Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Boy, was that convicting!

A couple of days ago I wrote about the exhortations to cleave unto the Lord, to continue in the grace of God, to continue in the faith, and I listed all the occurrences of the word "continue". When I was studying the verses, I noticed that one, Colossians 4:2, used a different word than the rest, an unrelated word. I found that interesting so I did a search. Boy, was that convicting!

The word means to persevere (in anything). There are a group of verses where it means:

to give constant attention to a thing

and that thing is the same in all the verses!

Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication

Acts 6:4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

Rom 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer

Col. 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving

As I said before, that was convicting! What does it mean to continue in prayer? This is what struck me - more than now; I need to pray more, a lot more than I do now.



Adam Clarke has a wonderful comment on this verse
Continue in prayer— This was the apostle’s general advice to all; without this, neither wives, husbands, children, parents, servants, nor masters, could fulfill the duties which God required of them.
All might, power, and life come from God; his creatures are continually dependent upon him for all these: to earnest, persevering prayer, he has promised every supply; but he who prays not has no promise. How few wives feel it their duty to pray to God to give them grace to behave as wives! How few husbands pray for the grace suited to their situation, that they may be able to fulfill its duties! The like may be said of children, parents, servants, and masters. As every situation in life has its peculiar duties, trials, etc.; so to every situation there is peculiar grace appointed. No man can fulfill the duties of any station without the grace suited to that station. The grace suited to him, as a member of society in general, will not be sufficient for him as a husband, father, or master. Many proper marriages become unhappy in the end, because the parties have not earnestly besought God for the grace necessary for them as husbands and wives. This is the origin of family broils in general; and a proper attention to the apostle’s advice would prevent them all.


Well, I'm convicted.

Monday, February 13, 2017

While the preacher was preaching

I went to church yesterday. The pastor is going through The Book of Acts and yesterday he preached from 11:17-24. The teaching reached a crescendo with v 23:

Acts 11:23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.

This is a wonderful and powerful verse. As I was meditating on the phrase, cleave unto the Lord (after all, he asked us, What does cleave unto the Lord mean?) other passages in the book of Acts came to mind.

I went to Acts 13:14-43, which is Barnabas and Paul in Antioch in Pisidia. At the conclusion of the sermon we read:
43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

Next, I turned to Acts 14:21-23, in which Paul and Barnabas returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,
22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

This is so cool. Barnabas is involved in all three incidents and Paul in two. Here is a clear apostolic (Barnabas and Saul were called by the Spirit and commissioned by the church, Acts 13:1-4) exhortation, one that we don’t hear much today:

cleave unto the Lord • continue in the grace of God • continue in the faith 

These are three different Greek words, but they all have the same root and mean: remain, continue, persevere, hold fast. The Apostles felt it necessary to persuade and exhort new believers to continue in the faith, to continue in the grace of God, to hold fast to the Lord. I thought to myself, If the Apostles thought it was important to exhort new believers this way, perhaps we should as well.

Then this morning I looked up other verses with the word continue :

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

Romans 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

Colossians 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

1 Timothy 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

2 Timothy 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

Hebrews 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.

1 John 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

These are things we don’t hear very often, if at all, but which were obviously important to the Apostles and the Spirit who inspired them! Continue. Don’t simply begin, but continue. Begin the race and finish the race. I will leave it to you my readers to meditate on these occurrences of continue and then determine the significance of continuing and consequences of not continuing, but I will exhort you,

Continue! 

You’ve begun, now run the whole race!

You’ve made a good start, be sure to finish!

Anyway, that’s some of what I got from the teaching time yesterday.


Don’t you dare quit!
You • Keep • Holding on!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

What I learned (part 3, Conclusions)

I introduced this series by saying:

I recently read the book, The Fundamental Christian Faith by Charles Augustus Briggs, D.D., D.Litt.. In his explanation of this phrase in the Apostles Creed: suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried, he observed:

“The verb πάσχω (pascho) is not used of the sufferings of Christ by St. Paul; but it is characteristic of the First Epistle of Peter, the Epistle to the Hebrews, Luke's Gospel and the Book of Acts.
The noun πάθημα (pathema) is used of Christ's sufferings in 1 Peter; also Hebrews; and by St. Paul.”

I was intrigued! I had never noticed that so I decided to investigate. I looked up all the occurrences of both πάσχω (pascho) and πάθημα (pathema). He was right. As I read through the verses I was really blessed by what I saw. I thought I would share the results of my search as well as what I learned.

In my last two posts I looked at suffering the noun (πάθημα pathema) and suffering the verb (πάσχω pascho). Today I want to summarize what I’ve learned.


The author was correct when he said, “The verb πάσχω (pascho) is not used of the sufferings of Christ by St. Paul.” But, even though Mr. Briggs had a D.D. and a D.Litt.(and I have no Ds in my degree at all!), I discovered he was mistaken in his second assertion, “The noun πάθημα (pathema) is used of Christ's sufferings ... by St. Paul.” Paul, in fact, did not use pathema to refer to the sufferings of Christ!

Mr. Briggs was referring to 2 Corinthians 1:5, For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. Paul does use the expression, “the sufferings of Christ”, but this is clearly not speaking of what Christ endured, but of what Paul is enduring for Christ, the sufferings those who believe in Christ experience on his behalf.

What is the significance of this? Nothing. Only I discovered a D.D. D.Litt. was wrong!

Seriously though, if Paul did not refer to the sufferings of Christ in his epistles, how did he speak of them? He spoke of the cross and of Christ crucified (except in Hebrews, if you accept his authorship). What is the significance of this? It seems that when addressing a Jewish audience the apostles spoke of the sufferings of Christ and when addressing Gentiles they spoke of Christ crucified. I confess I don’t know why. Jesus spoke of the cross and crucifixion, and Peter spoke of Christ crucified in Acts 2 and 4.

Why did Christ suffer?
As the Apostle Peter put it, Christ also suffered for us…Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (1 Peter 2:21, 24) Amen! That is the gospel.

Suffering for Christ
The other note on suffering and Christ is also best expressed by Peter (4:1-4)
1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;  
2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.  
3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:  
4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

I noticed that suffering for Christ is to be expected. It is the norm. And this is especially true for those involved in ministry. We have taken the references to suffering and applied them to sickness and relationships and other difficulties experienced by people in general. But, as I pointed out, the sufferings of Christ are the sufferings or afflictions we endure because of our faith in Christ and our obedience to him; afflictions which would vanish as soon as we no longer believed or obeyed. This is persecution. In addition there is the tribulation we experience as we wrestle with the devil, the flesh, and the world; which would also cease if our faith and obedience ceased.

Paul is in full agreement with Peter when he expresses his goals as a believer: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship [participation in] of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

And again: For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Yes, the sufferings of this present time, affliction, persecution, tribulation, struggle, and spiritual warfare, are nothing when compared with the glory to come. Amen.


As I read this I must ask myself: Am I suffering for Christ? 

If No, Why not?

If Yes, Am I rejoicing, inasmuch as I am a partaker of Christ's sufferings?


For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, 
not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

What I learned (part 2)

(Part 1 began with this)

I recently read the book, The Fundamental Christian Faith by Charles Augustus Briggs, D.D., D.Litt.. In his explanation of this phrase in the Apostles Creed: suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried, he observed:

“The verb πάσχω (pascho) is not used of the sufferings of Christ by St. Paul; but it is characteristic of the First Epistle of Peter, the Epistle to the Hebrews, Luke's Gospel and the Book of Acts.
The noun πάθημα (pathema) is used of Christ's sufferings in 1 Peter; also Hebrews; and by St. Paul.”

I was intrigued! I had never noticed that so I decided to investigate. I looked up all the occurrences of both πάσχω (pascho) and πάθημα (pathema). He was right. As I read through the verses I was really blessed by what I saw. I thought I would share the results of my search as well as what I learned.

In my last post I looked at πάθημα (pathema), suffering the noun. Today it is πάσχω (pascho), suffering the verb.

πάσχω pascho
According to Thayer it means: to suffer, to undergo evils, to be afflicted. It is translated suffer 39x, be vexed 1x, passion 1x, feel 1x.

Christ suffering
Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Matthew 17:12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.

Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Mark 9:12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.

Luke 9:22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.

Luke 17:25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.

Luke 22:15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:

Luke 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

Luke 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

Acts 1:3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

Acts 3:18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.

Acts 17:3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

Hebrews 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Hebrews 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

1 Peter 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

The first thing you notice is the verb is used many more times than the noun! Christ suffered many things of the Jews: rejection, slander, blasphemy, mocking, death. He also suffered of the Gentiles: mocked him, spitefully treated him, spit on him, scourged him, put him to death (Luke 18:32-33). He suffered to fulfill the words of the prophets. He suffered for us. His suffering was a once for all time sacrifice of himself for sins, that he might bring us to God.

General
Matthew 17:15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.

Matthew 27:19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

Mark 5:26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

Luke 13:2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?

Suffering for Christ
Acts 9:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.

1 Corinthians 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

2 Corinthians 1:6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 

Galatians 3:4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

1 Thessalonians 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

2 Thessalonians 1:5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

1 Peter 2:19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

1 Peter 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

1 Peter 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

1 Peter 3:17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

1 Peter 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.

1 Peter 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

Revelation 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

Suffering for Christ is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God. If it is the will of God that we suffer, we want to suffer for well doing, not for evil doing; for righteousness sake, not as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. When we endure such suffering, we should commit our souls to God in well doing, and the God of all grace, after ye have suffered a while, will perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.


Why did Christ suffer? For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
Once suffered for sins – this means once for all time; it does not need to be repeated. The suffering he endured was sufficient. Sufficient for what? What was the goal?
that he might bring us to God - Amen! This is salvation, being restored to God!

We are also partakers of his sufferings. We are not suffering for sin, that was once for all time, we suffer for him – the world pours out on us their hatred for him. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.


Next post: my conclusions from this study

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Suffering of Christ or What I learned in my study of pascho and pathema

I recently read the book, The Fundamental Christian Faith. In his explanation of this phrase in the Apostles Creed: “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried”, he observed:

“The verb πάσχω (pascho) is not used of the sufferings of Christ by St. Paul; but it is characteristic of the First Epistle of Peter, the Epistle to the Hebrews, Luke's Gospel and the Book of Acts.
The noun πάθημα (pathema) is used of Christ's sufferings in 1 Peter; also Hebrews; and by St. Paul.”
The Fundamental Christian Faith: The Origin, History And Interpretation Of The Apostles' And Nicene Creeds 
by Charles Augustus Briggs, D.D., D.Litt. (Aren’t you impressed by all those initials after his name? :-) )

I was intrigued! I had never noticed that so I decided to investigate. I looked up all the occurrences of both πάσχω (pascho) and πάθημα (pathema). He was right. As I read through the verses I was really blessed by what I saw. I thought I would share the results of my search as well as what I learned.

πάθημα pathema

This is the noun. According to Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon it means: that which one suffers or has suffered; and is used for that which Christ endured; also the afflictions which Christians must undergo for Christ. It is translated suffering 11x, affliction 3x, affection and motion 1x.

Sufferings of Christ
Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

1 Peter 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

1 Peter 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

Christ suffered for us; suffered death for us. The suffering is followed by glory; not only being crowned with glory and honor in heaven, but the glory that shall be revealed here on earth when he comes again.

Suffering for Christ
Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

2 Corinthians 1:6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 

2 Corinthians 1:7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

Hebrews 10:32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;

1 Peter 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

We suffer because of our association with Christ, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions. These afflictions are common to believers everywhere. And behold God’s grace, just as we share his sufferings, we will share in his glory. Meanwhile, there is consolation in this life, as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

Here we need to define these sufferings – they are the sufferings or afflictions we endure because of our faith in Christ and our obedience to him; afflictions which would vanish as soon as we no longer believed or obeyed. This is persecution. In addition there is the tribulation we experience as we wrestle with the devil, the flesh, and the world; which would also cease if our faith and obedience ceased.

Suffering for Christ in the ministry of the gospel
2 Corinthians 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

2 Timothy 3:11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

Those who are called into the ministry of the gospel should expect to suffer for those they are reaching and teaching. This suffering is the tribulation (hardships, difficulties, trials) endured in the work, as well as afflictions and persecutions.

fellowship of his sufferings
Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

This is powerful! Both Paul and Peter speak of the fellowship of his sufferings. This word fellowship is koinonia. We think of koinonia merely as fellowship, but the root idea of koinonia is participation, as it is translated in Peter, partakers of Christ's sufferings.

Paul expresses the full thought, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship [participation in] of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
This is the road to the resurrection and glory.

As Isaac Watts expressed it in a hymn very few of us have sung:

Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb,
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His Name?

Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?

Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord.
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.


Next post: The verb πάσχω pascho

Friday, January 20, 2017

Yet another dream


When Mary got home from work yesterday morning we talked a little about her night, then she asked me, “Are you OK?”

“Yes, but I’m upset with you,” I answered with a straight face.

Now I had her attention! “Why??”

“You woke me up at 5 AM.”

Then I shared my dream:

I was dreaming this morning, I can't recall the rest of the dream, but I was lying down on the bed, sleeping or trying to sleep. You walked up to the edge of the bed, grabbed my arm, pulled me up and said, "Time to get up, Jeff, it's 5 o'clock." This was so startling that I woke up. I looked at the clock and it was 4:55! Even more startling! I lay there for a while trying to figure out what this might mean. Nothing came to me so I prayed for the girls and their family.

“So yeah, you woke me up at 5 AM” I said with a smile.

She replied, “That's just so weird.” (Truth be told, she responds to most of my dreams that way ☺) “That’s almost eerie.”


I dream a lot. Or, if all of us dream, I remember quite a few of my dreams. Most times they are just fun to recall. But there have been other times when things have been revealed to me in them. I believe God has spoken to me a few times in my dreams. Since this one was particularly vivid, later on that day I contacted everyone, told them about the dream, and asked if any of them had anything I could be praying about. I haven’t heard back from anyone.

Sometimes dreams are just strange. This very morning I woke up from a dream that continued every time I fell back asleep. It was so strong it was there even as lay there half awake. I didn’t like the plot or its stubbornness, so I got up. ☺

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

In which I go to Pittsburgh

Last week we hopped in the car and headed north to meet up with the Meesters in Pittsburgh. They were going to an annual quiz meet and we were going to see them and watch some quizzing. This is our story.

Charlotte

Our plan was to drive to Stoystown, PA to visit the Flight 93 Memorial. The trip began well, we made good time to the interstate and then Boom! a traffic jam. The interstate was going nowhere so Mary tried an alternative route. Didn’t work. Took us two hours to go what would normally have taken 20 minutes. Great start.

West Virginia
After we escaped the congestion in Charlotte, we whisked across North Carolina and Virginia and entered purgatory, I mean West Virginia. We must’ve been in West Virginia for three days. I’ve driven across Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. West Virginia drives like the biggest state in the Union.
West Virginia is aptly called the mountaineer state – mountains everywhere you look. Sadly, in order to make all these roads, they blasted the face off of most of them.
We grew weary and night was falling so we stopped in Fairmont for the night. Our plan was to drive straight through but Fairmont made us glad we stopped - it gets dark in West Virginia, the roads are narrow, and they don’t believe in street lights or reflectors on the road!

The next day we hit the road again. As if we hadn’t spent enough time driving north through West Virginia, we now drove east across the state, on into Maryland. Finally, Hwy 219. We headed north and into Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania
Hello, what’s this? A Pennsylvania welcome!
We were now driving through rural Pennsylvania. Not Amish rural, but the rural that comes just before Amish country. The roads were getting smaller and smaller until there was no longer a shoulder, straight from road to field. This was German country. How German? We drove straight through Berlin!
Very cool covered bridge. We thought this was unique but we saw several more
Finally, in the absolute middle of nowhere we came to the Flight 93 Memorial.
Very somber and thought-provoking

Now it was time to wend our way from rural PA to Pittsburgh, so we made our way to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It was here we learned turnpike is Pennsylvania Dutch for stand and deliver – cost $7.00 to drive the 70 miles from Somerset to Pittsburgh!

Pittsburgh
At last, Pittsburgh. Our hotel was downtown. Here’s the view from our room.
That's the Allegheny River, just before it joins the Monongahela to form the Ohio River. That yellow bridge is Clemente Bridge. As in Roberto Clemente. And those lights are PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Driving home we crossed over Mazeroski Way. I’m not a big city guy, but that was cool.

The quiz meet was held at the Allegheny Center Alliance Church, less than half a mile away. This downtown church began in 1894 when Dr. A.B. Simpson asked E.D. Whiteside to oversee this Branch of the Christian & Missionary Alliance. Great history and, even though none of the buildings go back quite that far, they do have neat buildings. Since this was a quiz, we watched a lot of Bible quizzing and in between quizzes hung out with the Meesters. I actually coached the senior quizzers in a couple of quizzes, offering advice, encouragement, and motivation.
In this photo, I am offering a pen to the quizzer who got the most correct answers. Drew rose to the challenge and won the pen. Later, I offered that same pen to another quizzer if she got her name called. She did, so I took said pen from Drew and gave it to her!

Saturday we ate lunch with the Meesters. First, I wandered downtown with Anne, Aimee, and Claire in search of gluten free fair then we returned to the church building for lunch with the rest of the family. During lunch I had a great discussion with Drew, my 14 year old grandson, about a book he is reading:
Yes, that’s what he is reading! When I was 14 I was reading Andre Norton science fiction and Louis L’Amour westerns. I’m impressed. I asked him his impressions and he said Luther appears to be very opinionated, very forceful in his thinking and presentation. (Not offended, just kind of shocked.) I commented, “This is the way preaching is supposed to be; not namby-pamby like so much of today’s preaching.” He was impressed with Luther’s clear presentation of the Creed – “This is a very accurate presentation of the truth and this is what it means.” This excites my heart.

After lunch I went exploring with the senior quizzers. Allegheny Center has a very old and interesting facility. We took the elevator and explored every floor. All six of them. (We took no photos because we were so into the actual exploring.) On the top floor we tried earnestly to get on the roof, but for some reason they keep those doors locked. I tried every interesting door we saw. “Did you really just open that door??” Well, yes, how else would we know what’s behind it! Brought back memories of the days my children and I explored every nook and cranny of Winthrop. And you can ask them, we literally went everywhere.

All this before 2 pm! Dave and I headed back to the hotel to watch the Tar Heels beat Florida State in a very exciting game. Then we all headed to Buca di Beppo for the traditional Saturday-night-end-of-the-Pittsburgh-weekend meal.




Here I am, shocked at how high up we were - we were on the 8th floor. And yes, I took the stairs down twice and up once. Ryan and Chase went down with me the first time. Well, I walked, they ran!

Sunday morning we all drove home. And that was my first visit to Pittsburgh.