Wednesday, August 30, 2006

We are all imperfect

Ellen has an interesting post about Samson which she uses as an example of how God uses imperfect people deliberately to bring glory to Himself. In the comments section there was a comment about how it was surprising that the Protestants view the people of the Old Testament as flawed. I find it surprising that the it's not univerally accepted that they are flawed since the entire Old Testament demonstrates the truth of the following verse:

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
I believe that when we look at the Old Testament we see God and His people interacting with each other in a real and personal way. The authors of the books of the Old Testament didn't hide the imperfections of their patriarchs and their kings. Abraham lied, Jacob was a liar, Joseph's brothers tried to kill him and they lied to their father, Moses killed a man and was disobedient to God, and in the book of Judges we see that judge after judge was flawed and that the people of Israel sinned against God. David and his descendants are written as real people with real character flaws.

Should we be surprised by this? Not if we believe our Bible:
Romans 3:9-12 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."
God uses imperfect people because that's all that's available :-) and when we view someone as righteous and the OT states that someone is righteous (Abraham, Job, Noah), it's with the understanding that they are righteous through the imputed righteousness of Christ. The OT saints, in and of themselves have no righteousness apart from Christ.

The Old Testament saints were flawed but they were God's people and over and over again when they sinned, He still remained their God and He still used them to bring forth their Messiah. He didn't abandon them for a more righteous people, He kept His promise to Abraham, that He would be their God and they would be His people.

And God continues to use His people today, to share the good news of His salvation with others. He doesn't have to but He does. Praise be to God that He has given us a part in His wonderful plan of salvation even though we do so in an imperfect way.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Carnival of the Blogging Chicks #11

The Carnival is up. It was a pain in the hindquarters to get it up this week because I kept falling asleep while doing it, then this morning I looked at it and I couldn't believe it was so messed up. The links weren't working, I had some html showing and there were some funky characters in some of the posts.

And about those funky characters, I have to say that I hate Apple. They have to be fancy and mess up their text characters so that when I get an email from Mac users, I have to remember to replace the dash, comma, quotation marks and apostrophes or I publish funky characters. Very annoying and time consuming.

No More Mommy Wars

I don't like the Mommy Wars. Have you ever fought in one? They aren't fun and ultimately they are not productive. They are fought over many, many issues: breast verses bottle feeding, cloth verses disposable diapers, family bed verses allowing the baby to cry themselves to sleep, home school verses private school verses public school, strict discipline verses more lenient verses the kids discipline themselves, stay at home moms verses those who work outside the home. These wars are fought when each of us feels that our's is the right way and everyone else is doing it wrong :-)

I didn't breast feed my daughters past the first month, they've slept with me over the years (whenever they needed to), I used disposable diapers, I send them to private school and I'm considered a strict disciplinarian. So, do you think I'm a bad mom? Did I do something you didn't and wouldn't do? Are you sitting in judgment of my choices? Were you thinking, "Why in the world wouldn't she breastfeed longer, doesn't she know that breast milk is the best food for a baby?"

Do you know why I made the choices I did? Why am I a strict disciplinarian? Why do I allow my kids to sleep with me? Why do I send them to private school? Why didn't I homeschool? What was my reasoning behind these choices? Was it sound? How would you know? So, how can you judge?

Those who've fought in the Mommy Wars know that they have made a judgment about the actions of another and probably without a clear understanding of why they made that decision. I know that I've done so. I've looked at how others have disciplined their children and have thought that they should be stricter but I'm not the mom of these kids and I'm trying to learn to keep my mouth shut. And especially since I'm on the receiving end of this particular war as well.

I'm strict but fair and I'm not sure others see that. I think I'm viewed as oppressive and it's almost like people think my kids are afraid of me. I discipline my children because I want to teach them self-discipline. I want them to learn to control themselves and a way to do that is to teach them to respect my authority and to obey it. One of my fears is that I will raise children who were as disrespectful and as disobedient as I was. I was sassy (shocking, huh?) and I talked back and I refused to do the things that my parents wanted me to do. I was so unhappy and didn't feel loved and I didn't realize that I was my own worst enemy. I discipline my girls from this knowledge. I don't want them ever to feel like wishing they were dead almost every day of their lives.

So, this leads me to discipline for the two areas that I think are the foundational problem areas for teenagers: disrespect and disobedience, everything else flows from that. Nothing will receive greater punishment in our house than that and not only disrespect of our authority but of each other and others as well. Punishment is usually a loss of privileges, no TV for one and no Internet for the other (each has her own love and I know what it is). Sometimes if I think that I've made my point, I show grace instead of judgment. One of them lost her privileges for two days but I've been thinking that I'll only make it one since I know that she feels bad for being disobedient. That's what I'm looking for -- a contrite heart. I don't want to punish her, I want her to respect me and know why I tell her to do the things she does.

See, I have a reason. I'm not an ogre. Maybe you don't see the need to be strict, that's OK, you don't have to, God didn't give you Sarah and Samantha, He gave them to me (thank you, God). And btw, I don't want to slander my daughters, I don't have to discipline them that much. We are showered with much love and respect. We are blessed and we know it :-) They understand why I do what I do because I've explained it to them and they are in agreement with it. They get this:

Proverbs 10:8 The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

Proverbs 13:1 A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
Each of us has been given our child for a reason. Each of us has what the Lord wants that child to have and the Lord will mold them the way He wants using their experience in our family, both the good and the bad.

I've learned my lesson, I have no idea how you should raise your child, only you know that. I can tell you what works for me but you'll have to keep in mind that YMMV.

So, this is my white flag of surrender. To all those I've fought in the past, I'm sorry. The war is over and I don't want to fight any more. I've become a conscientious objector and I won't return to battle no matter what the temptation. Just call me Switzerland :-)

BTW, I didn't have anyone in mind when I wrote this, it isn't a sneak attack, veiled as a surrender. It's not a Trojan horse :-) It's a cease-fire, this blog is a no battle zone.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Update: Prayer Request for Professor Groves

I received an update on Professor Groves surgery, his surgery lasted one and a half hours and all went well and he will be in the hospital over the weekend. Please continue to pray.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I'm Back and Blogging About Survivor

I appear to have my Internet connection back again and I'm really busy catching up on all my email and all the things I wanted to post including the news about Survivor. Does anyone watch it? I usually watch it but I was so busy last year (I took three very hard classes in the fall) that I didn't finish out the season, which was the first time that has happened. I've watched every season since the series started.

But I was in shock when I heard on the radio that they were going to do a Survivor with four teams based on race:

The 20 players will initially be divided into four groups based on their ethnicity - Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American and Caucasian. The tribes will merge at some point later in the game.

"I think at first glance, when you just hear about it, it could sound like a stunt, especially with the way reality (TV) has gone," Survivor host Jeff Probst told CBS television in the US.

"But that's not what we're doing here. The idea for this actually came from the criticism that Survivor is not ethnically diverse enough. ... We said, 'Let's turn that criticism into creative for the show, and I think it fits in perfectly with what Survivor does. It's a social experiment, and this adds another layer to the experiment."

I think the social experiment aspect is an interesting angle. That's one of my favorite parts of Survivor, how people act when they have been depraved of all of the things we are accustomed to and the only social interaction you have is with people who are in competition with you. That's got to mess with your head. I think that when we take away the social veneer, we see what people are really made of and it isn't very pretty. As a Calvinist, it really does demonstrate the truthfulness of the doctrine of total depravity :-)

Though this may be an interesting concept, it's wrong to pit the races against each other, there is too much focus on race in this country, as it is. I hope kids won't be rooting for teams because they identify with their race.

I think that I'll root for the group that I always root for (until they make me nuts when they act nuts), the Christians :-)


Prayer for Professor Al Groves' Surgery

Please pray for Professor Al Groves' surgery today. I just got an email that he is in surgery now. He's in surgery to have brain tumors removed (one of them is pretty large), pray that God will bring him safely through the surgery and that they get all the tumors.


Still Having Internet Problems

I'm still having Internet problems and it's really frustrating. I went shopping yesterday for sneakers for Sarah for school and when we got back home the Internet was slow and I couldn't connect properly. And today I have to go out again, so light posting today as well. I'll try to post tonight if the Internet is working.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Internet Problems

I'm having Internet problems, for some reason the connection is really slow. It's driving me nuts. I really think I'm addicted to the Internet and can't stand it if I can't get on when I want to. Having DSL has spoiled me for slow connections.

But I've put my down time to good use by reading a book, Snow Blind, by P. J. Tracy which is the pen name of a mother/daughter writing team. I noticed it by accident on the shelf of the library yesterday. Sarah was out of books and asked if I could take her to the library. I had decided not to look for any books because I should be reading my textbooks in preparation for seminary but when I was walking past the new book shelf, I noticed it. I really liked the previous books so I decided to check it out. The good thing is that it's really a quick read. I started it this morning at 3:30 am (I read it for an hour) and then picked it back up when I got up and read for a couple hours and now I'm almost halfway done. If you haven't read this series and you like police and technology type suspense novels, then you probably would like this one. Start with Monkeewrench since it's the first one in the series. Though I should warn you that they're about serial killers and of course that means they are graphic (but not as bad as some I've read).


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Went to VA Yesterday

I went to Virginia to get my daughters yesterday, they have been in South Carolina for a week with their Grandparents. We meet in VA because it's half way between SC and NJ. Traffic was terrible! It was backed up over the the Delaware Bridge and it was backed up for ten exits in Virginia (outside of DC). As I was driving, I listened to my Old Testament Introduction class in preparation for my Old Testament History and Theology class in the fall. Yes, I know, I live an exciting life :-)

So, what did I do for a week without my daughters? Not much! Just the blogs and studied a little and worked on my Greek. I did discover that I need my daughters to keep me on the straight and narrow since without them, I wind up eating stuff I shouldn't. If they had been here, I certainly wouldn't have had an ice cream cone for lunch.

I watched two movies while they were gone: Failure to Launch and Inside Man. Failure to Launch was a silly little movie. A little strange and sappy, very much a formula movie. And I was very surprised to see Terry Bradshaw's rear end, it seemed pretty out of place in this movie and I'm sure a disappointment to those who would have preferred to see Matthew McConaughey's rear end.

Inside Man was a movie with a lot of wasted potential. I think if Spike Lee hadn't directed it, it would have been very good. He is a very interesting visual director and some of his shots are stunning but then the rest are self-aware, plus he has an agenda and writers and directors who have an agenda, are usually propagandists and that makes for boring movies and books. Plus some of the writing had gratuitous racists remarks such as when Denzel Washington referred to Jodie Foster as "mayonnaise pinstripe" (and this was after he reprimanded a police officer for using a racial slur).

But I really like the idea of this movie because it has some interesting elements. It's about a bank robbery where the robbers deliberately take hostages and the bank robbers have an interesting way to blend in with the hostages so that no one knows who the robbers are. The story jumps forward and back as you see the detectives interviewing the hostages after they have been released. Lee does a great job jumping around, there are times when directors will do this and it gets confusing but Lee handled it very well. And the acting was great. But for such an exciting premise, it really was a slow movie.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Art of Tagging

I was asked by someone to explain when to tag a post for Technorati. In answering that question, I decided to look at tagging in general, both in Technorati and Starting with how to tag.

You don't have to be registered with Technorati to use Technorati tags, but registering with them is a way to manage how they list your blog, increases your visibility in their system and allows you to tag your blog with labels that describe your blog (more on this in a moment), plus it's always fun to chart the progress of your ranking. Blogging Chicks members should be between an 8,000-9,000 ranking, which sounds bad but is actually very good when you realize that you start in the millions. You can register here.

After you have registered, click on the configure button. In the configure page, you'll find a place to tag your blog and to give your blog a description. Those with Christian blogs should tag it as "Christian" and maybe with your denomination. If you have a mommy blog, make sure you tag it as "motherhood," "parenting," "mom," "mommy," etc. (Use as many variations as possible.) If you think you're funny, then add a "humor" tag as well. The reason you tag your whole blog is that people will search for blogs with a particular tag and if you use every variation, you increase the chances of getting a hit. I've tagged this blog and Reformed Chicks as PCA blogs and when people search for blogs tagged with a PCA tag, my blogs are listed. For Political blogs make sure you tag by party affiliation and whether you are conservative or liberal.

The code that you need to put in your template is on the configure page, as well. Make sure you put it after the "Powered by Blogger" code if you are on Blogger.

Now, how do you tag a post? If you're tagging for categories already you don't have to use Technorati tags but make sure you include a rel="tag" attribute (I have an example later in this post). If you aren't tagging your posts already, just go to Technorati, and in the search line of Technorati, enter the word you want to use as your tag and then select "in tags" as your search method. Under the search bar, on the right hand side is a link that says, "Add this tag to your posts," click on that link and copy the html for your post and put it at the bottom of your post. Here's a visual aid:When people search on the for these words, they will get a listing that will include your blog, so, tag your blog appropriately. How do you know what's appropriate? That's a hard question to answer. Parenting tips should be tagged with a "parenting" tag, a "child" tag, a "tip" tag and maybe some specific feature of the post, such as if you had a parenting tip on how to get your child to read, then you might also want to add a "reading" tag and a "books" tag. A good place to get ideas on how to tag and what to tag if you are a mommy blog is to go to a mommy blog that tags, 5 minutes for Mom is a good place to start, they seem to tag every post.

Another place to get help is from the Technorati related tags. If you search in tags for "mom," these are the related tags, according to Technorati:

Tag things of interest to others, funny stories can be tagged with a "humor" tag, book reviews and recommendations can be tagged with a "book" tag, movie reviews and recommendations with a "movie" tag, recipes, political articles can be tagged with tags that match the point of the story: "abortion," "pro-choice," "pro-life," "judges," the name of the politician, party affiliation, etc. You can tag your memes, I've actually gotten a hit on Works for Me Wednesday.

When you tag, make sure you tag all aspects of the article. When I tag a Bible study, I make sure I've tagged it for the book of the Bible, "Christianity," "Calvinism," "Bible" and "Bible study." This will increase the odds of getting a hit.

If you are interested in generating some traffic, you could find out what tags people are interested in and write a post about that subject. Technorati lists the most popular tags at any given time of the day on their main website page.

Now, tagging for is different. is a way to have categories in Blogger until Blogger Beta is ready. It is really easy to tag an article using if you have Firefox (if you don't have Firefox, go here to download it), you just have to install the extension (get it here). Unlike Technorati, you do have to have a account, you can register for one here. After you have published the article, click on it and then click on the tag in the Firefox extension.

In the window that pops up, tag the article with whatever words you want. This will create tags in you account.

You can also tag your article with a tag that points to your tags, unlike Technorati, you control what is seen by the reader who clicks on your tags. For an example, go to my resources tag in and see what I have listed there. If I wanted to, I could also list other articles I have found on the Internet that share the same theme and I may eventually do so. If you do tag your article, make sure you include the rel="tag" attribute, so that Technorati will see it and you won't have to tag for Technorati as well. Here is an example of what it would look like for my resources tag:

<a href="" rel="tag">resources</a>

After you have tagged all your articles, you might want to install a cloud as I have done in my side bar. You can get the code here.

For a more in-depth article on Technorati tagging and how to generate tags using on-line helps, go here.

Updated to add: Here is also another way to automate the process (make sure you click on his prevous post because he gives a very detailed explanation).

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Blogger is about to get much better

If you're thinking of leaving Blogger over categories, you might want to wait because Blogger is going to be providing categories soon, as well has have a number of improvements. They are currently testing a system that will allow you to do categories and to add stuff with your mouse instead of editing your template (no more destroying your template because you are adding a link to your link list and didn't realize that your stupid touch pad had selected the entire bottom half of your template to be replaced, woohoo :-) Here are the particulars:

Today we're launching a new version of Blogger in beta! You've been asking for ways to do more with your blog, and you can with this new release. With the beta you can:
Take a look at the tour to see all the new things you can do (well, a lot of the new things ... they didn't all fit in the tour).

As we release this version, we're limiting the number of people who can switch over. (You'll see a link on your Blogger dashboard when you are able to move.) Eventually, of course, everyone will be able to transition their blogs to the new version. Thanks in advance for your patience as we roll it out.

If you can't wait, you can create a new account on the beta now and make a new blog to test out the new features. Because the new Blogger uses Google Accounts, you can use your existing Google login, or create a new one. (Later, you'll be able to merge your current and beta accounts, and have all your blogs in one place.)
I've tried it out and it looks easy to use and has some neat features, but they won't let you edit the html, yet and so the whole thing is useless for me until they do. I'm not using their templates so I have to be able to copy over my templates (I refuse to go back to blogger templates). It's fun to play with, though and you might want to set up a test blog to see what it looks like and get familiar with the new way to blog.

I tested it out with the Blogging Chicks blogroll and it was so easy to install it on the blog, I can't believe how easy it was! It's so much better than they way we've been doing. I just clicked on "add a page element" and in the window for the page element, which I named "Blogging Chicks," I put in the code for the blogroll and saved the changes and that was it. When I viewed the blog, the blogroll was there. Go set up a test blog, but don't move your blog over to the new system. It's only a beta system which means it's a test system. I'm sure there will be a lot of kinks to be worked out before it's really robust enough to trust your blog to it.

Learning Greek

When I started seminary, I purchased a software program that helped me learn Greek called Greek Tutor. I'm really glad I did because it gave me a valuable jump start in the learning process and even though I didn't get too far in it before I had to start class, it proved to be helpful. I had to take my first Greek class in the summer and it was an intense experience, if I didn't have that little bit of knowledge that I had, I probably would have been lost.

Over the years, I've used it to review the basics and to keep myself from forgetting everything I've learned about Greek. I'm using it now to review for the fall when I will be translating the Gospels. My Greek is not ready to be tested and I'm using this product to prepare for testing (sometimes professors will ask you first year questions on the test, knowing that you've forgotten all the details even though you may be able to read the language).

Greek Tutor has a lot of the rules and forms that you learn in a first year Greek class, though I just looked at it and was surprised that it didn't have the subjunctive. But it has many valuable features like word pronunciation and drills. I found the drills to be very helpful because they aid in the memorization process.

So, all this to say, if you're interested in learning Greek, this would be a very good product to use. Though, when I went to the Westminster Bookstore website, I noticed that they weren't selling Greek Tutor, they were selling another product called, Mastering Greek (which for some reason, they don't appear to carry on their website anymore). This appears to be an upgrade to Greek Tutor since the author of Master Greek, Ted Hildebrand also wrote Greek Tutor. I searched the Internet to find information about it and found this site. I suspect that this is not what the product looks like, I think Mastering Greek is just Greek Tutor with a different name with a lot more study aids. But I thought the use of videos that this site uses would be very helpful to those who want to learn Greek on their own. So, if you are interested in learning Greek you can get started on that site and if you want to continue you can buy Mastering Greek.

If you decide that you want to learn Greek on your own, make sure you get a grammar as well, I found Machen to be very helpful (updated by Professor McCartney), though some swear by Mounce (which I found very helpful as well, though I prefer machine since it is so terse, not a lot of reading :-)

BTW, here is a site that has printable Greek flash cards, which can be very helpful in learning the vocabulary.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

My Trip to Westminster

I drove to Westminster yesterday to buy the books I need for the fall. I had forgotten how long of a drive it is. See not too many:

Woohoo! Last semester, I was drowning with all the reading and this semester there isn't too much. (But that doesn't mean I won't be overwhelmed with work, I'm sure the professors will be making up for this with papers and language exams, pray for me!) I didn't buy all the books that we are supposed to read because the amount that I have to read might not be worth it. I might just read them at the library.

I'm looking forward to reading my books because they all look so interesting. I'll let you know which ones I'd recommend. So far, The Drama of Scriptures looks like the most interesting, so I started reading that one first. I hope to write a review when I'm done.

While I was at the bookstore, I noticed that my Old Testament Theology professor, Dr. Peter Enns, has written a Bible study. It looks like it would be a good Bible study for a small group study. It's a study of Genesis:
"In the beginning..." These familiar words open the Book of Genesis and give voice to one of the foundational stories of the entire Old Testament. This short-term DISCIPLE Bible Study is an invitation to see Genesis not simply as a story about the beginning (Creation), but as a book about beginnings. From Adam and Eve to Noah to Abraham, Genesis recounts God's persistence in "starting over" with the chosen people. It is a message both timeless and timely – for God's people still seek the assurance that God is always working to make right what went wrong "in the beginning."
After I purchased my books, I remembered that I needed to get my tests fromlast semesterr. It turns out the grade on the test and the paper for my hermeneutics class wasn't as bad as I thought they were going to be. I got a B on the test and a B- on the paper. I was missing some parts that the professor was expecting but the things he was looking for weren't things I was thinking about, so I'm not sure I would have done any better.

Updated: Oh My Heck, I can't believe my spelling mistakes. I forgot to do spell check and I'm not sure why I thought semester should have an "n."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sharing in Christ's Sufferings

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."
~ Albert Einstein ~
As Christians, we can see the truth in this statement. We understand that our greatest growth can come after our biggest failure. And through our suffering we learn to trust in God. Our struggles bring forth fruit and in our weakness we are given strength. Christians are blessed because we now that are suffering is not in vain, that God uses it to grow us:
Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Suffering is something that the Christian knows will come, it's been promised in the Scriptures and in fact marks us as Christians:
Philippians 1:29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,
Notice that we suffer for Christ's sake, we suffer with Him, so that we may be glorified with Him:
Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Suffering is not something that comes out of the blue and shouldn't be a surprise but we are surprised by it. It's hard to follow Paul's example and rejoice but we can be comforted with the knowledge that suffering is part of our union with Christ:
Philippians 3:10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death

2 Corinthians 1:5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
And when we suffer we can look to Christ and follow His lead:
Hebrews 5:8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.

1 Peter 4:1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

Peter 2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

Hebrews 13:12-15 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
When we suffer, it feels like it goes on forever. Will it ever end, will it ever stop? But we have been promised that it will end and we can take solace in the knowledge that our suffering is for a short duration when you compare it to the glory that is to come:
Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
It's comforting to know that Christ knows what we are going through because He went through it to. He understands our struggles, He understands our pain. He isn't distant and far removed from our suffering. He became like us, so that He could suffer for us:
Hebrews 2:9-10 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.
Praise be to God that we have a God who would suffer so that the opportunity for salvation could be made.

Carnival of the Blogging Chicks #10

The Carnival is up!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Review: Comeback

When I was asked to review Claire and Mia Fontaine's book I thought it sounded interesting. It's a mother/daughter memoir of their shared experience, told from both of their perspectives. I knew that it was not a book I would pick up and read because I don't read a lot of biographies but the description of the book that Claire sent me made me very curious:

Do you remember how you had to just let your two-year-old squawk when you put her in time out? Well, I had to do the teenager version. Following her drug-fueled descent into society's underbelly, and my fruitless attempts to save her life by conventional means, I finally had to force her into a lock-down boot camp school, first in Eastern Europe and later, Montana. What followed was a grueling, two-year journey of self-discovery and transformation in which we both healed from a childhood trauma I had naively assumed was long behind us. It was extreme, but then so was she, and it worked. She recently graduated from Georgetown University.
This pretty much sums up the main action points of the story. It's a harrowing tale of what happens when your child decides to run away from home and doesn't want to return. This isn't the story of a girl who hated her mom and step dad, this is the story of a girl who hated herself and wanted to escape from the fallout of a childhood trauma into a world of drug-induced numbness.

The book starts out with a slice of what Claire thought was a happy family life, all was going well, she was working on adapting a great book into script for a movie and Mia was getting good grades at a prestigious, private school. After working late, she returns to find that her daughter wasn't in her bed and the window is open. Panic sets in when she discovers her daughter is missing and of course her thoughts turn to kidnapping until she sees her daughter's goodbye note and then her whole world shatters and the rest of the book is about her putting their lives back together.

Imagine what it must have felt like to come home after a perfect day to find that your one and only daughter has left and she doesn't want you to try to find her. Image how you would feel. Claire helps her reader imagine by painting a vivid picture of her experience. You live with Mia and Claire throughout the harrowing months of Mia's descent into drugs and living a life of degradation and you experience the painful growth process necessary for them to become a family once more. Claire's writing style matches her material, it's intimate and urgent. There's a rawness of emotions that comes through her writing. You experience the pain of rejection and failure that Claire experienced and you understand why Mia does the things that she does, she gives reason to the seemly senseless actions of a teenage girl. What would make a teenage girl run away from a good home, one with parents who love her very much? Mia helps the reader to see why this might happen. Her experience helps the reader to see inside the head of a messed up girl and not only her but those she befriends at the facilities she went to.

What really jumped out at you, on almost every page of the book, was the love that Claire had for her child. It poured from the pages of the book, from it's beginning to it's end, you know that she loves her daughter:
It is its own religion, this love. Uncontainable, savage, and without end, it is what I feel for my child.
I know what love like that feels like because I've experienced it with my own daughters. I was able to connect with Claire through the shared emotion of love that we feel for our children. It makes the rest of the book so hard to read because you know how you would feel if the child you loved so much rejected you and wanted to live in squalor instead of the loving environment you provided for her. But it's also what gives Claire the determination to continue even when she may have wanted to give up.

I also appreciated the stark contrast between how the state treated Mia and what the treatment facility did. It really demonstrated the problems that we have with our family court system. Claire knew what was wrong with her daughter, she immediately could see that a trauma in her past had not been resolved for Mia and this pushed her to her current behavior but the state's "professionals" didn't listen, they thought she should do as she wished and not be pushed by her mother. They looked at her mom as controlling and Mia, being a brilliant manipulator, was able to play them and get the freedom she wanted and fall further and further under the influence of heroin. But the treatment facility knew Mia's game and wouldn't let her play it, they called her on it. They used a tough love and a peer review approach that was really quite brilliant. Who do teenagers listen to? Each other. They could see through each other's games and called each other out on them.

There were some slow points, the material on the seminars that Claire attended while her daughter was in treatment were a little longish and seemed repetitive, though I can understand why she included them. It was part of the process of healing for her and Mia. Through them she came to the realization that she helped contribute to her daughter's problems even though she didn't realize it and they helped her grow in her knowledge of who she is and what she wanted in life and what she wanted to be able to give Mia when she returned from treatment. It's really brilliant of the treatment facility to make sure the parents are prepared to change so that they can be ready to receive a changed child. The facility heals the family dynamic while at the same time they treat the child.

But here is a warning before you buy the book, as Claire says, it deals with the underbelly of society. It is not for light, entertainment reading, it is a sad book about a girl who has to deal with some very dark issues and lives through a hellish nightmare at a very young age and decides life is not worth it sober. This leads here to do things that you wouldn't want your teenager doing. But the book is about hope and love and for that alone it should be read. You can't just close your eyes to what is going on in the world and it helps you to understand the street kids that you see in LA and other major cities a little better. They are there for a reason and this book helps you to see why.

Claire has a blog and there is a website for the book and if you want to purchase the book, go here.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

UK Terrorist Plot

I've been blogging about the UK terrorist plot on Reformed Chicks and I have to admit I'm really nervous about flying right now. I'm going to Phoenix and I'm not thrilled about flying. I haven't flown since before 9/11, my husband has flown but I haven't, not because I've been afraid but because I haven't had the opportunity but now that I have the opportunity, I'm afraid to fly.

The last time I was scheduled to fly was to Seattle and I was really looking forward to it. I was going to stay at a great hotel and had plenty of time to go sight-seeing and I was going to get to go into Canada on a ship and have high tea at a well-known restaurant. My parents were going to take my kids for a week and I was looking forward to it for months and I planned every moment of the trip. I've been to Seattle before and I was really looking forward to going back again and there were tons of things I didn't get to see when I was there and there were things I wanted to see again. My flight was scheduled for September 14, 2001. As you might have guessed I didn't go.

BTW, I know that the Lord is in control of everything and that He has numbered my days, that I could be hit by a bus tomorrow, etc. I know all that, I'm still afraid and God knows why (I don't want to leave my kids without a mom). But I do keep telling myself that He will never leave me or forsake me.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I'm Getting Bifocals

Well, there you go, I'm getting them in a week. I went to the doctor today and my vision has gotten worse. The doctor says I have healthy eyes but this is what happens when you age. I decided to get the cheapest option possible and that was bifocals. I'm supposed to use them when I drive, when I'm on the computer and when I read. The only time I really need them right now is night driving and reading.

It took me forever to decide on frames, I have a round face and it's hard to find glasses that look good. I also like to wear lighter colors because black doesn't look good on me. I know that they are only for driving and reading and it doesn't matter what they look like but if I hate them, I won't wear them and when I said that to the optician, he told me to come back and he would work with me. But I liked the ones that I choose and think that they make me look distinguished :-)

I wish I didn't have to wait a week because I'm finding it really hard to read and I just got a new Bible (more on that later) and the print is small. Plus, I've started preparing for the fall and I need to read my Greek and Hebrew textbooks to bring my language skills up to testing speed :-( and the print is too small.

BTW, if you are interested in what a seminary student reads, here are the books for my Gospels class and here are the books for my OT history and theology class (I actually think this list isn't complete or he plans to make us translate a lot of passages). I'm looking forward to reading them because I love books about the Bible. I've already have a couple of them so I'm a little ahead of the game, plus I plan to drive over and pick up the rest. I should read the books that they have listed as 100% and I will wait and read the rest when my classes start.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Update: Book Meme

Now, before anyone goes out and buys Text Under Negotiation by Walter Brueggemann, be advised that it's post-modern. The book is interesting and gives you insight into the thinking of the post-modern writer and he brings some interesting insight to the Old Testament passages (he is an Old Testament) but it is not orthodox and it's extremely difficult to read.

Book Meme

I was tagged by Katy for this book meme, so here goes:

  1. One book that changed your life: Chosen by God by R. C. Sproul. This book changed my life before I actually read it :-) my husband read it and explained to me the doctrine of election and my life was never the same after that. I did eventually read it.
  2. One book that you've read more than once: Text Under Negotiation by Walter Brueggemann and the only reason I read it twice was because I didn't understand it the first time.
  3. One book you'd want on a desert island: The Bible, it's the only book you could read over and over again and not be bored.
  4. One book that made you laugh: All of the Douglas Adams books.
  5. One book that made you cry: Comeback by Claire and Mia Fontaine made me cry.
  6. One book that you wish had been written: Now, why would I give my ideas away :-)
  7. One book you wish had never been written: The Church Dogmatics by Karl Barth
  8. One book that you are currently reading: The Return of the King by Dr. Vern Poythress
  9. One book you've been meaning to read: God and Promise by Michael Horton
Susan, Moonshadow, and Carrie, you could do this one couldn't you?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I finished comeback and when I stop procrastinating, I will review it. It was a great book, so don't wait for my review, go buy it. It is a book that got me thinking and I know it will be with me for a very long time. I kind of don't like books like that because there are reasons it will stay with me that I might want to walk away from but can't, more on that later.

I was going to write something on freedom in Christ for the Christian Carnival but I can't get my brain to think and write, so there you go. Maybe I'll think about it for a couple days and something will come.

Carrie is still fighting the Reformation on her blog and it seems that her opponents had to call out for reinforcements on a message board. I threw in a comment or two and one of the commenters thought I was a guy. Do you think my baby picture looks like a boy? I always thought I looked like a girl. Now I'm a little bummed.

My brain has died, prayer is in order!

I can't think! I've lost the ability to write. I've wanted to write something all day, something I shouldn't have trouble writing because I've taught it forever. And you would not believe how long it took me to write my previous post. I had to leave it last night and finish it in the morning because me brain stopped working and it won't start up again.

Help! My brain died and I need it for seminary, please pray!!!!

Bear One Another's Burdens

"Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That's why it's a comfort to go hand in hand." ~ Emily Kimbrough ~
Yes, we do stumble, quite a bit and it is a comfort to have others around us in our time of need. People we can tell our troubles to and know that they will understand because they have been through it as well. And as Christians this is something that we are called to do:
Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
We don't always do that do we? Maybe we're too busy or maybe instead of bearing burdens we are burdening others with criticism. Maybe we stand in judgment instead of offering love. More than likely we don't even think to do so. We have are on burdens occupying our thoughts, so much so, we can't even look outside our afflictions to see that others are struggling.

But when we do bear one another's burdens, it can be a tremendous blessing. We are reminded that we are not alone, that God has sent us brothers and sisters to share in our struggle. God sends us help and makes us realize that this is a communal effort, we don't have to do it alone. We can share our struggles with each other.

And when we are afflicted and God comforts us, we share that comfort with each other:
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Isn't it comforting to know that our afflictions aren't in vain, that God has a purpose for them, not only for us but for others as well. Our afflictions bring us closer to God and to each other as we look for comfort and seek to give it as well.

Not only should we bear each others burdens and comfort each other with the comfort that God has given us but we should love each other with the love of Christ, it is a commandment and it is a statement of who we are:
1 John 4:7-21 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
This love is a witness to others of who we are:
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Love is the mark of a Christian disciple. In a world where it's dog eat dog and where everyone is looking out for themselves and it's all about me, it would be an amazing sight to see people who really love each other and who only want to serve each other. People who are ready to aid in the struggle of their brothers and sisters, ready with words of comfort, not condemnation. What a witness to the love of Christ that would be.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

What I love about blogging....

I had a hard time thinking about what I would write for this Carnival, everything I thought of was obvious. Getting to know people from around the world and across America, having a place to vent, being able to give my opinion in a public forum, and being able to work on my writing skills, was something that everyone probably could say. Why bother writing about it? And I've already blogged about wanting to share what I learned in seminary, so why bore everyone with repeating myself.

But then it hit me, why not write about the aspect of blogging that has been a surprising source of enjoyment: the technical end of blogging. On the one hand this shouldn't have been a surprise, I have a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and I've spent many years working with mark up languages. But on the other hand this surprised me because I thought it was a closed door in my life, one that I thought I had firmly shut after I decided to be a full time stay-at-home and focus on studying the Bible.

But something happened when I entered the blogging environment and I found that I wasn't happy with the Blogger templates, everyone had the same one and I didn't like clicking on a link and seeing a blog that looked just like my blog but wasn't. It was disconcerting. So, I started to tweak things here and there and I found that I really liked it. I liked changing the design of my blogs.

Then I found free templates on the Internet here, here and here (and I just found another one here). And I changed the templates for three of my blogs and I found each time I did it, I was faster and did a better job modifying the templates to meet my needs.

I also have enjoyed (you will be surprised by this I'm sure) trouble-shooting problems with the installation of the Blogging Chicks blogroll. It is fascinating (to me :-) why the script will work on one template but won't work on the same exact template on another blog. It's like a jigsaw puzzle that takes analyzing. You try this and that and you finally figure out why it didn't work.

And I have enjoyed making my blog more functional by adding pieces missing from Blogger such as categories. I was able to create categories using tags to create the cloud in my side bar. I have found this to be very helpful when I'm trying to locate an article. has made the process very easy to do and I plan to write a post on how to do it.

Which leads me to the final reason I love the technical side of blogging, so many people have no idea what they are doing when it comes to the technical side of blogging and it makes me happy that I'm in a position to help. To give them the information so that they can create a hyperlink or add a graphic to a post or side bar or to help them install their blogroll code. Or help them find a new template so that their blog will load faster. That part has been very rewarding, especially when I go to their blog and see the fruit of our effort.

Another Update on Lori's Prayer Request

Good news from Lori:

The Doctor's diagnosed Erica with Meningitis; she went home a few hours ago. They put an I.V. in her neck that she has to have in for 11 days; her parents have to put medication in the I.V. She won't be doing much for a while but at least she is home and doing better.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers for my niece.
Praise God for His answer to pray in giving wisdom to the doctors to find out what was wrong with her and that she will be able to go home.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Blogging Chicks Carnival Theme

I'm having such a hard time with the Carnival theme this week and I'm the one that picked it! I thought it would be easy to blog about "What I love about blogging" but everything I write sounds either trite or involves a long, involved backstory that I don't really feel like writing and I'm sure others would be bored reading. I'm thinking about not participating this week at all.

BTW, this Carnival is open to all female bloggers, not just those on the blogroll. You can check the Metablog for details.

And while I'm complaining, it's hot! Really hot! I was trying to get my daughters out of the house today because we were going to meet their Grandfather at the mall and we had to run errands before we met him. While I was waiting I was sweating so much that my shirt was wet. Stopping for gas was awful, I felt so sorry for the attendant. I couldn't believe how oppressive the heat was. We have air conditioning only in one room of the house and the other parts of the house are unbearable. We either stay in the family room or I take the kids to the mall or Barnes and Nobles. Forget about the beach, it's unbearable when it's hot!

But thank the Lord for the air conditioner, my husband just told me that my sister-in-law is staying in her basement because they only have an air conditioner in her bedroom. At least I have somewhere to go to beat the heat, what about those who don't? I blessed, even in the heat.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I almost forgot to mention....

The Christian Carnival and the Carnival of Beauty are both up.

Hey Carrie, you look busy!

Thanks for the link! I would have left this in your comments section but you looked busy. If anyone is interested in revisiting the Reformation, check out the discussion over at Carrie's blog.

Did you pray for more comments, Carrie because it looks like God gave you an abundance!

Sproul's New Book

R. C. Sproul has a new book out on worship:

In A Taste of Heaven, Dr. R. C. Sproul searches the Scriptures, finding timeless principles from the worship practices of the Old Testament to guide worship today. God intends worship to be an unforgettable encounter between Himself and His people - a joyous experience engaging the worshiper's entire being.

Prayer Update

Here's an update on Lori's prayer request:

My niece remains in the hospital. She has pneumonia, a partial clasped lung, a bad kidney infection, and she is still getting very severe headaches. They need to get her oxygen levels up before they will send her home. They took more x-rays of her chest late last night. Her mom and dad are not doing well. It has been a long few weeks with their oldest daughter getting married on Saturday, and now Erica being in ICU.
Please continue to pray for this girl and her family.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Samson and Delilah: The Conclusion of the Study

Samson Before Delilah Discussion Questions
Samson Before Delilah: Context
Samson Before Delilah: Chapter 13
Samson Before Deliah: Chapter 14
Samson Before Deliah: Chapter 15

Now, having looked at the context of the story of Samson and Delilah, we are now able to look at the story the way the original reader might have looked at it. What have we learned so far?

1.God commanded Israel to not intermarry with the nations in the land that they were entering, they were to keep apart from the other nations or their gods would become a snare to Israel.
2.We see that Israel intermarried and made covenants with the other nations and followed after the gods of the nations in the land God promised them.
3.God punished them by sending oppressors.
4.But He relieved the oppression by sending deliverers.
5.Samson was one of the deliverers. He was to begin to save Israel. Samson was called by God to be a Nazirite. He was to be set apart for God and to abstain from wine and unclean food. He was to leave his hair long and not to let a razor touch his head.
6.Samson and the Philistines engage in escalating conflicts.
7.Samson judged Israel twenty years.

This is a summary of the story up to chapter 16. Those who only know the Sunday School version of Samson and Delilah think that Samson’s hair was the source of his strength and when his hair is cut, all his strength leaves. People don’t understand that he was a Nazirite and what that means. They don’t know about his miraculous birth. They don’t understand his lack of concern for maintaining his Nazirite vow. All of this is necessary to understand what is happening in this story.

The chapter begins with Samson's visit to a prostitute. He has to travel over 40 miles to get to her. She is, of course a Philistine, and while he is visiting her, the house is surrounded by the Philistines. But he is able to escape them and he even goes so far as to take the doors of the gates of the city. Why does he do that? I believe he does it to insult them. They have no power over him. Notice something different about Samson’s feat? There is no mention of the Holy Spirit.

Finally we come to the first mention of Delilah and what's significant about this is that this is the first woman to be mentioned by name in the Samson narrative. Samson's mom, his wife and the prostitute were all nameless but Delilah is named. Probably it is the author's way of letting the reader know her significance. It is also significant that this is the first mention of love associated with the women that Samson pursues:
Judges 16:4-5 After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, "Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver."
Isn't it amazing that immediately after the author mentions that Samson loved her that we see her being bribed to provide the lords of the Philistines with a way to overpower Samson. His wife was threatened into betraying him but Delilah did so for money, a very large sum of money. They were out for revenge (at least twenty years after the incident) and were sparing no expense.
Judges 16:6-7 So Delilah said to Samson, "Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you." Samson said to her, "If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man."
Now, here is where context helps us to understand the story better. What is significant about the fresh bowstring? It's the word “fresh.” This would be a violation of his vow and we notice in the next verse that this is emphasized:
Judges 16:8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she bound him with them.
He is toying with the woman he said that he loved and he is toying with his vow. It's all sport to him. And we see this in the next two attempts Delilah makes to get the truth from him.

In this story of Delilah's betrayal of Samson we see the way that women have gotten their way throughout the course of human history, she nagged him:
Judges 16:16-17 And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death. 17 And he told her all his heart, and said to her, "A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man."
Notice that he says that he is a Nazirite to God not to Elohim (this is the covenant name for God).

Here we see that he understood the source of his strength, his vow to God as a Nazirite. This is the first time he has mentioned his vow. Was the hair the source of his strength? No, of course not. It doesn't have magical powers. His strength came in his obedience to God and in keeping his covenant with God and when he violated that the Spirit of the Lord left him

Block says of this passage:
But Samson’s problem with his vow is not so much that he willfully violates it; he simply does not take it seriously. Like his strength, and the people around him, it is a toy to be played with, not a calling to be fulfilled” (Block, pg. 459)
He's left defenseless because he desired a woman's affection more than his vow to God. He should have been wiser but he was a fool.
Judges 16:20 And she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And he awoke from his sleep and said, "I will go out as at other times and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had left him. And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison.
They finally get their revenge, they finally humble him. The arrogant and boastful Samson with superhuman strength is blind and doing menial labor. I've heard many references to the blinding Samson as punishment for his wandering eyes but Block makes the following observation:
In Mesopotamia defeated enemies were often blinded by gouging out their eyes and then humiliated by being forced to perform the most menial of tasks, those customarily assigned to slaves and women.” (Block, pg. 462)
Here is Samson, the mighty one, who was chosen by God to be set apart for service. He stands defeated by his lack of faithfulness. He has thrown away his vow to God and allowed his enemy to overcome him. He has no one else but himself to blame. But in the hour of his deep despair, we see the hand of God, we see mercy. The author foreshadows what is about to come:
Judges 16:22 But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.
Even though Samson failed miserably in his service to the Lord, we see that he is not abandoned. God remembers Samson, even though he does not deserve it.

The Philistines praise their god for Samson's defeat, Samson has shown that Israel's God is not powerful enough to protect him. Samson is brought into the celebration by a lad and he prays to God:
Judges 16:28-30 Then Samson called to the LORD and said, "O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes." And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. And Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines." Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life.
He accomplishes more in this death than he does in his life. He wants to avenge himself against the Philistines, it's not God or Israel he is thinking of but his eyesight. It's significant that he is now ready to die amongst the Philistines when in the last chapter he complained to God that he would die among the uncircumcised. Here he prays that it will happen. Block says of this passage:
With this utterance Samson declares his total and final identification with the enemy...The Nazirite set apart for the service of God, wants to die with the uncircumcised Philistines” (Block, pg. 469)
The Lord answers his prayer and allows him to avenge himself against the Philistines and to die with the m. And then his brothers came and got him and buried him with his father. This is significant, though he rejected his people, they did forget him.

What do we gain from this study of Samson? I think that it's important to see that God is faithful even when we are not. He did not abandon Samson but was there throughout and answered Samson when he cried out.

And even though Samson was not faithful, he still served God by destroying the enemy of Israel. He did what God intended for him to do. And as the narrator notes, he was a judge for twenty years. And what's really amazing is that he is even in the heroes of faith in Hebrew:
Hebrews 11:32-34 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets- who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
God uses jars of clay for his service:
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
God used an arrogant, boastful, womanizer to bring glory to Himself, to triumph over His enemies. But what's truly amazing is that He condescends to use any of us for service. We are jars of clay and yet He calls us "vessels of mercy" to be used for "honorable use" (Romans 9).

Praise be to God that He has made us vessels of mercy and through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, he has enabled us to serve Him.

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