Top Posts For August 2014

Summer is wrapping up, and fall is near. Football season has begun, and the high school stadium is pretty busy on Friday nights. Soon there will be a chill in the air, and a bit of frost on the ground. I’m looking forward to it!

August 2014 Word Picture from Wordle.net

With the fall comes my annual trip to Colorado to spend a few days with several other men in ministry reconnecting with God. This is an event that I absolutely love, called Wilderness. It provides one of the greatest spiritual catalysts for me each year, and I won’t miss it. This is my sixth year to attend, and I’m really looking forward to it.

With fall around the corner, that means that the kids are back in school, and the craziness of summer has ended. My daughter is playing high school volleyball again, so I’m helping out with that in any way that I can. That usually includes announcing the starting lineups, standing as a line judge, and occasionally running the score board and clock.

Coffee Break – 09.01.2014

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9 Coffee Drinks With Clever Nicknames – Next time you go to your favorite coffee shop, show off your knowledge by ordering something from this menu. Your barista will be surprised at your grasp of the coffee nomenclature. But I wouldn’t try this at Starbucks. You’ll probably just get a blank stare…

The Best Way To Hold A Burger – A team of scientists invested four months in determining the best way to hold your burger while you eat it. Have you been doing it wrong?

The Most Amazing Lie In History – As history buff, I found the story of this Italian spy for the Allies during World War 2 pretty fascinating. This event might have been the deciding factor in turning the war in favor of the Allied forces, and against the Nazis.

Memorize Scripture: 2 Timothy 4:16-17

Paul is nearing the end of his life. His execution is near, and he can sense it. During this second imprisonment, he feels all alone. That is why he has called for Timothy to come to him as quickly as possible. Though he still has Luke and Tychicus near, his loneliness grows as his end draws near.

Take a look at this week’s passage in 2 Timothy 4:16-17:

2 Timothy 4:16-17

In the face of a coming execution, Paul feels despondent and is tempted to give in to despair. His plea to Timothy to come to him is a cry of loneliness and a cry for help. In what he feels are his final days, he wants those around him who are his closest friends. That includes Timothy.

Paul states that there was no one there to support him at his first defense. This paragraph contains a lot of legal language. The word “defense” is a courtroom term, meaning to give an answer to an accusation. This probably isn’t referring to Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, but to a hearing of some sort during this second prison term.

The word “support” is also a legal term. In this sense, it refers to the person who stands alongside the accused in order to assist legally, or simply be there for them relationally. This would have likely been a preliminary hearing, and not the actual trial itself, though that is still a possibility. Paul’s defense would have been laid out before the Roman prefect, who was appointed by Nero.

Classic Bible: My Favorite Passages From Ezra

This is part of the Classic Bible: Favorite Stories & Passages series. Read more from the series!

Ezra is one of those books that you don’t hear much about from the Old Testament. It’s not as well known as some of the other books, like Jonah or Daniel. But Ezra has a lot of great information in it, and we can benefit from it when we study it.

Second Temple, credit Wikipedia

The book of Ezra is closely tied in with Nehemiah. These two books are tucked away, almost hidden in the historical books of the Old Testament. What we can gain from reading this book, though, is critical historical information. These books, along with portions of Chronicles and Esther, give us some insight into the life of the nation of Israel after the exile to Babylon.

Ezra is considered to be written by Ezra himself, although whether he actually wrote it, or simply compiled it from various other sources is not clearly known. The events described in Ezra and Nehemiah are written of after the fact, indicating that these events were complete, and finished. That gives us a possible date of between 400 and 300 BC, depending on which commentaries you read.

With the historical focus of Ezra and Nehemiah being on the life of Israel after the exile, the specific focus of Ezra is the rebuilding of Jerusalem and especially the temple. As Israel struggled to develop their identity again, after being gone for so long, they needed Ezra’s, and God’s, help to do so.

Here are a few of my favorite passages from the book of Ezra:

5 Reasons To Hand Copy God’s Word

A few years ago, I stumbled across a passage of the Old Testament that I had probably read dozens of times, but never really noticed. But once it grabbed my attention, I haven’t been able to let it go. It has been on my mind ever since.

Fountain Pen

The passage is found in the book of Deuteronomy, one of the most encouraging books of the Old Testament. In chapter seventeen, at the end of the chapter, you find some instructions for the king. This is included:

Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.

This passage gives the kings of Israel the instruction to hand copy the Scriptures.  And from this passage, I see a couple of specific benefits for our lives. And from my own practice of this discipline, I see a few more.

Coffee Break – 08.25.2014

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The Coffee Plate – My guess is most people don’t know the purpose of the saucer or place that sits under a coffee cup. According to this infographic, there is a rich and interesting history to that piece of china.

22 Of The Most Creative Statues Around The World – The creativity of man never ceases to amaze me. These statues prove that our minds are creative, reflecting our Creator.

What Gives A Dollar Bill Its Value? – Some of my favorite videos are among the TED Talks. This video on currency and value is from the Educational side of TED. Short and interesting.