“A costume is something you put on and pretend that you are what you are wearing. A uniform, on the other hand, reminds you that you are, in fact, what you wear.” -Eunice McGarrahan
Unlike dressing up for Halloween or playing a part on stage, a uniform officially identifies the wearer. Some uniforms come with more responsibility than others. As Christians we are to “put on Christ.”
This daily devotional from Our Daily Bread struck a chord with me. Read the full article here.
Of all the things that become trendy, somehow beards have made a comeback in our culture. There’s even “no shave November” if you know what that is. I’m about a month late on that Spurgeon poster, but I just saw it a few days ago. Oh well, let’s Happy Monday this thing.
Unwanted Slinky? That can’t be a real thing.
Hope you’re smiling. Chin up, chest out. Have a Happy Monday!
You come to an intersection, stop in a line of cars, and you see him. His clothes are well worn, his hair and beard are unkempt, and his hand scrawled sign reads “Anything helps.” It’s not that you would miss a few dollars, it’s that there is no telling what he will use it for. He may buy alcohol, cigarettes, or even something illegal. These days, not every beggar is really a person in need. Some walk back to their car at the end of the day and drive home, making more in a day than an honest worker.
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. (Luke 6:27-31, ESV)
If there is food in my pantry, gas in my tank, and still cash in my pocket, I give some of it to the guy with the sign. I have been richly blessed beyond what I deserve, materially and otherwise. We are blessed in order to bless others. But what if he buys booze with it? Then he will give account to God for that someday, as we each will for what we did with our time, our talents, and our resources. We have also been blessed with unprecedented access to God’s written word. We will give account for what we did with that as well. “Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”(Hebrews 13:1-2, ESV)
One of my favorite texts during the Advent season is the Magnificat, and you will see it below. The Second Sunday of Advent is Faith, and lighting the Bethlehem Candle reminds us of the faith required of Joseph and Mary to make the journey. Matthew 1 describes Joesph’s encounter with an angel of the Lord, Luke 1 the same for Mary. In faith they acted according the to the angel’s words and so fulfilled many prophesies.
The first chapter of Luke also records Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, who is carrying the child we will come to know as John the Baptist. The Holy Spirit fills Elizabeth as Mary enters the house, and she declares Mary blessed above all women. Mary’s response is now well known as the Magnificat:
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
(Luke 1:46-55 ESV)
Santa Claus is as American as apple pie, created by department stores and manufactures to sell more stuff (Santa Claus has not sold out).
Today (Friday, December 6) is Saint Nicholas Day, which honors the real guy. I hope you left your shoes out. Happy Saint Nicholas Day.
We started the Academic Discussion series last Friday, and since then have examined issues like the age of the earth and the rapture. Up until now I have played the devil’s advocate so to speak and approached the arguments from both sides. This difference with this topic, predestination as defined by 5 point Calvinism, is that I take a position and feel very strongly about it. Although I have had a few heated discussions, I still believe the issue is ultimately academic.
This page at Calvinist Corner provides an excellent summation of Calvinism at a glance. Arminianism is generally considered to be the opposing view. A more extreme opposing viewpoint would be Pelagianism (which denies original sin and a host of biblical tenants). The reason I consider this argument to be purely academic is that each of these positions considers the nature of God’s salvation. At the heart of the debate is our understanding, or rather defining, of predestination. Did we choose God or did he choose us? Do we have the ability to choose God, or are we in our nature so depraved it is not a choice we could ever make? And why would I even stir this particular pot? Continue reading
Let’s begin with a note on prophesy. There’s an old saying that hind sight is always 20/20. As we happen to be entering the season of Advent, this is the time of year we look back at the Old Testament prophesies of Messiah. As we are reminded each year that God’s prophesies were fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Christ, our faith is affirmed that God is always faithful to keep his promises. Looking back at prophesies fulfilled gives our faith substance that God will continue to honor his Word.
Having said that, I take a rather pragmatic view of prophesied events, particular in relation to the end times. Continue reading