TW Peck's Weblog

random thoughts & perceptions on just about whatever strikes me fancy

Don’t Worry, Be Joyful

Posted by twpeck on October 10, 2008

I say “be joyful”, because joy is a much deeper sense than happiness.

Happiness fleets, like losing a pound on a diet only to regain it back again when you drink that pint of water, then lose it again the next time you use the bathroom.

Joy comes form within.  It is a gift from God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is the “something” that Christians should exhibit – if they really consider that He is in control.  It should not have an effect on our psyche, those of us who claim Christ as Lord and Savior, who wins the next election, what the Dow is at the end of the day, or our pay at work.

All is from God and all is God’s and He can do as He sees fit and everything, even that which we deem as “bad” is from God – so we should be joyful no matter what.

Now, to the world, this reaction would have them sending us to the local Mental Health center.  But to God, this is the response He wants from us and He has His Hand on us.

So, why worry, be joyful.  It is a more pleasant way to be and a much more fun than fretting.


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“good men not only fall into sin, but have their relapses”

Posted by twpeck on October 8, 2008

Was reading Gen 20 where Abraham comes to the King Abimelech and gives his wife Sarah to Abimelech, telling him she is his (Abraham’s) sister. Abraham did this because he was afraid that Abimelech would kill him to take Sarah.

Gill’s commentary has this quote “good men not only fall into sin, but have their relapses”. Gill was commenting on Abraham’s equivocation and deception. Abraham did not lie, but he certainly did not tell all the truth relevant to the issue – Sarah was his half-sister (the gene pool was a lot cleaner back then so it was an acceptable practice to marry that close a relative).

It is interesting to me, both in Scripture and in my life, that we can know, see, feel, be touched, witness, and experience the power of God but run from it when we would be best to trust it.

We don’t conquer sin when we are saved. Sin has been conquered in us. We still have great propensity to fall into sin and not even see it coming until we are in the middle of it. Some never see it at all.

And we are terrible lesson learners. That is the relape part.

There is a growing approach to addiction and mental illness – the recovery model. The point of the recovery model is that your condition does not own you or control you. You recover yourself, no longer defined by what you are diagnosed with but by the person you are.

Christians are recovered sinners. We are no longer defined by our sins, but defined by Christ.

The recovery model also recognizes the concept of relapse. That you will probably will struggle with that control and sometimes you will lose, but you can also recover from that loss.

If THAT does not define the Christian life, than what else does. We become “good men” through Christ, but still have our sin struggle: “not only fall into sin, but have their relapses”

The great advantage we Christians have is that our recovery is under the control of God and not ourselves. We submit to Him, He does His Will in us and He is glorified and we are recovered.

That is the light at the end of the tunnel for me and I cling to it – often.

Verse to ponder:

Gen 20:11 Abraham said, “I did it because I thought, There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.

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How Can He Do That ?

Posted by twpeck on August 25, 2008

I run into this question a lot when I am reading or hearing about people doing things that they disagree with or stand in opposition to. Sometimes I can understand, like the army conscript or done under duress (like torture).

No, not those case scenarios but the times when done consciously or purposefully.

Two recent examples of this came close to home recently.

The first was the revelation of writings by the head of the Anglican (Episcopalian) Church that he clearly did not agree that homosexual behavior was a sin, but that he would teach it was because this was what the tenets of the church say and he is obligated, as the head of the church, to teach that.

On a more local level, I just read where a couple I know who are baptist in doctrine agreed to be the god-parents of a baby being baptized by another denomination, fully knowing that this church teaches baptism as an element of salvation.

In the case of the Archbishop it was to keep his job. In the case of the couple it was not to offend some friends.

One has to ask where has the backbone of people gone? Where is the strength of conviction?

We live in such PC times that we are becoming so wishy-washy that the fear of offending others is more important than the Truth of the Gospel.

The saddest part is that people are going to an eternity without God because we are too afraid of losing our relationship with them now. One wonders what is the worse sin – their offense against God or our offense against them.

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Olympicmania strikes me

Posted by twpeck on August 21, 2008

I just realized that I have caught Olympicmania.

I thought I was immune but as I was sitting here I realized that I have been staying up later and later each night watching the “games”, following the results, checking the results the next morning, and wondering what will be on tonight.

The clue that I caught it should have been when Sunday afternoon when I went to the cell phone store and didn’t want the clerk to hurry up because there was a badminton game between China and Japan on the TV in the waiting area.  I may have even told the clerk to “take your time” or “just a minute”.  Jill made me leave before the results, saying something about my head and a racket if we didn’t get out of there.

One thing nice about Olympicmania is that a lot of cares get set aside for the moment (as well as a lot of household chores).  Entertainment can be a great pacifier.


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Future Weather

Posted by twpeck on August 13, 2008

Yesterday, the forecaster on the local weather station said it was going to be 80 degrees all week.  Yes, the same high every day.  He also said it would be dry (meaning no rain) for the rest of the week.

Today the high is predicted as mid-seventies and the chance of thunderstorms the rest of the week.

Predicting the weather is risky and tricky business.  From what I have been reading, even the flapping of a butterfly wing can cause a change.

So how can we predict what the weather and temperature will be like in a decade, a 100 years?

We cannot.

During the Gulf War when all the oil rigs were on fire and pouring huge amounts of black smoke I remember “computer models” indicating this would create a “green house” effect that would bring a catastrophe such as the melting of the ice caps OR a new ice age (depended on the model).

Well, neither happened.

Let’s keep that in mind the next time we hear some politician calling for massive spending or regulation for some industry to stop global warming or global cooling.  The law of unintended consequences usually prevails in those matters.

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Groups as family

Posted by twpeck on August 13, 2008

It is 6:15 AM and I am in the lobby of the motel awaiting the rise of the rest of my family.

Yes, we are on a little vacation in Northern Michigan.

The weather has been beautiful: warm and sunny (though we had a short downpour last night), but it has been a nice vacation so far. Only a couple of bumps (trying to make those important decisions about what to go where and when and who, etc.).

It is a fascinating process to watch “group” decisions work their way out. More fascinating when it is a multi-age, multi-agenda event. The family is a “group” that is put together not for a project or a purpose, but thrown together through the providence of their birth or marriage. Sometimes it is a beautiful thing to watch, othertimes get out the raincoat and boots!

It has been pretty beautiful so far. We are all learning about give and take – mostly giving, and that is probably the biggest lesson for the youngsters. The younger we are the more we take and the less we give and it these times that important lessons about learning to give – meaning the world is not centered on you but that you are part of, an element of, the world around you.

Unfortunately, there are lots and lots of people who don’t learn this until they are older (I really started to realize this in my late 20s when I got married and started having children – children are insipid in their selfishness and stingy in their giving – look at the effort given to make a baby smile or stop crying!). There is phenomenon out there called “kidults” – adults who have clinged to the taking stage and have not embraced the giving stage.

We have few of those in our family. Most likely many families do. So just invite them to a big family vacation where they will be thrown with everyone else for a few days and make sure there is a little child or baby or two. Might make them move from less kid to adult, might not, but it will sure make for some memories.

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Family Reunion

Posted by twpeck on August 13, 2008

Jill’s family reunion was Saturday and it was a nice time, but it seems to diminish year after year as the family members grow up (and old) and spread out over the country (and the world). The concern among many were that this event was a dying occasion.

Turns out this reunion was the 50th one held because an old record book was found that had been given to record signatures. When looking back through it there is an ebb and flow of attendance. Some years many, some few.

While there is no real good analysis, it seems there is an element of the prodigal here. People go away from family for a while and then return, even to the point of scheduling a vacation around the event.

Also, there needs to be a couple of people who grasp the importance of this event and pull it together, taking care of the details, organizing, leading.

Families provided us with part of the sense of who we are. We can see our face in the face of others. We can hold onto the good parts of our history and laugh at the bad ones (once they get far enough back).

My side has talked about having an annual reunion, but no one has really stepped forward and take the helm on putting one on, but I suspect it will come.

Our familiy is something that is deeply imbedded in us. We cling to our past because it is known, it already happened, we survived it, and we shared it with others. That is most comforting.

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Posted by twpeck on August 9, 2008

For some reason I have not yet caught Olympicmania. I watched a little of the parade of athletes and started to doze off. This was not their fault, but my own. It is exciting for them and if I was there and walking in that I would be geeked beyond words.

But I am not.

It was interesting to see the various sizes and dress. When I watched, some of the Caribbean countries were walking by (some I didn’t even know were countries).

One was walking by and there were about 10 members of the team and the “president for life” of that nation promises to any athlete winning the gold a mansion. The commentator mentioned that there was little hope for that. What a pessimist.

Me, I haven’t caught Olympicmania yet mainly because I am still holding out hope for the Detroit Tigers to be the baseball champions this year, though it is not looking good. Guess this proves that I still have some traces of optimism in me.

I am sure as the games actually begin I will start to have a little more interest and will be glued to my set come the “big” (meaning ones where the US has a chance to win gold or a record set) events occur.

It is interesting how we can get drawn into something without a real conscious effort on our part. Next thing you know something that we cared little about becomes our biggest concern – guess that is why we are told by God to watch our hearts.

I hope that the athletes competing do well. We know there will be some great drama, spectacular wins and failures, upsets, easily victories, heartbreaking defeats.

Wow – this sounds a lot like life.

Hmm – maybe I am getting a touch of Olympicmania after all.

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Things We Should Not See

Posted by twpeck on July 30, 2008

Amy and Jill (and a friend) witnessed a horrible truck-dog accident yesterday afternoon. I won’t repeat what they saw but the truck was going full speed and the dog was not.

They were in our van driving towards the truck.  Needless to say I took the van and had it given a good wash.

Unfortunately, this does not wash it out of the memory.

“It was something like in movie” Jill told me, meaning it was unreal but full of stark reality.    Amy said that she kept seeing it everytime she closed her eyes. 

There are some things we should not see or experience, but we really have limited control over that.  We live comfortably in the mid-west but violence and terror are really just around the corner.  I think of that everytime she rides her bike down to her friends house, or when Jill goes to work, or when I take a walk.  Every moment could be the last moment, and one day it will be the last moment.

So I try to enjoy each moment and not let the worries of the day interfere.  Don’t always succeed, but it is better than waiting around to see things we should not see.

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Posted by twpeck on July 23, 2008

Sometimes the hardest part of life is waiting.

A couple of weeks ago we went to an amusement park. It was a couple hour drive and Amy brought a friend. Neither slept the night before – they could not stand the wait.

I remember one Christmas, hanging out at the top of the stairs waiting for morning to go down and check out the look. I could not stand the wait.

Some waits are more difficult. Like the wait for the test results, the wait for the last breath of a loved one, the wait when a relationship is broken.

The wait shows our vulnerability to time, to events, to circumstances. There is so much that is out of our control, so much that we cannot grasp, so much that we cannot manipulate or steer to our liking, but it is the wait that makes us grow in wisdom because it forces our patience, and a lack of patience is so often the worst times and decisions we make.

Well, I am in a wait right now and I am hating it but growing from it.

Bible verse to ponder:
(Psalms 69:3) I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.

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