Ok! Its been a long time since the previous post. Never got to doing it. Anyways I’m back and hope it stays in this mode or else ” I’ll be back” again!
There’s something about ebookreaders that enriches our experience as a book lover, but with affordable tablets coming in to the picture, what would you wanna go for? Amazon has come out with its new Kindle Fire which I sure hope will give the Apple a run for its money, a) cos the Fire is way cheaper than the apple b) & with someone else running ‘the Jobs’ I guess the legacy at Apple is just not the same. Well only time will tell.
Well anyways, I have a kindle 3 upgraded to the latest firmware v3.3 with not many perks, everything on the experimental still maintained in the experimental. One way its a good sign is cos it keeps your reading experience pure and pristine if you’d like, cos there are no other distractions (like on the tablets), if you want to keep it that way. The pdf readability isn’t that great, hope amazon works on this one. Well I wonder if there’s gonna be any more work on the Kindle 3 updates anymore as they’ve decided to change the formats. Now until I get my hands on a ‘Touch’ or the ‘Fire’ can’t comment on that.
But hey guess what? you wanna enrich your experience on the kindle 3 here are some great tips:
a) One of the drawbacks of the pdf formats is the inability to reflow (tweak the text in such a manner to make the print more legible on the device), and at times tables and images lose their alignment or just aren’t there anymore. One workaround is the k2pdf tool, a cool tool that lets you cut off the white spaced margins around the main body of the text & lets you reflow the text and doesn’t alter the alignment of the tables or images. A lot more features ….. why don’t you explore them yourself. There are a whole lotta aspects about the k2pdf tool that I haven’t taken a peek at but if I do will try and blog.
b)Duokan: Another awesome tool. My discovery of this tool was accidental and very welcome as I have a lot of pdf files. This is another OS that you can install (alongside the original Kindle OS) by updating from the kindle. The instructions to which are provided in the link (btw this is the only place that i found some instructions that I understand). Verdict: Simply Superb! Why? Read on!
You could uninstall Duokan anytime without affecting the original OS. So you could update both Duokan as well as the Kindle OS. So when you turn your kindle on or restart it you have the option of choosing between the OSes. Once in Duokan you could also switch back to Kindle.
Another cool feature that I like about Duokan is you have an Index(TOC esp for the pdfs) and you can add bookmarks…but cannot annotate yet. Hope that comes in the next fix. You could also check out mobileread forums for more info. More on FAQs.
With Duokan now epubs is another format that you can read off. Wonderful ain’t it?
Well I love my kindle and I love the fixes that helps me tweak my reading experience.
I’ve discovered this site www.overdrive.com where you could borrow ebooks from. I like the idea and hope that you could get more of the new books sooner, and perhaps the list of books available would be more exhaustive and current. Now I stay in India; forget about ebooks, the state of the public libraries here in India is not worth a mention. So just recentlygot the library card of my sis-in-law and now have access to ebooks. Yay me!
Hope to put in more updates later! Happy Reading!
Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God
Requirements: Just a Bible and your rapt attention!
Note: This verse cannot and should not be singled out from the beatitudes, this discussion is to aid us in understanding peacemaking with relevance to the other beatitudes.
Translation from Greek of the keywords
μακάριος [makarios /mak·ar·ee·os/] – Blessed; Happy
Blessed, possessing the favor of God, that state of being marked by fullness from God. Makários differs from the word “happy”; in that the person is happy who has good luck. According to Aristotle this very word makarios is the one who is in the world, yet independent of the world. His satisfaction comes from God not from fate or favourable circumstances.
εἰρηνοποιός [eirenopoios /i·ray·nop·oy·os/] – Peacemakers
The one who, having received the peace of God in his own heart, brings peace to others. He is not simply one who makes peace between two parties, but one who spreads the good news of the peace of God which he has experienced.
υἱός [huios /hwee·os/] – Sons (rarely used for the young of animals; generally used of the offspring of men; in a wider sense, a descendant; may also allude to being adopted)
Right after the 40 days in the desert, Jesus began to preach, and word spread about him far and near, not only of his message but also of the wonderful miracles he performed. The very first record of his preaching in the book of Matthew is on the beatitudes.
Let’s examine the background; why did he get down to the beatitudes? The Pharisees, supposedly upholders of the Jewish Religious Law, were mere followers of rules, regulations and traditions. Their faith or rather their religion was limited to the strict adherence to these very rules, regulations and traditions. Thus they expected the Jewish common folk to follow suit. Righteousness was measured by the knowledge of the word, praying (a mere mumbling of words), fasting (a mere ritual), following the Sabbath (just carrying out tradition as come down from generations). Jesus by-passed all of this and cut straight to the heart. Because Jesus knew what man was as a result of the fall, and that man needed help in restoring his righteous self (Gal 3: 21, 22). And Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.” not those who were righteous by following the law. Note that he uses the word ‘hunger’ and ‘thirst’ and not those who were righteous, which meant even though we’re sinners our heart needs to hunger and seek to be righteous.
So the first learning is that we must always hunger and thirst for righteousness, for as long as we are on this earth and we will continue to mature, till we attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13) (Refer back to the translation of the greek word μακάριος)
Dissecting the Verse
Blessed are the Peacemakers…… to understand peace let’s think of what the antonym of the word ‘peace’ is? Anything that hampers or destroys peace, right? There’s no requirement of a dictionary here, we know what it means. Many a time when I’m outside the bounds of my house – my comfort zone, my head tends to be all knotted up. I feel as though something is tightly gripping my head. That’s stress! Not peace right? But we all yearn for the peace that Jesus offers, a peace that transcends all understanding (Phil 4: 7), yes? And many a time we experience it, especially during our quiet time or other moments when you’re in communion with the spirit, even at church, this peace that lacks any concrete definition, comes over you and its FANTASTIC. But why do we not have this peace at all times and why are we not peaceful? Look up James 4.
To be true peacemakers as Jesus had said, we need to have the peace that he offers and then the peace that is within us begins to manifest outside of us. But peace with what and who? Lets see…….
1) Peace with God (2 Cor 5:20; Rom 5: 1,2)
God sent his son to reconcile man to God and abolishing the law with its commandments and regulations by Jesus’ death on the cross (Eph 2:14-18).
So, in order to have access to this peace, we need to accept Christ as our Saviour and that he paid the price for all of mankind; we ought to believe in what has been done.
Once we have this peace, then we can become peacemakers for the peace that is within us is exhibited on the exterior. And then we can become true peacemakers.
2) Peace within you (Ps 122:8)
Once we are reconciled to God and receive his peace, we have peace with ourselves. We accept who we are, and are aware deep in our hearts that our Mighty God is in control of all creation which includes us too.
3) Peace with one another, neighbours, family etc (Matt 5:23,24 / Rom 12:18)
After the above two, the peace starts to flow through us to the people we are in constant touch with.
In today’s world families are broken, neighbours not at good terms with each other, siblings fight over property or money. If we look around us there’s not much peace to experience, is there?
Jesus’ two greatest commandments, one which would bring about the above [ 1) & 2)] peace with God and peace with self and the other to love our neighbours as ourselves (Matt 22:37-40). So we should strive to be at peace with everyone. I know it’s hard but ask for the grace to do so, and you shall receive it.
3) Peace within the Community of Believers ( 1 Cor 6:5,6 )
More than anything required in the world today is peace within the community of believers. Court cases, slandering, sex scandals, agitated annual general meetings and a number of other scuffles plague the church today. And rightly so, the enemies of peace would strike at the core of the peacemakers’ community. But as children of the light we must stand together to do away with the wiles of the evil one.
This peace within the community of believers (the church) will begin to flow to the secular community as well. There are scores of examples regarding this.
4) Peace with the community (Rom 14:19 / Heb 12:14)
Matt 5:23, 24 speaks of being reconciled with a brother, who we are not in good terms with before worshipping our God. The peace within us is disturbed as there’s a need for sorting out issues with people we know.
5) Peace for and with the city (Jer 29:7)
For us to be able to sustain the peace within us, we also need an environment that supports this. And hence we need to pray for the neighbourhood, city, and country that we live in. For the peace and prosperity of the nation or the city or the neighbourhood we live in will affect our peace and prosperity.
Seems like a very peaceful message eh?
Well don’t get too comfy, for here’s the bomb. And I love the way Vishal Mangalwadi in his book Truth and Transformation puts it:
” Jesus said that the world hates him because he testifies that what it does is evil (John 7:7). Although he the “prince of peace,” Jesus is a peacemaker, not a peace lover. A peace lover stays away from conflicts. The peacemaker gets involved in unjust, oppressive situations. A peacemaker is necessarily a troublemaker. He disturbs an oppressive social system in order to make “all things new” (Rev 21:5).
Jesus said,”I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism [cross] to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No I tell you, but division” (Luke 12: 49-51)
So if we are children of God we must strive to bring peace, for anyone who does not strive to do right is not a child of God. So if we are peacemakers, who is our struggle for peace against? Our struggle is against the rulers, the authorities, the powers of the dark world and yes against the spiritual forces of evil ( Eph 6:12).
Its not easy, and many a time I have done wrong, so I am not the “holier than thou” one. What pierces my heart is that I can’t be not a child of God, for then I would be illegitimate. Whew! That’s hard. For those who obey God and are led by the Spirit are the true Children of God (Rom 8:14-16)
The armour of God
I personally have a huge issue, that’s in trusting people. It does not come easily; its easily evading and seems insurmountable. Trust comes more naturally when I know the real person inside the flesh and bones is true to what he represents outside. And yes because of the conditioning that I’ve received, I’ve grown to trust “Believer Christians”, but and this is a big “BUT” this is not the case of the recent past.
Things done by christian believers which would be disapproved of by society has begun to erode this trust. And I’ve come to realize that things that I have done may have resulted in the same with other people. I know I’m a long way from the ideal me, but I have to strive.
How do we achieve the role of peacemaker?
The armor of God – simple answer, but hard to follow.
- We need to stand firm for what we believe is right
- The Belt of Truth
- Breastplate of Righteousness
- Shield of Faith
- Helmet of Salvation
- Sword of the Spirit
- Feet fitted with Readiness
- An Alert Mind
We had our first meeting of Grapples on Monday, May 18 2010. It was an encouraging turnout with 7 people including my wife and I.
I thought it apt to start the club with the question of Genesis – Intelligent Design vs. The Theory of Evolution.
I started off by welcoming everyone, and then I gave a brief overview of what the club’s focus would be and then started into the meaty part of the first day.
1. Have you ever wondered why there is a different account for formation of life given in our science textbooks different from what we know from The Bible? How would you describe this discrepancy to a child?
For ages there has been a debate on the issue of the origin of the universe and that of life. In schools all over the world (to the best of my knowledge), there is no mention of a designer or the probability of one in the science textbooks. It’s all-in-all Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Surprisingly most teachers who teach the subject themselves are theists, and have hardly even mention the probability of a designer and strangely enough have never contended this renowned theory. Thanks to the fierce lobbying by the Evolutionists – Eugene Scott, Richard Dawkins and the likes they are trying their best to stifle the voices that mention this possibility.
It’s known that children in churches’ sunday school lessons, learn that God created the heavens and the earth in six days. Then there comes a time when he/she learns about the theory of evolution. Most parents would be pounded with questions of this discrepancy and then other questions seep into the mind of the youngsters. I never had the opportunity of attending sunday school so I don’t really know if this question has been settled in the minds and hearts of the youngster, but it took a long time for it to be settled in my heart.
By gauging the complexity and the nature of life on earth and by observing the intricate and delicate balance required for the existence of life here on earth, a growing number of the scientists believe beyond doubt that this is the work of a designer. Theory of evolution may explain to a certain extent how certain species have adapted to the changes in the environment / surrounding but can never explain or rather prove how life actually began.
2. What is a theory and how is it different from a law or a hypotheses? What does the Darwin’s theory of evolution propose?
To understand the first better, refer to Scientific Laws, Hypotheses, and Theories and Can a theory become scientific law?
So a theory is actually a humongous set of observations accepted by the community of scientists. But the fact remains that it is based on observations and a number of assumptions; so is a law. A theory can be replaced if there is a better explanation for causality. So does Darwin agree
‘If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case.’
– Charles Darwin [From the book On the Origin of Species Chapter VI – Difficuties of the Theory (Modes of Transition)]
Now Darwin’s theory of evolution is one such theory. And he argues that all life was the product of purely undirected natural forces – time, chance and a process he called natural selection. He offered a plausible naturalistic mechanism that could produce biological change over long periods of time. Natural Selection was a powerful idea that came close to answering the ever evading question of life. Physical Variations that proved advantageous would be inherited by succeeding generations and through this process, populations would be altered and over time fundamentally different organisms would arise without any form of intelligent guidance.
Richard Dawkins (A well-known atheist and evolutionist) in the concluding part of the documentary – The Blind Watchmaker (1987) claims that creationists (now propagators of the theory of Intelligent Design) that what we believe is merely an extension of our world view (Theism / Christianity). The same can be said about most evolutionists (most of whom are atheists), that they are so prejudiced against the existence of God, as the plausibility of an Intelligent Designer suggests none other than God. Thus being left to cling onto nothing else what we know as the Theory of Evolution.
He carries on to say that Darwinism really works and he doesn’t seem to understand why the creationists don’t come to agree with the ‘truth’ that’s staring at them in the face. It has been adopted by some of the world’s leading manufacturers as a design principle (notice the use of the word design implying that evolution needs the guidance of a Designer) but above all of course it is a big enough theory to be the answer to one of the greatest riddles that has ever faced us, the riddle of how we and other really improbable things like dinosaurs could have come into existence (also notice that he says ‘could have come into existence’ rather than came into existence which suggests that its merely a proposition yet not proven. Contrary to this statement of his, in latter documentaries he claims that Darwinism has been proven to be a fact beyond doubt. Uh! Oh! Doesn’t seem to match up eh?). The odds against something like you or me springing spontaneously into existence in a single act of chance are literally astronomical. Blind chance on its own is no kind of watchmaker (in reference to the making of a watch), but chance with natural selection, chance smeared out into innumerably tiny steps over aeons of time is powerful enough to manufacture miracles like dinosaurs and ourselves (be it chance in a jiffy or chance in a millions of years chance can never have been the cause of such a wonder).
Coming back to the topic, for Charles Darwin natural selection explained the appearance of design without a designer. There was no need to invoke an intelligent cause for the complexity of life. Natural selection is a real process and it works well in explaining certain limited kinds of variations – (small-scale change); where it doesn’t work well is it doesn’t explain what Darwin thought it could viz. the real complexity of life – you have the variations (or evolution if you may) of many species versus the origin of the species itself. This makes us come back to the question of the agent that caused the evolution of a species or more so it’s very existence – implying the existence of a Designer.
3. Has anyone challenged the theory of evolution? Does it challenge the Christian Faith?
Yes many have, so much so that such cases have been taken to court. The propounders of the Intelligent Design movement have put forward a policy of ‘teach the controversy’ suggesting that both sides should be given equal coverage in classrooms and it be left to the student to investigate and arrive at a conclusion. It’s the fear that the movement being backed by a majority of Christians, has a religious motive in putting forward such a proposition. Thus this movement has time and again been put down to sleep for the time being.
Creation and Evolution in Public Education
The Evolution Controversy
Here below are a few excerpts from a documentary movie which show that many a person who purports ID (Intelligent Design) is being discriminated against. This is a challenge to all of us as soon it might be dangerous to express the strong beliefs that we have openly, as otherwise we had suffer the same.
Case 1 / Case 2 / Case 3 / Case 4 / Case 5
People are being challenged for their faith! The very fact that the war between Creationism and Evolutionism is being taken to court shows this. It cannot be denied that the ID is suggestive of a Creator and hence an uncreated Supreme Being who we know to be God. And a multitude of people with big letters after their name believe otherwise. I fear that the quest for knowledge and its pursuit has become a god and hence results in intolerance to the very idea of Christianity and arrogance and intolerance abounds.
5. What do people think about such a designer and what does it feel to share it with other people?
The busyness of life has caught on with everybody that God in every form has been restricted to a shelf or a closet. For people to bring Him out of the shelves and closets such a thought must be planted in their mind in order to examine the veracity of our claim.
It would be unfair on our part not to examine and understand why the evolutionists believe what they believe. And to understand this many books are widely available, and then we can fashion our case in the best possible manner to have a denting effect. But alas! The evidence that we can produce is merely suggestive and intangible for otherwise there would be no debate. The evidence that can be produced is based on observation that can be likened to the observations made for the theory of evolution. So within the bounds of rationality all the mysteries that perplex the human mind may never be answered in this life time but nevertheless we must awaken the inner being to the reality of God, our Creator by every possible way we can.
Right now evolutionism and creationism are not balanced right with evolutionism outweighing creationism. But there is no doubt in my heart that there will come a day the curtains being drawn, the Creator will be an answer in Himself.
Ever had this feeling that your mind thinks one thing but your heart chooses another, or maybe your emotions, instinct if you like, urges you to do something contrary to your logical mind. I’ve been muddled with questions of life, meaning, existence, purpose, etc, all through my life. Where did all this come from? I strongly believe that it’s from God and He, the Creator, is in whom I find all the answers to my questions and will find all the answers to the unanswered ones. It may take a lifetime and perhaps beyond that to eventually get to a place of contentment for the questions of life and existence. Nevertheless I’ve come to some conclusions and this blog is but a feeble attempt in getting to reconcile these questions with what I’ve come to believe.
I wonder how the word ‘grapple’ originated, but here’s how I arrived at the name of this blog. The Bible talks of man taking a fall in the garden of Eden by taking a bite of the apple (Genesis 3) and Jesus talks of the new wine (which is from grapes), that is to be poured in new wine skins. (Matthew 9:17). Grape + Apple = Grapple, here it is. The significance to me: well, the bible is a combination of the old covenant and the new covenant, in a crude personalization to this fact, it perhaps depicts the old me and the new me, at least that’s what it means to me. And in arriving at the new me, I have had to conclude some hefty thoughts that have weighed upon my mind and heart for long.
This is how Grapples started…. 🙂