Links & Quotes

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“We may ignore but can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito.” —C.S. Lewis

“It has been the Cross which has revealed to good men that their goodness has not been good enough.” ―Johann Hieronymus Schroeder

“God did not die for man because of some value He perceived in him. The value of each human soul considered simply in itself, out of relation to God, is zero. As St. Paul writes, to have died for valuable men would have been not divine but merely heroic; but God died for sinners. He loved us not because we were lovable, but because He is Love.” ―C.S. Lewis

“Your tribulations will yet yield you music.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Imagine the scene at the Cross. Soldiers huddled in a circle, dice-throwing—casting lots for the possessions of Christ. Common soldiers witnessing the world’s most uncommon event. To them He is just another criminal; the Cross is forgotten. It makes me think of us. The religious. Those who claim heritage at the Cross. All of us. The strict…the loose…the simple…Spirit-filled…evangelical. All of us! We’re not so unlike these soldiers. We too, play games at the foot of the Cross. We compete for members. We scramble for status. Competition. Selfishness. Personal gain. It’s all there. We major in the trivial, we split into little huddles. Another name. Another doctrine. So close to the Cross but so far from the Christ. ‘May they all be one,’ Jesus prayed. One. Not one in groups of two thousand. One church. One faith. One Lord. No hierarchies. No traditions. Just Christ.” —Max Lucado

“If man had his way, the plan of redemption would be an endless and bloody conflict. In reality, salvation was bought not by Jesus’ fist, but by his nail-pierced hands; not by muscle but by love; not by vengeance but by forgiveness; not by force but by sacrifice. Jesus Christ our Lord surrendered in order that He might win; He destroyed His enemies by dying for them and conquered death by allowing death to conquer Him.” —A.W. Tozer

[VIDEO] What are atheists stealing from God? …

Quick Encouragement

Smiling facesObviously you know that your words can encourage people, but did you know something even quicker can encourage those around you?

A recent study in Frontiers In Neuroscience showed the power of encouraging messages to those who were exercising. Those encouraged lasted longed. Check out this part of the report―

Study participants rode stationary bikes equipped with screens on which either smiley faces and encouraging words (“go,” “energy”) or sad faces and inactive words (“stop,” “tired”), were projected for less than 0.02 seconds, hidden by other visuals so they wouldn’t be consciously recognized. Subjects shown positive cues were able to exercise significantly longer than those shown negative cues. (emphasis added)

Did you catch that? Encouraging messages only needed to be 0.02 seconds long to make a huge difference.

A smile. A pat on the back. A wink. A thumbs-up. You can do all of those in less than a second, and it may be all the encouragement someone needs to keep on going.

In The Shadow Of The Cross

The Shadow Of The Old Rugged CrossSome people really know how to find the deals when they’re shopping. They know where to shop, when to shop, where to find the coupons, and how to find the rebates.

Rebates have always amazed me. I wondered how companies could give away money and still make a profit. Then I read that often up to 70 percent of rebates go unclaimed. Some people say it’s too much work to fill out all the correct forms, others say it takes too long to get their rebate, and still others think the amount they get back isn’t worth the effort.

I’m concerned about Christians who slip into a rebate mentality with God. It seems some Christians believe that they need to “fill out the right forms” in order to claim all that God has for them. They seem to think that salvation isn’t enough, and that they have to add church attendance, offerings, good works, Bible reading and other activities to make sure they don’t miss out.

Not that there’s anything wrong with those activities, but there is something wrong with thinking we have to do something to keep our salvation at its full effectiveness. 

If we have placed our faith in Christ’s work on an old rugged Cross, then all of our sins have been forgiven (see Psalm 103:1-5, 10-12 and Jeremiah 33:8). This is a gift that is available to everyone (Acts 10:43).

But here’s when I think satan steps in to deceive us―when we feel convicted by the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit is constantly refining us to make Christ’s image visible in us. But satan wants to twist and pervert this conviction into condemnation.

It’s only in the shadow of the old rugged Cross that I can see my sin correctly:

(1) The Holy Spirit’s conviction of sin tells me that He desires for me to be more like Jesus―John 14:25-27.

(2) Sin isn’t my master any longer―Romans 6:1-2, 8-11.

(3) My sin never diminishes God’s love for me―1 John 1:8-2:2.

(4) Sin cannot condemn me―Romans 8:1-2.

As we remember and celebrate what Jesus did on Calvary for us, let’s also remember to stay in the shadow of the Cross. It’s there we can see from Heaven’s point of view.

If you are in the area and don’t have a church home, I would love for you to celebrate Resurrection Sunday with us! We’ll continue our look at what happened on the old rugged Cross.

Poetry Saturday―And Can It Be Said That I Should Gain

Charles WesleyAnd can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain―
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace―
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray―
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own. —Charles Wesley

Links & Quotes

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I really enjoy my work with the En Gedi Youth Center. Our annual auction was a huge success, thanks to the generous people in Cedar Springs, and a local report wrote a story about this successful event.

“Never reduce Christianity to a matter of demands and resolutions and willpower. It is a matter of what we love, what we delight in, what tastes good to us.” —John Piper

“The man who has a hope for the next world goes about his work strong, for the joy of the Lord is our strength. He goes against temptation mighty, for the hope of the next world repels the fiery darts of the adversary. He can labor without present reward, for he looks for a reward in the world to come. He can suffer rebuke, and can afford to die a slandered man, because he knows that God will avenge His own elect who cry day and night unto Him. Through the Spirit of God the hope of another world is the most potent force for the product of virtue; it is a fountain of joy; it is the very channel of usefulness.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Fast growth comes from overwhelming the smallest possible audience with a product or service that so delights that they insist that their friends and colleagues use it. And hypergrowth is a version of the same thing, except those friends and colleagues quickly become even bigger fans, and tell even more people. Often, we get sidetracked when we forget about ‘smallest possible.’ If you make the audience you’re initially serving too big, you will dilute the very thing you set out to make, avoid critical mass, and compromise the magic of what you’re building. You’ll make average stuff for average people instead of something powerful for the few. By ‘smallest possible’ I don’t mean, ‘too small.’ I mean the smallest number that eventually leads to the kernel of conversation that enables you to grow.” —Seth Godin

[VIDEO] An interesting discussion: Can postmodernists live a consistent life?…

Links & Quotes

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“Who can tell, dear friends, how much peace you may give by only telling the story of our Savior.” ―Charles Spurgeon

“There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him.” ―C.S. Lewis

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) reports that you and I have funded the abortions committed by Planned Parenthood to the tune of $1.5 billion! Our tax dollars are going to murder our fellow citizens … this is unacceptable!

In their excellent investigatory work, Live Action has uncovered how Planned Parenthood allows sex traffickers, pornographers, and pimps to continue to earn a profit of the enslavement of women.

Kudos to Pastor John Lindell for boldly declaring the biblical stance Christians should take against immoral laws. Predictably, people are labeling him as a hater and out-of-touch, but he is absolutely right on the mark.

Seth Godin says, “If it’s worth listening to, it’s worth questioning until you understand it.” Read more of his post Active Listening.

Science shows that encouragement truly does help people get through tough circumstances better.

Harsh Words

Keep it closedThis is an interesting exchange between God and His people―

God says, “You have said harsh things[*] against Me.” 

“What have we said against You,” the people asked. 

“You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God…’” (Malachi 3:13-14).

We think we know better than God.

We tell God how we think it should be.

We complain that God is letting some people get away with bad stuff, and He’s not rewarding quickly enough those who are doing good stuff.

We think God doesn’t care if we do things our own way.

We think we can better manage our lives than He can.

We act like we’re in charge.

This is speaking harsh, arrogant, rude, terrible words against God. It’s really saying, “I know better, so I should be God.” This not only removes God’s blessing, but invites His punishment.

Ouch! It’s good to examine our thoughts and words to make sure we aren’t thinking or speaking harsh things against God.

[*] Some other translations say things like “You have spoken arrogantly against Me” and “You have said terrible things about Me” and “You have spoken rude words to Me.”

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