Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pretty Girls and Proverbs 31

From my reading today...

Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

This phrase really sticks in my head thanks to a Kim Hill song of the late 80's. But I guess you didn't need to know that. So on to the question...

Is it right to celebrate beauty in our wives and daughters?

Can you defend this biblically?

The other day my wife was bragging on the beauty of our daughter. Though I'm sure we are prejudiced, she is a pretty girl. If I want her to strive to be godly, am I sending conflicting messages by praising her beauty instead of praising her character?

Our culture has elevated the value of image so high and Photoshop has not helped. Beauty is defined and redefined time and again. How do we raise our young girls in this image-crazed society to focus on their character instead of their hair?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday is for Photos - Squirrel Feeder

Squirrel Feeder
(Click on the image to see a higher resolution picture)

My son built a bird feeder, but it has become a terrific squirrel feeder. At times there are 3 squirrels around the feeder all at once. This guy doesn't mind us getting close. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

Any captions for this one?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

How He Loves Us - Kim Walker / Mcmillan

Music Tuesday at 2 am on a Sunday Morning. No more coffee for me on Saturday nights!

This song is pretty awesome - it's a pouring out of the heart. Probably not something that the congregation sings easily, but the chorus could be something special in a corporate setting. Wow, I especially love right at the end of verse 2 (about 3:48)

"I don't have time to think about regrets when I think about the way...He loves us...O how he loves us!"

I know this setting was highly charged with emotion, but it's hard to get past the simple truth that He loves us.

Video clip here.

Lyrics and chords here.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Messin' Me Up

Some scriptures encourage. Some empower. Some enlighten. And then there are some that just tear into me...

2 Timothy 3:2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Am I one of these that should be avoided?

I feel like I'm part of a generation of "Christians" who love pleasure more than we love God. Sometimes I think I've caved. I know more about Illini Basketball than I know about the Word. I care more about feeding my face, than feeding those who are hungry or thirsty. I am more interested in the next tech toy, than I am in loving people who are hurting all around me.

What's my deal?

And that's not even the scariest part of the verse...

These people appear to be godly. They look like good people. They are "nice" and "kind." They watch "clean entertainment." They are probably doing plenty of good deeds. They are model citizens. But they deny the power of God in their living. They aren't living in the Spirit, they are accomplishing "godliness" through the flesh.

And now the most troubling part...

Avoid such people.

Lord, I need help. Please, please don't let me love pleasure more than I love you. Please change me, make me truly godly through the power of Your Spirit. Please let my life be one to be followed, not avoided.

Friday, June 05, 2009

There is No Other

From my reading today I was reminded that the Lord is God and there is no other. Just out of curiosity, I looked up this phrase in the ESV to see where it occurs, and you can see the results below. Pay close attention to the last reference, I'm sure it's no coincidence.

Deuteronomy 4:35
To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him.

Deuteronomy 4:39
know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.

1 Kings 8:60
that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.

Ecclesiastes 4:8
one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.

Isaiah 45:5
I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me,

Isaiah 45:6
that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.

Isaiah 45:14

The Lord, the Only Savior
Thus says the Lord: “The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to you and be yours; they shall follow you; they shall come over in chains and bow down to you. They will plead with you, saying: ‘Surely God is in you, and there is no other, no god besides him.’”

Isaiah 45:18
For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the Lord, and there is no other.

Isaiah 45:21
Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.

Isaiah 45:22
“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.

Isaiah 46:9
remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,

Daniel 3:29
Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.”

Mark 12:31
The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:32
And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.

Acts 4:12
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

It's the Old People's Fault!

I couldn't believe what I heard at our Bible study tonight. Our Wednesday class has been working through the series "God is Closer than You Think." Tonight we got into a discussion about judging other churches' ministry methods and practices.

We were discussing how some churches have been experiencing some pretty incredible growth stories, and how others seem to enjoy criticizing their "success." One of the "older" ladies in our church made the observation that this significant growth seemed to be happening in churches with younger congregations.

Then she said something that I thought was profound. She said that the older folks resisting change and holding to their traditions were getting in the way of the growth of the church. It's one thing for a teenager to say this, and another for a young pastor at a church plant to say this, but for an "older" person to point this out made me ask...

Why am I leaving a church with amazing people like this?

Obviously, it's not just the old people's fault. Young people and middle aged people and all sorts of people are hindering growth. But young people and middle aged people and old people are also helping the kingdom, especially when they recognize that it's the kingdom that is important, not the way they want to do church.

I hope in 20 years I'll be able to have the same attitude. I hear it's not that easy...

Monday, June 01, 2009

Death Has Been Destroyed!

Shout it from the roof tops! Death has been destroyed. (I think the word "abolished" is fine, but I like the NIV a little better on this one.)

2 Timothy 1:10b our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel

What a King. He has destroyed the thing that is feared the most. Not only has he finished death, but he has brought life, and not just life, but immortality - through the gospel. People have been searching for immortality since the fall. Jesus has secured it through His cross.

Thank you Lord for taking the sting away from death.