Thursday, December 28, 2006
I’m not sure how I am perceived by those around me, but I feel that I likely have a reputation for being rather strange, which does not bother me. I think that some people dislike the idea of being strange. I don’t. So in keeping with that supposed reputation, I’m posting on the perception that we have of ourselves. Hey, I never claimed to be normal.
I think that how you perceive your personality and character must be similar to the way that you perceive your voice. I am perfectly accustomed to the way I speak, but when I hear a recording of my voice I, (not being pleased with what I’m hearing) ask “is that really what I sound like?”
And everyone looks at me like “Well duh. Of course that’s what you sound like.”
So what is the “real you”, the one that you see, of the one that others perceive? Whose view is the legitimate one? Or perhaps it is neither is. Perhaps the real you is the one that neither you of others see, but the one that God sees. To see what we all look like to Him would be a real eye-opener, I think.
Monday, December 25, 2006
This morning we read the account of the birth of Christ by the glow of all five candles in our Advent wealth (the last of which is supposed to be lit on Christmas eve, but whatever) had chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and opened our Christmas gifts form each other. I received the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe extended version DVD set from my dear sister and a Piper book and Beyond the Gates of Splendor along with a promise to pay the difference for the i-pod I'm planing to buy from my mom.
Among the more memorable events of Christmas 2006 were the possum that was served for Christmas dinner. One of Pastor Bart's parishioners had given them possum and he insisted that everyone who came in today at least try it. And I think that with the exception of his wife and perhaps a few others everyone did. For the record, it is not bad, but it is rather fatty. I would not sign up to eat it again, but I could eat it if I ever needed to.
I don't know if all their holidays are like this, but that house was practically a revolving door. And since we had brought our instruments we got to Christmas carols for everyone who came. The other notable event of the evening was this: One of our friends got a kilt for Christmas, and after much coercing the was persuaded to put it on for us, and Robin and I happened to be wearing our Scottish tartans... so we had fun with that. I would post pictures, but the condition for taking them was that we where not to post them on myspace, so I won't. We got some great video footage form the diverse group of people that included, but was not limited too: us, the Walkers, Cole (the kilt wearing friend) and Dr. Ackenwalllie, the Nigerian family friend (you should hear him try to say "y'ont too?", as in the Mississippi version of "Do you want too").
Well, we had a good time, but that did not keep me form doing a bit of pondering this morning, and here are some of the things I was thinking about:
The Incarnation has to be the most mind boggling event in human history. God in the form of man. How awesome is that? How impossible for our finite minds to really grasp.
The child in the manger was at one time much more and much less than they where looking for. The Jews where waiting for a Messiah to deliver Israel, someone like Judas Maccabees, only successful. They wanted another David or Moses, someone to reestablish their beloved nation. They wanted a warrior, and they got a baby who grew to be a man that we have no record of ever even holding a sword, much less wielding one. They wanted a king, and they got a man how would not take the kingship when it was offered. But what they could not see was that that man of Peace would some day come with a sword coming form his mouth and judge the whole world. They had in mind the Kingship of Israel, and they got the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. I do wonder if those that stood beside the manger that night had any inkling of what was happening. Here was God, and he was with us.
I would not be me if I posted a holiday post without quoting someone else, so that is the next order of business. Though I have to say that implications of the words that Charles Wesley wrote are really staggering when you think about it. What truly awesome God we have!
Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"
Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"
Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"
Well, merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
10 "And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious."
Even so, come Lord Jesus!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Sunday, December 03, 2006
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel is an old Latin hymn of praise and expectation. One can almost hear the cry of the oppressed people of God, beseeching God by many of his glorious names to send their Messiah.
O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai's height
In ancient times did gave thy law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Every few days during Advent I plan to post some of the Prophecies concerning Christ, so here is one for today:
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. For those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned... For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and this government shall be on his shoulder. And his name shall be called: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuell.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Okay, okay! So I'm way behind times, but though I've been busy, I just couldn't let Thanksgiving go by unobserved by my blog.
So here it is: the classic American Thanksgiving. I tried to get a picture of the First Thanksgivng, but alas! I couldn't, so I hope ya'll like this one.
During the Thanksgiving season I was thinking about this passage:
Pray without ceasing.
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Rather striking, isn't it, that thanksgiving is one of the few things that is stated as God's will for us?
So I was thinking of the things that I am most thankful for. At the top of the list is God's amazing grace choosing a me to be his own. If nothing good ever happened to me again, I would still be in everlasting wonder at His mercy. I'm so grateful for his Sovereignty in the valleys and mountains of my life and for his being my Rock through them all.
I have been blessed beyond all telling in my family. What more can I say? My sister is my best friend (see below), my mom is my hero, and my dad has given me so much. My extended family is always there for me and they add a little spice to life.
I have found some wonderful friends along the road of life. When we moved a dear friend gave us a print with these words: Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints in our hearts and we are never the same.
I'm thankful for the friends that have laughed and cried with me, for those that have challenged me, for those that have agreed with me and those that have debated with me (you know who you are). You have insured that I would never be the same.
I'm thankful for my life, my liberty and my happiness, and I am thankful for my homeland where I truly do have a freedom form want.
And to end on, here are some of the most apt thanksgivings ever penned:
1Ch 16:8 Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.
Psa 30:4 Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
Psa 75:1Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.
Psa 79:13 So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.
Psa 118:1 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.
Psa 119:62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.
Rev 11:17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Robin had just received a text message, and when I asked what it was about, the following dialog took place: “Cole just had a test on the prophets in Old Testament class.”
“Oh really? How did he do?”
“He said he did fine until he got to the minor prophets. I told him that they all get mixed up in my head too, which isn’t true but I was trying to make him feel better. Of course, I thought it was true when I said it, but after I sent it I thought ‘that’s not true, I know my minor prophets.’ ”
“Really,” I replied “so what is the major theme of Joel?” “Ummmm... Hum. I dunno. Why did you ask about Joel? Couldn’t you have asked about Lamentations or something?”
“Lamentations is a major prophet, it’s written by Jeremiah.”
“Oh yeah, but it’s so short, I get it confused with the minor prophets! But anyway, I remember the one who married the harlot. What’s his name again?”
“Somehow I don’t think that that would help on a test.”
“Sure it would, if it where multiple choice. Hmm, I do know about Jonah though.”
“Um, Robin, I think he probably answered all of the answers about Jonah correctly.”
Oh, probably so...” At this point she started to leaf through her Bible, than said with a rather bewildered look that is all her own: “I’m really convicted. I don’t know my minor prophets.”
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Instead of posting the whole 95 thesis I decided to post the 20 most relevant to the point of the whole. The whole thing is available here if you are interested
Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.
In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance
5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit any penalties other than those which he has imposed either by his own authority or by that of the Canons.
8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to them, nothing should be imposed on the dying.
11. This changing of the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory is quite evidently one of the tares that were sown while the bishops slept.
32. They will be condemned eternally, together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon.
45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God.
50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter's church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep.
51. Christians are to be taught that it would be the pope's wish, as it is his duty, to give of his own money to very many of those from whom certain hawkers of pardons cajole money, even though the church of St. Peter might have to be sold.
52. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it.
62. The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.
73. The pope justly thunders against those who, by any art, contrive the injury of the traffic in pardons.
74. But much more does he intend to thunder against those who use the pretext of pardons to contrive the injury of holy love and truth.
80. The bishops, curates and theologians who allow such talk to be spread among the people, will have an account to render.
81. This unbridled preaching of pardons makes it no easy matter, even for learned men, to rescue the reverence due to the pope from slander, or even from the shrewd questionings of the laity.
82. To wit: -- "Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial."
86. Again: -- "Why does not the pope, whose wealth is to-day greater than the riches of the richest, build just this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of poor believers?"
90. To repress these arguments and scruples of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the Church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christians unhappy.
91. If, therefore, pardons were preached according to the spirit and mind of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved; nay, they would not exist.
92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Peace, peace," and there is no peace!
94. Christians are to be exhorted that they be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hell;
95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven rather through many tribulations, than through the assurance of peace
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Well, I have spent a week learning how to teach the piano. I think I learned as much about how to play the piano as how to teach it. I have been inspired to practice 3 hours a day. Let's see how long it lasts.
Awhile back I was listening to some really good music. I guess we have gotten rather out of the habit of listening to music as much as we used to. As I was swept away by the beauty of what I was hearing, I remembered "oh yes, this is why I am a musician. Because I love it." funny, isn't it, how sometimes we lose sight of the forest for the trees? I have spent so much time recently practicing because it's what I have to do that I had lost sight of why I was doing it in the first place. Music is a gift, and I'm in the business of sharing it. You know, I think that perhaps that could be said of many of the things I do. Sometimes I get so caught up in 'doing the right thing' that I forget the big picture. I'm a child of the King, chosen and blood bought. God's love and his grace are gifts, and I'm in the business of sharing them. What would my life look like if that where always first and foremost on my mind? By God's grace, we'll see.
You know, music is many thing to many people. To some it is a waste of time and energy. To some it is a nice venue of entertainment that they could live with or without. To some, however, it is a positive obsession. Robin's horn teacher went off on a tangent at one of her lessons about people who are so "into" music that it is almost a religion. "It's like music is the god and we are all priests of something. I think that some of them would like us to shave our heads and bow worship it" I didn't quite know how to take that statement when it was made, but then, I had never met someone who fit that category. Well, I have now. My instructor this past week is passionately and obsessively devoted to music.
Beethoven is universally acknowledged as one of the great masters of Classical music, yet he was an altogether disagreeable person, not to mention being quite miserable. Music did not even make him happy. It is all rather disturbing, if you ask me. Schumann went positively insane, Wagner was a vehement anti-Semitist and form all accounts insufferably arrogant, and they and many like them lived and died very unhappy. Music, which was given as a gift from the giver of all good things, when in becomes the gift, and from there proceeds to be venerated as the great good and the highest that man can attain, becomes a terrible master. Beethoven, when he lost his hearing lost the only thing that made the world worth living in to him. What a tragedy! What will it profit a man if he gain the world and lose his soul?
What is music? not a end in and of itself. Bach said that all music should be none other that to the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. Bach's life was not wound up with his music. He was a full time church organist and a father of 20 (several of whom chose music as their profession). And he seems to have died happy and contented.
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent"
I don't know who said it, but I like it.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Parts of the cemetery are very old, dating back to the mid nineteenth century. The oldest tomb stone we saw was dated 1835. Looking over the acres of hills covered with markers of all shapes and sizes I was struck with the brevity of life. Each of these short epitaphs was the simulation of a life. “Thy will be done” was a rather common phrase, as was the eloquent “for of such is the kingdom of Heaven”, carved in stone as a memorial of a lost child. For many of these people, this is the only mark that they leave on the world. They are forgotten, and the vases that loving family had graven into the headstones are empty. Than there where the ones that where so weather beaten that their inscription is no longer even legible. How sad, to be forgotten by all that walk the earth.
Yet each one of these where once just as alive are I am right now. They had their petty cares and worries, their triumphs and defeats, and their joys and their sorrows. Was life was sweet to them, as it is to me, and did death seem almost unreal and avoidable to the last? Often, in our heart of hearts I think that we who live think that we shall cheat death, but in the end she will not be thwarted. Each lives the days allotted to him, than when his Maker sees fit, he takes away their breath and they die. Reflecting on the brevity of live I think with the Psalmist “what is man that Thou art mindful of him?”
This is what I see from the vantage point of this earth, and if that where all I had, I would despair. I would say with the Teacher “Vanity, all is vanity!” for indeed, all seems vain. Pleasure, pain, joy and wisdom, what does it profit? All die. We are dust and we shall return to dust. None that come after shall even remember that we ever even existed, except perhaps to comment on the merit of our epitaph. As the Romans commonly had it, “non fui, fui, non sum, non caro” “I was not, I was, I am not, I care not.” Who cares? Life is pointless, death is pointless.
But I know better. I know that when we sleep the sleep of death we shall wake to life eternal. That is beyond comprehension. In Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale the Little Mermaid longs for an immortal soul. The first time I read that I was struck- the soul that lives forever is a gift. And what a gift! Yet it is also a great responcability.
We walked through that Jewish section and I wondered, what happened to these people who rejected their Messiah in life? It is sobering. For all these, Christian, Jew and Atheist, it is to late. Their die is cast and they have chosen their path. They have met their Maker, the Just and the Merciful. What urgency this should give us! Life is passing by! It is precious and it is short. There are lost souls that will spend eternity, not beneath the earth is oblivion, but in a place where the fire is never quenched. May God have mercy on them and may he use me as a tool to bring them in to His kingdom.
I did not intend to get quite that somber. But I suppose that the subject of death lends itself to solemnity by its very nature. But our conversation this morning was melancholy, but not really somber. We spoke of the sadness of dieing with neither children nor deeds to carry on your name. We spoke of those who came before us, whose flesh blood we are. We spoke of the colossal tragedy of abortion, which claims the lives of so many. We where struck by the frailty of man, and his smallness. We each think that the universe revolves around us, and it doesn’t. We think that we are really something, don’t we? But we’re not. But yet, for all man’s seeming insignificance, the Creator and Master of all that is and ever shall be became one of us and saved us from ourselves. What grace!
In conclusion, I leave you with the self-written epitaph of Ben Franklin and a quote from Poor Richards Almanac:
(Like the cover of an old book
Its contents torn out
And stript of its lettering and gilding)
Lies here, food for worms.
But the work shall not be lost
For it will (as he believed) appear once more
In a new and more elegant edition
Revised and corrected
If you would not be forgotten
As soon as you are dead and rotten,
Either write things worth reading,
Or do things worth the writing.
Monday, August 07, 2006
The afore-mentioned former hyper-Calvinist (also known as Elijah) had a response to Romans 9, which as you know, is the Calvinist's best friend. I had not the presence of mind to read the context, weigh the merits and demerits of his argument, and come up with a response. So, I found a different passage that made my point just as well and avoided Romans 9 for the rest of the conversation. Now this, I know, is not the proper way to debate theology. Accordingly, this morning I read Romans 8 and 9 (having read the first few chapters of Romans last night on the way home) and shall try to remedy my lack of astuteness yesterday by a belated defense of the right way to read Romans 9.
First I'll post Romans 9, then I'll give an overview of the opposing argument, then all the reasons that I'm right and he's wrong :-D
1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen
according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.
6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called." 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise: "At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son." 10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger." 13 As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion." 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. 19 You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?" 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
25 As He says also in Hosea: "I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved." 26 "And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' There they shall be called sons of the living God." 27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel:"Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved. 28 For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth." 29 And as Isaiah said before: "Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, We would have become like Sodom, And we would have been made like Gomorrah."
30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."
Now for the opposing view:
Basically, the overall theme of Romans is an argument for the status of Gentile Christians, and that chapter 9 is speaking of the physical election of the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be the forefathers of Christ. I think that the basis for this conclusion is vv. 1-4 where Paul is declaring that he wishes that he could exchange his salvation for that of his fellow Israelites and v. 5 "of whom, are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came..." and the assumption is that the rest of the chapter follows the same physical/national concept. Also vv. 7 and 8 "they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, 'In Isaac your seed shall be called.'
That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed."is refering to the exclusion of the other lines of Abraham (Ishmal, Esau, Midiam etc.) in the ancestry of Christ.
In accord with this theme, the famous "Jacob have I love and Esau have I hated" passage should be equitated with when Jesus told his disciples that if they did not hate their fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters they where not worthy to be his disciples he did meant that given a choice between them and him they must choose him, thus "hating" them. In the same way, God did not "hate" Esau except that he did not choose him to be the ancestor of Jesus. Thus the choosing was purely physical and had no spiritual significance.
I think that, in contrast to the chapter being about the physical line of Christ, it is carrying on the common theme of the physical line of Abraham vs. the spiritual line. I see the first five verses to mean basically this: "I with that I could trade my salvation for the salvation of Israel," and than he goes off to tell us some of the wonderful things about them: They where given the law, the covenant, and are the physical family of Christ. In v. 6, however, Paul hastens to assure us that the covenant with Israel was not broken, because the Church is really Israel. vv. 6-8 say : "But it is not that the word of God has taken not effect, for they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, 'In Isaac your seed shall be called.'
That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed." This seems to me to be much the same language that Paul used in chapter 4:13, 16. " For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. ... not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all" and Gal 1:7 "Therefore know that only those that are of faith are sons of Abraham."
v.11-15 (...the children not having yet been born, nor having done anything good or evil, that the purpose of God might stand, not of works, but of him who calls), it was said to [Rebecca], "the elder shall serve the younger" as it is written: " Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." What shall we say than, is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For he says to Moses: I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion" (v. 12-15) I don't see what God choosing Jacob over Esau merely to be the line of Christ has to do with having mercy or compassion, nor do I see that it would leave God open to the charge of unrightiouness. In Romans Paul often makes a controversial statement, poses the natural objection, than ends by declaring the objection invalid. For example, he does it three times in chapter 3:1-5: "What advantage than has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them where commited the oracles of God.
For what if some did not believe? Will their unbeleaf make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Let God be true and every man a liar...But if our unrightiousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath?... Certainly not!"
I think the logical, autonomous, conclusion to all of these statements is just what Paul anticipates it will be: "God isn't fair!" But I still say we should define our idea of justice by the character of God, not the other way around. And I think that if one's view of these scriptures makes these rhetorical questions and answers pointless it would make me seriously question the view.
I'll not quote vv. 16-20 again, because they fall under what I just said.
For the benefit of my self-proclaimed Arminian friend (otherwise known as Christian) Please refer to vv. 21-24; "Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?"
The question raised was this: How God could "force" someone to become a Christian, or not "not let them" become one if they want to?
Here is the answer: Everyone gets what they want. The Bible is replete with evidence that fallen man wants to sin. God has issued a call to all men which he hears (see Romans 1) but since he is seperated from God, he doesn't want it. And without God interviening and giving him the gift of regeneration, he will die in his sin and pay it's penelty. The wadges of sin is death.
On the other hand, we, being Christians, love God because he first loved us, (1John 4:19). When we were dead in our trespasses and sin, God regenerated us and made us alive in Christ. It is God who works in us both to will and to do for his good pleasure (Philipians 2:13). God gives us the desire and the ability to choose him. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snath them out of My hand" John 10:27-28.
In a similar way, once we are saved, we don't complain that God gives us the ability and desire to be holy as He is holy. We want to be holy because we are His children.
The doctrine of election is not about justice, "Is God just for choosing this one and not that one?" but about mercy. What is justice? Not an equal chance for all, but hell for all. God would be perfectly just in sending every single person to hell, in saving everyone, or in saving some and not others that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessles of mercy (Rom. 9:23). In short, whatever He does is just, reguardless of how it lines up with our ideas of justice.
Chosen is used 21 times in the New Testament, elect or election is used 23 times, predestined 4 times, and foreknew twice. However you cut it, the doctrine is there. We might see it differently, but it is undeniable that there has to be something to it.
I am at something of a disadvantage today in that all my short cut all-the-verses-on-predestination-in-one-place books are at home and I'm in McComb. So I'll defer the rest of my explaination until I have them once more about me and I can give a better apology for faith being a gift.
Much of scripture is a paradox, and I'll be the first to admit it. And many things come down to my rather over-used metaphor about the elephant and the blind men. God is infinitely and unspeakably above our comprehension. Proverbs 25:2 says: "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter." Kings and all the rest of us.
Perhaps in the endeavor to search out the nature of God we will all end up with a little bit more of an idea of how great he really is.
Friday, July 21, 2006
In the afore mentioned yard there is a rather scrawny tree. Apparently when a neighboring tree was cut down one of it's branches was caught in it, so now there is a sad looking tree with a dead branch dangling just above reach and it has been driving us nuts all week. This morning my grandparents where out and Mom, Robin and I started bright and early. Mom had spent a while trying to coax this branch down with a limb cutter, you know, the kind that extends about 15 feet or so. The problem was that she could not get quite high enough to get a grip on the branch. So, Robin and I, being the helpful daughters we are, decided to, um, "help" her. The place that see really needed to latch onto was about 12 feet out of reach. Being the most apt tree climber in the family, I (with Robin's help) proceeded up the tree and they handed the limb cutter up to me. I decided to cut the limb that was holding that annoying branch up.
I'm standing in the tree trying to operate the limb cutter, I get it in position, and pull the rope that is supposed to move the blade to cut the limb.
As you may know, I'm not the strongest person the the world, and add to that that I was trying to balance in a tree, I could not get that branch to cut for love for money. Not only that, but it had cut just enough that it would not come down. It was stuck. Well, than I have bright idea number two, namely, tie a cord to the cord that I was pulling and give it to those on the ground who will not have to worry about breaking their necks if they get a little off balence. The cord broke.
By this time we are on a time limit. My grandparents are on the way home, and we don't want to give them a heart attack at our rather dangerous antics in the tree, nor do we wish to actually admit that we got their brand new limb cutter stuck in the tree, 12 feet off the ground, and can't get it down. When they drove up I jumped out of the tree and we all pretended that there was not a red limb cutter hanging over our heads and came of to the house for lunch.
After lunch Robin and I decided to use a mallet to try to loosen it and get it down. The first attempt was unsuccessful. The sledge hammer we brought had a handle about 3 feet limb and weighed a ton. So now I'm in the tree, swinging a ten pound sledge hammer, trying to knock loose the tree cutter. I succeeded in hitting myself in the eye with the cumbersome handle. At this point I became mad, and was trying to figure out what I was going to tell the people at the emergency room if my eye was really injured. It was not however, so Robin went in search of something smaller and came back with a rubber mallet that did the job in about three seconds. I am happy to report that limb cutter is in the shed where it belongs, and I am still in one piece.
The limb that caused all the commotion in the first place, however, is still there. I guess you can't win them all.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Â That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, Â That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Â Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. Â And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
And so it began....
After all the signers had signed what could have easly been their death warrent someone is said to have commented "Well, we must all hang together now" to which Ben Franklin replied "We must hang together gentlemen, or we shall assuredly hang separately"
Happy 4th of July, y'all.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
I WANT: to hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant”
I WISH: that we never had to say goodbye to those we love.
I HATE: Finishing a book and saying "and the point is...?" I also hate mosquitoes.
I LOVE: being part of the body of Christ and as such, being heir to the past and ancestor to the future (okay, so I stole it, but it’s still good)
I MISS: the simplicity of childhood
I FEAR: making stupid choices and having to live with the consequences.
I HEAR: Robin playing Pachabell's Cannon
I WONDER: what the future holds.
I REGRET: the pain I have caused those I love.
I BELIEVE: that all things work together for the good of those that love God, who are the called according to his purpose.
I AM NOT: good at keeping my feet off my sisters heels when we are walking.
I DANCE: Whenever I have the slightest excuse
I SING: rather off key
I CRY: easily.
I AM NOT ALWAYS: able to say just what I mean.
I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: costumes
I WRITE: much less that I ought too
I CONFUSE: the order that letters ought to be in the formation of a word.
I NEED: to learn how to type more than 10 words a minute.
I SHOULD: practice my instruments more.
I WILL: keep getting older, whether I like it or not.
I START: a sentence and forget what I was saying before I have finished it.
I FINISH: very few non-fiction books.
I TAG: no one. Everyone who reads my blog has been tagged already.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
This is an excerpt from Matthew Henry's commentary on the above passage:
Christianity is a mystery, a mystery that could not have been found out by reason or the light of nature, and which cannot be comprehended by reason, because it is above reason, though not contrary thereto. It is a mystery, not of philosophy or speculation; but of godliness, designed to promote godliness; and herein it exceeds all the mysteries of the Gentiles. It is also a revealed mystery, not shut up and sealed; and it does not cease to be a mystery because now in part revealed.
Behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door,and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
It was before the crack of dawn and they where on the way to perform the last offices of love for a departed friend, but they where in for the biggest surprise in all of history...
"Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, He is risen, just as he said come, see the place were the Lord lay."
You know, I bet that Satan thought he had really scored a point by *ahem* "messing up" God's plan. But God is ironic, don't you think? The crucifixion was God's plan, yet the Parisees (and think it's biblical to say Satan himself) thought it was their plan. He not only beat the Devil at what he thought was his own game by bringing Jesus back to life, he used the evil shouts of "Crucify Him!" as the way to do it. He thus won not only the battle Satan waged against Christ in the form of man, he won the war with death, hell and the grave started in the garden. This is truly the ultimate example of God working all things for the good of those who love God who are the called according to his purpose.
How amazing our God is! This is a powerful statement on the person of Christ which you really should listen to.
You won't be sorry you did.
P.S. If you read this earlier today and it was slightly different, that's because I was trying to get the post up before I had to leave for church this morning, so I went ahead and posted it not quite done, and have now finished it.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Friday, April 14, 2006
We Protestants tend to gloss over the reality and tragedy of Good Friday. We even call it good because we know the ending. We know that Jesus does not stay in the grave, we know that death looses and that Christ is is victorious. Imagine what it must have been like for those who lived through it. They did not know that this was the plan, that this was the way of salvation. All they knew was that their only hope was hanging on a cross. As for as human eyes could see, this was the end.
Not the way humans would have arranged things, but "as for God, his way is perfect"
This scripture always seems apt on Good Friday:
Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted an extolled, and be very high
As many as where astonished at thee: his vestige was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men; so shall the sprinkled many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that whish had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
Who has believed our message, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? for he shall grow up before him as a thnder plant, and as a root out of dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness ; and when we shall see him, there is not beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected of men' a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it where our faces from him, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried out sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth. He is brought as a lamg to slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: and the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with rich men in his death; because he had done not violence, neither was any deceit found in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; and he hath put him to grief: when thou shall make him an offering for sin, she shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he has poured out his soul unto death, and the was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
I don't really have time to write anything more profound right now, so without anymore ado, here it is:
I asked for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I had asked for,but everything that I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered;
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.
- Unknown Confederate Soldier
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Life has held some unexpected deviations from where I thought it was going, giving God another opportunity to work on my faith.
Many seasons of my life can be in many ways summed up in a short phrase or a question in some way or another shaped my way of thinking, but they soon outlive their season. Scripture, however never becomes a mere catch phrase that was once helpful.
There has been one passage of scripture in particular that seems like it is always relevant. Proverbs 3:5 says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths."
Amazing, isn't it, how much mileage one can get out of one little verse?
As an avid history buff, I do lots of reading about people in general, and one thing that I see is how terrible, horrible, not good and very bad life can be. Thousands upon thousands of people whose lives where anywhere from just plain hard to downright hellish. And yet God, in His infinite power and glory and majesty, sees the sparrow that falls, and calls us "infinitely more valuable than they." He calls us His children, and promises never to forsake us. That He, as our Father, cares about even out smallest joys and sorrows. That He has a sovereign plan, and that we are part of it. That is truly amazing.
Monday, February 20, 2006
It seems strange that in four months someone could become so dear to almost seem like a sister, but that is what she has become to me.
When we arrived in Houston in October, I was surprised by the enthusiasm shown by Tiffany who seemed to be the less demonstrative of the McDonald girls. Since that time, as both where working in the kitchen, we have been together almost 24/7. We have laughed and cried, worked and played together. We been serious and silly, thoughtful and just verging on absurd.
Her keen wit has kept me more than entertained, as has her overall, well... Tiffanyness. (for those of you to whom that means nothing, it is similar to Robinness) Together we three have found humor in the most commonplace things, from newly-minted words to kitchen fiascos to the abominable scone-man.Tiffany is a beautiful example of patience and love, and many's the time I have marveled at the beautiful work of art that out Father is creating in her. I would like to post this beautiful portion of scripture in honor of her.
"Though I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am but a resounding gong, of a clanging cymbals.
Though I can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
Though I give all I posses to the poor, and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I am nothing.
Love is patent, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
Where there are prophesies, they will cease, where there are tongues they will be stilled, where there is knowledge, it will pass away. Now we see in part, and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
When I was a child, I thought like a child, I talked like a child, and I reasoned like a child, but when I became a man, I put childish thing behind me.
Now we see but a poor reflection, as in a mirror, but then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, but that I shall know fully, just as I am fully known.
And now, these three things remain, faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13
Tiffany, I love you. Happy Birthday.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
I've been tagged. Here it goes
7 Movies I like
1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
2. Pride and Prejudice
3. The Patriot
4. Hart's War (beware of the language, however)
5. Horatio Hornblower: Honor (or Duty, I can't remember which)
6. Lord of the Rings
7. Henry V (with Kenneth Branach. See it Leah, you'll like it)
7 Books and Authors I like (not counting the Bible. It kinda goes beyond the level of "books I like")
1. Robert Lewis Stevenson
2. Easy Chairs and Hard words
3. The Robe
4. C. S. Lewis (the favorites being Mere Christianity and Narnia)
5. The Phantom of the Opera
6. Pride and Prejudice
7. J.R.R. Tolken
7 thing I say all the time:
1.Where is... (the thermometer, the lid, Jessica, ect,. Jessica? She's on the computer)
2. Let me meditate on that
3. You guys are strange
4. I never claimed to be normal
5. Caio! (Italian for hello and goodbye)
6. I ate it. (whenever anyone can't find something, what ever it happens to be)
7. What a bummer
7 things I want to do before I die.
1. Learn Latin
2. Get married (duh)
3. See my great-great grandchildren
4. Be a better musician
5. Do a little drama
6. Learn to keep my temper
7. Read Augustine
7 things that I would like in a husband:
1. Someone who's greatest passion is Christ
2.A strong (and wise) leader
3.A certain degree of strangeness (normal people don't want 15 kids)
5.Vision and direction
6.Willingness to follow God's will, no matter what the cost
7. It wouldn't hurt if he liked history
7 things I don't do well:
1. Be nice to Jessica (she's just way too easy to tease)
2. Wait tables (I tried, and I spilled one bowl of soup on three different people)
3. Play horn (just ask Robin)
4. Talk for too long without sticking my foot way in my mouth
5. Crack a joke that people actually laugh at
6. Spell (thank heaven for spell check)
7. Put up my hair with less that 15 pins
And for the final 7, I don't know 7 people who blog who haven't already been tagged
Friday, January 20, 2006
So, I shall make the best of it, and post on my long neglected blog.
Hum, what to say? That is the question. As I sit here wracking my brain for something clever to say nothing is forthcoming.
As I rule, I have a store of deep and thought provoking things that I am musing on at any given time. Historically I moralize every book and movie that comes my way. But alas! My thoughts have taken the very commonplace turn of trying to schedule time to practice my instruments, figure out a better way to rearrange our kitchen and keep find a better way to keep quiche hot. Even The Village failed to leave pondering for too long, though I suppose there is still something to think over more extensively if I ever have to inclination.
So, in the mist of this I get sick, with nothing to do but think, read and consider, what do I do? Waste 2 hours on watching a movie from the 70's on Catherine of Arragon. Sheesh. Fortunately, Robin and Tiffany came in, at which point I realized that I did not to be seen wasting another 2 hours on Anne Boylen. (amazing what the mere prospect of a little peer pressure can do)
So, enough about what I am not doing. I find that I am becoming quite apt at making huge batches of whatever I make, and we now have the grocery shopping list down to a science. I will have to post pictures of our scone-making ventures. It is quite a sight. We have outgrown the largest of our mixing bowls, and have resorted to two five-gallon buckets. To mix the dry ingredients takes two of us little girls, or, when we can get it, one of the guys.
To change gears completely, I intended to post this at the beginning of the year, but did not get around to it, so I shall do it now. I suppose it is something that I am learning right now
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to breakdown and a time to build up.;
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and I time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time to peace.
Well, I shall leave you with that, dear readers, and spend what is left of the evening drawing.