Intensive Creative Writing, Tuesday afternoons, Sept 15 – Dec 8, in Burlington
Posted on 27 July 2015 | 3:38 pm
Posted on 22 July 2015 | 11:10 pm
TO CHEW ON: "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day that I may test them whether they will walk in my law or not.'" Exodus 16:4
In today's reading we see that the very mundane instructions for the gathering and handling of manna were were not options or suggestions but a God-designed test. What God was testing here was whether the people took Him and His instructions seriously.
[Test - nasah means to put to the test, prove, tempt. The basic idea is to put someone to the test to see how he will respond - Dick Mills, "Word Wealth" New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 747.]
Other places this word us used shows various ways God may test us.
"Nasah" is the word used of what God did to Abraham when He asked Him to sacrifice Isaac - Genesis 22:1.
God sent a nasah-test in the form of the ten commandments followed by fearful trumpet sounds and an electrical storm. This was to impress the people with how seriously they should take these commands and Moses' instructions about staying off Mount Sinai - Exodus 20:18-20.
Nasah is also the word used to describe what Moses accused the Israelites of doing to God at Rephidim when they demanded water as a proof of His presence - Exodus 17:1-7. Later, in his final instructions, Moses told them testing God was something they should not do - Deuteronomy 6:16.
Again in his Deuteronomy sermon, Moses reiterated how the desert wanderings were a test: "And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not" - Deuteronomy 8:2 (emphasis added).
Which brings me to the question, what things in our lives may be God's tests?
It could be an Abraham-sized test like an accident or tragedy happening to a loved one or to us as a test of whether our faith is in God or someone or something else. Or perhaps it's a little manna-sized test—an item on the grocery cart missed by the checkout lady to test honesty; a string of rainy days to test contentment; someone cutting us off in traffic to test love ("...love suffers long ... does not behave rudely ... is not provoked" - 1 Corinthians 13:4,5).
Rich Warren defines life: "The Bible offers three metaphors that teach us God's view of life: Life is a test, life is a trust, and life is a temporary assignment."
Of the test part he says:
"Character is both developed and revealed by tests, and all of life is a test. You are always being tested. God constantly watches your response to people, problems, success, conflict, illness, disappointment, and even the weather! He even watches the simplest actions such as when you open a door for others, when you pick up a piece of trash, or when you're polite toward a clerk or waitress" - Rick Warren - The Purpose Drive Life, p. 42, 43.
PRAYER: Dear God, it sure changes the complexion of life when I view the details of my day as tests. Help me to pass today's tests. Amen.
MORE: More about life's tests
"When you understand that life is a test, you realize that nothing is insignificant in your life. Even the smallest incident has significance for your character development. Every day is an important day, and every second is a growth opportunity to deepen your character, to demonstrate love, or to depend on God. Some tests seem overwhelming, while others you don't even notice. But all of them have eternal implications" - Rick Warren, Op. cit., p. 43.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Posted on 27 July 2015 | 9:00 am
Rector on the run
Posted on 24 July 2015 | 9:36 pm
OMG! I Reached the Target!!! -24.5kgs!!
SportterflyPS. PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO LEAVE COMMENTS EITHER IN ENGLISH, FINNISH OR SWEDISH!
Posted on 15 January 2015 | 7:14 pm
Dr OddGlove – or how I came to hate my dentist
Yes, I know, I know, we’re on a “break”. But I just have to interrupt our brief holiday to up-date you on my harrowing experience with the Demon Dentist of Harley Street. I wrote the post below, along with a follow-up, about a year ago, detailing all the ways I’d like to torture my (former) […]
Posted on 2 June 2015 | 12:13 pm
Which Parks And Rec Alter Ego Are You?
Are you more of a Burt Macklin or Janet Snakehole?
Posted on 27 July 2015 | 9:06 pm
Things They Don’t Tell You About Owning A Great Dane
Posted on 27 July 2015 | 12:03 pm
Alberta Politics: Upstairs Downstairs at the Edmonton Journal as Sun staff gets ready to move in
PHOTOS: The Edmonton Journal Building at 101st Street and MacDonald Drive in downtown Edmonton. It remains to be seen who will be Upstairs, and who will be Downstairs, when the staff of the Sun joins the staff of the Journal at the same address in the fall. Below: Journal Editor-in-Chief Margo Goodhand, Postmedia President and […]
The post Upstairs Downstairs at the Edmonton Journal as Sun staff gets ready to move in appeared first on Alberta Politics.
Posted on 28 July 2015 | 4:25 am
Narratives are hard
As a criminally-privileged cisgender white middle aged male, I'm completely flummoxed over whether I'm supposed feign outrage that GQ is objectifying Amy Schumer in a sexually-themed Star Wars cover/photo spread, or shower her with insincere and self-serving plaudits for sticking it to the Hollywood patriarchy.
Similarly, I find myself at a moral impasse over the confrontation between transgender reporter Zoey Tur and right wing commentator Ben Shapiro, whom Tur threatened to send home in an ambulance after Shapiro referred to Tur as "sir" during a debate moderated by Dr. Drew Pinsky. Is it enough to smugly conclude that Shapiro invited the threat of violence by disrepecting Tur, or should I further rationalize that Shapiro's refusal to embrace transgender culture is itself a form of hostility?
Truth be told, I really don't care either way on either issue, but woe betide the social media enthusiast who ventures an "incorrect" opinion. Been there, done that, had the t-shirt applied as a gag. From now on, I want to get it right - convictions, logic and common sense be damned.
Help me, social justice warriors. You're my only hope.
Posted on 20 July 2015 | 8:17 pm
Posted on 25 July 2015 | 11:50 am
More Than Milk: Why Agricultural Protections Are Just the Tip of the TPP Iceberg
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed trade agreement that encompasses nearly 40 per cent of world GDP, heads to Hawaii later this month for ministerial-level negotiations. According to media reports, this may be the final round of talks, with countries expected to address the remaining contentious issues with their "best offers" in the hope that an agreement can be reached. Canadian coverage of the TPP has centred primarily on U.S. demands for changes to longstanding agricultural market safeguards.
With a national election a few months away, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the prospect of overhauling some of Canada's biggest business sectors has politicians from all parties waffling on the agreement. Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast, who will lead the Canadian delegation, maintains that the government has not agreed to dismantle supply management protections and that it will only enter into an agreement if the deal is in the best interests of the country. The opposition parties are similarly hesitant to stake out positions on key issues, noting that they cannot judge the TPP until it is concluded and publicly released.
While the agricultural issues may dominate debate, it is only one unresolved issue of many. Indeed, the concerns associated with the agreement go far beyond the supply of products such as milk and chickens.
The post More Than Milk: Why Agricultural Protections Are Just the Tip of the TPP Iceberg appeared first on Michael Geist.
Posted on 20 July 2015 | 12:33 pm
Stephen Harper and the Bloody Harvest of War
As I'm sure you remember, during the early years of the war in Afghanistan there was no greater chicken hawk than Stephen Harper.
Until he realized it wasn't winning him enough votes, and he decided to cut and run.
But while he has been able to run away from a lot of things, like the state of the economy.
He can't run away from his precious war, because we're still reaping its bloody harvest.
Read more »
Posted on 18 July 2015 | 6:03 am
Rick McGinnis: Self-portrait
Posted on 8 July 2015 | 2:24 pm
China's "Century of Humiliation" And Why It Matters.
Few in the West have the slightest idea of how Britain and her allies suppressed the Chinese and laid low their once powerful nation (along with India).
Eduardo Galeano, who died a few months ago, wrote this very eloquent summation of what China endured at the hands of the West that helps explain the bellicosity of China's military leadership today. We ignore this at our peril. The West's (i.e. Washington's) ongoing attempts to contain China and prevent it from establishing a sphere of influence in its own backyard are dangerously provocative in a time of shifting balances of power.
Opium was outlawed in China.
British merchants smuggled it in from India. Their diligent efforts led to a surge in the number of Chinese dependent on the mother of heroin and morphine, who charmed them with false happiness and ruined their lives.
The smugglers were fed up with the hindrances they faced at the hands of Chinese authorities. Developing the market required free trade, and free trade demanded war.
William Jardine, a generous sort, was the most powerful of the drug traffickers and vice president of the Medical Missionary Society, which offered treatment to the victims of the opium he sold.
In London, Jardine hired a few influential writers and journalists, including best-selling author Samuel Warren, to create a favorable environment for war. These communications professionals ran the cause of freedom high up the flagpole. Freedom of expression at the service of free trade: pamphlets and articles rained down upon British public opinion, exalting the sacrifice of the honest citizens who challenged Chinese despotism, risking jail, torture, and death in that kingdom of cruelty.
The proper climate established, the storm was unleashed. The Opium War lasted, with a few interruptions, from 1839 to 1860.
The sale of people had been the juiciest enterprise in the British Empire. But happiness, as everyone knows, does not last. After three prosperous centuries, the Crown had to pull out of the slave trade, and selling drugs came to be the most lucrative source of imperial glory.
Queen Victoria was obliged to break down China’s closed doors. On board the ships of the Royal Navy, Christ’s missionaries joined the warriors of free trade. Behind them came the merchant fleet, boats that once carried black Africans, now filled with poison.
In the first stage of the Opium War, the British Empire took over the island of Hong Kong. The colorful governor, Sir John Bowring, declared:
“Free trade is Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ is free trade.”
Outside its borders the Chinese traded little and were not in the habit of waging war.
Merchants and warriors were looked down upon. “Barbarians” was what they called the English and the few Europeans they met.
And so it was foretold. China had to fall, defeated by the deadliest fleet of warships in the world, and by mortars that perforated a dozen enemy soldiers in formation with a single shell.
In 1860, after razing ports and cities, the British, accompanied by the French, entered Beijing, sacked the Summer Palace, and told their colonial troops recruited in India and Senegal they could help themselves to the leftovers.
The palace, center of the Manchu Dynasty’s power, was in reality many palaces, more than 200 residences and pagodas set among lakes and gardens, not unlike paradise. The victors stole everything, absolutely everything: furniture and drapes, jade sculptures, silk dresses, pearl necklaces, gold clocks, diamond bracelets... All that survived was the library, plus a telescope and a rifle that the king of England had given China 70 years before.
Then they burned the looted buildings. Flames reddened the earth and sky for many days and nights, and all that had been became nothing.
Lord Elgin, who ordered the burning of the imperial palace, arrived in Beijing on a litter carried by eight scarlet-liveried porters and escorted by 400 horsemen. This Lord Elgin, son of the Lord Elgin who sold the sculptures of the Parthenon to the British Museum, donated to that same museum the entire palace library, which had been saved from the looting and fire for that very reason. And soon in another palace, Buckingham, Queen Victoria was presented with the gold and jade scepter of the vanquished king, as well as the first Pekinese in Europe. The little dog was also part of the booty. They named it “Lootie.”
China was obliged to pay an immense sum in reparations to its executioners, since incorporating it into the community of civilized nations had turned out to be so expensive. Quickly, China became the principal market for opium and the largest customer for Lancashire cloth.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Chinese workshops produced one-third of all the world’s manufactures. At the end of the nineteenth century, they produced 6%.
Then China was invaded by Japan. Conquest was not difficult. The country was drugged and humiliated and ruined.
Posted on 27 July 2015 | 1:21 am
How Intense did the Battle Between Bob Ward and ExxonMobil's Army of Climate Deniers Get?
In this DeSmog UK epic history post, the battle continues between Bob Ward – working at the Royal Society at the time – and ExxonMobil’s army of climate deniers.
Bob Ward, the then head of media at the Royal Society, was shocked when members of Koch-funded public policy organisation the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) heckled professor David King, the government’s chief scientific, during a visit to the United States in 2006.
Ward began to wonder if there had been an upsurge in attacks by deniers on science during the previous months, and soon found himself going head-to-head with the world’s most powerful company on the issue of climate change.
Posted on 28 July 2015 | 7:01 am
The Wire Troll: Zack Godley is Golden
Posted on 26 July 2015 | 9:35 pm
Cool summer cocktails
Posted on 24 July 2015 | 9:22 am
An interview with the creator of the Planned Parenthood sting
Posted on 24 July 2015 | 1:16 am
Plugged In To The Past
There are some benefits to doing this kind of thing. I just went through a pile and I found two things. I want to write about each thing separately. Today I want to show you this:
Posted on 21 July 2015 | 2:38 pm
Lavazza Series 2015: Cappuccino Coffee Bean Cookies
Cappuccino Coffee Bean Cookies are the Perfect Partner for a Cup of Lavazza! When I was teaching middle school at Hardisty, I had a parent helper who made the most incredible coffee bean cookies. This was back in the 90’s. I had never seen a coffee bean cookie, and was charmed. She did give me the...
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Posted on 26 July 2015 | 3:31 pm
5 Things I’ve Been Wrong About and How I Updated my Thoughts on Them
One of the fun processes to moving is packing. And by fun I mean I want to take a rusty lawn rake and slowly exfoliate my eyeballs while listening to Justin Beiber sing a Tiny Tim song in falsetto. But during the process of packing and moving you tend to have to go through stuff…… Read More
The post 5 Things I’ve Been Wrong About and How I Updated my Thoughts on Them appeared first on DeanSomerset.com.
Posted on 14 July 2015 | 11:51 am
It’s a teeny-tiny backyard, but this year we added six bird feeders, some native plants, a composter, a bird bath and a mister. Now we’ve got a bunch of regulars who visit throughout the day, including cardinals, goldfinches, chickadees, woodpeckers, purple finches, squirrels, chipmunks, butterflies and bees. And we’ve been certified by the Canadian Wildlife [...]
Posted on 23 July 2015 | 3:30 pm