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Old Enough for Fairy Tales

Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” C.S. Lewis

During my early to mid teen years I hardly would believe such a statement. I thought it was “uncool” to read little kids’ stories. Besides what’s the point, right? I mean, those stories were written for children, not for “big, strong (and weighing in at just over 100 lbs) men” like me. Surely I couldn’t gain much from fairy tales except ridicule from others.

Truth be told there was much for me to learn from fairy tales (and there still is!). Reading them has helped me nurture a sense of wonder and awe that I desperately need in my walk with Jesus. I hope that you are a reader; not just a reader of big, complex, theological works but of stories, of adventures in nonexistent places, of heroic deeds and incredible places. And I hope that in doing so God will use those stories to increase your vision of how marvelous His glory is because in reality, no story can ever compare to the wonder and glory that shines in the face of Jesus!

I wanted to provide a place to share stories as well. Not just the stories though; I want to provide a place for us to rejoice in the wonder that those stories help us to see, in the ways that those stories point us to Jesus. So if there are some stories you would like to comment on (I hope to comment on The Voyage of the Dawn Treader– one of my all-time favorites!– in the near future),please share!

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2014 in Fantastic Fairytales...

 

Yes Lord, but…

I have recently taken the advice of a man who suggested that people who enjoy reading in general should devour the Bible. Sounds simple right? I mean of course we should read the Bible, but his point was that people who enjoy reading should try not limiting themselves to a reading plan. Rather than stopping at that fourth chapter to keep on reading, to get hooked in the Word. Ultimately the point of consuming so much of the Word in this way is to see Jesus throughout all of the Bible– how He is concealed and revealed. In reading this way I have just made it through the first few chapters of Exodus, and admittedly one of the most frustrating passages I have read. Not frustrating because I don’t understand it; I get frustrated at Moses.

In the third and fourth chapters, God tells Moses how He is going to deliver His people ultimately for His glory. I cannot help but notice just how many times God says “I” in the passage. It’s a tremendous picture of God’s sovereignty in that He is going to do what He wants to do and there is nothing Pharaoh or anyone else can do to stop Him. Not only is God going to deliver His people, but He is going to use Moses to do it. It all sounds wonderful up to this point, however, the frustration comes with Moses’ responses to God’s plan. He responds giving excuses as to why he can’t do it and ends asking God to just pick someone else. Moses gives God reasons why His plan will not work– the people won’t believe me if I say You have visited me, the signs may work but I am not an eloquent speaker. I get frustrated in that Moses seems to miss the picture–¬†God will do it.

And it’s while I am all worked up and wanting to give Moses a lesson on trust in a sovereign God that He reminds me that I am much worse than Moses. How many times have I told God why His plan isn’t going to work or given excuses as to why He won’t be able to use me to accomplish His purpose? Having pointed out Moses’ fault in not trusting God, I must too stand beside him in not trusting as well. I pray that my response will be much like that of the children of Israel, who at the end of chapter four heard all that God had to say and “they bowed their heads and worshiped.”

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Devotional

 
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What is the Need

Paul Washer gives a brief explanation of the need for missions today.

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Picture Day!!!

So yesterday my mom took us to have pictures made (apparently it had been about 8 years since we had the last ones done and that called for some updated ones), and we had a wonderful time doing it! A big shout out to Portrait Innovations and Lance for having fun with us (I posted a few of the pictures on Facebook). Looking back over the pics and at the fun we had, I could not help but think “This is God’s grace.” Sure I experience that grace when I read His Word and contemplate the gospel. I soak in His grace when I come to Him to confess and forsake sin. But I also am completely submersed in grace in these small moments of fun with my family. God graciously put me in my Mom’s arms to be nurtured, loved, and trained (and incidentally hugged, kissed, and yes, spanked when needed lol). God has given me the best mom I could ask for. She knows when to have fun and when to work (we did yard work after pictures). She has taught me by example what it means to be selfless and think of others’ needs above my own. And looking back over my childhood (which was by no means a walk in the park) I still am overwhelmed at just how much grace God has given to me, even in those times I thought were filled with anything but grace.

As I’m thinking about it, I look forward to the day when this life has ended and we look back over the “pictures of grace” God has given to us throughout our entire lives– the joy, love, and even sorrow that He has used to draw us closer to Him. Although I may have not understood a pose then, it will all make sense when God shows me where it fits in His “album.” But until then, I can only smile, knowing my life (as is yours) is overflowing with grace from God.Image

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2013 in Common Grace

 
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IMG_0879Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into bars, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?… And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Matthew 6:26, 28-30
Why worry? God is able to provide and as a loving Father He certainly will.

Look at the bir…

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

The Place of Writing in Bible Study

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I occasionally get the time to listen to a few Ask Pastor John podcasts. Such was the case yesterday. In the podcast, John Piper was asked for one way to help read the Bible better. His answer (which he had to narrow… apparently he has a lot of advice to give concerning Bible study ūüėČ ) was to write out the passage you are studying in a journal. Writing causes you to slow down, to think more about the individual words being used, to see the connection between phrases in the verses. I have in some small measure followed this advice before, however not really knowing the benefit or using it to the fullest extent. Once you have written the verses out that you are studying, you can go back and underline, circle, write out questions and comments, etc. I am just now starting to use this method in my study of Romans, and it is proving extremely helpful for Romans in particular. The book has so many inter-related verses and phrases that it is almost necessary to write out the passages to fully see the connections. Perhaps you too can benefit from this type of Bible study, but whether you write out Scripture or not, I pray that you are reading, studying, meditating and memorizing the Bible for your growth in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.¬†

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

You can’t microwave the Bible…

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It was one of those really neat times where I was on the same wavelength as my pastor. He was speaking on studying the Bible, using a number of passages to support the steps he was giving. As he was teaching, he made the statement “you can’t microwave the Bible.” What did he mean? That we shouldn’t put our Bibles in the microwave? I thought that much was a given. I know times are tough and the economy is pretty bad, but I didn’t think we were to the point of literally consuming the Word of God. No, he wasn’t teaching us to avoid putting our Bibles in the microwave (that is a given); he was¬†referring more to a mindset that we have obtained over the years– the microwave mindset. It’s the mindset that says, “I don’t have time to wait. I want it and I want it now!” As Bro. Gene rightly noted, that kind of thing may work on a frozen dinner but it does not work when coming to the Word of God. I’m afraid that has often been my mindset in studying God’s Word. Perhaps you’ve been there too. I’ll try to illustrate:

You got up a little later than you should have and rushed to get a shower and get ready. You run into the kitchen, grab the cereal, open the fridge to find the milk has all been used and “forcefully shut” (because you wouldn’t slam it) the door to the fridge. (At this point you are wanting to yell at someone for using all of the milk, but you really don’t even have time to do that). You get your coffee (Gevalia with Amoretto of course) to wash down the dry cereal that is sticking to your esophagus and go put your shoes on. You snatch up your Bible, flip to where you have been reading and breeze through a chapter, say a quick prayer, and start out on what you have to do that day. As the day progresses, you don’t feel the joy in God that you know you should. You seem quickly frustrated and your resistance to temptation isn’t very strong. When you finally come to the end of the day, you somewhat angrily ask God why He hasn’t been there for you that day. You read your Bible and even asked God to draw you near to Him during the day, yet you just didn’t seem all that close to Him at all.

Sound somewhat familiar? If you’re like me, those days have come and gone and have truly been miserable. The reason? I didn’t give God the time of day much less the time He deserves. I treated His Word like that chore I didn’t want to do when I was little– dusting. Instead of moving all of the decorations and lamps and papers off the counters I would quickly wipe around them, not really caring that the counter was clean or not. The same is true in Bible reading; a quick skim over a passage and a short prayer (lasting a total of 5 minutes tops) reveals that we do not truly desire to know God.

This kind of mindset is at the heart of legalism. It desires to do the deed or chore, to be moral, without pursuing God Himself. The spiritual disciplines become ends in themselves rather than means to further pursuing and enjoying and knowing God. The end goal is to ease the conscience, to appear holy, to be knowledgeable before others, and perhaps a million other things except knowing God, the real reason for studying His Word.
One passage that Bro. Gene referenced, and that God used to grip my heart, is Psalm 119:9-11, which says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.¬†
With my¬†whole heart¬†I seek you;¬†let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word¬†in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Do you see the connection between the psalmist’s study of the Word and his relationship with God? He is not reading the Word to appear spiritual or to do his spiritual duties of the day. He studies and memorizes and meditates as a means of seeking God. God is the ultimately goal in mind. God is the reason He studies.
Having this God-centered motivation radically changes the way we come to God’s Word. No longer are we concerned about just reading through a schedule or memorizing a certain amount of verses. Our main concern is intimately knowing our God. When this is the goal we will find this microwave mindset very unappealing. I’ll end with one last illustration.
If you don’t know, I have by God’s grace (and I mean¬†grace!) been honored to be a best friend and boyfriend to a wonderful, beautiful, smart, fun, loving young lady (when the opportunity to compliment is there, take it) for quite some time now. Over the past few years we have grown to know each other quite well (Fireproof reference: though I haven’t achieved a diploma much less a bachelor’s degree yet; I am pursuing it though!). I have learned some of her fears, likes, dislikes, joys, and she has learned many of mine. In fact, we tease each other about how we have “rubbed off” on each other in some ways. In other words, I not only know facts about Casey but in some ways I have begun seeing things the way she sees them and thinking about them the way she does. For example, I used to view sushi as the most disgusting food ever (until I started watching Bizzare Foods…), but now Casey is slowly but surely teaching me to enjoy it. It’s a work in progress for sure. However, this knowing her did not come from short, half-hearted times spent together. Now imagine if my motivation for spending time with her was being the best boyfriend possible. I want to do for her, buy for her, and all the other things boyfriends are supposed to do, however, I really don’t care to know her. Instead I am pridefully motivated to be the best boyfriend a girl could ask for. Our relationship would look really interesting wouldn’t it? Sort of like a Hallmark movie in which the business man or lawyer (not sure why it’s always a business man or lawyer) wins over his fianc√© with buying her what she wants and using smooth words then is stunned when she tells him her desire to be a nurse or her unwillingness to move to New York with him. He didn’t really know her or care to know her.
The same thing must apply to our relationship with God. Our motivation must be to know Him, to be intimate with and close to Him. As our motives are corrected we will find spending much time in His Word to be a delight. Rather than having the microwave mindset we will be more drawn to a slow-cooker mindset — let it sit, ponder over every aspect of it, be drawn to the aroma, feed on the tender mercies of our Lord.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2013 in Devotional