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Resolved, to be more like Christ

Today, like so many throughout the world, I was pondering resolutions for the coming year. I know it may be bad form as a Christian to think about, or make New Year’s resolutions, but there I was, contemplating how I happy-couple-at-a-park-reading-the-bible-together-15215890could be a better man in 2014. I Googled, and read the Resolutions written by Jonathan Edwards. There is much wisdom and grace in those resolutions.

But honestly, I, can’t make myself be a better man. I think this is where the stigma for resolutions come into play for Christians. Resolutions are the activities we resolve to accomplish or omit from our lives to be better men, women, persons, citizens, etc. But we live in a fallen world and outside of the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit of God in our lives we cannot ever make ourselves better. We sin, we fail, we fall.

But there I was thinking about resolutions. Then it hit me, like a five ton heavy thing. Well, more like an Ephesians 5:25-27 ton heavy thing.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.

To sanctify means to set apart. Just as Christ is doing for His church. As a husband, when you marry someone you set them apart from the world. They are set apart for special protection, special care, for special attention, for a special purpose. When you get married, that is what you have done. You have taken her out of the world and set her apart because you want to devote special attention to her.

Christ loves the church and is committed to removing all the blemishes so He can present her in all her glory and beauty to Himself. This is the purpose of love. To bring about the perfection of the beloved.

If I can love my bride and treasure her in similar fashion as Christ loves the church then I will have a wonderful new year, God will be glorified, and my bride will be a blessed woman for it. I resolve to be more like Christ.

But I can’t do it alone.

Soli Deo Gloria!

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in Ephesians 5:25-27, husbands, resolutions, wives

 

The other “Amazing Grace”

Today Google is promoting the birthday of Grace Hopper. Also known as “Amazing Grace” in some “old school”progLanguages programming circles. Grace Hopper is known as the founder of the independent programming language, which led to the development of one of the first modern programming languages, COBOL. If you’ve ever taken an Introduction to Data Processing of Computer Programming course you will have certainly heard of COBOL. Remember what the letters represent? COmmon Business-Oriented Language.

I read today that the COBOL language had to have been created by a woman because of it’s long form text. You know, women seem to have much more to say about any given subject than their counter gender parts.

Setting aside the gender stereo-types I’d like to give a comparison of COBOL and a more modern language like C#  or C Sharp. The example will be used in the same framework or environment such as Microsoft .Net. Each chunk of programming code will process a button to call an event named “COBOL”.

COBOL.Net

METHOD-ID. button1_Click PRIVATE.
DATA DIVISION.
LINKAGE SECTION.
01 sender OBJECT REFERENCE CLASS-OBJECT.
01 e OBJECT REFERENCE CLASS-EVENTARGS.
PROCEDURE DIVISION USING BY VALUE sender e.
    SET PROP-TEXT OF button1 TO "Call COBOL".
END METHOD button1_Click.

C#.Net

private void button1_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
{
    button1.Text = "Call COBOL";
}

Notice the difference? Also notice the syntax? COBOL is rich in punctuation. Periods are key to the COBOL language, much like the braces (” {} “) in the C# language, they delimit the programming statements.

BTW, I believe C# was developed by a guy. :-)

 
 

The End of Prohibition

Yesterday, December 5th, 2013, marked the 80th anniversary of the end of, what is commonly referred to as,  prohibition repealthe “Prohibition Era”. I was reminded of this anniversary while listening to Dr. Albert Mohler’s daily podcast called “The Briefing”. Dr. Mohler referred to a story from The Huffington Post about the past prohibition of alcohol and pointed toward a discussion on how it’s time to seriously end the prohibition on other drugs as well. Mainly marijuana.

Regardless of where you stand on these issues, I’m sure you would affirm that alcohol and marijuana have had a major impact on our culture. I have had several conversations in the recent past concerning the legalization of marijuana and it’s comparison to alcoholic beverages. Some I’ve talked to think it would be a good idea to legalize all illegal drugs. Their argument tends to point to the gangs and related activities during the alcohol prohibition era, and how the repealing of Prohibition drastically minimized this gang activity.

One of the factors of post-Prohibition I’ve often wondered about is how long did Prohibition affect the culture even after the law was repealed? What were the alcohol consumption levels in the post-Prohibition world? I found a comment to address this very question after the Huff Post article and Dr. Mohler refers to it in his podcast. I quote the comment below:

So one wonders why the 18th amendment was ever passed. At least part of the reason was because drunkenness was such a problem, which led to domestic violence. Hence, many women were very much against alcohol consumption.
The amendment wasn’t a complete failure. Alcohol consumption levels dropped precipitously and were not reached again until the early 70′s.
Even after repeal, this amendment made a huge difference in people’s lives. So when seen in this light, it casts a different shadow on whether illegal drugs should be legal.

I also found another article by Dr. Jack S. Block in 2006 on public health that kind of endorses the statement from the above commenter. Believe me, I am not a “teetotaler” but it does give me food for thought on alcohol and it’s impact on our lives and culture. Again, regardless of your opinion on this issue, it makes for great discussion material. Please comment below.

 

Is a tattooed Jesus the gospel?

This morning I found this article among the many in my daily Feedly posts. After reading it I decided to post it jesus_tattoos_ll_131009_16x9_608here and see if anyone else would consider this to be the gospel message as you know it. Please take the time to read the short article, watch the embedded video in the article, and give me some feedback.

Update: Click on the image of the billboard to the right to be directed to the website and the accompanying video.

I will add my opinion later as I am looking for some honest, thoughtful, unbiased opinions.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in gospel, Jesus Christ, tattooed Jesus, tattoos

 

My God is an interactive God. Even in the little affairs of man.

Sometimes God will show us his involvement in our lives and use something so small and seemingly god pointing to earth insignificant, but it has a lasting impact. Today was my turn.

This morning my bride and I went into Omaha to pick up a few things from Lowes and Walmart. On this morning my bride’s car was the vehicle in back of the driveway, so we took it. The two big box retail stores are about 25 miles from our home, and we try to minimize our trips based on the current price of gas. As we were on our journey back home we approached one of the few highway stops along the way. This stop is the junction of two highways. I was driving, and as I accelerated to cruising speed, we heard a knock against the right side of our car near the bottom of the passenger door at the instant I was shifting into 5th gear. (mental note for later) We thought it must have been a rock or stick and drove on without much more thought. We’ve all done this. We might make a mental note to look at the car when we get home. But, normally we don’t stop along a busy highway to check out the car.

When we returned home and got out of the car to unload our purchases my wife noticed that the whole turn signal assembly on the front passenger side was completely gone. The wiring harness was still in place, but the whole turn signal housing was gone. It was if someone had removed it. We immediately knew that this must have been the sound we heard knocking against the bottom of the door on the way home. Gwai-gwai long duh dong!! (Firefly exclamation)

We just kind of shrugged our shoulders and shook our heads and unloaded the groceries. My bride was kind of rushed to get ready for work and eat some lunch so we kind of halfheartedly discussed the possibility of me returning to the scene to see if I could find the turn signal. My wife took our other car to work because the turn signal did not work properly and I proceeded to eat some lunch. But the turn signal would not leave my mind.

I really didn’t want to make the 20 mile or so trip back to where I suspected the turn signal escaped the car. I had other things to do today. If I did find it, it would probably be smashed, or, was I really sure about where the turn signal let loose, it was probably laying in a ditch somewhere out of sight and I’d never have a hope in finding it. These were the thoughts going ’round my brain. But it was totally nagging me. Was it God nagging me?

The scriptures tell us that God is involved even in the casting of lots. What most people call chance.

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. (Proverbs 16:33 ESV)

This is where God shows me, once again, his involvement in my daily life.

Needless to say, I drove back to the suspected spot. Along the way I spoke to God, asking him to show me his will in this minor thing. If I couldn’t find it, then it was his will. If I did find it, then it was his will. This comes from knowing a sovereign God. I drove past the suspected spot. Turned around and stopped at the same highway junction. I accelerated and shifted just like I normally do, but this time I stopped short of 5th gear, pulled over to the break down lane, and put my emergency flashers on. I waited for the traffic to clear so I could get out out of the car without fear of becoming a bug in the grille. I walked to the rear of the car just so I could back track a little bit and spotted it. A turn signal, laying in the grass, just off the break down lane. It wasn’t ten feet from where I had stopped. I bent down and picked it up. It looked like the right one. I carried it to the front of the car (doubt was basically gone by this point) and sure enough, it was the turn signal for my bride’s car. Now my skills of observation are pretty good. But I didn’t even have to walk more than out of harms way to find this little turn signal. I’m not that good. I could NOT have missed it. God was making it perfectly clear that it was him. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

The turn signal was intact and I was able to re-install it. It works perfectly.

Thank you God! Not only are you the awesome and mighty creator of the universe, but you are also the God who is involved in the little affairs of my life. I praise you for the divine reminders.

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

First come smiles, then comes lies. Last is gunfire.

For the past several weeks during my commute to work I’ve been reading through “The Dark Tower“, a series of DarkTowerComicbooks by Stephen King. Obviously this is a series on audio book. I save the reading for my text messages. :-)

The Dark Tower” books incorporate themes from multiple genres, including fantasy, science fiction, western, and horror. The books follow the life of a gunslinger and his quest toward a dark tower, which is both physical,and metaphorical.

Since the series is created under multiple genres, it lends itself to many a memorable quote from its many cast of characters. I want to mention a couple of them here. They come from the main character “Roland Deschain” the gunslinger himself. When asked what chance he thinks he and his companions have against a certain foe, he quietly says:

We don’t deal in chance. We deal in lead.

Ah, visions of Clint Eastwood as the “man with no name”.

The other quote comes at a time when Roland is reminiscing with his progeny. He is telling about his past dealings with some seemingly friendly folks who end up shedding the facade for their true devious, and malicious nature. He ends the tale with:

First come smiles, then comes lies. Last is gunfire.

This quote reminds me of something out of the book of Proverbs in the bible. The majority of this biblical book is in the context of an older man writing instruction to his son. The section of verses that I am reminded of are found in Proverbs 6:12-15.

A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.

Like the gunslinger above, the author of the proverb is teaching a warning to his pupil about those who flatter with their smiles, and talk. But in the end only evil and warring come from it. The verses that follow this passage above begin with “There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him:..” This is serious business.

Look for my book review of “The Dark Tower” book series coming to this blog in the near future.

 
 

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False Alarm

On 19 October 1856, as Charles Haddon Spurgeon was preaching at the Surrey Gardens Music Hall for the first time. Someone false_alarm in the crowd yelled, “Fire!” The ensuing panic and stampede left several dead. Spurgeon was emotionally devastated by the event and it had a sobering influence on his life.

In “C. H. Spurgeon Autobiography: The Early Years, 1834-1859” it is documented by writings of Spurgeon himself that when the yell for “Fire” went up during that tragic moment at the Surrey Gardens Music Hall, Spurgeon tried to proclaim the truth of the matter. But his booming voice could not be heard over the ensuing chaos, and the crowd began to panic. The truth was; suspected thieves and pick pockets had come into the assembly to try and take advantage of the crowded hall.

After reading about this in the above autobiography, my mind reflected on the following biblical passage in 2 Peter.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1 ESV)

As redeemed members of Christ’s church, we need to be on watch for those who would take advantage of a situation or their position in the local church. Although their methods may not be as loud as a thief  or pick pocket yelling fire, but as Peter warns in scripture, secretive methods can be just as destructive if not more.

From his vantage point Spurgeon could see the truth that the building was not on fire. In turn we also have a vantage point of the truth. God’s word. The more we read and study God’s word, the more we hone our God given discernment to recognize the falsehoods or the false alarm.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

Be ready Christian. Soli Deo Gloria!

 
 
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