Friday, June 20, 2008

John Nazigan and Water Bottles

Here is an interesting piece of food for thought that I first heard from Mr. Nazigan last summer at the Word of Life Ranch where I was a counselor.

If I have a water bottle in my hand and you bump my arm and water spills out onto the ground, why did the water come out? Because you bumped my arm, right? Wrong!

What? But if you hadn't bumped my arm, the water wouldn't have come out! You are responsible! Wait. There is a deeper reason. Water came out because water was in the bottle in the first place. If orange juice had been in the bottle when you bumped my arm, water could not have possibly escaped onto the ground.

But of course. What's so profound about that?

Let's apply this principle to our everyday lives. There will always be trials that will "bump our arms," so to speak. Yet those trials are not at fault for what comes out of us. If anger comes out, it does so because it was already present deep within our hearts. If love comes out, it does so because love was inside of us. Neither you nor I can ever change how we react to those "arm-bumps." What we must concern ourselves with is what is present inside our hearts. If we are controlled by fleshly emotions, then what escapes us will only be displeasing to the Lord and embarrassing to ourselves. On the other hand, if we are controlled by the Holy Spirit, then the fruit of the Spirit that shines after each "arm-bump" will surprise the watching world and bring glory to our Father.

What do you want spilling out of your water bottle today?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Spiritual Malnutrition Personified

Have you heard about the "revival" going on in Florida under the leadership of a man named Todd Bentley? My dad played Crosstalk's show about it the other night at the dinner table so our whole family could be informed about it.

Here's the deal. Mr. Bentley is receiving angelic visits such as a fairy-like "Emma" who sprinkles gold dust on people in the church to bless them financially; as well as a fourteen-foot tall "angel or whatever" (his words) called Winds of Change who, interestingly enough, has also visited other charismatic leaders such as the Bob Jones of Kansas City.

He is receiving messages - from God, he says - to heal people by banging one woman's legs against the platform like a baseball bat or kicking another old lady in the face with his biker boot.

He is covered in tattoos and body piercings.

He shows off gold teeth that "God has given people."

People start barking like dogs and clucking like chickens.

He preaches that "the Anointing is Jesus . . . . the Anointing is not Jesus . . . . the Anointing is Jesus . . . . the Anointing is not Jesus."

I don't know about you, but this sounds like chaos to me. And we know from Scripture that God is not the author of confusion. The Bible says in another place to "test the spirits, to see whether they be of God." Does this really sound like the Holy Spirit we read about in the Bible, or maybe more like some other spirits we see in the same Book?

Here is what's really scary: A lot of supposed Christians - evangelicals, actually - are falling for this guy, driving down there to hear him, getting him to lay his hands on them, and then taking this stuff back to their local churches. Where are these people's Bibles?

Check out these links for more information.

Friday, June 6, 2008

A New Game!!! I love it! :D

This past Sunday my awesome brother Caleb was trying to think of a good game we could play that would be fun and, at the same time, honor the Lord on His Day. This is what he came up with:

One person picks a random verse in the Bible (that the other people are not likely to know already) and acts out the important words through charades. Once the audience has learned as much of the verse as possible, the first person reads the verse aloud and everyone memorizes it. Then someone else takes a turn.

It's so enjoyable and makes memorizing so much easier! In one afternoon we learned Proverbs 6:23, Psalm 137:2, Proverbs 8:34, Isaiah 65:24, 2 Kings 22:11, and two other verses that I can't quite recall off the top of my head. Try it! I'm sure that it will bring both laughter and blessing to you and your family.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bread, Milk, Meat, Water, . . . Candy?

So maybe you are eating well physically, but how about your spiritual diet? Could it be that the Church of today is suffering from malnutrition? A brief nibble of Scripture here, a token prayer there, a small cup of milk at church a few times a week, a hunk of meat every once in a while, and lots of sugared "worship music," fast-food devotionals, and fun and games with other starving spiritual children.

So many times this is the true picture of my life. But it isn't God's picture of what He wants for my life! On the contrary, He would like us to be feasting daily on the real soul food of the Word of God, prayer, communion with the Lord, and fellowship with other believers.

"But he answered and said, 'It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God' " (Matthew 4:4).
Whole-grain bread is one of the excellent foods God has provided us, but even good physical bread is not enough. We must live by every word of the Scriptures! This means that we must be in the Word all the time, reading and studying and meditating and memorizing. We must really know the words of God. We must hide them in our hearts. And then we must obey them.

"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" (1 Peter 2:2).
Pure, personalized milk straight from the breast of a healthy mother is the perfect food for babies to grow into healthy children and adults with strong bodies and immune systems. But again, what is more important than food? Soul food (1 Timothy 4:8)! The Word of God is the perfect food for our souls to grow into healthy and strong spiritual adults, no longer tossed about by every wind of doctrine but instead ready to guide younger believers in the Way.

"I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able" (1 Corinthians 3:2).
As a baby gets older, he eventually needs to be weaned from his mother's milk and fed with meat like grown-ups. He needs to eat real food. Milk is good for babies, but eventually we do expect them to grow up. The same goes for Christians. We need milk for a while, but the idea is to be continually growing and learning more and more, reaching higher and higher and deeper and deeper.

"For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water" (Jeremiah 2:13).
Pure water is so vital to our existence! If we go without it for more than a few days, we will die. Spiritual water is just as important. We need to drink daily, moment-by-moment, from Christ, our fountain of living waters. Just as pop brings temporary refreshment but no real nourishment or quenching of thirst, so the pleasures of this world and spiritual candy are only broken cisterns and can bring us no true aid, no true quenching of the deep thirst of our souls.

God's design for us is to abide in Him (John 15), to delight in His Word (Psalm 1), to commune with Him in prayer throughout every day (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and to fellowship with other believers (Acts 2:42). This is true nourishment. This is how our souls will thrive!