of the Holy Spirit similar? Although we may not expect a shaking of our buildings when we pray, it is worthwhile to note that they went forth and preached with boldness—just as they had requested!

Monday, January 21, 2008

MORE Actual IRS Quotes!

Working at H&R Block once again makes me cross paths with these actual IRS quotes (find them yourself at

From Publication 17, which is almost a "bible" of sorts for tax preparers, there is a section on things which are "nondeductible expenses": These cannot be deducted on Schedule A. The list includes.... [from pp. 196-197]

"You cannot deduct fines or penalties you pay to a governmental unit for violating the law."

"You cannot deduct health spa expenses, even if there is a job requirement to stay in excellent physical condition, such as might be required of a law enforcement officer."

"You generally cannot deduct amounts paid or incurred for lobbying expenses. These include expenses to:
  • Influence legislation,
  • Participate or intervene in any political campaign for, or against, any candidate for public office,
  • Attempt to influence the general public, or segments of the public, about elections, legislative matters, or referendums, or
  • Communicate directly with covered executive branch officials in any attempt to influence the official actions or positions of those officials.
Lobbying expenses also include any amounts paid or incurred for research, preparation, planning, or coordination of any of these activities."

"You cannot deduct personal legal expenses such as those for the following: [At this point, a list of fairly common personal legal expenses is given. But it includes this curious one:]
  • Breach of promise to marry suit."
"Professional Reputation. You cannot deduct expenses of radio and TV appearances to increase your personal prestige or establish your professional reputation."

"Wristwatches. You cannot deduct the cost of a wristwatch, even if there is a job requirement that you know the correct time to properly perform your duties."
Publication 535, Business Expenses [p. 42], has more to say about bribes and kickbacks:
"Bribes and kickbacks. Engaging in the payment of bribes or kickbacks is a serious criminal matter. Such activity could result in criminal prosecution. Any payments that appear to have
been made, either directly or indirectly, to an official or employee of any government or an agency or instrumentality of any government are not deductible for tax purposes and are in violation of the law.
"Payments paid directly or indirectly to a person in violation of any federal or state law (but only if that state law is generally enforced, defined below) that provides for a criminal penalty or for the loss of a license or privilege to engage in a trade or business are also not allowed as a deduction for tax purposes.
"Meaning of 'generally enforced:' A state law is considered generally enforced unless it is never enforced, or enforced only for infamous persons or persons whose violations are extraordinarily flagrant. For example, a state law is generally enforced unless proper reporting of a violation of the law results in enforcement only under unusual circumstances.
"Kickbacks. A kickback is a payment for referring a client, patient, or customer. The common kickback situation occurs when money or property is given to someone as payment for influencing a third party to purchase from, use the services of, or otherwise deal with the person who pays the kickback. In many cases, the person whose business is being sought or enjoyed by the person who pays the kickback is not aware of the payment."
So, No, you can't deduct these either. For my first post of Actual IRS Quotes, click here.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hymn of the Week: To God Be The Glory

This is perhaps one of the most famous and best-loved hymns, and it was written by one of the best-known and most prolific hymnwriters of all time: Fanny Crosby. It probably seems odd that a person who was blinded by an incompetent doctor at a very young age would then live a long life of abundant praise to God. She is quoted as saying (see source here):

It seemed in­tend­ed by the bless­ed prov­i­dence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dis­pen­sa­tion. If per­fect earth­ly sight were of­fered me to­mor­row I would not ac­cept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been dis­tract­ed by the beau­ti­ful and in­ter­est­ing things about me.
The circumstances of life are irrelevant when it comes to this command: Give glory to God! Blindness doesn't matter; old age and infirmity do not matter; trials don't matter—what matters is that we have a great God Who has done great things for us! Focus on Him—His salvation, His teachings, His blessings, His glory—instead of your burdens, and it will be so much easier to say, To God Be The Glory!

Fanny Crosby wrote over 8000 hymns; alone lists 450. The tune was written by W. H. Doane. It was first published in 1875.

To God Be The Glory

To God be the glory, great things He has done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.


Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.


Great things He has taught us, great things He has done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

The South Carolina Democratic Primary: 1/26/08

I'm going to try predictions again: Obama wins big, because he gets an overwhelming percent of the minority vote and a respectable percentage of the white vote. Clinton is horribly disappointed with less than 40% of the overall vote. Edwards will barely reach 15%, leading to speculation that his campaign is dead—after all, he lives just north of there.

All three of them will also have something to say about the confederate-stars-and-bars-on-the-state-flag issue, too. They will try to sound like they are condemning it while still appealing to the percentage of state residents who really do think the South will rise again, and who vote.

The South Carolina Republican Primary: 1/19/08

At this moment, with 82% of precincts reporting, is reporting that McCain leads Huckabee by a 33%-to-30% margin, and are "projecting" McCain to be the winner. Weather is believed to have impacted the voting as well as the vote-counting; and areas of the state believed to be Huckabee strongholds are among those whose votes have not yet been tabulated.

The S.C. Republican primary has been among the most interesting to observe. A Mormon gets 15% of the vote in a very Baptist state, despite focusing on Nevada's caucuses (also today; yes, Romney won there). Fred Thompson's best efforts only get him 16%, while Giuliani and Paul receive only marginal numbers.

I find a McCain victory rather surprising (assuming is right). He had a highly disappointing showing there in 2000. He is not the kind of conservative frequently found in SC. He has, quite frankly, shown chameleon-like tendencies over the past decade of campaigning. This day is going to be the equivalent of a dagger-to-the-chest for Huckabee; let's just hope the surgeons are successful.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Nuggets From The Greek: Acts 3:6-8

6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
In the Greek, two things stand out to me about the verbs "rise up and walk" in verse 6:

(1) Both are in the "indicative" mood. In short, both verbs are commands. The lame man is not offered a suggestion—he is told to rise up and walk!

(2) The verb "rise" in verse 6 and the verb "lifted up" in verse 7 are actually the same word in the original Greek. Although they are different forms (evident also in English), what Peter commanded the man to do, he helped him to do! The verb "walk" in verse 6 and "walked" and "walking" in verse 8 are also the same word in the Greek.
8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
It is also interesting that the formerly-lame man doesn't merely walk: He also "leaps" [not surprisingly, the verb means "leap" in the Greek] and "praises" God.

This verb for "leaps" is only found three times in the N.T. One of them is Acts 14:10, where Paul similarly heals another "lame" man ["lame" and "cripple" in these verses are also the same Greek word]. But the other use of that same Greek verb is John 4:14, as Jesus speaks with the woman at the well:
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Isn't that an interesting thought?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Humor for Today

In ancient times, when men cursed and smote the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft.

Today, when men curse and smite the ground with sticks, it is called golf.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Actual IRS Quotes

One of the perks of working at H&R Block is that you get to become much more fully acquainted with the tax laws. In that vein, I was reading some IRS materials earlier this week. And these three quotations really 'stuck out' to me.

From Publication 525 (2007), Taxable and Nontaxable Income:

"Bribes. If you receive a bribe, include it in your income." (p. 28)

"Kickbacks. You must include kickbacks, side commissions, push money, or similar payments you receive in your income on Form 1040, line 21, or on Schedule C or C-EZ (Form 1040) if from your self-employment activity." (p. 31)
There are those who believe that paying federal taxes is "voluntary" or that they have some other "legal" method for avoiding the payment of taxes to the United States government. The IRS has prepared a document that responds to some of these contentions (you can find it here). Oddly enough, it contains this quote concerning those who would claim deductions and credits to which they are not entitled:
"It is a well-settled principle of law that deductions and credits are a matter of legislative grace." (p. 36)
There is an awful lot of profundity in that sentence...even if you are not familiar with taxes.

IRS forms and documents are found at

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hymn of the Week: And Can It Be That I Should Gain?

If Charles Wesley had only written the first verse of this hymn, it would still be one of the great hymns of all time. Can it be that I would gain? I, whose sins chased Him to Calvary? I, who caused His pain, can receive the fullest benefit from His death?

The second stanza reminds us of the mystery of Christ's atoning death: Who can comprehend it? Not you or me—not even the angels of heaven.

The third stanza encapsulates several significant doctrines: He left heaven. He gave His grace...freely. His mercy is also free...and it finds us (and not the other way around). He bled for Adam's race; and without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sin. (Hebrews 9:22)

The fourth stanza reminds us that no matter what we thought of ourselves before salvation, we were the prisoners of sin, on our way to its dark judgment. Then Jesus came into our lives, and all is changed!

The final two stanzas should be a description of our Christian walk: We hear His voice; We feel His blessings; We fear no condemnation; We approach Him boldly in prayer. Christ, who died for us, is our own.

Be blessed this week!

And Can It Be That I Should Gain?

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Lesson From Hezekiah

19 Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. And he said, Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?
20 And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
21 And Hezekiah slept with his fathers: and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.
1 ¶ Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hephzibah. (2 Kings 20:19-21:1)
Most people who are familiar with the Old Testament remember the story about how Isaiah the prophet came to Hezekiah, informed him that his death was imminent, and how Hezekiah's prayer brought about a reversal of plans...and of the sun! (2 Kings 20:1-11) Hezekiah was granted fifteen more years of life (he would live to be 54).

Although the Bible speaks of a number of righteous and faith-filled things which Hezekiah did before the age of 39, it is silent about good deeds in those final 15 years. The verses above us tell us a couple of things, though:
  • After the prophecy about Babylon, and how it would come and take his sons away to its palace (20:16-18), he seems rather ambivalent: "Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?"
  • He had a son twelve years before his death.
Manasseh, described as exceptionally wicked in other passages, may have seen a father who had a reputation for being godly and righteous, but who was really ambivalent (in Manasseh's lifetime) to godly things. Perhaps he perceived his father as a spiritual hypocrite. We don't know for sure. But it certainly seems that Hezekiah had little-to-no impact spiritually on his least, not for good.

And therein lies a lesson for all of us fathers.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

This Should Be Repugnant to Taxpayers, Shouldn't It?

Normandale Community College, a public institution in the greater Twin Cities area of Minnesota, has a Muslim prayer room—built at least in part with the paid labor of college employees! According to this article in the unusually-liberal Star Tribune [Note: You will only be able to read "most" of the article before being beset with ads to pay to read the rest], this prayer room is home to only one religion's faith; is segregated by sex; contains literature for distribution that most of the civilized and western world finds offensive concerning the role of women; and advertises events for Muslims in the community—all of this in addition to being provided (read that: Paid for) by the college and its supporting taxpayers.

On top of all that, the college used the last functional racquetball court on campus for this place.

If the fundamental, Bible-believing Christians on that campus asked for a chapel on campus, built at least in part by the college in college facilities, that (while open to all) was only to have, say, Baptist services in it, can you imagine the outcry? It would never be tolerated! It would be a "horrifying breach of church and state!"

The hypocrisy of this is nauseating. A religion of intolerance with a long history of violence and brutality is welcomed....

Interestingly, there is no mention of the ACLU in this article, or "People for the Separation of Church and State," or any other such God-hating groups. they not object to this?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Today's Sign That The Apocalypse Is Upon Us:

Panasonic has announced, according to this article, the unveiling of a 150-inch plasma TV. For the mathematically challenged, that has a diagonal distance of 12.5 feet, or about twice the height of a moderately tall man.

When their 103-inch TV was unveiled, it cost $70,000. No word yet on what this one will cost.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Kudos for Hoogendyk!

Evidently I went on vacation in time to miss this story.

Jack Hoogendyk is a Republican state representative from the district just to the east of mine. I have met him and like him. He and I share highly similar political viewpoints. We also apparently share a tendency to "tell it like it is." The story copied below is from the Kalamazoo Gazette of December 21 (click here), although I first read it on The Western Right (WMU College Republicans blog—click here).

And if he runs, as I hope he does, he can expect my vote...and it won't cost him a penny.

If Jack runs for Senate, it will be on the cheap (by Charlotte Channing, 12/21/07)

Dick DeVos spent millions of dollars of his own money, outspent his opponent, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and still lost the governor's race in a landslide last year.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been far outspending opponent Mike Huckabee in advance of the Iowa caucuses, and guess what: Huckabee is leading Romney.

None of this is lost on Jack Hoogendyk, the Republican state representative who is considering seeking the GOP nomination to run against U.S. Sen. Carl Levin next year.

So when a conservative political consulting firm, Maurice Bonamigo and Associates, earlier this week made a pitch to Hoogendyk, offering its services to his campaign, it explained via e-mail how he would need to go out of state to raise enough money to challenge Levin, get on the top national political programs and gather a "strong management team that will be capable of handling ALL aspects necessary for a successful campaign.''

Hoogendyk, true to his direct nature, responded in an e-mail: "I have NO interest in a bunch of high-paid consultants who are going to drain me of valuable and limited resources. I don't want a bunch of 'experts' telling me what to say, how to say it, or when to say it. ... I will not be 'handled.' ... I am Dutch, cheap, and my wife is even cheaper. I cannot stand wasting money, especially on high-priced out-of-towners who think they can snow me into thinking they are going to make me a winner by throwing my money away.''

You'd think Bonamigo -- who is listed as having a home in Portage and told the Kalamazoo Gazette that he is a constituent of Hoogendyk's -- would be aware of the state rep's blunt nature, but apparently he was a little taken aback by Hoogendyk's response.

Bonamigo senior political consultant Darrel Zeck blasted off this response to Hoogendyk via e-mail: "Since it would take about $20 million for you to have a CHANCE at unseating Levin, I would step away before you waste people's hard-earned money. Based on your lack of understanding of this process, and your complete inability to professionally respond to an e-mail, you may want to consider not running (again) for public office at all.''

Hoogendyk is undeterred by this welcome into statewide campaigning.

And he's adamant he won't go into debt for this campaign.

"It's a reflection on the candidate,'' he said. "If a candidate goes into debt on his campaign, what is he going to do'' with taxpayers' money once in office?

Hymn of the Week: When Morning Gilds the Skies

On this first Sunday of the year, it is almost humorous now to see if anyone is still keeping their New Year's Resolutions—if any were made.

But as phrases like "a new day" and "a fresh start" continue to be used in connection with the advent of a new year, it is still a good idea to consider now what can be done to make the year ahead an improvement over the year past. This hymn (also titled: May Jesus Christ Be Praised) reminds me of "fresh starts" and "new days." It was originally written in German in the 18th century and translated to English in the 19th; the tune, Laudes Domini, written specifically for these words by Joseph Barnby, was published in 1868 and is surely among the best-known hymn tunes.

Like many hymns, it actually contains more stanzas than are placed in a hymnal (there are 15 here; please read them to your own encouragement). The second stanza makes a great resolution for any year: Begin each day, and go through your work, by praising Jesus Christ! I know that waking up, and some days on the job, can be dreary causes for complaint; but an attitude of praise to Jesus Christ can surely make them better!

When Morning Gilds the Skies

When morning gilds the skies my heart awaking cries:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Alike at work and prayer, to Jesus I repair:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

When you begin the day, O never fail to say,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
And at your work rejoice, to sing with heart and voice,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Whene’er the sweet church bell peals over hill and dell,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
O hark to what it sings, as joyously it rings,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

My tongue shall never tire of chanting with the choir,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
This song of sacred joy, it never seems to cloy,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Does sadness fill my mind? A solace here I find,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Or fades my earthly bliss? My comfort still is this,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

To God, the Word, on high, the host of angels cry,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Let mortals, too, upraise their voice in hymns of praise,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Be this at meals your grace, in every time and place;
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Be this, when day is past, of all your thoughts the last
May Jesus Christ be praised!

When mirth for music longs, this is my song of songs:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
When evening shadows fall, this rings my curfew call,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

When sleep her balm denies, my silent spirit sighs,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
When evil thoughts molest, with this I shield my breast,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

The night becomes as day when from the heart we say:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
The powers of darkness fear when this sweet chant they hear:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

No lovelier antiphon in all high Heav’n is known
Than, Jesus Christ be praised!
There to the eternal Word the eternal psalm is heard:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Let all the earth around ring joyous with the sound:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
In Heaven’s eternal bliss the loveliest strain is this:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Sing, suns and stars of space, sing, ye that see His face,
Sing, Jesus Christ be praised!
God’s whole creation o’er, for aye and evermore
Shall Jesus Christ be praised!

In Heav’n’s eternal bliss the loveliest strain is this,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Let earth, and sea and sky from depth to height reply,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Be this, while life is mine, my canticle divine:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Sing this eternal song through all the ages long:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Prognostication Is Not Always My Gift

I was partially right about my Iowa predictions. On the Republican side, I got the Huckabee-Romney combination as 1-2, but Thompson eked ahead of McCain, which I did not foresee.

On the Democratic side, I was really right about one thing: Edwards and Clinton would be very close. And so they were (29.75% to 29.47%). But Obama won—I did not anticipate that at all. And I still don't think he will capture his party's nomination.

This, combined with my NFL prognostication skills, remind me again why I do not gamble.

A New Definition of Frustration

Frustration: When $50 doesn't fill up your sedan with gasoline!

It came close...the pump kicked off at around $49.50...but the credit card limit was $50. I didn't want to insert it again. As if that weren't enough to test my self-control, I went down the road without putting the gas cap back on. Thankfully, it was still on the ground near the station when I retrieved it.

Something is wrong in this world when oil and gas are this expensive. If only it were something easy to identify and fix.