Monday, February 28, 2011

"Word of God" Part 1

Once upon a time I went through and underlined every time “word of God” was used in the book of Acts.  The phrase occurred quite often in passages about evangelism, which of course is a theme of Acts. At the time I was accumulating evidence that if we wanted to be effective at converting the lost, we needed to use actual Scripture instead of our emotional phrases and cute metaphors.   A passage in 2 Timothy inspired me: “And that from Childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures of God, which are able to make you wise for salvation…” 

Having been raised in the evangelical church, I didn’t at that time ask an obvious question.  When the apostles, Paul, the deacons, and all those famous evangelists spoke “the word of God,” to what did that refer?  Did they stand up in front of masses of Greeks and compile quotations from Exodus, Psalms, and Habakkuk to call men to faith in Jesus?  Obviously they did not yet have the New Testament written.  We do have some examples of the apostles quoting the Old Testament to people while preaching.  And there’s the story of Philip, who found the Ethiopian Eunuch reading Isaiah, so he explained how what we know as chapter 53 was a prophecy fulfilled by Jesus, and led him to salvation from there. 

I’m skeptical that “the word of God” could have been referring to the Old Testament.  There are words to refer to those writings: Scripture, Prophets, Law, Moses, Isaiah, “as it is written.”  But Acts didn’t use those to describe the apostles’ preaching. 

Ok, Jesus when He was being tempted quoted to the Devil that man lives by “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  Jesus Himself was using Scripture, so we usually interpret this as an exemplary double-punch.  I don’t need bread; I need exactly what I’m using now: Scripture.  Except, well, what did the original author mean, the one whom Jesus was quoting? 

If you go to the Psalms, all over the place you find references to the “word of the LORD.”  David says he delights in “Your word.”  Does he mean only that he delights in the Law of Moses?  Why do we think of something different when we read, “The word of the LORD came to…” the prophets? 

When Jesus reaffirmed that man lives by “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,” was He including the words God would speak during His earthly ministry?  Did He mean also those words that He heard from the Father and spoke obediently?  What about the New Testament, which we are today taught is God-breathed just like the Old Testament?  Are we to live by any other “words from God?”  I mean, if the apostles were preaching the “word of God” in Acts, and that didn’t just refer to what had been previously expressed in the Scripture or by Jesus, why don’t we have those preached words recorded?  Do we need them?  John supposes that if everything Jesus said and did were recorded there wouldn’t be books enough to contain them; why don’t we need all the words that Jesus spoke? 

To God be all glory. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Salad Saga

I've been having salad a lot lately.  I bought the romaine lettuce and spinach and red pepper when I was trying not to eat simple sugars and other refined carbohydrates to keep my cold from getting too bad.  (Don't know if that worked; I'm still sick and have been rather miserable.)  The rest of the fixings I had on hand for the occasional salad.  When I came home last week with my treasure, Mom told me she'd bought some too.  It's in a package, and mine was from the produce trays that get sprayed by grocery store rain, so we're using mine first.  I'm proud to say we've used most of mine up.  But the double purchase was the first of the "whoops" in my salad saga.

The rest are all tonight.  And I'd rather have them sprinkled across the days like croutons over the greens.  Oh well.  I was shredding carrot and one end of the carrot broke off into the bucket that was balanced on the edge of the sink, only then it wasn't; it was in the sink, and had thrown a handful of salad onto the dishes therein.  I rescued a few pieces from a plate I knew to be mostly clean.  Hey!  I rinsed them!

Next I was separating the salad into two bowls, one for me and one for my brother.  A bite hit the floor at my feet.  I warned my cat against eating it, as I don't know the effects of spinach on felines.

After adding the croutons and sunflower seeds and raisins and craisins - I know they're sweetened; I've given up on the anti-sugar diet - I handed my brother his dressing.  Then his bowl.  Then I asked him whether he wanted a small (technically, a "salad") fork, and I had it in my hand already when he said no, he wanted a big one.

Then I went to sit on the stool lining the not-really-a-wall of our kitchen so I could eat in the same room with him and see him over the drink jug like you use at picnics and potlucks that is sitting on our table.  But the fork in my bowl flipped out and brought a piece of my salad with it.  I put the bowl down next to the fork, which had landed on a chair nearby, and picked up the romaine from the floor (it landed dressing-side down) to throw away.

When I got back I grabbed a napkin to remove the dressing, but had to use it to catch a sneeze instead.  After finishing that chore and washing my hands (it's all I do anymore!) I finally came back, and was about to retrieve my salad when I saw my cat licking it.  Straight from the bowl!  I assumed she had only licked that particular spot, so I grabbed my meal away from her and yelled at her to lick the dressing off the floor, and took that piece of lettuce out and remembered this time to bring my bowl and fork with me.  The fork went into the sink, and I got another, that one my brother hadn't wanted.

I gave up on sitting in the kitchen with my brother.  In the living room on the coach, cozy between puffs plus/hand sanitizer and my laptop, I finally ate my salad.  And it was great.  Until I tried to stab a crouton.  The  creamy Italian had not soaked into it enough to make it pierce-able.  Instead the crunchy bread flipped, somehow bringing with it some raisins and some red peppers and dressing.  It stuck to my white dress where it landed.  But I picked it up and put it back in my bowl and ate it anyway.  My dress will wash.

What remained of my salad I ate in peace.

To God be all glory.

PS: I went to wipe the dressing off the floor, but I think my cat followed orders.  I wonder what are the effects of Creamy Italian Dressing on felines?

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Are all my posts the same?  All this wrestling with change?

"Why am I not the same as I used to be?  How have I changed?  What shall I hold on to?  Who am I becoming?  Does anyone else notice?"

I don't know where I'm going.  I never have.  When I graduated and people asked what next, even if I thought of a polite and normal-sounding answer, inside I thought of that verse in John 3, that the wind blows here and there and people born of the Spirit are like that.  Except, well, some Spirit-born people aren't like that.  They make plans.  Plans may not come about, but if nothing gets in their way they know what they'll do and choose and who they'll be.  I like surprises and spontaneity, though.

In my life I have been surprised by:
What I believe.
Who becomes a friend.
Who fades from my life.
Length of time.
My own unkindness.
The taste of green peppers.
Being known.
Where I find my socks.
What doesn't work.
Word origins.
What I look like in the mirror.

To God be all glory.