Saturday, January 28, 2017

Rejoice Evermore!

In the  twentieth  chapter of Exodus we find  that  Moses has been given the Ten Commandments.  We mentioned a while  back  that the admonition to "have  no other gods before Me" is an expression of God's revulsion at the very idea of seeing an idol in our lives.

As we read further in the chapter we see instructions to Moses for the building of the altar of sacrifice (verses 24-26) along with instructions for comportment of the priests in utilizing the altar.

The altar is to be made of earth, said  the Lord.  But if you will build it of stone, do not lay any tool upon the stone, for that pollutes the stone.  Now why, I wondered, did God direct an earthen altar and yet grant permission for it to be built of stone?  I think it is this.  The People at this time were traversing, or more properly, wandering the desert.  Likely there were places with rocky earth where gathering stones is more practical than attempting to dig.  So far, so good.

But then why the prohibition against the use of tools?  I think this hearkens back to the "graven images" commandment.  Use no tools lest you become artistic, polish the stone, carve it or engrave it and then admire your handiwork which in essence makes the worship not of God, but of the self.
Okay, then.

Now Moses was instructed not to allow the priests to go up to the altar by way of a stair, or steps.  Now why is that?  Understand that all the peoples, including the priests, were doubtless clad in loose-fitting flowing garments,  Climbing stairs in the desert breezes might well lead to the catastrophe of a priest's "nakedness being uncovered."  This would certainly not be conducive to worship, God did not want to see that nor did He want the people to see it.  So, no stairs.

Whoa, you might be thinking.  Later when God gave instructions for the building of the temple he was very specific in ordering a very tall altar.  So how was it accessed?  Some think by way of a ramp, but I think if we read further in the Book of Exodus we will find that God ordered a covering of modesty for the priests: linen breeches to extend from the loins to the thigh. (Chapter 28, only one of the many linen items the priests were to wear.  Possibly steps were allowed after the appropriate clothing of the priests.

Also, one might ask, "What about the ornate and artistic construct of the temple, given these directions for avoiding human art work?"  I think the answer is this.  God gave very specific blueprints for the temple, gave specific talents to the artisans, and the construct was an act of obedience to the Lord.   Well, that is what I think.

And now.  Given our salvation and an intercessor in the Lord Jesus Christ we are under the admonition to be always in worship wherever we are.  "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing." (I Thessalonians 5:16,17)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Winter Weather

"The wind bloweth where it listeth," (KJV) or "The wind blows wherever it pleases," (NIV)  said Jesus.

As I write this, the wind is hootin' and hollerin'.  What it portends I know not, but it is late January  and in all likelihood it is up to no good.

To date we have been blessed with a mild winter.  I approve.  The inch or so of snow we have had so far is plenty enough, I can do without more.
We take  what we get.

Blessings.  May your day be exactly as you would wish it  to be.

Brisk Breeze, here in Perfect, Indiana.
January 25, 2917, 3:15 p.m. 

The Blizzard of '78, this date 39 years ago.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Peace and Tranquility

 What is wrong with this picture?  Hint: Taken January 21 at 40o 17' N latitude, mid-continent 871 feet elevation.
Still life, kitchen island.  Well, used-to-be life to which I have now given life again by consuming pictured items.

Puppies.  What's not to enjoy?

A month ago the bulbs were in a shipping container.  The taller one is 25 inches today, bud beginning to open.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Conversation with Random People 18

I am standing at the  pharmacy counter, the  clerk is at  the computer and we are trying to deal with one  of  those government/insurance company/pharmaceutical industry issues that  contravene  the doctor's  orders, if you get my drift.  But that's not what  the story is about.

The clerk disappeared into the inner sanctum.  A man came up to me and asked, "Weren't you a math teacher?"

 "Yes," I said, "once upon a time."

"Mr. Lacy?"

 "Indeed.  And you are?"  He told me his name.  "Sure, you were one of my seventh grade students forty-seven years ago."

"Sounds about right," he said.  "You  used to dye your hair a lot darker."

Always appreciate a guy with a sense of humor.  We chatted a bit about his children and his grandchildren.  The clerk rejoined me at the counter and Pete went on his way.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Carl and Cañon City's Civil War #T

Last week we saw a little Cañon City episode involving a youngster named Earl Cecil.  Today's tale is set in the same locale at about the same time.

The Tuttles lived about three-quarters of a block west of us at, oh, say, about 610 Mystic Avenue.  The Tuttles had two children, twins Carl and Carlene who were about the same age as I which at the time of this event would have been eight.

Mr. Tuttle, or Rev. Tuttle as he was known in the  community, was pastor of the Four Square Gospel Church a few blocks south on Fifth Street.  Thus it was that Carl and I had this in common: we both lived in a preacher's home.  Not the same one.  That is about all we had in common except the neighborhood, for we did not cotton to each other, so to speak.  I don't know if this had anything to do with the fact that our parents' churches might have been competing for the same clientele, or if we simply didn't much care for one another.

The setting is the garden behind the church were I am standing on the east verge of the veggie patch.  Father was four or five rows into the garden with a hoe.  He was intent on what he was doing and about then who should swagger up the alley beyond but Tuttle.  Carl, I mean.  In my memory's eye, Tuttle always swaggered.  Carl stopped opposite me, stared in my direction, his version of the evil eye, I think.  I stared back; neither of us said a word.  He bent to the ground, picked up a donie and heaved it in my direction.  Missed me, but with no formal declaration, war was on.  I bent and grabbed a rock, threw it toward him.  Missed by a mile.  Even my own dad would tell you I throw like a girl.  Oh, that  I could throw like some of these modern-day high school softball pitchers.

So Carl grabbed his second missive and wham!  Hit me square in the middle of the forehead.  Blood spurted, bells rang, and I, with all the strength my little eight-year old lungs and larynx could exert screamed, "YOU! DEVIL! YOU!"

Instantly my male parental unit became aware of my existence, dropped his hoe, took three or four quick steps toward me, grabbed my arm, and without a word hauled me into the house.  With no attempt to assess the damage to his only male offspring, he, in emulation of Mother Hubbard, spanked me soundly.

Then he cleaned the wound and patched me up.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Get Up! #T

"Let's go.   Day's wasting away."  It was Dad rousting me from bed.  I rolled to the edge, placed my feet on the floor, opened one eye and looked at the clock on my bureau.  4:32.  Unbelievable.  Then consciousness flooded in.  It was Monday morning and we were going hunting!

An hour later and fifty miles down the road, the Arkansas river flowing alongside the highway, we neared Cotopaxi.  A few minutes more and we were at the hunting grounds of Dad's choice.  We got the rifles and ammo from the car, stuffed the sandwiches Dad had made into our parka pockets.  I put my hood up, tied it under my chin.  The sun had broken the eastern horizon.  The sky promised a clear day, but it was chilly and I don't do cold well.

We set off up a long draw, the summit we hoped to attain probably four or five hundred yards above us.  That is we were going to hike probably more than a quarter mile at an angle that appeared to be almost straight up.  It wasn't, though.  As we trudged along I was processing the level of excitement I was experiencing, adrenaline starting to flow.  Was I more excited about hunting, or was the exhilaration due to the fact that I was skipping school with Father's knowledge and approval?  Any day that did not imprison a body in school was a good day.

As we neared the top of the draw Dad was perhaps ten steps ahead of me.  The events in this paragraph occurred faster than you can read about them.  Dad reached the summit, turned to see where I was, and by then  I was right behind him.  Suddenly a clatter of gravel to our right and a magnificent animal, white rump signaling its goodbye to us, took off.  Dad instantly raised his rifle and was sighting in for the shot.  I screamed as loudly as I could, "Don't shoot!"  Startled, my father lowered the weapon and stared after the animal which was quickly out of sight.  Dad turned to me and said, "Thanks, Son.  You just saved me a lot of trouble.  And money, too."

Image result for bighorn sheep

I had immediately identified the beast as a Big Horn sheep.  We had no license to hunt sheep and the fine for shooting one was $500, nearly half year's income for Dad at that time.

Image: Creatures of the Wild Wikia

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The First Commandment

Exodus 20:3  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Recently I read an article by Greg Wilkerson in which he suggested that there is a deeper meaning in this commandment than I had thought.  For the most part I took it to be a straightforward command that we hold nothing above or more important than God.  And this is not wrong.  But beyond that to "have no other gods before me" suggests that God does not want to see our idols.  Money, friendships, spouses, family, ambition, may all become gods in our lives if we rank them above our love for God, and He does not want to see that!

Let Him see your abiding love for Him.

Everything flows to us through our love for Him, which is our response to His love for us.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Hunting Season

 "Deer season starts next week."  Dad was sitting at the kitchen table with the .30-06 lying on the oilcloth, its bolt below the trigger guard, can of gun oil beside them.  The cleaning cloth was in his hand, he was reaching for the ramrod.  I had no clue that it was October or that hunting was on his mind.  Not much.

"We need to get these rifles sighted in," Dad continued, as he screwed the little brass brush into the cleaning rod.  My heart began to race and the excitement welled up as I realized that this might be the year that he would take me hunting with him.  Dad  had brought home the meat every year since I was five years old, never failing to bag the game.  I turned seventeen last July.

Saturday we gathered guns and ammo and  a half-dozen tomato juice cans, placed them gently in the trunk of the Ford and drove to the disused gravel pit which was the local de facto rifle range.  This site was on Mesa road and less than half-mile from a residential area as the crow flies, yet there was a veritable mountain between the venue and any dwellings.

We set up a row of cans at the base of the cut in the side of the hill and paced off a hundred yards.
Dad loaded the .30-06 and from a standing free-hand position, fired.  A puff of dirt shot up immediately behind a can.  My father tinkered with the sight a few seconds, raised the rifle and fired again.  Can flew off into oblivion.  "That'll do it," he said.  "She's good."  He handed me the rifle.
Now I had  fired  a .22 many times and even the .25-20 on occasion, but I had never handled the ought-six.  I was in for a walloping, and I got it.  But I also got a can.  Dad then fired one shot with the .270 he had borrowed from a friend, picked off a can and said, "We're good.  No need wasting ammo; run down there and gather up those cans." 

He stowed the rifles in the car as I fetched the remaining targets.  Hunting season starts in four days!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Earl Cecil and the Magpie

 Our family moved from Nebraska to Canon City, Colorado the day before my fifth birthday.  Dad was the new pastor of the little church, not yet built, on the corner of Seventh and Floral.  The King family lived on the south edge of town, on the other side of the Arkansas River.  This family attended our church.  They had two teenage daughters, a son, Earl Cecil, about my age, and a younger daughter.  A friendship developed between us boys to the extent that for the most part we saw each other on Sundays as we attended different schools and our homes were not quite within walking distance of each other.

The Kings kept and raised a few hogs and at butchering time Dad would assist Mr. King with the chore of turning the pigs into meat.  This provided an additional opportunity for playtime with Earl Cecil.  To the best of my memory I never heard anyone call this child anything other than Earl Cecil.  It was almost as if it were one name, Earlcecil.  But back to the story.  When we were probably about eight or nine years of age, Earl Cecil and I, that is, the Kings moved to Las Animas.

Then Virginia and Marilyn, now young women, decided that marriage represented the life for them and as good fortune would have it each found the man of her dreams at about the same time and I suppose courtships ensued.  The girls decided a double wedding would be the ticket and they asked my parent to perform the ceremony.  The appointed day arrived and our family made the trip to Las Animas.  It would possibly be a bit understated if I were to say that Earl Cecil and I were less than excited about the wedding and all the attendant folderol, but we were delighted to have the opportunity to catch up and spend time with each other simply horsing around and doing stuff that nine year old boys do.
Image result for magpie

And Earl Cecil had a magpie!  His very own personal pet magpie.  He had been told, and he told me, that were a magpie to be captured about the time it fledged one could clip a tendon or some such thing under the bird's tongue and the bird could be taught to talk.  Which is exactly what the kid did, for on his farm there was no scarcity of magpies.

Could the birdie talk?  Indeed it could.  "Hello."  "Dirty bird."  And probably not much more.  I do not recall exactly but I think its vocabulary was limited.

But of course I envied my friend and always wanted my own magpie, a desire which so far has not been fulfilled.

It is said that the magpie is the brightest of birds and the most intelligent of all the animals.  I have read stories of magpies calling the family dog by name and waiting for the beast to come to it.  Anyway. . .

Stat feed tells me that this is post number 2500 on String Too Short to Tie.

Monday, January 2, 2017

How cool is that?

From The Tipton County Tribune, December 29, 2016

Our health care providers take pride in their work, we take pride in our health care workers.
Look at the company they keep.

Sunday, January 1, 2017


I hope that is significant.

 Happy New Year!