Peace that passes understanding

September 2nd, 2012

So I was looking this morning for a passage I’ve always wanted to memorize, but never have (Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”) and I read before it to get some context. The previous paragraph consists of “Rejoice in the Lord always… Let your reasonableness be known… do not be anxious… by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Emphasis mine)

I don’t think I ever really read that last part and let it sink in (It’s still sinking in). I looked at the peace of God as the end that was achieved through prayer. After all, Paul just said “Do not be anxious about anything,” so it makes sense that he would tell us how to obtain peace, the opposite of anxiety. But it doesn’t say “And the peace of God… will give you warm happy feeling inside and stop you from worrying,” it says it will “guard your hearts and minds!”

I want to spend more time meditating on this, but this is kinda huge. If I’m working on guarding my heart and mind against the lies of Satan and deceit of my flesh, the peace of God is what I need. When you’re at peace, you’re not trying to obtain anything, and when you’re not trying to obtain anything, there’s no desperation where Satan can whisper “Maybe this will fill your need.” If that’s what you hear when you’re at peace, you’ll answer “What need? I’m at peace. I lack nothing. God is taking care of me.” This is pretty huge.

Maybe I should stop being surprised when God shows me something completely unexpected from a familiar (or even memorized!) verse… It’s kinda how His Word works. It’s “living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword.”

Our Unchanging God

January 30th, 2012

Reading the beginning of Amos today showed me another “New Testament” concept that was really in full force in the Old Testament, giving more credence to the unchanging nature of God.

Amos was written during the divided kingdom, and was addressed to the northern kingdom of Israel (the southern kingdom was referred to as Judah). The first two chapters of Amos contain 8 announcements of judgement on different nations. Each one starts with “Thus says the LORD: ‘For three transgressions of [Enter nation here], and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, ‘” but then proceeds to only list one or two sins. The fact that each list gets cut off leaves the reader waiting to hear about another city that’s really gonna get it. Finally (so a Jewish reader would believe), we get to number 7, and the prophet Amos names Judah. The heart of Israel would leap inside them as they find out that this whole long section is building up to the judgement of Judah, their enemy. However, their list is also cut short. The 8th and final nation that Amos points to is Israel, giving a full list of 4 sins, as well as a hefty section on judgement.

All that is not the point of this post, but shows the main reason all these judgments were announced. Israel is painted as the worst offender, worse off than the pagan nations around them, and more deserving of judgement. However, in addition to this message, we get a glimpse of God’s character and desires.

Amos 1 and 2 is one of a handful of passages that shows God’s workings in other nations. Israel was God’s chosen people to be sure, but chosen for what? Through the covenant He made with Abraham, we can see that God’s purpose for Israel was to bring the entire world to Himself. They would be the example through whom the world could learn about God (unfortunately, as a result of Israel’s constant rebellion, they were only a bad example not to follow throughout most of the Old Testament). This passage shows that during all His workings with Israel, He was still at work in other nations, and held them accountable for their own actions, even when it had nothing to do with His chosen people.

In the New Testament we read that God loves the Gentiles, and Peter is called to minister to them. Since it’s so obvious here, and not so much in the Old Testament, we get the idea that God didn’t care about the Gentiles back then. Well, God is unchanging, and has always loved and pursued a relationship with the entire world, hoping to bring them all to Himself.


October 16th, 2011

So a few weeks ago I got into a discussion with a couple guys at school about how we needed a good nearly-literal Bible translation with no verse numbers in it. I looked around and couldn’t find anything other than the old KJV (which is great if you know that language).

So I decided I’d download the NET Bible eBook and take the verse numbers out myself. It took me a little while to get started, but with some new understandings about how ePub’s worked, and the right free software, I was able to get it done lickety-split!

I thought man, it’d be great to be able to distribute this but upon checking, that would be a violation of the copyright on the NET Bible. However, after reading further, I found out that their heart was to not get in the way of ministry, and their copyright only existed because they had some issues with how public domain Bibles were being used, and wanted to avoid that. So I sent an E-mail out asking for permission to distribute my little “reader’s edition” of the NET Bible (I basically just removed verse numbers, chapter headings, and paragraph headings). 17 minutes later, the Executive Director (One David Austin) at E-mailed me back saying I had permission to provide the free download! It’s the first time I’ve had any official kind of permission for anything!

So download it already! If you don’t have an E-reader you could use it on your computer (try Calibre). It’s great for reading through large chunks of scripture or reading a smaller chunk over and over again for study.

Weatherbug Fail

September 3rd, 2011

Vikings vs Patriots

October 31st, 2010

Ok, I don’t know if anyone else caught this, but everyone seems to be ignoring it. Longwell just kicked a ball that was then caught by… Farwell! Is that not funny to anyone else?

SMS, MMS, and Me

March 18th, 2010

Woohoo! I just finished getting MMS (pix messages) working on my phone, and since I now have an unlimited texting plan, I have finally put my sweet sweet script into action! Here’s what happens:

  1. Whenever anyone sends an E-mail to my main E-mail address, a copy is sent to my text script.
  2. The text script checks to see if it matches certain criteria (like being about craigslist or ebay)
  3. If it gets past the filters, the E-mail is subjected to some more formatting/filtering
  4. The freshly formatted E-mail is sent to my phone as a text (or pix message if it’s too long for a text)

This thing was crazy fun and exciting to get set up and I’m stoked about being able to get select E-mails on my phone without paying for any kind of data plan. So if you’re a friend of mine and want in on this, my script is set up to handle a bunch of different E-mail addresses/phone numbers, so if you ask nicely and I have time, I can totally set it up for you!

Grace in Leviticus

October 21st, 2009

Yeah, I was surprised too.

I think that everyone (myself included) seems to think that the Old Testament is full of laws and legalism, and that Grace only came after Christ died. Well after reading today in Leviticus, I’ve decided to read the rest of the OT from a new perspective: One of grace. I’m going to search my little portions of scripture each morning for how God’s grace is evident.

In particular I’m talking about Leviticus 25, where God hands down the law of the Year of Jubilee. Talk about grace! If you’re down and out and have to sell yourself into slavery, just wait until the 50th year, and everything gets reset. How’s that for security! All the land you’ve sold comes right back to you and everything. This is an idea of government that really beats welfare and unemployment benefits. What a great way for God to keep all his people fed while still keeping them honest (if it’s the 49th year, and someone wants to sell you a field, you know you’re only renting it for a year, and you’ll pay accordingly).

I just thought that was a cool example of God’s gracious love for His people, even in the midst of the book of laws and regulations.

Old Testament

October 16th, 2009

So as I was reading Leviticus 14-15 this morning, learning all about the ceremonial laws concerning leprosy and “bodily discharges” (a kinda gross topic), I couldn’t help but think: So what can I glean from this passage? Surely this stuff isn’t directly applicable to my life, and I’ve never been one to squeeze out an application where there was none (ie. this verse talks about atonement, and has 11 words, averaging 5 letters each… so that means that I should pray for 5 people at 11:00 today). So of course this brought me to “What’s the point?”

Well, in my own finite and flawed mind, all I could come up with is “Familiarity.” We read and study the Old Testament to become familiar with Gods laws and Jewish culture, which brings about a better understanding of those parts of scripture that have active applications.

Plus, knowing what God spoke as law can help us to understand what God thinks is important. And regardless of whether or not that law is still in effect, it helps us to understand His character, which helps us to make decisions about things that aren’t directly addressed in scripture.

So go ahead… break out that Bible and read a nice lengthy chunk of Leviticus.


October 14th, 2009

I read from Galatians this morning (sort of a random decision on my part since I didn’t have my Bible that had my place marked), and was taught a thing or two about freedom from the law.

It seems to me that this is a freedom to serve God, without being worried about each individual commandment. It’s a freedom to make mistakes, without worrying about God turning His back on us. It’s a freedom to do what we think will please God, without consulting with a lawyer who has memorized the Torah. It’s the freedom of knowing that we are forgiven, and that nothing can take that away.

So how can you live today in this freedom? Who can you minister to without worrying about the rules?

Before and After

June 7th, 2009

Consider these two photos…
The catastrophic chefThe good chef

I think I’ve gotten a lot better at what happens to a kitchen after I cook…

The Pie!

So I’m holding this beautiful pie that Justin and I made. Justin pretty much handled the produce for me, and his wife Amber gave me a couple general baking tips, but that beautiful lattice weave was all me! The rhubarb was given to me by one of my parents’ friends from the mission field, and it came fresh out of her garden. That could be a big contributing factor to the fact that this pie was easily among the best I have ever tasted (and before you think I’m just stuck up, Justin, Rachel and Amber thought it was good too)! So maybe this will be the beginning of a pie-baking trend for me, or maybe I’ll be too lazy to do it again… but my taste buds are hoping for the former rather than the latter.

Justin and I and our creation

Justin and I and our creation