Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Week of December 22nd, 2019 – December 28th, 2019

Sunday:

Read Leviticus chapters 24-27 and recited John 1. Sylvania Church at 10:20. Sermon by Phillip Dancy, “The Angles,” Luke 2:14.
·     Angels are spiritual beings with moral judgment and high intelligence
o  Angels are messengers
§ Prophetic
§ Announcements
o  Angels are warriors 
o  Angels worship God
·     There appears to be a divine aspect to the “Angel of the Lord.”
o  Chrisotphany
After church service we ate lunch with our friends the Anderson’s and Kriechbaum’s.

Monday:

Read Numbers chapters 1-3v24 and recited John chapters 2-4. While reading, it occurred to me how massive the Israelite army was. “So all the numbered men of the sons of Israel by their fathers’ households, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war in Israel, even all the numbered men were 603,550.” (Numbers 1v45-46) 603,550 men fit for military service, not including the Levites; and yet, at the end of this book they are afraid of the inhabitants in the land of Canaan. I am not judging them with regard to this for no man knows how he will react when faced with a problem until! Ran for 31 minutes and 51 seconds covering 4.07 miles. I spent the day working in cardiac rehab with Andy and Linda. I got home at 5:00pm and Darlene arrived shortly thereafter from Austin with Daniel (Daniel is our 30-year-old son). I spent some time reading a from Sinclair B. Ferguson’s book, “Love Came Down at Christmas.” It is a book of daily readings for advent and is a commentary on 1 Corinthians chapter 13. I read chapter 23 of Ferguson’s book. We know love because God demonstrated love in the incarnation and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ his begotten Son our Lord. 

Tuesday:

Read Numbers chapters 3v25-5 and recited John 5. The care and service of the Levites reminds me of Joseph and Nicodemus care of Jesus body. I believe that God is love as demonstrated at the cross, for greater love has no man than to lay down his life for others; this is how God demonstrated his own love towards us. Yesterday I read in Ferguson that Jonathan Edwards called heaven, “a world of love.” Love came down to earth at Christmas. Love came and dwelt amongst men in the incarnation and love has come to dwell in men in the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit and men will dwell in a world of love at the resurrection. Ran for 38 minutes and 4v seconds, covering 4.87 miles. Worked with Chris in pulmonary rehab from 9:00am to 3:30pm. Being Christmas Eve, we had only three patients in the morning session and one in the afternoon session. One patient truly matters; therefore, I am glad to have been there. When I got home I read Ferguson, chapter 24, “The Greatest,” 1 Corinthians 13v13. The Son of God was born for us in order to die for us. (Ferguson 2017, 155) I would say that the Son of God was born to die for the righteousness of God, so that he could be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (cf. Romans 3v26) Adam and his wife whom Adam called her name Eve because she was the the mother of all the living were not cursed like the serpent, it was the ground from which they ate that was cursed; therefore, life is difficult in this world. It should not go unnoticed that God clothed them. (Genesis 3v20-21) As a nurse I have cleaned many a person of their filth and clothed them and there is much care in the act. Thank you, Father, thank you God for loving us while yet sinning. Lessons and Carols Christmas Eve service at Sylvania church. I was given the honor of participating in the service, I recited Genesis 3v8-15, 17-18 which has come to be known in Christian theology as the protoevangelium. The protoevangelium is the first hint of the gospel of Jesus Christ in Scripture. After the service Darlene, Daniel and I ate dinner together at “Casa Ole.” Darlene and I have not eaten there in quite a while. It was Daniel’s idea because he like the restaurant as a child. Imagine a graduate of a French Culinary Arts school liking simple Tex-Mex food?

Wednesday:

Read Numbers chapters 6-7 and recited John 6. Ran for 31 minutes and 57 seconds, covering 4.07 miles. Bethany and Daniel didn’t get up until 9:00am. I read Matthew 2:1-12 before we opened our presents. I was surprised my one gift in particular. I have encouraged Bethany from the time she was a small child to make me something for Christmas. She is now a high school art teacher. This year’s gift was very surprising indeed. She took an article that I had written about the Reformed Baptist in Cuba and pictures that I had taken while there; she took these and graphically designed a book that will arrive sometime after the first of next year. Secondly, Darlene gave me a bilingual Bible: La Biblia De Las Américas,New American Standard Bible. This will allow me to read my morning devotional reading in both Spanish and English. The overall volume of my daily Scripture reading will decrease but to read in both languages will help me learn Spanish so that I may communicate the gospel in both languages. We concluded the day by enjoying a dinner together, after which we played a card game.

Thursday:

This morning I read Numbers chapter 8 with the bilingual Bible that Darlene gave to me yesterday; the separation of, purification of and age for service of the Levites. Reading both Spanish and English together is difficult; therefore, I will read only in English for my morning devotion. After this I recited John chapter 7. Today I will be adding verse 6 to my memorization John’s prolog in Spanish. This morning I ran for 32 minutes and 13 seconds at a moderate pace covering a distance of 4.08 miles. I arrived to work at 7:30. Today I am ambulating post thoracic and cardiovascular surgical patients in the CVICU. Much has changed on this unit since I started here 18 ½ years ago. The oldest note that I have in my iPhone is from December 26th, 10 years ago, and it has three quotes from the movie Fireproof, starring Kirk Cameron: First, “You’ve got to beg God to teach you how to be a good husband and don’t just follow your heart because your heart can be deceived, you’ve got to lead your heart!” I know that I wrote down this quote because I was convicted that I was not a good husband to my wife. Second, “Good enough!” I believe that I wrote this because I had come to realize that I was not good enough. Third, “I resolve to let Jesus be Lord of my life, everyday!” This is the greatest resolution that a man can make and one that I did make the following.

Friday:

This morning, I read from the book of Numbers chapters 9-11 and recited John chapter 8. Then I ran for 31 minutes and 48 seconds at a moderate pace covering a distance of 4.05 miles. I did my daily Spanish lesson during breakfast. I am on the final lesson for the beginner course 1 and have had some difficulty with completing this lesson. I do not consider a lesson complete until I answer all questions correctly in a single setting; I have found that this works best. I am scheduled to be at work from 7:30am-2:30pm. Today I have 2 orientation appoints for cardiac rehab. This evening we are celebrating Christmas with my mother, my brother Jeff and family, and sister Julie and family; therefore, I will leave work as soon as the orientations are complete, but I will be dedicated to these patients while there. Today is a very important date for me; on this date 10 years ago, I made a decision to follow Jesus Christ as Lord. I resolved to observe all that he commanded. My heart (desire) was changed; therefore, I trusted in Jesus Christ and resolved to observe all that he commanded. I do not perfectly follow my Lord, I fall short everyday. I know, however, that he sacrificed himself for my sins, defeated death and rose again from the dead on the third day. I trust in his promise to return on the last day and raise all of his disciples to eternal life in the new heaven and the new earth which is yet to come. 

Saturday:

Yesterday evening we had a festive time with Mom, brother Jeff, sister Julie and their families at our home. We had a large tasty meal provided by the Lord and cooked by Darlene and Daniel. We exchanged gifts and enjoyed one another’s company. Mom left early, she said that she needed to feed her dogs, but I suspect she felt overwhelmed with so many. Overall, I think it was a good time. This morning I read Numbers, chapters 12-14 when the Israelites rebelled against the Lord by not going into the land of Canaan as he commanded, except Caleb and Hoshea whom Moses called his name Joshua. Then I recited John, chapters 9-10. I ran for 1 hour, 20 minutes and 58 seconds this morning covering a distance of 9.05 miles. The Saturday morning run is longer; therefore, I ran at a much easier pace than on the week days. I spent the time meditating on Scripture. I began thinking about the Great Commission. It was the apostles whom the Lord commissioned to go make disciples and teach them to observe all that he commanded them. For this reason, it is the Scriptures that we preach and teach, especially the New Testament text, for these were written either by an apostle or one of their contemporaries. During breakfast, I competed Spanish lesson beginner I, course 1, lesson 13: Nuestra familia, review. This was the final lesson for beginner I, course 1; therefore, I move on to another course. We spent the later part of the morning and afternoon at Mom’s whom spending time with my siblings before they departed back to their homes.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

December 22nd, 2019

The Nurse Theologian is the weekly journal of Mike Peek. 

Who is Mike Peek? 

I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, a husband to Darlene, a father to Daniel (30) and Bethany (26), and work in this world as a Registered Nurse. My education includes a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas a Arlington and a master’s degree in Theological Studies from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In the world, I’m of little importance; however, God demonstrated his own love towards me, in that before I was conceived in my mother’s womb and could commit a single sin, Christ died for me. God knew every sin that I would commit, yet he chose me for redemption by the blood of Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world, he predestined me for adoption as his son through Jesus Christ; therefore, I am a citizen of the kingdom of God and of the very household of God.
It is my daily habit to rise in the morning at 4:00am; my intention is to rise 3 and ½ hours before I’m scheduled to be at my job. I spend the first hour of the day reading Scripture, reciting a chapter from John’s gospel and writing a letter to my Father God. The second our of the day I use for exercise; after stretching I will do a set of pushups or setups, then run 4-5 miles. The third hour of the day is spent showering, eating a meal and doing a Spanish lesson before departing the house at 7:00am to drive to work; I work in the Cardiac/Pulmonary Rehab at the Christus Trinity Mother Frances Louis and Peaches Own Heart Hospital in Tyler, Texas. On Saturday mornings; however, I will rise at 5:00am, my morning routine is the same except I run to 8-10 miles (Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. Ex.16.22) 
Today is Sunday, the Christian Sabbath; therefore, I ran twice the distance on Saturday so that I could take the day off from running on Sunday. Do not misunderstand, this is not legalism, for we are not under the law of Moses but the law of Christ. (1Co.9.19-23) One thing that we can take from the Old Testament law is principles, by doubling my run on Saturday mornings, I can use the time on Sunday mornings to write in this journal which I am now doing and plan to do every Sunday morning going forward. I plan to write in this journal from 6:00am-8:00am every Sunday morning and write no further. The Nurse Theologian is not an editorial, nor a formally written paper; therefore, you are likely to find errors in spelling, sentence structure and punctuation because I will not be editing what I write.

Scripture

This week I read through the book of Leviticus. Leviticus is a very interesting book and I learn much every time I read it. Leviticus is filled with law. Sundry means: various items not important enough to be mentioned individually. (Oxford English Dictionary, 2019) Yet, Jesus taught that the second most significant law is found in what the translators put under the heading “Sundry Laws.” Leviticus 19:18 days, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 
This past weekend I memorized Genesis 3:8-19; therefore, I have been thinking about this passage all week. There are three steps to systematic Bible study: First, Observe the text. Ask, what does the text say? Second, interpret the text. Ask, what does the text mean? Third, apply the text. Ask, what shall I do? It is my belief that if you are going to study a passage of Scripture it should be put to memory. I have found no better way to observe what the text is saying than to memorize and recite it over and over. I found Genesis 3:16 very interesting:
To the woman He said, 
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.”

The Reason 

I found this interesting because the conservative evangelical view of this passage is not what I get out of the text when observing the text after putting it to memory nor do I get out of it the Augustinian view of the text. God is not declaring sin as a way of life, both the Evangelical and Augustinian views take that route but with different perspectives. Augustine believed sex was sin, but sex was necessary at this time to bring forth children. Evangelicals relate this text to as being the difficulties that men and women have in getting along with one another. The text is not saying either of these. The text is saying that the woman will have pain and difficulty in childbirth but will continue to bring forth children because her desire will be for her husband. It is this sexual desire for her husband that rules over her; therefore, since the fall, women have continued to bring forth children in child birth despite the pain and problems because she has a sexual desire for her husband. It is not the pain and difficulties of child birth that rule over her, but it is her husband that rules over her. Anyway, this is my thoughts on the matter after observing the text for what it is saying.

On the Job

On the job this week people are thinking about Christmas and there are decorations everywhere. The windows in our department are painted and on Friday there was a man dressed up like Santa Clause out in the lobby. A few of my coworkers and myself to a picture with him.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Incarnate Verb

During the month of Advent, the Peek household displays four silver colored letters on our mantle above our fireplace that spell “NOEL”; these serve as hangers for our stockings. A family tradition started by one of our children is for someone to change the spelling to “LEON” until someone in the household notices. In fact, the storage box that contains these mantle pieces is marked LEON on the lid. The picture was taken at my work in the Cardiac Rehab depart at the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital. I rearranged the spelling to say, “LEON” until someone in the department noticed.

This brings to mind a thought that I had this week about words. Words are very important but the meaning of the words are even more important. According to the Oxford English dictionary the word “NOEL” means “Christmas, especially as a refrain in carols and on Christmas cards.” Noel was borrowed from early 19th century French. However, if a person does not know what “NOEL” means it might as well say, “LEON.”

For a little over 2 months now I have been learning the Spanish language. In a class at Sylvania Church on reading, our pastor spoke of memorization of Scripture as a useful technique for deeply studying a passage. I have used this technique myself for many years. When I study a passage, I will memorize it because in memorizing the text I look more deeply into what the text is saying. However, I do not always continue in a particular text but move on to others but not so with the gospel of John. 7 years ago I decided to memorize the gospel of John and have continued to recite 1 chapter a day ever since. It is my tradition, when preaching in the gospel open air to recite the Prolog (first 18 verses) then summarize the content of the entire book while offering passerby's a copy of the book. Because the Prolog to John’s gospel is so rooted in my memory, it occurred to me that I should memorize the text in Spanish for 2 reasons:

  1. It would aid in my learning the Spanish language.
  2. I could use it the same way that I use the English version for preaching in open air.
However, something occurred that I was not expecting; learning Spanish and memorizing this text of Scripture in a different language has taught me something about the Word of God. I got the idea to memorize the Prolog to the gospel of John when I came across a bilingual: English and Spanish copy of the gospel of John in the New Living Translation (NTV is the Spanish version of the NLT); however, this is not the translation that I use, nor is it the translation that I memorized the text in English. I started out using the NTV but started over again using the Spanish version of the New American Standard Bible (LBLA). Stay with me because I will need to tell you a little bit about how Spanish works to show you something really interesting about the Word of God.

John 1:1 says:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (NASB)
En el principio existía el Verbo, y el Verbo estaba con Dios, y el Verbo era Dios. (LBLA)
You may note that the English, “Word” is translated, “Verbo” in Spanish; however, you should know that “Verbo” is not Spanish for “Word.” “Palabra” is the Spanish noun, “Word.” The NTV used “Palabra” but the LBLA used, “el Verbo.” Why? The Spanish noun, “Verbo”  literally means verb in English, it is not a verb but is the Spanish word for verb. So, are the translators of the LBLA calling Jesus Christ the incarnate “Verb?” Yes, they are, and hear is the reason.

Spanish sentences have this structure: Subject (S), Verb (V) and Object (O). Not all sentences have an object so the minimum for a Spanish sentence is a subject and a verb which is also the case in English. However, in Spanish you can leave off the subject if it is clear who or what the subject is and this occurs because Spanish verbs are conjugated regarding the subject of the sentence. For this reason, the verb is the most important part of a Spanish sentence.

In the creation account of Genesis chapter 1, the phrase: “Then God said,” occurs repeatedly in English and in Spanish, “Entonces dijo Dios.” Entonces is the adverb which modifies the verb. Dijo is the first person conjugation of the verb “decir,” which means: say, utter, tell, call, mention or recite. Therefore, Jesus Christ is the incarnate “said” of God.

Reflection
Learning another language is helping me to go deeper into the Scriptures, could this also benefit you? Words are important but their meaning is even more important; in your study, are you seeking to understand meaning?

Monday, December 9, 2019

At Just the Right Time


The Advent season is upon us, and love is in the air, but not the love of romance; tis the season to be jolly, for the love of God is in the air. “ For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (Jn 3 v 16) Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople from 715-730 wrote:
A great and mighty wonder,
A full and holy cure!
The virgin bears the Infant
With virgin-honour pure.
Repeat the song again!
To God on high be glory,
And peace on earth to men!
This week, my morning devotion time was spent reading the Old Testament book Exodus. You might wonder how Exodus relates to Advent? Or, for that matter, can any book outside of Matthew and Luke relate to Advent?

At the very lowest point in the family of Israel, the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses from the midst of a blazing bush, the bush was burning with fire and yet not consumed. (Ex. 3 v 2) God remembered the covenant that he made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and brought Israel out of Egypt. God promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob  a land, a nation and a blessing for all people. (cf. Gn 15; 22 vs 15-18; 26 vs 2-5; and 28 vs 13-15) God made a covenant with David; David’s house and kingdom would endure eternally before God. (cf. 2 Sm 7 vs 8-17) It was at the lowest point in the Davidic royal line that Jesus was born of a teenage virgin who was betrothed to a carpenter who lived in Nazareth of Galilee. According to the law of the Mosaic covenant: Every firstborn male of every womb of Israel, both beast and man belongs to God. The beast is to be sacrificed to God, but the sons of Israel are to be redeemed by sacrificing a lamb; if however, the means of the parents are insufficient for a lamb, then two turtledoves or two young pigeons are to be sacrificed instead. Joseph and Mary opted for two turtledoves or two young pigeons indicating that they were of lowly means. (Lk 2 vs 22-24; cf. Nm 12 v 8) 

God came to Mt. Sinai to redeem the nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt at just the right time through the Exodus. God came in human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ to redeem the Davidic Royal line from ending at just the right time. God sacrificed his only begotten Son to redeem his elect from sin and death at just the right time, “so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 3 v 26) 

When Joseph and Mary came to present Jesus, Simeon, a devout man filled with the Holy Spirit and Anna, a prophetess, both advanced in years were found in the Temple waiting to see the Lord’s Christ. (Lk 2 vs 25-38) Therefore, continue to be patient and wait on the Lord like Simeon and Anna; trust in the promises of God for his elect, for all of God’s promises are fulfilled at just the right time!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Disappointment and the Sovereignty of God

I began journaling after my earthly father went into the hospital on Christmas Day, 2013. After this, he went into a nursing home where he died on February 16, 2014. At first, the journal was sporadic and consisted of jotting down things that happened and thoughts that I was having. Later that year, the journal became a daily devotion in which I wrote letters to God. For the first 4 years my letters to God were in a paper journal but last year I started writing them in a word document because I was doing my daily Scripture reading on my iPad.

In January of this year I decide to begin a second journal because I happened to have an empty paper journal on my bookshelf. I began writing in this journal things that I wanted to remember. I would go days and even weeks between writing in this second journal. However, on September 15, 2019, I got off of an airplane in the country of Cuba. I wanted to keep a record of everything that I saw, everything that I did, everything that happened, the people I meet and the thoughts that I had while in Cuba. But my journaling did not end when I returned to Texas, because of this second journal I began writing this blog retrospective of the past week. This will be the 6th week in a row that I have written about the previous week. I titled the first 5 retrospective blogs with the dates of the week but going forward I will seek a title related to the theme of the week.

Yo, no estoy feliz porque no voy a Cuba

I am not happy because I am not going to Cuba. I was supposed to return to Cuba on December 1st through the 8th to assist another brother; we were to teach systematic theology to pastors and church leaders of 100 churches during a week long seminar. Last week, I learned that there was a delay with the government issuing of our visas. Then on the evening of the Thanksgiving holiday I learned that the visas were denied by the Cuban government. I am not blaming anyone, for I believe in the sovereignty of God in all things. If it was God’s will that we go to Cuba and teach, then we would be going to Cuba to teach. Everything is by God’s decree; God either causes events or allows them to happen for his purposes. The apostle Paul wrote:
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28, NLT)
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. (1 Cor. 13:12, NLT) 
I graduated with a Masters degree in theological studies and felt called to teach theological studies to church leaders in Cuba. After hearing the news that our visas were denied, I wrote an extended entry in my journal expressing my disappointment. I confess that I even shed a few tears because I fell in love with the Cuban church; especially those on the ministry team in Cuba. I have dear friends in Cuba that I cannot see or hear. During the past few months I have been working hard to learn the Spanish language, so that I may communicate better with them. I have also been diligent in memorizing the prolog to the gospel of John in Spanish, that I might recite it for them; thus, demonstrating my desire to communicate the gospel in their heart language. Will I ever return to Cuba? If not Cuba where would the Lord have me serving in his kingdom? I do not know the answers but I do know that the Son of God, Jesus Christ is the sovereign Lord of the universe and he causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28) 

Nursing and the Law of Christ

The Lord’s teaching recorded in John 13-21 is amazing. It is what the apostle Paul calls "the Law of Christ." (Cf. 1 Cor. 9:2...