Archive for July, 2008

Proverbs 12:18

Thursday 24 July 2008

Some people make cutting remarks,
but the words of the wise bring healing.

I am progressing through a very challenging personal Bible study book called Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes – and that is not to say what a great Christian woman I am – because the book has been in our house for months now, staring at me in the face daring me to read it. And I finally found the guts and grace to open the book and commit to completing it!

Disciplines of a Godly Woman book

The sections are all very good, but I have to say that one has really stood out so far, about 8 sections in. And that section was about ‘propriety.’ Thankfully, Mrs. Hughes gives a definition of the word, as its gone out of use so much that I couldn’t quite recall what it meant…

“It means ‘characterized by appropriateness or suitability.'” (p 89 in Disciplines)

I thought… Alright – I know I’m polite, because I am a Christian and all… this shouldn’t be as hard as the other disciplines, right? Well, she got to the part about what we say as women, and that stopped me in my tracks. Especially the verses she quoted – like Proverbs 12:18, and others. It struck me that its not always enough to bite my tongue at the right times when I’m tempted to say something unhelpful. (Although I think I will keep doing that…) The second part of the verse says but the words of the wise bring healing. We aren’t meant to just look good and act right – we’re supposed to bring healing to those around us through our words. And I know that starts with my heart – which is what Godly propriety is – an attitude of the heart which spurs theraputic actions. I could go on, but for now…

Heavenly Father, as I dwell on your Word, replace my bad attitudes with holy ones so that I can, through my actions, bring healing to those around me by your Holy Spirit.

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Linux simplicity

Friday 18 July 2008

I love linux – it’s so clean and simple. Today I wanted to record a section of a DVD (of a Wycliffe member being interviewed on TV) in mp3 format so that I could email it to another member who is visually impaired.

In Windows I would have been searching for a while, trying to separate the malware from the rubbish in a vain attempt to find some free programme that would do what I wanted without clogging up my computer. In linux I just searched for “rip dvd mp3 linux” and found this page.

3 minutes and three commands (the last of which looks complicated but is well explained in the tutorial) later I have my mp3.

sudo apt-get install lsdvd transcode

lsdvd

transcode -i /dev/dvd -x dvd -T 1,1,1 -a 0 -y raw -m filename.mp3

And the best thing is I can relax knowing that the software came from a central repository, so isn’t going to cause my computer to crash, spy on me or be generally annoying.

A Theology of Suffering

Tuesday 15 July 2008

Eddie has written an excellent post about how our understanding of God must include the knowledge that he will use difficult situations in our lives to bring glory to himself. There will be times when he miraculously heals and provides for us, but there will also be (probably many more) times when he does immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine… by allowing us to suffer for his sake.

As a Bible Translator, I’d have loved it if a miracle had put the whole of the New Testament into Kouya with a single word of power. It would have saved a lot of work, isolation, tiredness, malaria and sheer intellectual effort. But God didn’t do that; nevertheless, the example of a plainly fallible English couple who were prepared to sacrifice themselves had an impact on at least one young man who is now in a major leadership role in his country. Oh, and the New Testament was translated and is being read. No signs, wonders or miracles – sometimes more or less the opposite – but God’s Kingdom was being revealed!

What do the Scriptures have to say about this? Yes, in Jesus ministry miracles are very definitely shown as signs of the Kingdom – John even uses the word sign to describe them. I’m not knocking miracles. But look at these two sections taken from Hebrews 11.

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.

They were living by faith, but they hadn’t received the things that God had promised them. The sort of theology of faith which tells you that if you believe enough God will give you exactly what you want just can’t stand in the light of a verse like this – much less in the burning intensity of the whole Scriptural witness to God’s people being called again and again to suffer. read more

There are times when God will bring glory to himself through miracles. But there are also times when he will do it through the miracle of an obedient and faithful heart in the face of suffering.

To go back to Eddie’s first example, God could have just translated the whole Bible for the Kouya immediately, and everyone would have been amazed and could sit back and relax. But how much more could the Kouya people learn from the faithful witness and dedication even in difficult times of Eddie and Sue and others who followed God’s leading? If he had done it miraculously we would be talking about a God who does our difficult work for us, but instead we see another side of God’s character – that he chooses to involve us in his work despite our failings, and gives us grace each day to live for him. Surely it’s the miracle of “Christ in us, the hope of glory”, that has the eternal impact in building God’s kingdom among the people around us.

I was going to say a lot more, but keep finding that Eddie has already pretty much said it, so I’ll stop and just link to his post