Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Big Mess Disappears?

Guess what?

All that oil that has been spewing out into the Gulf of Mexico for the past several months has suddenly gone missing...

From this ABC News article:
The numbers don't lie: two weeks ago, skimmers picked up about 25,000 barrels of oily water. Last Thursday, they gathered just 200 barrels.

Still, it doesn't mean that all the oil that gushed for weeks is gone. Thousands of small oil patches remain below the surface, but experts say an astonishing amount has disappeared, reabsorbed into the environment.
Possible reasons for this?
The light crude began to deteriorate the moment it escaped at high pressure, and then it was zapped with dispersants to speed the process along. The oil that did make it to the ocean's surface was broken up by 88-degree water, baked by 100-degree sun, eaten by microbes, and whipped apart by wind and waves.

I think it is way too early to assume that there might be no long-term effects of this in that environment, but if what some of these scientists are saying is true, then it is truly amazing what is happening in that water.

(HT: Michael Williams)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It All Adds Up

According to Psalm 19:7-9, the following statements are true:
Law of the Lord = Perfect
Statutes of the Lord = Trustworthy
Precepts of the Lord = Right
Commands of the Lord = Radiant
Fear of the Lord = Pure
Ordinances of the Lord = Sure
All too often I try to substitute "the Lord" for "the world" or "the United States" or "Jeremy".
The math never adds up correctly and it takes me a long time to erase the error from my mind.

God's forgiveness is complete, immediate and permanent.
My ability to forgive myself is not.

It all works out better when we stick to what we know is True.
The above statements provide a solid foundation to build our faith upon.
What math are you using?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Conversation Starter

“Can I talk to you when you have a few minutes?”
This has become a somewhat familiar greeting in my life over the past few years.

“Sure, I’ve got time now. What’s up?” I replied.

“Well, we can’t talk now because I want to talk to you about this with a bunch of other people.” he stated.

And that is how our conversation started. I went on to learn that this young man wanted to “talk” with me and a bunch of other people about a certain topic that he was pretty excited about. Having had many conversations with this guy in the past, I knew I needed to press the issue a bit further and find out what specifically he was wanting to say to me and others.

Evidently, this guy spends a lot of time on the internet interacting with people through various mediums. Through one of those interactions, he pointed a person to a song video that he really liked. The person responded with a link to a video they liked. He wanted to play this song he was pointed to for a group of people to “start a conversation”. I pressed the issue further, asking him what the conversation he was hoping to start might revolve around.

He then proceeded to tell me that the song he wanted to play for the group was a heavy metal song filled with men screaming something about God being dead. He said he had been listening to the song and the more he listened to it the more encouraged he was. He wanted to share that encouragement with others.

To say that I was puzzled is an understatement. This conversation was nowhere near familiar anymore.

“You want to play a song about God being dead for other people, as a source of encouragement?” I asked.

He then went into his reasoning behind why he thought this was a good thing. After listening to a couple of minutes of him trying to explain how such an endeavor could be remotely beneficial, I finally was able to express my thoughts on the matter.

I explained that I would not be sitting down with him or any group of people to listen to the song he had for several reasons. The first concern I had was the content of the song. If the general theme is that God is dead, then I can only imagine what any of the supporting lyrics might be. I cannot think of a reason why I would want to sit down with a group of students to listen to a song that proclaims the direct opposite of what I believe. He began to interject his thought that perhaps these guys weren’t saying they didn’t believe in God but that somehow they were using the song as a challenge to Christians to be more like Christ.

The second reason was tied to the first. I quoted Philippians 4:8 as my basis for not wanting to hear the song and for not wanting him to play it for others. His claim that perhaps these guys weren’t necessarily spreading a bad message through the song was almost more than I could take. After praying that God would grant me more grace and mercy than I would, in my flesh, immediately respond with, I told him that I believe that the musicians performing that song were spreading the lies of Satan.

He began to challenge me again with his na├»ve “this is a call to action for Christians” speech, but I wasn’t going to allow him to continue in his errant thinking. I informed him that the Bible is very clear in that “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34-37 and Luke 6:45) and that by the mere words that he had told me were in the song, I felt confident in my assessment of their message. I then spent a few minutes explaining to this young man why I felt that he should no longer listen to the song in question. I once again encouraged him to not dwell on things that are blatantly against God (Philippians 4:8 again).

At the end of the conversation, he seemed to understand where I was coming from and what I was trying to convey. I walked away from this interaction somewhat befuddled and exasperated. It was hard for me to understand how someone could hear such an outright hate-filled message against God and somehow think and honestly believe that sharing it with others would be a source of encouragement to others.

I’m prayerful that my words of correction and instruction spoken in love were received and heeded (2 Timothy 3:16), but I cannot control the response to what I said. I can only control my words and actions in the situations that present themselves to me. I’m thankful that God reminded me of specific Scriptures to help teach through this somewhat odd conversation.

I pray that God would continue to work in me and help me to capitalize on such opportunities in every area of my life.

What Does This Mean?!!?

Here's an instant classic that had me rolling and still causes me to smile:

I love how this guy is so torn over what this might mean.
Wikipedia can help you figure that out:
A rainbow is an optical and meteorological phenomenon that causes a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the Sun shines onto droplets of moisture in the Earth's atmosphere.
It's a beautiful display of God's handiwork.
Unfortunately, people tend to worship the created more often than the Creator.

And here's the auto-tuned song, which is almost as awesome as the original in its hilarity:

I love the internet!

(HT: Abraham Piper)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Only Jesus - TuesdayTunes

Lyrics for "Only Jesus" by Marc Heinrich:

When the trial comes
And all hope seems lost
I will find my strength
In the mighty cross

Only there
Only Jesus
Only there can i cast my burdens down

Only Him
Only Jesus
Only there is joy in sorrow found

If my love grows cold
And my faith feels lost
I will find my heart
In the healing cross

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fourth of July 2010

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776