27 April 2016

The Dividing Doctrines of Grace

Have you ever met a theological fence-sitter? These are those who like to have their proverbial cake and eat it too. They epitomize the old adage, "love the one you are with" so as not to anger any.

This phenomenon is found in various circles and even in many professing Christian circles, but the ones of whom I write today are those who waver with the wind in regard to their soteriological profession. One can almost imagine the Apostle Paul shaking his head at the mere thought.
For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)

22 April 2016

This 'n' That

It's no secret that I am not the biggest fan of Facebook. A primary reason for this disdain is the ease with which people can post—and gullible or na├»ve people can believe—nonsense. One article disseminates inaccurate information and others pounce on that information and accept it as truth just because someone from their favorite Facebook group provided it.

photo credit: Social Media via photopin (license)
This reliance on Facebook for health, news, and other information can be dangerous. For example, I recently saw an article making the rounds about the dangers of a particular medicine. The same article contained multiple typos, spelling errors (including misspelling the name of the product it was lambasting), and lacked links back to its original sources. Nevertheless, people were reading it, commenting on it, and accepting its truthfulness without investigating the actual source or some of its rather spurious claims.

This is a problem. It's as if we open up Facebook and lose our common sense. If it's on Facebook, it must be true. This mindset must be squelched. Let's read everything with discernment, not just theological articles. If folks had done their research on this particular article, they would see that it was reporting an event that occurred four years ago. In addition, the reported incident appears to have been adequately investigated and addressed by the appropriate authorities. In short, this poorly written, unsourced article should not be the primary source for one's decision to use or not use this particular drug.

We Christians love to talk about discernment, but sometimes we just need to exercise some good, old- fashioned common sense. If we would do this for practical and doctrinal matters we might not have to wade through so much social media sludge.

Of course, the best of us can still come across and share a less-than-adequate article, so let's also remember to have grace with one another. With that, please use that same common sense, discernment, and grace as you enjoy your week in review ( kind of):

17 April 2016

Equipping Eve: Healing Photos

A recent article in Christianity Today discusses the alleged “healing” nature of boudoir photography. In this episode of Equipping Eve, we’ll see what God’s Word has to say about this disturbing new trend.

Click here to listen to this most recent episode of Equipping Eve.

This episode discusses the following article: "Finding Healing in Front of the Camera."

Further Listening
Equipping Eve: Selfie Righteousness
Equipping Eve: Crayolas and Quiet Time
Equipping Eve: Perfect Perspicuity

Sunday Morning Praise

Jesus Paid It All

15 April 2016

This 'n' That

I have some shocking news for you. Those with food allergies, beware.

If you look at the photos to the right you will notice something very peculiar. Are you ready? A bag of cashews contains...are you ready for it? CASHEWS! Oh, horror of allergen horrors! Who would have ever suspected such a thing?

Is this what we've come to in our society? Have we taken food allergy paranoia to such an extreme that we have to warn people that a bag of cashews contains cashews? What is wrong with us? When did common sense become so rare?

As someone who does have some food allergies and/or sensitivities, I get it. I appreciate knowing what a product contains so that I don't chow down and then keel over in pain 30 minutes later. Still, we have to be honest and realize that our society has made an idol out of so-called "healthy eating." We are obsessed with it and at times I wonder if many (not all) of these allergies or sensitivities are either exaggerated, self-induced, or made up entirely. The result? Ridiculous warnings that a bag of cashews contains cashews.

We often hear admonitions against making idols out of things such as power, wealth, or material possessions, but do we realize that we can idolize so much more?

Of course, ultimately, the problem is not food, or fame, or money. It is pride and/or a desire for control. It is sin and none of us are exempt even from the sin of idolatry. May we earnestly pray that God would strip away this sin as He grows and sanctifies us to look more like His Son, our precious Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Oh well, the good news is that this blog is entirely free of all of the most common allergens. With that in mind, now you can breathe easy as you sit back and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

08 April 2016

This 'n' That

Now, let me say a word or two in reply to certain questions. But must not a man repent as well as believe? Reply: No man ever believed but what he repented at the same time. Faith and repentance go together. they must. If I trust Christ to save me from sin, I am at the same time repenting of sin, and my mind is changed in relation to sin, and everything else that has to do with its state. All the fruits meet for repentance are contained in faith itself. You will never find that a man who trusts Christ remains an enemy of God, or a lover of sin. The fact that he accepts the atonement provided is proof positive that he loathes sin, and that his mind is thoroughly changed in reference to God. 
Moreover, as to all the graces which are produced in the Christian afterwards, are they not all to be found in embryo in faith? "Only believe, and you shall be save," is the cry which many sneer at, and others misunderstand; but do you know what "only believe" means? Do you know what a world of meaning lies in that word? Read that famous chapter to the Hebrews, and see what faith has done and is still able to do, and you will see that it is no trifle. Wherever there is faith in a man let it but develop itself and there will be a purging of himself from sin, a separating himself from the world, a conflict with evil, and a warring for the glory of Christ, which nothing else could produce. 
Faith is in itself one of the noblest of graces; it is the compendium of all virtues; and as sometimes there will lie within one single ear enough seed to make a whole garden fertile, so, within that one word "faith," there lies enough of virtue to make earth blessed; enough of grace, if the Spirit make it to grow, to turn the fallen into the perfect. Faith is not the easy and light thing men think. Far are we from ascribing salvation to the profession of a mere creed, we loathe the idea; neither do we ascribe salvation to a fond persuasion, but we do ascribe salvation to Jesus Christ, and the obtaining of it to that simple, child like confidence which lovingly casts itself into the arms of him who gave both his hands to the nail and suffered to the death for the sins of his people. He who believes, then, is saved—rest assured of that. "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God."
—Charles Spurgeon, "Faith and Regeneration
Sometimes you just need a little Spurgeon, am I right? It just seemed like one of those days. So now that I've let Spurgeon do the important talking, while you reflect on his words why not take some time to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

02 April 2016

Equipping Eve: Selfie Righteousness

Narcissism is rampant in the world today. Unfortunately, it’s also prevalent in the visible church, and that is true of more than simply celebrity pastors and seeker-sensitive churches. Ladies, let’s examine ourselves. Let’s examine our social media pages. Are we engaging in selfie righteousness?

Click here to listen to this episode of Equipping Eve.

See Also:
Selfie Righteousness (blog post)
Equipping Eve: Crayolas and Quiet Time
Equipping Eve: The Submissive Wife (Part 1)
Equipping Eve: The Submissive Wife (Part 2)

01 April 2016

This 'n' That

In spite of Hobby Lobby's role in gifting land to seeker-sensitive-ideology-proliferating pastors like Rick Warren and James MacDonald, (thereby allowing these men to expand their empires), overall, I like Hobby Lobby. It's a fun store. The selection of flowers is fantastic, and sales there far exceed those of the competitors. I like that I usually hear hymns playing when I'm in Hobby Lobby, with the exception of the occasional elevator-musicized version of a mind-numbingly repetitive praise song or, at Christmastime, the exception of hearing "Santa Baby" (still waiting for Hobby Lobby to explain that one).

So I am not here to attack Hobby Lobby or the people who love the store. But I have to admit that I continue to be amazed at how skilled we are at ignoring the fact that 90% (or more) of the junk (let's be honest, most of it is junk) in Hobby Lobby is downright aesthetically awful. There, I said it. Like this entire wall of nonsense. What is going on here? Does anybody buy this stuff?

photo credit: French sectin via photopin (license)
Or how about this gem that I recently spotted:

Now, the irony with this one is that it fits perfectly with a little non-official segment we have at Equipping Eve titled, "Just Be Awesome." The name was borne out of a book/daily calendar called You're Already Amazing and the segment essentially mocks the rampant narcissism that has come to characterize western Christianity. So...maybe I shouldn't make fun of this plaque and instead should just buy it and hang it in my office. You know, for those days when I need to be reminded of just how truly awesome and amazing I not only look but also am.

If this were an audio blog, I'd sigh here. Thank you, Hobby Lobby, for feeding our narcissistic tendencies and lying to us just like so many sectors of evangelicalism do today. No wonder visible Christianity loves you. It's okay, though, I'll still visit your store for all of my fake flower needs, knowing that your specialty is crafts and tacky trinkets, not theology (obviously).

For those of you reading this blog today, however, I need you to understand this truth: You are not amazing. You are not awesome. You are wretched, wicked, and sinful. If you don't believe me, find a Bible and read Romans 3:10-18, and that's just for starters. But there is One who is truly amazing and awesome and perfect and holy and merciful and gracious and forgiving and just and righteous and...well, I could go on all day. That One is Jesus Christ, and serving Him is no hobby, it is an inward and outward way of life.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. (Romans 12:1)
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)
Okay, rant over. I know we all have different tastes and styles, so don't be upset if we have different opinions on the matter. You should know this, though: if I ever visit your house and find, as pictured above, one of those horrible peace signs on your wall, or a pink Eiffel Tower on your end table, I will make fun of you. You have been warned. With that, before you go out to spend your weekly Hobby Lobby coupon, take a few minutes to first enjoy your week in review (kind of):