Friday, September 30, 2011

God's Order in the World of Math

Seth found this paragraph on a trigonometry website recommended by his math professor:

"If there is anything in mathematics that deserves to be called beautiful, it is here. We find such beauty especially when geometry is reflected by simple arithmetic. The Pythagorean theorem is another example: 3² + 4² = 5². We discover those relationships in those archetypal forms. We do not invent them."

Isn't this a neat testimony to the order that God built into our world?

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Deity of Jesus the Christ

 A recent encounter with a Jehovah's Witness prompted me to go on a search for specific Scriptures which speak of the deity of Jesus.  I was awed at the the depth and breadth of the Scriptural testimony to the divine nature of Christ.  Below is a list of some of the passages that I found most significant.

Verses that explicitly refer to Jesus as God:

 "For to us a child is born,
        to us a son is given;
    and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
        and his name shall be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
        Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
(Isaiah 9:6 ESV)

"...waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,"  (Titus 2:13 ESV)

"For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily..."  (Colossians 2:9 ESV)

"And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life."  (1 John 5:20 ESV)

    “'Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
        and they shall call his name Immanuel'”
    (which means, God with us).
(Matthew 1:23 ESV)

"To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen."  (Romans 9:5 ESV)

Verses that show the superiority of Jesus over the angels:

"For to which of the angels did God ever say,
    'You are my Son,
        today I have begotten you'?
"Or again,
    'I will be to him a father,
        and he shall be to me a son'?
"And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
    'Let all God's angels worship him.'
"Of the angels he says,
    'He makes his angels winds,
        and his ministers a flame of fire.'
"But of the Son he says,
    'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
        the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
    You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
    therefore God, your God, has anointed you
        with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.'
"And,
    'You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
        and the heavens are the work of your hands;
    they will perish, but you remain;
        they will all wear out like a garment,
    like a robe you will roll them up,
        like a garment they will be changed.
    But you are the same,
        and your years will have no end.'
"And to which of the angels has he ever said,
    'Sit at my right hand
        until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet'?
"Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?"
(Hebrews 1:5-14 ESV)

Michael is referred to as ONE of the chief princes:

"The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia,"  (Daniel 10:13 ESV)

Jesus, on the other hand, is referred to as the supreme authority:

"'They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.'”  (Revelation 17:14 ESV)

"...that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,"  (Ephesians 1:20-22 ESV)

Michael would not pronounce a judgment on Satan:
 
"But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, 'The Lord rebuke you.'"  (Jude 1:9 ESV)

Jesus, however, plainly rebuked Satan:

"Then Jesus said to him, 'Be gone, Satan! For it is written,"You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve."'" (Matthew 4:10 ESV)

The angels refuse worship:

"I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, 'You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.'"  (Revelation 22:8-9 ESV)

Jesus accepted worship from the wise men (Matthew 2:11), a leper (Matthew 8:2), a ruler (Matthew 9:18), a blind man (John 9:38), "every knee" (Philippians 2:10-11), and angels (Hebrews 1:6)!

Verses that show that the Jews understood Jesus to be claiming divinity:

"But Jesus answered them, 'My Father is working until now, and I am working.'  This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God."  (John 5:17-18 ESV)

"'I and the Father are one.'  The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, 'I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?' The Jews answered him, 'It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.'"  (John 10:30-33 ESV)

Verses where Jesus refers to Himself as "I am" (which is tied to the name YHWH in Exodus 3):
 
"'Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.'  So the Jews said to him, 'You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?' Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.'"  (John 8:56-58 ESV)

"Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, 'Whom do you seek?' They answered him, 'Jesus of Nazareth.' Jesus said to them, 'I am he.' Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them."  (John 18:4-5 ESV)

Verses that show Jesus' ability to forgive sins and His knowledge of all things:

"And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.' Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 'Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?'"  (Mark 2:5-7 ESV)

"'Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.'"  (John 16:30 ESV)

"He said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, 'Do you love me?' and he said to him, 'Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep.'"  (John 21:17 ESV)

Old Testament attributes of God the Father that are applied to Jesus in the New Testament:
   
"I am the LORD; that is my name;
        my glory I give to no other,
        nor my praise to carved idols."
(Isaiah 42:8 ESV)

"'And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.'"  (John 17:5 ESV)

------------------

    "I, I am the LORD,
        and besides me there is no savior."
(Isaiah 43:11 ESV)

"...waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,"  (Titus 2:13 ESV)

-----------------

"Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
        who formed you from the womb:
    'I am the LORD, who made all things,
        who alone stretched out the heavens,
        who spread out the earth by myself,'"
(Isaiah 44:24 ESV)

"For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him."  (Colossians 1:16 ESV)

-------------

"In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

"'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
    the whole earth is full of his glory!'
"And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: 'Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!'
"Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: 'Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.'

"And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here I am! Send me.' And he said, 'Go, and say to this people:

"'"Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
    keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
    Make the heart of this people dull,
        and their ears heavy,
        and blind their eyes;
    lest they see with their eyes,
        and hear with their ears,
    and understand with their hearts,
        and turn and be healed."'"
(Isaiah 6:1-10 ESV)

"Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,
    'He has blinded their eyes
        and hardened their heart,
    lest they see with their eyes,
        and understand with their heart, and turn,
        and I would heal them.'
"Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him."
(John 12:39-41 ESV)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I'm in a Transition

6th grade science, Heritage Studies, and reading lesson.


 7th grade Life Science, World Studies, English, and literature (the spiral-bound books are the teacher's books which go with the book above).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Just a Few Thoughts About Natural Childbirth

Natural-childbirth advocates are not all cut from the same cloth.

In a childbirth documentary I reviewed last night, I heard several comments about how natural birth empowers women. Up came the red flags for me. At the heart of that mindset is plain old pride. I’d like to think that my own choice for natural childbirth decades ago was motivated by the desire to be a good steward of my babies’ health and my health. I know that, sadly, my motives are never pure; they were surely tainted with pride (“Look what I can do!”).

The women in the video were clearly in the “empowerment” camp, but I am not. This natural-childbirth advocate wants to challenge her Christian sisters to search their hearts that they might approach natural childbirth with a view to glorify God, not themselves, by embracing God’s beautiful design of the birth process and, therefore avoiding, as much as possible, interventions. After all, birth is a natural God-given function of our bodies -- not an illness.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September Newsletter

From Laura, 12 … Recently I started a book called The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters. The ship itself was the largest of its time, being 882½ feet long, and capable of carrying 2500 passengers plus a crew of 860. The rudder weighed 100 tons and each of the anchors were 15½ tons. The publisher, Douglas Philips, wrote of the defiance to God in building it because the motive was to prove that man was great and could do great things. In the book there is a picture of the Titanic floating on the ocean, resting in God’s hand. This speaks to me of how, even through their pride, God can never be moved nor can he be measured up to in any way, shape, or form. The ship set off not heeding the warnings of icebergs. She steamed majestically out of the port of Southampton bound for New York and met her demise before even her first trip was completed.

From Becca, 14 … This week I learned something interesting about the moon. It is exactly 400 times smaller than the sun and exactly 400 times closer to us than the sun. That is why people can see perfect solar eclipses. If the moon was 399 times smaller than the sun, it would not fit precisely into the sun’s disk, but would cover it more. And if it was 399 times closer to us than the sun, it would not cover it completely. This shows God’s orderly design of our world. But I will have to wait a long time to see a solar eclipse because the next complete one over Houston will be when I am in my eighties.

From Seth, 18 … Last month I began taking some college classes. So far there have been aspects that have been tough, like boring classes, busyness, and a crude-mouthed professor, but there have also been aspects that I have enjoyed, like meeting some people and having an interesting conversation with my government professor. My prayer is that, in Christ, I will be joyful, humble, and courageous in all things.

From Anna, 21 … I have had a couple of occasions recently to ponder the way in which we tend to teach and emphasize aspects of Christian living in a way that detracts from the truth of what God has done in Christ, as well as the truth of our utter need for Christ and His work in our lives. It is important that we know, understand, and apply what the Bible says about marriage, parenting, work, finances, church life, and many other practical areas, but these issues must all be kept squarely in the context of the central message of the Gospel. When we fail to do so, we end up communicating, either implicitly or explicitly, that if you do X then your children will all turn out perfectly… or you will never have problems in your church… or you will win God’s favor and blessing—which is dangerously close to saying that if you do X you will be saved. Instead of an “if-then” statement, we need a “because-therefore” statement: Because God has chosen us from before the foundations of the world to be His children, has sent Jesus the Christ to bear the punishment due to us for our sins, and has regenerated and empowered us through the Holy Spirit, therefore we must and will live our lives in a way that honors His Word and obeys His commands.

From John, Megan, and ? … (by Megan) John is keeping busy with work. God has been faithfully providing work and the time to get it done. I am 12 1/2 weeks along this weekend. Our last midwife appointment went well. We got to hear the baby's heartbeat! It was truly amazing! The next appointment is mid September. I have been feeling fine and am looking forward to not feeling tired all the time. :)

From Ray, Katie, Peter, and Samuel … (by Katie) The trees and shrubs in our neighborhood keep getting browner and browner. We had to have one dead tree cut down, but some people are a lot worse off than we are. One of our neighbors had to have nine trees cut down, and another had a tree fall on the edge of his house. In happier news, Samuel started rolling over this week. I’m not sure which is cuter, Samuel rolling over, or Peter exclaiming “Uh-oh!” and rushing over to turn him back.

From Judith … I’ve had a few losses recently. A childhood friend died and, a week later, I lost my Bible (stupidly drove away with it on top of the car). Of course those are not losses of the same type or intensity, but together they gave me pause to reflect. My friend and I kept in touch over the years but hadn’t remained particularly close. I didn’t even know she had, for over a year, been battling breast cancer until her sister called me with the news of her death. I wouldn’t have expected it to hit me as hard as it did. I guess it felt like an important piece of my past just fell away. Karen was one of the few constant and steady threads during my growing-up years. She was a good friend through many moves and family struggles. But I have my memories. Besides some personal notes, the Bible and assorted items in the case are all replaceable. Anything – loved ones, possessions, health – can be lost in this life. I am reminded that only my salvation in Christ is secure. He is my all in all; in him I am content.

From Gerald … I just read a good article by R. C. Sproul, Jr. He was responding to the question of whether or not it is a good idea to have satellite churches where the preaching of a particular person is delivered to remote locations. He wisely commented that this is a bad idea. I cannot state the case as eloquently as he did, but he discussed the problem of cultivating a celebrity-personality environment where it is all about the speaker and his delivery style and technique rather than about the Gospel and its power. It is also not possible for a man to be a pastor (shepherd) of thousands of people, many of whom he has never seen in person.

Texas weather report … The drought continues. Please pray for rain for Texas.

With love from the Pedersen clan

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Moon Phase Simulator

Becca was studying the moon recently, so Papa found this moon phase simulator for her.  It's a really helpful way to visualize the positions that cause the moon phases to progress over time.