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Archive for January, 2008

Grace- the conflict (part two)

In part 1, Without Grace, I explored through short prose and poetry, the opposition of works to grace. Now I want to turn to the conflict within even when grace is accepted. We are at battle within ourselves, “For the good I want, I do not do,but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” (Romans 7:19). The battle originates in the desire to be autonomous, that is self-ruled. But why would a Christian who has understood the grace and mercy afforded him at the cross want to rule when Jesus has done all that is needed infinitely better? I believe that embedded in this autonomy is a deep seated fear that God does not have our best interest at heart: “The serpent said to the woman,’You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'” (Genesis 3:4-5) Translated to modern vernacular, “God is holding out on you.” Satan has tempted us with this line of thinking ever since. So there is our need, eternal and daily. There is God’s sovereignty and justice, unmovable. Between them lies God’s grace in Jesus, satisfying both. Several years ago I tried to express this conflict and solution in a song that you can look at by clicking on Grace to Live

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Without mincing words I move from the evidence for creationism to the ramifications for society of not accepting it in this 9th in a series article. You can read the article by clicking on At the Stem

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The Mathmetician

 

While I was administering a read aloud End of Course Test my thougths would wonder and gaze focus through the window to the dimly seen mountains in the distance while the student was considering and answering. This is a3 hour affair afterall: you, a student, a proctor, silence, no reading, no writing. One can understand random thoughts at a time like this- who’s worried about boredom, sanity is the point! One thing the student was doing tipped off a flow of consciousness similar to what follows (recorded later for posterity):

Punnet Squares and Nautilus fractals 

Kepler’s Planetary Laws and Newton’s for gravitation and motion

Net forces yet balanced, accelerations

Precisely balanced interaction of fundamental forces

Fundamentals, harmonics, and resolutions

Ratios of mass and atoms, atomic numbers and stable isotopes proceeding from neutron/proton ratios

Golden means and symmetries of body parts for balance, function, and beauty

Concentrations and equilibrium constants

Le Chatier balance and population pressures and triple points

French curves and planer and solid geometric equations

Coefficients of friction and laminar flow

Inertias, momentums, forces, energies, powers, efficiencies

Optical magnification, indices of refraction, and chromatic aberrations

Ohm’s Law, Coulomb’s Law, Kirchoff’s Laws

Integrations, derivations, trignometric relationships

Bernoulli’s, Boyle’s, Charles’, Gay-Lussac’s, Archimedes’, Pascal’s, Universal Gas Laws and Principles

Kinetic Theory and Collision Theory

Conservation of Energy, Matter, Momentum, and, Charge

What do these few ideas have in common? The Mathmetician has written into the fabric, solved simultataneously, and applied universally the equations…. the Infinite Algorithm!

(P.S. I know some of you like-minded types can add to this list…. come on, you know you want to.)

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Without Grace

There are only two religions in the world: works and graceWorks has many denominations and sects all with a desire to be like God but without the power to do so (“God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4).  Grace has only one denomination with many cults (reference previous sentence).  Without grace I would be hopeless, grasping, scheming.  And even with it I participate in cultic practices (reference previous two sentences).  I would…I would…well, check it out by clicking on Without Grace

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A second situation that prompted these thoughts happened last week over a period of nearly a week. One of my nephews drew fire over a blog entry that he had made. The opening salvo regarded whether Christmas has pagan or Christian origins. After 40 comments the discussion was moved over to a forum where two of my nephews and a friend of theirs attempted to ferret out the beliefs of two bloggers who had much more to say than what the beginnings of Christmas were. In the end  (198 more entries) it came down to the two not accepting any of the New Testament writings but Jesus’ words, claiming that His death was not a substitutionary atonement for the sins of those who trust in Him. They wanted salvation by Jesus’ words and the Law, not the grace He provided on the cross. Would you know how to defend the Gospel against very Scripturally and historically informed people who deny Jesus’ purpose for coming to earth? Afterall, Jesus never directly said, “I am God” or “Trust my death on the cross to forgive your sins.” I Peter 3:14b-15 says, “Do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence”. My nephews did an excellent job of drawing out the nature of the belief system, defending the truth with many Scripture references, and appealing to the two bloggers to repent and trust Jesus. Perhaps you think the solution is to stay out of blog forums, but how will you answer that colleague at the work or that soccer mom or that classmate who has a twisted view of Scripture? Twisted views of Scripture are common these days. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” I want to urge any believer reading this entry to make 2008 a year of studying the Word. And pastors 2 Timothy 4:2 says, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” Make exposition of the Word central and meaty. May all of us emphasize Bible study over book study, discussing the Word over discussing the weather, that we “may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9-10)

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I was urging one of my sons the other day to read the Word of God regularly. “Why?”, he says, “I know what it says.”  But there is a need in all of us to know and do the Word, as James 1:22-25 says, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.” We are forgetful; we need reminding. There is no standing still in your spiritual life. You are either going forward or backward.  Get in the Word; stay in the Word regularly both individually and corporately.

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Following are reasons and memories that cause me to be thankful and give praise to God for 2007 (in no other order than how they entered my mind)

good health, growth in my relationships with Beth and Laura and Ben, moving to my teaching position at the brand new Patton High, backpacking with Laura, family trip and Physics workshop in Williamsburg, strength to run and climb, climbing trip in August, spiritual growth and baptisms of Sam and Phil, National Board Certification, articles in the News Herald, opportunities to witness to students, building a deck with Sam, Dan, and Laura, Daniel’s Regional 5K race, Sam and Phil’s indoor and outdoor soccer, sharing in the men’s gathering and the weekend at Brad’s mountain home, Laura’s homecoming for the summer, Beth’s work at PCC, weekend at Ben’s, weekend at the Highley cabin, walks on the Greenway and about town

God is good all the time. His lovingkindness endures forever. May the name of the Lord be praised in all things and in my life from now on and forever. Amen.

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