Saturday, September 30, 2006

ESV buttons

Here are some ESV buttons for your blog. Smart of them to advertise!

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Guess what I didn't do all day?

Drive! How great is that! My husband's car is in the shop and he took mine. I got a ride to my Bible study from one of the women in the study, who doesn't live too far from me. It felt so good not to have to go anywhere after she dropped me off. I took a nap and have been translating Hebrew and listening to the radio. Aaahhh, life is good :-)

I'll post the questions later tonight and if I get a chance, I'll prepare a post of my lecture notes. I really loved this chapter because we see the risen Christ in all His glory and majesty. How wonderful that picture would be to a persecuted church, one that was struggling with not only persecution, but with heresy and a loss of zeal. How encouraging to know that Christ dwells in the midst of the church and knows about its suffering and is sovereign over it all.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Christian Carnival is Up

You can find it here. I finally made it this week with my Revelation introduction. I hope to have the chapter one notes up in time for the next Carnival but I have Greek and Hebrew tests on Tuesday and all my time will be spent on that. Though I am taking the time to make Powerpoint slides for my Bible study but they would have to be rewritten for the blog. I will at least be able to post the study questions tomorrow.

Parents of Teenagers Read This Post

If you have a teenager, you might want to check out the National Vocabulary Championship since there is a $40,000 prize. I have details on Reformed Chicks. I'm forcing Sarah to do it. A $40,000 prize invested now will be a fairly decent amount by the time she is ready for college and she will improve her vocabulary even if she doesn't win. It's really a win-win situation (though winning the bucks would be my preference :-)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Verses for diapers?

What in the world are "verses for diapers?" Someone came here looking for that phrase.

The Snake House and Veggie Tales on NBC

Did you guys see the story about the house and property that was filled with snakes? My mother would have freaked out and I probably would as well even though I'm not as grossed out by them as she is.

I thought it was really funny that they intend to keep the property so that they can try for an extreme makeover:

The Hepworths never moved in, but Lyman Hepworth's brother is still making payments, though the seller offered to refund their money when he found out about the infestation.

Their plan: They sent a videotape of the house, their children and, of course, the snakes to the producers of "Extreme Home Makeover," in hopes the television show would send its decorators in for a filmed renovation.

The video showed snakes slithering on the back porch, climbing up the foundation and a ball of snakes on the side of the home, Jeanine Hepworth said.

The couple will not find out if the show chooses their reptile refuge for a fix-up challenge until next year.
I think even with a makeover I wouldn't chance them coming back again and finding a way into the new house. Yech! It makes your skin crawl just thinking about it.

(Link via Drudge Report)

Also, I thought those of you who like Veggie Tales might be interested in the controversy surrounding the new Saturday morning broadcast on NBC. It seems that some references to God (but not all) have been removed at the request of NBC. Check out the link for details.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Being Five Comic Strip

Go check out this cute comic strip. It's about "a kid who blogs using voice recognition software." Isn't that right up our alley? Kids and blogging all in one strip. It's well-written and understandable (unlike some of today's comic strips) and pretty amusing. There's even cute merchandise.

Carnival of the Blogging Chicks #14

The Carnival of the Blogging Chicks is up. It's a short one, which is good because I'm tired and don't want to be up half the night :-)

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Revelation Introduction

The following introduction is based on material from The Return of the King by Dr. Vern Poythress and occasionally The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Book of Revelation by G. K. Beale.

Usually when I write a Bible study, I focus on the intrepretation and spend minimal time on application questions because I believe that American Christians are too self-centered when they study the Bible. Their focus is man-centered and not God-centered. When I teach the Bible, I ask, "What does this passage teach us about God? About Christ? About the church and about ourselves?" I'm not saying that application isn't important, I'm saying that we need to take the focus off ourselves to better understand the Bible and after we've done that, we should then think about how are lives should change now that we understand what God has revealed to us in His word.

But with this study, I've changed my focus and the reason is that we don't treat Revelation like we treat the other books of the New Testament. A lot of people treat this book as if it is meant for some future generation that will be going through the tribulation. It scares Christians and it's hard to read. It's not a book that people read and say, "How do I apply this to my life?" But it's meant to be applied:

Revelation 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
We can learn the following from this passage:
  1. It’s a revelation about Jesus Christ, it’s not meant to conceal but to reveal. The book wasn't meant to be a puzzle but a revelation.

  2. To show His servants, God wants Jesus to reveal to His servants “the things that must soon take place.” Here is why we need to read this book so that we understand what God wanted to reveal to us, the church.

  3. “Blessed is the one who read aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear” if we don’t read it we won’t be blessed.

  4. And "who keep what is written in it," how can we keep what’s in it if we don’t read it?
This revelation was not meant for just a future generation, but both it's intended readers, the church, and for the church throughout history. It is meant as an exhortation and encouragment in times of persecution and struggle not to lose our zeal in the face of adversity and apostacy. And if we ignore it because its too complicated or we think it doesn't apply to us, then we are missing the blessing that those who read, hear and do, receive.

Author
Who is the author of Revelation? According to Poythress, John the apostle of Jesus Christ (the author of the Gospel of John, and 1, 2, 3 John) was identified as author by Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Clement of Alexandria in the second century (Poythress, pg. 49).

According to Beale there are three possibilities for authorship: "John the apostle, another John (sometimes referred to a John the Elder), and someone else using "John" as a pseudoym" (Beale, pg. 34). Around the time of the writing of Revelation, authors would write Apocalptic literature using a pseudonym of someone from the Bible. But Beale believes if it were a pseudonym, it would have been "John the apostle" (Beale, pg. 34) and Beale states that there is some dispute as to whether "pseudepigraphical writings were an accepted convention among Christians at this time" (Beale, pg. 34). So, it was probably a John known to the church. Since John identifies himself as a prophet (1:1-3; 10-19; 4:1-2; 17:1-3; 21:9-10; 22:6-7), Beale believes that he can probably be "identified with a group of early Christian itinerant prophets" (Beale, pg. 36).

According to Poythress, Dionysius, bishop of Alexandra compared the themes and style of writing with John’s other writing and declared that it wasn’t the same. But others have found many similar themes: "Jesus as Word, Lamb, and Son of man and as glorified even through death...Shepherd, manna, living water, and life and light" (pg. 35). As well has some similar Greek words and phrases. And it would make sense that different genres would not be too similar to each other.

Since John identifies himself as a prophet (1:1-3; 10-19; 4:1-2; 17:1-3; 21:9-10; 22:6-7), Beale believes that he is probably be "identified with a group of early Christian itinerant prophets" (pg. 36).

And I should point out that God identifies himself as the author of the book:
Revelation 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
Date
Arguments for an early date (from Beale, pp. 21-27):

The temple is mentioned in 11:1-2. It wouldn’t have been mentioned if it had been destroyed (it was destroyed in 70 AD), also “the holy city” in 11:2 and “the great city” in 11:18 refer to Jerusalem.

The “seven mountains” in 17:9 is believed to refer to Rome and the seven kings to the Roman emperors and an early dating would “identify the first of these ‘kings’ as Augustus, the first official Roman emperor, and the sixth as Galba, who reigned briefly after Nero’s death (68-69 AD). Or one might just as plausibly begin with Julius Caesar, who first claimed the rights of Roman emperor. In that case, Nero would be the sixth and Galba the seventh” (pg. 21).

The number "666" refers to Nero -- “Some contend that the numerical value of the name Nero(n) Caesar was intended to be caluculated according to Hebrew transcription, since it adds up to 666, the number of the beast’s name in 13:18” (pg. 24).

"Babylon" refers to Jerusalem.

Revelation 1:7 states that Jesus would be "coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him even those who piereced him; and all the tribe of the earth will mourn over him." This passage is believed by preterists to refer to the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. Jesus coming to Jerusalem in judgment through the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army. Obviously, that would mean that the book would have been written before the army destroyed Jerusalem.

Beale goes through each of these arguments and refutes them, if you are interested in them, buy his commentary :-)

Arguments for a later date:

Poythress believes that the dating of the book is during the reign of Domitian. It’s clear from the book that the churches, throughout the whole Asia-Minor region, are going through persecution or are about to go through persecution. If that’s the case, then it can’t be Nero because his persecution of the church was limited to Christians in Rome. The reason that Poythress believes that it was during Domitian’s reign is his enforcement of a tax on the Jews so that they would not have to declare their loyalty to the Empire. When this tax was collected, the problem of whether Christians were Jews was raised and this lead to the persecution of Christians who wouldn’t pledge loyalty to the Empire. The Jews denied that the Christians were Jews even though the Christians viewed themselves that way. This may be the reason for these passages:
Revelation 2:9 "'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

Revelation 3:9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie- behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you.
Plus, Beale states that the “testimony of the earliest patristic authors supports a date during the time of Domitian. The most important of these witnesses are Irenaeus, Victorinus of Pettau, Eusebius, and possibly Clement of Alexandra and Origen” (Beale, pg. 19).

He also believes that the use of the term "Babylon" points to a date after 70 AD since its used to refer to "Rome in Jewish literature after 70 A.D. and roughly contemporary with the Apocalypse. Jewish commentators called Rome "Babylon" because the Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem and its temple in 70 A.D., just as Babylon had done in the sixth century B.C." (Beale, pp 18-19).

Occasion and Purpose
Some in the church were going through persecution and for others it was coming and this letter was to be an encouragement and a rebuke. There was heretical teaching and some lost their zeal for the Lord. Some were beginning to compromise with the society. John wrote the letter to warn them to turn back to the Lord, and persevere in their faith.

“Revelation assures Christians that Christ knows their condition. He calls them to stand fast against all temptation. Their victory has been secured through the blood of the Lamb (5:9-10; 12:11). Christ will come soon to defeat Satan and all his agents (19:11-20:10), and his people will enjoy everlasting peace in his presence (7:15-17; 21:3-4)” (pg. 55).

“John’s purpose was to jot these Christians back into reality of their faith and the seriousness of their sin by telling them that they could not be loyal to two masters but only one.”

Themes
Poythress believes that the following are the themes of Revleation (Poythress, pp. 43-45):

God – “God rules history and will bring it to its consummation in Christ” (Poythress, The Book of Revelation: A Guide for Understanding, pg. 3)

Spiritual warfare – Satan and God are at war and humanity is caught in the middle. Revelation reveals this struggle and allows us to see that Christ is the ulitmate victor in this conflict.

Contrasts between good and evil – counterfeit by Satan of God’s work.

Witness and Martydom -- these themes run throughout the book.

Reward and punishment -- their are blessing for following Christ and their is punishment for those who are disobedient to God.

Apocalyptic -- it's similar to other types of apocalyptic literature at the time.

Beale believes that “the focus of the book is exhortation to the church community to witness to Christ in the midst of a compromising, idolatrous church world” (pg. 33).

Conclusion

Over the coming months I will be posting the notes and questions from my Revelation Bible study that I will be teaching at my church. I will be focusing my attention on how the book of Revelation impacts our lives today. I have posted the study questions here.

One bit of warning about my interpretation, I plan to let the Bible speak for itself and not impose an interpretation on it. I'm not interested in following popular trends. I'm interested in reading the Bible in the genre that it is written in and keep that in mind when I interpret the symbolism.

And just because I don't follow the trends, doesn't mean that I don't understand them. I've studied this book for years and I know the major types of interpretation, I come to my current position, not because I've embraced it but because I've rejected the others. It's the only one that makes any sense of the material found in Revelation and the rest of the Scriptures.

Revelation Chapter One Questions

  1. (v. 1) What do you think is the “revelation of Jesus?”

  2. (v. 1) What do you think it means that God gave Jesus the revelation?

  3. (v. 3) Why do you think that those who read the book are blessed? Why do you think that was included?

  4. (v. 3) When you read that you will be blessed by the reading of this book, does that motivate you to read it? What type of blessing do you think you will receive from “hearing” and doing what is in this book?

  5. (v. 3) What do you think it means that the “time is near?”

  6. (v. 5) What do you think John means by “seven spirits?”

  7. (vv. 5-6) How would this passage help in times of persecution and struggle?

  8. (v. 6) What does it mean to be “priests to his God and Father?” How does your life reflect this priesthood?

  9. (v. 7) What do you think it meant by “those who pierced him?” (Think about what is happening in this verse before you answer.) Who are they and why would they mourn?

  10. (vv. 12-16) What strikes you the most about this description? List all the things that are symbolic in this passage and think about what they mean. How does this knowledge help you to understand what God wanted to reveal about Christ? What do you think is revealed about Christ in this passage? Read Daniel 7:9-14. What are the similarities between these two descriptions?

  11. (vv. 17-18) What does it mean that Jesus is the “first and the last?” How does this passage help the church during times of persecution? How does it help us?

  12. (v. 18) What does it mean that Jesus holds the “keys of Death and Hades?”

  13. (v. 20) How does this insight help us to understand the vision better? In other words, what does it mean to us to know that Christ is standing in the midst of the lampstands? How does this knowledge empower a Christian who is faced with persecution? Hoes does it empower us?

  14. Go back and reread the chapter, what is your impression of this chapter? What do you learn about Christ from it and what do you learn about the purpose for this book?

Where have I been? In my car of course!

So, yesterday I thought, "I better get going and write my Revelation Bible study!" Yes, I know it was a little late and yes, I know that I should have started it weeks ago but I've been feeling particularly lazy lately. Half way into writing it, I get a really bad sinus headache and I sleepy. Oh no! What am I going to do?

"Honey, I'm tried and I've got a headache. Could you take the kids to school in the morning so I can finish my Bible study?"

And in an act of love, my husband agrees to take the kids to school on his day off. He said that he was thinking about doing it anyway. Is it any wonder that I love him? Who wouldn't love a guy like that? Too bad he will never know about my public declaration of love (he doesn't read this blog, he prefers Reformed Chicks).

So, I got up at 5:30, wrote as fast as I could :-) and finished in time. But I lost my keys and got there late. My teaching skills are a little rusty, I haven't taught since last December. But I got through it.

After the study, I went to the bank to close out my daughters' savings accounts and then went to lunch with Doug and had really bad Chinese buffet. Then I went to pick up the girls, went food shopping and as we were about to leave the store the girls asked for a movie from the DVD machine (Samantha wanted Shaggy Dog and Sarah wanted Hoot). I pull out my charge card and notice that my license is gone, so I go home, call the bank and found out that I forget to get the license back when I closed out the accounts. So, it's back in the car, driving in rush hour traffic, wait in line at the drive through window to pick up the license, drive back home in rush hour traffic, stop at the grocery store again to pick up stuff my husband forgot to tell me he wanted and then home to cook dinner. Just your typical day.

I hope to whip my Revelation introduction into shape to post on the Internet some time today.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

R. C. Sproul's New Book

Sproul has written a three-volume guide to the Westminster Confession and volume one is on sale at Westminster for only $14.30. Here is description of what volume one contains:

This first volume (of three), covering chapters 1-8 of the confession, explains what we need to understand about Holy Scripture, God and the Trinity, his decree, creation, providence, the fall into sin, God's covenant, and Christ the Mediator. Every discussion is geared toward bringing us to a deeper knowledge of and greater love for the doctrines of grace set forth in God's Word.
And BTW, I walked into the bookstore, planning to buy Gaffin's new book for my birthday present (yes, I am a geek), and noticed that the top shelf of the New Books section was empty. Of course that's where they would put Gaffin's book but I confirmed that it was sold out anyway. Bummer, why didn't they get enough copies? They know how beloved Gaffin is and I'm sure a lot of people were waiting for it (justification is a big topic in academic circles these days, what with the New Perspective on Paul). Plus, I am sure it's going to be required reading in the Doctrines of Salvation classes.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Translation and Readings have been completed!

Thanks for the prayers, the Lord answered them in the affirmative! I was able to finish reading the papers I needed to read in preparation for my class and I was able to translate Matthew 5-6. I'm now trying to memorize the passages so that I can pass the quiz (prayer would be appreciated -- I take the test tomorrow). I'm a little rusty in Greek, so this should be interesting.

I mentioned that I might post something about the Green paper and I think that I can sum it up in this: what is the genre of the Old Testament and how should we read the Old Testament? And I think Green's answer to these questions would be that you should read the Bible as redemptive history and to do that you should read the Old Testament as if you had never heard the gospel. A complete grammatical-historical (how the text was intended to be read by the author)read. This is a first reading of the text. It's like when you read a murder mystery and you have no idea who the killer is, as you read you pick up clues and then at the end the killer is revealed. Reading with no knowledge of the ending.

After you've read the Bible from the aspect of the writer then you read it again from the aspect of the end of the story -- from the aspect of the Gospel. That's the second reading of the text. It's reading a murder mystery a second time with the knowledge of who was the killer. You will look at the story differently now that you know who did it. You will be able to see clues that you missed before. The movie The Sixth Sense is a perfect example of this, it is a completely different movie when you watch it with the understanding of what you discover at the end.

You really can't understand the story of redemption completely and what the Old Testament is about if you skip the first reading and go immediately to the seconding reading.

The paper that I had linked on Friday to will give you more insight into first readings and second readings. I think it might be worth your time to check it out.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I've been busy but not with Greek

I've tried to post for two nights now and I kept falling asleep :-) For the last two days I've had to run errands for my kids and haven't had a chance to blog or translate Greek! So, I asked my husband to pick up the girls after school today so that I can work on my translation. I have to translate Matthew 5-6 and as you probably know, they're long. So today and throughout the weekend I will be working on the translation and preparing for my quiz on Tuesday.

It's really hard going to seminary with kids in school. There are so many things I have to do for them, that it takes away from my school work. For two years in a row I was studying for a test the next day at my daughter's Christmas concert (one year it was Greek, the next Hebrew). Of course I'm happy to do my job as a mom :-) that's not the point, it's just really hard to manage both. But I keep telling myself how blessed I am to be going to seminary and it makes it a lot easier.

I will also be reading an unpublished paper by my OTHT professor, Dr. Green and this paper as well. I might try to summarize some of Green's paper for you. We will be discussing it in class on Monday so doing a summary might be helpful. But it depends on where I am with the Greek.

BTW, thanks so much for the prayers, I can always tell when people are praying for me because my desire to do my work increases and so does my ability. Prayer for time management would be appreciated. I don't want to abandon the blogs, but I do have to focus on the school work, so I pray for a balance.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Busy since the start of school

I started seminary last week and have been really busy ever since. I have a Greek quiz next week, Matthew 5-6 and I'm a little overwhelmed by it. Plus I found out that I am going to have to write two exegetical papers, one for a passage in the Pentateuch and one from Luke. I was beginning to think it was mistake to take these two classes together until my OTHT professor, Dr. Green, told us that the two classes compliment each other.

OK, that's all I have time for right now, I will try to post more about my classes later today.

BTW, prayer would be appreciated.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

9-11 Tribute to William Fallon

On Monday, September 11, 2996 blogs will be paying tribute to the 2996 victims of 9-11. This is a tribute to William Fallon, a husband and the father of two daughters who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald as a trading system support manager. On 9-11, Cantor Fitzgerald was the hardest hit of any other company:

Cantor Fitzgerald's former New York office, on the 101st-105th floors of One World Trade Center, lost 658 employees, or about two-thirds of its workforce, in the September 11, 2001 attacks, considerably more than any other company, including the Fire Department of New York.
William Fallon was loved by his daughters Kayla and Kathleen. Kayla left the following message in 2005 on her daddy's memorial page:
Daddy I love you and miss you beyond words I love you

love always,
kayla
They were proud of him and that he worked in the Twin Towers:
Whenever William Fallon and his family were near any vantage point where the Twin Towers were visible in the Manhattan skyline, his two young daughters would gleefully point and exclaim, "There's where Daddy works."

"Bill took the kids to the building several times. They were so proud of their daddy," said Laura Fallon, wife of the 38-year-old executive who worked on the 103rd floor of Tower One. Fallon, known to everyone as Bill, was an assistant vice president and technical support manager for eSpeed, the electronic trading platform of brokerage firm Cantor Fitzgerald. The family lives in Coram.
And according to Laura, his wife, he was a devoted father:
"He went to work early so he could come home early to be with us," she said. "He was the kind of daddy who liked taking the girls to dance classes."
Who took his family on extended family vacations and had just returned from a trip to the Grand Teton, Mount Rushmore and Rocky Mountain National Park:
When Kayla turned 6 in 1999, William and Laura Fallon decided it was all right to start taking long trips. The resulting trip to the Grand Canyon was Kayla's first long airplane ride and the first of a series of trips to national parks for the Fallons.

This year, they went on a sweeping 16-day trip that encompassed Grand Teton, Mount Rushmore, Rocky Mountain National Park, "and everyplace in between," Mrs. Fallon said. She and her husband had mapped the trip using an atlas to pick a principal destination, then figured out what other parks were nearby. They got back on Labor Day weekend, and Mr. Fallon returned to work at Cantor Fitzgerald.
He was also a devoted employee:
"He was the guy people would call when they had trouble with the computer system," his wife said. She explained that he was a dedicated executive who enjoyed his job and would often work from his home computer.

"He would get calls from all over the world. When the phone rang at 6:30 p.m. on a Sunday night, it might be Tokyo. He would log on and see what was wrong," she said.
Who had a masters in computer science:
Fallon grew up in Ridge and earned his undergraduate degree from Polytechnic University in Farmingdale. He went on the obtain his master's degree in computer science from the New York Institute of Technology.
And he is remembered by his colleagues for his humor:
I worked with Bill at Retuers for 4 years. He was always good for a dry joke or a quick smile. I am so sad for his family

You were a good friend at Reuters Bill. I will always miss the frequent visits to my cube and the constant jokes and quips. I enjoyed catching up to you on the train to NYC occasionally as well. You always found the humor in most depressing things. I will miss you.
He was married to his high school sweetheart, Laura:
The couple, who met at Longwood High School in Middle Island and were married for 17 years, have two daughters, Kathleen, 11, and Kayla, 8.
She remembers his assurance on Sept. 11 that he was OK and that they were being evacuated:
His wife, who said she and her husband called each other several times each day, noted that on Sept. 11 he telephoned her at about 8:55 a.m. "'I'm OK, we're evacuating,'" was what he immediately said, Laura recalled. "I didn't know what he was talking about. He told me to put on the news and hung up." That was the last time she spoke to him.
My prayers go out to William Fallon's wife and her daughters. I can only imagine the pain that they must be experiencing at his loss, even after five years.

Here is a link to the other tributes. I also posted a tribute to another Cantor Fitzgerald employee here.


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Note: the post for the Blogging Chicks 9-11 Carnival link will be after this post.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Carnival of the Blogging Chicks #13 Sept. 11

The Carnival is up.

Friday, September 08, 2006

9-11 remembrances

This week the Carnival of the Blogging Chicks will have a 9-11 theme and I've opened it up to all women, even those who aren't on the blogroll. Email me a 1 or 2 line description with a link to your post.

Also, Shannon is doing a 9-11 remembrance and she'll link (she's using Mr. Linky) to everyone who posts about 9-11 (and this would include men as well).

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I remember the day I saw pure evil

It was such a beautiful morning, the sun was shining, the sky was a beautiful shade of blue and it was crystal clear. I had a BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) leaders' meeting that morning, I don't remember what we were talking about or even what we were studying, I just remember that while we were meeting someone from the church came in and told us that the Twin Towers had been hit by a plane and that was all we heard.

It didn't sound bad at first because I thought of a small, private plane that had gone off course or something. I thought it was an accident, I didn't realize that it was deliberate. The BSF leader decided to continue with the meeting, which was a mistake because after awhile we heard that one of the Towers had collapsed and that the Pentagon had been hit and then we couldn't even think of anything else. Some of the women left because they had loved ones who worked in the Towers or near them. We tried to pray but there was too much going on for us to concentrate. The meeting broke up early.

When I heard that the Pentagon had been hit, I realized that we were at war. It scared me to think that we could be hit on our own soil. I knew that life had changed and we could never go back to the way we used to live before that day.

As I was driving, I cried and listened to the radio for news. I looked up at the sky and thought about how such an awful thing could take place on such a beautiful day, it was too beautiful for such ugliness and then I saw a plane flying overhead and wondered what were it's intentions. I thought about the passengers of the planes and wondered what their last moments were like. I became enraged as I thought about them being used as a weapon against their fellow Americans. How evil was it that man could take such an innocent and helpful tool and turn it into a weapon. As I drove home, I prayed for the safety of my daughters and my husband but most of all for the safety of my brother-in-law who was (and is) a pilot for a major airline.

When I got back to my house I turned on the TV but most of the channels were gone. We lost most of them when the Tower fell since the transmitters for the local stations were located on the Towers. So, I watched what I could and listened to the radio and read what I could find on the Internet. I did that until it was time to pick up my daughters. I watched with horror as people hung out of the building because it was too hot inside and as some jumped to their death. I watched in horror as I saw the video of people trapped on the roof, alive and still waiting for someone to rescue them. I knew that wouldn't happened and knew they would never get down. I watched and watched as the newscasters kept hope alive that someone might be pulled from the rubble. I remember thinking that seemed unlikely, how could they survive?

They didn't tell my kids about 9-11 at school, so I did. Many of the parents had come and got their kids, fearing for their safety. I didn't, I don't know why. I did afterward and still do (especially after what happened in Russia). My daughters were upset but not fearful, they didn't realize the implications. In a way I envied them.

I watched TV a lot over the coming days, I watched friends and family members trying to find their loved ones, it went on for day. It seemed to be the only thing on TV for a while. I became depressed and cried all the time, I cried for the people who lost loved ones, I thought about the people who were trapped in the burning building or the people trapped on the roof and I cried. I cried for the children who lost their parents. I cried for months after 9-11 and still do. I can't watch anything about that day without crying. This week has been rough.

Fear gripped me that day and hasn't let go. I know that God's in control, but that doesn't stop me from feeling fearful. I had a hard time flying to Phoenix recently and was sick the entire morning until the flight took off. It was the first time I've flown since 9-11, my husband and I were scheduled to fly to Seattle on September 14, needless to say, I didn't go.

But the thing that I remember the most, the thing that affected me for months afterward, is the realization that I witnessed pure evil. I know that it exists, I know that evil is out there but I've never had it thrust in my face like that before. It was appalling in its extravagance, its abundance, its ugliness and it depressed me and broke my spirit for many months. Evil exists and I saw it that day, that scared and sickened me.

I knew that God's in control, I knew that He is sovereign, I knew that I could trust Him and I heard many stories of people who were supposed to be in that building that day but in the providence of God, were not. I knew all this but I still grieved and I still felt fearful. I grieved for the families, I grieved for the people who were killed, I grieved for my loss of ignorance, and I grieved over the fact that I now live in fear of an enemy who could strike me or my family at any time. During rush hour traffic, in the mall at Christmas time, at my daughter's school, at my husband's job, in the subway or in a tunnel, when we went to the Empire State Building, and with the fall out from a dirty bomb.

Today, the fear has subsided and now its more like the other fears I have, its manageable. We go on, we live our lives and hope that it doesn't happen again but knowing that it might. Oh Lord, protect us from the evils of this world, is my prayer for my family. I think it covers all the bases.

Updated to add: When I wrote this I was feeling depressed and overwhelmed and I wanted to write something encouraging at the end because as a Christian, I live in hope and in the understanding that though He slay me yet I trust Him. But I couldn't, I was being honest. I gave you what I felt. But today (Sunday) in church, I felt what I knew, "that for those who love God all things work together for good." And that God will use it to strengthen us in our faith:

James 1:2-3 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
Thanks be to God that He encourages His servants to persevere when we face unspeakable evil, that we can rest in the knowledge that He will be with us during our fiery trials and that we will triumph in the end because He has triumphed over evil:
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."
Today I took heart :-)

Updated again: Sarah read my remembrance and decided to write one of her own:

As tomorrow is 9-11 I thought I might say something about that day.
Well I was in elementary that year. I remember that sometime in the morning the intercom went on, saying something happened in new York. They, of course, didn't tell us, because they didn't want to upset anyone who's parents might work in the towers or near them. So as the day progressed many people got taken out of school. I remember me and one of my friends talking in the lunchroom, during lunch when not a whole lot of people where there. We had no clue what was happening, but we concocted our own theories. I remember mine. It was that some mad killer or something was in new York and was coming towards us and people were afraid that he might come and kill them. This of course was stupid, but what do you expect from elementary kids?

Well as little kids we were excited at the prospect of getting taken out of school, but my mom didn't pick me up so I was disappointed. But when she came to my classroom she was crying, so I asked what was wrong and she said the twin towers had been hit. I had no idea why she was crying about this because I didn't know the extent of the situation. When we got home and saw the news I was shocked, I couldn't believe people would do that. Commit suicide and kill thousands of people. To this day I still don't understand that. Many years ago me, my mom took a picture of the towers. As a memorial I keep it on my bulletin board as a reminder to mourn those that were lost, and to pray for their families.


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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Gaffin's new book on justification

Professor Gaffin has written a book on justification:

Publisher's Description:
How, according to the teachings of Paul, does the individual receive salvation?

That is the focal question behind this book. Against some recent scholars Gaffin argues that it is both a meaningful and an appropriate question to ask. So what does the application of salvation to sinners involve for Paul? Does he distinguish between salvation accomplished (historia salutis) and salvation applied (ordo salutis) and, if so, how, and how important is the latter for him? And what exactly is the place of justification in his theology? Gaffin argues that:
"The central soteriological reality is union with the exalted Christ by Spirit-created faith. That is the nub, the essence, of the way or order of salvation for Paul. The center of Paul's soteriology...is neither justification by faith nor sanctification, neither the imputation of Christ's righteousness nor the renewing work of the Spirit. To draw that conclusion, however, is not to de-center’' justification (or sanctification), as if justification is somehow less important for Paul than the Reformation claims. Justification is supremely important, it is absolutely crucial in Paul's 'gospel of salvation' (cf. Eph. 1:13). Deny or distort his teaching on justification and that gospel ceases to be gospel; there is no longer saving 'good news' for sinners. But no matter how close justification is to the heart of Paul's gospel, in our salvation, as he sees it, there is an antecedent consideration, a reality, that is deeper, more fundamental, more decisive, more crucial: Christ and our union with him, the crucified and resurrected, the exalted, Christ. Union with Christ by faith-that is the essence of Paul's ordo salutis."
I find his writing a little hard to understand but I'm still getting the book, though I won't have much time to read it. Looking at justification by faith from the aspect of our union with Christ is so important and yet not too many people are looking at it from that perspective. This is exactly how Calvin viewed it (this was really stressed by Tipton in my Doctrine of Salvation II class).

Also, Tremper Longman III has written a new commentary on Proverbs and D. A. Carson has written a new book about suffering and evil. And this one looks interesting, it's on the clarity of Scripture. Ok, I guess you all have your Christmas list ready for your loved ones :-)

I think I'm asking for a gift card from the Westminster Bookstore for my birthday!

BTW, guess what I bought yesterday? Two new Bibles!!! Sarah is allowed to use the NIV this year and she wanted a small one to carry in her messenger bag. Now, how could I make her carry her Life Application Study Bible? That would be cruel. And then Samantha needed the KJV and she only had the NKJV, so she got a small one she could carry in her backpack. I think they were necessary :-)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What?

There's a new Friday Meme at Christian Women Online (just what the blogosphere needed -- another meme) but I don't understand it, could someone read it and let me know what it's about?

Updated to add: They only had six participants. I don't know if that's because others were confused or because of Shannon's 9-11 remembrance or writing their 2996 tribute.

Christian Carnival

The Christian Carnival is up. I didn't participate this week.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Yet Another Update: ESV Journaling Bible ™

In July I mentioned that I was thinking about getting the ESV Journaling Bible ™™ because it would be helpful to put extra notes in my Bible to remind me of points that I might want to use when I'm teaching Revelation this year but I was debating getting it since I have so many Bibles (the picture to the left is of some of the Bibles that we have in our house) and I generally don't read them because I usually read the Bible in Bibleworks instead (which has just about every translation know to man -- see for yourself).

But the Lord took the decision out of my hands, I was offered a Bible from a kind soul at Crossway Stephen the webmaster at Good News / Crossway with no strings attached.

I received it a couple weeks ago and was quite pleased with it. It has several nice features:

1. It looks just like a Moleskine (which, it turns out, was the idea), it has an elastic strap to keep it closed and the same hardback cover that you get with a Moleskine. I liked it the moment I saw it because I love Moleskines. Here's a picture of mine:


2. I liked the ruled lines and the wide margin, there is more than enough room to take notes.

3. I liked the elastic band so that I can shove paper in my Bible and not worry about losing it, though I really wish they had included the back pocket like they have in Moleskines. I wonder if it's been patented.

4. I like the quality of the paper, it's heavy enough that you don't have trouble turning the pages.

5. I like the size of it, even though it's a little thick which makes sense since it's made with wide margins.

Now the downside, when I first got the Bible I couldn't read it because the font was too small but in the providence of God I was scheduled for an eye doctor appointment the following week. Once I got my bifocals, I was able to read the text with no problem.

I recommend getting the Journaling Bible, especially if you love your Moleskine and if like writing in your Bible. I bet your notes will be a lot more legible with the lines than they are now.

BTW, here is the first note I put in my Journaling Bible:


It's a thought I had related to Carrie's post on the unbridled tongue. I put a note in James to remind myself that to bridle my tongue (James 3:1-12) I need to bridle my heart (Matt. 15:16-19). If I'm not thinking in a judgmental manner, then I'm not speaking in one, though that's easier said than done :-)

Updated to add: I've added the name of the kind soul who offered me the Bible.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Carnival of the Blogging Chicks #12

The Carnival is up.

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More on my trip to Phoenix

So, my husband told me in July that he was going to Phoenix at the end of August for business and I decided that I wanted to join him. He wasn't too eager for me to go because he was going to be busy for most of the trip but I didn't care, I thought it would be fun to get away for a while. I would rent a car and go to the Desert Museum in Tuscan. I had been there a number of years ago and really liked it. So, my husband used his frequent flyer miles to get me a round trip ticket (he had to use extra points to get me a ticket, which I heard about quite a few times on the trip :-).

When we arrived we didn't rent a car and had to wait for a shuttle to take us to the hotel (which was a good thing because I was told by the car rental guy that if we had rented a car at the airport, we would have to pay 50% tax on the car, 50%! But since I rented the car in town instead, the tax was only 25%).

We stayed at The Buttes which is a really beautiful hotel:
As you can see from the picture, it's built around a mountain and used the rocks from the mountain in it's design. Here is a shot from the rear:


There are two pools that connect under a bridge:



They even have an outdoor bar that they keep misted all day:


They misted the front of the hotel, as well:

Misting is pretty big in Phoenix. I even saw a Starbucks that misted.

There was a bridge to our room:

This was the view from the hotel:


Here is a beautiful sunset we saw on my last night there:



Here is a shot of one of the hotel's restaurants, Top of the Rock, it was the expensive restaurant, very expense:



This was my meal:


The tall things are mashed potatoes.

This was my favorite place to have breakfast at the hotel:

I really missed staying at the Hampton Inn because it cost me $15 to have breakfast, though it was very good. I usually had French toast and sausage.

I spent the weekend in our hotel room on the Internet (I had to pay for Internet and I was too happy about it) while Doug worked but by Monday I was ready to go and I rented a car and headed for Tuscan. I thought that there wouldn't be too much between Tuscan and Phoenix but I was wrong! There was a huge Walmart and at least two Crackle Barrels, gas stations, outlets and strip malls. And even a prison.

I love the Desert Museum because it's not too big and it's a great place to see both the local animals and the local plants. Plus I love the Hummingbird exhibit. Here are some of the shots from the Desert Museum:








After I left the Hummingbird building, I almost stepped on this:

On Tuesday, Doug and I went to Sedona:




In Sedona, I almost bought a T-shirt that had been dyed with the red dirt

Then we drove around downtown Phoenix:






On Wednesday, I went shopping in Scottsdale:


I parked my car and walked around Old Tuscan until I realized it was way too hot to walk around at 2:00 in the afternoon. I decided to grab a milkshake at Sonic and head back to the hotel and start packing for my return flight the next day.

Phoenix is a wonderful place to visit, even in the heat. It was over 100 degrees the entire time I was sightseeing but it's dry heat so it isn't so bad :-). In NJ, if it was over 100 degrees, I wouldn't be able to breath because of the humidity but in Phoenix, I could.

One great thing about going to Phoenix in August, bargains! August is their off season so I got half off all the silver jewelry I bought! So, I bought myself and early birthday present, it saves Doug from having to go shopping. Plus I spent less on the guilt buying I did for my daughters :-)

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Friday, September 01, 2006

I was in Phoenix

So, I just got back from Phoenix. I left last Friday and returned tonight. I was a nervous wreak on Friday and felt like throwing up all day but by the time the plane taxied and prepared for takeoff I was fine and my return flight was not so bad.

I am happy to report that they are being thorough in making sure that middle age Christian women aren't smuggling any water or anything else on the planes. Not only was my stuff x-rayed but I was pulled over for a random search as well, which meant all the contents of my purse and laptop bag were searched by hand. But I have to say they were quick and efficient. At both Newark and Phoenix the security screening was not that bad, the people were friendly and helpful, making sure people get through the line quickly.

The flight wasn't so pleasant though, I haven't flown in years and I was shocked at how overcrowded the planes have gotten. It felt like a flying bus. Going to the bathroom was a chore because the aisle isn't designed for two people. My personal space was violated more than once, yech!

On the way to Phoenix I sat in the window seat and Doug sat next to me (he gave up the window seat for me, isn't he wonderful) and there was this twenty something businessman sitting next to him. The poor kid thought he was going to sleep on the flight. Ha! Don't sit on the aisle seat if you want to sleep, especially when there is a middle age woman who had a cup of tea before she boarded the plane and suffers from a nervous bladder. We had to shout and Doug had to nudge him to wake him up. He was pretty annoyed but I was so not apologetic, sorry but if you are sitting in the aisle, you will have to get up to let your seat mates go to the bathroom. It's just a fact of life.

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