Afflicted, That I Might Learn

"Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, . . . " Psalm 119:1-2

Father, my seeking has been sporadic and even absent at times. I am weary of living like an unbeliever. I want to live like a Christian man. Give me whole-hearted seeking. (Psa. 119:10)

"It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces." (Psa. 119:71-72)


The Law of the Lord Is Perfect

I don't know how many times I will have to be reminded of this. You would think that a guy who has walked with the Lord for a while, as I have, and has been reminded repeatedly about the weakness of his own flesh, as I have, would not have any trouble remembering this thing that I repeatedly wander away from. Here it is as stated by George Mueller:

"I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man may be nourished . . . . I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it."

Instead, I go other places the first thing in the morning, filling my mind with trouble and trivia, when my soul is longing to feast on real and satisfying food. Oh, wretched man that I am! The psalmist describes the preciousness of God's Word like this:

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
(Psalm 19 ESV)


Pop Culture

I recently saw a Dr. Pepper commercial that featured some singer doing his glamorous thing. It was clear that the assumption was the target audience would know who this star is and, knowing it, would be compelled to consume Dr. Pepper by the tanker truck load. Clearly, I am not in this demographic. Oh, I like Dr. Pepper just fine. But I don't have Clue One who the singer is.

And this made me think of my dad.

When I was but a child, Coca-Cola produced a commercial that really resonated with the young folks. So much so that many of you, based on this very general description, know precisely what commercial I'm talking about. In the ad, hundreds of young people of many nationalities and ethnic groups were standing in a field and singing about buying everyone in the whole world a Coke. I know I was eager to have a Coke bought for me. One time this ad was running when my dad was in the room and he made some remark about the song they were singing. I don't remember exactly what he said, but it was evident that he didn't know that it was a real song that had been adapted for Coke. My older sister and I were mortified that DAD DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS A REAL SONG! What was he doing with his time for heaven's sake? You know, besides working 40-60 hours a week, working on our car, working on the house, attending meetings at the office, and meetings at the church, mowing the grass, raking the leaves, shoveling the snow, and visiting his parents and his in-laws weekly and some other stuff.

Like my dad, I have come to learn that there is just no time for everything and one of the things I have largely let go of is awareness of current popular culture, i.e., the People magazine beat. I watch precisely one TV program, I listen to old music and most of the books I read are not current. I like stuff that stands the test of time.

Stuff like buying the world a Coke.


Alou And Forsch

When I heard about Matty Alou, I was sad.

From FoxNews.com: Matty Alou, once part of an all-Alou outfield for the San Francisco Giants with brothers Felipe and Jesus, died Thursday in his native Dominican Republic. He was 72. 

A two-time All-Star, Alou became the 1966 National League batting champion with the Pirates when he hit .342. He spent his first six years with San Francisco from 1960-65 and also played for St. Louis, Oakland, the New York Yankees and San Diego.

"Although he played for six different teams, Matty remained a part of the Giants family as a longtime employee and will be forever linked with his brothers, Felipe and Jesus, - as the first all-brother major league outfield," the Giants said.

Being somewhat of a baseball buff, I knew about the three Alou boys starting in the same outfield in a major league game, but this next tidbit was news to me.

From CSNBayArea.com: Felipe, Matty, and Jesus Alou were each the first batter to ever come to the plate in a brand new stadium. Two of these events happened just one month apart!

On April 12, 1966, the Atlanta Braves opened Fulton County Stadium with a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The leadoff hitter for the Pirates that day was Matty Alou.

One month later, the St. Louis Cardinals unveiled Busch Stadium, and the visitors were the Braves. Batting first, Felipe Alou.

In 1969, the expansion San Diego Padres had their first game in San Diego Stadium. The Houston Astros were their first opponent, and Jesus Alou led off the game.


When I heard about Bob Forsch, I was shocked.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Bob Forsch, the only Cardinal to pitch two no-hitters and the third-winningest pitcher in franchise history, died Thursday at his home near Tampa, Fla., less than a week after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Game 7 of the World Series in St. Louis.

He was one of 30 players to have pitched two no-hit games in the major leagues and, with his brother, Ken, a part of the only brother combination to toss no-hitters.

I don't have anything to add - I didn't know these men, but still it seems too soon and too sudden, especially in the case of Forsch. It kinda feels like I knew them. Probably because I've got these -

Alou's cards are 1965, '68, and '72; Forsch's are '75, '78, and '80