Saturday, 3 December 2011

Sanctification (2)

While cleaning the pool again this morning the thought came to me: Why am I cleaning this pool? Obviously because I hope to swim in it some time soon. Then the next thought came to me: why is the Lord cleaning us continuously in the same way (cf. previous post)? Because He is holy and wants us to be holy so that He can have fellowship with us and us with Him.

Rev.3:20 - "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have a feast with him, and he with me."

Sanctification (1)

I stay on a farm with only sun panels for electricity currently. I also have a small pool outside the house that needs a diesel generator to drive its pump (the sun panels do not provide enough power). The generator is still being fixed with the result that the pool became very dirty with leaves, sticks and other dirt sinking right to the bottom.

As summer started, I started cleaning the pool with a net as far as possible. While doing this, the Spirit showed me that this is the way He cleanse us as Christians. If I just skimmed the surface of the pool, it looks fairly clean, but all the muck still lies at the bottom. When I actually scraped along the bottom with the net, all the muck came up and dirtied the water and I needed to skim the surface again to get rid of the "new" leaves. In the same way He sometimes need to reach down into the insides of our heart to "stir things up" so that the deep sin lying there can come to the surface, be confessed and cleansed by the blood of Messiah (1 John 1:7-9). But, over the days the whole pool, including the bottom, was becoming clean.

Jer. 17:9-10 - "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

To be positive

One of my friends in a letter: "I have bronchitis, laryngitis and a fractured toe. Otherwise I’m fine!" :-)

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Two of my favorite quotes recently discovered (and an old one)

1. "...Jesus Christ has not come to establish social justice any more than he has come to establish the power of the state or the reign of money or art. Jesus Christ has come to save men, and all that matters is that men may come to know him. We are adept at finding reasons-good theological, political, or practical reasons, for camouflaging this. But the real reason is that we let ourselves be impressed and dominated by the forces of the world, by the press, by public opinion, by the political game, by appeals to justice, liberty, peace, the poverty of the third world, and the Christian civilization of the west, all of which play on our inclinations and weaknesses. Modern protestants are in the main prepared to be all things to all men, like St. Paul, but unfortunately this is not in order that they may save some but in order that they may be like all men." - Ellul, Jacques. The Ethics of Freedom. English version, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976. pp.254–255

2. “The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any word in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. ‘My God,’ you will say, ‘if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I every get on in the world?’ Here in lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.” - Soren Kierkegaard, Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Søren Kierkegaard, ed. Charles E. Moore (Farmington, PA: Plough, 2002), p.201.

3. "The Cross is not the terrible end of a pious happy life. Instead, it stands at the beginning of community with Jesus Christ. When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die." Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Discipleship and the Cross. As translated by Barbara Green and Reihhard Krauss (2001), p.87

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Frank Viola's Blog

Beyond evangelical

Was Jesus a Jew?

It would seem that this is a question with a fairly obvious answer. What is interesting is the reasons for people denying the Jewishness of Jesus as well as the probability of negative consequences to such a view.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Favorite Linux Applications: What is yours?

A List of my favorite Linux applications by category. What is yours?

0. Distro specifics (simply because some of the tools are not
available or useful on all distros)
0.1 Current favorite distro (and reason - what do you want in a distro?)
Mepis (KDE-based, Debian based, User-friendly, Fast install, good
balance between stability and up-to-date applications, familiar to me
:-) )
0.2. Favorite Desktop Environment
0.2.1. Heavy (If you have the Graphics)
KDE (Don't ask me why... just personal taste - eye candy?)
0.2.2. Light (Older computers etc.)
Fluxbox (Fast)
LXDE (Only discovered it recently - so far I'm impressed)
[I also get tired of one specific Desktop Environment easily, so tend
to install more than one and switch between them or even run more than
one simultaneously - one for work and one for play]

1. Daily must-haves: Tools / utilities that you use everyday.
Indispensable on your computer and one of the first applications you
would install on a new computer if it was not already there as part of
your base distro:
1.1 CLI tools:
Aptitude (package manager)
mc (Midnight Commander)
gpm (console mouse daemon)
fbi (Frame-buffer image viewer)
screen (Console Screen Manager)
1.2. GUI tools:
Yakuake (Teminal emulator: hide/show with shortcut key)
SciTE (Text Editor)
GIMP (Graphics Program)

2. Indispensible tools / utilities that you only use once in a while,
but still consider as a must-have:
2.1 CLI:
cfdisk (CLI disk partition)
elinks (Web Browser)
2.2 GUI:
gparted (GUI Disk partition tool)
wine (Windows "emulator")
VM Virtualbox / VMWare Player (Virtual Machines)
k3b (Burn DVD's & CD's)
VLC (Multimedia player)

3. Office applications (Indispensible office-type applications)
3.1 CLI:
3.2 GUI:
LyX (Document Processor)
Gnumeric (Spreadsheet - faster than LibreOffice/Open Office)
Abiword (Word Processor - faster than LibreOffice/Open Office)
LibreOffice / Open Office (Only way to read some Miscrosoft formats)

4. Specialist Tools / Applications that you use regularly and consider
as a personal must-have, but that will only be useful for users with
specific interests or jobs
4.1 CLI
GRASS (GIS - also with GUI)
weex ("Automatic" ftp website updater - CLI)
nmap (Network scanner)
4.2 GUI
Quantum GIS (GIS)
Lazarus (Free Pascal IDE & GUI builder)
Boa Constructor (Python GUI IDE)
Eclipse (Java IDE)
KDevelop (C++ IDE)
Bluefish Editor (Web Editor)
BibleTime (Bible Study tool - uses e-sword document format)
MuseScore & NoteEdit (Music Score Editors)
Audacity (Sound Editor)

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Faith: one of 3 possible sources of knowledge

Thinking about it, there can be just 3 sources of knowledge (and possibly truth) for any human being:
  1. Reason = Inherent "knowledge" / common sense / intelligence. This would include things like the laws of logic, which we simply cannot prove, but take for granted since it is somehow hardwired in human beings and forms the basis of intelligence itself. Here we can distinguish between "hardwired" (genetic?) "assumptions" and assumptions which we share because of culture. The last mentioned is commonly included as "common sense", but is not necessarily shared by all people in all cultures and times. Some aspects of mathematics (or at least the assumption that basic mathematics is universal (i.e. 2 + 2 = 4 everywhere and always)) might possibly be included here. Some assumptions are taken for convenience, but again are without proof, although they somehow feel more probable than the alternative (e.g. the principle of Occam's Razor: the simplest solutions are most likely to be true)
  2. Direct Observation / Experience. This is a major part of the empirical sciences where experiments can be designed to see the results of different controlled factors. But everyday observations and experiences is also a major factor in all knowledge.
  3. Faith. We all trust (believe / have faith in) people to some degree to speak the truth (to some degree). Even scientists must believe that the results published in the scientific literature is reliable, because we simply don't have the time to repeat each and every experiment (or research project) ever done in order to do our own observations. If others repeated previous experiments, we still have to trust them to give reliable reports of their results. Of course, in science, because it is likely that somebody may repeat an experiment and scientists' careers are build on being reputable and accurate, the results of scientific research are generally much more reliable than a newspaper report, for example. Part of the scientific method is that results should be testable and repeatable. Faith is therefore not blind. It should be the reasonable result of measuring the reliability of our source of knowledge. In this, direct observation of past events and logic should play a major role. Ultimately, even our trust in our own logic and the reliability of personal observation and experience, is based on faith; a well-placed faith in my opinion, but faith nonetheless.