H  O  M  E          
Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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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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Thursday, April 19, 2007
"Please Grant Me Patience!"
and other toothless prayers...
Mornings are a busy time for me...This morning I decided to lay in bed when I ought to have gotten up.

You see, my morning begins early - I try to read the bible for at least an hour, spend at least a half an hour in prayer, but prefer to spend an hour or so, try to get in 45 minutes on the treadmill, all before 6:30 a.m. when I wake up my two older children to teach them biblical Greek for an hour. If I forgotten to prepare the day's Greek lesson the night before (or if I was just too busy), I try and squeeze in a half hour to write the lesson and print it out somewhere before 6:30 a.m.. Then I give the kids some instructions about what to do when after I leave, and butta-bing butta boom, I hop in the shower, get dressed and ride my bike the ten miles to my work and start my work day around 8:45.

There is not a lot of room for sleeping in with my schedule, so that whenever I do it is indicative of the flesh.

So as I lay there in bed, willing myself to stay there, I was suddenly struck with the most absurd intrusion into my thoughts. Being wide awake, and attempting to give both my exhaustion and my wandering mind the time they needed to lull me back into the arms of my former slumber, I suddenly daydreamed for no apparent reason, an image of one of the office plants falling over. It is a big palm tree plant that is up on a window ledge. So utterly foreign was this daydream to my thoughts, that I said to myself - where did that come from?? I mean, I could care less about the flora in our office, and imagining them toppling over for no reason just didn't make any sense. My mind doesn't wander in that way. So, I began to ask myself what that could possibly represent, if it was in fact representative of anything. How did King Solomon say it? - and if a tree falls to the south or the north, In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie. In the light of that kind of thinking, I began to see myself as that toppled office plant - laying there and staying there. There is no path to spiritual inertness, the moment you stop walking in the Spirit - that is, submitting yourself to God - in that very moment you are in the flesh and it begins to produce death in you just as surely as a fallen tree rots.

So I got out of bed, I didn't finish off the "extra hour of sleep" I had planned for myself, but I also didn't have all the time to do what I normally do in the morning. To make matters worse, I hadn't put together today's Greek lesson for the kids. So I dragged myself to the computer first thing, and opened our text to see what sort of lesson I should prepare - and today is the day they are scheduled to learn about putting all those fancy noun cases (nominative, genitive, dative, and accusative of the second declension) together in a sentence with all those fancy (present, active indicative) verbs they have been learning for the past 14 weeks.

But the text has an error in it: it reads: εὐαγγέλιον κύριου διδάσκει. and says that εὐαγγέλιον. is in the nominative case, but then goes on to translate it as "He teaches the gospel of the Lord" - now first of all, I don't see any definite articles in the original Greek, and if εὐαγγέλιον. is supposed to be the in nominative that makes "a gospel" the subject of the sentence (note the underlined indefinite article?). It seemed to me that the translation should have read: "A gospel of a lord teaches." But if εὐαγγέλιον was in the accusative case, as I would have expected it to be, we would presume a subject pronoun from the verb ("He teaches") and the gospel the be the thing that is being taught, as opposed to the thing that is teaching - rendering the clause: "He teaches a gospel of a Lord.". Either way - the text was off. The only problem was I was thinking that I must be wrong - perhaps there was some little known quirky Greek grammatical rule that I wasn't aware of? So as I began to prepare the lesson, I quickly did a web search to see if there were some rule I was unaware of, but I came up empty. Then I tried my various Greek textbooks - nothing. In fact, everything seemed to be to suggest that the text was simply wrong. So in a final act of desperation, I do an errata search on this textbook and shazam! That was the problem - text book error. By the time I got the lesson prepared, it was a 7:15 a.m., I hadn't had any time in the word, or in prayer, and I was already 45 minutes out on my teaching schedule.

I woke the kids, and explained how dreadfully behind the ball we were, we skipped the Greek verse memorization, and the conjugation exercises, and the declension exercises because I knew they could do that without me, and we dove headlong into translating clauses that involved a nominative, a genitive, a verb and an accusative.

Well, my six year old was having some difficulty, but my nine year old picked it up and understood what had to be done. I kept glancing at the clock, and when my little one continued to show confusion, I began to lose my patience with my six year old. Why do you think we spent so much time memorizing the genitive forms? Why do you think we bothered with the learning the nominatives, and the accusatives? That wasn't just trivial information kids - it was so that when we got here you would be able to put a sentence together! You have no one to blame for your confusion but yourself, and frankly, you need to think long and hard about whether you are willing to put in the effort to continue in Greek with us!

You see, my plan was never to teach my six year old Greek. My eldest son is nine, and I thought he was ready, but when we began my six year old daughter was so upset that she wasn't invited she began to try and study Greek by herself (our lessons were taped to the wall). My wife finally persuaded me to let her try, and so I did, and she absolutely loved it - though it meant an half hour or more extra work for me - yet I was willing to accommodate her because her interest was genuine. She is only just beginning to read in English, so she has struggled along through the whole process - but she has such a never-give-up attitude that I have come to be so very thankful for her joining us in this endeavor.

Nevertheless, this morning, as my frustration at being off my schedule began to show itself in my demeanor and language, I had to stop and remind myself that the only reason I am suffering frustration, the only reason I am lacking patience is because I am presently walking in the flesh. Somewhere along the way I stopped walking in the light, and the moment I did I was in the flesh, and the flesh was producing death in me just as it always does.

I had to sit put myself before the Lord, confess that I was not surrendered in my heart, ask for grace and forgiveness, put my faith in Christ that this thing in me that rose up was in fact on the cross with Christ, and thereby powerless to control me - and then I had to sit down with the kids - late as I was, and explain that they were both excellent students, and that the reason they (well my younger one at least) was having trouble understanding was because I was poorly prepared and had shortchanged their time by my own laziness, and then I tried to put the blame on them for not being good students. I explained that my actions were shameful, and that I was sorry for them - but I also explained that the sin in side of me would continue to make me like that and worse if I didn't trust Christ to deal with it. I asked them to forgive me and to learn from my mistake. I praised them for their patience with me, and then set them back to work.

What is relevant to this post is not so much what I did do, but what I did not do.

I didn't stop and pray, "Dear Lord, please give me patience!"

You see, patience is a fruit that flows naturally out of a surrendered walk in the Holy Spirit - we don't produce it, but it is impossible for a person surrendered to Christ to be impatient. Think about it - if I am honestly surrendered to God - genuinely willing to accept anything from His hand that He deems is appropriate - genuinely willing to receive as much and no more - you cannot at the same time be impatient, if you are, you are not surrendered, that is, you are not "in the Spirit." That is why scripture calls patience a fruit of the Spirit.

Asking God to give you patience in a moment where patience is needed is not simply missing the boat - it is asking amiss that you may spend a thing on your lusts. Asking for patience so that we can use it as a tool to quench the dictates of our flesh and in doing so satisfy our own nagging guilt is not godly, it is selfish. God isn't concerned about making your walk in the flesh comfy - He wants you to appropriate your death in Christ! So praying for patience is like begging God to let you keep going in the flesh - aloof from the very salvation from sin that Christ died to give you. It is my firm conviction that God is not going to enable your neglect in this matter.

So the next time you are tempted to pray for patience, or joy, or peace, or anything else that comes instantly, substantially and perfectly to those, and only those who surrender themselves to God, why not instead try something that has some biblical "teeth" - try humbling yourself under God's mighty hand and see if you don't receive grace - and life more abundantly for that matter.

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posted by Daniel @ 10:50 AM  
  • At 1:04 PM, April 19, 2007, Blogger Marcian said…

    Wow. I'm impressed by the Greek. Can you recommend a good textbook?

  • At 1:26 PM, April 19, 2007, Blogger Even So... said…

    he he he...

  • At 2:05 PM, April 19, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Marcian - I liked Bill Mounces Basics of biblical Greek - as a good intro. There are some free resoures online, if you look around you will find them pretty easily. My Greek is best described as self taught, and woefully inadequate - the reason I set out to teach my son was primarily because I didn't have the personal discipline to keep it up unless or until it became an unshirkable responsibility. The text we are going through with the kids is actually a nice slow pace (it is a three year course and we are in the first year) that I originally learned about through Kim Shay, as she is another homeschooler and was putting her son through it. Here is a link

    The price is what attracted me to it, and so far even my six year old has been able to follow along - though not without a lot of instruction.

  • At 9:15 AM, April 20, 2007, Blogger Tom Gee said…

    Beautiful post, Daniel. I don't know where you find the time for such great blogging!

    BTW: minor nit on the Greek. Just because the definite article is missing doesn't make the noun indefinite. At best, you can say that a noun is fairly definite if the article is there, but if the article is missing, the noun may or may not be definite.

  • At 10:08 AM, April 20, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    TomGee - I agree on the Greek, the problem wasn't that it couldn't be done in Greek, it was that the textbook had not yet even mentioned the definite article.

    The sophistication of such a translation was out of place in the context of the textbook. It would have been somewhat different had the text already discussed the definite article, but that discussion hadn't taken place yet.

    Up until this point, the text had only dealt with translations of a "nominative + verb" format, such as : αποστολος βλεπει - but on this day they were building upon that with the addition of a genitive to the mix, such as: αποστολος θεου βλεπει. The translations up until this point had all been indefinite, and so it struck me as unlikely that this would be the place to [1] introduce the articel, and [2] to introduce it thus - without defining the article or describing its use.

    My translations of εὐαγγέλιον κύριου διδάσκει therefore must be understood as reflecting not the whole of Greek grammar, but rather recording the only tranlation options that the text had (up until that point) permitted - and even then, the text hadn't yet discussed the use of the accusative - so when the text described εὐαγγέλιον as being in the nominative, and then translated it as though it were in fact an accusative I found it quite confusing. My greek is spotty enough that I presume the textbook must be right, and my understanding must be flawed - that is where all the time was spent - checking to see if what I thought was right was in fact right.

    Thanks for commenting though, it shows you're reading!

  • At 5:13 PM, April 20, 2007, Blogger Tom Gee said…

    Good for you for teaching the kids Greek! We homeschool, and plan on doing Greek, but not for a few more years yet. (They're starting French next year).

    Thinking about the article, I remember one introductory text saying that in Greek, there are 24 different ways to say "the," and you will soon be grateful for them. :-)

    So true. Parsing is much easier if the article is there to guide you.

  • At 5:35 PM, April 20, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    TomGee - Mounce said something similar (and I found it helpful at the time) in Basics of Biblical Greek - very few people have memorized all the noun paradigms.

    I should like to teach the kids french too, but we might tackle Hebrew and Latin first. If we live through all the dead languages, perhaps we can try a few live ones? ;-)

  • At 8:12 PM, May 02, 2007, Blogger David said…

    <speachless>     </speachless>

  • At 8:00 AM, May 03, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    David, I take it you eat a lot of peaches... ;-)

  • At 10:12 AM, May 03, 2007, Blogger David said…

    That's speachless!

    I do like peaches though, and am currently peachless as well.

  • At 11:32 AM, May 03, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…


    I thought you meant speechless.

  • At 11:08 PM, May 03, 2007, Blogger David said…

    That's the Canadian spelling. Duh!

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