Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Time Travel

Do you believe time travel is possible? I don't, but it is a fun science fiction story line.

Today, as I was taking my walk at lunch, I began wondering if there was anything we, as Christians could do, in the form of prayer, to affect the past? Quasi spiritual time travel, where we would not directly impact the past by traveling through time there but God would impact it as a result of our prayers.

Here's the premise, the foundation for this question. God is not constrained by time. He is eternal and He created time. He works within time by His own choosing but is not bound by it. He has the complete plan of all that He wants to happen and that will happen.

Here are some verses that help support this premise, though some people may say some of these are a stretch:

  • Psalm 139:4, 16: God knows of what we will say, before we say it; God has all of our days planned before we are born.
  • 1 Peter 1:1-2: God has chosen Christians based on His foreknowledge of how we would respond to His calling.
  • Genesis 21:33: The LORD is the Eternal God. Time is meaningless if you are eternal and would not have been needed before the world was created.
  • Genesis 1:3-5, 14-19: God creates light and calls it "day" and separates it from darkness, calling the darkness "night", on the first day of creation. On the fourth day, God creates the sun, moon and stars, one of the reasons being that they are to "serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years". Time was a creation of God.
  • John 17:24: God the Father and God the Son interacted in relationship before the world was created.
  • Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8-9: How God sees or interacts with the passage of time is different that how we do.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; 1 Peter 1:20: All these verses speak of God making decisions and plans before the world was even created.
I cannot take claim for this illustration, or at least the general idea for it, but it is one I use to try to help me wrap my mind around what God's view of time is. Imagine that the history of the world, the time line of the world is like a yardstick. At one end is the creation and at the other end is the end of time, when all that God's Word has prophesied will have been accomplished. God is able to stand above that yardstick and see the whole scope of all that has already happened and all that is yet to happen. Each point on the yardstick represents a specific point in time. Not only can God see the whole time line, but He can "zoom" in on any one of these points and interact with all that is happening at that point in time. He can look back or forward from that point in time and knows how everything will turn out. He also has His plan, which He works out, making sure the right things happen at the right times to bring about the fulfillment of His plan.

All right, the premise should be fairly well set. So let me reiterate the question I was pondering. Can Christians impact what is the past to us, through prayer? Let me pose a couple of scenarios against which to apply this question.

  • Say you have a friend who has an important presentation to make at 10:00 a.m. Your friend asks you to pray for them at 10:00 as they are making the presentation. At 9:30 a.m. or so, you get pulled in to a small crisis at your work and completely forget about praying for your friend. Around 11:15 a.m., when the crisis has been resolved, you return to your desk and realize that you completely forgot to pray for your friend. You decide to go ahead and pray for your friend's presentation, that they would do their best and honor God, as if you were praying at the actual time, at 10:00 a.m.
  • Take the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in Ford's Theater in 1865. You decide that it would have been better if he had not died, so you pray and ask God to spare his life.
For both of these scenarios, I had to ask the questions 1) Could God answer a prayer request with respect to something that happened in the past? and 2) Would God answer prayer in a way that impacts the past (i.e Would God treat the prayer for the friend the same as if you had actually prayed on time? Would God spare Abraham Lincoln's life in 1865 and so rewrite what we know as history?)? By answer, I mean granting the thing for which we are asking. A "No" answer is still an answer but that answer would prevent any speculation as to the answer to the overall question.

For both scenarios, I would answer "Yes" to question 1, God could answer a prayer request with respect to something that happened in the past. He is Almighty God and not constrained by time (see premise).

For question 2 (would), my answer, after all this long-windiness, is "I don't know." Psalm 139:4 says that God knows our words before we speak them. How soon before? Is it just a split second before? No, God knew them before the creation of the world. So at that point in the past He knew we were going to pray for this person or event. Does that mean He will take that into account at that point? I don't know. I would like to think He would. In my opinion, based on nothing but my opinion, I think God may be more likely to answer the prayer request in the first scenario because it is happening within the life of the person praying and they don't yet "know" what the result of the situation was, whereas in the second scenario, the event was far before the person's life and the results are already recorded in history.

Of course, the omnipotence and omniscience of God come into play in ways I will never understand. I believe God knows everything and His plan accounts for everything. He also has the power to do anything. So the way known events in history occurred could be the answer to prayers from the time of the events as well as prayers made before and after the events. Who knows but God.

This was basically an exercise that had little practical application but it was fun to consider God and His power outside the normal realm in which I think of Him. I hope I was able to communicate my rambling thoughts fairly clearly and that this has not left you scratching your heads too much.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Here's To Long Leg Hair

I bet that title tweaked your interest. A Texan is waiting to find out if his freak leg hair will gain the Guinness world record as the longest leg hair. Every thing's bigger in Texas, isn't it?

Another One For You Star Wars Fans

Apparently, there's going to be a live action Star Wars TV series. However, it's not supposed to feature the main characters that we all know and love. So any predictions on how it will do are being withheld.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Feeding the Need for Destruction

On my side bar, I have a link for the Will it Blend? site. This is a site for the BlendTec blender company. To promote their expensive blenders, they started demonstrating the power of the blenders by blending unusual things. Thus the name, Will it Blend? I find it very entertaining and wish I had a blender that could 1) do that and 2) I would not care if it got messed up doing that. If you go there, make sure you view the "Do not try this at home" videos - they are the most fun.

Here's clip from a live demonstration to give you an idea of what they do.

This video was not made by the company but uses their blender.

This video is of a visit to the BlendTec company. Batman gets it in this one.

You get to see several things blended here.

My Friday

This past Friday did not go as I had thought or planned. I'll give you the summary and you can go to my wife's blog to read more detail from her perspective.

  • On Thursday, when I had gotten into my truck to come home, I noticed that the alarm system was making a ticking noise. The last time it did this, I ended up being stuck at work and having to replace both the battery and the alternator. So on Friday morning when I could not start the truck remotely, when the door would not unlock via the remote and when I had started the truck and the clock time had changed, I knew that things were not good. So I had my wife take me to work.
  • I forgot that it was jeans and sneakers day at work in support of the Red Sox.
  • I locked my wife's keys in the mini-van while we were at Wal-Mart on the way home from work. No cab companies wanted to come pick me up and we could not reach any friends, so I walked 3+ miles home to get my set of keys. I was praying hard that the truck would start and would get me to Wal-Mart and back. It did start on the third attempt and did get me there and back - praise God.
I'm trying not to think of it as a bad day, since it was created by God. God had a plan. I'm not positive what it was but it may have been about keeping me humble.

Today I was going to do something about the truck but ended up not doing it because it was rainy and I was tired.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rock The Sound

Yesterday, when I arrived at work, I parked beside one of my colleagues, who had just arrived also. Scott is not just a colleague but he is a brother in Christ and a friend. For our first Thanksgiving in Rhode Island, Scott and his wife had Stephanie and I over to their house for dinner.

When I pulled up, he was on his cell phone. I got out and waited to walk in with him. When he got out, he told me that he had just won two tickets to the November 3rd Rock The Sound concert in Bridgeport, CT. Only he already had tickets for him and his teenage son. So he offered me a ticket. I was like, yes but let me check with me wife. So I checked with Stephanie and she has graciously agreed that I can go.

So I'm going to Rock The Sound, featuring Jeremy Camp, Jars of Clay, Skillet, Grits and Story Side B. I only know Jeremy Camp and Jars of Clay. I'm excited both to go to the concert and to be able to spend time with Scott.

And if everything works out, Stephanie and I are going to attend the Steven Curtis Chapman Live in this Moment Tour event at Lowell, MA on November 10th. It also features Sanctus Real and Bethany Dillon. It's going to be a great couple of weekends.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My Family

Here's some recent pictures that involve all of the family, except for the photo taker in most of them.
Family 01
The family at the apple orchard

Family 02
Looking at tide pools at Beavertail

Family 03
Looking at tide pools at Beavertail

Family 04
Trying to get the boys to look at the camera - not working

Family 05
Out on a rock at Beavertail

Family 06
Looking at tide pools at Beavertail

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My Boys

Here are some recent pictures of my two favorite boys.

Boys 01
Will and Ben in the apple orchard

Boys 02
Will and Ben at Beavertail

Boys 03
Ben at Beavertail

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My Girls

Here are some recent pictures of my two favorite girls.

Girls 01
Ellie and I apple picking

Girls 02
Stephanie and Ellie at Beavertail

Girls 03
Stephanie and Ellie at Beavertail

Girls 04
Stephanie and Ellie at Beavertail

Girls 05
Stephanie and Ellie at Beavertail, looking at a snail

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Monday, October 22, 2007

When God Speaks

Early this morning, my oldest son woke me up because he had had a bad dream. So I prayed for him, had him go to the bathroom and put him back to bed. Then I went back to bed myself. I lay there, not being able to go back to sleep. As I was thinking over some things, I had a certain idea come into my head. It was a good idea. As I thought about it more, I wondered if God was try to tell me something. After laying there for about forty-five minutes, I finally decided to get up and have a prayer time.

After about an hour, I was pretty well convinced that this idea was from God. I went back to bed and slept the rest of the night. As I was getting ready for work, I told me wife that I would like her to pray about this idea. She laughed and said that she could pray about it but that she thought she knew the answer. She pulled out her journal, flip to a certain page and said, "I was praying about that Thursday and asked God that if this was from Him that He would confirm it through you."

I said, "I think He just did."

I found it really cool when God chooses to speak in such an overt manner.

Just so you know, I intentionally kept the "idea" vague and don't plan on revealing it in this post. It's not ready for publication yet, if ever.

A Laugh On Me

A neurosis of mine is losing or misplacing my pens. I hate to do that. I can have a totally messy desk, side table, room, etc. and it does not bother me (at least not enough to do something about it). But let me not be able to find my pen and I get all anxious about it and have a strong urge to keep searching until I find it. I want to know the disposition of my pens. I'm getting better at learning to let go when I do lose one but it still causes some distress.

Today, I had another pen incident. A few minutes prior to our weekly team meeting, I was in one of my teammate's cube discussing an issue he was having. When it came time to go to the meeting, I walked back over to my cube to get the printed agenda. At that point I looked for my pen so I could take it too and did not see it. Then I remembered that I had it when I went over to my teammate's cube. So I walked back over to his cube and looked. It was not there. On the way back to my cube and once I arrived, I did the Inspector Colombo routine of patting all of my pockets, trying to identify where my pen had gone to. Not there. Then I started rifling through the papers stacked on my desk. Not there. Feeling pretty anxious now, where had that pen gone to?

By this time, I was a minute late for my meeting. So finally I decided I would have to let the pen go and I retrieved another one from my drawer. I went to the meeting and sat down. It had not started yet and I was still wondering where I could have misplaced the pen. As the meeting was beginning, I reached up to scratch my ear and my missing pen fell into my lap. I had stuck it behind my ear to keep it safe. Relieved that I had found it, I could not help but smile and have a silent laugh at myself.

Another "Simple" Project

This weekend, I made it my goal to do a couple of simple projects around the house. First, I needed to break up the old fence I had just replace and take it to the city recycle center. That was done in the morning. No big deal.

Second, my wife had been asking me to take a look at the kitchen faucet, which had now become very hard to swivel the spout. Should not have been a big deal. It should have been simply removing the faucet, taking it apart and fixing whatever was causing the sticking. I say "should have", because, once again, a simple project took on a life of its own and became not so simple.

The problems started when I was having trouble loosening the nut holding the faucet to the sink. It was located in a tight space and I thought the issue had to do with not being able to get good leverage on it. The solution, I decided, was to remove the sink. This sink is one of those heavy, cast iron sinks with an enamel coating. I had removed it once before and it was that big of a deal. I had already disconnected the water lines going to the faucet, so I only needed to disconnect the drain tail piece and use a paint scraper to cut through the caulk that glued the sink to the counter.

Fear and trembling should have been my response when my wife, upon hearing my plan to remove the sink, announced, "Well, if you are going to remove the sink, why don't we go ahead a get a new one. I don't like this one anyway." These words usually spell project doom (not that she causes the doom, it just seems to happen that way). However, I was not thinking clearly and said OK (must have been from laying on my back too long under the sink, straining to loosen that nut). She also suggested a new counter top, but I drew the line there.

Once the sink was out (which is very heavy by the way), I applied all the leverage I could get on that nut, but it still would not budge. Finally, I wised up and sprayed some WD-40 on it. About a minute later, I was able to easily unscrew the nut. After freeing the faucet from the sink, I proceeded to attempt to take it apart. I removed the only hex screw that was visible. I was then able to remove part of the faucet but failed to be able to disassemble it enough to get at the area where I thought the sticking was occurring. I was afraid to provide too much brute force lest I tear it up. So, we decided we would buy a new faucet too.

After loading up the kids, we sped our way to our local Lowes. There Stephanie picked out a new faucet and a shiny new stainless steel sink. On the way home we devised a strategy to allow me to work in peace. Stephanie dropped me at home and to the kids to McDonalds to eat and play in the indoor play ground. She would bring me home supper when they returned.

I set to work immediately, unpacking the new faucet and the new sink. And to my horror, I almost immediately discovered that the hole in the counter left by the old sink was smaller than the one needed by the new sink. We had gotten the same size sink to replace the old one. However, the old sink relied on its considerable weight and caulk to hold it in place, with no issues. The new stainless steel sink was very light and so required the use of clips underneath it to hook onto the bottom of the counter to secure it (caulk was just for water proofing). This had not even crossed my mind. The clips hooked into a rail system on the bottom side of the sink and where these rails were located was beyond the edge of the existing hole.

So, there was nothing left to do but some demolition. By the time Stephanie and the kids had returned, I had used a jigsaw, a circular saw, a belt sander and a mallet and chisel in an effort to get the hole the right size. There was saw dust everywhere! This was certainly not what she expected. But by nine p.m. I had the opening big enough to fit the sink in.

Here's some of the issues I dealt with:
  • I had to use the mallet and chisel along the back edge of the sink opening because neither my jigsaw nor my circular saw had a narrow enough foot on them to be able to cut the strip of counter between the hole and the back splash.
  • On the front edge, I had to be careful in enlarging it because the hole edge was even with the back of the cabinets. So I had to set the circular saw blade shallow enough that it cut through the counter top but not the cabinets.
  • Due to the issue above, there was no counter top bottom for the clips along the front edge of the sink to grip on.
  • In my test fittings of the sink, I noticed that the counter top thickness must not be the current standard. It was too thick for the clips on the bottom of the sink to fit under and grip.
At that point, once I got the sink fitted, my wife wisely advised that I call it a night. I did. The rest would have to wait until Sunday afternoon.

Sunday afternoon, I spent chiseling out spots for the clips on the sides to hook onto - making the counter top thinner at those points. The back had plenty of points that were thinner because of the chiseling I had already done. Since the counter top is made of particle board, it tends to crumble under chiseling.

I also came up with a solution for how to engage the front clips. Actually, I think God must have helped me with that. I put three corresponding screws on the backside of the front of the cabinet (where they could not be seen) and affixed wires from the three clips long enough the reach the screws. I installed the new faucet and soap pump while the sink was out. A clear, quick-setting caulk was applied next. Then the sink was positioned in place. While I worked under the sink, my wife helped by applying pressure on it from above. I tightened the clips on the back and sides. Then I wrapped the ends of the wires around the screws and tightened the clips. I had positioned the top end of the wires over the ends of the clips so that when I tightened down of the clip screws, the wires would be tightened. It worked great.

Now that the sink was secured, I attached the water lines, installed the drain and attached the drain tail piece. Then came the test. I turned on the water cut off valves and turned on the water slowly. Everything worked! I checked for leaks and there were none!

We had purchased one of those faucets where the spout pulls out on a hose. The instructions on the faucet said, prior to connecting the actual spout, to run the water on full through the hose to flush any debris. Once I had checked for leaks, I decided to do the full power flush. I must have been tired from the two days of labor because I was not thinking as I pushed the faucet lever to full, without holding on to the hose. Yup, you guessed it, that hose came alive, lifted up and blasted a stream of water across the kitchen in the one to two seconds before I realized my error and shut the water off. I just had to laugh at myself.

Now, the sink is in full operational order. Just ask my wife has been diligently washing everything that was covered in sawdust. See my wife's blog on this project.

P.S. For those who, out of the kindness of their hearts for my wife, might want to drop hints or suggestions about, or pave the way for, other home improvement projects for me to do (you know who you are), I just have this comment. She does not need your help. She does just fine on her own, coming up with a never-ending list of things for me to do. :-)

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pray for Emily and her parents, Mike and Dawn

I know most of my readers also read my wife's blog and most read hers first. But for those who come only here or here first, I would ask that you go over to my wife's blog to read about our friends Mike and Dawn and their newborn daughter, Emily. The purpose of this is to ask you to pray for them. Emily has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Emily Rose
Emily Update
Emily Update #2

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New Books

I recently ordered four books from Amazon.com and they arrived today. I was very excited. But I'm guessing not many of you would be excited about this books.

  • "Learning Perl, Fourth Edition"
  • "Visual Quickstart Guide to HTML, XHTML & CSS, Sixth Edition"
  • "JavaScript, A Beginner's Guide, Second Edition"
  • "Head First Java, Second Edition"
Was I right?

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers"

While I was having my quiet time on Sunday, I was praying and started thinking of the awesomeness of God. Then I read Psalms 8 which was right in line with my thoughts.

Psalm 8

For the director of music. According to gittith.

A psalm of David.

1 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.

2 From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?

5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:

7 all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

I took time to do what verse three talks about, considering God's handiwork and His greatness. I mentally agree that God is great and all-powerful, but rarely to I really take time to meditate on that and ponder it. In Matthew 10:30, the Bible says that the hairs on our head are numbered. That's the hairs on everyone's head - present, past and future. Wow. If God keeps track of that, what else does He know and keep track of? I'm sure some people will point out that He knows everything of course. That is very true, but I've found considering examples of that helped bring that truth home.

Consider for instance, the electrons that move through the electrical circuits of the world. Does God know each one of those? I believe this to be true. He knows where each electron starts, where it goes, and where it ends up. He could tell us how many electrons are in use for electricity at this moment just as easily as He could tell us how many electrons are in all of creation. Wow!

Consider the blood cells that flow through our veins. God knows each one, from the point it is made to the point it dies and deteriorates. He knows where each one is within each of our bodies. Or consider the waves of the oceans. God knows each and everyone of them - where they start and where they are going.

Each rock, blade of grass, spider, ant, snow flake, tree, leaf, drop of sap, oxygen atom, rain drop, and particle of smoke. God knows each of these and innumerably more things than can be listed. Wow! How does God keep track of it all? Well, He's God. Isaiah 55:8 say '"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. ' That is so true. He is beyond my comprehension, except what He chooses to reveal to me.

Psalm 147:4 says "He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name." He even has names for the stars. Does He have names for other things? I think it's a good possibility.

Psalm 139 has many truths in it. God knows everything we do, everything we say and everything we think - even before they happen! God is every where; there is no where that God is not. Each one of us was created by God, knit and woven by Him. God has a detailed plan for each one of us, for every moment of our lives. Wow.

Is God surprised by the things that we, people, make, invent, discovery or create? I think not. When He considers the computer chip, does He think "Wow, I had no idea that something like that could be derived from sand."? Again, I think not. When God created everything, He wove into creation's fabric all these wonderful properties and abilities. I think He designed creation in such a way that we could make, invent, discovery and create. It's a gift to us. It allows us to use the intelligence He has given us. As a dad, I love to watch my kids learn and discover things. I think God is the same way, assuming what we are doing is in line with His will. I was not very happy about Will learning how to open the vitamin bottle. They are only vitamins, but that means that he may be able to open other bottles that are supposed to be child proof, which may contain something that can harm him.

God is truly an awesome God. Oh LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!

These thoughts lead me to re-read the creation narrative.

Genesis 1

The Beginning

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning - the first day.

6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning - the second day.

9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning - the third day.

14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. 16 God made two great lights - the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning - the fourth day.

20 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." 23 And there was evening, and there was morning - the fifth day.

24 And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground - everything that has the breath of life in it - I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Genesis 2

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Adam and Eve

4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens - 5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground - 7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

As I read over it, God showed me some things I had never noticed before and reminded me of somethings I had forgotten.

  • In chapter one, verses one and two, God creates the "canvas" on which the rest of His creation will be applied. The earth was formless and empty. The sun, moon and stars are not created until the fourth day. Light had not been created yet. However, this was no ordinary canvas. I believe that when God created the heavens and the earth, He did so with all the laws and properties we know today and probably some we don't know. I believe gravity was created at this time, as well as the laws of thermodynamics (with the possible exception of the law of entropy, which may have come into play after the fall), E = mc2 and other such laws and properties. God had it all planned out. There was no trial and error with God. He got it right the first time. Just think about the complexity of the natural world we live in. All the things that need to happen to make it work. To me, the idea behind evolution, that things just happened by chance, is so improbable, so impossible, that it would take more faith to believe in evolution than a creator God. How could so many complex systems, with so many interdependencies, just happen by chance? I don’t think so!
  • Notice the power of God’s words. He creates things out of nothing by His word. And His words are backed by His power and intelligence – they are full of meaning beyond the simple meaning conveyed by human languages. When He says “Let there be…”, God does not have to spell out the details. He did not name all the types of fish with a description of their shapes, sizes, colors, breeding habits, life cycles and food. He just said “Let the water teem with living creatures…” (1:20) and it was so. Wow.
  • God creates light on day one but does not create the natural sources of light (sun and stars) until the fourth day. So where did the light come from that He separated from the darkness?
  • In the beginning God creates the heavens and the earth. I'm not 100% sure about this, but I think this was prior to the start of the 1st day of creation. Knowing from the creation account that the sun, moon and stars were not created until the fourth day (and I'm guessing the other planets too), that this still a lot of creation in terms of size. Once the earth and the heavens have been created, God spends the next six days working on creating things on or around the earth. That says to me that the earth was the geographical focal point for God's creation (I think this is a good argument against extraterrestrial beings). God had the power, He could have just spoken and everything would have been created in that instant. So why didn't He? I believe that Scripture is clear that He did this to establish the pattern of a week for us. On any of the six days of creation, God could have done it all. He has not limitations. So why parse out the work? To establish the idea of six days. In 2:2, the seventh day, God rests from His work. Was God really tired and needed the rest? Palsm 121:4 says "indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep." The answer to that question is No. God did not need the rest. He is spirit and does not have a body to get tired. God did it to establish the idea of a Sabbath day of rest (see also Hebrews 4:1-11). Exodus 20:8-11 says,

8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 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. 11 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."

  • If the earth was the geographical focal point of God’s creation, then man was God’s creative focal point. God saved the best for last. He created everything else prior to creating man. He prepared for us a perfect place to live (sounds kind of like heaven, John 14:1-3). While God spoke everything else into existence (“Let there be…”), chapter 2, verse 7 says, “the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground...” God used His hands to create Adam. Talk about special. But the crowning characteristic of this creation, that truly separated it from all the other creation was that fact that man was made in the image of Almighty God (1:26-27). We have a spirit like God and, like God, it will live forever. God created something to last for an eternity, just like Him. Wow!! Where it will live forever (heaven or hell) depends on that person’s relationship with Jesus Christ.

God is truly beyond anything I can imagine. He is more powerful, more glorious, more awesome than I can began to comprehend. I cannot think of a better way to end this post than with a couple more Scriptures.

Psalm 19:1- 6

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.

3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.

4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.

Romans 1:18 - 25

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

All the Scriptures are from the NIV, courtesy of BibleGateway.com.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ah, That Fresh Salt Air

On Saturday we decided to take a picnic and go to one of our family's favorite state parks - Beavertail Lighthouse State Park. It was beautiful day and we all had a wonderful time. Ben's told me a couple of times since then that he likes that place. I won't bother going into the details as my wife has already blogged about it and posted pictures. So go over the her blog and read the entries she has posted.

The Answer is...
Beavertail Lighthouse, Again.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Making Knives

I found this narrative (with pictures) of a metal smith's process to make a couple of Japanese style knives very interesting, so I thought I would share it.

Oct. 12, 2007 Update

Here's the latest news from me, in no particular order.
  • Last night it was raining and the electricity went off for a few hours. Thank goodness that was after the kids were in bed and asleep.
  • Last Saturday, I worked on repairing some deteriorating wood between the eve and the gutter on one section at the front of the house. It's been raining a lot this week, so I'm glad I got it done. Now I just need a couple of dry days this weekend so I can paint the replacement wood.
  • We've not caught any more mice in the garage since the first one. See my wife's post and picture about that.
  • We went clothes shopping at Sears tonight (Lands End). I bought a shirt and two pairs of khakis. The boys each got new, matching, sweaters, and will got some new pants. Stephanie has said she is going to look on-line and see if she can find a matching sweater in my size.
  • The kids and I have been using blankets to make 1) a tent, 2) a restaurant and 3) a church in their rooms, on three separate evenings.
  • We went apple picking with our church on Columbus day and came home with 15+ pounds of apples. We had a good time. The kids ate a number of apples as we wondered the orchid. Stephanie made home-made apple pie from some of the apples. YUM! There's none left now.
  • Last Friday night, I went bowling with seven other guys and our pastor from church. This was the first of a series "How to be a man" that our pastor has planned for the younger men (college and twenty-somethings). We had a great time bowling. I even had the only turkey (three strikes in a row) of the group. Despite that, I was not the highest scorer. My team lost, averaged out, by 15 points, so we had to do 15 push-ups (just a competitive guy thing). After the fun was done, our pastor talked about having spiritual goals, using bowling as an illustration. If you want to get better, mature, then you have to put time into it. I shared with them what some of my spiritual goals are.
  • It's getting cooler here. We've put a blanket on the bed today. I wear a light jacket to and from work everyday now. For those who don't know me, I don't like the cold. The leaves are pretty when they change colors, but they are such a pain to rake when they fall off of the tree in the back yard. The days are getting shorter. Not too much longer and I will be going to and coming back from work in the dark. For me, that's one of the worst aspects of winter (other then the incessant cold). At least my cube at work is beside the windows, so I will get some sun while I'm working. I am grateful that God has provided us with a house with central heat that works and warm clothes to wear.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Articles #2

Here are some more random articles for you to waste time on.

Progress Report #1

Stephanie and I are coming close to completing the first draft of our family's vision statement(s). Stay tuned, I'll post once we have finalized it.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Great Minds Think Alike

Only a few minutes after I posted my previous entry, about giving away the TV, I learned, in talking with my wife, that she too had just posted about this same thing. Not only that, but our titles are scarily similar. Check out her entry.

So Long, Fare Well

Today we officially gave away the TV and DVD player to a friend from church. It was not hard for me. Ever since I surrendered them and unplugged them, they were gone in my mind. Today was just the final conclusion to that surrender.

I received a comment asking how it was going without the TV. I think it is going very well. The boys, especially Will, still ask to watch something periodically, but those times a growing fewer. I think it is certainly helping me focus on the more important things in my life - God and family. That's just one less thing to compete for the limited amount of time I have.

My wife and I are pretty consistent now about having a prayer time together after the kids are in bed. We have missed one or two nights here or there, but for the most part we are consistent. It has been good in that it has help us (me) share more and to help me know how to better pray for her.

My walk with God is better - there is less garbage that I have to clean out or fight against now that I'm not letting so much in. I'm getting to read more. And I'm typically going to bed earlier now, which is definitely a good thing.

Getting rid of the TV has definitely been worth the sacrifice, even in this short amount of time. I would recommend it to anyone, even to our friend to whom we gave the TV and DVD player :-).

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Oct. 4th, 2007 Update

I've been busy and the forecast is not looking good. I've several things I'm trying to get done, such as books to read and a family vision statement to draw up. The only real time I have to do these things is the same time I usually use to blog. So you will be seeing fewer entries from me for a while.
Here are some articles for your reading pleasure.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Hope Project

I found this on the web tonight - The Hope Project. It is a video on the gospel message throughout the Bible. I recommend you check it out, if you have a good Internet connection. There were a few minor phrasings and visual representations that I did not agree with, but the core message is Biblical. When you first began to view the video, click on the "Entire Video" link to watch it all. Otherwise you have to select the chapters in order - left to itself, it skips over most of the chapters.