Month: April 2006

a.m.: Mark 2:23-3:6 p.m.: Joshua 6

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

The Pharisees considered the actions of Jesus and his disciples on the Sabbath to be in contravention of the fifth commandment. The problem was, they had missed the point of the Sabbath laws. We have been designed to work six days in the week, and rest on one, and so God had commanded as such. As such, the commandment was given for our benefit that we might enjoy life, rather than as a way of regulating us and making life dour. If we try and work seven days a week, our productivity is affected and in the long run we actually achieve less than we would in a six day working week.

Once we’ve established we need to rest, from our regular work, for one day a week, the rest of the commandment can be unpacked. We are to keep this one day holy, to remember the God who made us in six days. This is not to say we should become hermits for a day. If we can, we should meet with others to worship God, in fellowship.

Not only are we to remember God our creator, but also God our redeemer. This is the reason Christians observe the first day of the week, for it the day their Saviour rose from the dead. Through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, his death and resurrection, we can celebrate the grace of God.

Of course, Jesus demonstrated that it was perfectly within the commandment to feed oneself, as his disciples did, and heal others, for this law was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

Indeed, in this passage, Jesus claims to be the Lord of the Sabbath, to be God himself. The Pharisees had no comeback. Jesus had answered their questions, and had gone way beyond their thoughts. May we never misunderstand the commandments, nor try to put God in a box.


After a day of minor frustration attempting to learn a new piece on the violin, amongst other things, I went down to Black Park with the usual suspects for an evening of sitting around, eating strawberries, surrounded by nature (mostly trees and grass), possibly kicking a football around, and finishing with a nice leisurely stroll. After dark, we convened at Sarah’s to continue chatting and playing games. After an unsuccessful game of Empire where I’d taken on the name of Sarah’s pet, I was a little more successful at Scrabble, with a very ego inflating ‘drowning’ using up all my letters and pretty much giving me the game. 🙂

Google google gooooooogle…..

It’s just occurred to me I’m rather dependent on Google… I have, and use quite heavily, a Google Mail account, Google helps me find things on my desktop, I have, and use, a Blogger account, Google Analytics helps me keep track of visitors to my web sites, the Google toolbar enhances my web browsing experience, if I need to find somewhere on earth Google Earth is where I click, if I’m trying to find a bargain Froogle is there for me and to top it all, Google helps me find things on the web. If Google were to go belly up, or become heavily influenced by a totalitarian state (as if! :crazy: ) I could be significantly inconvenienced. Maybe I should diversify? But then, to where would I turn? Who offers all these services, at no direct cost to me, with the same levels of performance and convenience?

The eighth commandment

Q: Which is the eighth commandment?
A: The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.

Q: What is required in the eighth commandment.
A: The eighth commandment requireth the lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.

Q: What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?
A: The eighth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever doth or may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbour’s wealth or outward estate.

(Questions LXXIII, LXXIV and LXXV from the Westminster Shorter Catechism.)

Scottish theologians…

You scored as Thomas Boston. You are Thomas Boston. You set a high value on evangelistic preaching and the Free Offer of the Gospel.

Thomas Boston


James Orr


James Denney


John Knox


Thomas Chalmers


Which Scottish Theologian are you?
created with

a.m.: 1 John 2:3-11 p.m.: Joshua 5:13-6:27

It would seem that people who misunderstand the Gospel and wrongly consider themselves to be Christians is nothing new, as John had to write a letter to the churches about it in the first century. Much like today, there were those who claimed to know Jesus Christ, without actually doing what he says, a faith which produced no action. John pulls no punches.

We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 1 Jn 2:3,4

If we are truly Christians we will do what Jesus Christ commands, and in order to do that we will actively seek to know his commands, and so search his word. Of course this is not to say we can be saved from the punishment due for our sins through what we do, for John clearly says Jesus was the atoning sacrifice for our sins earlier, but that when we are saved we will want to serve God, because we love him.

Part and parcel of loving God is love for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 1 Jn 2:9,10

If we find we harbour hatred towards other Christians, or have a lack of desire to meet up with them, we have to consider if we’re truly walking in the light or not.

Of course, this is not to say we’ll be perfect, for our old sinful nature will continue to plague us and cause us to sin, but we have an advocate in heaven, Jesus Christ, who speaks to the Father in our defence.

Your… butt

After a week spent battling against a cold whilst carrying out as many normal everyday tasks as possible, it was nice to be able to spend this evening relaxing. Most of the usual suspects are up in Leicester for the Banner of Truth Youth conference, so three of us went along to the cinema to watch Ice Age 2. Whilst this film isn’t going to cause you to do much thinking, it was entertaining. As well as the main plot of the main characters journeying to safety, it came complete with slushy romantic sub-plot. Good clean fun.

Down to three (effectively)

Today was a good day to die….figuratively – on the Diplomacy board anyway! An, almost, all-day session with the usual suspects, plus a few new faces who were eager to learn the ways of Diplomacy.

It all started a little slowly for me as Turkey, with Russia (under David) and Austria-Hungary (the Sams) proving to be minor irritations in the Balkans. On the other side of the board, France (Beth and Susanna), England (Ally) and Germany (Sarah) were making mad dashes all over the place, and Italy (Dave) was dithering in the middle not really knowing what to do with itself.

After a few turns, Germany was carved up between the western powers and Sarah got her cross-stitch out. A little while later, Italy fell to the dominance of Ottoman rule, followed shortly after by Austria-Hungary.

Just as France started disintegrating under an English offensive, time caught up with us, and ten hours after starting, we called it a draw, with a Russian-Turkish front stretching from Sevastepol to Switzerland.

a.m.: John 20:1-18 p.m.: 1 Corinithians 15:1-28

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
At this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realise that it was Jesus.
“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. Jn 20:1-18 (NIV)

Card chat

After a day where my greatest achievement was replacing a shower tube, I spent the evening round my sister’s playing poker with her husband and some friends. I say playing poker, but I do wonder. It would appear that men require some activity to be happening, rather than just visit each other socially. Women seem to have no problem just visiting each other, without having to manufacture an activity as an excuse. I actually was more interested in playing poker, rather than be social, but that’s just me. Saying that, it was good to catch up, even though I lost.

More Hobbes than Calvin

Almost All Hobbes

You are 10% Calvin and 90% Hobbes

You’re a clever tiger with a dash of little boy. A bit pessimistic about human nature, you think most people would be better as meals than as friends, and maybe you’re right. At least, I’ve known several guys who fit that description. But your cannabalistic streak notwithstanding, you’re a sensitive, (mostly) patient, and supportive friend. You have a few wild ideas here and there, but over all, you’re quite sensible. Finally, my guess is you’re the kind of person who gets along well with others, but who really needs space to be alone, like me.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 0% on calvin
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 97% on hobbes

Link: The Calvin Or Hobbes Test written by gwendolynbooks on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Something new for a Monday evening…

Everything was all a bit new this evening. Played some snooker with a work colleague this evening – with whom I’d never played, at the Riley’s snooker club in Staines – where I’d never been before, with a cue I’d never used before – the tip fell off my cue, so I had to use a house cue. Fortunately, Ed was a little rusty as well so we had three close frames, eventually ending 2-1 in his favour.

a.m.: Matthew 21:1-11 p.m.: Hebrews 13:20,21

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” Mt 21:1-11 (NIV)

Happy Birthday Sarah!

Spent the evening celebrating the birthday of Sarah. Those of you who read this blog regularly, or know Sarah in the flesh (so to speak), will know that Sarah is a very generous self-denying person, and so it was great to be able to make her the centre of attention for an evening. I think she might’ve even enjoyed it. 🙂


Whilst the bible is special to Christians the world over, it would seem that the bible also has a special place in literature for non-Christians. It is possibly the only book which takes considerable, and constant, battering from the ideas and mythologies of the world. Of course this is nothing new, as this is what the Gnostics did, producing “gospels” with differing accounts to those of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John a century after Jesus’ death and resurrection. The recent discovery of the Gospel of Judas is no exception. Ireneaus, a prominent Christian at the time these differing accounts were produced had no problem discounting them.

Irenaeus, an early Christian bishop, denounced it as heretical. He declared that, of the many gospels circulating at that time, just four should be recognised – those of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Times, April 07, 2006

Whilst the major discrepancies between the Gospel of Judas and the four Irenaeus accepted could be put down to differing opinions, looking closer at the text reveals the discrepancies of the Gospel of Judas to life in the 1st century. As quoted in The Times, Simon Gathercole puts it this way

“The so-called Gospel of Judas is certainly an ancient text, but not ancient enough to tell us anything new. It contains religious themes which are completely alien to the 1st-century world of Jesus and Judas, but which did become popular later, in the 2nd century. An analogy would be finding a speech claiming to be written by Queen Victoria, in which she talked about The Lord of the Rings and her CD collection.”The Times, April 07, 2006

In a way, inaccurate writings, such as the Gospel of Judas, just show how accurate and historical the bible is, however much people dislike it. Whilst the remains of many Gnostic writings few and far between, are dated centuries after the event, written by people who were far removed from the events, the New Testament can be shown to be written by witnesses to the events within decades and there are numerous remains of fragments and even whole codices.

Maybe this new found interest in biblical accuracy stirred up by the book, The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown, might cause people to think about these things seriously? They might realise the bible stands up to historical investigation and comes out with a glowing report, with a good case for for it being historical fact, rather than just coming across as another great work of fiction. If they came across a volume containing the accounts, by many separate individuals, of the greatest event in all history, surely it would demand their attention? Then again, maybe people just ignore the bible because they fear what it might say, or of those who have looked into it maybe they just don’t like its message?