Thursday, June 26, 2008

And not a Bruce to be found

I finished reading through the Australian edition of the Good News Bible this morning. I had previously heard that all the disciples are called Bruce in this edition, but can't say I met any in the 1189 chapters.

My edition is a cheap version I bought in the 1990s. I hope later ones are better edited, because I found several errors as I read through. Mostly these were words accidentally joined together or separated.

The Good News Bible is easy to read and was worth going through. I've enjoyed each of these versions I have read through:

The TNIV Bible
The NIV Archaeological Study Bible
The ESV Reformation Study Bible
The New Living Translation, second edition
and now
The Good News Bible, Australian edition

Reading through Revelation yesterday and today was a great joy, as it always is. Reading it in large chunks over a short period of time is so much better than getting bogged down in the blood as high as horses bridles, or spending too much time on one of the many symbols, before you have surveyed the whole book. Thinking about the individual parts is certainly valuable, but only in the context of the whole book, read within the context of the whole Bible.

Future projects?
As God gives me strength I hope to read through The Books of the Bible: a presentation of Today's New International Version and also the New Jerusalem Bible [including, shock! horror!, the apocryphal books].

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tips for self-discipline

I'm posting this list from John MacArthur because I need it and hope it will help me to find it again. And I've already started trying it out, and hope to be self-discipined enough to see a difference as time goes by.

Practically speaking, how can a person develop self-discipline in his or her life?

Here are some things that have helped me through the years:

1. Start Small. Start with your room. Clean it, then keep it clean. When something is out of place, train yourself to put it where it belongs. Then extend the discipline of neatness to the rest of your home.

2. Be on time. That may not seem very spiritual, but it’s important. If you’re supposed to be somewhere at a specific time, be there on time. Develop the ability to discipline your desires, activities, and demands so that you can arrive on time.

3. Do the hardest job first. When you do that, you will find it easier to do the simpler tasks.

4. Organize your life. Plan the use of your time; don’t just react to circumstances. Use a calendar and make a daily list of things you need to accomplish. If you don’t control your time, everything else will.

5. Accept correction. Correction helps make you more disciplined because it shows you what you need to avoid. Don’t avoid criticism; accept it gladly.

6. Practice self-denial. Learn to say no to your feelings. Learn to do what you know to be right even if you don’t feel like doing it. Sometimes it’s even beneficial to deny yourself things that are acceptable to have, like a doughnut in the morning or dessert after dinner. Exercising such self-restraint helps you develop the habit of keeping other things under control. Cultivating discipline in the physical realm will help you become disciplined in your spiritual life.

7. Welcome responsibility. When you have an opportunity to do something that needs to be done, volunteer for it if you have talent in that area. Accepting responsibility can force you to organize yourself.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Dad's diary, part two

What I find amazing in reading my Dad's diary is how hard he worked, from the age of 55 until he was 84, and no longer in good health. He did not retire until the age of 65, but he did a huge amount of stuff at home, in addition to all the work for the NSW Dept of Public Works on various dredges, working as a marine engineer.

And every night he would sit down after dinner and read a few verses of his Bible and write his diary. At first I thought that he never missed, but have later discovered the odd entry written post facto, and sometimes crossed out and corrected because he had made a mistake about the particular day something had happened. But in the five diaries we have here, this is very rare.

The diaries also correct misapprehensions of mine, such as my incorrect memory of the day I was baptised. For years I have thought it was 13th February, 1966, and when I looked up that date could not understand why Dad, a good Baptist, did not refer to it. But in reading through, I found that I was in fact baptised on Sunday, 23rd January, but at least it was in 1966.

Dad's diary

In 1964, when I was in sixth class, my brothers and sisters and I gave Dad a five year diary for Christmas. Dad began writing a daily diary at the age of 55 (my age, now) on 1st January, 1965, and kept this up through six diaries, until Tuesday, 15th February, 1994. On Wednesday, 16th February Mum began writing the entries, which began with Dad collapsing at the breakfast table and being taken to hospital by ambulance. The rest of the year is a document of Dad's decline, until on 7th December, 1994 Dad again went to hospital by ambulance, and Mum later wrote on the top of the page
Scot left home for last time!

My wife, Joan and I have been fascinated to read through all of Dad's diaries which we have available to read. My brother Christopher has the fifth diary (1985-89) which I hope we will one day be able to borrow and read through. As children we thought that Dad's entries were awfully boring, because his first entry is quite typical of most of them:
At home. Cleaned under bonnet of car, went to Caves Beach with Mac and children. Friday.
Dad mostly wrote about the weather, what he had done during the day, what he had growing in the garden, his state of health (but only if he was feeling "off" and unable to work)and always made a record of people he had written to or phoned.

But as we read them now, we find them interesting, partly because he reminds us of what happened in our family from 1965 to 1994, and partly because we enjoy it when he breaks his pattern and writes something personal, such as
Wednesday, 18th January, 1967
"Wm J McKell" 7 am-3 pm
Worked on second half of trellis
Note:- David is staying with a friend at Valentine, house quiet

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Making Connections

I enjoy reading Wayne Leman's TNIV Truth, because Wayne gives accurate information about this Bible translation, and was interested to read about the restoration of connectors in some places in this revised version of the NIV, which Wayne found in T C Robinson's blog, ironically called CONNECTING.

T C seems to be a real Top Cat, and I'm pleased to have been pointed to his blog.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Words that make me cringe, part 16

John Calvin and his followers get blamed wrongfully for a lot of stuff. All too often, the word Calvinist is wrongly applied, and nowhere done more oddly than in Mark Dapin's amusing article on his 15 minutes and 31 seconds interview with Gordon Ramsay. This interview, which took four months to arrange, and for which Dapin flew to London and then waited over an hour for, before Ramsay was ready to be interviewed, was abruptly concluded by the interviewee, who Dapin says then kicked me out of his house.

Strangely, he blames Ramsay's foul mouth and temper on the uncontrolled expression of a Calvinist personality disorder. How is being of a Calvinist persuasion an indicator of one's bad temper and crude language?

Bob DeWaay's meeting with Rick Warren

I found this article about Bob DeWaay's encounter with Purpose-Driven ideology, and his meeting with Rick Warren challenging and thought-provoking. I have not previously read anything by DeWaay, but I hope to follow up some of the links he has given in this article.

One of his main points is that Warren correctly teaches some of the gospel message, but also urges people to follow some of his ideas that are not from Scripture, with the same urgency he gives to teaching parts of the Bible's message.

He says that DeWaay inappropriately uses the Scriptures and addresses non-Christians with teaching that is meant specifically for Christians.

He also says that Warren comes across as a liberal Christian, but that when you dig deeper you find he has a conservative basis, buried underneath the facade. But he doesn't teach much of what he says he believes.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Spurgeon advises: more Scripture, less blogs

Need I suggest the question as to whether you do read your Bibles or not? I am afraid that this is a magazine-reading age, a newspaper-reading age, a periodical-reading age, but not so much a Bible-reading age as it ought to be.

In the old Puritanic times men used to have a scant supply of other literature, but they found a library enough in the one book, the Bible. And how they did read the Bible! How little of Scripture there is in modern sermons compared with the sermons of those masters of theology, the Puritanic divines! Almost every sentence of theirs seems to cast sidelights upon a text of Scripture; not only the one they are preaching about, but many others as well are set in a new light as the discourse proceeds. They introduce blended lights from other passages, which are parallel or semi-parallel thereunto, and thus they educate their readers to compare spiritual things with spiritual.

I would to God that we ministers kept more closely to the grand old book. We should be instructive preachers if we did so, even if we were ignorant of "modern thought," and were not "abreast of the times." I warrant you we should be leagues ahead of our times if we kept closely to the word of God.

As for you, my brothers and sisters, who have not to preach, the best food for you is the word of God itself. Sermons and books are well enough, but streams that run for a long distance above ground gradually gather for themselves somewhat of the soil through which they flow, and they lose the cool freshness with which they started from the spring head. Truth is sweetest where it breaks from the smitten Rock, for at its first gush it has lost none of its heavenliness and vitality. It is always best to drink at the well and not from the tank. You shall find that reading the word of God for yourselves, reading it rather than notes upon it, is the surest way of growing in grace. Drink of the unadulterated milk of the word of God, and not of the skim milk, or the milk and water of man's word.

Words that make me cringe, part 15

I'm not a fan of theological swearwords, and this is certainly a popular one.
Calling someone a Fundamentalist worries me, because it seems to be accusing a person of taking the Bible too seriously. I know there is also a hint of saying the person misreads the Bible, but often the accusation is made by a person who is uncomfortable with what he thinks the Bible is saying, and would like a bit more fuzziness to blunt the force of it.

So I was very pleased to come across John Piper's article 20 Reasons I Don't Take Potshots at Fundamentalists.
1. They are humble and respectful and courteous and even funny (the ones I've met).

2. They believe in truth.

3. They believe that truth really matters.

4. They believe that the Bible is true, all of it.

5. They know that the Bible calls for some kind of separation from the world.

6. They have backbone and are not prone to compromise principle.

7. They put obedience to Jesus above the approval of man (even though they fall short, like others).

8. They believe in hell and are loving enough to warn people about it.

9. They believe in heaven and sing about how good it will be to go there.

10. Their "social action" is helping the person next door (like Jesus), which doesn't usually get written up in the newspaper.

11. They tend to raise law-abiding, chaste children, in spite of the fact that Barna says evangelical kids in general don't have any better track record than non-Christians.

12. They resist trendiness.

13. They don’t think too much is gained by sounding hip.

14. They may not be hip, but they don’t go so far as to drive buggies or insist on typewriters.

15. They still sing hymns.

16. They are not breathless about being accepted in the scholarly guild.

17. They give some contemporary plausibility to New Testament claim that the church is the “pillar and bulwark of the truth.”

18. They are good for the rest of evangelicals because of all this.

19. My dad was one.

20. Everybody to my left thinks I am one. And there are a lot of people to my left.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Words that make me cringe, part14

almost always used instead of phenomenon
Phenomena is plural, whereas phenomenon is singular.
See Words that make me cringe, part 8.

Words that make me cringe, part 13

Problem is, it ain't a word. You mean apostatize.