What Kind Of People Ought You To Be? 2 Peter 3:11

An interesting discussion at my job site this week: Clinton sometimes seems to be the inevitable nominee for the Democratic party, promising to promote abortion, homosexuality, rule-by-fiat rather than by working with congress.  The egomaniac Trump looks poised to be the Republican nominee if he can survive the caucus in Iowa even though he boycotted the last Republican debate and made the other guys appear more “presidential”; does he think the new world that Obama forced on us with his eight-year “Apology Tour” will treat him nicer than the debate commentators?

ISIS continues to attract thousands of “foreigners” into its ranks, to promote a harsh legalistic and terribly arbitrary perversion of Islam (though many of the “foreigners” are first-generation nationals of their various countries: the U.S., Canada, England, Belgium, France and others; mostly they are Mid-easterners heading back home).  Knife-wielding thugs have murdered several New Yorkers in recent weeks, eerily similar to the stabbings of civilians in Israel.  Though not related to nor reported as fundamentalist stabbings like the ones in Israel, is it not likely the Hamas and Hezbollah invitation to stab those who disagree with them plays into the thinking?

Christians of all stripes, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Evangelical, and Liberal, are attacked without recourse in many nations of the world, and why?  Because of fomenting revolts against the existing government?  Because of murdering those who disagree with their message?  Because of trying to enforce draconian laws against publicly preferred behavior?  NO!  Most are in other nations to help; to administer medical care, bolster businesses, provide family counseling, or deliver food; to demonstrate that God loves us all.

So our discussion turned to the question of the title: given world events are out of our control; given that our nation seems poised to elect a “tyrant-in-chief”; given that more Christians are being martyred than at any previous time in history, what kind of people ought we to be?

Peter saw this future, even through the prism of persecution of first century Christ-followers (2 Peter 3).  “First of all, you must understand . . . ” and then he proceeds to describe Darwinian evolution and its denial of the Great Flood of Noah’s day.  They will say, ‘Where is this “coming” he promised?  Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’”  You see, we mortals are very short-sighted.  When I experience joy, I think all the world is a wonderful place; when I suffer, I think everything in the universe is against me.  It is very difficult for us to look beyond our own backyard and to see before or after our own lifespans.  We are so self-centered, unless we are “interrupted” by Someone as selfless as Jesus, we think that we are each the center of the cosmos.

But Peter reminds his readers, and I pass his reminder on to you, that The God Who Is There has a lot bigger perspective.  He is filled with a lot more love than you and I, and is patiently waiting in anticipation that others will come into His light and trust Him to give them eternal life.  His “days” can span thousands of years, but the Day will come when all this universe will be folded up like a used robe (Hebrews 1:10-12) and a new heavens and a new earth will be put in place for us, one in which we will live forever.

So then Peter asks this important question: “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?”  The world will turn darker and darker.  The freedoms many Americans grew up with and have taken for granted may disappear as quickly as a vote in congress.  Evil will flourish and people will think they are serving God by killing us (Jesus’ prophecy in John 16:2).  And he answers with four instructions:
1. We are live holy and godly lives as we look forward to the Day and speed its coming.
2. We are to make every effort to be spotless, blameless, and at peace with Him.
3. We are to be on our guard so we will not be deceived by the error of lawlessness.
4. We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Each of these instructions could be expanded into its own blog, but you have a connection with Father, and can develop your own theology of how to live holy, how to accelerate His coming, how to find peace with Him, how to love the truth and avoid error, and how to grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus, our Savior.

So live as Jesus taught us by example and instruction, especially in his “finis coronat opus” that begins in John 13 and ends in John 17.  Here, if there is any question in your mind, is the most complete answer to Peter’s question, “What kind of people ought we to be?”  There is no call to arms nor anger nor hatred in his final words.  There is no political party nor conservative or liberal view espoused.  There is no governmental nor organizational structure recommended.

There is only this: The Way/Truth/Life telling His disciples to live with eternity in view, with love as a central theme to balance what His followers knew of Father’s holiness, anticipation of joy and peace that would accompany us throughout life until we see Him face to face, and confidence that He is in charge even if appearances seem to deny it.  Then He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to let Judas betray Him and hand Him over to the gentiles for crucifixion.  This is how we should live.


Contruction continued through December

Actually, I feel badly that I did not take more pictures of the guys doing the finishing of the drywall, but none of them spoke any English, and with me being monolingual and unskilled on stilts or drywall finishing, I figured it was best to just stay out of their way.   My favorite was this skinny guy who sang in a very nasal tone, but with excellent pitch, to the songs on his iPod that was always plugged into his ears.

They seemed happy to do the work, and their supervisor, a cool Italian guy that speaks several languages, was very clear in his questions to me, and clear in his instructions to his guys.  The result was good work for the week of December 7, with a flawless job finished and ready for paint on December 15.

In the meantime, with the garage cleaned out, we received our order of vinyl faux-stone (see http://www.fauxpanels.com/includes/video/homepage-video.php) that would cover the front of the house except some brick on the garage face and side of the porch.  (I did not realize this would be a problem until some time later; see January 17, 2016, for that story.)   We covered the faux-stone boxes to keep them clean from the drywall finishers.  Note the “eyebrows” over the front of the garage in this set.

Jonnie Grant met with me on December 7 and we discussed the plan for the soffit finishing, the gutters, and siding on the bay window.  He explained the difficulty making the flashing over the garage look good with brick below and the vinyl faux-stone above it, so we decided to complete the “apron” over the garage between the “eyebrows” while his guys would start on the rear of the house.

So David and I built the apron and shingled it with left over shingles from the roofing job.  That’s Jonnie, lubricating his trim bender (commonly called a “brake”) that bends the soffit metal  . . . and playing Father Christmas with the holidays approaching.  Actually, he’s not playing . . . he always has the beard and hair, and makes it look cool!

From putting on the first faux-stone panel on the porch, the entire process only took us about 15 man-hours to get the level portion completed, while Jonnie’s guys continued working on the soffit around the house.

It took another 10 man-hours for the each of the gables to be completed.  The garage was slow due to its size; the porch gable was slow due to the half-round window that took some very precise cutting. and both gables took a lot of ladder time.  But it was a very satisfactory finish.  By the way, notice the light dusting of snow we had on the porch on the morning of December 15.  But it warmed up into the 40s (5-10C) most of the time.

Notice, also, the soffit and flashing around the garage gable.  Jonnie’s guys had finished the backside, and were working on the bay window siding, which with Christmas and New Year’s Day didn’t get finished until January 6, with gutters still to add.

So that brings us up to the end of December, with more going on inside as we enter 2016!


Deadly (???) SNOW?

“Everything You Need to Know About Deadly Snowstorm Bearing Down on East Coast”

SnowflakeThis was the title in ABC’s fear-mongering online news of January 23, 2015.  C’mon. “Deadly Snowstorm?”  Now if the headline read “Deadly Tornado” or “Deadly Lightning” or “Deadly Flood” or even “Deadly Winds” I could understand.  But what is deadly about a snowflake fluttering in a mild breeze?  Even if there are masses of snowflakes, how deadly can they be?  If one cannot injure you, how many would it take to do so?  1,000?  1,000,000?

I love snow and usually think it is one of God’s most amazing miracles!  All the details that have to be in place to make snow requires a Mind of astounding abilities to bring it out of the LORD’s storehouses (Job 38:22).  And, like His love, it covers a lot of ugly stuff and makes the world appear beautiful (1 Peter 4:8), if only until the sun and warmer temperatures melt it all.

Please understand, I am sympathetic with any loss of life associated to bad weather, and would in no way wish to minimize the tragedies of those who die and the losses to their loved ones.  But we need to move back to an understanding of cause and effect that recognizes reality!

Hurricanes or floods or even strong winds can take people by surprise and the event itself can kill.  But “Deadly Snowstorm?”  Deaths associated to snow or cold rarely show a real cause-effect relationship between the weather we are blaming and the unfortunate loss of life.  This becomes again a tripe of blaming something other than a person’s poor choice or lack of common sense.

When the report comes that the snowstorm killed a man on I-75, shouldn’t we ask, “How?”  Isn’t it more accurate to report a man died because he drove over the reasonable speed in a foggy and icy road condition?  When the snow gets blamed for three deaths in a house, shouldn’t we ask why there was formica burning in the fireplace?  Did the snow somehow load the fireplace with toxic fuel and light it?  Even when the tragic death is of someone shoveling the walk for a neighbor with a handicap, it was not the snow nor the cold that killed the person.  It was that person’s lack of sense for what his or her body could endure and his or her decision to work beyond what was sensible.  As for my own choices, I’ve told many folks, “If I die shoveling snow, be sure to tell everyone I died HAPPY!” 🙂

“Most people don’t die in the storm, they kind of die after the storm. That’s dying on icy roads, dying because of complications from shoveling snow or heart attacks, dying because you’ve had prolonged exposure to cold air and cold temperatures.” Sam Champion, managing editor of the Weather Channel.

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A few years ago a dear friend’s sweet neighbor died when the tree branch her husband was cutting fell on her head.  This was tragic, but we shouldn’t blame the tree branch.  It merely followed the laws of physics, which are not laws in the sense that one can choose whether or not to obey.  Such physical “laws” are simply statements of the way things work.  Sadly, one has to ask why she stood where the branch could fall?

Once, driving in Romania, our hostess there commented on the “dangerous trees” that beautifully lined the roadway on which we were traveling.  The trees had been planted some 60 years ago by a bureaucrat who did not realize how large they would grow, and when traffic generally moved slower.  The saplings were originally only an inch or two in diameter (2-4cm) and a couple feet (60-70cm) from the roadway.   After 60 years though, the trunks now measured two feet (60cm) or more in diameter and were inches away from the cars on the road!  I should add, they were also very strong and would not give in if a flimsy auto was to pick a fight!  However, the trees did not attack our car, and “behaved” quite safely as long as we drove a modest 30mph (50kmph).  The danger was not inherent in the trees, but in the motorists who passed us at 60mph (100kmph)!

So the next time someone wants to blame the weather, or someone’s possession, or some inanimate object for a tragic death, read the story and ask, “What was he or she doing that resulted in the tragedy?”  And think before placing yourself in a situation, whether driving on a snow-covered road, overworking your heart without enough weather gear, or passing by a “dangerous tree.”  Who is the responsible agent?  Oh, and stop blaming my snow! 😉

Construction Continued . . . into early December

Well, again, I did not follow through on what I intended after the January 2 blog that brought this saga almost up to Thanksgiving in November.  But here is the development of late November on the ICF (Insulated Concrete Form) house that Alliance Builders is constructing in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

While waiting for the drywallers to start after November 22, we added an indoor layer of insulation between the floor of the Master bedroom/Walk-in closet/Master bathroom and the ceiling of Bedrooms 2 and 3 in the basement.  This was entirely for sound insulation as the R-50 insulation that is in the structure of the ICF walls can not be enhanced by interior insulation.  This will prevent noise between the “kids in the basement” and mom and dad in the Master bedroom.

A sampling of pictures that will be provided to the buyer is next, showing all the wiring and plumbing throughout the house before the drywall was installed.  This will help the new owner identify where everything “unseen” is in the walls of their new home.

Then on November 25, we had the drywall delivered.  This is a gypsum panel manufactured with paper on both sides; the brown paper backing goes against the studs (or ICF wall) and the white surface is for finishing the interior of the house.  The delivery went very smoothly as we could still drive into the lot behind our house, courtesy of Steven Wright, a wonderful builder who has built several other homes in our subdivision.

The “controller” manipulated the crane arm to insert the 12 foot long drywall (4M) deftly into the basement door and the upstairs rear doors, so the laborers could move it onto a dolly and wheel it into the rooms where it would be easily accessible by the installers.

We had to wait until December 2 for the installers to begin, so David and I put up the ceiling of the porch, taking advantage of the unusually warm autumn weather.

Now we would just have to wait for a day that was over 50F (10C) so we would be able to paint the beadboard.  In the meantime two drywall installers showed up on December 2, and did amazing work!!  In two and a half days these two guys put up the entire drywall in the house!!  One would measure and stand ready with a drill gun to put in the screws while one would cut to measurement, jump up to help hold the 4×12 (1.3Mx4M) boards in place and tack in a couple nails to hold it there until the “screwy guy” ( 😉 ) could get it anchored.

The blue board is a special mold-resistant and moisture-resistant one that we used in the bathrooms and kitchen areas.  The yellow board was a special fiberglass covered gypsum board that we will use for backing for tile in the Master bathroom.

The installers finished on December 4, with only the cleanup to do.  On Saturday, December 5, a grandfather and his 10-year old grandson came by and picked up all the drywall scrap and loaded it onto a trailer for removal.  The “mud” (also known as drywall compound) and some finishing materials were all that was left in the basement . . .  for the finishers . . . that you will see on the next construction blog.

Why Is Forgiveness SO Difficult?

Who would have thought forgiveness would be so difficult?  Oh, not to receive, but to give?  As C.S.Lewis says, “Everyone thinks forgiveness is a great idea, until they have something to forgive.”   How does a heart become so hard that it relishes images of revenge or at least hardship of an offender?  When did my heart become so hard?  And over such a petty issue.

IMG_2202You see, Thursday, January 7, a call to Nicholasville Planning and Zoning, scheduled an Insulation Inspection for Friday morning, January 8, at 8:30a.m.  This is the department that issues building permits and inspects construction at various points of the progress.  We laid down a first layer of sprayed-on-foam insulation in the attic and needed the inspection before we covered it with blown in cellulose.

The inspector was very cooperative and informative, and helpfully explained what else we needed to do before our final inspection.  As he left, he noted some large rocks we had piled on the edge of the cul-de-sac that needed to be moved, and I agreed that early the next week, we were planning to move them as soon as possible.

I left to pick up some materials, and while gone from the site, one of my tradesmen welcomed a couple of neighborhood women who dropped by to see the site.  They looked over the house and left without comment.  My phone rang just as I returned to the site.  It was the very pleasant inspector, but the friendliness was gone from his voice as he insisted the rocks in the road be removed immediately, before he called the police!   He stressed that I needed to call in any favor, beg or borrow the equipment needed to move the rocks, and it needed to happen NOW.  He said he had received a complaint, and if anyone ran into the rocks, even, say a drunk driver, the driver could sue me for everything I was worth, and he could sue the city for not writing me a citation (which would include a hefty fine).

Now, what does all this have to do with forgiveness and my difficulty in offering it?  Be patient and we will get there.  He then told me that the vinyl faux-stone on the face of the house had to be changed to brick or stone.  I explained that while the deed restrictions called for this, the developer had expressed to all the builders in the subdivision that the fascia should be 75-80% brick.  This being the only non-brick on the house, it constitutes less than 10% non-brick, and I felt quite sure this was within the parameters spelled out by the developer.  I assured him I would immediately get the rocks moving off the road and apprise him of the progress.

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So as soon as we were off the phone, I did just as he had instructed, and called in a favor from an excavator, who showed up in less than 30 minutes and spent another half-hour moving the huge rocks onto our driveway gravel.  My assistant and I finished with a water hose, cleaning even the dirt left behind so the road looked immaculate!

Realizing someone had complained, first about the rocks, and then about the fascia of the house, I decided to get ahead of the storm and call the developer to make sure he was okay with our less-than-10% vinyl fascia.  He was apparently out of the office, so I left a message a couple of times that day in hopes he would check in and call me back.

When I did not hear back from him over the weekend of January 9, I called a couple more times on Monday, and again, left messages.  On Tuesday I contacted his brother, and learning that he was out of town for some time, requested he give the developer the message that I needed to speak to him.  Within the hour I received a courteous call from the developer.  He explained he had received three very hostile phone calls and two emails over the weekend, one of which was threatening him with a lawsuit if the faux-stone vinyl fascia was not changed!  After explaining that it was a mere misunderstanding of what was required, I assured him the fascia around the front porch would be changed.

Then Thursday the nasty letter arrived from the lawyer.  It informed me in harsh terms that I was in violation of the deed restrictions, that construction must totally cease immediately, blah, blah, blah, obviously implying further legal action if I did not comply with the Darth Vader like warnings!  Man, did my blood boil!  This anger in me was worse than what I feel for drivers who do stupid stuff.  This anger was “righteous indignation” over someone complaining and trying to “humble me” into submission over something that had not even been an issue for me.  Visions of how to fight this in court, fleeting images (fortunately for me) of revenge of some kind haunted my mind!

WOW!!  I wondered from where this type of anger and vindictiveness could come?  Was I so easily vexed into sinful anger and retaliation?  As I tried to get past the anger, a process that took a few days, I found myself humiliated before a much holier Judge than I would have faced if this had gone to court.  He showed me the nail scars in His hands and feet, and where a spear had pierced His side, and told me these were for the women who had complained about my construction materials.

My wife points out (more often than I should have to admit) that when a driver retaliates because someone does something dumb, he becomes just as bad, or even worse, because he knows better.  Yet here I was, infuriated about something that was so petty and small as changing less than 200 square feet (61 square meters) of fascia.  The change will cost less than one-half of one per cent of the value of the house, but it ate at my heart as an undeserved injustice.  Most of the time I am the one in need of forgiveness, which I am more than willing to accept when it is offered, but now I needed to be the forgiverAnd it is hard.  I would like to tell you how spiritual I am, and that now it is over.  Yet there is within me a lingering ember on which I keep having to pour more water of forgiveness.  More dying to what is justifiable to me.  Even subtle snide ways of showing “those women” that I am above getting even; aren’t I holy??

I have to look at His hands and feet, and at His wounded side, and remember,Freely you have received; freely give. (Matthew 10:8)

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’” (Luke 18:9-14)

The Truth Is Out There

The Truth Is Out There2With a wink and nod to Sci-Fi enthusiasts who will recognize this blog’s title from The X-Files, the fact is the truth really IS out there.  However, in today’s 24/7 media onslaught and social media connectivity, it may be hard to sort it all out from the hysteria and hyperbole that saturates every tweet that comes to our smart phones or every facebook posting.  In case you did not know, not everything on the internet is true! 😉

LinkedIn and Pinterest each have about 255 million users each month.  That’s 255,000,000!  They are topped by Twitter that sees over 310,000,000 tweets from different users each month, but of course the cake-topper is facebook that has over 1 billion . . .  1,100,000,000 . . . distinct users every month!!  If there was not some overlap (single users of multiple sites) the top ten social network sites would have over one-fourth of the world’s population involved.  As it is, facebook has one-seventh of the entire population of the earth visiting at least once every month!!!

Blogs get a lot less traffic (like this one emoticon sad), but still see cumulatively over 200,000,000 unique visitors to the top ten blog sites every month.   Books that were once suspected of going the way of the dinosaurs continue to break records in sales and readership; libraries that stack their shelves with ancient titles as well as the latest thrillers (e.g. The First Target by Joel Rosenberg) and non-fiction books often have to provide waiting lists for the newest titles.

An ancient prophet/king, Solomon, realized this millennia ago, when he wrote, The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails — given by one shepherd.  Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.  Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.” (Ecclesiastes 12:11-12)

The concern with all this informational overload is, what really matters that we should read?  Paul warned of those who were “always learning, but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7)

One does not need to be an intellectual giant to understand The Truth.  In fact, even people who cannot read may be wise in many ways, and degrees may only mean someone is “hot,” not intelligent.  I have met several PhDs, whom I respect for their dedication to excellence in their careers, but I would not trust them to change a light bulb in my home, much less babysit a grandson!

A good place to start in a search for significant truth lies in what is most valuable to know.  People who become famous for being rich or famous, or for hanging around with others who are, hardly qualify as wise guides for a seeker of Truth.  Wealth and fame can fly away as quickly as a spark can start a fire.  So the best place to begin looking for Truth is in those who have found it, beyond the smarts of what it takes to get rich or gain power.

David knew this to be true when he penned the lines, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.” (Psalm 111:10)  This is not to suggest cowering in dread, but rather respectful fear, such as an honest man has around a police officer or judge.  One may not have done anything wrong, but this type of “fear” is what makes even a safe driver check his speedometer when he sees a police cruiser passing him.

Whenever the term “LORD” appears in many of the Bible’s translations, the all capitalization means this is a substitute for the revealed name of God, “Yahweh” or “Yehovah,” given to Moses in Exodus 14:14, The I Am Who I Am.”  But the names of God in the Bible is for another blog.  Let it suffice here that respectful fear of Him, The God Who Is There, is the beginning of wisdom and will lead one to good understanding, about himself/herself, about the world around him/her, and about the God who reveals Himself to the hungry heart.  Note, it does not require that one can even read this promise!  The fear of the LORD is enough!

This truth was repeated by Solomon, arguably the wisest man who ever lived, when he wrote, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  (Proverbs 1:7)  He repeated himself with some embellishment when later he wrote, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One brings understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)

We have established in earlier blogs (January 25, 2015, April 6, 2015, April 12, 2015, April 26, 2015) that the Bible is God’s self-revelation, and in the five-part series beginning May 17, 2015, that it is a reliable source for what He is like and His interactions with the world.  So if one is to find out the Truth that is “out there” what better place to begin than the Bible?  And what better time to begin than the first of the new year, 2016?

Do not be intimidated by the size of the single book, as it is a library of 66 very short books.  As we noted in the earlier blogs, reading one of these books is a simple task, and you can begin anywhere and find value in reading about God and His activities with mankind.  That said, I highly recommend New Testament books for the first-timer, simply because “the New Testament is in the Old concealed; the Old Testament is in the new revealed.”  What you will find is that the culture and language styles of the New Testament books are much closer to our modern societies than those of the Old Testament.  While reading the Old Testament books is valuable and should be pursued, there will be events and expressions that will lead to some “head-scratching” until one seriously studies these books with some wise guidance and historical contexts.

Any of the New Testament books, even the longest ones, can be read aloud in a couple of hours at a single sitting (some in only a few minutes).  I highly recommend this approach to one’s first time in the books, as it will give a much smoother overview and clearer understanding than the suggested reading plans that take only a few chapters a day for a year.

Read MeHere I reiterate what I suggested on April 6 last year as a plan for reading the Bible.  With planning this can be accomplished in 66 days, but I recommend some spreading of this to be realistic with modern busy schedules.  But you can see that by reading at least one long book on a weekend, and several short ones any given week, that reading the entire Bible in one year is not a formidable, but reasonably doable adventure.

  • If you have never read any of the books of the Bible before I recommend beginning with Luke and Acts in the New Testament.  From there I would encourage you to read 1, 2, and 3 John with at least short breaks between these tiny books.
  • Then “switch gears” and read some Old Testament with the prophecy of Malachi first, then History such as Genesis and Exodus, followed by Joshua, Judges, Ruth and Esther.  Pick up more Prophetic Literature with Isaiah, Hosea, Joel and Amos.
  • Come back to the NT for Matthew, Mark, Romans, and go on to Titus, Jude, Philemon, and James.
  • Back in the OT, pick up with 1 and 2 Samuel, Song of Solomon, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum and Habbakuk.
  • Back to the NT for 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Ephesians;
  • Back to the OT for 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ecclesiastes, Jeremiah and Lamentations;
  • The NT again for Philippians and Colossians, 1 and 2 Peter;
  • The OT for Leviticus, Numbers, and Job;
  • The NT for 1 and 2 Timothy and Hebrews;
  • The OT for Deuteronomy, Ezra, Nehemiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zephaniah and Haggai;
  • The NT for 1 and 2 Thessalonians;
  • End your reading of the OT with Zechariah;
  • And end the NT with the Gospel of John and Revelation.

Intersperse readings of any of these texts with some of Proverbs and the Psalms which are divided by letters of the Hebrew alphabet. One chapter of Proverbs or Psalms per day will complete these book in 181 days.  I do not recommend reading these at a single sitting because of their length, lack of plot and lack of theme teaching.  These are best digested in smaller portions throughout the year’s project.

Most of all, I encourage you to READ, READ and READ these words of life and gain with them a good understanding and discover The Truth Is Out There.


A New Year’s Day Greeting from A.B.Simpson

ABSimpsonI have a wish for all of you who are my family and friends reading my blog. And it extends beyond you to all who are in Christ Jesus, who are members of His great Church, the “called-out ones” who look forward to His return.  And it extends beyond these to all who do not yet know the beauty, grace, holiness, mercy and love that is available to any who will place their faith in Him, who may by chance or divine appointment view this blog.  This wish for 2016 is the same that A.B.Simpson wrote 130 years ago:

“In the name of the Lord, we wish for all to whom these words may come a Happy New Year. In order that it may be so, let it be
• A year with Jesus.
Let us seek its plan and direction from Him.  Let us take His highest thought and will for us in it.  Let us look to Him for our desires, ideals, and expectations in it.  Then shall it bring to us exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think.  Let Him be our Guide and Way every moment, on whom we constantly depend to lead our every step, leaving all care to Him who knows the way we take.
• A year of self-forgetting ministry for Christ and others.
Let us not be weighed down by our burdens through the year, but drop all our loads of care and be free to carry His yoke and His burden.  Let us make the happy exchange, giving ours and taking His.  Let us do good to all men as we have opportunity.  Especially let us seek to win souls, and may this new year be the harvest year of our lives.
• A year of prayer.
Let us see that our highest ministry and power is to deal with God for men.  Let us be obedient to all the Holy Spirit’s voices of prayer in us.  Let us cherish the spirit of unceasing prayer and abiding communion.  Let us reach persons this year we cannot reach in person; let us expect results that we have never dared to claim before.
• A year of joy and praise.
Let us live in the promises of God and the outlook of His deliverance and blessing.  Let us never dwell on the trial, but always on the victory just [ahead].  Let us not dwell in the tomb, but in the garden of Joseph [of Arimathea] and the light of the Resurrection.  Let us keep our faces toward the sun rising.  Arise, shine. Rejoice ever more.  In everything give thanks.  Praise the Lord.
• A year to forget the things that are behind and reach out to those that are before.
God has a “new thing” for us in the coming year.  “Tell the sons of Israel to move forward [toward the sea].”  Let it be a year of deeper, wider, higher, diviner things.  Let us hold fast that which we have attained, but go out also to “the regions beyond” and arise and possess the length and breadth of the land which the LORD our God gives to us.
Yours in Him,

Adapted from ABSimpson’s New Year’s Greeting, 1886

(Of course, Simpson’s reference to possessing “regions beyond” was not a literal reference to expanding governmental territory, but to sharing the Kingdom of God, that is, to invite people to join in what God is doing in the world, to invite them into His peace, joy and holy love.)


Construction Continued into November :-)

IMG_1326We really cannot leave October behind without noting a visit from some friendly ghosts on the 31st, Halloween; ‘course they were being chased by some Ghostbusters.  Lots of crazy costumes this year, but these two, with their parents in tow, took the cake!

The last trench we had dug in the front yard was for the electric lines.  Unfortunately each utility, water, gas and electric requires its own access trench; the companies frown very harshly on sharing a trench.  But by November 4 we had the electric conduit in and we were ready for the last time we would have to dig up the yard.  Chip Brunner provided some excellent skid-steer work and leveled what we had left in the yard and put some of the gravel in where the porch would be.

David and I began building the porch on the 9th, having added the suggested anchor bolts to the ledger board.  We glued and nailed the front beam that rests on the pilars we had poured at the end of October.

On the 10th and 11th, our crew added the porch roof.  Cruz and Diego worked smoothly and anchored the new roof to the existing one over the master bedroom and sat it on the concrete of the exterior wall.  If you cannot tell, I love heights and took advantage of their ladders to scramble up to the top for some pics.

On the 12th, they put the shingles on the roof over the porch and finished the details of the roof over the bay window on the north side.  In the meantime, Mark Henson stopped by to cut our curb, so it would be ready for the driveway . . . someday.   While all this was going on, David and I had spent our days building the window wells on both the north and south sides.

The last detail for the porch roof was to put on the bead board on the 19th to get it ready for the soffits and wrapping of the beams, although it wound up that we could not get anyone to do this until the end of December.  The beautiful autumn weather was nice for working outside, but the result is that everyone was working lots of outside jobs!!  On one of the evenings the roofers were busy, I climbed up and caught some beautiful sunsets over Brightpoint Retirement Center!

Next is the drywall as soon as we finished some details on the inside.

Construction continued through the end of October

Well, “later this week,” what I promised at the end of the last Construction Blog, turned into almost three weeks.  So here it is, January 1, and taking a break from construction to blog about it.  But actually, I am going back to the site later today to do some clean up and get ready for ThermoSpray of Lexington to come in Monday morning to partially insulate the attic.

But back near the end of October, we finished the pour of the footer for the front porch just in the nick of time on the 23rd, as later that day and into the 24th, rained poured on us and would have caved in our trench had Central Ready Mix not saved the day and come along with 10 yards of concrete (9 cubic meters).

By Monday morning, the ground was already drying out, and the retaining wall guys were going to come in to build our back wall.  I would have preferred to wait to do this (I’ll explain why in a later blog), but they were available and busy, so I thought we better take advantage of their willingness to squeeze our little wall in.

The ground had been pushed aside for the wall back on October 17, and the blocks had been sitting there since the 15th, so we were ready for this wall to be built on the 26th.

While the guys started leveling the 24 inches (~60cm) of gravel for the bed of the wall, David and I went to the front of the house to start on the porch.  The footer was set, and we put up the concrete tube forms over the rebar that we had placed in the footer.  We ran a string with a line level to make sure the post bases were in line and level with each other.  The bolt attached to the bottom of the post bases was to make sure it would stay in the concrete.   Just had to mix up a couple bags of cement for each of the pilons.

Following the pouring of the columns (posts, pilons, bases), we began flashing the wall where the ledger board would attach to the house.  We removed the styrofoam membrane of the ICF and put the flashing directly against the concrete wall.  We made sure the flashing was slanted away from the wall, so water will drain properly.  We attached the joist hangers to the ledger board before putting it into place.  Then we anchored the ledger board with six inch (15 cm) wedge anchors.  We met code with what we had, but after discussion with our inspector, we added another five anchors just to make even more certain our porch would never move away from the house.

After we finished attaching the ledger board, we checked on the wall going in behind the house, and these guys had worked like greased lightning!  By evening they had finished the entire wall!  In the last picture, only the capstones need to be added to the end, which they completed before leaving.  And that brings us up to date as of October 30.  Later today or tomorrow, if I get the opportunity, I’ll do another construction blog on what happened at the beginning of November.