“Erosion” Proverbs 17:14

“Erosion is the detachment of earth material from the surface. Once detached, agents like water or wind transport the material to a new location where it is deposited. The most ubiquitous form of erosion is that done by water.”

Have you ever witnessed erosion? A small trickle turns into a raging current; the greater the pressure that faster it happens. In fact, huge chasms have been formed as the result of erosions. Probably the most famous is the grand canyon.

Interesting to think the Grand Canyon didn’t form overnight. It took a long time for that chasm to develop. The same thing happens with relationships. What looked like a match made in heaven turns into a cold, distant marriage; next thing you know they’re signing paperwork. Two friends who used to be inseparable soon become acquaintances or perhaps even strangers.
Which brings me to Proverbs 17:14, according to the 2011 NIV: “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” That’s a powerful image for the destructive power of arguments. Once a dam is breached there’s almost no hope for it. For all intents and purposes, it’s at the mercy of the water; and the longer the water has been building up and the greater the pressure, the more likely the dam is to be completely destroyed.
Luckily for us, this proverb also tells us how to prevent such destructive erosion from taking place in our relationships. The key is to simply drop the matter. Consider how often a petty disagreement can erode into an argument that can erode into a fight. Pretty soon, no one knows why they started arguing in the first place but it doesn’t matter because they’ll do anything to win. It’s foolishness and it’s destructive.
So, before starting a quarrel, consider what may become of it and whether or not it’s worth it. Elsewhere we’re given two illustrations from fire. In Proverbs 26:20, we’re told that quarreling will go out like a suffocated fire if we stop feeding it! This is contrasted, in Proverbs 26:21, to a person who keeps fueling the fire. The difference is obvious and easy to understand and apply: if you stop fueling the flames they’ll burn out or, at the very least, they won’t get any bigger! As Christians, we should always be seeking the path of reconciliation in our relationships. Marriage is one of our greatest opportunities to glorify God, yet all too often I’ve seen dear friends constantly struggle with the same issues. And much of it has to do with pride mixed with erosion.
On the other side of the coin, this doesn’t mean that you never address any problems within a marriage or close relationship. It doesn’t mean that you let your spouse or loved one intentionally and repeatedly sin against you without confronting them. But we are called to be careful about how we confront them and why we confront them.
How: We are to confront others in order to seek reconciliation, not just for the sake of quarrelling. Arguing just to argue is exactly how relationships experience erosion. Confrontation for the sake of reconciliation is how they become stronger over time. In fact, Jesus taught that when we have estranged relationships, they hinder our relationship with God (Matt 5:21-24).
Why: Are we confronting a spouse of loved-one so that we can “win” an argument? Or are we confronting them so as to make them more like Christ? Who is benefitting from the confrontation, you or the other person? Our motives for confronting others should be for their benefit, never for ours. Christ set the ultimate example of humble love when He died for our benefit, not His. We are called to sacrificially love those around us and help them in the process of their sanctification.
Thus, we see that in our lives there must be a difference between quarrelling and confrontation. Quarrelling erodes a relationship and can eventually destroy it; confrontation—when done in a Christ-honoring manner—is meant to strengthen the relationship and build up the other person.

Bunnies: The true meaning of Easter?

Connie and I went to Target this evening and I noticed they had some Easter stuff out…

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“Bunnylicious”

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It’s good to see that we haven’t lost sight of what Easter is meant to symbolize!

The Empty Tomb

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In light of a talk I’ll be giving on the 23rd of April, I thought I’d get some reading done on Jesus’ resurrection. I found a couple of really great articles that I thought I’d share!

Jesus’ Tomb is Empty! and The Resurrection is Credible & Historical by Justin Holcomb
Evidence for the Resurrection of Christ: A Challenge for Skeptics by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli
Evidence for the Resurrection by Josh McDowell
Historical Evidence for the Resurrection by Matt Perman
Historical Evidence for the Resurrection by Christopher Louis Lang
Evidence for the Resurrection from Existence-of-God.com

I also found some free PDF books by Josh McDowell: Christianity: Hoax or History?, Resurrection Growth Guide:  The Resurrection Factor, Reasons Skeptics Should Consider Christianity, and Skeptics Who Demanded a Verdict.

http://www.marshillchurch.org/v/nrb7h5bxbr1d

“I’m just a realist.”

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“I’m not a pessimist, I’m just a realist!”

“Realists” have a skewed view of reality.

Has anyone ever told you they’re not negative; they’re just realists? That they just see the world for how it really is? I found this great quote by a “realist” on a forum: “others are floating on top of pink clouds with rainbows and unicorns expecting gold to drop down from heaven. People are being naively optimistic never anticipating the danger luring beneath the horizon.” I couldn’t help but smile at his description of other people. According to Dictionary.com, a realist is “a person who tends to view or represent things as they really are.” Princeton defines a realist as “a person who accepts the world as it literally is and deals with it accordingly.”
But here’s a question that popped into my head Sunday: do “realists” actually accept the world for how it really is?

Perhaps you’ve even claimed to be a realist before, eh? I know I have from time to time; it’s easy to begin to think that you’ve got things figured out. But Sunday I realized something about “realists.” They aren’t realists. In fact, “realists” have a skewed view of reality.
Consider the supernatural reality behind the situation.

According to God’s word nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom 8:35-39). Do you truly believe Matthew 19:26 which says that with God all things are possible? Do you take God at His Word and trust in His faithfulness? Or do you get scared at the first sign that things might get a little rough? Whiners are not realists.
In reality, God is all-powerful! And He’s on your side.
In reality, our hope is in God (Rom 5:3-5). Our hope is not in this world (1 Jn 2:17, NIV).
In reality, we know that God will overcome. And through Him, so will we (Rev 12:11).
So I encourage you, when things aren’t looking so good, to consider the supernatural reality behind the situation. Consider the powerful testimony that God is building through your situations; and consider the reality that God is big enough to use anything for His glory (Eph 3:20-21).
God is the ultimate reality, place your hope in Him.

Puffy Christians – 1 Corinthians 8:1

I’m so spiritual and enlightened!
I am all for learning more about God, the Bible, theology, and pretty much anything you can that will draw you closer to God. In my life I’ve noticed a problem that gets bigger the more I learn; the problem is pride. Specifically, the problem is pride as a result of knowledge. It’s easy to think, “wow, I’ve learned so much more than other people; I’m so spiritual and enlightened!” But really, does that sound like a humble heart? Are those types of thoughts even from God? I love my classes, but the biggest, most lethal pitfall I have to avoid is getting puffy.
How can they not know this?!

In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul is addressing the eating of meat sacrificed to idols and he starts his instruction by acknowledging that “we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.'” (1 Cor 8:1) The Corinthians had developed a prideful attitude with regards to the knowledge they posessed. They were thinking things like, “Well of course, everyone should know that idols represent a God that doesn’t exist. Duh!” Or maybe, “It’s obvious we can eat the meat because their gods don’t exist; how can they not know this?!” But really, does that sound like a humble heart? Are those types of thoughts even from God?
Are you a puffy Christian?

Paul lovingly continues his instruction by cautioning them that “This ‘knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Cor 8:1b) A modern way of saying this, and something I’ve heard several times is “The longest journey a man must take is the eighteen inches from his head to his heart.” Paul continues teaching by explaining how the puffy Corinthians were causing less-knowledgeable Christians to struggle because they were eating food sacrificed to idols. They thought their freedom to eat a steak was more important than the spiritual growth of their brothers and sisters in Christ! This is not a real issue for us in America (although we could talk about alcohol as a modern example), but it’s the idea of being puffy I want to look at.
“The longest journey a man must take is the eighteen inches from his head to his heart.” How very, very true this is for me! Maybe I’m the only dirt bag who struggles in this area, but I have to constantly check to see how “puffy” I’m getting. For example, when you read a verse, is your first impulse to use it against someone else or is it to see how it can be applied to your life? I’ll be honest: my first thought is not always how a verse relates to me but how someone else really needs to hear it! So ask yourself: Are you a puffy Christian?

We can break others down or build them up.

If you think you might be a little puffy from time to time, then I encourage you to use your knowledge to love people and build them up, not to inflate yourself and stay puffy. There’s a difference between knowledge and wisdom. A wise person will use their knowledge to build up those around them. Warren W. Wiersbe, in The Bible Exposition Commentary, says it like this:
“The little child who is afraid of the dark will not be assured by arguments, especially if the adult (or older brother) adopts a superior attitude. Knowledge can be a weapon to fight with or a tool to build with, depending on how it is used.”
Do you see the two options we’re given? We can either use knowledge against others or for them. We can break others down or build them up. Do you use knowledge to puff yourself up or to build others up? Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. In 2 Peter 3:18, Peter closes his teaching the same way I’ll conclude this entry: by urging us all to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”