CTACT

Critical Thinking about Critical Thinking

Prior to this course, I thought I had great critical thinking skills!  But after just a few weeks of this course and the course readings, I’ve been very humbled and discovered that I had very little knowledge of what critical thinking entailed.

During Module 1, I determined that I committed the fallacy of exaggerating in much of my daily life.

The definition for critical thinking is “the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it” (Paul and Elder, 2014).  Since I want to stop intentionally exaggerating, I need to change from my distorted thinking and increase the quality of my thoughts which will take self-discipline and self-monitoring and commitment (Paul and Elder, 2014).

Critical thinking is an intentional effort that takes both training and conscious work; it is not the “kick-back” relaxed go-with-the-flow thinking or passive reading. To me, critical thinking is a conscious effort to question what is being stated; is the statement based on factual data or is it based on emotions; it is the statement based on what someone else said directly or non-directly (because the more people in between the original statement, the more skewed the content).  It is very easy to accept what someone says, adopt it as our own thought and randomly repeat it as if it is 100 percent true…and even add a little bit to it…egads!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve learned that critical thinking is reflective and focused on “deciding” what to believe (Nosich, 2012) and to be a better critical thinker I should ask myself:

1.Why do I believe this statement?

2.Where did this statement originate and do I trust that source?

3.Can I admit to myself that my thinking can be wrong?

These are things that I now ask myself regularly and it has been helping me at my workplace.  I’m asking better questions in meetings and ironically, it helps me stay on point and not get side tracked.

I believe that I can continue to critically think and with practice, it will become an established habit.  I intend to purchase the hard-bound book rather than the ebook so it can be a handy daily reference and reminder to establish that habit.

Circling back to my original critical thinking fallacy of exaggeration; I now understand that to be a successful leader I will need to stop exaggerating which is an obstacle for me in my development; however, once this fallacy is under control, I will be better equipped to mentor others through their fallacy obstacles.  Successful leaders not only meet goals but they do it over time by their perseverance to lead, share their knowledge and mentor others despite obstacles.  In other words, good leaders will have a strong knowledge base from both formal education and experience that can be utilized to lead and teach others even in the presence of challenges.

Interview with Glenn Kreider on Dispensationalism and the History of Redemption

I wish I had this book 4 years ago when I first entered into DTS. I remember I was taking a local Mega Church Bible study here in CA and there was an Eschatological study before the service, which I attended for the first time. The man teaching (a well known and highly regarded pastor) taught against Dispensationalism and blamed specifically DTS for claiming 2 roads to salvation! Nothing further could be from the truth but as a first year Seminarian I had no way to argue; but now….now I wish wholeheartedly that I could go back in time and correct this man who made the entire room “gasp”. So I passionately sponsor this book, authored by several of my instructors over the years, as I know they would not lead any sheep astray. Progressive revelation and the Dispensational hermeneutic is the only way in which I can read the Bible and make sense of it as a whole. I am excited to read this book once it is released and I pray the Lord will lead everyone who reads this to read it as well. As Christians we are often too quick to point fingers and judge each others methods and ideas, but as Christians of an orthodox faith claiming the essential marks of our Protestant faith, we need to find unity even in our diversity because the world is watching “us” and deciding their faith and fate on our actions. Let us be that “One, Holy, catholic (universal), Apostolic church”, united as one, separated from the world, universal/global and Scripturally pure church (gathering of Christians). Thank you for reading this post. Blessings 🙂

A Man from Issachar

UnknownDr. Glenn R. Kreider is Professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. Along with Jeffrey Bingham, he has edited, Dispensationalism and the History of Redemption: A Developing and Diverse Tradition (Moody Press, 2015). The new work has the potential of defining and clarifying dispensationalism for both the modern academy and the church. Dr. Kreider graciously agreed to an interview in association with the publication of the book.

Dr. Kreider, first, tell us a little about your church and educational background as relates to dispensationalism. Did any of this play a role in your reasons for writing this volume?

I was born into a dispensational family, came to faith in a dispensational church, was trained in two dispensational schools, and now teach at Dallas Theological Seminary. My roots are firmly planted in this tradition. The more I have studied the Bible and the more I have studied the history of…

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Welcome!

Welcome to this site about standing firm in our faith in Christ!  So what in the world does “There Must Be Something More” mean?  And why the certain image (which is actually a portion cropped from one of my paintings)?  One of the many things I think we all face at one time in our lives is a sense of non-fulfillment…no matter how much success, beauty, popularity etc. we may have.

Have you ever wondered why you may have felt a feeling of emptiness or loneliness even in a filled room? Or ever wondered how some folks who have very little can be so happy “all the time“?

King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that God placed eternity in everyone’s heart; meaning He created everyone with a God-sized hole in our hearts; further meaning that there is a part of our heart, a part of our sense of fulfillment that can only be satisfied by connecting with God.

If we have everything (as Solomon did or perhaps as Bill Gates does have) but do not have a connection with our Creator God, then we will spend our lives chasing after “the wind” says Solomon.  We will chase a career, family, approval, love, and everything else we can think of in order to feel fulfilled, but because those things are not eternal, we will never feel long-term satisfaction and contentment in life.  Not even King Solomon who had wealth, power, women, success, family and royalty could declare life to be anything but vanity without God and seeking God’s Will (Ecc. 12:13).

Therefore, the cropped painting portion reveals a two beautiful people amongst a backdrop hinting of success; yet her eyes are sad, internally seeking for something more.  Many people don’t know “what” that “more” is; however, it is my desire and passion that this site will help us all discover what that “more” means to each of us in our own relationship with Christ.

Many people ask “How do I know the Will of God?” or “How do I hear the voice of God?” or “How do I know it’s God speaking and not my own desires?”, these are the questions that hopefully this site will help make more clear, especially with your shared insights so we can all be more useful “clear vessels” for God’s work in the hearts of all. May we all grow as “iron sharpens iron” and may His love touch you in ways that will bring you joy and satisfaction and ignite new passions for His glory.

Many Blessings,

Annaphoto 2 (2)

Standing Firm

The Armor of Spiritual Warfare—Standing Firm in the Shodding of Our Feet

 

Ephesians 6:14-17 “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having SHOD YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 

The verse above is a continuation from Ephesians 6:10-13 which states that because of spiritual warfare we are to be strong in the Lord by putting on the full armor of God so we can stand strong against the schemes of the devil. In the specific verses of ten through thirteen, Paul discusses the armor of God in a general manner (see Reflections #6 and 7).

 

However, specifically, we are to stand strong against the schemes of our enemy by donning the full armor of God. The third item of armor Paul mentions is to shod our feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace. There has been much speculation regarding what this means but when we dig into the language spoken during Paul’s time and consider the audience reading or hearing his letter, we can discover in depth that this is a very important and meaningful piece of defensive armor.

 

During the time of Paul’s writing, the town of Ephesus was under Roman occupation and the legionaries were a normal daily sight of the people, so it was an easy illustration for Paul to make in order to help his hearers understand his main points of teaching. The shoes of the Roman soldiers were sandals bound with straps. They wore heavy sandals (called a caliga, a low half boot) with soles made of several layers of leather averaging ¾ inch thick, studded with hollow headed hobnails (iron nails with large domed heads that were hammered through the soles). They were tied by leather thongs half way up the shin and were stuffed with wool or fur in the cold weather (historically, many soldiers also wore greaves, which were studded leather straps that extend to the knee for additional marching and battle protection). Caligas were not running sandals but ones that were to dig in and stand firm against the enemy, which kept the soldier in place during battle so the enemy could not push him around. As Christians, we are to shod ourselves in order to stand firm while under or expecting enemy attack; a specific defensive position.[1]

 

The word “shod” comes from a compound Greek word “hypodeo”, comprised of the terms “hupo” and “deo”.[2] The word hupo means “under” and deo means “to bind”; compounded, it means to bind something tightly on the bottom of ones feet. So it’s a shoe that is fitted very tight against the soldier’s foot. Paul tells his listeners, including us, that we are responsible for shodding our feet as well. The prepositional phrase “with the preparation” reflects the idea of “readiness or preparation” and to “make ready, prepare” or passively as “to be prepared”. Believers who have been shod with preparation and readiness will be able to stand firm against the world, the enemy and our own temptations.

 

How, then, do we as Christians shod ourselves with readiness in order to stand firm against the world, our own flesh and the wiles of our enemy?

 

James teaches we are to “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Oftentimes, we don’t need to always be on the offensive to alleviate the devil from our lives; the defensive position of knowing God’s Word, keeping it safe in our heart and relying on God in faith through prayer is enough to make the devil flee. We are to be like men of war who had their shoes tied tightly to ensure a firm footing, so also are we to be firmly footed against the enemy (when the peace of salvation is secured tightly in us). It is the believer’s surefootedness in the tranquility of the mind and security of the heart in the gospel of peace and salvation that gives us readiness to stand against the devil and his fiery darts. In summary, we prepare and stand firm against the enemy by our close relationship with Christ and relying on Him and His Spirit in us to extinguish any darts of belittlement, suggestions of defeat and obstacles placed in our path.

 

Standing firm in Christ and being prepared by knowing God’s promises and word will also help us when times of our own fleshly temptations come and pressures to succumb to the world’s way of doing business. By wearing the shoes of preparation and readiness we can stand firm by knowing that these sensations of covetous desires, temporary sadness, materialism, languishes and the like will be temporary and fleeting as we remember and trust what we have in Christ and eternity because of our faith and trust in Him. Not everyone in the world has this hope and security, so we must remember to also pray for those who taunt us with such temptations or mistreatments; because ultimately, Christ wants them too, and we should join forces with Him in prayer for such victory, even among strangers.

 

By being prepared with scripture memory of God’s lovingkindness and promises in Scripture and with keeping ourselves strong in prayer and growing closer to God and understanding who He is by reading Scripture, we can endure and we can stand firm no matter what the enemy throws at us; “for stronger is He who is in us than he who is in the world”. The enemy has already lost, as Christians let us stand firm in reminding the enemy of that not-so-small detail.

 

So, then, how do we stand firm exactly? How can we get ourselves prepared and ready for those times that “will” come eventually if not already?

 

  1. The best way to prepare is to know, understand and apply the spiritual disciplines to your daily life. If those disciplines are unknown, the list below is a sample of a few that can be slowly and progressively implemented into ones life. Try to implement one at a time without over-exerting and attempting to do all at once because burn-out may put us in a place worse than we are now (Matthew 12:44-45). A wonderful presentation of each discipline can be further read in Richard Foster’s book “Celebration of Discipline”.
    • Solitude
    • Submission and confession
    • Prayer, reflection and worship
    • Reading, study and memorization
    • Celebration and fellowship
    • Fasting
    • Service
  2. Finding time alone with God in a quiet and secluded place each day will bring a pleasant and rewarding experience of growing closer to Christ as we read His Word, pause to listen and become most humble in His presence. Then, when the temptations or fiery darts hit us, our intention must be to retreat back into the presence of the Holy One and let Him diffuse our fleshly desired response. But this is very difficult to do without a daily practice of experiencing our Lord one on one in solitude and humility.

 

Thoughts for Reflection:

 

  • Is the enemy pushing you around with ungodly thoughts or habits right now? How are you standing firm in the peace of God’s salvation in order to overcome? What can you do to stand stronger and be a larger impact against the enemy, protecting not only yourself but those around you?

 

  • In what areas of your life do you find it most difficult to live God’s way rather than your own way (“not my will but Your Will be done”? Compose a list of what they are and write beside each one a way or plans in which you can help yourself yield to God instead of yourself (try to incorporate the above-mentioned disciplines).

 

  • Remember to pray always, in everything, without ceasing; for the Lord hears His children and His Spirit is in us to guide us and prompt us; especially when we come to Him humbly in secret asking for His power and His Will over our lives.

[1] Historical information is derived from Dallas Seminary Lectures 2014

[2] Strong’s Greek number G5265