Sunday, September 28, 2008

Amendment 48 - Colorado

“Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution defining the term “person” to include any human being from the moment of fertilization as “person” is used in those provisions of the Colorado constitution relating to inalienable rights, equality of justice, and due process of law?”
I support this amendment.

I know there is a split in support among prolifers. Some think it isn't the right time. Some think a rabid court will get a hold of it, strike it down and then it will be harder later to try for the same thing.

I think the amendment is good. It is righteous to try to bring protection for the preborn. It's hard to know what the courts will do. That path takes many years. By the time it would reach the Supreme Court who knows who will be there. If we wait to pass the personhood amendment, we still won't know what the courts will do then.

So let's work to pass it now and ask for God's mercy. If we get knocked down then we can dust ourselves off and figure out what to do next.

Thanks to Kristi Burton and her family for the initial work on this amendment and for getting it on the ballot.

For more info:
Colorado for Equal Rights

Philip

Sarah Palin’s Qualifications

Here is a letter my wife Wendy sent to our newspaper. I thought she made some great points.

I have listened to the ridiculous flap about Sarah Palin’s supposed lack of foreign policy experience. I have seen the stern, condescending looks on the faces of Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson as they attempt to put this little gal in her place.

I got to thinking the other night about the presidents who have been in office since I have been old enough to vote. Interestingly enough as I looked into to the political careers of those five presidents from Carter to the current President Bush, I discovered that four of those five presidents held no other federal political position prior to being president. All four of them were only lowly governors of their respective states. President Carter was a state senator and President Clinton was the attorney general of his state. None of this looks like they were more prepared in foreign policy than Governor Palin. Reagan’s state bordered Mexico as did Bush’s. The other two Presidents governed states that didn’t border foreign countries. All four of these men went straight into the presidency with foreign policy resumes just like Governor Palin’s. She, on the other hand, is seeking the vice presidency. You can be sure that she will take full advantage of her new position. Being the quick study that she is, and serving with McCain, who has extensive expertise in this area, will quickly give her the necessary acumen she will use.

I guess when mainstream media is determined to sink an intelligent conservative woman it might work to set up a straw man and shoot it down. Katie Couric must feel really smart when she asks a stupid question like “Why didn’t you have a passport until last year?” That idiotic question should’ve insulted her own intelligence. Good grief, I think most Americans can see past such a smoke screen.

I think we can all see what they’re truly afraid of. They know that with Sarah Palin’s obvious leadership abilities, intelligence and her willingness to rock the established system, a McCain administration would likely be followed by a Palin administration.

Wendy Faustin

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Providence

Thoughts from: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.

But to deviate from the truth for the sake of some prospect of hope of our own can never be wise, however slight that deviation may be. It is not our judgement of the situation which can show us what is wise, but only the truth of the Word of God. Here alone lies the promise of God's faithfulness and help. It will always be true that the wisest course for the disciple is always to abide solely by the Word of God in all simplicity.

Dietrich Bonheoffer
It’s hard to add to that. The message to me is complete reliance on God and making sure I know His Word so I can follow it and thereby, Him. That said, I know that knowledge isn’t enough. I have plenty of that yet still have a hard time putting it into practice.

I am amazed how many times well-meaning people (Christians) are pursuing a course of action that they would never take if they understood what God wants them to do. They have a desire to follow God but due to a lack of study of the Word of God, they end up missing it by a mile.

So, sometimes we have knowledge and miss it and sometimes we miss it because we don’t know it. My conclusion is that I need the grace and power of God and I need to be diligent in Bible study.

Most of all, once I know it I need to do it. If I want God’s provision, blessing and help, my life must be lived by the Word of God and the power of God.

Philip

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Louw & Nida Greek-English Lexicon


Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. This book is commonly known as Louw & Nida.

I have been using this lexicon for a few weeks now. It has taken a little getting used to. Now that I am more familiar with how it is set up, I have found it to be a great addition to my handheld library.

Instead of alphabetical arrangement, the words are arranged by semantic domain. Basically, this means the categories of words according to meaning and emphasis within a particular culture.

For example, under the domain Attitudes and Emotions is the sub domain Love, Affection, Compassion. In this section there are 25 words represented. As we look through them, we see the exactness of the Greek language. We also see why it is sometimes hard to make a literal translation from Greek to English. It's hard to take a Greek word and find a comparable English word. But that's off the subject.

What Louw & Nida does so well is to show the subtle differences between words. We get a better understanding of why a particular word was used and what the author was trying to get across. Looking at the words in their domains gives a different understanding than just looking up various definitions. We get a glimpse of how the native culture understood the expressions we are reading.

In English, we would say love God, love people, love other believers, love your husband, love your children, and love your relatives. In Greek, there are specific words for each of these concepts. There are also words for different types of love. There is a word for a deep yearning longing affection. Another for having deep compassion for someone. And another to show that you have opened your heart towards someone. On the other hand, how about a word that shows you have closed your heart to someone? It is used in an idiom that literally means to have restricted bowels. How about a sermon on constipated Christians?

I am thankful that Olive Tree has made this lexicon available in a handheld format. It’s not for everyone as it requires a decent grasp of New Testament Greek but for those with the language skills it will shine much light.

Philip

Monday, September 15, 2008

Repentance

Repentance is not an emotion. It is not feeling sorry for your sins. It is a decision. It is deciding that you have been wrong in supposing that you could manage your own life and be your own god; it is deciding that you were wrong in thinking that you had, or could get, the strength, education and training to make it on your own; it is deciding that you have been told a pack of lies about yourself and your neighbors and your world. And it is deciding that God in Jesus Christ is telling you the truth. Repentance is a realization that what God wants from you and what you want from God are not going to be achieved by doing the same old things, thinking the same old thoughts. Repentance is a decision to follow Jesus Christ and become his pilgrim in the path of peace.
From: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.

I thought this was a good description of repentance. It’s all about letting go. It’s not my way anymore; it’s time to admit I’m lost. My thoughts are not going to get me anywhere; I need the mind of Christ. I am weak; I need God’s strength. It’s time to let go of the old way and let God show me something that works.

A definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Isn’t that how we live our lives so many times? I’m a great person for living in a rut. I want to live differently bit I find myself traveling the same bad path and wonder how I got there again. Thank God for his mercy which is new each day.

Here is something I read today: The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. Psalms 145:14, 16, 18, 19

Thank you Lord for drawing me to yourself, I want all you have for me. Show me that path.

Philip

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Vincent's Word Studies

Thanks again to Olive Tree for giving me a four-volume, 2600 page resource that I can carry in the palm of my hand. On the bookshelf, it would take up about seven inches of space.

Vincent’s Word Studies is a cross between a exegetical commentary and a Greek lexicon. It goes into great detail on the vocabulary of the New Testament. Beyond just the meaning of the word, it gives background on the historical usage, how it is used in other places, writing style and other subtle nuances that you can’t put in a translation but can reveal through a tool like Vincent’s.

To use this tool you don’t have to be a Greek scholar. The intention of Marvin Vincent, from the preface, was to put the reader of the English Bible nearer to the standpoint of the Greek scholar, by opening to him the native force of the separate words of the New Testament in their lexical sense, their etymology, their history, their inflection, and the peculiarities of their usage by different evangelists and apostles.

This morning I was looking at John 1:1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The material went on for pages. Here is the breakdown of what was covered: in the beginning, the Word, was with God, and the Word was God. Each of those phrases was broken down and dissected. In the end, I could see the vast amount of truth and theology represented by this one verse.

Here is more from the preface that explains the value of a resource like Vincent’s:

The biblical student may therefore profitably combine two distinct lines of study; the one directed at the truth of scripture in mass, the other at the medium or vehicle of the truth in detail. A thorough comprehension of scripture takes in the warp no less than the woof. Labor expended upon etymologies, synonyms, and the secrets of particles and tenses, upon the wide range of pictures and hints and histories underlying the separate words and phrases of the New Testament, is not thrown away, and issues in a larger result than the mere accumulation of curious lore. Even as nature fills in the space between the foreground and the background of her landscapes with countless details of form and color, light and shadow, so the rich details of New-Testament words, once apprehended, impart a depth of tone and a just relation and perspective to the salient masses of doctrine, narrative, and prophecy.
Much of my Bible reading is just going through text. I read and ponder the words as they go through my mind. Other times I get hung up on a word, phrase or concept and tear it apart. Through that study, there have been occasions where I have found a particular interpretation or belief I had didn’t line up with the pure Word of God. It’s not comfortable to go through the process but very comforting to know that things I believe are rock solid and I can share them with confidence. That is the value of resources like Vincent’s and the portability of the Olive Tree Bible reader makes that kind of study possible anywhere.

Philip

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Use It or Lose It

I came across an interesting study this week. It seems that if older men do have not have regular sex they have a higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction.

As I think about this biblically, I keep sex in it’s proper place which is marriage. Here is the verse that came to mind: So don't refuse sex to each other, unless you agree not to have sex for a little while, in order to spend time in prayer. Then Satan won't be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:5

I guess the study would show another reason to follow scripture. If a marriage is chaste then the only legitimate sex is between the husband and wife within that marriage. This study would show that if a husband is denied that legitimate regular relationship, then the future might be affected as well as the present.

On the other hand the loss of desire may be a mercy when the marriage relationship is not following the biblical pattern. That would sure make it easier to resist temptation.

Philip

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Nonpartisan Liberal Christians

Nonpartisan Liberal Christians

My son sent me this link. Take some time to read it.

Parallel issue:
I have a real problem with the Democrats giving the illusion that they are people of faith or have any great concern for the truth of God. Sadly their deception is being swallowed by many gullible Christians.

The party and it's leaders are not happy unless the blood of the preborn is flowing from clinic to sewer. For someone like Obama, who has never met an abortion he didn't like, to act like he has a relationship with Jesus is a mockery. That's not judging his heart but his behavior.

May God have mercy on this country. To end up with Obama would be judgment.

Philip

Complete Word Study Bible

My Palm PDA is one of the things I would want if I were stranded on an island. I am able to carry a huge library in the palm of my hand. My only problem would be a source of electricity to recharge it.

A new Bible from Olive Tree that I have been using lately is the Complete Word Study Bible. It is an amazing resource. If you had the print version, it would take up about six inches of bookcase space. I have all of that in my hand and don’t have to flip through the five volumes.

This study Bible is what you want if you desire to understand Hebrew and Greek word meanings but aren’t fluent in those languages. The only thing I don’t like about it is that the electronic version only comes in the King James version. I would love to have New American Standard.

As I am reading I can click on a word and another window opens with the parsing of the word and it’s meaning. This shines a light that is sometimes hard to get from the English text alone. I have a few other language resources on my handheld but I am impressed with the depth of this one. Also in the resource are extensive book introductions, footnotes and cross-references.

If you owned the print edition, it isn’t something you could carry with you. Thanks to Olive Tree, I have it with me always.

A most important thing is to be faithful in reading God’s word. The cream on the top is having good resources that help with understanding and study.

Philip

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Discipleship

One aspect of world that I have been able to identify as harmful to Christians is the assumption that anything worthwhile can be acquired at once. We assume that if something can be done at all, it can be done quickly and efficiently. Our attention spans have been conditioned by thirty-second commercials. Our sense of reality has been flattened by thirty-page abridgments.

It is not difficult in such a world to get a person interested in the message of the gospel; it is terrifically difficult to sustain the interest. Millions of people in our culture make decisions for Christ, but there is a dreadful attrition rate. Many claim to have been born again, but the evidence for mature Christian discipleship is slim. In our kind of culture anything, even news about God, can be sold if it is packaged freshly; but when it loses its novelty, it goes on the garbage heap. There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness.
From: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Olive Tree

I have used the Olive Tree Bible Reader on a handheld for almost seven years. It has been my constant companion. I love having the Bible and other reference materials at my fingertips.

Here is what I carry with me: 23 Bibles, 2 commentaries, 2 Greek lexicons, 1 Bible dictionary, 9 Christian e-books, 3 daily devotionals, and 1 cross references. I access all of that through the Olive Tree Bible reader.

I have used the New American Standard Bible since I became a Christian in 1973. That was my first purchase from Olive Tree in 2001. Since then I have bought many other Bibles and reference materials. The cool thing though is that most of the material I use was free.

It is so nice as I do daily Bible reading to be able to flip to another Bible or reference material without having to go to the bookcase. It’s even better when I am at church or somewhere else. I can read in various versions, look up words and do advanced research any time I want.

So when I saw on the Olive Tree blog that they were looking for bloggers to try out complementary material I jumped at the chance. In coming posts I will write about the programs they made available. Until then, if you have a smart phone, Blackberry or other handheld check out Olive Tree yourself.

Philip

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