22 August 2014

This 'n' That

photo credit: saturn ♄ via photopin cc
I love thunderstorms. I've probably indicated this at some point in the past, but just in case, now you know.

I was awakened in the wee, early hours of Wednesday morning this past week to a true gift: the perfect thunderstorm. At 2 AM, the lightning flashes lit up the room as if it were day. The thunder began in a low, growling rumble with a growing, perfectly-timed crescendo. The patter of the rain was so methodical, so relaxing and yet all of it—this perfect storm—demonstrated itself to be a comforting, but truly awesome, display of God's power.

Also earlier this week, I found myself engaged in a Twitter conversation with a woman who insisted on defending Kenneth and Gloria "We can control the weather" Copeland. The combination of this conversation (which grievously revealed the woman to love her idols more than Christ) and God's gift of the perfect thunderstorm made me step back again in awe of our magnificent Creator. He alone controls the weather.
On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” 
(Mark 4:35–41)
The man or woman who denies God's sovereignty over all things stumbles into treacherous territory. God's power is revealed in His creation. May we never fail to acknowledge it.
When He imparted weight to the wind And meted out the waters by measure, When He set a limit for the rain And a course for the thunderbolt, Then He saw it and declared it; He established it and also searched it out.
(Job 28:25–27)
Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps. He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; Who makes lightnings for the rain, Who brings forth the wind from His treasuries.
(Psalm 135:6–7)
So, whether today it is rainy or sunny, cloudy or clear, wintry or warm, praise our great and powerful God and our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Then, once you've done that, sit back and take a few minutes to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

15 August 2014

This 'n' That

I love gathering with my church family on Sunday morning. Being around my brothers and sisters in Christ—my true family—is the highlight of my week. We meet at 9:00 AM, which never seemed all that early to me . . . until now.

I was flipping through the paper last night and spotted this:

What? Sleep in and still make it to church? Why, that's the best of both worlds! After all, it's so annoying when Jesus encroaches on our beauty sleep, wouldn't you agree?

Yes, I'm being sarcastic and yes, this church ad grieves me deeply. It encourages the mentality that Jesus is just a side dish to the entreé of your weekend. Would you like fries with that? Only if I'm in the mood for them. Would you like Jesus with that? Only if I feel like it.

This mentality is a blasphemous one, and yet it is startlingly pervasive. It's the same attitude that leaps at the chance to attend a Saturday evening church service so that one may have the entire day on Sunday to do with as one pleases—even sleep in later than 11:30. To my shame, I once possessed a similar mindset. To God's glory, He rescued me from such shallowness.

Ultimately, of course, it is not the day or time that we gather for worship (cf. Rom 14:5, 6), but the attitude and motivation of our hearts as we come to worship our Lord. The attitude displayed in the church ad above is one that exudes a self-satisfying, narcissistic, seeker-driven approach to church, not one that seeks to gather with fellow believers in order to praise and worship Jesus Christ and hear His Word proclaimed.

So, even though it is only Friday, I am already looking forward to Sunday morning (at 9:00 AM). Why sleep in when you can hear the Word proclaimed with faithful boldness? But, until that time, let's all take a few moments to relax and enjoy the week in review (kind of):

Beth Moore Talks 'Unity' with Word Faith Teacher Joyce Meyer

It was only a matter of time:
Is this what Beth Moore meant when she claimed to have received personal, direct revelation from God to "stop sowing over and over again in the same field"? Is this the unity of which Moore spoke at James Robison's Awaken Conference? It certainly seems that way:

A False Assumption

A week or so ago, I was looking at my wall calendar, trying to determine when some upcoming appointments were scheduled. My eye drifted to August 15 and I noticed that the calendar had labeled that day 'The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.' Are you kidding? Do people actually acknowledge that false, make-believe, fairy-tale day? How strange.

Photo: Wikimedia
Then, earlier this week I was on a conference call with some of my colleagues in Europe. We were discussing timelines and schedules so that we could work together to complete our project on time, and they announced, "Well, we won't be in the office on Friday. That's a holiday."

"What holiday is it?" we asked.

"Oh, some religious holiday."

I knew right away it was Assumption Day, and they soon confirmed my suspicion. So not only has this day made it onto our print calendars, but it's become a public holiday in some countries.

What exactly is the so-called holy day of 'The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary'?

14 August 2014

Shattering the Idol of 'Free' Will

Few idols are as sacred to today's professing Christians than that of the idea of man's 'free' will. But is this a biblical doctrine? Or does it stand contrary to Scripture? Are those who cling to their 'free' will actually standing in opposition to the revealed Word of the triune God?

Pastor Don Green of Truth Community Fellowship opens up the Scriptures and boldly shatters this idol that so many hold dear. Listen to this message, open your Bible, and, as Pastor Green says, "read it, and then come back and talk about your free will." If you do, you will find that "our will is not free to choose God in the strength of our own power."

Further Reading
Trusting God in Trying Times: A Q&A with Pastor Don Green
Free Will and Liquid Plumr
Dedicated Pastors Produce Discerning Sheep

08 August 2014

This 'n' That

I was scanning through my Twitter feed the other day and came across this tweet from Benny Hinn (yes, I follow Benny Hinn's account):
"Hm," I thought, "That sounds intriguing. Maybe I'll go watch this and tap into these secrets. After all, Mr. Benny wouldn't mislead me, would he?" (Can you hear the sarcasm?)

So I clicked the link and traveled to Hinn's website and discovered that this episode filled with, ahem, Bible truths, featured Rabbi Lapin. Oh. Okay. Then I click a download link and see this:
Wait—I have to pay $10 to learn the secret to financial success? But what if I don't have $10 to waste invest? What if my wallet is empty and that's why I need Benny's help? Oh, the cruel, cruel irony!

In case you're wondering, I did not fork over the $10—not even for a chance to use the material in a blog post. I'd much rather spend that money on an edifying, educational resource. Or a pizza. Whichever need arises first. Besides, unless you're Michael Brown, you don't need me to tell you that Benny Hinn is a flock-fleecing charlatan. Still, for whatever reason, his tactics seem to be working. That is why I've decided that all future editions of This 'n' That will only be available for a fee—each will cost $5 to read. Go ahead, write your angry letters of protest. I'll read them while I'm flying to Hawaii on my private jet.

Okay, that's enough for now. Breathe easy, I was only joking. Now, please enjoy your always-and-forever-free week in review (kind of):