Close to some Medical Answers

Well, it’s been a long time since I last posted and I’m not entirely sure I have any readers left, but here’s an update nonetheless.

We are currently back at our home in the States, Dallas, TX. We’ve found a M-house here where we can stay for a while.

I went to Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore and had a week’s worth of blood tests, an EMG and a muscle biopsy done.

Currently, we are waiting to hear back from my doctor. Please pray for a diagnosis. Any diagnosis and I do really mean any would be better than nothing. If we have a diagnosis then we can start talking about getting back to our field of service. If not, it means more doctors, locally, and ambiguity about our return to the field. If you are still out there please pray for us as we await the diagnosis and please pray for wisdom for us and our supervisors as we start to discuss returning to the field or having to resign from our current job. Thanks so much.


Sick. How?

Don’t Know.  Currently away from home and separated from family doing medical tests.  Pray there will be a diagnosis; after one week in hospital still no info.  Now I am seeing an Internal Medicine doc and have a new week’s worth of tests.  Pray that my family will safely join me this Wednesday.  Thanks for your concerns and prayers.

 Lord willing, I will resume my journal within the next 2-4 weeks sometime.

A Theology for Garage Sales, Flea Markets, and Used Car Salesmen Pt.3

Please click here for Pt.1

Please click here for Pt.2

In the next section Edwards discusses the kinds of excuses people use for taking what is their neighbor’s.

The first excuse comes up when someone has performed a kindness for someone else or when someone has done something for someone else without a formal payment agreed upon and takes it upon himself to steal something of value as his payment.

o Edwards says this is a dishonest means of payment and is stealing, “though something of his neighbor’s, which is as valuable as what he takes, may be due to him; that doth not give him such a right to his neighbor’s goods…”

o “That his neighbor is in debt to him, doth not give him a right to take it upon himself to be his own judge, so that he may judge for himself, which of his neighbor’s goods shall be taken from him to discharge the debt…”

o “…such a course, that if universally allowed and pursued in such cases, would throw human society into confusion.”

o In the next comment we see what might be construed as political theory:

§ “Every man has a right to hold his estate, and keep possession of his properties, so that no other can lawfully use them as his own, until he either parts with them of his won accord, or until it be taken from him according to some established rule, in a way of open justice.”

§ This was written around 30 years before the American Revolution.

§ In what other of Edwards’ writings can you glean his political theory?

The second excuse is similar to the first.

o “If a man do his neighbor some considerable kindness…what he does or gives is supposed to be done voluntarily, and he is not to make his neighbor debtor for it.”

o Does anyone know of a resource that defines words as they would have been defined in certain periods of time? For example, what exactly did the word ‘ridiculous’ mean in Edwards’ time? Naturally, it meant something very close to what we believe it means today, but surely the slight difference in meaning would illuminate Edwards’ intent in saying, “…it is a very ridiculous plea which they make to excuse so unmanly and vile an act.”

o Edwards also exposes the fact that what is done in secret is often done in sin.

§ “When persons do such things in a private manner, they condemn themselves by their own act. Their doing what they do secretly, shows that they are conscious to themselves, that they go beyond what it is expected they should do, and do what would not be allowed, if it were known. Such an act, however light they may make of it, is abominable theft, and what any person of religion or any sense of dignity of their own nature, would to the greatest degree abhor and detest.”

The third excuse happens when someone claims that what they have done is not stealing because what they took was of small or no value.

o “If the thing be of little value, yet if it be worth a purposed concealing from the owner, the value is great enough to render the taking of it proper theft.”

o The thief knows this is stealing because he suspects “that, as small a matter as it is, the owner would not like the taking of it…”

o “The owner of the goods, and not the other people, is the proper judge…”

o Edwards foresees the outcome of theft left unfettered, even if the value of what is stolen is little: “…if this only gives a right, then all have a right to take things of small value; and at this rate a great number of persons, each of them taking from a man that which is of small value, might take away all he has.”

A Theology for Garage Sales, Flea Markets, and Used Car Salesmen Pt.2

Please click here for Pt.1

A third way of taking away what is our neighbor’s is by violence. This probably comes to mind the most when ‘stealing’ is mentioned.

Edwards further defines this mode of stealing by saying it is also the act of “making use of some advantages which [one might] have over their neighbor,” and by “[extorting] unreasonably.”

o Lev. 25:14

o Pro 22:22-23

o Amos 4:1-2

Edwards also defines oppression as “when the necessity of poor indigent people is they very thing whence others take occasion to raise the price of provisions, even above the market.”

o He goes on to say, in order to cultivate some empathy among his congregation, that “we should doubtless think we had just cause to complain, if we were in such necessity as they are, and were reduced to their straits, and were treated in this manner.”

o He drives home the point by exhorting his congregation to be thankful, for “it is owing only to the distinguishing goodness of God to us, that we are not in their circumstances.”

o Edwards finishes this point by encouraging his audience to not boast or take pride in their present good circumstances, rather to, instead, be abundantly thankful for God’s grace and mercy in their lives.

“The case may be so at particular seasons, that those who are not poor, may stand in particular need of what we have, or what we can do for them. So that it would be greatly to their disadvantage or loss to be without it.”

o Can anyone say ‘price gouging’? Like during the weeks after 9/11 or after Hurricane Katrina, etc.

Have you ever envied the wealthy? Have you ever coveted what they had? How would you act/feel if you were in their position? Listen to what Edwards says next.

o Let such consider, whether, if they should by any means hereafter get forward in the world, and come to have plentiful estates, they would like that persons should act upon such principles towards them.”

As a real estate investor in my past, the next sub-point under this mode of stealing was particularly thought-provoking.

o Edwards describes circumstances whereby one might use the law justly and fairly (as far as the government is concerned) to take away what is his neighbor’s.

o Consider the following, real-life scenario: A couple owns a normal home in a normal neighborhood in Anytown, America. They are current on all their payments and have just encountered a sickness that is starting to eat into their savings. They only have basic health insurance so they are starting to slowly mount up financial debts. Pretty soon, they also fall behind on their mortgage and are facing foreclosure. They are forced to leave their home and Mr. Investor snatches up a property valued at $100K for have that price and profits a cool $50K. (This is a normal circumstance that happens everyday in America.)

o Now consider the following real-life scenario: A couple owns a normal home in a normal neighborhood in Anytown, America. They are habitually late on all their debt-payments. In fact, they are so expert in manipulating the system that they have filed a number of bankruptcies in order to milk the ‘free-ride’ they are experiencing. Finally, creditors catch up to them and they are forced to leave their home and Mr. Investor snatches up a property valued at $100K for have that price and profits a cool $50K. (This is a normal circumstance that happens everyday in America.)

o In which scenario is Mr. Investor taking advantage of the law in a way Edwards would disapprove of? In which scenario is Mr. Investor using the law in a honest way, applying financial justice to a couple who is in dire financial straits?

o Here is what Edwards says:

§ “…Another thing that is a kind of violent taking from our neighbor what is his, is taking the advantage of the law to gain from others, when their cause in honesty and conscience is just and good. The circumstances of mankind, their rights, possessions, and dealing with one another, are so various, that it is impossible that any body of human laws should be contrived to suit all possible cases and circumstances. Hence the best laws may be abused and perverted to purposes contrary to the general design of laws, which is to maintain the rights and secure the properties of mankind. Human laws have a regard due to them, but always in subordination to the higher laws of God and nature. Therefore when it so happens, that we have and advantage by the law, to gain what the laws of moral honesty allow not, it is an oppression and violence to take the advantage. That human laws allow it, will not excuse us before God, the Judge of the world, who will judge us another day by his own laws and not by the laws of the commonwealth.”

The fourth way of taking is what is one’s neighbor’s is by stealing, in the strictest form, that is, as Edwards says, “a designed taking of our neighbor’s goods from him, without his consent or knowledge.”

o “In stealing no kind of consent is obtained.”

§ As opposed to extortion where a consent is obtained though by oppressive means.

o Edwards is careful to allow for circumstances where by a consent is implied. For example, one man may have a riding lawn mower and his neighbor does not, but needs one. The man who has tells the man who has not, “Please feel free to borrow my riding lawn mower whenever you like.” In this circumstance, the consent is implied. If the man who has finds that is mower is missing and determines that his neighbor who has not is borrowing it, he cannot rightly and justly accuse his neighbor of stealing. Your views?

o Edwards also speaks of a scenario where a man might take what is his neighbor’s without his knowing or consenting, but by mistake. However, he provides no example. What would an example of this be?

Journal through Galatians, Day 5, Ch 5



In posts titled, “Journal through ______” I will jot down my thoughts and questions.  I will mark my questions in bold, so please feel free to help me out by answering them; simply click on leave a comment to do so.  If you are not already registered you will be required to register, but it is a short, simple and one-time process.  Thank you in advance for taking the time to share your thoughts with me! 

         5:1 – How often have I refused to continue being free and instead have submitted myself back into some sort of slavery?  This is what happens every time we refuse to yield to God and His will and instead decide to do our will.

         5:2 – advantage – WS

         What does this mean?

o       read comm.

         5:5 – Instead of relying on ourselves and our own ability to obey the law, Paul encourages us to rest on the hope that we have, as we wait for the righteousness to come.

         5:6 – faith working through love – WS

o       read comm.

         5:7 – well – WS

o       hindered – WS

         5:8 – persuasion – WS

o       calls – WS

         5:10 – the kind of confidence to have, that of the Lord,  rather in yourself

         5:11 – offense – WS

o       Is there insight here into the way we share the gospel?  That is, should we examine our methods, approaches, rehearsed lines and ensure that we have not so sugar-coated the gospel that we have removed any possible offensive issue?

         5:12 – unsettle – WS

o       Whoa!  Is the strongest statement Paul makes, in a violent sense, towards his opponents?

         5:15 – consumed – WS

         5:16-26 – read comm. for more insight into ‘walking in the Spirit’

         5:17 – opposed – WS

         5:18 – led – WS

         5:19 – evident – WS

         5:22 – fruit – WS

         5:24 – passions and desires – WS

         5:25 – live – WS

o       walk – WS

         5:26 – provoking – WS


Journal through Galatians, Day 4, Ch. 4

In posts titled, “Journal through ______” I will jot down my thoughts and questions. I will mark my questions in bold, so please feel free to help me out by answering them; simply click on leave a comment to do so. If you are not already registered you will be required to register, but it is a short, simple and one-time process. Thank you in advance for taking the time to share your thoughts with me!

  • 4:2 – guardians – WS
    • managers – WS
  • 4:3 – enslaved – WS
    • elementary principles – WS
    • read comm. for more insight into what this means
  • 4:4 – fullness of time – WS
  • 4:5 – redeem – WS
  • 4:6 – can this verse be used to evidence a Trinitarian view of God?
    • also I have heard my whole life, “If you invite Jesus into your heart, you’ll be saved.” But I don’t think that is completely accurate. This verse teaches that God the Father sends the (Holy) Spirit of his Son to live in our hearts. Is it time we stop telling people to invite Jesus into their hearts? Not to mention the fact that this is a man-centered view of salvation, as if it was up to the person in question, rather than the purpose of God. Your views?
  • 4:8 – did not know – WS
  • 4:9 – to be known by God – WS
    • This verse supports the view that it is God who initiates the relationship we have with him, and not man. I have also heard more people say, “I found Jesus”, rather than, ‘Jesus found me.’
    • weak and worthless – WS
  • 4:10 – what exactly were they doing?
    • read comm.
  • 4:13-14 – read comm. for more insight into what he is speaking of
  • 4:17 – “They want to shut you out…”
    • read comm.
  • 4:19 – anguish – WS
    • Have I ever been in aguish, to the smallest degree even, over someone else’ soul?
  • 4:20 – perplexed – WS
  • 4:21-31 – read comm. for further insight and knowledge into what this means
  • 4:23 – promise – WS
  • 4:26 – free – WS
  • 4:27 – “For the children of the desolate one will be no more…”
    • read comm.

Journal through Galatians, Day 3, Ch. 3

In posts titled, “Journal through ______” I will jot down my thoughts and questions. I will mark my questions in bold, so please feel free to help me out by answering them; simply click on leave a comment to do so. If you are not already registered you will be required to register, but it is a short, simple and one-time process. Thank you in advance for taking the time to share your thoughts with me!

  • 3:1 – bewitched – WS
  • 3:3 – “so foolish” – so there is some sort of Biblical precedence for exhibiting the exasperation you feel when encountered with this sort of circumstance, that is, a convert starting off with the right foundation, but then reverting back to some old way of life, in Paul’s situation reverting back to the system of the law
  • 3:7 – I am a “son of Abraham” because I am “of faith”
  • 3:10 – all who use the system of the law to gain righteousness or hope in the keeping of the law for salvation are “under a curse”
    • curse – WS
  • 3:13-14 – Another reason why Christ died
    • “becoming a curse for us”
    • “so that we might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith”
  • 3:16 – we learn that Christ is the offspring of Abraham
  • 3:19 – If the law cannot deliver us into salvation why have it?
    • “It was added because of transgressions” – what does this mean?
    • read comm.
  • 3:21 – It is not either/or – either the law or grace; they are not contrary, that is the law & the promises of God
  • 3:22 – Scripture – WS
    • What does this mean? – “the Scripture imprisoned everything…”
    • read comm.
  • 3:24 – “the law was our guardian…”
    • It kept generations of people in ‘check’ until Christ came
  • 3:29 – what a glorious promise!!! – we are “heirs”

We know people like Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, and David will be in heaven because their faith in God was counted as righteousness to them…but what about the ‘average Joe’? Though it is not mentioned in Scripture was it the same way as for the patriarchs of our faith? Did God discern towards each one of them whether or not their faith was of the same kind as Abraham for example, and then count that as righteousness towards them? Please comment!

Journal through Galatians, Day 2, Ch. 2

In posts titled, “Journal through ______” I will jot down my thoughts and questions. I will mark my questions in bold, so please feel free to help me out by answering them; simply click on leave a comment to do so. If you are not already registered you will be required to register, but it is a short, simple and one-time process. Thank you in advance for taking the time to share your thoughts with me!

  • 2:1 – What was Paul up to for 14 years?
  • 2:2 – who seemed influential – WS
    • Is there a touch of sarcasm here?
  • 2:3 – we learn here that Titus was not a Jew
  • 2:4 – spy out – WS
  • 2:5 – not yield – WS
  • 2:6 – again, “seemed to be influential,” though here it seems tinged with more sarcasm
  • 2:9 – “gave the right hand of fellowship” – what is this?
    • read comm.
  • 2:10 – remember – WS
    • is this the same word as when God is said to have ‘remembered’ someone?
  • 2:11 – opposed – WS
    • stood condemned – WS
    • read comm. for more insight into this confrontation
  • 2:12 – fearing – WS
  • 2:15-17 – justified by faith alone
  • 2:18 – what does this mean?
  • 2:20 – what a beautiful verse! Especially, “…the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
    • loved – WS
    • gave himself – WS
  • 2:21 – what does this mean?
    • nullify – WS
    • justification – WS

A Theology for Garage Sales, Flea Markets, and Used Car Salesmen Pt.1

“A Theology for Garage Sales, Flea Markets, and Used Card Salesmen and other thoughts on Jonathan Edwards’ ‘Dishonesty.’”

Dishonesty or The Sin of Theft and of Injustice by Jonathan Edwards (July, 1740) (Read it yourself here: OR click on the link in my blogroll.)

Ex. 20:15 – You shall not steal.

Subject: An unjust usurping of our neighbor’s property without his consent is forbidden by the 8th commandment. (Edwards’ heading.)

This sermon is entitled Dishonesty, which is appropriate. However, the text itself deals with the sin of stealing and mentions the different ways one might steal something from another, some of which include deliberate dishonesty.

Edwards states that the chief revelation of God to Israel was the 10 commandments.

o First Table: first 4 commandments

§ Teach our duty to God

§ Summarized in what Christ says is the first and great commandment, Matt 22:37: And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

o Second Table: last 6 commandments

§ Teach our duty to man

§ Summarized in what Christ says is the second great command, like the first, Matt 22:39: “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

One can imagine what stealing is and be able to describe a circumstance involving two people, one of which is stealing from the other. Yet, Edwards claims you “cannot reasonably understand it only of that act…”, but instead defines stealing more fully: “An unjust usurping of our neighbor’s property, without his consent.”

o Later on, Edwards says that this ‘unjust usurping’ can be by either withholding what is someone else’s or by taking it away from someone else.

The first section title is “The dishonesty of withholding what is our neighbor’s.” He also states that he will only deal with two aspects of how one might withhold what is his neighbor’s.

o First, Edwards brings up the scenario whereby one might withhold what is his neighbor’s by “not fulfilling [his] engagements.”

§ He says, “ordinarily when promise anything to their neighbor…their engagements invest their neighbor with a right to that which is engaged.”

§ Edwards says this happens most often when “they take the liberty to set their own promises aside.”

· Apparently, idle promises were a problem even back then. Even when it can be said that there were many more people who had a healthy fear of God. Think how much more of a problem it is in today’s world where things are so indispensable. Today promises are so easy to ignore or throw away or rescind. Relationships are so easy to walk away from. Few people make promises with the intention of actually keeping them.

· This is seen most clearly in the rampant divorce rates, especially in the states. Based on just the few above quotes from Edwards, I am convinced that one aspect of why divorce is so evil and wrong is that it is a type of stealing. In marriage, a man makes a promise, an oath to be certain things for and to his wife and vice versa. To divorce his wife, a man breaks all those promises and thus steals back the things he had promised to his wife, i.e. a spouse who would be present through good times and bad, a love to last a lifetime, financial security (no matter how relative), even the promise of children to come.

§ “They violate this command…when they are not faithful in any business which they have undertaken to do for their neighbor.”

· In the scenario whereby a certain man may hire another to complete a project for him and that one who is hired does not “improve the day” he has stolen from his employer and is guilty of a breach of this command.

o I also thought it was just an interesting word Edwards uses, ‘improve.’ It is not often used today as he used it. Also, it seems like it could be a proper kind of attitude to maintain, one of always doing and being your best so that the day turns out better than it would have otherwise been. However, I am not so sure there is a Biblical precedence for a kind of ‘Carpe Diem’ attitude. Can anyone think of Biblical evidence support his notion of ‘improving the day’?

§ Men are also guilty of stealing when they are not careful to do a certain job well, “do it not as if it were for themselves, or as they would have others do for them…”

§ Again, men are guilty when, in the arena of stewardship, they “use not that care, contrivance, and diligence, to manage it so as will be to the advantage of him who entrusts them, and as they would manage it, or would insist that it should be managed, if the affair was their own…”

§ All these points could be solved if we would be simply obey the second greatest commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself.

o The second way by which men withhold what is his neighbor’s “is in neglecting to pay their debts.”

§ They do this “through pride and affectation of living above their circumstances, or through a grasping, covetous disposition, or some other corrupt principle.”

· This really seems like a warning against the evils of credit card debt, way before its time.

§ Edwards also says one reason they do not repay what they owe is not that the cannot pay, “but because they cannot do it so conveniently as they desire.”

§ He also describes how some people could pay their debts, but would rather “buy gay clothing for their children, or…advance their estates, or some such [thing].”

§ “Sometimes they neglect to pay their debts, and their excuse for it is that their creditor doth not need it; that he hath a plentiful estate, and can well bear to lie out of his money…”

§ Edwards sums up this section by saying simply, “If it be due, it ought to be paid.”

The second section is titled, “The dishonesty of unjustly taking a neighbor’s property.”

o Edwards says there are four main ways one might take another’s property: 1) by negligence, 2) by fraud, 3) by violence, 4) by stealing, “strictly so called”

§ The first way someone might take another’s property is by negligence.

· Edwards describes a scenario where one’s livestock might knock down a fence and, wandering through the neighbor’s field, eat and otherwise destroy what is the neighbor’s produce.

· Obviously, this was a meaningful illustration in Edward’s day, and maybe even a real problem. But what would be a modern-day equivalent of this principle? A reckless teenager who mischievously destroys or damages another’s property because of their carelessness?

· Edwards sums up this first sub-section by exhorting his congregation to follow the example seen in Ps 144:14-15: “a people who carry themselves as becomes a people whose God is the Lord, will take thorough care that beasts do not break into their neighbor’s enclosures.”

§ Now comes the basis for my title of this review of Edwards’ sermon: “A Theology for Garage Sales, Flea Markets, and Used Car Salesmen”.

· The second way someone might take away what is his neighbor’s is by fraud.

o “This is the case when men…take advantage of their neighbor’s ignorance, or oversight, or mistake, to get something from him; or when they make their gains, by concealing the defects of what they sell, putting off bad for good, though this be not done by speaking falsely, but only by keeping silence.”

o Have you ever purchased something that you knew had the wrong price marked on it, but you bought it at that wrong price anyway?

o A man might also “falsely [commend] what he hath to sell”, “[attribute] those good qualities to it which he knows it has not”, “[set] forth the good qualities in a degree beyond what he knows to be the true degree”, “[speak] of the defects and ill qualities of what he has to sell, as if they were much less than he knows they are.” OR “the buyer will cry down what he is about to buy, contrary to his real opinion of the value of it.”

§ “These things, however common they be in men’s dealings one with another, are nothing short of iniquity, and fraud, and a great breach of this commandment…”

o These things have implications for how we might bargain for a used car, how we might shop for goods in a bazaar-type environment (rampant where I live now), and how we might try to sell our own home, etc., etc.

o Have you ever committed the sin mentioned in Proverbs 20:14?





It’s October 31st! You know what that means…

Um…don’t you?  No!  Not Happy Halloween!!!!  Oh how Satan must love it when Christians ‘celebrate’ a day like Halloween.  MAY IT NEVER BE!!!  How about we take time to thank the Lord for a return back to Scripture.  How about we celebrate the Reformation.  Yep, that’s right.  October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door at Wittenberg, or so the story goes.  The important thing is that this single act sparked the return of God’s people back to the Scripture alone, rather than a religion based on man’s traditions.  So, I challenge you to take time today to thank the Lord for his Word; take time to thank Him that you have it in your own language; take time to thank the Lord that you have several versions of it; take time to pray for those all around the world who do not have His Word, have not had it translated into their language and have never heard a clear and compelling gospel in their own tongue.  Christians everywhere this is a call to reject Halloween and start celebrating the Reformation!  Praise be to God alone for what He has done and is doing and will continue to do through those who hold fast to His Word alone!