A Redeemed Mind

I found some old history papers from college. Lots of memories came back! 

The rush of reaching the page requirements and thinking of the most academic way of saying something without sounding too boring.

What I remembered most is how much I enjoyed writing those papers. Every paper was an adventure–and I never minded the research, either. 

All of that reading and digging…

I was stretched in many ways during college, ways that I often miss now that I’ve graduated.

Of course, Rhema presents it’s own challenges. My spirit man is getting a real workout! The coolest thing is seeing how my time in a more “academic” setting is helping me now that I’m in Bible school.

The mind and the spirit are powerful when used together. 

Many don’t see it this way, but it’s true. It reminds me of a quote by R.C. Sproul:

An unlearned Christian is no match for a learned skeptic. 

Christians must be able to accurately discuss what they believe with others.

Notice that I didn’t say defend because I don’t believe it’s our job to defend the Scriptures. They have stood the test of time and can defend themselves. 

For the most part, people aren’t attacking the Bible–they just want you to explain it to them.

Most Christians, however, are quite terrible at engaging in conversations about their beliefs. They don’t know the scriptures, are not well read, and are downright mean in their approach to healthy discussions about faith. 

You can be a learned Christian and not:

  • Carry around a large family Bible
  • Talk in esoteric terms
  • Go to Bible school or seminary

 

Christians need to know that they don’t have to check their brains at the door when they accept Christ. 

No, no! Your redeemed mind is a valuable asset in the Kingdom of God.

 

Confessions of an Overthinker

I’m a serious over-thinker….

It can be a problem sometimes because I’ll take a situation, slice it into a thousand different pieces, and then analyze each slice until I know how I think/feel about the subject.

This is not conducive to moments when a decision just has to be made. 

We should all be able to give an answer for what we believe–that’s biblical btw–but over-analysis paralysis keeps us from being useful to anyone.

You know the old saying “He/She is too heavenly minded to be any earthly good”? 

This is what happens when someone falls victim to over-analysis paralysis.

 

This is why I love to read and study all of the older creeds and catechisms. It lays out what’s important to know and even gives you verses to review. 

Seems simple enough, right?

I know there are folks who don’t like all of that “older” “more traditional” church documents, but I’m not really sure why not.

A quick Google search will tell you the history of the creeds–Apostles, Nicene, Heidelberg, Athanasian–and each one was written to combat heresy and false doctrines from infiltrating the church.

The Westminster Catechism (both the original and shorter version) were written as a way to teach children and new converts the basic beliefs of Christianity. 

Good Bible doctrine and basic hermeneutics are necessary (no matter what all the hip, “relevant” people tell you).

Studying these ancient truths isn’t about learning a lot of $5 words and becoming a Bible scholar who can’t even carry on a normal conversation.

It’s about having a good, solid foundation of what and why you believe what you do.

And it keeps you from going absolutely batty from overthinking things. (Or maybe it’s just me that struggles in this area…)

 

Living out the story

Aren’t cliff hangers the worse? 

To be Continued…

No one wants to see this at the end of a TV episode. And don’t even get me started on movies with 50,000 parts. Or book series where the next book isn’t coming out for another 18 months. 

Just tell me what happened!

Thankfully, the Bible tells us the whole story of Jesus. 

This is also why I’m trying to take it easy on the apostles as I read through the gospel. They didn’t have the full story like I do.

Come on, Peter! 

Thomas, what’s your problem?!?

James and John, did you seriously just ask Jesus to give you the best seats in the house? 

Here’s how I look at it: When I start doing everything Jesus asks me to do–without running my mouth first–I can pick on the apostles. 

By tracing the the faithfulness of God throughout His story, I am learning how to trust Him when I don’t have the full story (which is a lot).

Marvin Yoder, my teacher for Bible Interpretation, taught us about the Principle of Application today. I loved Mr. Yoder’s thoughts on seeing ourselves doing the works of Jesus and the early church. 

As Christians, the Bible is the final authority in our lives. However, if I never apply it to my daily life, it’s still just a story.

If Jesus healed, so can I.

If Peter could stand before a crowd and know exactly what to say by the Holy Spirit, so can I.

If Paul and Silas can sing praises in jail after being beaten for their faith, so can I.

 I’ve reached the point in my faith where I’m convinced that not taking the Bible to heart, that not living out the scriptures as practical, do-able truths is the number one reason the world sees the gospel as powerless. 

 

 

 

 

Confessions of an Easily Excitable Person

The idea of “So the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) is completely wrecking my thinking.  

As I read back through yesterday’s post, I realized that I need to apologize.

My goal was not to be a cynic but to draw some attention to the fact that Christians are called, compelled, motivated–and all the other synonyms–by the love of Christ to share the gospel. 

Let’s take this a step further: If Christians are to be like Jesus, that means John 1:14 is talking about us. When my friend Pastor Gwen preached on the subject (I blogged about that a few weeks ago) her words reminded me of the restlessness in my heart.

My faith needs action because it’s actually a bit ADD when it comes to just sitting still.

Once again, this is all I’m talking about these days (Lord, please let me still have a few friends who read my posts!)

Before I came to Rhema, I was already antsy when I read the Word and saw these truths. Then I came to Rhema.

Most days I feel like a volcano that is dangerously close to blowing up.

KA-BOOM!!!!!

How can you sit under Bible teaching 3 hours a day and not get fired up? Lord, please…I need some Ritalin–better yet I need to start serving!

So I have found several places to serve both within Rhema Bible Church and within another organization. 

The reason for my apology is because I am a bit of a zealot when excited. It’s just the extrovert in me, I guess, but this is me:

Ms. Excited-About-What’s-Happening-You-Should-Be-Too.

I will try to be less of a nut, okay?

Please know, though, that my heart is not to be a cynic. If you feel like I am being too critical, please let me know. 

 

 

When I say Amen

Prayer is simply talking with God. 

There are no formulas, no secret codes, no tip-toeing around because you’re afraid of God’s lightening bolts.

We’ve talked about the subject before (click here) but recently a thought struck me, which will not leave me alone. 

Go to biblegateway.com and type in prayer. 61 New Testament references pop up!

When I scrolled through the list, here’s what I learned: 

  • Jesus prayed A TON and taught on prayer A TON during His earthly ministry.
  • The early church prayed A TON together and anyone who ended up on their prayer list got prayed for daily.
  • Miraculous things happen when Christians pray.

Obviously, most Christians can’t spend all of their time in their prayer closets. (For all of my non-churchey friends, a prayer closet is not an actual closet, but wherever a Christian talks privately with God.)

And even though the early church gathered a lot in prayer, all of them had everyday lives, too.

This is where my persistent thought comes in. 

I know that praying is simply talking to God and I know that the Bible shows us the how, when, and why of prayer; which is why Christians need to always be in a spirit of prayer.

So why do I say “Amen” every time I pray? I’m supposed to be praying continually…

If I’m talking with God all day long, why not just start the morning with, “Good morning, Father!” and then chat with him all day, ending with “Amen” after our nightly bedtime chat?

It is possible that I am really overthinking this whole thing. 

I just know that being in a spirit or attitude of constant conversation with God means that my every thought, my every action comes out of a healthy relationship.

However, I realized the other day that I tend to treat God as my sidekick when really my life belongs to Him. He’s not along for a ride with me–it’s actually vice versa! 

When I say “Amen” at night–which means “so be it”–I want it to reflect how my every thought and action that day contributed to our growing relationship.

 

 

 

 

Know the enemy

I don’t think about Satan much…

He gets too much air time already. Why should I talk about him or think about him more than necessary?

In my Angels & Demons class today, though, we went through a list of all the names of Satan in the Bible. 

Names, as Mr. Kirk pointed out, show us the character of an individual. People back in Bible times were much more intentional in naming their children.

They would probably be shocked if they saw this list of celebrity baby names: 

  • Rainbow Aurora
  • North West
  • Elsie Otter
  • Apple
  • Rocket Ayer
  • Bluebell Madonna

And there were more on the list I found, but I’ll let you Google it.

We talked yesterday about how names are important, so I kept thinking about this fact as our class ran through the list of Satan’s names.

I know some are reading this post and thinking, “Why ever read about Satan? Who wants to study about him?” 

If names give us clues about character, then it’s good to read through the Bible and see what it says about Satan character.

He’s a liar, deceiver, destroyer, accuser, bully, defeated, jealous, prideful…

All of this information is supported by scripture to let us in on who we’re dealing with as an enemy. We have authority, of course, but we need to know what and who we have authority over.

I’m not one that thinks there’s a demon in every doorknob or that Satan is the only reason people act stupid (sometimes people just make stupid decisions and have to live with the consequences). 

But Satan is working hard to keep unbelievers in bondage. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Just be aware that there’s a lot of things happening all around you, things that you don’t even see.

Spiritual warfare is real.

Angels and Demons

 

I’ve never dabbled in witchcraft or anything involving the occult. 

However, the things I’ve read and watched, the testimonies I’ve heard from men and women who have escaped that lifestyle, are enough for me to know that it’s not good.

This term I am taking Angels and Demons. In the class we will be learning about the spiritual realm. Mr. Kirk Dubois is my teacher and I am excited to dive into the topic. 

Here are some basic truths to consider:

  1. If there is good, there must be evil
  2. If there is right, there must be wrong
  3. If there is light, there must be darkness

Skeptics embrace these facts when it comes to other religions, but not when it comes to Christianity (even though the Bible clearly addresses every one of these areas).

 

Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism–and every other religion in between–have an after life, good and evil, as part of their beliefs.

Whenever someone is ignorant about the spiritual realm, Satan has a  field day because that means there’s lots of room for him to deceive. 

Every person I’ve ever heard speak about escaping the occult or coming out of witchcraft starts off their story the same way:

I didn’t know what I was getting in to.

Normally, all he or she wanted was something to connect with, something to give their lives meaning and purpose. What they found was darkness beyond compare.

Guess what?

As Christians we can share with those individuals–and those who are stuck in dead religions–the source of all strength and power:

Jesus Christ! 

In Him is the hope of a bright future!

In Him is power over all darkness!