I was running errands. I went to Wal-Mart (checkout delayed several minutes), Logans (took a couple of minutes to get out of the parking lot and then just missed the turn signal), then to the Centerville mall. At the mall, I got a good bit of pocket change from a purchase and thought (tiny bit irritated) I would have a lot of change rattling in my pocket. While at the mall, I sat down and called home to see if I needed to pick up something for lunch. She said “no,” so on to the last stop at the Centerville Post Office. (The ladies who work there always enjoy my giving them stuffed animals to pass on to others.)
There was a young lady in front of me who had purchased something and was rummaging in her purse trying to find enough money to pay for it. She was counting out pennies. I got the change out of my pocket and asked if that would help. Wouldn’t you know, it was almost exactly what she needed. (Tiny irritant became a blessing.) I gave her a stuffed animal, and without hesitation she gave me a long hug. I asked if she was having a rough day, and she said “yes.” I wished her well.
The lady at the post office smiled and paid me a compliment. On the way home, I thought about God’s timing -- had any of the errands taken even a couple of minutes more (or less), or traffic had not been heavy, or if wife had wanted something for lunch, or any number of other things had happened -- I would have missed the young lady completely and missed out on the blessing.
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So next time I’m stuck in traffic or get impatient, maybe I can remember that we don’t always see God’s timing or that irritants can become blessings.
Later, I wished I had asked if I could have helped the young lady in other ways. Maybe she could have used some gas money or something. But I think God signaled that she is in good hands. Later I thought that if God is handling these little things, why can’t I trust him completely in everything?
Some might say these things were just a coincidence. I think coincidence is sometimes spelled G-O-D.
-- Donnie Powell
Those who, like Bill Ferguson, have followed the debate initiated by Dr. Bill Cummings in regard to Catholic doctrines and authority (“Question of authority haunts all churches,” Nov. 21), would do well to engage in a diligent study of Ecclesiology as well as Israelology. An outline for the former, the study of the church, is provided in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation -- the “Seven Letters to the Seven Churches,” dictated by our Lord to the apostle John. These have a four-fold application: historical (or local); general (they apply to all churches, in all times); homiletic (personal -- they apply to all believers, individually); and prophetic. They provide a prophetic outline of the history of the church. If they were in any other order, that would not be the case.
Important for our understanding is that the church became “married” to the world, beginning with the Roman Emperor Constantine, becoming the state religion with the Edict of Thessalonica under Theodosius I. This attempt to unify the crumbling empire effectively appointed unregenerate pagans as priests of the new religion under the auspices of the existing pagan structure and system (e.g., the temples to Jupiter, Bacchus, Venus, etc.)
Christianity is an affair of the heart and mind and was never intended to be imposed as a state governmental system. Christianity is, in fact, anathematic to that purpose. Many see a diabolic impetus behind the development -- i.e., if the church could not be destroyed by persecution, then perhaps by adulteration, corruption and a hierarchal state structure.
Interestingly, in the aforementioned “Seven Letters,” Jesus twice mentions his hatred of the “Nicolaitans.” While there is dispute as to who this refers to, an intriguing and plausible possibility is that it is an untranslatable term, which means “to conquer or subdue” (nikos) “the people” (laos).
This is precisely what occurred with the imposition of the state religion, which instituted a hierarchal system and priestly intermediaries between God and man, and a consequent subjugation of the laity which is still in existence today (and not just in the Roman Catholic Church).
And lest anyone mistakenly infer an “anti-Catholic” or “anti-papacy” or “anti-denominational” bias here, remember that God’s will cannot be thwarted and that he is working “all things to the good” in spite of the actions of men and (fallen) angels to the contrary.
The true church, “the Body of Christ,” both transverses and transcends mere denominational distinctions. Its authority comes from Jesus Christ, not from any man or group of men. And while its charter, mission, purpose, beliefs and the message of redemption is spread across the available bandwidth of the 66 books recognized as canon across Christendom, it is pithily summarized in “The Apostles Creed” which can be easily Googled.
It would diminish a lot of confusion if those who reject the items documented there would refrain from labeling themselves “Christian.”
-- W. Wade Stooksberry II
King would not approve
A peaceful man by the name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is quoted as saying, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Given the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, I’m fairly confident King is rolling over in his grave.
-- Matt Renno