Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hymn of the Week: Isn't the Love of Jesus Something Wonderful!

Do you feel loved? You are loved! John 3:16 reminds us that "God so loved the world," and this hymn helps us to meditate on His love for us.

Two key descriptions of His love are "boundless" and "beyond our human comprehending." It is not possible for us to fully understand the greatness of His infinite love for us...or as the chorus says, "Wonderful it is to me." It was this love that brought Him to earth to bear the punishment for our sins on the cross.

Meditate on His love! It will encourage your day. "There will never be a sweeter story....This will be my theme and never ending, Great redeeming love of Calvary."

Words and music by John W. Peterson

Isn't the Love of Jesus Something Wonderful!

There will never be a sweeter story—
Story of the Savior's love divine,
Love that bro't Him from the realms of glory
Just to save a sinful soul like mine.

Isn't the love of Jesus something wonderful, wonderful, wonderful;
O isn't the love of Jesus something wonderful!
Wonderful it is to me.

Boundless as the universe around me,
Reaching to the farthest soul away—
Saving, keeping love it was that found me,
That is why my heart can truly say:


Love beyond our human comprehending,
Love of God in Christ—how can it be!
This will be my theme and never ending,
Great redeeming love of Calvary.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Obama: Machiavellian?

Today I read two articles on Barack Obama from two different standpoints: One an opinion piece by David Brooks in the liberal New York Times (view it here) and another by Karl Rove on the Michigan GOP website (view it here).

But they both shared a very harmonious theme: Barack Obama is a two-faced, untrustworthy politician. He sometimes acts like the well-educated, highminded, left-wing liberal who espouses all the proper liberal causes—and at other times looks like the "I'd throw my mother under the truck if it helped me" cut-throat Chicago politician. He wants you to think he is the paragon of change, while living as the poster child of partisanship.

And let's not forget the "public campaign financing" issue. For months he had supported it, espoused it, even drew it close to his breast...but when he knew he could get more money by abandoning it, he did. Without compunction, and without (quite frankly) sincerity.

For months, Rev. Jeremiah Wright was a good friend, a mentor...but when his profane rants made the headlines, he was persona non grata.

Here is a quote from Brooks:

"On the one hand, Obama did sell out the primary cause of his professional life, all for a tiny political advantage. If he’ll sell that out, what won’t he sell out?

"All I know for sure is that this guy is no liberal goo-goo. Republicans keep calling him naïve. But naïve is the last word I’d use to describe Barack Obama. He’s the most effectively political creature we’ve seen in decades. Even Bill Clinton wasn’t smart enough to succeed in politics by pretending to renounce politics."

And here is a quote from Rove:

"Mr. Obama has said he "strongly supported public financing" and pledged to take federal funds for the fall, thereby limiting his spending to roughly $84 million. Now convinced he can raise more than $84 million, he reversed course last week, ditching the federal money and its limits. But by discarding his earlier pledge so easily, he raises doubts about whether his word can be trusted.

"Last month he replied "anywhere, anytime" to John McCain's invitation to have joint town hall appearances. Last week he changed his mind. Fearing 10 impromptu town halls, Mr. Obama parried the invitation by offering two such events – one the night of July 4, when every ambulatory American is watching fireworks or munching hotdogs, and another in August. His spokesman then said, "Take it or leave it." So much for "anywhere, anytime."

"My former White House colleague Yuval Levin pointed out that Mr. Obama, in his first national TV ad rolled out Friday, claims credit for having "extended health care for wounded troops," citing the 2008 defense authorization. That bill passed 91-3 – but Mr. Obama was one of only six senators who didn't show up to vote. This brazen claim underscores the candidate's thin résumé and, again, his chutzpah."

Perhaps you get the idea (if not, read the two articles I cited). This is a man who will say anything, do anything to become the next president of the United States. He is not naive. He is quite intelligent, quite shrewd. Beware.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Is Something Wrong With the Teachers? reported an article yesterday which says that many elementary teachers are poorly prepared to teach mathematics. It is not that they are unable to perform the mathematics germaine to their students' level (multiplication tables and fractions, for adults, should be pretty easy); the study they report on states that these teachers are "poorly teach math." What does this mean?

The fact is, most elementary teachers do know how to do the math problems their students are learning to do. But not all of them can do the following:

  • Explain the underlying concept—why, precisely, "does" 12 × 7 equal 84? There is a good reason for this.
  • Prepare the student for what comes next—for example 3½ equals 7/2...but what is the purpose? How is this fact going to be used going forward?
  • Show the relevance of the mathematics to everyday life—not only the cute story problems about numbers of apples and making change from a $20, but also problems not found in a textbook [it troubles me to think how few times teachers, and not only in math, don't even bother to try to come up with outside-the-book questions for students; this should be common].
Many elementary teachers do a great job in these areas. Some, quite frankly, do not—and some of them may not even know how! Ask your child's elementary teacher sometime how these things are used in the classroom.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Those People in San Francisco...

Culling yet another news article....according to this article, there is a movement afoot to rename San Francisco's Oceanside Treatment Plant (yes, a sewage station) after President George W. Bush. Apparently the requisite number of signatures to get this on the ballot has been reached, and voters may get the opportunity to vote on this in November.

Certain people think this is funny...because it will make fun of the president, in their small, twisted minds. The facility actually takes something vile and filthy and makes it clean and useful, so I would assume that it's not so insulting after all. [Of course, President Bush is worthy of a greater honor than that...but I digress.]

Of course, for those who wish to match pettiness in kind, I can see communities all over the nation naming their sewage plants, junkyards, incinerators, and landfills after the city of San Francisco. I can just it now: San Francisco Landfill, San Francisco Sewage Treatment Plant, etc., etc....

NASCAR and Kudzu: A Perfect Match?

From we learn that scientific research may lead us in a new direction for fuel to make those cars go round and round: Kudzu. Yes, that quintessential southern vine (often associated with expletives and other forms of disgust) may actually be the next great fuel—right up there with corn—to make into ethanol. From this article come two very amusing quotations:

From Darrell Waltrip, on why Nascar vehicles going electric won't be good for the sport:

"The coolest thing about these cars is the noise. Forty-three electric cars rolling by going 'weeeeeee' just isn't all that cool."
And from Junior Johnson:
"You could grow kudzu on the moon. It'd take it a month to turn the whole...thing green."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Guess Who Returned to Work?

According to the Washington Post, Sen. Hillary R. Clinton (D-NY) finally returned to work today. And, yes, that's basically how they put it. So I'm not sure which one irritates me more:

  1. Sen. Clinton is back to work. However, according to the paper, "She skipped the morning business of voting on a housing bill, but arrived in time for lunch with her Democratic colleagues." The only other Democrat senators to miss this vote were Kennedy (who is recovering from recent medical problems) and Obama.
  2. Sen. Clinton collected her $160,000+ annual salary while not going to work.
The article also contained this quote:
"I am not seeking any other position," Mrs. Clinton told reporters, blunting speculation that she's jockeying for vice president. "My role is to be the very best senator I can be and represent the greatest state in our country."
Ever heard that before?

Yet Another Reason Not To Vote For Obama

In this article, we learn a number of facts about both what Barack Obama wants to do with everyone's preschool children, and also some other interesting (and troubling) statistics about what's going on with preschool children in America. But here are the beginning and ending of the article...which I think sum up the key points:

One of the most dramatic changes in American life in the years since World War II involves the way we raise our children.

We used to do it ourselves. Now, convinced we have better things to do, many of us leave the job to others.

Encouraging this flight from parenthood, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has proposed what he calls his "Zero to Five" plan. It is a collection of programs aimed at getting the government involved in the raising of your children from the moment they are born.

"The first part of my plan focuses on providing quality affordable early childhood education to every child in America," Obama said in a November speech. "As president, I will launch a Children's First Agenda that provides care, learning and support to families with children ages zero to five."

"We'll create Early Learning Grants to help states create a system of high-quality early care and education for all young children and their families," he said. "And we'll help more working parents find a safe, affordable place to leave their children during the day by improving the educational quality of our childcare programs and increasing the childcare tax credit."

This week, Obama upped his ante by vowing to "double funding for after-school programs that help children learn and give parents relief."

Obama, of course, will also continue to defend your "right" to hire a physician to kill your child in utero so you won't have to raise the child at all.


Through his plans to increase government funding and control of the rearing of children ages "zero to five," Barack Obama would increase, rather than decrease, the force that drives mothers of infants to leave them in someone else's care. He would also cause a wholly unjust transfer of wealth.

Old-fashioned moms and dads who insist on caring for their own pre-school children will pay for -- but gain no benefit from -- programs that put the government in the business of caring for children whose moms and dads would both rather work outside the home than work raising a child.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hymn of the Week: O To Be Like Thee

"O to be like Thee...This is my constant longing and prayer."

Is it? It speaks shamefully of us as Christians when our desires are to emulate the fashions, manners, and habits of the world around us—the world that loves not our God. Christ is not like the world; He never was. He became a man, yet never succumbed to man's sins and temptations.

Be like Christ. Fear not what the world may think; remember that in eternity, only God's opinion will matter.

O To Be Like Thee

O to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.


O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

O to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.


O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.


O to be like Thee! Lord, I am coming
Now to receive anointing divine;
All that I am and have I am bringing,
Lord, from this moment all shall be Thine.


O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Modesty: Exceptions?

The Bible teaches clearly that modesty is good and right, and that nakedness is shameful.

Can anyone show me from the Bible, though, where the "exceptions" are? In other words, when are we allowed to "not be modest"? It seems to me that many Christians (and certainly most everyone else) seem to think that exceptions exist for:

  • Beach-going and swimming (in mixed company)
  • Formal occasions, particularly proms, weddings, etc. (for females, in particular)
  • General casual activities, whatever they may be
I don't know that God said anything like, "Be modest, except for....." Can anybody tell me a chapter and verse where such a principle is found?

Or should modesty be a 100%-of-the-time principle?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Definition I Like

I was reading an e-mail today on the subject of mentoring and came across this definition of "Surrendering the outcome to God":

To surrender the outcome to God means acting faithfully through the process, but relinquishing control of the results.

As long as I feel responsible for the outcome of the lives of others, I live in worry. I fret about not being able to manipulate the right outcome. I wonder why I can't force my children to respond to the truth. I sluff off responsibility to pass the baton, rationalizing that "They won't listen to me anyway."

But when I surrender the outcome to God, fear melts away. If I'm confident that God will bring about the outcome that pleases him, I'm free to stop wheedling and manipulating and cajoling. I'm free to let God open the floodgates of blessing if he chooses to do so.

The e-mail came from the Passing the Baton ministry, which can be reached here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Substitute Teaching: Final Summary

The 2007-2008 school year has come to a close. Beginning April 28, I was substitute teaching daily at Heritage Christian Academy after Mrs. VanDyk had her baby. So here, at last, are the final totals (there are 87 substitute teaching days, if you don't want to add them yourself) of where I was and how often I was there:

  • Mattawan (27; 14 in HS, 12 in MS, 1 in Elem.)
  • Decatur (6; 1 in HS, 3 in MS, 2 in Elem.)
  • Paw Paw (5; 4 in HS, 1 in Elem.)
  • Gobles (5; 4 in HS, 1 in MS)
  • Lawrence (5; 3 in HS, 1 in MS, 1 in Elem.)
  • Bloomingdale (3; 2 in HS, 1 in Elem.)
  • Lawton (3; 1 in Alternative Ed., 1in HS, 1 in MS)
  • Howardsville Christian (2, HS)
  • Heritage Christian (31 days teaching MS math and science, & Consumer math)
It has been a very interesting year....

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hymn of the Week: My Savior First of All

I'm not sure what had me thinking about death recently (perhaps the passing of Tim Russert?) ...but the words of this Fanny Crosby hymn struck me as ones that are reassuring and comforting—that one day, when I die, I will go to heaven—and I will see and know my Savior, and He will see and know me as His own.

But on the other hand, a challenge: Do I truly long to meet My Savior, First of All?

My Savior First of All

When my life work is ended, and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see;
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.


I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
And redeemed by His side I shall stand,
I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
By the print of the nails in His hand.

Oh, the soul thrilling rapture when I view His blessèd face,
And the luster of His kindly beaming eye;
How my full heart will praise Him for the mercy, love and grace,
That prepare for me a mansion in the sky.


Oh, the dear ones in glory, how they beckon me to come,
And our parting at the river I recall;
To the sweet vales of Eden they will sing my welcome home;
But I long to meet my Savior first of all.


Through the gates to the city in a robe of spotless white,
He will lead me where no tears will ever fall;
In the glad song of ages I shall mingle with delight;
But I long to meet my Savior first of all.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Quote Of The Day

"Absolute truth is both observable and knowable. it is illustrated in the inescapable universal laws that are in place for human benefit, advantage, and protection. It is found in the conscience of every human being....the innate concept of right and wrong still exists."
This, from an article by Lawrence E. Ford in the June 2008 volume of Acts & Facts, produced by the Institute for Creation Research. You can learn more about them at

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lack of Decorum!

Did you see this photo from last week's Tampa Bay-Boston game? I think this is the same Red Sox player who complained about his hair being pulled when guys piled on him.


How should one behave at a graduation ceremony?

Making news this week were the arrests of seven people in South Carolina, at two separate graduation ceremonies, after they yelled following the naming of graduates whom they apparently were happy for. This, despite multiple warnings from the school administration that this was not to be done. Of course, when interviewed, they both downplayed the "disorderly conduct" and complained that others did the same thing without being removed by police.

A high school (or college) graduation ought to be a formal time of congratulations—when the accomplishments of four years of honest and significant work are honored. The primary complaint in the SC story was that the yelling by one group made it difficult for the next person to get their appropriate due, or even to have their name heard. While true, I think a more significant issue is present: A ceremony of honor should not be equated with a sporting event or other, less significant event. We don't yell in church. We don't yell at weddings or funerals. We don't yell during a significant speech. To keep oneself quiet while someone is honored is to place attention upon the honored one, and off of oneself.

And this is both appropriate and proper.

Monday, June 9, 2008

An Interesting Idea....

Clicking on the comic will make it easier to read. But I wonder just how true it is??

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hymn of the Week: Fairest Lord Jesus

The word "worship" today may be one of the worst-mangled words in all of American Christendom. So much today is "called" worship that is nothing of the sort.

The words of this hymn beautifully portray one essential and important part of worship: Publicly exalting the Lord Jesus Christ for Who He is and What He has done. As the first stanza says, "Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor"...such should be at the heart of our relationship with Him. Nothing is like Him; no other thing, animate or inanimate, is worthy of the glory and honor He truly deserves.

The hymn was originally written in German and was translated into English by Joseph A. Seiss in 1873. However, the original translation is not the one found in many hymnals; the original is titled "Beautiful Savior" and is found under that name in many Lutheran hymnals. Both are given below.

Fairest Lord Jesus

Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
O Thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown.

Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine,
Fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.

All fairest beauty, heavenly and earthly,
Wondrously, Jesus, is found in Thee;
None can be nearer, fairer or dearer,
Than Thou, my Savior, art to me.

Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forever more be Thine.

Here is the "original" translation, often titled "Beautiful Savior":

Beautiful Savior, King of Creation
Son of God and Son of Man!
Truly I’d love Thee, truly I’d serve Thee,
Light of my soul, my joy, my crown.

Fair are the meadows, Fair are the woodlands,
Robed in the flowers of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
He makes our sorrowing spirit sing.

Fair is the sunshine, Fair is the moonlight,
Bright the sparkling stars on high;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels in the sky.

Beautiful Savior, Lord of the nations,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, Praise, adoration
Now and forevermore be Thine!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

News That Should Concern ME

Something happened yesterday that I really, in my optimism, thought would never happen until at least a few years from now.

Just after lunch and before my 5th hour seventh grade math class, my beloved eldest daughter (age 10, grade 5), came into my classroom to greet me. In tow she has a young man with a visitor tag, whom I have never seen before. He seems like a pleasant kid, smiling and enjoying his day; and it was, after all, an open house day where visitors come to check out the school. My daughter hugs me, and I hug her, and then the young man opens his mouth. The very first words from his mouth are these:

"I think your daughter's hot."

It is a testimony to God's grace that I didn't say anything right away. If he weren't so wholesome looking and only in fifth grade himself, I might have even scowled...but I didn't do that, either.

Apparently, I was not the only person aware of this; everyone in the fifth grade knew this boy's thought, and even one of the office ladies added additional information. She added that the boy said that my daughter "might very well be my first girlfriend."

And my wife wonders why I want a gun....

News That Might Intrigue You

Hillary Clinton today ended her race for president, throwing her support behind Barack Obama. This, for all practical purposes, ends the Democrat race for the presidential nomination. (There is a school of thought that Obama should keep a robust Secret Service contingent with him at all times, if he wants to 'keep' the nomination his.)

I must admit that I never thought he would win, when this primary "season" began. But I also terribly underestimated the depth of democrats' dislike for Hillary Clinton. On paper, she is the superior choice. But on character, she most certainly is not; she is as corrupt and untrustworthy as a politician can be. We have the evidence.

So what happens next? Have Hillary's machinations this week been to secure her the #2 spot on the ticket? Have they doomed such hopes to impossibility? Will McCain and the GOP thump Obama like they ought to? Stay tuned....

News That Should Disturb You

In this London Times online article, we are told about a new breed of school parent in Japan: The "Monster Parents." The article begins with a story about a school play, Snow White, which featured no dwarfs, no wicked witch—but 25 Snow Whites playing the lead. And the parents apparently couldn't be happier.

Apparently a big shift has taken place in Japanese society: Where once, not so long ago, teachers were revered, they are now the targets of aggressive criticism—and more. Groups of angry parents have been known to (successfully) demand the dismissal of teachers. The Times describes it this way:

Where previously schools were trusted and respected, they are now the targets of concerted activism. Dozens of educators have been forced to resign in the face of the blazing fury of parents who no longer tolerate anything that appears to disadvantage their offspring.
The atrocious selfishness these parents display for their children (and really, themselves) is repugnant. But as a private school teacher here in the good old USA, I have seen it. Many parents believe that everything circles around their child—and in so doing, infest their children with a selfishness no less than their own.

And, yeah, it can make the teacher's life difficult, too.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Quote Of The Day

According to this article, Israel is prepared to attack Iran if Iran continues to pursue nuclear capabilities. In reference to the leader of Iran, we have this:

Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz also said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "will disappear before Israel does," the Yediot Ahronot daily reported.
He may not even have any idea just how true that statement is.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

What Kind of Message?

According to this somewhat disturbing article, there is now a website that offers an interesting service: It will forward messages to up to 62 of your friends on the sixth day after the Rapture of the church occurs. You will be able to leave them your financial information, powers of attorney, etc.—even tell them where you hide the family jewels, I suppose.

And then there is this troubling quote:

"You've Been Left Behind gives you one last opportunity to reach your lost family and friends for Christ," the site promoting the service says.
Do not be so sure. Although you might be able to tell them where you have gone, the Bible seems to indicate that those who have rejected Christ before the Rapture will not accept Him as Savior afterwards.

I have a conundrum here: If I subscribed to this service, what would I tell them?

If I have been a faithful witness of the gospel, the most I could help them with is some financial gain or advice on how to deal with widespread destruction. In other words, nothing of eternal significance. But if I haven't been a faithful witness, then I just can't think of anything I could tell them which would draw them toward God. If it wasn't important enough to share while I was here, why bother with it after I am gone....?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Another Opinion on Bob Dole's Comments:

This tidbit found on the web:

Commenting for the first time on Scott McClellan’s new book, Vice President Dick Cheney said in an event at the National Press Club this afternoon, “I haven’t read Scott McClellan’s book. I don’t plan to read Scott McClellan’s book anytime soon.” Later in the same event, when asked what he thought of tell-all books by former administration insiders, Cheney said, “I thought Bob Dole got it about right.”

There's even a video clip of these comments here.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bob Dole on Scott McClellan

In a widely circulated story (see this article) Bob Dole has been highly critical of Scott McClellan's new book which puts the Bush administration in a bad light. One interesting quote from the article:

Following reports that McClellan received a $75,000 advance for the book, one senior White House official referenced the Biblical story of Judas selling out Jesus, telling FOX News: "Ironically, in today's dollars that amount is worth exactly 30 pieces of silver."
The letter is so strong as to seem a forgery; however, I have heard no disclaimer from Dole that it does not belong to him.

So without any further ado, here is the text of the letter:


There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don't have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues. No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique.

In my nearly 36 years of public service I've known of a few like you. No doubt you will "clean up" as the liberal anti-Bush press will promote your belated concerns with wild enthusiasm. When the money starts rolling in you should donate it to a worthy cause, something like, "Biting The Hand That Fed Me." Another thought is to weasel your way back into the White House if a Democrat is elected. That would provide a good set up for a second book deal in a few years.

I have no intention of reading your "exposé" because if all these awful things were happening, and perhaps some may have been, you should have spoken up publicly like a man, or quit your cushy, high profile job. That would have taken integrity and courage but then you would have had credibility and your complaints could have been aired objectively. You're a hot ticket now but don't you, deep down, feel like a total ingrate?