Monthly Archive for June, 2011

Some Blogs

Discussion at an old post: Should Christians Observe the Sabbath?

Should Christians Observe the Sabbath?

Please join in if you’d like.

Also see:
Wisdom and Sabbath Rest

I was deeply offended by a Catholic church

First of all I was raised Catholic, baptized as a baby, attended mass almost every Sunday, learned about who God, Jesus and Mary were from my mom and often talked to God. After I became born again by reading the book of John in college, I started attending a Lutheran church, just because it was within walking distance and I liked it. I didn’t really care much about denominations. I still couldn’t really tell you the differentce between a Methodist and a Baptist.

On Saturday I went to a funeral at a Catholic church of my great aunt who I was very close to. I was on the verge of tears most of the funeral and it was a very nice mass/service. I was very much looking forward to communion for a number of reasons. When the time came, the priest said that anyone who is Catholic may receive communion and everyone else who believes (or something like that) can come up, fold their arms over their chest and receive a blessing. At first I was very angry, then I just started crying uncontrollably. I’ve never been so offended in my life. Ironically, one of the passages read was from John where we are to eat His body and drink His blood and then he mentioned that in the eulogy. I asked my mom what to do and she said just take communion. I was so embarrassed at how hard I was crying. I know part of it was grieving and it was bound to come at some point anyway. I hate crying in front of people, especially when I have to walk in front of them.

I admit that part of the reason I was sad is because I have very fond memories of communion as a child. I was so excited when I finally got to my First Communion and was able to participate. I’ve always loved anything having to do with relationship with God. And this priest is telling me I can’t participate in the very things that were read and talked about even though I myself am a born again Christian.

I felt an arrogant and artificial division cut right through thousands and thousands of people. When I was “in”, I never realized this division. Now that I’m “outside”, I obviously didn’t understand it when a denomination of the Christian religion would try to set itself apart as the denomination or even The Church. Obviously those of us who have major problems with the Catholic denomination feel it has glaringly incorrect “theology” which is man-made, but I’ve always thought of it as Christian.

I’ve never been hurt by the or a church before. I now know how it feels although this was only one-time thing, it wasn’t my church and it’s not anything like many of you have had to go through. I told my mom and three aunts about this after the mass and they said this is how it usually is. At one of my cousin’s weddings, they said nobody outside of the Catholic faith could take communion. I hope the differences in how Catholics view communion aren’t so different that it wasn’t a bad thing for me to participate. But like one of my aunts said, God knows what’s in my heart and that’s what’s important.

I didn’t hold it against the priest. He’s just following protocol. He even sat at our table during the luncheon and I immediately thought of “forgiving anyone who offends you” (Colossians 3:13). Someone must have told him I have a bad back and he got me a much better chair. (Boy did that help!) I thanked him for a very nice service, which it otherwise was, as far as Catholic churches go. In fact, because of the liturgy, it was probably even better than a lot of non-denominational churches.

So that’s my story. I think this is very wrong but I don’t think I can do anything to change the way the Catholic denomination operates or sees itself. I wonder how much this is up to individual congregations or archdiocese or whatever the corporate structure is.

Edit – for any who aren’t regular readers and just so that nobody misunderstands–I’m a mature Christian and don’t let little things like this affect my view of who God is or who His church is. Messed up people, including myself, shouldn’t change our view of the God of the Bible. Scripture is the only way to know God in truth (sola scriptura) and it’s by faith alone (sola fide, which is given to us by God, as Stan mentions below) that we come to God through Christ. The church comes in to help us learn about the Bible, build each other up, pray for each other, etc. Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), not imperfect people. If people could only get that straight, which is for another post.

Expecting the Trials of Life

Trials, we must distinctly understand, are a part of the diet which all true Christians must expect. It is one of the means by which their grace is proved, and by which they find out what there is in themselves. Winter as well as summer–cold as well as heat–clouds as well as sunshine–are all necessary to bring the fruit of the Spirit to ripeness and maturity. We do not naturally like this. We would rather cross the lake with calm weather and favorable winds, with Christ always by our side, and the sun shining down on our faces. But it may not be. It is not in this way that God’s children are made “partakers of His holiness.” (Heb. 12:10). Abraham, and Jacob, and Moses, and David, and Job were all men of many trials. Let us be content to walk in their footsteps, and to drink of their cup. In our darkest hours we may seem to be left–but we are never really alone.

–J.C. Ryle

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: John, volume 1, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1987], 338,339. {John 6:15-21}

Taken from: J.C. RYLE QUOTES

Calvinist Myths

From Reformed Quotations:

A.W. Pink: “Now people say that is what election means, that God has spread the gospel feast and some poor sinners conscious of their deep need come to the Lord and say, “Have mercy upon me,” and the Lord says, “No, you are not among My elect.”

Now, my friends, that is not the teaching of this Book, nor anything like that. That is absolutely a false representation of God’s truth.

Now then, here is the Truth…

–A.W. Pink, Compel them to come in! (video 6:24 in length)

Myths About Calvinism – Tim Challies interviews Dr. Ken Stewart, the author of Ten Myths About Calvinism: Recovering the Breadth of the Reformed Tradition.

Going To Church

Church congregation services on the Lord’s Day are not meant for people to show their staus as a “good” person or the genuinness of their faith. Such an attitude makes an idol out of it.

Can We Be Free From Worry and Anxiety?

No. Not most of us anyway.

Scripture tells us that God doesn’t want us to be anxious. Did you know that “don’t be afraid” is the most frequently repeated command in the Bible? In fact, Jesus Himself said not to worry (Matthew 6:25-34). This is because we’re supposed to be doing something else instead—praying (Philippians 4:6,7).

That’s right. Our anxieties are meant to drive us to God in prayer.

Read the whole article, Chasing the Freedom from Worry Phantom, by Laura Hendrickson.

I found some book titles or parts of them that are very misleading:

  • The Worry Cure
  • Guide to Overcoming Anxiety
  • 10 Simple Solutions to Worry
  • The Worry Solution: Using Breakthrough Brain Science to Turn Stress and Anxiety Into Confidence and Happiness
  • How to Stop Worrying
  • Positive Steps to Anxiety-Free Living

Here are some of what I think are great book titles (not necessarily endorsed):

  • When My Worries Get Too Big! A Relaxation Book for Children Who Live with Anxiety [I think Too Big is a great term]
  • What If . . .: Daily Thoughts for Those Who Worry Too Much
  • Coping with Anxiety
  • David and the Worry Beast: Helping Children Cope with Anxiety

A book I own that has had great reviews that I’m very much looking forward to reading (that doesn’t say Cure, Solution, Worry Free etc. in the title): Running Scared: Fear, Worry & the God of Rest

running scared

Review: Syma S107 Remote Control Helicopter

Syma S107 Remote Control HelicopterI was asked to put a banner ad on my site (which I wouldn’t do for something unrelated to the subject matter of this blog) or review a remote control toy sold by xenonproject.com. I don’t normally respond when someone asks for posting content of something that’s off topic from this blog.  But I’ve been wanting to try a remote control helicopter for a few years now. I chose to review the S107G Mini Gyro 3 Channel Helicopter by Syma, which they sent to me free of charge for this review. I hope this one time you’ll allow me to take a rare departure from the main objective of this blog, Christianity, and have some fun in a different way. If you are coming here from a Google search and want to see what Christianity is about, please see Christianity Explored and feel free to explore this site.

This helicopter is the smallest in their line and is made for indoor use only. Even being too close to a slight breeze from a fan or a furnace register can throw it off. The cost is $25 plus shipping, which is inexpensive, but as you’ll see, it’s not cheap. It’s 5 inches long, 2 inches wide and three inches high but seems much bigger, probably because of the blades.

The flying time is about 6 minutes which could be seen as a plus or minus. The rechargeable battery (included within the helicopter but is replaceable) needs to be small because of how small the helicopter is, which also keeps it affordable. This makes it good for taking breaks when working in your home office, having fun with the kids or just learning how to fly yourself. Time isn’t wasted playing video games for hours on end. The helicopter is recharged via USB on your computer and takes a maximum of 30 minutes. There is a red light in the USB connector that turns on when the recharging is complete.

There are only two negatives I can find with this product. The remote control uses six AA batteries, which is an awkward number for those of us who use rechargeable batteries, in addition to being of a lot of batteries, especially since they’re not included.

The other is aesthetics. The plastic gears and metal sides of the helicopter are visible. It would be nice to have a panel covering them, but again this would add weight, reduce flying time and increase cost, so I’m certainly willing to live with that. You will see this in the photographs I shot below.

On to the good stuff. Flying this is great. Once I learned that the up lever on the remote needs to be turned up harder than I would have thought to get it up and flying, it’s fairly easy to get it going. That doesn’t mean you will be able to do figure eights in a day but you’ll be taking off and landing, hopefully without crashing much or at all. Start out slow.

This is a 3 channel helicopter which includes left/right, up/down, hovering and landing movements.  It can spin around while hovering and move up or down while turning at the same time, with smooth, stepless controls on the remote–up/down only with the left lever and 360 degrees motion with varying speeds (distance from center to outer edge) with the right lever. There is also a button to turn if the helicopter wants to turn either to the right or to the left (after crashing?) so it’s possible to have it fly in place without moving at all, which enabled me to take those pictures while it’s flying–one hand holding the remote and the other hand holding the camera using autofocus and flash bounced off the ceiling.

Flying is something that takes a lot of practice, which is part of what makes it fun. I try to improve one notch each time I fly it. As a person who struggles with chronic depression, one of the rules learned right away is to do something fun every day. This can be one of those things. The improvement in learning how to fly it better each day makes it something to look forward to. The video shown below is something I aspire to and will take quite a bit of practice to be able to master. The most difficult part is when the helicopter is facing you–the remote control stick needs to be moved to the right to move the helicopter to your left (its right).

Regarding crashing–I don’t want to overstate this, but I’ve had some bad crashes and it has come out just fine. The reason I’m hesitant to overemphasize this is because an important part could very well break at any time, for all I know. I just want to be careful in what I say. Fortunately they have 18 replacement parts for virtually the whole thing. But its durability is very impressive, probably due to the metal body, quality construction and light weight. Edit: From what I’ve read, the rear rotor might be the most fragile. You can find it for about $5 including shipping.

Here are some pictures taken while flying it in our living room. There is a light on the under side of the front of the helicopter that flashes between red and blue when it’s turned on. You can see this best in the video they provide at their site at the bottom of this page.

The little square you see in the metal just below the yellow part on the side of the helicopter is the proprietary USB outlet. You can see the light in the front is blue here. In the second picture you can see a very small ON/OFF switch in the same spot on the other side and the light in the front is red. Click on a picture to see a larger one.

Photo of S107 Flying

Picture of the S107 Flying

I had the opportunity to email customer support and they were very friendly and helpful.

I would highly recommend this helicopter. I would like to look in on some of the enthusiasts out there and see what types of maneuvers I can work on. I’ll try not to look at the higher end helicopters which can have cameras mounted on them. Maybe someday.

If this is too small or the wrong color or the wrong vehicle for your tastes, there are a slew of other options at their site.

Where to buy:

Note: I suggest buying these from a reputable dealer like xenonproject.com because there are fakes out there including some sold through Amazon who is selling fakes sold by Planet Stuff. Be sure you know you’re buying the genuine Syma because from what I’ve read, it makes a big difference.

Christianity Explored

A Day in Genesis According to Allen Ross

Allen Ross, in his exposition of Genesis, Creation and Blessing, mentions that there are poetic elements in the creation account in Genesis:

What God created is here called “the heavens and the earth,” a poetic expression (merism) signifying the whole universe. Other examples of this poetic device are “day and night” (meaning all the time) and “man and beast” (meaning all created physical beings). “Heaven and earth” thus indicates not only the heaven and the earth but everything in them. Genesis 2:4 also uses this expression in a restatement of the work of creation throughout the six days.

–Allen P. Ross, pg 106

Within that framework though he believes that the term “day” means a 24 hour period. This may come as a shock, so I hope you’re sitting down and not using one of those standing desk things.

The meaning of the term “day” (yôm) in this chapter [Genesis 1] has received varying interpretations. Although the word normally means a twenty-four-hour day, it can also mean a longer general period of time (Isa. 61:2) or an idiom “when” (as in Gen. 2:4). In this chapter, however, it must carry its normal meaning. Support for this view includes the following: (1) elsewhere, whenever yôm is used with a number, it means a twenty-four-hour period; (2) the Decalogue bases the teaching of the Sabbath day on the six days of creation and the seventh day of rest; (3) from the fourth day on, there are days, years, signs, and seasons, suggesting that the normal system is entirely operative; and (4) if yôm refers to an age, then the text would have to allow for a long period of “day” and then a long period of “night”—but few would argue for the night as an age. It seems inescapable that Genesis presents the creation in six days.

–Allen P. Ross, pg 109

However, that paragraph is all the space he spends on the subject. It’s either not that important, it’s a simple and obvious concept, or both. In any case, on to the rest of the book. I like his style.

Also see:
Is a “Day” Really a Day in Genesis 1? Here’s What the Hebrew Scholars Say! which goes farther in every way than I want to get into here

The Complete CEB is Available Online

Many of us received a free New Testament of the Common English Bible. The Old Testament has now been completed. This may be old news to some by now, but I thought I would post it. I’m not very familiar with the translation and this post isn’t for discussion of pros or cons.

This was posted on the Bible Translation mailing list. (I don’t know why someone like me is subscribed to it.)

The complete Common English Bible (Old Testament, Apocrypha, and New Testament) is now available online at www.commonenglishbible.com. Other sites such as youversion and Bible Gateway will be live by June 15. Same with eBook editions by June 15 (for $5.95) for all the mobile devices, such as Kindle or Olivetree. Print Bibles will be shipping in July.

-from Paul Franklyn,
CEB Associate Publisher and Project Director

P.S. The CEB is already on Bible Gateway.

Common English Bible

Free Photo: Lily of the Valley

It’s been a while since I offered a free photo so I thought this might be a decent one. Click on it for a larger one. See all of the Free Photos under the Categories in the right sidebar.

Picture - Lilly of the Valley

These images may be used for the web for non-profit use. If you use an image directly to sell a product, it would be nice to be compensated in a small way. If so, contact me using the address listed in the sidebar to the right. If you have banner ads on your blog or affiliate programs, that doesn’t matter. If in doubt, don’t worry about it.

The Ten Commandments – PDF Files

Because of my embarrassment over not being able to name all of the commandments, my wife and I are going to memorize them. I made a document for her at her request and may give one to anyone in our Bible study who may need one. Here is a PDF file The Ten Commandments and also a large print version The Ten Commandments – Large Print.

I chose the HCSB because I like how it reads. These are just the commandments without much of the text that comes after them so be sure to read these in your Bible or memorize all of verses :3-:17.

These are made to be printed. The font of the commandments in the PDF files isn’t the greatest for screen viewing if you want to get picky about typography.

The Ten Commandments

Exodus 20:3-17

1. Do not have other gods besides Me.
2. Do not make an idol for yourself.
3. Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: (see context)
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. Do not murder.
7. Do not commit adultery.
8. Do not steal.
9. Do not give false testimony against your neighbor.
10. Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Passage of the Day from The Message

If you don’t like The Message Bible translation, please ignore. Which would also mean no need to comment. Every once in a while I find an interesting one.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 The Message
3 All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel!4 He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.5 We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort-we get a full measure of that, too.

I Felt Led To…

In a recent post I made a comment about some saying “If you feel led…”, which as commenter Nancy pointed out is usually just encouraging people to pray or speak about something.

Here is a post that addresses a similar but wider and dangerous issue that explains exactly how I feel think about these things.

I Felt Led To… at THE REFORMED READER

Spurgeon on Suffering, via Piper

This is taken from Reformissionary:

John Piper’s verbal biographies are wonderful. I’m listening again to his bio of Spurgeon and just had to throw up a few quotes. They are rocking me today in the midst of all the stuff our family is going through. Here’s the Piper audio, and the manuscript [1995].

It would be a very sharp and trying experience to me to think that I have an affliction which God never sent me, that the bitter cup was never filled by his hand, that my trials were never measured out by him, nor sent to me by his arrangement of their weight and quantity.

Another…

I dare say the greatest earthly blessing that God can give to any of us is health, with the exception of sickness … If some men, that I know of could only be favoured with a month of rheumatism, it would, by God’s grace mellow them marvelously.