Friday, May 29, 2009

Real Hope and Real Change

Today we celebrated the life of one of my wife's Cubbies, a little girl of 5 who died last Saturday of an asthma attack. She was a beautiful, spirited little girl, always eager to help and a strong little leader. She struggled with over 30 food allergies, but was always a bright spot in everyone's day.

During the funeral there was a lot of discussion of how happy she is now in Heaven. (She trusted Christ for salvation recently and then followed Him in Baptism only three weeks ago, on the same night my daughter was baptized.) It got me thinking about the Hope we have in Christ- and not just the hope of Heaven, because there is more!

You see, Heaven is a wonderful place, where God wipes every tear from our eyes and where we are finally free from sin, pain and sickness. We get to worship our Creator alongside the angels, and get to see our loved ones who have gone before us. We find incredible bliss and joy in the presence of the Trinity, and can finally know Jesus even as He knows us (1 Cor 13:12)! In Scripture God gives us these tantalizing glimpses of heaven, but then reveals that there is much, much more!

As wonderful as Heaven is, it is only temporary. Contrary to popular, unbiblical Christian mythology, believers will not spend eternity in Heaven, sitting on a cloud strumming a harp. (And we do not become angels, either!) God created us as both physical and spiritual beings,* and to be disembodied, floating around in Heaven, as wonderful as it is, is not how God created us or intended us to be! It's not natural! My friends, we were made for Resurrection!

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul lays out an argument for the Resurrection of Christ and then begins to give us glimpses of our future. He says (v. 20) that Christ is the "first fruits" of the Resurrection, and that our glorified resurrection bodies will be infinitely different from our current bodies. With the imagery of a grain of wheat falling to the earth, dying, then coming back as a beautiful plant, he describes how our bodies will change to become imperishable, immortal, glorious, powerful and spiritual. When does this happen?** When Christ returns:
Listen, I will tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. Now when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will happen,

“Death has been swallowed up in victory."
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?" (1 Cor 15:51-55)
Now that my friends is Real Hope and Real Change! We will spend eternity in an amazing New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21-22)! We will have immortal Resurrection bodies like Christ's. Most importantly, we will see Him face to face and know Him and His love perfectly! That dear little girl is rejoicing with Christ in Heaven right now, but she has so much more to look forward to. And so do we!

* For the budding theologians out there: I hold a dichotomous/bipartite view of anthropology. We are ontologically one person with one nature having both physical and spiritual aspects. For my trichotomous friends, a word study of soul and spirit will show that the two terms are used interchangeably for the non-material aspect of man and are not distinct. (While you're at it, compare those terms with heart, conscience, mind, and will). Hebrews 4:12, 1 Thes. 5:23 and 1 Cor 2:14ff. need to be understood in light of the rest of Scripture. In perspective, however, the dichotomous / trichotomous discussion is an interesting in-house debate, but definitely not anything worth dividing over!

** 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 makes it almost sound like we receive our Resurrection bodies when we get to heaven, but 1) we need to understand it in light of all of Scripture, including the explicit timing provided in 1 Cor 15:52, 1 Thes 4:16; Rev 20:5, etc and 2) that the main idea in this passage is that we are struggling and have to live our lives in a way that pleases God, in light of the hope He gives us of a better future with Him!. Now another interesting topic is "How many Resurrections are there?"

Friday, May 22, 2009

February 22, 2010 - National Park Day

The president signed a law into effect today (attached to the credit card reform bill) that will allow concealed carry in many national parks. However, because of the language of the bill, it will not take effect for 9 months, even though the sponsors intended for it to be immediately binding. The Interior Department and National Park Service, who hate the idea of free citizens bearing arms, intend to follow the letter of the law and wait nine months.

Therefore, my ban on visiting National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges will continue until February 22, 2010, when the 2nd Amendment will finally also be valid on Federal lands. See you in Rocky Mountain National Park when the snow clears next Spring. And not a moment before.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

OWB Holster for Baby Eagle RS

This is my latest venture into the world of holster making. (Click on the pictures for a closer look.) It is an Outside the Waistband (OWB) paddle holster with a thumb break snap and two different cants. I built it to carry either openly on my hip or concealed behind my hip. After using the holster for a couple weeks, I actually like the canted setting best for either position. The vertical position is nice because the gun rides a little higher, but the FBI cant is definitely more comfortable for both carry and draw.

I cut the back first, then cut out the top piece on the barrel side of the holster and sewed it on. Then I wet-formed the leather using a plastic bag around the gun, a wooden form and lots of molding with my fingers. After it was dry I dyed the inside, put the front snap (on the back of the holster) and cut out the grip/trigger side and sewed it. Finally, I died the outside and put the back snap on. I covered the back of the back snap with a piece of suede to keep it from scratching the gun. The strip of leather around the mouth of the holster is there partially to provide a little extra stiffness to hold the holster open (a trick from the IWB holster world), and partially for looks. The gun was really tight, so I had to do the "put it in a plastic bag and ram it into the holster" trick. Next time, I'll add another 1/4" to the width of the back piece.

From the back, my stitches don't look as straight. If you compare to my first IWB holster, though, I think I've made some good improvement. The stitching wheel my Dad gave me last Christmas really helped. This was a fun project, but my wife is happy to have me back with the rest of the family and not constantly down in the basement.

Next will probably be a magazine holster for the other hip...