Christianity 201

November 26, 2021

David Jeremiah Quotations (2)

Nine years ago, we did a shorter version of quotations from David which was probably one of the first articles we did in the quotations series. (There were really only about six quotes.) So I decided to revisit this today.

David Jeremiah is a prolific Christian author, founder of Turning Point Radio and Television Ministries and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church, on the southern edge of California bordering Mexico.

Note: As with all the quotations series, you’re encouraged to slow and read each one, and pause and think about it before rushing through to the next quote.


Head knowledge without heart knowledge is worse than useless; but when head and heart join forces, it changes our lives forever.

Integrity is keeping a commitment even after circumstances have changed.

Refresh your commitment today to test everything by the Word of God. The surest defense against spiritual deception is knowledge of spiritual truth.

Prayer is the way you defeat the devil, reach the lost, restore a backslider, strengthen the saints, send missionaries out, cure the sick, accomplish the impossible, and know the will of God.

God appeared to His people in the Old Testament and dwelt with His people in the New – and now abides in us by His Spirit.

You have inside you the capacity to invest your mental, emotional, and spiritual gifts in a way that glorifies God, impacts the world, and satisfies your own soul. I believe that-and I want you to believe it, too.

God created the heavens and the earth to reveal His glory. Don’t allow creation to eclipse and steal the worship God desires and deserves.

It’s not that your most important work is meaningless; it’s that your most trivial movements are also significant.

Don’t let obstacles along the road to eternity shake your confidence in God’s promise. The Holy Spirit is God’s seal that you will arrive.

Believers talk about trusting in the Lord with their whole heart and refusing to lean on their own understanding, but no one really knows what that means until circumstances cast them headfirst into a dark and painful place. If we give ourselves fully to God in those moments, we will obtain keepsakes of Him to treasure now and forever.

When you’re facing all the issues of life and you don’t know what to do, accept the fact that you are human. We all are. We don’t have the capacity to understand Almighty God. But you know what? We know Jesus Christ. He’s the wisdom of God. And He put His Holy Spirit in us. So having access to the Holy Spirit and Jesus, we can face the challenges of today with the wisdom of God.

The only way the corporate Body of Christ will fulfill the mission Christ has given it is for individual Christians to have a vision for fulfilling that mission personally.

When we share Christ, the Truth behind our transformation, we are offering people an opportunity to be transformed.

Your heavenly home was bought for a price, and that payment results in a title deed that can never be lost through foreclosure.

Many Christians have the mistaken notion that eternal life begins when they die. But that is not biblically accurate. Eternal life begins when we are born again into the Kingdom of God.


Sources: Quotes Christian, What Christians Want to Know, Inspiring Quotes, AZ Quotes, Good Reads, Quote Fancy.

There are more on our previous quotations page for David Jeremiah from May 2012.

See also David Jeremiah’s website for daily devotionals.  Here’s a sample from earlier this week:

They’re With Me

Today’s Scripture: Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37

Recommended Reading:

For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  1 John 5:4-5 (NLT)

Maybe it happens more in the movies than in our own lives, but it does happen. Someone important approaches the entrance to a restricted area where he is recognized and waved through. But the people with him are not recognized and are denied entrance. When the “celebrity” sees the problem, he turns and says, “It’s okay; they’re with me.” Suddenly the whole group is waved through. Knowing the right person has its advantages.

When Paul writes about hardships not being able to separate us from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:35-39), he says we can overcome them because “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us”—meaning Christ. He may have been thinking of Jesus’ words: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV). It’s as if you and I are with Jesus when we suddenly encounter some trouble. Trouble waves Jesus past, but then He says to trouble—gesturing at us—“It’s okay; they’re with Me.”

Jesus has overcome the troubles of this world. If you are in Him, you have overcome them as well.

The Christian faith is not a way to explain, endure or enjoy this world, so much as to overcome it.  – Vance Havner

 

 

March 28, 2018

“Open Your Bibles as We Read from the Book of…”

With the 8th anniversary of Christianity 201 happening on Easter Sunday, we’ve been looking at some of the older articles on file; this one is from March, 2012…

I believe the most powerful words with which a preacher can begin any sermon is to say, “Take your Bibles and turn with me to the book of…” I love analogies, I love to hear about the context in which the writers wrote, I love it when a preacher quotes contemporary and classic writers, and I need to hear the suggested application of the passage to my life…

…but it all has to begin with scripture.

2 Peter 1:16-NIV For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Verse 21 in the above is key to this discussion. No matter what my will would desire to say, my words must, first and foremost, be guided by the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Eugene Peterson translates the concluding section of the passage:

The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word.

The problem we face in the Christian media, including Christian radio and television, and in Christian books, is that you’re hearing a lot of what Peter would call “private opinion.”

Any blogger or pastor or author has to be continually running a check: Is this my opinion or is this what God is saying? Is this my pet peeve or favorite subject or am I letting the passage speak?

In the U.S., there was (and probably still is) a network of radio stations that operated under the corporate name Clear Channel. That’s a radio term originally referring to certain powerful AM-frequency signals that broadcast over a wide area — especially at night — without interference from local stations that were assigned the same frequency.

Being a clear channel of what God means speaking with the power of His Word and not allowing the message to be fuzzy or subject to interference.

Continuing this theme in the next chapter — and remember the chapter divisions don’t exist in the original — Peter goes on to describe those whose signal is “interfered with” as false teachers.

Years ago, I asked a friend of mine who was doing research into cults to explain to our church exactly how does a cult get started. I used the analogy, “How does a rocket, properly aimed and positioned start to veer off course?”

I think it’s not a stretch to look at chapter two of Peter’s epistle as having some origins in what he says in chapter one: It began with someone’s “own interpretation” (NIV) or “private opinion” (Peterson).

A crowd can be wrong. Just because hundreds of people are jumping off a cliff doesn’t mean you should also. But there is a security in both (a) the way the ‘church fathers’ have traditionally dealt with a passage of scripture; established through study Bible notes and commentaries, and (b) the confirmation that comes through the reading of other passages.

In preparing today’s thoughts, I was somewhat astounded by the large percentage of commentary and writing in the Christian quarter of the internet that begins with opinions and stores, compared with the very tiny percentage that begins with a verse or chapter of the Bible. (And yes, my other blog was trending that way so I created this one to give my own life and writing some balance.)

When it’s your turn to be the speaker, make the first words out of your mouth, “Take your Bible and turn to…”

~PW

 

August 25, 2016

Do You Have a Heart for God?

1 Samuel 13:1–14 NLT

Continued War with Philistia

Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned for forty-two years.

Saul selected 3,000 special troops from the army of Israel and sent the rest of the men home. He took 2,000 of the chosen men with him to Micmash and the hill country of Bethel. The other 1,000 went with Saul’s son Jonathan to Gibeah in the land of Benjamin.

 Soon after this, Jonathan attacked and defeated the garrison of Philistines at Geba. The news spread quickly among the Philistines. So Saul blew the ram’s horn throughout the land, saying, “Hebrews, hear this! Rise up in revolt!”  All Israel heard the news that Saul had destroyed the Philistine garrison at Geba and that the Philistines now hated the Israelites more than ever. So the entire Israelite army was summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.

The Philistines mustered a mighty army of 3,000* chariots, 6,000 charioteers, and as many warriors as the grains of sand on the seashore! They camped at Micmash east of Beth-aven.   The men of Israel saw what a tight spot they were in; and because they were hard pressed by the enemy, they tried to hide in caves, thickets, rocks, holes, and cisterns.  Some of them crossed the Jordan River and escaped into the land of Gad and Gilead.

Saul’s Disobedience and Samuel’s Rebuke

Meanwhile, Saul stayed at Gilgal, and his men were trembling with fear.   Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away.  So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself.

Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him,   but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?”

Saul replied, “I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle.   So I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.”

“How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.   But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

This is an article from earlier in the year by Chuck Swindoll which came recommended. We’ve included the full text of the scripture because the reading itself is shorter. If you have a devotional you want to recommend be sure to contact us. Click the title below to read at source.

Chuck SwindollHow’s Your Heart?

When God scans the earth for potential leaders, He is not on a search for angels in the flesh. He is certainly not looking for perfect people, since there are none. He is searching for men and women like you and me, mere people made up of flesh, bone, and blood. But He is also looking for certain qualities in those people, like the qualities He found in David.

The first quality God saw in David was a heart for God. “The Lord has sought out . . . a man after His own heart.” What does it mean to be a person after God’s own heart? Seems to me, it means that you are a person whose life is in harmony with the Lord. What is important to Him is important to you. What burdens Him burdens you. When He says, “Go to the right,” you go to the right. When He says, “Stop that in your life,” you stop it. When He says, “This is something I want you to change,” you come to terms with it because you have a heart for God. That’s bottom-line biblical Christianity.

When you are deeply spiritual, you have a heart that is sensitive to the things of God. A parallel verse in 2 Chronicles confirms this: “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9, emphasis added).

What is God looking for? He is looking for men and women whose hearts are completely His—completely. That means there are no locked closets. Nothing’s been swept under the rugs. That means that when you do wrong, you admit it and immediately come to terms with it. You’re grieved over wrong. You’re concerned about those things that displease your heavenly Father. You long to please Him in your actions. You care about the motives behind your actions. That’s having a heart for God, and that’s the first quality David had. Do you have a heart for God?

God is looking for men and women whose hearts are completely His—completely.

— Charles R. Swindoll

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005).

If you would like a shorter devotion, perhaps to start the day or end the day, consider signing up for Chuck Swindoll at Insight for Living. They are currently in the book of Esther. To learn more, click this link.

 

October 23, 2014

Michael Card Quotations

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Genesis 17:1When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty[a]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.

  1. Hebrew El-Shaddai

It’s been awhile since we ran something in our quotations series. Today we choose author of more than two dozen books, and songwriter with more than 30 albums, Michael Card.  We begin with one of his songs that you can leave playing as you read.  Lyrics are at the end of today’s post.


“There comes a moment in our lives when some of the pieces of the puzzle come together – where all our past experiences, both good and bad, are brought to bear in causing us to become who God intends us to be.”
―  A Fragile Stone: The Emotional Life of Simon Peter


Michael Card“You need to be confronted
By the Stranger on the shore
You need to have Him search your soul
You need to hear the call
You need to learn exactly
What it means for you to follow
You need to realize that He`s asking for your all.”
A Fragile Stone: The Emotional Life of Simon Peter


So, within the preexisting turmoil that was Galilee, another crisis was brewing. Amid the growing conflict between the Romans and the Jews that would result in the destruction of the temple and the rebirth of Judaism as we know it, a small group of Jews was coming together. They had found the Messiah, Jesus of Galilee. To the best of their ability, they carried on with their daily work, Sabbath observance and synagogue attendance (see the disciples observing the hours of prayer in the temple, Acts 3:1; 10:30). The crisis that loomed on the horizon would destroy what fragile identity they had left. They were Christians who did not yet know they were Christians. Matthew’s Gospel is written in the face of this growing crisis. His portrayal of Jesus and his word will provide for this conflicted congregation the one thing they most badly need: identity.

Matthew: The Gospel of Imagination


“Then Luke commits his most grievous error, and I’m not sure I will ever be able to forgive him for it, at least this side of heaven. Luke reports in verse 27 that Jesus explained everything concerning himself in the Old Testament. What was Luke possibly thinking? The greatest Bible lesson of all time, and yet we have not a single word!”
― Michael Card, Luke: The Gospel of Amazement


“When Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane, He was already bloody before anyone laid a hand on him. He had been fighting a battle that would make certain the final outcome on Calvary. The blood and water that flowed from his wounds on the cross were preceded by bloody sweat that poured from His pores as He suffered the agony of a death more painful than the physical death of the cross, the death of the will... The painful crushing began appropriately enough, in the garden…”
~ Michael Card, quoted in Our Journey devotional


Song lyrics:

Come to the table and savor the sight
The wine and the bread that was broken
And all have been welcomed to come if they might
Accept as their own these two tokens
The bread is His body, the wine is the blood
And the One who provides them is true
He freely offers, we freely receive
To accept and believe Him is all we must do
–Come to the Table


When we in our foolishness thought we were wise
He played the fool and He opened our eyes
When we in our weakness believed we were strong
He became helpless to show we were wrong

And so we follow God’s own fool
For only the foolish can tell-
Believe the unbelievable
And come be a fool as well
–God’s Own Fool


Why did it have to be a friend
Who chose to betray the Lord
Why did he use a kiss to show them
That’s not what a kiss is for

Only a friend can betray a friend
A stranger has nothing to gain
And only a friend comes close enough
To ever cause so much pain
–Why


Love crucified, arose
And the grave became a place of hope
For the heart that sin and sorrow broke
Is beating once again
–Love Crucified Arose


El Shaddai, El Shaddai, Elyon no Adonai
(God almighty, God almighty, God in the highest, oh lord)
Age to Age you’re still the same
By the power of the Name
El Shaddai, El Shaddai, Erkamka na adonai
(God Almighty, God Almighty, I will love you, oh lord)
We will Praise and Lift you high
El Shaddai

Through Your Love and through the ram
You saved the son of Abraham
And by the power of your hand
Turned the sea into dry land
To the outcast on her knees
You were the God who really sees
And by your might you set your children free

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,…

Through the years you made it clear
That the time of Christ was near
Though the people failed to see
What messiah ought to be
Though your word contained the plan
They just could not understand
Your most awesome work was done
Through the frailty of your son

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,…


Sources: GoodReads, LyricsMode, CoramDeo

Go Deeper: Read a short Bible study on the meaning of El Shaddai.

July 19, 2013

Miroslav Volf Quotations

We haven’t done anything in our quotations series for quite some time. Today’s author may be unfamiliar to you.  Wikipedia‘s article on Miroslav Volf begins:

Miroslav Volf (born September 25, 1956 in Osijek, Croatia, ) is a Croatian Protestant theologian, public intellectual, and public speaker who is often recognized as “one of the most celebrated theologians of our day”.Having taught at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in his native Osijek, Croatia (1979–80, 1983–90), and Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California (1990–1998), Volf currently serves as the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture.

and continues

…Since Volf considers theology to be an articulation of a way of life, his theological writing is marked by a sense of the unity between systematic theology and biblical interpretation, between dogmatics and ethics, and between what is called “church theology” (e.g., Karl Barth and, later, Stanley Hauerwas) and “political/public theology” (e.g., Jürgen Moltmann and David Tracy). His contributions to theology have for the most part been topical; he wrote on human work, the nature of Christian community, the problem of otherness, violence and reconciliation, the question of memory, and the public role of faith, to name a few issues. But in all his writings, he sought to bring the integrated whole of Christian convictions to bear on the topics at hand… 

Volf writes about a variety of topics and I could not begin to include here all of the various places where he is quoted. This is a sample:

 

 
“Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of
humans even as I exclude myself from the community of sinners. But no one
can be in the presence of the God of the crucified Messiah for long without overcoming this double exclusion — without transposing the enemy from the sphere of the monstrous… into the sphere of shared humanity and herself from the sphere of proud innocence into the sphere of common sinfulness. When one knows [as the cross demonstrates] that the torturer will not eternally is free to rediscover that person’s humanity and imitate God’s love for him. And when one knows [as the cross demonstrates] that God’s love is greater than all sin, one is free to see oneself in the light of God’s justice and so rediscover one’s own sinfulness.”

“Because the Christian God is not a lonely God, but rather a communion of three persons, faith leads human beings into the divine communio. One cannot, however, have a self-enclosed communion with the Triune God- a “foursome,” as it were– for the Christian God is not a private deity. Communion with this God is at once also communion with those others who have entrusted themselves in faith to the same God. Hence one and the same act of faith places a person into a new relationship both with God and with all others who stand in communion with God.”
After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity

Miroslav VolfWe do not need for all of our lived life to be gathered and rendered meaningful in order to be truly and fully redeemed…. no need to take all of our experiences, distinct in time, and bind them together in a single volume so that each experience draws meaning from the whole as well as contributes meaning to the whole. It suffices to leave some experiences untouched…, treat others with the care of a healing hand and then abandon them to the darkness of non-remembrance…, and reframe the rest.

Well, different things happen whether it [religion] is pushed out [of the public square] or whether it leaves voluntarily. When it is pushed out, I think it leads a sort of subterranean existence. It often becomes insular, often becomes unaware of what bearing religious thoughts have on public life because they are not tested in the public realm. That is to the detriment of positions of Christians themselves. If faith retreats from the public realms – and in some areas it has to retreat because the conditions are not there, and some accounts of the Christian faith are such that Christians are not encouraged to take responsibility – I think this is a kind of diminution of the Christian faith. Sometimes it is an understandable diminution of the role of faith but it is a diminution nonetheless, because God is the God of all of reality, of all aspects of life. Our faith has bearing on all aspects of life. When faith is pushed out or retreats from the public sphere, it idles. That is especially true of the prophetic faiths. Christianity is a prophetic faith.

They make up two of the largest religious groups worldwide, comprising more than half of humanity. They are at each other’s throats, if not literally, then in their imaginations. And we need to find ways we can believe peacefully together.

Both groups [Muslims and Christians] are monotheists. They believe in one God, one God who is a sovereign Lord and to whom they are to be obedient. For both faiths, God embodies what’s ultimately important and valuable. If our understandings of God clash, it will be hard for us to live in peace—not impossible, but hard. So exploring to what extent Christians and Muslims have similar conceptions of God is foundational to exploring whether we inhabit a common moral universe, within which there are some profound differences that can be negotiated, discussed, and adjudicated…

…I don’t think we need to agree with anyone in order to love the person. The command for Christians to love the other person, to be benevolent and beneficent toward them, is independent of what the other believes. But will we be able to forge common bonds of social life in some ways? Will we be able to inhabit common space? That is a question distinct from whether I’m able to love somebody.

Christians often understand the doctrine of the Trinity as if there were three separate divine agents who form a kind of loving troika and as if, when they want to do something in the world, they deliberate as a committee. Muslims understand what Christians mean by the Trinity in a similar way. They claim that Christians associate another being—Jesus Christ—with God; Christians, in their view, believe in one God and then add to that one God a divine associate.

But as I argue in my book, this is all wrong… Christians who know what they are talking about believe that there is one and only one God who has no associates—no divine troika, no divine committee of three. The Word and the Spirit are distinct but inseparable from the Speaker of the Word and Breather of the Spirit, and no divine “person”—neither Father, nor Son, nor the Spirit—ever acts independently in any activity. The Holy Three who are the Holy One interpenetrate each other in a way that creatures do not. Consequently, you cannot count God in the same way you count things in the world, and of course, you cannot count when it comes to God simply because God is not one of the things to be counted but is a source of all things that can be counted. Therefore, what Muslims deny about the Trinity, we Christians, when we know what we are talking about, do not affirm; Muslims are not contesting what we believe about the divine Trinity. So where some Muslims and Christians think there is an unbridgeable gulf, there is actually much commonality (though also some significant difference).

Christians believe that there will be a Judgment Day at the end. And it is my belief that on that day justice will be done and there will be a reconciliation between those who have profoundly injured one another takes place.

I think evangelicals would do better if they concentrated less on bolstering the formal authority of the Scripture – which I certainly would want to affirm – and more on displaying how biblical texts can shape lives in salutary ways, how they are fruitful texts, how they are texts one can live according to.

Christ’s indwelling presence has freed us from exclusive orientation toward ourselves and opened us up in two directions: toward God, to receive the good things in faith, and toward our neighbor, to pass them on in love.

God will judge, not because God gives people what they deserve, but because some people refuse to receive what no one deserves. If evildoers experience God’s terror, it will not be because they have done evil, but because they have resisted to the end the powerful lure of the open arms of the crucified Messiah.


Sources: Goodreads, Ryan Dueck’s blog, John Pattison intereview, Christianity Today interview, Near Emmaus blog, Brainy Quote, Ray Choi, Resources for Study

October 20, 2012

Only God Can Do The Work of God

John 15 (NIV) 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Today’s Bible study — title borrowed from a quotation from Augustine — is an eight-minute video with Radical author David Platt and Crazy Love author Francis Chan discussing the times we try to do things under our strength instead of allowing The Spirit to do that work through us.

May 26, 2012

Eugene Peterson Quotations

Pastor, author, academic lecturer, the Message translator, pastor to pastors; all those words summarize Eugene Peterson. Because he is quoted so often, instead of going to quote sites this time around, I simply searched out the phrase, “Eugene Peterson writes;” which rewarded me with more than enough material for us to consider today, though sadly, about half lacked full attribution, so today we’re just going to enjoy the quotes themselves apart from their sources. There’s actually more than a week’s worth of meditation here. Again, look for that one quotation which resonates especially.


“Christian faith is not neurotic dependency but childlike trust. We do not have a God who forever indulges our whims but a God whom we trust with our destinies.”


“It’s possible to claim the name Christian without being Christian at all – that is, without following Christ. Jesus is far more than a theological icon to believe in; he is a person to follow. He is not just the truth; he is the way. But those who follow Jesus are constantly in danger of getting lost, for we live in a culture that stands in huge contrast to Jesus…Jesus shows us how to live this gospel-based life, but he doesn’t give us a how-to manual. Rather, the local congregation, the company of praying men and women, is the primary place where we discover the way of Jesus.”


“Waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.”


“In the call to worship we hear God’s first word to us; in the benediction we hear God’s last word to us; in the Scripture lessons we hear God speaking to our fathers; in the sermon we hear that word re-expressed to us; in the hymns, which are all to a greater or lesser extent paraphrases of Scripture, the Word of God makes our prayers articulate.”


“The Bible is not a script for a funeral service, but it is the record of God always bringing life where we expected to find death. Everywhere it is the story of resurrection.”


“The mature Christian life involves a congruence of grace and work.”


“Our days are busy with little leisure for frills. We have work to do, interests to pursue, books to read, letters to write, the telephone to answer, errands to run, children to raise, investments to tend to, the lawn to mow, food to prepare and serve, the garbage to take out. We don’t need God’s help or counsel in doing any of these things. God is necessary for the big things, most obviously creation and salvation. But for the rest we can, for the most part, take care of ourselves. That usually adds up to a workable life, at least when accompanied by a decent job and a good digestion. But—it is not the practice of resurrection; it is not growing up in Christ, it is not living in the company of the Trinity.”


“A sense of hurry in pastoral work disqualifies one for the work of conversation and prayer that develops relationships that meet personal needs. There are heavy demands put upon pastoral work, true; there is difficult work to be engaged in, yes. But the pastor must not be ‘busy.’… there must be a wide margin of leisure.”


“Intimacy [with God] does not preclude reverence. True intimacy does not eliminate a sacred awe.”


“Individualism is the growth-stunting, maturity-inhibiting habit of understanding growth as an isolated self-project. Individualism is self-ism with swagger. The individualist is the person who is convinced that he or she can serve God without dealing with God. This is the person who is sure that he or she can love neighbors without knowing their names. This is the person who assumes that ‘getting ahead’ involves leaving other people behind. This is the person who having gained competence in knowing God or people or world, uses that knowledge to take charge of God or people or world.”


“Sabbath is not primarily about us or how it benefits us; it’s about God and how he forms us. It’s not, in the first place, about what we do or don’t do; it’s about God completing and resting and blessing and sanctifying. These are all things we don’t know much about; they are beyond us but not beyond our recognition and participation.”


““…Forgiveness is the last word.  I take no interest in eliminating the tension between justice and forgiveness by taking justice off the table.  …  But I am interested in reintroducing the priority of this Jesus-prayed forgiveness into our lives.  In matters of sin and injustice and evil, the last prayer of Jesus  (“forgive them, they know not what they do”)  is not for justice but for forgiveness. …  Assuming that the criminal crucified next to Jesus was receiving a just death sentence (he said as much himself), the sentence was not revoked in Jesus’ prayer.  The criminal died for his crime.  But forgiveness trumped justice.  It always does. “


“Theology is about God, and God is Spirit … we have accumulated a lot of experience in the Christian community of persons treating theology as a subject in which God is studied in the ways we are taught to study in our schools—acquiring information that we can use, or satisfying our curiosity, or obtaining qualifications for a job or profession. There are, in fact, a lot of people within and outside formal religious settings who talk and write a lot about spirituality, things of the spirit or the soul or “higher things,” but are not interested in God. There is a wonderful line in T. H. White’s novel of King Arthur (The Once and Future King), in which Guinevere in her old age becomes the abbess of a convent: ‘she was a wonderful theologian but she wasn’t interested in God.’ It happens.”


“Song and dance are the result of an excess energy. When we are normal we talk, when we are dying wewhisper, but when there is more in us than we containwe sing. When we are healthy we walk, whenwe are decrepit we shuffle, but when we are beyond ourselves with vitality we dance.”


“The resurrection of Jesus creates and makes available the reality in which we are formed as new creatures in Christ by the Holy Spirit. This is a foreign concept in our ego-centric, do-it-yourself, control freakish society. However, the Christian life is a Jesus-resurrection life, a life in us that is accomplished by the power of the resurrection, the Holy Spirit.”

April 16, 2012

Tempted by Good

From Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires and the Lies You’re Believing by Pete Wilson (Thomas Nelson).

I think I get more questions about Jesus’ teaching in Luke 14 than probably any other text in the Bible:

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters — yes even their own life — such a person cannot be my disciple.  (vv. 25-26)

What? Hate your mother and father?  Hate your wife? Your children? What was Jesus talking about?

Well clearly he’s not calling us to actually hate our families.  Just a few chapters before this text, when he was asked what the most important law was, he’s quoted as saying, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Lk. 10:27)

Later he told his disciples, “This is my command: Love each other.” (Jn 15:17)

So what’s going on here?

First, you need to know that Jesus was using hyperbole. He was using exaggeration to make or reinforce a point — something we do all the time.

The other day my son wanted to go to a basketball game, and I told him we couldn’t go, he said, “But Dad, everybody is going to be there.” Did he literally mean the world’s population of 6.9 billion people would be at that game? No he was exaggerating to make his point and I understood exactly what he meant.

I believe Jesus was doing the same thing when he told his followers to hate their families. He was using hyperbole to say, “All other relationships and activities should pale in comparison to following me.”

In other words, “Don’t take what is good and make it ultimate.”

And isn’t that what often happens with religion?  We take traditions and preferences, which are good and lovely things, and we make them ultimate things. We give them idol status.

After an extended amount of time reflecting on this passage, I once wrote this in my journal: “Pete, your greatest temptation in life will be to chase after not what is ridiculously evil, but what is deceptively good.

While I may not know you personally, I believe this is probably your greatest temptation as well.

You see, Jesus never said you can’t have religious preferences.

There’s nothing wrong with preferring traditional music over contemporary music (or vice versa).

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to go to church in a gym or even under a bridge instead of in a building with a steeple.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to take Communion weekly instead of quarterly.

There’s nothing wrong with having a heart for social justice, Scripture memory, or being part of a comunity group.

Jesus just said, don’t allow those preferences and traditions to become rules that you force other people to obey if they want to follow him. Don’t take good tings and make them ultimate things.

Another way to say this is: Be careful not to worship a good thing as a god thing, for that is an idolatry thing that will become a destructive thing.

Why? Simply because no religious tradition or preference can purify the sinner’s heart or give eternal life. No law or rule can ever lead to an explosion of love and joy in the human heart. What the Law could not do, God did through his own Son, Jesus. But religion tends to take the focus off what Christ did and put it on our own efforts instead. It tends to make us focus on what’s in the blank of

Jesus + ______

rather than on the cross.

~Pete Wilson; Empty Promises pp. 118-120

Pete Wilson is the author of  Plan B (Thomas Nelson) and pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN.  He blogs regularly at Without Wax and is on my top five list of people I’d like to be seated next to on an airplane.

March 28, 2012

“Take Your Bibles and Turn With Me…”

I believe the most powerful words with which a preacher can begin any sermon is to say, “Take your Bibles and turn with me to the book of…”   I love analogies, I love to hear about the context in which the writers wrote, I love it when a preacher quotes contemporary and classic writers, and I need to hear the suggested application of the passage to my life…

…but it all has to begin with scripture.

2 Peter 1:16-NIV For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

 19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Verse 21 in the above is key to this discussion. No matter what my will would desire to say, my words must, first and foremost, be guided by the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Eugene Peterson translates the concluding section of the passage:

The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word.

The problem we face in the Christian blogosphere, on Christian radio and television, and in Christian books, is that you’re hearing a lot of what Peter would call “private opinion.”  

Any blogger or pastor or author has to be continually running a check: Is this my opinion or is this what God is saying?  Is this my pet peeve or favorite subject or am I letting the passage speak?

In the U.S., there was (and probably still is) a network of radio stations that operated under the corporate name Clear Channel. That’s a radio term originally referring to certain powerful AM-frequency signals that broadcast over a wide area — especially at night — without interference from local stations that were assigned the same frequency.

Being a clear channel of what God means speaking with the power of His Word and not allowing the message to be fuzzy or subject to interference.  

Continuing this theme in the next chapter — and remember the chapter divisions don’t exist in the original — Peter goes on to describe those whose signal is “interfered with” as false teachers.

Years ago, I asked a friend of mine who was doing research into cults to explain to our church exactly how does a cult get started. I used the analogy, “How does a rocket, properly aimed and positioned start to veer off course?”

I think it’s not a stretch to look at chapter two of Peter’s epistle as having some origins in what he says in chapter one:  It began with someone’s “own interpretation” (NIV) or “private opinion” (Peterson). 

A crowd can be wrong . Just because hundreds of people are jumping off a cliff doesn’t mean you should also. But there is a security in both (a) the way the ‘church fathers’ have traditionally dealt with a passage of scripture, and (b) the confirmation that comes through the reading of other passages.

In preparing today’s thoughts, I was somewhat astounded by the large percentage of commentary and writing in the Christian quarter of the internet that begins with opinions and stores, compared with the very tiny percentage that begins with a verse or chapter of the Bible.  And yes, my other blog was trending that way so I created this one to give my own life and writing some balance.

When it’s your turn to speak, make the first words out of your mouth, “Take your Bible and turn to…”

~PW

The graphic at the top of the page is from Till He Comes, and really doesn’t have a lot to do with today’s topic directly other than that I liked it!

February 23, 2012

E. Stanley Jones Quotes

Don’t know him?  Let’s start at Wikipedia:

Eli Stanley Jones (1884–1973) was a 20th century Methodist Christian missionary and theologian. He is remembered chiefly for his interreligious lectures to the educated classes in India, thousands of which were held across the Indian subcontinent during the first decades of the 20th century. According to his and other contemporary reports, his friendship for the cause of Indian self-determination allowed him to become friends with leaders of the up-and-coming Indian National Congress party. He spent much time with Mahatma Gandhi, and the Nehru family. Gandhi challenged Jones and, through Jones’ writing, the thousands of Western missionaries working there during the last decades of the British Raj, to include greater respect for the mindset and strengths of the Indian character in their work.

This effort to contextualize Christianity for India was the subject of his seminal work, The Christ of the Indian Road, which sold more than 1 million copies worldwide after its publication in 1925.

He is sometimes considered the “Billy Graham of India”.

continue reading the Wikipedia entry here


“When we say we begin with God, we begin with our idea of God, and our idea of God is not God. Instead, we ought to begin with God’s idea of God, and God’s idea of God is Christ”


“God, to redeem us at the deepest portion of our nature – the urge to love and be loved – must reveal His nature in an incredible and impossible way. He must reveal it at a cross.”


“We are personalities in the making, limited, and grappling with things too high for us. Obviously we, at very best, will make many mistakes, but these mistakes need not be sins.”


“Some have said that the power of a Redeemer would depend upon two things: first, upon the richness of the self that was given; and second, upon the depths of the giving. Friend and foe alike are agreed on the question of the character of Jesus Christ.”


“At the cross God wrapped his heart in flesh and blood and let it be nailed to the cross for our redemption.”


“A Rattlesnake, if Cornered will become so angry it will bite itself. That is exactly what the harboring of hate and resentment against others is – a biting of oneself. We think we are harming others in holding these spites and hates, but the deeper harm is to ourselves.”


“If the Holy Spirit can take over the subconscious with our consent and cooperation, then we have almighty Power working at the basis of our lives, then we can do anything we ought to do, go anywhere we ought to go, and be anything we ought to be.”


“Many live in dread of what is coming. Why should we? The unknown puts adventure into life. … The unexpected around the corner gives a sense of anticipation and surprise. Thank God for the unknown future.”


“The opponent strikes you on your cheek, and you strike him on the heart by your amazing spiritual audacity in turning the other cheek. You wrest the offensive from him by refusing to take his weapons, by keeping your own, and by striking him in his conscience from a higher level. He hits you physically, and you hit him spiritually.”


Sources: Search QuotesGood Reads, Inspirational Stories, Finest Quotes, Quote Summit.

January 4, 2012

Brennan Manning Quotations

Brennan Manning (christened Richard Francis Xavier Manning) is an author, monk, priest, contemplative and speaker. Born and raised in Depression-era Brooklyn, New York, Manning finished high school and enlisted in the US Marine Corps, where he fought in the Korean War. When Manning returned to the states, he enrolled at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. Upon his graduation from the seminary in 1963, Manning was ordained to the Franciscan priesthood.In the late 1960s, Manning joined the Little Brothers of Jesus of Charles de Foucauld, a religious order committed to an uncloistered, contemplative life among the poor. Manning then spent time diversely, transporting water via donkey, as a mason’s assistant, a dishwasher in France, a prisoner in a Swiss jail (by choice), and spending six months in a remote cave somewhere in the Zaragoza desert.In the 1970s, Manning returned the US and began writing after falling into, and climbing out of, alcoholism. 


The Word we study has to be the Word we pray. My personal experience of the relentless tenderness of God came not from exegetes, theologians, and spiritual writers, but from sitting still in the presence of the living Word and beseeching Him to help me understand with my head and heart His written Word. Sheer scholarship alone cannot reveal to us the gospel of grace. We must never allow the authority of books, institutions, or leaders to replace the authority of *knowing* Jesus Christ personally and directly. When the religious views of others interpose between us and the primary experience of Jesus as the Christ, we become unconvicted and unpersuasive travel agents handing out brochures to places we have never visited. ~Ragamuffin Gospel


“The deepest desire of our heart is for union with God.  God created us for union with himself.  This is the original purpose of our lives.”


“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” ~ Ragamuffin Gospel


“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”


“In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.” ~Abba’s Child


“I am deeply distressed by what I only can call in our Christian culture the idolatry of the Scriptures. For many Christians, the Bible is not a pointer to God but God himself… God cannot be confined within the covers of a leather-bound book. I develop a nasty rash around people who speak as if mere scrutiny of its pages will reveal precisely how God thinks and precisely what God wants.” ~ Signature of Jesus


“The defining moments of my life have not been my sins or successes.  They’ve been a depressingly small number of decisions that involved real risk.”


“There is the “you” that people see and then there is the “rest of you”. Take some time and craft a picture of the “rest of you.” This could be a drawing, in words, even a song. Just remember that the chances are good it will be full of paradox and contradictions. ” ~Furious Longing of God


“Everybody has a vocation to some form of life-work. However, behind that call (and deeper than any call), everybody has a vocation to be a person to be fully and deeply human in Christ Jesus.” ~The Wisdom of Tenderness


“Jesus said you are to love one another as I have loved you, a love that will possibly lead to the bloody, anguish gift of yourself, a love that forgives seven times seven, that keeps no record of wrong. This is the criterion, sole norm, the standard of discipleship in the New Israel of God.” ~Furious Longing of God


“The god who exacts the last drop of blood from his Son so that his just anger, evoked by sin, may be appeased, is not the God revealed by and in Jesus Christ. And if he is not the God of Jesus, he does not exist.” ~Above All


But the answer seems too easy, too glib. yes, God saved us because he loved us. But he is God. He has infinite imagination. Couldn’t he have dreamed up a different redemption? Couldn’t he have saved us with a pang of hunger, a word of forgiveness, a single drop of blood? And if he had to die, then for God’s sake — for Christ’s sake — couldn’t he have died in bed, died with dignity? Why was he condemned like a criminal? Why was his back flayed with whips? Why was his head crowned with thorns? Why was he nailed to wood and allowed to die in frightful, lonely agony? Why was the last breath drawn in bloody disgrace, while the world for which he lay dying egged on his executioners with savage fury like some kind of gang rape by uncivilized brutes in Central Park? Why did they have to take the very best? One thing we know — we don’t comprehend the love of Jesus Christ. Oh, we see a movie and resonate to what a young man and woman will endure for romantic love. We know that when the chips are down, if we love wildly enough we’ll fling life and caution to the winds for the one we love. But when it comes to God’s love in the broken, blood-drenched body of Jesus Christ, we get antsy and start to talk about theology, divine justice, God’s wrath, and the heresy of universalism. ~Ragamuffin Gospel


Sources: Good Reads; Quoteland; A Daughter of Grace; Apprenticeship to Jesus; Zedekiah List; After All; Quoting Quotes

November 22, 2011

Prayer and the Imagination

This is from a forthcoming book by Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears, publishing in December from Zondervan.

Neuroimaging has shown that as we age, the center of cognitive gravity tends to shift from the imaginative right brain to the logical left brain. And this neurological tendency presents a grave spiritual danger. At some point, most of us stop living out of imagination and start living out of memory. Instead of creating the future we start repeating the past. Instead of living by faith, we live by logic. Instead of going after our dreams, we stop circling Jericho.

But it doesn’t have to be that way…

…As we age, either imagination overtakes memory or memory overtakes memory or memory overtakes imagination. Imagination is the road less taken, but it is the pathway of prayer. Prayer and imagination are directly proportional: the more you pray the bigger your imagination becomes because the Holy Spirit supersizes it with God-sized dreams. One litmus test of spiritual maturity is whether your dreams are getting better or smaller. The older you get, the more faith you should have because you’ve experienced more of God’s faithfulness. And it is God’s faithfulness that increases our faith and enlarges our dreams.

There is certainly nothing wrong with an occasional stroll down memory lane, but God wants you to keep dreaming until the day you die. You’re never too old to go after the dreams God has put in your heart. And for the record, you’re never too young either. Age is never a valid excuse.

~Mark Batterson

November 21, 2011

So Which Christian Authors Rank Highest on Your “Don’t Like” List?

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:21 pm
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In the Christian blogosphere, many blogs are characterized by the number of authors, churches and movements they are opposed to, rather than the ones they like.  And in an age where clicking a “like” button is all consuming, I suppose that’s actually a little backwards.

I’ve often expressed passion here for certain authors, but am extremely unlikely to devote a blog post to condemning an author; while for some blogs, this is their entire reason for being.

So I wade into this one with fear and trepidation, but I think it’s important to not only be aware of who or what movements are influencing us, but also how these authors or movements are casting influence.

For that reason, I was very intrigued with an article by C. Michael Patton at Credo House, Why Do We Love C. S. Lewis and Hate Rob Bell? (A sentiment I don’t share, by the way.)

Some answers Michael put forward:

  • re. C. S. Lewis: “…With all of these foibles, I seriously doubt any evangelical church would take a second look at his resume were he to apply for a pastorate at their church today. In fact, this list alone would be enough for many to call him a heretic. However, we still love him. We still read him. We still defend him. We still hand out his books by the dozens to friends and family who are struggling with their faith.”
  • re. Rob Bell: “…From what I have read and seen, he seems to have far fewer theological problems than C.S. Lewis. In fact, on paper, he is probably more evangelical than C.S. Lewis. He might even make it through the interview process at most evangelical churches. He, like Lewis, has written many works about the Christian faith… However, evangelicals don’t like Rob Bell. He is not beloved. “
  • re. C. S. Lewis: “…You see, while C.S. Lewis has a great deal of theological foibles, his ministry is defined by a defense of the essence of the Gospel. The essence of who Christ is and what he did are ardently defended by Lewis, saturating every page of his books. His purpose was clear: to defend the reality of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. All other things set aside, this is what you leave with every time you read Lewis. The problematic areas are peripheral, not central…”
  • re. Rob Bell: “…However, with Rob Bell, the essence of who Christ is and what he did seems to be secondary. One has to look for those things as they weed through his defenses of non-traditional Christianity. Whereas Lewis’ ultimate purpose is to define and defend “mere” Christianity, Bell’s “mere” Christianity is but a footnote to a redefined Christianity. Bell’s focus is to challenge, question, change, reform, and emerge from traditions that bind us. Traditional apologetics, orthodoxy, and foundations are brought into question from beginning to end. Christ’s reality, deity, exclusivity, and the hope of the Gospel proclaimed receive an occasional footnote (if at all) from Bell.”

Patton’s central thesis:

  • “Another way to put this is to say that in the ministry of C.S. Lewis, the central truths of the Christian faith are the chorus of his songs, with the occasional problem in the stanzas. However, with Bell, the chorus of his song is filled with challenges to traditional Christianity and if you listen really closely to the stanza, you might get an occasional line of orthodoxy.”

Sample of reader comments:

  • …Who says “we” like C.S. Lewis. As a Fundamentalist Baptist C.S.Lewis was not a genuine Christian. He was a Heretic. Bell is an impostor and not a genuine Christian either. These men do not represent Biblical Christianity but a counterfeit type.
  • Lewis’ writings bear fruit among non-believers. For example, I have a relative who was a non-believer, and he credits Lewis as having a big role in convincing him of the Christian faith. Lewis gets a lot of rope because of examples like that. We’d rather a person become a believer and perhaps disagree with us on certain doctrines, than for that person to not become a believer at all.
  • It’s always interesting to read the Evangelical take on people like Rob Bell or Brian McLaren. For me, if people like that did not exist, I would be unable to be a Christian. I have never been able to subscribe to Evangelical Christianity, nor do I want to. C.S. Lewis was a great discovery for me years ago because he was like a breath of fresh air in a “traditional” faith that didn’t provide answers to questions I was asking, nor support for those questions. Since, I have graduated to greater “heresy” even than Rob Bell, and I find my faith and my life and my thinking all enriched as a result.
  • I appreciate the writings of Lewis and Bell because they say the same things I am thinking, or ask the same questions I am asking. It is their transparency and honesty at the risk of offending what is “true” or the “right answer” that draws me in. When I read “A Grief Observed,” with Lewis’ description of God behind a locked door, this cold, foreboding silence from Heaven was exactly the experience I had with God. Likewise, in “Love Wins,” Bell asks questions he has asked as well as questions others have asked him. It is an invitation and a conversation many of us want to have. That struck a deep resonance with me.

Read the whole article and add your comment at Parchment and Pen blog.

October 26, 2011

Oswald Chambers Quotations

Many know the works of Oswald Chambers, but not many know that he only actually wrote one book!  From Wikipedia

While there are more than 30 books that bear his name, he only penned one book, Baffled to Fight Better. His wife, Biddy, was a stenographer and could take dictation at a rate of 250 words per minute. During his time teaching at the Bible College and at various sites in Egypt, Biddy kept verbatim records of his lessons. She spent the remaining 30 years of her life compiling her records into the bulk of his published works.

From the writer of My Utmost for His Highest…


The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is not–Do your duty, but–Do what is not your duty. It is not your duty to go the second mile, to turn the other cheek, but Jesus says if we are His disciples we shall always do these things. There will be no spirit of–“Oh, well, I cannot do any more, I have been so misrepresented and misunderstood”. . . Never look for right in the other man, but never cease to be right yourself. We are always looking for justice; the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is–Never look for justice, but never cease to live it.


We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.


Never tolerate through sympathy with yourself or with others any practice that is not in keeping with a holy God. Holiness means unsullied walking with the feet, unsullied talking with the tongue, unsullied thinking with the mind – every detail of the life under the scrutiny of God. Holiness is not only what God gives me, but what I manifest that God has given me.


Doubt is not always a sign that a man is wrong; it may be a sign that he is thinking.


It is impossible to live the life of a disciple without definite times of secret prayer. You will find that the place to enter in is in your business, as you walk along the streets, in the ordinary ways of life, when no one dreams you are praying, and the reward comes openly, a revival here, a blessing there.


If in preaching the gospel you substitute your knowledge of the way of salvation for confidence in the power of the gospel, you hinder people from getting to reality.


We say, sorrow, disaster, calamity. God says, chastening and it sounds sweet to him though it is a discord to our ears. Don’t faint when you are rebuked, and don’t despise the chastening of the Lord. ”In your patience possess your souls.”


It is not so true that “prayer changes things” as that prayer changes me and I change things. God has so constituted things that prayer on the basis of Redemption alters the way in which a man looks at things. Prayer is not a question of altering things externally, but of working wonders in a man’s disposition.


We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.


Patience is more than endurance. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says–‘I cannot stand anymore.’ God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God’s hands. Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith. ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.


Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything. Unless in the first waking moment of the day you learn to fling the door wide back and let God in, you will work on a wrong level all day; but swing the door wide open and pray to your Father in secret, and every public thing will be stamped with the presence of God.


The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance.


Character in a saint means the disposition of Jesus Christ persistently manifested.


Sources:  Good Reads, Think Exist, Famous Quotes & Authors, Daily Christian Quote, Brainy Quote

October 12, 2011

A Closer Look at Jesus’ Daytimer

This is from Mark Buchanan’s book, The Rest of God

…The distinguishing mark of the purposeful is not time-management.

It’s that they notice.  They’re fully awake.  Jesus for example.  He lived life with the clearest and highest purpose.  Yet he veered and strayed from one interruption to the next with no apparent plan in hand other than his single overarching one: Get to Jerusalem and die.  Otherwise, his days as far as we can figure were a series of zigzags and detours, apparent whims and second thoughts, interruptions and delays, off the cuff plans, spur of the moment decisions, leisurely meals, serendipitous rounds of story telling…

  • who touched me?
  • you give them something to eat
  • let’s go to the other side

Jesus was available — or not — according to some oblique logic all his own. He had an inner ear for the Father’s whispers, a third eye for the Spirit’s motions. One minute he’s not going to the temple, the next he is. One minute he refuses to help a wedding host solve his wine drought, the next he’s all over it. He’s ready to drop everything and rush over to a complete stranger’s house to heal his servant but dawdles four days while Lazarus — “the one he loves” — writhes in his death throes or fails to come at all when John — “the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” — languishes on death row. The closest we get to what dictated Jesus’ schedule is his own statement in John’s gospel: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3: 8 NIV)

~Mark Buchanan

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