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.

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):

11 September 2014

Sovereignty in Tragedy: Remembering 9/11

Goodbyes were spoken too quickly, too flippantly, too curtly that day.

"I love yous" were mumbled, barely detectable beneath the breath of busyness.

"I'm sorrys" and "I forgive yous" were neglected until an evening that never arrived.

photo credit: paulwoolrich via photopin cc 
"Jesus Christ lived the perfect life that you cannot and died that you may live. Repent of your sin and believe upon Him, the only true Lord and Savior"—utterance of these words was postponed until a more convenient day. But that day never came.

Thirteen years ago today, millions around the world stood in bewildered astonishment, mouths agape, tears silently rolling, as inconceivable terror and tragedy took aim at a seemingly impenetrable America. Shock could not begin to describe the first reaction of most. Shock, followed by grief, followed by fear.

But there is One who was not shocked that day. One who knew exactly when and where each plane would strike. One who knew each soul whose life would end. One who knew the unspoken words of the hearts of those souls. One who knew the eternal destination of each and every soul that perished. One who had long ago ordained the end from the beginning.

05 September 2014

This 'n' That

Well, last weekend was a long weekend for those of us here in America. And with the Labor Day holiday, there was no shortage of sales at various retailers. This extended even to our furry companions, as I spied a sale ad from a local pet store in my email, which exclaimed:

'Essentials' are on sale? Well, that's a good thing! It's always helpful to be able to purchase things you need at a good price. And if you have pets, then there are certain things you need to have in order to care for those animals. So, let's see, essentials…food? Bowls? Collars? Litter? Well, let me scroll down and see exactly what kind of essentials are on sale…
Oh. Okay. I've never really considered a Halloween consume to be an essential item for anyone, let alone my pet, but to each his own, I guess. At least they did also have some true essentials, like food, on sale.

Man certainly can have a skewed sense of priorities, can't he? Thankfully I know all of you have perfect priorities, and that's why you're here to enjoy your week in review (kind of):