Fulfill your vow

January 27, 2013

Have you ever read numbers chapter 30. I’m sure I’ve read it more than once, but today it really jumped out at me, in part because I recently talked with a friend on this subject. It puts a lot of responsibility on a man.

A man is always bound by his oath/vow/word. Whatever he says he must do. On more than one occassion in scripture we see rash promises, made by God’s people, that He requires them to fulfill. (The Israelites covenant with a people group in the Promised Land that they were supposed to destroy. Jephtah made a vow to sacrifice the first thing he saw upon returning home if God would give him victory in battle. The first thing he saw was his daughter. He fulfilled his vow.)

If a vow is not fulfilled, it is sin. A woman is bound by her word as well, but with a couple of exceptions. If the woman’s father or husband, which ever she is under the authority of, hears about her vow and forbids it, then she is no longer bound by it. But, if he hears and remains silent then she is still bound to her word. If he hears and remains silent at the time, but later forbids it, then he is the one held guilty. But if he does not forbid it and she does not fulfill her word then she is the one who is guilty. A single female who is under no mans authority is held to the same standard as a man. A man is responsible for his family, to the point of being able to retract the rash or emotional declarations made by his wife and children. He can also take their guilt on himself if he does not override their promises right away, but waits until later. He is responsible to govern both himself and his family.

That is a lot of responsibility. As a husband and a father, it places a lot on me to be aware and active as the head of my household. It is also a picture for us of the relationship that we have with God.

God is pictured both as a father and as a bridegroom to Israel and the Church. What Christ did on the cross is what is pictured here. He took upon Himself the guilt that we should have had to carry and He paid the price for that guilt.


Lon Sutton

March 11, 2010

Today I went to the funeral of a man I thought I barely knew. That may seem like an odd statement, but I assure you it is true. I was asked to be a pallbearer, and I accepted, but I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it, or what I should feel about it. I met Lon maybe five times while he was alive. I remember him as being kind and happy. But, since I only met him those few times, it would be safe to say that I barely knew him, at least that’s what I thought.

As I sat and thought about what I could say to his widow, it came to me that in one sense I meet him every day. My father-in-law would be one of the first to tell you that when he was 16 he was a little wild. So wild in fact, that he ended up in jail. His uncle Lon was the one that came and bailed him out. At that time he also became my father-in-laws legal guardian, took him into his home and raised him.

The effect and influence that Lon had on him set my father-in-law on a better path than the one he was headed down. That in turn influenced the man that my father-in-law is. So in my father-in-law I see a bit of who Lon Sutton was. It doesn’t stop there though. The man that my father-in-law is, also influenced the father that he is to my wife and how he raised her. The woman that she is today, how she interacts with me and our children is, in part, a reflection of the influence that Lon had on her dad.

So I get to see a little bit of who Lon Sutton was everyday in the people around me. I wish that I could have known him better in life, but I am thankful for the influence that he was on my family. It is an honor to me to be a part of laying him to his final rest.

Rest in peace, Lon Sutton.

Playroom shaping up a bit at a time.

January 30, 2010

So I finally got some more done on the playroom today. All of the support boards for the floor joists are up and I put in the floor joists in front of the door so that Candace can get to the laundry room a little easier. Hopefully I will have all of the floor joists up before next weekend so that I can start insulating the floor.

What translation do you use and why?

January 25, 2010

I got a new Bible today. I think I need to give away a few of my old Bibles as I don’t use them very often anymore. With my iPhone always at hand, I have used online/downloaded copies of my favorite translations and not needing to lug a Bible along with me. Although it looks like I may start carrying m Bible with me again.

I started out with very little preference in Bible translations. I typically just used whatever was at hand. At Bible school, I began examining what versions made which claims as far as integrity and how close they were to “original” manuscripts. As a result, I began to favor the NASB (New American Standard Bible) version of the Bible. Lately though, I began to have a particular issue with even that translation. The issue was that the name of God is never used in it. Instead, they have replaced His name with one of His titles, “The Lord”. I asked one of my teachers from Bible School, who helped to start me down this path of inquiry, which translation of the Bible he recommended. He pointed me towards one I had never heard of. “The Scriptures” version of the Bible is written and printed by the Institute for Scripture Research, based in South Africa. They strive to come as close as possible to the Hebrew version of the scriptures, both old and new testament, to the point of leaving the name of God and the name of His Son in the original Hebrew lettering. So instead of “The Lord” and “Jesus”, they use  יהוה (Yahweh) and  יהושע (Yehoshua, which is sometimes shortened to Yeshua). It is going to take some getting used to, to read the Hebrew letters in among the english. In addition to this, they also use transliterations of the Hebrew names of most/all other places and people. So instead of Joshua they have Yehoshua and instead of Moses they have Mosheh, Isaiah becomes Yeshayahu and Deuteronomy is Debarim and the land of Canaan is the land of Kena’an. Some names I will just have to memorize what Anglicized name they go with as they bear little resemblance to the transliterated Hebrew.

So why the switch? Well, many men and deities are given the title Lord and a lot of deities are called god or God, but there is only one who is Yahweh and that is the God of Abraham. I want it clear, to myself and others, that the one I serve is not Allah or some other deity, but the one true God, Yahweh, and His Son, Yehoshua.

So what translation of the Bible do you use? And why do you use it?

To save a life

January 23, 2010

I just went to see “To Save A Life”. I went expecting the quality of “Facing the Giants”. To be honest, I’m not sure what movie to compare it to. It was, in all aspects, equal to any decent Hollywood movie that you would go to see in the theaters. Acting, plot, directing, editing, camera work, music, sound effects – it was all on par, everything you would expect from a good feature film.

Is it a religous movie? I don’t think so. Is it a Christian movie? Not in the view of many I would guess. But it is most certainly a movie about the truths of the God of Abraham and His son Jesus. I kept expecting to have the movie present a heavily watered down theology. . . It never happened. They took off the rose colored glasses that the makers of “Facing the Giants” were wearing. It’s real and blunt, not afraid to face the short comings of the church or the reality that people get mad at God. They take a good look at what it means to follow God and what it looks like to walk that out.

“The Book of Eli” challenged me most about my relationship with God, this movie challenged me more with how that relationship should/could/would/is/did affect, or not, my relationship with my fellow man. To be honest, I cried through much of the movie, both from regret and hope.

I highly recommend that you go see this movie.

Hindu Man

January 20, 2010

This man approached me while I was sitting out front of the theater, waiting to meet a friend to go and watch “The Book of Eli.” He asked about my camera. We talked a little about it and then I asked him if I could interview him for my blog. He agreed, so I asked him the question and this is what he said.

“I’m a born Hindu, right? So we have a very specific philosophy about Hinduism. And it’s about checks and balances. You know the Hinduism believes in reincarnation and the reason you reincarnate is because you haven’t paid for your sins yet. You know we don’t have the luxury of Catholics to go every Sunday and say a confession and you’re clean and you can come back and do whatever you want to, right? So, human form is the last form of your reincarnation and you keep reincarnating as a human, because humans have consciousness, they realize the pain of when they are paying for their sins. And once that is done then you go to either, you know, heaven or hell depending on how you do it. But we believe that this form is the most suffering existence for a human being as a spirit, because the consciousness allows us to feel the pain and the people around us. So where do I stand from a spirit perspective? I think as I stand, is I am here to pay for my sins from my past life.”

Two things about what this man said sadden me. One is the almost “look down on you” attitude that this man had toward Christianity (Catholicism) in the sense that they have no consequences for sin other than to say a confession. To me it reflects an attitude in the Church that says they believe that is the case to. The second thing is his belief that human life is a punishment for sin and if you don’t do well in your punishment you could still wind up in hell, or at least another go round as a suffering human. I would be curious to learn the standard they use to measure success and failure. I guess I don’t see a lot of hope or purpose in a life lived solely to pay for past wrongs with suffering.

The Book of Eli

January 19, 2010

Today I saw “The Book of Eli.” I will try my best to communicate my impressions of the movie without giving away too much or including any spoilers. It’s a movie worth seeing and best seen without too many preconceptions, so if you haven’t seen it I would read this after you have seen it. If you don’t care or have already seen it, the by all means read on.

I’ve always heard in Christian circles the old cliché, “what if people destroyed every Bible, how much of it could we bring back from memory?”, but I’ve never had quite as vivid a picture as this movie paints. I’ve always been told that I need to read my Bible more and honor and appreciate the word of God, but I’ve never seen what that looks like portrayed in so powerful a way. I’ve always known that God always preserves a remnant, but I never thought I would see that truth depicted in a secular film. The scriptures declare that God will not permit one letter of His Word to pass away and this movie focuses on that point.

At times the movie treats the Bible as just another great piece of religious human literature, but as a whole, I felt that it treats it as something more. There are characters who see it as a tool or weapon, the opiate to control the masses. Others see it as a great work of civilization that needs preservation. But the tone of the movie is that this book is something more, a beacon of hope and truth that is supernaturally preserved. Not an idea that I would have thought to see coming out of Hollywood.

One of my favorite genres is the whole post-apocalyptic story line and this movie does a great job with it. A little more violent and crude than I would typically go to see, but still good. The special effects were well done and not overused. The acting was superb. It had a real plot, with character development and everything. It moved along at a good pace and the twists kept you guessing. The sound track was stunningly done and perfectly suited to the mood and emotion of the film.

The movie challenged me on three levels. Firstly, how much of the scriptures do I know. Could I recite the entire book from memory? (I can’t do one chapter! I’m not even sure I’ve read every chapter!) Secondly, do I value it the way I should? Do I protect it and honor it? Do I read it every day? Finally, do I follow what it teaches?

Eli, in talking about the book to one of the other characters, states that he got so wrapped up in the mission that he forgot to do what the book taught. The main teaching that he focuses on is doing more for others than you would for yourself. It’s the second greatest commandment. The movie emphasizes in a couple scenes that the mission has become the defining aspect of his life and he focuses on it, excluding almost everything else, though he is not totally lost as he shows compassion in some scenes and struggles with not doing so in others. He does realize in the end that he should have done more for his fellow-man and repents of the evil that he has done along the way. I guess you could claim that he has obeyed the greatest commandment for the last thirty years by taking the book to where God told him to take it.

My prayer is that this movie stirs up believers to remember God’s Word and it’s importance in a way that moves them to actively begin reading it and living it out. God desires that we know Him and He has given us His Word to help us to do that, but so often we leave it on the shelf or the bed side table and never pick it up to read it and learn about Him. It is also my prayer that it would stir unbelievers to take a look, or a second look, or a deeper look at this Book that, to the character Eli, is worth thirty years of dedication and is a source of hope and truth. As they examine it I pray that they would begin to see the one who spoke it and that they would be drawn to the God who created them and loves them.

Garage Project 2010 Update 2

January 16, 2010

So after mostly avoiding my garage all week, I finally got some more work done on it today. My Father-In-Law Ron came over and gave me a hand with framing in the two mud room walls. One is all the way framed in, the other we built up to the level of the floor and I will finish framing it in when I decide where I want the door. In the mean time, I scribed the level that the floor will be at on all the studs around the room so that I can start hanging the floor joists. Hopefully I can pick up the materials tomorrow afternoon and work on it over the course of the week so that I can insulate the floor next weekend and put down the sub-flooring. We are donating the fridge to the food kitchen that our church sponsors. I can’t take any more time trying to sell it, I just need to get it out of my way. So the project is moving along, slower than I hoped but quicker than I expected.

365 Project

January 14, 2010

So I started a 365 photo project as some of you may know. I started hosting it at this blog, but I have a few problems with doing so.  One, not everyone on this blog will necessarily be interested in following my 365 project. Two the volume of posts from the 365 project would cause the posts I actually want on this blog to get lost in the shuffle. And three, the content in the 365 project is really not suited to the purpose and content of this blog. I will however, keep the 100 strangers (which is becoming a part of my 365 project) on this blog as it does contain suitable content. So if you have an interest in following my 365 project and other photography related posts, you can find them by clicking here or the link in the sidebar. I moved the three existing posts and their comments to the new site.

Matthew 9:10-13

January 13, 2010

“Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means; “I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,” for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.””

I was reading this and it jumped out at me in a way it never has before. We often hear quoted the verse about the healthy not needing a physician, what I’ve never heard is the command that Jesus gives at the end. So what does it mean?

Here are a couple definitions of compassion.

  • a deep awareness of and sympathy for another’s suffering
  • the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it
  • a human emotion prompted by the pain of others. More vigorous than empathy, the feeling commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another’s suffering.

It is much along the same lines as mercy, which is often how the Greek word used here is translated. We see this repeated in the scripture that Jesus is quoting.

Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

The Pharisees were great at keeping the law, but at the expense of compassion and mercy, at the expense of reaching those who are lost. They got so busy doing the right things and hanging out with the right people that they lost sight of those around them that needed to meet God. Instead of being moved to action by the plight of those around them they moved away to keep from being polluted. Jesus wasn’t saying that He wasn’t there to help the Pharisees, He was saying that the Pharisees also needed to be helping those around them who were sick/sicker. The Pharisees already knew what they needed to know, they just weren’t applying it and teaching others. Jesus was come for those who didn’t know.

An additional thought that came to me just now is this, who is more likely to have compassion on those who need to meet the Lord? A righteous man? Or a sinner? Jesus came to call those who would produce what God desired, compassion, not sacrifice. When you truly recognize yourself as a sinner, saved by a compassionate and merciful God, you will be moved to compassion for those who have not found Him. The Pharisees had lost sight of what they had been rescued from and so had nothing to do but perform sacrifices and be righteous. They were no longer moved by compassion. Brandon Heath sings, “give me your eyes for just one second, give me your eyes so I can see, all of the things that I keep missing, give me your love for humanity.” (As a side note, I truly believe that Brandon Heath is one of those artists who really lives what he sings) I truly believe that the key to seeing people the way that God does is to see what He saved us from and want that for them. But it can’t just be a clinical exercise, it has to move me to action.

In looking at the meaning of various words in the verse, I also examined the term sacrifice. One of the definitions of the Greek word used is “victim.” You could almost take what Jesus said as a kind of double meaning. In a sense the Pharisees were making to kinds of sacrifices. The first was the religouse sacrifices. In a sense though, the sinners around them became a second sacrifice. In their effort to not pollute themselves by associating with sinners and tax collectors they were making those people victims of a quest for righteousness. How many sinners could have been called if the Pharisees had not been so concerned with their own righteousness?

How often do I get so wrapped up in my righteousness and sacrifice that I forget about those around me in need of a moment of compassion that could open up thier minds to a God who loves them and is waiting to show them His great mercy?