Saturday, September 29, 2007

Awesome...in a literal sense

I listened to a sermon today by a man named John Courson. The people I live with have some CDs and I thought it would be good to listen to something. The sermon was on the passage of Genesis 5. I dutifully read the passage before listening to the message and was intrigued. I don't think I have ever heard a sermon on Genesis 5. It isn't much to look at. It is the geneology from Adam to Noah with all the years of births and deaths. What most people (including myself) would generally consider rather dry...at least until I heard the talk. This chapter is indeed a presentation of the gospel although in a rather odd and fascinating way. Below is a listing of each man's name and the meaning of his name in the order of the geneology.

Adam=man
Seth=appointed
Enosh=subject to death
Kenan=sorrowful
Mahalalel=from the presence of God
Jared=one comes down
Enoch=dedicated
Methuselah=dying he shall send
Lamech=to the poor and lowly
Noah=rest or comfort

Man, appointed subject to death and sorrowful. From the presence of God, one comes down dedicated. Dying he shall send to the poor and lowly rest and comfort.

Now that can't be a coincidence, can it?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Colossians

I have been reading Colossians lately and I read in 1:19-20 about how God was pleased to have his fullness become human and through his blood on the cross to reconcile to himself ALL THINGS, things in heaven and on earth. While I have always known of the reconciliatory power of Christ's death for those on earth...I guess I never thought about anything in heaven having to be reconciled. Any thoughts?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ramazan

They have turned the speaker from the local mosq in our direction recently. I hear it more clearly than usual. Perhaps they have turned up the volume as well because the call to prayer holds a tighter reign on the people at this time. It is the month of fasting for them now. This means they don't eat between sunrise and sunset, although there is much feasting otherwise. The students tell me it is to feel the suffering of the poor and one girl added that it makes her feel more thankful for food. Many more women cover their heads as well as a sign that they are fasting.

There is a strange duality to my thoughts about this. My first thought is that these people don't know really how a poor person feels even by fasting through a day and that if it doesn't change the way they feel about the poor then it doesn't matter if it changes their understanding. The idea is all well and good, but just because someone is educated about something doesn't mean it will change their behavior.

My second thought is that most Christians in America pay very little attention to even the possibility of fasting even though it is certainly not unheard of in the Bible. And while we live under grace instead of under law, isn't it an embarrassment to lukewarm Christians that people who have not truly been offered real life are willing to suffer more for their beliefs than people who have been exposed to real truth? There are many facets to this, and the longer I think about it, the less capable I am to write about it. But I will leave it there for now.

What about you?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Presidential Stuff...

So, I generally ignore the news. But with the Presidential Elections coming up, the encouragement of my parents that I should not be clueless, and a certain personal interest in the foreign policy of the next President, I decided to begin doing some research. I came across this. I don't know much about the guy but I have to admit I was impressed by this paragraph from his website.

If we leave, Iraq's neighbors on all sides will face a refugee crisis and be drawn into the war: Iran to protect the Shiites; Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan to protect the Sunnis; and Turkey to protect its control over its own Kurd population. Iraq is a crossroads where Arab meets Persian and Kurd, Sunni meets Shiite, so if it's not a peaceful buffer, it can easily become a tinder box for the region.
Personally, living in the Middle East, this is something I would rather avoid. Now I am going to go look up what other Presidential Candidates think will happen if the U.S. pulls out of Iraq.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Piffle.

I recently discovered that one of my friends is an excellent at talking piffle. It then occurred to me that many people probably don't know what piffle is and thus it is all very sad for them. For the word itself as well as the execution of it are both very entertaining. Go read Dorothy Sayers.

Friday, September 21, 2007

This is the reading for Sept. 11 in the devotional, The Christian in Complete Armour

“Whenever there is a storm in the spirits of saints, and the winds of their emotions are high and loud, it is easy to see who has stirred up the tempest. The devil practices his black art on unmortified lusts, that enable him to raise easily many storms of division among believers. Paul and Barnabas, for instance, set out in a calm together, but Satan sent a storm to part them in the middle of their journeyings: “And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other” (Acts 15:39).

There is nothing, next to Christ and heaven, which Satan begrudges believers more than their peace and mutual love. If he cannot separate them from Christ, and stop them from getting to heaven, he takes sinister pleasure in watching them get there in a storm. He would have them be like a shattered fleet separated from one another, saints deprived of the comfort and help of other Christians along the way. And when the devil can divide, he hopes to ruin also, knowing well that one ship is more easily taken than a squadron.”

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Today...

I went and taught today. My students were glad for my return from the sickbed and it was touching. The other teachers were also happy that I was back which is good for the ego any day. Other than that, I chatted with one teacher about self-control, which she said was impossible and then I said, of course. Of course it is impossible without God. But Christ promises the Holy Spirit and part of the fruit of the the Spirit is self-control. As Christians we are no longer caught in the whims of the attitudes around us. What a blessing! So that is what has been on my mind today--reminding me that an even higher standard is required of me to prove Christ's power to those around me and yet, that that standard is not for me only, but for all who have the Spirit. And thus it is not only my responsibility or my power, but God's power producing self-control in my life. Thus my role is to rely on Him more and more. This all becomes clearer and clearer, sorry if my words make it seem muddy to you. Blessings!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Blog-o-Block...?

I have had the hardest time writing lately. Even my journal is lacking and my last several entries are dry and factual. I know I am busy and dealing with all sorts of changes and adjustment. But usually those are the times that I feel like writing the most so that I can sort out my world. Somehow this time is different. Maybe I am suffering from re-entry shock "back" into my old foreign culture. Wierd isn't it?

As far as stories of what I have been doing. The ladies from my team and I went out to dinner and then ice cream tonight. During dessert we began speaking about something (I can't even remember what!) and it was so intensely funny that we began laughing hysterically and uncontrollably. This of course being completely and totally inappropriate for women in public (here) had the whole restaurant of people staring at us. We, of course, were turning various shades of red and pink as well as trying to stifle our outburst. Anyone who has ever laughed this way will know that trying to stop it only makes it ten times worse. Before we had finished laughing, two ladies had accidentally dropped their spoons on the floor. Anyone who had failed to notice us choking in the corner of the room now drew their attention to us. The waiter promptly deposited two more clean spoons on the table; he was so quick because he also had been watching us the whole time. Somehow I have managed to have the embarrassment factor of a Middle Easterner without the same habitual control for my giggles. I am sure they thought we were all drunk--we weren't! We were just enjoying each other's company and fellowship. All in all a good time!

AH! I remember what was so funny. The ladies were trying to marry me off to the waiter's cousin.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sara Groves Sings

I really Identified with the lyrics to this song, although I haven't been to Rwanda.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I have been reading the Psalms.

Oh Lord my God,
Help me in my distress.
My face is salty and wet;
My eyes are red with weeping.
I am pulled one way and the other
There is no way to please men.
My path is painful before me
I do not like the ways I see.
Anger rises in my heart
But spills out in grief of spirit.
I am a wanderer blown like the sand
I do not know where I will rest.
One man says go here,
Another says, no! this road is better.
The far-off one speaks with wisdom and authority
But doubts come from the near one's mouth
Smooth words that pull my desire to please
Although lacking in rights.

And yet my God is right.
His voice will lead me.
I will follow and walk in his way
Forever will he keep me secure.
Although those near me may grieve
And one will be disappointed
I will yet praise God my savior.
For I choose rightly with his help.
My actions are according to conscience
Made righteous by the blood of my Lord.
My God will never abandon me
For his love is everlasting.
Though human foundations crumble,
The pillar of YHWH stands firm.
He has shown me where to put my trust.
May I hear and know my Shepherd's voice.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I'm Back!

I am now back. I am jet lagged but excited. I saw some of my old students and it was wonderful. I set up my lesson plans for the first three weeks for one of my classes. I can't think right now so I will be back another time. I just realized that I used the word "back" 3 times. Scary what having a messed up time zone can do! Xwahafis!