Money is a Test

Whatever you have, God has given it to test your loyalty, allegiance, and heart. Judas’ soul was cramped and traitorous; money revealed that. Joseph’s soul was generous and loyal; money revealed that too. And “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

The following is an excerpt from James McDonald’s “Found a Faithful Steward” blog from June 23, 2014. It hit home with me because it started at basics and progressed beyond to some things we don’t often consider in how we think about and use our money.

Jesus said,
“For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also”
Matthew 6:21

Money is a test of your:

Work ethic: While not universal, generally speaking, if your wallet is empty, you ought to look closely at your work ethic. How hard do you work? How diligently did you work, save, and invest in your twenties and thirties? The test of money hints at the longitudinal arc of your work ethic.

Self-control: You’ll never experience financial victory until you spend less than you make. Some people spend more than they make for years or decades. They’re failing the test, which often leads to financial bondage, tension, and misery in their homes.

Integrity: How did you get what you have? Did you cut corners or twist the truth to win a deal? Withhold taxes? Neglect tithing? Jesus taught, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). The money test demonstrates your integrity—or lack therof.

Love for people: When you’re able to meet someone else’s financial need, do you? Can you recall people you’ve helped? Perhaps no one knows. Perhaps you didn’t get a tax deduction. You simply helped and loved others. If so, you’re passing the test.

Love for God: Jesus said more about money than He said about heaven and hell combined. Not because it’s the most important subject, but because until God gets hold of people’s finances, He doesn’t truly have their hearts.

Whatever you have, God has given it to test your loyalty, allegiance, and heart. Judas’ soul was cramped and traitorous; money revealed that. Joseph’s soul was generous and loyal; money revealed that too. And “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Found a Faithful Steward, James McDonald

 

A response to GodOfEvolution.com’s As different as morning and evening: Genesis 1 and 2 contradictions

Update 2016-10-04: Per the previous update and Tyler’s response to this post, I have responded again in my post Answering Genesis 1 and 2 Contradiction Claims.

Update 2015-12-03: Tyler has responded in his post Continuing the discussion about Genesis 1 and 2 contradictions. I am currently drafting a new response in our friendly back-and-forth in the hopes of answering his further points.

I’ve been discussing with GodOfEvolution.com’s Tyler on Facebook. In response to his article entitled As different as morning and evening: Genesis 1 and 2 contradictions:

If I may respond to your article’s claims:

(1) ‘This is the account’. The CMI article covers this is much more convincing detail than you provide. JEDP also has issues with this verse that lend to summarizing the previous text and introducing new text (all in that one verse) implying the author knows the creation account is done and a new, different account begins (logically and from the text we gather it is not an account of the same things but more details on the previous). Your claim that it asserts a distinct creation account does not have the support it needs.

(2) Shrubs vs plants and trees: You assert 2:5’s ‘shrub’ equates to 1:11’s ‘plants and trees’ but don’t say why – and you should given the extra qualifications ‘of the field’ (many translations) and the implications these plants required cultivation (‘there was no one to work the ground’). The land may have ‘produced’ all vegetation in 1:11 but not all had ‘appeared’ or ‘sprung up’. It’s amusing you disparage Batten but you fail to mention Gen 2:6 (part of the same thought) ‘but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.’ So your claim to a “more important reason” why plants are supposedly not around doesn’t hold water (couldn’t resist the pun).

(3) Creation of animals: It is perfectly congruent for (a) God to have created all animals in Gen 1:24 and for God to have created more of those animals to have Adam name them (to see God actually creating things and to discover none are like Adam), and (b) to take the text to mean that they had already been made and that God “brought” them to him which is the wording of many translations. Your claim about ‘formed’ vs ‘had formed’ lacks support. 2:7 could easily have said ‘had formed’ with the prefix “Now” rather than “Then”. Additionally, when you take the Gen 2 as more details about day 6, there’s no problem reading it either way. God did ‘form’ Adam on day 6 and/or he ‘had formed’ Adam ‘earlier’ on day 6.

(4) I will make a helper suitable for him: Correct. God still had some making to do on day 6. He still had to make Eve. As the points above show, when you view Gen 2 as a more detailed accounted of day 6, the tense of the words makes sense.

(5) “risk distorting these lessons such that the real, eternal value intended by the original authors”: I think CMI sums it up about right:

“The final word on this matter, however, should really be given to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In Matthew chapter 19, verses 4 and 5, the Lord is addressing the subject of marriage, and says: “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?”

Notice how in the very same statement, Jesus refers to both Genesis 1 (verse 27b: ‘male and female he created them’) and Genesis 2 (verse 24: ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.’). Obviously, by combining both in this way, He in no way regarded them as separate, contradictory accounts.”

Jesus had no problem viewing both accounts as compatible and complementary. He even drew out ‘lessons of eternal value’ from both at once. There is also no need to abandon any actual ‘lessons of eternal value’ by viewing them as plain accounts that make sense of and build on each other.

(6) “In my view, these two snippets of ancient literature contain the essence of God’s reason for making mankind, and the relationship he desires with every man and woman who now lives.” The beauty of a plain reading of the Genesis creation, not only that it makes logical sense from the text, is that you take both historical truth *and* the theological and existential truths. Creationists don’t claim there’s only one level of understanding or one set of lessons that creation provides. You get the best of all worlds when you take God’s Word at His written word. That’s the beauty of God’s written word.

The CMI article referenced is creation.com/genesis-contradictions.

Lives of Quiet Desperation

Henry-David-ThoreauMy father, on more than one occasion, has referenced this quotation in various discussions on purpose and meaning: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation“. I’ve been thinking about that lately. So, I Googled the phrase this evening and came across this enlightening write up, entitled Quiet Desperation, on the words, the man behind them, and where those thoughts can lead, either for good or for ill. Here’s an excerpt to give you a taste,

One night very early on in a life, a young boy lay back on the rocky New England soil, contemplating the heavens,  “looking through the stars to see if I could see God behind them.” This quest became one of the primary motivators of his life — one might say he never stopped looking into nature for the ultimate truth.

But what did Henry David Thoreau mean by his famous observation, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them”?

You may have seen those Facebook/Twitter/Instagram memes, the ones that say something to the effect of “Everyone you meet is battling inner demons that you known nothing about.” It’s so true. As much as we want to be open and free with our feelings and emotions with friends and family there are some things too deep, too subtle, too sensitive, to speak openly about. I think of the late Robin Williams. A man of laughter but a man of surprising inner turmoil to the point of ultimate desperation. If you don’t have a friend you can talk to, know that you have a friend in Jesus.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:16,17

Soli Deo gloria

Sanctus Valentinus

Oh, Saint, can you hear my voice from ages past?
I hope against hope because your voice seems to be the last.

Oh, Saint, may I ask a question?
Will you proffer a suggestion?

Oh, Saint, to your name, thereof,
My question is this, what is love?

Continue reading “Sanctus Valentinus”

In this painting…

In this painting, lines of truth emanate. Light bursts forth, shattering a rigid picture, reaching beyond grasp, in bold strokes, defying a frame.

In its edged background, darkness seeps through. Something corrosive. Staining. But wherever the light reaches, there is darkness dispelled.

In its fierce foreground, a radiant star-burst flares forth from the form of a cross. At its center, a deep blue, shining, as arms and hands. They fly to the east and to the west, to the north and to the south, transforming from bright blue to blinding white.

Between these arms fly a thousand rays, reflecting their source, in hues of yellow and tinged orange. They warm instead of dazzle, and they draw the eye to their graceful metamorphosis from one strong arm to another.

In this painting, I see you. The artist I see in motions of creation, hovering over the surface, applying a foundation in broad, full strokes, and your hand, in dance, as you guide the light, and fill in the empty spaces. I see your moves in symphony and concert with love, shaping what will be, and exhausting care and consideration into a painting, radiating in the act of reflecting its maker.

In this painting is the source of which was said, “sunshine can be seen breaking forth from the frame, does strike my face, and warms again my heart to hope.”

Most people believe what they hear most

Readers will know I talk about creation and evolution quite a bit. I also read Slashdot.org, which is populated by large numbers of well educated individuals from which, it appears, most do not have a Christian faith or up-bringing. I’ve come to realize something in my back-and-forths on slashdot about creation and evolution: People believe what they most.

Readers will know I talk about creation and evolution quite a bit. I also read Slashdot, which is populated by large numbers of well educated individuals from which, it appears, most do not have a Christian faith or up-bringing. I’ve come to realize something in my back-and-forths on slashdot about creation and evolution: People believe what they hear most.

Evolution gets a huge amount of media coverage. It’s what everybody has been hearing about in classrooms, books, television, radio, music and movies for decades. Consider that one hundred to two hundred years ago, children were being brought up on the Genesis account of creation. They heard it at home. They heard it in school. They heard it in books. They heard it in church. You get the picture.  Atheists have long claimed Christians are unthinking believers – believing only what they have heard. And, you know, they’re probably right in a lot of cases, but, as it turns out, the shoe is on the other foot and what do we see? We see the exact same behaviour.

For the past hundred years or so, Christian families and up-bringings have been less and less the norm, evolution has been taught in our schools, it is taught in our books, movies, music, television, radio and in a myriad of other content. And look what has come of this? Most people doubt, at the very least, the Genesis creation account and, more than likely, just simply believe evolution.

The circle has come full turn and this is the final analysis: People believe what they hear most.

Don’t be one of those people. Read contrarian content. That’s right, read about evolution, read about scientology, read about Buddha, read the Qur’an.

God’s Word is not brittle, it will not fail you at the first mention of controversy. God made us after his own image, intelligent, made to reason and to comprehend. God is not scared that you will find the truth if you read Richard Dawkins or some evolution book. Christianity and its apologetics are stronger and more secure than they’ve ever been, and their information is quicker to access than ever before.

Remember your Christian guides, however, because you are a fallible, insecure human, just like all of us. Remember to pray, read your bible, maintain strong Christian friends, and remember resources like Creation.com.

Go forth, then, in the light and in the strength of the solid foundation of God’s Word and believe not what you hear most but believe instead what is true.

Welcome to Selah.ca

And when we know the truth I think we will see that God is given all the glory because He has done something more incredible and more beautiful than we could have ever thought possible.

This is the second post of my blog and I want to highlight the importance of the first.

The first post in this blog is special. It’s a dedication of sorts. None of my own words are in that post and its purpose is to glorify God and to publish again how His Son taught us to live. It sets the tone that will remain the background to all that follows and, ever and anon, the foreground.

I consider myself a conservative, fundamental Christian but the posts to follow will, without doubt, attract resentment, anger, correction, arguments, and all manner of backlash, from those who also think themselves conservative and even from those whom the former would call liberal.

Regardless, know always that I want the truth.

In days past, I put myself in the world’s line of fire saying to myself that if God’s Word is worth believing than God’s Word will prove itself. In many places I accepted the heat of the skepticism about the bible. I went looking for answers and consistently found rational satisfaction in the answers I uncovered and was able to respond with.

I learned a number of things through all of this:

  • I learned God loves all of us
  • I learned I can read my bible and google anything of concern to me or someone else
  • I learned I can find someone else who has had the same question and has published answers or references someone else who has
  • I learned the Bible can stand up for itself and stand up to intense analysis and criticism and does so with grace and compassion
  • I learned we have built up a religion, rules, and rituals, where there is no need for any
  • I learned we have done this because God is beyond full understanding and we have tried to understand him on our own terms and within our own limits
  • I learned God loves all of us even when we put Him on trial
  • I learned God is amazing beyond all words, poems, songs, theories and philosophies
  • I learned that to consider what God has begun with us, His unending, unerring, unrelenting story through us, and His plan to redeem each of us to Himself, us who didn’t deserve at all – I learned that to consider all of this is to know that you have not even begun to know Him.
  • I learned God loves all of us in spite of everything we have done to spurn Him
  • I learned, therefore, to approach Him as a child, discovering all things as new.

So, as God wills for all that may follow, know that if what I say is controversial, outlandish, outrageous or heretical, I want only the truth.

I want the truth.

I want to glorify God.

I want to show you the bible that declares itself without error.

I want the truth.

And when we know the truth I think we will see that God is given all the glory because He has done something more incredible and more beautiful than we could have ever thought possible.