On Cue

Posted by: David Carroll

I was out walking in the forest last week (March 23) and took this picture of a ridge and a ravine. The weather was delightful and you could tell the forest was waking up from it’s winter slumber.

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Nine days later (yesterday April 1) I was walking the same trail and took a picture of the same ridge (below).

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Now I was standing a litte further up in the second shot but you can tell it is the same location by examining the roots of some of the trees hugging the ridge.

The astonishing thing I’m sure you notice is the difference in green foliage. A little rain, a little warmth, longer days and the program kicks in to high gear. I say program because that is what it is, it does this every year automatically. Such astonishing beauty and unbelievable and complex innerworkings of sap rising and photosynthisis. I’m glad I got to see this as I ponder God’s unfathomable excellence in His design for life.

Psalm 8:1,3–4

O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens!
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?

 

Backpacking!

Posted by: David Carroll

Genesis 1:31 (NKJV)

Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

I went backpacking with some wonderful friends this past weekend to the Richland Creek Wilderness area just north of Russellville AR. What a delightful trip and considering what I've been through, a miracle! God is good! Three Davids went (should have been four David D. :-) and Roxanne and Tiffany and Kyle.

DSCN0608The water was high and so we could not make the second stream crossing like we had planned but no matter, the campsite we stayed at for two nights was delightful and we were close to a bend in the river with a beach and within a short (although rugged) hike to Richland Creek Falls and Twin Falls. It was cold the first night and the temp was in the low twenties when we woke up Sunday morning. We day hiked to the falls that afternoon and said our goodbyes' to Dave and Kyle who had to head on back home that afternoon. It rained in the middle of the night Sunday night and it was only in the thirties Monday morning. David S. and I determined that we could cross the stream at about thigh deep to go see the twin falls before we broke camp to head on back home. After a quick breakfast and finally some warm coffee after that cold crossing, we packed it up and headed out of the woods for the two mile trek and final stream crossing. The trail was wet and muddy in places so we gingerly scrambled over the rocks and narrow ledges and arrived at our car early afternoon. Two nights in the woods and base camping does not sound all that much but I was so encouraged and filled with gratitude for my friends who spurred me on and gave me a new start in backpacking adventures.

Check out the album on bubbleshare by clicking here. Dave and David, you can download a zip file of the pictures when you go to the album. They should be a decent size, but if there are any you want the fullsize original of, let me know and I'll email them to you.

Of making many books there is no end

Posted by: David Carroll

Ecclesiastes 12:12

And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.

I buy lots of books. The two main genres are books about software development and books with a religious theme. For novels, I usually buy from Audible so that I can enjoy them while driving or walking or just sitting in the hot tub. Anyway, I am a very good customer of Amazon. I just cannot resist the latest book on some new technology. What amazes me about books about computer programming is that I am never satisfied. Typically I graze through the  book looking for some little tidbit of information I can use or that I am unfamiliar with. Most of the time, I find two or three little things that I learn from the book and then I am done with it. I never use them as a reference manual. Google has replaced that.

So why do I keep buying these very expensive books (they are very proud of them at $50 each)? I guess I justify that the two or three tidbits of new information is worth it.

Cure for stress

Posted by: David Carroll

Things around here have been a bit stressful, not bad, just a bit overwhelming when thinking about all that I need to get done over the next few months. Times like this can make you feel guilty for procrastinating which tends to make the stress even worse. It is important to have some times of refreshing during such a period, something that makes the worry melt away even for only a few hours.

I know two things that accomplish this. One is prayer. Prayer that admits your own fraility and inadequacies and lays your burdens on Jesus. It is not that the prayer itself makes you feel better although it certainly helps. Rather it is that prayer actually works. God answers prayer.

James 5:16 (NKJV)

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

The second thing that works is worship and fellowship. Go to church and love and be loved by the brethren. Sweet fellowship and worship can accomplish wonders for the weary and stressed out soul.

Psalm 84:1-2 (NKJV)

How lovely is Your tabernacle,  O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Psalm 84:10-11 (NKJV)

For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.

I sat with dear friends from my old Sunday School class tonight and sang and worshiped and I could feel my worries melt away. That’s what I call times of refreshing. Jerry Vines preached the last of four Wednesday nights we call Awesome August. He preached on the importance of Church and my own experience of being refreshed totally underscored and validated the message.

Acts 3:19 (NKJV)

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord

Img003Johnny Hunt preached last Wednesday night. It was the next to last night Bethany was home before we took her back to Birmingham for her Junior year in college. Johnny is a dear friend and gifted preacher. Bethany was baptised by Johnny back in 1997. What a great message Johnny preached on perseverence as the proof of our faith. God has given us all things that pertain to life and Godliness. Johnny preached on the following text.

2 Peter 1:1-11 (NKJV)

Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

You can listen to the mp3 here.

Spiritual Reformation

Posted by: David Carroll

Time to reform my inner life, that is to form again into what it should be. I may look OK on the outside but that’s only because I can prop it up and build quick facades so that no one notices what’s behind. It’s time to work on the inner man. That means I might start to look like a “construction zone.” Like my body has been in tatters and I am now starting to exercise and make it stronger, healthier, my spiritual disciplines are in tatters too and I need to begin to exercise it and make it stronger, healthier. Just like the goal for my physical reformation is stamina, strength, and flexibility I could describe the goal for my spiritual being in the same way but that would be superficial and ignore the most important thing. Jesus is the focus of spiritual reformation; Christ-likeness is the goal.

What does Christ-likeness look like? I think it looks like obedience on the outside. But that is not what it is on the inside. Obedience is the manifestation, what you see as a result, not what causes Christ-likeness. Obedience simply makes me look like the scribes and the Pharisees.

Matthew 5:20 (NKJV)

For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

So, what does Christ-likeness look like on the inside? It looks like thoughts, affections, choices, rest, peace, desire, love and all that. But still, it is not the source. The Holy Spirit of God is the source and it is His work. That’s called grace. Grace is not so much like resting in a tub of warm water; it is more like standing under an invigorating waterfall. Grace is not so much what God has done for me but more what God is doing for me and continues to do for me. Piper calls that Future Grace.

So although I am to do all things He has commanded me, I must not forget that He is master over everything in heaven and He will be with me every step of the way. So when I decide to do a command He is right there with me and He has all the resources under his power.

Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

On Guard!

Posted by: David Carroll

DSC_1033Lots of errands to run this morning, but as I stepped onto the back deck I saw this critter. When I would approach him he would raise his hind legs up and hold this tail up in the air as if it were a sword he would attack me with. So this is the guy (among thousands) who has been making all the noise at night. Those crickets are really loud and they have this rhythm when they all get to going at the same time it just magnifies. God really makes some strange creatures and they are everywhere. I don’t see any eyes on this bugger. I think those flat spots on his head are his hearing organs and those antenna have sensory purposes too. Amazing!

Bible Study schedule

Posted by: David Carroll

John Stott used the following time allocations dedicated to Bible study:
  • One hour a day
  • One 3 hour period a week
  • One day every month
  • One week every year

I am inspired. I pray I will have the dedication to turn it into action.

From C.J. Mahaney

Memory Verses

Posted by: David Carroll

I have been memorizing scripture for more than twelve years now on a regular basis. Most of the time it has been part of a small group accountability effort. I cannot overestimate the value of memorizing scripture for the impact it will have on your walk with God. It affects so many areas of the Christian life to have a verse ready for any situation, witnessing, counseling, meditation, encouragement and fighting sin.

I wrote a Pocket PC application to help me organize and practice the memorization process a number of years ago. And of course it still works like a charm. However, I rarely if ever carry it now since I use a Windows Mobile Smartphone which handles all of my email and contacts better than the Pocket PC did. But the SmartPhone interface is not conducive for scripture practice because of the keyboard and small screen.

So I had the idea of putting together a web-based version similar to my previous incarnations of the Verse Memorization program. I just have the basics of it working and there are a few bugs yet. The look and feel of it really need a lot of work but it is usable. Still to do are the ability to modify the categories and add new verses. But I have a huge database already of several hundred verses that should be enough to get me back started practicing them as a part of my daily disciplines.

You are welcome to give it a try yourself. Click on the “Verse” menu item above and you will be taken to an initial page of verses laid out in a table. There is a dropdown box to choose one of my own crazily organized categories to change the verses selected. Then find a verse you want to practice and click the “Practice” hyperlink. That will give you a modal dialog box with the rest of the instructions there. Words that start with “quotation marks” do not work like they are supposed to yet.

Update 2/6/2006 1:50PM : I fixed a couple of bugs and dressed up the look a bit.

Another Update 2/6/2006 11:59PM : I noticed the the instructions on the practice dialog page did not tell you that you could press the spacebar when ever you get stuck on a word. In fact pressing the spacebar will one word at a time complete the whole verse for you. I corrected the instructions.

Creation Science in Spanish

Posted by: David Carroll

An exciting thing that came out of one of my meetings this week is that I was asked to teach the Creation Science Course again but to a Spanish audience and have the whole series video-taped to use for training pastors in Central and South America. Actually the video would become part of a whole series of pastor training material of which there are already 96 hours completed.

I know just the right man to translate for me as well. He is Dr. David Harms, a medical doctor who gave up his medical practice to become a missionary to the Honduras people for 25 years. He still knows all the scientific and necessary technology to be able to communicate the technical terminology to a Spanish audience.

I really don’t see any obstacles to this project except that we must ask the Lord to be willing for it to happen.

Thank You Lord for an opportunity like this to help train pastors in the truth of your Creation and your Word.

Creation Science Course comming up!, ouch

Posted by: David Carroll

Well, I have been enjoying getting a little better every day. Not great, just a little better, Thank You Lord!

And it’s about time too. Although I stepped down from teaching (for the last five years) Adult Couples Sunday School to take a break and get really recovered physically and spiritually over the next year or so, I need some sort of outlet to express my Spiritual gift of teaching.

So I have a commitment to teach a ten week Creation Science Course at Church starting Wednesday, January 25, 2006. I have always enjoyed teaching this course and the class has grown each year (87 last year). So In that regard I am pumped.

Neither I am worried about getting the material prepared; this will be the sixth time I have taught this series so a little refresher and a listen to last year’s presentation should be enough to get me ready each Wednesday night.

What I am worried about is my stamina. Remember just a week ago I could not sit in a normal chair for ten minutes without extreme neck and shoulder pain. That’s better this week, maybe I can go 20 minutes. Lord help my muscles and damaged tissue heal up.

Related to that, I may need to arrange for a special chair and table to sit at during the presentation. I know, the presenter sitting down during the presentation is not good but it will have to do for the first few weeks.

I’ve got Bob Martin to agree to help me set-up all the equipment each week. (Thank you Lord for providing Bob)

I still need a secretary to get there early and take the roll.

Warning: Technical stuff ahead but serious enough to warrant prayer requests.

  • I have to update my notes and some new software I have been developing over the past three years, that allows me to create and annotate a Word Document that serves as my presentation notes as well as a source document for another presentation time driver to display my notes on one screen (Tablet PC) while synchronizing the PowerPoint slides on the other projector screen and giving a visual indicator as to where you are in the presentation. Anyway, other than creating special PowerPoint slides for illustrations. Nothing more is used than Microsoft Word with my add-in code prepared using Visual Studio Tools for Office 2005. All of the rest of the required PowerPoint slides are created automatically.

This should be fun and I think I have enough lead time but If I run last minute, I’ll be a nervous wreck and that added on top of all my other problems will be bad news for my being able to do an excellent job.

Pray for Don Whitney

Posted by: David Carroll

DonI remember going through a small group study on Don Whitney’s book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. I know I received a blessing because I learned so many things about why be disciplined and how it exercises our (weak) spiritual muscles for when we really need them (every day!). In addition to the basics like prayer, and worship, the book talks about such topics as Scripture Reading and Meditation, Fasting, Silence & Solitude, Journaling, and Learning.

Anyway, the point of this post is not to recommend a good book (I just did). but to ask you to pray for Don in the same way you have been praying for me. Don is slowly recovering from recent colon cancer surgery. Interestingly he is blogging about his recovery on his website at The Center for Biblical Spirituality. There is a link on his home page to read updates about his health.

(AT: Justin Taylor)

Christmas Eve Dinner

Posted by: David Carroll

DSC_0967This was a very delightful dinner we had on Christmas Eve. We had all the traditional items: ham, turkey, green bean casserole (yum) sweet potatoes (double yum) and cranberries (smack my lips). The decorations were beautiful (notice the white porcelain creche).

Of course we prayed before dinner and I got a little emotional about all that he has done for us while we seem to just cast the value aside without demonstrating the incredible love and sacrifice that went to achieve successes

I was not very comfortable in my chair since no straight chair is that easy to sit in at this point. Because of the lack of support for the muscles. of my neck shoulders and back. You just don’t know how much you depend on them until they hurt to use. As a matter of fact, I was thinking that my shoulders were getting much better until this moment. I think they just get tired. The prayer, eating, picture taking and conversation were just enough to wear it out. God’s good timing for when you need the rest.

Tumor on my spinal column in my neck

Posted by: David Carroll

The radiologists have discovered a growing tumor on my spinal cord in my neck which is about 1 inch long and about .5 in wide. It has displaced the nerve and has deformed some of the vertebra in my neck. I am not sure if it is related to my continuing problems with my leg and back pain but it could be. Anyway, it requires immediate attention since it could cause complete paralysis at any time. I am going in for surgery next Tuesday (Dec 13, 2005) at 1:00. They will have to remove quite a bit of bone to get at the tumor to remove it so it will require a triple fusion as well. I'll be in a neck brace for several months.

I covet your prayers for me, my surgeon, and especially for my wife Delaine and my daughter Bethany. She was doing fine until I was talking with her on the phone and started to quote all the scripture verses I am standing on. That's when she started crying but it is a sweet thing to have your daughter say that she depends on my faith to bolster hers because somehow I draw her closer to Christ. Of course I can only reflect my own utter dependence on my Lord and implore her to trust in Him too. People will disappoint you but Jesus will never do so. I am confident I am in his perfect will and that he is sustaining me.

Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NKJV)

Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

I have been suffering from chronic pain for the past three years in my lower back and legs. I have been through one discectomy and a fusion of the L5/S1 joint already neither of which have resolved the pain. I have asked the Lord to remove my pain from me numerous times. But since it has not been His good pleasure to do so, I decided to go to a pain clinic recently. The neurologist there observed something unusual about my reflexes and decided to order a cervical MRI. That was last Monday and the diagnosis came Tuesday. I remember noticing the unusual mass while looking at the X-Rays on a makeshift lightbox using my computer monitor and a white background. I figured I did not know what I was looking at but the urgent and somber call came the next day confirming my suspicions.

By the way, I am in perfect peace about this because the circumstances which led to this discovery. The upshot of it is that had it not been for the low back pain which is still bothering me after two failed back surgeries and three years, I would never have gone to the pain clinic. My doctor commented that somebody up there must really like me. So I introduced him to the One so takes such pleasure in me.

Praise God for the pain!

More about me to come

Posted by: David Carroll

I want to make my weblog better. I am imspired by the idea that Compelling Content is King. Could it be as simple as reading How to Write a Better Weblog? Maybe not, but I am going to try. I have felt somehow that every post on a blog entitled David's Bible Blog must be spiritual and not so personal. Well, it's time to loosen up and start posting my life and more frequently too. I'll still post devotional thoughts and other faith related items because... well, because that's part of my life. Stay tuned.