Monday, June 25, 2012

Look away

"This looking to Jesus implies that we look away from ourselves. There is to be no mixing up of quack medicines along with the great remedy. Such a course is always sure to fail. Thousands fail in just this way, forever trying to be healed partly by their own stupid, self-willed works, as well as partly by Jesus Christ. There must be no looking to man or to any of man's doings or man's help. All dependence must be on Christ alone. As this is true in reference to pardon, so is it also in reference to sanctification. This is done by faith in Christ. It is only through and by faith that you get that divine influence which sanctifies the soul—the Spirit of God."—Charles Finney

<idle musing>
Amen and amen! There is no remedy for sin outside of Jesus; we can't do it. And, when I say remedy for sin, I mean remedy for sinning—cut it off at the root! Let Christ excise it as you live dead to self and alive in him. In Him is the key to all life, resting and abiding.
</idle musing>

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Want a good cry?

This is good. Jim, my boss, forwarded it to me; I think it is on Scot McKnight's Weekly Meanderings. A short excerpt, but do yourself a favor and read the whole thing!
“Alan Strand called the other day.” Every time I’ve seen Alan Strand, he’s wearing denim coveralls, a worn-through cap.

“He was trying to figure out whether to spend the time he’s got left restoring another tractor, buying a new engine for it — or if he should try to track down his daughter. He hasn’t heard from her in ten years. Doesn’t even know where she is.”

Now this seems pretty obvious to me.

“And he decided?”

“The tractor.”

I shake my head, only a bit stunned. The words dribble out. “He intentionally considered the options, voiced them to you… and then decided the tractor?”

“Yep. He knew how to do the tractor. Little risk. The daughter, she was all risk. And you know….”

I can’t stop shaking my head. None of this makes any sense.

And yet it does.

<idle musing>
Sadly, it does...
</idle musing>

Friday, June 22, 2012


We did a physical inventory today at Eisenbrauns. It took us about 7 hours; we have too many books! You need to buy more from us so there aren't as many to count next time :)

thought for today

"Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?...“Therefore, house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!"—Ezekiel 18:23, 30-32 TNIV

<idle musing>
Encouraging words. The door is open to us; God offers us a new heart and a new spirit. Why would anyone turn him down? I know, in a single word: "Pride!"
</idle musing>

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thought for today

But some of his subjects refuse to sympathize with this movement. They say, "Charity begins at home," and they are for taking care of themselves in the first place; in short, they are thoroughly selfish. It is easy to see what this would be in a human government. The man who does this becomes the common enemy of the government and of all its subjects. This is sin. This illustrates precisely the case of the sinner. Sin is selfishness, It sets up a selfish end, and to gain it uses selfish means; so that in respect to both its end and its means, it is precisely opposed to God and to all the ends of general happiness which he seeks to secure. It denies God's rights; discards God's interests. Each sinner maintains that his own will shall be the law. The interest he sets himself to secure is entirely opposed to that proposed by God in His government.—Charles Finney

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thought for the day

“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty."—Malachi 3:5 TNIV

<idle musing>
Hmmm...God doesn't seem to make a distinction between sins, does he? We tend to rank them in order of nastiness, but to God treating the poor with contempt is just as evil as sorcery. And, fear of the LORD appears to be linked to behavior—whodda thunk!
</idle musing>

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New reading technology

gotta love those Romans and their new technologies:

HT: Jim West

Monday, June 18, 2012


The neighborhood has been entranced lately by about 6 baby skunks. The mother was apparently killed and left 6 babies behind. I didn't realize they could spray at such a young age, but some people found out the hard way! It ends up they can spray at 8 days old. Yikes!

I'm not sure what's going to happen to them, but for right now, they sure are cute! Just don't get too close...

I must admit to being glad we will be moved by the time they get to adulthood. Isn't that a bit selfish on my part? No one wants to kill them because they are so cute. And the animal control people don't want anything to do with them, either.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What stands in the way?

It is not the greatness of your sins, but your pride of heart that forbids your salvation. It is not anything in your past life, but it is your present state of mind that makes your salvation impossible. Think of this.—Charles Finney

<idle musing>
Finney had the ability to demolish people's excuses, didn't he? Reading him can be almost maddening at times—he steals your excuses and leaves you naked before God. Of course, that is a very good place to be!
</idle musing>

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mercy, not justice

None can properly be said to trust in the mercy of God unless they have committed crimes, and are conscious of this fact. justice protects the innocent, and they may safely appeal to it for defence or redress. But for the guilty nothing remains but to trust in mercy. Trusting in mercy always implies a deep, heartfelt conviction of personal guilt.—Charles Finney

<idle musing>
And without that, one can't be saved...
</idle musing>

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thought for today

"He never can save us by merely taking us away to some place called heaven--as if change of place would change the voluntary heart. There can, therefore, be no possible way to be saved but by simple faith."—Charles Finney

<idle musing>
Ain't it the truth. Furthermore, why would someone who doesn't want to spend time with God now want to go to heaven? They would be miserable—not that hell is a decent alternative! But, the whole purpose of salvation/justification/sanctification is to be "partakers of the divine nature" as 2 Peter puts it...
</idle musing>

Monday, June 11, 2012

What's going on?

Wow. About 2 weeks much to do. Here's a quick summary of what's been going on.

Over Memorial Day weekend, I picked strawberries—both Saturday and Monday. Lots of strawberries—lots and lots of strawberries. We froze them whole this year. On Saturday, I opened the first bag and it smelled just like fresh strawberries; they tasted great, too. We'll be enjoying those for the next 12 months.

We've been going through stuff and getting rid of some things. It's so easy to accumulate stuff. We got rid of lots before we moved out of the house when we sold it, but it seems like we still have too much. As we repack it for the longer trip, we're taking a hard look and making some serious decisions.

On the weekends, we've been taking a bike ride, trying to see some of the spots for the last time. This weekend, I ended up going further than I intended because I wanted to see this or that hill or woods "one last time." It was hot! 91ºF hot. But, it was a good ride; on the long rides, I tend to get into a pace and let my mind meditate on the Lord. And right now there are lots of things to bring before him!

On the work side of things, we are making a transition to a new back-end computer system (I've mentioned that before). It is set to go live on July 2. But, the web side of things is bogged down. That's a nightmare that has been going on for over a year. I won't even go in to it...

The responses of people to my leaving Eisenbrauns have been interesting. Not a few people think I am retiring. I find that humorous. As it sits right now, I will be assisting at Sawtooth Cabins, doing a freelance proofing job with some Hebrew in it, and—in breaking news—working remotely for Eisenbrauns in some fashion that is being determined as we go along.

I don't think I am retiring :)

Hopefully, I will find time to post some more book excerpts, but I haven't had much time to read lately. I wonder why!

Friday, June 08, 2012

In Christ

“The importance of these elements [received by faith, joined to Christ in death and resurrection, and being 'in Christ'] is that together they demonstrate that justification is not a mere declaration of pardon that could be bestowed without any real change taking place in the sinner. Although the term refers to a change of status from sinner to righteous, justification is inextricably linked to the change in character that comes about through being united with Christ.”—New Testament Theology, page 440

<idle musing>
Indeed! Justification without transformation is an impossibility...If God gets you, he will transform you. If you aren't transformed, I doubt you ever really submitted your will to his. Strong statement, I know, but it is true!
</idle musing>

Thursday, June 07, 2012

An angry God?

“Paul's gospel is the announcement of what God has done to save humanity from its plight. The caricature that Paul portrays an act of mediation by Christ between sinners and a hostile God who needs to be persuaded to forgive them is a travesty of his teaching. The same should be said of portrayals of a God whose wrath and love are in tension with each other. This is proved by the persistent stress on the love, grace and mercy of God toward sinners.”—New Testament Theology, page 435

<idle musing>
Amen! Good preaching! I couldn't have said it better myself!
</idle musing>

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Jesus as Lord

“On the whole, Paul used the term Lord for God the Father when he is writing in a context influenced by the Old Testament, and especially in quotations, but he uses it for Jesus the rest of the time. Here also he can take it from Old Testament texts and assume that the reference is to Jesus rather than to God the Father without attempting to justify his interpretation.”—New Testament Theology, page 427, footnote

<idle musing>
The whole argument about when Jesus was recognized as God has always left me baffled; I stand firmly in the Hurtado camp that says "from the beginning of the church." This is but one more reason.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Evil in the world

“All interpreters [of Romans] must recognize that the universe is fallen and the power of evil is active, and that we cannot explain its origin in a universe created by a sovereign God; that God has plans and can work to bring them to completion; that he treats people as persons and not as things; that there is such an activity as prayer to which God makes genuine responses; that he wants all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth; and that he certainly works in human lives by the Spirit.”—New Testament Theology, page 334

<idle musing>
All of which is true. Jesus said that in the world we would have tribulation—but that he had overcome the world. As I wind down my time at Eisenbrauns and try to get everything done—an impossible task—I am reminded of that. It is trivial stuff that doesn't matter in the eternal scheme of things—except for the way I respond to it. Do I respond to the setbacks on the web site with anger and frustration? Or, do I respond with thanks to God? "Count it all joy, my brethren..."
</idle musing>

Monday, June 04, 2012

The offer of salvation

'...the message that is passed on does not simply say, 'Everything is now all right, because God has reconciled the world to himself'; rather it says, 'We urge you on behalf of Christ: be reconciled to God'. Sinful humanity is thus called to respond to God's initiative, and it is evident that without the answering response no reconciliation can take place. The offer must be accepted; peaceful relationships must be initiated. The clear implication is that if people do not respond to the gospel, they continue to live in alienation from God.”—New Testament Theology, page 295

<idle musing>
Everything is not alright apart from Christ. But, we have hope in Christ, and Christ alone; he makes all things new and reconciles us to himself.
</idle musing>

Friday, June 01, 2012

Cosmogony and existence

"Why did Second Isaiah wish to make cosmogony and exodus parallel? For the same reason as the tradition that he inherited did: to give cosmic breadth to the historical event. As an incursion into the domain of Pharaoh the king of Egypt the exodus had worldwide effects! Those effects were underscored by associating the victory over Pharaoh with the primordial victory that brought the world into being. Both acts resulted in the emergence of a new people. From Second Isaiah's rhetorical perspective, Israel in Babylon found itself in a position like that of the Hebrews in Egypt. Away from its rightful, divinely given land, the people had ceased in any true sense to be Yahweh's people. To become fully alive again, they needed to embark on a new exodus-land taking, a new cosmogony."—Creation Accounts in the Ancient Near East and in the Bible, pages 170-171

<idle musing>
Fascinating concept. Sort of like the born-again symbolism that Jesus uses in John 3...
</idle musing>