Tag Archives: Theology

The Same Wisdom

creation

In Proverbs 8, the chapter scheduled for my reading today, wisdom is personified as a woman. The same thing happened in previous chapters as well, i.e. 3:13-18 and 4:6-9. However, in this chapter, she says the following of herself,

22 “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work,
    the first of his acts of old.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
    at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
    when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
    before the hills, I was brought forth,
26 before he had made the earth with its fields,
    or the first of the dust of the world.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there;
    when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above,
    when he established the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,
    so that the waters might not transgress his command,
    when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30 then I was beside him, like a master workman,
     and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
    and delighting in the children of man.

Such beautiful imagery! I don’t want to restate all that’s been said already, but go back and look line by line at how she describes herself and her relationship with the LORD.

Now, a few verses prior to that, verse 17, she says that she

…loves those who loves me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

Understand what she is saying here. Those that seek her “diligently” will find her…and she loves them. Various places in the previous chapters of Proverbs encourages people to seek after wisdom. One specific example is in Proverbs 3:13, which says, “blessed is the one who finds wisdom.”

What does this mean for us today?

Last Wednesday night, we covered James 1:1-8 during bible study. James 1:5 is a verse with which many of us are familiar –

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

James is encouraging us to ask for wisdom if we’re lacking it. The very wisdom that causes the one who finds it to be blessed. The very wisdom also personified above in v22-31! (Go read it again)

The very wisdom we are encouraged to seek after and ask God for if we’re lacking, was the wisdom that was with God – even used by God – in creation. How comforting is it to know that our Great God and King gives us the same wisdom He used before the foundations of the earth? There aren’t two different kinds of wisdom – He gives us His! How blessed are we?

Seek God today. In doing so, realize that as we are striving to know more about Him and how He can be glorified in our lives, He shares His wisdom with us.

Praise His kindness!

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Apologetics

AZ Sunrise

“The so-called argument from design by well-meaning “Apologists” has, we believe, done much more harm than good, for it has attempted to bring down the great God to the level of finite comprehension, and thereby has lost sight of His solitary excellence. Analogy has been drawn between a savage finding a watch upon the sands, and from a close examination of it he infers a watch-maker. So far so good. But attempt to go further: suppose that savage sits down on the sand and endeavors to form to himself a conception of this watch-maker, his personal affections and manners; his disposition, acquirements, and moral character-all that goes to make up a personality; could he ever think or reason out a real man-the man who made the watch, so that he could say, “I am acquainted with him?” It seems trifling to ask such questions, but is the eternal and infinite God so much more within the grasp of human reason? No, indeed. The God of Scripture can only be known by those whom he makes Himself known.”

“The Attributes of God”
Arthur W. Pink

With Your Morning Cup of Coffee

As you sit down with your coffee this morning, enjoy some of these articles that I’ve enjoyed over the past few days.

1. Why I’m Glad David Platt Is the New IMB President – Russell Moore.

Ok, really – this just makes sense! Perfect choice for such a position.

2. Kindle + Evernote = ♥ – Tim Challies

I love reading. I love Evernote. Both of them together? Yes, please. As usual, Tim does a good job on this article explaining how to integrate them together. Honestly, I was going to write an article along the same lines, but after reading this one – I’m glad I didn’t. I know he did much better than I would have.

3. Walk With God For Joy – Jared C. Wilson

This pastor has such a heart of grace. I can’t think of a time that he has spoken on a social media hot topic and not shown the side of the issue nor getting the attention it deserved. Thank you, sir.

4. Five Tips For Leading Your Small Group – Kevin DeYoung

I am currently preparing the lesson for a small group discussion with the teens in my church. This article has given me some great tips.

5. 10 Things That Happen When You Can’t Put A Good Book Down

I just though this was funny…I know a few people whom this would be quite appropriate for…myself included.

What good articles have you read over the past few days?

Grace and Peace,
John

Weekend Reading #2 – 5/23/14

Here are some articles I’ve enjoyed over the past week or so. Maybe you’ll enjoy them as well.

1. Jon Bloom – Ten Reasons to Memorize Big Chunks of the Bible

To be honest, I have never thought about memorizing large portions of the Bible. I’ve heard it done, but only by Pastors/Elders. Not to say that no one else was memorizing “big chunks”, I just had not seen it. This article is encouraging as to why it’s important.

2. David Mathis – Kindle the Fire in Corporate Worship

Phenomenal perspective on the importance of corporate worship. Read this article more than once.

3. Dave Dunham – Ask Pastor Dave: Which Translation of the Bible Should I Use?

Pastor Dave provides a new and refreshing answer to a common question. He goes quite in depth with this response and it is good. I especially appreciate the focus on choosing a Bible from a ministerial perspective.

4. Dave Bruskas – 3 Ways A Man Should Lead His Home

It is important for men to lead their families. The Resurgence has been consistent in their encouragement on how to do so. I enjoy reading articles like this because they give me new ideas on how I can go about leading my family. This information never gets old.

5. Trevin Wax – 5 Things Romanian Believers Taught Me About Prayer

I have been blessed to witness this first hand. For three consecutive summers (many years ago), I was fortunate to spend some time in Romania. During my third and final trip, I visited a church and the worship was wonderful! Even though the singing was in Romanian and I couldn’t understand it,  my emotions ran high that day.

6. H.B. Charles Jr. – Building An Preacher’s Library

As a young minister, I try to read plenty of articles that offer advice and recommendations on preaching and being a preacher. Granted, not everything written is worth taking in. But, there are some Pastor’s who cannot and should not be ignored – Pastor Charles is one of them.

7. *Cult of Android – Pushbullet Now Mirrors Notifications Across All Your Androids

*I am not a “tech head” by any means, but lately I have been looking into new ideas of integrating my phone/tablet into my life in more ways than just playing games and surfing the internet and reading. Basically, I’m looking to be more productive. Every now and then, I will add an link or two to these posts showcasing an article I found to be interesting. Although I use (and prefer) Android to iOS, I will include iOS article here and there. 😉

What have you read this week that sparked your interest?

G.O.S.P.E.L. by D.A. Horton (Book Review)

3300_G.O.S.P.E.L.inddI first heard of D.A. Horton from a YouTube video in which he was promoting ReachLife Ministries. – the ministry/educational arm of the powerhouse record label, Reach Records. Horton had recently taken over as the Executive Director of ReachLife and was explaining the intentions and some of the goals of the ministry, to include where he was praying God would lead it.  He was very purposeful in his statements and his presentation of, not only the message of ReachLife, but the message of the gospel.

This was a brother whom I could tell knew the gospel and was able to communicate such truths to brothers and sisters on the block, as well as brothers and sisters in the church. When the opportunity to review his first book presented itself – I had to take it.

Horton has written an extremely easy to read book. At only 77 pages, someone should be able to make it from cover to cover in less than two or three sittings. However, to take the brevity of the book as a weakness would be a discrediting to the author – I think Horton did a great job with his first effort as a published author.

As with any book, there are some aspects I liked better than others. And although they are few and far between, there are some specifics that I didn’t like at all. However, at the end of the day, I don’t think anyone would be upset investing time in reading this book.

When reading this book, you can’t help but wonder who the book was written for – someone wanting to communicate the gospel to urban dwellers or urban dwellers who want to know more about the gospel.

It’s actually both.

The book is written in such a way that if the reader can already explain the gospel in a clear and concise manner, this book provides the tools needed to be able explain it to someone in an urban context. The slang and terminology that Horton uses in this book is used in such a way that someone unfamiliar with the meanings might be able to understand the words if they heard them in person. On the reverse, the book is written in such a way that if someone from the urban context had questions about the gospel, aside from someone walking along side them one on one, this would be a good resource for them to read. Again, the slang and terminology Horton  uses to explain complex theological truths is right on par with how brothers and sisters in the urban context speak.

Which leads to one of the few issues I have with the book. Horton defines the slang and terminology he uses in the book as “Thebonics” and he defines it as “the presentation of theological truths in the language known as ebonics, the rich slang that is part of our urban neighborhoods, especially African-Americans, to describe people and situations in the hood.” Basically, it’s a term he created to explain his use of slang to express theologically specific terms and ideas.

That kinda bothers me. I would have liked for him to have chosen a better descriptor for the terminology he uses in his book. I don’t know too many African-Americans, Hispanics, etc., whom are comfortable with the term “ebonics” – if they remember the controversy when the term was first introduced to be used in a school setting. This, I believe, is the only shortcoming of the book. (I am sure that there was no ill-intent in its use. I believe Horton only used it as a means of identification to the target audience whom would most likely read the book. He is a man who has an apparent and sincere love for all of God’s people. This instance is just something that I personally didn’t like.)

Aside from that, which is far from distracting, the book is good. I would not hesitate in recommending it to anyone, especially teens and young adults. I think it would be a great youth group study or even a personal study.

Pick it up a few copies for your youth group or just one copy for the teen in your family – it’s well worth it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Moody Publishing through the Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review.  I have not received payment for a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

A Right View of the Power of God

Preparation Timewpid-20140213_082025.jpg

Last night, as I sat at my dining room table working on homework, I couldn’t help but think about the impending storm. I thought about how everyone, myself included, stopped at the store on their way home from work to stock up on food and supplies just in case the storm left us to deal with the worst. I thought about those in Georgia and other southern states that were already dealing with the beast that was yet to reach us here in Maryland.

As many of us watched the news for updates, I wondered how many of us were thinking about the storm in terms of the destruction that was potentially about to take place. Were our thoughts with those who were going to be without electricity because of damaged wires from fallen trees? Were our thoughts with those who were going to be stranded in their vehicles when the roads became too dangerous to travel? Were our thoughts with those whom were without a roof over their heads during one of the biggest storms of the last few years?

It’s Here

This morning, I was one of the many people whom were out shoveling their cars from under the snow. From our front doors to the street, my neighbors and I trudged the many inches of snow that had fallen over the past few hours. As we steadily shoveled away, my neighbors and I held casual, yet cordial conversation with each other. It was nice. I made the comment that shoveling snow with others at nine o’clock in the morning is much better than shoveling snow alone at four thirty in the morning. It genuinely is better.

I’m sure we were all thinking about family and friends whom were affected by this storm system. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one wondering how others were doing. I saw a few Facebook posts about some who did lose their power. All we can do from here is pray for them. But, I also wondered about how many of us thought about God and how He controls nature (Psalm 29). Do we look at this storm as a nuisance or as a display of God’s power? Do we look at this storm as an inconvenience or as a testament to His greatness? Yes, if our power goes out because of fallen trees, we see it as a nuisance. Yes, if we are stuck in the house because the streets are too bad to travel, we see it as an inconvenience. It’s a natural reaction for a natural people who have natural wants and needs.

My First Thought

We have lived in our current home for almost a year and a half. Since being here, we have lost power multiple times. We usually lose power because of extreme weather, i.e. a rain or snow storm. I guess that’s normal. Other times, we’ve lost power because something somewhere overheated. I guess that’s possible. Once we lost power for a reason that no one could explain. You can guess I was upset. In times like that, I am quick to complain. My frustration comes out pretty quickly. Honestly, I try my best to stay positive and maintain composure for the sake of my family. You know, do my best to set the right example, but deep down – I’m mad and I know it.

It is times like this that I have to be reminded, in some way, that God is sovereign over everything (Psa 115:3). As a believer, I am never outside of His hand (Jn 10:28). He is my shield (Psa 5:12). So, why are my first thoughts negative? What is it that causes me to develop a thought process that doesn’t bring God any kind of glory?

A New Vision

It’s sin (Gen 3:6). It’s ever present with me (Rom 7:21). It causes me to shift my focus from God, who is eternal, and place it on my situation, which is temporary. I lose sight of He who made heaven and earth (Gen 1), and zero in on the problem that holds no worth. It’s a wrong vision of what’s important. My priorities are shifted.

That is not to say that we shouldn’t deal with our circumstances. We must deal with them. If we don’t address them, there’s the potential for them to fester and possibly grow unmanageable – depending on the issue, of course. Our problems must be dealt with head on, but we must deal with them with God taking the lead. As stated earlier, He is in control of all things – including the things that bother me on a daily basis.

Who am I to think that God isn’t concerned with what troubles me? Better yet, who are we (as a people) to think that God isn’t concerned with what troubles us? We’re made in His image (Gen 1:26), He’s given us dominion (Gen 1:28), in the midst of our sin, He still cares for us (Gen 3:21), and most importantly, He’s given us a way out of our sin to be reconciled back (Eph 2:16) into a right relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ (Matt 27, Mk 15, Lk 23, Jn 19)

How can we presume to know what God is not concerned with regarding His children (Eph 1:5)? Let us no longer presume anything regarding the mind of God, but let us hold fast to that which He has promised us in His word – deliverance on the day of trouble (Psa 50:15). God is awesome. He is magnificent in all things. So, let’s not forget that because of God’s power, Christ’s work on the cross was sufficient to save us (Jn 3:16) and allow us to now be members of the household of God (Eph 2:19). Amen.

In Christ,
John

How do you view God’s power in your life? Do you see the problem first or God’s power first? Share it below. Thanks.

Eternal Consequences

As mentioned on my “About Me” page, I LOVE to read. I can easily find myself reading three to four books at a time – outside of the Bible. One of the books I am reading now is called “The Reason for God” by Pastor Timothy Keller from Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York. I don’t know if Pastor Keller fancies himself an Apologist, but this book is superbly written from an apologetically-focused base-line.  If you have not read this book, I would suggest adding it to your “2013 Book Reading List”.  I am almost through the first half of the book, but one particular section of the book just grabbed my attention and refused to let go.

Chapter five is titled, “How Can A Loving God Send People To Hell?”, and just as he has done so in the surrounding chapters, Pastor Keller gives good refutation of common challenges that unbelievers hold against the Christian faith.  Speaking on the topic of narrow-mindedness, Pastor Keller says,

the-reason-for-god

After speaking about the Christian faith to a gathering in a Manhattan town house, I was approached by two women who had heard my presentation.  They both told me that believing in eternal judgement made me a very narrow person.  I asked them, “You think I’m wrong about these religious questions, and I think you are wrong. Why doesn’t that make you as narrow as me?” One woman retorted, “That’s different. You think we are eternally lost! We don’t think you are.  That makes you more narrow than us.” I didn’t agree, and here is what I proposed to them.

Both the Christian and the secular person believe that self-centeredness and cruelty have very harmful consequences.  Because Christians believe souls don’t die, they also believe that moral and spiritual errors affect the souls forever.  Liberal, secular persons also believe that there are terrible moral and spiritual errors, like exploitation and oppression.  But since they don’t believe in an afterlife, they don’t think the consequences of wrongdoing go on into eternity. Because Christians think wrongdoing has infinitely more long-term consequences than secular people do, does that mean they are somehow narrower.

Imagine two people arguing over the nature of a cookie. Jack thinks the cookie is poison, and Jill thinks it is not. Jack thinks Jill’s mistaken view of the cookie will send her to the hospital or worse. Jill thinks Jack’s mistaken view of the cookie will keep him from enjoying a fine dessert. Is Jack more narrow-minded than Jill just because he thinks the consequences of her mistake are more dire? I don’t believe anyone would think so. Christians, therefore, aren’t more narrow because they think wrong thinking and behavior have eternal effects.”

Truly a great piece of literature.

Grace and Peace,
John