29 September 2017

This 'n' That

Things I think about while sitting at the airport, waiting for a two hour delay:

Why does that man keep riding the moving walkway and turning around when he reaches the end? He knows he's not exercising if he's just standing there while it moves him forward, doesn't he?

I hope that child stops screaming before that family boards the plane.

Has it been two hours yet?

Why are there so many dogs here?

It's nice that they're offering us free drinks and snacks while we wait, but does it have to be Dasani water? Does anybody else suspect that Dasani is really just tap water from Detroit?

Why are the bathroom stalls so small? Did the person who designed these not grasp the concept of an airport, and not realize that most people would be squeezing into these with one or two carry-on bags?

Has it been two hours yet?

I hope that guy finishes his smelly sandwich before he gets on the plane.

I wonder where that family is returning from. Oh wait, their their matching T-shirts are announcing it: Florida.

Surely by now it has been two hours!

Sigh. When are leggings going to go out of style? Those aren't pants. They are tights, and tights were meant to be worn underneath other clothing.

I hope I remembered to pack shampoo. I hate hotel shampoo. It always smells like fake flowers or cedar.

Yes, we are boarding! I wonder why we were really delayed? 

Now that you have some not-so-exciting insight into my brain, why not get ready for the weekend by enjoying your week in review (kind of):

22 September 2017

This 'n' That

Well, it's the first day of fall. If the weather where you are is anything like it is here, the humidity is making it feel like the middle of July. In spite of my huge, frizzy hair, though, I am not complaining. The warm weather has been welcome following a week or two of cold, damp, gloomy, pre-fall days.

I suppose now that autumn is officially here, it is acceptable to begin adding pumpkin or pumpkin flavor to everything. Admittedly, I cheated, and picked up a couple of pumpkin-flavored donuts on Wednesday. If you could taste these donuts, you would've eaten them before fall officially began, too. Though while I am a huge fan of most things pumpkin-flavored, this trend definitely can be overdone. Pumpkin Spice M&Ms? No thank you. Pumpkin Spice Oreos? I'm not sure how I feel about those. Now, true, homemade pumpkin pie? Oh yes, that is where it's at. If you've made one and want to share a piece, I'd be happy to help you be a giving person.

I think what I love most about this season, though, is the reminders it brings of God's sovereignty and creativity. With every change of seasons, we are reminded of God's power and control over His creation. The sights, sounds, smells, and beautiful colors of autumn ought to evoke words of praise to our God for the beauty and artistry of that same creation.

These reminders are some of the reasons I prefer to live in a place that does experience the change of seasons. The shift from winter to spring especially brings to mind the picture of being dead in sin and born again in Christ. Though this is a fallen world filled with sin, death, sickness, dirt, and general unpleasantness, it nevertheless is still filled with good gifts from a loving God. And if these common graces are so beautiful, imagine what awaits His own in Heaven!

For now, though, we remain on this earth. So while you sip on your Pumpkin Spice Latte, why not take the opportunity to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

20 September 2017

Unshakeable Joy Because of What Is to Come

The devotional that follows, as well as subsequent posts in this series, originally were written for and appeared as anonymous publications in the bulletins of a local church. Considering the joy (no pun intended) which resulted from the composition of this series, and the limited audience to which these articles were initially exposed, it seemed appropriate to finally share them here, with this dear readership.

In the shadow of His looming crucifixion and unthinkable circumstances, Jesus told His disciples in John 16:22 that “no one will take your joy away from you.” The incalculable hope in His words offered a promise that the transient troubles of this world would one day pass, and they would be with Him for eternity (John 14:1-3).

17 September 2017

16 September 2017

Equipping Eve: Bell's Broken Bible

This episode actually aired back in August, but I failed to share it here. Remember, Equipping Eve is a podcast for ladies only!

The Bible is God’s Word, and when we don’t treat it as such, we naturally end up with a low, skewed view of God and Christ. In this episode, we’ll discuss the latest from author and teacher Rob Bell, a prominent “Scripture twister,” and see how his views of God’s Word align with the views of its Author.

Click here to listen to this episode of Equipping Eve.

Here is a link to the article referenced in this episode.

Further Listening
Equipping Eve: Have We Left Our First Love?
Equipping Eve: What Is Sanctification?
Equipping Eve: Crayolas and Quiet Time

15 September 2017

This 'n' That

Yesterday was gloomy and damp around these parts. The morning air was still moist with the overnight rain, and the drizzle scarcely stopped all day. It seemed an appropriate day, then, to travel a few miles south to the Ark Encounter.

I knew that Answers in Genesis had used some artistic license and extra-biblical sources to construct their story of Noah, so I went prepared to be a good Berean, but nevertheless was eager to visit the structure.

Believe it or not, I'm actually in this photo.
So, after spending a few hours at the Ark, what are my thoughts? Well done.

Yes, it's a little frustrating to see various plaques naming the names of the wives of Noah and his sons. After all, these details are not contained in Scripture and are not necessary to construct a complete narrative. I also chuckled at the plaque that described how Noah might have "traveled to a small port city where he became an apprentice shipwright. He learned blacksmithing and shipbuilding and eventually married the daughter of his employer." It's important to note, though, that the entrance of this particular exhibit was clear in noting that "artistic license" was used to tell the story of how Noah might have come to possess the necessary skills to build the ark. At the end of the day, we do not know how God equipped Noah to construct such a massive ship, and at the end of that same day, it does not matter.

Still, though these additions would not have been necessary, they do not detract from the message. The gospel was clear and prevalent throughout, and for that I was very thankful. Further, the sheer size of the structure insists that one stand in awe. What did Noah think when God commanded him to build this behemoth? And there, in the ark, God chose to preserve eight people. Just eight.
For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:14)
Now, do we need a "Christian-themed attraction" in order to proclaim the gospel? No, we do not. But if it is going to exist, then it may behoove us to pray that God would use it to glorify Himself in whatever way He chooses.

Right now, though, none of us are on the ark, which means we should have plenty of time to enjoy the week in review (kind of):

13 September 2017

Unshakeable Joy Because of Who God Is

The devotional that follows, as well as other posts in this series, originally were written for and appeared as anonymous publications in the bulletins of a local church. Considering the joy (no pun intended) which resulted from the composition of this series, and the limited audience to which these articles were initially exposed, it seemed appropriate to finally share them here, with this dear readership.

The sovereignty of God over all things is a crucial part of the foundation of the Christian’s unshakeable joy. That God has ordained everything that comes to pass, and that He is working all things together according to His perfect will and for the good of His own children (Rom 8:28) offers the greatest element of comfort for the believer.

Yet the character and nature of God run deeper than even His unfathomable sovereignty. It is the culmination of the entirety of His magnificent attributes that provides the full foundation of our trust and hope in Him.

09 September 2017

Equipping Eve: Exposition for Women and Productive Boredom

Can boredom be productive? Are being bored and being idle the same thing? Also: Erin discusses how the Bible is filled with women who were students of the Word. What does this mean for us today as women of the Word living in the world?

Click here to listen to this episode of Equipping Eve.

Further Listening
Equipping Eve: Canon Conversations
Equipping Eve: On Choosing the Good Part
Equipping Eve: How Healthy is the Women's Ministry in Your Church?

08 September 2017

This 'n' That

Some people hate going to the dentist. Me? I hate going to the eye doctor. Why? Well, for some reason, when people start to talk about eyes or, even worse, show me the pictures of my eye as taken by the OptiMap machine, I pretty much nearly pass out (yep, it's embarrassing confession time). I'm not exaggerating. Just show me an enlarged picture of an eyeball and start talking about it and you will lose me. I'll break into a cold sweat, my ears will start ringing, and anything you say to me better not be important, because I can most certainly assure you that I am not listening. Yes, I know I'm an adult. Don't judge me.

Honestly, I don't know what my problem is, but I've dealt with it for many years, so I'm guessing I'll probably deal with it for many more. Needless to say, I dread going for my annual eye exam.

Guess what I did yesterday? Yes, I went for my annual eye exam. Guess what I didn't do? I didn't pass out (yay)! I didn't even nearly pass out (double yay)! Why didn't I? Because I warned them ahead of time not to show me pictures of my eye or talk in too much detail (unless of course something was seriously wrong, then I suppose I'd have to listen). Warnings are good and can be to our great benefit.

Think about it. This is why we feel pain. When we feel pain, we are warned that something bad is happening and we know to stop what we are doing. There are those with medical conditions that prevent them from feeling pain and, well, you can imagine how dangerous that would be!

Even more serious are the warnings issued to us in Scripture. Warnings against false teachers and the deceptions of Satan and the world are prevalent in the Bible. So too are warnings regarding the wrath of God, and these are indeed the most important! It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31), which is precisely why we, as Christians, must be busy doing the Lord's work. Namely, we must be determined and deliberate in our evangelism to the lost. And when we evangelize, we ought not hand that lost soul a CD with a 60-minute sermon on it and tell them to listen. Rest assured that they will not. Instead, simply give them the gospel. Call them to repent of their sins. Plead with them to trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. Such a gospel proclamation only takes a few minutes and cuts to the heart of the issue. Sound too simple? That is the beauty of it. We are called to sow the seed of the gospel. Only God can cause it to grow. Let us be faithful, then, to sow.

And as you prepare for the weekend and the many opportunities you may have to share the gospel, why not also pause for a few minutes to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

06 September 2017

Unshakeable Joy in Times of Trial

The devotional that follows, as well as subsequent posts in this series, originally were written for and appeared as anonymous publications in the bulletins of a local church. Considering the joy (no pun intended) which resulted from the composition of this series, and the limited audience to which these articles were initially exposed, it seemed appropriate to finally share them here, with this dear readership.

We delight when life brings ease, comfort, and good news, and we thank God for restful times of joy. Yet, Scripture promises that our earthly lives may not always be defined by favorable circumstances. Instead, Jesus promised that, “in this world [we] will have tribulation.” Note, too, how He ends His sentence: “But, take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

01 September 2017

This 'n' That

Well, Hurricane Harvey has wreaked some massive destruction this week. In times like this, it seems trite and, to some, perhaps even inappropriate, to remind of God's power and sovereignty over even the storms, wind, and waves.

I get that. Disaster is not the time to exercise our flowery Christianese skills. It's a time to pray and offer whatever help we can. For those of us who have not been devastatingly impacted by Harvey, we must keep this in mind.

At the same time, when events like this happen, we must still remember that God is omnipotent and sovereign. Yes, even over the storms. Not one drop of rain falls without Him ordaining it. Such truth doesn't make dealing with these situations easier, but it does help us keep a right perspective. Yes, I know that's easy for me to say so disconnected from the devastation, but in keeping that perspective, we remember that, while today's tragedy is Hurricane Harvey, tomorrow's could be a tornado in the Midwest, or an earthquake in California, or a cancer diagnosis in our family.

The comfort that comes from a right understanding of God's sovereignty cannot be overstated or over-emphasized.

Will you join me in praying for our brothers and sisters who have been affected by Harvey? Say a prayer for them now, then come back to enjoy your week in review (kind of):