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We cannot fully appreciate the value of Christ’s triumph over Satan if we do not appreciate the foe that we have in Satan. We know that Satan is aiming his guns at all mankind and especially at the sons of God, but how well can he aim? Job gives us a great appreciation for the dangerousness of our enemy.

Satan’s first assault gives us a very frightening picture of Satan’s maliciousness and his calculated attacks. He shows that he is able to make the most of the situation and plan attacks that are overwhelming and unrelenting. Job suffers a day of complete loss in which he loses absolutely everything–in the cruelest of circumstances.

It is in the darkness that we find Job’s faith shining like a diamond. Job grieves, but doesn’t sin. He worships and doesn’t blame. He willingly submits to the circumstances in an almost super-human way. How is he able to do that? How do we imitate that?

Trials reveal–they don’t make. They show what is lying underneath and has been there all the time. Why is God confident with Job’s position as a righteous man? Because God knows the heart. He is not surprised by Job’s reaction–the thinking and the faith has been there all along.

For us to profit from Job’s example, we need to study it. We need to absorb the truths from his reaction. We need grace to have these lessons infused into our thinking so that when and if we are tempted in the same way we can respond with like faith.

You can grab the notes here.

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Note: This is the second part of a lesson on Christ’s Triumph over Satan.

Job is a book of questions. It is meant to make you think. As we watch what happens to Job we should be thinking how would I respond? How should we respond? What does this teach us about ourselves? What does this teach us about God?….Could this happen to me?

Its this last question that I want to spend a couple weeks on with respect to Satan’s assault on Job. If we read through the book of Job without asking ourselves the question ‘could this happen to me?’, we are doing ourselves a grave disservice.

One of the interesting things about this book is that we don’t know the author. Which means that if Job didn’t write the book, he would have no way of knowing why he went through what he did! God never explains to Job that Satan was after him and that God allowed this to happen to Job. This should make us look at our lives and the situations that we endure and at least ponder the reality of what may be going on behind the scenes. We have no way of knowing, but it could be.

For us to really think through the possibilities we need to first spend some time thinking about Satan’s current position. I have to be honest, Scripture gives some exciting answers to Satan’s current position, so we are going to spend some time contemplating Christ’s triumph over Satan through his work on the Cross.

Our salvation is part of an epic story spanning the Old and New Testaments. The gospel is the story of a militaristic conquest by the Son of God over the god of this world. It is exciting and it is liberating. I hope you’ll enjoy thinking it through as much as I have. The audio should be up sometime tomorrow.

You can grab the notes for the second half of the lessonhere.

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The Internet of Things (Iot) has been a much-thrown about buzz word lately. In fact, I’m almost surprised we don’t have a plugin for our browsers yet that detects and changes it.

Manufacturers have been taking advantage of new technology, particularly new, smaller chips, and the pervasiveness of wireless networks that provide near continuous coverage of our daily life. They are attempting to place some sort of microprocessor into everything they can get their hands on–but why?

I’m convinced it is partly because of a smallish tech bubble we are experiencing and partly because we can. The questions needs to not be ‘can we’ but ‘should we’. Here is an example from a Venturebeat article:

KeeLight showed off its Wi-Fi enabled multicolor smart light bulbs at CES. You can control them with an app remotely, and turn on sections of your home to create the right atmosphere within seconds. That sounds great, but each smart light bulb costs $100. The average home has 40 sockets for light bulbs. That means it would cost almost $4,000 to outfit your home with smart light bulbs from KeeLight. You can save by buying a 10-pack for $350. Still, that’s a pretty steep cost for getting a start on the connected home. I have an easier time getting over the psychological hurdle for paying $100 or more for a drone, since I haven’t owned one before, rather than paying that much to retrofit my house with a new version of something that I am already quite pleased with. For me in particular, I would rather pay $60 for a video game than $99 for a light bulb.1

Aside from the cool statistic that the average house has 40 sockets–that is frankly an outrageous amount of money to pay for light bulbs. I’m just in much with LED’s as the next guy–and more in some cases–but most people cannot afford to spend that kind of money.

Obviously, Tech tends to have these sort of pricing issues. Something comes out of R&D and its the next big thing since sliced bread and it is expensive. Wait a year or two and suddenly there has been a pricing break and everyone has it. That is a normal and accepted practice for more than one reason. But still, do we need these things?

One of the concerns that I see is the issue of compatibility–which VentureBeat article quoted above refers to–and the other concern is device management. Are we doing to have to use a different app for each device? Will my phone and tablet be cluttered up with apps from each manufacturer for each device? Can I access it from a computer? Can we access api’s that enable us to automate the control of these devices? Before we go too far down this technological-high-induced dream, we have some serious issues that we need to face.

Not to mention the major question of whether or not we need them to begin with…

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Job is a book of questions. It is meant to make you think. As we watch what happens to Job we should be thinking how would I respond? How should we respond? What does this teach us about ourselves? What does this teach us about God?….Could this happen to me?

Its this last question that I want to spend a couple weeks on with respect to Satan’s assault on Job. If we read through the book of Job without asking ourselves the question ‘could this happen to me?’, we are doing ourselves a grave disservice.

One of the interesting things about this book is that we don’t know the author. Which means that if Job didn’t write the book, he would have no way of knowing why he went through what he did! God never explains to Job that Satan was after him and that God allowed this to happen to Job. This should make us look at our lives and the situations that we endure and at least ponder the reality of what may be going on behind the scenes. We have no way of knowing, but it could be.

For us to really think through the possibilities we need to first spend some time thinking about Satan’s current position. I have to be honest, Scripture gives some exciting answers to Satan’s current position, so we are going to spend some time contemplating Christ’s triumph over Satan through his work on the Cross.

Our salvation is part of an epic story spanning the Old and New Testaments. The gospel is the story of a militaristic conquest by the Son of God over the god of this world. It is exciting and it is liberating. I hope you’ll enjoy thinking it through as much as I have. The audio should be up sometime tomorrow.

You can grab the notes here.

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I have been reading through the book of Leviticus (bit of a catch-up mission to be honest) and have really been enjoying trying to think through the ceremonial and sacrificial rituals that God puts in place for the nation of Israel. One thing that has always caught my eye, but for so reason has stood out even more this time through the book, is the broad list of things that cause uncleanness:

  • touching dead things Lev 11:39
  • leprosy Lev 13:2
  • discharges caused by disease Lev 15:1
  • menstrual cycle Lev 15:19
  • sexual intercourse Lev 15:18

Some of these may seem fair game for ceremonial uncleanness because they are gross or even ‘dirty’ in our mind, but most of these are completely out of our control–in fact they are essential to our humanness! God commanded man to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ and yet the very act of reproducing makes man unclean. Who has control over leprosy? Is that a choice that I can be blamed for, ditto any weird disease that cause ‘discharges’? And yet we are held unclean for that.

This is part of the point of many of the laws regarding ceremonial uncleannesses–uncleannesses which prevent us from appearing before God. They are not just arbitrary statements or even good rules of hygiene–they point out deep theological truths about ourselves.

We are unholy.

We are unclean.

And this is not an unholiness which stems from sinful actions or sinful desires, it is an unholiness which is inherent. There is nothing physically possible that we can do to remedy the situation. And the situation will not change anytime soon, God is and will always be ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’. Thrice holy and thus we are thrice removed from him in our unholiness.

So when we arrive at Leviticus 16:16 and read this:

‘Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins. And so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which dwells with them in the midst of their uncleannesses.’ Leviticus 16:16 (ESV)

We really ought to become quite excited. There is a covering. There is an atonement for our uncleannesses. Notice that it is mentioned separate from our transgressions–because we are dealing with two very different things. One is what we are doing–our actions; the other is what we are–unclean.

The atonement for our uncleannesses so well laid out in the OT points to Christ’s atonement. His atonement does not just remove our sins as far as the east is from the west, but it also makes us clean. He washes us with the pure water of the Word so that we are fit to enter God’s presence. Immanuel, God with us, is possible because there is an atonement for our uncleannesses which would otherwise make that hope an impossibility.

We are an unclean people, He is a cleansing Savior.

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We spent some time last week looking at who Satan is and where he came from. We specifically noted that God has revealed some about the nature of angels–both the fallen and those who didn’t fall–but most of our knowledge of them comes from bits and pieced scattered throughout the Bible. It is interesting that apart from perhaps Genesis and the book of Revelation, the book of Job probably spends more time presenting Satan and his work than any other book of the Bible.

We are going to look this week at the activity of Satan here in Job 1:6-12. The first thing that we are struck with is that Satan actually appears in Heaven with the other angels! Far from displaying any independence, the point that is actually proved is that God is sovereign even over the fallen angels and that they are still being used to accomplish His purposes. We are going to look at the issue of Satan’s movements over the earth as he wanders around–‘seeking whom he may devour’ (1 Peter 5:8). We are also going to look at what he is specifically targeting with his accusations before God. We know from Scripture that he is the ‘accuser of the brethren’ (Rev 12), so what exactly is Satan targeting with our brother Job?

There are a number of questions that this raises for us today, specifically: does Satan still have access to heaven? Is Satan still behaving the same way and with the same sort of movements against the Church? and lastly what is the effect that Christ’s death–which leads to our justification as believers–has on the accusations of Satan toward believers? These are serious and very important questions and we will attempt to reach some satisfactory answers to these from some New Testament passages next week.

Notes

Sunday School Notes from 2/22/15

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I put out a blog post the other day about Twitter’s perceived issue with bots. I would like to follow this up with a post from the Atlantic about Twitter’s inability to actually drive any readers to their site.

This is not what I would have suspected–especially the claims that Facebook is better at driving clicks–but after reading the article it does make sense. Twitter really does seem to contain a universe of its own and from a content marketing perspective, it is really not going to be the place you will run to in order to get more people to read your articles.

I’ve contemplated the complicated tangle of social media and marketing and I’m starting to wonder if we couldn’t somehow view the model more like advertising at a stadium or an arena and less like the miracle marketing cure. There are advertisements(sponsorships) everywhere at arenas and sports facilities–but no one expects any clicks or immediate purchases to come from that. The entire purpose is name recognition. The consumer gets the benefits of the event and the marketer gets the benefit of better name recognition–and really its a win win for everyone. Perhaps if we adopted that sort of mindset, we could slowly break away from the increasing encroachments on privacy that are being made by all the social networks and we could actually enjoy being online. Just a thought.

The Atlantic’s Article: The Unbearable Lightness of Tweeting

Related Reading

Oh Twitter!

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There is a fundamental function in programming known as a loop–and boy is that helpful. Consider the following:

Javascript

for (i = 0; i < 5; i++) {
    console.log("the current value is " + i);
    }

Java

for(int i=1; i<11; i++){
    System.out.println("The current value is " + i);
                 }

PHP

for ($i = 1; $i <= 10; $i++) {
    echo "The current value is " . $i;
}

Python

???

The latter example was pretty much my understanding of Python’s capabilities until yesterday forced me to do some digging into Python’s features for an equivalent. What I found….xrange

xrange allows you to set a start, stop, and step value for using with iterables. An example of its use would be something like this:

for i in xrange(0, 5, 1):
    print("The current value is " + i)

According to the documentation, the first argument defines the starting value (0 in this example), the second argument defines the stopping value (5), and the third argument defines the stepping value–or how the incrementing is being done. The only required value is actually the stop value, which means that the function is designed to start at 0 and then stop at the stop value.

xrange is actually generating a “xrange object” (similar to a list) which can then be iterated through. When we use it like we do above, we are simply using that list to be the basis for our own iterations. Therefore, there probably are limits to how large you might want your xrange to be because that could be a pretty heavy memory usage.

Further Reading: