Monday, October 30, 2006

Some Geek Humour

For Geeks Only (well, geeks will be the only ones to get the humour).

On the Debian GNU/Linux mailing list recently, Jochen wrote:
[I need a non-geek way to do a computer-related function because ...] I have a non-geek girlfriend using my computer from time to time. But maybe that fact disqualifies me as a Real Geek[tm] a priori. ;-)
Ron replied with:
I'd say there's a higher probability of creating new geeks if existing geeks reproduce.
To which Kent replied:
What is this "reproduce" of which you speak? Is that a new utility similar to "cp"?
Douglas chimed in with:
More like "fork".
Florian finished up with:
I was also confused by this sub-thread, so I tried to research the "girlfriend" issue:

$ apt-cache search girlfriend

psad - The Port Scan Attack Detector

$ apt-cache show psad | grep -i girlfriend

* various backdoor programs (e.g. EvilFTP, GirlFriend, SubSeven)

My preliminary conclusion is that with a girlfriend you are essentially "pwned".

Friday, October 27, 2006

If a tool breaks in your hand while using it ...

I found this passage from Isaiah 10 interesting.
Doom to Assyria, weapon of my anger.
My wrath is a cudgel in his hands!
I send him against a godless nation,
against the people I'm angry with.
I command him to strip them clean, rob them blind,
and then push their faces in the mud and leave them.
But Assyria has another agenda;
he has something else in mind.
He's out to destroy utterly,
to stamp out as many nations as he can.
Assyria says, 'Aren't my commanders all kings?
Can't they do whatever they like?
Didn't I destroy Calno as well as Carchemish?
Hamath as well as Arpad? Level Samaria as I did Damascus?
I've eliminated kingdoms full of gods
far more impressive than anything in Jerusalem and Samaria.
So what's to keep me from destroying Jerusalem
in the same way I destroyed Samaria and all her god-idols?'"

When the Master has finished dealing with Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he'll say, "Now it's Assyria's turn. I'll punish the bragging arrogance of the king of Assyria, his high and mighty posturing,

Evil Rulers

In recent years I've learned that very much of the Bible is focused on treating people properly. From Isaiah 10:
Doom to you who legislate evil, who make laws that make victims— Laws that make misery for the poor,
that rob my destitute people of dignity,
Exploiting defenseless widows,
taking advantage of homeless children.
What will you have to say on Judgment Day,
when Doomsday arrives out of the blue?
Who will you get to help you?
What good will your money do you?
A sorry sight you'll be then, huddled with the prisoners,
or just some corpses stacked in the street.
Even after all this, God is still angry,
his fist still raised, ready to hit them again.


The wolf will romp with the lamb,
the leopard sleep with the kid.
Calf and lion will eat from the same trough,
and a little child will tend them.
Cow and bear will graze the same pasture,
their calves and cubs grow up together,
and the lion eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child will crawl over rattlesnake dens,
the toddler stick his hand down the hole of a serpent.
Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill
on my holy mountain.
The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive,
a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide.

Isaiah 11

Unto Us a Child is Born

For a child has been born—for us!
the gift of a son—for us!
He'll take over
the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
Strong God,
Eternal Father,
Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow,
and there'll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.
He'll rule from the historic David throne
over that promised kingdom.
He'll put that kingdom on a firm footing
and keep it going
With fair dealing and right living,
beginning now and lasting always.
The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies
will do all this.

Isaiah 9

Seeking out a Spiritist

Years ago, when I was teaching High School ( -- and I'll just make a quick note to say that our public school system is broken -- ), I had a young girl student who seemed to be enamored of "gray-area" spiritualism: astrology, tarot, and the like. I was reminded of her when I read this passage from Isaiah 8:
When people tell you, "Try out the fortunetellers.
Consult the spiritualists.
Why not tap into the spirit-world,
get in touch with the dead?"
Tell them, "No, we're going to study the Scriptures."
People who try the other ways get nowhere—a dead end!
Frustrated and famished,
they try one thing after another.
When nothing works out they get angry,
cursing first this god and then that one,
Looking this way and that,
up, down, and sideways—and seeing nothing,
A blank wall, an empty hole.
They end up in the dark with nothing.
I've always wondered what ever happened to her, and if she ever grew up.

Wonderful Word

I was reading an article by Illana Mercer ( and came across this little phrase, in relation to the "wisdom" spouted by our mass-media outlets:
Our Delphic oracles are the pundits and assorted self-styled presstitutes.
I love that word, "presstitutes".

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I Love a Peaceful Argument

Doug writes, and I find it to be a wise statement:
There are times when people of good character need to disagree. If they simply agree to disagree then no progress toward truth is made. Argument is the only way to progress. There are no times when it is appropriate for people of any character to be disrespectful. I love a peaceful argument.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Doom! It's Doomsday!

Anyone who has read my blog over the past three weeks or so will be aware that I had a personal crisis of self-faith recently. I'm mostly over it now (praise to God), but last night I read this passage from Isaiah 6:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Master sitting on a throne—high, exalted!—and the train of his robes filled the Temple. Angel-seraphs hovered above him, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two their feet, and with two they flew. And they called back and forth one to the other,

Holy, Holy, Holy is God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
His bright glory fills the whole earth.
The foundations trembled at the sound of the angel voices, and then the whole house filled with smoke. I said,

"Doom! It's Doomsday!
I'm as good as dead!
Every word I've ever spoken is tainted—
blasphemous even!
And the people I live with talk the same way,
using words that corrupt and desecrate.
And here I've looked God in the face!
The King! God-of-the-Angel-Armies!"

When I read the phrase "every word I've ever spoken is tainted", I empathized with the guy; that's how I felt during my crisis. And then he goes on to say that everyone around him is in the same boat.

As I ponder this, I wonder if we're all filthy rotten in our very cores, but we have such thick, pretty shells which we present to ourselves and the world around us that we believe our shells are "us", until that rare occasion when our shell gets broken and we get a good look at our insides.

I begin to believe that we truly are two people, our internal person which is corrupt and worthy of destruction, and our external person which is, for most people, wanting to be good and decent and holy. Praise be to Jesus the Christ who's salvation applies even to our internal rotten human. Glory to Jesus for saving us even when we're filthy.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

What if Adam had not believed God, but had obeyed?

In recent months I had become convinced that the whole reason our Cosmos is spiraling toward death is because Adam believed the serpent's lie rather than the creator's statement.

The serpent had told Eve that eating the forbidden fruit would not cause them to die, but rather that it would allow her to have forbidden knowledge, making her like God. He implied that God didn't want this to happen because God didn't want to share the top spot.

Adam and Eve believed the lie, and ate of the fruit, and the rest is history (literally).

The problem, looking at it from this standpoint, is one of faith. Faith in God's word would have saved us; instead, faith in something other than his word destroyed us.

While reading a Jehovah's Witness[1] publication a while ago, another thought came into my head. What if Adam and Eve believed the Serpent (just like they did), but obeyed anyway, submitting to God's authority even though they believed he was lying to them?

It seems to me that Adam and Eve would still be living today in paradise if that had been the case. They were not told to believe God; they were told to obey Him.

So, in a sense, faith is the basis of our salvation. In a different sense, submission to God, regardless of faith, is the basis of our salvation. I think it's healthy to keep in mind, when reading the scriptures, that it's legitimate to claim that "faith saves us" and that "faith without works is dead". So often we make it an either-or situation, when I suspect the truth of the matter is more a question of nuance.

1. The term "Jehovah" is a man-made term, and has no business being used in reference to the God of the Bible. Google is your friend.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Isaiah Predicts the Kingdom of God

I started reading Isaiah the other night, and came across this passage in chapter two:
The Message Isaiah got regarding Judah and Jerusalem: There's a day coming when the mountain of God's House
Will be The Mountain—
solid, towering over all mountains.
All nations will river toward it,
people from all over set out for it.
They'll say, "Come,
let's climb God's Mountain,
go to the House of the God of Jacob.
He'll show us the way he works
so we can live the way we're made."
Zion's the source of the revelation.
God's Message comes from Jerusalem.
He'll settle things fairly between nations.
He'll make things right between many peoples.
They'll turn their swords into shovels,
their spears into hoes.
No more will nation fight nation;
they won't play war anymore.
Come, family of Jacob,
let's live in the light of God.
What struck me about this passage is the last few lines. Over the past few years I've been getting a vision that the Kingdom of God is not just a religious, "church" entity. It's a way of life, a mental state, that replaces political and national affiliations. This passage from Isaiah emphasizes the nature of that mental state. Once the Christian paradigm reigns over all the earth (by convincing, not by force, unlike some religious movements *cough Islam cough*), there will be no reason for American to quarrel with Iranian, or for North Korean to quarrel with South Korean. Things will be fair and right between people all over the world, not because we happen to get along because we're politically aligned, but because we have the same mindset of deferring one to another and living in peace with one another.

Notice that this paradigm is diametrically opposed to the "dog eat dog, only the fittest survive" mentality of evolution-based thinking. In such thinking, there's no reason to take care of the sick or to share my wages with a poor person.

It's all about mindset.

May God's Kingdom come, His will be done, on Earth, as it is in Heaven.

So be it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Just As I Am

Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidd's't me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Beautiful. Poetic. Majestic. How can anyone find fault with this first line of the beloved hymn "Just As I Am"?

Well, I can. Because I'm a male.

You may recall from my last blog that males become brain-damaged while in the womb. This brain damage shows itself in two ways:

1) a man has to think relatively slowly, step-by-step, compared to a woman who can think through an issue intuitively with a speed bordering on instantaneous, and

2) a man can only think of one thing at a time, whereas a woman can juggle dozens of thoughts in her head at once.

(Please be aware these are generalizations only; individual men and women may very well "cross over" to the other's "domain" without it meaning they're any less male or female than the others of their sex.)

So, what does this have to do with the song "Just As I Am"?

You may recall that the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:19 that "... in the church [he] would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue." His whole theme in this passage is that the Corinthian Christians are just wasting time with their emphasis on "speaking in tongues". He doesn't discount that there's a time and a place for this practice, but that it's for the conversion of unbelievers, not for general use in church assemblies, where it actually gets in the way instead of being helpful. The principle that Paul is teaching is that the message needs to be easy to understand so that it can teach and build up other Christians.

I have been singing this verse of "Just As I Am" all of my life. However, as beautiful and majestic as it is, it's too complicated for my puny male brain to wrap around its meaning without some serious effort on my part, every time I sing it. (I don't retain the meaning from one singing to another.) Someone might argue that it's the Christian singer's duty to put serious effort into his worship, and I would not discount that argument, except to say, it is also the Christian song-writer's duty to teach in an easy-to-understand way rather than an elegant-but-convoluted way.

I can, with enough effort, wrap my brain around the meaning of this beautiful verse. However, because I can only think of one thing at a time, I can't think about the meaning of the passage and remember the words of the song and get the tune of the song correct and follow the song leader's lead and contemplate if I have any needs to compel me to "go forward" and maintain my balance while standing during the invitation song. Any simplification of this process is beneficial to me. (And this same line of thinking has caused me to consider if the monotonous, repetitive chants of former days and more recently of "Praise Worship" might not be the better model as opposed to the more complex teaching songs I grew up with in conservative churches of Christ.)

So in simple even-a-male-can-understand-it English, here's the first stanza of "Just As I Am":

Oh Lamb of God, I come to you, just as I am, without any claim except that the reason you died was for me, and that you have asked me to come to you.

Not as pretty, is it? But at least I understand it.

Elizabethan, Shakespearean, majestic Olde Englishe may have its value and worth, but in the 21st Century, it violates the inspired principle of making church communications easy to comprehend, at least for me, this male.

Men Are Dain-Bramaged

As I once heard it explained by a guest speaker on Dr. Dobson's radio program, "Focus on the Family":

During development in the womb, a male's brain is exposed to a chemical that causes the connections between the two halves of his brain to shrivel up, leaving him with relatively very little communication ability between the two lobes. A female's brain, on the other hand, retains the ability to have a high rate of data exchange between the two halves of her brain. In essence, boys become brain-damaged during gestation.

This results in a male's step-by-step, one-thing-at-a-time, logical ability to think through a problem and arrive at a solution. After he's thought it out, he can then explain to the rest of the world the step-by-step solution to this problem he has solved.

A female, on the other hand, can look at a problem and instantaneously, with her "greater firepower" in her brain, come to an immediate solution. However, if you were to ask her how she knows the solution, all she can do is shrug her shoulders and guess, "Intuition, maybe?"

So next time the female in your life offers a solution based on her "intuition", it might be well to recall that she came to her solution using more brain power than was used by the "logical" male thinker in the group.

Whereas Dr. Dobson's guest stopped at that point, I have concluded that this same brain difference also allows for another fundamental difference between men and women.

As a man, I can ponder the task of changing the oil in the car, or I can ponder the task of planning Junior's birthday party, but I can't do both at the same time.

As I understand it, a woman on the other hand, can ponder what to make for supper, how much cloth will be needed for the costume for Junior to wear in his school play and what it will take to make that costume, the route she needs to take to pick up all the kids riding in the car pool to school, what this month's budget looks like and what adjustments need to be made, the story line behind last night's movie and how it is a commentary on modern life, and a half-dozen other topics, all at the same time! Women are amazing!

Now, hold these two thoughts in your brain; I'll touch on them briefly in my next blog.

Friday, October 13, 2006

How Should Church Giving Be Earmarked?

Tom Snyder, at, writes:

God presents us with three general ways in the Bible to take care of the poor and needy: 1) through the family; 2) through the church; and 3) through individual charity. The applicable passages for these three ways are Deuteronomy 14:28, 29, Numbers 18:24, Matthew 6:1-4 and 1 Timothy 5:3-16.

Now, the first two ways are pretty clear. People's first obligation is to the needy, poor, widowed and orphaned in their own families. Only after they do this do they have any obligation to help the needy, poor, widowed and orphaned through their local church organization. God established the pattern for this kind of church giving in Numbers 18:24 and Deuteronomy 14:28, 29. As David Chilton points out in his great book "Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators," the bulk of Christian giving to the local church should be geared toward financing professional theologians, experts in biblical law and church discipline, teachers of God's word and leaders skilled in worship. It was only every third year that all the giving was set aside to help the needy, poor, widowed and orphaned. Even then, the money was not given just to anyone who showed up. Those able to work but don't do not qualify for help. Also, those who have families to take care of them don't qualify, nor do widows under age 60 qualify, according to the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 5:3-16.

Jesus Christ, who is God in the flesh, talks about the third way in Matthew 6. He tells His listeners that they should give individual charity. He also says they should give such charity secretly: "Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing."

I found this interesting. One-third to the needy, huh, and two-thirds to preachers, teachers, etc? Gotta chew on this a bit.

What do you folks think about this?

Can You Design Human Lips?

Sometimes I get fascinated by the intricacies of the human body, and am astounded that anyone could think they just developed by random mistakes over millions of years.

Things like:

- paper cuts that heal themselves. Can you imagine how valuable a car would be that could heal its body of a malevolent keying or of an accidental grocery-cart bumping?

- the waste-disposal process of the latter parts of the alimentary canal. Why would Evolution choose to develop a complicated system of muscles and portals to control the outflow, rather than doing something more simple like simply letting the waste fall out the open end of the tube? Ah yes, of course - [cue 'just-so story' now! - but where's the evidence?].

- human lips. I woke up this morning and at some point in the waking process pursed my lips. Then I focused on that and realized what an awesome portal the human mouth is. What would it take for human engineers to design something similar? The lips can form a water-tight, air-tight barrier, or reshape themselves with deftness to allow air to flow through in various ways in order to whistle a tune. They can wrap around and form air-tight seals around variously shaped objects, such as a round straw, or a host of other shapes. They can be stretched wide into a smile, still retaining their air-tightness, or scrunched into a tightly-wadded pucker. They also have sensors that detect touch, and temperature, and pressure, and moisture.

And the failures? Where in the fossil record, or better yet, where in our everyday experience, are the failures? Surely, if we're constantly evolving, trying out new mutations, why don't we see a world filled with monstrosities, covering the entire range of possibilities from no-lipped, one-eyed, winged dog-cats to four-eyed, eight-legged cat-spiders, to "normal" humans? Instead, we see a world full of variety, but variety that's limited around a relatively few sets of norms. We see all sorts of different types of cats varying around the cat norm, and all sorts of dog types varying around the dog norm, but we don't see that same sort of diversity between the two norms. "Oh well," goes the theory, "those forms became extinct." Okay, fine. But where are the fossils, and not just the piddly onesies-twosies generally dredged up? There should be vastly more intermediate "failures" than there are evolved successes, but I don't see these vast numbers of failures in the fossil record, or walking about the streets. The fossil record, everyday life, and lab research testifies to "limited variation on a theme", not to "infinite imperceptible diversity" as per theory.

Something's wrong with a theory that doesn't match observation, and can't explain the "undesigned" development of lips which brainy human engineers can't begin to duplicate.

Can you design human lips?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Who I Am.

Because of a stupid mistake I made a few weeks ago, I have had hammered home to me that I'm not the man I thought I was.

This mistake led to my realization that:

1. I am unwise.
2. I am selfish.
3. I do not seek Truth.
4. I am untrustworthy.

Having believed, for the most part, just the opposite about myself for years, these realizations came to me as a shock; it rattled me to my core.

1. Of course, I knew that I wasn't the wisest man to ever live, or even in the top 30%, probably, but still, I figured I had some wisdom within me. Realizing what a horribly unwise thing I did removed any confidence in this belief.

2. I had had brief hints that in my deepest parts I'm really a selfish man; I tried to talk to a friend or two about it, but they just blew me off and assured me that I'm really a great guy.

3. I thought I sought Truth. I thought I revered Truth. My cell phone even, when it powers up, has the question "But is it True" on the splash screen. This is also on one of my standard email signatures. But I found that I've been deceived by myself as to who I am, what I believe, what I feel.... I discovered that I don't know the Truth even about myself; how can I know other Truth?

4. I broke my word to a dear friend and hurt her considerably. I broke her trust. Further, I discovered that I can not even trust myself, because, as mentioned in 3 above, I deceive myself, and don't even know it most of the time. How can I trust myself if I lie to myself?

It's been a very hard week.

But the Lord has given me time to heal somewhat, and to make new revelations.

1. I am not a wise man. But I do have some wisdom. Failing to exercise wisdom in one area of my life does not mean I am completely devoid of wisdom. However, this certainly drives home the point of retaining humility. "Pride goeth before a fall," and all that. I need to remember to not trust my so-called wisdom. I can share what I discover, what I believe, but I need to never rely on my own understandings; I'm simply not that smart. In many ways this leaves me in intellectual limbo; I may forever be questioning my own judgments. For now, I'll trust Yhwh to hold me up while I don't have the legs to stand on my own two feet.

2. I am still a selfish man, way down deep, and I fear I will always be so. I have no real solution to this failure of mine at the moment. I'm going to set it aside for now, but resolve to remember it. Being aware is the first step....

3. Even though I lie to myself, that does not invalidate the pursuit of Truth; it does not invalidate the ideal of being a Truth-Seeker. I just need to remember that I'm a self-deceiver, and that no matter how much I believe I love the Truth, I may very well be lying to myself.

4. I broke a trust. I learned I can not trust myself. Still, again, the ideal of seeking to be trustworthy is a noble goal. I will aim to be trustworthy, but I now recognize that I am prone to failure more than I would have ever expected. Recognizing the potential to be untrustworthy is a good first-step toward relearning who I am.

Earth, from Saturn

Here's an amazing picture of Saturn from the backside; Earth is visible in this picture. The original is from

There's a good short commentary at

Who Am I?

Feelings are irrelevant. What matters is Who you are.

Who am I?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


It takes a certain amount of self-confidence to share with others one's discoveries, insights, thoughts.

Once that confidence has been swept away by the realization that one is a liar (to himself more than anyone else), untrustworthy, immature, and unwise, it's hard to justify trying to pass off one's thoughts as anything but prattle, whereas before he might have thought there was at least some wisdom or other value in those thoughts. It's easy in such times to be Empty.

I know of about six friends who are traumatized in one way or another this week. I also have confidence that all will survive, and heal.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Solomon's My Hero

So much wisdom in the book of Ecclesiastes. His descriptions of a fool hit home.

Dead flies in perfume make it stink, And a little foolishness decomposes much wisdom.

The words of a wise person are gracious.
The talk of a fool self-destructs—
He starts out talking nonsense
And ends up spouting insanity and evil.

Fools talk way too much,
Chattering stuff they know nothing about.


It's all vanity.


I've recently learned that I'm about as stupid as they come. For all my thinking, I'm an incredibly unwise man.

Yet, the writer of Ecclesiastes had great wisdom. I'm thankful he has shared some of that with us. From Chapter Five:

Watch your step when you enter God's house.
Enter to learn. That's far better than mindlessly offering
a sacrifice,
Doing more harm than good.

When you tell God you'll do something, do it—now.
God takes no pleasure in foolish gabble. Vow it, then do it.
Far better not to vow in the first place than to vow and not pay up.

Don't let your mouth make a total sinner of you.
When called to account, you won't get by with
"Sorry, I didn't mean it."
Why risk provoking God to angry retaliation?

("I'm sorry, I didn't mean it" didn't help me a bit. I know what Solomon speaks of.)

The following is from Chapter Seven (yes, I skipped Six; it's too deep; it needs to be read in the context of the whole book):

Don't always be asking, "Where are the good old days?"
Wise folks don't ask questions like that.

On a good day, enjoy yourself;
On a bad day, examine your conscience.
God arranges for both kinds of days
So that we won't take anything for granted.

It's best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it.

(Now-w-w he tells me....)

There is not a righteous man on earth
who does what is right and never sins.

Don't eavesdrop on the conversation of others.
What if the gossip's about you and you'd rather not hear it?
You've done that a few times, haven't you—said things
Behind someone's back you wouldn't say to his face?

God made men and women true and upright; we're the ones who've made a mess of things.

Even though a person sins and gets by with it hundreds of times throughout a long life, I'm still convinced that the good life is reserved for the person who fears God, who lives reverently in his presence, and that the evil person will not experience a "good" life.

When I determined to load up on wisdom and examine everything taking place on earth, I realized that if you keep your eyes open day and night without even blinking, you'll still never figure out the meaning of what God is doing on this earth. Search as hard as you like, you're not going to make sense of it. No matter how smart you are, you won't get to the bottom of it.

Ecclesiastes is a good book when you're dejected; it's comforting somehow.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Hard Day

The saying of "Goodbye" to a chunk of my heart came a day early.

And it was much harder than I expected.

And it was of an unexpected flavor.

And I know now that I'm not the man I thought I was yesterday. My world was rocked, you might say.

I wonder who I will be over the next few days, weeks, years.

Thank you, C. Goodbye, C. But not forever.

Thank you, God.

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Sad Day Coming

Sunday I say "Goodbye" to a chunk of my heart.

The parting is necessary, but it is still painful. It helps to know that God is pulling the strings, rather than me just being bandied about by "Fate". For I know that since He's behind things, I'll find later that it was better this way. I don't intuitively understand Delayed Gratification, but I do sort of understand it on an academic level, and I'm copacetic with this. Praise be to Yhwh! Yhwh be praised!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Proverbs 19 is Good, Too

Better to be poor and honest than a rich person no one can trust.

Young people, listen to that one.

Ignorant zeal is worthless;
haste makes waste.

This brings to mind some religious types who have plenty of zeal it seems, but also without much knowledge, it seems. ("Balance" keeps coming to mind when I think of "spirit vs truth", as in "spirit AND truth".) (Of course, I think "my side" could use a little more zeal....)

People ruin their lives by their own stupidity,
so why does Yhwh always get blamed?

Ag! That rings a bell. (I'm just recently learning to "credit" God rather than "blame" him, because even when I mess up because of my own stupidity, vs 21 kicks in:)

We humans keep brainstorming options and plans,
but Yhwh's purpose prevails.

Where I am right now, is because that's where God has purposed me to be. Which means I can rejoice even in tragedy, or poverty, or disease, because I'm fulfilling the purpose of the Creator of the Universe.

When you're down on your luck, even your family avoids you—
yes, even your best friends wish you'd get lost.
If they see you coming, they look the other way—
out of sight, out of mind.

I am so guilty of this. How many technical details about Christianity must I get right to make up for an unhelping attitude? Oh, getting all the details right doesn't quite do the job? Bummer.

House and land are handed down from parents,
but a congenial spouse comes straight from God.

Being single, I just found that one interesting. I've always thought a good spouse was a gift of God. I want to conclude, that by not granting me that spouse, God must be using me in some other way to fulfill his purposes, but when I'm honest with myself, I find I really wonder if God just doesn't care enough about me to grant me that gift of completion. So I try to walk by faith and not by sight, yet find I'm pretty lousy at this, being so incredibly self-focused. Wow, I need the grace of God to cover my faults.

Keep the rules and keep your life;
careless living kills.

This is one that needs to be taught to young people.

Mercy to the needy is a loan to Yhwh,
and Yhwh pays back those loans in full.

I'm continually amazed at how much of God's concern is toward helping the needy. Yet that's very little of the focus of Christian teaching (at least in my experience). And most of the church budget is spent on "Other" than the needy. I can't help but suspect we're doing things wrong.

It's only human to want to make a buck,
but it's better to be poor than a liar.

No comment.

If you quit listening, dear child, and strike off on your own,
you'll soon be out of your depth.

No comment.

Tasty Morsels from Proverbs 18

The other night I read Proverbs 18. Here are some morsels from that chapter:

Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
do you really want junk like that in your belly?

I've always thought it wrong to spread gossip, but this challenges me on even listening to it in the first place.

Slack habits and sloppy work
are as bad as vandalism.

Oh, wow. That cuts me. Although I don't believe my work is sloppy, I am rather lazy. The older I get, the more I become aware of how much I need God's grace.

Answering before listening
is both stupid and rude.


A healthy spirit conquers adversity,
but what can you do when the spirit is crushed?

Who of us hasn't had a crushed spirit at one time or another?

You may have to draw straws
when faced with a tough decision.

And the Apostles did just that when looking for a replacement for Judas. This strikes me as deeply interesting, in a sort of mysterious deeper-than-the-surface-reading would justify, but trying to explain it would probably nullify it, so I'll not try.

Do a favor and win a friend forever;
nothing can untie that bond.

I'm reminded that these are proverbs, general rules-of-thumb, and not hard-and-fast rules. I suspect I've broken a friendship recently with my stupidity. Still waiting to find out for sure. [Update, five and a half years later: Nope, that friendship is stronger than it was before. Praise Yah!]

Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach;
good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest.

I remember years ago my Dad chiding me for wanting to have a good library nearby, saying something to the effect of life not consisting of reading. (He was not denigrating reading at all; he was just implying that there's more to life than books, which he was correct about.) This passage recalls that memory. It also reminds me of Jesus saying that we don't live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

Of course, I think the context of this verse is referring more to human interaction rather than to words in a book, but still....

Words kill, words give life;
they're either poison or fruit—you choose.


I have great responsibility. How often have I poisoned others with my carelessness or meanness? How needful I am of God's grace!

Find a good spouse, you find a good life—
and even more: the favor of Yhwh!

HA HAA HA HA ha ha - huh? Oh, wait, that wasn't supposed to be funny?

Friends come and friends go,
but a true friend sticks by you like family.

Even when he screws up royally.