October 28, 2014

Context

"For example, John 3:16 without 3:17 seems to balance itself in the wrong place.  John 3:17 says "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved."  This verse gives me greater clarity into how to read the one that comes before it.  It tells me that if Jesus did not come into the world to condemn it, then neither should Christians.  The use of the word "might" in the final clause, "that the world through him might be saved," tells me that the domain of Christian witness is not salvation (that is God's work), but service - selfless love and sacrifice.  John 3:16 standing alone with the theology of care offered in John 3:17 makes it harder to interpret."

Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, p. 67 

October 15, 2014

Your Disappointments? They matter.

Some excerpts from The Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias

"Over the years, I have discovered that pain, like despair, comes not in one package or one expression but in various measures.  While pain is the universal leveler, it works differently in everyone's life.  It shapes us uniquely, sparing no one in the process.  Even as we writhe under its blows, we assume that no one else can possibly have gone through what we have endured."
Who sinned?
"Sometimes our hurts or disappointments do only slight damage, while sometimes they inflict deep and devastating wounds.  If disappointment were a thief, it would be no respecter of persons.  In fact, the more a person had, the more there would be to plunder.  So how could there be a Grand Weaver behind the scenes, weaving a pattern such as this?"  
"Is it possible to see a pattern developing and then respond to the nod or the stops?  At first, of course, we question the Sovereign One in whose hands our destines lie: "Who sinned, this man or his parents?"  Jesus' own disciples asked this question regarding a man blind from birth.  In an amazing way, Jesus said, for at least the physically blind person knew his disability, whereas the spiritually blind person had no inkling of his greater disability.  Then Jesus added that this man's blindness had nothing to do with his own sin or with his parent's sin, but that God intended to use it to display his own work (see John 9)."
God's work on display

"God does not display his work in abstract terms.  He prefers the concrete, and this means that at the end of your life one of three things will happen to your heart: it will grow hard, it will be broken, or it will be tender.  Nobody escapes."
"God the Grand Weaver seeks those with tender hearts so that he can put his imprint on them.  Your hurts and your disappointments are part of that design, to shape your heart and the way you feel about reality.  The hurts you live through will always shape you.  There is no other way."
Perfect before God
"Perfection, then, is not a change in the essential character but the completion of a course.  This is precisely what Jesus must have meant when he admonished both his disciples and us to "be perfect," as our Heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).  We can never be who God is, but we can complete the task he assigns us to do.  Jesus demonstrated that the best way to reach God's desired end is always to obey the will of the Father, even when he seems distant."
Rudderless?
"The loss of faith is a dreadful thing because it takes away hope and even threatens love.  When Noah faced the prospect of a catastrophic flood, he never imagined a boat without a rudder.  Someone once, very seriously, asked early-twentieth-century British writer G.K. Chesterton, "If you were stranded on an island and could have just one book, what would it be?"  Instead of the very spiritual or literary-minded answer expected, Chesterton replied, "Why, A Practical Guide to Ship-building, of course!" 
"The Bible is a book on life building, written for us as we sojourn on this planet.  Interestingly, it also tells us that the rudder and sail remain in God's control and that we enter the high seas with the understanding that we must trust him.  If you do not have the mind of faith, then you will fall into repeated peril - and God will get the blame.  A life of simple trust is a blessed life, and it sees beyond any impediment through the mind committed to God's way."  
This book is chock-full of truth and helpful reminders about every-day living for God.  I am so glad that a few years ago, I was able to purchase it from a thrift store.  If you ever get the chance to read it, you will not walk away empty.   

October 8, 2014

Round-up

This is a post consisting of links to articles I have read this week, which I found to be important and informative - enjoy :)

Examining Hugh Ross's Navigating Genesis (semi-technical)

The guiding star of Dr. Ross’s understanding of origins is not God’s Word but secular dating methods. In his effort to make the Bible’s account of origins and earth’s early history fit onto billions of years of secular scaffolding, Ross twists God’s eyewitness account of pivotal events in our history—Creation Week during which God created the entire physical universe, and the global Noachian Flood that remodeled the earth. Ross’s distorted versions of Creation and Noah’s Flood fit neither the secular view of origins nor God’s descriptions revealed in His Word. Ross thus creates stumbling blocks to both biblical understanding and sound scientific reasoning. By the book’s conclusion the thoroughly misinformed reader will be armed with numerous nuggets of “bad science” and “bad Bible” to use when trying to “give an answer” (1 Peter 3:15) to unbelieving friends.

Brittany Maynard and the right to die movement

“There is not a cell in my body that is suicidal or that wants to die,” she told PEOPLE Magazine. “I want to live. I wish there was a cure for my disease but there’s not.”

Make sure to watch the accompanying video.  


Throughout this series, we watch these women age, undergoing life’s most humbling experience. While many of us can, when pressed, name things we are grateful to Time for bestowing upon us, the lines bracketing our mouths and the loosening of our skin are not among them. So while a part of the spirit sinks at the slow appearance of these women’s jowls, another part is lifted: They are not undone by it. We detect more sorrow, perhaps, in the eyes, more weight in the once-fresh brows. But the more we study the images, the more we see that aging does not define these women. Even as the images tell us, in no uncertain terms, that this is what it looks like to grow old, this is the irrefutable truth, we also learn: This is what endurance looks like.

It is an emotional experience to watch these beautiful women age and change through the years, and to realize that one day, my sisters and I will look back and think "where did time go" - though I hope that we will embrace each other and our lives with such passion, that we will have no regrets, only joyful memories of our love and devotion to each other as sisters.