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Sunday
Sep302018

My Heart is Filled With Thankfulness

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who bore my pain,
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace
And gave me life again,
Who crushed my cruse of sinfulness
And clothed me in his light,
And wrote his law of righteousness
With pow'r upon my heart.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who walks beside,
Who floods my weaknesses and strenghts
And causes fear to fly,
Whose ev'ry promise is enough
For ev'ry step I take,
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who reigns above,
Whose widom is my perfect peace,
Whose ev'ry thought is love.
For ev'ry day I have on earth
Is given by the King.
So I will give my life, my all
To love and follow him.

Saturday
Sep292018

My Favourite Bible

Next weekend, I am moving my desk, bookshelves, and study paraphanelia upstiars to my freshly re-decorated study. I bought lovely blinds, and the light is soft and warm, inviting. We're just waiting for my sons and future son-in-law to help my husband. My desk is very solid wood, and heavy. My dad gave it to me. I've been using it since I was 17 years old; I'm attached.

As I look at my shelves beside my desk, with the books shelved both vertically and horizontally, I know that a purge is going to be in the future. I'm planning a trip to the Christian Salvage Mission. And in that box, there will be some Bibles.

Over the years, we've been to conferences where we get free books, including Bibles. Some of them, we simply don't need. Also over the years, I've bought smaller Bibles which are easier to carry. My 53 year old, bifocal needing eyes don't benefit from them anymore. And some Bibles I bought because Crossway or whoever was advertising a new and wonderful format of Bible that would revolutionize my Bible reading. I have Bible translations on the entire spectrum. Someone gave me a copy of The Message (which I don't read) and I have translations like the NRSV and the NASB.

One of my recent purchases was the ESV Scripture Journals. They are inexpensive and useful if you like writing in the margins and taking notes. The paper is quite thick, so you don't have to worry about bleed through. I have a Cambridge Wide Margin NASB which I purchased a few years ago, thinking it would be great for school. I don't really like it much. I realized after opening up the shrink wrap that it is a red letter edition, and I do not like red lettering. And the paper is quite thin so that my favourite Micron pens bleed through. I'm using the ESV Scripture Journals for my Synoptic Gospels class, and the wide margin Bible, which I pulled out, is sitting rather unused on my desk, taking up space.

I tried a note taking ESV Bible when they first came out, but the lines along the margin were too small even before I was a 53 year old woman with bifocals. I bought an ESV Study Bible when they came out; yes, it is big enough to use as a door stop. I seldom take it anywhere, instead using it at home. I'll keep that one because the articles and outlines are helpful. I bought a Gospel Transformation Bible when it was marketed. I have no idea why other than I wanted the notes. But there comes a time when all the bells and whistles don't necessarily mean I'm getting more out of my Bible reading.

I love the site Evangelical Bible. The Bibles they sell are beautiful. They are Bible luxury. I was given gift money one year, and I decided to buy something. I did not splurge and buy another Schuyler Bible (that is another story altogether; a sad one, involving an expensive Bible, a water bottle, and an hour car ride). Instead, I decided to go for something more compact. I bought the Cambridge Clarion NASB Reference Bible. It is my favourite Bible.

It is a great size: 7.5 in. by 5.6 in. by 1.7 in. It's 9 point type, just a little bigger than Cambridge's wide margin Bible. It is black letter, with two ribbons, single column, and with references in the margin. The Old Testament passages which are quoted in the NT are referenced in the margin, and appear in all capitals. It makes it easy to cross-reference. The paper is quite good, too. I wouldn't try anything more than a .01 Micron pen, but it does hold up well to soft coloured pencils. There is a limited concordance, but nothing special. Best of all, the binding is excellent, and it opens up flat right out of the box. I love this Bible. Some people don't like the NASB, but I do. I use it side by side with my ESV. 

I think I'm done buying Bibles. I have Logos software now, and any other versions I can get from there. I got quite a few with the standard package, and if I want anything else, I'll just buy it for Logos. The only thing I would buy in paper is a side by side Koine Greek/New American Standard edition. There is an ESV/Greek hardcover version, but I'd rather wait for the NASB. 

Friday
Sep282018

The Bigger Impact: Television or the Internet?

Yessterday at my school, our preaching lecuture day featured Dr. Kent Edwards. I was only able to stay for two sessions because I've got a bad head cold and I had to get home for some rest, but the two sessions I saw were excellent. I bought two of his books on preaching, justifying to myself that if I couldn't hear all of his sessions, I could still hear him in his books.

Dr. Edwards' specialty is preaching narrative. He did an excellent exercise and asked us to find all of the epistles in the new testament and (if we had print bibles) to take the pages between our fingers and measure how much of the Bible is epistle and compare it to the rest. Then he asked the pastors how much they preached in the epistles compared to the rest. 

One of the things he did, which I thought was very helpful, was discuss how preaching has evolved. How has preaching changed over the years in light of how people receive communication? Surely, one of the most influential things to happen to preaching was the printing press. Suddenly, sermons could be printed and compiled, not just spoken. Edwards pointed out that sermons became literary forms rather than oral forms. That affected how preachers preached. And then there was a another significant change to the culture. He asked us to suggest what was one of the more recent things to significantly change culture. Naturally, most of us thought of the internet. He said the answer was television, and after thinking about it, I agree with him.

If you want a great resource on the impact of television, you can do no better than read Amusing Ourselves to Death, by Neil Postman. I have often wondered what Postman would have thought of the internet. And while the internet has changed communication, I wonder if it what it has done has simply intensified what television already started. 

Dr. Edwards pointed out that there is a glut of television shows being made now, so much so that Hollywood can't find enough stories to meet the demand. There is a dearth of good storires, which is why there are such things as "reality television." Perhaps that is why viewers entertain themselves with programs featuring people trying to lose weight or why viewers partake of shows featuring the "Amish mafia." We love stories, but no one is writing good ones, it seems. Furthermore, Edwards pointed out sitcoms especially influence our attitudes. "You laugh at what you agree," he said. It was a compelling point.

Edwards demonstrated to us how the entire Scriptural narrative is the most significant story in the world. It is the story which provides the model for every other story; conflict, protagonists, antagonits, crisis, tension. They're the stuff of a good story, and they are all in the biblical story, and within the individual stories within Scripture. He encouraged us to give attention to the narratives in Scripture by looking at them as stories. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that most of us (including myself) focus on characters and not the story. We look for moral lessons. But that does not go deep enough. 

I am no preacher, but I am a teacher, and it is my desire to be a good teacher, and that starts with being willing to learn how to improve. One of the most dangerous things we can believe as Christians is that we have nothing left to learn. I see how I have barely scratched the surface!

Wednesday
Sep262018

Why I admire immigrants

I am well into the first semester of school, and in Greek Exegesis, we are past drilling vocabulary and forms, and are into the business of analyzing sentences. It is not an easy task for an English speaker. I do not have a natural affinity for Koine Greek, and that goes beyond the vocabulary. It is how the language worked at the time. I am an outsider to the world where Koine Greek was spoken.

If I am given an example of something in Greek, I do try to read it without the English translation. Sometimes, I am able, and sometimes I am not. Sometimes, it takes me about ten minutes to unravel a sentence. I would like to become more automatic, but I understand that it takes time. When I open my Greek NT, I see a lot that I recognize, but I'm still at the point when I feel very lost when I open it up.

I admire people who come to this country and are immersed in a language not their own. Even though some people who come to Canada already speak English, they don't necessarily understand enough to read something difficult. A couple of years ago, I had a classmate from Portugal who was reading a very dense text in English, and she did confess that she sometimes found it quite difficult. 

There is a woman in my church who comes from Switzerland, and she came to my Sunday school class. Sometimes, she had her German Bible, but sometimes, she used English. When she came here, she knew no English. What was that like for her? Did she feel lost? Even if she could read a little English, she would still have felt more comfortable in German. I would imagine that one would feel quite isolated.

I think it takes a lot of bravery to come to a country where you are totally out of your element. It's easy for us to feel irritation or in come cases, hostility, toward immigrants coming into our countries, but it cannot be easy. For me, I can put away my Greek NT any time I want, and stay in a totally English world. But for someone who is not from Canada, it cannot be easy.

Perhaps some may say, "Well, they should just return to their country." I'm not even going to address that.

Sunday
Sep232018

Speak, O Lord

Speak, O Lord, as we come to you,
To receive the food of your holy word.
Take your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us, in your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be see today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us,
All your purposes for your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility.
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of your purity.
Cause our faith to rise, cause our eyes to see
Your majestsic love and authority.
Word of pow'r can never fail,
Let the truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of your plans for us.
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down throuth eternity.
And by grace we'll stand on your promises,
And by faith we'll walk as you walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till your church is built,
And the earth is filled with your glory.