Bible Rebinds · Bible Reviews · Bibles · Uncategorized

A Review of The Berean Study Bible (B.S.B.)

I was unaware of this translation being available in a printed physical edition until I saw one on social media. One of my online friends had recently been touting it as possibly being, “The one.” He has been looking for an accurate translation that reads well. Many of us are longtime fans of Lockman’s 1995 New American Standard Bible. (N.A.S.B.) It has been a reliable formal equivalent translation since its release. We haven’t been looking for a new translation, but some were not satisfied so the 2020 NASB became a reality.

The 2020 NASB has been well received by many, but others like me, were not happy with many of the translation choices made in this most recent work. Some of us have been looking for a replacement that reads, “better.” This subjective preference is responsible for the majority of NASB readers opting to adopt the 2020 NASB.

Others like myself are waiting for something with a stricter translation philosophy. Enter the Legacy Standard Bible (L.S.B.) Master’s Seminary has been working on tightening up the translation work of the 1995 NASB. They have released a New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs. The entire Bible will be released later this year, God permitting. I’m still in this camp. (For the time being.)

My friend and his like-minded counterparts insist on an accurate translation, that handles the Hebrew and Greek gendered words properly without the addition of modern sociopolitical ideologies being utilized in the interpretive process. Along with these core principles they also want a translation that is more accessible than the 1995 NASB was in their opinion. This is where the BSB comes in.

I really didn’t want to like the BSB, and was looking at sections of scripture, and their translation choices very critically. I wanted to find a reason to not like it. I attribute this bias to the fact that a bunch of the people I know on social media were fawning over it ad nauseam. It was like being forced to watch your friend and his new girlfriend baby talk each other. So, being the reasonable adult that I am, I requested a Bible for review. I hadn’t really considered my bias against the BSB until I began using it for my daily reading. I am usually critical of, “new” translations. Especially given the horrible track record of some new translations. I proceeded to use the BSB the way I normally do when I get a new Bible for review. I try to live with it for a while and use it side by side with my 1995 NASB, and some language tools on my computer. (I like Olive Tree’s Bible Study program. I’ve invested a good amount of cash on these tools, but not as much as my Logos friends.) When I read a section that seems different to me, I compare it the NASB, then I look up the Greek in Novum Testamentum Graece (NA28) in the Bible Study app.

I need to state a disclaimer here. I am not a Koine Greek expert. I have had more Koine Greek than some Preachers, but not as much as I would need to be a translator. With that out of the way, keep in mind that all translation involves interpretation. You can have a valid translation of a section of scripture that is quite different than another person’s. This is why you need to have an education in the original languages instead of simply using concordances, and computer programs. It is like having a semester of philosophy and presuming you can fix all the worlds problems. Without the education, you aren’t aware of the period in history, the idioms, ways in which a specific word was primarily used, other extrabiblical contemporary texts to cross reference usage, regional differences, translation conventions, some textual criticism, and so on.

Since God is the author, and we want to understand what He intended to communicate, we need to seek to interpret what we are translating in such a way that His intended ideas are communicated. Just because a translation is linguistically valid does not necessarily make it a good or bad translation.

I started coming around after the first week of using the BSB. I don’t think it will be, “the one” for me, but it is one that I will use. I am still waiting for the LSB. I’d be very very interested in the Berean Literal Bible. I asked about it in one of my e-mail correspondences with John at Bereanstudybible;

Q: “Are there plans to make a physical edition of the BLB?”

A: “We are hoping to offer the full draft OT and NT of the BLB online around the end of the year or early in 2022. Following that time there will be a period for additional translation input, public comment, and consistency checking. For the full BSB this period was about 2 years before finalizing and beginning the printing process, so a comparable time period is expected before a BLB printing.”

I am excited for this translation. After using the BSB, it seems to me to be more formal than the first era NIV’s, which utilized a dynamic translation philosophy, and less formal than the ESV. I’d add it seems more formal than the CSB in my opinion. I do like the translation, in as much as I’ve been exposed to it. I can tentatively recommend the BSB as a translation.

Beyond the translation we have to talk about the actual physical Bible itself. It was shipped in a card-paper envelope with minimal protection. Inside it was in plastic. I hoped it wasn’t damaged. When I opened it up, it was apparent that the text block was exceptionally manufactured. I was impressed at how flexible it was, as well as the paper’s thickness. My first impression was that the spine was smyth sewn. I thought to myself, “Surely it isn’t sewn since it only costs around forty bucks?” I made sure to ask about it.

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Q: “What process was employed to manufacture the spine?”

A: “The Printer was Sheridan in Grand Rapids MI and the Case Binding for the Softcover was done at Bintech in Nashville, TN. The Bibles are Smyth Sewn Flex bound (Caseside).”

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As many of you know by now, there has been further verification of this by the re-binders who have since posted pictures of the spine to social media. The paper is 45 g.s.m. which is 30.5# with 88% opacity. The inside liner that connected the text block to the cover was a nice change. It was flexible, tough, and didn’t wrinkle as bad as traditional materials.

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The cover material is called, “Alpha Aston” manufactured by Ecologicalfibers Inc. The cover material is already starting to show damage from use. I would not trust this cover material to last a long time. Synthetics can be cost effective, but they are rarely as durable as a good quality leather.

This Bible was printed by Sheridan in Grand Rapids Michigan U.S.A. I am happy about that. I really don’t like it when slave labor is used to print a Bible.

The print is a double column, paragraph format, black text edition, in 10 point font. It is clearly printed for the most part with only a few noticed smears of the text. There are some translation notes at the foot of the page.

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Here are some more questions and answers from my correspondence with them;

Are you structured as a ministry, not for profit, non-profit, or something else?

Bible Hub is privately owned. I would say it is structured as a ministry (but supported by advertising so does not take donations.) The translation work was commissioned using ad revenue from the Bible Hub site.

How important is it to the translators to directly translate, when possible, gendered nouns, and pronouns, and allow the reader, with the surrounding scriptural contexts, to come to the correct conclusions?

The translators seek to be true to the original Scripture text regarding gender. Pronoun clarification was permitted where helpful to the reader. Clarifications, parsing, and variants are indicated in the word by word translation tables which are freely available at: https://berean.bible/downloads.htm

Are there plans to make a physical edition of the BLB?

We are hoping to offer the full draft OT and NT of the BLB online around the end of the year or early in 2022. Following that time there will be a period for additional translation input, public comment, and consistency checking. For the full BSB this period was about 2 years before finalizing and beginning the printing process, so a comparable time period is expected before a BLB printing.

Q: “Are there any plans to produce different text blocks? i.e. single column, verse format, personal size, thinline, so on and so forth?”

A: “Depending on sales, a personal size is most likely next. The other options are also strong considerations for the future, but not likely in the very near future.”

Q: “What has your experience been working with an American printer for this edition?”

A: “We have worked with Sheridan (formerly Dickinson) in Grand Rapids for both the NT and full printing and are very happy with their work. Since we are printing in smaller volumes in this early stage, printing in the US is a cost effective solution. Since we are located in the US we prefer to work locally as long as it is reasonably cost effective.”

Overall, I found the translation to be sound. The Bible size was just right allowing for a very comfortable and legible font size. The binding was my favorite feature. The flexible text block should also prove to be durable. The only negative I really have is about the flexible synthetic soft cover. I don’t think it will last long. The text block really deserves a better cover option. I think many people agree as I have seen numerous rebinds on social media. I am looking forward to their future work. Make sure to check out the rest of the photographs on my Flickr page, and watch the youtube video.

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Bible Reviews · Bibles · Crossway · Uncategorized

A Review of the Crossway E.S.V. Illuminated Bible Art Journaling Edition.

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Crossway was kind enough to send me a copy of the Illuminated Bible, Art Journaling edition. This particular one is a burgundy colored, cloth over board, hard back, case bound Bible. It comes in an ornate slipcase that you should maintain for shelf storage to keep your Bible looking good, and to make it last.

We’ve all seen pictures or videos of books from the dark ages that have ornate drawings, and stylized artistic renderings of plant vines, leaves, fruits, and other various things on the covers, spines, page edges, and on the pages themselves. When a book has these features, it is said to be, “illuminated.” Imagine a monk in an abbey some place in Europe, bent over a page of vellum, (animal skin) using a quill, a dip pen, different colored inks, along with gold leaf, to decorate the page of a hand copied Bible. Books were not mass-produced back then. They were very expensive, and time consuming to make. The most valuable book of all time is the Bible. That is not up for debate.

In today’s era of mass-produced clones, it is nice to see something different, but the nagging truth comes back to ruin the illusion for me. This is a mass-produced Bible. It is a very nice mass-produced Bible, but it is mass-produced. The novelty of having all of the art inside, and on the cover is nice, and many people will enjoy this embellishment.

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The immense upside of having a mass-produced illuminated Bible is that everyone can afford to have one, and enjoy the word along with the supporting art. Even in today’s day and age, if you were to commission a one off Bible to be made to your desired specifications, retained an artist to do the work, and then had the thing printed and bound, you would be spending a small fortune. I can’t even estimate how much it would cost. This Bible can be had for less than sixty bucks.

Here is a link to the product page if you just want to look at the specifications. Here is a link to Crossway’s page about how it was made, and here is one about illumination.

For those of you who are still here, and didn’t skip out, I have some other information for you that isn’t on those pages. I’ve already told you about the slipcase. Now we’ll get into the details of the Bible. The artwork is done in what looks to be a gold colored foil stamping of some kind. It is very pleasing to look at.

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The spine has four raised decorative hubs. Between them we have, Illuminated Bible, Art Journaling Edition, English Standard Version, and the Crossway logo at the foot. The flowers, leaves, and vines harken back to traditional illumination features. The cover is also decorated in a similar fashion. The burgundy colored cloth is pretty typical of cloth covered hardback books. This Bible has cream colored head and tail bands, as well as a burgundy colored ribbon marker. The page edges are gold gilt. The spine doesn’t look rounded. The corners are not either.

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There was an issue with some pages that the corners had folded into the text block during trimming. When that happens, they don’t get trimmed. When you unfold them, they stick out further than all the pages. I believe that would be covered under warranty, but I usually take care of it myself with a razor blade. You have to be very careful. If it is more than a couple of pages, you’re better off sending it back because those pages were not gilt if they were tucked in. Since this was only a couple pages, it wasn’t a big deal. It does happen from time to time though.

I know I shouldn’t like the end papers as much as I do, but I can’t help it. I assume the same artist, “Dana Tanamachi” did the art for them as well. This is a case bound, hard back, with paste down end pages attaching the text block to the cover. Two blank end pages precede the ornate presentation page. The sewn spine’s threads contrast with the darker presentation page, making them easier to see. The darker colors on the presentation page do remind me of some of the illumined books I’ve seen over the years. After that is a burgundy colored title page with gold stamped art. Then there is the publisher’s page, Table of Contents, About the ESV, and an Introduction for this illuminated edition.

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Each book starts with a full page of gold colored thematic art. There is a drop cap at the beginning of each book and full page artistic scripture quotes interspersed. The page numbers, chapter numbers, and address references at the head of the page are all in gold colored ink. The text is laid out in a single column, paragraph format. The font is a uniformly printed 9 point Lexicon type. This is a black letter edition. The page margins are approximately 2 inches wide. They are not ruled. There is art interspersed throughout in the margins as well.

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One of the more impressive features in my opinion is the 42 g.s.m. cream colored paper. It is easy on the eyes, and contrasts nicely with the text. Since it is so heavy it helps to reduce ghosting dramatically. In conjunction with the wide margins the paper is good for taking notes. With all of the bold lines in the art the paper can’t stop it from showing through from the other side. This is only distracting when it is the full page art at the beginning of the chapter as it is visible through the text on the opposite page when it is turned over it. At the end of the Bible there is an Index of Title Pages. It includes explanations of how the art expresses some of the themes found in the book. Finally, at the end there is a page with the names of the people who comprised the team that published this edition. There were also 4 blank end pages to write on if need be.

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I like this edition on an aesthetic level. If that were the only reason to buy it, I think I would probably hold off. If you are like me, that just isn’t enough to warrant the purchase, but when you consider the 42 g.s.m. paper, and the 2 inch margins, as well as the price, it start to make a lot more sense. Perhaps more art influenced thinkers would buy this solely because of the art? I’m sure you folks are out there, and probably already own this one. For some of the more curmudgeonly among us, add a little flair to your life while getting a solid translation along with great print quality, terrific paper, and a good value. You can see more pictures on my Flickr album for this Bible.

ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-7099-5

Uncategorized

The Origins of Policing in the Untied States of America is not Racist.

NBA LeBron James Is a Coward. : ThyBlackMan.com

Recently, I’ve heard from the woke crowd that policing/law enforcement in America is systemically racist because it originated with slave owner’s needs to recapture escaped black slaves. I’ve also read that it is one of the ways that the rich, white, oppressors oppress the people of color, or poor people. It seems odd to me that they equate being a person of color to necessarily being poor. I remember in history that white immigrants were oppressed. They have completely misdiagnosed the problem, and the root cause, as usual.

There has always been law givers, enforcers, and violators. The first law breakers were Adam and Eve. The only transcendent and just law giver is God Himself. As far as humans are concerned, whoever the strongest thug is makes the law, and his subservient men enforce it. The rest of the people in the area are subjects to it. This does not make it just. Since only God is just, even the most conscientiously written human laws will fall short of God’s laws in terms of justice. Since God is the only omniscient being, He is the only one who can judge justly. Mankind will always only know part of what he can know, and that part will not be known perfectly. His judgments are based on his faulty knowledge, understanding, and communications.

In the earliest times of human history, men have made laws. Monarchs have ruled. Feudal systems reigned. These men were from all tribes and tongues, all colors, and creeds. It is a sad, inane, ignorant, backwards, brainwashed slave, that believes the lies of the woke crowd. Evil, sinners, oppress other evil sinners, at will as long as there is no law written on their hearts to stop them. Only an internal law from God will stop a man from doing evil, and evil continuously. Color does not matter.

When men came here from England, they brought the laws of the English monarchy. The Puritans brought the laws of God. They attempted to govern themselves by employing the scriptures as their authoritative source of law. The Church enforced the laws on the people, but one of the major differences is that they were willing to be governed. The lawless people in America today however don’t want to be governed by what God says is good or evil. They want to make up the laws themselves. They want to subject us to their twisted views of right and wrong. That is where all this woke nonsense is coming from. They don’t care about justice. They only care about themselves. They are selfish children wresting the power away from the adults because they are spoiled brats. When everything is racist, nothing is. They have nothing to complain about so they create problems. They need to look at their own lives first, and get to work there.

Where does justice come from? God. Where does just law come from? God. Where does the notion of law enforcement come from? God. The minister of justice does not bear the sword in vain. The legal system did not start as a racist system to recapture slaves. That is preposterous. Policing did not come from a racist system to recapture slaves. If you want just laws, you must repent of your sins, and trust the true law giver Who is also the only just judge. The laws of our country will only be just when we are a Christian nation. You wanted to depart from your Christian heritage and faith… Look where it has gotten you! Confused, self-loathing, and full of bitterness, and hate.

Uncategorized

Mask Wearing.

HALYARD* Blue Level 2 Procedure Mask with Earloops - Face Masks & N95 Respirators - Facial ...

How often have smart people been wrong lately? Quite often. Why? Because they start with a false presupposition. When a person starts with the belief that God does not exist, then builds their scientific practices on that belief, they end up with wrong assumptions, and conclusions. That is why I don’t agree with them about their conclusions on climate change, evolution, abortion, euthanasia, and mask wearing, or as I like to call them, “Freedom filters.”

There are only a few truly scientific studies out there, but they are wrong to begin with. One of them has a cage of infected mice, opposite a cage of healthy mice, with mask material between the cages, and fans blowing over the infected mice towards the uninfected ones. That is flawed because it is not analogous to human individuals wearing masks and mingling with each other. One of the other studies demonstrates how different freedom filters stop droplets from being transmitted. They only measure droplets, not smaller particles of water vapor. Other studies are even more anecdotal.

Keep in mind, when your freedom filter catches your breath, the droplets, may collect on the surface, but as you breath in and out, evaporative action occurs. You are actually making a finer mist out of your virus laden respirations. You are still vulnerable to pathogens that are very small, like a virus.

I am a man. I am an individual created by God with certain rights and liberties. I have the God given right to self determination. You could call this a religious belief if you want, but it is much more foundational than that. It is the idea that the government cannot tell me how to take care of my health. If I want to drink a pot of coffee, eat ten bacon burgers a day, and lay around, I can do it. I will suffer the consequences as an individual. You don’t have to take care of me out of the public coffer. I have to pay for my medical bills, and suffer the physical consequences. I have the right, as a man, to self determination.

That right is subordinate to God, His will, His law, and His word. My right, is necessary for me to navigate the world that He made. I operate inside of the nature that I am bound to. As a Christian, my new nature allows me to live in the spirit, and die in the flesh. I know that this world is not the be all end all. If wearing a freedom filter gives you the false sense of safety that you desire, go ahead and wear one. I don’t want to wear one because I know the so called science behind their effectiveness is a lie. When I am told to do something that I know is a lie, I get righteously angry. For instance, the world wants me to celebrate gay marriage, divorce, abortion, transgenderism, paganism, perversions of all sorts, and I get angry! With good reason. Because all those things are lies straight from hell.

Don’t expect me to buy what you are selling just because there is some pseudo-science studies, or claims behind it. After all, these are the geniuses who claimed the world would end due to an ice age before I graduated from high school. Then they claimed we’d all be dead due to global warming. Now they call it climate change because they can’t make up their minds. These are the same folks who can’t say definitively what gender a person is, or anything else for that matter. They even believe we evolved from apes, and are getting better, smarter, and longer lived, lol. Good luck with those, “scientific” beliefs fellas. Let me know how that works out for you. Until my end comes, I want to go about without a freedom filter. I am not hurting you by not wearing one. You are a mindless cow following the other cows to the slaughter house. I’ve had the virus and lived through it. If I hadn’t, I’d gone to be with Jesus. Win, win in my book. The only people who fear death, are the ones who don’t know Jesus!

Here is the bad news. We are all sinners, and deserve death and hell. God should kill us right now, and send us there. The good news is that He came to this world, lived a righteous life, laid that life down as a sinless sacrifice, was crucified on a Roman cross. There He took our sin guilt on Himself, and He took the wrath of God, poured out on Him in our place, as our substitute. He paid the penalty that we own in His precious blood. He atoned for us. We are commanded to repent of our sins, and trust the work that Jesus did on the cross so we can be made right with God. Because of what He did, we can be with Him in eternity. Repent, and believe folks. There is no thing on Earth that can stop your death. 100% of us will die.

racism · Uncategorized

How am I white? How is he black?

Have you ever had a D.N.A. analysis done? I had one done. I was surprised by the results. I was confident that I knew what ethnic groups I descended from. As it turns out, there was a lot more to it than what I had originally thought. Apparently, I descend from people as far north as Oslo, Norway, and as far south as Nigeria. I recently watched a video on the internet where a lady was anxiously awaiting her D.N.A. results to see what tribe she was from in Africa. She was very excited, but when she read the results, she began to cry as if she had been crushed. You see, she was over 60% European. Now, looking at her, you would think that her ethnic heritage would be mostly from the continent of Africa. Her skin was very dark. Her hair was kinky. Her eyes were dark brown. Her facial characteristics were largely similar to other people with her descendancy, but here’s the rub. Most people who the godless leftists would call, “black” are not what they superficially appear to be on the outside, and most people who they call, “white” are not what they have been labeled either.


This nonsense of Critical Race Theory, and intersectionality, are all the exact types of prejudice we sought to eradicate in this country during the civil rights movement, and we were largely successful. Why on Earth would we want to go back to categorizing, and judging people based on something as superficial, and meaningless, as their skin color? However, this is exactly what the left is insisting we do with the practice of, “anti-racism.” This buzzword, “anti-racism” doesn’t mean that we should simply disapprove of prejudice based on skin color. No, it requires that we actively try to punish, cancel, and brainwash anyone who doesn’t fall in lockstep with the radical leftists. They have created a term, “racism” to be the label they give a person to negate their arguments. This only works because many are afraid of being called a racist. They, “poison the well” by calling you a racist. To quote one of the proponents of this prejudiced ideology, “One is either racist or anti-racist. There is no room for neutrality, and there is no such thing as a “non-racist.” Racism scholar Ibram X. Kendi.


This is a logical fallacy, and people seem to be falling for it. The presupposition this statement is founded on is that you are either or. They present a false dilemma. While making an absolute statement they leave no room for any other option. According to Kendi, you are either a racist, or you are an anti-racist. As noted above, they also utilize the, “poisoning the well” fallacy by claiming that you are a racist. This way, other’s opinions of you, and your argument are affected before your debate even begins. The lost are at a disadvantage because they have been given over to debased minds, perversion, and they believe that they are wise. They also believe that they can hear, see, and know the truth, even though God says in His word that they are deaf, blind, and lost. To them, we are the fools, and the evil doers.


Just like all other sinful lies people have enthusiastically embraced, the notion of, “racism” as portrayed by the godless left leads individuals to believe that they are victims of other people, they see themselves as entitle to being treated a certain way, and it gives them feelings of justifiable anger, and hatred towards other individual humans, based on something as superficial, and meaningless, as the color of their skin. The only solution for hate in the heart, is to receive a new heart, with new affections, and desires. Do you know how to receive that new heart? If you confess your sins to God, and ask Him to forgive you, not based on your own goodness, which you do not have, Jesus said, “None are good, but God.” You must trust in the work that Jesus did on the cross to pay for your sins, and trust Him alone. When you repent of your sins, and trust the Savior, you’ll step from eternal death, and darkness, into eternal light, and life. God will give you a new heart, that desires, and thirsts for righteousness, and loves God’s word. Please, to destroy prejudice based on skin color in your own heart, repent of sin, and trust the Savior. Don’t buy into these worldly ideologies like critical race theory. It is simply the hatred of people with light color skin, based solely on their skin color.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/12/genetic-study-reveals-surprising-ancestry-many-americans

government · Uncategorized

Demoncratic Representative Emanuel Cleaver.

Ask yourself, “Does this man know Christ?” If you answered, “Yes.” You probably don’t either. Yes, God is one, but He is a trinity. No, the one true God is not the same god worshipped by other monotheistic religions. If you believe that, you don’t know Jesus. Amen, is not a gendered term, so offering an alternate in the form of awomen is purely idiotic pandering, and offensive to all Christians. אָמֵן ’âmên; in Hebrew means, verily, truly, amen, so be it, and here is the Greek usage of the Hebrew word, ἀμήν amēn; of Hebrew origin (h543); properly, firm, i.e. (figuratively) trustworthy; adverbially, surely (often as interjection, so be it): — amen, verily. AV (152) – verily 101, amen 51;firm metaph. faithful verily, amen the beginning of a discourse – surely, truly, of a truth at the end – so it is, so be it, may it be fulfilled. It was a custom, which passed over from the synagogues to the Christian assemblies, that when he who had read or discoursed, had offered up solemn prayer to God, the others responded Amen, and thus made the substance of what was uttered their own. – The word “amen” is a most remarkable word. It was transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best known word in human speech. The word is directly related — in fact, almost identical — to the Hebrew word for “believe” (amam), or faithful. Thus, it came to mean “sure” or “truly”, an expression of absolute trust and confidence. — HMM This is from Olive Tree Enhanced Strong’s Dictionary and Biblestudy app. Do you all see how wrong Demoncratic representative Emanuel Cleaver is?

Uncategorized

What does your fight with sin look like?

Imagine if you will, that you received a letter in the mail. It was from an anonymous sender with no return address. This is what was written in the letter,

“Mr. Carnal Christian, we have your mother, and father. We have agents all over the world, and surveillance running 24/7. The next time you sin by lusting after that co-worker, or by looking at pornography, or by hating the jerk who voted for the other candidate, we are going to beat your mother, and father like dogs. We will stop when they aren’t recognizable as humans.”

Now since you have recently heard from Mom, and Dad, you assume this is some kind of sick joke. The disturbing message bounces around in your head for the next few days. You see Ms. Jezebel at work, and the way she looks, and flirts with you, makes you feel excited, and you know your wife will never find out. It isn’t like you are actually doing anything with her. After all, it is just flirting. You remember the letter for a moment, and say to yourself, “What a sick joke.”

The next day, your wife and kids go to town to shop, while you are like King David, staying home from the battle, ignoring your duties as King. Everyone is gone, but double-u, double-u, double-u, dot, Bathsheba dot, com is waiting for you on her rooftop. No one will know. Your browser has a built in feature to scrub this kind of… indiscretion from it’s history. What about that letter though? What kind of twisted mind comes up with something like that? As you look, you feel the guilt, but the hungry flesh won’t let you go.

“I can’t believe Mr. Pinko would vote for that traitor. Man, it is guys like that who are ruining this country. I hate them all so much! They should all be put in camps, or killed!” Your post on social media gets tons of likes, and you feel like you did something to help from your superior position.

You receive another letter in the mail, much like the first one, it is anonymous with no return address. The missive communicates, “Apparently, you didn’t believe us, but your mother, and father have been beaten like we promised.” This is preposterous! There is no way this is true.

The next scenario is much the same, but instead of a letter, you receive a voice message with the same information. The same things happen, and after you failed to believe the warning, you receive a recording with the sounds of people who are being beaten. It sounds like your parents, but you are incredulous. You won’t believe that someone would do this to your parents because of your… little mistakes.

This following scenario is just like the first two, but instead of being a letter, or a solely an audio recording, it is a video ,and recording. The video is of two people who look exactly like your mom, and dad. In the video they say their names, and beg you not to engage in those wretched sins, but you think to yourself, “This can’t be real. It must be one of those deep fakes. Yes, that must be what it is, and you engage in all of your previous weaknesses, after all, you can’t help yourself. You’re an addict. It is a disease, right?” Afterwards, you are sent the recording of those two people being reduced to bloody pulps, lying on the ground in their own gore, sobbing in misery. “This can’t be real. It is some disgusting trick to get me to act a different way. My parents are fine. I love them so much. I would never put them through this.” Your thoughts are those of disbelief.

In this last scenario, a buxom Ms. Jezebel is in the room with you. She is willing. A smartphone with an internet connection is there too. All you have to do is punch in the address, and you can see, and hear all of the perversion your little heart desires. You can also spew your hate for all people who aren’t like you out into the pseudo-world of social media. This time however is very different. The people who sent you the letters, audio messages, and the videos are there with you. They have your mom, and dad. This is real. You still don’t believe that someone could do this, but it is real. You are talking with your mom, and dad. Their captors are warning you, and watching you. Just for a moment it seems like your captors aren’t paying attention, and Ms. Jezebel is really turning up the heat on you. You start to flirt back, but as soon as you started thinking about it, the captors began scourging your parents. Their screams of pain shook you free from your sinful lusts. You turned just in time to see them being whipped for your sin. Now, since you do love them, you stopped what you were doing, and ran to their captors begging them to have mercy. With that, they stopped, but warned you not to engage in your sins again, or they would suffer.

How real is the suffering of Jesus to you? Is it as real as what is written on paper, but not real enough to fight against your sinful temptations?

Is it as real as a podcast from one of your favorite theologians warning against a luke-warm faith?

Is it as real as an internet video sermon on our love for ourselves, and our loved ones, outshining our love for Christ?

It is one thing to think of Christ suffering in our place, the punishment for our sins. It is another to actually realize it. Is the suffering of Jesus Christ, your beloved Savior real to you? Do the thoughts of His scourging, crucifixion, and having the wrath of God poured out on Him, on the cross cause you to tremble in remorse, and sorrow? It is easy to say we are Christians. I’m as guilty as any of you. Our love for Christ grows distant, and cold. As this happens, the reality of what He did on the cross loses the hard corners of reality that breaks into our slumbering consciences. Our love for our own flesh outweighs our love for Christ. We feed our sins without considering our God who saves. Jesus said in His word, ““If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Does that sound like a faith that has room for your pet sins? Does that sound like a life that can be lived in comfort, with not a single shot fired from your ship against the fleet of the devil? Does that sound like a call to peace with the world’s forces? No! It is a call to arms! It is a battle cry! I’m tired as well brothers, and sisters, but we can’t give up the fight. When you, or I fall to sin, we must immediately, while still on our knees repent! Don’t wait until your guilt is dulled by the passing of time! Don’t wait, hoping God’s memory of the sin will fade! Confess, right there on your knees, in the dirt. Confess to Him what He already knows, and beg His mercy grounded on what He did on the cross. We don’t deserve it, but He offers it. That is what grace is. It is unmerited favor. God will forgive you, if you call on the name of Jesus. His is faithful, and just to do so.

The next time you are fighting sin, think of your beloved Savior, Jesus, next to you, in the room. If you love Him, would you have Him tortured for your carnal indulgence in treason against the King of all? I hope this thought, held high in our minds, will keep us from sin. I hope we can employ this vivid imagery of what is real, and true to stop us before we commit such evil. Lord have mercy on us we ask in the name of Jesus. We confess that we have sinned against you, and justly deserve your wrath, but Christ has stood in our stead. Please sanctify us, and grow us in holiness. Use us for Your glory, amen.

Uncategorized

Christmas from the Bible.

Matthew 1:18-25


18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. 20But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23“BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” 24And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

Luke1:26-38

the Birth of Jesus Christ Foretold

   26Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” 34Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. 36“And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37“For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Luke 2:1-20 The Birth of Jesus the Christ
Jesus’ Birth in Bethlehem

1Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

      8In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12“This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

      14“Glory to God in the highest,
            And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

      15When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
Matthew 2:1-12
1Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” 3When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet:

      6‘AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH,
            ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH;
            FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER
            WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.’”

      7Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. 8And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” 9After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.
John 1:1-18  
The Deity of Jesus Christ

 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

The Witness John

      6There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 8He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.      9There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

The Word Made Flesh

      14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” 16For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

Uncategorized

A review of two vintage fountain pens, and the, “WritersShoppe”

Fountain pens

My friend, and coworker, Kurtis Kissel of the, “WritersShoppe” on etsy refurbishes, and sells vintage fountain pens in his spare time. We were talking, and the subject of fountain pens came up. I didn’t know that he restored vintage pens, and I hadn’t used one. I was bemoaning the fact that there are no more truly American pen companies making pens in America. He offered to give me a refurbished pen in exchange for a review of his work, and the quality of the pens. I’m not going to turn away a free pen. Sheesh! Who does that?

When Kurt came to visit, he brought me two pens made in America during the 1950’s. One was a maroon colored, hooded nib, vacumatic, Parker pen. The other was a grey colored, Esterbrook, lever filled pen.

Fountain pens

The deal was, I review the two pens, and keep the one I liked the most as payment. After using the two pens, I offered to pay him for the other one. I liked both pens. I don’t have beautiful handwriting, but I’ve included a couple of pictures of some writing so you can see how wet/dry the pens write, and how broad/fine the nibs are. The Parker seems to write a bit more wet, and the nib has some flex to it. It has a bit more give to it as you write. The line width can vary with pressure.

Fountain pens
hooded nib
IMG_20201122_145700

The Esterbrook was a finer nib, that is significantly more rigid. They were both pretty light weight, and small compared to some modern pens. It was only a bit scratchy on certain papers. On my Apica notebook it was smooth. I enjoyed the aesthetics of the Esterbrook the most.

Fountain pens
Esterbrook nib
Fountain pens

Both pens were cleaned, and repaired so that they functioned properly. They reminded me of the era in history when they were made, and most likely used. I thought about the soldiers who came home from WWII using the pen to sign a mortgage, write letters, sign checks for bills, and otherwise communicate in a pre-internet world. Back then a person wouldn’t call long distance unless it was necessary. It cost extra to call long distance. There were no smart phones, no text messaging, no social media. You had to put pen to paper, and use the mail.

Fountain pens
Fountain pens
Fountain pens
Fountain pens
Fountain pens

Most pens from this era are all scratched us, and dented, or missing the cap, or clip. These pens are complete. The Esterbrook’s hardware shows its age, but is fully functioning, and does add to the history of the pen.

Fountain pens
Fountain pens
Fountain pens
Fountain pens
Fountain pens

You can see some additional pictures here. If you’d like to shop for your own piece of history go visit my friend’s shop the, “WritersShoppe” “The art of personal expression” If you have never used a fountain pen, and are wondering what all the interest is about lately, ask your question in the comments section. There is something about putting down your own notes, experimenting with expression through handwriting, or connecting with history, that enriches the human experience. I encourage you, if you have the means, to give it a try. There are also many different colors, and types of ink to try.

Axiety · cultural · God · gospel · Uncategorized

Don’t Fear the Rona!

Here is a copy of an e-mail I sent to some coworkers, and friends who are Christian. Maybe it will help you.

As many of you already know, the death rate is far lower than originally projected.  Many of us know someone, or know of someone who has died of the virus.  Several of us have had the virus.  I want to give you a little ray of sunshine.  If you look at the numbers as of today, 10,513,068 people in America have tested positive since they started keeping track almost a year ago.  This is not the number of active cases, even though that is how it seems to be presented by the media.  The total number of deaths in America has been listed as 242,527.  We know that this number has been inflated, and is actually lower.  How much lower, I do not know.  To give the doom, and gloom squad the benefit of the doubt, we’ll use that number.  The next number we will look at is the number of Americans who have recovered from the virus.  As we know, this number is dramatically under-reported by the media. In reality, you either recover, or die within a month.  So it is obvious they have not kept pace with all the recoveries. For some reason they don’t track, or report accurately on the number of recovered cases.  Perhaps it would seem to lead to a different narrative than the one we are being presented?

In my house, when I had the virus, I was the only one tested.  After I came down with it, I promptly infected everyone else.  My wife, 32 year old son, and 20 year old daughter all caught it.  Since they weren’t tested, their numbers didn’t get recorded, or added to the total number of confirmed cases.  The clinic would not test them.  They told them to stay home and quarantine.  I understand that this is pretty typical.  Also, around 50% of the people are asymptomatic.  If you take these factors into consideration, the real number of people who had the virus is more likely 3 times the official amount, and the government knows it.  That would be approximately 31,539,204 people who have had the virus.  If we divide the number of people who have died, by the number of people who have had the virus, we get .76% mortality rate.  In other words, 99.24% of all people, in all age groups, with all kinds of diseases, and pre-existing conditions survive the virus.  Tell me again why we are going through all of this?  Why are we shutting down jobs, and families? Why are we wearing useless masks? Don’t get me started on masks. Have you seen what kind of gear they wear in labs that work on viruses?

Don’t let your emotions, and fear take over.  Trust God.  Even during the bubonic plague when mortality rates were around 50% Christians still went into sick homes, and ministered to dying people.  This virus is not the same, but Christians should have the same message. God is sovereign.  He is in control.  Even this is in His will.  We all are guilty sinners, and deserve suffering, death, and hell.  If He has determined to bring me home by catching a virus, so be it.  It doesn’t change the fact that people need to hear the gospel.  They need to be warned, they are sinners, just like you and I.  We will stand before God on judgment day.  We will have no excuse for our sins.  We must repent, and trust the justifying work of Jesus, His life, death, and resurrection.  Be found in Christ on the day of your judgment, and live with Him in glory.  Don’t fear the virus, fear God, and live!


“The way to Heaven is ascending; we must be content to travel uphill, though it be hard and tiresome, and contrary to the natural bias of our flesh.”  ― Jonathan Edwards