29 July 2016

To Those Who Crave Controversy

Every Christian needs to read the following letter written by John Newton. The backstory is that a minister intended to write an article about a fellow minister "for his lack of orthodoxy." Before doing so, he wrote to Newton to inform him of his intentions. What follows is Newton's response:
Dear Sir, 
As you are likely to be engaged in controversy, and your love of truth is joined with a natural warmth of temper, my friendship makes me solicitous on your behalf. You are of the strongest side; for truth is great, and must prevail; so that a person of abilities inferior to yours might take the field with a confidence of victory. I am not therefore anxious for the event of the battle; but I would have you more than a conqueror, and to triumph, not only over your adversary, but over yourself. If you cannot be vanquished, you may be wounded. To preserve you from such wounds as might give you cause of weeping over your conquests, I would present you with some considerations, which, if duly attended to, will do you the service of a great coat of mail; such armor, that you need not complain, as David did of Saul’s, that it will be more cumbersome than useful; for you will easily perceive it is taken from that great magazine provided for the Christian soldier, the Word of God. I take it for granted that you will not expect any apology for my freedom, and therefore I shall not offer one. For method’s sake, I may reduce my advice to three heads, respecting your opponent, the public, and yourself.

22 July 2016

This 'n' That

There are two phrases that I tend to hear nearly every day:
What is wrong with everybody?
It's fine; it doesn't matter.
I've observed that these phrases, though typically meant to be understood as sarcastic exaggerations, tend to most often be spoken in the context of sinful, prideful frustration (and yes, I'm guilty of speaking them myself). It occurred to me though, that a mere reminder of the theological response to each of these might quickly squelch any temptation to utter or think them.

What is wrong with everybody? Well, sin. Sin is what is wrong with everybody. So whether it is someone else's sin causing you consternation, or your own sin and pride, the answer to the question is still the same: Sin.
There is none righteous; not even one. (Romans 3:10)
This should drive us to the next biblical response, however. The sarcastic tone that accompanies, "It's fine; it doesn't matter," belittles or ignores the real truth: two things do matter, namely, the aforementioned sin and the gospel of salvation that calls us to repent of our sin and trust in Christ and His work alone for salvation. What does matter? Jesus and your response to Him. Ultimately, that is all that matters.
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
Who knew grumbling could be so theological? Well, lest you misunderstand, this is not a green light to grumble. Instead, let it encourage us to think more carefully about our thoughts and words, even if spoken lightly. Let our words be seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:5-6) and let our minds be firmly set upon the lovely things of Christ (Philippians 4:8). When that becomes our sole focus, the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

On that note, in an effort to stay cool on this hot summer day, why not grab a glass of iced tea and relax while you enjoy your week in review (kind of):

20 July 2016

Equipping Eve: On Transgenderism and Twisting Scripture

Was Jesus the first transgender man? Was Eve the first human clone? Ladies, as the world grows darker, let’s be equipped to shine the light of the truth of God’s Word, and let’s resolve to never waver from that truth.

Click here to listen to this episode of Equipping Eve.

This episode discusses the following article: "Jesus: The First Transgender Man."

Additional Resources
Equipping Eve: Healing Photos
Equipping Eve: The Cross of Christ
Equipping Eve: Selfie Righteousness

15 July 2016

This 'n' That

Can we be clear about one thing? When you print out documents onto paper, you are not "killing trees." Unless you are going to the forest and chopping down a tree before you hit "print," the tree is already dead. By using the paper that was created from that tree, you are simply bringing meaning to its death. You are making its death worthwhile. You are making it matter. See how that works? Don't you feel better now?

In case it wasn't obvious, I'm not exactly a zealous environmentalist. No, I don't recycle. It's bad enough I have to pay to have my garbage hauled away, why would I pay more to have a bucket of recyclables hauled away separately? And yes, I drink bottled water. Several bottles each day, actually. That's right, I am single-handedly destroying the planet.

Or am I?

Could it be that, in actuality, God is sovereignly in control of all things, including the ultimate culmination of history? It's quite a thought, isn't it? Let us see what the Bible says:
For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind. (Isaiah 65:17)
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. (Revelation 21:1)
Of course, I am not implying that we shouldn't be good stewards of the earth and its resources. I am saying that we ought not fall into the environmentalist trap of worshiping the creation rather than the Creator. Let's just be mindful of our focus, friends. Being worldly doesn't have to mean we are enraptured by video games and fancy cars, it can also mean we are overly engaged in "good" endeavors that have no eternal significance.

Well, it's Friday again which can mean only one thing: it's time to sit back, relax, and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

10 July 2016

08 July 2016

This 'n' That

He loves me. He loves me not.

He loves me. Wait, He loves me not.

Hooray! He loves me! Sigh...He loves me not.

This is the picture that is painted of God by those who would claim that, once saved, a man can lose his salvation. He is untrusting and untrustworthy. He is capricious. He is...not the God of the Bible.

This is the result of a works-salvation mindset. After all, when your salvation depends upon you, well, you're in trouble.

Yes, but who would actually believe such lies, especially in light of Scripture? Well, we could go into a lengthy discussion of the various groups that teach that man's salvation, from the first "decision for Christ" onward, is dependent on himself, his actions, and his continued obedience. Or, to save time and space, we could turn to the Scriptures and see what God has to say.
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:37-40)
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:27-30)
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)
Consider this: the verses above are just a sampling of what the Word of God says about our Lord's promise to keep His own! What a blessing that beautiful Word is to us, and what a gracious, loving, merciful, kind God we serve!

Well, once God's Word has spoken, there's nothing left to say. So sit back and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

01 July 2016

This 'n' That

So, you know all those links I've been sharing about the Takata airbag recall? Well, there's a reason I'm so interested. As it turns out, my car is one of the millions that could have a defective airbag. Defective how? Something about the airbag exploding when it deploys, sending metal shards into your face and neck. It sounds rather unpleasant yet I have at least one friend who finds this amusing, and she has thereby nicknamed me "Metalface." Of course, with 11 people killed so far and many more injured, it's not a joking matter.

This is what I prefer to think of when
I think of "Metalface." (Source)
I was first alerted to this several months ago, but was told the replacement part would be received within a few weeks. I could continue driving my car or, if I was uncomfortable, the company would pay for a rental car until the faulty part was replaced. Well, considering my track record with rental cars is less-than-fabulous, I opted to drive my own car, albeit carefully.

"A few weeks" came and went...several times over. Other circumstances that could have been disastrous but, by God's great mercy and grace were not, led me to take up the car manufacturer on their offer: I would finally like a rental car, I told them.

In a humorous twist, I've been given a Dodge Journey to drive until further notice. Now, I suppose this is only humorous if you have noticed the annoying use (or in many cases, overuse) of the word "journey" in so-called evangelicalism.
"We're all on a journey."
"Your faith walk is a journey."
"Start your journey with God."
"Are you taking the next steps on your spiritual/faith-filled/Christ-centered journey?"
It's one of those words some professing believers use because they think it makes them sound more spiritual. Well, the reality is, when I hear the word journey, this is all that comes to mind (the 80s were amazing, weren't they?). And then I laugh. So this is why I find it amusing that I am now driving a Journey. I'm on a journey in a Journey, if you will. Oh, and for the record, it's not a bad car. While anything would be better than "Metalface," I'm extremely grateful for how this part of the situation was resolved. God is indeed a protector and provider for His children.

Well, I know, it's a long weekend for those of us here in the U.S., and you might be packing your car to go on your own little journey. If you happen to stop along the way and grab some munchies, why not use that pit stop to enjoy your week in review (kind of):