May 2007 - Posts
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:11-18 ESV)
The other day a friend and I were talking about missions concerning illegal immigrants. My friend emotionally ended the conversation with: “They are good people!”
A few nights ago another friend was talking to her neighbor. The neighbor’s son had made several foolish decisions in his life. My friend tried to comfort her neighbor by saying: “We know he is a good person.”
During the memorial service for those shot at Virginia Tech, one student passionately said: “For the most part, people are good.”
As comforting as these words may seem, they do not coincide with the Word of God. In the above passage, Paul is actually quoting a conglomeration of several passages in Psalms, a passage in Isaiah, one in Proverbs, and possibly one in Ecclesiastes.
No one is good; no not one. This statement is one of the most important theological pillars in the Christian faith. Even I, Wesley, am not good.
The frozen head of Doug Phillips is still blogging. I have been denied access to him, so that confirms my suspicions that he is, in fact, a frozen head in a jar.
However, today he may have won someone over. One of Wesley's favorite men of God is Dr. Voddie Baucham. Wesley hasn't gone as far as hanging posters of the good doctor in his living room, but he's probably on the brink. Recently, Doug Phillips posted an item about Dr. Baucham which is sure to set off Wesley's spidey senses.
Full disclosure: To be absolutely forthright, I wish I had attended the North Carolina conference, too.
"If salad is so good for you, why can't you barbeque it?" - Unknown
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Some of the participants of the Jamestown 400 Hunt that will be joining us in Jamestown, VA, in a few days are from up North and may have never been south of the Mason Dixon Line. Joe is an obliging host and wishes to provide a service. So, I offer this travel guide for new visitors and for those that need a reminder. (I would hope you would do the same if I was to visit New Jersey.)
- When you order tea, your server will ask if you want it "sweet" or "unsweet". The only reason you would order it "unsweet" would be because the restaurant or host doesn't sweeten it to your likin'. No one actually drinks "unsweet" tea in the South. Oh, and tea always has ice in it -- lots of ice.
- We don't care how you do it up North.
- Biscuits are made with flour, buttermilk and lard and are served with gravy. The best breakfast in Virginia will not be the continental breakfast of bagels and juice in the hotel lobby. It will be at the Cracker Barrel in Williamsburg. It's on Bypass Road. You'll find it.
- Yes, we eat grits. What's so funny?
- There is a marked difference between "redneck" and "hillbilly". You call us either and you'll be wearing a butt-kickin'.
- Yes, we know that "ain't" ain't a word.
- When your server asks if you want a "Coke," he or she is asking if you want a soda. An acceptable reply would be, "Yes, I'll have a Sprite" or "No, thank you. I'll take a sweet tea." No one south of Maryland knows what a "pop" is unless you're talking about your old man.
- The worst drivers in the country are from Ohio. If you're from Ohio, don't fight it. Just acknowledge your shortcoming and keep to the right.
- Did I mention that we don't care how you do it up North?
- A child born in the South of Northerner parents is still a Northerner. Just because a cat has kittens in the oven, doesn't mean that they're biscuits.
If I missed something, please drop a note in the comments.
What?...I can't have Tuesday, too?
1. Texas. Don't mess with it. That's pretty much what I got out of it. I also loved how I got thrown out of a Wal-mart, because I couldn't speak Spanish. I even tried Spanglish. I mean I really did want to know if they carried yoo-hoo. I feel disenfranchised.
2. I know there is hype about Fred Thompson running...Beware...He's one of "them".
3. Bush 43...Is it over yet?
4. I'm sick of the media loving themselves. I actually sat through an entire two minutes of a CBS "special" about Kimberly Dozier and her recovery from a Baghdad car bombing while embedded with our troops. Need I say more?
5. Socialism. It's here and slowly taking over our nation. Wake up and take notice!
6. Immigration Bill...It's all about the tax revenue for our inept, tyrannical, corrupt politicians and their secret earmarks. Oh, and a few Hispanic votes here and there. Never mind the terrorism on our own soil, the raiding of our healthcare system, and the imminent conversion of our society to a third world country.
7. Procreate my fellow American Christian citizens...Now more than ever. Be very fruitful and multiply.
Pictured above is Chetham's Library in Manchester, UK. Founded in 1653, it is regarded as the oldest public library in the English-speaking world.
The library was established under the will of Humphrey Chetham (1580-1653) and has been in continuous use until the present day. It is open to readers and visitors free of charge.
This library was the meeting place of Karl Marx and [Friedrich] Engels when Marx visited Manchester. The economics books Marx was reading at the time can be seen on the shelf in the library. You can also sit free of charge in the window seat where they would meet.
Chetham's Library: Brief history and illustrated tour
Wikipedia.org: Chetham's Library
Before I begin, I have a note for my fellow veterans reading this: Today isn't your day. Put your uniforms away. Quit trying to grab a little glory. I've seen you on the television. I've heard you on the radio. This isn't the day. This is a day to remember those that are no longer with us. This is the day to remember our fathers, grandfathers, brothers and uncles at Valley Forge, at New Orleans, at the Alamo, at the Argonne Forest, twice, at Iwo Jima, at the 38th Parallel, in the Ia Drang Valley and in Afghanistan and Iraq who were backed up to the gates of Hell and didn't back down. This is their day.
Today we honor those that gave their life in service for our nation. Today a flag is flying outside my front door that stands as a testimony to the freedoms for which they died protecting. Sounds like a cliché doesn't it? They died for my freedom. What freedom?
Surely, there weren't those that nearly froze to death in Bastogne so that I could freely go to Wal-Mart at 2 AM and buy whatever I wanted. That is certainly not worth sacrificing one's life for. Did those who died at Iwo Jima die for the right to not have soldiers quartered in our homes without our consent? That's laughable. Did they die for the freedom to secure against unreasonable searches and seizures? What about a speedy trial? What about the right to bear arms? Inconceivable.
What I find is that all rights and freedoms are not equal. One rises to the top. One was originated in the United States. One is all-American. And that one is stated in the first amendment of the Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Freedom of belief. Freedom of worship.
The Declaration of Independence says that we are "endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable rights." God bestows our rights -- all of them. And, in America, we have the right -- unalienable right, guaranteed by the Constitution, and secured by soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen -- to worship our Creator as we see fit.
So, today, as I survey the flag flying outside my front door, I am grateful for those willing to sacrifice their life for my freedom of religion. Because of them, this veteran was freely and openly introduced to our Creator and Savior. And because of them, this veteran was able to freely and openly introduce his two sons to Him. And because of them and those currently serving, I may one day have the opportunity to freely and openly introduce my grandchildren to Him.
Today, I fly the flag high and I salute you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
“At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for in his father’s house. When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.” (Acts 7:20-22 NIV)
The schools of Egypt were for the elite. The court of Egypt provided educational facilities for royal heirs or tributary princes from city-states of the Syro-Palestinian territory subject to the Egyptian rulers. One important aspect of the education would be reading and writing, just as it is with today’s education.
Before proceeding with the details of Egyptian hieroglyphics, various English terminologies need to be defined.
Phonogram: a character or symbol used to represent a word or syllable. For example, a picture of a bee and a leaf to represent the syllables for the word belief are phonograms.
Logogram: a letter, symbol or sign used to represent an entire word. For example, a picture of a heart to mean love in “I love you!” is a logogram.
Ideogram: a picture or symbol used in a system of writing to represent a thing or an idea but not a particular word or phrase. An upside down triangle with red trim implies a driver should yield.
Most hieroglyphic signs are phonetic. These phonograms represent one consonant (uniliteral), two consonants (biliteral), or three consonants (triliteral). The uniliteral signs may be referred to the Egyptian alphabet (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_uniliteral_signs). The biliteral and triliteral signs can be seen at the following locations, respectively:
Hieroglyphics can be read left-to-right, right-to-left, or top-to-bottom. The reader determines the direction of reading by examining the direction the signs are facing. The Egyptians were very concerned with aesthetics; therefore, the hieroglyphics were usually written to give the best visual appearance.
Like English, ancient Egyptians had homonyms (words like wait and weight). To distinguish the different meanings, many times a scribe would add extra hieroglyphic signs called determinative symbols. These ideograms never carried phonetic importance. A good example can be seen here (http://members.fortunecity.com/rapidrytr/Spell/henu.gif). In this example, the only phonetic signs are the h, n, and u. Because ancient Egyptians did not always insert every vowel (like ancient Hebrew) this word could either be pronounced henu, hinew, ohanow, or some other variant.
One of the most interesting hieroglyphics is found in the Temple at Soleb. On one of the men is written ta sasuw yehua[w]. The passage is translated “the land of the Shasu, (those of) Yhw.” Shasu refers to people living in Syria and Palestine. Makes one wonder what Yhw stands for!
Other complexities of hieroglyphics are listed below:
1. Sometimes uniliteral symbols follow a triliteral symbol to emphasis the pronunciation.
2. Signs joined together, like an arm holding a scepter, are contractions.
3. Doubling a sign means the word is dual; tripling a sign means the word is plural.
4. The “correct” spelling of a word may not have existed. Sometimes the word would have redundancies, omissions, or alternate spellings.
5. Proper names of kings and queens were encircled with a cartouche.
Pretty complex for an ancient civilization.
REF: Casson, Lionel. Great Ages of Man: Ancient Egypt. Time: New York, 1965.
NIV Archaeological Study Bible. Zondervan: Michigan: 2005.
The Shaken family will be on the road (or in the air) for the next month starting tomorrow. States and country to visit (in no particular order); Texas, Italy, Florida, Virginia (of course, we will be there for the VF quadricentennial) and Alabama.
But don't fret! Thanks to Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Paul Allen, Steve Wozniak, Tim Berners-Lee and Vic Hayes...Shaken will be able to post at will in any time zone.
Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day weekend! Please fly the American flag proudly and shake a veteran's hand to thank them for their service.
God Bless the USA...
1. The punching is going very well, thank you. However, my knuckles are a bit raw. Who would've thought there were so many fools that needed to be punched.
2. I'm a little late on the commencement address. Half of it is in a word processor at home. Give me a couple more days.
3. Here's a crazy website [link]. It's a guy in a room. You can find him with the webcam and then shoot him with a paintball gun. Why? I have no earthly idea.
4. I'll go ahead and steal his thunder: Wesley is going to start a new series on this blog called "Theology Thursday". I asked him to postpone the launch until next week because of the silly pirate speak that took place yesterday.
5. The hotel is booked. The van is scheduled for maintenance. And the vacation request has been submitted. There's just one little snag. Our daughter, who we've nicknamed "Otter", is due to be born June 21. I wouldn't miss that for a treasure hunt. Heck, I wouldn't miss that for just about anything. Otter has dropped a bit, so there is the possibility that she could be born in the next week or so. But, for now, we're playing the Jamestown trip by ear.
6. Have a wonderful weekend. Really. We'll be outdoors in the mountains or at the pool or in the yard. Do the same. I'll see you on Monday -- Memorial Day.
There's an interesting conversation going on in the forums about the Gospel in the stars. I just had a worship moment and want to share my remarks here.
It's like looking at a watch to get to know the watchmaker. Does the watch tell you how many kids he has? Does it tell you what he does in his free time? Does it tell you if he is nice or mean? Does it tell you if he loves his wife?
The only way to get to know God is through prayer and reading His Word. You cannot search out God and find Him. It's fruitless to look into the stars for God. He has to find you and tell you what He's like.
One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 19. It begins with "The heavens declare the glory of God...." "God" in this verse is simply the Hebrew word "El". "El" like "Elohim" from Genesis. It's a generic name for God. The first six verses say that creation testifies of a creator. Back to the watch analogy: If you find a watch lying on the sidewalk, you can pick it up and recognize that someone made it. You don't know who, but you know that someone had to build it. That's the same way with the heavens -- or creation.
Verse 7 continues with "The law of the LORD is perfect...." Now, we all know that "LORD" in the Bible is YHWH, or God's personal name as revealed to Moses and the prophets. The rest of the psalm continues to build with rejoicing. You can read His Law and get to know Him. The Ten Commandments say don't lie, don't cheat on your wife, don't covet because God doesn't lie; He doesn't cheat on you; and He doesn't covet.
I spend a lot of time outdoors, probably more than most people. I see the footprints of God in flowers, streams, the wind, and the stars. But I never see God. My point was this: Sure, learn about the physical laws, biology, chemistry and astronomy. Excel at the subjects. But don't expect to come across the personal God, the faithful God, or the loving God. He's not
there in the creation.
You can join the conversation here [link]. But only speak in love.
I declare today to be Pirate Speak Only Day. As we all know, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" was released in theaters. In celebration, I ask that all comments on this blog, other blogs and in the forums be only pirate-ese.
Aye, avast talkin' like a landlubber. Argh, where can I find a bottle o'rum?
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God is good ALL the time.
This land is our land.
Protect the sanctity of Life.
Repeal all laws for the stupid.
Protect the sanctity of Marriage.
If unsure of legality, pick the U.S. Constitution above All.
Term limits for the legislative branch.
Say no to the Superhighway.
Protect the right to bear arms.
Enforce the law. Build the wall.
There are 2 kinds of people in my book; A) Those who "put up and shut up", and B) Those who "rise up and speak up". Which one are you?