Friday, December 31

Only in the Yukon: What Forty Below Looks Like

There's a little ice fog, but not a whole lot. I'll have to try for a better ice fog photo some other time.

[Update: Doug shares a link that explains what ice fog is. ]



The Death of the Old Year

Full knee-deep lies the winter snow,
And the winter winds are wearily sighing:
Toll ye the church bell sad and slow,
And tread softly and speak low,
For the old year lies a-dying.
Old year you must not die;
You came to us so readily,
You lived with us so steadily,
Old year you shall not die.

He lieth still: he doth not move:
He will not see the dawn of day.
He hath no other life above.
He gave me a friend and a true truelove
And the New-year will take 'em away.
Old year you must not go;
So long you have been with us,
Such joy as you have seen with us,
Old year, you shall not go.

He froth'd his bumpers to the brim;
A jollier year we shall not see.
But tho' his eyes are waxing dim,
And tho' his foes speak ill of him,
He was a friend to me.
Old year, you shall not die;
We did so laugh and cry with you,
I've half a mind to die with you,
Old year, if you must die.

He was full of joke and jest,
But all his merry quips are o'er.
To see him die across the waste
His son and heir doth ride post-haste,
But he'll be dead before.
Every one for his own.
The night is starry and cold, my friend,
And the New-year blithe and bold, my friend,
Comes up to take his own.

How hard he breathes! over the snow
I heard just now the crowing cock.
The shadows flicker to and fro:
The cricket chirps: the light burns low:
'Tis nearly twelve o'clock.
Shake hands, before you die.
Old year, we'll dearly rue for you:
What is it we can do for you?
Speak out before you die.

His face is growing sharp and thin.
Alack! our friend is gone,
Close up his eyes: tie up his chin:
Step from the corpse, and let him in
That standeth there alone,
And waiteth at the door.
There's a new foot on the floor, my friend,
And a new face at the door, my friend,
A new face at the door.

---Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Why I Don't Make Resolutions

I'm a guardian of time-honored traditions. I much better at keeping things as they are than I am at changing them.

Right now, I'm just trying to keep the house warm. If you want to laughing at the the temperature here, feel free.

If I can bring myself to venture out again (I've already been down to the airport to send the two oldest off), I'll try to remember to bring the camera to take a picture of ice fog.

Thursday, December 30

Icicle Express

It's just a little chilly.

[Update: And for reasons yet to be determined, the car won't start. Several obvious possible causes have been eliminated.]

One Way to Help

Canadians can donate for South Asian disaster relief through the Salvation Army. Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or use the secure donation website. Designate your donation to "South Asia Disaster Fund."

Wednesday, December 29

2004's Last Christian Carnival

is up at MediaSoul. Head over to read.

The Stories in the Queries

There's a little story behind every search query, and sometimes I like to imagine what circumstances led up the searches that bring people to this site. There are the obvious and boring ones, like a student looking for a little help on a school assignment searching for "a summary of the poem the spell of the yukon", or "the real meaning of O Captain, My Captain."

But what about the one from this morning: "rebecca is dumb"? Children fighting I suppose, perhaps over some new game system they got for Christmas. Rebecca is probably the oldest one, and the one who gets in trouble the least often, mostly because she's older and able to make it look like every fight is her younger brother's fault.

Maybe that's what happened. This morning's fight wasn't really all his fault, but once Rebecca told her side of the story--not really lying outright, but choosing her words carefully and leaving some important things out--it was Rebecca who won control over the game system, and younger brother (His name is probably something historical or biblical, but fairly common, like Christopher or Thomas; and the family uses whole names, rather than nicknames.) was left to find his own entertainment. He chooses the computer, but he really doesn't have any idea what to do there, so he idly types what he's thinking--"rebecca is dumb"--into the search box and my site is second on the list it brings up.

Of course, there's nothing that interests him in the post here that he's linked to. It just mentions a "dumb" quiz or something similar, and he moves on to the next result.

What might be the background for the query "A.W. Pink revealed as open thiest"? A discussion (argument?) of open theism? The open theist (or the one flirting with open theism) is losing the argument due to all the holes in the system. (Even open theists admit that their system isn't fully developed, being so recent, and that they haven't had time to come up with answers to all the arguments against them yet.) In a last desperate attempt to shut up his obnoxious reformed brother-in-law, and knowing that his brother-in-law really admires Arthur Pink, the open theist says, "A.W. Pink, you know, became an open theist in his later years." It works to stop the discussion, sending his brother-in-law off to the computer to prove him wrong.

And he is wrong, or else my site, which never mentions A.W. Pink at all, but does use the term "open theist" and mention the color pink, wouldn't come up in the first page of results. But it's an allegation that's hard to disprove, since there's nothing at all that directly speaks to A. W. Pink and open-theism. Of course there wouldn't be--couldn't be--since Mr. Pink died in 1952, before the term "open-theism" came into existence. But by now the steam is gone from the discussion, and the subject is dropped, at least for a half a day.

Why would someone search for "world's largest" and go through 38 pages of results in order to get to my post on the World's Largest Weather Vane? What's the story behind "what to do if there is discord in the church"? I'm guessing I don't want to know the answer to that one. How about "february God"? There are other things I should be thinking about, so I'll leave you to make up your own stories for these queries.

Tuesday, December 28

State of Affairs

These are busy, fun, intense days here. Youngest daughter was booked to fly back to Calgary yesterday, but she changed her return ticked to Friday instead, so all the kids are still here. We have more company driving in from Haines Junction today to stay overnight, and I need to get ready for them.

Today is my oldest daughter's golden birthday. We'll be having the party tonight. She doesn't get a proper birthday party very often, since her day falls right between Christmas and New Year's eve when everyone's all partied out and trying to recover from all the holiday activities. We'll try to do it right today!

Blogging, then, will be light until they all leave on Friday. I'd become used to the quiet we had here when it was just the two of us--youngest son and me--and I find it difficult to form sentences with the whole crew swarming around. Or when there's a plumbing disaster looming. You don't want details on that one.

Monday, December 27

Finally Getting Around...

to posting the info for entering the end of the year edition of the Christian Carnival.
This coming Wednesday is the next Christian Carnival, and will be hosted at MediaSoul.  And since this is the end of the year edition of the Christian Carnival I thought I'd give you a few options to write about, and would prefer if you fit one of the categories below.  Even if you don't though, you'll still get posted. 
A) Most wonderful gifts (in light of Christmas)

B) From Passion to Action (for those of us who have to engage the culture for Christ)

C) Thoughts on the New Year or from this year

When you email me your submission please specify which letter you're posting about so I can organize the carnival easier.

If you have a blog, this will be a  great way to get read, and possibly pick up readers in the process or  highlight your favorite post from the past week.  To enter is simple. First, you post should be of a Christian nature,  but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) in  nature from a Christian point of view.  Secondly please send only one  post dated since the last Christian Carnival. Then, do the following:

email me at sharp att  with the subject line CHRISTIAN CARNIVAL.  That way I won't miss it. 
Provide the following:

Title of your Blog
URL of your Blog
Title of your post
URL linking to that post
Description of the post

Cut off date is December 28th at NOON PST.
Note the early deadline so you're not caught short!

Saturday, December 25

David Brainerd's Christmas


The Pets Have Christmas


Friday, December 24

From My Home...

There's a long day unfolding. It always works out that way.

I probably won't post here again until Sunday, so right now I'm going to wish all of you a joyous Christmas. Kiss any and all little ones for me. Pets, too.


As on a window late I cast mine eye,
I saw a vine drop grapes with J and C
Anneal’d on every bunch. One standing by
Ask’d what it meant. I (who am never loth
To spend my judgement) said, It seem’d to me
To be the bodie and the letters both
Of Joy and Charitie; Sir, you have not miss’d,
The man reply’d;  It figures JESUS CHRIST.

---George Herbert

It's Mine, and You Can't Have It!

You'll have to go get your own Naught or Nice Rating.


Has been nice most of the year (not just near Christmas)!
Makes others happy. Could share a little more, however.
Politeness is sometimes very good. Can be great listener.

Link from Ian. (Who would have guessed? His neatness needs improvement!)

Thursday, December 23

Make It a Mission

Yesterday, youngest daughter and I were picking up a few groceries while youngest son was at his drums lesson. We watched a young boy--I'd guess he was 7--shopping with his dad. They were doing their right before Christmas grocery shopping. They had a long list, and a cart with all sorts of things mounded up in it. It was a big chore, and the little boy was helping to retrieve this and that from the bottom shelves for his dad, and waiting patiently beside the cart while dad chatted with the various people he met.

While we were in produce, we happened to see him look up adoringly at his dad and say, "Dad, we always go on missions together, don't we?"

Cute kid. Wise dad.

The Holy Thing  

They all were looking for a king
To slay their foes and lift them high:
Thou cam'st, a little baby thing
That made a woman cry.

O Son of Man, to right my lot
Naught but Thy presence can avail;
Yet on the road Thy wheels are not,
Nor on the sea Thy sail!

My how or when Thou wilt not heed,
But come down Thine own secret stair,
That Thou mayst answer all my need-
Yea, every bygone prayer.

---George MacDonald

Pineapple Express

I almost hate to mention it, since I know that many of you are enduring nasty winter weather right now, but it was +10C when I woke up this morning. (That's 50F for those of you who are Celsius impaired. ) It might rain. But not to worry, it should be appropriately cold on Christmas Day, and that's what really counts, isn't it?

I've lots to do today--the two oldest kids arrive tomorrow morning, and I need to get their rooms ready for them. The colder weather should come just in time for them to enjoy it. They live in Vancouver, so they already get enough of that +10 and rainy stuff.

Wednesday, December 22

Christmas Christian Carnival

You'll find it here at Patriot Paradox.

In the Fullness of Time

This phrase is only used once in scripture in specific reference to the birth of Christ*, but chances are you've heard it quoted at least a couple of times in a Sunday school Christmas pageant. Here's the quote that relates Christ's birth to "the fullness of time":
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5, ESV)

"Fullness of time" has a certain poetic ring, doesn't it? What does it mean, exactly? Some versions translate that idiom as "when the appropriate time had come" (NET) or "when the right time came" (NLT) or something like that, and that's probably a good way to translate it; but like so many idioms, something of the full meaning can be lost in translation. The NET has a translational note on that phrase, and it says that the fullness of time is an "idiom for the totality of a period of time, with the implication of proper completion." So you can see that it carries with it the idea of the perfect ending for an entire era.

In Ephesians 1:9,10, Paul tells us that in Christ, God is "making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (ESV)".** Something is being summed up, completed, united, concluded in Christ. From Herman Ridderbos in Paul: An Outline of His Theology:
What is meant by this "fulness of the time" is not only the maturation of a specific matter in the great framework of redemptive history, but the fulfillment of the time in an absolute sense.The time of the world has come to a conclusion with Christ's advent. However much this fulfillment still bears a provisional character and the perfectum is followed yet again by a futurum, nevertheless the pleroma of the time or of the times is here spoken of as a matter that has already taken effect and thus in principle has been settled.***
Yes, it has Latin words, but you can still understand what he means, can't you? Everything changes with Christ. This is true both personally, in our own individual lives, and in a redemptive-historical sense. There's a whole new world--a whole new creation--that comes into existence in Christ, and all those who are united with Christ are contained within it. It's the dawning of a new day: not a day just like the one it follows, but a day that transforms everything.

Here are few more scriptural texts related to this idea of "the fullness of time". (All quotes ESV.)
  • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

  • Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)

  • ...who saved us and called us to a holy calling....which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel... (2 Timothy 1:9,10)

  • hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior... (Titus 1:2,3)

Christ's birth, death, and resurrection are the centerpoint of history. Or, to be even more correct, we might say that they are the turning point of history. Things changed fundamentally: one age ended and another began. The fullness of time had come, so Christ came to complete one era and usher in the new one.

*I think this is correct, but I'm more or less winging it here because of my lack of time, so if you know differently, please correct me.

**I've posted on this passage before.

***I have the book, but those of you who don't can read the whole section this quote comes from here.

A Quote on the Incarnation

The incarnation was a historical and unrepeatable event with permanent consequences. Reigning at God's right hand today is the man Christ Jesus, still human as well as divine, though now his humanity has been glorified. Having assumed our human nature, he has never discarded it, and he never will.

---John Stott, Authentic Christianity.

Tuesday, December 21

Carnival of the Reformation II

Yep, there's another one! This time the theme is Solus Christus, one of the Five Solas--the one which emphasises that we are saved on the grounds of Christ's work alone. Why don't you go read them, and while you're there, why don't you thank Jollyblogger for doing the work of organising and hosting this carnival? It's very appropriate that at Christmas the carnival focus on the work of Christ on our behalf, isn't it?

This Week's Christian Carnival

is at Patriot Paradox,

This is the Christmas Edition, so if you have a post that fits be sure to send it too, but also send your favorite post of the week.

To enter is simple. First, you post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) in nature from a Christian point of view. Secondly please send only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival. Then, do the following:

email me at

patriot att

Please put Christian Carnival Entry in the Subject

Provide the following:

Title of your Blog
URL of your Blog
Title of your post
URL linking to that post
Description of the post

Cutt off date is midnight Tuesday EST

(From Nick Queen at Patriot Paradox)

Monday, December 20

Goin' Jorin'

All decked out

and waiting.....waiting....waiting....


Longest Night

Tonight will be the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. The exact time of the winter solstice is 4:42 AM PST tomorrow morning.

Our sunrise tomorrow will be at 10:09 AM PST and sunset will be at 3:47 PM PST, giving us a whopping 5 hours and 38 minutes of daytime. If you want to know how long the nighttime is, you can do your own math!

If you punch in your own zip code, airport code, or city at the Weather Underground, you can find out your sunset and sunrise stats for the winter soltice. If you do that, why don't you make a note of them in the comments, giving us a general idea of your location, too?

And if you want to know why the longest day is always longer than the longest night, you can find out here.

Only in the Yukon: White Pass and Yukon Route Depot

8:30 AM, December 20




How about a series of short pieces looking at the meanings of some of the terms we might hear associated with Christ's birth, or with what happened when the second person of the Trinity came to earth as the Saviour? This week is busy, but I think I'm going to try to do that. Don't expect anything too deep nor organized!

The obvious place to start, I suppose, is with the word incarnation. Incarnation means to make flesh, and it's used to refer to God the Son taking on a human nature--or becoming a human being--while continuing to be God.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1,14)
Notice that the Word, which existed as God, became flesh, and yet remained the Word. There is a change, for the second person of the Trinity becomes something he once was not, but he still continues to be what he always was--the Word who is God.

Here are a few more important texts explaining the incarnation to us:
  • For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily... (Colossians 1:9). In context, this statement refers to the post-resurrection and ascended Christ, who is filling believers and who rules over them; yet Paul tells us that not only does he continue to be all that God is, but he also continues to have a human body. We know from other places in scripture that this resurrected body is a "spiritual body," but it is still a true body. The change that occurred at the incarnation is a permanent one; Christ became forever the God-man.

  • Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things... (Hebrews 2:14). The last part of Hebrews 2 is one of my favorite passages, so I've mentioned this particular verse several times here in the blog. What it tells us is that Christ became human in exactly the same way that we are human. Everything that makes us truly human is shared by Christ as the God-man. Of course, there is one important caveat to this this statement of similarity, for Hebrews 4 tells us that Christ was like us in every respect, except for sin. The human nature that he took upon himself, then, was unfallen human nature. (See Romans 8:3 as well.)

  • Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. (1 John 4:1-3). That Jesus was God "in the flesh" is one of the crucial doctrines: one that discerns between those who are of the Spirit of God and those who are false prophets. Those who deny that Jesus Christ is truly God who has become truly human are standing against Christ and in opposition to the truth of the Spirit of God.

The following texts are about Christ coming in the flesh, too. What do they tell you about the incarnation? Comments are encouraged.
  • 1 Timothy 3:16:
    Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

    He was manifested in the flesh,
    vindicated by the Spirit,
    seen by angels,
    proclaimed among the nations,
    believed on in the world,
    taken up in glory.

  • Romans 1:3,4:
    ...concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord...

  • Philippians 2:5-7:
    ...Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

  • Galatians 4:4:
    But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law...

All Scripture quoted from the English Standard Version.

Sunday, December 19

For the Fourth Sunday of Advent

O Come, All Ye Faithful
O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

True God of true God, Light from Light Eternal,
Lo, He shuns not the Virgin's womb;
Son of the Father, begotten, not created;

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest;

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.

---John F. Wade (Listen.)

The featured sermon for this Sunday if one from Charles Spurgeon. The text for Joy Born at Bethlemem is Luke 2:10-12:
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
From the sermon:
In our text we have before us the sermon of the first evangelist under the gospel dispensation. The preacher was an angel, and it was meet it should be so, for the grandest and last of all evangels will be proclaimed by an angel when he shall sound the trumpet of the resurrection, and the children of the regeneration shall rise into the fullness of their joy. The key-note of this angelic gospel is joy--"I bring unto you good tidings of great joy." Nature fears in the presence of God--the shepherds were sore afraid. The law itself served to deepen this natural feeling of dismay; seeing men were sinful, and the law came into the world to reveal sin, its tendency was to make men fear and tremble under any and every divine revelation. The Jews unanimously believed that if any man beheld supernatural appearances, he would be sure to die, so that what nature dictated, the law and the general beliefs of those under it also abetted. But the first word of the gospel ended all this, for the angelic evangelist said, "Fear not, behold I bring you good tidings." Henceforth, it is to be no dreadful thing for man to approach his Maker; redeemed man is not to fear when God unveils the splendor of his majesty, since he appears no more a judge upon his throne of terror, but a Father unbending in sacred familiarity before his own beloved children.

The joy which this first gospel preacher spoke of was no mean one, for he said, "I bring you good tidings"--that alone were joy: and not good tidings of joy only, but "good tidings of great joy." Every word is emphatic, as if to show that the gospel is above all things intended to promote, and will most abundantly create the greatest possible joy in the human heart wherever it is received. Man is like a harp unstrung, and the music of his soul's living strings is discordant, his whole nature wails with sorrow; but the son of David, that mighty harper, has come to restore the harmony of humanity, and where his gracious fingers move among the strings, the touch of the fingers of an incarnate God brings forth music sweet as that of the spheres, and melody rich as a seraph's canticle. Would God that all men felt that divine hand.

Read it all.

Saturday, December 18

Sora's Sonnet

Read this, you poetry people!

(Thanks to TulipGirl for bringing this one to my attention.)

Friday, December 17

Why Be A Superhero...

...when you can be a Vermeer Girl?

You have the Vermeer girl look. A Vermeer girl
appealed mostly to the old masters of the Dutch
school, who painted pictures of everyday life
as they knew it. With her fine, fair skin, she
suited a light, natural, dewy make-up. The
Vermeer Girl loved homely things, such as
homemade soaps and candles. The following
artists would have liked to paint you; Pieter
de Hooch and Jan Vermeer.

'Pretty As A Picture' - Which Artist Would Paint You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Via Samantha.

Thursday, December 16

A Hymn on the Nativity of My Savior

I sing the birth was born tonight,
The Author both of life and light;
The angels so did sound it,
And like the ravished shepherds said,
Who saw the light, and were afraid,
Yet searched, and true they found it.

The Son of God, the eternal King,
That did us all salvation bring,
And freed the soul from danger;
He whom the whole world could not take,
The Word, which heaven and earth did make,
Was now laid in a manger.

The Father's wisdom willed it so,
The Son's obedience knew no "No,"
Both wills were in one stature;
And as that wisdom had decreed,
The Word was now made Flesh indeed,
And took on Him our nature.

What comfort by Him do we win?
Who made Himself the Prince of sin,
To make us heirs of glory?
To see this Babe, all innocence,
A Martyr born in our defense,
Can man forget this story?

---Ben Jonson (1572-1637)

More on Taking Back Christmas

Violet of Promptings helps reclaim the holiday by posting a night not to be silent - 1, featuring new poetry from the Utmost Christian Writers poetry forum. The two poems featured in this first post in the series are from Darlene Moore Berg. (I love the line "a life takes flesh.")

Doug Votes for Change the Apostles Creed.

Doug at CoffeeSwirls concludes that we should either
remove ["he descended into hell"] from the creed or clarify it with other wording. If a church is to recite it as written, there must be clarification offered by the pastor responsible for the instruction of those God has placed under His care.
Read his argument.

I tend to agree with him. Shouldn't a creed be a clear statement that everyone who is within the pale ought to be able to assent to without much clarification?

Christian Carnival No. 48

The Parableman has posted what he calls the Geek Edition of the Christian Carnival. This means that it's all interesting reading even before you read any of the actual carnival entries. Thinking about how much work this must have been gives me a headache.

Wednesday, December 15


When thou turn’st away from ill,
Christ is this side of thy hill.
When thou turnest toward good,
Christ is walking in thy wood.
When thy heart says, ‘Father, pardon!’
Then the Lord is in thy garden.
When stern Duty wakes to watch,
Then His hand is on the latch.
But when Hope thy song doth rouse,
Then the Lord is in the house.
When to love is all thy wit,
Christ doth at thy table sit.
When God’s will is thy heart’s pole,
Then is Christ thy very soul.

---George MacDonald

Canons of the Council of Orange, Conclusion

CONCLUSION. And thus according to the passages of holy scripture quoted above or the interpretations of the ancient Fathers we must, under the blessing of God, preach and believe as follows. The sin of the first man has so impaired and weakened free will that no one thereafter can either love God as he ought or believe in God or do good for God's sake, unless the grace of divine mercy has preceded him. We therefore believe that the glorious faith which was given to Abel the righteous, and Noah, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and to all the saints of old, and which the Apostle Paul commends in extolling them (Heb. 11), was not given through natural goodness as it was before to Adam, but was bestowed by the grace of God. And we know and also believe that even after the coming of our Lord this grace is not to be found in the free will of all who desire to be baptized, but is bestowed by the kindness of Christ, as has already been frequently stated and as the Apostle Paul declares, "For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake" (Phil. 1:29). And again, "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). And again, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and it is not your own doing, it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). And as the Apostle says of himself, "I have obtained mercy to be faithful" (1 Cor. 7:25, cf. 1 Tim. 1:13). He did not say, "because I was faithful," but "to be faithful." And again, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7). And again, "Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights" (Jas. 1:17). And again, "No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven" (John 3:27). There are innumerable passages of holy scripture which can be quoted to prove the case for grace, but they have been omitted for the sake of brevity, because further examples will not really be of use where few are deemed sufficient.

According to the catholic faith we also believe that after grace has been received through baptism, all baptized persons have the ability and responsibility, if they desire to labor faithfully, to perform with the aid and cooperation of Christ what is of essential importance in regard to the salvation of their soul. We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema. We also believe and confess to our benefit that in every good work it is not we who take the initiative and are then assisted through the mercy of God, but God himself first inspires in us both faith in him and love for him without any previous good works of our own that deserve reward, so that we may both faithfully seek the sacrament of baptism, and after baptism be able by his help to do what is pleasing to him. We must therefore most evidently believe that the praiseworthy faith of the thief whom the Lord called to his home in paradise, and of Cornelius the centurion, to whom the angel of the Lord was sent, and of Zacchaeus, who was worthy to receive the Lord himself, was not a natural endowment but a gift of God's kindness.

Monday, December 13

It's Our Party!

It always amuses me a bit that at the same time that certain political organizations try to remove Christian symbols from the upcoming holiday because they understand exactly what they represent, and pagans--and those of other religions, too--have serious discussions of whether it's right for them to celebrate Christmas since it's a celebration of the birth of the Christian God (You can google it if you need proof!), there are Christians who refuse to celebrate Christmas because they believe it has pagan origins. Pagan origins or not, it is now, at it's core, a celebration of the incarnation of Christ. There may be all kinds of meaningless trappings obscuring it's true significance, but the heart of the commemoration is still there, recognised even by those who stand in opposition to it.

God's people have every reason to have a holiday to remember the incarnation, for all of our hope depends on what was accomplished in it. Christ's death and resurrection are the centerpiece of what was done for us, but the death and resurrection worked to our benefit only because the God that died and was raised for us came to be one of us.

We have something the fallen angels don't have--God's redemptive focus; and the solution he purposed out of his desire to save us requires that Christ be human just as we are.
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he likewise shared in their humanity, so that through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil), and set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14 NET)
We have been set free from the fear of death because the one who died for us was also truly one of us--flesh and blood in the same way that we are flesh and blood. He voluntarily and obediently became, for a little while, lower than the angels in order to save us.

If being released from the hold death has on us because God become one of us isn't cause for festivity, I don't know what is! It's our party, our good news. Angels are only onlookers to the good thing we've experienced. It's our party, one those who belong to Christ can celebrate in a way no other creatures can. It's a birthday party and a coronation party for the one who gave up what he had to come down to die for us, for as a result of his willingness to empty himself and become one of us

God exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee will bow
—in heaven and on earth and under the earth—
and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord
to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:9-11)

We ought to celebrate more than all of the rest--loudly, vigourously, joyfully--but at the heart of our celebration should be thankfulness for the One who came, and acknowledgment that he is Lord of all, to the glory of God the Father.

Fa La La....

These have been really busy days. This weekend we got our tree up and decorated, and yesterday youngest son spent quite a bit of time decorating the mantle, getting it just so. He's the only one in the family with refined taste in holiday decorating, and it's best to leave him alone in his decorating projects, because he just ends up getting frustrated that no one else takes the sort of care he does.

Tonight youngest daughter flies in from Calgary. She's very excited to be coming home, and we're very excited to have her come.

I'm working on a little piece that I hope to post tomorrow so I'll have something to enter in the Christian Carnival. I've had the title down for a couple of days and nothing more. So we'll see if I finish it in time or not! There are lots of new comments I'd like to respond to, also, but now I need to go get the upstairs bathroom cleaned and some sheets changed.

And supper! I can't forget supper.

Two Carnivals

This week's Christian Carnival will be at Parableman:
In case you're new to the Christian Carnival, it's a weekly collection of blog posts from Christian blogs to give people a way to get their best post read by a wider audience among those who read Christian blogs. So if you have a blog, this will be a great way to highlight your favorite post from the past week and, possibly even, to pick up more permanent readers.

To enter is simple. First, your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) in nature from a Christian point of view. Second, please send only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival (i.e. starting with posts from this past Wednesday). Then, do the following:

Email parableman ATT gmail DOTT com. Please put "Christian Carnival" in the Subject. Provide the following:

Title of your Blog
URL of your Blog
Title of the post you're submitting
URL linking to the post you're submitting
Trackback URL of the post (if you want a trackback)
Short description of the post

The submission deadline is Tuesday, December 14, 9pm EST.
So get your submissions in.

The deadline for the 2nd Carnival of the Reformation is this Saturday, December 18. Here's the scoop from from the host and originator of this Carnival--Jollyblogger.
1. Submit a post that is either a defense, explanation, or application of the Reformed doctrine of Solus Christus. Each post should be in accordance with the statements on the person and work of Christ that are found in the major reformed confessions. I would also offer the following statement from the Cambridge Declaration as a guide for submissions.

We reaffirm that our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.

We deny that the gospel is preached if Christ's substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.

Note the emphasis on the substitutionary nature of the work of Christ. Entries can be theological essays, exegesis of particular passages of Scripture, or stories and testimonies about Christ's impact on one's life. I would only ask that all submissions focus on the mediatorial work of Christ, rather than moralistic tales or merely cute stories. A cute story is fine, but it should somehow illustrate the mediatorial work of Christ.

2. All entries must be received by Saturday, December 18 at 6:00pm. E-mail all entries to:

3. Provide the following info:

Name of Your Blog
URL of Your Blog
Title of Post
URL of Post
Brief Description of Post

4. I plan on posting the Carnival sometime on Monday, December 20th. I'll look forward to hearing and reading your submissions.
You'll find more info here.

Sunday, December 12

For the Third Sunday of Advent

This is another of the really old carols (this one 14th century) translated into English for us by John Neale.
Good Christian Men Rejoice
Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul, and voice;
Give ye heed to what we say:
News! News! Jesus Christ is born today;
Ox and ass before Him bow;
And He is in the manger now.
Christ is born today!
Christ is born today!

Good Christian men, rejoice,
With heart and soul and voice;
Now ye hear of endless bliss:
Joy! Joy! Jesus Christ was born for this!
He has opened the heavenly door,
And man is blest forevermore.
Christ was born for this!
Christ was born for this!

Good Christian men, rejoice,
With heart and soul and voice;
Now ye need not fear the grave:
Peace! Peace! Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all,
To gain His everlasting hall.
Christ was born to save!
Christ was born to save!
---Heinrich Suso
Listen (I wanted something "old" sounding, so it's a harpsichord version.)

Today's featured sermon was preached by John Piper on December 15, 1985, and is titled Why We Need a Savior. The text for this sermon is Ephesians 2:1-3:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins--in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience--among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (ESV)
Piper says there are three reasons why we needed a Savior laid out for us in these three verses.
We need a Savior according to verse 1 because we are dead in sin. We need a Savior according to verse 2 because we are captive to an alien power. And we need a Savior according to verse 3 because we are children of wrath.

If it helps your memory, we could say there are three "S's": we were sick unto death with sin; we were sabotaged by Satan; and we were sentenced to hell. Therefore we were in desperate need of a great Savior.
He goes on to explain exactly what each of these things mean for us, and how Christ is the one who deliver us from all these things.
Turn to him and be saved--from the sickness of sin, the captivity of Satan and the sentence of hell. He alone is the way the truth and the life. There is no other name given among men by which you can be saved.
Read the whole sermon here.

Saturday, December 11

More on The Apostles' Creed and that Iffy Phrase

[If you haven't read these two post and the comments, you may want to do that before you read this one.]

I was just looking up something in Grudem's Systematic Theology and stumbled on a whole section on that little phrase, "he descended into hell" from the Apostles' Creed. Grudem says that the Apostles' Creed was not like the other creeds, which were written and approved by a particular church council; but rather, this one was developed over time. The first evidence of this phrase was A.D. 390 in one of Rufinus's versions of the Creed. Rufinus, Grudem writes:
...did not think that it meant that Christ descended into hell, but understood the phrase simply to mean that Christ was "buried." In other words, he took it to mean that Christ "descended into the grave."

There is some evidence that as the phrase began to be used, it was used in versions of the Creed that didn't have the phrase "and buried". If this is the case, then it probably was taken to mean the same things as "was buried"--that Christ was in the grave. However, once the two phrases began appearing together, it started to take on a meaning different than "was buried," and explanations for what "he descended into hell" meant began to appear.

Grudem has several pages examining the various explanations for the phrase that have been given throughout history, and then concludes that it might be better not to include it in the Creed:
My own judgment is that there would be all gain and no loss if it were dropped from the Creed once for all.

I think Doug might vote for dropping it, too.

What say ye all? Drop it or not?

For the Lego Lovers

We've snapped together some nice things here in this house, but never anything like this. Link stolen from Ian.

[Update: The same guy made this Lego Nativity mosaic.]

Friday, December 10


WILT thou forgive that sinn, where I begunn,
Which is my sinn, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive those sinns through which I runn
And doe run still, though still I doe deplore?
When thou has done, thou hast not done,
For, I have more.
Wilt thou forgive that sinn, by which I'have wonne
Others to sinn, and made my sinn their dore?
Wilt thou forgive that sinn which I did shunne
A yeare or twoe, but wallowed in a score?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.
I have a sinn of feare that when I have spunn
My last thred, I shall perish on the shore;
Sweare by thy self that at my Death, thy Sonne
Shall shine as he shines nowe, & heretofore;
And having done that, thou hast done,
I feare noe more.

---John Donne

Thursday, December 9

Only in the Yukon: Old Log Church

This church is one block from mainstreet here in Whitehorse. You'll find more information about it here. Here is a 360 degree panorama of the church. (If you keep watching till near the end, you will also see the log skyscraper.)



Canons of the Council of Orange, Part 5

CANON 20. That a man can do no good without God. God does much that is good in a man that the man does not do; but a man does nothing good for which God is not responsible, so as to let him do it.

CANON 21. Concerning nature and grace. As the Apostle most truly says to those who would be justified by the law and have fallen from grace, "If justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose" (Gal. 2:21), so it is most truly declared to those who imagine that grace, which faith in Christ advocates and lays hold of, is nature: "If justification were through nature, then Christ died to no purpose." Now there was indeed the law, but it did not justify, and there was indeed nature, but it did not justify. Not in vain did Christ therefore die, so that the law might be fulfilled by him who said, "I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them" (Matt. 5:17), and that the nature which had been destroyed by Adam might be restored by him who said that he had come "to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10).

CANON 22. Concerning those things that belong to man. No man has anything of his own but untruth and sin. But if a man has any truth or righteousness, it from that fountain for which we must thirst in this desert, so that we may be refreshed from it as by drops of water and not faint on the way.

CANON 23. Concerning the will of God and of man. Men do their own will and not the will of God when they do what displeases him; but when they follow their own will and comply with the will of God, however willingly they do so, yet it is his will by which what they will is both prepared and instructed.

CANON 24. Concerning the branches of the vine. The branches on the vine do not give life to the vine, but receive life from it; thus the vine is related to its branches in such a way that it supplies them with what they need to live, and does not take this from them. Thus it is to the advantage of the disciples, not Christ, both to have Christ abiding in them and to abide in Christ. For if the vine is cut down another can shoot up from the live root; but one who is cut off from the vine cannot live without the root (John 15:5ff).

CANON 25. Concerning the love with which we love God. It is wholly a gift of God to love God. He who loves, even though he is not loved, allowed himself to be loved. We are loved, even when we displease him, so that we might have means to please him. For the Spirit, whom we love with the Father and the Son, has poured into our hearts the love of the Father and the Son (Rom. 5:5).

A Little Linking

If you haven't checked out Beyond the Rim's study series on J. I. Packer's book Knowing God, you'll want to do that.

He Lives has an informative article on the destruction of Jerusalem and what happend afterward.

Doug at CoffeeSwirls has a couple of posts on what it means to be made in the image and likeness of God.

Wednesday, December 8

This Week's Christian Carnival

is up at Hop on over and see what's there.

Absence of Proofreading

In case you've noticed, there hasn't been much proofreading or editing around here in the past few days, so I fixed some things this morning. As it get busier over Christmas, I will probably be doing less proofreading. It will drive me nuts. If it drives you nuts, you can always point the mistakes out to me so I can fix them.

There are good comments that I need to respond to, but that'll have to come later.


ALL after pleasures as I rid one day,
My horse and I, both tir’d, bodie and minde,
With full crie of affections, quite astray;
I took up in the next inne I could finde.

There when I came, whom found I but my deare,
My dearest Lord, expecting till the grief
Of pleasures brought me to him, readie there
To be all passengers most sweet relief?

O Thou, whose glorious, yet contracted light,
Wrapt in night's mantle, stole into a manger;
Since my dark soul and brutish is thy right,
To Man of all beasts be not thou a stranger:

Furnish and deck my soul, that thou mayst have
A better lodging, than a rack, or grave.

THE shepherds sing; and shall I silent be?
My God, no hymne for thee?
My soul’s a shepherd too: a flock it feeds
Of thoughts, and words, and deeds.
The pasture is thy word; the streams, thy grace
Enriching all the place.
Shepherd and flock shall sing, and all my powers
Out-sing the day-light houres.
Then we will chide the sunne for letting night
Take up his place and right:

We sing one common Lord; wherefore he should
Himself the candle hold.

I will go searching, till I finde a sunne
Shall stay, till we have done;
A willing shiner, that shall shine as gladly,
As frost-nipt sunnes look sadly.
Then we will sing, and shine all our own day,
And one another pay:
His beams shall cheer my breast, and both so twine,
Till ev’n his beams sing, and my musick shine.

---George Herbert

Tuesday, December 7

Vexing Vocabulary

Are there certain words or phrases that annoy you? Do you have any terminological pet peeves? Are there words or phrases that irritate you when they are used in specific contexts? You may know exactly why they annoy you, and then again, you may not. You just know that whenever you hear the word or words you feel a flicker of irritation.

Here's a partial list of words and phrases that irk me. Feel free to use the comments to add those that you find irritating, too.
  • Government schools. I dislike phrases that are coined to make a particular political statement. It doesn't matter much whether I agree with the political statement behind the term or not, I just don't like it when a term is used as a veiled insult or a concealed argument. They are "public" schools; that's what they've always been called. You can make your point about them without changing the name to something that suits your cause better. Of course, the term really only works to make its point in certain circles where the term "government" automatically equals "bad". Besides, it's a buzz phrase and I'm not fond of buzz phrases.

  • Spendy as in "expensive." I don't hear it very often, but when I do, I want to throw something. I have no good defense for my irritation with this word. I just don't like it.

  • Genuine free will. So who determines what's "genuine" free will and what's just fake free will masquerading as genuine free will? It's a meaningless term as it's most often used. All sorts of things can be declared incompatible with "genuine free will" without any real argument and without defining what circumstances must exist for free will to be "genuine". And there's a buzz phrase alert out on this one, too.
There are more, but those are enough for now. What are your vocabulary peeves?


When a thing has been said and well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it.
---Anatole France, French novelist (1844 - 1924)

A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.
---Dorothy L. Sayers, Lord Peter Wimsey in "Gaudy Night". English mystery author (1893 - 1957)

I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.
---George Bernard Shaw, Irish dramatist & socialist (1856 - 1950)

Misquotations are the only quotations that are never misquoted.
--Hesketh Pearson

Collected from The Quotations Page.

How to Enter the Christian Carnival this Week

Here's the information:
This week's Christian Carnival is at The God Blog.

Because I was slow getting started, I'll accept entries to the Carnival until Noon Eastern time/9 am Pacific tomorrow.

To enter is simple. First, your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) in nature from a Christian point of view. Secondly please send only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival. Then, do the following:

twschuett- at-peoplepc-dot-com
Please put Christian Carnival in the Subject

Provide the following:

Title of your Blog
URL of your Blog
Title of your post
URL linking to that post

Description of the post
Notice that the deadline has been moved back to Wednesday morning, so you don't have any excuses for not entering something.

Monday, December 6

Definite Atonement and the Open Invitation of the Gospel

One objection some people have to the doctrine of definite atonement (a.k.a. limited atonement or particular redemption) is that they don't see how there can be a genuine free offer of the gospel if there is particularity in the atonement. The idea that the two things are incompatible comes, in part, from considering the atonement to be simply a commercial kind of transaction, the same sort of transaction I make when I go to the grocery store to buy groceries. If I buy 3 boxes of Cheerios, then I pay 3 times the price of one box. If I pay for my order, and then decide at the last minute that I need another box of Cheerios (my kids like them, okay?), I can't just slide that extra box by the cashier without paying more for it.

Those who raise this objection seem to consider the purchase made in the atonement to be much like my Cheerios purchase. The atonement is thought of as a certain quantity of atonement that has paid for a certain number of people, and if anyone were to be added to the number of those redeemed, then more atonement would have to be paid. Therefore, a genuine offer of forgiveness on condition of repentence cannot be made to those who are not among "the certain certified sinners"* for whom Christ died.

Charles Hodge answers this objection in his classic discussion of the extent of the atonement, For Whom Did Christ Die?, by reminding us that this is not payment that is "so much for so much", but payment by sacrifice:
The Scriptures teach that Christ saves us as a priest, by offering Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. But a sacrifice was not a payment of a debt, the payment of so much for so much. A single victim was sometimes a sacrifice for one individual; sometimes for the whole people. On the great day of atonement the scape-goat bore the sins of the people, whether they were more or less numerous. It had no reference at all to the number of persons for whom atonement was to be made. So Christ bore the sins of his people; whether they were to be a few hundreds, or countless millions, or the whole human family, makes no difference as to the nature of his work, or as to the value of his satisfaction. What was absolutely necessary for one, was abundantly sufficient for all.
In other words, it's not really the number of people that counts, but the relationship of those people to Christ. Christ represented the people or his brethren in the propitatory sacrifice he made before God (see Hebrew 2:17). The sacrifice made would serve as propitiation for all of the people, no matter how many or few they were, but would not be propitiation for anyone outside of that represented group.

If you need to think of it as a commercial transaction, then think of it as something like a buying a lifetime family pass to the zoo. The pass will admit anyone in the family. If a family has 2 children, the pass will work for the parents and the children of that family. A family of 15 can also enter the zoo on the same sort of family pass. They don't pay more because they are larger. If a family who starts out with 2 children were to adopt 7 more, they wouldn't have to purchase more passes. This pass, however, won't work for the next door neighbour's child, because neighbour children are not covered by that one family pass. The pass works for all those of a certain relationship, not for a certain maximum number.

The invitation of the gospel is an invitation to be adopted into the family--to become part of the group that holds the pass. This group is open to absolutely anyone who responds in faith to the invitation of the gospel. And anyone who believes--who is adopted into that family group--has already been atoned for when Christ stood before God and represented his brethren.

The pass doesn't apply to those who never believe, who are not part of Christ's brethren, and who remain always outside of this represented group. This absence of a pass for those who are never united to Christ is not because the one pass that exists would not work for them if they were to become one of the brothers or sisters of Christ, but because they remain outside the particular group (Christ's brethren) for whom the pass was purchased.

This is what is meant by the phrase "sufficient for all, efficient for the elect". The one sacrifice is sufficient for any number of people--Spurgeon says even "ten worlds"--and would work for ten worlds worth of people if that many were to be united with Christ. It is, however, efficient only for those who are actually united with Christ. The call of the gospel is simply a call to be united with Christ through faith, and anyone who answers that call has been atoned for by the one representative sacrifice of Christ.

By the way, the belief that a definite atonement and a free offer of the gospel are incompatible is not exclusive to those who don't adhere to the doctrine of definite atonement. There are also a few who affirm definite atonement; and then, based on how they percieve definite atonement, conclude that there is no free offer of the gospel. In both cases, it seems that the root of the objection is the idea that the atonement is the payment of "so much for so much".

*The phrase "certain certified sinners" is one that I've heard bandied about by those who oppose the doctrine of definite atonement. I'm not sure anyone arguing for definite atonement has ever actually used that phrase. Perhaps they have; I just haven't read or heard it.

[I already linked to Jollyblogger's article on limited atonement. Adrian Warnock has one as well.]

[Update: Tim illustrates particular redemption from another angle.]

[Update 2: Also dealing with this specific objection, but in a different way, is Crusty Curmudgeon.]

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Sunday, December 5

For the Second Sunday of Advent

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai's height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.

O come, Thou Root of Jesse's tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

---Translated from the Latin by John M. Neal.

The sermon is one of Octavious Winslow's, from a series on the names of Christ. This one is titled Christ - Emmanuel, or God with Us. Winslow points out that this name affirms Christ's diety:
The title of our Lord under consideration distinctly affirms His Deity- "GOD with us." The proof we advance confirmatory of this doctrine must, in our limited space, be but a summary. The title itself would seem to carry to every ingenuous and earnest mind desiring to know what is truth touching this doctrine, sufficient evidence of its veracity. The presence of God with man has, in all dispensations of the Church, been an acknowledged fact. The Jews, as God's peculiar people, had the more immediate token of His presence by an appearance of glory enshrouding with its divine effulgence the holy tabernacle. This they termed the Shechinah, or, the Divine Presence. God was with them in that "cloud by day and pillar of fire by night." But this symbolic and extraordinary manifestation of the Divine presence was to cease with the first temple. A new and more spiritual dispensation was to supersede the old, and another and more wonderful temple was to enshrine the Deity! God would still be with His people and dwell amid His Church, but it would be "GOD manifest in the flesh," and this is the name by which He should be known- "EMMANUEL, GOD with us."
He makes several points about the ways Christ is "God is with us":
  • Emmanuel is GOD WITH US REVEALED.
  • Emmanuel is GOD WITH US SAVINGLY.
He ends with this charge to his listeners and readers:
Live in a realizing sense of the Lord's presence. Do not be satisfied with a religion of which this is not an essential element. Seek to live in this atmosphere, and in no other. Go nowhere, and indulge in no recreation from which your Lord will be absent. O be jealous of His presence! Let not worldliness, or levity, or coldness thrust Him from your arms. And should you walk in darkness, or wade through affliction, or battle with Satan, unconscious of the sustaining, cheering presence of Emmanuel, yet fear not. He is nearer to you than you imagine. Unseen, unheard, and unfelt, Christ is still at your side, "A very present help in time of need." He knows your sorrow, sees your difficulty, is acquainted with all your mental despondency and spiritual distress, and presently your tear-dimmed, cloud-veiled eye, shall be open, and you shall see Emmanuel at your side, in all the benignity of His love, and in all the might of His power. Soon we shall realize this presence in glory, unshaded by a cloud, unmingled with a tear. No more darkness, no more grief- no more sin, and no more separation- "Forever with the Lord." Walk in the sunshine of this blessed hope, and you shall walk in the light of life. Your present light affliction is not worthy to be compared with the glory so soon to be revealed. O how we shall marvel, when we plunge into this sea of love and glory, that we ever allowed present trials and disappointments and persecutions to affect us as they did! One breath of heaven, one refrain of its song, one sight of our glorified Emmanuel will obliterate all the sad memories of the past, and light up the endless joys and splendors of the future.

Saturday, December 4


I think it's fair to say that the person who made this quiz doesn't really understand the issues all that well.

You scored as Catholic.

Welcome to the One, Holy, CATHOLIC, and Apostolic Church!
You my Friend are a Catholic.
You have a strong sense of something outside of yourself
and feel drawn to answer profound questions to satisfy your desires.
You recognize that truth isn't self-centered or about inventing something
new, but rather following the road map of your heart to a bigger picture.
You are probably baptized.













created with

Hat tip: Ian's Messy Desk

G.K.C. on G.B.S.'s Remark about C.D.

"If a man called Christmas Day a mere hypocritical excuse for drunkeness and gluttony, that would be false, but it would have a fact hidden in it somewhere. But when Bernard Shaw says that Christmas Day is only a conspiracy kept up by Poulterers and wine merchants from strictly business motives, then he says something which is not so much false as startling and arrestingly foolish. He might as well say that the two sexes were invented by jewellers who wanted to sell wedding rings."

---G. K. Chesterton from George Bernard Shaw, Ch. 6

Friday, December 3


Rosettes are one of those delectable Scandanavian deep fat fried treats, good enough, taken together with lefse, to make up for that other Norwegian delicacy--lutefisk. I suppose you could call them a kind of cookie, but they're not quite cookies. I remember some of my friend's mothers making them for Christmas when I was growing up in Minnesota and I loved them. I looked forward to Christmas just so I could have some fattimann and rosettes.

I no longer have friends whose mothers make them, so I have to make them myself. I picked up a rosette iron when I was down in Petersburg, AK--or Little Norway--and I've been making them for Christmas ever since.

Yesterday I made my yearly batch of rosettes, and here's how I did it.
  • Whisk 3 eggs, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 cup whole milk (Don't substitute skim or 2%!) in a small but deep bowl.

  • Add 1 1/2 cups sifted (or at least fluffed up) flour. Mix until the lumps are gone.

  • Add 2 tablespoons melted butter and mix that in well.

  • Refrigerate the batter for 30 minutes.

  • Begin heating oil to 350 F (180 C) in pan or deep fat fryer. This year I used a deep fat fryer, but I've used just a large saucepan and candy thermometer, too, and that's not much more difficult.

  • Line a cookie sheet with a couple of layer of paper towel or brown paper and set it beside the fryer or sauce pan to use for draining the rosettes.

  • When the chilling time is up, remove the batter and heat the rosette iron (see photo of mine) in the oil for a minute. Remove and allow the excess oil to drip back into the heated oil.

  • Dip the iron into the batter just far enough for the batter to reach the top of the iron, but not go over it.

  • Carefully transfer the iron from the batter to the hot oil. Fry the rosette in the oil just until the rosette is firm and lightly brown, about 1 minute.

  • Remove iron from oil and gently shake rosette off the iron onto the paper towel. If the rosette sticks to the iron, take a fork and gently remove it. This recipe makes about 3 dozen rosettes.

  • Sprinkle with icing sugar (confectioner's) and serve.

  • These freeze well. If you freeze them, then don't sprinkle the sugar over them. Just place them in an airtight plastic freezer container with paper towel between the layers. Sprinkle the sugar on them when you remove them from the freezer. They will thaw in just a few minutes.
These are really so easy to do. They look like you fussed, but you haven't. My iron does two at a time (see the photo), but I unscrew the iron form from one side and only fry one rosette at a time. That's what I can handle easily.

Canons of the Council of Orange, Part 4

Canons 15-20. Comments?

CANON 15. Adam was changed, but for the worse, through his own iniquity from what God made him. Through the grace of God the believer is changed, but for the better, from what his iniquity has done for him. The one, therefore, was the change brought about by the first sinner; the other, according to the Psalmist, is the change of the right hand of the Most High (Ps. 77:10).

CANON 16. No man shall be honored by his seeming attainment,as though it were not a gift, or suppose that he has received it because a missive from without stated it in writing or in speech. For the Apostle speaks thus, "For if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose" (Gal. 2:21); and "When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men" (Eph. 4:8, quoting Ps. 68:18). It is from this source that any man has what he does; but whoever denies that he has it from this source either does not truly have it, or else "even what he has will be taken away" (Matt. 25:29).

CANON 17. Concerning Christian courage. The courage of the Gentiles is produced by simple greed, but the courage of Christians by the love of God which "has been poured into our hearts" not by freedom of will from our own side but "through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us" (Rom. 5:5).

CANON 18. That grace is not preceded by merit. Recompense is due to good works if they are performed; but grace, to which we have no claim, precedes them, to enable them to be done.

CANON 19. That a man can be saved only when God shows mercy. Human nature, even though it remained in that sound state in which it was created, could be no means save itself, without the assistance of the Creator; hence since man cannot safe-guard his salvation without the grace of God, which is a gift, how will he be able to restore what he has lost without the grace of God?

CANON 20. That a man can do no good without God. God does much that is good in a man that the man does not do; but a man does nothing good for which God is not responsible, so as to let him do it.

Thursday, December 2

When Everything Changes

It's the start of the resolution of everything, the turning point of history. Up until this time the story has only been of the downward spiral, of problems that breed more problems, and the hopelessness of the predicaments, with only promises that things will turn round. Things look bleak, but the faithful hold on for the promised overthrow of evil.

Then it begins--the change, the taking back of all that is wrong. You might not notice it at first, for it starts small, really small:
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman... (Galatians 4:4)
It's just a baby. Not any baby, but God's own Son, sent as the centerpiece of God's wise plan to tie up all the loose ends in the story.

Slowly and surely this baby grows to be a man, always staying obedient to the plan, a plan that will cost him everything. It certainly looks like all hope is lost when he hangs dying on the cross in plain view of everyone. The forces of evil, I'm sure, watch, rejoicing. But it's not defeat; it's the single stroke of victory. God is bringing to fruition his "plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth (Ephesians 1:10.)"

It's a coup--the reconciliation of it all in one act.
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:19:20)
It's the day when everything changes. The day the music springs to life.

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.

Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

---Charles Wesley

(All scripture quoted from the ESV.)

Wednesday, December 1

Christian Carnival 46

It here at A Physicist's Perspective. It looks like there's some good reading there. A couple of the post I've already linked in the post below this one.

Round the Sphere Again

This is one of the most interesting things I've seen in a while. Check it out and see if you don't think so, too. Fallible and her lovely husband Marginal (a new blog), are both writing essays with the same quote as a take off point. Here's how Fallible describes what they're doing:
Our idea is to start our respective entries with the same quote, then to be surprised and delighted by the vast discrepancies in the way our minds work.

We're not going to talk about the quote before we write, and we'll only see each other's entries after they're written.

It should be a fun look at how even two people who think alike on almost nothing can enjoy a happy long-term marriage.
Here's the chosen quote for their first try at this:
"Sometimes when you think you are done, it is just the edge of beginning."
Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones
Here's Fallible's essay and here's Marginal's.

Tim at has started a series on translating the Bible and translations of the Bible. Here's Part 1 and Part 2.

Jollyblogger, who is working his way through the five point of Calvinism, has posted on limited atonement. I agree with his take on it, and was pleased to see that he quoted extensively from my favorite defense of the doctrine, the one from Charles Hodge. I have to admit that one of the reasons that I haven't posted in this blog much on limited atonement (or in my preferred terminology--definite atonement) is that when I describe how I hold the doctrine, there are those who will say that that's not really limited atonement since it isn't "Christ died for the elect, full stop, end of story", and I haven't really felt like getting into it again in order to defend my viewpoint as the historical view of definite atonement. So it's nice to read someone else laying out a viewpoint similar to mine.

But enough of what I think. Go see what you think.

Only in the Yukon: World's Largest Weather Vane

I drive by this DC-3 on a pole at the entry to the Whitehorse Airport daily. Yes, it does turn in the wind--slowly, but surely.

I love planes. Some people, like my sons, are interested in planes at least partly because they understand something about the physics of flight. For me, it's simply their beauty that draws, and the DC-3 is one of the more beautiful ones.

Top 10 Words of 2004

...according to searches of Merriam-Webster Web sites. Wouldn't you know what number one would be?
  1. blog
  2. incumbent
  3. electoral
  4. insurgent
  5. hurricane
  6. cicada
  7. peloton
  8. partisan
  9. sovereignty
  10. defenestration
Read more from CNN.