Month: March 2011

Heaven

Yesterday morning in church, Pastor challenged us to try to think of 10 reasons or 10 things we are looking forward to in heaven. The premise behind his message was that heaven is not a place where we will be bored playing harps on a cloud but a place to look forward to and a place that should give us comfort while here on Earth.

Do you mind if I think out loud?

Reason #1: Running miles without getting tired! No allergies!

I used to enjoying going to the creationist museum in Glenrose, TX. One of my favorite parts was the fact that after we learned what the Earth was like before the flood wrecked the life as they knew it, we would remember that God was going to create a new Heaven and a new Earth. I can only assume that our new Heaven and Earth will be at least as good as what God originally created.

From what I understand, the atmosphere before the flood was very different. It was somewhat similar to a hyperbaric chamber, which we use for speeding the healing of burns and other things. This better atmosphere would have allowed the pre-deluvians to run and work much more than we can now. With my bouts with asthma when I was younger, that sounded great to me.

The Bible mentions that the results of sin were weeds and thorns and hard work. So, previous to that original sin, we may have had work but without the difficulties of things to encumber us. For farming that would mean without the weeds and thorns mixing in with the crop. The plants must have polinated somehow, but surely God would have either made another way than through the air in that yellow nasty dust, or He would have equipped our body to handle it! For computer programming, would the encumbrances be the software bugs and hardware glitches? Can we assume no Windows — only Linux? –just kidding.

Reason #2: Freedom from Temptation

Romans 8 probably best describes the struggle that we go through as a Christian. On Earth, we are bound to mess up constantly. This brings guilt, regret, and frustration. Thankfully, we have a Savior who paid the penalty for all of our mistakes and is willing to forgive us, but it isn’t quite the same. One day, we won’t have to worry about it any more.  A bath is nice, but a dirt free environment is even better!

Reason #3: Better Relationship with God

I have heard many people claim that the most important thing they want to do when they get to heaven is to see Jesus or God. For me, I have to be honest. Maybe I don’t know Him like I should, or I am too connected to this world. I don’t know why, but I just can’t imagine it.

Instead, I look forward to that day when I will understand it all. In that day, I won’t have to keep reminding myself that a spiritual world exists, which I can’t see. I won’t have to remind myself that God is here watching my every move, wanting my attention and devotion. His glory will form the light for my world then. As the Bible says, my faith will become sight, and I look forward to that.

Reason #4: Asking Questions

In this world, we have so many questions which we can’t answer on so many different levels. When we get to heaven, we can ask the Creator, who made everything and holds it together, for a definitive answer. We can probably even ask the opinion of our loved ones who have been looking down from above.

There are the silly questions like why does that nasty iron in the water have to stain so bad? There are the what-if questions like if I had practiced more, could I have been a pro-basketball player? There are the Bible questions like how long were Adam and Eve actually in the garden before they committed that first sin? There are the dispute questions like who is right between my wife and myself on a thousand different issues? There are the parental questions like who “actually” knocked the drink over — the oldest son, the youngest son, or the dog?

Reason #5: Reconnecting with Loved Ones

I have three grandparents that have gone on before me, and I will enjoy getting to meet them again. In addition, most of my family and extended family have made commitments to Christ. In other words, they are trusting Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as the payment for their sin so they can enter heaven as a washed saint. Whether God gives me more time on Earth or calls me home first, I know I will get to see my family again. Finally, there are friends that have moved away that I will one day get to see in heaven.

Reason #6: Timelessness?

I am not very sure about this one because I can’t imagine it. But, I would love to not have to worry about the time constraints that I constantly fight with now. Managing time is a difficult task, one which needs constant attention and effort.

On the other hand, I can’t imagine such a place. If I wanted to meet one of my long-lost relatives, and I gave him a call on the superior cell phone technology up in heaven (of course a smart phone running a form of Linux — just kidding), how do we plan to meet? We can’t give a time to meet. Do we just assume that since we have an unlimited amount of time, if one of us gets there first, he can wait as long as it takes for the other to arrive?

How do you heat your leftovers in the microwave?  My biggest question here is how long do I heat it for?  In heaven, it will be where are the numbers!

Reason #7: Meeting the Bible Characters

This reason is very close to reason four. But more than just answering the mysteries of the Bible stories, it would be nice to just listen to them talk and glean from their experiences.

I many times day dream of meeting a Bible character and explaining some of our new techology to them, like how cars work or how computers work. The problem is that they probably already know after watching from heaven. Maybe we could chat about how inferior the Earth was when sin was in it. We would talk about how slow our cars went and how much exhaust they would put out.

Reason #8: Freedom from Communication Woes

In college we read the book, Mythical Man Month. If I remember it right, the premise of the book was about how communication is a major part of a project that project managers need to plan for. When God confounded the languages at the tower of Babel, he probably did more than just create multiple languages. He limited our ability to effectively communicate.

I look forward to the day in heaven that we can avoid all these miscommunications we are used to now. This would be true for home, work, and church — Especially, Burger King!

Reason #9: Worry-Free Desires

Now, desires are dangerous things. God promises to give us the desires of our heart, but I think many times He expects us to grow close to Him and allow Him to change our desires. So, the question is whether or not each desire is a personal, selfish, sinful desire, or a true desire that God has placed in our heart. Is it one that will bring sin and pain, or is it one that we can enjoy? In the sin-free environment of heaven, we can enjoy each desire we have to the fullest extent!

Reason #10: No misspellings or typos!

Okay. I am stretching to make it to number ten. But, hey, I can’t type anything without a typo and a grammar error. And Lorraine can catch every one. I am counting on more oxygen and a brain that works better to help me write better in heaven! Until then, I must keep practicing.

 

So, that is my list. Can you write your own list? Please comment a link to your list if you do.

Helping Japan

I think it is cool to see how many different ways people join together to help in time of need.  This disaster in Japan is no different.

Of course, there are many different charities and places to donate, but the most creative I think was Google’s new person finder service.  I saw it mentioned on the AdSense Blog and on InfoWorld.

If you see any other creative ways companies or people are helping those affected by the disaster please comment and give them credit.

Bible Study: Woman Taken in Adultery

I almost didn’t do this lesson because I thought it would be too old for the third and fourth grade.  I didn’t want to address adultery with them — you never know how they will respond to topics like that.  After a trial run with my son, I realized there was an awesome element of forgiveness that could be communicated.  Plus, I didn’t have to address adultery; I just left it at her breaking one of the ten commandments.

The Law

According to the Barnes’ Commentary on John 8:5, the law the Pharisees were referring to was in Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22.  What I didn’t realize is that neither of them require stoning.  The penalty is simply death.  Another aspect that is interesting is that both the man and the woman should be put to death.  Ezekiel 16:38-40 gives an example of how they might do it.

The Hypocrasy

The Pharisees bring the woman and require immediate death.  In fact, they say that she was caught in the act.  Now, if she was caught in the act, why didn’t they catch the man?  He should face the same punishment.

The Bible doesn’t tell us, but I imagine that maybe the Pharisees had set a trap for her.  They wanted to catch Jesus and trap him, and they needed a subject.  The timing needed to be right.  My guess is that they trapped her, and maybe the man was one of them.

The Trap

Obviously, if Jesus didn’t obey that law to stone her, He would have problems.   The Pharisees could go to the people and destroy Jesus’ testimony.  On the other hand, if Jesus did agree to stoning her, he would have problems with the Romans.  Because the Romans ruled over them, the Jews were not allowed to take the law into their own hands.  The Pharisees would be able to turn Jesus in to the Romans for murder.

I don’t know if the Pharisees understood it, but they had a third angle.  Jesus was a lover of the human soul.  He created human life, and he didn’t want to destroy it.  Jesus spent his time eating with and visiting sinners.  He came that all might repent.

The Solution

Jesus not only evaded the trap, he taught an important lesson at the same time.  The way He handled the situation fit perfectly.  He taught the Pharisees a proper view of sin.  They needed to learn that they are no better than everyone else; everyone is a sinner.  He also taught the woman a proper view of sin.  Jesus has the authority to forgive our sin and wash it away.  In addition, the proper response to that forgiveness is to “go and sin no more”.

The Miracle

Some of my previous lessons have covered some of the miracles that Jesus did during his ministry.  At first, I thought this story had no miracle in it — just teaching.  But really, the most important miracle Jesus does is forgiving our sins.

It is important to note that Jesus isn’t just excusing the sin of either the Pharisees or the woman.  He would very shortly pay the penalty of death that the law required.

Scribbling in the Sand

You can’t cover this topic without mentioning Michael Card’s song “Scribbling in the Sand”.

Update: The link for the guitar chords must have been taken down.  If anyone knows of where I can link to the chords, please comment below.

Fun Fact: Your Shower Can Play the Radio!

Getting ready in the morning takes me long enough — it’s not like I don’t need something more to do, but now I can listen to the news in the shower without having to worry about changing batteries or running wires through the water.  This new radio generates electricity from the water flow!

Check it out:

Engadget: H2O Shower Powered Radio blasts the Biebs by way of micro-turbine

Or, you can look at their home page here:

WaterPowerRadio.com

Technology: My Electric Cars Update

According to Engadget, Tesla announced their official price for the Model S: $57,400 – $77,400.  Check out the look of the car on Tesla’s Official Site.  One of the things that caught my eye was the center console.  I found an article that says it is a 17-inch touchscreen.  I wonder what the chance is that it could run Android?  Who will be the first person to root it and install Ubuntu?

Tesla Model S Prototype by Stephen Shankland
Tesla Model S Prototype by Stephen Shankland

Also, according to Engadget, it looks like Google is starting a database of charging stations.  Our area doesn’t look too promising yet!

EV Charing Stations on Google Maps

Technology: Leasing Batteries

These electric cars have interested me for a while. It was the Tesla that first caught my eye, and now it seems we are seeing them all over the place.

This news item caught my eye this morning:

Engadget: Better Place swappable EV batteries priced, Renault is definitely onboard

They are talking about leasing the battery to you.  My question is do you save that much over a traditional gas motor when you have to pay $300 per month just for use of the battery?  The $550 per month sounds nice for unlimited mileage, but I bet that was close to what I used to spend on my truck each month for gas if not more.

I checked the website of the Better Place company, and it looks like they are starting in California and Hawaii.

On another note, I saw some sales figures for the Leaf and Volt:

Engadget: Electric car sales watch: 281 Volts and 67 Leafs sold in US during February

This makes it sound real, although I haven’t seen one on the road yet.