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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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The Buzz


Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
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Saturday, September 19, 2009
I created my own font, from my own handwriting...
You probably can't see it. But I have it on for the post body. It was a fun little thing to do. If you can see it, let me know. I see it, but then I have the font installed. The font was small though, so I made it bigger.

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posted by Daniel @ 4:47 PM   10 comment(s)
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Product Review...Blue Microphone's Eyeball Webcam
The Website for the product can be found >here<.

This summer my father moved out of town. His arthritis is (at best) severe, and at worse entirely incapacitating, so that emailing, or really, anything involving precision movements from his hands, is just a big, painful, hassle. One of the ways he has come to deal with this has been to embrace video chatting. It began, for him at least, as a cheap way to stay in contact with my younger sister who has moved way, way up north, and who moves around enough that it is easier to reach her through a Skype™ account, than with a phone number. And so it was that when my father moved out of town, I felt it was time that I too entered into the world of video chatting.

But, having a Mac mini (they don't come with cameras like other Macs do), I needed to find a decent camera/mic combo. Frankly, I am of the opinion that audio trumps video when it comes to usefulness; that is, rather than buy an expensive, ultra-high definition camera with "okay" sound, I would prefer to buy a decent microphone that comes with a passable camera. The main selling point of such a set up is that I have more uses for a microphone than I ever will have for a stationary video camera.

To that end, I began my search, limited, as I mentioned, to those combinations that were most Mac-friendly. I am sure if I were a more proficient Mac user, I could probably make any camera work just fine on my mac - but honestly, I am not young anymore, and I am satisfied to ride the slow-boat to Mac proficiency for now, and just buy Mac-friendly peripherals until such time as my proficiency increases enough to warrant more.

Eventually price, quality, and functionality seemed to meet together in this pleasant little condenser mic/HD camera combo. The camera is a gutsy little 1.3 MP, which, while not the Taj Mahal of camera's is by no means a slouch. The picture quality is one up from first generation cameras, and it doesn't require as much bandwidth as some of the larger camera's do. The microphone however, is more than just adequate, it is quite nice, not only for video chatting, but for recording the kind of audio one records while sitting at their computer desk. Which is again to say, that studio level clarity is pointless unless you are sitting in a sound proof booth. For an open room, where you sit on a chair in front of a computer, this microphone is way, way better than you would expect.

My experience with the product was not all rosy however.

It arrived from Amazon on Monday, and, being plug and play, I immediately plugged it in and began to play. The first thing I did was call up my dad on Skype™, but while I could see and hear him, he could only see me. After ten minutes or so of pantomime, and not knowing how to chat by text, I finally put up an image of my screen wherein I had typed out that I could see and hear him, but that my microphone wasn't working.

I then hung up and proceded to troubleshoot the situation. Perhaps I needed to do more than I had done? So I read the installation instructions - which suggested that I needed to first reboot after the drivers were detected. I hadn't, and was hopeful that a reboot would solve all - but it didn't. I rebooted, and the mic was as silent as ever. I found the place in the system preferences where one sets up the microphone levels etc., and the mic was being seen (showing up as a device) but no matter how I tried, I couldn't get it to pick up a sound.

So, being a troubleshooter in Real-Life™, I immediately wanted to determine whether the problem was hardware or software. I was beginning to have the sinking feeling that the problem was hardware, and so I wanted to verify that. The solution was to plug it into my old PC. If it worked there I would know that the problem was software, and if I got the same problem, I would know that the problem was hardware.

Well, I got the same problem.

At this point I suppose most people would pack the thing back up, and contact the manufacturer inquiring how they might get a replacement or get their money back - but I am something of a tech whisperer, in that I am not afraid to open a thing up and check to be sure that the problem isn't a loose connection. No matter how gentle the shipping process is at the point of exit and again at the point of entry, when the package is on route it is just another box to be stack, packed, shoved, and abused. So before I ship the thing back, I want to know if it isn't just suffering the unfortunate disconnecting of some peice or other.

So I open it up.

The circuit board is loose enough that when I press it, it seems to seat itself into a board beneath it. I plug it in and give it a try... Not only does it not work, the microphone no longer shows up as a device. So I lovingly and gently lift the board out of the mic to find out what is beneath it. There I see two sets of male pins, three pins to each set, on the bottom of the "top" board, which are supposed to sink neatly into two rows of "holes", the female counterparts to the pins, which are sitting atop the bottom board. It takes a few tries, but eventually I get the thing seated right - and buttabing-buttaboom, it works.

So I Skype up my dad again, and we chat for about half an hour, then I sit with my two daughters and my guitar and we record a quick song with the garageband software that came with my Mac mini. The mic picked up everything quite well, though proximity to the mic is important when you are using the mic to record instruments or vocals.

All in all (so far, i.e.: after one night of tinkery) I am satisfied with my purchase. I knew what I wanted before I set out, and having realistic expectations for the product, and what one should expect for their dollar in this area, I believe I got my money's worth, and perhaps a bit more.

I tried iChat before I went to bed (wired through Google and Jabber) but none of my contacts were online, so I went to bed.

The one nice feature that my wife especially likes, is that the camera pops out of the microphone housing, and can be popped back in when not in use. She can be a bit of a technophobe, and doesn't want people looking into our house when we aren't aware of it, so when the camera is not in use, you can "close" it, so that even if someone were able to somehow magically turn your camera on remotely, all they would see would be the lightless inside of your microphone case.

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posted by Daniel @ 12:58 PM   2 comment(s)
Friday, September 11, 2009
9/11 Eight Years In
We have been living in a new world these last years. Well not that the world itself has actually changed much since nine eleven, but it has been that long since we were suddenly and violently awakened to the truth of just how fragile the freedom we had been taking for granted really is.

I listen to the university crowd chatter about how this could have happened, and every opinion is as liberalized as the next - it was all our fault apparently. We were too arrogant, too prosperous, and too intolerant. We were too interested in sticking our noses where they shouldn't be; and of course, the solution is always and ever, that we should somehow embrace that which brought us to such calamity eight years ago.

It is as if these people have never studied scripture. Didn't some (ridiculously naive) Israelites also imagine that they could make things better by turning to the gods of the nations that were bringing such calamity upon them?

It is seems that the knee-jerk, sophomoric solution to aggression is to avoid it at -all- costs (and by "-all- costs" I mean we should bend over backwards to accommodate pretty much anything as long as at the end of the day we can avoid bloodshed) But our forefathers believed that some things were so precious, that they were worth dying for. How quickly those, whose livers are lillied as a matter of course, are to cry, "peace, peace!" when there is no peace. These know that peace comes when you are no longer an offence to others, but imagine that what makes us offensive is our politics.

To say it more succinctly, they have a rather immature (perhaps naive is a better word...? Um, no. I going to have to stick with immature) hope, in that they presume this calamity has befallen us because of what we are doing politically, when in fact it has come upon us because of what we are doing morally.

Every freedom this nation presently enjoys was purchased with the blood of those who secured it for us in times past. Yet hasn't every single freedom been used to increase our wickedness? We go so far as to regard iniquity as our God given right, and more than this, we go so far as to start calling our wickedness... righteousness.

Don't believe it? Try saying publicly that homosexuality is wicked. Immediately you will be condemned as a bigot. Our culture has decided in the last fifty years, that homosexuality is okay, and that anyone who says otherwise is small minded, bigoted, and pretty much driven by blind hate and/or fear. Clearly, says our "new" culture, the greatest virtue is that we all get along, and in order for everyone to get along, we must respect everyone and the choices they make. Whatever consenting adults people want to do in the privacy of openly in public is fine as long as it doesn't (physically) hurt anyone who hasn't consented to being hurt. You see, freedom has come to mean that there is no objective moral standard. We are free to set subjective (and therefore temporal) moral standards, which, while constantly in flux, only and ever spiral into both greater and greater license, and greater outrage at having that standard challenged.

Now I am not picking on the "gay community". It is certainly right to warn those whom God will judge that by their iniquity that they stand condemned before God (according to the scriptures). This isn't a matter of some fringe "interpretation" of scripture, but rather an appeal to an unambiguous teaching that requires no interpretation. That is, I when I write these things, I am merely saying what scripture says and offering no interpretation or commentary on the matter. That is what a messenger does - they give the message, they don't interpret it for the hearer.

Let me then say, with warm concern, that -all- sinners stand condemned before God. The gay community is not especially condemned because their particular sins are more condemnable than others - they are condemned for the same reason anyone is condemned - because they reject God's rule in their life. What makes the gay community stand out is the fact that our culture has (in one generation) legitimized what scripture calls an abomination, and in doing so it has drawn a line between an objective moral standard on the one hand, and a subjective one on the other.

To explain that, consider polygamy. Why can't three or four consenting adults marry one another? Already our culture is ripe for this argument. I mean, if everyone in the group is equally consenting - who are we to judge them? What gives us the right to govern how they conduct themselves in their personal affairs? We should redefine marriage (again), to allow people the freedom to do whatever they want so long as everyone consents and it doesn't hurt anyone else...right?

The problem with a subjective moral standard is that it is not a standard, but an approximation based on suppositions which themselves are in flux. If we propose that homosexuality is fine as long as no one gets hurt and everyone consents - we are thereafter free to apply the same "moral" conditions to other things - hence (historically) polygamy is usually next in line when a culture is in moral decline (or ascension, depending upon your perspective I suppose).

So when I mention that committing a homosexual act is a sin, I am not saying that therefore I, as a Christian, must (or do) hate people who are homosexuals. God forbid! Ever person I know, Christian or otherwise is a sinner, and homosexuals are no less or more sinful than anyone else. I don't live in some bubble where I try to avoid gay people or treat them like they are especially immoral lepers - to single out one sin and respond to it like that would be hypocritical (at best). Yet in the same way that I believe murder is not merely wrong, but evil, and in the same way I believe that deceit is not merely bad but evil - and in the same way I think that stealing is not merely a character flaw, but evil - in that same way I believe that every homosexual act is an act of sinful rebellion against God's explicit command, and against the implicit design of creation - and is not merely immoral, but entirely evil. Lying is evil, all sin is evil, and to call it less than that would be to say that I am wishy-washy in what I believe.

The last time I checked I was allowed to have a biblically informed opinion, notwithstanding, the moment anyone says anything about homosexuality, they are typically chastised by some liberal champion of iniquity who, through immersing themselves in the culture and moral standards of this present age, have already taken what scripture calls evil, and not only excuse it, but go so far as to call it good. These immediately come out of the wood work to tear an angry strip out of instruct you on what a hateful bigot you are how we don't think like that any more.

Yet if we stop and consider how pornography has become our mainstream entertainment, on how vulgarity is now a relative thing (what is offensive to you, is fine with me), and how every criminal act is now to be understood as having been perpetrated by someone who was only committing a crime because our culture had somehow failed him. I think it is safe to say, though not lightly, the truth of the matter is that we as a culture have used and continue to use, our hard won freedoms to pursue every foul thing under the sun, and that without check.

So I ask the skeptical reader to consider for one moment, the possibility that what is making this nation so detestable to certain other nations is not our politics, nor our foreign interests, though we cannot paint an image without these colours in the palette, rather consider that what makes us so detestable is our own moral decay. Those nations that hate our nation enough to act on their hatred do so for ideological reasons. If you are a believer and reading this - consider that morally speaking, even those nations who follow false gods, and are entirely bereft of the gospel and its light - are never-the-less not so morally corrupt as our nation has become. They are not so blind to the seducing cancer that pollutes us, and they rightly recoil from it in disgust. America is not called the "Great Stalin" as though someone hated our politics - America is called the great Satan by nations who are less corrupt because America has used her freedom to shamelessly give herself wholeheartedly to her sins - and the world has noticed.

Today we remember as the day this nation was momentarily kicked out of its slumber, and forced to examine what it has become. Today many will remember the loss of loved ones, and today many will just go on like it was any other day, but I have been watching these last few years, and if ever a nation was struggling to define itself, it has been in these last few years. I have to say, with all frankness, I don't like where its going, but I am not surprised by it either.

America must repent, and it must begin in the house of God. If we who belong to the Lord refuse to surrender daily the control of our lives to Him, what hope is there for those outside the body? Listen: scripture describes it as our reasonable service to offer up our lives in this way. Do you really think God is going to answer a prayer to save this nation if the one praying it daily rejects God's rule in their own life? A call to holy living is a call to enrichment, not only in your own lives, but in the lives of everyone in this nation. It is high time some of you awaken out of your daily slumber.

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posted by Daniel @ 5:34 AM   2 comment(s)
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Faith??
Youngest daughter: "Daddy, can I have some ice cream?"

Father: "Of course you can have some ice cream, the real question is whether or not you may have ice cream..."

There are many today who would say that the distinction is trivial and even pompous; for if, by the context, the father understood what his daughter intended to say then the grammar doesn't matter. These would regard the father as a Hebert (you must be familiar with Star Trek TOS to understand the reference).

I make this distinction with my children all the time because I know that, even though our generation is grammatically slack, previous generations were not. The word "can" denotes ability, the word "may" denotes permission. Anyone can commit murder, but the law tells us that no one may. When scripture says that "no one -can- come to the Son, unless the Father draws him, it means that no one has the ability to come to the Son, unless the Father draws that person. It doesn't mean no one wants to, or no one has permission to, or no one thinks about it - what it is saying is that it is impossible for anyone to come to the Son unless/until the Father draws that person to the Son.

That's not the point of this post however, I just mention that to illustrate how a failure to understand even the language we speak, can translate into bad doctrine, which always leads to bad practice.

Consider the word "faith". Without faith it is impossible to please God. What does scripture mean here (Hebrews 11:6)? That unless a person believes there is a God, he cannot please God? Um. No.

You see, a person can easily believe that there is a God, and that He is the God of scripture, and that He is able to do everything that scripture says He is able to do; a person can even believe all that and believe that Christ is going to save him (or has already saved him) based on the promises found in scripture - and still fail to believe God for even trivial things. That is, a person can assent to the fact that God "can" do something, but will halt at the thought that God "will" do a thing.

Faith is more than simply giving an intellectual assent to the facts.We see this mostly in our prayer life. Yes, of course God "can" bring so and so to faith, but will he? Yes, God "can" heal the other over there, but will he? In fact, God "can" answer prayer, but does he ever? Oh sure, the one says, God answers prayers, -- just not mine.

You see, that's not faith, that's unbelief.

Of course God "can" do these things. It doesn't take a great "faith" to know this. The demons know that God "can" do these things, and it isn't counted as faith for them. It would just be counted as lunacy to deny it - only a fool (who has embraced his own sin) can say there is no God. Faith is more than simply giving an intellectual assent to the facts; faith requires a trust that God -will- do something. In other words faith doesn't say God "can" do this, it says, God "will" do this.

Now before we go off the rails and into word/faith heresy, let's understand that even if I really, really believe that God is going to give me a million dollars, that isn't going to "make it happen". Faith is not a kind of power that makes things happen. No one can incline God to obey their voice, even if they really, really believe He will. Faith doesn't work that way. In other words, faith has more to it than simply believing God will do something.

Let's recap briefly:
[1] Faith requires more than believing that God can do something, it requires that one believes that God -will- do something.

[2] Faith is also more than being convinced that God -will- do something...

Biblical faith believes that God will do everything that He has promised to do. It believes that God is exactly as scripture portrays Him to be, personified perfectly in the person of Christ. There is no reason for any believer to doubt any of God's promises, and where we find ourselves asking for something outside of God's promises, we can trust in the character of God - that is, we can trust God to respond to our prayers as the God of scripture would respond.

Faith is also more than being convinced that God -will- do something ...Let's bring this home, it is good and right to believe that God will answer your prayer providing (at least) that your prayer is actually good and right. James wrote that you do not receive what you ask for because what you ask for is not right. It really is that plain and simple. If you don't believe that God is going to answer your prayer positively, why on earth are you praying? That is praying from a position of doubt. What you need is not to hype yourself up until you can convince yourself that God will bow to your desires - you need instead to educate yourself and learn whether or not this is something God has promised to do. If you can find nothing, or if time is pressed so that you must pray before you can be sure that what you are praying for is fit and right - then commend your prayer to God's character - believe that God will answer according to what is right, and be satisfied with God's answer.

It troubles me that there are some who are crippled in their prayer life because they only ever ask God for things that a loving God would never give them, and so have learned through their own sad history that God doesn't ever, or hardly ever, answers prayer. I want people like that to know that God does answer prayer, all the time. If you want to see God answering prayer in your life, start praying for thgose things that God has promised - if a son asks his father for bread, the father will not give him a scorpion, but bread. How much moreso will our heavenly Father give? He won't supply our lusts, our gluttony, our avarice - but He will supply the Spirit for what we need - sanctification; He will answer every promise He has made.

Seriously, God will.

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posted by Daniel @ 8:41 AM   3 comment(s)
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Why Turning away from sin doesn't work
So you get upset at yourself for always giving in to temptation; and in the well of personal despair over your backsliding, you determine anew to stop giving into that old temptation, yet again. You tell yourself that this time will be for keeps, but deep down you know you're kidding yourself. You have tried to turn away from sin before, and always and ever, it comes back after you tire youself out resisting it.

Why is that? You tell yourself that the problem must be with your sincerity. If you could just really, realy want to be free, then for sure you'd nail it for good. Or maybe you tell yourself that while Christianity works for others, it hasn't yet worked for you, and probably never will because you're bad in some way that others are not - Jesus isn't as personally involved in your life as He seems to be in the lives of other believers. Maybe it's worse than that; maybe you're starting to think that every believer is supposed to fake their sanctification, such that Christianity is really a big farce; or again, maybe you just assume that as sincere as you are, their must be something wrong with your faith - if you could just believe harder, You could make it all work.

The fact is when things aren't going the way we expect them to go, few of us are willing to say so. We are afraid that those who 'get it' will judge us, or think less of us, or expect more from us than we really want to give. We would rather spend a decade slowly growing cold and hard than open ourselves up to being ostricized, or to being judged as less of a Christian than we imagine ourselves to be. Our own pride keeps us drowning, in that it insulates us in our ignorance like nothing else.

But I didn't write this post to simply tell "The Proud™" that the reason they don't get it is because they are proud. That's so self evident, it doesn't warrant further mention. No, I wrote this to offer some light with regards to the error that is often made when we sincerely try and turn away from our sins and fail to do so.

Here is the problem: we cannot turn away from our sins except by, or until we, turn towards Christ.

Turning away from sins without turning towards Christ leaves a vacuum where our temptation once held sway. It is like evacuating all the demons out of the house, then leaving the door to our newly emptied house open so that the moment we let our guard down all the demons and their buddies can come back in.

Listen: Unless Christ fills the place where your sin is presently holding ground, whatever victory you imagine yourself to be acheiving when you turn away from sin, is merely temporary. The problem is that many Christians are never taught that Christ saves you from sin - they just think of Him as a Savior from hell. They are told to resist sin and the devil but never told that unless you draw near to God, you will not, and cannot do either. Thus sanctification becomes something that either God zaps you with, or something you do in your own strength (but say, like a good Christian, that God is doing it "in and through**" you).

**Christianese for: "I do the work but tell myself that it is really God doing it mysteriously somehow...

However easy it might be to criticize those mistakes that baby believers commonly make, I only mention these by way of introducing a solution to the problem. If a person finally sees (for the first time) that he or she cannot turn from sin unless he or she turns to Christ, then the next question on his or her mind is probably going to be, "What does that look like, practically speaking?"

Frankly, when we drill down to specifics we risk turning the whole endeavor into a list of dos and don'ts. So what I offer here is not intended as a list, but as a very quick, and extremely truncated list of examples, intended, not to exhaust the ways in which one redeems the time, but rather that by illustrating a few examples the reader might begin to comprehend how one ought to apply this to their own faith.

First, one can redeem the time (or temptation) by filling up the difference in Christ.

Do you purchase things you shouldn't? Make it your act of worship to give every extra penny to Christ's work.

Do you eat/drink/smoke too much? Use those resources you spend on youself to serve the Lord instead.

Do you give into slackness? Do your work unto the Lord, everytime.

Do you use vulgar language? Give yourself to edifying others as an act of worship.

Find the path of the Lord and walk in it. Pray earnestly that you would not make the mistake of trying to stop sinning in order to satisfy an angry God, rather look for godly affections and indulge these rather than your sinful ones.

Talk to someone older in the Lord than yourself, preferably someone who has walked with the Lord for a very long time - be candid about where you're at, and seek the Lord directly rather than indirectly (don't try to get God to like you by being sunless; rather turn to Christ instead of turning to sin).

If you just keep on trying to turn away from sin, without turning to Christ, you are going to continue ininfancy, and never move onto maturity. If by this time you ought to be a teacher, but find yourself learning these things again - take special care that you do not continue thus, be a doer, and not a hearer only.

-- Posted from my iPhone (updated later, in IE8)

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posted by Daniel @ 11:13 AM   7 comment(s)
Friday, September 04, 2009
Why I Am Not A "Covenant Theology" Guy... in as few words as possible...
I could have, just as easily, written a post called, "Why I am not, and can never become, Dispensational...", but today I am swinging on the other side, and you, the reader, will just have to put up with that or move on.

<insert non-threatening, non-smug, and entirely warm and engaging smile here>

I will only give two or three reasons, though if I spent a lot of time on it, I would probably give many.

First, I am not convinced that Moses used "covenantal language" to inject a "covenant of works" into the Genesis narrative, just because one (of several) interpretations of Hosea 6:7 has been used to support the premise.

Let's be frank, some spiritual truths are hard to understand - not because they are intellectually complicated, but because our sin makes us unwilling to see the truth for what it is. Like kittens born into blindness, so we as unsanctified babes in Christ begin our walk, and over time mature, and gain sight - so it is with our understanding of scripture - it deepens, not because of our intellect or education, but because the Holy Hill of God is ascended in contrition, and only in contrition.

The idea that scripture is using covenantal language to convey unspoken covenants that would otherwise be "overlooked" is academic speculation at best; and for me, personally, I need something a little more solid than the best academic guess to build my theology upon.

Another reason I give CT (Covenant Theology) a pass is because I think CT theology confuses water baptism and the new birth (the spirit baptism that Christ performs on us the moment we are "born from above").

In the OT, the (male) descendants of Abraham were circumcised in their flesh to indicate that they were descendants of Abraham. Even Ishmael was circumcised, even though he was obviously, and even poignantly outside of God's covenant with Abraham and had been from the very start. Circumcision was certainly a sign of God's covenant with Abraham - but that covenant was directed at Abraham and his Seed (whom Paul explains was Christ). The sign of this covenant was maintained in the flesh of Abraham and his male descendants until the covenant was fulfilled in Abraham's Seed (Christ). The male children of Abraham, became a living canvas, if you will, upon which God recorded the sign of his covenant with Abraham until such time as Christ came, and the promise could be fulfilled.

Paul understood that being circumcised only made you a canvas upon which the covenant was recorded - it didn't mean you were in the covenant, for those who were in the covenant were in the covenant because they were circumcised in their heart - which is to say, as Paul aludes to: circumcision in the flesh didn't make you a Jew, and therefore doesn't make you a partaker of God's covenant to Abraham. It just makes you more guilty because to you and your kindred the oracles of God were delivered.

So how did you enter into God's covenant with Abraham, if not through circumcision in the flesh? I said it already, and Paul said it - through the circumcision that is made without hands - that is, by having your heart circumcised. Paul seemed to think that you were justified in the same way Abraham was justified: by faith.

Circumcision, didn't bring people into the covenant - though that is what the Judaizers thought and taught - it was just a sign written in the flesh of Abraham's male descendants.

In the same way, water baptism is a sign of God's New Covenant. It doesn't bring you into the new covenant any more than circumcision brought you into the old covenant - it merely pictures what -did- bring you into the new covenant: Spiritual Baptism. We don't usually describe justification that way, or being born again that way. But John the Baptist did. He spoke of Christ baptizing with the Holy Spirit, and Paul even writes of this baptism - this spiritual immersion - as the reason why genuine believers to not continue in sin - because they have been baptized into Christ Jesus. Not because they were baptized into water, but into Christ Jesus - a spiritual baptism. It is the spiritual baptism of our new birth that the scriptures refer to as the "one" baptism.

So the one who through faith in Christ has been born again (i.e. baptized spiritually), is a partaker in the new covenant. Water baptism pictures symbolically what has taken place spiritually - and is a public testimony pointing to the moment we entered into the new covenant - the moment (that is) when we were born from above - baptized spiritually - into the new covenant. We don't enter into the new covenant through water baptism any more than the Jews entered into the Old Covenant through circumcision. Rather these signs are there to give testimony to the underlaying spiritual reality they testify to.

So I don't see baptizing infants as biblical, and I don't think I enter into a covenant with God by something my parents did to me as a babe - nor do I believe that I enter into a covenant with God merely by being born to parents who are in a covenant with God. It didn't work for Ishmael, it doesn't work for us.

Now, again, I don't buy the idea of federal headship either. When scripture says that Abraham - the patriarch of all Israel - gave a tenth of the spoils to Melchizedek it proves that those who came out of Abraham are inferior to Him whom Abraham paid homage. That is, when scripture makes the argument that the ministry of Christ is superior to the ministry of the Levitical Priesthood, that's all I am willing to take away from the passage. Yes, scripture uses the phrase "in the loins of" - but (frankly), I find the argument that because scripture uses this kind of language to make point A, we can stretch and augment that idea to make point B.

Here me on this: The person who obeys the Lord is going to have far more in common with others who obey the Lord even if their theologies don't line up perfectly. I am far more impressed by a humble walk in Christ than I am by a well reasoned, and overly detailed eschatological system, and I bet you're like that too. Not that you can't humble and holy and theologically opinionated at the same time - but rather that the cords of fellowship typically bind us together in love rather than in theology.

As I mentioned above - I could probably write a similar post about why I am not dispensational in my theology either. I really don't have a pigeon hole yet, though when and if I find myself in one, I will probably say so.

The main point I want to get across is not CT = BAD, but rather that I am not CT because I am not convinced by the arguments that have convinced others. I am certainly open to change however.

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posted by Daniel @ 11:23 AM   7 comment(s)
163 vs. 691
That's One Hundred and Sixty Three unpublished drafts in my blogger account, and six hundred and ninety one published ones. That means I am posting about four out of five articles I write, and never get back to the others.

I don't know if that is good or bad, but It was something to post before I left for work.

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posted by Daniel @ 7:34 AM   1 comment(s)
Thursday, September 03, 2009
A Quick Truth
I said as much yesterday in a Twitter tweet, but it bears much repeating.

Yet before I reiterate, I should provide the briefest of context: I have said before, and maintain to this day that there is NOTHING spiritual, noble, or rational (for that matter) about simultaneously believing two (or more) doctrines that seemingly contradict one another. I do not think there is anything humble about willfully clinging to ones own ignorance, and I find it pretty near offensive when someone presents this flaw as a virtue.

Given this context, I will restate yesterday's tweet: Whenever we should find ourselves believing two (or more) theological ideas in such a way that they cannot logically or rationally be reconciled to one another, we demonstrate to ourselves that our understanding of at least one of the ideas is either flawed or naïve.

When this happens we should not be content with our doctrine, but press on in our understanding until the light of harmony comes. Doctrinal slothiness doesn't befit a child of God. Ignorance is seldom innocent, usually we hold onto falsehood or naïve notions because we prefer these to what the bible teaches.


-- Post From My iPhone

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posted by Daniel @ 6:04 AM   10 comment(s)
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
The Servant Of The Lord...
I installed Mac OS X, version 10.6 yesterday, just after I got home from work.

The install was flawless, especially given that my daughter blew a breaker elsewhere in the house while overloading a circuit with both the tea kettle and the vacuum cleaner. I was in the bathroom at the time as the lights went out, and my heart nearly froze in my chest (having a power failure in the middle of an OS update is not good). We shared a meal with a wonderful couple from our church, and their equally wonderful grandchild, who got along splendidly with our younger ones.

All in all the night was great, we ended the visit in prayer, our guests left, and the children were given to reading until bedtime. I on the other hand was given to making sure the "Snow Leopard" install was as tweaked as humanly possible.

After setting up one of the new screen savers, I looked into my network preferences and noticed that the update had not removed two virtual network adapters that "Parallels" had installed when I installed a demo after first moving to a Mac. That annoyed me, so I tried (once again) to delete them. and once again they were removed from my network list, but I suspected that they would be there again next time I rebooted the computer. To Test my theory, I rebooted, and sure as sunshine, there they were again. I had removed the program long ago, but these two stubs remained, and since they were sowing up as "connected" I was more than a little annoyed to have them chewing up resources. So I began a near fruitless search on how to rid myself of them. It seemed from the Parallels software forums that this was a very, very common problem, and the solution given was a very, very, useless solution, for it did not solve the problem, and many people said as much, and their observations were apparently left unanswered.

After much snooping, I found the file where the network configurations were stored, and I went in using "VI" (a unix text editor I hadn't used in a decade or more) and removed the offending entries. That worked on next boot - but for some reason my wireless connection through my Mac Mini's Airport card now had an amber colored icon to its left rather than the normative green one. We all know how traffic lights work - red means the connection is broken, green means it is fine, but amber meant that something was working, but some other thing was not. So I looked into it and discovered that my iphone could no longer talk to my Mac Mini via the Mac's wireless Airport card.

Now, previously I had a profoundly fruitless time trying to get my iPhone talking to my wireless router, given that for some reason, one day I was suddenly no longer able to see the admin page on my router. I was planning on getting a new router when I realized my Mac Mini came with an Airport Wireless adapter card built in. So I configured it instead, and managed to connect wirelessly to it via my iPhone. Which was where I had left it.

So when the changes I made to the under belly of the OS suddenly hindered my wireless set up - it was not a good thing, nor an easily rendered fix. I am quite familiar with the Windows™ paradigm, but am still a Mac newbie - and this non-standard set up was pretty much than my meagre chops could handle right out of the box, as it were. So I was spending a great deal of time using the internet to inform myself enough to affect a positive outcome.

I was successful, but not until about an hour before I was supposed to get up for work. Somewhere in my mono-focused effort the clock ticked on - and though I was yawning often, and glancing up, and even pondering in little snatches of sobriety, the consequences of my folly, yet I was convinced I could solve the problem before my wife ever had an opportunity to tell me her email wasn't working.

I went down to bed then, and made a rather foolish and sinful decision. I decided that I would call in sick today.

So instead of a mere hour's rest, I slept for a few hours, and rose this a.m. only to call in and let my supervisor know that I was not going to make it in today. But somewhere in between dragging myself out of bed, and holding the phone in my hand, the Holy Spirit reminded me that this would grieve Him. I had one of those struggles in the flesh that someone who has been in the Lord as long as I have, ought not to have any more - but at the end of it, I knew I would be going in, and not making that phone call.

Here is where the point that I began this post about comes to the fore front. As I surrendered to the will of the Lord, I began to pray, thanking the Lord for the victory, but some part of me actually felt that because this was a particularly difficult struggle, that God ought to be thankful that I chose to obey Him rather than myself in the matter. Can you believe that? Right on the heels of such grace, I had the smug wherewithal to imagine that I deserved a reward for my great act of faith, and this thought penetrated even my prayer of thanks.

How gently the truth came to me as this through lingered for a moment - I was aware of the wrongness of it at once - and immediately recalled where the Lord tells the parable of the servant who works all day in the fields, then comes into his master's home, and is made to serve him a mean and in doing so has done nothing worthy of praise - for he is a servant, and when he performs what his role requires, it is not something to praise him over, but is instead the barest minimum that is expected in a servant.

What a profound fool I am sometimes! To waste all night on some folly that could have waited, to give into the weakness of my flesh before I lay myself down to rest, planning on sin in the morning, and then, when grace finds me the next day, I puff myself up thinking that I am worthy of some kind of honour having done the very least of what is expected of me - and that not in my own strength, but in the strength of my Lord's grace which came on the wings of His conviction!

Listen: My God didn't whisper in my ear this morning audibly, but He was with me, patiently leading me out of sin, and restoring me - even the word of God says: He shall save His people from their sin. Ask me how I know I am saved, and I will tell you - I know I am saved because I see it each day - the Holy Spirit witnesses to my spirit that I am His child. Not always with words of comfort, but often with chastisement, with conviction, and then in the wake of obedience - with a profound joy in the glory of God and His righteousness that is found in me only because He has left me a Comforter - One who empowers my obedience.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him you creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (Spirit).
Amen.

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posted by Daniel @ 8:14 AM   6 comment(s)
 
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