This Ordinary Day- Guest Post

Guest Post by my good friend Amy Pentimone who blogs at Art of Life

I wrote about it recently- the fact that our everyday living is the thing that propels us forward. As I’ve discussed it with others, I’ve found this idea resonates in a bigger way than I had expected. So many people need to feel the same need to make sense of ordinary repetition.

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I have a habit of placing the calendar date in the page margin of literature that especially speaks to me. It can be any kind of writing- Scripture, devotionals, fiction and non-fiction. After underlining or starring the passage, I simply write the date in the margin. Rarely, if ever, do I comment on the passage or my thought-process involved in noting it. Only the date- it helps me keep track of significant thoughts for the future, and perhaps helps call back the time-frame in which I particularly benefited from the idea.

Earlier this month, I looked up at my calendar and dated a verse in my Bible. “2.3.2017.” It was a random, uneventful Friday afternoon, but the thought process felt funny:

This Friday is no longer ordinary. Years from now someone might look back and wonder about the significance of the day. To me, it is only Friday afternoon. It is a special sort of ordinary. 

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Of course, our longing is that today would not only be another day but a worthwhile day, or even a day of eternal significance. It will be. Live today well. Not so that it will live down in history, but because it will live down in the historical record managed by Your God. Live today well because because today matters. Today is the day to love truth. Today is the day to uphold God as supremely significant. Today is the day to love and encourage and serve. Today is the day to give up everything to gain Christ.

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I long to see what God will do through today’s. Who will we serve? How will a Scripture passage dramatically impact the future of our lives?  Which souls will we see saved? Which prayers will we pray that we will one day know have been answered?

All of those huge blessings will take place during repetitious “today’s” where God’s children believed their Father and walked faithfully in obedience.

Today. This ordinary day matters.

The Unconventional People of Faith

unconventional

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. (Hebrews 11:1-2).

 

Maybe you’re a Christian who is dedicated, striving to please God. You diligently read the Word, serve other believers, pray, live in obedience to those in authority, and trust God in your life. 

But things in your life don’t always go as “planned” they don’t always go like “everyone else”, or as expected, you know. Sometimes living to please God makes you look unconventional, and you feel out of place or odd. Welcome to the group of unconventionals! 

As I read through Hebrews, I realized many people of faith were unconventional in an unintentional way… their life pattern did not look similar to the world or even their own friends & family. So be encouraged if you’re going through a difficult time or something that doesn’t go like you expect it, because God does that with individuals that He uses for His purpose and Kingdom! 

Let me introduce you to some of those who had unconventional lives in Hebrews chapter 11. Things were not always “normal” for them either!  

Abel (v. 4)- obeyed God. He didn’t sacrifice in the humanly “expected” manner, from the produce of the land. He made an animal sacrifice. His sacrifice was more excellent than Cain’s. 

Enoch (v. 5)- he did not die like everyone else. He was taken up to heaven. 

Noah (v. 7)- He looked like a fool to the people around him when He built the ark while everyone else was partying, building houses, living life. He could have been discouraged and joined in their pursuits. But in the end who was blessed and who perished? 

Abraham (v. 8)- he didn’t live in one place his entire life like everyone else. He left his country, family and house, to another place (not even knowing the destination!) in obedience to God. I’m sure his family probably thought he lost his mind. He lived in tents waiting for his inheritance. 

Sarah (v. 11) – had no children like all the other women around her, and was past the age. Both she and Abraham were faithful to God, so why did she not? She was hopeless everyone’s eyes. But something unconventional happened- she had a child anyway. 

Moses (v.23-24)- did not have the usual start to life of an ordinary baby, or like the babies around him. He was hidden three months after he was born. When he grew up, he chose to associate with the slaves (his people) rather than his royal life. After the royalty of Egypt he lived an anonymous life before he was called to lead God’s people. 

The Israelites (v. 29)- they had a most unusual way to escape- through the Red Sea! And when others like the Egyptians tried to do it, they drowned. 

Joshua & the Israelites (v. 30)- did not use the common military tactics to conquer Jericho. Marching around the walls seven times for seven days and shouting can look very foolish in a military general’s eyes- but Joshua was following God’s orders. And it worked! 

Rahab (v. 31)-  tied a red cord to her window in an agreement with the conquerers (Israel). She could have been against Israel like the rest of her people, but she took a different, unconventional path- and she lived.   

And you can find more examples of unconventional people in Hebrews like “Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets…” as well as Christians in the New Testament. 

The reality is, all these people couldn’t have done it on their own- God provided the faith for them, and they trusted God’s promises. When you live a life of faith, your life does not always look normal. The unique, unconventional pathway you are on, can turn into great conquering, and a great testimony through God’s grace if you live in obedience to Him! 

 

20+ Comforting scents that I like

Remember when I wrote the post 12 Comforting Sounds ? So what if we continued the idea, and I shared some comforting scents? 

  1. The smell of a brand new book or printed paper
  2. The smell of bread out of the oven
  3. The smell of freshly washed laundry
  4. The smell of freshly cut grass
  5. The smell of the earth after a rainy day
  6. The smell of firewood smoke
  7. The smell of honeysuckle
  8. The smell of ocean breezes
  9. The smell of coffee in the morning, or freshly ground coffee
  10. The smell of pancakes (or bacon) frying
  11. The smell of a snuffed out candle
  12. The smell of cinnamon (or even cinnamon rolls baking)
  13. The smell of eucalyptus trees
  14. The smell of field flowers and grass on a warm spring or summer afternoon
  15. The smell of beeswax or bee pollen
  16. The smell of wood and sawdust
  17. The smell of Home Depot, the home renovation store (only in America :D)
  18. The smell of sunscreen
  19. The smell of barbeque or grilling on a summer day
  20. The smell of lilacs, freesias and lily of the valley (and basically any flower) 

These are some of my favorite scents that give me a cozy, happy feeling inside. I might have forgotten some, but I would love to hear what are some of your favorite scents! It’s such a blessing to have this simple yet highly important sense of smell. My grandfather did not have his sense of smell and it really takes away from the joys of life…he didn’t enjoy meat for example, because it felt like dry cardboard or rubber to him. The sense of smell really plays a role in taste as you all know. 

So what do you like smelling? 

 

Facing Darkness- A movie you should see

I wrote a blog post warning about a movie you should not watch. But now let me tell you about one you should see. It will be in theatres across the United States on March 30th, so it’s coming up soon! 

I cannot believe the ebola pandemic was so long ago in 2014! Now it’s part of history. But it feels like it was just last year…(I probably have a problem with keeping track of time, haha). What are your memories of that event?
I remember praying that God will prevent the pandemic from spreading and becoming a disaster. I remember doing my nursing clinicals and being aware that hospitals in the United States were on alert for any patients with signs of ebola, I remember reading posters in hospitals listing symptoms that should be reported, I remember praying it would not spread, I remember praying for Dr. Kent Brantly and the nurse in Texas who got infected with ebola, and worried that it was already at a stage of being uncontrolled, worrying we would hear they didn’t make it like so many others in Liberia.

But God (Ephesians 2:4). In His rich mercy, He intervened! I am so grateful for the wonderful ways He answers prayers. I’m sure many saints prayed for Dr. Brantly and the people affected in Liberia. 

The documentary film “Facing Darkness” is about this remarkable story of God’s work through the brave and faithful service of Dr. Brantly who chose to place his life and his trust in the Lord through one of the most trying times of his life. 

Make time to see this movie in theatres. It plays on March 30th, this Thursday! And remember to praise God for sparing us from a horrible pandemic and turning it into an opportunity to spread the Gospel through his servants like Dr. Brantly and Samaritan’s Purse. It could have been a secular doctor who went to Liberia to work and who survived- but God orchestrated events so that it was a Christian, Dr. Brantly who was there. God works in mysterious ways. All glory be to Him!

The Shack- Should Christians Watch the Movie?

The Author Behind The Shack 

William P. Young, author of The Shack, was a son of missionaries in New Guinea and even went to Bible College. He later got a degree in religion. But in 2004, this man wrote a declaration where he denied Evangelical Christianity and blasphemed Christ by saying the following:

“evangelical faith and its teaching about judgment makes God ‘grossly unjust’; ‘Jesus is a million times more vicious and vindictive than Pharaoh, Nero or Hitler put together’; Jesus Christ is ‘not the Savior from sins’; Jesus died ‘a failure and in vain and never saved anyone’; thus Jesus ‘is not even a good man but a liar, a rogue and a deceiving rascal’; ‘Calvary is a farce, a travesty and a sham.'” (De Young, 2017). 

“By the time I wrote The Shack, I was convinced I had been wrong about the ‘Gospel’ I grew up believing. You know the one about the human race in Adam sinning itself into separation from God, and Jesus being sent on a rescue mission by God to build a bridge back, offering us the possibility of salvation. If we received Him into our lives, we went to heaven. If we didn’t, hell.
I was wrong about this gospel. And I wrote the novel for my children to describe the true ‘Good News’. (Author of The Shack).

– His statements are absolutely despicable and grossly blasphemous. This immediately disqualifies him from receiving any attention from true Christians. But if you’re not convinced, here is more evidence. 

-The editor of The Shack, was Wayne Jacobsen, a promoter of emerging church and contemplative mysticism literature (Lighthouse Trails Research, 2017). Wayne Jacobsen worked with the author on The Shack for 16 months! The Bible says “Shall two walk together, except they have agreed?” (Amos 3:3)

-We can logically think that Wayne Jacobsen had quite a bit of influence on the theology in The Shack. This should be a huge red flag that we cannot trust the theology presented in this movie and book. 

“But, it has a Christian message” 

A lot of Christians think The Shack novel and the movie are good because they teach people about forgiveness and helps them “better understand God”. Others compare it with the Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan, saying they are similar in style. 

James B. De Young, professor of New Testament Language at Western Seminary, Portland, Oregon said: 

“…the two could not be more different. Bunyan took the teaching of Scripture and allegorized it, but the theology promoted in [The Shack] is of a particularly sinister and heretical variety” (Foust, 2015).

“William Young [author of The Shackdeparts from an evangelical understanding of God, in whom holiness and love are equally balanced, to a universalist understanding of God, in whom love is paramount and judgment and holiness are considered to be in conflict with his love. In comparison with Bunyan, [The Shack] denies that there is future punishment and that God punishes sin” (Foust, 2015).

Through the Biblical lens: Heresies in The Shack 

We have to compare the “Christian” message in The Shack, to true Biblical theology and see if they line up. For the sake of brevity, I will only list a few of the problems in the movie. 

  • The movie message: Blasphemous misrepresentation of God & the Trinity- God is represented as a fat African-American woman and there is no structure in the Godhead, just “a circle of unity”, and the Holy Spirit is represented as an Asian woman.
    Scriptural view of God & Trinity:  For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:5). The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Cor 13:14)
  •  The movie message: Universalism- Everyone goes to heaven because Christ is not the only way to God-  and there is no hell.
    Scriptural view: “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one will come to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).
    The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt 13:41,42)
  • The movie message: Denying Scripture- The Bible is not true because it reduces God to just paper.
    Scriptural view:  All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16).

     

“But, it’s just a movie”

We can rationalize it and say that it’s just a movie, and it’s just fiction. But is that a worldview that does not align with God’s Word.

Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thess 5:22)

A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Galatians 5:9)

But test all things. Hold fast to what is good. (1 Thess 5:21)

 For More Info Read: 

http://bereanresearch.org/listen-haters-hate-shack/

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/theshack.htm

http://www.movieguide.org/news-articles/reel-change.html

http://www.christianexaminer.com/article/the-shack-with-film-pending-called-greatest-deception-to-church-in-the-last-200-years/49431.htm

https://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/emergent-church-what-is-it/thirteen-heresies-in-the-sha