09 October 2012

Romney Assails 47 Percent of Americans?

It really baffles me at the ignorance of people, and how quick they jump on a bandwagon of lies without even stopping to understand what is being said. I am referring to the constant use of this Romney quote about the 47% that is being used as a sound-byte and then twisted to imply things it is not even coming close to saying in the original context.

First off let me say, I am in no way a fan or supporter of Romney. However, the way this clip is being abused is just so evil and deceptive, and so many people seem to be falling for it (obviously the intent from those abusing it), and it is the utter ignorance of people who misunderstand it that is what frustrates me enough to comment. So let's get right into it.

08 October 2012

Lord's Supper Devotion: Hope in God

The men at church take turns giving a little devotional before the Lord's Supper/prayer time each week. Here is one I recently presented that I thought I'd share.

I would like to read and examine a few words of wisdom from Psalm 78:

(1-4) Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.

01 September 2012

Review: Who or What was the Ancient of Days

Who or What was the Ancient of Days
Who or What was the Ancient of Days by Jerry Wayne Bernard

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Okay, before getting to the meat of the review of the writing, I'd like to discuss the actual manufacturing of the book. It is self published, with a cover price of $29.95, with 264 pages on a fairly thick stock paper, with the width of the pages being only a tad over 5" wide. This makes for a tougher than average read, since the page width makes the pages stiff and harder to open the book wide enough for comfortable reading. It really should have been printed on a standard 6" width. On top of the that, the font size is way to large (unless a large print book was intended), and a reduction to a more standard sized font, as well as increased page width, would have made this book probably half as many pages, with a great reduction in list price and better readability. Okay, enough criticism on that, now to the meat of the book.

29 August 2012

Review: The Search for the 12 Apostles

The Search for the 12 Apostles
The Search for the 12 Apostles by William Steuart McBirnie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very fascinating book indeed. The amount of research is mind-boggling. The books contains almost every know story, theory and tradition about the Apostles and others, giving readers plenty to examine and weigh out to decide what may be truth and what is mere myth. The author shows his leanings, and I cannot say I always agree with them, but for the most part I am ignorant on much of this and just found it a thoroughly enjoyable journey through the wealth of information presented.

View all my reviews

26 August 2012

Lord's Supper Devotion: Remembering the Passover

The men at church take turns giving a little devotional before the Lord's Supper/prayer time each week. Here is one I recently presented that I thought I'd share.

We come here to the Lord’s table, and it is always good to remember how we got here. We look back the covenant meal that helped get us to the table. The Passover in Exodus 12 has some key features worth remembering.

First, on the tenth day of the month, the Israelites were to pick a male lamb without defect, and four days later they were to sacrifice it.

Second, they were to sprinkle the blood from the sacrifice on the top and sides of their house’s door frames to protect those within.

Third, they were to roast the meat and along with unleavened bread, eat all of it without breaking the bones of the animal.

25 July 2012

Lord's Supper Devotion: Debtors for Christ

The men at church take turns giving a little devotional before the Lord's Supper prayer time each week. Here is one I recently presented that I thought I'd share.
One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 

21 June 2012

Review: How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels

How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels
How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels by N.T. Wright

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. Some of Wright's stuff is a bit more technical and theological, but I felt this was easy to read and comprehend, and his case was well made. I admit, I have read two other books by him just prior to this, as well as another on a closely related topic by Scot McKnight, so maybe this topic just struck me more on the heels of those.

24 May 2012

Review: Who Was the Mother of Harlots: Drunk with the Blood of the Saints

Who Was the Mother of Harlots: Drunk with the Blood of the Saints
Who Was the Mother of Harlots: Drunk with the Blood of the Saints by Steve Temple

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very nice, concise treatise looking back at the history of God's dealings with his people Israel and Judah, and all of the times of covenant breaking, idolatry, harlotry, etc. that they had performed time and time again, and how God promised over and over again how they would be brought under judgment for it. To me this is great to have, a single shorter work detailing all of the issues of the people over the centuries in one place.

22 May 2012

Review: Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters

Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters
Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters by N.T. Wright

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had read some mixed reviews on this book before starting it myself. Some were saying it was complicated, some saying it is a rehash of stuff from a couple of his previous books, books which presented it better. However, I found it to be a great read. Having read a handful of Wright's stuff before, I have found some to be very deep theological (which I enjoy), and others not so much. This for fall into the category of the not-to-deep.

13 May 2012

Lord's Supper Devotion: Take My Burden

This is a little devotional I presented to our church prayer group today during the Lord's Supper time.
I would like to take a look at the following verses from Matthew, and some of the background, cultural and implications we can draw from it. Jesus says:

Come unto me, all ye labouring and burdened ones, and I will give you rest, take up my yoke upon you, and learn from me, because I am meek and humble in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls, for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Mat 11:28-30 YLT)

At the time when Jesus came on the scene, it was common practice for Rabbi’s to take on disciples, and those disciples were expected to take a place of total obedience and dedication to the Rabbi and his philosophy. The purpose was for the disciple to become just like the Rabbi, and this rabbi/disciple relationship is what is meant to take on the “yoke” of the rabbi.

29 April 2012

Review: New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus: Insights from His Jewish Context

New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus: Insights from His Jewish Context
New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus: Insights from His Jewish Context by David Bivin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having just the other day finished what I guess is the first book on this topic by the author, Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus, this one seemed like an easy transition to move right into. I will say though that this one flowed a bit better and was a bit more cohesive of a story, even though it appeared this book is mainly made up of individual writings by the author that have appeared over time on their web site.

23 April 2012

Review: Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus

Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus
Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus by David Bivin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In my continued studies on the Hebrew backgrounds to the Bible, including the New Testament language and culture, I ran across this title and scooped it up. I found it to be very informative, even though somewhat brief. The major part of the book is set out to prove that the New Testament books, most specifically the four gospels, were originally written in Hebrew, and later translated into Aramaic or Greek.

15 April 2012

Review: Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels - Kenneth E. Bailey

Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels
Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels by Kenneth E. Bailey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very well written book that delves into the cultural surroundings and understandings of things during Jesus' days. It provides many great insights and adds such depth to many scriptures and stories that we "Greek minded" readers would gloss right over. Not for the light reader, as it is small print,many pages, and lots of information. The student of theology and cultural history will find it a gem most likely.

10 April 2012

Restoring America One County at a Time

Join Joel McDurmon as he lays the groundwork for restoring America one county at a time. I also highly recommend Joel's "The Bible & War in America". Enjoy the series as we return to Biblical principles of government.

01 April 2012

Lord's Supper Devotion: Looking Forward

Devotion presented at church 1 April 2012:

Luke 9: 61-62 tells us the last part of Jesus speaking to various people about following him, and this last person in the discussion says:

‘I will follow thee, sir, but first permit me to take leave of those in my house’; and Jesus said unto him, ‘No one having put his hand on a plough, and looking back, is fit for the reign of God.’ (Luke 9:61-62 YLT)

I recently read through this in my daily reading, and decided to stop and figures out a bit more about what this whole looking back thought meant.

31 March 2012

Lord's Supper Devotion: Jesus – The Promised Messiah

Devotion presented at church 4 March 2012:

Matt 12:9-16: And having departed thence, he went to their (the Pharisee’s) synagogue, and lo, there was a man having the hand withered, and they questioned him, saying, `Is it lawful to heal on the sabbaths?' that they might accuse him.

And he said to them, `What man shall be of you, who shall have one sheep, and if this may fall on the sabbaths into a ditch, will not lay hold on it and raise it ? How much better, therefore, is a man than a sheep? --so that it is lawful on the sabbaths to do good.'
Then saith he to the man, `Stretch forth thy hand,' and he stretched it forth, and it was restored whole as the other.

Lord's Supper Devotional: Remember Who Jesus IS

Devotion presented at church 29 January 2012:

When we think of god the father, we rarely think of anything physical – at least hopefully that is the case. We may have mental thoughts along the lines of things we’ve actually seen in movies like the Ten Commandments – this images that come to mind when we think of the workings of God the Father with mankind.

I have always wondered what it was Moses saw when he saw God’s back:
Jehovah also saith, ‘Lo, a place is by Me, and thou hast stood on the rock, and it hath come to pass, in the passing by of Mine honour, that I have set thee in a cleft of the rock, and spread out My hands over thee, until My passing by, and I have turned aside My hands, and thou hast seen My back parts, and My face is not seen.’ (Exodus 33: 21-23)

02 February 2012

Juice Fast - Day 8

Hey - Jeff here. Yes, here I am, and yes, I am still hanging in there. It has been juice, and nothing but freshly ground, mostly organic juice now for seven and a half days. Nothing major to report since the last time. Weight loss seems to have slowed some, but it is always harder to tell with those cheap spring loaded type scales. It appears to be close to 12 pounds lost as of this morning.

I have noticed a decrease in the amount of juice needed to get through a day. This was kind of expected though, based on everything I have heard and read. See, basically the reason we eat so much and so often is because our body craves nutrition. Unfortunately, most of the processed trash we take in, has little nutritional value, so it does not "feed" the body's need. So we find we need to eat more stuff, more often.

With juicing, I am taking in fresh, highly nutritious substances, which is immediately being absorbed by my body, and therefore satisfying that craving the body has for nutrition. After a few days of doing this, the body is better fed than before, and therefore seems to require less.

When I started this, I was bringing to work six 8-ounce glasses of juice to work each day, and consuming one about every 90 minutes, which got me through my nine hour work day fine, with no hunger pains at all. I noticed after about four days of this, that at the end of the day one day, I still had one of my juices left unconsumed. The next day, I found I ended the day with two left untouched. So, for all of this week, I have only been bringing four 8-ounce jars to work, and doing fine, often "forcing" myself to consume the last one before leaving work for the day.

So, it seems for sure that my body is more readily getting what it needs, and therefore is less needy overall. I still go through the entire day without being hungry, but I also still fight against the desire to taste my favorite foods. Being at work all day is fine, but going home in the evening is killer. Often times it is just that board eating that is desired too - snacking on my favorite chips, or whatever someone else may be snacking on. I guess idle hands causes this the most.

For now, all is fine, and my plans are to finish the ten days and resume eating on Sunday with a big family meal after church. Then I expect to resume a mostly juice diet following that; probably juicing at work all day, but eating a meal each night. That is the plan at least for now.

30 January 2012

Juice Fast - Day 5

OK, keeping it brief this time as there is nothing majorly new to report. I survived yesterday - day four - by the skin of my teeth. Again, it is not the hunger pains at all that get to you at this stage, it is the desire to eat and taste foods you love.

That desire was ten times worse when being at home all afternoon yesterday while the family has one of my favorite home cooked Lord's Day meals. It started with the smell of the roast beef and potatoes, but was greatly made worse when the smell of hot garlic rolls filled the house. This torture was then followed by the house-filling smell of warm brownies.What a day, what a day.

I am glad to say I survived, and am now back at work for the new work week. It is obviously easier to handle here since there are no real food smells around me, and I am busy with work, keeping my mind off of any desires.

No changes appeared on the scales this morning, still a solid ten pound loss at this point. Also, the kidney discomfort I felt over the weekend seems about 90% gone at this point, so we're getting things straight.

So, we push on to then end!

29 January 2012

Juice Fast - Day 4

OK, so far so good. Today is the start of day 4 of this (at least) ten day juice fast. My first semi-mistake was not really paying as much attention to the book as far as some juices. It turns out that beet juice needs to be consumed in smaller quantities because it is a very potent liver cleanser. I had a few small baby organic beets and decided to use them in a few consecutive days. Friday, after consuming my juice, I started feeling an odd discomfort right under behind the bottom of my rib cage, right under my breasts, on both sides. It later moved to my sides and back. So I weened off of the beets and the discomfort has slowly decreased, though still a little there this morning. So, be careful with the frequency of drinking beet juice - they say only do about half of a beet only a couple times a week.

So, stepping on the scale this morning, after three full juice days, and I am down ten pounds, so that makes me happy. I would like to see a bunch more go, but this is a great start.

As I mentioned in my previous post, hunger is still not an issue. Juice is quite filling and satisfying. The biggest thing with food is just the great smells and desires of tasting. It is very odd how it becomes less about the need or hunger to eat, and mainly about the desire to taste. Eating is somewhat of a habit that we often do more for taste than need. Juicing takes away the need, but the desire is still there to taste good food. I have read and watched videos that explain this as what will happen, and that juicing for a length of time helps to retrain the body away from this somewhat over time - but for now, it is a battle. Food smells great - and I want to taste it - but I have stayed the course so far.

My goal is to make it through the ten days, which would end next Saturday. However, the more and more people I hear about who did this, once they reached the ten day mark, felt so god that they continued on for even more time - sometimes 30-60 days. I am not committing to that at this time, which seems to make sense from what most people experience between the 3-8 day mark, but we'll see what happens later in the week.

Anyway, I am doing fine, feeling fine (aside from the bet discomfort), and will post more as it happens.

27 January 2012

A Step Towards Healthy

I hesitate to even begin writing this possible series of posts, for fear that if I fail miserably it will become more evident; but here I go against my better judgment - call it stepping out in faith in myself.

My family and I have been pretty big into alternative therapy for many years now, basically starting back in the mid-to-late 90's when our then oldest son had major issues with ear infections and antibiotics. We have, since then, practiced a more natural approach to things, and because of it we have seen very, very rare necessary trips to the doctors for any of our other five children.

Along the way we've learned about diet and eating issues, but honestly, have only applied a very small amount of that knowledge to our lives. In other words, we often know what we should and shouldn't be eating, and what is killing Americans - yet we go along with the flow for convenience sake (i.e. laziness).

Well, in recent months, we have again and again been faced with the issue of diet, and have watched numerous movies on the topic. Mainly we have better seen and understood the tie to diet and health issue - to the point where we have been convinced to begin something to better our state of things. This has come to smack me more in the face because out of the family members, I have more "issues" that need attention.

I know I am borderline diabetic - I discovered this about six years ago when my youngest daughter was in the womb. My wife developed gestational diabetes, and so had to be monitored. So, one day I mentioned to my wife how I had been kind of constantly thirsty every so often. An alarm went off in her head - that is a symptom of diabetes (my wife has worked in the medical field for decades, so she kind of knows this random stuff). So, we grabbed her blood monitoring kit, gave my finger the old stick, and sure enough, I have elevated levels. Since then I have tried to watch my intake of all things that provoke that, and have been able to keep it under check with diet.

I am also aware that for a couple years now my blood pressure has been higher than desired. I have a bit of a mid-life pouch around my mid section, and know that reducing that would eliminate much of these issues. While on average I am lower in weight than I was three years ago since starting the watch on carbs and sweets, it is not enough to have made much difference in these issues. I am not real large, but for my size could easily stand to shed about forty pounds.

So, along comes these other documentaries on eating and health, and how all of these things, from blood pressure, diabetes, and everything up to cancer, can be cured by changing eating habits. Changes include a lot of healthier eating - things like raw, organic fruits and vegetable (which I admit I rarely eat - cooked or raw). One of the things that many are promoting for a quicker change to things, is to juice these raw organic fruits and vegetables, which allows you to consume a larger quantity of them and their nutrients, and allows then to more easily and quickly absorbed. This type of treatment has been made famous by the Gerson therapy clinics, that for many, many decades have been curing all kinds of "terminal" diseases, including cancer and those patients sent home to die. So, we figured we'd give it a try.

So, last week we scraped together enough funds to buy a middle of the road juicer (the Omega VRT330HD masticating style juicer) and began adding these juices to our diet. Since I am the one in the family with the most "issues" I have become the target of this "test." One of the more recent movies we watched, was called "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" and documented the journey of two men who did a juice "fast" - meaning they ate nothing, but only drank juice for a period of time. Both men ended up losing a major amount of weight and all ailments were cured, and all prior medications they were on were removed by the doctors.

So, instead of just simply adding juice to the daily life as I have done for the past week of owning the juicer, I have decided to try actually juice fasting for a period of time for a hopefully quick showing of results in my case. Yesterday, Thursday 1/26/2012 was my first full juice fast day.

So, while I have been adding juice to the equation now for a full week (basically drinking juice all day at work and eating supper at night), Thursday was the first full day of just juice. As of stepping on the scale this morning (Friday), I was down seven pounds from last weeks start, so we're off to a good start.

For those of you who have never experienced juicing, let me dispel a few "myths" that probably come right to your mind.

1) HUNGER - Hunger is not an issue. Surprisingly even to me, juicing is very satisfying and filling. I juice and divide them into individual 8 once servings. Approximately every two to three hours during the day I drink one serving - or whenever I feel a slight tinge of hunger. It is very satisfying all day.

2) "POTTY" TIME - I have not experienced any increase of trips to the bathroom. People have told me I will constantly be running to the bathroom, but I am thinking people who have this issue may tend to be using store bought, watered down juice. I am using organic, fresh juiced material which seems to produce very little "watse" in my system. I drink water throughout the day in between juicing (have always done that) and have not noticed any increase in trips to the bathroom since starting to juice.

3) YUCK - People comment on how they can't stand the taste of things like a green juice. Well, I am one of those people too. Solution? Deal with it - for health's sake! Now, I have seen the big craze on the 'net for "Green Smoothies" - where they basically blend and grind up all kinds of stuff, and make this thick smoothie out of it and then sip it through a straw. That, I think I would not be able to handle. But, for me we are talking about an 8 ounce glass of juice, with very little pulp - and for most, it is very easy to just guzzle it and get it down quickly. Any undesirable taste is gone in mere seconds, and you just deal with it for health's sake. Sipping a thick green smoothie - nah, not for me.

Anyway, that is all for now. I will try to post my progress every so often, in hopes of motivating others to attempt fix what ails ya' by doing the same. Here is a trailer for the movie we recently watched. I exhort you all to watch the whole documentary. It is available for "renting" on YouTube for like $1.99 (click HERE) - or for free is you have a Netflix streaming plan. Just search for it and other great related movies on Netflix.

Review: What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity

What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity
What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity by N.T. Wright

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have only read a few of Wright's book so far, but this one stands out as one of the better ones I have read. I am always impressed by the tidbits he gives that get to the cultural and historical root of the subject, and he is loaded with them here.

07 January 2012

Review: Unseen Realities: Heaven, Hell, Angels and Demons (R.C. Sproul)

Unseen Realities: Heaven, Hell, Angels and Demons
Unseen Realities: Heaven, Hell, Angels and Demons by R.C. Sproul

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I guess it might have been that this book ended up not really being what I had hoped or expected, but it was also that it was very week and "Greek" thinking throughout. I was hoping it would be a study in cosmology type things, but it ends up being just a very, very milk tradition view of death, heaven, hell and angels.

No real discussion on the differences in the words (and places) referred to as "hell" in the Bible. When he dealt with the story (I said story, not parable as he and others call it) of Luke 16 and the rich man and Lazarus, he only looked at it as some form of story about hell and suffering - nothing being said about the Hebrew concept of the realm of the dead, underworld, Hades, Abraham's bosom, etc. I guess this was not too shocking considering how the Reformed world in general has sought to ignore the "unseen real" and redefine the whole life after death concept of pre-Christ happenings. I guess I just did not expect someone of Sproul's caliber to do so, since there are many good Reformed authors who have gone further into the Hebrew concept.