Friday, August 20, 2010

Faith and Trudging...

A friend and I were talking about the hard times of Christianity. Sometimes, it's a hard path to be on, that of faith. Sometimes, you want to give up because of the misconception of Christianity today (no pun intended) as being that of rainbows, prosperity, and having whatever you want; that is not true Christianity. What do you do during that struggle? What do you do when you feel as though you're walking waist deep in mud? Well, here is what my friend wrote me.

"This is an interesting topic, and an interesting time to bring it up. And I don't want you to think in any way, shape or form, that I am dismissing you, as I am not, and would not.
We have talked about somethings in my past, how I had gone to college to be a minister, cause that is what I felt God had called me to, and as you pointed out, it might have been to be a youth pastor. Yet I felt that I hadn't lived a life so I could understand. I didn't know much about life, so how could I relate. A big world out there, and yet, I had lived in a small town, after being sheltered in a big town in Ann Arbor. There was also, at the time, my questioning the loneliness of being single, when I wanted so much to be in a relationship. How I would look more for the girl then for God, and that is - in the end - a massive distraction from what we are called to do, and we should do, which is to focus on God.
I felt abandoned at times by God. And it could have been called a trial, it could have been called lack of faith, there are a lot of things I could have been called, but it ultimately led me to question my faith in God. "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will grant you the desires of your heart" Okay, I did, WHERE ARE THEY?
So, then we need to look at what God wants for our life, verses what we want for our life, and I can guarantee you, they are two different things, most of the time. In fact, I use to stump Campus Crusade kids by asking that if we Delight ourselves in God, and He grants us the desires of our heart, isn't that just God giving us what HE wants us to have, instead of our free will of what WE want to have? And if they are in line, isn't that more brain washing then free will?
I have had my heart CRUSHED by relationships, and it takes time to rebound from them, not because of God's lack of love, but by my, and man's inability to move on and let go. And there are times when pain is the only way you know you are still alive.
Christian music in the Early 80's was all bubblegum stuff, How happy we all are in the Lord, How the Lord shines through our lives, and we have no complaints, and no problems. Well, there is a hurting group out there, who have faith, who have belief, who wonder what happened, and at many times in my life, I have been one of them. From where I would have expected my life to be, to where I would like my life to be, to where my life is. Then I discovered Keith Green, who sang from the heart, not only songs of praise and worship, but also songs of hurt and dismay, saying God, I don't understand, what happened, how did this go astray. Keith made people acknowledge that people hurt while still having faith. I was very sad when God called him home.
But there lays something that follows your comments. People lose heart, and mistake that for faith. And if they do lose the faith, did they have it to begin with? Did they really learn what they bible teaches? So many follow Joel Osteen, Robert Schuller, that Faith is all blue skies and blessings, and it isn't, and never has been. Faith is hard. Faith is work. ESPECIALLY in the times of today. If it wasn't hard, if it wasn't work, and IF IT WASN'T WORTH IT, then Paul wouldn't have been crucified on an upside down cross, and it wouldn't have cost Jesus his life. Paul talked in his writings about trials and tribulations, and so many people try to gloss over that, and you can't. If you do, you short yourself and you short the requirements of faith. Faith is simple with the blessings, but how is faith in the hard times? In the dry times? In the times that makes one wonder, where is God? Does God care? Does God love me? Why is my life falling apart? And trust me, those times are there, and they can be very tough, very rough, and as you can see by the article, they can cause one to just give it up.
How many times, in my own personal life would it have just been easier to say SCREW IT, I'm done. Instead, I say, God I don't understand. I am tired of moving, from going from place to place, not having roots, and talking to people who just don't understand. Why do I keep getting judged by a world that doesn't love you, and family that doesn't understand you, who keeps putting me down, because I have a different path then they do, and they just call me lazy, flaky, irresponsible, and why God, do I care?
The hard times are there, they test your faith, and there are times, God will let the faith be tested, and some of those we pass, and some of those we fail, but the ultimate thing we as believers must always understand and believe, God forgives us for our short comings. God loves us for our short comings, and God wants us to grow, to be trustful of Him, and to grow in Him, and growth hurts at times.
Let God in your heart, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that he Died, and thee days later Rose again, and Jesus will always be there, even when it feels that He isn't, HE IS.

Sorry for the ramblings, but I hope they made sense, as I tried to bring some personal insight into it all."
Mark Casey

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why there needs to be an Android tablet

The idea of the iPad is a marvelous idea. Yeah, at first I didn't care for the idea that much and I was against it. I publicly was against the iPad which can be seen over in the TR discussion threads, but why was I against the iPad? I had misunderstood the goal of the iPad. I had understood the goal of the iPad as a laptop killer. Given that description, one could easily see why I thought that was a horrible idea. The iPad couldn't possibly be a laptop killer at all. No physical keyboard, it's touch screen only, there are storage limitations, etc. You can read all of that in the forums at TR.

How the iPad Shines

The iPad is a great lightweight device for web browsing, sharing pictures like a porfolio, and for taking notes in a meeting. For those people that primarily use their computers as a consumption device, i.e., web browsing then the iPad is the perfect device for you. If you use a computer for content creation, i.e., creating documents, spreadsheets, emails, websites, or if you're a gamer then the iPad is definitely not for you.

Apple has hit the gold mine with this device. I would say that most computer users fall under the consumption label. The iPad can provide that service for quick information reading, email checking, listening to music, etc. Another great thing about is the quick startup of the iPad. When you turn it on, it's like turning on a smartphone because the iPad uses the mobile operating system used on the iPhone! Now that is another great feature of the iPad: no startup. If you want to look up something quick on the internet, no problem! You won't have to wait for your computer to startup if it's off, or wait for it to wakeup if it's asleep.

This is why there needs to be an Android tablet. Think about it. If the iPad is this good when it's the only guy in the competition, then the technology will grow with the arrival the competitor. Also, prices will drop with the addition of a competitor, which I think will be an Android based tablet. This is a very interesting time to be in technologically speaking, due to the level of growth we've seen over the past fifteen years in technology.
So, if there is an Android tablet, not only will that benefit technology, but it will also benefit the consumer with competive pricing, making these good lightweight devices available to more people. Right now, the iPad is around $500, which is a steep price for most people. However, if you're going to spend that much on a computer and the only thing you do is browse the web, then I would suggest purchasing an iPad. Or, you can wait for an Android based tablet to come on the scene. In my opinion, the prices will drop then.

Check out the iPad articles at TechRepublic

iPad website here

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dinesh D'Souza debates and lectures

Dinesh D'Souza, author of books such as: What's So Great About Christianity, What's So Great About America, and others, is a Conservative writer and speaker who once served as a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His apologetic method is strong on rhetoric, reason, and historic facts. D'Souza has had debates with many key atheists/skeptics and has defended Christianity well. Check out his various mp3 debates and lectures below.

for more visit's website or here at Wheaton College's resource page.

Dinesh D'Souza at Wikipedia.

Monday, August 9, 2010

TechRepublic Questions of the Week

Are you having computer problems? Well, check out TechRepublic and their questions forum! There is almost always a question there that relates to whatever problem you may be having. TR (short for TechRepublic) has helped me a lot and it can help you too. There are plenty of IT professionals at TR (including me) that take the time to answer people's questions.

If you have "Googled" your problem and can't seem to find the answer, then post your question at TR and see if someone there can help you. Make sure and state your problem in detail, naming your Operating System (Windows XP, Vista, 7; Apple OS; or whatever Linux flavor you may be running), specs of your computer (as much as you know), and the actual error message you received (if any). The more information an IT pro' knows, the easier it is to help you. Also, make sure and state that you have searched your question online first before you just posted a question on TR; it will earn you a lot of respect because it shows that you at least tried to solve the problem on your own.

The Web is laced with answers to computer questions, but I understand that it is easier just to ask a question in a tech forum, especially if you don't know a whole lot about technology.

It's easy to become a member there and once you are a member, feel free to chime in on discussions and questions! There just might be a question posted that you could help out with.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Is the Old Testament Ethical?

Often, the main offense people take to the Bible is the old testament. They see the actions of God in the old testament as cruel, unjust, unloving and that's just some of the nice things said; I've heard worse about the old testament and of God. At first read, sure, there are cruel and unjust things (according to us) done in the old testament, there's no doubt about that. After a second read, a second thought, and looking at another viewpoint the old testament is understood clearly.

I've read a good essay about the old testament and its ethics, so I thought I would share it here. This essay is from the Apologetics Study Bible and it's written by Christopher Wright.

1) Prejudice against scripture

  • OT portrays a violent God
  • OT portrays a violent people
  • OT is filled with narratives recounting horrendous events
  • Disreputable people playing major roles

2) Reasons the Old Testament is Ethical

  • It was ethical for Jesus
  1. He accepted the truth and ethical validity of the OT in His life, mission, and teaching.
  2. Mt 6-7 sayings don't contradict, but deepen/correct popular inferences.
  3. Jesus reminded His hearers that Leviticus 19 also says, "Love the alien as yourself," extending this to include "love your enemy."
  4. Jesus affirmed and strengthened the OT ethic.
  • Narratives describe what happened, not what was necessarily approved.
  1. We assume wrongly that if a story is in scripture, it must be "what God wanted."
  2. Biblical narrators dealt with the real world, with all its corrupt and fallen ambiguity.
  3. Shouldn't mistake realism for ethical approval.
  4. OT stories challenge us to wonder at God's amazing grace and to patience in continually working out His purposes through such morally compromised people.
  5. OT stories challenge us to be discerning in evaluating their conduct according to standards the OT itself provides.
  • The Conquest of Canaan
  1. Must be understood for what it was.
  2. It was a limited event. The conquest narratives describe one particular period of Israel's long history. Many of the other wars that occur in the OT narrative had no divine sanction, and some were clearly condemned as the actions of proud, greedy Kings or military rivals.

3) An eye for an eye is remarkably humane

  • Metaphorical, not literal
  • Not a license for unlimited vengeance, but the opposite; it established the fundamental legal principle of proportionality.
  • Punishment mustn't exceed the gravity of the offense.

More OT ethics resources:

Peter S. Williams on the ethics of the Old Testament here

Questions about the Bible

Questions about God

Moral and ethics resources at Apologetics315