28 September 2018

This 'n' That

Wow, I cannot believe that it is nearly October! The month of September has absolutely zoomed past, and I don't even remember how it was spent! Oh well, such is the busyness of life.

Around here, it is finally starting to feel like fall, and this morning's chilly temperatures were no exception. We also had quite a bit of fog here this morning and as I stepped outside to fill the bird feeders and realized that I could barely see to the back of the yard, I happened to think of this verse:
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)
Just as I could not see far beyond the trees due to the thick mist that essentially covered my eyes, so too can we not fully see our Lord in all of His glory. We are incapable of sufficiently comprehending all that He is and all that He does. There is still so much about this world and our lives that we do not understand. Yes, we have His Word. Says Spurgeon, "The revelation of God is ample and profound, but our understanding is weak and shallow." Yes, we have the gracious illumination of the Holy Spirit, but it is not until He takes us to glory that we will fully see Him and fully know Him. What a wondrous day that will be! What a thing to look forward to!

But, today is still today and we are still here in this fog-filled world, so you may as well make the best of it by enjoying your week in review (kind of):

22 September 2018

Equipping Eve: Salvation in the Old Testament

All those sacrifices…all that blood! Wow, it really must have been difficult for Old Testament believers to get saved and stay saved! Wait a minute…let’s back up and see what the Bible has to say about salvation in the Old Testament.

Click here to listen to this episode of Equipping Eve.

Additional Resources
Churchgoers Stick Around for Theology, Not Music or Preachers 
An Introduction to Christ in the Old Testament

Further Listening
Equipping Eve: The Cross of Christ
Equipping Eve: Doctrinally Sound Legalism
Equipping Eve: Hopeology

21 September 2018

This 'n' That

The dentist always asks me if I can open a bit wider. And
everybody says I have a big mouth!
Have you ever bitten your tongue? It hurts! Now, have you ever bitten your tongue while it was numb, for instance, if you were at the dentist? I have. When this happens, the novocaine acts as both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because it prevents you from feeling that initial painful chomp. It's a curse because once it wears off, wow, does your mouth hurt! In addition to the sheer pain you're experiencing, you suddenly realize just how much you actually use your tongue, and what a necessary member of your body it is.

There are a few routes we can go with this illustration, but I'm just going to select one. Sometimes we sin without pain. We sin, we know we have sinned, we feel guilty and repentant about our sin, but beyond that we may not see immediate effects of our sin. When I bit my tongue under the effects of novocaine, I didn't feel a thing, I only heard the crunch. It wasn't until I could look in a mirror and see the aesthetic effects that I was able to be mindful of how carefully I must chew until the numbness wore off. And it wasn't until the numbness wore off that I was fully aware of the painful effects of my action.

Depending on the sin, it may be years before we see the true consequences of what we've done. That is why it is essential for us as Christians to be in an ever-repentant state of mind, so that we do not slip into the deceitful, numbing ease of sin. That is also why it is a blessing that God, in His goodness and grace, allows us to see in ourselves both how we have grown spiritually, and where we may still be immature. What Christian cannot say that she becomes more aware of her sin as she grows in Christ? This is because, as He grows us into maturity and more into His likeness, we become keenly aware of how unChristlike we are, and how dependent we are on Him and His grace. And yet He continues to sanctify us by the enabling power of His Holy Spirit. He does not leave us to pull up our own spiritual bootstraps and fix ourselves. Best of all, when we do sin, which we inevitably will daily, through His Word He reminds us that we are already forgiven.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
If we have been saved, we have already been justified before God in Christ. We confess and repent of our sins in time that we may reap the benefits of His forgiveness and continue in sanctification, growing in the grace and the knowledge of the Son.

That's all very good news, isn't it? I think it is!

I'm a little short on links this week because I'm weary of hearing about social justice and politics and would prefer that we all go back to what matters: God's Word. So with that, why don't you grab a snack (and watch your tongue while you chew it!) and enjoy your abbreviated week in review (kind of):

14 September 2018

This 'n' That

Hurricane Florence as seen from the space station.
Credit: NASA; Source: Space.com
I do hope you are all remembering to pray for those in the path of Hurricane Florence. When we see such seemingly uncontrollable—yet divinely controlled—strength, it ought to cause us to reassess our priorities. Not only from the standpoint of, "If you were at risk of losing your house and everything in it, what would you save?" but for those of us resting on the outskirts of the storm, perhaps we need to re-evaluate how it is we are spending our time as well. It seems to me that a phenomenon such as Florence ought to cause us to set aside our "social" squabbles and instead be diligent to be in prayer and the proclamation of the gospel. But then, nobody asked me.

So while I do have a roundup for you this week, and some of it may be lighthearted, please know that those who are affected by, or are going to be affected by, Hurricane Florence, are in my prayers and thoughts. With that, here's your inconsequential week in review (kind of):

09 September 2018

A Hymn No Man Can Mimic

I love the sound of rain. It's steadiness is soothing to me, and I appreciate how it seems to overwhelm all other noise. Yet, over the past 24 hours, we have received an extraordinary amount of rain, due to Tropical Storm Gordon making its way across the map. The temperatures have dropped and the flash flood warnings have been issued in abundance. And while the incessant rainfall offers a valid excuse for staying inside with a cup of tea and a book, such a lengthy duration of precipitation tends to leave one feeling as though the world may not ever return to "normal." As much as I appreciate those drizzling drops, when they fail to ever stop, you start to miss the other sounds of the world around you.

Then, as I poured my coffee this morning, I realized that the rain had momentarily ceased. While it would no doubt begin again soon, for a few sweet minutes, the early morning sounds that I so enjoy were no longer overcome by the steady patter of the rain. I heard a bird singing sweetly in the trees at the back of the yard. The extra weight of the water upon the leaves clearly did not bother him, nor did the sudden drop in temperature. He was singing his dulcet song this Sunday morning, a hymn that no man can ever mimic.

I stepped outside to hear him more clearly, and to delight in his melody before the blue jays joined in with their not-so-symphonic cries. The air was crisp—something so foreign to us with the oppressive humidity of recent weeks—and the morning was still as it awaited the inevitable resurgence of moisture. Brief though it was, it was one of the most peaceful moments I've been granted in months, and for that I am thankful. Thankful for the reminder of God's care for even the smallest of His creatures (Matthew 6:26), and grateful to be blessed with such a sweet Sunday morning song.

The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. (Psalm 104:12, NIV)

May our praise be to God as sincere, sweet, and trusting as the tones of this small bird.

Sunday Morning Praise

His Eye Is On the Sparrow

08 September 2018

Equipping Eve: The Fruit of God's Faithfulness

God is faithful. It’s easy for us to give lip service to this, because we intellectually know it to be true, but sometimes it helps to reflect on real, living examples of how God has exercised His faithfulness to His people. That’s when our Lord stops being an unreachable entity in the sky, and starts being the personal Shepherd that He is.

Click here to listen to this episode of Equipping Eve.

Further Listening 
Equipping Eve: Unshakeable Joy
Equipping Eve: The Cross of Christ
Equipping Eve: Life Verses and Labyrinths

07 September 2018

This 'n' That

Any time my family traveled to the beach when I was young, one of my primary goals was to find a large conch shell so I could take the ocean home. You know what I mean; the phenomenon of holding a shell to your ear and hearing the waves is one that fascinated me as a child, especially since that sound traveled back home to the midwest with me.

Of course, as I grew older, I came to understand that it wasn't really the ocean I was hearing in that shell. But what was it, then?
The most likely explanation for the wave-like noise is ambient noise from around you. The seashell that you are holding just slightly above your ear captures this noise, which resonates inside the shell. The size and shape of the shell therefore has some effect on the sound you hear. Different shells sound different because different shells accentuate different frequencies. You don't even need the seashell to hear the noise. You can produce the same "ocean" sound using an empty cup or even by cupping your hand over your ear. (Source)
I know, it kind of bursts that childhood bubble, doesn't it? Even though we're all grown up now though, stop and think about that explanation above. Did that just happen by chance? Did those sound waves (no pun intended) just poof! appear out of nowhere millions of years after the alleged Big Bang?

No, they did not. And those shells, which once housed a living creature, did not evolve, mutate, or morph from a blob of goo. And that sand that squishes between your toes while your searching for those shells? Yeah, that didn't just appear out of nowhere either. God put it there (Jeremiah 5:22), and while we can never count each grain of sand, I daresay that God knows exactly how many He created.

Great, now I want to go to the beach! Oh well, while I resign myself to another hot, humid, and apparently rainy weekend, why don't you relax with your week in review (kind of):

02 September 2018