29 September 2014

Ken Silva, Founder of Apprising Ministries, Has Died

Ken Silva, founder of the discernment blog Apprising Ministries, passed away at his home Sunday night.

Throughout his years in what Silva deemed 'online apologetics and discernment ministry,' many were impacted by his articles, research, and opinions. No doubt many would say that God used Silva and Apprising Ministries to open their eyes to the reality of the downgrade in the visible church today.

Though few knew Silva's face, many knew his figurative voice through his many writings, each written with an unmistakable style that belonged to Silva alone. Whether one loved what Silva was saying, or hated it, his words demanded attention.

Silva was open in recent months about his ongoing struggle with degenerative illness and surely many of his readers faithfully prayed that God would be glorified in the midst of the trial.

On a personal note, having served at one time alongside Ken at Apprising's sister site, Christian Research Network, I am thankful for the way in which the Lord used Ken in the life of Do Not Be Surprised. My prayers go out to Ken's family and friends.

Because It Pleased Him to Choose

A.W. Pink; Photo: Wikipedia
God foreknows what will be because He has decreed what shall be. It is therefore a reversing of the order of Scripture, a putting of the cart before the horse, to affirm that God elects because He foreknows people. The truth is, He foreknows because He has elected. This removes the ground or cause of election from outside the creature, and places it in God’s own sovereign will. God purposed in Himself to elect a certain people, not because of anything good in them or from them, either actual or foreseen, but solely out of His own mere pleasure. As to why He chose the ones He did, we do not know, and can only say, “Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.” The plain truth in Romans 8:29 is that God, before the foundation of the world, singled out certain sinners and appointed them unto salvation (2 Th 2:13). This is clear from the concluding words of the verse: “Predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.” God did not predestinate those whom He foreknew were “conformed,” but, on the contrary, those whom He “foreknew” (i.e., loved and elected) He predestinated “ to be conformed.” Their conformity to Christ is not the cause, but the effect of God’s foreknowledge and predestination.

26 September 2014

This 'n' That

So, the only time that I have to type this introduction is Thursday afternoon during my lunch hour (don’t worry, I’m not using the company computer). Unfortunately, I have absolutely no idea what to write today. I could write about Fall, I suppose. Tuesday was the first day of Autumn, after all.

Gotta love Honeycrisp apples!
I love this time of year, don’t you? The beautiful colors, the crisp temperatures, the yummy recipes. It’s like a final burst of beauty before the drabness and death of Winter arrive. Apples are in abundance (great, now I’m craving a big ol’ Honeycrisp), pumpkin is added to everything, and rightly so. Who doesn’t love pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin spice lattes? That is, some of us would love pumpkin spice lattes if Starbucks wasn’t so discriminatory against those of us who can't consume dairy or soy, but I digress.

When I lived in California, probably the primary thing I missed most about my Midwest upbringing was the change of seasons (oh, and the friendly people). I loved that the forecast never changed (75° and sunny every. Single. Day.), but there was something about the change from Winter to Spring to Summer to Fall that reminded me of the creativity, goodness, and power of God. Even as an unregenerate false convert, I could see the hand of God in His creation. Unfortunately, God in His omniscience seems to have designed the two best seasons (Spring and Fall) to be the shortest. I don’t know what that’s about, but since I won't be able to ask Him until I see Him face-to-face, and I'm pretty sure I'll be busy at that time falling before Him and worshiping Him in all His glory, I'll just accept it as His perfect providence.

Okay, that’s about all I have in the way of random noonday musings. As I look out the window, I can see the sun shining on this beautiful Autumn day. Just a few more hours and I can step outside and enjoy it. Just like you are about to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

25 September 2014

Just One Bite

photo credit: Sanofi Pasteur via photopin cc
Sin may be likened to a mosquito bite. It starts as one, small pin prick, but once the skin has been broken, that bite begins to itch. And each time you succumb to and scratch it, the welt grows. The itch intensifies. Attempts to waylay the irritation are merely temporary solutions. In the face of our own remedies, the itch always returns

Okay, perhaps this illustration is lacking. The metaphor inevitably breaks down in multiple ways. But we've all suffered through the unrelenting itch of a mosquito bite, poison ivy, or something similar. Beyond a certain point, you simply have no control over that itch.

So it is with sin. All it takes is one pin prick to the conscience and, before we know it, the welt has swelled. Those who remain unregenerate have no power to mortify their sin. They may be able to temporarily placate it, but it will always fester below the surface. They would have it no other way. Though they are enslaved to sin, they kiss the chains that bind them.

19 September 2014

This 'n' That

photo credit: Dekcuf via photopin cc
Well, I’m typing this in the dark with the last vestiges of my laptop battery. The power is out here and so is the internet, so I’m typing in a Word document, hopeful that both will be restored before I leave for work so that I can quickly paste this into Blogger and get this post published on Friday as per the usual schedule.

Of course, things like this never happen at a convenient time. Do you know how difficult it is to research for and write a term paper in the dark with no computer? It’s crazy. It’s like I’m living in 1887 or something. Or maybe even 1987, before the time when we all had computers in our pockets. It truly is amazing how spoiled we are, isn’t it? Indeed, we are blessed.

Well, I’m going to end this before my battery runs out. Hopefully you won’t have to sit in the dark while you enjoy your week in review (kind of):

17 September 2014

The Comfort and Conviction of the Word

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:12–13)
photo credit: Big Grey Mare via photopin cc
There is no better description of the Word of God than that which is provided by the Word itself. It is a lamp to light the path of righteousness (Psalm 119:105), it is settled, immutable, unchanging (Psalm 119:89; Matthew 24:35), it is truth (John 17:17). But of all the synonyms and adjectives that are provided in the Word about the Word, there is perhaps no more searching reality than that which is quoted above from Hebrews 4.

The Word of God is the Christian's greatest source of comfort and his greatest source of conviction. In times of trial or sorrow, Scripture brings joy to the one in despair. But in times of self-confidence or complacency, it can cut to the quick for the one who is being polished and sanctified by the Lord.

12 September 2014

This 'n' That

It rarely happens that I am outside at 12 noon during the week. But, if it so happens that I find myself traipsing from meeting to meeting between office buildings at this midday hour, I cannot help but smile. That’s because my workplace is wonderfully positioned near an old church that faithfully rings its church bells every hour, on the hour. It gets better, though. At noon, they not only ring the church bells, but the bells actually play through several hymns—hymns that, for those who know the lyrics—proclaim the deity, goodness and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I know absolutely nothing about this church’s teaching, but I am thankful at least for their appreciation of these old, lyrical treasures. As you regular readers well know, I adore the older, biblically true hymns of the faith. I am less of a fan, of course, of today’s contemporary so-called “praise and worship” tunes. This is, for the most part, a matter of personal preference, and I’m thankful that the church bells across the street share my affection for these hymns.

I can't really explain why I love church bells so much. Perhaps they exude a reverence that is sadly lacking in so many contemporary church contexts. Regardless, surely by the time this article is posted it will be almost noon, so if you need me, you know where to find me. While you strain your ears to hear if, perhaps, a church near you is also ringing its bells, take some time to also enjoy your week in review (kind of):