Month: October 2005

a.m.: Genesis 22:1-19 p.m.: Ezekiel 36

Those who trust in God will occassionally be tested by him. In the case of Abraham, the test was very tough! To be asked to sacrifice his only son would’ve been a big test of Abraham’s faith. For Abraham knew God would not contradict himself, yet this appeared to be a contradiction – the sacrifice of his son.

Regardless, Abraham prepared for the sacrifice, collecting wood, saddling up the donkey and looking to the point where it would happen.

Despite the apparent contradiction, Abraham still trusted God to provide an alternative. This can be seen in the account, with Abraham telling his servants both he and his son would return, and also telling Isaac that God would provide a lamb.

Right up until the final moment, Abraham carried out all the actions necessary, and then God provided the substitute. Not only did this result in Abraham being blessed, but through this all nations would be blessed.

It would be through the line of Abraham, that the ultimate sacrificial substitute would come. For Jesus Christ would one day be born to be sacrificed on a cross to take on the sins of those who believed in him.

Just as Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son, we should be prepared to sacrifice whatever is most important to us. If God the Son gave up his life that I might live, how much should I be willing to give up?

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Ga 2:20


From North Africa to Brazil

I had a fairly relaxed start to a rather busy Saturday morning. After a bit of a lie-in, I was off on one of my little jaunts as voluntary IT support for a fellow church member. His internet connection was no longer working. A quick rummage around /var/log/messages indicated the problem was “NO DIALTONE” reported by the modem. However, I then plugged in a phone to the same socket, picked up the receiver and found there was a dialtone. Slightly odd – will have to try another modem I think. Mission incomplete. 🙁

Played some pool in the afternoon, due to the fact the snooker room was being refurbished. After playing on the green baize for so long, the blue baize was distinctly smaller! So much so that we managed to play 11 games in an hour.

The evening was spent round Nigel’s with just the ‘lads’. A fun evening spent playing Risk and watching DVDs without the distraction of any girls. At the risk of sounding slightly odd, I think we should do these things more often.


Cheese Gromit! Cheese!

Saw Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit this afternoon. What a cracking film! A very English film, with a great imbibing of eccentric English humour – something suitable and enjoyable for all ages. It’s amazing what the guys at Aardman can do with a few blobs of plasticine. It even persuaded a rather sceptical Sarah that it was worth watching.

Went round Dave’s afterwards for a game of Monopoly. A slightly sketchy game, with almost a repeat of my previous victory! I had managed to acquire all the stations and through it, to bankrupt a few people and acquire even more property through it. The final duopoly staged turned into a game of attrition, until I finally landed once too often on Dave’s property and victory went to Dave.

It’s nice to have a change from the usual routine occassionally.


Games with the penguin

After a slight misjudgement on Sunday, I ended up carting my Windows box to church to play a DVD. This left me using my Linux box at home as I couldn’t be bothered to plumb my Windows box back in. For practical things such as reading email and browsing the web, this was fine as I used it for that anyway. However, my Linux box was missing a DVD player and any large scale games. Instead of plugging the Windows box back in, I decided I would remedy the shortcomings of my Linux installation. A little rummaging around resulted in Ogle and a Linux binary for Quake III. Fortunately RPM made Ogle installation a piece of cake, and before I knew it I was watching Goodbye Lenin on DVD on my Linux box – at a nice smooth and regular 25fps! This did, however, delay the installation of Quake III though! When I finally got round to it, this was also very easy as id had made the installation really easy – now all I have to do is update punkbuster, or I’ll be doomed to just spectate games on the internet!


A not quite so reluctant partner

After a two week hiatus, this evening involved a little running around a football pitch. Despite the lull, I managed to run around the pitch for the whole hour, have a few shots at goal and even get one in the net.

After that, I headed round Sarah’s, picking up Barnaby along the way, for dinner and bridge. This time I was to be partnered with Barnaby. Although he had never played bridge before, he was very enthusiastic, although the large number of rules and conventions required for bridge took a while to sink in. Despite a few, I guess inevitable, beginner’s blunders, he was getting the hang of it and we eventually won two games in a row, claiming rubber. A good evening. 🙂


a.m.: Psalm 128 p.m.: Nehemiah 6

In this Psalm of ascent, the psalmist extols a godly father. A husband who fears the Lord, not in a way that one might fear a spider or a mouse, but acknowledging that God is above man and not on the same level. God should be respected, revered and worshipped, whilst being the only being worthy of our trust and praise. The fear of the Lord does not mean we shouldn’t also stay near to God, for he is our refuge in times of trouble.

A godly husband should be a diligent worker. Created in the image of the God who worked six days in the week, and rested on the seventh, man should also work. This is not to say that work will always be exciting and exhilarating. There will be times when it is tedious and dull, but it is in those times we should continue to work, that a husband and father can be relied upon to provide for his family.

A godly wife will care primarily for the home, looking after children. She will provide a haven for children to take shelter from the buffeting of life. Her husband should be able to tutn to her for wise counsel and be able to trust her completely.

The children of godly parents should be brought up to know the things of God, that they might know the Gospel. The family is to function as a unit, with communication – especially around the dining table – paramount.

This is not to say that godly parents will always get it right, nor will their children always be obedient and make the right decisions.

If the family is functioning according to the will of God, so will the body of God’s people, and if that is the case, the nation will be affected. Such a nation will be at peace with itself.


Junction 15

A day spent at Swindon to go on a whistle-stop tour of the bible. It’s always good to listen to good biblical teaching, with the added bonus of meeting up with Christian young people.

The tour was particularly interesting, starting with the tree in the garden, and the separation of rebellious sinful man from that tree. How the tree was represented in a fallen world, yet even then man rebelled so much, that even that was removed from them. Yet, all this was then dealt with, with God sacrificed on a tree, that we might one day be in the city, where the tree is in a garden.


The Second Commandment

Q: Which is the second commandment?
A: The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Q: What is required in the second commandment?
A: The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his word.

Q: What is forbidden in the second commandment?
A: The second commandment forbiddeth the worshipping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his word.

Q: What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
A: The reasons annexed to the second commandment are, God’s sovereignty over us, his propriety in us, and the zeal he hath to his own worship.

(Questions XLIX, L, LI, and LII from the Westminster Shorter Catechism).


God is…

Q: What is God?
A: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.

(Question IV from the Westminster Shorter Catechism).


Crime

What with the submission of the Religious Hatred Bill to Parliament, the existence of “Anti-Hate Crime” organisations and other similarly “politically correct” ideas, one would’ve thought basic criminal law wasn’t enough.

Surely a crime against a person, regardless of motive, is still a crime. If someone is physically assaulted because of their religion, their sexual persuation, their ideology, their philosophy, their job, or whatever, they are still assaulted and a crime has been committed against them. Conversely, if someone is assaulted regardless of their religion, their sexual persuation, their ideology, their philosophy, their job, or whatever, they are still assaulted and a crime has been committed against them.

What is the point of trying to bring in extra legislation to deal with particular types of crime, when existing laws are able to deal with those issues already. An incident of arson on a Mosque doesn’t need specific religious hatred legislation to be dealt with, there are already laws which deal with arson. An assault on a Hindu doesn’t need specific legislation to be dealt with, there are already laws which deal with assault. I could go on…

As such, there must be some other reason for these new bills. The religious hatred bill in particular only appears to have curtailment of free speech as an added “bonus” to existing law. It seems so badly (or well) worded that criticism of a religion could become a criminal offence. This would be bad news for everyone! Not only would the Christian feasibly not be able to be critical of Islam, the atheist would feasibly not be able to be critical of either or any religion. A significant point of free speech is the freedom to be critical of, religion, philosophy, sexual preference – of anything anyone is able to promote.

So are these proposed new measures well thought through, or just an attempt to win the votes of minorities, at the expense of the everyone?


a.m.: Genesis 20 p.m.: Nehemiah 5

When a person trusts in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, they are justified – treated as righteous – and the Holy Spirit starts working in them that they eventually might be presented to the Father as righteous. Even as Christian believers, going through this sanctifying process, we still have our flaws and Abraham demonstrated this. Abraham had been a believer in the one true God for many years now, sin was no longer his master, but a small pocket of sin surfaced and he was up to his old tricks again – passing off his wife as his sister.

In order to achieve this, not only did he sin, but he caused his wife to sin, using, arguably, one of the oldest emotionally unfair statements on his wife – “If you really love me you’ll……sin” (My paraphrase). Jesus himself would later say it would be better for someone to have a millstone attached to ones neck and dropped in the sea than to cause others to sin.

Yet, despite Abraham’s mistakes, God still counted him as a prophet. God was still able to use Abraham for his glory later on. This is not to excuse Abraham’s conduct, for it was a sinful action and God recognised it as such. If anything, this shows how great God is, that he is able to use such flawed, sinful, characters for his glory – even us.

In addition, such characters cannot bring glory to themselves, and show the glory of God even more.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Cor 4:7


An evening of popular music

A fine evening spent at a classical music concert in Sandhurst with some of the usual suspects (the more cultured of the bunch) and some of the elder members of the church. The lineup was tantalising, with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto no. 2, Mozart’s Piano Concerto 23, and Saint Saens Carnival of the Animals being the main attractions. Alas, some of the soloists for the Bach were ill, so a Telemann was sustituted. A very fine piece, but not Bach. That said, it was a great evening just to be able to sit and listen to live music performed for music’s sake and not to be distracted by anything else. The visual aspect of the performance came to a fore during the Carnival of the Animals, with many of the musicians evidently enjoying themselves, poking fun at some of the folly musicians (and humans in general) fall foul of occassionally.

An evening of exilaration, contemplation and most human emotions in between – experiencing something which expresses that which words fail. It’s a shame most young people don’t seem to have the patience for classical music.


My perfect spotless righteousness

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Saviour and my God!

Charitie L. Bancroft


Alexander?

Learnt something which I’d never heard of before in my violin lesson yesterday evening. The Alexander technique is supposed to be good to relax the arm before and during playing so that the tone produced by the bow is more even and smoother. All I need to do is check I’m not in a room with a low ceiling or I might put a bow shaped hole in it! Things seem to be moving on though as I can now play the major scales of all the natural notes. (The “white keys” on a piano :)) and quite a few minor scales. Just need to improve my bowing so it’s consistently even and improve the agility of the fingers in my left hand. (In contrast to the agility of the fingers of my right hand which are very good for playing the piano, but only hold the bow on the violin!)


A reluctant partner

Spent the evening playing bridge at Sarah’s with her parents. It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to play this great game, so I was easily persuaded to forego my usual run around a football pitch. Whilst her parents were keen bridge players, Sarah was not, but was persuaded it was a game worth learning to play. As such, the game was played a little slower than usually played as the various rules and conventions of bridge were explained. Sarah is fairly bright though and picked up the game without too much of a problem. Alas, the first rubber went to her parents, albeit with one game to us, but the second rubber looked promising with one game to us until bad light stopped play – it was getting late! A very cool evening spent doing something different from the usual. 🙂