“While we are blinded by carnal desires, the commands of God will appear rigorous; and we shall labour more to explain them away, than to obey them: but if once we adopt them as the rule of our conduct, their beauty and excellence will manifestly appear; and we shall be convinced that, to obey them is, to be truly happy?”
Simeon, C. (1832-63). Horae Homileticae Vol. 15: Romans (474). London.

Matthew Talk

Here’s some audio of Matthew saying a variety of words. I find that some of the clips don’t play properly until the entire clip downloads. So click the play button again after it downloads to see if you really heard it all. The page that I’m sending you to is the Wiki section of our website. I’ll keep the clips there like an audio clip gallery. I also added a Sound Clip link on the right navigation sidebar that you can use to access them in the future.Click Here to Go to the Sound Clip Gallery

Family,

Claire Talk

Here’s my first attempt to capture some sounds from Claire and get them up here on the Internet. She’s been cooing and trying to communicate to us in her cute little ways. I’ll try to get some much cuter clips in the future. Let me know if you can’t here anything. Click Here for Claire Talk

Family,

Claire 9 Week Doctor Visit

Claire has nearly doubled her birth weight and added 2 inches to her height. This makes her in the 75th percentile for her height and weight. This means that she is both taller and heavier than 75 percent of the babies out there of her same age. The doctor was very impressed, commenting that Jenn must have some very good milk. Of course, God is first to thank for the healthy blessings we have. Secondly I thought about how we have been eating organic meat and milk. There has been research lately that speaks of how the grass-fed, organic dairy and meat is higher in beneficial fatty acids, which are found more abundantly in mothers milk. So Jenn’s milk may actually be higher in beneficial fat due to the consumption of organic milk and meat. Your standard milk in the supermarkets are from cows that are fed genetically modified corn. The milk from these cows have less of these beneficial fatty acids. More proof that God knew what he was doing when he designed cows to eat grass.

We took this photo of her on a quilt that Moma Lynn made especially for her. Click here to see more of these photos in the gallery.

Christianity,

The Christopher Hitchens Challenge

My wife had pointed out an article on Vanity Fair titled, “God Bless Me, It’s a Best Seller!” The article is written by Christopher Hitchens, an atheist and author of the best selling book “God is Not Great”. The article is a summary of his travels around the country and his encounters with religious people. He had placed the following challenge out for the faithful to respond.

“My challenge: name an ethical statement or action, made or performed by a person of faith, that could not have been made or performed by a nonbeliever. I have since asked this question at every stop and haven’t had a reply yet.” Christopher Hitchens

This is actually a very easy one. The Ten Commandments holds several that the non believing person cannot fulfill.

““You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3, ESV)

The non-believing atheist has no God at all! And even if the nonreligious person believes that a God exists, it is likely they have not put God first and foremost in their lives. If they did, they would not be ranked among the nonreligious.

““You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,” (Exodus 20:4-5, ESV)

God is not only to be first and foremost, but there is not to be any replacement of him in our lives. All too often, you see the nonbeliever, putting created things in the place God. In more substantial ways, the nonbeliever puts material objects in the place of God, like cars, wealth, fortune. In less substantial ways, the nonbeliever puts intellect, ethics, knowledge and self-pride in the place of God.

““You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7, ESV)

On every turn, the nonbeliever fails on this one. Their entire disposition of their life is without the respect due to the name of God. This commandment doesn’t mean to refrain from certain profanities. It means that you should not do anything that dishonors God, and do everything that honors God. The nonbeliever does not honor God in their mind and although their actions might mimic and appear equal to the religious person, they are only facades. The heart disposition of the nonbeliever is not towards honoring God. Thus there actions might receive high honor among men, but with respect to honor for God, their actions are like lies, or words spoken insincerely and without truth.

““Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8, ESV)

Obviously, the nonbeliever cannot keep a day holy for the reason I just stated. The disposition of their heart as unbelievers has already made every day unholy. It is impossible for them to make a single day holy.

He puts the question out almost like a litmus test to give religion it’s worth. The conclusion he tries to draw is that religion is no more morally better than secularism if it cannot distinguish itself by a superior ethical statement or action that is not possible by a non-religious person. Perhaps he might judge the above ethical statements as low in value, but that’s not the view that God puts on these ethical statements. They are first and foremost on God’s list. Christopher Hitchens would no doubt put at the top of his list of ethical statements things that provide immediate benefit to humans. Of course, that’s not surprising since the nonreligious person has taken God out of his rightful place as the most important thing in the universe and in this case placed humans there. This is the mistake that causes the whole system of ethics to crumble into a pile of rubble. The nonbeliever should consider this challenge question. Suppose there is an an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal God who created everything in the universe. Why would he need you to make any good ethical statement or action? After all, God is capable of doing every good thing himself. The answer is only found and understood when God is placed in His rightful place as first and foremost in our mind. And sure, you can find something compelling in one of the world religions other than Christianity, but the superior and complete answer to this question is only found in Christianity. And coincidentally and providentially, Christianity is the only religion where God really did do it all for us in the saving work of Jesus Christ. I challenge the nonreligious person to learn how to put God in his rightful place and learn the reason that ethics and humans are not supposed to be in God’s place. The Bible is the best place to start, especially the Gospels, but there are also a number of excellent teachers in Christendom to learn from. Click here to see my list of favorite teachers.

Family,

Best Zucchini Bread

This really is one of the best Zucchini Bread recipes. We’ve made it a couple times already and we’ll surely make it again. It’s moist, dense, fluffy and delicious. Click here to see the Zucchini Bread Recipe.

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