Friday, February 26, 2021

Carman, Memories

Christian singer Carman died last week, due to complications from surgery, at the age of 65.


I first heard Carman’s music when I was in college in the early ’80s. Murray took me to see him live in January of ’88, and Murray gave his life to Jesus that night. When Carman sang “Lazarus, Come Forth,” Murray said, “That’s the best song I’ve ever heard.”


The kids loved Carman too. In the mid ’90s, Murray’s Dad was visiting us. When he was in the car with Murray and the kids one day, he said, “Play that song that makes the kids squeal.” That was “Jesus is the Way.”


When Rebecca was in her teens, I remember listening to “The Champion” one day in the car, and Rebecca said, “That’s my favorite song ever.”


For over 30 years we attended many Carman concerts, Murray and the kids more than me. We saw him in a range of how he presented his shows, from small church gatherings to larger venues.


Murray likes to say that the first time we saw him, “It was just him, his guitar, and a tape deck.” Murray and the kids saw him at the Q in Cleveland with a large band, lights and dancers.


We attended a concert at a small gathering at a church just a couple years ago, where we were able to introduce ourselves to Carman and his wife.


Carman’s songs were sweet, beautiful worship numbers, “I feel Jesus,” “Revive us O Lord;” lively talking songs, “The Champion,” “Lazarus, Come Forth;” funny, “Soap Song.” His goal was always the same, to help bring more people to Jesus.


This has been a sad time for me. Carman was important in our lives, and I pray comfort for his wife and family. 

Friday, February 19, 2021

Psalm 119:161-168 Sin and Shin

ש Sin and Shin

Rulers persecute me without cause,

    but my heart trembles at your word.

I rejoice in your promise

    like one who finds great spoil.

I hate and detest falsehood

    but I love your law.

Seven times a day I praise you

    for your righteous laws.

Great peace have those who love your law,

    and nothing can make them stumble.

I wait for your salvation, Lord,

    and I follow your commands.

I obey your statutes,

    for I love them greatly.

I obey your precepts and your statutes,

    for all my ways are known to you.


Father God, I find relief at knowing all my ways are known to you. You know my faults. I need not try to hide them. You also know my sorrows and my hardships. Teach me to love what you love, Lord, to obey your righteous ways. In my fears, cover me with the peace and joy you want to give me. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Sweet Memories, Laugh Out Loud

December 26, 1997: The kids didn't get to play in the snow too much yesterday before it melted. I said not to worry, there was a lot of winter left when it might snow. Sarah, laughing at herself, said, "I thought that today was the last day for snowing."


December 31, 1997: Some friends' were over yesterday watching a Noah's Ark movie with the kids. When the flood was about to kill the bad people, the little boy said something, maybe happily, about the people being killed. Rebecca said, reprovingly, "That's not funny. They're not going to get to go to Heaven."


January 2, 1998: Last night Murray asked the kids if they'd like to go to McDonald’s after supper for a soda and to play in the play area. Excitedly, Caleb said, "Daddy, I just like you, and I'm glad I live on earth!"


January 3, 1998: Kathy came downstairs the other day and found Caleb and Rebecca busily engaged in something. "What are you guys doing?" she asked. "I'm teaching Caleb to write cursive," Rebecca replied, "Because he's not learning it in school."


January 4, 1998: Murray and the kids were in the car today, purchasing gas at an unmanned pay-at-the-pump place. Rebecca was reading the posted warnings and, as the van filled and Murray climbed in to begin logging the purchase, Rebecca said, "You just left a pump unattended,” (which the sign said not to do).


Later, in the van, there was a lively discussion of traffic infractions, penalties, etc. Murray said that one infraction was driving through a red light. Rebecca said that Murray did that once. Murray said that yes, he accidentally did that once, and "You saw how upset I was that I did that. I didn't even get caught by the police, but I was very upset." Sarah said, "You could call the police and tell them you're sorry."


January 6, 1997: Murray was telling the kids about the people in his family, and he said, "Manly, Mark..." Rebecca jumped in, "Luke, John." A couple days later, we were laughing about her saying that, and Rebecca said, "I bet you wrote that on the computer."


January 12, 1998, Yesterday, Murray thought he had given Sarah a piece of bread at dinner. "No,” she said, “You tried to, but I rebuked you.”


January 14, 1998: Last night Ping-Hwei said there was something he wanted to write down so he could put it on his computer at school. He said, "My family, funny, call me Bubby and Boss." (his two nicknames)


January 19, 1998: Caleb has an alarm clock that has a rooster that crows. This morning Sarah knocked on my door and said, "I heard Caleb's hen crow."


January 21, 1998: This morning Sarah told me to kiss her on her hair head. Then she rubbed it in and said, "It's slipping down to my heart."


When Ping-Hwei wants to play one of Benjamin's musical toys, he says, "I want to give Benjamin a listen."


When someone holds the refrigerator door open, Ping-Hwei sternly tells them to close it and says, "Babba (Dad) needs to pay!"


Sarah was trying to butter a piece of bread and was having difficulty. Her explanation for why the clump of butter wasn't spreading: "It's not concentrating." 

Friday, February 5, 2021

John 9, Grace and Truth

The man in this story is one of my biggest heroes.


Verses 1-3:  As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”


Surely all of his life, the blind man heard people saying that either his or his parents’ sin had caused his blindness. He lived in this shame; still, the only way he could feed himself was by begging out in public.


Verses 6-7: After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.


Had the man heard that Jesus healed people? Anyway, he obeyed him, and was glad.


Verses 14-17: Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided. Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” The man replied, “He is a prophet.”


This man probably had no education, but he spoke with confidence to his neighbors and, to the Pharisees. Though his parents were afraid of the Pharisees, the man born blind bravely called Jesus a prophet.


Verses 18-34: They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?” “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?” Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.


He surely knew he would be treated harshly, yet he challenged the Pharisees, with knowledge and assurance, when they spoke against Jesus.


Verses 35-38: Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.


And in the end, he made the right decision, to worship Jesus.