Announcing!! my blog has moved 
Wednesday, July 11, 2007, 09:03 PM - Life
After a good couple years of using this blogging format, I have finally switched to Wordpress. My blog address is now my the main page for my Web site. So from here on out, I will be posting at www.rickyblaha.com My site will continue to be under construction for the next couple weeks/month. Thank you for your attention to this switch and for your readership.

this is "grace at work"

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my trip to the Maritimes (pt.1)  
Saturday, May 12, 2007, 12:07 PM - Life, Missions
An unusual opportunity opened up to me this last semester while at Bob Jones. After being reacquainted with a friend from Northland and meeting her brother and sister who were students with me a BJ, I was made aware of church opportunities in Nova Scotia. I was not too familiar with the Maritime Provinces but was very interested in learning more from what is I was hearing. I had toyed around with the thought of visiting Nova Scotia on a survey trip, but I never really thought that it would pan out.

Not long after I had considered the thought of visiting, I was informed that a family from my church was going to be moving to Maine - only a few hours from NS. I further found out that they would be leaving the day after my graduation. So, I asked them if they could use help moving and if they wouldn't mind me hitching a ride. They were open to the idea and excited that they could serve in this way.

May 6, we began out journey to Bucksport, ME. We left around 7:00 in the morning with plans to spend the night with friends in PA. We arrived in good time in PA and were able to have a great time of fellowship with them in the brief time we were there.

May 7, we left for Maine around 8:30 and arrived in Bucksport just before dark. That night we stayed with relatives of the friends who were moving. I had a great opportunity to hear more about Canada and the culture and people from that area. My main purpose in going was to gain an experiential knowledge of the needs and people of the Maritimes. This is exactly what I was getting.

May 8, we spent most of the day unloading the two trucks full of stuff and setting up beds to sleep. It was a lot, but we got it done quickly and with out much difficulty. We even removed a stump from the front yard with the bumper of the moving truck (an added bonus.)

I will continue to share the rest at another time. But, for now, I will say that God is so good in every way: to advance the Gospel, grow His children, and further His Kingdom.

this is "grace at work"

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I am graduating!! 
Thursday, April 19, 2007, 09:08 PM - Life, School


Well, I finally made it...almost!!! Just a couple more weeks. I don't think that I was ever actually convinced that I would be at this point in my life. I am truly ready and excited.

I wanted to this to be open invitation to anyone who would like to come and celebrate with me what God has done in this area of my life. My parents are hosting a graduation party for me immediately after graduation. Here are the details.

When: May 5, 2007
Where: Grace Bible Church
107 West Rd.
Moore, SC
Map to Grace Bible Church
What to expect: There will be some food provided there. This is a drop in anytime between 1:00pm and 5:00pm. If you can only make it at for a few minutes, I would still love to see you.

If you have any other questions, please e-mail me at ricky@rickyblaha.com

I want to thank my friends Gwen and Tim for designing my groovy invitation. Thanks guys!!!

this is "grace at work"

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a small break 
Wednesday, March 7, 2007, 07:29 AM - Life, School
I arrived at my first class this morning (Greek) feeling a bit unprepared, but the Lord saw me in my need. My Greek teacher is sick today, so we were dismissed from class. Although I am sorry that he is sick, I am thankful for the break.

Things are slowing down a bit from last week. I had mid-terms and many other extra-curricular activities. It was very burdensome. But, it is finished, and I am praising the Lord for all things.

I have less than two months left of school, and I will be graduating. I am growing more excited as the day draws near.

This is just a tidbit, since I had a break this morning. And as I say:

this is "grace at work"


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Family Blog 
Wednesday, February 7, 2007, 11:21 PM - Life
My brother took the initiative to start a family blog. I am sure no one outside our family cares, so you don't have to continue reading. This blog is designed to inform extended family members what is happening in our family life here in South Carolina. So far, we as family members have enjoyed it. I am not to sure about the rest of our unsuspecting audience. Anyway, here is the link:

Big Family in a Small House

this is "grace at work"

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The Cross gloriously preached in the chapel pulpit 
Monday, January 29, 2007, 08:58 PM - School, The Gospel
Throughout this year, the chapel speakers, for the most part (in my humble opinion) have been wonderful. Bible faculty, local pastors, and other well-qualified men have filled the BJU chapel pulpit and have proclaimed God's Word. It has been refreshing.

Today, Pastor Danny Brooks of Heritage Bible Church preached. It was a glorious message. The message of the Cross was preached with relevance, accuracy and zeal from 1 Corinthians 1. It was medicine to the soul. I will post a link to the message so that anyone can listen to it, if they would like.

Praise God for his glorious Cross!!

this is "grace at work"


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starting out on the wrong foot 
Saturday, January 20, 2007, 10:28 AM - School
I started this final semester a little behind. Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to a wedding in PA. My roomate from when I was a student at Northland Baptist Bible College was getting married. It had been a while since I had seen him and the others from Northland who were there, so it was a great time of fellowship and encouragement. However, I had to take cuts from school for the first two days of classes. I did not realize how much it would set me back.

I figured that the first day of classes is merely a session of overview and hand-outs, so i did not think that it would be to critical to miss. However, I didn't really take into account the fact that I didn't have my syllabi or my textbooks and that I wouldn't even be able to get them until we were already into quizzable material. So, needless to say, I started out more behind than I had planned.

The other thing was that I wasn't really mentally prepared to come back. Probably because I was enjoying my time with my friends in PA too much, I was not ready to jump right into classes and books; but ready or not here they are.

This week has been a little overwhelming on a number of fronts; however, God has graciously seen me through it. I am one week closer to graduation!!! I am still trying to gain my footing and am unsure of a lot of things in different areas of my life, but i was just reminded of the truth that he formed me. He knows my frame that I am just dust. And His thougthts of me and ways for me are far above me. They are too wonderful for me, I can't even conceive of them. Praise the Lord for his perfect wisdom and His power to carry it out. I am humbled to think that He would care for me.

Praising Him,

this is "grace at work"

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i had a dream 
Monday, January 15, 2007, 08:28 PM - General
As a tribute to the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I thought that I would share a dream that I recently had. I woke up and was certain that it was real. I dreamed that somehow the Green Bay Packers were given the opportunity to play in the NFL play-offs and went on a multiple game winning streak. They dominated the sectional championships and had made it to the Super Bowl. I was so excited!!! I was sitting watching the Super Bowl pregame show, and... I woke up. It took me a awhile to realize that they had not made it into the play-offs and that they had no Super Bowl hopes. Oh well, it was a good dream while it lasted.

Anyway, I thought that I would join the bandwagon and share the wonderful dream that I had. I hope that it is inspiring and will trigger some zeal in your hearts. :)

this is "grace at work"

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...always winter...never Christmas 
Monday, December 25, 2006, 04:55 PM - Life, The Gospel
It had been winter for almost one hundred years in Narnia. It was the White Witch, with her evil power, who made it always winter. She had made an enchantment over the entire country – always winter… never Christmas. However, hope dawned as the Narnian prophecies were beginning to be fulfilled.

Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more.
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.

and,

When Adam’s flesh and Adam’s bone
Sits at Cair Paravel throne.
The evil time will be over and done.

The event that signified the weakening of the White Witch’s power was the coming of Father Christmas. All of Narnia had been without Christmas for almost a hundred years. Father Christmas had been kept out of Narnia by the White Witch, but finally he was able to get in. Aslan was on the move. The creatures of Narnia new that with the return of Father Christmas, the prophecies would be fulfilled, winter would soon change to spring, and Aslan would soon reign as king.

Just like the coming of Father Christmas brought hope to the creatures of Narnia, so the celebration of Christmas for us is a season of remembrance of the hope that we have because of the incarnation of Jesus, the Messiah. Old Testament saints longed for coming of the Promised One. They were in bondage under the reign of the Prince of this world; and only the fulfillment of the prophecies of the coming Messiah gave them hope of freedom.

When the announcement came to the shepherds of good news (the gospel), the angels said that it was to all people. A Savior was born who was Christ (the Messiah), the Lord. Simeon, a priest in the temple who eagerly awaited the coming of the Messiah, when he saw Him, said,

“my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel." (ESV)

The Promised Seed that was promised at the fall of man was here. He would conqueror death, hell, and the grave. He would bring light to the nations. He would reign as King forever.

Personally, I have loved the traditions of Christmas which I have observed from the time I was a child. However, recently I have been frustrated with the commercialization of Christmas. Christmas has become more of a time of celebration of tradition than a celebration of Christ. Where does the coming of Christ fit into Christmas anymore? Where does Christmas fit into the Gospel? Well, for the Old Testament saint, the incarnation of Christ was the Gospel. The coming of Christ was the promise to which they looked forward with hope. The incarnation was the fulfillment of many of the promises they had been given. Just as we look back at the cross for our promise of life, so they looked to the coming of the Messiah. We have much to celebrate. Remember the Christ that came in a manger. But, do not separate it from the cross and the empty tomb. All this is the Gospel.

I have heard people say that Christmas won’t be Christmas without snow. (Actually, being originally from Wisconsin, I have said the same thing many times.) But, more importantly, Christmas won’t be Christmas with out Christ. For Narnia, the coming of Father Christmas marked their freedom from the cold and snow, and they rejoiced as spring finally came again. Let us rejoice at the coming of our King who is light and life full of grace and truth.

this is "grace at work"

btw: in no way am I advovating Santa Claus as a part of the Christmas celebration, just in case anyone got that impression. I am merely using a parallel that I think is appropriate. C.S. Lewis hated the commercialization of Christmas as well. I do not think it was his intention either.

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...seven down, one to go... 
Saturday, December 16, 2006, 11:39 AM - Life, School
I can't believe it. I am down to the final semester in my undergraduate education. I really never thought that I would catch that glimpse of light from the end of this tunnel. I am so thankful to God for His grace and powerful hand. He has taught me so much through my educational experience; perhaps more about real life and trusting Him than about the actual classroom material. It is hard to truly understand the goodness of God. I think that when I graduate in May that it will be a twofold milestone - an academic milestone and a spiritual milestone.

Over Christmas break I plan on working as much as I can to prepare financially for the upcoming semester. However, I hope to be able to relax as well, and enjoy the glory of God and be refreshed through His Word.

this is "grace at work"

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Thanksgiving 
Friday, November 24, 2006, 06:36 PM - General, Life
I had a teacher say last week that he thought that Thanksgiving was truly the most Christian holiday. Although I am not sure that I would go so far as to say that myself, I definitely see where he is coming from. It is true that on many other holidays, myths and ritualism have become the focus and the foundational Christian elements, such as Christ's birth and resurrection, have become secondary at best. Thanksgiving truly celebrates something that God desires for His creatures to do, especially those who are redeemed.

This Thanksgiving I was again reminded for all that I ought to be thankful. So often I can become discouraged and discontent with where I am in my life compared to where I think I should be. But, then reality sets in and I remember that outside of Christ I should be is at the other end of God's unleashed righteous wrath. Remembering this truth my heart rejoices in all that God has done, both His common graces and His redeeming grace.

I spent this morning reading through a section of the Psalms. I was amazed at how many times and how specific the psalmist thanks and praises the Lord for His goodness and wonderful deeds. I hope that my relationship with the Lord turns me from my self-centered thoughts and ideas and causes me to delight in God in the same way. I am encouraged though to hear the psalmist wrestle with His own lack of dependence and understanding regarding his own situation. I can truly identify. However, by the end of the psalm, the psalmis heart changes and the Lord becomes his Treasure, his Helper, his Hope, etc.

Perhaps the most common psalm that I read around Thanksgiving is Psalm 103.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.(Psalms 103:1-5)

Read the entire psalm and be reminded of the benefits of God. We have God to be thankful for: give Him praise due to His name.

this is "grace at work"

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reformation day 
Monday, October 30, 2006, 02:01 PM - Life
Tomorrow is one of those days of the year which Christians share missed feelings - and understandably so. No matter what the history is behind it, Halloween is a day when the majority of the collective people of the United States (and possibly other nations of the world, but I am not sure) celebrate who knows what by dressing up as both "good" and evil characters for the sake of getting candy. If it isn't intrinsically, it sure looks both humanistic and hedonistic to me.

But, for those of you who care, another event also occurred on this day. Almost 500 years ago, Martin Luther (not King Jr. - the real one) posted his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg Germany. This is marked as the start of the Reformation. The church door was the community bulletin board of the day. Luther, in an attempt to clarify the issue of indulgences, wrote 95 theses or arguments as to why this practice was unbiblical. Although Luther, and other fathers of the Reformation, had flaws in their lives and practice, their attempt to return to the authority of scripture has influenced Christianity tremendously to the present day.

This is not a celebration of these men or their works. It is merely a reminder to recognize the work of God in the lives of men throughout history for the praise of His glorious grace.

Last year I designed a Reformation Day page as a source of information about the Reformation. So if you want to know more about the Reformation, check it out.

this is "grace at work"

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endeavoring to encourage 
Thursday, October 26, 2006, 01:15 PM - Life, Growing
When I originally started this website and blog I had hopes of using it as a tool of encouragement to friends and family. I frequently come across people whom I have not seen for a while who ask me how I am doing. It was my desire to use this blog to keep them posted as to what God is doing in my life and to build up and edify. (Hence the title of this page - "grace at work.") I have had wonderful opportunities, by God's grace, to be an encouragement to people who I would have never suspected. I have received e-mails from people regarding my trip to Albania, from people who have been encouraged by what God has been doing in my life, and by close friends and family who have found this to be a source of edifying interaction throughout the week. Additionally, it has given me an opportunity exercise my writing skills which may end up being a hopeless endeavor. :)

Unfortunately, many blogs out on the web have very little to offer that truly edifies and encourages. Many are filled with junk, opinions (which are like armpits - everyone has them, and they all stink!!!), and pointless information. Some people try to use blogs as their own little soapbox where they attempt to solve the problems of the world. (or create new ones, depending on how you look at it.) These blogs and the many others filled with junk are the blogs that create concern regarding the blogging world. Unfortunately, this is the case with most every medium. If it is not one thing it is the other.

As far as my blog is concerned, I never intended for it to be my own soapbox. I truly want to build up and encourage rather than create controversy and pointless discussion. However, I realize that I have done just that. Although some good has come through my last post and certain other previous posts, I realize that I have been somewhat controversial and opinionated rather than edifying. I am writing this post to restate to myself and to my very small and insignificant audience the purpose for this blog. It is my goal to edify and to encourage. By God's grace, I will attempt to do so from here on out. I have realized that I can unintentionally cloud the glory of God rather than cause it to shine out. Thank you for your consideration and understanding. And as always this is "grace at work." Fortunately it is still at work teaching me how to live "self-controlled, upright, and godly... in this present age." (Titus 2:12)

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Church Clothes 
Friday, October 6, 2006, 12:43 PM - Life, The Gospel
For some reason I have either seen signs, t-shirts, etc. or heard this topic addressed multiple times over the last few weeks. So, I thought that I would share a few thought that I have on the subject.

Some seem to advovate that there is specific appropriate attire when attending church. The thought behind it is that the worshipper must be reverent. Therefore the conclusion is that the most appropriate dress is what we would by tradition call Sunday dress (suits, ties, nice dresses, etc.) because they define that as reverent attire.

On the other hand, others have reacted to the whole "Sunday dress" idea and advocate that the worshippers just "come as you are." I have seen a billboard with a picture of jeans and the caption over it say "church clothes." I have not investigated this advertisement too much, but I think their point is pretty clear. There is a deliberate identity that churches are working to establish with casual dress as a headline.

As I have been thinking through this, the thought keeps coming to mind that the only appropriate clothes for the church of Christ is the righteousness of Christ. We, as the true church, are only acceptable before God if we are clothed in Christ's righteusness. This is appropriate worship attire.

Sure there are other factors that must be considered when coming together as a diverse body. There are preferences and biblical mandates that help determine how to love each other (not an offence or stumbling block). But, to be acceptable before God all we need is to be in Christ. If we place a higher expectation on people than God does, we should check to see who are master is. Paul tells us that to ones own master a servant answers. God is each believer's master alone. We should not take the place of God.

So what is appropriate? We should check to see if we are clothed in Christ. Then we must let our love for God and others determine what is appropriate in the assembly.

this is "grace at work"



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the life of a school boy 
Wednesday, September 27, 2006, 05:34 PM - Life, School
I have been so busy these last few weeks. Since school has started life has been non-stop. (I guess life is non-stop anyway.) To sum up, I will just say that I have been in school for more than three weeks. I have my first load of tests this week. I have to either read or finish reading a total of three books in the next week and a half, and write a report. Greek is challenging, but it seems to be coming back to me. On top of all my schooling, I am working as well. Life is fun!!

I must to share a huge blessing that I received within the last couple of weeks. My initial plan when registering this year was to take classes this semester, next semester, and then finish by August. However, I was encouraged by a friend to try to get everything done these next two semesters, so I do not have to attend summer school. In order to accomplish this, I needed to take at least 20 credits this semester. I am not the most disciplined student, so this idea was suicidal. But, I decided to do it anyway.

After registering I began to try to do everything that I needed to do to finish my transcript processes. I embarked on a long but wonderful several week journey that had unexpected benefits. I transferred all my class credits from Greenville Tech, but when viewing my credits from Northland I decided to take a music theory placement test that would allow me to transfer credits that initially were not granted. When talking to the music office and the records office they determined, because I am not a music major, that they would transfer my classes with out needing to take a placement test. In other words, I was granted 9 credits from Northland that were not originally granted. This allowed me not only to plan on graduating in May, but it let me drop two classes this semester that I was taking just as electives.

I was so excited! God has blessed me with this for whatever reason, and I praise Him for His grace. Lord willing, I will finish this semester with 16 credits, next semester with 16 credits, and graduate in May. After eleven years, I will finally be finished. I am a blessed man!!!

I hope to write more often now that I am settled in with school. We will see :)

This is "grace at work"


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