Saturday, April 30, 2016

Jonah 1:1-3 (timeless)

Jonah 1:1-3
1:1 - The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying,
God initiates this whole ordeal.
God speaks to man

1:2 -  “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.”
God gives direction to man.
God knows about the evil done by man.
God brings judgment for that evil, sometimes in this life.
God punishes groups (cities/nations) for their collective sin/wickedness.

1:3 - But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
Man rebels against God.
Man tries to flee from the presence of the LORD.

Paragraph summary
God commands, man rebels.

Timeless Perspective Applied to Jonah

There are some things that need to be discerned in the book of Jonah, and most of them relate to Jonah's actions and whether they are typically true of mankind or just of Jonah. While we can rightly observe Jonah's attitude and see the very same attitude in our lives, we shouldn't jump to the conclusion that a hard-hearted hatred for the lost is true of all mankind.

On the flip side, Jonah's self-centeredness certainly can be seen in all mankind and is a timeless truth that mankind is self-centered apart from (and sometimes even with) God. So, discernment is needed when thinking about the timeless principles of Jonah.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Climbing down

It has only been two days of exploring the richness of 2 Tim 2:11b-13, and already my flesh is complaining at the lack of movement.

"There are more exciting things ahead! Don't waste your time on this! You'll never finish the book at this rate! "

And yet,  I linger just a little longer to examine the finer details of what is before me. To grasp the inner workings and to behold the wisdom and power that have made such a thing.

No, flesh, I am not done here yet. Not yet...

EDIT: I guess I should note that I am still on the first part of 11b, "If we have died with Him."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

At the edge of the precipice

I have come upon a great abyss. As I read 2nd Timothy 2:11, it is as if in climbing the mountain, I have encountered a gaping chasm, the depths of which cannot be plumbed, and I am faced with a question:

Shall I climb down this depth of God and investigate the massive mysteries concentrated in 11b-13? Or should I throw an anchor to the other side and while passing over attempt to convey what I can only see from above.

I am totally unworthy of the task that is before me,  but I must climb down to investigate even if it extends my journey by months.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Timeless perspective explained

The timeless study of God's word is focused on the things that the passage reveals that are true for all time. While things like God's character and attributes might immediately come to mind (and should), timeless things also include man's sinfulness, man's broken relationship with God, the battle between God and Satan, certain concepts of heaven and hell, etc.

A majority of timeless perspective ideas focus on things that do not change, but there are changeable things that can also be timeless principles, for example, salvation does not change - it has always been by grace through faith alone, but the manifestation of salvation has changed in that Christ's sacrifice and atoning work on the cross is the basis for our salvation today. It is still by grace through faith alone, but we have a particular object of our faith.

In contrast to the time-locked study, where exclusion is the rule, the timeless study throws off all the time-locked restrictions. We are concerned with digging into the Scripture and finding out what timeless principles and concepts God is communicating to everyone, past and present, through the passage. All of Scripture is available to compare and contrast the things we find in the study target, and we need to make sure that the timeless principles we find are consistent with the rest of the Bible.

Questions to ask in a timeless study:
1. What does the scripture actually say about God?
2. What attributes does God display in the text?
3. What attributes are implied by the text?
4. What does God say about Himself?
5. Does God do something in the passage?
6. What does the text/passage teach about God's relationship/attitude to mankind?
7. What does the text/passage teach about mankind's relationship/attitude to God?
8. What does the passage say about mankind?
9. Does the passage teach a timeless principle or idea?

Timeless study differs from time-locked in that we are not doing an in depth investigation into the time and culture of the book and so, specific questions are not asked and the answers found. Instead, the timeless questions serve to remind us of what we are looking for.


Well, since Friday, I've been struggling with back pain. I decided not to run this weekend because of it and skipped my workout yesterday.

I did go to the chiropractor and he indicated that I was "jacked up" (my words, not his). He made quite a few adjustments, but I'm still feeling it today. I am thankful that yesterday and today that I am able to take sick leave to nurse this along. Hopefully I can return to work and working out tomorrow.

Since I am home, I figured I would start posting the next section of the Jonah study: the Timeless perspective.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The real weights

I am going to go ahead and put the real weight I'm doing instead of the weight on the stack just to be consistent. I'm lookin' pretty puny...

Thursday, April 14, 2016

My fears are confirmed

I didn't get a chance to post this yesterday, so here it is.

But, the big news is that I finally figured out how much weight I was pulling on my favorite machine - the one that I use almost exclusively for my Back and Bi workout. It was half the weight shown on the stack; I was pretty disappointed. On this workout, the Lat pulldowns and upright row are the only exercises that were affected.

The reason for the half weight was the pulley system used:

I noticed yesterday that the pulley was attached to the weight stack, so that meant that it was anchored to the frame and the second pulley combined to make the force that I was feeling 1/2 of the weight I was lifting.

I knew something was not right. So, instead of being 100 lbs away from being able to do a pullup, I'm about 140ish lbs away, and that was disappointing. I'm not sure if I'll be able to get there before the Tough Mudder in June. But, I'll keep pushing, and at least I know how much weight I'm actually lifting.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Oh yeah, vacation pics

I think I can put some pics on here from my phone.

No man is a 3 mile island

But this man ran a three mile...uh, circle...ish...route. Aww, nevermind.

Yes, it's a shame about the 11:30 min/mile pace, but on the bright side, I did run negative splits!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Jonah's Original Message to the Original Audience

I couldn't leave you all hanging, so here's a bonus post!

Jonah's Original Message to the Original Audience
The book of Jonah is an open rebuke of the nation of Israel for their hard heart.
 - Hardened against repenting except under threat of death
 - Hardened against Gentiles, whom God loves.

We see this message through demonstration, not just in chapter 4, but in Jonah's response throughout the book. Because the original audience would have identified with Jonah's action in full agreement, the Lord uses Jonah as an illustration of the nation of Israel. So, everywhere Jonah is mention, mentally substitute the nation of Israel, and a picture of the state of the nation emerges quite clearly.

Chapter 1: Jonah flees from the presence of the Lord when told to warn the city of Nineveh of impending destruction, so right off the bat we see his heart is hardened against the Assyrians.

But then, during his flight, Jonah displays his hard heart toward others in knowingly placing the crew of the ship in danger. He will not pray to God for relief from the storm, and he will not throw himself overboard to save the crew.

Also, Jonah shows how hard his heart is by refusing to repent at the general call, the confrontation by one, and the confrontation by many. Even in isolation, it takes Jonah three days to finally give in.

Chapter 2: Jonah only relents to do the will of the Lord when under extreme duress and the realization that God would not kill him. The nation of Israel was the exact same way. God had promised that He would never "kill" the nation of Israel, and so all that was left was discipline not leading to the death of the nation. Very powerful concept.

Of course, Jonah doesn't repent, but rather relents to do the will of the Lord from external pressure.

Chapter 3: Jonah finally obeys, and God does a great work in the hearts of the Assyrians. Once again, Jonah has suffered greatly at the hand of God in order to turn him from his disobedience while the Ninevites hear the word of the Lord and repent, with actions matching the heart change.

This stark contrast of responses to God's hand of discipline is meant to shame Jonah and soften his heart, but that does not happen and in fact, Jonah hardens his heart even more.

Chapter 4: Jonah finally erupts in anger that stems from his hard heart. He is not just a disobedient prophet, a petulant prophet, a reluctant prophet, a sulking prophet; he is a hard hearted prophet. He is furious that God has not destroyed the 600,000 people of Nineveh, including 120,000 children and lots of animals.

God appoints three things, a plant, a worm, and a wind, in order to show Jonah just how hard his heart is. Jonah mourns, even to death, his withered plant, his shade tree, his lost comfort.

God, knowing all things, compares Jonah's compassion for the plant and His compassion for the city of Nineveh (and by extension, Jonah's non-existent compassion for Nineveh). It is a night and day comparison.

Application for today
God's original message is still applicable today. As we substitute ourselves in the place of Jonah, God brings to mind people, groups, and individuals that we have hardened our hearts against. We want God to bring judgment not mercy to these ungodly, wicked people! We rejoice at the thought of their destruction and are furious when God gives them grace.

God used this original message in my own life as He confronted me with my attitude toward the people I work with. While they are not the most vile, evil people on the planet like the Assyrians were, they were still ungodly and steeped in the ways of the evil one. They were, and still are, walking "according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience." (Eph. 2:2b).

But, of course, I conveniently forgot both

Eph 2:1-2a (And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked) as well as

Eph 2:3 (Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.).

And of course, I pushed aside Eph 2:4-5 (But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),).

I was just as guilty as Israel and thankfully, God has used this study to turn me from my wicked, hard hearted attitude against my co-workers and is molding my heart into a heart of flesh, of concern, of compassion for the people that He has sent me to as a missionary.

Jonah 4:9-11

Jonah 4:9-11
4:9 - Then God said to Jonah, “Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “I have good reason to be angry, even to death.”

God now asks Jonah for the second time if he has good reason to be angry and adds "about the plant". I imagine Jonah may have exploded in his answer, as God pushed him to his limits. Once again, when the One who knows all things asks a question, be careful how you answer. In this case, Jonah cannot hold back. Jonah wishes he were dead because his shade plant died...

4:10 - Then the Lord said, “You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight.

God boils it down for Jonah: here is something that you contributed nothing for, you only owned for one day, you didn't even tend to it, and yet you mourn over it like it was your only child.

4:11 - Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?”

With a final question, God shows what compassion truly is: concern for a whole city full of people, and depending on how you interpret it, 120,000 children! God then tacks on the animals as if to separate two "innocent" groups that would have been destroyed along with the city of wicked Gentiles.

God drives home the point that Jonah didn't care one bit for a city of over 600,000 people, 120,000 of which were children. Jonah didn't even care for the animals that would have been destroyed.

The writer intentionally, I think, leaves the question unanswered. It is to be answered by the reader. The original audience would have read this as a harsh rebuke of their attitude which was just like Jonah's.

Paragraph Summary
God wraps up His message with a scathing rebuke of the prophet and by association, the nation of Israel.
Jonah cared only for himself and his comfort while God is concerned about turning people to Himself in salvation. Jonah sees the loss of life as justice while God sees the sparing of Nineveh as a demonstration of His mercy.

Chapter 4 Notes and Summary
Chapter 4 serves to show that God is not only concerned about obedience; He desires obedience from a pure heart. Outward motivation can achieve the work that God engages (the salvation of Nineveh), but God also wants to achieve the work that He engages in men as well (sanctification).

Chapter 4 boiled down to a sentence: God is compassionate; Jonah is not.

Pump up the iron

I am pumping it up! I still don't think this weight stack is accurate. I think I'll see how the stack at work feels with lat pulldowns. I suspect I'm pulling light, as in the 30 lb hammer curls are probably 20 lb hammer curls. Like I said, it doesn't matter as long as I stick with the same machine and up the weight when I can do all the reps, but still, I'd like to know.

And, I think I wore myself out last week and ended up skipping a 2.5-3 mile run on Saturday. I'll be getting that run in tomorrow, Lord willing, and I've decided that until I settle into this routine, I'll take Thursday off.

EDIT: I forgot I added Back flys. Welcome to the chart, Back flys!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Jonah 4:5-8

Jonah 4:5-8
4:5 - Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city.

Jonah grabs his Red Bull and popcorn, hikes outside of the city, and sits down to watch the fireworks as (hopefully) God destroys Nineveh.

4:6 - So the Lord God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant.

First, God appointed a plant.

Jonah recognized God's provision of grace to him with the rapid growth of the plant. But, with God's blessings, come God's lessons.

4:7 - But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered.

Second, God appointed a worm.

Unbeknownst to Jonah, his well received shade was under attack and disappointment was soon to come.

4:8 - When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, “Death is better to me than life.”

Third, God appointed a scorching east wind.

The Red Bull and popcorn are long gone, the fireworks show didn't happen, and now Jonah's shade is withered and dying. Jonah finds himself in the exact other end of the spectrum as he was in the fish's belly.

He is now hot instead of cold, dry not wet, in full light not darkness, Nineveh does not reek of death and decay because the Lord has spared it. Jonah could have relief from the elements if he were to go back into Nineveh, but that apparently isn't on the table. So, Jonah once again says to God: Just kill me already.

Paragraph Summary
With phase three of God's object lesson complete, Jonah fails it. He should have been familiar with Job's response to tribulation in Job 1:20-22:

 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped.
21 He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.

Job had much greater losses than Jonah's withered plant and yet responds in a godly, righteous way. Jonah, of course, doesn't.

Hitting some limits

Incline and decline bench, Indiv. decline flys, seated dips, and tri pulldowns are now at an appropriate weight. I'm still looking for a good Skull crusher weight, but 35 lbs is close.

I added some new things, incline and decline flys as well as a seated leg pull up, which I subbed for the leg pull-in. This leg pull in is harder as I have to fight against gravity to pull my knees to my chest (ok, belly...); the previous version had me sitting on a bench, leaning back and pulling my knees to my chest (...belly...) and then straightening my legs.

Next week, I think I'm going back to three planks of 35 seconds on and 30 seconds rest (35/30). I can tell you that I really felt this in my triceps.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Cool running

Well, it looks like April weather out there...for Anchorage, anyways. High thirties, a little spitting from the clouds, slight wind. Not so nice for Indiana, but once I got going, it wasn't too bad. Better than 84° F...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Still settling weights

Now that I'm back home for a while and will be using the same machines week to week, I should be able to settle on some weight consistency. I'm still not real sure that the machine that I'm using for Lat Pulldowns and Upright rows is accurate as far as the listed weight. It really doesn't matter where I settle in at because I don't care what the machine says; I care about what my muscles say about the weight.

You know, like "Hey...uh, we've got some strain here..." or "hey hey hey hey, watch it now..." or "owowowowowowowowowowowowowowow....eeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrr-AH!  one..."