Friday, September 28, 2007

Let them not promise themselves more honour or pleasure in the world than Christ had, nor aim at the worldly pomp and grandeur which He was never ambitious of, but always declined, nor affect that power in secular things which He would not assume; but every one that would show himself perfect, an established disciple, let him be as his Master -- dead to the world, and everything in it, as his Master is; let him live a life of labour and self-denial as his Master doth, and make himself a servant of all; let him stoop, and let him toil, and do all the good he can, and then he will be a complete disciple.

--Matthew Henry on Luke 6:40

Thursday, September 27, 2007

New hobby

Ever wanted to try something new, but never satisfied that curiosity? Well, last night I drove to the local hobby store (Hobby Lobby for all you local friends) and picked up a pair of knitting needles and some yarn. Now, I didn't consult any instruction manual on this, so as a result (as I soon found out) my yarn was too thick for my needles. Apparently this is on the yarn skein (see, I'm learning) so one doesn't necessarily HAVE to take the trial and error route. This is nice to know.

I had researched it, but never found any satisfactory illustrated instructions, os I just sat down on the couch and gave it a go... after all, how did the first knitter EVER come up with this?

A few messed up rows later, I found myself in a groove (and in a knit/purl pattern I really don't like).

My sister is getting new potholders for her anniversary now... good thing she doesn't read this blog.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I still can't get past this

Work is very hectic right now. I'm still getting up at 5 am to get in the Word, and pray through it. But right now, as soon as I'm able, I shower and get to work. And because the A/C is currently out on my half of the office (in late summer of Texas, no less... oh joy!) I'm enjoying these cool mornings by myself in the office before people come in and start adding noise to the mix.

But I digress... I honestly do not have much room in my brain to absorb an entire chapter of the Bible. So, I'm stuck with a few verses at a time. But God, in His grace, has brought me to a "one-day-at-a-time" point in life so He could feed me one-verse-at-a-time. I read this passage at least four times this morning.

And I admit, I don't really get it yet.

[From Luke Chapter 6] 27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. 32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

I just don't do this. But I keep coming back to this verse.

And I am beginning to loathe the part in me that wants to see everything work out fairly. I loathe the part in me that desires equality, especially where the outcome may be especially favorable for me. Or at least... fair. I am beginning to loathe it because I see that it is in direct opposition to what my Lord says is the definition of a solid foundation. If you don't believe me, fast forward a few verses and take a look at what Jesus says about solid foundations and such...

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Conflicted over Yoga?

Get this book instead:
I have this book, and I LOVE it!!! I bought it when I was struggling with having energy during the middle of the day. Stretching was waking me up and I wanted a little more information on how to do it properly, and the extent of the muscle groups I could stretch.
First, it breaks the body down into its muscle groups and shows you how to stretch the individual muscle groups properly. The second half of the book lists many many activities with a picture chart of the stretches to do, as well as their preferred order, both before and after that activity.
I would recommend this book to ANYONE who wants to stay more flexible. Stretching is strenuous, and I'm sure the drops of sweat on my brow are indicative of a few calories burned (the operative word here is "few"). However, I still won't trade this activity for my road bike. If one wants to stay slim with stretching-type activities, they're gonna HAVE to supplement it with more rigorous aerobic activity.
Anyway, I just watched the CNN interview with Doug "Friend of the World" Pagitt and this book came to mind after watching the video clips of the yoga class participants.
Edit: I thought it was fitting to add an excerpt from this morning's Bible reading to this post.
Luke 6:26 "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way."

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Adventures in Reading

Friday nights I usually reserve for low-key activities. Mostly, by Friday evening, I am tired of being at work (although I usually go in for a few hours on Saturday as well) and I NEED undivided attention with the Lord. By then, I crave prayer and Bible reading, and usually find myself engrossed in a piece of Christian literature. Last night I continued in John Bunyan's "Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners".

If only John could see me now.

I believe I am reading at about paragraph 153 (not for sure, I'm at work at the moment) and John is discussing his discovery regarding the cure for the wounded soul, his most favourite book, Martin Luther's commentary on Galatians. What John doesn't know is that his Grace Abounding has provided the same solace for me. John found a friend in Martin, and I found a friend in John. I cannot thank either of them for their steadfastness in running the race, but I can stand on their shoulders (or perhaps in their shadows, at this point).

When my heart wants something a bit lighter, something that doesn't exact its discipline upon my soul with every word and prove spiritually taxing (though invaluably necessary and beneficial) , I turn to a bit of history. I began A Monk and a Mallet last night as well. And I'm engrossed.

You see, there are two kinds of history teachers. There are the kind who give you facts and dates in a rather abstract vacuum, and then there are the teachers who present history in a way that relates to humanity. This author is one such teacher.

I had ONE history class in architecture school out of many who alone taught the subject with great interest. For that reason I astounded him with my test grades and insight on the subject. He even took me aside and questioned me on the fact that I had done so well (I'm assuming my classmates weren't, and I'm pretty sure he thought I was cheating), and I was honest with him: he was a good teacher, and made the subject interesting. Modern architecture. That is one history subject I LOVE now because of him. I ALWAYS have fond memories of what I learned and for that reason never have any hesitation to read anything further on that topic.

I highly recommend Stephen Nichols' book. It's short and interesting. And if I didn't have to put in a few hours at work today, I'd still be in the living room reading it.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

New Books mentioned the booksale going on at Westminster Bookstore. So I hurried on over and purchased these four books. They're sitting on my coffee table waiting for me to finish the licensing exam so that they can be devoured.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

On self-reliance and self-righteousness, doubt and despair.

One thing that struck me this morning.

I began to read an article and a rather unfavorable thought entered my mind regarding the subject matter... and immediately I drew back and thought "how horrible that I would have that thought!" Of course, then the evil one begins to use this to his advantage to disparage my faith, informing me that it cannot be genuine.

But a new thought entered my mind this morning following the discouragement:

"Of course, you're going to think this way. But the work of the Holy Spirit within you allows you to see the sin and danger of further entertaining such thoughts, and to abhor them. With the power of Christ, these thoughts go no further. If you can have these thoughts while in Christ Jesus, imagine what you'd be capable of without Him."

I really don't want to imagine that, by the way; I'm well aware enough already.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What's love got to do with it?

What is loving?

Do we sometimes treat people/circumstances with flippancy or humour or sarcasm and think that because that is our way of "cajoling" them we are being loving?

Is being serious about a "serious" (meaning there could possibly be no humour to the nature of the circumstance, such as getting one's job completed to a satisfactory level) situation an unloving thing? Are we too caught up in "being everyone's friend" to really consider the eternal implications of secular employment?

That loving people doesn't necessarily mean keeping them happy (or happy with YOU). But the important thing is to recognize whether or not God is happy with you, whether your actions conform to what HE is asking of you to do.

Just some thoughts; I'd love to hear yours.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

My new Bible

How do you open a 9-inch thick Bible?
Why, book-by-book, of course!!!

Already have notes in them!!!
This is my ESV Reformation Study Bible, formerly in a nice hardcover, now separated sheet by sheet with two piece of note paper placed between each sheet. The goal is to fill up the paper with my own notes and cross references as I study. If I run out of space I will have to remove the coils and have new paper inserted. I may also just put them in 3-ring binders.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,

the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—

he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel

will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—

the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,

nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—

he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going

both now and forevermore.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised...

With all these advances, it seems that leisure is the prized quality of any job, and that I often find myself falling into a habit of leisure rather than honest hard work. How is anything ever accomplished but by hard work, not by dreaming about it.
I have hanging in my office a small reprint of the demotivator poster. It says in large words
It's soooo true, isn't it?

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My view of things

In response to this article.

I read through this article, and enjoyed it. I appreciated their attention to detail and to the meaning of the miracle here, especially as it applied to unbelieving Israel.

Yet, for as much as they got right, I was also disappointed because it missed the point that is central to the gospel message and central to our ability to bear good fruit: REPENTANCE

This parable is clear about His justice on those who profess but do not produce fruit. But we should be careful that we aren't defining spiritual fruit differently than how the Bible defines it, and that we aren't deceived.

Luke 3 says the following:
3He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
4As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.
5Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.
6And all mankind will see God's salvation.' "[a]
7John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.
9The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."
10"What should we do then?" the crowd asked.
11John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."
12Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?"
13"Don't collect any more than you are required to," he told
14Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?" He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely—be content with your pay."
15The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ.[b]
16John answered them all, "I baptize you with[c] water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." 18And with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them.
19But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of Herodias, his brother's wife, and all the other evil things he had done, 20Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.

It is not so much that we should believe in Jesus. Even the demons beileve... and shudder (James 2:19). And how can we receive forgiveness of sins if we don't care to walk away from that which soils us in its filth. God is a Holy God; we are to be a holy people (Leviticus 11:45; 19:2; 1 Peter 1:14-19).

If we are to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit, we must be filled with the Spirit. And to be filled with the Spirit, we must repent.

Acts 2:37-38 37When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 38Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

We cannot bear the fruit of the Spirit when we are walking in the flesh (Ez. 36:26; John 3:6; Galatians 5:16-17). And we cannot walk away from our flesh unless we kill it (Luke 9:33).

We cannot receive forgiveness without repentance; we cannot receive the Spirit without repentance (Isaiah 66:2). Tremble at His Word, don't look for loopholes around it. Then repent and believe.

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. This is how one can avoid being that barren tree, which is eventually cursed and thrown into the lake of judgment, whose fire is never extinguished.


For all those pastors who patiently lurk in the shadows, I'd love to hear your thoughts, and your opinion of the article linked above, too.

My immediate opinion is that we ought to be careful that we aren't being deceived. The gospel is simple, yet repentance is so contrary to the flesh and its desires. It is fading quickly from all things "evangelical" it seems... not that we should be surprised.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007


I've been struggling with a few things lately.

First, the self-esteem. I came to the conclusion this afternoon that I have too much of it. I simply do not think less of myself than I do others, and especially where certain people may be concerned. The frustrating irony is that I see it, and know that it is because I am the chief of sinners. I feel disappointed in myself, but again the irony: am I even capable of better? Perhaps this is the lesson I am being taught right now.

Second, the guilt. I am reminded of Romans 7.

13Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

Phil Johnson mentions in his sermon on the Ten Commandments that it is this condemnation that gives us nowhere to turn but Jesus. But I still find myself trying to "fix" it...

This cannot be fixed, however. I will never be anything more than I am...

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Monday, September 03, 2007

The sorrow that marks a Christian's life...


For me, it comes from those weaknesses of the flesh, unbelief, and constant frustation of the disparity between my own convictions and the way I live my life.

Cristina wrote a very eloquent post about the deep sorrow that marks a repentant heart when they understand how deeply their sin stands in utter contrast to the desire to be more Christlike.

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