About Ryan

Living the simple life and simplifying. I live on a rural Kentucky homestead with my wife and two daughters. Soli Deo Gloria.

RAPID THEOLOGY: Celebration and Anticipation (Matthew 1, Revelation 21) #001

For this very brief episode, I recorded some thoughts based on a sermon I recently preached pointing out the beautiful symmetry and parallelism in Matthew 1 and Revelation 21.

The short, single-topic, reading from a transcript is likely what to expect more of going forward, though I do hope to record some episodes more like #s 002-009 someday soon.

TRANSCRIPT:

In Matthew 1, we read of the angel who appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to take Mary as his wife, and that he was to name the child conceived in her by the Holy Spirit “Jesus.” We then read:

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

Matthew 1:22-23

Take note in particular this language—the meaning of the name “Immanuel”—God with us.

Then consider Revelation 21 and its parallel. John sees a new heaven and a new earth, and new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. Then verse 3:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God …”

Notice the striking similarity? At the incarnation of Jesus Christ, he is called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” At the exaltation of Jesus Christ, once again God will dwell with his people. Once again, God will come to us.

During this season, we focus on celebrating the first coming of Christ. We celebrate what the Old Testament saints anticipated. They were wise to look to the Scriptures and anticipate the arrival of their Redeemer. We would be wise to learn from them and do likewise: to search the Scriptures and anticipate the return of our Redeemer. Like those saints of old, there is much we don’t know; God’s Word is not explicitly clear on some things concerning eschatology. However, we know what to believe: that he is returning, and his return and the hope of the assurance of our eternal habitation in a city prepared by God, in a “better country,” should cause us who are in Christ to live fundamentally differently from those who are in Adam—it should cause us to see this world fundamentally differently.

Darrell Harrison said, “The Gospel calls the follower of Christ to adopt and embrace an entirely different view of this world—so different, in fact, that we are to live in it as if we belong to another world altogether, because we do.”

Indeed, the Bible is clear in its language that we are “not of this world.” Those in Christ are aliens, strangers, exiles, and sojourners—the wilderness bride of Christ.

God’s Word tells us plainly to live this mortal life in light of eternity, expecting Christ’s return: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Colossians 3:1-4

In his book Far As the Curse is Found, author and professor Michael D. Williams wrote:

The future to which we aspire shapes our attitudes and decisions in the present. It’s important to know where we are headed, for it tells us how to live in the present. That is as true of what we see to be our ultimate future—the issue of human destiny—as it is of our proximate futures. To live responsibly in the present requires that we be acquainted with our future end.

We believers must be able to confidently tell the world:

I ALWAYS have joy and hope and the knowledge that at the end, on the last day, I will stand before my Lord and Savior JUSTIFIED and everything I did for His Kingdom will be worth it—for His glory and my good! Everything I endured in this life—grief, pain, loss—will be worth it—for His glory and my good! I don’t know exactly every detail about how my story ends, but I know how my eternity begins: WELCOMED by my gracious Heavenly Father into everlasting life with HIM, where he will dwell with us.

I’m anticipating that. Are you?

My First Pipe Tobacco Cake

I made my first cake/plug* out of miscellaneous pipe tobacco this past week. I made a DIY “noodle” press with:

  • 3″ diameter PVC pipe, 5″ long
  • 6″ C-clamp
  • 2 hockey pucks
  • Parchment paper

The parchment paper-covered pucks slide perfectly into the PVC pipe. With 4 ounces of a random pipe tobacco blend in between, I tightened the C-clamp. I had trouble keeping the clamp surfaces and pucks perpendicular, so the cake came out lopsided. I have an idea to try next time to prevent that.

For the actual tobacco, I used:

  • Lane HGL (about 2 ounces)
  • Hearth & Home’s Louisiana Red (about 1 1/4 ounce)
  • Country Squire’s Shepherd’s Pie (about 1/2 ounce)
  • Just For Him’s Whiskey Gravy Biscuit (about 1/4 ounce)
  • A splash of Buffalo Trace bourbon in the storage jar, and a couple drops on the cake after I cut it in two

Why do this?

  1. It reduces the number of jars on your shelf. Who doesn’t want to save space?
  2. It looks cool. Plus, it feels more manly to cut tobacco from a cake/plug than to pack loose bulk-blended pipe tobacco.
  3. It creates a unique blend. You’re the only person in the world who has that one-of-a-kind blended cake.
  4. The pressure can enhance the combination of flavors. I’ll see what difference four days in a press makes when I smoke this.

Some quick Q&As:

Q: How long did you press it?
A: Four days. More is probably better until it gets too dry or to the point of diminishing returns.

Q: Why did you use those particular tobaccos?
A: I had too much, plus I’m pretty settled on the blends I smoke. The ones I used for the cake don’t make it into my pipes much anymore.

Q: So do you recommend not buying those tobaccos? Are they poor smokes by themselves?
A: No! I do recommend buying them. They’re great blends, I just prefer others more. Since taste is so subjective, I think it’s wise to try many blends to find what you love and maximize enjoyment.

It smells about as incredible as you can imagine! I would love to find a candle that smells precisely like this cake. I just hope the retrohale and room note are similar to the tin note.

I’m going to let it age for a few weeks/months before packing a bowl. God bless and happy puffs!

*Cakes are usually called “crumble cakes” which are meant to be pulled apart and rubbed between the fingers into smaller pieces before packing in the bowl. Plugs are pressed more tightly, and the tobacco must be sliced off in strips before preparing them to pack. What I made is kind of in-between; the sides are noticeably more loose than the center (probably from drying). It likely needed more time in the press and needed to be more moist. I’ll dress with bourbon before blending my tobaccos next time.

Original Stanza: Come Thou Fount

What a peace, thy life surrendered
Won for sinners such as me
And thy resurrection rendered
Death a sting-less enemy

I’ve no fear of all tomorrows
Thou dost ever hold me fast
Soon shall end all earthly sorrows
When I see thy face at last

I was listening to the Kings Kaleidoscope version of “Come Thou Fount” a few weeks ago, and had recently read Psalm 136 as part of my evening Bible reading. Verse 23 jumped out at me:

It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;

” … remembered us in our low estate” is particularly poetic, and the wording seemed like it would be a great fit in the “Come Thou Fount” melody. Since I like to write new verses for old hymns, I got to work.

The line straight from Psalm 136:23 eventually morphed into something else, so I plan to use it in the future. But it did inspire a stanza with which I’m very pleased.

To Done List 5/12/20

I’m starting a new series today. Since I’m great at making to-do lists on my phone that go away when marked complete—never to be seen or heard from again—I wanted to make instead a “to done” list. This will allow me to look back at what I’ve accomplished around the homestead, what I should have spent more time on, and about what time of year I was able to do this and that.

So with pipe in hand filled with Signature Louisiana Red, let’s list:

  1. Planted sunflowers in three different spots
  2. Removed tape and stakes from three year old pawpaw trees
  3. Planted two pawpaw trees in one hole one foot apart below patio; drive tobacco sticks in ground to add shade cloth; mulched
  4. Planted sweet peppers and sugar rush peach peppers
  5. Planted cucumbers; watered
  6. Planted squash
  7. Mowed around area I cleared along old fence row
  8. Watered pawpaw and chestnut seedlings
  9. Hoed new raised beds out front
  10. Played with Lydia; she was a big help with hoeing and planting cukes; she’s her daddy’s little shadow

Original Poem: The Call

Would you call me brother
Or cousin, or son?
Is our blood so dissimilar
That we cannot coexist in
Living, breathing
Harmony?

From communities to inhabitants
Of the same zip code
Neighbors to acquaintances
To strangers we go.
We to I.
Us to me, my, mine.

This is not yet a wasteland
But a wasted land.
Not yet a cacophony
Although chaos rings loud.
For there is a voice on the horizon
Distant, soft, suffering.

Music descending to the ears of the hopeful
Noise soaring to the ears of the beast.
It is a call
A call to me, you, us:
Wake up from this reality
And dream again.