Uncategorized

Review – “The Gift of Psalms”

My most recent review was on “Word of Promise – The Gift of Psalms”. This book, put out by Thomas Nelson, is a great study book, and a good supplement for one’s daily Bible reading. Contained in the book are 50 of the best loved psalms, followed by a one-page devotional on the opposing page that ties in with the psalm text, not dissimilar to the “Our Daily Bread” devotional booklets. Inside the book, Lori Jones gives great insight into the meanings and messages behind the psalms. As an extra addition to this 101 page book, the “Word of Promise” Dramatic Audio Theater presentations are included on three discs, with well-known actors reading the text. The term “Dramatic Audio” is slightly misleading…it is not a radio theatre, it is a Dramatic Reading by a wide variety of different people. Artists include well known figures such as Sean Astin, Richard Dreyfuss, Jesse Mccartney, Joan Allen, Marcia Gay Harden, and more. These readings are very well done, and add excitement and passion into the psalms that are read. All in all, this book is an excellent read, and will bring the psalms to life as you have never read…or heard them before.

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009 Uncategorized 109 Comments

Sickness and Health, pt. 2

As I was writing the post below, I realized I’d have to go a little farther with it. Not only do I need to talk about
physical health, but also spiritual health…which is far more important.

When the Fall occurred, man lost his perfection, and became marred and imperfect. Man began to sin…and this is where this post merges with the previous. Man’s previous “normal” for behavior was always good…because man was innocent and didn’t know right from wrong…there was no wrong except eating the fruit of the tree. After sin, the default suddenly changed to sin.
Genesis 6:12, “God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. ”

Horrible things were happening…murders, licentiousness, worship of other dieties, all because sin had become the norm. After the flood, God instituted sacrifice as a sort of forward-looking type of Jesus Christ. Finally, God sent His son, Jesus to die for our sins. This allowed us to have a way to reverse our default! When we accept him genuinely, our default changes to wanting to serve him. However, our flesh still wars against our spirit, because “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” However, with God’s help, we can keep on the right side, and please him, because by ourselves, “our righteousness is as filthy rags”, but with Him, “He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”. May we all learn to seek Him as we should.

Tags: , , , , ,

Thursday, January 29th, 2009 Uncategorized 26 Comments

Sickness and health

I was doing some thinking this morning on the way to work, and thought I’d post my ruminations.
I haven’t been feeling too well yesterday and today…my stomach is a little rumbly, I have a little headache, and I’m tired…not a very good combination. So I was thinking on my drive to work this morning how terrible it was that I was sick, and how I couldn’t wait until I got “back to normal”, etc. 
Then…it hit me. What exactly IS normal? Before the Fall of Man, “normal” was complete health and happiness. Then, after the first sin was committed, Adam and Eve (along with their descendants) were condemned to sin and suffering for the rest of their lives on earth. So then, the “normal” changed.

As I was driving, I suddenly realized…the sickness I was experiencing WAS normal! Even though we only spend about 1/300 of the year being sick, we live in a world filled with sin. It is only by God’s grace that we are not sick every minute of our lives. We would not even be ALIVE but for God’s grace. Each day that he gives us is a gift. Giving us health on TOP of that is a MAJOR blessing! For this, I am very grateful, and can learn to thank Him every day for the grace he gives me, whether  in sickness or in health.

Thursday, January 15th, 2009 Uncategorized 62 Comments

Microsoft Windows 7 Beta released!!

I am so excited! Microsoft has finally released the much anticipated “update” Operating System to Vista, Windows 7!!!
It is currently available in download form from several sites, including www.microsoft.com and www.download.com.
This release of Windows is supposed to fix a few known bugs with Vista, speed up the system a bit, provide ease of use enhancements, and an updated UI (User interface).

I’m currently downloading it, and am going to either create another partition on my hard drive to load it on, or run it as a virtual PC through Windows. I’ll keep updates here as to how it works!

 

EDIT:
Here are some professional reviews on it…

http://www.downloadsquad.com/2008/11/10/10-genuinely-kick-ass-features-to-get-excited-about-in-windows-7/
http://mintywhite.com/tech/windows-7/will-windows-7-be-a-worthwhile-upgrade/

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 Uncategorized 38 Comments

Pictures

Well, I finally decided to get around to adding some more pictures, seeing as it makes my blog more interesting. :)
So, I’ll go ahead and post some more pictures I’ve taken!

Click on the picture to view larger image. Enjoy!

Holly on our tree

Holly on our tree

Ice on holly...my favorite picture I've ever taken

Ice on holly...my favorite picture I've ever taken

Our street last winter

Our street last winter

Fence in snow last winter

Fence in snow last winter

Waterfall near Leavenworth, WA

Waterfall near Leavenworth, WA

Mountains in Leavenworth, WA

Mountains in Leavenworth, WA

Bee on a flower

Bee on a flower

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009 Uncategorized 189 Comments

WordPress Update Plugin

I just found the COOLEST wordpress update plugin! Normally, wordpress is kinda difficult to upgrade, because (especially on a site like this) you don’t have access to the server files, and even if you did, you probably wouldn’t know where to start! Well, this plugin does it all for you! You can either click “automatic”, and have it do everything, or you can do it the semi-auto way, where it asks you before each step, and lets you choose options such as to download the backup .zip file it creates. VERY easy, basically all you do is click the “next step” button, and it backs up, modifies, and does everything for you! Amazing. :)

Here’s the link, for any of you interested. It’s a plugin, so it has to be uploaded to the server originally, but if you ask nicely (and you’re part of the EC mod/admin team), I’ll do it for you. :)

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-automatic-upgrade/

Tags: , , , ,

Monday, January 12th, 2009 Uncategorized 83 Comments

Blog now works with IE!

I have now given my blog a facelift, with some new cool javascript, and new look, as well as fixing the problem with IE, so you should now be able to view it on any browser!

Tags: , , , ,

Sunday, January 11th, 2009 Uncategorized 104 Comments

Review – “For these Tough Times”

I recently finished reviewing “For these tough times – reaching toward heaven for hope & healing” by Max Lucado…and was pleasantly surprised. When the book showed up in the mail, I was shocked at how small it was…only 79 pages, large font, and a very small nearly pocket-sized book. However Max packs a lot into this very small book that will provide insight and healing for those reading it. He answers such profound questions such as “Where is God?” “How can He allow good things to happen to bad people?”, and “Why should I have hope?” On page 2 of the book, in the introduction, he writes:

“God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are they even like ours. We aren’t even in the same neighborhood. We’re thinking, Preserve the body; he’s thinking, Save the soul…’I'm going to live before I die,’ we resolve. ‘Die so you can live,’ he instructs. We love what rusts. He loves what endures. We rejoice at our successes. He rejoices at our confessions. We show our children the Nike star with the million-dollar smile and say, ‘Be like Mike.’ God points to the crucified carpenter with bloody lips and a torn side and says, ‘Be like Christ.’”

Although this book is definitely a short, quick read, and could be longer, it packs a large punch for it’s size. It is well worth the read, but make sure you read it with an open heart to whatever God might be saying to you through it.

Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 Uncategorized 87 Comments

Review – “House of Dark Shadows”

House of Dark Shadows is the harrowing tale of a would-be dream house gone wrong, in book #1 in “The Dreamhouse Kings” series. The King family moves away from home, to a new house in a small town in California…but David and Xander King have a bad feeling about it. It would seem to be the perfect setting…an old Victorian style house nestled away in the forest. The house is filthy on the inside…dirty dishes still reside in the sinks, grimy windows, items left sitting around…and a footprint in the dust, but their parents are certain that with a little cleaning, it will be their dream house. However, things still don’t feel right…sounds come from the wrong direction, strange noises happen, and they keep thinking they see a man inside the houses. While exploring the house, David accidentally gets shut into a small linen closet…and finds himself in their school, located several miles away. Xander repeats this trick successfully…and things get stranger from there. The linen closet is a portal, which opens to a locker inside their new school. The other things that occur are beyond imaginable. Their dream house slowly becomes a house of horrors. Every door could lead to a portal of some sort…that could take one anywhere…even into the past.

Then, right as the kings consider leaving…something happens.

Robert Liparulo does an excellent job of writing this fiction novel that will have readers hungry for his next book in the series. This makes an excellent young adult fiction novel, with a storyline that will grip the reader throughout the story.

Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 Uncategorized No Comments

Some thoughts

Hey guys…as promised, here’s my long post! :D I’ve been working on this for a little while, with quite a bit of research. Here’s an exposition of the main passages brought up on both sides. I’ll present the scriptural exposition, facts, etc, and then give my conclusion at the end.

The main questions to be addressed are: are women in the military OK? Women in teaching positions at a church? Women in management? What’s the woman vs. man hierarchy? Women and self defense/fighting alongside spouses?

Unless otherwise noted, all passages were taken from the New King James version. I’ll put a little context before or after the verse if needed, and then italicize and bold the relevant text. All the Greek definitions I give will be verbatim how the Strongs concordance records them.

Titus 2:4-5: “That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”
This passage is Timothy giving instructions on how women are to behave. Let’s look at the Greek definition of “homemakers”. These are all of the definitions given in the greek:
“Caring for the house, working at home
a) the (watch or) keeper of the house
b) keeping at home and taking care of household affairs
c) a domestic”

OK…interesting. Women who are mothers are clearly told to stay at home…”keeping at home”, “domestic”, etc. They are also told to be “obedient to their own husbands”…which definitely throws the feminist movement out the window. However, notice that it says “OWN”, and not “A”. This passage does not necessarily mean that a woman is to be obedient to ANY man who comes along.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35:
34 ¶ Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.
35 And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church

I’ll let the Bible expositor Barnes do my talking for me on this one.
“Verse 34. Let your women keep silence, etc. This rule is positive: explicit and universal. There is no ambiguity in the expressions; and there can be no difference of opinion, one would suppose, in regard to their meaning. The sense evidently is, that in all those things which he had specified, the women were to keep silence; they were to take no part. He had discoursed of speaking foreign languages, and of prophecy; and the evident sense is, that in regard to all these they were to keep silence, or were not to engage in them. These pertained solely to the male portion of the congregation. These things constituted the business of the public teaching; and in this the female part of the congregation were to be silent. “They were not to teach the people, nor were they to interrupt those who were speaking.”–Rosenmuller. It is probable that, on pretence of being inspired, the women had assumed the office of public teachers. In #1Co 11 Paul had argued against their doing this in a certain manner–without their veils, (#1Co 11:5;) and he had shown that, on that account, and in that manner, it was improper for them to assume the office of public teachers, and to conduct the devotions of the church. The force of the argument in #1Co 11 is, that what he there states would be a sufficient reason against the practice, even if there were no other. It was contrary to all decency and propriety that they should appear in that manner in public. He here argues against the practice ON EVERY GROUND; forbids it altogether; and shows that on every consideration it was to be regarded as improper for them even so much as to ask a question in time of public service. There is, therefore, no inconsistency between the argument in #1Co 11 and the statement here; and the force of the whole is, that on every consideration it was improper, and to be expressly prohibited, for women to conduct the devotions of the church. It does not refer to those only who claimed to be inspired, but to all; it does not refer merely to acts of public preaching, but to all acts of speaking, or even asking questions, when the church is assembled for public worship. No rule in the New Testament is more positive than this; and however plausible may be the reasons which may be urged for disregarding it, and for suffering women to take part in conducting public worship, yet the authority of the apostle Paul is positive, and his meaning cannot be mistaken.”
“For it is a shame” (verse 35). It is disreputable and shameful; it is a breach of propriety. Their station in life demands modesty, humility, and they should be free from the ostentation of appearing so much in public as to take part in the public services of teaching and praying. It does not become their rank in life; it is not fulfilling the object which God evidently intended them to fill. He has appointed men to rule; to hold offices; to instruct and govern the church; and it is improper that women should assume that office upon themselves. This evidently and obviously refers to the church assembled for public worship, in the ordinary and regular acts of devotion. There the assembly is made up of males and females, of old and young, and there it is improper for them to take part in conducting the exercises. But this cannot be interpreted as meaning that it is improper for females to speak or to pray in meetings of their own sex, assembled for prayer or for benevolence; nor that it is improper for a female to speak or to pray in a Sabbath-school. Neither of these come under the apostle’s idea of a church. And in such meetings, no rule of propriety or of the Scriptures is violated in their speaking for the edification of each other, or in leading in social prayer. It may be added here, that on this subject the Jews were very strenuous, and their laws were very strict. The Rabbi’s taught that a woman should know nothing but the use of the distaff; and they were specially prohibited from asking questions in the synagogue, or even from reading. The same rule is still observed by the Jews in the synagogues.

Proverbs 31:10-28:
10 ¶ Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her

This passage talks extensively about the “virtuous woman”. Interesting things to note would be that in every verse mentioned, she is shown taking care of her household. She prepares the food (vs. 15), is mentioned as a seamstress (vs. 19, 22, 24), volunteering and helping the poor and needy (vs. 20), etc. So even though she is mentioned as “working”, it’s ONLY in the context of the home/land. She is shown as keeping the house in order, and also being productive by sewing clothes, and selling them at the market.

Judges 4:4-14:
4 ¶ Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time.
5 And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.
6 Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “Has not the LORD God of Israel commanded, ‘Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun;
7 ‘and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand’?”
8 And Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!”
9 So she said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.
10 ¶ And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; he went up with ten thousand men under his command, and Deborah went up with him.
11 Now Heber the Kenite, of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, had separated himself from the Kenites and pitched his tent near the terebinth tree at Zaanaim, which is beside Kedesh.
12 And they reported to Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor.
13 So Sisera gathered together all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth Hagoyim to the River Kishon.
14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the LORD has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the LORD gone out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him.

Not too much to say on this…this is not a good argument for women in battle. Nowhere in this passage is Deborah mentioned as fighting…for several reasons, not the least of which was that it was not appropriate for women to fight in battles. Secondly, Deborah is never mentioned as going down with Barak in verse 14. John Gill, the Bible expositor, says:
“and Deborah went up with him”. [With Barak] and his ten thousand footmen, to the top of Mount Tabor, to encourage him and them with her presence, and give her best advice when to descend and engage the enemy.”
Prophets and prophetesses did not engage in battle in the Bible…they were simply advisors to the kings, etc. It’s also good to note that although there were relatively few prophetesses in the Bible, women teaching and preaching is FORBIDDEN in the N.T. (as shown above in previous reference). Also, when Deborah says “the Lord will sell Sicera into the hands of a woman”, that is implying that that was not normal, or right. Men were supposed to go to battle. However, Jael did no wrong in killing the evil king…it was something done for Israel. Sicera came to HER tent…she wasn’t actively out trying to find him and kill him. He was in her house, and she killed him where he slept. This is NOT engaging in battle…one might even call it self defense.

Esther (whole book):
This is another argument that does not work so well. Esther was first of all, placed in the position of “leadership” against her will…by a random choice of the King. She was FORCED to go to the palace because of the decree, and had no choice in the matter. Secondly, she did not really have much authority, as is plainly evident by the fact that she could not pass laws, etc (otherwise she would have passed a law to keep the Jewish people safe, after Haman’s decree). Third, she demonstrated the proper submission to her husband by deferring to him on these matters. Fourthly, she was placed in her position BY GOD to save her people…but she did not fight. It’s ludicrous to try and draw the conclusion that women should be allowed to fight in battle, simply because Esther “saved her people”. She was right in God’s will…she wasn’t usurping authority, she deferred to her husband, who albeit was pagan, and was just “there”.

Genesis 3:16-19:
16 ¶ To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”
17 ¶ Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”

Here, right at the beginning of the Bible, gender differences are CLEARLY identified. God is VERY specific about gender roles. God says to the woman that the man is the head…”he shall rule over you”.
That’s pretty clear. That word (in the greek) means:
1) to rule, have dominion, reign
1a) (Qal) to rule, have dominion
1b) (Hiphil)
1b1) to cause to rule
1b2) to exercise dominion

Those definitions (which are all of them) are also very clear.
Now let’s look at the man…God says “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life” Man must work to get food…this is also reinforced, where it says “In the sweat of YOUR face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground“. God is talking to the MAN, not the woman. He’s telling the MAN that when he works, he will have to work hard, because the ground will be covered with weeds.

So anway…this is good enough for now on the Bible verses. Let me go ahead and come to my conclusions:

Women in Battle:
The Bible nowhere says that women actually engaged in battle. Deborah, Jael, and the woman who cast the millstone down from the ramparts, were not engaging in battle. Self defense is one thing…battle is another. Men are ALWAYS the ones described as going out to battle.
However…even if you feel this to be unconvincing (I certainly don’t), then consider this. God created MALE and FEMALE. Females were created FEMENINE. However, when a woman goes to the military/law enforcement/etc, most of their feminine identity is removed. Hair needs to be close-cropped, women must wear men’s clothing, Gender roles start disintegrating, as women talk, act, dress, etc, like men. This is true…I’ve seen it happen. Women are much more emotional than men are…and when a woman goes into a field like war or law enforcement, they are taught to destroy their emotions. This creates a hard, emotionless, often careless heart. This is DEFINITELY not a characteristic of a feminine woman, which is also supposed to include loving maternal instincts.

Another problem comes when women go into such fields…the possibility of being raped becomes MUCH higher…especially in the military. In a male-testosterone dominated field, a woman is opening herself to FAR more than she should. The danger then comes not only from the outside, but also from the inside.

Women in teaching positions at a church:
I believe this has been clearly shown to be unbiblical, from the passages I referenced above.

Women in management:
I see nothing in the Bible to prevent an UNMARRIED woman from having a job/means of income, or being in management over men, until she gets married. Women are told not to be in authority over their HUSBANDS, but not other men. However the scriptures make it clear that married women should be keepers of the home, but as Proverbs shows, that does not preclude women from having some sort of job they do while at home, such as making things to sell at a market, or growing veggies to sell, etc. However a married woman’s MAIN goal should be to take care of the house/children (see Proverbs 31) while the man does the grunt work at work.

Woman vs. man hierarchy:
The Bible makes it clear that the husband is the head of the family, including the wife. The structure is Husband 51%, wife 49% in decision making, but equality-wise they are equal. The wife is NOT inferior to the husband. God knew that in order to avoid conflict, there should be a leader in the home…and he chose man. That is both a blessing and a curse…us men get to call the final shot, but we are also responsible to God for our decisions, whether good or bad. The wife has NO responsibility before God as to the path the home goes in. She is allowed to advise her husband (who should listen carefully to the wife, because often the wife is right), but if the husband picks the wrong way, the wife is still rewarded for honoring her husband.

Women and self defense/fighting alongside spouses:
This issue was brought up as well, in one of the past discussions. I agree with what several people have said, when they say that there’s no problem with this. A woman is a help meet for a man…and if the man is in jeapordy of losing his life, or being severely injured, yes, the wife should help! It is indeed the “mama bear” instinct in a woman, to keep her children from harm as well. I see nothing at all in scripture to forbid this happening, other than the one passage that describes two men fighting, and a woman grabbing ahold of…ahem…sensitive parts on the offending party…in which case, that is wrong. That’s the only passage I see.

Anway…those are my thoughts!
Kuddos to you if you made it all the way through (WITHOUT skipping!!!).

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008 Uncategorized 47 Comments

Tags