Love the Church

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Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

Revelations 19:6-8 ESV

Revelation, the last bookend of the book, depicts the coming of the Lord and the end times. After depictions of coming wrath, we witness the vision of the coming Lord. The Bride has made herself ready. The Bride, the Church from all places, times, and peoples will be united as one.  She has been preparing herself for this final union, clothing herself in beautiful linens. What kind of linens?

These are the righteous acts of the saints.

From the past to the present, till the day the Lord returns, the Church has, is, and will be preparing herself. This clothing is not just reserved for the future, but we are clothing her now, in the immediate. Our deeds are not just grandiose acts that affect peoples and nations, but also the day to day choices we make, the moments in the mundane.

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Moments of Being

Moments of Being copy

Life consists of a long series of moments, some feeling more real than others. Virginia Woolf divides these into moments of being and non-being. Moments of non-being occupy most of our lives. They happen when we live life automatically, without awareness, while moments of being consist of being highly aware. Virginia never defines what these moments are, but Nicole L. Urquhart provides a helpful distinction:

It is not the nature of the actions that separates moments of being from moments of non-being. One activity is not intrinsically more mundane or more extraordinary than the other. Instead, it is the intensity of feeling, one’s consciousness of the experience, that separates the two moments. A walk in the country can easily be hidden behind the cotton wool for one person, but for Woolf the experience is very vivid.

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On the Fellowship of the Church

One of my favorite devotionals to read out of is Our Daily Bread. This morning led me to II John. The devotional mentioned how John is the disciple of love, as seen in such passages as John 15. This morning I flipped back to I John where I read something that stuck a chord with me.

1 John 1:5-10
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
ESV

The bold part strikes me because it places two qualifiers that prove we are in the light: fellowship and the blood of Christ. I want to focus on the first.

This January I had the opportunity to go to Rome  Continue reading

R.A. Torrey: How to Pray

Discovering Torrey

I have been in Torrey for 2 and 1/2 years, yet I have never had a chance to really read one of the books written by our namesake. I went to the library last night doing research for a Torrey session when I realized this reality. I quickly went on the library website and looked up what books we had on him. I surprised to find so many. Being a Torrey students I really don’t have time for long books outside of classes, but I did want to read this one. When I got back to my room I started reading it and found great wisdom. I now see more clearly why the honors institute at Biola is named after him.

 The Importance of Prayer

I would like to share some thoughts from his book with you. I have only read the first chapter so far, but will soon read through the rest. Torrey interlaces Scripture frequently to support his points as he draws the Christian to the idea of the importance of Continue reading

Some thoughts from Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

Book 3 Chapter 4

Lewis makes an interesting point about why Christians are called not to judge. He explains that we do not see where the person is coming from. We may have been brought up in a good home, learning a virtuous life and proper manners, loving mercy, etc, while the other person may have learned only to perform vices and cruelty. Lewis says

When a man who has been perverted from his youth and taught that cruelty is the right thing, does some tiny kindness, or refrains from some cruelty he might have committed, and thereby, perhaps, risks being sneered at by his companions, ha may, in God’s eyes, be doing more good than you and I would do if we gave up life itself for a friend.

That is an interesting theory, and does relate to the nurture vs nature debate, though very indirectly. What I really want to focus on is Continue reading

A book that changed my life

Saint Augustine’s Confessions

I read it while I was a senior in high school, and again as a freshman in college, both times for classes. Augustine quickly became my favorite church father (and there’s no wonder why). Both the eastern and western churches claim them as their own sake. He come before the debates of Calvin and Arminius and understands that predestination and free will work together. He Under stands the Christian life and the trials and failings that we go through. The thing that influenced me the most about his book the first time I read it was how everything gives glory to God, from the big and obvious things like helping your neighbor and going on the missions field, to the daily tasks of brushing your teeth and brushing your hair. Everything is in worship to God. Why? Because everything is his creation, made to bring him glory. We glorify him by having relationship with him. We glorify him by taking care of the bodies he has given us. He is glorified when human creativity and intelligence creates things that work like light bulbs and computers. He is glorified when the cheetah runs fast and catches its prey, as He designed it to, and when the prey gets away as He so deemed it to. Everything is to be done is worship to God, every breath of life and every movement. Now this doesn’t mean that we need to pray about every little thing like “what should I wear today?” or “should I use the right or left urinal?” (though you can, but God did give us personality and the ability to think on our own) but all of those tasks are worship to God. The second time I read it through it I learned about how Confessions is not a confession of sins, but a confession of how great God is. He will talk about his sins, yes, but then he turns to praise towards God that goes longer than his talk on sins. He spontaneously cries out “PTL!” (in modern language) and will go on long talks about God’s goodness. I also learned that God’s will is mysterious and higher than ours. His mother, Monica, is so devoted to him, but she ends up dying for unknown purposes, but God had a purpose. I would recommend this book to any Christian. It’s one of my favorites and I need to reread through it.