Archive for September, 2014

Keeping It Really Simple Today … on God’s Sovereignty

Discover the Author of Wisdom through some thoughts on both at Proverbial Thought!

Here is keeping it simple: I will just post a quick thought on a topic. Nothing else.

This week’s topic:

God’s Sovereignty

This is not a post about the battle between Calvinism/Arminianism/Molinism/everything else. All this is is a brief explanation of God’s sovereignty.

God being sovereign means that He is in complete control of everything. Period. He does not have to take orders from nor listen to anyone.

Yet, amazingly, He listens us. Because He loves us.

—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
1 Timothy 6:15-16, ESV

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. . . . Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 4:16, 10:19-22

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 09/28/2014

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Jesus prayed the night he was arrested,

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
John 17:6-11, ESV

This is how we know as when Paul wrote in Romans 9:25-26,

As indeed he says in Hosea [2:23; 1:10],

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
    and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
    there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

that Jesus is speaking of us who have found faith in Christ as Lord and Savior! We have a hope beyond this life that we are forgiven and free and dearly loved!

We can rest in that hope. The poem today is a reminder of that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My beloved children,

you are loved.
You are forgiven.
You are Mine.

My beloved children,

I have you.
I am yours.
I am holding you.

My beloved children,

Beloved.
Be loved,
My beloved.

Trinitarian Elements of Doctor Who!

Find wisdom in unlikely places, such as through the thoughts of a rag-tag group of pastors, lay-leaders, and a young woman at Proverbial Thought!

If you have followed by blog for a reasonable amount of time, you may have learned I am a Whovian, a fan of the British sci-fi television show Doctor Who. The Doctor is a time-travelling alien who looks human, but he is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. He is able to escape death by regenerating (all Time Lords can do this), but this has the side-effect of changing his appearance and personality while still being in essence himself.

The topic at hand, however, is one of his companions. He picks up companions frequently, usually from Earth but not always. For the show, companions act as a sort-of stand-in for the audience to ask the questions we might ask … or to simply help move the plot along.

Before I continue, however, I must warn of possible spoilers, specifically about an episode from Spring of 2013, The Name of the Doctor. If you do not wish to have anything spoiled as you watch through the series, you may wish to stop reading now!

How the Trinity Works Its Way into Doctor Who

In the above mentioned episode Clara Oswald helps the Doctor in a big way.

It must first be known that she is called “The Impossible Girl” because she was first seen earlier in the season in an episode in humanity’s future in which she saved the Doctor and his companions. In that season’s Christmas special, she saved the Doctor in Earth’s past.

This is the episode in which we find out how she could have existed hundreds or thousands of years in the past or future and exist in the present.

Clara “Oswin” Oswald, to save the Doctor from being torn from Time/Space by an enemy, jumps into the Doctor’s personal Time-stream. In doing so, copies of her are seeded throughout his lifetime to help him at important junctures in life and thus help him retain his Time-memory and not cease to exist. (Yes, it is very complicated. Just know that she was able to help him in every regeneration the Doctor has had.)

Recently, I have read some articles critiquing newer episodes, especially in connection with Clara’s personality and memory of these other events.

A friend and I noticed how religious some fans get over this show, and how like Christians they act over “dogma” and ideas they have but do not fully understand about the show and its characters.

How Clara Is Like the Trinity

In this similarity, Christians do not understand things such as the Trinity, and this misunderstanding throws off other elements of their theology.

The Doctrine of the Trinity is simply that God exists as three distinct Persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) yet is a single Being. The word “trinity” never appears in Scripture, but it has been deduced from Scripture (e.g. see Matthew 3:16-17 which has all three Persons present simultaneously).

Clara helps demonstrate this (and, please remember from here on out that nothing can adequately explain/compare to the concept of the Trinity. Our finite brains will always struggle with this concept) in that while she was interjected into various points along the Doctor’s timeline, each “incarnation” experienced birth, life, and death in each context. Therefore, while each and every “Clara” is, was, and will be Clara, they are never exactly the Clara who is the current companion of the Doctor.

In a sense, she is one being who has been many persons in the Doctor’s life.

It is no wonder, then, that so many people, many of whom are not necessarily Christians if not agnostics/atheists, struggle with this concept of Clara.

If Christians have been arguing about this concept for two thousand years, why should we expect anyone to grasp a fictional adaptation (that was not intended as such by the writers of the show)?

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 09/21/2014

Do not hold back, and find some wisdom at Proverbial Thought!

Have you ever gotten a taste of God’s love and grace?

How do you know?

It is a little different than a complete life change.

A great indication is if you experience something like Jeremiah:

If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
Jeremiah 20:9, ESV

If you can even do this in the same kind of context of Jeremiah, in which he was tired of telling the people that God was bringing destruction, you know you have tasted His Truth. Even when life is difficult, you have to say things that are not pleasant, you have to lead by example even when it is hard, you cannot help but share God’s word and His greatness.

 

waiting to burst out of me

how can i hold it in

i cannot

it must flow forth from me

if i cannot sing

i shout

if i cannot shout

i jump

if i cannot jump

i dance

if i cannot dance

i get out

i go out and tell others

i tell them of You

of Joy

of Your Grace

of Your Love

Christians Are So Judgmental!

Olive Juice

Do not misunderstand wisdom and get some insight at Proverbial Thought!

There is a game called Mad Gab. This is a game in which your team has to guess what actual phrase or name is hidden in a series of similar sounding words. They are encouraged to say these words out loud to hear the sounds. For example:

Olive ewe

Have you gotten it, yet?

Here is the spoiler:

“I love you.”

(My wife and I follow a similar play on words. We mouth the words “olive juice” to each other. Have someone say it to you (or say it to yourself in a mirror) without actually speaking. It looks like “I love you” is being said.)

Why do I bring this up?

How many times do pastors/churches/denominations or teachers/professors and others hear what they want to hear or read what they want to read from the Bible?

How many people get confused over all of the teachings that are presented in church, bible studies, and in public?

How many people get caught up in the genealogies in the Bible (did they list actual descendants or only important descendants? The names are spelled wrong.) or seeming contradictions?

To really get controversial, how many people try to read evolution, social justice, and/or personal beliefs into their Bibles?

How many people hear God calling them to do something and misunderstand?

How many misunderstand the Gospel?

How often do you do these?

How do we confuse God’s “I love you” with olive juice?

charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
1 Timothy 1:3b-11, ESV

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:20-31

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 09/14/2014

Impact your life with some wisdom and head over to Proverbial Thought!

Jesus would often go to a lonely place to pray. (Luke 5:16)

We are told to pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

What does that look like?

A constant conversation. A conversation between you and God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer is not just going to

a lonely place.

It is a moment by moment

conversation,

Seeking to get to see God

face to Face

To impact your life to impact

a generation.

Keeping It Really Simple Today … on the Gospel

Keep it simple and find the goodness of wisdom at Proverbial Thought!

Here is keeping it simple: I will just post a quick thought on a topic. Nothing else.

This week’s topic:

The Gospel

The Gospel is that God has a perfect standard that no person has ever been able to perfectly meet. We are all guilty of breaking this standard, of sinning, and there was no way we could ever fix it. So God came in the person of Jesus of Nazareth to perfectly live by that standard, and then He died. His death brought about the forgiveness we needed for our sins. Three days later, He proved He is God by rising from the dead, and those who believe all of this have the hope of a future resurrection and eternity with Him!

 

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
1 Corinthians 15:1-3, ESV

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Romans 1:16

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 09/07/2014

Open your mind to wisdom, and find some at Proverbial Thought!

The poem today is based on a couple passages of Scripture, Joel 2:12-13 and Acts 4:24-30:

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
    “return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
    and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
    and he relents over disaster.
Joel 2:12-13, ESV

 

And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers were gathered together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants[f] to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Acts 4:24-30

Therefore, this poem is a prayer for God to help us learn to rend our hearts and to heal our land.

 

rending

You tell us to rend our hearts

but how can we not with

injustice and pain rampant

are we sure this is not the pit

redeem this land from itself

heal these people so sick

reveal Your heart to all

about what rending is

giving over ourselves to You

and experiencing this

is breaking our spirits

to show others Jesus

Doctor Who and the Need for a Savior

Fill your need for wisdom, and go to Proverbial Thought!

This past Sunday I shared a poem about what people need. That was prepared before realizing I would be sharing today’s entry!

The eight season (series, for all of you BBC/British television/Whovian people out there) of the rebooted Doctor Who television show recently kicked off. This season began on August 23rd, setting some BBC America records, and that is compared to last November 23rd’s globally record-setting release of the 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor.

There are a lot of people who really like Doctor Who, and, as a Whovian myself, I can understand the passion that goes into following this show.

I read an article recently titled, “Entertainment Geekly: ‘Doctor Who’ is the saddest show on television“. Here is a little excerpt:

One way of looking at this: The Doctor is friends with everybody! But another way of looking at this: The Doctor is never close with anybody. And even when he is close with someone, it won’t last. He’ll leave them behind, or they’ll leave him behind; or they’ll just get older, and he’ll grow a young man’s face. The Davies era immediately played up the Doctor’s loneliness by repositioning him as the Last of the Time Lords: No longer a plucky renegade from an elaborate culture, but rather, that culture’s last remaining memory.

Maybe “sad” is the wrong word for Doctor Who: It’s a show that takes tremendous joy in simple human connection, even as the modern iteration constantly futzes with those connections. (It’s never clear if the Doctor likes his Companions, or loves them, or if he just needs them to be in love with him.) . . .

The central tension of most action-thrillers derives from the fear that someone might die. But because the Doctor will never die, the central tension of Doctor Who is the utter certainty that things will definitely change. Every change is like death, but every change is also like birth. Doctor Who is never bleakcompared to our current apocalypse vogue, it looks positively chipper. . . .

The Doctor never gets to live a normal life, which is his tragedy. (Tune in to a new episode of Doctor Who, and remind yourself that soon–this year, next year, certainly the year after that–the Doctor and his closest friend will say goodbye.) But I also wonder if that’s why, the longer you watch Doctor Who, you find yourself relating less to the every people Companions and more to the Doctor. From our perspective, the world might change, but we always stay the same–as friends come and go, as we move from one place to another. It takes someone else to notice when we become a new person. Maybe that’s why the Doctor always seeks out new Companions: So that the man who never changes can change, over and over again.

It seems to me that Doctor Who is popular because of how it plays off of the loneliness so many people feel. It feeds into the need for hope all people have. Whether it is in relating to his companions or relating to the Doctor himself, people watch Doctor Who because of a need and a desire for a savior.

And it becomes sad when we realize that there is indeed a Savior who can fulfill all of our needs, but so many do not know about Him or ignore Him … or, worst of all, flat out deny Him.

All it takes is to seek God and the forgiveness offered through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
    bring me out of my distresses.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
    and forgive all my sins.
Psalm 25:16-18, ESV