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Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11 by Thomas Watson. Excerpt 62

Watson continues to urge his readers to be contented with what they have, and to warn of some dangers of being prosperous:

Prosperity, in Scripture, is compared to a candle; “his candle shined upon my head:” (Job 29. 3) how many have burnt their wings about this candle! “The corn being over-ripe, sheds; and fruit, when it mellows, begins to rot; when men do mellow with the sun of prosperity, commonly their souls begin to rot in sin. “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” (Lu. 18. 24) His golden weights keep him from ascending up the hill of God; and shall we not be content, though we are placed in a lower orb? What if we are not in so much bravery and gallantry as others? we are not in so much danger; as we want the honour of the world, so the temptations.

O the abundance of danger that is in abundance! We see, by common experience, that lunatics, when the moon is declining, and in the wane, are sober enough, but when it is full they are wild and more exorbitant: when men’s estates are in the wane, they are more serious about their souls, more humble, but when it is the full of the moon, and they have abundance, then their hearts begin to swell with their estates, and are scarcely themselves. Those that write concerning the several climates, observe, that such as live in the northern parts of the world, if you bring them into the south part, lose their stomachs, and die quickly: but those that live in the more southern and hot climates, bring them into the north, and their stomach’s mend, and they are long-lived; give me leave to apply it.

Bring a man from the cold, starving climate of poverty, into the hot southern climate of prosperity, and he begins to lose his appetite to good things, he grows weak, and a thousand to one if all his religion doth not die; but bring a Christian from the south to the north, from a rich flourishing estate into a jejune low condition, let him come into a more cold and hungry air, and then his stomach mends, he hath a better appetite after heavenly things, he hungers more after Christ, he thirsts more for grace, he eats more than at one meal of the bread of life, than at six before; this man is now like to live and hold out in his religion. Be content then with a modicum; if you have but enough to pay for your passage to heaven, it sufficeth. 

Thomas Watson lived from 1620-1686, in England. He wrote several books which survive. This blog, God willing, will post excerpts from his The Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11, over a number of weeks, on Sundays.

My source for the text is here, and I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this text (and many others) available. The previous excerpt is here.
  
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak because of lack, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it. (World English Bible, public domain.)
 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Some important uses of the number seven

7, uses of 7 
Some important uses of the number seven (7). One of a series.
This blog has previously had posts of posters displaying important uses of the numbers two - six, in our culture. Here's a poster for seven. God willing, there will be posters for eight, nine, ten and twelve in the next few days.

Clearly, seven was important in Biblical and religious culture. But sometimes the importance seems to be exaggerated. There are thirty-six occurrences of "seven" in Revelation, not just the one at the bottom of the poster. But none of these are about seven years, although some interpretations of the Bible hold that there will be a seven year tribulation during the end times. Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Thanks for looking! 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Some important uses of the number six

6, uses of six 
Some important uses of the number six are shown above. I guess that the most important one is for the six quarks. If current theory in physics is true, then, as the Wikipedia says, they are "a fundamental constituent of matter." In other words, you and I and the screen or paper you are reading this on are mostly quarks. If angelic beings with six wings literally exist, that would be important, too. In fact, it would be important if they were only an attempt at describing the indescribable. But dice, time, degrees, cubic crystals, and honeycomb are also important.

Thanks for looking.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Some important uses of the number five

5, uses for number five 

This post is one of a series, beginning with two, and through ten, plus the number twelve. The post on three is here.

No doubt there are more important uses of the word, "five," but here are a few such. I especially like five-fold symmetry in flowers, as in roses and the morning glory family. Some roses have flower parts in multiples of five.

I might have included "pleading the fifth," but didn't.

TULIP, the so-called "five points of Calvinism," is explained here. As far as I know, there is no contrasting acronym for Arminians.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Sunspots 711


Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:


Christianity: (and Sports) Relevant on whether God cares about who wins a football game.

He Lives assesses Christian's reactions to the Command to "remember the Sabbath."

Education: NPR reports that school bullying has increased in areas in Virginia that voted for President Trump.

Politics: Yes, it's early, but that didn't stop FiveThirtyEight from analyzing the chances of the top ten or so potential Democratic candidates for President, to actually be the Democratic nominee.

From The Daily Beast: Shepard Smith, of Fox News fact-checked President Trump's speech from the Oval Office. There were "facts" that weren't facts.

Michael Gerson on a crisis that isn't really one, about a wall that really isn't a wall, paid for by Mexican pesos that are really US tax dollars, and he goes on.

Catherine Rampell on trading with China -- we need to be careful!

Earther reports that President Trump is still blaming the wrong people and practices for the increase in forest fires in California and elsewhere.

The Interior Department isn't picking up trash, but it is holding meetings for the purpose of granting oil leases in Alaska.

Trudy Rubin argues that border security is not one of our main security problems. President Trump's inflated opinion of himself is.

Science: NPR reports that religious fundamentalism has led to some really strange claims, at the annual Indian Science Congress.

The graphic used in these posts is from NASA, hence, I believe, it is public domain. 

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The first day of creation: things we are never going to understand

Genesis 1:2 The earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep and God’s Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters. 3 God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw the light, and saw that it was good. God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day”, and the darkness he called “night”. There was evening and there was morning, the first day. (World English Bible, public domain)

There are plenty of possible questions about this passage, such as about how literally to take it, but I’d rather not explore the questions of what “day” means, and other such matters, important as they might be. I have some other questions in mind, questions that we will never understand in this life, and maybe not in the next one. We can, and may, have opinions about them, but the opinions are not strongly backed by the Scripture, or are not covered at all in the Bible, and Genesis 1 is interpreted in different ways by different people. For more on scriptural interpretation, see this post.

Questions:
If God spoke light into existence, what language did He use?
Does God, in this passage, mean God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, or some combination of them?
Who did God speak to?
If He/They spoke to some other entity, who was it, and why was this said?
Did angels, or some other entity, actually create the light, at God’s command?
Was the creation of light preceded (whatever preceded  means to an eternal God!) by planning?
Was the entire electromagnetic spectrum, of which light is only a small part, created at once?
Did the creation of light cost God effort or resources of some sort?
Does this passage actually refer to the creation of the sun, or was that created later?
Was there light elsewhere in the universe, but not on earth, or, on the other hand, was the light created for the earth, or perhaps for the solar system, spread throughout the universe somehow, after this initial creation?
Was light created from something else?

Interesting questions. (There are more questions about origins in this post -- toward the end.) I have no answers. Thanks for reading.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Some important uses of the number four

Four - the number 4 in use 

Poster showing uses of the number four, and using four colors, four typefaces, four corners and four sides.

There are four freedoms in the First Amendment to the US Constitution; four fundamental forces, or interactions, holding the universe, you and me, and atoms and molecules together; four sides and four corners in many of the basic building blocks of buildings; four limbs in vertebrate animals, and, conventionally, four directions. There are more uses of four, or groups of four, that I have not thought of, no doubt.

Thanks for looking! I expect to post more of these posters in the future.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11 by Thomas Watson. Excerpt 61

Watson continues to urge his readers to be contented with what they have. In particular, he warns of some dangers of being prosperous:
2. In a prosperous condition there is more danger; and that two ways: First, in respect of a man’s self. The rich man’s table is oft his snare; he is ready to ingulf himself too deep in these sweet waters. In this sense it is hard to know how to abound. It must be a strong brain that bears heady wine; he had need have much wisdom and grace, that knows how to bear an high condition; either he is ready to kill himself with care, or to surfeit himself with luscious delights. O the hazard of honour, the damage of dignity! Pride, security, rebellion, are the three worms that breed of plenty. (De. 32. 15) The pastures of prosperity are rank and surfeiting. How soon are we broken upon the soft pillow of ease? 

Prosperity is often a trumpet that sounds a retreat, it calls men off from the pursuit of religion. The sun of prosperity oft dulls and puts out the fire of zeal; how many souls hath the pleurisy of abundance killed? They that “will be rich, fall into snares.” (1 Ti. 6. 9) The world is birdlime at our feet, it is full of golden sands, but they are quick-sands. Prosperity, like smooth Jacob, will supplant and betray; a great estate, without much vigilancy, will be a thief to rob us of heaven; such as are upon the pinnacle of honour are in most danger of falling. A lower estate is less hazardous; the little pinnacle rides safe by the shore, when the gallant ship advancing with its mast and top-sail, is cast away. Adam in paradise was overcome, when Job on the dung-hill was a conqueror. Samson fell asleep in Delilah’s lap: some have fallen so fast asleep on the lap of ease and plenty, that they have never awaked till they have been in hell. The world’s fawning is worse than its frowning, and it is more to be feared when it smiles than when it thunders.

Thomas Watson lived from 1620-1686, in England. He wrote several books which survive. This blog, God willing, will post excerpts from his The Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11, over a number of weeks, on Sundays.

My source for the text is here, and I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this text (and many others) available. The previous excerpt is here.
  
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak because of lack, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it. (World English Bible, public domain.)
 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Some important uses of the number three

Three (3) poster with border 
Some important uses of the number three.

Perhaps the most important use of the number three is in naming the Trinity. Do I understand the Trinity? Certainly not. In the so-called "love chapter," Paul said that there were three things which would endure beyond time, namely faith, hope and love. In addition, the US has three branches of government; there are three germ layers in embryonic development in vertebrates; there are three primary colors, and normal people have three types of cone cells in their eyes, which receive light of these three kinds; there are three commonly discussed states of matter (there is actually a fourth such state); monocot reproductive structures have three-fold symmetry (see here) -- monocots, including wheat, rice, maize/corn, and other plants, are very important to humans.

For the post on the number four, see here.

Thanks for reading and looking!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Some important uses of the number two

Two. Various sayings involving the word, "two." 
A poster showing some of the important uses of the number two. Some of these are biblical, including the statement by Jesus that no one can serve two masters, and also the statement by Jesus that if two of his followers agreed on a request, it would be granted. Then there are some things we take for granted, such as that we, and many animals, have two sides, right and left; the two sexes; that the things we see on our devices, and in books, are (mostly) two-dimensional; and that computer information is stored, transferred and used as binary information, 1s and 0s.

Thanks for looking! God willing, I'll be posting more such posters, using other numerals. For the post on the number four, see here.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

What's unique about this auto brand/model name?


Look at the above list of various automobile brands or models. There's something unique about the Toyota name, as shown here. What is it?

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Sunspots 710


Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:



Christianity: (and Sports) Relevant reports that a Chicago Bears kicker did not make a field goal that would have won the game, but thanked God, anyway.

Education: NPR reports on poor reading scores, which are widespread, and a fundamental reason for them -- educators aren't using scientific findings on learning to read. In some places, this is being remedied.

Food: (and Health) Gizmodo reports that millions of Americans think they have a food allergy, but don't.

Health: NPR reports that increases in drug prices are primarily due to drug company attempts to make more money, rather than research costs.

Humor: (or Food) A sculpture, constructed of a half ton* of butter, has been produced in Pennsylvania, according to NPR.

Politics: NPR reports that the acting Secretary of the Interior may be worse than his predecessor at protecting the environment.

(or possibly, humor) A few days ago, President Trump said that he knew more about drones than anyone. The Washington Post has compiled a list of things the President claims to know more about than anyone else. The list also includes people (not him) that Mr. Trump says are the world expert on various topics.

It's almost that time again, I'm afraid. But FiveThirtyEight analyzes Presidential primary debates, and finds that they are important.

Science: Gizmodo tells us (with pictures) that some hummingbird species have beaks specialized for aggression toward rivals.

(and food) NPR reports on granary weevils, insects that have been eating our stored grain throughout human history.

Scientific American on how the part of the border wall already built is damaging habitat and migration routes for animals, and how adding to the wall will make things worse.


The graphic used in these posts is from NASA, hence, I believe, it is public domain. 

Thanks for looking!

*When this was posted, I had carelessly said a half-pound of butter, not a half ton. I thank one of my brothers for bringing this error to my attention.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

The Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11 by Thomas Watson. Excerpt 60

Watson continues to urge his readers to be contented with what they have. In particular, he warns of some dangers of being prosperous:
Sect. X. The tenth argument to contentation is, Consider seriously the nature of a prosperous condition. There are in a prosperous estate three things,
1. More trouble. Many who have abundance of all things to enjoy, yet have not so much content and sweetness in their lives, as some that go to their hard labour. Sad, solicitous thoughts do often attend a prosperous condition. Care is the evil spirit which haunts the rich man, and will not suffer him to be quiet. When his chest is full of gold, his heart is full of care, either how to manage, or how to increase, or how to secure what he hath gotten. O the troubles and perplexities that do attend prosperity! The world’s high seats are very uneasy; sunshine is pleasant, but sometimes it scorcheth with its heat; the bee gives honey, but sometimes it stings: prosperity hath its sweetness and also its sting; “competency with contentment is far more eligible.” Never did Jacob sleep better than when he had the heavens for his canopy, and a hard stone for his pillow. A large voluminous estate is but like a long trailing garment, which is more troublesome than useful.


Thomas Watson lived from 1620-1686, in England. He wrote several books which survive. This blog, God willing, will post excerpts from his The Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11, over a number of weeks, on Sundays.

My source for the text is here, and I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this text (and many others) available. The previous excerpt is here.
  
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak because of lack, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it. (World English Bible, public domain.)

Friday, January 04, 2019

Quotation about how death is viewed in the Bible

Psalm 104 and Matthew 6, among other biblical texts, speak of organisms eating other organisms, never once ascribing this to the fall or calling it suffering or a waste.
- quotation from Chapter 18 in Understanding Scientific Theories of Origins by Robert C. Bishop, Larry L. Funck, Raymond J. Lewis, Stephen O. Moshier, and John H. Walton. My source is here.


Job 38-39 are “other biblical texts” that dont call predation a waste, or a cause of evil suffering. Neither does Jeremiah 12:8-10, Amos 3:4-5, Nahum 2:11-12, or other passages.

Thanks for reading.