25 April 2015

Equipping Eve: Life Verses and Labyrinths

One website defines a life verse as "the scripture quote that seems to speak to you directly – the one that holds a personal meaning for you." What is the danger of committing yourself to one "life verse" that has been divorced from its broader context? Also—what is a prayer labyrinth and are they biblical?

Click here to listen to the latest episode of Equipping Eve.

Click here to access additional resources from this episode of Equipping Eve.

Further Listening

24 April 2015

This 'n' That

Follow the Good Shepherd.
I was reading an article this week, presumably written by a believer, that presented a rather lengthy description of a Christian. "Jesus-following, church-going, Bible-believing Christians…," it said. At first I thought little of it, but then it hit me…is there any other kind of true Christian?

Is there a Christian who does not follow Christ? No, there cannot be:
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me… (John 10:27)
Is there a Christian who does not seek to fellowship with his brothers and sisters in Christ? There should not be:
…and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24–25)
Is there a Christian who does not believe the Bible? It is through the Bible that Jesus Christ is revealed, and it is only through Jesus Christ that men can be saved. A Christian must by definition believe God's Word precisely because it is God's Word:
All Scripture is inspired by God an profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness… (2 Timothy 3:16)
So why is it that we feel we need to qualify our definition of a Christian? Aren't these adjectives more than a little redundant? Or does it reveal a deeper problem? Does it mean that we are accepting of those who don't believe the Bible, and those whose lives don't demonstrate the regeneration of the Holy Spirit that results in a life of following Christ? Things to ponder.

But while you ponder, why don't you multitask and also peruse through your week in review (kind of):

20 April 2015

The Cross and the World

What is a Christian? Paul tells the Colossians that a Christian is a person who has been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son. I no longer belong to the world—I belong to the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of light, the kingdom of glory, the kingdom of God. Here I am, and the world has nothing to do with me. I am not of it. I am in this other kingdom. Oh, I am still existing in this world, but I no longer belong to it. I have been translated. And my citizenship is now in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, and we know that we shall ever go on and be with the Lord. He, by dying on the cross, separates me from the world, puts me into His own kingdom, introduces me to God, and makes me a child of God and an heir of eternal bliss.

He delivers me from the world. He died so that "whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." He does more—He gives me a power that is greater than the world. Listen to John: "…greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world," and, "this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith," our faith in Him (1 John 4:4; 5:4).

And thank God, He gives us occasional glimpses of that other world, that real world, that pure, holy world that is yet going to be. This old world can never be improved and reformed. He will set up a new world: "new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13). A renovated cosmos, a perfected universe, with glory everywhere. The glory of the Lord shall cover everything as the waters cover the seas.

— Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Further Reading
Justification and Sanctification
The Narrow Gate
Equipping Eve: What Is Truth?

17 April 2015

This 'n' That

For the ladies who listen to Equipping Eve (notice I said 'ladies'. Guys, are you listening? Stop it!), you know exactly what I'm talking about when I refer to what is affectionately known by the EE audience as the 'Just Be Awesome' daily calendar. This is a devotional calendar that gives you a narcissistic, man-centered, unbiblical thought upon which to reflect every day. Of course, it's not actually titled 'Just Be Awesome,' but it may as well be:

I was just flipping through the entries for this week and came across something that I thought all my readers ought to know: "Jesus was secure in who he was and whose he was and that enabled him to freely serve."

Yep, you're welcome. Now you know the truth about Jesus' self-confidence and self-esteem. Yes, I know the Bible talks about His obedience to the Father, but the reality is, He apparently was obedient because He was so confident in His identity. What's the moral of the story? Go out. Be confident. Be awesome. Just like Jesus.

Okay, are you done slamming your face into your desk now? Good. If you haven't thrown your computer across the room out of desperate frustration, then take a deep breath, relax, and try to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

11 April 2015

Equipping Eve: What God Says About His Word

Following suit after the serpent in the garden, there is no shortage of teachers (men and women alike) willing to twist and distort God's Word to suit their own purposes. But, what does God say about the Word He wrote? We discuss this and more in this latest episode of Equipping Eve.

Click here to listen to the latest episode of Equipping Eve.

Click here for a list of Scripture verses referenced in this latest episode.

Further Listening

10 April 2015

This 'n' That

Riches I heed not, Nor man's empty praise…

I've been thinking a lot about those words lately. 'Be Thou My Vision' is one of my favorite hymns and as I listened to it while driving to work amidst a rather critical and stressful period, it was as if those words hit me anew.

It is so easy to seek "man's empty praise," isn't it? Just as we can become caught up in the frivolities of the world (fashion, entertainment, etc.), so too we can find ourselves temporarily enticed by the allure of hearing "well done" at work, at school, or even at home. To be sure, we want to strive to do our best in these realms. We seek to be diligent, valued employees. We do not shirk deadlines or responsibilities. If it means working late from time to time, then we work late. If it means an occasional 13-hour day at your desk with not even a break for lunch, then so be it. But what we must be mindful of, brothers and sisters, is our motivation for such diligence. Is it to garner the attention and praise of men? Or is it to please our God?
Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. (Colossians 3:22–24)
Be thankful for the job and role God has given you. Do it well. Do your best. But do it because you serve a heavenly Father who gives good gifts to His children. Do not worry if men praise your work, simply seek to glorify God by pursuing His righteousness wherever He has placed you. If you do, I trust that you'll find a peace and blessing that can only come from above.

Of course, today it is Friday, so it's time to think about taking a little break from the stress of the week. Grab some tea/coffee/water/soda, a handful of your favorite munchies, sit back, and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

04 April 2015

In the Light of the Resurrection

It is only in the light of the resurrection that I finally have an assurance of my sins forgiven. It is only in the light of the resurrection that I ultimately know that I stand in the presence of God absolved from guilt and shame and every condemnation. I can now say with Paul, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1) because I look at the fact of the resurrection. It is there that I know it.

You notice how Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 15:17 when he says, "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins." If it is not a fact that Christ literally rose from the grave, then you are still guilty before God. Your punishment has not been borne, your sins have not been dealt with, you are yet in your sins. It matters that much: Without the resurrection you have no standing at all; you are still uncertain as to whether you are forgiven and whether you are a child of God. And when one day you come to your deathbed you will not know, you will be uncertain as to where you are going and what is going to happen to you. "Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification" (Romans 4:25). It is in the resurrection that I stand before God free and absolved and without fear and know that I am indeed a child of God. So you see the importance of holding on to this doctrine and why we must insist upon the details of doctrine, and not be content with some vague general belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.

–Martyn Lloyd-Jones

03 April 2015

This 'n' That

Well, it has been another eventful week. Two things in particular stand out that I learned this week that will carry me through the weekend. First, I discovered that the Easter Bunny will be at one of the local burger joints on Sunday afternoon. I guess after a busy morning of hiding candy, eggs, and baskets, nothing says 'relaxation' to the bunny-man like a greasy hamburger and fries. I just hope he's done in time to make a cameo appearance at all of the local church Easter egg hunts.

Secondly, I learned that one of the local Methodist churches will be remembering Good Friday tonight with a "contemporary worship concert" while they record their first worship album/DVD. You know, because nothing says "It is finished" like a rockin', hand-wavin' good time and a record deal. The only thing that would make the event better would be if jelly beans are dropped from the rafters.

If you detected sarcasm in those sentences, then congratulations—your sarcasm meter is working. Few things irritate me more than a total irreverence for the remembrance of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord. So let me leave you with this:

Christ died and was buried. He died. He was buried. He wasn't merely unconscious. He wasn't mostly dead. He was dead. And yet, He lives. Amen, thank you, Lord. And come again quickly, Lord Jesus.

I pray your time this weekend reflecting on the sacrifice and triumph of our Lord Jesus Christ will be one that will bring you to your knees in humble repentance and praise.

Oh, and it is okay to enjoy a jelly bean (or two or three or thirty) or a peanut butter egg along the way. In fact, perhaps you'd like to munch on some while you enjoy your week in review (kind of):