It has begun...

Yesterday afternoon, I had my first class of the semester. This semester I am only taking one class - EE567: Introduction to Communication Systems. This will be class #8/9 towards my Master's degree. My initial thoughts and impressions:

  • This class will be more practically oriented than most of my classes so far. This is good - too much abstraction makes my head swim and "theory" is not my cup of tea.
  • This class will stretch me a bit as it takes a very global view of Communications. I am a detail-oriented person. I think it will be good as I have more and more realized that a "big picture" view is very important.
  • This class is very relevant to what my department at work does. I should become a better and more knowledgeable employee as a result of what I learn.

As I am now back on fellowship status and schedule, I only have to work 24 hours a week. This will give me plenty of time to focus on studying and homework.

I have resolved a couple things in the last few weeks. Firstly, I will no longer use my computer at home during the week (unless I truly have a need). I have found that I spend a lot of time doing mostly useless crap and my time could be better optimized. Besides, I probably get enough eyestrain spending 9 hours a day on the computer at work. The others relate to the above: I plan to use the extra time to exercise (more about that in my health blog) and practice guitar. I also need to step up my commitment level to Bible study. I do prepare, but it is almost always the night before or the day of rather than a continual absorption. I am certainly getting something out of it, but feel I would get more out of it if I actually did some every day.

Planet Earth

I purchased Planet Earth on Blu-Ray and it was delivered yesterday. As such, I watched a couple episodes last night. The show is a nature documentary produced by BBC and filmed almost entirely in High Definition. Over 2000 days of filming went into the final production and much of the footage is of events and animals that have never been captured on film. There is quite a bit of very impressive time-lapse photography as well.

After watching, I was in complete awe and appreciation of God's creation and ingenuity. I highly recommend the series.

Thoughts on Ephesians

Culture of the Ephesians:

  • Ephesus was wealthy and populous. It was a trading hub located near the coast.
  • Ephesians were superstitious and magically oriented. They worshiped many gods (primarily Artemis) and had many spells and incantations that steered their daily lives. Even the Jews probably took part in this to a degree.
  • Ephesus was diverse and tolerant. In addition to the predominant Gentile population, there was a significant minority of Jews. Both groups were amiable to each other.

Opening of Paul's letter to the Ephesians:

  • Paul tells the Ephesians (and us) of the blessing bestowed upon them (and us) by the Father: the predestination to adoption into His family.
  • We have been given an inheritance - the adoption mentioned earlier. We have been guaranteed the eventual acquisition of this inheritance by the Holy Spirit.

Thoughts on predestination:

  • This is a hugely debated topic. Many Christians battle over "Free-will vs. predestination."
  • Many volumes could be (and have been) written on Ephesians 1:3-14 and we will never understand 100%.
  • When examined in comparison to Israel of the Old Testament (Yahweh's Chosen People) perhaps it should be seen as more of a "predestination of the church" rather than "predestination of individuals." Our highly individualistic society makes this line of thought less than intuitive.