Archive for December, 2007

Happy New Year

Monday, December 31st, 2007

*)Happy New Year(*

My thoughts on this day is to wish all my friends and family a happy new year. May the Lord bless you. May he protect you with his hedge of fire. May he grant you health (and for some ever improving health). May all your works in him prosper. Above all these things… may you see into his heart more clearly at the end of this coming year than you see him now.

God bless… God bless… God bless!

Myths: what everyone knows to be true but ain’t.

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

Myths? Something that everyone believes but isn’t true. Boy, is there a lot of that going around. From old wives tales to everyone knows. Something has to be done about this. I know… I’ll create a new word: myth-information.

Are you myth-informed?

Remember the classic, “The world is flat”? Joe snickers.

Here is another one, “we are the product of evolution.” Ha ha ha… that one is great.

Hmmm… does that mean Christians are faith based and the rest of the world is myth based? It’s their myth-stake if they don’t believe the bible or God but something or someone else.

Hmmm… I like the ring of this new word.


Late Night Visitor

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Since we had our windows replaced recently, except for the basement, Linda said that it is now quite a bit cooler down there. I didn’t find it to be any cooler at all. That is until this afternoon when I went downstairs to bring those Christmas ornaments boxes back to the basement. “My oh my,” I thought, “Linda is right, it is quite a bit cooler down here. In fact, it’s pretty cold. Ah well, perhaps I better do something about it someday.”

Well, it turns out I had to do something immediately. One of the side windows was open and the insulation was on the floor. I walked over and the catch was busted. Someone kicked open the window last night and I didn’t hear a thing. That seems to happen everytime an intruder breaks in. Sigh!

Well, grabbed a couple of three inch nails and closed the window permanently. Hmmm… maybe I should get the basement windows replaced as well. I checked the house and fortunately nothing was out of place and nothing was taken as far as I could tell. I remember being promted to pray that God protect our house from intruders as I was going up the stairs for the night. He kept them outside.

There is only one jolly fellow in a red suit that I want to get into the house this Christmas Eve. I won’t pray to keep him out. As for the rest, keep them away Lord, keep them away. Amen!

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

T’was the night before,
the night before Christmas.
When all through the house
Every creature was stirring,
Even the mouse.

The stockings were hung,
on the doorknob with flair,
In hope that my spouse,
Would fill it with care.

There rose such a clatter,
As the tree was uncrated,
With huffing and puffing,
T’was quickly adorned,
With lights that twinkled
And icicles galore.

Getting ready for Christmas
Seems quite like a chore
Till you remember the children
The twinkle of their eyes,
and wonder in their hearts.

Seems fitting you know,
To spend so much time,
Spreading cheer and good wishes
With those you hold dear.

I give thanks to God,
For the gift of His son,
who started it all
One Christmas morn.

Merry Christmas

One Gunman, One Woman and a Growing List of Victims

Friday, December 21st, 2007

A couple of weeks ago a gunman entered a church and began to shoot those who were in attendance that sunday morning. He was an enemy who came through the gates and sought to make victims of the helpless. He was like a lion going to and fro throughout the earth seeking to steal, kill and destroy.

There are debates going on about what that woman (and the church) had done (or should have done) to protect those who had entered their establishment. Was there too much force? Should they have allowed themselves to be killed without fighting back as a Christian witness? Or was the act of saving the innocent just?

In Rome the authorities rounded up Christians and sent them to the forum. A great witness as Christians, covered in tar and hung on polls, were lit up at night to provide light and entertainment for the pagan populace. Torn by lions, put to the sword, etc. Sounds like a Hebrews moment.

Is this always to be the case?

A man and his wife, with two male friends from church, are walking down the street. Someone jumps out knocks the man to the ground and then begins to rape his wife. The husband and friends then go to their knees and pray while the rapist continues?

Your child is being attacked by other children, getting his head kicked in, again on your knees and prayer?

I might stand there and be beaten by others if the only danger is to myself. It is a different thing when it extends to others who are to be “under my protection.”

The woman who fired the shot will be struggling with the fact that she had taken a life. I think that far better than a dozen or more families struggling with the fact that a crazed gunman killed their husbands, wives and children while everyone stood by and watched.

My hat is off to those Mennonites who forgave the gunman who killed their children last year. But would they have simply stood by and allowed the gunman to kill their children if they had the means to stop him? I don’t know.

Remember that these are crisis moments. How would you respond? Would I cower in fear? Would I throw myself at the enemy? Or would I go down onto my knees and pray while it is happening in front of me. Honestly, I don’t know. I would most likely have a different response depending on the kind of day I was having.

Did this woman who shot the killer do right? A big part of me shouts “yes!” Yet a small part of me whispers “no.” I have placed my life at risk to help an older couple being attacked in their home. I am glad that I helped them. I am even happier that it is a very rare occurence.

What would you have done in that church, that sunday morning? Throw yourself at the killer? Stood there and pray for intervention? Cower under the pew crying for God to protect you? Or simply run away with no thought for the people being shot? We hope we know what we would do… but only God knows for sure.

Let us extend grace to the woman and to the church, and let God do the judging.

The Snow has Arrived

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

At nine Linda said the snow wasn’t that bad. I agreed. But I told her when the wind shifted to the north east we would get it. And lo, the words were not out of my mouth and the wind shifted.

The snow out my front door

Eleven hours after my last post and the snow is flying as if it were pursuing a vendetta.

The snow out our back window

An hour later Linda still wanted to go to church. I tried to talk her out of it but she was on a mission to see the special speaker at church. So, off I went to clear the car. Down the street. Round a couple of corners. Trudge, trudge, trudging through the snow.

Twenty minutes later I pull up in front of the house. Linda comes down to the steps and gets in. To get to church I have to drive around the next block. As I pass in front of our house again Linda notices how bad the snow is. Well, snow can’t be bad, but it would be nice to see out of the windshield. “Better go park the car”, she said.

Around the next block to our parking space. I had to roll down the windows so I could see to back up the car. Barely got in. Linda and I head back to the house. Down the street. Around a couple of corners. Trudge, trudge, trudging through the snow.

A thirty five minute mini-adventure. 😉

The Storm Approaches

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

I have been watching the weather radar and the approaching winter storm. My prayers have been somewhat answered so far… the snow keeps missing us. I know we will be getting hit sometime tonight.

So, I was going through my kodak image files and saw a picture of a monarch resting on a sprig of lilac flowers. I thought it might be nice to show you something from a warmer time before the storm hits. I can just imagine what kind of pictures will be posted on the net tommorow.
Monarch on Lilac Flowers

Ok snow… I’m ready for you!

Boulders and Stones in the River of God

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Take the central theme “you are saved by faith, not of works.” Is that a boulder or a stone? Depends. Behind that central theme there are a lot of scriptures that a person could use to support the idea. The more scriptures the bigger the boulder. This is a pretty big boulder.

Yet there are scriptures that would modify that point such as “without works faith is dead.” That scripture itself is a central theme and I consider it to be a stone.

Because they appear to be in opposition to each other…

There were many fights in the church depending on whether you were standing on that boulder or the other particular stone. Yet at the upper most reaches of the river, where it begins, is a rock. It is that Rock, that was split (remember Moses striking the rock), and out gushes life giving water. Eventually all the love and grace, that is the water of the river, will wear down those stones and boulders. They will become part of the flow. No man will be able to stand on them for they will be moving in love and grace.

Where does this river full of life, substance and people end? In a lush valley we call The Promised Land.

The Message by Eugene H. Peterson

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

The Message by: Eugene H. Peterson
publisher: Navpress
religionThis book I found to be an exasperation to my soul. It is a contemporary language bible translation. As with most new translations there are trouble spots when comparing the text to the King James version of the bible. I am not of the opinion that the King James is the best translation. It is though a good translation if one keeps in mind that the use of words have altered somewhat. Where passages seem strange or downright ridiculous,  a Strong’s Exhaustive concordance does wonders. This is not the case with The Message. Here are some of my impressions of The Message.

The Old testament

I don’t really have that much of a problem with the Old Testament of The Message. The language is simpler and they have taken some of the boring, highly repetitive  passages and made them an easier read. In some places I found that the way of writing a passage was made clearer. Overall the whole of the Old Testament was a nice read. I don’t have too many things to say about how Peterson handled the translation. Of course a rabbi may have plenty to complain about.

The New Testament

Here is where my exasperation begins. It took me three months of casual reading time to get through the old. It took me close to four months of casual reading time to get through the new. Why? What was written didn’t have the familiar ring I was expecting. Every page, paragraph and sometimes a single verse didn’t seem right. I spent most of my time with a different bible open having to compare passages. I found that too often the intended meaning of the text in The Message was not in line with the New International Version I was using.

I like the passage where it compares the word of God to a sharp two edged sword. To separate between bone and muscle. To separate between soul and spirit. Yet to accomplish this it is important what words are used, and what they mean is very important. Some would say that this would then become legalism. However there needs to be discernment in what is being written or you run the risk of accepting a different gospel other than the one that the apostles preached. I am not saying that Peterson is writing a different gospel. I do however say that a watered down version of the gospel has its own dangers. When a sharp instrument is needed for surgery, like a two edged sword, it is totally un-acceptable to use a iron bar. Simple language does not give a precise answer, only an easier to understand answer. That answer then may not be effective.

Easy to digest food? Hebrews talks about the milk of the word. No chewing over the text and easy to swallow. I would say that The Message would be good for the beginner. Those who are new to the kingdom. They would get a general overview of the scriptures. Yet we are not to remain children in understanding. To do this we need precision. This is where one needs the meat of scripture to grow into Christian adulthood. The Message fails miserably for that purpose. It is great as a story book and it is terrible as a manual. The use of  The Message for long-term study would be ineffective and could retard the growth of individuals. I would go further and say that it would hamper the church where knowledge and its application are needed.

As with many modern translations some of the passages are modified to become Politically Correct. Where the bible would talk about “brothers”, The Message would talk about about brothers and sisters. These are minor changes. Yet in some places these changes may have gone too far. My pastor says that one area of influence is the local group and the local group will have its own customs. This politically correct interpretation may be fine if one remembers that it is a local custom (Peterson’s custom) and not the exact interpretation of the word. I find that with only a few exceptions the new testament of the scripture by Peterson is one giant politically correct exercise of his faith. Because of this you are getting a slightly (or greatly) skewed understanding of the scriptures.

In his striving to make things easier to understand Peterson sometimes goes too far. As an example in one place his translation gives credence to those who believe in replacement theology. That is only good if you believe that Christians have inherited all the promises of the old testament and have replaced Israel as God’s chosen people. Of course, we have not replaced Israel. We have better promises based on a better covenant as Peter writes in Hebrews. Other times Peterson must of had a bad day. Instead of using contemporary language that most would understand he would use a more esoteric word that would be understood by few. (Like my use of “esoteric” to point that out?) Fortunately that does not occur often. Another strange example is where Peterson has taken a whole passage of one of the gospels and puts in its place a simpler explanation from a different gospel. Again, fortunately those are rare.

I could go on but I think you get the point I am trying to make. If you are a baby in Christ then The Message is an appropriate read. If you want a homogenized, cold filtered and pasteurized, skim milk bible to read, and wish to remain an infant in understanding, make The Message your study bible. On the other hand if you wish to hone that sword of the Lord, get a better translation such as the New King James Version or others like it and start reading, comparing and praying. Knowledge is given to those who seek for it in the right places.