August 19, 2017

Food That Restores

I recently learned that, “the word ‘restaurant’ is a French-coined word that means: food that restores.” As someone who wants to go into the culinary industry, I greatly appreciated this, and it affirmed many of the conclusions I had come to believe about food. I love food, and I love making it, and being at Covenant has changed my perspective of what food is and what my relationship to it should be.

The phrase “food that restores” conveys that there is more to food than we might initially think: food is so much more than calories to be counted. It is, as Dr. Kaufmann puts it, “A foretaste of future glory.” Gathering around a table to eat together is one of the ways that we can affirm the image of God in others and experience humanity to its fullest. You may think that I am just a food enthusiast and have overstated my opinion, but I don’t believe that I have. My hope in this article is to help you to see food differently: I hope you come see it as an opportunity to worship God and to enjoy a foretaste of future glory.

Food plays an important role throughout the Bible. It was eating of the fruit of the tree by which Adam and Eve fell. As Christians, Jesus invites us to come to the Lord’s table – a meal. The Israelites remembered and celebrated the faithfulness and provision of God through feasts throughout the year. Food plays a significant role in the Bible, and it should not be overlooked.

I will be the first to admit that food is broken and that we often do not relate to food as we ought. That is a result of the fall; creation is fallen and food now is not what God originally intended it to be. We struggle with gluttony, food allergies, food that is prepared poorly, food that goes bad, as well as unhealthy foods.. But, even with food, we can see how God created it good, and it is broken now because of the fall. God doesn’t leave it there though. He is working through us to bring at least partial redemption to his creation now and will one day completely redeem and restore all things – including food. Even now when we eat good food we can have a glimpse into the glory that is to come.

In a past BagPipe article (Covenant College’s school news paper), Adrienne Siegenthaler made the comments that, “food is broken…” and  “that food is holy.” I completely agree with her. As Christians we are to love what God loves and hate what he hates, and as we enjoy food, we take pleasure in his creation. We must recognize that food is a gift from God, and He has given us the ability to enjoy that gift through our senses. We enjoy the aesthetic beauty of our food, eating with our eyes first and then proceed to enjoy it through our sense of taste. We can see in Genesis 1 that God looks at His creation and says it is good, and then in Psalm 104:31 that God rejoices in it. When we eat we can glorify God. We see Paul charge the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” As I take a bite of an awesome homemade lasagna, I can thank God for his provision and for the ability to be able to take joy in the taste – and worship in that. While we can and should worship and glorify God in our relationship to food, food also plays a huge role in our relationships with one another.

When you think of your best friends, how did you become so close? You probably spent a good deal time together, but chances are that you shared many meals together. Recently on a Sunday evening at LMPC, Pastor Joe Novenson made the comment, “It’s hard to think you’re not welcome, when someone invites you to their table.” He was speaking in regards to the Lord’s Supper, but the principle applies to our everyday meals as well. People are not just objects. They are human beings made in the image of God, and this means that they are multidimensional: they are creative, rational, social, as well as so many other things. When you sit down to a meal together, you have the opportunity to affirm the image of God in people and help them know that they are valuable. I’m not saying this can only be done around a meal, but it is a common opportunity for everyone. Through this process you build and strengthen relationships.

It is my hope that the next time you sit down to eat, you aren’t solely doing so to sustain your body so that you can function. I hope you consider the good gift that God has given us and praise and thank Him for it. I hope that you are intentional to affirm the image of God in those that you share meals with and assure them that they are valuable. God through food restores our bodies, relationships, and joy in Him.

A Philosophy of Work by Haley Dempsey

(Last year I was challenged with the idea of what it means to work hard, and even wrote a blog post about it, but recently I have been thinking about it again in a more specific way. The last few weeks I have been working on an article on the topic for our school news paper  but also wanted to share it with you all in the hopes that it would encourage you and cause a deep reflection on how you are living your own life.)

Have you ever heard someone talk about what it means to work hard or to have a good work ethic? Having a conversation about this topic over the summer prompted me to ask myself two questions. The first was, “What does it mean to work hard?” and the second was, “What should be my motive for the things that I do?” Working hard is often encouraged, but I believe that many of us are still missing the mark. Why? Because we are not working to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

We have often heard this verse, and others similar to it, used to spur us to do our best in all that we do. Some of you reading this may be wondering why it even matters to work hard instead of aiming to just get by. It matters because the Bible says we are to do everything as unto the Lord.

I have struggled with not wanting to do my best in the things that I do, whether it be in my classes, in basketball practice, or at work, and I have failed. I have had to be reminded of Colossians 3:23-24 which says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

What does it mean to work hard? It means to go the extra mile; it means that we do the right thing even when it is inconvenient or no one else is around. Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” We should work as if He has asked us to do those things Himself. These verses I have mentioned do apply to us doing our best in everything, but they can be taken a step further.

We tend to grasp the application of these verses to work hard, but we often miss what our motivation should be for doing this. As fallen human beings we tend to seek our own satisfaction, self-promotion, and prestige in our work, or we do it because we have to. We hear, “Whatever you do, work heartily” but we forget the part that says, “As for the Lord” and “You are serving the Lord Christ.” The reason it is wrong to not work for God’s glory is because when we strive for our own selfish ambitions we rob God of his glory.

Whether you are an athlete on the basketball court, or a student pursuing academic accomplishments, excellence is not the end goal. God requires more of us. Our goal should be to bring God the glory, praise, and honor that is due to him. As Christians, we should be setting an example of excellence because we desire to do all that we do to the honor of our Lord and Savior.

I want to challenge each one of us to do everything as unto Him. Do your homework to the glory of God. Play sports to the glory of God. Yes, even clean toilets to the glory of God. He is our Lord, Creator, and Savior and He deserves everything that we have. Our hearts should be set on not our own will, desires, and pleasures, but on God’s. Let us be a people who seek to please Him.

 

Kind David – A Man After God’s Own Heart?

Today I wanted to write on a subject that I have been thinking about for a couple of weeks. The topic is how can it be that the scripture calls David a man after God’s own heart when he committed adultery, murdered a man, and was responsible for the death of others as well? One would think that after falling into such sin as that he could never be used of God or have a godly testimony, but the scripture shows us different.

Summary of 2 Samuel 11 & 12

David saw Bathsheba bathing from his roof top, he  sent to find out who she was, and then sent and laid with her! After this Bathsheba goes home but becomes pregnant and sends and tells David. Rather than repenting of his sin, now David schemes how he can cover it up. So he decides to send for Uriah who is away at war (where David should have been) and let him stay at home so people would think it was Uriah’s baby. The problem: Uriah wouldn’t go home because his countrymen were away at war sleeping in tents. David finally decides to send him back to the war but to kill him by putting him in the hottest part of the battle and then pull back from him. This occurs and other men as well as Uriah die. David then takes Bathsheba to be his wife. David thinks he has covered his sin and that no one knows, but God sends Nathan the prophet who rebukes David and tells him God’s judgement.

At this point in the story David does what he should have done earlier. He declares that he has sinned against the Lord and repents of his sin. Nathan says that God has put away David’s sin and that he will not die. He must suffer the consequences of his sin, but God forgives David of his sin. When you read of David in the rest of scripture he is not remembered in the scripture after this for his sin, but rather as a man after God’s own heart! David repented of his sin, turned from it and followed after the Lord.

Examples of What David is Remembered For: 

“David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” -1 Kings 15:5

“And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.” -2 Kings 22:2

“And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.'” -Acts 13:22

This truth is a tremendous encouragement for the Christian. We learn that our lives do not have to be defined by our sin. When we sin if we will repent, turn away from it, and follow the Lord we will be remembered as people who gave their lives to the Lord. I hope this is an encouragement to you!

The Reality of Revelation

Have you ever experienced a time in  your life where the truths of scripture became a reality to you? Where something you believed and knew in your head became a reality to your heart and life? The psalmist often communicates God’s faithfulness, steadfastness,  protection, etc and he communicates them in a very personal way because he was at the receiving end!

vesuxcExamples from the Psalms
“Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!” -Psalm 117

“But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!” As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” -Psalm 40:16

“I will also praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praises to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel.” -Psalm 71:22

Another thing we see in the Psalms is the praise, thanksgiving, glory, and honor ascribed to the Lord for his steadfast love, faithfulness, salvation, etc. When God demonstrates His love to us and makes His revealed word a reality in our lives we should respond with praise and thanksgiving to God because He is worthy to be praised!  We can trust the promises of the scripture that God will always be with His people, strengthening them, and upholding them and it is amazing when you can claim that yourself. I hope this is an encouragement to you!

Work to the Glory of God: A Biblical Work Ethic

Hi everyone, As many of you may know, I started a new (and my first) job this past week. I praise God for his blessings and kindness in providing me this job, in his perfect timing. Today though, I was reminded of an important topic that we often talk about, but may not always consider in a biblical context; I am talking about the idea of a good work ethic and working hard. Many in our culture today are hard workers. They raise the bar, but many have still missed it. Why? Because they are not working to the glory of God.

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” -1 Corinthians 10:31

Some may ask the question, “Why should I work hard?” or “Why does it matter if I just get by?” It matters because we are to do EVERYTHING to the glory of God and as unto the Lord. In my job I am doing a number of different things like setting up for events, doing dishes, sweeping, mopping, etc.  Even in those kinds of jobs my desire is (and should be) to do it to bring honor, glory, and praise to Him and do it as if He had ask me to do it himself.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” -Colossians 3:23-24

Some people may not be asking the questions of why they should work hard. Instead, they do but their work is for for their own satisfaction, self-promotion, or glory. Some people may work hard for a promotion, because they need to keep a job, or to get a raise. God requires more of us! As Christians, we should be setting an example of excellence because we desire to do all that we do we do to our God, our Lord, our savior.

I hope this has given you some things to think about. I want to challenge you to do all to His glory! It’s like the catechism says: Q. What is mans’ chief end? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Bearing Christ’s Image

Romans 12:1-2

Romans 12:1-2

Hi everyone! I hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! For my first post of this year I wanted to write about how we as Christians are to be image bearers of Christ. When people look at us and our lives they should in us a reflection of Christ and his characteristics in us. I’ll give you a very practical example of this.

A couple weeks ago two of my brothers and I went into a convenient store by ourselves. When we were paying the clerk asked us who our parents were. I told her and she said she knew them and that she asked because Andrew looked like my dad. Because of Andrew’s resemblance to my dad she knew whose family we were a part of. It should be the same way with Christ. People should see us and know we are a Christian because we bear the characteristic of our Savior.

I pray that this year we might be more conformed to the image of Christ so that those in this world might look at us and say, “They are a Christian. They bear the characteristics of Jesus Christ.”  I hope this is your desire for this year! I believe Romans 12:1-2 would be good for every Christian to meditate on daily.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:1-2

An Eternal Dichotomy

2 Corinthians 4:18

2 Corinthians 4:18

The dichotomy between a life lived for the glory of God and a life lived with no thought or concern for God could not have been any more clearly illustrated than it was to me this week. In the past month I have attended the funerals of two men. One, whose purpose and goal in life was to become more like Christ and glorify God through his life. The other lived his life to gratify the deeds of the flesh with no concern whatsoever for the things of God. This is an eternal dichotomy between a person whose trust was in Christ and a person whose trust was not in Christ.

The first man I mentioned was a member of our church; his name was Mr. Roney. Christ was the center of his life. By God’s grace alone, because it cannot be mustered up by man, Mr. Roney lived his life in light of eternity. Mr. Roney had Christ, not in some abstract way, but in the reality of a relationship with him. Now his trust, which was once by faith is now by sight. Even in the sorrow of his death, I know that he is with the Lord and have the hope that he will one day rise again from the dead, and have a body like Christ’s. (Phil. 3:20-21)

The second man of whom I spoke was my Grandfather. My grandfather’s life was characterized by a willful rebellion against God and by the gratification of the deeds of the flesh. He did not live with eternity in mind but rather his own pleasure. As far as we know, my grandfather passed away without Christ. To know Christ as your savior and have a relationship with him is the most important thing we can be concerned with because whether or not we do has eternal implications.

There are only two options for people: you are either in Christ or you are not. You either spend eternity with Christ in glory, or you endure the wrath of God forever and ever. The lives these men lived are in stark contrast, and their deaths show us the consequences of their spiritual states. I would encourage you if you are reading this and you don’t know Christ, seek after him! Pray that he would save you from your sins. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” If you are reading this and you are a Christian, I would encourage you to give your everything for Christ. Don’t live your life serving Christ half-heartedly. He has called us to give up everything and follow him.

Related Books
A Taste of Heaven   The Forever People   Jonathan Edwards on Heaven and Hell   The Secret Key to Heaven

Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice

20 Week Fetus

The topic of abortion is a big deal in our country today. On the one hand there are the pro-choice supporters who say a woman has the right to choose whether she has an abortion, and on the other hand there are the pro-life supporters who say that abortion takes the life of an innocent, defenseless human being . Which position is right? In this post I want to explain why I believe the pro-life position is right.

One of the biggest objections to the pro-life position says that a woman has a right to choose whether or not she will have an abortion, and pro-lifers should not try to take that right away from her. At this you might ask, “Well, where does the right to have an abortion come from?” To which they would reply, “The government.” “If abortion used to be illegal and the government gave you the right to have an abortion then the government has the right to take that right away.” “Well, we have an intrinsic right to an have an abortion!” What people who argue this way do not realize is that they are denying the humanity of the unborn in the womb. If the unborn is NOT human then of course we can abort it, but IF the unborn is a human being it has a right to life because all human beings are valuable and are made in the image of God. The right to ‘chose’ does not justify the killing of millions of innocent human beings.

Some might object and say that the fetus in the womb can’t be human. I’m pretty sure you all would say that a newborn is a human being. There are four differences between fetuses and newborns that people use to argue for abortion. They are: Size, Level or Development, Environment, and Degree of Dependency. The acronym to remember this is S.L.E.D. Let’s look at each one of them.

Size: Would you agree that the fetus is smaller then the newborn? Yes, it is! Many people would ask how something that is the size of a dot be a human being. I would say so you believe large people are more human than smaller people. Men are typically larger than women are, so do they have more rights than women do? No. Therefore size is not a factor in saying that the unborn is not human.

Level of Development: A question to keep in mind with this is, “Does self-awareness and intelligence define us as human beings?” Pro-Choice supporters would argue saying, “How can you call something human that is not self-aware and does not have a functioning brain human?” If self-awareness and intelligence define who we are as human beings that means those who are more intelligent  have greater rights over those who are less intelligent. When we are born we have very little intelligence and self-awareness; as we grow we gain more, and as we age we begin to lose our intelligence and self-awareness. Do we therefore become more and less human throughout our lifetime. This is not true and therefore the level of development is not a factor in the humanity of the fetus.

 Environment: Another common objection to the pro-life view is that the fetus is not human until it is born. Does “who” you are have anything to do with “where” you are? If I were to place you on the moon would you be any less human there than you are here on earth? You get out of bed in the morning and go to work: are you any less human because you changed your location? No! How does it follow, then, that the travel of the unborn fetus down the birth canal transforms a non-human clump of cells into a living human being who has the right to life.

Degree of Dependency: Yet another argument used to support abortion is that until the fetus is viable it is not human. If our ability to live independent of anyone or anything is what makes us human, there is a big problem. What about the people in the world who are dependent on things like insulin or pacemakers? According to this logic we may kill anyone who is dependent on insulin, a pacemaker, or anything else because they are not completely independent and therefore are less human than everybody else.

There are only these four differences between the unborn and those who are born and none of these different justify the killing of the unborn child.

Scott Klusendorf Arguing Against Abortion Using the S.L.E.D Acronym 

Related Books

Abortion: A Rational Look at an Emotional Issue

Healing after Abortion: God’s Mercy Is for You

Abortion: Open Your Mouth for the Dumb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please keep a look out for part two of this important series on abortion!

“All Things Work Together for Good…”

Romans 8:28

Christian, does it ever seem that things going on in your life aren’t going on for your good? The Bible says in Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” But how can that be? How can things like the death of a close family member, losing one’s job, or developing a serious illness be for the good of the Christian? Many Christians today have the wrong definition of good. When Paul in Romans 8 talked about “good,” he was not talking about our comfort, health, or wealth. For the believer good means to be made like Christ and in the process accomplish the plans God has for us as well as for others. So when the Christian loses a close family member God often uses that situation to teach the believer certain truths, to refine him, or to draw him closer to Himself. The apostle Paul was no stranger to hardship and endured stoning, imprisonment, and rejection which would not seem to be for his good, but they were. Paul was imprisoned in Philipi and that is where the Philippian jailer was converted. In prison Paul was also able to write to the churches that he was not able to visit as well as spend more time in prayer for them. God used Paul while he was in prison and Paul knew God had a purpose for him there. From prison Paul was instrumental in the Gospel going throughout the world. So when you are in a trial wondering how it could possibly be for your good, remember God uses it to accomplish his will and to make you more like Christ.

The Power of Communication – A Call for Bold Christians

image

Speak Out!

Hey everyone! Well, as expected after returning home from Summit there are so many topics that I could and want to write about. Things that I learned at Summit or things I have become aware of since coming home. I hope to write them all eventually but will deal with just one today! In this post, I want to talk about the power of communication.

Have you ever wondered why it is that those who are the minorities in the United States such as atheists or supporters of homosexuality are able to get their agendas passed and completed? Have you ever wondered why the Christian values that you believe in that used to be promoted in our culture are disappearing and are often looked down on? I believe the reason for this is that Christians are not standing up and speaking out for what they believe in and are not proclaiming the truth of the scripture. While at the same time these other groups who represent a small portion of Americans loudly proclaim what they stand for -whether it be for pro-choice, for the legalization of marriage of a couple of the same sex or whatever it be- and cause change toward their goals because they are the only ones heard and they are heard loud and clear. What we need to do as Christians is to be bold and have courage to stand up for what we believe in. Our boldness as Christians to proclaim what is right and true does not come from the facts that we have a right to say what we think in this country or we are passionate about what we are sharing. Our boldness comes from the fact that when we speak up with the truth claims of God we know we have a God who is sovereign and who uses His truth to change the hearts on men. Those who would make claims apart from what God has said in His word do not have the power of God behind them.

Some might say, “It won’t matter if I speak out anyway. It won’t make any difference!” If standing up for and speaking out for what you believe in does not have any affect then why is it that speech has ever been restricted in any nation? Why was free speech censored under the Nazi Germany? I saw one website that answered the question like this, “The aim of censorship under the Nazi regime was simple: to reinforce Nazi power and to suppress opposing  viewpoints and information.” If the people have no power to speak out against something they have no power to prevent or change it.  If we do not speak out against evil when we are permitted to we are not better than those who did not speak because they were forbidden to.

I want to encourage you, that as we where we have the right to free speech to exercise that right. I am getting tired of hearing Christians today bemoaning the state of our country but do nothing to change it! They sit at home and watch the news and just hope Jesus comes back soon. Stand up against the evils in our nation and tell people the truth of the gospel. Our desire in confronting evil is not for political or that through speaking the gospel people would come to know Jesus Christ as their savior for “the gospel is the power of God unto Salvation.” (Romans 1:16) As we proclaim the truth of God’s Word we do so in love desiring to see souls saved. Christian, realize that being a child of God He will strengthen you and be with you. Speak boldly, speak the truth, and speak it in love.

A few related verses are:

  • “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6
  • “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,” -Psalm 46:1-2
  • “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” -Psalm 27:1
  • “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.'” -Isaiah 41:10-13
  • “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” -Ephesians 6:10