26 October 2018

This 'n' That

Is it just me, or do Christians talk about trials a lot? I mean, a lot. Don't misunderstand, I know that we all go through trials, sometimes very lengthy and draining trials (oh boy, do I know about this!), but this topic really seems to dominate a great many books, articles, and even sermons. What is that about?

It's true, God never promised us a rose garden, and Christians often seem to endure more than the unsaved (even David asked, "why do the wicked prosper?"), but why do we tend to dwell on this so much?
Bubbles make every bad day better.

From my perspective and experience, when we belabor the point about trials specifically, we do the exact opposite of what we're attempting to do. We say high and lofty things about the sovereignty of God, etc., but by focusing on the reality of trials ad nauseum, we ultimately end up looking at ourselves instead of Christ. When a sermon goes on and on and on and on about trials, we become absorbed in looking at our own situation rather than to the One we claim to serve.

That's the problem as I see it, but I think there's a very simple solution: look to Christ. And I don't mean ordering people to look to Him while you preach your sermon (or write your book) about trials. I mean, simply preach and teach Christ. Point people to the person of Christ by studying the Gospels. Focus on His nature and characteristics, rather than tossing Him in as a point of law while you lament your circumstances. When our main focus is Jesus, the trials don't disappear, but they begin to pale in light of the Savior we serve and what He has promised us.

But then, what do I know? Who am I to be telling the educated ones how to teach and write? All I know is, when a Christian is becoming spiritually, emotionally, and mentally exhausted from being beaten down by a constant inward focus on the "woe is me-ness" of trials as perpetuated by lauded teachers, they eventually realize they need to look elsewhere for relief. Thankfully, there is a healing balm found right there in the pages of Scripture, and in the One who is the Living Word.

Well, around here it is a gloomy and rainy day, which is perfect weather for brewing a cup of tea and relaxing with your week in review (kind of):

20 October 2018

This 'n' That (on Saturday)

This llama has nothing to do with this post.
I think I can count on one hand the number of times that I've had to delay your week in review, so I'm grateful for your patience! It wasn't in the plans for this post to be delayed, but yesterday kind of slipped away from me. Nevertheless, I still have a great roundup of links for you, and didn't want to leave you hanging for a whole week. The problem is, now I can't remember what I planned to write for this introduction. So, instead I'll just share some early Saturday morning musings.

I just made out my weekend to-do list, and, like every week, it includes such fun-filled activities as "do laundry" and "vacuum." Sometimes I wonder why I look forward to Saturday so much if all it means is doing chores! And while I'm rambling about nothing in particular, I've come to realize that every time I write the word "vacuum," I wonder about that double "u." Where did that come from? Whose idea was it?

That's where Google, the all-knowing search engine, comes in. Apparently "vacuum" is from the Latin word "vacuus," which means "empty." Now you know (unless you took Latin in high school, in which case you may have already known and were judging me for my ignorance).

Speaking of words and language, I'm reminded of an interesting book I read in my first year of grad school. Scripture as Communication by Jeannine Brown is a thought-provoking introduction into biblical hermeneutics, and really challenges the reader to consider the very nature of the communicative act, and how that relates to our view and understanding of God's Word.

Anyway, perhaps I'll write more about that at another time. For now, you've been offered a glimpse into the tangential way my mind works (from to-do list, to Latin origins, to books read long ago), and I apologize for that. I think now may be a good time for me to be quiet and let you enjoy your week in review (kind of):

12 October 2018

This 'n' That

Fall has officially arrived. I'm busting out my hand warmers to keep my digits warm while I type at work, and I'm dangerously close to buying some of those microwaveable slippers to keep my toes toasty during the day (I work from home, so slippers are allowed). I actually really like fall, but the cooler temperatures do require a little more daily maintenance to keep me warm.

I don't expect that the fall colors will be overly stunning this year, though, at least not in my area. Our summer was just too...strange. No matter, because soon it will be even colder, drearier, and icy, and I'll be longing for spring, allergies and all. Still, with every change of the seasons I am reminded of our Creator's magnificent power, providence, and sovereignty. He controls the changing of the seasons, even as He has ordained all things that come to pass.

So, while I go searching for some gloves, why don't you grab a mug of something pumpkin-flavored and sit back to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

06 October 2018

Equipping Eve: The Promises of God: God's Promised Seed

Our God keeps His promises, and no doubt the greatest of these promises is found in Genesis 3:15. Get your page-turning fingers ready, ladies, because we’re about to dig into the biblical text to find out more about God’s promised Seed!

Click here to listen to this episode of Equipping Eve.

05 October 2018

This 'n' That

Fall means pie (yay!), and lots of it! Unfortunately, the temperatures around here have been so warm, it's difficult to get in the pie-making, or even the pie-eating mood. And pumpkin flavored treats? I've only been able to delve into some pumpkin cookies, and even that feels odd with the thermometer hovering around 80 degrees.

Nevertheless, it's apple season and my favorite dessert by far is apple pie. Something that has always perplexed me, though, is the fact that so many people use Granny Smith apples for their apple pie. Why? Haven't you ever noticed that it is fairly tasteless and, if it does have a taste, it's sour? My friend, if you are making your pies with Granny Smith apples, you are doing it wrong. Get in the car, go to the store (or orchard, if you have one nearby) and search out Jonathan apples. Now those are pie apples! Can't find Jonathans by you? I can sympathize, I've been there. There are alternatives, though none will be quite as tasty. And whatever you do, don't ruin the world's most delicious dessert with those overused Granny Smiths!

I don't know about you, but I am very thankful that the fruit from Genesis 3 was not an apple. Apples are delicious (even if they don't all make good pie), and their reputation deserves to be as flawless as their taste!

Okay, now that I've offended everyone whose grandmother used Granny Smiths in her apple pie, let's turn to the matter at hand. Grab a slice of pie, a cup of tea, and settle in to enjoy your week in review (kind of):
  • I can't even fathom paying only $1756 for a car. Nor can I imagine paying $1 million for that car today. It sure would be a lot of fun to drive, though!
  • It's October, which means it's time for articles about Martin Luther.
  • This is why I sometimes wear gloves inside.
  • Interesting look into the past.
  • This is why certain things trigger in our brains as being adorable.
  • Speaking of, here's your weekly (though slightly less orthodox than usual) dose of adorable.
  • Aw, I hope this puppy finds a good home!
Doctrine is not an affair of the tongue but of the life. —John Calvin