So, you’re doing a report on Creation vs. Evolution…

29 08 2008

[An excellent and helpful article from the Answers in Genesis web site]

Every school year, students wanting to do a paper on “Creation vs. Evolution” contact Answers in Genesis for our advice and insights. In reply, we share the following points with our studious enquirers.

General advice in writing your paper

  • If you are assigned a specific topic, please be sure to stick to the topic given. For example, if your set topic is “antibiotics,” then it is worth explaining antibiotic resistance and why this is not an example of particles-to-people evolution because no new information is ever generated. But it would not be appropriate to discuss religion vs. science or the age of the earth in such an essay. Or, in a report about rock formations, it is perfectly appropriate to discuss evidence of catastrophic formation of the rocks, but not the evolutionary basis of Nazism.
  • If you have not been assigned a specific topic, please be aware of the following. Because the “Creation vs. Evolution” issue covers a wide range of areas, it is too broad to be dealt with adequately in one paper. Therefore, we suggest choosing one aspect of this debate to focus on—particularly, an area you may find interesting.
  • Do not say “evolution is just a theory.” While you probably mean “evolution is unproven,” the problem with calling evolution “a theory” is that scientists use the word differently from laymen. A “theory” in science means a well-substantiated explanation of data. The evolution conjecture should not be called a “theory,” because this gives it unwarranted respectability by association with the Theory of Relativity, Newton’s Theory of Gravity, the Debye-Hückel theory of electrolytes, etc. All these theories have strong experimental support (although Newton’s theory has been augmented by Einstein’s). In contrast, evolution of life from non-living matter and from one basic type of organism to a different type has not the slightest experimental/observational support.
  • In certain essays, you may be expected to write about what you’ve been taught during the class. Also with examinations, you are being tested on your knowledge of the course. Please be aware that these are not appropriate times to “preach.” For example, if you are asked “how old is the Earth?,” then the (correct!) answer of ~6000 years will almost certainly be marked wrong, because the course would have said ~4.5 billion years. So you don’t have to lie, we recommend prefixing your answer with: “Most scientists believe that . . .” or “The general consensus among geochronologists is . . . .” Remember, an exam is not a test of your personal beliefs. Rather, it is a test of how well you have learnt and understood the course as taught.
  • Try to anticipate possible “come-backs.” E.g. if you say: “There are no transitional forms,” then your teacher may downgrade you and say: “Haven’t you heard of Archaeopteryx and Lucy?” While these examples are not convincing when looked at in depth, it would still be better to say: “While Darwin predicted that the fossil record would show numerous transitional fossils, even 140 years later, all we have are a handful of disputable examples.” Or if you say: “There are no beneficial mutations,” your teacher may suggest, however inappropriately, sickle-cell anaemia or wingless beetles as examples of mutations that can be beneficial to the organism. It would be better to say: “Mutations have been observed to destroy, delete or corrupt genetic information or to be neutral, but have not been observed to add information. This is true even of ‘beneficial’ mutations like shrivelled-eyed cave fish or flightless beetles on windswept islands, where the changes still involve loss of sight or flight. However particles to people evolution requires so many information-increasing mutations, that it should be easy to find such mutations happening today, and we have yet to observe even one.” (See also Arguments Creationists Shouldn’t Use.)
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Mutual obligations of believers

29 08 2008

God does not call individuals in isolation from others, but rather, He calls us into a body. We live out our faith, then, in relationship to God and to our fellow believers. Rugged individualism is not a Biblical ideal. What duties do you owe to your brothers and sisters in Christ? Here is what the Bible says about our mutual obligations toward one another. I hope this will challenge and encourage you in your interactions with your fellow believers…

 

 

Twelve Mutual Obligations for Every Christian

 

 1. Mutual love

 

Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

 

1Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently:

 

1 John 3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

 

1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

  

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

  

1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

  

1 John 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

  

2 John 1:5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

  

2. Mutual edification

  

Romans 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

  

3. Mutual admonition

  

Romans 15:14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

  

Colossian 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

  

Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

  

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

  

Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

  

4. Mutual care

  

1 Corinthians 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but [that] the members should have the same care one for another.

  

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, [be ye] all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, [be] pitiful, [be] courteous:

 5. Mutual service

 Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

  

1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

  

6. Mutual forbearance

  

Ephesians 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

  

Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.

  

James 4:11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of [his] brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

  

7. Mutual forgiveness

  

Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

  

8. Mutual honesty

  

Colossians 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

  

9. Mutual comfort

  

1 Thessalonians 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

  

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

  

10. Mutual confession

  

James 5:16 Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

  

11. Mutual hospitality

  

1 Peter 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

  

12. Mutual submission

  

1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.





Recognizing God

28 08 2008

[Excerpt from Practical Sermons, by Ichabod Spencer]

“The state of those who are really irreligious is described in the Bible, by saying they are without God in the world.  Whatever else this description may mean, it certainly means that they are greatly unconscious of God’s particular dealings with them. This is their ordinary condition of mind. They are very slow to see God in any of his external providences. They can see nature as they call it but they cannot see God. At most they see him only acting on a general system, which they suppose has no special application or significance for them. God may do what he pleases to them in his providence; may send sickness or health, poverty or riches, trial or triumph; they are slow to believe he means any thing in particular by it. Just so in respect to any of their internal affections, of grief or joy, of hope or despair. They do not recognize God. They are as slow to recognize him within them as without them.”





The Christian at work (Part 3)

27 08 2008

How do you relate prayer to work? Does this seem like an odd question? If you are a Christian it shouldn’t. If your goal is to live every facet of your life to the glory of God, you must consistently consecrate every activity and every endeavor to Him in prayer. If you wish to please Him in your daily activities, you will need to seek His blessing, direction, and provision and consciously submit your will to His. Your vocation is a major part of your life. It is a daily stage in which you are called to demonstrate God’s grace and truth in the midst of a world that operates on the principles of “me first” and “whatever it takes to get to the top.” To walk into that arena prayerlessly would be like walking onto a battlefield without armor, communications, or a battle plan.

The third principle for integrating faith in the workplace, then, we will refer to as the principle of active dependence. It is the deliberate cultivation of daily dependence upon God to enable you to represent Him well in the calling in which He has placed you. As a Christian, you are called to do your work “as unto the Lord, and not unto men.” If you are to put this principle into practice, you must be in constant communication with your True Employer through prayer. Spurgeon wrote:

Faith leads a man to look to God for help in his ordinary avocation. Here, again, it has a great influence over him. A believer may seek of God the qualifications for his particular calling. “What,” say you, “may we pray about such things?” Yes. The labourer may appeal to God for strength; the artisan may ask God for skill; the student may seek God for help to quicken his intelligence.”

Pray daily for skill, understanding, and ability

There are a plethora of resources available to professionals to help them succeed in the marketplace. Most focus on harnessing the “inner strength” of the individual, finding the “magic pill” that will give you a new perspective and enable you to unlock the secrets of success. For the follower of Jesus Christ, the secret of success is active dependence upon God, submitting every thought, action and decision to Him, and walking in His will. The man who does this will be successful, perhaps not as the world defines success, but certainly as God defines it.

Do you want to do well, and glorify God in your vocation? Do you feel inadequacy in some area of your work? Are there aspects of your job that you don’t understand, or skills that you feel you lack? Go to your heavenly Father and ask Him to help you to glorify Him by growing in your effectiveness and mastery of your field. If your genuine desire is to honor Him, rather than merely enriching yourself or building your own reputation, you will find Him more than ready to help you in your daily endeavors.

David was a great warrior, and he attributed his valour to God who taught his hands to war and his fingers to fight. We read of Bezaleel, and of the women that were wise-hearted, that God had taught them, so that they made all manner of embroidery and metal work for the house of the Lord. In those days they used to reckon skill and invention to be the gifts of God; this wretched century has grown too wise to honour any God but its own idolized self. If you pray over your work I am persuaded you will be helped in it. If for your calling you are as yet but slenderly qualified, you may every morning pray God to help you that you may be careful and observant as an apprentice or a beginner; for has he not promised that as your day your strength shall be? A mind which is trusting in the Lord is in the best condition for acquiring knowledge, and getting understanding.”

Prayer for godly conduct in the workplace

Even more important than your skillfulness in executing your vocational tasks is your behavior in the workplace. Your credibility among your co-workers, superiors and subordinates depends upon your faithfulness as an individual who professes Christ. Especially as a professing Christian, your fellow workers will be watching your conduct. If your speech and behavior are inconsistent with godliness, you will not only lose credibility as a professional, but you will give the enemies of Christ a reason to blaspheme. Daily diligence in prayer is essential to maintaining godliness in the workplace. Ask the Lord each day to grant you the grace to respond to every situation and challenge in a manner that honors Him. Pray for help to guard your tongue from harshness, gossip, backbiting, and disingenuousness. And above all, pray for humility, that when you stumble in these things, you will have the grace to confess it and make it right with your fellow workers. Without purposeful prayer, you cannot hope to maintain a godly testimony. Spurgeon puts it this way:

As to your behaviour also in your work, there is room for faith and prayer. For, O brethren, whether qualified or not for any particular offices of this life, our conduct is the most important matter. It is well to be clever, but it is essential to be pure. I would have you masters of your trades, but I am even more earnest that you should be honest, truthful, and holy. About this we may confidently go to God and ask him to lead us in a plain path, and to hold up our goings that we slip not, He can and will help us to behave ourselves wisely. “Lead us not into temptation” is one sentence of our daily prayer, and we may further ask that when we are in the temptation we may be delivered from the evil. We need prudence, and faith remembers that if any lack wisdom he may ask of God. Godliness teaches the young men prudence, the babes knowledge and discretion. See how Joseph prospered in Egypt because the Lord was with him. He was placed in very difficult positions, on one occasion in a position of the most terrible danger, but he escaped by saying, “How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” A sense of God’s presence preserved him then and at all other times. He was set over all the house of Potiphar because God was with him. And so, dear friends, engaged in service or in business, you may go to your heavenly Father and ask him to guide you with his counsel, and you may rest assured that he will order all your way, so that your daily calling shall not hinder your heavenly calling, nor your conduct belie your profession.”

Pray for success, as God defines it 

James exhorts us that we do not have because we do not ask, and when we ask and don’t receive, it is because we have asked with wrong motives, that we may spend what we receive on our own pleasures (James 4:2-3). Two important things are evident here. First, God expects us to pray for His blessing upon our labors. It is not wrong to ask God to prosper you in your vocation. He promises to bless those who seek Him and to prosper the work of their hands. Second, God will not grant success if you are not seeking it for His glory. If your goal is self-advancement, you have no right to expect divine favor in your pursuits. But if you desire to do well in order to glorify God and serve the ends of advancing His kingdom, He will grant you success. One important caveat, though: success must be defined in God’s terms, which are not necessarily linked to your material prosperity. When asking God to bless your labors, and prosper you in your vocation, you must be careful to submit your will to the divine will. It may be that God purposes to put you through a lean time, in order to strengthen your faith and increase your dependence upon Him. Remember that God does not define success as the world does, merely in terms of increasing in earthly possessions, wealth, or prestige. God defines success as that which most glorifies Him and serves the purposes of His kingdom. Spurgeon challenges us:

Faith bids you seek help from God as to the success of your daily calling. Know ye not what David says, ‘Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.’ It is a most pleasant thing to be able by faith to consult the holy oracle about everything, whether it arises in trade, or in the family, or in the church. We may say with Abraham’s servant, ‘O Lord, I pray thee send me good speed this day.’ You may expect success if you thus seek it: and peradventure some of you would have prospered more if you had more believingly sought the Lord. I say ‘peradventure,’ because God does not always prosper even his own people in outward things, since it is sometimes better for their souls that they should be in adversity, and then the highest prosperity is a want of prosperity. Faith quiets the heart in this matter by enabling us to leave results in the hand of God.”

Pray for fellowship and support

One final area for which a believer can and should pray in relation to his daily pursuits is God’s provision of friends and associates who will help, support, encourage, inspire and challenge him. God has created us as social beings, and the encouragement of friends is a great help to the soul. Yet, as all things are under the providential care and governance of God, it is important to commit this aspect of our vocations to Him in prayer as well. Ask Him to raise up fellow-believers around you, that you may lift up and support one another. Ask Him to make you a light among your co-workers, that some may even be drawn to Christ by your humble and godly example. Ask Him to surround you with sound advisors, and those who are endowed with gifts and abilities that complement yours. Ask Him to keep you from evil company, and those who would lead you into sin. Take hold of this promise: “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path” (Prov. 3:6). Here are Spurgeon’s comments:

Faith acts also in reference to our surroundings. We are all very much influenced by those about us. God can raise us up friends who will be eminently helpful to us, and we may pray him to do so: he can put us into a circle of society in which we shall find much assistance in this life’s affairs, and also in our progress towards heaven; and concerning this we know that ‘The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord.’ Faith will keep you clear of evil company, and constrain you to seek the society of the excellent of this earth, and thus it will colour your whole life. If there be no friends to help him, the believer’s dependence is so fixed upon God, that he goes forward in cheerful confidence knowing that the Lord alone is sufficient for him; yet, if he be encouraged and assisted by friends, he looks upon it as God’s doing, as much as when David was strengthened by those who came to him in the cave.”

Imitate your Savior, who was a man of prayer

Spurgeon closes the section of his discourse on the necessity of prayer in the workplace with an exhortation to follow the example of our Lord Jesus, and we will give him the last word on this subject:

Do you say, We see the connection of this with faith, but how with faith upon the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us? I answer,-Our Saviour as the object of our faith is also the object of our imitation, and you know, brethren, how in all things he rested upon God. Whenever he undertook a great enterprise you find him spending a night in prayer. If anybody could have dispensed with prayer it was our Lord Jesus; if any man that ever lived could have found his own way without heavenly guidance it was Christ the Son of God. If then he was as much in prayer and exercised faith in the great Father, much more should you and I bring everything before God. We should live in the flesh expecting that the Lord Jesus will be with us even to the end, and that we shall be upheld and comforted by his sympathetic love and tenderness. Faith enables us to follow Jesus as the great Shepherd of the sheep, and to expect to be led in a right way, and daily upheld and sustained until the Redeemer shall come to receive us unto himself.”





Military Intelligence Exam

27 08 2008

[The following exam for was given to me by a co-worker who once served in the USAF]

NOTE: Since Intelligence Officers and NCO’s are responsible for a multitude of subjects it is necessary that they be extremely well qualified and skilled in many tasks. Prior to certification as a super outstanding brilliant Intel type, each of you must pass the following test with a score of 110%.

1. HISTORY: Describe the history of the papacy from its origins to the present day, concentrating especially, but not exclusively on its social, political, economic, religious, and philosophical respects and impact on Europe, Asia, America, and Africa. Be brief, concise and specific.

2. MEDICINE: You have been provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze, and a bottle of Scotch. Remove your appendix. Do not suture your work until it has been inspected. You have 15 minutes.

3. PUBLIC SPEAKING: There are 2,600 riot crazed Aborigines storming the test room. Calm them. You may use any ancient language except Latin or Greek.

4. MUSIC: Write a piano concerto. Orchestrate and perform it with a flute and drum. You will find a piano under your chair.

5. EDUCATION: Develop a fool proof and inexpensive system of education that will meet the needs of all segments of society. Convince both the faculty and rioting students outside to accept it. Limit yourself to the vocabulary found in the Dick and Jane reading series.

6. PSYCHOLOGY: Based on your knowledge of their works, evaluate the emotional stability, degree of adjustment, and repressed frustrations of the following: Alexander of Aphrodisias, Rameses II, Gregory of Nyssa, and Hammerabi. Support your evaluations with quotations from each man’s works, making appropriate references. It is not necessary to translate.

7. SOCIOLOGY: Estimate the sociological problems that might accompany the end of the world. Construct an experiment to test your theory.

8. BIOLOGY: Create life. Estimate the difference in subsequent human culture if this form of life had been developed 500 millions years ago, with special attention to the probable effect on the English parliamentary system. Prove your thesis.

9. ENGINEERING: The disassembled parts of a high-powered rifle have been placed in a box on your desk. You will also find an instruction manual printed in Swahili. In 10 minutes a hungry Bengal tiger will be admitted to the room. Take whatever action you feel appropriate. Be prepared to justify your decision.

10. POLITICAL SCIENCE: There is a red phone on your desk. Start World War III. Report at length on its socio-political effects, if any.

11. EPISTEMOLOGY: Take a position for or against truth. Prove the validity of your position.

12. GENERAL KNOWLEDGE: Describe in detail your general knowledge. Be objective and specific.

If you pass this test, you are entitled to give advice to all agencies, however, do not expect the advice to be followed, but remember you may be held responsible.





Welcome freshmen… here’s something to get you started

27 08 2008

Here is a link to my son’s blog, The Realm of My Imagination, where you can read his account of checking in at his new college and the lovely “welcome gifts” that were awaiting him in his student mailbox…





Hackysack Pappy

26 08 2008

Here’s a goofy video that my son took of me playing hackysack in my backyard. Pretty spry for an old fat guy!