Garbage In, Garbage Out

Ok. So maybe this is a bit of a rant, but I just listened to a song by a CCM band that Courtney and I kind of liked on JC TV the other day. I recently scanned the airwaves to see if we picked up any new broadcast HDTV channels. We did. One is TBN. Woo hoo. Another is JC TV. It is like a Christian MTV. Wow, Christians are really with-it. MTV started in, what, 1981?

Anyway, the song by Tal and Acacia, who in fact do perform decent music, is called Garbage In, Garbage out. This rant has been coming for a while. Courtney smiled when I mentioned it. Christian's are disposed to think that evil is "out there," instead of "in here." Legalistic Christians, and frankly parents with children, seem to have particularly poor judgement in this respect. It is as if they have an interest in locating the evil outside themselves. I suppose that is because their sin is not covered by the blood of Christ or at least they have forgotten.

Jesus says,

“it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.””

(Matthew 15:11 ESV)

This makes me think that the saying, "Garbage in, garbage out," is not really a Christian saying. A better Christian saying regarding the subject is something like, "Bad fruit can't come from a good tree." Oh wait, Jesus said that too.

M'Cheyne Reading Reflections - Jan 10

Well, I am trying out a new way of taking notes. I am writing them as "user notes" in my Accordance Bible Software. This means I can access them easily in the future.

It also means I make notes for a verse rather than a summary for the entire chapter. I am then copying them into my the blogging app. I may hone the format as I go.

M'Cheyne Reading Reflections - Jan 8

Gen 8

God remembers Noah. Had he forgotten? No, but God's remembrance of his covenant is a sign that he will act on their behalf.

ESVSB points out that God making the "wind" to blow seems to purposely parallel Gen 1:2 when God makes the "spirit" to hover. Spirit and wind are the same word. This points in a direction of seeing Noah as a new creation.

I find it interesting that in v. 21 God reasons that he will never again curse the ground and destroy the animals because of man. His basis is that "the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth." God's change of heart is not a result of a change in man because of Noah's relative righteousness. Instead, it is the sacrifice that Noah offers. One might also get the indea that "the earth has suffered enough because of man"

Ezra 8

Ezra's determination to bring back a full representation of the house of Israel is seen in the recording of the geneology. You can also see his faithfulness in desiring that true sons of Levi be priests.

I suppose there is such a thing as holy shame as Ezra has in v22.

Matt 8

Why did Jesus tell the leper not to tell anyone? At this stage in his ministry he was trying to stay "under the radar" and not draw messianic attention to himself.

You have to love the faith of the centurion. His faith is an occasion to mention us. We are some of those that weill recline at the table with the patriarchs while Jews who reject him will be cast out of the kingdom.

M'Cheyne Reading Reflections - Jan 7

Gen 7

I remember in my Penteteuch class in college being told that because of v3 saying that Noah took seven pairs of clean animals and verses nine and fifteen saying they went in two by two there were two "flood accounts." I now realize that verses nine and fifteen are describing how they went in and not how many were taken. Now I can take this off the passages that make me nervous list. Looking back, it seems silly to have thought otherwise. I suppose the stature of the teacher weighed upon me in my reading.

That fact that every living thing on the "earth" was "blotted out" makes me think of the curse and the curse of the ground. Apparently the sea creature survived.

Ezra 7

It is interesting that v. 10 makes explicit that Ezra not only wants to study and teach God's law, but he also wants to DO IT. Many get two out of three. It is me too often.

The reverence with which Artaxerxes speaks of "the God of Israel" is surprising. It is highly unlikely that he had become a Jew, yet he understood the idea of being respectful and deferential to one greater than himself. It seems he did not doubt that the "God that is in Jerusalem" existed and that he was worthy of worship. While this is not the end of religion, it is refreshing compared to the lack of respect paid anything in our day.

M'Cheyne Reading Reflections - Jan 6

Gen 6

The ark was part of the covenant, God's method of relating and saving his people.

Ezra 6

Don't you love the irony sometimes. God takes care of his people in the face of those who oppose them.

This must have been an incredible celebration. To celebrate the Passover in the land had such significance, it must have really felt like salvation to the Jews there and then.

Matt 5 & 6

I have been reading a good bit in Resident Aliens about the Sermon on the Mount. It flows very well with study in a seminary class regarding this passage. The basic idea is that Jesus is describing what they way God's people are and not so much what each individual should do. The idea is that the community of God's kingdom should, in general, look like this.

In my mind, this takes it from legalism to a real goal for the church. It puts a heavier burden on us to cultivate this kind of life together instead of guilting us into obedience. It also explains Christ's mention of a city on a hill. The light is not my life or yours but our life together.

Acts 6

It is interesting that Stephen, a "deacon" was doing great wonders and signs. He also was able to speak in such a way that he put his opponents to shame. I look forward to reading his last sermon tomorrow.

M'Cheyne Reading Reflections - Jan 5

We are reading the second family reading with the kids, and it was a late, and fun, night tonight so we put them to bed without reading. I'll try to catch up on Matt 5 tomorrow. Meanwhile...

Gen 5

With these people's lives being so long, imagine how much they learned. Just think how quickly knowledge and wisdom could grow in a society. There would have been many generations alive at the same time. It is interesting that Methuselah died the same year as the flood.

It is interesting that Lamech prophesies that Noah will be a deliverer. Indeed he was, and it was in the cov with Noah that God promises the seasonal consistency that becomes part of a sustained agricultural system. Noah is a type of the seed who is to come. His faithful father is still looking for the seed who would bring deliverance.

Ezra 5

The boldness of Zerubbabel is admirable. The did what God was calling them to do, and gave a truthful answer when asked.

Acts 5

It is interesting that Peter says the money of the sale was theirs. Their fault was a proud heart that wanted to use the service of God for their own gain. I am thankful that I have not been struck dead. I must admit there are times when I have less than pure motives for teaching or leading. I am a mixed bag. Thank you for your Grace, Lord.

It is always funny to read Gamaliel's words. Little did he know how truthful his words would be.

When do we rejoice to be considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. We are usually incredulous.

M'Cheyne Reading Reflections - Jan 4

Gen 4

It is puzzling to think about what Cain did wrong. It is obvious from v6 that he was not "doing well." Something about his offering or the way he offered it was not satisfactory. God's address to Cain seems to indicate that he knew what the problem was. The warning is worth taking to heart. If we are not doing well, and we probably know what that means, watch out. The question is, "How do we get from not doing well to doing well?"

In my OT Class, we talked about how Cain is a symbol for Egypt and Abel for Israel.

Cain/Egypt Abel/Seth/Israel

Agriculture Shepherds

City Builder Simple People

Rejected by God Accepted by God

This story instructs Israel to be wary of Egypt and not desire to return. There is danger there.

It is interesting that God does not exact the death penalty on Cain. Does God purposely allow evil to grow in the line of Cain? Why didn't he put it to a stop instead of letting it grow until Noah's time? Is this God's mercy on Cain because of his plea? This shows that at least for now, God has mercy even on unbelievers. I would say this is true especially with those that are apostate. God always wants those who have been part of his family to return.