Friday, September 30

Round the Sphere Again

  • This week's Christian Carnival is at In the Spirit of Grace.

  • Adrian Warnock has awarded another Warnie. This time the recipient is a blog called Girl Talk. It's the blog of Carolyn Mahaney and her three daughters who "who love the gospel and aspire to biblical womanhood." Go on over and check things out.

  • Agonizomai has a couple of posts discussing the fundamentals. The first post explains his definition of a fundamental: The Fundamentals.

    The second post explains why the proper understanding of God's nature is a fundamental: The Fundamentals: The Meaning of "God".

  • Rebecca Merrill Groothius reflects on a statement from Donald Miller's "Blue Like Jazz".

  • David Heddle argues that classic Dispensationalism Adds a Second Unforgivable Sin.

  • In a carefully considered post, Catez of Allthings2all argues the Michael and Debi Pearl are teaching error on essential basic doctrine.

  • And what's up with those Anglicans, anyway? Yep, they're spreading the message with (ahem!) lingerie parties and a hip hop mass. The "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" method of evangelism is alive and well. On second thought, I'll take that back and just say it's alive.

  • And hey! While we're at it, why no Biblezines for old fogeys?
  • |


    Your Blog Should Be Yellow

    You're a cheerful, upbeat blogger who tends to make everyone laugh.
    You are a great storyteller, and the first to post the latest funny link.
    You're also friendly and welcoming to everyone who comments on your blog.

    Via Benediction.

    Thursday, September 29

    By Faith Rahab

    This is the fifteenth post in a series from Hebrews 11. You'll find all the posts done so far in this series listed here.

    After he describes the faith of the Israelites in the story of the fall of Jericho, the writer of Hebrews mentions the faith of Rahab. Rahab has a part in the story of the fall of Jericho, too.
    By faith Rahab the prostitute escaped the destruction of the disobedient, because she welcomed the spies in peace. (Hebrews 11:31 NET)
    If you are unfamiliar with the story of Rahab, or even just a little rusty on the details, you can read it in Joshua 2. Rahab hid the Israelite spies on the roof of her house when the King of Jericho's men were searching for them in the city of Jericho. She explains to the spies that she protected them because "the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below! (Joshua 2:11 NET)" She put herself at great risk because of the conviction she had about the God of the Israelites.

    She is not the only person in Jericho who understood the power of the Lord. Rahab explains that they are all scared of the Israelites, for they are all aware of the works God has performed on their behalf:
    We are absolutely terrified of you, and all who live in the land are cringing before you. For we heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you left Egypt and how you annihilated the two Amorite kings, Sihon and Og, on the other side of the Jordan. When we heard the news we lost our strength and no one could even breathe for fear of you. (Joshua 2:9-11 NET)
    However, while the rest in Jericho cowered in fear of the Israelites and their God, Rahab allied herself with them. She trusted the God of Israel and the rest did not. Rahab was the one who showed faith, and her faith is vindicated. When Jericho fell
    ....Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, her father's family, and all who belonged to her. (Joshua 6:25 NET)

    Rahab lived the rest of her life in Israel, and is one of the ancestors of Jesus listed in the geneology in Matthew. And she gets her own mention here in in Hebrews in the list of the faithful people of old, too.

    Wednesday, September 28

    Spud Scoop

    This year was a wonderful one for growing potatoes. Potatoes, it seems, love cool, wet weather. None of those annoying little guys this year; they're all big. Each bucket I bring in weighs over 20 lbs, and I've had at least 15 buckets full.

    I've dug about 2/3 of the plants so far, so I'm estimating that I'll have at least 500 lbs by the time I'm done.

    Tuesday, September 27

    The Changing Seasons

    have me thinking about God's immutability, so I reworked the essay on God's unchangeableness that I posted a year or so ago and posted it at Theologica.

    Entries for this Week's Christian Carnival

    are due tonight (September 27) at midnight EST. Submit your entry to ChristianCarnival [ATT] gmail [DOTT] com. Include
    • The name of your blog
    • The URL of your blog
    • The title of your post
    • The URL of your post
    • A short description of the post
    • The trackback link if you have one

    Expect to see your entry posted in Wednesday's (September 28) carnival at In the Spirit of Grace.

    You'll find more complete information on the Christian Carnival here.

    Monday, September 26

    Book Review: God is the Gospel

    Meditations on God's Love as the Gift of Himself by John Piper, reviewed as part of a program at The Diet of Bookworms.

    The main point John Piper is making in God is the Gospel is that the ultimate purpose of the gospel it to bring us to God. The various gifts of the gospel--like our justification and the gift of the Spirit, among many others--are necessary steps to achieve this overarching goal of bring us to God himself.
    Everything else in the gospel is meant to display God's glory and remove every obstacle in him (such as his wrath) and in us (such as our rebellion) so that we can enjoy him forever. God is the gospel. That is, he is what makes good news good.

    The first sentence in this quote is an important point. Too often we focus on the gifts of the gospel without putting them in their proper place as things that work toward the ultimate gift of all: God himself. We are a little like children who focus on all of their birthday gifts without seeing beyond the gifts to the people who love them and gave the gifts to them. Of course, we expect our children to mature to the point where they see beyond birthday gifts to the people who gave them; and we ought to expect to grow as believers, too, until the many gifts of the gospel serve most of all to focus our attention on the God who gave them. We want to come to the point where we can say with the Psalmist, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you."

    How would you answer this question Piper asks?
    If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and with all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven if Christ was not there?
    How you answer this question will tell you something about whether the ultimate purpose of the gospel is what you want most from it. As a tool for helping us see this point, and for goading us on to focus on the ultimate purpose of God's work of salvation, God is the Gospel is a valuable book.

    That doesn't mean I didn't have a few problems with it. One of those problems is with the title of the book itself. You'll see the reasoning behind the title in the quote in the beginning paragraph of this review, which I'll paraphrase like this: The crowning purpose of the gospel is for us to enjoy God. What makes the gospel good news is that it gives us God himself. Therefore, God is the gospel. Well, not quite. That's a bit like saying the journey is the destination. The journey brings us to the destination, the whole purpose of the journey is to reach the destination, but that doesn't make the journey equal to the destination.

    It's little things like this, bits of not-quite-so-clear thinking that made this book rather difficult for me to read. I couldn't always follow the thoughts exactly and sometimes I couldn't understand how certain conclusions were reached. That bothered me. Because of this (and perhaps other things, too), after the first few chapters--throughout the middle of the book until the very last chapter--reading this book was a chore for me.

    And I regretted that, because I knew that the overall point of the book was important and one that we all need to grasp. However, if you are a Piper fan, if you've read others of his books and enjoyed them, you will probably enjoy God is the Gospel, too, and find it valuable to you.

    You'll find more reviews of this book at the Diet of Bookworms.

    Sunday, September 25

    Sunday's Hymn

    Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise

    Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
    In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
    Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
    Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.

    Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
    Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
    Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above
    Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

    To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small;
    In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;
    We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
    And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee.

    Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
    Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;
    But of all Thy rich graces this grace, Lord, impart
    Take the veil from our faces, the vile from our heart.

    All laud we would render; O help us to see
    ’Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee,
    And so let Thy glory, almighty, impart,
    Through Christ in His story, Thy Christ to the heart.

    This hymn was written by Walter Chalmers Smith, who was a Scottish pastor and moderator of the Free Church of Scotland.

    Listen to the tune by Welsh pastor and composer John Roberts.

    Saturday, September 24

    Painting the Paddlewheel


    Friday, September 23

    By Faith the People of Israel

    This is the fourteenth post in a series from Hebrews 11. You'll find all the posts done so far in this series listed here.

    Next on the list of faithful ancients given to us in Hebrews 11 are the people of Israel. Our author lists two examples of times when they acted in faith. One example occurs right after Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt, and the other takes place when the Israelites are conquering the promised land.
    By faith they crossed the Red Sea as if on dry ground, but when the Egyptians tried it, they were swallowed up. By faith the walls of Jericho fell after the people marched around them for seven days. (Hebrews 11:29-30 NET)

    It's interesting, isn't it, that the author of Hebrews uses the people of Israel as examples of faith? I'm reading Exodus right now, and it seems from the Exodus account that they were more often fickle than faithful. Over and over again, they lost their eternal perspective and complained about things that were happening to them in the temporal realm, but in these two instances, they acted in faith.

    First, the text tell us that it was by faith that they crossed the Red Sea. You'll remember that the people had just left Egypt because God had acted miraculously on their behalf. However, when the armies of the Egyptians came after them and they saw no way out , they were terrified and complained to Moses.
    "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you took us away to die in the desert? What in the world have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Was this not what we told you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?' For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert." (Exodus 14: 11-12 NET)
    To save them, God divides the waters of the Red Sea so the people can cross. And cross they did, and that took faith. In order to walk across the sea bed as if their path through the sea were dry ground, they had to trust God to keep on holding back those alarming walls of water water on each side of them. Their trusting obedience saved them from the Egyptians, who came after them and were swallowed in the sea as the walls of water came tumbling down again.

    The second example of the faith of the people of Israel comes in the story of the fall of the walls of the city of Jericho, recounted for us in Joshua 6. Can you imagine how silly all that marching around the city must have seemed to anyone who was not acting in faith? But the people trusted God and followed his instructions in faith, and he acted on their behalf. On the seventh day
    [t]he rams' horns sounded and when the army heard the signal, they gave a loud battle cry. The wall collapsed and the warriors charged straight ahead into the city and captured it. (Joshua 6:20 NET)
    Their faith in God had been warranted, and because they obeyed him out of faith they are included in this list of faithful people here in Hebrews.

    Thursday, September 22

    Curious Queries

    I've been collecting interesting search queries all week to use in my weekly Round the Sphere post, and then I fizzled out last night and didn't include them. So here they are.

    wanda petronski. I include this only because I know who she is, and I'm curious to see if anyone else does. If you know Wanda Petronski, please say so.

    reasons actions dealing regular people caused everyday problems. This is just one of those weird ones that make you wonder what the person was really looking for and why they thought using all those words would help. By the way, regular people cause everyday problems around here all the time. For reasons unknown to me, for instance, oldest son left all the lights on in the garage last night. I took action, however, and roused him from his snooze on the couch to remind him of the everyday problem he'd caused, and he dealt with it.

    top ten reasons to live in minnesota. I imagine they are not all that different from the Top Ten Reasons to Live in the Yukon, although you'd have to remove "it never gets muggy" and "you only need one licence plate" from the list. But of course you could replace those items with "you might get to experience a tornado" and "several billion woodticks can't be wrong."

    Porsche road trip. Been there, done that, and didn't need to query for instructions. Pack a suitcase, put it in the little trunk under the hood, put a map or two in the glove box and take off.

    Wednesday, September 21

    Round the Sphere Again

  • You'll find this week's Christian Carnival at Digitus,Finger & Co.

  • John at Blogotional discusses the Bell curve and the problem with using it to determine who's poor in What Exactly Is Poverty?

  • Pensees is an apologetics blog that's new to me, but I'm sorry I didn't find it earlier. Here's an interesting post called The Laws of Logic: Don't Leave Home Without 'Em.

  • In a couple of creed related posts, George Grant gives us the history behind the Nicean Creed, and Jason Engwer of Real Clear Theology explains how the creed of 1 Corinthians 15 poses problems for critics of Christianity

  • Have you seen The Library Thing yet? Hat tip to Always Thirsty.

  • I added a few more Proverbs limericks recently.
  • |

    Tuesday, September 20

    By Faith Moses

    This is the thirteenth post in a series from Hebrews 11. You'll find all the posts done so far in this series listed here.

    In the last post in this series, we examined the faith of Moses' parents. The author of Hebrews now turns his focus from Moses' parents to Moses himself. He skips right over the rest of the story of Moses as a baby--how he was put in the basket by his mother, only to be found by Pharoah's daughter, who raised him as her son--and starts his commentary on Moses' faith with Moses as a grown man.
    By faith, when he grew up, Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be ill-treated with the people of God than to enjoy sin's fleeting pleasure. He regarded abuse suffered for Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for his eyes were fixed on the reward. By faith he left Egypt without fearing the king's anger, for he persevered as though he could see the one who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the one who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. (Hebrews 11:24-28 NET)

    When Moses was grown, he "refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter." As Pharoah's daughter's son, Moses had everything that most people want and more. Egypt was a super power, and as a member of the royal family, he would have both wealth and position guaranteed to him. But he gave it all up in order to "be ill-treated with the people of God." Like Joseph before him, he identified himself with God's people, and for Moses that meant giving up much.

    Our text calls what he gave up "sin's fleeting pleasure." This doesn't mean that Moses was particularly debauched while he was in Pharoah's family, but rather, that had he continued to identify with the royal family instead of the people of Israel, it would have been disobedient to what God asked of him. He would have continued living a life of wealth and power, two pleasures that are temporal rather than eternal. But Moses looked beyond temporal pleasures to things of eternal value, and chose to place himself with the people of God rather than the royal family of Egypt.

    Moses considered "abuse suffered for Christ" to be of more value than "the treasures of Egypt". There are a couple of explanations for what it might mean that Moses suffered abuse for Christ. Christ had not been born yet, so in what way could Moses have suffered abuse for him? Some people think it simply means that Moses suffered the same sort of abuse that Christ suffered. Others point out that Moses suffered for God's people, and any suffering for God's people is suffering for Christ, who has always been united with God's people. One of the purposes of book of Hebrews is to call believers to remain standing with Christ and with God's people in the face of suffering and persecution, and Moses, then, would serve as an example of someone who has persevered in that.

    Moses knew what the treasures of Egypt were, because they had been his, but he gave them up for the reward from God that goes to his people. Literally, the text says that "he was looking away to" the reward. He understood the true value of God's reward, so he understood that it was worth more than any material wealth or any status in the earthly realm, and this reward from God was what he focused on instead of the things he'd had in Egypt.

    Then the text tells us that "by faith he left Egypt." Some may disagree, but I would take this leaving Egypt to be Moses's first exit when he went to stay in Midian, since the writer seems to put this leaving chronologically before the Passover. There ia a small problem in that the text says that Moses left Egypt "without fearing the king's anger," while we are told in the Exodus account of Moses' life that "Moses was afraid (Exodus 2:14)." This fear, however, was not the motivating factor behind his leaving Egypt according our author. Rather, Moses "persevered as though he could see the one who is invisible." His stay in Midian, then, was one of faithful waiting for God's intervention on behalf of his own people.

    Next, the text moves to the Passover as an example of Moses's faith. Thus far, none of the plagues had worked to cause Pharoah to let the Israelites go, but Moses remained faithful. He urged the people to keep the Passover, and sprinkle blood on their doorposts so that their firstborn sons would be spared this last plague. And his perseverance in faith was not in vain, for this time Pharoah let the Israelite people leave Egypt.

    Moses was one of the people of old who was sure of the invisible. He trusted in the invisible workings of an invisible God, so he was commended by God, and the author of Hebrews includes him in his list of people of faith.

    Christian Carnival Reminder

    Entries for this week's Christian Carnival are due tonight (September 20) at midnight EST. Submit your entry to ChristianCarnival [ATT] gmail [DOTT] com. Include
    • The name of your blog
    • The URL of your blog
    • The title of your post
    • The URL of your post
    • A short description of the post
    • The trackback link if you have one

    Expect to see your entry posted in Wednesday's (September 21) carnival at Digitus, Finger & Co.
    You'll find more complete information on the Christian Carnival here

    Monday, September 19

    Cranberry Cake with Brown Sugar Sauce

    This recipe came from Kim in IL, who attributes it to Martha Washington's personal cookbook. It's yummy!

    1 cup flour
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 tbsps. butter, melted
    1 1/2 tsps. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 cup milk
    1 cup whole fresh cranberries

    Heat over to 350 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, butter, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in milk until blended, then stir in cranberries. Pour batter into buttered 8-inch round cake pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes and then remove to wire rack.

    Brown Sugar Sauce

    1/2 cup brown sugar
    2 tbsps. water
    4 tbsps. unsalted butter
    2 tbsps. whipping cream
    1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

    Heat sugar and water over medium heat in heavy-bottomed saucepan, swirling occasionaly until sugar is dissolved. Heat to a boil (about 1 minute). Remove from heat. Stir in butter until melted. Mix in cream and vanilla. Pour warm sauce over each piece of cake.

    (Sauce can be made up to four days ahead and covered and refrigerated. Reheat genly just before serving.)

    This recipe makes 8 servings. Unfortunately, youngest daughter ate 3 of those 8 servings immediately.


    The New Blogs4God

    is up and running. If you want your blog listed there, go over and register.

    [Update: Ten reasons to add your blog to the new Blogs4God site]

    This Month's Challies Giveaway

    Sept Giveaway

    Yep, this month you get to pick your own prize.
    Each winner will be able to select one Bible and one book from a selection of available options. The selection of Bibles includes the Compact TruGrip ESV Bible (available in four styles) OR ESV Bible, Compact TruTone Edition (Cranberry, Filigree Design, Red Letter).

    The selection of books includes titles written by R.C. Sproul, C.J. Mahaney, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Horton and others. Some of these books are autographed, others are not.
    The giveaway is sponsored by Monergism Books, a great source of books, even for Canadians. Click on the banner above for the full details and to sign up for the giveaway.

    Sunday, September 18

    Why Theology?

    I just posted a piece on why theology is important at Theologica.

    Sunday's Hymn and Sermon: Samuel Davies

    I was looking for a particular sermon by Samuel Davies--the one he preached after an earthquake in the 1700's that killed 60,000 people or so. It was called Reflections on the Recent Earthquake or something like that. I thought it would be interesting to read in the wake of the recent hurricane, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I did find others of his classic sermons and a few hymns he wrote, so I've decided to feature a hymn and sermon of Samuel Davies this Sunday.

    Samuel Davies was another of the leaders of the Great Awakening, well-known as the Apostle of Virginia. He was also president of what is now Princeton University, and is buried in the Princeton cemetery. [Here is a short biography of Davies: Part 1, Part 2.]

    He wrote several hymns, but this is the one you probably know.
    Great God of Wonders

    Great God of wonders! All Thy ways
    Are matchless, Godlike and divine;
    But the fair glories of Thy grace
    More Godlike and unrivaled shine,
    More Godlike and unrivaled shine.

    Crimes of such horror to forgive,
    Such guilty, daring worms to spare;
    This is Thy grand prerogative,
    And none shall in the honor share,
    And none shall in the honor share

    Angels and men, resign your claim
    To pity, mercy, love and grace:
    These glories crown Jehovah's Name
    With an incomparable glaze
    With an incomparable glaze.

    In wonder lost, with trembling joy,
    We take the pardon of our God:
    Pardon for crimes of deepest dye,
    A pardon bought with Jesus' blood,
    A pardon bought with Jesus' blood.

    O may this strange, this matchless grace,
    This Godlike miracle of love,
    Fill the whole earth with grateful praise,
    And all th'angelic choirs above,
    And all th'angelic choirs above.

    Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
    Or who has grace so rich and free?
    Or who has grace so rich and free?

    And here is one of his classic sermons: Mediatorial Kingdom and Glories of Jesus Christ.

    Friday, September 16

    I Love Fall


    Thursday, September 15

    A Proverbs Limerick

    The man who is wise in this life
    Values character o'er skill in a wife.
    Much better a diet
    Of dry bread, with quiet,
    Than a house full of feasting with strife. (Proverbs 17:1)


    Already there are limericks to add.

  • Rey, who is worried that his limerick stinks (Hey! If you're limerick stinks, it's probably quite perfect, limerickwise.), gives us:

    There once was a man in full wrath
    Who was tearing up all in his path.
    But soft words were said
    That put that anger to bed
    Now you go ahead; do the math. (Prov 15:1)

  • Ian Mackenzie post his limerick on his own blog.

  • Rey, who is afflicted with limerick induced insomnia, writes another one:

    There once was a pretty cute lady
    Whose business was a li'l bit shady
    Said one passerby
    Avoid her black lies
    Her door is the pathway to Hades. (Proverbs 5:1-8)

  • Lisa Strite uses Wallace and Gromit in hers:

    Wallace is usually jolly
    But sometimes he's foolish, by golly
    Like his dog named Gromit
    Returning to his vomit
    Is a fool who repeats his own folly. (Proverbs 26:1)

  • From Pete H. who delivered these in real life:

    I'm older and wiser, you bet,
    There are still things I simply don't get:
    Eagles sail on the sky,
    Ships on oceans sail by,
    But understanding a woman....not yet! (Proverbs 30:18,19

    Be wise son, not simply a goof!
    Proverbs gives you the proof.
    If your quarrelsome wife
    Is causing you strife,
    Move your junk and your pad to the roof. (Proverbs 25:24)

    When the love of your life has been spurned
    And your head to another is turned,
    Look you dumb sap!
    Put coals in your lap,
    Then wonder if you're going to get burned? (Proverbs 6:20-35)

    Oh kings forget your red wine,
    And rulers--no more Bud divine,
    But for the depressed
    And those sore oppressed,
    To get and stay sloshed is just fine. (Proverbs 31:4-7)

    Anyone else want to take a stab at a Proverbs limerick? Post it in the comments or on your own blog.
  • |

    Round the Sphere Again

  • You'll find this week's Christian Carnival at Pseudo-Polymath. And while you're over there reading, thank Mark for hosting the carnival on such short notice.

  • The Doctor gives us his thoughts on what we need in our medical emergency kit.

  • Who were the anabaptists? Where did they come from? What did they believe? You'll find the answers to all your pressing anabaptist questions at He Lives.

  • And what about catechisms? Where did they come from? Have they had any influence on the course of history? We go to George Grant for those answers.

  • The Pyromaniac is thinking about how we define essential truths: What do common sense and Scripture tell us about the relative weight of different truths? and Sometimes fellowship is better than a fight. Sometimes not.

  • If you're still up for discussion of God's role in natural disasters, then I suggest Parableman's post: Natural Disasters and Divine Judgment. As usual, Jeremy works through the problem taking great care to remain faithful to what scripture tells us.

  • Tim of Mission Safari is doing a little philosophical/theological ruminating as well: Every Square Inch.
  • |

    Wednesday, September 14

    Catching Up

    September is a busy month at our house. The garden needs to be harvested and put away, the woodpile needs to be replenished, and the hatches need to be battened down for winter. Then there's always a new schedule to get used to. All this means I haven't kept up with family and friends (real life and blog life, too!) the way I should have. So here's to catching up.

    Oldest son and youngest daughter were both supposed to be going to school this fall, but their jobs got in the way. Oldest son gave his two week notice back in August, but the company needed him and offered him a raise to stay for a while. He couldn't resist the extra money.

    The company he works for has a two big jobs coming up. One of them was supposed to be done already, but it's not. It's a big construction job--the multiplex being built for the 2007 Canada Games--and his company is installing all the automatic doors. They were supposed to install them back in August, but when they showed up to put the doors in they discovered that although the wiring in the building was complete, there was no wiring for the automatic doors. The floors are complete, too, but no one had considered how the bars beside the automatic doors that keep the doors from going too far and hitting someone would be installed. Now they're waiting for things to be ripped up and fixed so they can finally get those doors in.

    (It's an architect problem. The local architect who is responsible for figuring out this sort of thing visited earlier to discuss what they would need and what would work best, and then ignored (or forgot) everything they told him.)

    Youngest daughter's employer needed her, too, and she stayed until January without a raise. She'd planned to do a business program that runs 8:00-5:00 each day, and you can't do that and work full time. She is the business person of the family. She likes dealing with money, closing for the day, drawing up the schedules, bossing people around, listening to customer complaints, and then entertaining us with the strange things people say to her and the odd requests they have.

    Youngest son is back in school, and he's on the senior volleyball team this year so he practices for two hours four nights a week. Not after school, which would be a whole lot more convenient, but after supper. He feels bad about needing rides every night, but he's a kid who has a large amount of excess physical energy that he needs to use somewhere. Lately he's become very concious of how much I do for him, and he's making a real effort to cut down on how much he asks of me. He's growing up, I guess.

    This semester he has the teacher who's taken it upon himself to watch out for him at school. It was a promise this teacher made to my husband, and he's postponed his retirement until youngest son graduates. He checks over every report card to make sure youngest son is not slacking off, and keeps track of his friends, too. It's amazing, really, that someone would go out of their way like that to keep a promise. Youngest son is aware of all this, and he walks a little taller whenever this is mentioned.

    There you go. That's what's up with the fam. It's late, and I'm not going to proof this or edit it. It shall forever be what it is.

    Tuesday, September 13

    Christian Carnival Reminder

    I'm late, I'm late, so you're going to have to get cracking!

    It's time to get those Christian Carnival entries in. I'm not sure where it'll be held, since the blog listed for this week's carnival at Wittenburg Gate seems to be nonexistent. But if you plan to enter, send your entry to the regular carnival address anyway: ChristianCarnival [ATT] gmail [DOTT] com.

    • The name of your blog
    • The URL of your blog
    • The title of your post
    • The URL of your post
    • A short description of the post
    • The trackback link if you have one

    The deadline is 12 Midnight EST, and the Carnival should be posted somewhere tomorrow. More detailed info can be found here.

    [Update, September 14: Mark of Pseudo-polymath has agreed to come to the rescue and host the Christian Carnival this week. It will be posted on his blog sometime later today.]

    Monday, September 12

    By Faith Moses' Parents

    This is the twelfth post in a series from Hebrews 11. You'll find all the posts done so far in this series listed here.

    After he shows us the faith of the patriarch's, the author of Hebrews moves on to Moses, beginning with the faith of Moses' parents.
    By faith, when Moses was born, his parents hid him for three months, because they saw the child was beautiful and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. (Hebrews 11:23 NET)

    Do you remember the circumstances that Moses's parents found themselves in? The king of Egypt became afraid of the potential power of the Israelite people and ordered that all Israelite sons born be thrown into the river (Exodus 1:22). So when Moses was born, instead of obeying the king's edict, his parents hid him for three months (Exodus 2:1,2). When you read the Exodus account, you'll notice it's the mother that's singled out--she saw that he was a fine child, so she hid him--while the writer of Hebrews attributes this to both parents. It may be that it was primarily his mother who kept little Moses hidden, but her doing so would have required that her husband at least consent to it. The child could not have been concealed in the house without the father knowing and approving of it.

    Why did Moses's parent decide to disobey the king's edict and hide him? Because they saw he was a beautiful child. I'm not sure exactly what this means, except that they saw that the little one had value. It may be that they had an inkling that God had a special purpose for him.

    We can assume that there were dire consequences for anyone who defied the edict of the king, but because of their faith they were not afraid of them. They trusted God in the face of possible punishment and did what they believed was right, preserving the life of their young son. For this they are included in the list of faithful people of old.

    World Magazine's New Theology Blog

    It's called Theologica, and today's the day of the big unveiling. There are ten contributors, and I'm one of them. You'll probably find other contributors whose blogs you're familiar with as well.

    Here's what David Wayne (a.k.a. the Jollyblogger), Theologica's editor, has to say about this new blog.
    ....our focus, appropriately enough, is on theology.... We'll cover topics that fall in the traditional theological encyclopedia like theology proper (doctrine of God), anthropology (doctrine of man), soteriology (doctrine of salvation), and many other standard subjects.
    As to the contributors:
    Our contributors are all from a conservative, evangelical background, but there is a fair amount of diversity within this. We have contributors from various theological backgrounds, including reformed, Wesleyan, Anglican, charismatic and dispensational. The denominations of our contributors include Baptist, Methodist, Anglican, and Presbyterian. We have contributors from the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.
    Go check it out, and make it a regular stop on your blog cruise. And why not let those who read your blog know about it, too?

    Sunday, September 11

    The Anniversary

    Here's what I wrote last year about my experience on September 11, 2001: Another Recounting

    Sunday's Hymn

    The Lord's My Shepherd

    The Lord's my Shepherd, I'll not want.
    He makes me down to lie
    In pastures green; He leadeth me
    The quiet waters by.

    My soul He doth restore again;
    And me to walk doth make
    Within the paths of righteousness,
    Even for His own Name's sake.

    Yea, though I walk in death's dark vale,
    Yet will I fear no ill;
    For Thou art with me; and Thy rod
    And staff my comfort still.

    My table Thou hast furnished
    In presence of my foes;
    My head Thou dost with oil anoint,
    And my cup overflows.

    Goodness and mercy all my life
    Shall surely follow me;
    And in God's house forevermore
    My dwelling place shall be.

    When I was in first or second grade, my family went to a Korean Orphan Choir concert. The Korean Orphan Choir, for those too young to know, was a choir of children from Korea sponsored by World Vision. They travelled round the world, giving concerts and raising money for World Vision. Sometime later the name was changed to the more politically correct Korean Children's Choir, and later the group ceased to exist altogether.

    I remember that they sang this hymn in the concert and I loved it. We bought the record so I could listen to them sing it at home, too. Pure, clear, perfect, it was.

    The words to this hymn are found in The Scottish Psalter, 1650. The music is written by William Gardiner.

    This isn't the Korean Orphan Choir, but it is a choir version of this lovely hymn from The Bible Centre.

    Friday, September 9

    Walking Bridge

    This is the new bridge over the river on the trail I walk three or four times a week. Officially it's called the Rotary Centennial Bridge, but we just call it the "new bridge over the river." Thanks to the bridge, the trail is now a 5k loop, so I can go all the way around and back to where I started with no backtracking.

    Sometimes I take a friend and we stop for lunch on one of the benches along the trail. Most often I take youngest daughter, and then the pace is fast, fast, fast. No stopping for chit-chat or lunch when she's along!

    This afternoon I took just the dog and stopped and let her fetch sticks in the river for a while.

    Here's the view from the bridge. The leaves are turning colors, as you can see. It was a beautiful day, one of the first in quite a while that wasn't cool and wet.


    By Faith Joseph

    This is the eleventh post in a series from Hebrews 11. You'll find all the posts done so far in this series listed here.

    Joseph, like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob before him, demonstrated that even as he was dying, he was confident that God would continue to work to fulfill his promises.
    By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, mentioned the exodus of the sons of Israel and gave instructions about his burial. (Hebrews 11:22 NET)

    The author of Hebrews points out that Joseph mentioning the exodus of Israel was an act of faith. Here's what Joseph said to his brothers:
    "I am about to die. But God will surely come to you and lead you up from this land to the land he swore on oath to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath. He said, “God will surely come to you. Then you must carry my bones up from this place.”(Genesis 50:24, 25 NET)
    On his death bed, Joseph was looking forward to God's intervention to accomplish the things he'd sworn to do. Based on his certainty that God would work in this way, Joseph made his brothers swear an oath to take his body into the promised land with them when God led them out of Egypt.

    Joseph had lived all of his adult life in Egypt and he had a pretty good thing going there, including a powerful position and the wealth that went along with it. Yet he didn't identify himself with the Egyptians, but rather, he identified with his people--God's people--and he counted the land God promised to his fathers as his own true land, so Joseph wanted to be buried with God's people in the land of promise.

    As Joseph was dying, he looked with certainty toward things that did not yet exist in this world, things that were yet to be called into existence by God. He was one of the "people of old" who was sure of what he hoped for, who was convinced of what he did not see, and he was commended by God for it.

    Finding Links To Your Blog

    Technorati only works part-time, so it's nice to have Talkdigger around to dig up links using several sources at once.

    Thursday, September 8

    Round the Sphere Again

    Somehow I skipped my link round-up last week, which means some of these are older than usual, but they're all good. I promise.

  • Here's this week's Christian Carnival at Technogypsy.

  • J. Mark Bertrand's story, Midafternoon Apocalypse, is in the The New Pantagruel. Go read.

  • Learn something constructive from a curmudgeon: Basic Logical Principles Required for Apologetics

  • On biblical ambiguity, from Better Bibles Blog: Did the biblical authors write ambiguously? and What is ambiguity? And then there's this discussion of an example of an ambiguous text.

  • From Tim Irvin: Meet Jaran Beudreaux.

  • Jollyblogger has a link to an article by John Frame: Machen's Warrior Children. Yes, it is long, but it's very interesting.
  • |

    Wednesday, September 7

    Croquet Compulsion

    I think they're addicted. Last week my kids put up the croquet set. Youngest son and I had played while we were at my sisters, and he was anxious to put our set up after we returned home. The sons mowed the yard in preparation for the wickets, trimmed the low hanging branches on the May Day tree so that they wouldn't interfere with the shots, and they've played every day since.

    Having a daily game or two involves quite a bit of schedule coordination, but they've managed to squeeze in half an hour or more of croquet every day. Yesterday it rained during their only available time together. They put on their rain gear and played anyway. I'm sure the neighbors think they're nuts, and I might agree with them.

    Youngest son won this particular round, after coming from way behind. Youngest daughter wins most often. I attribute her croquet skill to the peculiar hunched over stance with which she runs/waddles after her ball. No sizing up shots for her. She runs toward her ball in her stooped position and swings without a pause. She very rarely makes mistakes.

    The sons have moments of brilliance, but they love taking risky shots, and that works against them. So do their yellow rain slickers. After all, who takes a yellow slickered croquet opponent seriously?

    Tuesday, September 6

    From Hal Paxton

    Hal suggests that we make this coming Friday, the 9th of September, a day of prayer and fasting for those who are suffering from the results of Hurricane Katrina and for those working to provide relief for these victims. Read more here.

    Please join me in spreading the word.

    By Faith Jacob

    This is the tenth post in a series from Hebrews 11. You'll find all the posts done so far in this series listed here.

    Next up in our Hebrews 11 list of the Old Testament faithful is Jacob. Here's what we read:
    By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph and worshiped as he leaned on his staff. (Hebrews 11:21 NET)

    You'll find the story of Jacob's blessing of Joseph's sons in Genesis 48. There are a couple of odd things about this blessing. First of all, Jacob blessed Joseph's sons, who were really his grandsons, as if they were his own sons.
    Now, as for your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, they will be mine. Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine just as Reuben and Simeon are. Any children that you father after them will be yours; they will be listed under the names of their brothers in their inheritance. (Genesis 48:5,6 NET)

    Furthermore, Jacob purposefully gives the youngest son the firstborn blessing, crossing his hands as he put them on their heads, so that Ephriam, the youngest, has Jacob's right hand, and Manasseh, the oldest, his left. When Joseph tries to correct things, Jacob insists on doing things this way because he knows that the "younger brother will be even greater and his descendants will become a multitude of nations (Genesis 48: 19)."

    This blessing by Jacob, with it's unexpected characteristics, shows Jacob acknowledging that God fulfills his promises and works his purposes in his own way, and not necessarily according to how people think it ought to be done. And like Abraham and Isaac before him, here at the end of his life Jacob remains confident in the future fulfillment of the promises of God to him.

    The writer gives us one more example of Jacob's faith. At the end of his life, he "worshiped as he leaned on his staff." If you go back to Genesis looking for the account of this act of worship, you might have trouble finding it. It's there, right at the end of Genesis 47, but your translation probably says something like this: "...Israel bowed down at the head of his bed." The quote found here in Hebrews follows the text of the Septuagint, which at this point is different than the Masoretic Hebrew text we use for our Old Testament. Remember that ancient Hebrew was written with no vowels, and those who translated it into the Greek of the Septuagint supplied a set of vowels to come up with the Hebrew word for "staff", while the text our Old Testament is based on uses a different set of vowels to make the same set of letters read "bed". The point is, however, that Jacob worshiped God at the end of his life, right after he asked Joseph to make sure that his body was buried back in Canaan with his fathers. This act of worship was evidence of Jacob's faith.

    Entering This Week's Christian Carnival

    It's unclear where this week's Christian Carnival will be held, but send your entries to ChristianCarnival [att] gmail [dot] com by midnight EST tonight (Tuesday, September 6th), and you'll find your post in this week's Christian Carnival sometime tomorrow (Wednesday, September 7th).

    Remember to send

    The name of your blog
    The URL address of your blog
    The name of your post entry
    The URL address of your post entry
    A short description of the post entry

    Nick Queen will be hosting if the scheduled host can't be reached in time. The Carnival will be posted sometime later today (September 7th) at Technogypsy.

    Monday, September 5

    In the Kettle

    Behind my house is what geologists call a kettle hole. Right at the edge of the backyard there's a steep drop-off sloping down to this little bog. In the spring there's a little standing water there, enough for a roaming dog to get wet and muddy, and enough to breed lots of mosquitoes.

    Many lakes are water filled kettle holes. If this kettle was a lake, I'd have lakeshore. Of course, then I wouldn't be able to afford my house, so it's just as well that there's only a mosquito breeding muddy bog down there.

    Although, a boat tied to a dock at the end of the garden would look pretty cute, wouldn't it?

    By Faith Isaac

    This is the ninth post in a series from Hebrews 11. You'll find all the posts done so far in this series listed here.

    Next on the writer's list of faithful ancients is Isaac.
    By faith also Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning the future. (Hebrews 11:20 NET)

    When Isaac was an old man, he blessed his sons Jacob and Esau. You'll find Isaac's blessing of Jacob in Genesis 27:27-29 and his blessing of Esau in Genesis 27:39,40. Both blessings contain strong statements of things that God would do long after Isaac's death. Isaac himself would not see them happen, but in faith, he saw these things beyond his own death as certain.

    That Isaac was fooled into blessing Jacob when he thought he was blessing Esau is not important in this discussion of Isaac's faith. What is important is that Isaac spoke in faith concerning a future he could not see.

    Sunday, September 4

    Sunday's Hymn: Reader's Choice

    This week's hymn is chosen by Paula. When I wrote that last week's hymn was the last of the reader chosen hymns, I was wrong. I'd overlooked Paula's choice. Here's what Paula's chosen:
    There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood
    There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel's veins;
    And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
    Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
    And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

    The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
    And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
    Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
    And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

    Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
    Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
    Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
    Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

    E'er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
    Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
    And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
    Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

    Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I'll sing Thy power to save,
    When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
    Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
    When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

    Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
    For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!
    'Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
    To sound in God the Father's ears no other name but Thine.

    This hymn was written by William Cowper, who co-wrote the Olney Hymns with John Newton. Cowper (pronounce it as if it were "Cooper") wrote this hymn after a bout of madness. During that time he tried to commit suicide, and this song comes out of his assurance that Christ's blood cleansed even that sort of sin. You can read the story here.

  • Piano from The Bread Site.
  • Here's another piano version from Joe Garbarino of Broussard, Louisiana
  • Mandolin from Simple Gifts Mandolin Tablature Archive
  • This one is from the Choctaw Singers from Mississippi and Oklahoma
  • Like southern gospel quartets? Listen to The Anchormen of Fairhaven, Michigan sing a hymn.
  • |

    Friday, September 2

    Cranberry Conversation

    After supper youngest daughter and I went cranberry picking in the bush behind the house. In our favorite cranberry picking spot in the boggy pine forest along the rim of the ravine, the berries were big and beautiful, but not plentiful.

    "Mom! No one uses the word plentiful anymore!"

    "You mean plentiful is archaic?" I asked.

    "Exactly! And the word archaic is obsolete, too."

    We did find plentiful patches later in the bush in front of our house and picked a bucket of berries there.

    Perhaps we'll have cranberry muffins for breakfast tomorrow.

    Switched Off

    I'm turning off the T.V. today. My knowing more doesn't help anyone, and I think I've had my fill.

    What's needed most is for a whole bunch of people to just cooperate. It's natural disaster, but the biggest problem now is human hearts, and I can't help much with that.

    Maybe a day of prayer is needed more than a day to donate.

    Thursday, September 1

    From a Quizmeister Who Could Use a Spelling Lesson

    You Are Likely A Forth Born

    At your darkest moments, you feel angry.
    At work and school, you do best when your analyzing.
    When you love someone, you tend to be very giving.

    In friendship, you don't take the initiative in reaching out.
    Your ideal jobs are: factory jobs, comedy, and dentistry.
    You will leave your mark on the world with your own personal philosophy.

    I'm a first-born of two. The results are right in that I don't take the initiative in friendship unless I force myself. But somehow I don't find the idea of a factory job or being a dentist particularly exciting, and if the comedy is stand-up, you can count me out.

    I think I saw this first at The Upward Call.

    By Faith Abraham, Again

    This is the eighth post in a series from Hebrews 11. You'll find all the posts done so far in this series listed here.

    After the summary statement in verses 13-16 of this chapter, the author of Hebrews returns to his examination of Abraham's faith. He's already told us that it was by faith that Abraham obeyed God and left his homeland, and it was by faith that Abraham conceived his son Isaac. Now the author tells us that it was by faith that Abraham offered up Isaac.
    By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He had received the promises, yet he was ready to offer up his only son. God had told him, "Through Isaac descendants will carry on your name," and he reasoned that God could even raise him from the dead, and in a sense he received him back from there. (Hebrews 11:17-19 NET)

    You know the story, right? God speaks to Abraham:
    Take your son--your only son, whom you love, Isaac--and go to the land of Moriah! Offer him up there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will indicate to you. (Genesis 22:22)
    And Abraham obeyed.

    This was, of course, a test of Abraham's love for God: did he love God enough to give up his son? This text, however, points in particular to this being a test of something else--Abraham's willingness to keep on believing and obeying God in the face of what appeared to be contradictory revelations from him. God had told Abraham that Isaac's descendants would carry on Abraham's name, and Abraham had already received partial fulfillment of that promise in the birth of Isaac. Now God was telling Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering, which would seem to ensure that Isaac would have no descendents at all.

    How did Abraham reconcile these two things? He didn't deny either of them, but rather he reconciled the two by trusting in God's ability to raise the dead. God would still be able to fulfill the rest of his promises even if Isaac died because God had the power to raise Isaac to life again.

    Abraham was in the process of offering up Isaac, and in Abraham's thought, it was a done deal. The perfect tense of "offered up Isaac" makes this a completed act, even while the tense of "ready to offer up" makes this a process not completed.* Abraham was determined to obey, and with certainty would have completed Isaac's sacrifice if God hadn't intervened in a way not anticipated by Abraham.
    But the Lord's angel called to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am!" he answered. "Do not harm the boy!" the angel said. "Do not do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God because you did not withhold your son, your only son, from me." (Genesis 22: 11,12 NET)
    God provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice instead, giving Abraham and all the rest of us a picture of the provision God would make in the person and sacrifice of his own Son.

    The phrase "only Son" in regards to Isaac must be taken in the sense of "unique", since Abraham had several other sons besides Isaac. None of them, however, were conceived in the unlikely way that Isaac was, and only Isaac was the child of promise.

    The text tells us that "in a sense" Abraham did receive Isaac back from the dead. In his mind, Abraham had already given Isaac up for dead, expecting him back only through a miraculous work of God. The way God chose to intervene was different than they way Abraham had expected, but God did act in keeping with his trustworthy nature so that his promise to Abraham could be fulfilled.

    *See NET notes on Hebrews 11, number 21.