Month: March 2006

The seventh commandment

Q: Which is the seventh commandment?
A: The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Q: What is required in the seventh commandment?
A: The seventh commandment requireth the preservation of our own, and our neighbour’s chastity, in heart, speech, and behaviour.

Q: What is forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A: The seventh commandment forbiddeth all unchaste thoughts, words, and actions.

(Questions LXX, LXXI and LXXII from the Westminster Shorter Catechism.)

That theme…

I do seem to be going through a lot of pieces on the violin these days. It might be worth getting pieces from the library to learn than to buy books, but unfortunately my local library is a bit small. Currently learning the Rondeau from Purcell’s Abdelazar which is really rather cool. (You’ll probably more familiar with it’s use as the theme to Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.) Also trying to learn the Neapolitan Song from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, which might be cool as well, but it’s rather difficult!

End of an era…

Well, the Monday night football with my work colleagues is coming to an end. I’ll miss the regular opportunity for exercise, as well as the exposure to danger – mostly from harsh language, but occassionally from the odd heavy tackle! Saying that, it has improved my fitness and stamina, which should hopefully be sustained with the football I play on a Saturday now.

a.m.: 1 John 1:5-10 p.m.: Hebrews 3

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 1 Jn 1:5

God is holy and just, he can be trusted in all things for there is nothing in him which is deceitful. It is this holiness which makes heaven, heaven, and this same holiness which makes hell, hell. For those who trust Jesus Christ to take away their sin will be able to stand in that holiness and enjoy it, but those who cling to their sin will find that same holiness causes them pain and suffering.

If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth…If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 Jn 1:6,8

If we have put out faith in Jesus Christ, the Spirit will work in us and cause up to become more like Christ. We will live more and more according to the word of God and will avoid that which is contrary to the word of God more and more. This is not to say that if we put our faith in Jesus Christ that we will be sinless in this life. Our old sinful nature still contends with the Spirit within us.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin…If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 Jn 1:7,9

Yet, if we have faith in Jesus Christ, he will cleanse us from all sin that we might be spotless in the presence of God. We will want to be around those who have also trusted in Christ, and when we sin, which we shall surely do this side of death, if we honest about them before God and others, he will deal with them.

To Hatfield and back…

Well, after a week of feeling a little rough, I decided against travelling half-way across the country and back again in one day. Instead, Sarah had twigged I wouldn’t be doing anything so asked if I wanted to go to a talk by Paul Taylor from Answers in Genesis at Hatfield Evangelical Baptist Church. Whilst I’m not a supreme fan of the AIG lot (ask me, and I might explain), I’m certainly no evolutionist, so I thought it would be interesting to find out what’s new on the creation/evolution debate. I came away with very little new information. This isn’t to say the exisiting information was bad – I just knew it already. I knew that evolution relied on a few suppositions, such as a very old earth (approximately 4.6 billion years old) and a necessity for a lot of beneficial genetic mutation, which a lot of the evidence didn’t support.

I did away with something new though. There has been found to be carbon-14 in coal. Now, according to evolutionary theory, coal was formed millions of years ago from dead plant material in mangrove swamps. However, carbon-14 has a very short half-life (relatively speaking) and only takes about 50,000 years to complete decay to carbon-12. The significance of this is that for carbon-14 to exist in this coal, it has to be less than 50,000 years old. The coal cannot be millions of years old. There you go.

Anyway, after two talks, we headed back to Sarah’s and sat around and chatted until we realised the time. A nice relaxing and slightly educational end to the week.

Back to the grindstone

Well, was feeling well enough to go back to work today. In a way it’s a shame, as for the days I was semi-ill, I stayed in bed, nice and snug and watched DVDs like To Kill a Mockingbird and the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice.

Not sure I could keep myself occupied for too long with DVDs though – I’d soon run out of good films to watch. It’s rather pleasant being able to do things without too much pain and discomfort as well.

p.m.: Hebrews 2

Does God care? It can be so easy to look around us, to see natural disasters and not so natural disasters happening all around us, and conclude that if God is there at all, he doesn’t really care.

We only need to read the accounts of the happenings of first century Roman Palestine to realise the aforementioned conclusion might be wrong.

In a stable, in Bethlehem, a baby was born. This baby was foretold in prophecies reaching back to the beginning of creation itself. This baby would be the descended from Adam and also be the incarnation of God the Son. This would be the God-man. Somehow, the infinite would be contracted to the finite.

This baby would grow up to be a man, that God would walk amongst us. He would suffer as every other man, he would hunger, thirst and grow weary. He would know loneliness and rejection. Yet, he would go through something which no other man could do. He didn’t come to earth just to live a perfect sinless life and tell us how to live, nor did he come just to find out what it would be like.

The first sin of mankind caused all men to be born sinners. That, before a righteous and holy God, they deserved everlasting punishment. Yet God in his grace loved mankind so much, that he sent his Son to become a man, live on earth and then die a substitutionary and sacrificial death. God the Son would take on punishment due to sinners, God the Son would present himself as a perfect sacrifice for sin, that sinners might be made eternally right with God. Jesus Christ did everything necessary for our justification, making it available to all who put their faith in him.

Does God care? He cared enough to allow his eternal Son to die in our place, that we might not suffer eternal punishment, but have everlasting life with him.

This isn’t so good

Woke up yesterday morning with the notable feeling of fever – raging temperature and very damp bedsheets! Decided it would be best to stay in bed, given I didn’t have much of a choice about it – I don’t think I would’ve got out of bed and down to work even if I wanted to. Today is a lot better though, as I now feel well enough to fill in this blog.

Of course, it could be a lot worse – at least I’m not fighting for my life.

A major, three octaves

Well, I’m learning scales and arpeggios on the violin at rather a pace, would be nice if my general proficiency was as rapid. Saying that, played some pieces I’d learnt a while ago and even though I hadn’t practised them in ages, I was able to play them a lot better than when I learnt them! Something must be sinking in. đŸ™‚

Ill Wind

I once had a whim and I had to obey it
To buy a French Horn in a second hand shop;
I polished it up and I started to play it
In spite of the neighbours who begged me to stop.

To sound my horn, I had to develop my embouchure;
I found my horn was a bit of a devil to play.
So artfully wound, to give you a sound
A beautiful sound so rich and round.

Oh, the hours I had to spend, before I mastered it in the end.

But that was yesterday and just today I looked in the usual place
There was the case but the horn itself was missing.

Oh, where could it have gone? Haven’t you – hasn’t anyone seen my horn?
Oh where could it have gone?
What a blow! Now I know, I’m unable to play my Allegro.

Who swiped my horn? I’ll bet you a quid, somebody did,
Knowing I’d found a concerto and wanted to play it,
Afraid of my talent for playing the horn.
Whoever it is I can certainly say it,
He’ll probably wish he had never been born.

I’ve lost my horn – I know I was using it yesterday.
I’ve lost my horn, lost my horn, found my horn…gone.
There’s not much chance of getting it back though I’d willingly pay a reward.

I know some hearty folk whose party jokes pretending to hunt with the Quorn ,
Gone away! Gone away! Was it one of them took it away?
Will you kindly return my horn? Where is the devil who pinched that horn?
I shall tell the police I want my French Horn back.

I miss its music more and more and more.
Without the horn I’m feeling sad and so forlorn.

I found a concerto, I wanted to play it
Displaying my talent for playing the horn.
But early today to my utter dismay it has totally vanished away.
I practised my horn and intended to play it but somebody took it away.
I practised the horn and was longing to play it but somebody took it away.

My neighbour’s asleep in his bed.
I’ll soon make him wish he were dead.
I’ll take up the tuba instead!
Wah, Wah!

Michael Flanders and Donald Swann

a.m.: Exodus 20:8-11 p.m.: Numbers 13:6

Of all the ten commandments, the fourth commandment is the one which God devotes the most time explaining.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Ex 20:8-11

From the beginning of time, God made this ordinance, not just for his people, but for the benefit of all. The first man was given a place to live, a job to do, a command to keep, a wife to love and a day to keep apart from the rest of the week. We are to work for a living, but in doing so, we must set aside one day out of the week for rest and giving it to God.

This command is repeated in the moral law given by God on Mount Sinai, not just as a law to be kept by his people, but as a guideline on how to live a life which is best for us. This is what is best for us, for if we try to work 24×7, we will eventually do ourselves some damage.

Jesus himself says none of the law has been abolished. For he himself fulfils the requirements of the ceremonial law – the law which makes atonement between God and man, and the moral law is left untouched to show us our sinful state, our need of a saviour and the way to lead a godly life. This is not to say we must put this commandment above all others, for we must put God first and seek to save and preserve life, but we should also seek to avoid unnecessary work and work creation.

It becomes apparent in the New Testament, that after the resurrection, the followers of Jesus Christ would meet on the first day of the week. Meeting weekly on the day of his resurrection and subsequent appearances singled out Sunday as a day of worship and of rest.

As we live in a society which is slowly discarding regard for the fourth commandment, it becomes ever more important that we highlight its importance in the vitality of society. To set aside one day out of seven as a day of rest and worship is a commandment given by God, for our benefit, and we and our society will surely suffer without it.

Happy birthday Myrtle!

Played football again, on a rather muddy pitch! Fortunately I’d purchased some football boots for the princely sum of £14, so I didn’t slip and slide on the pitch. We divided ourselves up into, what appeared to be, evenly matched teams. As the game progressed, it became apparent this wasn’t the case, as we relentlessly marched to a 8-2 outcome. What was interesting was that random people kept walking up to us playing and wanting to join in, which we duly obliged. A hitherto unfamiliar way to get to know people and maybe share the gospel with them! Hopefully, our conduct on the pitch will be fair and exercise good sportsmanship, and maybe cause those joining us to see the effects of the gospel.

The evening was spent celebrating Myrtle’s 60th birthday, a remarkable lady who tirelessly thinks of God and others above herself. It was nice to be able to put her above others for a change.

Sola fide

We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no-one will be justified.If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a law-breaker. For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 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. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! Gal 2:15-21

This is what makes Christianity unique. We cannot make justify ourselves with God by doing good things, for we are sinners by nature, but God by his grace can make us righteous through faith in Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!

Bovril…without the bov!

Whilst shopping for lunch, I spotted the Bovril and thought some beef extract might be nice to have during the colder months. I dropped it into my basket, finished my shopping and wandered back to the office. By mid-afternoon, I felt like a beverage, so thought I’d break open the Bovril. As I was fiddling with the strange shrink-wrap thing they have on the lid, I noticed a vegetarian sign. Now I may not be the brightest spark in the building, but beef extract suitable for vegetarians seems a little odd! I investigated a little closer, and found, to my horror, the beef extract had been replaced with yeast extract! What I had in my hands was, in effect, Marmite! Now don’t get me wrong, I like Marmite, but if I’d wanted Marmite, I’d have bought Marmite instead of Bovril! How can you still call it Bovril without the bov?! Ah well….

Monday – CLOSED

I managed to snap the E string tuning my violin yesterday. No problem I thought to myself, I’ll pop into Egham on Monday and get a new string from the string shop there. Of course, I didn’t check the web site or anything, so rolled up to the shop to find…it doesn’t open on Monday! Oh well, so much for fitting the string today and getting some practice in. Tomorrow’s another day I guess.

Spent the evening playing five-a-side football with work colleagues, followed by snooker with Robin. Whilst my team lost at football by one goal, most likely due to my lack of fitness, I managed to win at snooker with 2-1 frames. Not a bad day.