Thursday, June 30, 2011

Randoms

Here are five easy ways to beat writer's block. Number 4 looks fun!

Looking for a good movie? "That's What I Am" is a new release starring Ed Harris.  This is the story of a 12-year-old boy who "is convinced he's been pushed toward social suicide when his teacher pairs him up for a project with the school's biggest reject. But the boys form an unexpected bond when bullies turn their attention to an unlikely target." Netflix has it on Instant.


Creativity--the sure sign we are made in God's image:

Monday, June 27, 2011

How Does Your Pastor Pray?

Recently I read of Ci, a Border Collie that has developed a fear of sheep. Imagine! A sheepdog afraid of sheep! The only way the shepherd is able to keep the flock from getting the upper-hand (stamping their feet and ganging up) is to get behind the herd with dog, call the sheep, and when the sheep approach, the dog runs off in the direction the shepherd actually wants to go!



Now imagine a pastor that is driven by his congregation--flock-driven, if you will. Not hard to do, is it?

Sadly this is the condition of many churches today, with ovinophobic leaders. This is not leadership at all—and the congregation becomes not-sheep, but . . . well, I’m not sure what they are, but they are not sheep.

The Apostle Paul regards the Ephesians in a special way—he gushes with gratitude for this church. He says in his prayer concerning them, “For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers.” (Ephesians 1:15-16)

Paul is thankful that this church consists of Christ-followers, exercising faith in their Lord. From the beginning when they first repented, to their continual walk with Him by faith, their faith is known and measurable. Paul thanks God for His work in them, and he wants them to know of his gratitude. This is deeper than the kind of gratitude that helps a family stay strong. There is a great God at work building His church and Paul wants them to know they are a special part of what God is doing, and God is still doing that work. They are growing in faith because they are followers, not drivers.

Paul is also thankful in the love they show for all the saints. They love each other. That’s right—they do something else besides spending 30 seconds welcoming each other after singing and before the announcements. They love others because they first love God. They pray for one another and support each other in their walk in the Lord. They are receiving instruction and are obedient.

How is your pastor praying for you? Are you cause for great rejoicing and thankfulness, or is he on the run?

How is your faith moving you forward in obedience?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Paul’s Prayer Request in Ephesians 1


You’ve heard the saying, “Prayer changes things.” How often we fail to recognize that we are first changed by prayer! Followers of Christ are changed at that initial prayer when we cry out for mercy because of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ—we are able to call Him Father! What gratitude and love we express when every time we pray we say, “Father . . .”

Yet over the course of time, we sanctify a period of utterances with “Father . . .” or “God . . .” or “Lord . . .” and fail to remember the person we are addressing.

“Fatherwecomebeforeyounow . . .”

“Godpleaseblessourfood,amen.”

“Lordhelpthismeetingtoendquickly.”

What is right is that He is our Father, our God, our Lord and He should be addressed as such, but what is not right is that we forget the weight of those titles. Yes, He is our Creator and there should be gratitude for life, but He has reconciled us through Christ and He is our Father—we are His children. He is our God, The Supreme focus of worship through all heart, mind, soul and strength—He is deity and we His subjects. He is our Lord, our Ruler and we are his servants motivated by love. Do we pray to please our Father, or use prayer as a tool of power manipulation? The first chapter of Ephesians contains one prayer that can serve as an example and a challenge for us in the way we pray—we are the first to be changed by prayer.

Paul first makes his readers know they are covered in prayer and are answers to prayer. “For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers.” (Ephesians 1:15-16) Have you ever thought the reason you walk with Christ today in obedience to His Word is because someone prayed for you? I remember a preacher who used to say, “If you are running for God and someone is praying for you, give up!” I like to remind students the reason they are in Seminary is because God has answered prayer.

He continues to pray for them, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.” (Ephesians 1:17) His prayer is not “God bless the Ephesians,” but very specific. Paul asks the Father two requests on their behalf. The first part of the request is that they be given “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” He wants to see these Christians grow! The church is not a social club but a place to grow in the light of God’s grace in Christ Jesus. God speaks to us and gave us His spirit not for us to ignore, but to hear and obey. Think of a dog barking at night—to some it is a nuisance but to someone else, it may be a warning! God wants us to know Him better and we do that by the spirit of wisdom.

Paul continues, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:18-19) His second request is that “the eyes of your heart be enlightened.” In other words, as Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount, that they would see clearly, from God’s perspective. This is a great lesson in how to pray for others, that they would see themselves and others clearly, the way God sees. The purpose is that one would 1) “know the hope of His calling”; 2) “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,” and 3) “the surpassing greatness of His power.”

What a wonderful gift to pray for someone, that they would grow in their relationship with Christ and with others! New followers of Christ should become intimate with Him and what better way to do it than through the prayers of other followers and through fellowship with other followers! Every time God answers this prayer there is a great display of power!

There is a difference between “knowing” and “receiving” this power. Knowing this power is intimacy; receiving this power is impersonal, which leads to indifference. There is no place for indifference in prayer. This is why Jesus defines eternal life as “knowing God.” (John 17:3)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Randoms

Our daughter is getting married in a few days, so here are some wedding cakes that are hard to believe!

"Camera toss photography is a relatively unknown technique, but its title alone is a good explanation of the photography technique. There are people out there that create beautiful images by throwing their expensive cameras in the air with the shutter open."

Builders find rare underground stream while working on railway station; geologists say it is largest underground river found in Israel.   

Don't know what he did, but I wonder if the police offered him a job?


29 Ways to Stay Creative:

Posted using Mobypicture.com

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grace and Hope in Ephesians 1


Ephesians is decorated with sparkling jewels of Christ. The first chapter alone mentions Christ directly or indirectly at least 18 times in the first 14 verses. Everything is summed in Christ and He is the object of our inheritance.

My grandparents did not have much money, so they did what they could in preparing for birthdays and Christmas by visiting garage sales. I did not catch on to their pattern of shopping until I was much older, and felt rather embarrassed—yet each birthday and Christmas, they lavished gifts on us grandchildren. They did what they could within their means as an expression of love—and they prepared all year long for 15 minutes of childish delight.

God’s loving gift of grace in Christ Jesus is not second-hand, and it includes a present as well as a future reality. “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). He gave Himself as payment in order for us to have an inheritance—Himself. But when do we gain our inheritance? When do we finally meet face to face? We will gain Him when He is ready.

Yesterday I heard Pastor Adrian Rogers give an illustration that fits perfect here: each November they take their daughters shopping, allowing them to choose what they would like to have for Christmas. Then, right there, they buy what they have chosen; but, they don’t give it to them when they get home. Instead, they wrap and put away their gifts until Christmas.

When I heard this, I heard Adrian point to the principle that we know what we have in Christ and the hope that we have in His coming. I also heard in my own heart the excitement that grows. As Christmas day draws near for the girls, their excitement grows as they look forward to finally acquiring what lay under the Christmas tree—then the rapturous joy when they finally claim it!

For us our excitement and our energy grows as we await the day we finally claim our inheritance that was purchased for us on The Tree of Calvary—Christ Himself at His coming!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Terrapins, The Riches of God’s Grace and a Philosophical Problem: Ephesians 1

When we read through Ephesians 1:3-14 we find the Apostle Paul highlighting three aspects of salvation: God’s work in the past (1:3-6); God’s work in the present (1:6-11) and God’s work in the future (1:12-14). Salvation (as we use the term) is not limited to mere hell-fire rescue. This was God’s plan since before the creation of the world that through Jesus Christ we can be free from the power of sin and enjoy a restored relationship with Him as we await the final reconciliation to Him, when we see Him face to face.
The riches of God’s grace ais seen in the fact that we are made His children. Certainly we are His children by virtue of creation, but because we broke His moral law, we are separated from Him. Through the gift of His Son, we can turn from our sin and be made what we were not already—sons by adoption. Why does He do this? Because He is kind (Eph. 1:3,5). “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4) Simply put: He didn’t have to do this, but He did because He is kind.

Do you know what a terrapin is? A terrapin is a species of freshwater turtle that some people actually eat. As with any turtle, it can pull in its head and feet, closing up its shell quite tightly for protection. Small children often try to pry them open, but the animals dies with this sort of handling. The way to get it out, as with any turtle, is with patience—and a little warmth. Before long, out comes the head, then feet, then off it goes. People can be like that, which is why the kindness of God is so important. We may clamp up tight in sin, but His kindness waits until we are ready to come out of our shell, instead of killing us forthright.

Why does God do this? He did this to bring glory to Himself in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:6). One of the great questions that philosophy tries and cannot answer is, “why are we worth saving?” Are we worth saving at all? Yes, because we are made in His image and though we are now fallen in sin, God cannot just cast His image-bearer aside. The philosophers only find themselves saving our stuff (country, ideas, society, etc.) and think they’ve done the job. Many respond to God’s offer of salvation through Christ as a matter of survival (they don’t want to go to hell) but that is a selfish response and ends with the individual at that point—nothing else changes in their life because they have not died to self. God’s kind offer for salvation is in the present before it is in the future and for His glory, not our own, “we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.” (1:12, 14)

Another way to grasp what this means requires that we flip back to the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, where the LORD the Creator says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.” (Isaiah 43:2) God is not interested in our stuff but in our person. This is why we can do nothing to save ourselves and He must do everything. Our response can only be, whether we eat or drink or anything else for that matter, is to give glory to God because He has done it (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Consider God’s motives—He wants us to receive His grace: He wants us to be holy and blameless before Him (1:4); to be His children (1:5); to lavish rich grace (1:7-8); to make His will known (1:9); to give an inheritance (1:11). He assures this by giving His Spirit as a pledge (1:14).

He made the payment for us in His blood to demonstrate His righteousness (Romans 3:21-26). Forgiveness came at that price for us. It does not just happen. He gave us Christ that we may be received back into fellowship with Him. What makes us worth saving is that, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Obeying the Wonderful Grace of Jesus from Ephesians 1

Haldor Lillenas in 1918 penned the choral piece, “Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” a song that many enjoy singing still today. The chorus is true jubilation of rolling, climbing, sparkling and decorated with lilting soprano in a descant joy, all culminating at the pinnacle, the name of Jesus. Here is an enjoyable arrangement:



The grace of God in Christ Jesus is so magnificent and so glorious, but why do we have such a difficult time expressing it? The Bible says plainly that the gospel is, “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). Those who have turned from their sins to God by faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus have experienced this marvelous grace—it is truly good news—yet we can’t seem to communicate it to others.

The reasons may be many, but they are not good reasons. The Christian can’t claim ignorance of the gospel—how did one come to Christ to begin with? The Christian can’t claim fear—we are to die to self and live in Christ! The Christian can’t say he has no authority to speak because Jesus gave both authority and the promise of His presence to go and teach the nations. The Christian is without excuse.

American evangelist J. Wilbur Chapman asked 80 year old General Booth if he would disclose his secret for success with the Salvation Army. "He hesitated a second," Dr. Chapman said, "and I saw the tears come into his eyes and steal down his cheeks," and then he said, "I will tell you the secret. God has had all there was of me. There have been men with greater brains than I, men with greater opportunities; but from the day I got the poor of London on my heart, and a vision of what Jesus Christ could do with the poor of London, I made up my mind that He would have all of William Booth there was. And if there is anything of power in the Salvation Army today, it is because God has all the adoration of my heart, all the power of my will, and all the influence of my life." Dr. Chapman said he went away from that meeting with General Booth knowing "that the greatness of a man's power is the measure of his surrender."

Two lessons we can learn from General Booth: obedience and intentionality. Christians are to be leaders as we are followers of Christ, and since our Lord sends us out, we must obey as those who have surrendered to Him. Additionally, we should be challenged with the principle of leadership given by Peter, who instructed our ministry must be performed, “not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness.” (1 Peter 5:2) This means that we must not be at work because nobody else is around to do it; rather, we must be intentional, deliberate in our work because we are examples to His flock.

One question remains unanswered: how is grace so wonderful that God would use people like you and me to communicate it? Consider what Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:4-6: God has a method (“He chose”), an object (“us”), a time (“before the foundation of the world”) and a purpose (“that we should be holy and blameless before Him”). These are all tied up “in Him”; that is, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what makes His grace so marvelous: all who call on the name of the Lord “He predestined to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself.” Our destiny (as it were) is sonship in Christ—we are adopted into the family of God. Too many people over think what this means: it does not mean that God chooses some for salvation and others to damnation. God’s Word plainly says that with Christ at the center, all those in Him are chosen to be sons. This is God’s plan since the foundation of the world.

Since those who have entered into new life in Christ are “sons,” why be disobedient to what Our Father has instructed?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Leadership Lessons From Lesser-knowns (part 3)

Exodus 31 is turning out to be an inspiring passage of study around this Father’s Day, for here we find some leadership examples in two men specifically chosen and empowered by God for a specific task. Included with these men are the names of their fathers about whom not much is known, but we may infer a great deal from them by virtue of their just being mentioned. Their names remain timeless for a reason.

Hur is Bazalel’s grandfather and has served as an assistant to Moses and Aaron. His name can be given two meanings by virtue of translation. First, there is the noun, “hole/hollow/a depression.” Now there is a difference in what is meant by “hole:” there is the hole of a cobra (Isaiah 11:8) or an underground prison (Isaiah 42:22) and there is a valley-kind-of-“hole,” such as the depressed place between two hills, like Gilead (Numbers 33:32). These are secondary definitions. The root word is a verb which means, “by or grow white, pale.” Here in this passage it is used as a proper masculine noun, a person’s name. So which is it? How are we to think of the guy? What can we learn from him?

Let’s stick with what we know: he was an assistant to Moses and Aaron. “What kind of leadership example is that?” one may wonder. Remember what we learned of Bazalel: he was not given the gift of spiritual oversight, but the gift of manual arts and mechanical operations. Bezalel had to have received this kind of training from somewhere and one must conclude it was from a person like his grandfather. Hur was below the greats, much like a valley between two mountains.

When the Israelites fought against the Amalekites he was to hold his hands up. Scripture records, “Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed.” (Ex 17:11) How did the battle fare? “But Moses' hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.” (Ex 17:12) Notice who was there, holding up Moses’ hands. Because he was under Moses, as it were, “Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.” (Ex 17:13)

When you think of leadership, what do you envision? How low do you see yourself? When you think of those above you, are you obedient to God in your lowly position that enables them to do what God has called them to do? What has God called you to do among the spiritual giants?

When we are born again, we are born of God’s Holy Spirit, cleansed from sin and we are free to do everything we should as instructed in God’s Word. We are children of God and are to humbly walk in His Word. The work we do in obedience to His Word is noble work. “How, exactly is it noble work?” Glad you asked. First, it is noble because our motive to serve is our love for Christ. Second, our work is noble because the objective of our service is the glory of God. Finally, our work is noble because it is “white;” that is, our work is pure—without ulterior motive.

No matter where you are “on the totem pole,” be sure to encourage those who are leading all around you—let them know how they are valuable to you and your ministry.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Randoms

If pictures of the space shuttle, taken from space, are snapped from the space station and pictures of the space station are snapped from the shuttle, how can there be a picture of both the shuttle and the station together, taken from space?

Ah, yes!  The Solar Powered Rocking Sun Lounger! The 'soft rocker' is a solar powered outdoor rocking lounger whereby you can relax and recharge your electronics.


Do you know what Dr. Jack Kevorkian and Dr. Robertson McQuilkin had (and did not have) in common?  George Berkin makes one clear observation.

ht: my son

Gumball Wars from Scott Thierauf on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Leadership Lessons From Lesser-knowns (part 2)

We read in Exodus 31 that Bezalel's father was Uri, whose name literally means “my light.” A loose translation would be, “fiery light.” This is the same word used in Psalm 27:1 when the psalmist wrote, "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"

Exodus 37:17-24 contains a partial record of all that Bazalel made for the tabernacle, and the list includes the lamp stand, described in meticulous detail. Exodus 25 tells this piece is to be made of what amount to over 90 pounds of beaten gold; that is, nothing is to be melted and poured into a mould, but formed by hand. While some translate this piece as “candlestick,” it was not a light-giver in the same sense as a candle (which melt away as they give light). This was a receptacle for oil, to be burned in the light-giving. The imagery here is rich, and deep, starting with the understanding that the oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit.

The Scripture does not say much about Uri and we would be creating a mythological character if we imposing traits on a person about which we know very, very little; however, there is one main feature we must not ignore: this man’s name points out God in a world of darkness. The world is in a cave, as it were. God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1).

The world says that every person has light and that every person must shine. The Bible says that every person is in darkness and only God is the source of light: "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." (2 Cor. 4:6-7). What light is in you? Is it the light generated by the glory of God in Christ Jesus, your salvation? Just as the lamp stands in the Holy Place inside the tabernacle it is hidden from the world and revealed only to those who enter. The world does not see the preciousness of the light-giver unless we first enter then allow His light to shine through our life and work.

We are to be full of light in order that we may see clearly first ourselves, then others. "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" (Mt 6:22-23) How do you see reality? You either see it through the light, or through the dark. Jesus said very plainly, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mt 6:19-21) In other words, if you see reality with a good eye and are in the light, then your desire is for heavenly reward, not earthly reward. You lay up treasure in heaven. That’s where your heart is. If you see reality with a bad eye and are full of darkness, then your desire is earthly rewards. Your treasures are on earth. That’s where your heart is.

There is no accident that Uri is mentioned by name here. He had a direct influence on the life of his son, Bezalel, who grew to be a man of God. Uri let the God-given light in him shine on his son that the way of God would be illuminated before Him. Through his obedience, his son could be obedient and be the builder of the tabernacle. What is the impact of God’s light on others through your faithful shining?

One cannot help but think of The Light of the World telling his disciples they, too, are to be lights in the world. True religion is not a private matter, but one that is obvious, like a city set on a hill—it cannot be hidden. When we allow God to shine His light through us, we have nothing to fear—we will not melt away into uselessness nor can anything extinguish the light.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Leadership Lessons From Lesser-knowns (part 1)

When we come across passages such as Exodus 31:1-11 there is a tendency to survey the names, decide that we can’t pronounce them, and conclude there is no redeeming quality in passages such as these. We move on to something with more action, more adventure. We fail to remember this is God's Word, His special revelation to us. The New Testament reminds us that God's Word is inspired. This means there is value, even in passages such as this.

Here in Exodus 31, God chose for himself workers whose sole responsibility was to take that which is in the heavens and deliver it to the people. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had already moved through Egypt killing the first born in that final plague while simultaneously preventing the Destroyer from coming in (literally dwelling with the people that night). This same God is going to dwell in their midst. Scary thought, huh? Now, God was going to make a way through these men for His people to enjoy Him now that He had delivered His people from slavery.

Fast forward to Exodus 32 and read how the people had the wrong idea about God. It is necessary that God raise up workers that will help people understand Who He is and What He is about through their ministry. Let's look at the men mentioned in this passage to see what we can learn in order to be the kind of worker God uses to communicate the gospel.

Bezalel:
His task is to make sure everything is done correctly. Translated from the Hebrew, his name means literally, “in the shadow of God” ("B" = in Hebrew is a preposition, "in"; "tsel" = "shadow/shade"; "el" = God). If you think of Psalm 91:1, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” then you have already understood his name!

Also, when you read Psalm 91, you should think of Exodus 12, where God said of the Passover, "when I see the blood I will cover you” (12:13) and “the Lord will cover over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.” (12:23). Those under the blood are in the shadow, under His divine protection. This man specifically is under the shadow, protection and influence of God and called upon by God by name to be the overseer of the craftsmanship for all things concerning the tabernacle.

Observe that Bazalel is the first person in scripture described as being filled with God’s Spirit. Some think that the Old Testament focuses on God, the Gospels concentrate on Jesus and the rest of the New Testament, on the Holy Spirit. That is obviously not the case. “But,” you may ask, “what about Moses? How could he have done all those things in the Exodus without God’s Spirit?” We observe that this is the first mention of one being filled with God’s Spirit, specifically. Interestingly, in terms of the flow of narrative, Moses and the seventy elders are described as having God’s Spirit in Numbers 11, but only after Bezalel and his crew constructs the Tent of Meeting! Moses had not yet entered to see God face to face!

God through His Spirit has equipped this man for a unique ministry: make something no person had ever made before, based on the pattern of something in the heavens. The evidence that this man was filled is seen in the fact that the Tabernacle and all the instruments for ceremonial worship were actually built! God Himself came and resided in the middle of His people! God chose this man to oversee that work.

Now, think about this: God gave His Spirit to a person in order to accomplish His Will by first enabling us to “be,” then to “do.” The Spirit of God makes it possible for man to be what he is not: a sinner saved by the grace and mercy of God—able to enjoy the presence of God. This might be a clue to the kind of man Bezalel was: a man who kept short accounts with God.  Second, as Bezalel sought to please God from his heart first, then he was ready to please Him with his hands and he needed the Spirit to do that work. God will never ask us to do something for Him without giving us what we need to accomplish that task—nothing He desires ever goes unfinished. There is no quitting when He has empowered to do.

Do you see the spiritual gifts that were manifest in Bazalel? He was given ability and intelligence, knowledge and craftsmanship. He received the gift of architecture, carpentry, stone-cutting and metallurgy. He was not given the gift of spiritual oversight, but the gift of manual arts and mechanical operations. What an office to hold, for here is no champion of mediocrity! These were skills that were dedicated, consecrated and spiritually enhanced. He was a leader who stayed within limits. He could do stuff Moses and Aaron and the priests and the seventy judges could not do!

Each person is talented differently and if our work is to be God-honoring, we must first dwell in the secret place of God’s presence. When we bring together all the spiritual gifts of the body in the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do everything God has prepared us to do!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Randoms

Manvotional: Facing the Mistakes of LifeWilliam George Jordan shares thoughts on those growing pains of wisdom.

Midnight's Solar Eclipse.  On June 1, the shadow of the New Moon was cast across a land of the midnight Sun in this year's second partial solar eclipse.

This color chart demonstrates how men and women "see" color.  And they got it right!

Keep your eye on the ball!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

"Not As Wicked as Others"

Thomas Brookes (1608 - 1680) answers the objection, "But there are worse people than me!"

"Whatever evil you behold in other men's practices, realize that you have the same evil in your own nature.  There is the seed of all sins, of the vilest and worst of sins—in the best of men. When you see a drunkard—you may see the seed of that sin in your own nature. When you see an immoral man—you may see the seeds of immorality in your own nature. If you are not as wicked as others—it is not because of the goodness of your nature—but from the riches of God's grace!

Remember this—there is not a worse nature in hell than that which is in you, and it would manifest itself accordingly—if the Lord did not restrain it! There was one who was a long time tempted to three horrid sins: to be drunk, to lie with his mother, and to murder his father. Being a long time followed with these horrid temptations, at last he thought to get rid of them, by yielding to what he judged the least, and that was to be drunk; but when he was drunk, he did both lie with his mother and murdered his father.

Why, such a hellish nature is in every soul that breathes! And did God leave men to act according to their natures, all men would be incarnate devils, and this world a total hell. In your nature you have that that would lead you . . . with the Pharisees—to oppose Christ; and with Judas—to betray Christ; and with Pilate—to condemn Christ; and with the soldiers—to crucify Christ.

Oh, what a monster, what a devil you would be—should God but leave you to act suitable to that sinful and woeful nature of yours!"

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Randoms

"The only time we fail in evangelism (presuming it is done biblically) is when we fail to evangelize."  Tony Miano passes along "The Encouragement of Discarded Gospel Tracts."

Fireworks, Lightening and a Comet.  God displays his marvelous handiwork while we marvel at the little things.

When I saw this Dirt Artist, I could only imagine what "Pig Pen" (Peanuts cartoon character) grew up to be.

And finally, some advise on writing short stories: 



Wednesday, June 01, 2011

“May Adam Eat From Any Tree?”

Question: Genesis 1:29 God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you.” This is followed by Genesis 2:16 where God says, “The LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely.” Then in Genesis 2:17, God forbids eating saying, “but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." So which is it: may Adam eat from any tree, or not?

Answer: I remember visiting my grandmother through the summers and especially looked forward to all those wonderful things that came from her kitchen. As long as I had permission, I could eat anything—but there was one thing I could not eat. Right in the middle of the table was a bowl of fruit. I could not eat that, and it was not because I did not have her permission. It was because it was not edible fruit—it was plastic!

Adam may eat from any tree given for food. As a matter of fact, he must eat from every tree given for food or else he will die. Look at Genesis 2:9, “Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Adam has a choice that depends on man’s obedience to God—if he does not eat, he dies. Man must live by eating! If Adam dies, who will work the soil?

But is every tree for food?  There is one tree that is not for food and it is identified separately from every other tree: Adam must not eat from this tree, or he will die by eating. Adam has a choice that depends on his obedience to God. Would he die because it was inedible? No but because he disobeyed God’s command.

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