Only Enough Grace for Today

Sunrise over rocksGod promises, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” ( 2 Cor 12:9 ESV). God will give you all the grace you need for today. However, Jesus also told his disciples, “Do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34 NASB).

God will give you all the grace you need to do what must be done today. The weaker you become, the more God will increase your grace. We can say with Paul, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).

When we are weak, however, we still feel weak. Our problems stretch on throughout the foreseeable future with no end in sight. We must remember that God’s mercies are new every morning (Lam 3:22-23), but we only have enough for today. Don’t worry about tomorrow; you have enough to do today. Trust God even when you’re falling apart, and your spirit will be renewed day by day (2 Cor 4:16).

Free Audio Bible

Amazon is giving away a Free ESV New Testament Audio Bible. The Bible is in MP3 format which will allow you to listen to it on most personal media players.

I’m a big fan of audio books and especially audio Bibles. While an audio Bible will not allow you to easily read a passage over and over to meditate on it, the audio format will allow you to hear the book as a whole and grasp the big picture.

There are two downsides to Amazon’s free version. First, it is dramatized with somewhat annoying electronically generated music in the background. Second, the reading talent isn’t quite on par with what you would expect from professional audiobooks. However, since it’s free, you really can’t beat the price, and if the shortcomings of this version get on your nerves, you can always go out and buy something better.

Also, if you prefer the King James Version, Amazon has both the Old and New Testaments for free download as well as a number of other translations and versions.

“Root of Bitterness” in Hebrews 12:15

My wife and I are using Rand Hummel’s Five Smooth Stones Scripture Memory Plan in our family devotions. The plan proceeds alphabetically through common sin problems and includes five verses for each topic. The first verse on the subject of bitterness was Hebrews 12:15.

“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15 KJV)

This verse is a very popular text for sermons about bitterness, and I’m not surprised to see it topping Hummel’s memorization list on this issue. Unfortunately, this verse is not talking about an emotional state of bitterness at all. The “root of bitterness” here is an allusion to Deuteronomy 29:18.

“Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the LORD our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit” (Deuteronomy 29:18 ESV)

Hebrews 12:15 is a warning passage to professing Christians that one’s salvation is not a product of the company one keeps. In any Christian assembly, it is possible for there to be some present who have not genuinely believed the gospel. Professing Christians should examine themselves and exhort one another lest anyone fail to benefit from grace of God. While Christians should not be bitter, the “bitter root” in Hebrews 12:15 is an OT allusion supporting the warning against falling away, not a warning about emotional bitterness.

To Rand Hummel’s credit, his second verse on bitterness is dead on. Ephesians 4:31 says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.” The inclusion of Hebrews 12:15 exposes a slight problem in Hummel’s approach. The Bible simply doesn’t give us 5+ commands on every important issue for us to obey. Hummel seems a bit stretched on the issue of bitterness. The other three verses are Eph 4:32, Eph 4:26 (which was included in the previous topic of anger), and 1 Peter 2:1-2. When “bitterness” appears as an emotional state in the Bible, the term is usually employed in descriptions of unbelievers. However, the verses Hummel selects are all worthy of memorization (including Hebrews 12:15), and we will continue using this helpful resource despite this minor hiccup.

New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room

The University of Münster Institute for New Testament Textual Research hosts one of the best online resources for New Testament scholars. Their Virtual Manuscript Room has an amazing digital image collection of New Testament Manuscripts. Not only are the images well cataloged, they have also been transcribed to facilitate reading/comparison.

While you can find slightly higher resolution scans of several manuscripts elsewhere (e.g. APIS for P46), the VMR is the place to go if you want them all in one place and accessible in a user-friendly format.

God’s Fantastically Complex Creation

This short video shows some astounding views of marine animals including a color-shifting cuttlefish, a perfectly camouflaged octopus, and neon light displays from fish who live in the blackest depths of the ocean.

Bill Nye the science guy recently went on record in a YouTube video saying, “Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in evolution…. If you try to ignore that, your world view just becomes crazy, just untenable, itself inconsistent.”

Nye has joined a growing chorus of atheists arguing that parents who teach creationism to their children are practicing a form of child abuse. Answers in Genesis has put together a detailed response to Bill Nye’s assertions.

Bill Nye forgets how “fantastically complicated” the world gets when you do believe in evolution. Take another look at footage above. Could that really have come about by chance? If so, it must have been a fantastically complicated series of events. One has to admit that Occam’s razor favors believing the world to be the fantastically complex creation of an infinite God.

Free Monthly Magazine

The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) publishes a free monthly magazine called Acts and Facts. Each issue is full-color and contains scholarly yet accessible articles about science and the Bible.

ICR has been a long-time advocate for taking the Genesis 1-2 creation account to mean that God created the world in six literal twenty-four hour days and the Genesis 6-8 narrative as referring to a worldwide flood.

The Crown that Perishes

In case you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, Michael Phelps is now the most decorated athlete in Olympic history. His athletic accomplishments are truly amazing … and ultimately forgettable.

Phelps accomplishments were even more stunning in Beijing, but until this year’s Olympics rolled around, I hadn’t thought about him at all for four years (apparently I missed the news coverage of several of his indiscretions). After the close of this year’s Olympics, I’m fairly sure his feats won’t cross my mind until NBC airs a flashback during their Olympic coverage four years from now. These reminders will eventually cease as swimmer after swimmer slowly erase Phelps record times and some new prodigy wins just a few more metals. Who remembered Larisa Latynina before Phelps unseated her as the most decorated athlete of all time? Records are made to be broken and forgotten.

Let’s all applaud Michael Phelps for his incredible accomplishments in the water. However, we should also remember that everyone will soon forget the amazing Michael Phelps. As we each seek our much smaller bits of acclaim, remember that we too will be forgotten. Only the applause of God can echo for eternity.