Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tying Ties

An absolute must.  I only know how to tie a full Windsor, but this is helpful...

Source: duitang.com via Sarah on Pinterest

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Exactly what is God the "God of"?

There is no doubt the God of the Bible is exactly who he says he is. But how do we inform ourselves of this? Through his Word, the Bible itself.  Therefore, it is time well spent to discover exactly what the Bible states God is the God of, using that exact "God of" word combination.

A Sovereign Lord of the Bible is the God of multiple finite things which we can have a freedom in mentioning. Those things could include internet communications, breakfast cereals and very small rocks (I had to throw that in!). Provided they are not said for comedic effect alone (Ahem), I have no problem with acknowledging these specific facts. God is certainly allowed to be God over ice cream cones, if it, in part, explains to a child how and what God has control of/over. But describing God based upon our solo thoughts outside of scripture is a foolish and self-imposed poverty. Furthermore, it is idolatry with the severest consequences (1 Kings 20:28). The Bible MUST inform our knowledge of God.

Describing God how the scripture defines him is the starting and ending point for any honorable description of Him. So, I used my search tools for the phrase "God of" in my ESV bible to discover precisely what God is the” God of”. Granted, there is other phraseology that does describe God in the Bible, but as I said, this is a decent starting point. Even though we cannot know all things of our limitless God, these results do tell us something of God's command and connection to his people. This effort was triggered by a study of Romans 15, which has three instances which God is "God of" that got my wheels turning. Of the over 400 instances, here are several noteworthies:

God is the God of Shem. (Genesis 9:26) (This is the first instance I stumbled across. God, indeed, is the God of many other individuals in the OT (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), but this was noteworthy because of it's location in scripture-which does not indicate preeminence here-and also an introduction to God's personal nature with his creation)
God is the God of seeing (Genesis 16:13)
God is the God of heaven and the God of earth (Genesis 24:3)
God is the God of Bethel (Genesis 31:13)
God is the God of my master Abraham (Genesis 24:12)
God is the God of Abraham your father (Genesis 26:24)
God is the God of my father (Genesis 31:5)
God is the God of your father (Genesis 31:29)
God is the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father (Genesis 31:53)
God is the God of your fathers (Exodus 3:13)
God is the God of the Hebrews (Exodus 3:18)
God is the God of their fathers (Exodus 4:5)
God is the God of Israel (Exodus 24:10)
God is the God of the spirits of all flesh (Numbers 16:22)
God is the God of gods (Deuteronomy 10:17)
God is the God of our fathers (Deuteronomy 26:7)
God is a God of faithfulness (Deuteronomy 32:4)
God is a God of knowledge (1 Samuel 2:3)
God is the God of the armies of Israel (1 Samuel 17:45)
God is the God of hosts (2 Samuel 5:10)
God is the God of Jacob (2 Samuel 23:1)
God is the God of my lord the king (1 Kings 1:36)
God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (1 Kings 18:36)
God is the God of David your father (2 Kings 20:5)
God is the God of our salvation (1 Chronicles 16:35)
God is the God of David your father (2 Chronicles 21:12)
God is the God of Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 32:19)
God is the God of my righteousness (Psalm 4:1)
God is the God of my salvation (Psalm 18:46)
God is the God of glory (Psalm 29:3)
God is the God of my life (Psalm 42:8)
God is a God of salvation (Psalm 68:20)
God is the God of vengeance (Psalm 94:1)
God is the God of my praise (Psalm 109:1)
God is the God of your salvation (Isaiah 17:10)
God is the God of the whole earth (Isaiah 54:5)
God is the God of truth (Isaiah 65:16)
God is the God of all the clans of Israel (Jeremiah 31:1)
God is a God of recompense (Jeremiah 51:56)
God is the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3:28)
God is the God of Daniel (Daniel 6:26)
God is the God of justice (Malachi 2:17)
God is the God of the living (Matthew 22:32)
God is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers (Acts 3:13)
God is the God of this people Israel (Acts 13:17)
God is the God of the Jews and the God of the Gentiles (Romans 3:29)
God is the God of endurance and encouragement (Romans 15:5)
God is the God of hope (Romans 15:13)
God is the God of peace (Romans 15:33)
God is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3)
God is the God of love and peace (2 Corinthians 13:11)
God is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:17)
God is the God of all grace (1 Peter 5:10)
God is the God of the spirits of the prophets (Revelation 22:6)

This is quite a list that contains some wordy and Bibley words. God is the God of big and small things. God is the God of groups and individuals. God is the God of ideas and realities. He is the God of many things, yet a God of such specific things. It would seem that these variances are the point. God is the God of somethings, someones and somewheres because he is the God of everything, everyone and everywhere. Whatever else you notice, that fact would be tough to miss.

God is the God over all. We have to be careful to let our scriptural knowledge of him inform our experience, rather than the other way around. It's altogether right to defer to God's description of himself, not our ideas Him based upon misunderstandings. Furthermore, we can state these things of God with confidence, because the Bible teaches us that "all your words are true." (Psalm 119:160) Shine in darkness.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Telling the True Stories

Recently, this quote from Doug Wilson's "God Rest Ye Merry" jumped off a page at me. It is so good that I must pass it on:
Stories organize our lives, and the stories that won't or can't do that are false stories. The stories that orient us, that place us back where we should have been, the stories that bring redemption, are called true stories. They go by other names if you listen to tellers of false stories-legends, lies, myths, fairy stories. But true stories have authority to overcome the envious carping of adversary.  
This is especially true of the true story. The first man and woman were placed by God in a glorious garden, and given the earth as their inheritance. They were told to stay away from one tree-for the time being-and when the serpent worm entered the garden and lied to them, they gave way to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. They, like all of us with them, fell into darkness and confusion apart from the life of God, and were expelled from the garden. Since that time, in the darkness outside that garden, as we have told one another stories, they have all centered on some way or other of getting back into the garden-but it never seems to work. 
God Rest Ye Merry, Douglas Wilson, pg 112-113
With that said, we all need to be reading good books, watching good movies and telling good stories (Truth told, we should be the ones writing the books, making the movies and making up the stories). As I read my Bible, I am reminded that Jesus himself spoke in parables. Picture that! The Truth himself told true stories. Some of Jesus's stories are from the Old Testament, some are from heaven above, some are from observation and some may have been made up on the spot (Reread the story of the Good Samaritan see if it doesn't read that way). Following his example always puts us in his good company.

I would say that the only way our story will make any sense and have any lasting value is if it intersects with His story. That story is the gospel, which any story of decent or redeemable value will have some connection with. If you do not know Christ personally and haven't been forgiven of your sins, stop and read this concise gospel presentation. The gospel isn't just a good story it is the story and if you are to have eternal life, it must become yours. If you already have true faith and belief in Jesus Christ, reread it.

Everyone who bears the scars of the fall needs the true stories to help us reconnect with the True story, and that would be Christ and his gospel. The Lord knows we have all had far too much of the false stories, some of which will haunt us the rest of our days. But even still, the followers of Christ can confidently claim, that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. But you have to be part of his story to be able to say that.

Now I do recognize the variance between the biblical gospel and a simple story that merely points to true aspects of that gospel. No doubt, like John Bunyan of old said, we do need to be a people of one book, the Bible. Nevertheless, I, along with the apostle Paul, say bring me books anyway because scripture is the lens by which I view them. So read away, student of the Bible! Thomas Chalmers once stated that reading was moral illumination.  As long as we understand that in an assistive and not a determinative fashion, then I would say that Chalmers is spot on.

With that said, I am reminded how I need to reconnect myself with a good story. I was recently challenged by my son, Blake, to read J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. Exactly like his grandfather, Blake is officially reading circles around me these days. Now I want you to know that I do read stuff: Newspapers, emails, travel sites, my Bible, far too much Craigslist items, etc. But for someone who takes in information like Eustace in his pre-dragon state, I've a long way to go with fiction. For those of my friends who take issues with allegory or alternate fictional universes, I can relate to you because I used to be one of you.  I empathize with you, but do so without sympathy. Because, like me, you need to change as well. Reading theology alone can lead you directly into theological error. Why? Because you can end up trusting far too much in your own sensibilities and reason of scripture than scripture and Christ alone. I know it sounds crazy, but a decent book of fiction can support your effort of not shipwrecking your faith. Have an open mind toward books with stories that may help you understand your theology better and worship the Lord in a way you didn't previously think possible.

Nevertheless, like Bilbo Baggins, my quest has begun! And, I make no comment about being motivated by a certain film release date encouraging this effort. Nope, no motivation whatsoever. Nothing to see here. As you were. Tolle Legge. Shine in Darkness.

Would you believe that growing up I chose Sports Illustrated and encyclopedias over this!?!

PS-For those interested, my old blogspot is now accessible.  It needed to go away for awhile.

Monday, November 26, 2012

DIY Trundle Bed

We had a dilemma. Our youngest of the three girls moved out of her toddler bed and was ready to move into a regular twin mattress. The problem was we wanted her to stay in the girls room and not take up too much floor space. My wife-who has great ideas-mentioned wanting a tuck away Trundle bed. As always, I casted a vision first and measured second. I knew it had been done before, so I proceeded with a moderate understanding of the budget and time constraints.

I went to work by removing the standard ladder on the girl's bunk bed and installed one made from an old paint ladder that was my grandfather's. That solved the first problem...but I discovered the clearance on the bed the trundle mattress was to go under was 10 1/2". The mattress itself is 7" alone on the ground. That meant that your baseboard and wheels together would have to be under 3 1/2". With a board of 1" thickness, there was a fat chance of pulling that off. Plus, wheels on carpet that has an 8 lb pad does not mean easy maneuverability. So, what to do?  Raising the bed wasn't a good option in my eyes, not with 8' ceilings and a nearby fan.  

This pic doesn't lie: there wasn't much room for clearance.

In vision-like fashion, I had an epiphany one night when it occurred to me that we didn't need wheels. We just needed to scoot the baseboard across the floor. And what do you use to move things across carpet?  Simple: plastic sliders. 


These things are normally used to slide heavy furniture across carpet. The idea is these low profile plates will act as wheels to scoot the bed. All that is needed is to evenly space the sliders and this should work. I still wasn't sure, but went ahead as usual. 

So, I started with a 4' x 8' sheet of birch veneer plywood. I selected this wood over standard plywood because it is sturdier and smoother. It won't warp and it looks great. Additionally, at around $47 a sheet, it's a smidge cheaper than oak veneer. I used it on my shelves in our family room and was happy to purchase the excess wood I can reuse :).  

Next, I cut the board to 37" x 72". I allowed for more board on the sides and less on the top and bottom ends.  This is so you have some board to grab on the sides and so it won't rub against the wood posts at the long ends of the mattress.  The board length had to be less than 78" long (he mattress itself was 76"-tight fit).  I used a jigsaw with a straight edge to make the cut.  Additionally, I took a soup can and traced smooth corners that I then cut off.  Past projects taught me that little hands always find sharp corners to injure themselves on.  After a little sanding to smooth edges (you can use a router), I wiped of the sawdust off with a rag. The board was done. 

I then moved the baseboard for the mattress upstairs and then evenly spaced the sliders on the ground.  I placed the wood over the sliders (I didn't bother gluing, but didn't know how that would work till I tried). Then, Blake helped put the mattress on the board.  I couldn't believe we were done at that point.  And this thing is so easy to slide that my three year old can move the bed back and forth herself.  I may add a rope handle later, but for now, that is it.  

Total project cost: under $60. The sliders from Lowe's were about $8.23.  Not bad, if you ask me. I may end up painting the board or staining it to match the bed.  For now, this should suffice (I've come around: Painting wood was previously a sin to me). Should she transition out of this lovely bed, I have project wood and sliders leftover. Feel free to copy this idea and use it if you like it. Those of you with wood floors can use the felt sliders and get the same results. They work almost too good! Lucent in Tenebris.

Now, only if I can get that little girl to actually sleep in this bed and not in ours.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Completed Deck Box

Well, here it is. Finished and completed. This summer's project was a deck box and it was officially done on November 17th. Not bad timing ;).

I built it with 4 x 4 posts from Menard's, along with their treated AC 2" x 4"s. The slats I covered it with are the 5/8" x 5 1/2" x 5 1/2 ' untreated cedar. I used the 2" gold square screws (about 380 total). But won't it leak, you say?  Not with two sheets of aluminum flashing held fast by roofing nails and Liquid nails. The hinges match my fencing and are powder coated black. The final measurements:  44" height, 37" deep, 88" wide. Total cost was around $225. It's style and design, which matches my fence, is definitively Westfieldian. 

Here it is before doors. Notice the aluminum flashing.

From the front. It matches the fence, minus the graying element.

From the side. I did sand the cedar for the top because of roughness.

Glad to be done and even I couldn't mess this one up.  It was simple and not too time consuming. Blake did help with the assembly and it did bring back fond memories of fence building. I only destroyed one level and got Liquid nails all over a jacket. I'd say that is pretty good in the area of equipment casualties, common to every Moran project.

I'm thankful for a lot of things this Thanksgiving, some of which are my chop saw, table saw and drill.  Since my joint pain kicked in (read about it here), projects like these have gotten more difficult, but sweeter upon completion. So what project is next? I will ask the lovely Mr. Moran if she wants anything done for the winter, because I'm breaking for the holidays. Projects she thinks up with are usually much funner, anyway.

So, why did I build this? In a neighborhood that will not allow for sheds, this thing is a lifesaver. Pesky items like hoses that I do not want in my garage or attic for the winter can safely be stored here. It is accessible and lockable (a given seeing that I posted it HERE!).  Plus, I need to be a good steward of how and where things are stored and kept. Divvying up where things go in a house with four kids really matters. Bikes and sporting equipment in the garage alone made this deck box a presentable option. Plus, I'm not one of these cats that cannot rescue the material from the materialism. Taking care of your stuff does matter to me and my brood. Playing the crazy Platonic dualist card with a Gnostic bent is for a sucker. Gotta take care of your goods and store them properly, dude. It is the only way my fam rolls.

I'd say that does it for weatherization this year. I have other outdoor projects in mind, but a canopy and hot tub (Quote Aerosmith: Dream until your dream comes true!) are going to have to wait. Priorities always dictate and should. The table saw is going to get a breather for a bit, but when I break it out again, I will let you all know. If there is no other purpose, I like to keep my out of state friends updated on projects back at the ranch. Shine in Darkness.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Anything happen while I was out?

I am happy to begin blogging again!  After a long hiatus, it is good to be back.

Of course, I didn't go away entirely.  I had an attempt to blog within the notes application on Facebook, but like Richard Marx once said, "I should have known better."  It didn't work.  I wanted to get back to the blogger format because I found that social media does a great job of advertising you or an idea, but does not necessarily present them well.

For reconnecting with people, social media is excellent.  However, within Facebook you can post something beneficial--nay, life changing--and it may not get the necessary looks.  FB has its spot, but the median can get elevated over the message.  Of course, we have all observed that the median can become the ENTIRE message and affect the narrative in regards to social media. Actually having something worth saying always requires a greater discipline, for both writer and reader.  To me, that greater discipline is exactly what blogging is.

So why now after 4 years?  Why come back to blogging?  Well, here are 5 reasons I can think of:

1.  There were enough good parts about blogging that I missed.  The interaction, the humor, the human side of things and the ability to communicate important bits of data in a helpful fashion are to name a few.  In a way, it connected me with others that I wouldn't have without it.  One of my rules of thumb is that technology should always bring people together, not apart.  Yep, that is blogging.  Granted, there is a negative side and wisdom is needed to navigate through that stuff.  But, it isn't enough to scare me off.

2.  I have grown up a bit since I last did this.  No longer am I in the morning time of my Christian life, I am now in the afternoon.  It is a wonderful time of day.  It is also the time of day that you go to work.  Plus, my absence has given me a perspective that attention could not.

3.  As follower of Christ, I am always reminded I must speak.  I am no silver tongue with a gift of gab and I really do treasure silence...to a fault.  It's high time I again speak good words and I seemed to do that well in this format.  And at a time when the world wants Christians to shut up, I don't think I should.  Much more have I to say...

4.  My generation thinks and feels with it's eyes.  So many of us are all about seeing and feeling, not reading and reasoning.  It is a cultural woe that affects critical thinking.  Now I realize the sum goal of the Christian faith is not to turn that non literary tide.  But, nevertheless, God wrote a book and our faith will be the only thing that will turn that tide.  And yes, I want to be part of that through this blog.

5.  I need challenged in many ways to be a husband, father and coworker who brings glory to God.  In short, I need humbled, encouraged, reminded, rebuked, sharpened and exposed.  Plus, I need to be stretched beyond my comfortable world view and reminded that life is not all about me.  I need to to continue to grow in my faith.  I just like how blogging is a reminder of that, imperfections and all.

I do promise to guard my tongue more so this time around.  The tongue is a restless evil and I am more aware of what I say now than ever.  Anger has always been a problem for me and I know of no one who can dump cold water on a situation quite like I can with my words.  The Apostle Paul started all his letters with grace and peace and I want nothing short of that for this time around.  I see no reason to go "Full Silver back Mode" for minor things.  I'm just not biting on small stuff and like a seasoned hitter in baseball, not every pitch was meant to be swung at.  The Internet has a way of making me want to go Pompeii so much that I have to watch myself.  Regardless, Proverbs 16:32 is on my radar.

Dr. Banner hasn't had an incident in a while and wants to keep it that way, kids.

Well, that should carry me through for the first post.  I'm rusty and I know it.  Fare thee well.