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Monday, July 30, 2012

Some quotations on fear

Genesis 3:9 Yahweh God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 The man said, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (All Bible quotations from the World English Bible, public domain)

As it was, she was surprised into looking into the Beast's face.
The contrasts she found there were too great: wisdom and despair, power and weakness, man and animal. These made him far more terrible than any hungry lion, any half-tamed hydra, any angry sorcerer, terrible as something that should not exist is terrible, because to recognize that it does exist shakes that faith in the foundations of the natural world which human beings must have to bear the burden of their rationality. Robin McKinley, Rose Daughter. New York: Ace, 1998, p. 87. ("she" is Beauty.)

1 Peter 3:13 Now who is he who will harm you, if you become imitators of that which is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “Don’t fear what they fear, neither be troubled.”

I was in the chapel over the burial-vault of my race.  I called aloud:  "If any of the dead are moving here, let
them take pity upon me, for I, alas! am still alive; and let some dead woman comfort me, for I am a stranger in the land of the dead, and see no light."  A warm kiss alighted on my lips through the dark.  And I said, "The dead kiss well; I will not be afraid."  And a great hand was reached out of the dark, and grasped mine for a moment, mightily and tenderly.  I said to myself:  "The veil between, though very dark, is very thin." (George MacDonald, Phantastes, public domain)

GHOST, n. The outward and visible sign of an inward fear.

. . . Accounting for the uncommon behavior of ghosts, Heine mentions somebody's ingenious theory to the effect that they are as much afraid of us as we of them. Not quite, if I may judge from such tables of comparative speed as I am able to compile from memories of my own experience.
There is one insuperable obstacle to a belief in ghosts. A ghost never comes naked: he appears either in a winding-sheet or "in his habit as he lived." To believe in him, then, is to believe that not only have the dead the power to make themselves visible after there is nothing left of them, but that the same power inheres in textile fabrics. Supposing the products of the loom to have this ability, what object would they have in exercising it? And why does not the apparition of a suit of clothes sometimes walk abroad without a ghost in it? These be riddles of significance. They reach away down and get a convulsive grip on the very tap-root of this flourishing faith. (Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, public domain)

LONGEVITY, n. Uncommon extension of the fear of death. (The Devil's Dictionary)

My first religion was pure Paganism, which among sincere men is more shortly described as extreme fear. Then there succeeded a state of mind which is quite real, but for which no proper name has ever been found. The ancients called it Stoicism, and I think it must be what some German lunatics mean (if they mean anything) when they talk about Pessimism. It was an empty and open acceptance of the thing that happens—as if one had got beyond the value of it. And then, curiously enough, came a very strong contrary feeling—that things mattered very much indeed, and yet that they were something more than tragic. It was a feeling, not that life was unimportant, but that life was much too important ever to be anything but life. I hope that this was Christianity. At any rate, it occurred at the moment when we went crash into the omnibus. (G. K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles, public domain)

Revelation 6:15 The kings of the earth, the princes, the commanding officers, the rich, the strong, and every slave and free person, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains. 16 They told the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of his wrath has come; and who is able to stand?” 

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Prayer and Trouble, Part 3, by E. M. Bounds

Trouble belongs to the disciplinary part of the moral government of God. This is a life of probation, where the human race is on probation. It is a season of trial. Trouble is not penal in its nature. It belongs to what the Scriptures call “chastening.” “Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” [Hebrews 12:6] Speaking accurately, punishment does not belong to this life. Punishment for sin will take place in the next world. God’s dealings with people in this world are of the nature of discipline. They are corrective processes in His plans concerning man. It is because of this that prayer comes in when trouble arises. Prayer belongs to the discipline of life.

As trouble is not sinful in itself, neither is it the evidence of sin. Good and bad alike experience trouble. As the rain falls alike on the just and unjust, so drouth likewise comes to the righteous and the wicked. Trouble is no evidence whatever of the Divine displeasure. Scripture instances without number disprove any such idea. Job is a case in point, where God bore explicit testimony to his deep piety, and yet God permitted Satan to afflict him beyond any other man for wise and beneficent purposes. Trouble has no power in itself to interfere with the relations of a saint to God. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” [Romans 8:35] - From The Essentials of Prayer, by E. M. Bounds.

Although E. M. Bounds died in 1913, this book was first published in 1925, by an admirer of the author's life. Bounds was known for praying from four until seven each morning.

This post is one of a series, taken from The Essentials of Prayer, by Bounds. Found through the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, here. The Essentials of Prayer is in the public domain. The previous post in the entire series on the book is here. Thanks for reading. Read this book, and, more importantly, practice, prayer.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Amazing Spiderman - comic book science

My wife and I recently saw The Amazing Spiderman. (Wikipedia article here, official website here.)

The film stars Andrew Garfield as high school nerd Peter Parker, whose parents died in an accident, apparently soon after they left young Peter Parker to live with his aunt and uncle. (Well-played by Sally Field and Martin Sheen, with some good lines, especially for Sheen.) Emma Stone plays Gwen Stacy, his high school classmate, who becomes his best friend. Garfield and Stone are both a little old for high school, but why not? I think they both did a good job as actors.

I don't wish to give away the plot, but will mention a few aspects of the film.

Parker/Spiderman is portrayed as on the side of good -- he wants to fight criminals. But his morals are not always perfect. In a glaring example, he takes an identification badge for a special science internship, which belongs to another student, from a table. When the other student arrives, he is forcibly escorted from the building. Parker shows no remorse, and pays no penalty. Presumably, his action might have cost the other boy a college scholarship. I was reminded of incidents in the Harry Potter books, where Harry, Hermione and Ron often break all sorts of rules, because they think they have to, to do what they want. Sometimes what they are doing is to help them defeat Voldemort. Sometimes it's just to have fun, or to get something they want.

The science in the film is comic book science -- impossible things, like regenerating a limb in a matter of minutes, take place. This is not surprising, since the movie is based on comic books. But we should be careful of comic book science.

I know, no one with any sense is going to consciously judge the scientific enterprise by what they read in comic books, or see in movies based on them. But, still, our mythology becomes part of us, whether we realize it or not, and whether or not it makes sense. Some aspects of comic book science are partly true, but mostly not so. The first is that a single scientist can produce a significant breakthrough in any field of science in a relatively short period. Most significant discoveries are made by teams, or made in more than one place at the same time. The second is that lots of beakers, retorts, tubing, and the like are needed to produce scientific breakthroughs. Sometimes, in some fields. But not in astronomy, or in much of ecology, for example. Third is the myth of the mad scientist. There are some scientists who have done some bad things, or want to do them, but scientists are no more likely to want to deliberately release evil upon humankind than, say, park rangers or kindergarten teachers. Most scientists are simply trying to do their job as best they can, and when ethical issues come up, I don't think they are more (or less) likely to make mistakes than anybody else.

Perhaps we should have more movies about mad bankers, or mad real estate tycoons.

One more aspect. There is a large tower, home of Osco, a bioengineering company, in the middle of Manhattan. Much of the action takes place there. According to the Wikipedia article, the director, Marc Webb, thought of this tower as a modern-day Tower of Babel.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ursula K. Le Guin interview

Wired has published an interview with Ursula K. Le Guin, arguably the most important writer of fantastic literature in the last six decades. (She's still writing, at 82 years of age.)

See here for one of my previous posts on Le Guin. Thanks for reading. Read Le Guin. Please.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sunspots 376

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

Humor:  (sort of) In case you wondered, 15th century bras, and other underwear, have been discovered.

Science:  Articles from the BioLogos Foundation on "Naming 'the God Particle'," and "What is the Higgs Boson?"

The Arts: (and science) Wired has an article on photos of insects, mostly leaf-cutter ants, by an artist.

Image source (public domain)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Is there evidence of conversion?

Is there evidence of conversion? I believe so. It's not up to me to judge, and the person I need to be most concerned about is me, not someone else, but here's some of what the Bible says on the subject:

A person who is saved bears fruit of salvation.

Matthew 13:18 “Hear, then, the parable of the farmer. 19 When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom, and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes, and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown by the roadside. 20 What was sown on the rocky places, this is he who hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 What was sown among the thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of this age and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 What was sown on the good ground, this is he who hears the word, and understands it, who most certainly bears fruit, and produces, some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.” (Scripture quotations from the World English Bible, public domain)

Matthew 7:16 By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that doesn’t grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. 21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’ 23 Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.’

John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. 2 Every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, he takes away. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already pruned clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch can’t bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If a man doesn’t remain in me, he is thrown out as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and it will be done for you.

Jesus does not explain what “fruit” is. But He calls it “good fruit,” and says that we must remain in Him in order to produce it. The fruit is probably two related things: influencing people to be converted, and the Fruits of the Spirit, described in Galatians 5, which also describes bad fruit:

Galatians 5:19 Now the deeds of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let’s not become conceited, provoking one another, and envying one another.

A person who is saved is not a habitual sinner.

(Note: To some people, sin is anything short of perfection – to them, honest mistakes, and memory lapses, are sin. However, I am using a more restrictive definition, from the Free Dictionary:

1. A transgression of a religious or moral law, especially when deliberate.
2. Theology
a. Deliberate disobedience to the known will of God.
b. A condition of estrangement from God resulting from such disobedience.

We should remember that there are sins of omission – things that we should do, but don’t – as well as sins of commission. See James 4:17 and Matthew 25:40-25.)

1 John 1:1 My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin. If anyone sins, we have a Counselor with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous. 2 And he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 May it never be! We who died to sin, how could we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will also be part of his resurrection; 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be in bondage to sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 But if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him; 9 knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no more has dominion over him! 10 For the death that he died, he died to sin one time; but the life that he lives, he lives to God. 11 Thus consider yourselves also to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

12 Therefore don’t let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 Also, do not present your members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God, as alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin will not have dominion over you. For you are not under law, but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace? May it never be!

A person who is saved follows Christ’s commandments.

John 14:21 One who has my commandments, and keeps them, that person is one who loves me. One who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and will reveal myself to him.”

23 Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him. 24 He who doesn’t love me doesn’t keep my words.

John 17:15 I pray not that you would take them from the world, but that you would keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, even so I have sent them into the world.

1 John 2:3 This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commandments. 4 One who says, “I know him,” and doesn’t keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth isn’t in him. 5 But whoever keeps his word, God’s love has most certainly been perfected in him. This is how we know that we are in him: 6 he who says he remains in him ought himself also to walk just like he walked.

Matthew 7:24 “Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock. 25 The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

For more on what Christ's commandments are, see here.

A person who is saved continues in a relationship with Christ, and seeks the fellowship of other Christians.

John 15:1-7 (quoted above) uses the phrase “remain in me” or equivalent, seven times.

John 17:20 Not for these only do I pray, but for those also who believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that you sent me. 22 The glory which you have given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, even as we are one; 23 I in them, and you in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that you sent me, and loved them, even as you loved me.

Hebrews 10:24 Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good works, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as you see the Day approaching.

There are about 20 occurrences of groups of Christians being together in Acts. Sometimes they met to worship, sometimes as a prayer meeting, sometimes to consider policy or doctrine. It was Paul’s practice to establish churches wherever he went as a missionary. Christ speaks to seven churches, not individuals, in Revelation.

To summarize the evidences given above for being a Christian, a Christian becomes more and more like Christ. The Holy Spirit works in the life of a believer to bring these things about.

Thanks for reading!

August 19, 2012: This document, slightly modified, was re-posted, with a graphic at the beginning, a few days later, here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Christ's commands -- what are they?

What are Christ’s commandments?

There are a lot of them, and I'm not going to list them all, but this post is an attempt to present some of the most important ones.

Many of Christ's commandments to us are found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), which includes commands to let our light shine; keep our motives pure – don’t even want to commit adultery or murder; be reconciled to others, and forgive them, especially before you try to worship; turn the other cheek – that is, don't retaliate when others do evil to you; don't pledge that you will do something, just do it; love even your enemies; don’t draw attention to your good deeds; don’t be anxious about worldly possessions; judge yourselves before judging others; beware of false prophets; treat other people as you would like to be treated yourself.

He also told us to live the summary of the Old Testament Law: Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 A second likewise is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Bible quotations are from the World English Bible, which is public domain.)
In Mark 12:14-19, Jesus commanded His listeners to honor the government, including paying taxes. We should remember that this was an occupying government, and its head was a Roman pagan emperor.

There are other commands, but one more is found in the last words of Matthew’s gospel: Matthew 28:19 Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

*   *   *   *
I updated this by adding a couple of items that I had forgotten, and by rewording, on August 25, 2012. See also a post on Jesus and the Ten Commandments.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Prayer and Trouble, Part 2, by E. M. Bounds

What an infinite variety there is in the troubles of life! How diversified the experiences of men in the school of trouble! No two people have the same troubles under like environments. God deals with no two of His children in the same way. And as God varies His treatment of His children, so trouble is varied. God does not repeat Himself. He does not run in a rut. He has not one pattern for every child. Each trouble is proportioned to each child. Each one is dealt with according to his own peculiar case.
Trouble is God’s servant, doing His will unless He is defeated in the execution of that will. Trouble is under the control of Almighty God, and is one of His most efficient agents in fulfilling His purposes and in perfecting His saints. God’s hand is in every trouble which breaks into the lives of men. Not that He directly and arbitrarily orders every unpleasant experience of life. Not that He is personally responsible for every painful and afflicting thing which comes into the lives of His people. But no trouble is ever turned loose in this world
and comes into the life of saint or sinner, but comes with Divine permission, and is allowed to exist and do its painful work with God’s hand in it or on it, carrying out His gracious designs of redemption.

All things are under Divine control. Trouble is neither above God nor beyond His control. It is not something in life independent of God. No matter from what source it springs nor whence it arises, God is sufficiently wise and able to lay His hand upon it without assuming responsibility for its origin, and work it into His plans and purposes concerning the highest welfare of His saints. This is the explanation of that gracious statement in Romans, so often quoted, but the depth of whose meaning has rarely been sounded, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” [Romans 8:28] - From The Essentials of Prayer, by E. M. Bounds.

Although E. M. Bounds died in 1913, this book was first published in 1925, by an admirer of the author's life. Bounds was known for praying from four until seven each morning.

This post is one of a series, taken from The Essentials of Prayer, by Bounds. Found through the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, here. The Essentials of Prayer is in the public domain. The previous post in the entire series on the book is here. Thanks for reading. Read this book, and, more importantly, practice, prayer.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

iGoogle is going away: alternatives that may work

iGoogle has been our home page for perhaps 5 years -- the default web page shown when a browser cranks up. It may be yours, too. Favorite links, an appointment calendar, weather in places all over the country, top news stories, schedules for movies showing locally, and more. What's not to like?

Google tells me that iGoogle will not be available after November 1, 2013.

What are the alternatives? One is to just use my browser.

But there are more full-featured possibilities. Here are some that I found, with a little searching. I haven't tried any of them yet, so I'll just list them, with no annotation:







I hope one of them will work as well as iGoogle has.

Thanks for reading.

*  *  *  *  *
As of January 10, 2013, I have tried some of the above, but am now running FVD Speed Dial, which lets me set up a screen full of icons that I make, from the web site's web page. I have set my FVD page up to open automatically whenever I open a new tab. My FVD Speed Dial page can be synchronized across computers. The program is free, and works with both Firefox and Google Chrome.

Sunspots 375

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

Science:  Wired reports that long-entrenched thinking among biologists, that female animals select males with showy characteristics, is not entirely correct.

Sci-Tech Daily reports that cancer cells can produce up to five daughter cells, not the usual two, when they divide.

Computing: From Gizmo's Freeware, a Firefox add-on which lets you draw, or type, on a web page while accessing that page with Firefox. (I confess -- I haven't tried it.)

Fox News reports on the first photo ever posted to the World Wide Web.

National Public Radio tells us that senior citizens are using computers much more than they did a few years ago.


Image source (public domain)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

This blog is available through twitterfeed

This blog is now available through twitterfeed, as "Sun and Shield blog." Someone asked for this. I hope it works.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Prayer and Trouble, part 1, by E. M. Bounds

Trouble and prayer are closely related to each other. Prayer is of great value to trouble. Trouble often drives men to God in prayer, while prayer is but the voice of men in trouble. There is great value in prayer in the time of trouble. Prayer often delivers out of trouble, and still oftener gives strength to bear trouble, ministers comfort in trouble, and begets patience in the midst of trouble. Wise is he in the day of trouble who knows his true source of strength and who fails not to pray.

Trouble belongs to the present state of man on earth. “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.” Trouble is common to man. There is no exception in any age or clime or station. Rich and poor alike, the learned and the ignorant, one and all are partakers of this sad and painful inheritance of the fall of man. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man.” The “day of trouble” dawns on every one at some time in his life. “The evil days come and the years draw nigh” when the heart feels its heavy pressure.

That is an entirely false view of life and shows supreme ignorance that expects nothing but sunshine and looks only for ease, pleasure and flowers. It is this class who are so sadly disappointed and surprised when trouble breaks into their lives. These are the ones who know not God, who know nothing of His disciplinary dealings with His people and who are prayerless.

From The Essentials of Prayer, by E. M. Bounds.

Although E. M. Bounds died in 1913, this book was first published in 1925, by an admirer of the author's life. Bounds was known for praying from four until seven each morning.

This post is one of a series, taken from The Essentials of Prayer, by Bounds. Found through the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, here. The Essentials of Prayer is in the public domain. The previous post in the entire series on the book is here. Thanks for reading. Read this book, and, more importantly, practice, prayer.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sunspots 374

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

Humor: (or something) Fox News on why Taco Bell flew lunch in to a small town in Alaska.

Computing: Gizmo's Freeware has a page on free video editors.

Christianity: (Sort of) A definition of religion, in a review of books on the evolution of religion, more or less, in The American Interest: “system of symbols which, when enacted by human beings, establishes powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations that make sense in terms of an idea of a general order of existence.” The quotation is from one of the books reviewed, authored by Robert Bellah.
Image source (public domain)

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Prayer, Praise and Thanksgiving, by E. M. Bounds: Conclusion

God does much for us in answer to prayer, but we need from Him many gifts, and for them we are to make special prayer. According to our special needs, so must our praying be. We are to be special and particular and bring to the knowledge of God by prayer, supplication and thanksgiving, our particular requests, the things we need, the things we greatly desire. And with it all, accompanying all these requests, there must be thanksgiving.

It is indeed a pleasing thought that what we are called upon to do on earth, to praise and give thanks, the angels in heaven and the redeemed disembodied spirits of the saints are doing also. It is still further pleasing to contemplate the glorious hope that what God wants us to do on earth, we will be engaged in doing throughout an unending eternity. Praise and thanksgiving will be our blessed employment while we remain in heaven. Nor will we ever grow weary of this pleasing task.

From The Essentials of Prayer, by E. M. Bounds.

Although E. M. Bounds died in 1913, this book was first published in 1925, by an admirer of the author's life. Bounds was known for praying from four until seven each morning.

This post is one of a series, taken from The Essentials of Prayer, by Bounds. Found through the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, here. The Essentials of Prayer is in the public domain. The previous post in the entire series on the book is here. Thanks for reading. Read this book, and, more importantly, practice, prayer.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Christianity Today article on Todd Wood and Darrel Falk

Christianity Today has published an article on Darrel Falk, an evolutionary creationist who is part of the BioLogos Foundation, and on Todd Wood, a young-earth creationist from Bryan College. I don't know either of them personally, but I have read quite a bit of their writing, and they are good representatives of their views. In my view, the article is fair to both Christian scientists.

Friday, July 06, 2012

The Higgs boson -- what it is, etc.

I'm not a nuclear physicist, but this week's landmark discovery (apparently) of the Higgs boson deserves some mention by me. So does the work of the many scientists and other workers who made this event possible.

Here's an article by Reuters, explaining what the Higgs boson/field is all about. Here's another article from Reuters, about the announcement of the discovery. Here's an article from the Christian Science Monitor, including a photo of Peter Higgs, and a 3 minute 27 video explaining the particle/field. And, of course, there's a Wikipedia article.

Physicists cannot explain why there is a universe at all, or why it has the properties we have found. There is nothing in this discovery that eliminates or rules out the activity of God. As Colossians 1 puts it, "in him all things hold together." ("Him" is Christ.)

Thanks for reading. It's more than the Higgs field that holds the universe (and you and me) together.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Sunspots 373

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:
Science: (or medicine) Some surgeons in training are using clementines (the fruit -- a relative of oranges and tangerines) to practice surgery on, says National Public Radio. It's not as crazy as it sounds.

The Arts: Wired reports that you can have your DNA, or the results of testing on your DNA, turned into a work of art.

Computing: Google is offering a free power searching short course, with six fifty minute classes, beginning in a few days. If you (or I) complete the course, we get a certificate.

National Public Radio reports that Orbitz, the hotel room web site, shows Apple users more expensive options than those logging on with other devices. Other reports document the same phenomenon, from other on-line retailers.

Christianity: Ken Schenck has written a fine article on the four fold sense of scripture.

Image source (public domain)