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Author Archives: Dr. Larry Dixon

About Dr. Larry Dixon

Seminary professor, teaching systematic theology and other topics. Grandfather, wicked tennis & table tennis player, love playing chess on letsplaychess.com. Please check out the six books I've written. "The heart cannot rejoiced in what the mind rejects as false!"

Coming Soon! Top Ten Mistakes Students Make on Research Papers!

Friends:

I’ve just finished a short book entitled What ‘A’ Students Would Tell ‘C’ Students about Writing an Excellent Research Paper or Top Ten Mistakes Students Make on Research Papers and How to Avoid Them.

Here’s the cover.  I’m waiting for my proof copy to arrive from the publisher.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 5.27.02 PMThis book goes into detail about the common mistakes students make, such as the peril of procrastination, not proof-reading, plagiarism, not using original sources, letting the experts write your paper for you, etc.

Retailing at $6.99, Top Ten Mistakes includes guidelines in doing solid research, Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 7.55.10 PMchecklists so students can go over their work and make it a stronger presentation, as well as examples of the many mistakes students of all kinds fall into as they tackle their research topics.

Here is the description of Top Ten Mistakes which I’m using for advertising it on Amazon:

“Oh,  no!  A research paper?!”  This book will help you get past the fear and revulsion and encourage you to produce something about which both you and your mother will be proud!  Not making certain mistakes is important, but more vital is doing your best research, writing your most persuasive pages, and coming out with Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 2.39.53 PMsomething that just might get published (beyond your mother’s Facebook page).  I’ve written my share of bad papers, and graded both bad and good ones, ranging from “This is just awful!” to “Let’s get this puppy published!”  This book will help you move toward the latter category.  Really. 

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2014 in research

 

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How Do I Get Spiritually Healthy? (a study of Titus – Part 22)

We’ve been discussing my efforts at getting physically healthy, and the topic of DIET.  What we consume affects us — and that is equally true of our spiritual input.

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We looked at chapter 3, verses 9-11, and asked several questions.  Here is that text again and my preliminary answers:

9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.

1.  Just as we should avoid certain foods if we want to get Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 3.57.28 PMphysically healthy, what should we avoid for our spiritual health? (verse 9)  We should avoid unprofitable and useless fights about the law and genealogies.

2.  Sometimes other people can be a negative influence on either our physical or spiritual health.  How are we to deal with those who are divisive? (verse 10)  We are told to WARN a divisive person twice, then have nothing to do with them.

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 12.59.15 PM3.  Why is divisiveness such a serious sin?  What conclusions can we draw about divisive people who have been adequately warned?  Dividing God’s people from one another — needlessly — is a sin that God despises.  Proverbs 6 says,

There are six things the Lord hates,

    seven that are detestable to him:

17         haughty eyes,

        a lying tongue,

        hands that shed innocent blood,

18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,

        feet that are quick to rush into evil,

19         a false witness who pours out lies

        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

The writer of this proverb is using a literary device to say that the seventh sin that God really despises is one who stirs up conflict, one who divides.

We can conclude about this divisive person the following:  “You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.”  WARPED, SINFUL, AND SELF-CONDEMNED.  That’s anything but spiritually healthy!

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2014 in spiritual health, Uncategorized

 

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Dentist Appointment (time for a good joke)

A man and his wife walked into a dentist’s office.

The man said to the dentist, “Doc, I’m in a terrible hurry. Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 6.29.40 AMI have two buddies sitting out in my car waiting for us to go play golf. Forget about the anesthetic; I don’t have time for the gums to get numb. I just want you to pull the tooth and be done with it! We have a 10:00 AM tee time at the best golf course in town, and it’s 9:30 already. I don’t have time to wait for the anesthetic to work.”The dentist thought to himself, “My goodness, this is surely a very brave man, asking to have his tooth pulled without using anything to kill the pain.”So the dentist asked him, “Which tooth is it, sir?”

The man turned to his wife and said, “Open your mouth, honey, and show him.”

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2014 in jokes husband and wife

 

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How Do I Get Spiritually Healthy? (a study of Titus – Part 21)

One of the issues I haven’t touched on in my quest to exercise, to get (back) in shape, and to get physically healthy is DIET. (Yes, I know that the first three letters in the word DIET spell D-I-E!).  Here are some of my favorite cartoons/quotes (borrowed from Pintrest):

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The Germans have a great saying, “Mann ist was mann esst.”  (“Man is what he eats.”).  The little letter to Titus has something to say about what we eat and how it relates to our SPIRITUAL HEALTH.  We read in chapter 3:

9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.

Here are a few questions that occur to me on 3:9-11 –

1.  Just as we should avoid certain foods if we want to get Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 3.57.28 PMphysically healthy, what should we avoid for our spiritual health? (verse 9)

2.  Sometimes other people can be a negative influence on either our physical or spiritual health.  How are we to deal with those who are divisive? (verse 10)

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 12.59.15 PM3.  Why is divisiveness such a serious sin?  What conclusions can we draw about divisive people who have been adequately warned?

 

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Posted by on September 11, 2014 in spiritual health

 

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Enthusiasm? Excited? About WATER?!?!

We read in John 4:  When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

How Excited Should You Be about Jesus’ Water?

(Some Observations on John 4)

1.  Being fully human, Jesus needed physical water to sustain His human life. (v. 7)

2.  The sheer request for water broke down several barriers FirefoxScreenSnapz618between Himself and the Samaritan woman (v. 9).

3.  Jesus uses the analogy of physical water to speak of “living water” (v. 10).  This is the pattern of the Lord in the gospel of John (wine in ch. 2, birth in ch. 3, bread in ch. 6, blindness in ch. 9, death in ch. 11, etc.).

4.  The Samaritan woman doesn’t immediately make the transition from physical to spiritual water (v. 11).

5.  Jesus has to make it clear that mere physical water won’t thoroughly satisfy and won’t deal finally with one’s spiritual thirst (v. 14).

Someone has said, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink!”  Another responded: “I CAN! I can give him a salt tablet — and he will drink!”

Questions:

1.  How can we who are believers in Jesus genuinely show more enthusiasm for the living water He has given us?

2.  Are there ways that we can make people thirsty for the water of Jesus?  What comes to your mind?  How do we become salt in our world?

 

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in water

 

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How Do I Get Spiritually Healthy? (a study of Titus – Part 20)

Believe it or not — I’ve run out of machines!  The last part of my workout involves a few minutes on a treadmill.  But the fact that those are all the machines that I’ve used to do my “reps,” an idea occurred to me.  Why not use everyday things as weights?

For example, when the little woman invites you to take out the garbage, why not see it Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 7.49.50 PMas an opportunity for some “reps”?  Don’t just take out the garbage — do some work on your lats or your pecs or your abdominals by creatively walking to the garbage can while swinging your arms.

Granted, the neighbors will look at you funny, pull their children behind them, and close their drapes, but, hey, bodybuilders are a marginalized minority.  I love the following cartoon:

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But our real reason for talking about our exercise is to continue our study in the epistle of Titus which deals with the issue of becoming SPIRITUALLY HEALTHY.  We were thinking of chapter 3.  Here’s our text:

3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

Here are a few questions that occur to me on 3:3-8 — and my preliminary answers:

1.  List the seven descriptors of our before-Christ lives.  What seems Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 3.57.28 PMto be the major point that the Apostle Paul is making here?  foolish/disobedient/deceived/enslaved to passions & pleasures/lived in malice & envy/being hated & hating one another.  Paul’s major point seems to be to remind us where we were before Christ saved us!

2.  How is salvation clearly shown here not to be by our works? (verses 4-5)  We are not saved by righteous things we do!

FirefoxScreenSnapz4833.  We learn of the new birth in John 3 and the Holy Spirit’s role in bringing that about. What additional information do we get in verses 5-6 about the Third Member of the Trinity?  The Holy Spirit washes and renews us and is poured out generously on us!

4.  Have you thought much about your being an HEIR Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.06.28 PMin the family of God?  What other verses speak of our inheritance in the New Testament?  Here are several verses about our becoming heirs: 

Galatians 4:7
So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

Acts 20:32
“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Ephesians 1:14
who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:18
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,

Colossians 1:12
and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

Colossians 3:24
since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Hebrews 9:15
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

1 Peter 1:4
and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,

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Posted by on September 9, 2014 in spiritual health

 

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Boredom — A Great DirectTV Commercial!

“Don’t attend your own funeral as a guy named Phil Shiftly.”  Great commercial.  The primary point seems to be BOREDOM, doesn’t it?

Boredom is a great problem in our over-saturated, technology-addicted culture.

“I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored.”
Louis C.K.

“Is life not a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves?”
Friedrich Nietzsche

“The Beatles saved the world from boredom.” ― George HarrisonFirefoxScreenSnapz620

“I am never bored; to be bored is an insult to one’s self.”
Jules Renard

“… millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.”
Susan Ertz

“I don’t believe in an afterlife, so I don’t have to spend my whole life FirefoxScreenSnapz619fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.”
Isaac Asimov

Questions:

1. What do you when you are bored?

2.  If you could speak to Isaac Asimov (see the last quote), what would you say to him?

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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in boredom

 

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