Tuesday, December 30, 2008


For Christmas, I got a book called Hamburger America. It's about hamburger places from all around the country.

As I looked through it, I thought the dedication was funny. Here is what it said: To anyone who appreciates a good burger, and to my vegetarian wife, Casey.

Can you imagine being vegetarian while your spouse travels the country sampling hamburgers and practices the same obsession while at home?

So imagine my surprise this morning when on the Hamburger America blog, I see the former vegetarian wife enjoying her first hamburger in 17 years. The look on her face (click here to see) is bliss; the hamburger in her hand is a Green Chile Cheeseburger from the Bobcat Bite.

Welcome home Casey!

I have had a thing for hamburgers since I was a small child. I have fond memories of going up to the window at Tastee Freeze and ordering a sack for our family. We usually got them on a Sunday evening after spending the afternoon visiting friends. My dad would let me have three of them.

I loved family vacations because I could get hamburgers for breakfast at many of the restaurants where we went.

I remember becoming infatuated with the hamburgers from a place called Griffs at 742 South Broadway in Denver. There was something amazing about the mustard they used. I found out it was Kraft and bought a gallon of it, as that was the only way I could get it. Through the years, I would find it on occasion in smaller bottles, sometimes having to buy a case. One time my son Tom scoured the city with phone calls trying to find some for me. We headed way across town on the quest. Even though Griffs is still one of my favorites, I don’t think they use Kraft mustard any more.

Another great place for burgers is Jim's. The original location on south Federal is now called Grandpas (just as good). Their buns are about 6 inches and they smash the meat thin so it cooks up nice and crisp. I would rather have a burger that way instead of the thick ones that some places do. Lettuce, tomato, onions and mustard finish it out. Just like the giant hamburgers at Griffs.

I'm sitting at the park writing this while my kids play...I wonder what’s for dinner.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Theological Dictionary of the New Testament

The full version of the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT) is ten volumes. I have been using the abridged version (Little Kittel), which is about a sixth of the size of the original. On paper, it is still 1356 pages. I use the PDA version from Olive Tree.

This dictionary is much different than a lexicon. It’s not just the meaning of a word that is covered but it’s background and how it is used in both biblical and non biblical settings. For example, there is Old Testament usage in the Septuagint, rabbinical usage, usage in Philo and Josephus, the Apostolic Fathers and most of all, how the New Testament uses the word.

For a while I have been praying a verse from Psalm 19:14, Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. This led me to think of a verse from Luke 6:45, your words show what is in your heart. Now there is a verse that hurts. It hits a little too close to home. I’d rather not think that my heart is exposed by my words. I see two things: I can be very negative in what I say and at the opposite side, I don’t give out many compliments. That makes me see that I need a heart change.

This morning I was looking up some background on the word heart. It’s interesting how we use a word that speaks of a physical organ to represent so many other things. Here is a little from the TDNT:

Figuratively the heart stands a. for courage (2 Chr. 17:6) in various expressions, b. for the seat of rational functions (Dt. 29:3), c. for the place of willing and planning (Jer. 23:20), and d. for the source of religious and ethical conduct (1 Sam. 12:20).

2. There is in the NT a rich usage of kardia for a. the seat of feelings, desires, and passions (e.g., joy, pain, love, desire, and lust; cf. Acts 2:26; Jn. 16:6; 2 Cor. 7:3; Rom. 10:1; 1:24); b. the seat of thought and understanding (cf. Mt. 7:21; Jn. 12:40; Acts 8:22; Mk. 11:23; Rev. 18:7; Rom. 1:21); c. the seat of the will (e.g., Acts 11:23; 2 Cor. 9:7; Lk. 21:14); and d. the religious center to which God turns, which is the root of religious life, and which determines moral conduct (e.g., Lk. 16:15; Rom. 5:5; 8:27; Eph. 3:17; Heb. 8:10; 2 Pet. 1:19; as the heart of the sinner, Mk. 7:21; Jn. 12:40; Eph. 4:18; Jms. 1:26; as the heart of the redeemed, Mt. 11:29; 1 Tim. 1:5; 1 Th. 3:13; Col. 3:22; 1 Pet. 3:15; Jms. 4:8 , etc.).

A cool thing about using the Olive Tree version on my PDA is that I can tap on any of the above verse references and they open up in another window. That makes it so simple to look at a lot of material very quick.

My prayer and Bible study show I need a change of heart but it also shows that God can make that change in me. I am thankful for that.


For better and easier Bible study check out the links below.

Theological Dictionary of the New Testament

Olive Tree has products for Palm, Pocket PC, Smartphone, Blackberry and iPhone. Over 150 of the resources are free.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


A close friend of mine is laying in a hospital bed. Through God's miraculous intervention, he is alive. He overdosed on prescription medicine that was supposed to make his life better. God hasn't given up on him even though he gave up on himself.

How did he end up in this place? What series of decisions, one upon another, led to the downward spiral?

Here is what I know. It could happen to any of us. 1 Corinthians 10:12 says: Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

Every one of us is a sinner. Every one of us has a besetting sin. There is that thing we just can't get a handle on. The thing God wants to use to pull us toward himself and the thing the devil wants to use to pull us away from God.

Do you know what yours is? If not you had better find out.

What sin am I messing around with? Do I fool myself by thinking I have it under control?

Here is an old saying that is full of truth:

Sin will take you places where you don't want to go.
Sin will cost you more than you want to pay.
Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay.
When I give into some sin, it becomes my master. It starts taking up more and more room and making bigger and bigger demands. One bad decision leads to another. The spiral begins. The vortex pulls me to a place I never thought possible. My marriage falls apart, I lose my job, I find out what it's like in jail, I find out what addiction is. Or maybe I end up in a hospital bed or in the morgue.

I find out how dangerous sin is!

Lord Jesus, thank you for your mercy and grace. Thank you for forgiveness and the power to resist sin. Help each of us to realize the power of leaven. Help us to be intolerant of the little foxes that can spoil the vineyard. Help us to walk in Your Spirit. And have Your way with my friend and accomplish Your will in his life.


Sunday, December 14, 2008


Thoughts from: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.

We live in what one writer has called the "age of sensation." We think that if we don't feel something there can be no authenticity in doing it. But the wisdom of God says something different: that we can act ourselves into a new way of feeling much quicker than we can feel ourselves into a new way of acting. Worship is an act that develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God that is expressed in an act of worship. When we obey the command to praise God in worship, our deep, essential need to be in relationship with God is nurtured.
I think this applies to a lot of other areas as well. I have many days where I don’t feel like going to work. I may feel sick or my back may ache but I go to work because I have to. I don’t have sick days and no one else is going to help my customer. What I have found is that most of the time once I get going I feel much better. My back loosens up and I forget I wasn’t feeling well.

I could call to mind so many other things as well. So many times all I need is to get going. I will never feel like doing many things, especially if I don’t want to do them. I will always feel like doing the things I want to do. That is a recipe for disaster. That’s how little kids live.

Jesus dealt with feelings and actions when He chose to take up the cross. In the garden He made it clear that He didn't feel like being crucified. He put aside feelings and chose to act on our behalf. Hebrews 12:2 says that for the joy set before Him He endured the cross. He experienced incredible pain and torture because He looked forward to our redemption. That was the joy.

So, I push myself. I take the first step, I write the first word, I open the book, I get ready for work, I go to the meeting, I make the phone call. And once I have done those things I feel better and am glad I took action rather than operated by my feelings.

How about you?


Friday, December 12, 2008

Bible Knowledge Commentary

I have been using this commentary for a couple months now. It’s easily becoming one of my favorites.

On paper it’s two volumes and over 2500 pages. It’s not one of the most comprehensive but it seems to get to the meat of what you want to know about a verse or passage. Perfect when you are looking for what is most relevant and don’t need all the background. Written by professors from Dallas Seminary, it was published in 1985.

As with any commentary, it reflects the theological views of the editors. They are conservative, evangelical and hold to complete inerrancy of Scripture. Being from Dallas Seminary, they also write from a pretribulational, premillenial perspective. That said, I have found that various views are represented in the commentary when there is a difference of opinion in evangelical scholarship.

Last night in a Bible study the subject of divorce came up. I have done a lot of study on this subject. As the discussion was going on, I checked in the Bible Knowledge Commentary to see what was said related to several passages. In a few minutes, I learned some things I hadn’t known before.

I thank Olive Tree for making the Bible Knowledge Commentary available in a format that I can take with me. It’s on my handheld so I have it with me always.

BTW, what I learned was that even though I hold a fairly strict view concerning divorce and remarriage, the commentators of the second and third centuries held an even stronger view. This came from 1 Timothy 3:2 concerning an elder being the husband of one wife. The view was that any second marriage, even by widowers, prevented a man from serving. We may question that point but it sure is a long way from where we are today where people with multiple divorces serve as pastors, elders and deacons. These qualifications are not punitive but show what a high standard is required. Many of us don’t qualify for various reasons.

Anyway, I am glad to have access to the Bible Knowledge Commentary. It is a great tool in my Bible study arsenal.


Bible Knowledge Commentary

Olive Tree has products for Palm, Pocket PC, Smartphone, Blackberry and iPhone. Over 150 of the resources are free.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Thoughts from: Not the End but the Road by Gary Thomas.

Each of us will face different trials at different times, and these trials will cause us to change. Depending on our attitude, such challenges will leave us with an ugly, bitter, cynical, and mean spirit, or a stronger, more Christlike character. How we profit from or are crushed by our trials largely depends upon our state of surrender to God.

The virtue of surrender reveals the purity of our heart's motivation. If we come to God to be amply provided for, yet we find ourselves poor, we’ll leave God. If we come to God to be made well, yet find ourselves sick, we'll leave Him. If, however, our motivation is simply to serve Him and glorify His name, no event in life can shake our faith, for God can be glorified in pain or pleasure, wealth or poverty, comfort or stress.

Seventeenth-century French mystic Jeanne Guyon realized that to experience a hard circumstance that goes against our will is a gift. When accepted with the right spirit, it becomes an important means to a higher end: the presence of God Himself. As Paul taught, we are coheirs with Christ "if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory (Romans 8:17).
Not much I can add to that.


Friday, December 5, 2008


I came across this thought in a book, Not the End but the Road by Gary Thomas.

Penitence is being willing to exchange my old view of the things that I think will give me inner life for the things from God that really will give life and health.
Such a simple thought but so much truth. It made me think of how many times we hold on to something, afraid to give it up because it means so much to us, brings such security, or something else. But in reality, it is a poor substitute for the good thing God wants to give to us.

Fear holds us and lies deceive us. We are afraid that God wants us to give up something good or that if we surrender we will end up having to do something horrible. “God will send me to Africa or make me have a lot of children.”

The truth is that when we finally give in we find such pleasure, peace and fulfillment. Too bad we are such hard learners.

God always gives the best to those who leave the choice to Him.
Jim Elliot


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

This is a huge commentary. On paper it is ten volumes, 7744 pages, about 20 pounds and would take up about a foot-and-a-half of bookshelf space. Since I have it on my PDA I can take it with me all the time. Thanks to Olive Tree for that.

Originally published in 1866, it has been revised since then. The authors rejected the liberal error that was creeping in the German church of their time and maintained that the Old and New Testaments are the revealed word of God. This is a classic conservative commentary.

Each book of the Old Testament has an introduction and then an in-depth technical, historical and literary analysis of the text. Even with its depth, the everyday reader can understand what is said. In order to understand the New Testament, an understanding of the Old is essential.

I was thinking about Genesis 1:5, And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. I looked it up in Keil and Delitzsch. In the beginning of the comments, it establishes from the grammar that this refers to a normal day. It then goes on for pages giving all the background on why it is a normal day. “But if the days of creation are regulated by the recurring interchange of light and darkness, they must be regarded not as periods of time of incalculable duration, of years or thousands of years, but as simple earthly days.”

Having this resource on my PDA makes using it so much easier. I don’t have to grab various volumes off the bookcase when I want to look up something. It also makes it portable. I can use it while sitting in the park or while at church. I like to be able to wander through various resources during a Bible study or even while listening to a sermon. It’s so quick to look something up that I don’t miss a word that is said.

This is a great resource for a comprehensive understanding of the Old Testament. It’s easy to use whether you want a quick comment or detailed understanding of a word or passage.


Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Olive Tree