Friday, 27 February 2009

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards: #11

11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances don't hinder.
Edwards is saying that he wishes not to waste any time in finding out more about God (so he says immediately), yet, learning in theology is not the end in itself, nor is the highest priority (so he says if circumstances don't hinder). I think it is a helpful one, especially as we try to serve and minister to each other, that put theology as a priority, but not of the highest priority.

(Source: A Puritan Mind)

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Computer breakdown

I've been trying to read a lot recently. Since I started studying part-time at the SMBC, I doubly tried to read more than before, the Bible, study-related texts, and other books that I planned to read as well.

That was probably the main reason why my updates have become more sparse these days, but last week, my computer broke down as well. So, until I buy a new one, I think I won't be posting new snippets of my thoughts as often as before.

Friday, 20 February 2009

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards: #9, #10

9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.
Well, I am not sure what to make of these, except that I can kind of see some usefulness of these two. At the risk of being quite wrong about the interpretation and reasons behind these two, I will make short comments on them.
I am guessing that #9 was to serve him as a reminder that he is a mortal being and he is trying to be ready for death and not be afraid of it. This could be a helpful thing for some of us if done with care, eg. we don't want to be suicidal.
#10 probably has more to do with making use of an opportunity to meditate on certain things at a given situation, ie. when he experienced pain, he would think of martyrs and be encouraged, and also the pain would remind him of how awful hell would be.

Ok, that's all I can say about these two.

(Source: A Puritan Mind)

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Howt to catch a spider bare-handed

There's this huge spider in my bathroom. I hate spiders. They are my worst enemies. But this wiki-how article made me laugh. Look at the warning section.

(Since that is a wiki-like page, I suppose it can change any time. I thought it was funny because the warning section simply says some spiders are deadly after telling you to catch a spider by covering it with your bare-hand.)

But... hmm.. what to do with that giant spider?! I think it's a huntsman...

(Update: Ah, this is better.)

Monday, 16 February 2009

I love pork.

Pork is my favourite meat. I can eat "samgyupsal" (a type of cut of pork, it's like bacon) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and for desert as well. But just by reading and looking at these photos, I feel my blood pressure rise and my major arteries clogging up. Still, I hope I will taste this one day.

(HT: Gordon Cheng, Soli Deo Honoria)

Friday, 13 February 2009

In the dark hour of John the Baptist... Jesus!

Jon Bloom over at the Desiring God wrote:
"The Savior does not break the bruised reed. He hears our pleas for help and is patient with our doubts. He does not condemn us. He has paid completely for any sin that is exposed in our pain.

He does not always answer with the speed we desire, nor is his answer always the deliverance we hope for. But he will always send the help that is needed. His grace will always be sufficient for those who trust him. The hope we taste in the promises we trust will often be the sweetest thing we experience in this age. And his reward will be beyond our imagination.

In John's darkness and pain Jesus sent a promise to sustain John's faith. He will do the same for you."

Do read the whole thing, it will do good to your soul.

(HT: Ron Click)

Tiny Book Review: True Blue?

It took me longer than I intended initially, but I finished reading "True Blue? : on being Australian".
It's a collection of many short-articles, poems, even photos that depict the Australians. The diversity and inconclusiveness as to what exactly makes an Australian is probably the conclusion of the book. Australia as a nation is still young, with great majority of its people being recent migrants (within the last 200 years or so), this book about Australians is by and large a collection of conversations. Authors of short articles give differing views. You yourself may as well disagree with what you read on a page and then agree on the next page.
All in all, I found this book a wonderful collection of thoughts, opinions, humour, reflection, which deepened my understanding and appreciation of Australian culture. I highly recommend this book for my friends.

You can get your own copy from Allen & Unwin, the ABC shop, or Amazon.

Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards: #8

8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.

It would be helpful to keep this resolution in my own mind if I want to battle my own sins. It will help me not to think of myself as any holier than others, and will stop myself from gossiping, and hopefully will lead me to pray. I should at the same time, however, not to think too strongly about these sins and despair.

(Source: A Puritan Mind)

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

The Religious Affections - 9: Certainty

The only certain foundation which any person has to believe that he is invited to partake of the blessings of the gospel, is, that the Word of God declares that persons so qualified as he is, are invited, and that God, who declares it, is true, and cannot lie. If a sinner be once convinced of the veracity of God, and that the Scriptures are His word, he will need no more to convince and satisfy him that he is invited; for the Scriptures are full of invitations to sinners, to the chief of sinners, to come and partake of the benefits of the gospel; he will not want any new speaking of God to him; what he hath spoken already will be enough with him.
- p. 151, The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards

After spending a lot (and I mean A LOT) on the unreliable signs, and particularly in this section regarding scriptures popping into one's head unintended by the person, Jonathan Edwards forcibly says that the gospel conviction only requires the Scriptures as the foundation. In other words, he is saying rightly that one need not and must not rely on the (extraordinary)* way that the scripture came into his mind, but the scripture itself. In my estimation, this is an extremely important distinction. I have seen my friends seemingly trusting what the scripture says not solely because it is God's Word, but because the words of the scriptures came to them in a special way.** Whether that be through a random opening of the bible and pointing a random verse with one's finger, or by a sudden unintended-flowing-in of verses to her own mind, or even a very passionate and charismatic(not necessarily theologically charismatic) preacher shouting out verses that seem to be relevant to the hearer, there's no difference. One must base his convictions on God's Word alone. This is essentially Sola Scriptura. This really should be Christian Faith 101, but so many people seem to get this wrong around me. Am I alone in feeling this way?

End notes:
* extraordinary is in brackets because some ways can be seen as extraordinary to some people, but to others it may as well be very ordinary. And yet, the most commonly-seen-as-ordinary way, that is, you reading the Bible for yourself is extraordinary in every way if you really think about it.
** This could be a bit of side tracking, but I will say it here briefly anyway. Of course, I am not saying that God cannot speak in an extraordinary way. God has in the past spoken to His people in ways that can only be seen as supernatural by us. And God can still do so whenever He chooses to. But the greatest miracle of all and at the same time the clearest revelation from God came 2000 years ago. Jesus, Word made flesh, God-man, Lord and Saviour, our eternal Priest-King is the supreme revelation above all else including your craziest visions and dreams. That Jesus affirmed, confirmed, and fulfilled the Scriptures. Hence, since Jesus' ascension and until His return, there's absolutely no better revelation than the Scriptures.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Pray for Chris Miles

My friend from church, Chris Miles was diagnosed with cancer few months ago. After undergoing a surgery, he now is going through the chemotherapy.
Please pray for his speedy recovery, his growth in faith through this difficult time, for the comfort of his family, and above all, God to be glorified in the Miles.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards: #5 - 7

Three resolutions coming your way.
5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

These three seem to be all concerning the time and its preciousness. Resolution #6 might be a little different, but it still deals with how intentionally, forcefully, purposefully, and carefully we should spend every moment of our lives.

If only I could remember all these always, and put into practice all the time...
I have not read the book, but these resolutions remind me of Don't Waste Your Life. In fact, these resolutions would mean nothing and achieve nothing if one did not understand what it means to make use of time in the most profitable way with all his might as if it were the last hour of his life. It will only be meaningful and not wasted if it is used for the glory of God by trusting in Jesus and following Him.

(Source: A Puritan Mind)

Thursday, 5 February 2009

The Religious Affections - 8: Assuarance

I picked up The Religious Affections again.

Here's a paragraph from what I read the other day.
It is not God's design that men should obtain assurance in any other way than by mortifying corruption, and increasing in grace, and obtaining the lively exercises of it. And although self-examination be a duty of great use and importance, and by no means to be neglected, yet it is not the principal means by which the saints do get satisfaction of their good estate. Assurance is not to be obtained so much by self-examination as by action. The Apostle Paul sought assurance chiefly this way, even by "forgetting the things that were behind, and reaching forth unto those things that were before, pressing towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus; if by any means he might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." And it was by this means chiefly that he obtained assurance: 1 Cor. 9:26, "I therefore so run, not as uncertainly." He obtained assurance of winning the prize, more by running than by considering. The swiftness of his pace did more towards his assurance of a conquest than the strictness of his examination.
-- Jonathan Edwards, from The Religious Affections p. 123 (italics original)

Something I would do well to remember.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Great photo works

Smashing Magazine has great articles about design and web. I just saw a great examples of beautiful city photos. Enjoy!

Grace Abounding

Truly, God pours out His grace abundantly, and His grace overcomes what resistance you may exert against Him. If you are doubtful of this, get to know a Christian, and listen to her as she tells you how she came to know the Lord. Most often, I hear Christians telling me how they continuously failed to keep their promises to God, or even stopped acknowledging His Lordship. It's not described in the bible only; the triumph of God's grace over rebelliousness and ignorance of people are still found near and among us.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
-- Eph. 2:1-9

All glory and praise to Him who loves us.

Problems at Google?

Ok, it's really late night here in Sydney (or early, depending on how you look at it), but here's something strange I noticed.
When I search for anything on google, every link it shows comes up with a threat warning. Like below:
When I try to go to the link, it displays a warning page, then, when I try to look at the actual threat diagnostic page, it shows there's a server error.
A server error at Google?!

I've got a couple of theory.
1) A simple one. A human mistake, or error in judgement. Engineers at Google failed to keep the diagnostic servers up, or the search result displaying servers have failed for some human mistakes.
2) Google is being attacked by crackers. They don't like Google's threat analysis, and have succeeded in executing a DoS (Denial of Service) attack.

Hmm... I wonder how long it's going to take Google to fix this issue. I bet they'd be pretty quick!

(Update: Gee, looks like they've already fixed it, while I was writing up this post!)

(Update 2: Ars reports the Google glitch.)