Saturday, August 30, 2008

College Football is Here!

It's college football time! Which is second only to baseball season. My prediction for today's Texas Tech vs. Eastern Washington game is 62-20. EWU actually has a decent offensive scheme, so they might be able to put up 20. Tech should have the advantage, however, in almost all facets of the game. My only concern is that there is a chance of heavy rain. If that happens, I would say a score of 47-17 is a little more likely. We shall see! Wreck em Tech!

Anyone have any predictions on their favorite team?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

So, You Want To Get Your PhD?

So I've officially survived all of my classes at least once. The class I teach should be a breeze. The students seem to be very talkative and I like to think that I am a little more interesting than the average gray-haired, sweater vest-wearing professor. The classes I'm taking on the other hand . . . ugh. It is going to be a long semester. It isn't that the classes are difficult. It is that they are pointless. At this point in my PhD career these classes do nothing but waste time. The administration wants to get us through the program as quickly as possible, yet they drop massive amounts of pointless work on us. The bureaucracy around here is smothering and it's driving me insane. I, along with almost all of my colleagues, don't want to be here anymore. We want to be gone or done, . . . preferably both.

There was much more, but it was more of a rant about the fallacy of political science, which I'm sure no one cared to read.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Battle in the Basement

School has officially started. I can already tell it is going to be a battle. I want to be less irritable this year. That can be difficult in such a high-stress environment. I really want to be positive and loving to my students, classmates, and professors, but the mundaneness of some of the classes, the high level of bureaucracy and the general desire by some to cause and proliferate trouble makes it difficult for me to walk a straight line. This is going to be a trying year, but I am determined not to let it get to me. If I can muster up the courage, I even hope to mend a fence or two. Help me Lord!

Proverb of the Day: Proverbs 26:14
"As a door turns back and forth on its hinges, so the lazy person turns over in bed."

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day of the Semester

Welp. It's the first day of school. I have 220 children that I will be introducing to Political Science this morning. I am probably the first ever college class for many of them. Pray that I teach them what needs to be taught, that I am a great Christian example to them, and that all goes smoothly.

Daniel 7: How Will You Be Judged?

Daniel 7 is the first of several of Daniel's visions. This particular vision is about the four beasts. Without going into detail, let me just say that I am glad I know how the story ends. With these four beasts comes the death and destruction of many followers. Thankfully, God comes and saves us from the beasts.

My question with this chapter is: How will God judge me? This chapter is very clear that God will come and judge in favor of those who are holy. Will that be me? I sure hope so. I would like to think so, but I often feel so inadequate in this regard. Perhaps my insecurities come from knowing that I am insufficient. Perhaps Satan is telling my I am not good enough and I am actually listening.

I don't know.

Proverb of the Day: Proverbs 25:6-7
"Don't demand an audience with the king or push for a place among the great. It is better to wait for an invitation than to be sent to the end f the line, publicly disgraced!"

Friday, August 22, 2008

Daniel 6 and the Line between Loving God and Respecting the State

Daniel and the lion's den is one of the more well-known stories of the Bible. I do not plan to go into depth about it here. It is in Daniel 6 if you want more info on it.

The story did make me wonder about when it is appropriate to shun the state's laws. The Bible tells us that God puts into power the person He wants in power for that particular moment. We are also suppose to obey the state unless they ask us to do things that are against God.

Undoubtedly, Daniel continued to pray to God instead of Darius because the law that forbid praying to anyone but Darius was counter to God's law. That is an easy one. However, what about more difficult questions? What about school prayer? What about being a man or woman of faith while at work? Where is the line between being faithful to God like Daniel was and being respectful of the state and/or employers?

Proverb of the Day: Proverbs 22:2
"The rich and the poor have this in common: They Lord made them both."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Daniel 5: What is Written on Your Wall

Daniel Chapter 5 tells us that we are expected to learn from the mistakes of others and be humble. Nebuchadnezzar eventually learned which god was the God. Belshazzar, his successor, was not so lucky. He held a feast, and using items stolen from when Nebuchadnezzar overran the Jews, they celebrated and worshiped idols of all kinds. During the feast a hand appeared and wrote a message on a wall. When Daniel later interpreted the writings he told Belshazzar that he learned nothing from Nebuchadnezzar and that he had refused to humble himself before God. As punishment, he would lose his kingdom to the Persians and Medes, and his life would be lost as well. That night he was murdered and Darius the Mede took control over the kingdom.

For me, there are two lessons here.

1) Take note of other people's successes and failures. God doesn't put godly people in your life so that you can ignore them. They are tools for you. They are examples. The same goes for the ungodly. They too give us direction.

2) I wonder what the writing on my wall would say? This got me to thinking; we should make sure that the writing on our wall is a representation of our relationship with God. For some, the writing on the wall may actually be posted Bible verses. For others, it might be reading the Word regularly or helping those less fortunate. Those "writings" help the world to know about our future and they help to keep us on the right track. What does your writing on the wall say?

Proverb of the Day: Proverbs 21:31
"The horses are prepared for battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Daniel 4: Who Created It?

Daniel 4 teaches us some very important lessons, especially for those who are viewed through the world's eyes as successful. Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that Daniel later interpreted for him. The dream was a vision of Nebuchadnezzar losing his kingdom for "seven periods of time" unless he broke from his sinful past. Nebuchadnezzar would be punished by being placed below human society, having to eat grass like cows. Sure enough, 12 months after the dream Nebuchadnezzar was on his rooftop overlooking his kingdom and boasting about what he had created when the dream was fulfilled.

The lesson is obvious, we do nothing great without God. Our castle (even if it is a small two room duplex) is a gift from God. Our diplomas, job titles, bank statements, awards, etc. come from God. If we focus only on what we have done, then we have nothing. God giveth and God most certainly can taketh away. We should not let our pride and sinful nature interfere with all that God has done for us. He has provided shelter, clothing, food, and so much more for me. He has provided His son for all. The story of Nebuchadnezzar is a warning to each and every one of us. We need to remember who got us to where we are.

Proverb of the Day: Proverbs 20:22
"Don't say, 'I will get even for this wrong.' Wait for the Lord to handle the matter."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Daniel 3: Fear and Faith?

I continued in Daniel reading the 3rd chapter. This chapter tells us about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were thrown into a blazing furnace for refusing to worship Nebuchadnezzar's gold statue. After being bound and thrown into the furnace, which was burning at a rate 7 times greater than normal, Nebuchadnezzar looked in to see four men walking around. It was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and another supernatural being. The original three walked from the fire and were unharmed. Even their clothes were unsinged.

Reading this got me to thinking about faith. After learning they would be thrown into the fire the three replied, "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God of whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn't, Your Majesty can be sure that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up" (Daniel 3:17-18).

That is some serious faith. Not only that, but the Bible records no fear from the three. I wonder if they were scared at all? This led me to wonder if we can be fearful of our future and still have faith that God will protect us? The Bible tells us to fear only God. Moses fled from Egypt without fearing reprisal from the King (Hebrews 11:27). Perhaps to have true faith in God we must NOT fear man. What can man do that God cannot undo? NOTHING!

Another thing that was brought to my attention was the fact that the Bible tells us of many idols and religions that were created by Kings for their own good. I am not an expert in Church history by any stretch of the imagination, but I was wondering if Christianity can be traced back to one person who created the idea of God to further their own goals? (I would argue NO) If it cannot be traced to such a person, like other religions, then how can detractors of Christianity say that Christianity is "made up" or "all in your head"?

Proverb of the Day: Proverbs 19:3
"People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Daniel 1 & 2: Sticking to Your Guns without Shooting Anyone

I read Daniel chapters 1 and 2 this morning. Of course, chapter two is the more well-recognized of the two. It is about Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the statue. That being said, chapter one spoke to me this morning.

After being taken captive and moved hundreds of miles to Babylon, the young Daniel was put into three years of training to be a King's adviser. What I found most striking was the amount of faith Daniel had at this time. His home had been destroyed and he had been taken captive, yet he STILL held on to his beliefs. He refused to partake of the King's food, instead preferring foods that did not conflict with God's laws. Not only did he not eat what the King had offered, but he was able to very wisely suggest another diet. I think too often Christians take a stance that is so very anti-worldly (read: militant) that they give Christians a bad name. Daniel didn't protest or tell those who prepared his meals that they would burn in Hell for creating such things. He didn't shun those who ate what the King offered. He very calmly offered a suggestion that was in line with God's laws. Not only does this show wisdom, but also faith. He had the faith to know that God would be with him as he challenged the status quo (and that is saying a lot after all he had been through).

Anyways, I thought it was interesting how Daniel was able to remain loyal to God and did so under the toughest of circumstances, but in a non-conflictual way. I'm not saying Christians should never stand up in protest. I'm just pointing out that in this circumstance Daniel shows us that we can defeat worldly things without being aggressive.

Proverb of the Day: Proverbs 18: 4
"A person's words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Random Thoughts

I was at a good friend's wedding a couple weekends ago and witnessed something that made me think. During the toast the best man talked about how God was evident in the relationship of the bride and groom. My first instinct was, "yeah right". They lived together a while before getting married.

I find myself having these reactions quite often. Maybe an athlete with talk thank God for his abilities, then go drop the F Bomb when he gets a bad call, or a musician will thank God for giving him/her the ability to sing that song about drugs, prostitutes, and violence, or someone I see at church spends their weekends getting plastered at a bar.

These situations occur all the time and I always think to myself "some Christian they are". I've been thinking though, how do I come off? I certainly hope people don't see the way I act and think "another Christian who lives his life no different than I".

I am not saying that Christians are perfect. We aren't. We sin . . . a lot. But can people recognize us as being legitimately remorseful for our sinful acts or do they see us as just arrogant folks who think we own morality?