Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

This Day In History

Today, December 25th, marks an important world-changing event in history. Times were dark, and hopes were dim, and then...

This Day In History.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Cat Man is Getting a Dog

Let's get this straight -- I'm a cat guy. I'm not a dog guy. Cats play it cool, never letting their emotions get the best of them. Well... almost never. I mean, there are those times when the cat is suddenly overcome by it's catness, and is forced by nature to stalk and attack something. But other than that, they just kind of hang around and chill with me. Dogs, on the other hand, are always shaking their tails and slobbering like drunken fool. And they always want to play. Dogs just aren't my speed, I guess.

My dear wife and kids have wanted a dog for a while now. Well, today's the day. We're getting a cockapoo puppy. He's being gifted to us by some friends of ours, so there's no money being spent up front. So that's a plus in my decision to go ahead and get a dog. Another factor is that as cool as my cat is, he's not real good and waking me up so I can get my gun. A dog will do that.

Ok, ok, I'll confess. The dog is cute. There, I said it. Now leave me alone.

I'll post pics when we get some.

So, are you a cat person or a dog person? Post a comment and let me know.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

No Little Sin

"In a strict sense, there is no sin little, because no little God to sin against." -- Thomas Brooks.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Art of Receiving.

"A manner of drinking and spitting is either hard or soft." -- from the Code of Isshinryu Karate.

An action, and indeed it's opposite action, can be done in either a hard manner or a soft manner. One can swallow softly, or gulp. One can spit softly, and one can spit in a forceful manner. The same goes for breathing: One can inhale softly, or in a sudden gasp, and one can exhale softly, or force the air out in a hard manner. Amazing, huh?

The word used in Okinawan/Japanese martial arts to describe a block (as in blocking a punch) is "uke." "Block" sounds quite hard, doesn't it. Here comes an attack... get that arm up there to meet it and BAM! Funny thing is, the word uke actually means to receive, as in receiving a gift. The attack comes, and with step to the side, or a circular motion, the defender says "thank you for this gift!" (or as the kids say today, "You just got pwnd.").

One can block an attack in a hard manner, meeting force with force:

Or, one can receive the attack softly:

Or even softlier!

There's a time for both hard and soft receiving. The art of receiving is knowing when our response ought to be hard or soft. Despite what one may think, this post today is not about martial arts.

Consider, how do we receive insults? Compliments? Handshakes? A smile? The "evil eye"? A kiss on the cheek? A smite on the cheek? A hand gesture? A hug? A gift? Words of encouragement? Words of correction? God's good providence? God's dark providence? Ought we to receive all of these things hard, resisting with all of our might, returning force against force? A slap to meet the smile? Or, can we sometimes receive with a "thank you," with non-resistance and passivity, with softness?

"A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger" (Proverbs 15:1).

Hard or soft -- the art of receiving.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dark Providence

Did I say dark providence? I mean DARK providence. I previously mentioned an "ice storm" that was very pretty, but not very menacing. Well, late Saturday night we had another ice storm... this time it was also pretty, but VERY menacing.

It was about 5am on Lord's Day morning when the explosion lit up our bedroom and woke us up with a BOOM...CRACK... fitz...fizz...crackle...ffffttt. The transformer across the street blew up, and our power was gone. Darkness. Silence. Oh well, nothing you can do about it. Back to sleep. The power company will have it fixed by the time we wake up.

Problem... we were one of about 100,000 people in Pennsylvania that lost power from that storm, though we had no idea. It was Lord's Day, and we did our regular Lord's Day stuff, just with a kerosene heater and candles. By 5pm, it was quite dark, and we did Catechism and sang Psalms in the dark. We spotted a crew at the power line where the transformer blew, so I walked over to ask if we might get power back that night. "Umm... who knows? We have a lot of people with no power today, and this transformer only serves this small neighborhood." In other words, there were other priorities, and we had no guarantee that we would have power that night. So, we went to bed a little early, with hopes of having electricity the next day.

Monday... no power.

Tuesday... no power.

Wednesday... no power.

Each morning we woke up and immediately started the kerosene heater and the propane grill. We made coffee and scrambled eggs on the grill every morning. And we ate by candle light by night.

Then, Wednesday evening, the power came back on, and I'm told my wife did a joyful dance. I was at work, so I didn't get to see it. But we have our power back after about 4 days and 3 nights, and we are quite grateful for things we will certainly be more careful to give thanks for from now on.

In all of this I learned some things. Amongst those things --

1. Although my house was cold, I'm thankful our home was warm, with love.
2. Although my house was dark, I'm thankful for the light in our home, the light of the God's Word.
3. Although we had no power, we still had power, from above.

I understand there are still more than a thousand people in my county without power even today. If you are inclined to pray for them, I'm sure they have a little dance of joy awaiting them when their power is eventually restored too.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Hitting the weights

Well, after almost a full year of laying off the weights to dedicate my time and energy to getting my black belt, I did my first all-out workout on Wednesday evening. I did two workouts prior to this, but they were light -- a kind of gradual getting used to lifting again. Wednesday, I decided to go for it, and friends, I AM SORE. It didn't help that the very next day I went to Karate class and did a bunch of grueling pushups ("press ups" for my English friends!) and squat variations. It's a good sore though. My plan is to lift heavy (for me anyway), lower reps (6-8), for one working set only (after a warm-up), with profoundly compound exercises, and rest about one full week. Yep, I'm going for strength. Here's the current routine I came up with:


Dumbbell Bench Press (well, a variation of it where I hold both dumbbells up, and then alternate lowering one down and pushing it up... kind of simulating a punch).

Dumbbell Bent-over Rows

Military Press

Dumbbell Curls (an isolated movement, rather than compound)

Dumbbell Lateral Raises

Standing Calve Raises

And some weighted cruches.

I plan on doing that for a few weeks, and then switch things up a bit.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

This may speak to some precious hearts out there...

A little inspiration (LOL @ the guy on the left!):

I have to say...

This may be the nicest "ice storm" I've experienced. The icicles on the trees look so beautiful, but there's virtually no ice on the roads!

I understand that this storm isn't so nice elsewhere, but right here where I am, it's pretty cool.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground

A fine blues moan, with some of the best bottleneck guitar ever recorded, Blind Willie Johnson's "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground" was deemed worthy to be one of the recordings placed on Voyager and launched into space! Ry Cooder once called this song, "the most soulful, transcendent piece in all American music."

Our time with a real life Covenanter minister

I dropped (Covenanter) Pastor Derek Edwards off at the Philadelphia International Airport yesterday, thus ending his visit with us. The visit was just over a fortnight long, covering three consecutive Lord's Days. The last week of his visit was spent in my home. Having an Englishman as my guest was fascinating. We were often serving up tea, and stopping the car to look at every Jaguar we happened to pass by! He's a delightful man, and was a perfect guest. My children took to him instantly, and it appeared this was mutual.

If only more Covenanters were like him, we'd be seen as a pleasant and loving bunch, and not as if "being a jerk" was our 7th Term of Communion.

This past Lord's Day, Pastor Derek Edwards baptized all of my seven children!

Below is a picture of the most recent Covenanter minister to visit Pennsylvania, standing at the grave of the very first Covenanter minister to visit Pennsylvania (John Cuthbertson):

Please forgive the fact that this post was written like a junior high kid trying to get a paper done quick before he hands it is this morning. Even though our time spent with Pastor Edwards was refreshing, encouraging, and exciting, there were also some things going in over the past couple weeks that were draining, agitating, and wearifying (I made that word up), and now I must take my burdened mind to work at the "Nervous Hospital" where I will no doubt be unloaded upon with various troubling tales and ugly stories. And I see that it's soon time for me to leave for work.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Banner of Truth Visit

Today, visiting pastor Derek and I took a trip over to Banner of Truth in Carlisle. What a nice bunch of people over there! Steve, the manager, gave us a short tour of the place, and spent a good bit of time talking to us about a wide range of things. He's a gracious and wise man. We also got to spend some time at the secret bookshelves. Did I say spend time? I meant spend money. Amongst my purchases:

Jonathan Edwards On Knowing Christ.

Ralph Venning's The Sinfulness of Sin, and Learning in Christ's School.

Thomas Brooks' Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices.

Thomas Watson's Doctrine of Repentance.

And, Sinclair Ferguson's A Heart for God.

All for half-off the regular price!

If you're ever in the area, make sure you stop by and meet the nice people and buy some great books at Banner of Truth.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Some quotes I found online, by Bruce Lee

Sometimes wise words come from an unexpected source:

"A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer."

"A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough."

"A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at."

"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."

"If you don't want to slip up tomorrow, speak the truth today."

"If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of."

"If you make an ass out of yourself, there will always be someone to ride you."

"If you think a thing is impossible, you'll make it impossible."

"If you want to do your duty properly, you should do just a little more than that."

"If you want to learn to swim, jump into the water. On dry land, no frame of mind is ever going to help you."

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."

"It's not what you give, it's the way you give it."

"Out of chaos, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony."

"Real living is living for others."

"Showing off is the fool's idea of glory."

"The mind is like a fertile garden in which anything that is planted, flowers or weeds, will grow."

Friday, November 30, 2007

Evel dead

The shock is not that Evel Knievel died today at the age of 69. No, no. The shock is that this dude ever lived that long!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pop tarts

I want to talk about Pop Tarts, or any brand of toaster pastries. I like them. I like having one or two for breakfast. The blueberry is very good. The strawberry is yummy. The S'mores might be my favorite right now. But the cinnamon... it's just too cinnamony. I don't like them.

Ok, that's all I got to say about Pop Tarts today.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Call off the search...

We found him. He's in the pantry!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Tasered for not understanding why you were pulled over:

Gung-ho security tasering you for asking the wrong questions:


Brutalized for skateboarding. SKATEBOARDING!!!:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My schedule today

Here's my work schedule today...

8am to midnight.

I know, it's a little much. But I could use some more scratch to pay the oil bill.

Someone please begin drilling in Alaska. Thanks.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Seeking God in Due Order

"...the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order." -1 Chronicles 15:13.

"Note, It is not enough that we do that which is good, but we must do it well - not enough that we seek God in a due ordinance, but we must seek after him, in a due order. Note, also, When we have suffered for our irregularities we must learn thereby to be more regular; then we answer the end of chastisement."
--Matthew Henry.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Oh, how time flies...

Life's been very busy. But that's good, now isn't it? When we're about our duties, it leaves little time for us to be involved in nonsense and wickedness. You know the saying about the idle mind and the devil's playground, right?

Blink, and another week went by without updating my blog. I'm worried sometimes that both my readers will get too upset to check back again!

It's time for the lightning round --

1. What has been growing in Jerry's front yard (having already grown in the back yard), which although it will bring more work to take care of, is yet a welcomed addition?

Answer: Lawn.

2. What unnecessary product, that almost everyone uses, has still has not touched Jerry's hair since late March 2007?

Answer: Shampoo.

3. What did Jerry get last night which he plans on wearing on ocassion for a long long time?

Answer: His Shureido black belt (obi), made in and shipped from Okinawa, the birthplace of Karate. It is of much better quality of most belts one wears as one is going through the ranks. This is the kind of belt that will get old and tattered with use, because it lasts so long.

4. What upcoming event is having the Waybrights very excited?

Answer: A visit from a Covenanter minister!

Ok, enough of that. In other news:

My wife may want to hold burglars at gunpoint on a regular basis, if you can make them clean up the house!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Importance of Gentleness and Kindness Towards the Wife

In the last post, I pointed out some helpful things from Calvin on anger in general. Continuing with adding to my thoughts (typing this stuff out helps me get it straight in my own head), I hope now to share some helpful material specifically addressing anger from a man towards his wife.

Sometimes your wife makes you angry, right? (crickets chirping)

It's ok, guys. This is a safe place. You just read, I'll take the heat for writing it.

It seems to me that women are somewhat like delicate flowers, which do not easily rebound once trampled upon. Now, no man would trample on flowers and expect them to bounce back to the same state in which they formerly were. And shall we emotionally trample our wives, and expect them to recover from that to their undamaged state, and be all lovey-dovey with us again? Sir, you might have more success bringing back those flowers you crushed!

I Peter 3:7 --
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
Husbands must have a degree of knowledge to rightly dwell with their wives. Part of that knowledge is how to deal with those weaknesses that are of a womanly nature. I won't get into them specifically, so as to not provoke my female readers to anger! You think to yourselves what those weaknesses might be. In the meantime, let me quote some stuff I didn't write, so that I have an out. Well, let me quote it because I think it's good.

The Geneva Bible notes on this passage point out four arguments made here.

He also teaches husbands their duties, that is, that the more understanding and wisdom they have, the more wisely and circumspectly they behave themselves.... The more wisdom the husband has, the more circumspectly he must behave himself in bearing those inconveniences, which through the woman's weakness often cause trouble both to the husband and the wife.

The second argument: because the wife nonetheless is weaker by nature than the man, she is an excellent instrument of the man, made for far more excellent uses: upon which it follows that she is not therefore to be neglected, because she is weak, but on the contrary she ought to be so much more cared for.


The third argument: for that they are equal in that which is the most important (that is to say, in the benefit of eternal life) who otherwise are unequal concerning the leadership and conduct at home, and therefore they are not to be despised although they are weak.


The fourth argument: All fighting and rebuking must be avoided, because they hinder prayers and the whole service of God, to which both the husband and wife are equally called.
Ok, fellas. Argument #1 says that the more wisdom we have, the more careful we must be with our wives. As Calvin notes that husbands must "remember that they need prudence to do rightly their duty. And doubtless many foolish things must be endured by them, many unpleasant things must be borne with." Knowledge, wisdom, prudence, to walk circumspectly, carefully, to be understanding towards our wives. When they make us angry, even if we are right that the behavior which our wives are doing is squirrelly, or even outright bad, we must remember that they have weaknesses. They may not look like your weaknesses, men. But she's a woman and not a man, and that's to be expected. Don't get haughty, you have your own weaknesses and your own set of problems that come with those weaknesses. Just remember that you're dealing with a delicate creature in your wife.

Argument #2 says that those same weaknesses that may make us mad sometimes, stem from her feminine nature, THE DIFFERENCES OF WHICH YOU CERTAINLY MUST APPRECIATE! Those "weaknesses" of a woman (when compared to a man) are beautiful, wonderful, ravishing, and are to be cherished, protected, honored, and cared for. No, a woman is not a man, but I don't want to be married to a man either. A flower is not a hammer, and is comparatively weak, but it's much prettier to look at, softer to touch, and smells much better. Verschte?

Argument #3 lets us know that though in regards to their feminine nature, and in regards to the subordinate nature of their duties, they are "weak," yet in the most important issue of salvation in Christ, we are equal. Shall we despise our equals in Christ for their weaknesses in this life? Shame on us.

Argument #4 tells us that all fighting with and yelling at our wives needs to STOP. It serves no purpose but to hinder our spiritual duties.

So let's be more careful to have this knowledge, this prudence, that Scripture would have us have concerning our wives. Let's learn to be gentle with them, and caring towards them, rather than harsh, loud, angry, nasty and unloving.

"Nothing destroys the friendship of life more than contempt; nor can we really love any but those whom we esteem; for love must be connected with respect." -- John Calvin.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Something on Anger

I KNOW I'm not the only man on earth who has ever struggled with episodes of sinful anger. Especially when I'm tired, or I have other things on my mind, or I feel overwhelmed by life, I can find myself being too too quick to anger -- especially with the kids. Anger with kids can be especially dangerous, as the boys could potentially learn to act in the same angry fashion as the father, and the girls can be emotionally crushed and damaged by a father's anger.

As a reminder to myself, and hopefully as a help to others, I'm going to post a section from John Calvin's Commentary on Ephesians 4:26. He writes,

There are three faults by which we offend God in being angry. The first is, when our anger arises from slight causes, and often from no cause whatever, or at least from private injuries or offenses. The second is, when we go beyond the proper bounds, and are hurried into intemperate excesses. The third is, when our anger, which ought to have been directed against ourselves or against sins, is turned against our brethren. Most appropriately, therefore, did Paul, when he wished to describe the proper limitation of anger, employ the well-known passage, Be ye angry, and sin not. We comply with this injunction, if the objects of our anger are sought, not in others, but in ourselves, -- if we pour out our indignation against our own faults. With respect to others, we ought to be angry, not at their persons, but at their faults; nor ought we to be excited to anger by private offenses, but by zeal for the glory of the Lord. Lastly, our anger, after a reasonable time, ought to be allowed to subside, without mixing itself with the violence of carnal passions.

So, to review... we sin in our anger when --

1). We are angered easily, by slight things. When we are too easily offended by a cross look, a smirk, a poorly chosen phrase, a sloppy job, an accident, a personal insult, and all these kinds of little things that ultimately are meaningless, and are only offensive to us if we think too highly of ourselves.

2). Our anger, even if justified, goes beyond proper limits. When we are inappropriately and disproportionately angry. When we are furious and explosive.

3). The anger is directed at the wrong target. Anger should be directed at a problem, not at a person. Sin is the problem. OUR OWN sin is the primary problem.

We are not sinfully angry when --

1). Our anger is directed at our own sin, and not at other people.

2). Our anger, when appropriately aroused with respect to others, is aimed at the sin of others, and not at their persons.

3). Our anger is aroused not due to personal offense, but by zeal for the Lord and His glory.

4). Our anger is allowed to subside without mixing it with sinful violence.

I thought this quote was helpful in understanding and controlling anger. I hope others find it helpful too.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Our songs

Some people just know how to write our songs. That's a good songwriter, one that makes you go, "Hey, that's MY song!" Not that everything in the song matches something in our lives, but the whole gist is just so familiar.

Mom's song:

Dad's song:

The bedtime song:

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Before and After

I'm looking through my pictures, and it seems that I failed to capture in a photograph the way the yard looked when we bought the house. That being the case, the "before" picture below, is still sort of an "after" picture, as it is after I chainsawed two rows of Burning Bushes, a few trees, had some people come and take all the stuff they wanted to take, and moved a whole bunch of rocks and cement pavers. Nevertheless, Behold!



Now we need to get the front yard done!

Monday, September 24, 2007


Well, I did it.

It took me around twenty years to reach this goal (I took about 17 years off!), but I finally reached Shodan (1st degree black belt) in Karate. Getting my black belt means something to me. Part of what it means is very personal, and I don't expect everyone to understand it all, so I will not share that here. What I will share is that to me it means that I kept at something and didn't quit. And that feels GOOD.

The 2nd part of the test was harder than the 1st part. The 1st part was just an ordeal that I had to get through. But the 2nd part involved having to stay sharp, focussed, strong, alert, etc., even when I was exhausted and under much scrutiny.

And as I was presented with the symbol of my rank and accomplishment... I was reminded by those conferring it upon me the black belt meant that I have a box of tools, and that I really don't know how to use them yet. That is the aspect of training that lies ahead.

Still, I was feeling pretty good about it all until I got home and checked my email to find in my inbox something that made my stomach hurt. I don't care to go into any detail. But I will say that one thing that seems to me to be prevalent in Reformed circles, and perhaps especially in Reformed Presbyterian circles, is the tendency to shoot (the wounded) first and ask questions... alot of questions... grilling, relentless questions... later.

Why is it so hard for some people to just be friendly? Kind? Nice? Why do some have to be so jaggedly formal, cold, unfriendly?

Black... on my belt, makes me smile.

Black... on our hearts, makes me sad.

In other news: I had a migraine earlier today, and after it passed (as usual) I felt like I was dreaming for the rest of the day... in a fog. I feel much better now, thanks for asking.

Please pray that my friends don't move to Texas.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Standing before God, clothed in Christ's Righteouness

May I by faith be enabled to enter within the veil, even through the rent veil of a Saviour's flesh. Give me to have full liberty of access through the Son to the Father. Clothed upon with His righteousness may I stand with all the security of my conscious acceptance before God. O may I delight myself in this abundance of peace, and be enabled to lead others, more especially those of my own household, to delight along with me.
~Thomas Chalmers, Sabbath Scripture Readings (on Mark 15).

Friday, September 14, 2007

Part one, tomorrow

Part one of my Shodan (1st degree black belt) test that I've been spending so much time preparing for is tomorrow. At 8am tomorrow morning I expect I shall be doing the following (the Good Lord willing):

100 pushups

100 situps

75 tricep dips

5:00 minutes sitting at the wall like I'm on a chair, but I'm not on a chair, with my knees together.

5:00 minutes at the wall with the legs apart.

2 mile run.

That might seem easy to some of you, and that might seem impossible to some of you. For me, it is neither easy, nor impossible. It'll be very difficult, and I'll be in pain. But I aim on getting it all done. I've done too much work end up failing this test.

Part two (actually demonstrating my stuff) is next Saturday.

I'm having some serious test anxiety today, and feel a bit funny in the stomach. I'm also very excited.

Thank you for your support.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Michael Jackson is dead!

Sad news.

Michael Jackson is dead -- No, not the Michael Jackson with four famous brothers and two famous sisters.... I mean the BEER HUNTER is dead at 65.

Like such as and.

It's been a while since I've done the deadlift. Somewhere around January of this year, I laid the weights aside to work on calisthenic stuff (pushups, situps, dips, etc.) to prepare for my shodan test, part one of which is only about two weeks away now. Well, I was deadlifting today, in the yard, pulling up 2'x2'x2" concrete pavers, that I'm guessing weigh about 100 lbs each... 28 of them (just a small sampling of the kind of stuff that filled my new yard leaving no room for... oh... I don't know... maybe... GRASS!!!). A nice morning workout. We're paying a guy to come into our yard with machines to tear it up and level it down, and get it ready for a lawn. We're all very excited about having a nice yard for the kids to play in, blow stuff up in, throw a ball, set things on fire, or whatever.

In other news: We're gonna spend a few days at the seashore soon. I love the smell of the ocean air. I hope I can smell it, because I have a cold.

Oh, in case you missed it... recorded for posterity, an excellent example of the dim, shallow, empty generation that "U.S. Americans," is, along with "the Iraq," and "like such as and." --

Monday, August 20, 2007

Feeling good, feeling anxious

I had a good Lord's Day yesterday. I feel refreshed spiritually, which is just what I needed. I also had some good private worship this morning, reading some Proverbs which I will be trying to recall to mind and think about throughout the day.

I pray that the Lord will help me to be a better dad than I have been so far.

In other news: It's getting down to it. I have a few weeks left to get whipped into enough shape to pass my Shodan (black belt) test. I'm getting older, for sure. I'm sore all over today from the things I did Friday and Saturday. You know what though? I appreciate that I go to a school that requires hard work to earn Shodan, rather than a school that hands it out to just anybody. I get such test anxiety, and I'll be glad when this part of my training is done.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

August 15th

August 15th is our 15th Wedding "University" (Daniel said that). I think what I'm going to do for my wife is haul all the yard trash to the local green waste drop off. Then have some champagne.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Look what I found!

In other news: Who else is really jazzed about the New Executive Order that had to be made due to the state of emergency in the U.S., which wisely gives the Secretary of the Treasury the authority to take all our stuff if we do, or may do in the future, anything that undermines the Iraq War?

I know I'm certainly excited about it.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Still busy

Hello everyone,

We remain quite busy at our new house, making it our own. Cutting down trees and bushes (no bustles in my hedgerows), digging out stumps, getting down and dirty.

Besides that, I've been trying to concentrate more on my upcoming black belt test (September). My body is very tired of the high rep work (pushups, situps tricep dips, etc.), and I'll be glad when this is done.

I've been reading John Fairly's Humble Attempt in Defense of Reformation Principles; Particularly on the Head of the Civil Magistrate, but it's going slow, as I seem to have less and less time for reading nowadays.

Here's a pic of all the kids in our old kitchen, just a little before we moved:

Well, it looks like the folder on my computer that had the last pics we took at the old house, including the pics of our friends helping us move, is empty. So, now I'm sad that my pictures are lost.

I'm done posting now.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

What's been going on...

Ok, friends (and foes who read what I write for bad reasons), here's an update on what's been going on.

We moved. After living in the city for my whole life, I finally made it to the suburbs. Not too shabby for a guy with a wife and seven kids, on one meager salary! The sights and sounds are certainly a pleasant change. No more loud booming pounding music, with lyrics in another language, blasting from the cars on the street straight into my living room. Now I can hear birds. The cardinals and the gold finches that frequent my new back yard (which is about 5 or 6 times the size of my old back yard), are colorful, pleasant, and very much welcome to share my land. The past owners went a tad bit landscaping-crazy, kind of a "gardens gone wild" thing. So, there's a lot of work to be done. Oh, the wonders and amazement of the chainsaw! I'll tell you what though... it's fun and rewarding to work my land. I thank and praise God for giving us the opportunity to better our earthly estate like this.

I've been busy, and I'm very tired lately. And I haven't had much time to be online (not to mention the fact that my internet service provider took their good old time getting me hooked up at the new place), but we're doing well, and things have been good.

In other news: I got word that my grandmother was in the hospital, but by the time I got in to visit here, she was gone. No, not dead. Just transferred to long term nursing care. Poor grandma. Alzheimer's is a terrible thing... it's like losing your loved one before you lose your loved one. Know what I mean?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

An Encouragement from Our Lord

"Be not afraid, only believe." --Mark 5:36.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


i just live somewhere else now.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Public School House Rock

Gettting Ready

This is it. We're getting ready to move, THIS WEEK!

I'm ready for a fresh start in a new home, where we can build new memories. And I'm ready for life to get back to normal soon.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Our Effort and God's Work.

I am utterly without the power of obedience, O God, but let me not on that account withhold the effort; let me be ever trying that in the very endeavour strength may be given to me. Neither, although thus a fellow-worker with God, let me presumptiously share with Him the honour of my salvation. He works to will as well as to do: He inspires the effort, as well as execution. Therefore, Heavenly Father, to Thee be all the glory -- Thou beginnest the good work. Carry it onward to perfection; turn me and I shall be turned. And yet let me not forget that Thy grace worketh in me, not as in a passive and lifeless machine, but as in a purposing, willing, ever-doing creature; and in this capacity let me know that I cannot begin too early the participation which belongs to me in the great work of my christianization. More especially it is of importance that, like the man with the withered hand, I should put forth the conatus, even though I should yet be without strength. And who knows but that the strength has been already given, would I only set it in exercise? Let me, therefore, in the language of Paul to Timothy, stir up the gift that is in me; let all that is in me, be it great or little, be stirred up to bless His holy name, and obey His holy will.
--Thomas Chalmers, Sabbath Scripture Readings (on Mark chapter III).

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ashi Barai

I'm on a bit of a "kick" lately. Getting ready for Shawn's visit, I suppose! My apologies to my readers who care not for these things.

Ashi Barai, the basic foot sweep.

How to do Ashi Barai, nice and slow:

Again, how to do Ashi Barai, this time with some verbal instruction (sometime called Ashi Harai):


One more time, this time from a Karate guy rather than Judo:

Against a resisting opponent (Judo match):

This guy finally lands one after many attempts:

A few nicely done Ashi Barai:

Devastating dudes with Ashi Barai, the Karate way:

Careful now, Sensei Murase has an answer for Ashi Barai!

Monday, May 21, 2007


Kusanku/Kushanku Kata in some of its various forms --

Wado Ryu:

Shorin Ryu:

Matsubayashi Ryu:

Shito Ryu:

Isshin Ryu:

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Blessed are the Merciful

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Those are the merciful, who are piously and charitably inclined to pity, help, and succour persons in misery. A man may be truly merciful, who has not wherewithal to be bountiful or liberal; and then God accepts the willing mind. We must not only bear our own afflictions patiently, but we must, by Christian sympathy, partake of the afflictions of our brethren; pity must be shown (Job vi. 14), and bowels of mercy put on (Col. iii. 12); and, being put on, they must put forth themselves in contributing all we can for the assistance of those who are any way in misery. We must have compassion on the souls of others, and help them; pity the ignorant, and instruct them; the careless, and warn them; those who are in a state of sin, and snatch them as brands out of the burning. We must have compassion on those who are melancholy and in sorrow, and comfort them (Job xvi. 5); on those whom we have advantage against, and not be rigorous and severe with them; on those who are in want, and supply them; which if we refuse to do, whatever we pretend, we shut up the bowels of our compassion, James ii. 15, 16; 1 John iii. 17. Draw out thy soul by dealing thy bread to the hungry, Isa. lviii. 7, 10. Nay, a good man is merciful to his beast.

Now as to the merciful. 1. They are blessed; so it was said in the Old Testament; Blessed is he that considers the poor, Ps. xli. 1. Herein they resemble God, whose goodness is his glory; in being merciful as he is merciful, we are, in our measure, perfect as he is perfect. It is an evidence of love to God; it will be a satisfaction to ourselves, to be any way instrumental for the benefit of others. One of the purest and most refined delights in this world, is that of doing good. In this word, Blessed are the merciful, is included that saying of Christ, which otherwise we find not in the gospels, It is more blessed to give than to receive, Acts xx. 35. 2. They shall obtain mercy; mercy with men, when they need it; he that watereth, shall be watered also himself (we know not how soon we may stand in need of kindness, and therefore should be kind); but especially mercy with God, for with the merciful he will show himself merciful, Ps. xviii. 25. The most merciful and charitable cannot pretend to merit, but must fly to mercy. The merciful shall find with God sparing mercy (ch. vi. 14), supplying mercy (Prov. xix. 17), sustaining mercy (Ps. xli. 2), mercy in that day (2 Tim. i. 18); may, they shall inherit the kingdom prepared for them (ch. xxv. 34, 35); whereas they shall have judgment without mercy (which can be nothing short of hell-fire) who have shown no mercy.
-- Matthew Henry, Commentary upon Matthew 5:7.

To Serve and Protect...

Ok, I just found out a bit ago that the police have seized the license plate off of my car... at 1:30 am Lord's Day morning (like they have nothing better to do than drive around looking at license plates from law abiding citizens), because I was not able to produce evidence that the plate has been transferred to this particular vehicle (well, sorry I wasn't sitting in my car parked in front of my house with the paperwork in my hand at 1:30 am!). I called the police station to get my license back, and they told me I have to go get it from the cop that stole it, at 11pm tonight when he reports for duty. I said, "So let me get this straight, you take my plate, and I have to come get it back at a time when I should be in bed?" I was told to save my hostility for the actual officer who perpetrated on me. I feel sick to my stomach!

Yeah, a tea party would hit the spot about now.

Sorry about the rant... I needed to blow some steam. I'll post something more Lord's Day appropriate in a little while.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

When's the Next "Tea Party?"

It's been a LOOOOOOONG time since the Boston Tea Party, and I'm ready for another one. Let me know when it's going down, because I'm in.

Item #1. A gas station owner is selling discounted gas to senior citizens, and the State requires him to raise the price!

Item #2. You would think that "Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms" would be a fantastic convenience store for your one stop shopping, but NO, it's a government agency that has terrorized citizens, harmed and put children in harm's way, shot and stomped on family pets, shot residents while forcefully entering the home or otherwise invading legally owned property -- including shooting an unarmed woman in the head while she held her baby, and shooting a startled woman while she lay in her bed because she made the mistake of picking up her legally owned firearm when these stormtroopers kicked her doors in, etc., etc.

Item #3. April 30th was "Tax Freedom Day," that is, the day of the year when the average American's paycheck stops paying for taxes. Did you understand that? Up until April 30th, on average, all of the money you earned will be taken by the government! That's one third of the year! Would someone please tell me when this becomes absolute theft? Obviously people don't seem too concerned that one third of their income (on average) is taken from them. Well, what percentage is unacceptable? 40%? 50%? Render unto Caesar whatsoever he listeth?

Anyway, if anyone's planning a tea party, I'm in. 2 lumps, please.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Chalmers on the Sinful Demands of Rulers in His Day

Nothing short of unqualified Erastianism will please our rulers. If I stop short of that, and repent of the concessions I may have made, they would glory in the destruction I had brought upon my character -- while to the uttermost they would avail themselves of all that I had surrendered into their hands. I pray for guidance and firmness, O Lord.
Thomas Chalmers, Sabbath Scripture Readings, on Matthew 27.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Might be quiet for a while...

You'll have to forgive me if I'm quite around here, and online in general, over the next few... well, however long it takes. What started out as just looking around at the possibility of getting a new house, has rather rapidly become actually listing our house tonight, because we're going to meet with a seller tomorrow about signing an offer contract! We are very likely going to be buying a house before we sell our old house, which is a little bit stressful. We have alot to do around here, and alot to think about, in order to get this done. So, you may or may not hear from me for a while.

Yes, we actually found a house we can fit in, in our price range, in a great neighborhood, so we need to get this done ASAP.

We thank God for all of this, and ask for your prayers too!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Gun Free Zone

I didn't mention anything about the VA Tech massacre on this blog until now. I hesitate to mention anything for a few reasons, not the least of which is that when something tragic happens, it seems that just staying quiet a while is the wise thing to do. Too many people who think they can figure everything out tend to mouth off as soon as something happens. I chose to wait until I mouth off!

Two things make me sick. First, where have all the cowboys gone? How many tragedies have to happen before sissified America learns to get up from your cowarding crouch and FIGHT? So a punk with two PLINKING GUNS (.22 and 9mm!!!!) walks up and down the aisles and hallways popping people (3x per dead person, I read somewhere), having to stop and reload after his ten clip ran out each time, AND NO ONE BUM RUSHES HIM? I understand initial shock, I understand that it's easy to pretend that I would be the brave one in such an awful situation like that, but COME ON!

The other day my kids were playing sword fight at a playground, and a lady told my wife that her grandson is not allowed to play that (in a tone implying that my kids ought not to be playing such a violent game either). Yeah... WELL THEY GOTTA LEARN HOW TO SWORD FIGHT SOMEWHERE, LADY! What would she think about me taking the kids in the basement for target practice? Quit raising sissies, because this is a dangerous world, and I may need to count on my neighbors' help someday. Which leads me to the second issue on my mind...

"Gun Free Zones" -- rather, "Fish in a Barrel Zones."

I would hope that this would be a wake-up call, but I know my country sleeps deeply. The VA TECH case is amazing to me in that 1). The punk waited the legal time period to purchase his weapons. 2). The punk did not buy any illegal "assault weapons," just two plinking guns. 3). He had no "high capacity magazines," just a whole bunch of smaller ones. 4). He ignored the "Gun Free Zone" signs, and that little law against murder. 5). He proceeded to pick off helpless victims who obeyed the "Gun Free Zone" law. NO LAW AGAINST MURDER, NO LAW AGAINST GUNS, STOPPED THIS PURPOSEFUL RAMPAGE. And no law could have. "Gun Free Zones" only assure the assailant that there will be limited to no resistance during his murder spree. Nice, really nice. Well, you can take your "Gun Free Zones" and roll them up nice and tight because I ain't having it. Disarming innocent people does not protect innocent people. I'm taking steps to assure that I will not be "Gun Free" much at all from now on. One or two law abiding citizens with their handguns could have stopped this murderous punk in his tracks. But alas, Larry Hincker, a VA Tech representative, just about one year ago, commenting on a House Bill that was "shot down" which would allow concealed carry on college campuses, told us, "I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus." Those words sound like cruel mockery now. "Gun Free" laws which prohibit law abiding citizens from capably defending themselves are essentially saying:

I leave you with a link to a rant by Ted "Got you in a Strangle Hold" Nugent, on Gun Free Zones.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Kids Done Us Proud

There was a locally hosted Karate Tournament this past Saturday, and the kids had some good results in their first taste of a big tournament (there were folks from New York, Delaware, Maryland, and different parts of Pennsylvania). Daniel won first place for sparring (thanks to his sidekick), and third place for demonstrating his basic techniques. Conner and Calle took first and second place respectively in sparring, facing each other in the final match (Calle was the only one of Conner's opponents to score even one point on him, the final score was 3-2). And Cole took fourth place for his Wansu Kata, in one of the biggest divisions in the whole tournament!

Good job, kids!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Christian Communion Extended to All Christians

To all, to whom, in the judgment of charity, we may apply the name of Christian, we ought to extend our Christian communion.

With all such, we ought, as we may have opportunity, to pray and converse about religious things. Joint craving of Heaven’s blessing on the food of our table — praising God in company — united thanksgiving for the mercies of the bountiful Giver of all good, is the indispensable duty of all who name the name of Jesus, when in the course of Providence and opportunity is afforded, for such private and Christian communion. All real Christians love one another. They all love Christ, and cannot but love all who bear his image. And this is the characteristic mark of all who love him—they have his Father’s name written in their foreheads. All such will delight to mingle their voices, their hearts and affections, in religious exercises. They will speak of Christ—of the wonders of his love, and the wonders of his grace, with pleasure and delight. They will join in his praises. They will talk together in recommending him more and more. The theme is inexhaustible. They will unite in addressing him, for they love prayer, and they have one heart. One spirit actuates them.
--John Black (from a Sermon on Church Fellowship preached at the Opening of the Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, May 16th 1816.

As someone who identifies with the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and who believes in and endeavors to uphold her principles, I must confess that I have not seen a whole lot of good stuff on this subject of Christian Communion from Covenanter camps around today. Much is produced in defense of maintaining a separate ecclesiastical standing -- which is indeed important too -- but given that so many today perceive Reformed Presbyterians as being overly condemning of believers in other denominations, unloving towards Christians in other churches, unwilling to have "familiar fellowship" with the brethren associated with other branches of the Visible Church, it sure would be nice to see some emphasis on the love and brotherhood we share will all who credibly profess the Name of Jesus Christ.

Let me say this as simply as I can: I LOVE ALL THE BRETHREN (Lord, enlarge my heart for thy people, and help thou my want of love)!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Just between you and me...

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I have an experiment going on. You might think I'm weird, or strange, or even dirty!

I stopped washing my hair... two weeks ago! I've been thoroughly rinsing my hair in the shower, but no soap or shampoo has touched my hair in about two weeks now. I don't plan on ever using shampoo again!

I read an article by a guy who says he stopped using shampoo 10 years ago, and his theory is that if stop stripping your hair of your natural oils, you will stop making excess oils. I'm only two weeks in, but I think this guy is on to something. The first couple days were a little greasy, but ever since my hair has been soft, workable, pleasant smelling, and the chicks really dig it.

So, are you up to taking the no shampoo challenge?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Building air-castle upon air-castle!

He who goes about whining all day long about some
imaginary drawbacks in the sphere which Providence
has assigned him—when all the while he is situated
so much better than thousands around—is a suicide
of his own happiness! He is also impeaching the
faithfulness of the Supreme Ordainer and Disposer.

One half of life's enjoyment is eaten out by this sinful
craving after what cannot be obtained—the desire for
something supposed to be better. Yes, but when "the
better" is reached, there is the yearning for an imagined
"better" still. This is building air-castle upon air-castle!

If in these days there be one household demon more
than another which needs to be exorcised —it is the
demon of discontent!

Oh, for the spirit of Paul—poor and lonely prisoner in
Rome as he was—an apparent bankrupt in all that the
world deems wealth and affluence—yet who could make
this entry in his letter to his Philippian friends—"I have
learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
At the moment I have all I need—more than I need!"
--John MacDuff. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour, 1895.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A Kiss this Sabbath Morning, of April 1st.

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.” Song of Solomon 1:2

For several days we have been dwelling upon the Saviour’s passion, and for some little time to come we shall linger there. In beginning a new month, let us seek the same desires after our Lord as those which glowed in the heart of the elect spouse. See how she leaps at once to him; there are no prefatory words; she does not even mention his name; she is in the heart of her theme at once, for she speaks of him who was the only him in the world to her. How bold is her love! it was much condescension which permitted the weeping penitent to anoint his feet with spikenard—it was rich love which allowed the gentle Mary to sit at his feet and learn of him—but here, love, strong, fervent love, aspires to higher tokens of regard, and closer signs of fellowship. Esther trembled in the presence of Ahasuerus, but the spouse in joyful liberty of perfect love knows no fear. If we have received the same free spirit, we also may ask the like. By kisses we suppose to be intended those varied manifestations of affection by which the believer is made to enjoy the love of Jesus. The kiss of reconciliation we enjoyed at our conversion, and it was sweet as honey dropping from the comb. The kiss of acceptance is still warm on our brow, as we know that he hath accepted our persons and our works through rich grace. The kiss of daily, present communion, is that which we pant after to be repeated day after day, till it is changed into the kiss of reception, which removes the soul from earth, and the kiss of consummation which fills it with the joy of heaven. Faith is our walk, but fellowship sensibly felt is our rest. Faith is the road, but communion with Jesus is the well from which the pilgrim drinks. O lover of our souls, be not strange to us; let the lips of thy blessing meet the lips of our asking; let the lips of thy fulness touch the lips of our need, and straightway the kiss will be effected.
--Charles H. Spurgeon, the morning reading for April 1st, from Morning and Evening: Daily Readings.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

30 second Judo Lesson

Now pay attention...

More from the snake (would someone just bonk the snake's head, please!)

The wind is whispering that the snake is at it again, trying to find more idiots.

I knew it was just a matter of time. After all, it was over two years ago that I warned of the snake,

The Snake is evil, conniving, and he thinks that things in "his world" always work out for him. In "his world" he can take what is not his, ruin people, behave like an animal (which is what he is, after all), and after saying a few words, shedding a few snake tears, and waiting for a short period of time, everything is just supposed to blow over.

But it's still quite disturbing to think that more souls are hazarding themselves, and that the snake is so willing to hazard them too. Disturbing, but not surprising. A snake might swallow something many times its own size, because it has such a big mouth.

After feeding, the snake doesn't need to eat for a while. But eventually it goes out slithering around looking for another victim. If only Rikki Tikki Tavi were around!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

You will please address me by my proper title...

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
His Exalted Highness Duke Gerald the Malleable of Hoptonshire by Leer
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Monday, March 26, 2007

Flammable is to Inflammable; as Duh is to No Duh.

From the "1+1 equals, oh yeah... TWO!" files come this brilliance:

Over the past couple days I'm wondering what is happening to my neon tetras. One day, there's ten. Then there's only nine. Then eight. Seven. Okay, now I only see five. What gives? No dead body's floating in the water. Hmm... a mystery.

Today I noticed that my Pictus is looking quite pudgy. This evening, he looks down right bloated.

Wow! What's going on with my tank. First my neons are disappearing, now my pictus has some "fat disease."

Then the light bulb went on, shining right on the grim reality of what's going on in my tank...

During evening worship, it looks like two more tetras "disappeared" (and the big fat pictus just sits there grinning).


Friday, March 23, 2007

The Cops at My House

A friend called us last night at about 10:30 pm. We usually don't get calls that late, but it was an old friend with a strange question, so that's how this all started.

While my wife's talking on the phone, little Gideon somehow gets his hands on the other phone, and is pretending to talk on the phone like his mommy. My wife hangs up, and then takes the phone from Gideon, who starts crying and screaming because mommy took the phone away from him.

The phone rings again, and I, thinking that it's our old friend again with another strange question, answer the phone with a really silly high pitched "HELLO!" Here's how the following conversation went:

Me: Hello!

911 Distpatch: This is 911 Distpatch. What's the problem?

Me: Huh? Someone called 911? I'm sorry, my baby must have dialed it. He was playing with the phone.

911: I heard screaming in the background. What's the problem?

Me: There is no problem. Like I said, my baby was playing with the phone, and he must have dialed 911 randomly. I'm sorry.

911: What was the screaming all about?

Me: The baby. The baby had the phone. Baby.

911: Well, you're going to have to explain it to the officer. I sent the police to your address.

Me: Thanks! (click). RACHEL, THE POLICE ARE COMING OVER! Fix your hair up, because they're going to think I was beating you.

So I'm standing on my porch, stuffing tobacco in my pipe, and I can see the lights flashing from two blocks away. Two police cars pull up in front of my house as I'm lighting my pipe.

Me: Hi.

Cop: Is everything alright?

Me: Yep, the baby had the phone and must have called 911.

Cop: Can I come inside just to make sure everything is alright?

Now, at this point I'm thinking "No. Come back with a warrant," but then I thought, "Jerry, you're innocent, so act innocent."

Me: "Sure, come on in."

Cop: Hi ma'am. Is everything all right in here?

Rachel: "Yes, the baby was playing with the phone and must have called 911."

Cop: What was all the screaming about?

Rachel: I took the phone from him, and he screamed because I took it from him.

Cop: How many kids do you have?

Now, at this point I'm thinking "I don't have to answer that. We told you what happened now be about your way, please." But then I said to myself, "Jerry, you're innocent, just act like you're innocent."

Me: Seven.

Cop: Seven! God bless you!

Me: Thank you.

Cop: Are they all in bed?

Me: Yes.

Cop: Do you mind if I just check them to make sure everything's ok?

(Jerry, you're innocent, just act like you're innocent)

Me: Yeah, sure.

The silent cop stayed downstairs, I guess to keep the peace or something, while I gave the big officer who did all the talking a tour of the house, and we dropped in on all the kids, who got to say hi to the nice police officer who was just making sure we're all safe.

You know what though... none of us really felt safe. I was innocent, and I acted like I was innocent, but it sure was creepy having two cops looking at me like I did something terrible, and checking out my house like I'm hiding something.

I'm glad he didn't ask to look in my closet.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Non-binding poll

Should Jerry enter the big karate tournament coming up on April 14th?
No, you are too old, fat, and slow to win anything. Even girls and old people can whoop you.
No, you have far better things to do with your time.
Yeah, give it a shot. Maybe you'll suprise yourself and do OK.
Definately, it is very important for you to challenge yourself.
Huh? Look, I don't know. I'm not even sure what you're talking about, so why are you asking me? free polls

Sunday, March 18, 2007

For those doubting their regeneration -- Case 8.

Case 8. "The AFFLICTIONS I meet with are strange and unusual. I doubt if ever a child of God was tried with such dispensations of providence as I am."

Answer. Much of what was said on the preceding case, may be helpful in this. Holy Job was assaulted with this temptation, Job 5:1, "To which of the saints will you turn?" But he rejected it, and held fast his integrity. The apostle supposes that Christians may be tempted to "think it strange concerning the fiery trial," 1 Pet. 4:12. But they have need of larger experience than Solomon's, who will venture to say, "See this is new," Eccl. 1:10. What though, in respect of the outward dispensations of providence, "it happen to you according to the work of the wicked?" yet you may be just notwithstanding; according to Solomon's observation, Eccl. 8:14. Sometimes we travel in ways where we can neither perceive the prints of the foot of man or beast; yet we cannot from thence conclude that there was never any there before us: so, though you can not perceive the footsteps of the flock, in the way of your affliction, you must not therefore conclude that you are the first that ever traveled that road.

But what if it were so? Some one saint or other must be first, in drinking of each bitter cup the rest have drunk of. What warrant have you or I to limit the Holy One of Israel to one trodden path, in his dispensations towards us? "Your way is in the sea, and your path in the great waters; and your footsteps are not known," Psalm 77:19. If the Lord should carry you to heaven by some retired road, so to speak, you would have no ground of complaint. Learn to allow sovereignty a latitude; be at your duty; and let no affliction cast a veil over any evidences you otherwise have for your being in the state of grace: for "no man knows either love or hatred by all that is before him," Eccl. 9:1.

--Thomas Boston, from Human Nature in Its Fourfold State.

(This concludes this series of posts).

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Anyone else remember Really Rosie and Chicken Soup? Here's a clip I found of Pierre, the boy who didn't care, as told in song by the haunting voice of Carol King:

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Family pushups

Last night we did family pushups -- kids, wife, everybody but the cat. It was fun, and here's how you can do them too, in a way that you do not wear yourself out, but still do way more pushups than you think you can.

I've been playing with Pavel's Ladder, a way to accomplish Synaptic Facilitation, also called the "grease the groove" method, credited to Pavel "the evil Russian" Tsatsouline. The goal is to do high volume pushups without approaching failure. Here's how we did Pavel's ladder as a family:

I did one pushup, and stood up. Everyone else dropped and did one pushup to match me. Then I dropped and did two (one, two), again everyone matches my two pushups. I did three (one, two, three), everyone did three. I did four, everyone did four. I did five, everyone did five. When someone says, "I'm done" or "I don't think I can do the next set," we all drop back to one, then two, then three, etc.

We did this as a family three times back to back to back -- completing two ladders of 5, and one ladder of 4, meaning that we all did 40 pushups within a few minutes!

I myself have done almost 800 pushups since Saturday (not including the pushups done in Karate class), by doing Pavel's ladder every other day.

Try Pavel's Ladder, and grease the groove baby!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

For those doubting their regeneration -- Case 7.

Case 7. "I never read in the word of God, nor did I ever know of a child of God, so TEMPTED, and so left of God, as I am; and therefore, no saint's case being like mine, I can only conclude that I am none of their number.

Answer. This objection arises to some from their ignorance of the Scriptures, and the experience of Christians. It is profitable, in this case, to impart the matter to some experienced Christian friend, or to some godly minister. This has been a blessed means of peace to some people; while their case, which appeared to them to be singular, has been proved to have been the case of other saints. The Scriptures give instances of very horrid temptations, wherewith the saints have been assaulted. Job was tempted to blaspheme; this was the great thing the devil aimed at in the case of that great saint, Job 1:11, "He will curse you to your face." Chap. 2:9, "Curse God and die." Asaph was tempted to think it was in vain to be pious, which was in effect to throw off all religion, Psalm 73:13, "Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain." Yes, Christ himself was tempted to "cast himself down from a pinnacle of the temple," and to "worship the devil," Matt. 4:6-9. And many of the children of God have not only been attacked with—but have actually yielded to very gross temptation for a time. Peter denied Christ, and cursed and swore that he knew him not, Mark 14:71. Paul, when a persecutor, compelled even saints to blaspheme, Acts 26:10, 11.

Many of the saints can, from their sad experience, bear witness to very gross temptations, which have astonished their spirits, made their very flesh to tremble, and sickened their bodies. Satan's fiery darts make terrible work; and will cost some pains to quench them, by a vigorous managing of the shield of faith, Eph. 6:16. Sometimes he makes such desperate attacks, that never was one more put to it, in running to and fro; without intermission, to quench the fire-balls incessantly thrown into his house by an enemy, designing to burn the house about him, than the poor tempted saint is, to repel Satanical injections. But these injections, these horrid temptations, though they are a dreadful affliction, they are not the sins of the tempted, unless they make them theirs by consenting to them. They will be charged upon the tempter alone, if they be not consented to; and will no more be laid to the charge of the tempted party, than a [illegitimate child]'s being laid down at a chaste man's door will fix guilt upon him.

But suppose neither minister nor private Christian, to whom you go, can tell you of any who has been in your case; yet you ought not thence to infer that your case is singular, far less to give up hope: for it is not to be thought, that every godly minister, or private Christian, has had experience of all the cases which a child of God may be in. We need not doubt that some have had distresses known only to God and their own consciences; and so to others these distresses are as if they had never been. Yes, and though the Scriptures contain suitable directions for every case which a child of God can be in, and these illustrated with a sufficient number of examples; yet it is not to be imagined that there are in the Scriptures perfect instances of every particular case incident to the saints. Therefore, though you cannot find an instance of your case in the Scripture—yet bring your case to it, and you shall find suitable remedies prescribed there for it.

Study rather to make use of Christ for your case, who has a remedy for all diseases, than to know if ever any was in your case. Though one should show you an instance of your case, in an undoubted saint; yet none could promise that it would certainly give you ease: for a scrupulous conscience would readily find out some difference. And if nothing but a perfect conformity of another's case to yours will satisfy, it will be hard, if not impossible, to satisfy you; for it is with people's cases, as with their natural faces: though the faces of all men are of one make, and some are so very like others, that, at first view, we are ready to take them for the same; yet if you view them more accurately, you will see something in every face, distinguishing it from all others; though possibly you cannot tell what it is. Therefore I conclude, that if you can find in yourselves the marks of regeneration, proposed to you from the word, you ought to conclude you are in the state of grace, though your case were singular, which is indeed unlikely.
--Thomas Boston, from Human Nature in Its Fourfold State.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Book Finds!

Google has this relatively new Book Search feature, which allows you to find books online. I was playing around with it and found a good one I wanted to share:

Thomas Ridgley's Body of Divinity (Commentary on the Larger Catechism). You can even download the whole thing in a PDF file!

So, here's your assignment. What cool books can you find and recommend to me?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

For those doubting their regeneration -- Case 6.

Case 6. "I see myself fall so far short of the saints mentioned in the Scriptures, and of several excellent people of my own acquaintance, that, when I look on them, I can hardly look on myself as one of the same family with them."

Answer. It is, indeed, matter of humiliation, that we do not get forward to that measure of grace and holiness which we see is attainable in this life. This should make us more vigorously press towards the mark: but surely it is from the devil, that weak Christians make a rack for themselves, of the attainments of the strong. To yield to the temptation, is as unreasonable as for a child to dispute away his relation to his father, because he is not of the same stature with his elder brethren. There are saints of several sizes in Christ's family; some fathers, some young men, and some little children, 1 John 2:13, 14.

--Thomas Boston, from Human Nature in Its Fourfold State.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tell me about it...

"I don't want my heart to get broken, so I'm taking it somewhere else." -- Elisabeth.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

For those doubting their regeneration -- Case 5.

Case 5. "The attainments of hypocrites and apostates are a terror to me, and come like a shaking storm on me, when I am about to conclude, from the marks of grace, which I seem to find in myself, that I am in the state of grace."

Answer. These things should, indeed, stir us up to a most serious and impartial examination of ourselves; but ought not to keep us in a continued suspense as to our state. Sirs, you see the outside of hypocrites, their duties, their gifts, their tears, and so on—but you see not their inside; you do not discern their hearts, the bias of their spirits. Upon what you see of them, you found a judgment of charity as to their state; and you do well to judge charitably in such a case, because you cannot know the secret springs of their actions: but you are seeking, and ought to have, a judgment of certainty as to your own state; and therefore are to look into that part of religion, which none in the world but yourselves can discern in you, and which you can as little see in others.

A hypocrite's region may appear far greater than that of a sincere soul: but that which makes the greatest figure in the eyes of men, is often of least worth before God. I would rather utter one of those groans which the apostle speaks of, Rom. 8:26, than shed Esau's tears, have Balaam's prophetic spirit, or the joy of the stony-ground hearer. "The fire that shall try every man's work," will try, not of what bulk it is—but "of what kind it is," 1 Cor. 3:13. Though you may know what bulk of religion another has, and that it is more bulky than your own—yet God does not regard that; why, then, do you make such a matter of it? It is impossible for you, without divine revelation, certainly to know of what sort another man's religion is: but you may certainly know what sort your own is of, without extraordinary revelation; otherwise the apostle would not exhort the saints to "give diligence to make their calling and election sure," 2 Peter 1:10. Therefore, the attainments of hypocrites and apostates should not disturb you, in your serious inquiry into your own state.

I will tell you two things, wherein the lowest saints go beyond the most refined hypocrites:

1. In denying themselves; renouncing all confidence in themselves, and their own works; acquiescing in, being well pleased with, and venturing their souls upon, God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, Matt. 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." And, chap. 11:6, "Blessed is he who shall not be offended in me." Phil. 3:3, "We are the true circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Jesus Christ, and have no confidence in the flesh."

2. In a real hatred of all sin; being willing to part with every lust, without exception, and to comply with every duty which the Lord makes, or shall make known to them, Psalm 119:6, "Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all your commandments." Try yourselves by these.

--Thomas Boston, from Human Nature in Its Fourfold State.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sunday, February 18, 2007

For those doubting their regeneration -- Case 4.

Case 4. "But when I compare my love to God with my love to some created enjoyments, I find the pulse of my affections beat stronger to the creature than to the Creator. How then can I call him Father? Nay, alas! those turnings of heart within me, and glowings of affection to him, which I had, are gone; so that I fear all the love which I ever had to the Lord has been but a fit and flash of affection, such as hypocrites often have.

Answer. It cannot be denied, that the predominant love of the world is a certain mark of an unregenerate state, 1 John 2:15, "If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Nevertheless, those are not always the strongest affections which are most violent. A man's affections may be more moved, on some occasions, by an object that is little regarded, than by another that is exceedingly beloved; even as a little brook sometimes makes more noise than a great river. The strength of our affections is to be measured by the firmness and fixedness of the root, not by the violence of their actings.

Suppose a person meeting with a friend, who has been long abroad, finds his affections more vehemently acting towards his friend on that occasion, than towards his own wife and children; will he therefore say, that he loves his friend more than them? Surely not. Even so, although the Christian may find himself more moved in his love to the creature, than in his love to God; yet it is not therefore to be said, that he loves the creature more than God, seeing love to God is always more firmly rooted in a gracious heart, than love to any created enjoyment whatever: as appears when competition arises in such a manner, that the one or other is to be foregone.

Would you, then, know your case? Retire into your own hearts, and there lay the two in the balance, and try which of them weighs down the other. Ask yourself, as in the sight of God, whether you would part with Christ for the creature, or part with the creature for Christ, if you were left to your choice in the matter? If you find your heart disposed to part with what is dearest to you in the world for Christ at his call, you have no reason to conclude you love the creature more than God; but, on the contrary, that you love God more than the creature, although you do not feel such violent motions in the love of God, as in the love of some created thing, Matt. 10:37, "He who loves father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me." Luke 14:26, "If any man comes to me, and hates not his father and mother – he cannot be my disciple." From which texts compared, we may infer, that he who hates, that is, is ready to part with, father and mother for Christ, is, in our Lord's account, one that loves them less than him, and not one who loves father and mother more than him.

Moreover, you are to consider that there is a twofold love to Christ.

1. There is a SENSIBLE love to him, which is felt as a dart in the heart, and makes a holy love-sickness in the soul, arising from lack of enjoyment, as in that case of the spouse, Cant. 5:8, "I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him that I am sick of love:" or else from the fullness of it, as in Cant. 2:5, "Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples; for I am sick of love." These glowings of affection are usually wrought in young converts, who are ordinarily made "to sing in the days of their youth," Hos. 2:15. While the fire-edge is upon the young convert, he looks upon others, reputed to be godly, and not finding them in such a temper or disposition as himself, he is ready to censure them; and to think there is far less religion in the world than indeed there is. But when his own cup comes to settle below the brim, and he finds that in himself which made him question the state of others, he is more humbled, and feels more and more the necessity of daily recourse to the blood of Christ for pardon, and to the Spirit of Christ for sanctification; and thus grows downwards in humiliation, self-loathing, and self-denial.

2. There is a RATIONAL love to Christ, which, without these sensible emotions felt in the former case, evidences itself by a dutiful regard to the divine authority and command. When one bears such a love to Christ, though the vehement stirrings of affection be lacking—yet he is truly tender of offending a gracious God; endeavors to walk before him unto all well pleasing; and is grieved at the heart for what is displeasing unto him, 1 John 5:3, "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments."

Now, although that sensible love does not always continue with you, you have no reason to deem it a hypocritical fit, while the rational love remains with you; any more than a loving and faithful wife needs question her love to her husband, when her fondness is abated.
--Thomas Boston, from Human Nature in Its Fourfold State.