Thursday, April 27, 2006

A God by Any Other Name...

...ain't the same God.

Mary J. Blige, a popular R&B singer, believes that God wants her living in luxury and splendor. Do you think what she's hearing from the God of the Bible?

Mary J. Blige says she has found religion, but she makes no apologies for her earthly materialism. In fact, she says God has willed her to wear bling.

'My God is a God who wants me to have things,' the singer tells May’s Blender magazine. 'He wants me to bling. He wants me to be the hottest thing on the block. I don’t know what kind of God the rest of y’all are serving, but the God I serve says, "Mary, you need to be the hottest thing this year, and I’m gonna make sure you’re doing that".'

Blige also is not modest when it comes to her place in history. 'I do consider myself part of black history,' she told the mag. 'Since 1991, I’m still doing this and I’m successful. And I haven’t hurt anyone in the process.'(source)

I'm not trying to "bash" Mary. Her statements are, however, indicative of a great degree of confusion about who God is, and I think she's not alone in her misunderstanding of God's character and desires for us.

First, God warns His people about the love of money.

1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Matthew 6:24
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

God was not pleased with some of the women in Israel who were proud of their beauty and had haughty hearts. It makes sense to me that He would still feel this way; He doesn't change.

Isaiah 3:16-23
Moreover, the LORD said, "Because the daughters of Zion are proud
And walk with heads held high and seductive eyes,

And go along with mincing steps
And tinkle the bangles on their feet,
Therefore the Lord will afflict the scalp of the daughters of Zion with scabs,
And the LORD will make their foreheads bare."
In that day the Lord will take away the beauty of their anklets, headbands, crescent ornaments, dangling earrings, bracelets, veils, headdresses, ankle chains, sashes, perfume boxes, amulets, finger rings, nose rings, festal robes, outer tunics, cloaks, money purses, hand mirrors, undergarments, turbans and veils.

Notice that He is not going to take these things away because they're so bad and wrong. I believe--based on Scripture (see Esther, Song of Solomon, etc.)--that He has no problem with a woman looking beautiful or wearing feminine accoutrements. He will take these things away because of the pride in the women's hearts. They are idols unto themselves.

I'm not saying outright that Mary J. Blige is personally in that category. But if I were her friend, I'd tell her that statements like she made in Blender reveal that she doesn't understand who God is, and she is worshipping the wrong god if her "God" tells her to "be the hottest thing this year." Women, take heed! I speak to myself, too! It's too easy to get caught up in our appearance, or in love of things. What does God really say to women?

Mary's assertion that God wants her in expensive clothing and jewelry is refuted most directly here:

1 Timothy 2:9-10
Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.

Proverbs 11:22
Like a gold ring in a pig's snout
is a beautiful woman without discretion.

Again, it's not that your husband can't get you a beautiful ring on your anniversary. It's not that you can't have something nice once in a while. The pertinent question is: where is your heart? Do you think God wants you to be the hottest thing out there?

And who in the Bible usually tempts people with such language as Mary is hearing from her "God"? Who tells people what they want to hear rather than the truth? Liars, and their father.

Genesis 3:4-5
The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

2 Timothy 4:3-4
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

You know, myths like "God wants me to bling!"

The solution to this kind of deception is simple: know the Word, seek to apply it to your heart, and when the enemy says, "God wants you to be the hottest thing out there!", you'll know better. You'll know Him.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Remembering to Be Sweet

I was really touched by this post from Crystal at Biblical Womanhood. She writes,

"During my quiet time this morning, after I had read God's Word and spent time in prayer, I was writing in my journal and contemplating what specific things I could do today to be a help meet to my husband....In thinking about practical ways I could be a blessing and help to ease Jesse's heavy burdens, the Lord put it upon my heart to do everything I can to bring joy into his life by smiling and seeking to make him smile."

Oh, how easy it is to get caught up in being busy and forget to love one another! I don't know about you, but my joyful, happy attitude can be the first thing to go when I feel hurried, stressed, or even just businesslike.

Wives, we must remember that our house is not a business that we run; it's a home we help create. Its ethos will be whatever we make it. In the South, we have a saying: "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." We can influence our households for the better just by being cheerful.

And I'm not even talking about how difficult it is to "act" joyful when we're not (that is, when we're exceptionally stressed, hormonal, etc.). I'm really just thinking about a normal day, when you're focused on getting dinner ready or getting the whites their whitest. God, please, please help me to switch that focus to the right thing--glorifying You, praising You, and tending to the happiness of my household--while still functioning and accomplishing with excellence those things that must be done.

The Proverbs 31 wife laughs, in addition to her many domestic accomplishments. Perhaps that is the best 'accomplishment' of all.

Proverbs 31:10-12, 25, 28-29
A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
'Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.'

Monday, April 10, 2006

The "Gospel" of Judas: Making Connections

Guess what?

A "new gospel" doesn't surface after hundreds or thousands of years without some plotting by the enemy. He's not going to let an opportunity go to waste.

I tend to see a great degree of behind-the-scenes spiritual engineering when these sorts of circumstances arise. Hmmm, let's see:

- Dan Brown writes The Da Vinci Code, which is just a modern primer for Neo-Gnosticism and New Age thought. Neo-gnosticism couches its teaching in some Christian terminology, but its tenets (that all matter is evil and that true freedom only comes through diabolical, secret knowledge) are diametrically opposed to the truths presented in the Bible. Brown's book makes egregious claims about Jesus Christ and paints neo-Gnosticism and goddess worship as the secret truth predating Christianity and Judaism.

From the last page of Brown's novel:

Like the murmurs of spirits in the darkness, forgotten words echoed. The quest for the Holy Grail is the quest to kneel before the bones of Mary Magdalene. A journey to pray at the feet of the outcast one. With a sudden upwelling of reverence, Robert Langdon fell to his knees. For a moment, he thought he heard a woman’s voice...the wisdom of the ages...rising up from the chasms of the earth.

Really, I shouldn't even have to quote any more of Mr. Brown's writing for you to see the writing on the wall. What he's trying to do is obvious.

- Ron Howard and Tom Hanks, two of the biggest and most respected names in Hollywood, sign on to make The Da Vinci Code film. Uh oh.

- Just before Passover/Resurrection Sunday and just before the film's hype kicks into high gear, a fragment of Gnostic writing, The Gospel of Judas, is "mysteriously" discovered and smugly touted by some "scholars." People start asking one another, "Was Judas a good guy?" and "Are there other gospels out there?"

Um, yeah. Just a coincidence.

I can't do a better job of analyzing the whole thing than Red Giants and Kjos Ministries have. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've also edited an article by Joe Schimmel about The Da Vinci Code for his Da Vinci Con site. I'll let you know when that article has posted.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Newest Search Strings and Other Friday Fun

Not necessarily in that order.

(Quick update: things are going really well here, and I appreciate so much everyone's prayers for Helen, Ryan's mother. The doctors believe they were able to get all of the cancer out when they removed her kidney, and she is recovering well. Please continue to pray for the family and for her recovery.)

I can't help but indulge in some humor after giggling over Muley's 'Escapist Dating' post.

Oh, and before I forget--I am really excited about some blogs out there:

1. One of my best friends in the world, Katie, has finally started her own blog. Try not to get drool on your keyboard as you dote on her adorable son, Gabe! I love the poem she shares in this post.

2. Katie's husband, Roddy, is a youth minister at a large church. He's started HIS own blog, too: check out Pursue This. I think you'll find his posts as intriguing and encouraging as I have. Roddy has a passion for Jesus Christ that comes out in everything he does!

3. I noticed that the folks at Red Giants have started posting again. Challenging, refreshing, well-written, and easy on the eyes. Awesome stuff...please keep it coming!

Can you tell I love lists? Here's another one. One of the strings I got today really tickled my funny bone, so I thought I'd share my newest stash with you:

More Ways to (Unintentionally) Find Me, Apparently

1. Kristen Dream Walking
Not since I stopped my medication.

I don't know, but it's certainly rude.

3. kristen's cookie company -syllabus
So she's teaching cookie classes now? Most importantly, do I get a Kristen discount?

4. watch with kristen on e entertainment
See, but I don't have cable. That's going to throw a wrench in that plan. How about some P&P?

5. What is the spanish version of It's a Small World
You know, I want to think of something smart-aleck to say, but all that comes to mind on earth did that land someone here? Ed--did "drunken bobsled" make any more sense to you? Oh, and I like how they capitalized the song, but not 'Spanish.' It's not a LANGUAGE or anything.

6. Land of the Walking Marriage
Land of the Leaping Weirdness.


7. Jcpenney incontinent
'Nuff said.