18 January 2019

This 'n' That

I wasn't very curious as a child. I tended to be very observant, but quietly so. I think I just collected all those observations, storing them for pondering at a later time. That's why, today, I find myself asking random, usually unimportant questions. Perhaps it is the advent of Google, and the ability to at least obtain a speculative answer to one's question that makes me a bit more inquisitive nowadays.

For instance, this morning I found myself wondering, "Why are cashews so addictive?" Admit it, above all other nuts, cashews are the most liable to disappear from that snack dish. Why? Is it the hint of sweetness that they carry, or the fact that they don't break your jaw when you bite down on a handful of them? Why are they so magnificently delicious? While these questions don't keep me up at night, they do occasionally distract me during my waking hours.

I attempted to answer my question this morning, but Google was unhelpful, unless you want to turn to anecdotal musings as authoritative source. As far as I can tell, no well-controlled, randomized clinical trials have been conducted on the effects of cashews on the brain, though it might not be a bad idea. I'd sign up to participate in that study!

Whether we typically voice our queries aloud or keep them to ourselves to ponder in our bored moments, it is obvious that our creative Father has made us to be inquisitive creatures. This is why the Bible, our Lord's Word, is so fascinating. So often, when a spiritual question arises, we find that careful study of the Word will reveal the answer to us. And for those questions that simply cannot be fully comprehended by the human brain (e.g., the hypostatic union, the Trinity, the concept of eternity past and future, etc.), that is where we are called upon to trust our great God and trust that He, in His sovereignty, has kept hidden from us what is not necessary to understand in full. This is where we rest and rejoice in the reality that His ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). This is where we praise Him for being so high and lofty, and at the same time so personal and loving. What a marvelous Father He is!

Okay, now that I've instilled in you a hankering for cashews, why not grab a handful and then sit back to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

11 January 2019

This 'n' That

So far, 2019 has been...exhausting. The only reason I'm still giving it a chance is because, well, I have no choice.

At least we're finally expecting some snow around here this weekend. I always hope to experience at least one snowfall each winter. There's something so serene about a blanket of snow, even though it means you have to bundle up and shovel! And with each snowfall, even with a dusting of flurries, I'm reminded of God's sweet promise to us, namely, that through Jesus Christ our sins of scarlet shall be washed clean as snow (Isaiah 1:18). Sure, it may be clich├ęd to remember that precious verse, but that doesn't make it any less lovely.

We serve a merciful God, and in a time when it seems as though legalism has obtained a newly tightened grip on evangelicalism, it helps to have a visual reminder of what it means to be clothed in Christ's righteousness.

So, whether you're expecting sun, snow, rain, or fog this weekend, I pray that the goodness of God will flood your thoughts. I also hope that you'll take some time to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

04 January 2019

This 'n' That

Some of us may feel that this illustrates our lives as 2019 begins. Take heart, our God is sovereign!
Welcome to your first This 'n' That of 2019! Unfortunately, I have nothing overly exciting to commemorate the occasion, but I do hope that you all had a joyful new year celebration, thanking the Lord for giving us another year to grow in Him and to, we pray, serve Him well. He is today as He has ever been: sovereign, gracious, merciful, patient, loving and true!

As you wind down from your return to work and the deconstruction of holiday decorations, I hope you'll take a few moments to enjoy your somewhat abbreviated week in review (kind of):

01 January 2019

Charles Spurgeon on the New Year

We ought not, as men in Christ Jesus, to be carried away by a childish love of novelty, for we worship a God who is ever the same, and of whose years there is no end. In some matters "the old is better." There are certain things which are already so truly new, that to change them for anything else would be to lose old gold for new dross. The old, old gospel is the newest thing in the world; in its very essence it is for ever good news. In the things of God the old is ever new, and if any man brings forward that which seems to be new doctrine and new truth, it is soon perceived that the new dogma is only worn-out heresy dexterously repaired, and the discovery in theology is the digging up of a carcase of error which had better have been left to rot in oblivion. In the great matter of truth and godliness, we may safely say, "There is nothing new under the sun."

Yet, as I have already said, there has been so much evil about ourselves and our old nature, so much sin about our life and the old past, so much mischief about our surroundings and the old temptations, that we are not distressed by the belief that old things are passing away. Hope springs up at the first sound of such words as these from the lips of our risen and reigning Lord: "Behold, I make all things new." It is fit that things so outworn and defiled should be laid aside, and better things fill their places.

This is the first day of a new year, and therefore a solemnly joyous day. Though there is no real difference between it and any other day, yet in our mind and thought it is a marked period, which we regard as one of the milestones set up on the highway of our life. It is only in imagination that there is any close of one year and beginning of another; and yet it has most fitly all the force of a great fact. When men "cross the line," they find no visible mark: the sea bears no trace of an equatorial belt; and yet mariners know whereabouts they are, and they take notice thereof, so that a man can hardly cross the line for the first time without remembering it to the day of his death. We are crossing the line now… If Jesus has not made us new already, let the new year cause us to think about the great and needful change of conversion; and if our Lord has begun to make us new, and we have somewhat entered into the new world wherein dwelleth righteousness, let us be persuaded by the season to press forward into the center of his new creation, that we may feel to the full all the power of his grace.

(Charles Spurgeon, 'Sermon for New Year's Day,' preached 1 January 1885)

28 December 2018

This 'n' That

Well, another Christmas has come and gone. Around here, the holiday was fairly quiet, which is exactly how we like it. I hope yours was a time of joy and celebration in remembrance of our Lord's incarnation.

Now we march forward to 2019. January always brings with it a newfound sense of optimism. Still, resolutions will inevitably fall by the wayside and a new year will undoubtedly fail to deliver all the pleasant things we anticipate. 2019 will hopefully bring joy for each of us in some aspect, but we can be certain that it will also bring disappointments, trials and challenges, and irony by which we will fail to be amused. This is acceptable, though, because all these things are temporary and we still, as Christians, have much to look forward to as we stride one year closer to being with our Lord forever.

This being Christmas week, many of the articles linked below still carry a holiday theme, so hopefully you won't mind extending your Christmas thoughts at least one day longer.  Why not toss some marshmallows in your hot chocolate, then, as you sit back to enjoy your final 2018 week in review (kind of):

25 December 2018

24 December 2018

For Unto Us a Child Is Born

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)