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I Done Forgot the Lord!

One of my Dad’s favorite movies is Sergeant York. Maybe it’s just because I grew up on it, but I really do love that movie. Black and white, Gary Cooper, quotable lines, true story- I mean, it’s a great movie!

So a couple of weeks ago I was feeling a little nostalgic and I pulled it out to re-watch. If you don’t know the story line, you really should find a copy and watch it. Alvin York is a new Christian and in the movie had a very practical way of looking at Scripture. He is a strong pacifist (despite being an excellent marksman) and had asked for an exemption from military duty. I was at the part where Alvin gets the letter back from the government that says he has been denied his request for exemption. He is talking to his pastor and is pretty upset about the whole situation: [read with Tennessee accent; you’ll thank me later]

Pastor Pile: “War’s way to the other side of the ocean, Alvin. Lots of things can happen before you get there. You put your trust in the Lord, and He’ll look out for you.”

Alvin: “I done forgot the Lord! I ain’t never gonna forget him again!”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at that line! The irony of it seemed hilarious but at the same moment the truth hit me smack in the face! I wondered how many times I’ve been fighting for something that I truly believe is right with all that I am but I’ve “done forgot the Lord!” How many times have I been working on something for church, etc and not had the right attitude because I’ve forgotten the entire reason I’m there? How many times have I just gone through the motions. Ouch, Alvin.

Another priceless quote from that movie is this one:

Alvin: “I ain’t a-goin’ to war. War is killin’ and the Book is agin’ killin’, so war is agin’ the Book.”

Pastor Pile: “Alvin, you’ve got the use’n’ kind of religion not the meet’n’ house kind.”

Oh gosh! I choked on my water at that! I’ve got enough nerve to say that most Americans have the “meeting house” kind of religion, not the “using” kind. They are good with the Bible on Sundays (as long as it’s done in time for sports games) and holidays, but heaven forbid God’s Word actually has a role of authority in their life. Like the Jews in Jesus’ day who wanted signs, we want to hold on to the promises of the Bible without caring who Jesus is or what he requires from us.

I love Alvin in the movie. I know it’s not fully accurate to the true story and now you are probably sitting here thinking I’m a huge pacifist. (Guess you should watch the movie, huh??) But I love how literally he takes the Bible. How fully he believes every word in it and applies it to his life. It challenged me to do the same thing. ‘Cause I really want to have the use’n’ kind of religion!

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2019 in movies

 

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The Phlegmy Religion

Do you have words that you just don’t like? I’m not talking about swear words here; I mean ordinary words that you simply don’t like to use and you may not even know why? For instance, I despise the word phlegm. I do an inner shudder when I hear it, I don’t say the word, and I would probably never use it in a blog title. I also don’t like the word waft. My best friend hates the word moist. Think about it: you probably have some.

But I’ve been doing some research on a particular religion and for some reason the only word I could conjure up to describe it is that nasty word up top. (Plus whenever I hear it, I always think it sounds like someone sneezing.) Gnosticism. Don’t let the big word scare you away- until about two weeks ago, I didn’t really have a clear idea on what Gnosticism was. I knew it wasn’t a good thing but that’s about it. I went through some training a few weeks ago and I was a little shocked at how prevalent this viewpoint really is. I’ll be honest and say that most of what you are going to hear from this point on will be from that training and my research after it.

In short, clear terms, Gnosticism is a belief system that centers around man. It believes in an inner light or divine spark in every person. It places a huge value on feelings and experience and believes that a person can experience God outside of the Bible. Gnostics aren’t big on authority or institutions such as the church because they have a more subjective view of morals and revelation. Gnostics tend to be very spiritual and sometimes almost mystic.

So if none of that makes any sense to you, let me give you ways that this plays out in real life:

-Personal, special revelation has replaced God’s Word
-Morals are subjective- I get to decide what’s right for me, you can decide for you
-Experience trumps Scripture- what you feel is true and right, doesn’t matter what anyone else says
-No absolute truth- you assign meaning to things (such as gender)
-God wants me to be happy- pull the verses you like out of Scripture
-Follow your heart, you have a light that is special and unique to only you

Does ANY of this sound familiar to you?? Because it certainly does to me. And the scary thing is that some of it sounds familiar because I’ve heard it from believers. People, that scares me. This stuff is wrong and it has infiltrated God’s church! It can be tricky to catch because a Gnostic can know all the right terms and use the same phrases as biblical believers but what I just wrote above is NOT the gospel. You cannot have the gospel apart from God’s Word (his WHOLE Word) and you cannot decide that you get to call the shots. That’s not how it works.

A verse from Hebrews 2 is popping into my head right now. (May I just add that all of Hebrews 1 talks about Christ being preeminent to all? We aren’t little gods running around. Just wanted to clear that up.) Hebrews 2:1 says:

“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”

That’s highly applicable. How close are you, am I, paying attention to the Scriptures? Do we know it well enough so that when nuances are brought in from the outside we can quickly identify them as the false teachings that they are? I think we need to start paying “much closer attention.”

Otherwise you might get caught up in a gross, phlegmy, false religion.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2019 in theology

 

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The Pit of Despair (Link)

I really enjoyed writing this guest post! Lamentations is soooo under-rated. Click below to head on over to Guys With Bibles and read it!

The Pit of Despair

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2018 in Bible

 

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Sinner or Saint?

If you’ve known me very long or ever been in any sort of Bible study with me, you probably know that I can be kind of mischievous when I so choose. For instance, if someone is trying to skim over a difficult topic or passage, I’m going to be THAT person who points it out and forces the group to discuss it. My best friend can tell when it’s coming and sometimes I get a warning glance from her (which is usually ignored) and then she just sighs. 🙂

Sometimes though, if I want to really get a group going, I’ll make one of my favorite statements:

“Well, I actually don’t think we should say we are sinners. We are saints.”

And then I just sit back with a smile and listen to all the protests go on around me. People whip out their Bibles like they are ready to excommunicate me. Arguments start. It’s great.

After the dust settles and everyone is ready to listen, I bring forth my evidence. Let me start by saying that all of this only applies to those who are saved. If God has NOT redeemed your soul, then you are a sinner and that word is highly applicable. And it was for every. single. person. BEFORE we were saved as well. In fact, we are such sinners that Ephesians 2:1 says that we were DEAD in our trespasses and sins. That’s how fitting the word is.

But if you read just a little further down in Ephesians you come to these verses:

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:4-7

Something changes when we become saved. Actually, everything changes. But one thing in particular that I would like to talk about is our standing before the Lord. Once we are saved, when God looks at us, ALL HE SEES IS CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS! I mean, how incredible is that??! He doesn’t see our sin, but he sees what Christ did to redeem us! (Disclaimer: Not an excuse for sin. Read yourself some Romans.)

Furthermore, did you know that out of the 9 letters that Paul wrote to churches, in 6 of them, he starts out using the word “saints?” He either says “called to be saints” or outright calls the believers “saints.” He also uses it liberally throughout his letters as he refers to his brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul definitely thought that word was fitting for believers. (Galatians….not so much…)

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary is my favorite one and so of course I was curious to see what it had to say on the word sinner. One thing it said was, “It is used in contradistinction to saint, to denote an unregenerate person; one who has not received the pardon of his sins.” Believer, that is not you!

So, here’s the part in my conversation where someone usually goes, “but, but” and stumbles around for some words. Let me help you out. I understand, friend! Of course we still sin and need to ask God’s forgiveness constantly. That’s not what I’m saying at all! I think the problem comes in because some churches have distorted the word saint to mean a perfect person and they worship man instead of God alone but that’s NOT how the Bible uses it. The Bible refers to us as saints not because WE are perfect but because our REDEEMER is! Totally different. But it does refer to believers numerous times as saints.

Because, in God’s eyes, we are no longer sinners. That train has left, that slave isn’t here (another one is lol.)

We aren’t sinners; we are saints that sin.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2018 in theology

 

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An “Epic” Review

I recently had the blessing to travel across the country for a good friend’s wedding. And by travel, I mean fly, because if you know me you know that I get carsick pretty easily so if it was a road-trip, the word “blessing” would probably have been dropped from that sentence.

Anywho…I always take a book with me when I fly and sometimes I actually read it and sometimes I just sit like a creeper and people-watch. But this time I brought a book I had actually been saving for my next flight, as weird as that sounds. It’s small, short, and even weirder for me, I have NO IDEA how I got it or it’s study guide! So while you may have been thinking I was being stuck up with my blog title, the title of the book is actually Epic, and I couldn’t resist. 🙂

I got through security for my flight pretty fast (because I’m a good rule-follower) and since it appeared that the people-watching chances were slim, I opened the book right up. Seriously guys, I hadn’t even read the back cover. I was going in blind on this one, which is really new for me. It’s by John Eldredge, who I don’t know much about, except he wrote Wild at Heart, which I’ve never read.

The very first line of the book hooked me because he referenced my favorite movie, Lord of the Rings. I was immediately intrigued. He also had a quote by G.K. Chesterton and I thought, “Gosh, he’s off to a great start!” The book is about telling the gospel with more of an “epic story” perspective. I’ve never read anything that referenced SO many well-known movies and books: Chronicles of Narnia, Little Women, Gladiator, Titanic, Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, The Odyssey, Stars Wars, and so many more. It was insane!

It was quite an interesting perspective and while I can’t say I agreed with all the theology (mainly the section on free will), he came at it from an angle that was really different from anything I’ve ever read.

But after a while I started to notice something. It wasn’t quite fitting anymore. Instead of trying to show how the gospel had similar themes to some of our movies, it seemed more like he was trying to make the gospel fit into the movies’ themes. I think he was letting his imagination run away a little bit.

Because while God’s story is incredible, amazing, and (I would even agree, epic,) it’s not one of our movies. It is written by a supreme Creator, not humans. And somehow comparing it to our flawed stories relentlessly gave it less meaning than reading it how it was actually written, in God’s own Words. 

 

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2018 in books

 

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Theology for Dummies

Have you ever read any of the “For Dummies” books? You know which ones I mean?

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They are pretty iconic. I mean, most people would recognize them simply by the cover, even if you’ve never read one of the books. They have somewhere around 2,500 titles and over 2 million books in print. Crazy, right? The appeal is that they are easy to read for the average person and present the information in a design where the important stuff is made known so that you can recognize and remember it. I think I read one in high school but I don’t remember what it was.

But to be honest, I kind of stayed away from them because I didn’t like reading stuff written for “Dummies!” (Yeah, pride. I know.) I considered myself a pretty well-read person, for which you can thank my parents. My Dad used to read to us all the time as little kids and he can still recite the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” from memory. In fact, if I were to go home and my Dad was read a book to my younger siblings, I would be in the front row.

When we got older, my Mom read us books like King Arthur, Pilgrim’s Progress, and Canterbury Tales. We read a lot. I love books and reading. I used to get in trouble for reading too much (actually, I used to get in trouble for getting upset when people interrupted my reading…) Old English? No problem. Beowulf? Bring it on. Deep theology? My favorite.

But things are different now. My brain capacity and concentration capacity are different. And although the desire to read deep things is very real, I find myself wishing someone would write a “Theology for Dummies” book. Which sounds like a contradiction, I know. But I simply can’t comprehend the books I used to be able to read- which is SO frustrating! For instance, I’ve had Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship” sitting on my shelf for about a year now. I’ve probably started it 4-5 times and never been able to get past the first chapter because I don’t understand what I’m reading. No matter how many times I read the same sentence, I don’t get it. (Is there a kid’s version of this book??)

I used to be able to read several books at the same time and keep up with all the themes. Don’t believe me? Look what popped up on my Timehop today:

book

This was what I was reading four years ago. I liked reading more than one book at a time so that if I didn’t feel like reading one book, I had another to turn to.

But not now. It’s been frustrating but also very humbling for me. The person who used to pride herself in reading the great books of the world has been brought down to the level of a child and is thankful that she can read at all! That person who used to have 6 books by her bed that she was reading all at once is now thankful to be able to open her Bible and comprehend one single verse in it. Thankful to find those authors that do write simply. Ultimately thankful that salvation isn’t for the wise or all-knowing people but that you just have to have faith like a child. That it’s simple. Just thankful.

 

But…if you happen to find a “Theology for Dummies”, let me know. 😉

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2018 in books, epilepsy

 

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Business Meets the Bible

It’s been a while since I posted anything, but the wireless is not working at the moment.  I am enjoying my new job, despite being far from home.  I call home a lot and we email and skype back and forth.

I’m learning a lot as a secretary at a Christian camp.  Some of this is business learning. I’m learning to be more comfortable talking on the phone and how to be a marketer of events and opportunities at the farm- how to promote things and spread the word. I’m learning to be more professional in my speech and actions.  I’m learning that it’s okay to ask for help or more explanation if I don’t understand.  I’m also learning how to politely but firmly tell salesmen that we’re not interested (thank you, parents, for the example!).

Some of the things I’m learning are not so much business- although they are tied together.  I’m learning how to be gracious with people who aren’t.  I got my first call the other day from someone who wasn’t happy.  They were practically yelling over the phone to me and I listened for 15 minutes.  All I could do was listen because I didn’t really know the details of her experience here.   I told her how sorry I was that she had a bad experience here, thanked her for her feedback, and told her that I would pass it on (which I did).  I think she hung up happier and a little more calm than when she called.  And, she’s coming back to the farm.

People are hard to deal with sometimes.  If we respond to them in the same manner,  then nothing will get better.  The Bible says that a soft answer turns away wrath.  It’s so true!  If I had gotten angry or defensive with that lady, she would have written us off and never come back.  I haven’t had to deal with very many people like this before.

So, I’m learning to be gracious.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2013 in secretary

 

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