There has always been something significant about the names of the Bible.  Many people had their name changed as their character changed or they met God.  The couple I’ve read a bit about lately is Abram and Sarai.  God changed their names to Abraham and Sarah because of His promise to them that He would make them the parents of nations.  Still others had their name changed in the Bible either by God or by pagans.  Jacob’s name was changed to Israel after he wrestled with God.  Joshua’s name wasn’t always Joshua but Hoshea, a change that Moses made as Hoshea served him. His name meant “Salvation” at first, but Moses changed it to “The Lord Saves”. Solomon’s name was changed by God to Jedidiah “Beloved of God”.  Daniel and his three friends had their names changed by the pagan King Nebuchadnezzer of Babylon, in an attempt to steal their Jewish identity from them and make them pagan.  It didn’t work because Daniel and his friends knew the meaning of Daniel: “God is my Judge”.

Even characters in the New Testament experienced new names.  Simon was called Peter by Christ, A change from “He who hears” to “Rock”.  Saul was called Paul, from “death” to “small”.  I wonder if he thought about that as he wrote his epistles about living Christ’s life and becoming nothing that Christ might be made manifest.

So then, what does all this matter?  My name is Joshua Aaron.  It means “The Lord saves the mountain of strength.”  I believe there is a reason that is my name, and perhaps Mom can help me with the story on this.  Aaron means mountain of strength, yet the Aaron of the Bible was weak and easily swayed by the people.  Even the strong need saving.  Truly, my name is a promise.  Even when I feel strong, I still need saving.  God promises to save.  Zepheniah 3:17 starts by saying, “The Lord your God is in your midst.  The Mighty One will save.” I think we all know the rest of the verse.  I’m at a time where I feel weak, even unto death, and wonder why I can’t sense God in my midst.  Yet, even now, the Mighty One is in my midst and He will save.  The Lord saves the mountain of strength even when he is Saul.

Been a While

The last time I posted, I was in the middle of finals about three weeks ago.  The last two entries were poems I wrote during a week that was hard on me mentally.  I’ve made it plain that finals week was a mental war of attrition for me, one I don’t know if I won.  It was a week I had much more on my mind than just the four tests and a paper I had to somehow find energy to complete that week. More than the anxiety of having a weekend afterward to go see my Grandpa, who’d been in the hospital for ten days. He’s still in assisted care, but doing much better.  Days away from Christmas having never entered a store to shop for gifts. Battling thoughts that zoom through my head day and night that make sleep difficult at best.  For about two months, I’ve jolted wide awake every morning at almost exactly 3, only to find that sleep doesn’t come before 4:30 and 6:30 comes after opening my eyes perhaps 3 more times between.  Even on nights that I’m worn out and turn off my light at 9:30, sleep doesn’t come until midnight or later and then the cycle of restless sleep repeats.  There was only one night in the past two months that I’ve slept 6 hours straight.

After finals week and the four days with my grandparents that followed, I tried to concentrate on writing my story, since that’s why I was looking forward to school being done in the first place.  For the first time in my entire short life, I am having difficulty concentrating on something I enjoy very much.  Whenever I have been able to concentrate on it, the story doesn’t flow out of me like it used to.

On Christmas Eve, I took a moment and was still, trying to listen.  All I heard was my ears popping and my heart throbbing.  In other times and places, I would be able to catch myself thinking things, if only for a second before some other thought stole through my mind.  That day, though, nothing.  I was too exhausted to think.

A new year, whatever does it mean?  Years mean little when life is taken one slow day at a time.  I feel like I’ve been grinding it out for much too long.  Someone once asked, “Are you living life or is life living you?”  To be painfully honest, in many aspects of the past few months, life has been living me.  Often times, it’s thrown me away, to drag me back in when things slow down a very little. 

It has been hard, harder than I could ever have imagined, and sometimes I wish these months of days would just end.  Yet, many things have encouraged me in these times.  With a grain of salt, it hasn’t been all thorns and daggers.  December 31st, I read the last chapters of the Bible about the last wedding feast of the Lamb.  We who’ve made the Lamb our Lord are all invited; It will be more amazing than anything yet seen.  With the last amen I read, I accomplished my only resolution for 2008.  Jason challenged me to read through the Bible in 2008 and i did.  There were times that I made myself too busy or lost focus on the Lamb who was slain, but He was always there to remind me of His goodness and His perfect faithfulness.  This last year, I’ve done many things that I’d never done before, good and bad, but the one thing I can say with absolute confidence is the hours I spent reading the Bible were the best spent hours of my entire life.  The Word of God is the most addicting book you’ll ever read. I’m going to read it again, anyone care to take up the challenge?

The Bride Responds

Why did You chose to love me

I am no one, prone to return to my old life

A slave to Your sworn enemy

Caught in his lies and deceptions

Yet the price of Your love frees me


I am like a weapon in Your enemy’s hand

A weapon he uses to destroy me

In my former life I can do nothing

Save execute his plan of self-mutilation

To destroy the glowing jewel of Your crown


Your demonstration breaks the bonds

It frees me from his power and grasp

The Great Humiliation renders him finished

Your stripes heal the pain I caused

Your death gives me the life You live


Written 12/12/08 by JA Menter

The Glory of My Sovereign

Come and see the glory of my Sovereign

Come to see the King express His love for His bride

See how majestic yet humbly He hangs there

A life to pay for a life, a ransom of great price

His love demanded He do something


All He could do was everything

His life He considered as nothing

The payment of a great bride price

He took her debt and guilt

And blood that must be spilt


In return He asks for nothing

Save what His blood purchased

A life to pay for a life, a bride of great worth

Will you come; will you come in haste

The glory of your Sovereign as He proves His love for you

Written 12/7/08 by JA Menter

Fun, Fun, Fun

I have had a fun, incredible, crazy past two weeks.  This Thanksgiving holiday I have eaten 7 consecutive Turkey dinners, spent 20 hours in front of a projector screen, played card games in excess of 10 hours, prayed for good weather and gotten snow, written 2 papers for classes and another 2 pages of my story, played football with young kids, and lost my sense of taste for 3 and a half days.

We start with last Friday.  Of course, it was the end of the last full week before Thanksgiving and it is acknowledged universally among college students that shortened weeks mean that nothing will be done and can just as easily be brushed aside.  That’s not what I did, but I had no intentions of really taking the two class days before Thanksgiving too seriously.

Friday, I organized a “couch warming” party because that Tuesday we’d gotten our new furniture delivered.  It’s so nice to have seating again, even if it isn’t downstairs anymore!   We watched “Oklahoma” from our comfortable couches in our new family room.  The group was small, but cozy and I think we all enjoyed ourselves. 

Saturday is a bit of an anomally.  I can’t recall much of what I did, mostly because I can’t remember if I had to work that day or not.  It was the day of the leadership retreat at church, though I didn’t have to go, and there was no Husker game to listen to.  Somehow, I occupied myself, but the specifics are lost amid my memory of all that followed.

Sunday- Church, Life Group, and coming home.  “Luther” was playing on the big screen that I must have helped set up on Saturday, among other things.  I watched for about an hourish before hastening off to work.  Here is where I discovered I didn’t have to work at all that week, since the dining center was closing before the evening meal on Tuesday.

Monday- I went to classes and finished watching the parts of “Luther” I’d missed.  I wrote a bit of my book and figured out some other things that had to do with that.  I went back to campus, unsure if my bible study was actually meeting.  Thank goodness it actually was.  Then the fun really begins!

Tuesday- I had two classes back to back and went home, glad that I didn’t have to work.  I wrote for a while and waiting for the young ones to return home from school.  Grace and I had agreed to watch FotR that day and we were very keen to start it right away.

Wednesday- I had the house practically to myself, since the high schoolers were still in school. There were no church functions that night due to Thanksgiving and the agenda for the night was watching “Kung Fu Panda”

THursday- I started a period of seven straight thanksgiving meals, two of which were on Thursday. First, I ate lunch with just the family, then I believe we watched the rest of FotR.  Supper that night included my uncle and his three generations of clan, as well as Casandra.  We played Dance Praise, or rather they did, amid talking with the relatives we hadn’t seen in a while.

Friday- Grace and I watched TTT before the Husker game.  Food that entire day was leftovers from the day before, thus what could be considered a single thanksgiving meal that spanned the whole day, or two meals separated by a Husker win:)!  After the game, many played card games or dominos (Mexican Train)

Saturday- Cook Clan Convention (:D) at Martha-maba’s in Norfolk and two more Turkey Day meals.  Before we left for the “Convention”, I burned my tongue on coffee, or that’s what I assume, causing my taste bids to be awol until Tuesday evening.  At Martha’s, I played cards, ate, played more cards, played football with my young cousins designing an offensive scheme that involved all of my teammates, won at pinch having taken all ten points in the final round, ate some more, and watched the beginning of the OU-OSU game, before pushing off for home thoroughly exhausted, having enjoyed myself considerably.

Sunday- Already by now, I’ve had six consecutive Turkey meals and now can’t taste anything except a very little bit. Even the salty and vinegary taste of my mom’s three bean salad was lost to my sensations of taste.  Church was having a Thanksgiving meal after the service and I was participating, thus a seventh Turkey meal.  After all was done at church, I played cardgames of various sorts all afternoon.  Grace, Casandra, and I went on a walk in the cold weather to end the day.

Monday-Schooltime again.  Grace and I watched the first disc of RotK, and I went to my bible study, the last official study of the semester. There, I prayed that a day nice enough to actually go fora walk would come.  I believe everyone knows that a prayer like that in early December is like praying for rain on the moon.  Yet it came the next day.

Unfortunately, the next day was a Tuesday, the day I traditionally have no time whatsoever.  To crunch my time even more, I had class material to read for a paper that was due today (Friday the 5th). So while it was a nice day outside, I had to remain indoors on campus reading about the Zionist movement of the early 20th century, work for five and a half hours, getting cut up in the process, and bike home just in time to fall asleep and start a day all over again.  The only good thing that happened that evening was I got my taste back in time to savor the mixure of flavors of soups at the soup bar we served.

Wednesday, I wrote a 5 page paper on the material I’d read and sawed up derby cars for Royal Rangers.  I woke up that morning with a shoulder that hurt really bad, but the pain was ignored as I biked to school with backpack forcing it backward.  the nice weather I prayed for and hoped to enjoy for another day was gone when I woke and ice was left in its place.  Ever a glass half full sort of guy, I remembered the times I rode through the snow to and from McDonalds, blazing through the foot deep drifts.

Thursday, I read 200 pages in 4.5 hours and wrote a response to it.  A two page double-spaces essay is a why bother and the length guaruntees that whether or not you might have something to say about the topic in question, you haven’t the space to speak clearly and back it up with examples, as every good argumentative essay should.

That brings us to today. Hours 21 and 22 will be spent in front of the projector, taking in the last disc of RotK. Those two papers were handed in and evaluations taken.  I delivered  a narative of my past two weeks as I promised and now will stop to rest and recoup before another weekend crazy in its own elaborations unfolds.

JA Menter

The First Buildup

It has been a long time since I posted some things, and though I’m not blessed with the time to do this properly, (or really at all) right now.  There are things I will be posting, including the coolest, longest, sweetest, and yet not tasteful thanksgiving celebrations I had this past week and maybe something about school.  I don’t have time now because I should be reading a book about Columbus instead of procrastinating like this but quite often “procrastinate about procrastinating” is on my to do list. Alright, enough, Josh!  Friday will be the day I can disclose and divulge all.

JA Menter

Prince Frederick

When I got home from church and life group on Sunday, people were watching “Luther” on our new big screen projection system.  I have a intense love of that movie so I joined them for the half hour before I needed to go to work.  The back that I saw was when Martin Luther has been “kidnapped” by Prince Frederick of Saxony’s men and is translating the New Testament from Latin into German.  Spalatin, Prince Frederick’s secreetary, has the apt line, “It’s what Rome fears most!”  Luther’s reply is equally notable–“You can thank the Author for that.”  It was right after that that I had to leave to go to work.

Yesterday, I watched the rest of the movie where Luther helps put down the peasant revolt and gives a gift of the German New Testament to Prince Frederick whom he dedicated it to.  The look of Prince Frederick’s face is telling; he had probably never read the bible for himself, no matter how secularly educated he was, and certainly not in his mother tongue.  Imagine reading your favorite book in Spanish or some other language you hardly master in a high school foreign language classes, then imagine someone giving you a copy of that book in English in the same language as your thoughts.  Prince Frederick’s face beamed with excitement and his fingers shook, not with old age, as you’ll notice the actor who plays Prince Frederick is, but excitement and anticipation of something that would satisfy his desire.

How often do we take our English translation of the Bible for granted?  We have several dozen different translations of the Bible in the same language.  If we can’t understand the wording of a passage, we can go to a neighbor, friend, or sibling who has a different version and get it in different words, or go to a concordance to look up what the original word means.  This is stuff that couldn’t be said of scholarship even two hundred years ago, yet do we always take advantage of the amazing opportunity we’re given?  Are we diligent to seek out the scriptures?  Has it become so easy that we forget to do it?  Have we somehow complicated it unnecessarily, to the point that it becomes too hard to dig into?  Why don’t we have the same enthusiasm that Prince Frederick had when he gazed on the Holy Scriptures written for the first time in his own language?  has it become so commonplace that it’s given no place?  Do we take advantage of the opportunities we’re given or do we take those opportunities for granted?

BaBeBr, Ugly Revisited

My title today, of course, refers to my previous posts, entitled “Battle Before Breakfast” and “Good, Bad, and the Ugly“.  I want to take a look at some things from them and revisit a phenomenon that has occurred twice this semester, with two different results.

First, Battle Before Breakfast outlines my observation that when I don’t meet with God first thing, all the things I do that day become very monotonous and dull, and I’m more likely to forget about Him throughout my day. That is something that over the course of running through my established routine and the dullness and frustration that comes with it, I have missed.  The same feeling that left me in bed in the morning longer, kept me from going on an early morning walk and talking to God, both through prayer and praise, i.e. Having Breakfast. Then, I would go to school and it would perpetuate itself, because I wasn’t being washed daily of the lies that I’d been fed the previous day.

Second, last week, as was described in “Good, Bad, and the Ugly”, I had four tests in four days.  The last time I had this, in late September, I told several people that I knew I would do okay because “God wouldn’t give me more than I could handle.”  The truth is He gives one just enough that they know they can’t do it by themselves and need His help and strength. That was something I learned when I got the results from the first test week back with varying success.

So I went into last week knowing that I needed God’s strength and also realizing again, that I needed to make a point of eating “Breakfast” before I left for school. Sunday night that week, I went on a long walk talking to God, the weather being quite nice, and laid the upcoming week in his hands. The week before, I had read 2 Tim 1:12b which says, “nevertheless, I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” So often, I “commit something to God” and then, when the circumstances become bizarre, I take up the burden again. Yet, this time I was confident that God would pull through and I had nothing to worry about.

Monday, I woke up early and went outside. It was a bit colder than the night before, but still, I am almost a professional at keeping warm outside for long periods of time, so I spent about 20 minutes singing and went in to read some Titus and Jeremiah before going to school. I didn’t have any tests, but a lot of reading to do before they came. The time with the Lord, both in song and the written word, sustained me and I was at peace, even staring the usually difficult Tuesday in the face.

Again, on Tuesday, I woke up early and did the same thing, still unmoved by the circumstances that presented themselves. I took two multiple choice tests and had a blast floating at work. I did subs, servery, and dishroom before they kicked me out of the dishroom and had me helping make kebabs. I’ll have you note, I’m pretty quick with kebabs and didn’t move my feet for almost three hours. I finished my reading and again went on a walk that night.

Wednesday was my first essay test of the week. I had studied almost constantly for it and felt more than ready. Again, I “ate breakfast” and went to school. Last time, I spent 53 minutes scribbling an answer and forgot to address one of the Identification terms. This time, I got everything done, including a well organized essay in 45 minutes. All credit must go to my King and Sovereign who owns time itself. I was able to just chill the rest of the day, though some other things occurred later.

Thursday, I slept in because my first class was cancelled due to some taking the test then instead of Tuesday. Same story as the other days, I spent time with God in song and the Word, went to class, and came home to study for my last test the next day. Again, not in my strength but His. Friday came and I had seen God work mightily in my heart with an incredible peace about everything. You will notice that I wrote Kingdom of Hearts in the midst of studying for tests and in the aftermath of the election. Both of these things had no hold on my attitude, though they would have been circumstances where I would have taken up the burden in the past and then taken a huge fall and broken something or someone. On my way to school, I started singing again. it’s very hard from a breathing standpoint to sing and ride a bike with speed at the same time, yet I did, the song was Miracle Maker by Delirious. I had a time reminiscent of the Saturday Fun post where there were times I couldn’t even breathe and it had nothing to do with biking. I took the test, again without a hint of nervousness, knowing that God knew all the answers and would provide me with the examples to explain my points, basically trusting that God was able to keep what I had entrusted to Him until that Day.

This is where I leave it, though there will have to be a part three of sorts to what I have to say. Bekah, I know that you will still be interested in knowing what I had to say at the end of Kingdom of Hearts, and this is part of it. Much of the material in here is ongoing and pertains to that in some fashion.

JA Menter

Kingdom of Hearts

“Gondor has no king…Gondor needs no king.”

I’ll probably have to do this in two parts, due to the time I have, but I want to get this out there. I have no real anxiety about the election to describe and no concern to address. I start with a little history lesson, and before you all roll your eyes and blow this off, there is a point I want to make.

When the founding fathers wrote the Constitution and included the ideas of checks and balances and the sharing of power that we know as the branches of government, they were reacting to the excesses of the king they had just freed themselves from, King George III of England.  What is also built into the document is not what is said but what it doesn’t say.  There is no mention of a “king”, but rather a sharing of power within a representative government. The underpinning argument of these 55 men was that their king was Jesus and they needed no other.

Isn’t this supposed to be true of all Christians? Isn’t our King and Sovereign the One in Who’s image we are being remade!  Is our stake in the politics of this temporal earth enough to shake our aknowledgement of God’s sovereignty, both of all things and specifically in our own lives.  If God is who we say He is (A faithful sovereign ruler over all that can’t lie or be unfaithful without not being Himself), then we should trust Him when he says that He will carry the work He started on to completion (Phil 1:6) and we should be confident that He is able to keep what we have committed to Him (our lives and hearts) until that Day (2 Tim 1:12)

We can hold fast unwavering because we KNOW that our citizenship is in heaven and the King of that kingdom will subdue all things to Himself, not in this earthly life, nor under a political regime, but under His rule, where the seat of power is the human heart.  The Zealots of Jesus’s day had it wrong when they thought God’s kingdom would be an earthly one carved out of the old Roman Empire. Some reformers of the 16th century had it wrong when they believed they could legislate a change in man’s hearts and establish an eternal kingdom here in that manner. A kingdom that is eternal must be constituted solely of things that are eternal. Therefore, Jesus must become ruler of man’s hearts, based in the next, eternal world, in order for that Kingdom to become eternal.

Pray, therefore, that God would change the hearts of people, that they would surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and live for the world they were born for, the eternal world to come.

JA Menter

ps. Some of the tags will make sense later.

Good, Bad, and the Ugly

After I wrote “Not Alright”, I had a decent fall break.  I passed out flyers that Saturday with the Ranger boys and listened to the ISU game.  God was gracious and allowed me to play football with my siblings and neighbor friends.  It was pretty refreshing because, as I mentioned, I hadn’t played it in a really long time.  Sunday was full of fun activities that included my cousins and no work. :P  Monday, I ran to the bike store and didn’t buy what I wanted because they didn’t have it.  I put a piece of plastic in my tire and biked to Lincoln East high school to observe a football practice for coaching class.  Then, in a weird change of events, had my evening plans postponed so I could just relax and do nothing.

Tuesday, I worked and it wasn’t like the tuesday’s of weeks past, because work wasn’t preluded by classes all morning.  The fine details of the week back in school are largely lost to my memory, though I’ll probably remember them long after the time for this post has come and gone.  I spoke (typed) too soon.  Wednesday was that cold rainy day that I had to bike to campus in the pouring rain and ended up soaking in my cold, damp clothes all morning. (No wonder I wanted to forget that day) :)  Thursday, I met with Renae and chatted about a lot of things, mostly the book.  It was good and maybe someday, Renae, I ‘ll be able to talk about some things in less vague terms.

Friday, I only had one class and biked back to the bike store to finally get what I originally needed from there.  I wrote another page and a half of my story that afternoon, a much needed sign of progress in a activity that was a cause for much discouragement.  As if God hadn’t blessed me enough, work on Saturday was over quickly and we again played football after a Nebraska win. 

Narration from here on is quite redundant in many ways and much that I would disclose would be in respect to my interactions with my readership.  I will say though that my time with God has been incredibly good this week and hopefully will be the subject of another time in the next week or so. The reason for the delay…

Next week, all of my classes have tests scheduled.  Now that I only have four classes, the work load of studying is somewhat less than before, but it draws my attention to the endlessness of my college career.  My next semester of classes, though light in terms of credit hours, will take a toll on my church life in particular.  Two of my classes in the spring are scheduled only during the hours that weekday meetings happen at church.  I will most likely have to take time off from the worship team as well as Royal Rangers.  Granted, the age group that I teach in Rangers is probably the best prepared for this type of issue (Jason also teaches it) since I’ve been helping out with Rangers, it is still a hard thing to give up.  I’ve always disliked classes in the afternoon, but when they detract me from evening activities I’ve been a part of for as long as I have, it becomes tough.  I wish I could split myself into three people, so I could do all of it at once.  It would probably just mean I would get three times as tired by the end of the day.

JA Menter

Have you heard the love song of the cross recently?