Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“The upright man must never think of depriving another of anything, nor must he ever wish to increase his own advantage to the disadvantage of another. This rule the Apostle gives thee, saying: ‘All things are lawful, all things are not expedient; all things are lawful, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but each another’s.’ That is: Let no man seek his own advantage, but another’s; let no man seek his own honor, but another’s.” —Ambrose

Frank Viola has a challenging word to Christians in the quote he shares from A.W. Tozer: Recovering The Departed Glory.

Claiming Jesus is not what many think it is, says Chilly Chilton in his post: Name It, Claim It, Proclaim It!

When we don’t know that life is a war and satan is the enemy, or forget when we need to know it most, we can’t make sense of our struggles, suffering, and strife.” Read more of Mark Driscoll’s post Spiritual Warfare: Who, What & Why.

The Overview Bible Project always uncovers some cool things in Scripture. Like this post about what Beelzebul really means.

Why is it organizations are not allowed to hire a Christian, but at that same time are encouraged (forced?) to hire homosexuals? The story of David Tyree is a case-in-point.

The fact is, that the same moment which brings the consciousness of sin ought to bring also the confession and the consciousness of forgiveness.” —Hannah Whitall Smith

4 Quotes About Emotional Health In “Stand Strong”

Stand StrongIn Stand Strong, Nick Vujicic shares the hard-won strategies he learned to overcome bullies. You can read my full review of Stand Strong by clicking here.

I already shared some of Nick’s quotes from this book, but I wanted a separate post to highlighted a key issue in bullying. One of the biggest tolls on a person being bullied is in their emotional health. One of the chapters I highlighted the most had to do with this important area, so below are a few good reminders.

“I encourage you to keep this phrase in your mind when faced with bullying: You can say terrible things to me, but you can’t touch who I am inside. You can’t make me feel badly about myself. I know who I am, and I stand on my own.”

“We have emotions for a reason. They don’t just come over us by chance, even though it sometimes may seem that way. Asking where your emotions come from and assessing why you feel the way you feel are critical parts of creating self-awareness and asserting self-control over your actions. It’s important to know what triggers your emotions so you can better control your responses in ways that benefit you over the long term. Managing negative emotions is an important part of your bully defense system, and it is also a key to living a more successful life. People who let their negative emotions control their actions tend to feel out of control, insecure, and unhappy. Those who act based on a thoughtful process for monitoring and managing such emotions tend to be more successful, more confident, and happier.”

“Emotions are natural and you feel what you feel. But the quality of your life is greatly affected by the choices you make in responding to your feelings. You see, a space, a time interval, and an opportunity between the point at which you feel something and the point at which you act on that feeling. This space is a gift. … Psychologists say people who learn to use this space wisely are generally much more successful in life than those who either ignore it or don’t use it well. This is the space where you can take control, make smart decisions, and put yourself in a position to determine your own destiny. … When you use the space to think about your response and to decide what is best for you over the long term, you are practicing self-awareness and self-control. This is called ‘response flexibility,’ and it is a sign of emotional intelligence.”

“Here’s something to consider: your negative emotions can be like bullies inside you. They try to provoke a response from you that may not be in your best interest. So if you simply do what those bad feelings stir you to do, you are just giving in to another bully in your life.”

Thursdays With Oswald—The Standard For Generosity

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The Standard For Generosity

     Not how much we give, but what we do not give, is the test of our Christianity. When we speak of giving we nearly always think only of money. Money is the life-blood of most of us. We have a remarkable trick—when we give money we don’t give sympathy; and when we give sympathy we don’t give money. … 

     If my heart is right with God, every human being is my neighbor. … We measure our generosity by the standards of men; Jesus says, “Measure your love for men by God’s love for them, and if you are My disciple, you will love your neighbor as I have loved you.”

From Conformed To His Image

Wow!

With that definition in mind I’m asking myself … How generous am I really?

Links & Quotes

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Some great reading from today…

“Time is precious. We are fragile. Life is short. Eternity is long. Should we not then enter on every venture with a vigilance like that of the young Jonathan Edwards when he wrote his fifth resolution: ‘Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.’” —John Piper

I am so impressed with the love story between Ian and Larissa Murphy. Check out Larissa’s very transparent and vulnerable post Why I Need Him.

A thought-provoking post from Chilly Chilton: Artificial Or Authentic?

Wow! An abortion survivor writers a letter to the doctor who attempted to murder her.

More evidence that so-called global warming is not “settled science.”

11 Quotes From Nick Vujicic In “Stand Strong”

Stand StrongStand Strong is an invaluable resource for school-age students, their parents, and teachers and principals in our schools. Nick Vujicic uses his own life as an example of how to overcome bullies. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are some quotes from the author I highlighted in this book.

“If someone hurt you, then become the person who reaches out to others who are hurting. If you were not treated with compassion, then change that pattern by offering compassion to others. If no one stood up for you, then stand up for someone else.” 

“What happens in our lives isn’t about chance. It’s about choice. You and I may not be able to stop bullies and thoughtless people from saying and doing hurtful things, but we do have the ultimate power—the power to choose how we respond and how we live.”

“There is nothing wrong with wanting to fit in and be accepted, but there is something wrong with abandoning your values and beliefs to do it. … Try this instead: Be so comfortable with yourself that other people feel comfortable with you too. Create a life that makes you so joyful that they will want to share in your happiness.” 

“Being secure and comfortable in your identity, trusting that you have value, and having a strong sense of your purpose are important in every aspect of life. Those qualities also help make you less vulnerable to bullying. … If we let bullies drag us down with their cruelty and meanness, why can’t we pull ourselves back up by being friends to ourselves and building up our confidence and spirits when we need a boost? … So here’s my suggestion for a simple, easy-to-apply, no muss, no fuss first step to building your antibully 1.0 operating system. Be a friend to yourself. Forgive your mistakes, your flaws, and your failures. Be kind to yourself instead. Focus on the good.”

“What’s easier to hit, a sitting duck or a rabbit on the run? If bullies are looking for someone to hit, their last choice will be a moving target, someone who has it in gear with the pedal to the metal on the road to a better life.” 

“If you are generous to others, you will feel better about yourself, and that makes it more difficult for bullies or anyone else to get to you.”

“Being gentle isn’t about being weak. … Being gentle is more about practicing humility, giving up the need to be right, putting other people first, being a good listener and a good friend, protecting those who are being abused, and comforting those in need. … Many of the strongest and most admirable people I know are gentle spirits who don’t have to prove how tough they are on the outside because they are so strong on the inside.” 

“Psychologists say the more social interactions we have—the closer we are to family members, and the more friends and acquaintances we have—the less likely it is that a bully can isolate us as targets.”

“One of the key facts about relationships: people respond to you and treat you according to the way you act, not the way you think or feel.” 

“The people I want to keep close and trust the most are those who make me want to be better, smarter, more loving, more open minded, more collaborative, more trustworthy, more empathetic, more faith filled, more God loving, more grateful, more forgiving, and more open to opportunities to serve God and those around me. These are the type of friends that will make you and me bully proof.”

“I encourage you to develop empathy for others, like the Good Samaritan showed. Please do everything you can to protect others from emotional and physical harm caused by bullies. … Stand together so no one will stand alone!” 

 

Both Testaments

BibleThis past week I’ve had two conversations that seemed like contradicting thoughts about the Bible, but they’re really exactly the same.

Conversation #1—Since Jesus Christ set us free from the law, there is no longer any need for us to read or study the Old Testament.

Conversation #2—The New Testament is a perversion of the Old Testament, so we should ignore it and stick with the “original” Scripture.

One thing that has helped me see the Scripture in a more correct light is a thought I picked up from Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola in their book Jesus: A Theography. Instead of the titles we’ve given the two divisions of the Bible, it will be better to call them the First and Second Testaments. “Old” and “New” have a tendency to make us think out-dated and updated; First and Second remind us that they go together.

Hosea is one of the first prophets in the First Testament whose words were put into writing. It’s interesting to note how many of the themes from the Pentateuch, Joshua and Judges are linked to Israel’s condition in the last few years before the northern tribes went into exile.

“Hosea’s allusions to Genesis through Judges are highly significant. First, they help to establish the fact that these books had already been written by the time of Hosea, in the eighth century B.C. (Many scholars consider these books to be from the sixth century B.C. and even later.) Second, Hosea’s construal of these books helps us to understand early Biblical interpretation, which in turn gives us a better understanding of how the [Second] Testament interprets the [First].” —Archeological Study Bible

When we move into the Second Testament, we see over 850 First Testament passages are quoted, sometimes entire paragraphs. In every instance, the Second Testament authors see the fulfillment of the First Testament in the life of Jesus Christ.

In fact, Jesus Himself quoted from 22 books of the First Testament, even on the day of His resurrection He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself (Luke 24:27), and He said He would open our minds so that we too could understand all the Scriptures (Luke 24:45-47).

Finally there is the issue of fulfilled prophesy. Not only were First Testament prophesies fulfilled during the First Testament time, but even more were fulfilled during the Second Testament. In Jesus Christ alone about 200 such prophesies were fulfilled.

Both Testaments are equally important, and equally valuable. In fact, either Testament without the other robs God of His glory and robs us of seeing His fullness.

Links & Quotes

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Some interesting reading and watching from today…

An open letter that needs to be read: What’s The Big Deal With Pornography?

All doubts are an attack of the enemy; the Holy Spirit never suggests them, never. He is the Comforter, not the accuser; and He never shows us our need without at the same time revealing the Divine supply.” —Hannah Whitall Smith

“The only way to have a fulfilling life is to stop relying on your own savvy and start relying on God to provide the necessary turn of affairs.” —John Piper

 

[VIDEO] Speaking of John Piper, I am so excited about his new project called Look At The Book! Check out this preview.

President Obama unleashes another assault on our religious liberties.

Dr. Tim Elmore gives parents and teachers Five Words Every Child Needs To Hear.

United Together

UnitedOne of my favorite events in Cedar Springs each year is our annual UNITED service. On the fourth Sunday of each August, all of the Cedar Springs Ministerial Association churches unite for a combined worship service in Morley Park.

It reminds me of a dramatic part in one of George Whitefield’s sermons…

Looking up into Heaven, Whitefield called out “Father Abraham, whom have you in Heaven? Any Episcopalians?”

“No!” Whitfield called out, answering his own question.

“Any Presbyterians?”

“No!”

“Any Independents or Seceders, New Sides or Old Sides, any Methodists?”

“No! No! No!”

“Whom have you there, then, Father Abraham?”

“We don’t know those names here. All who are here are Christians—believers in Christ.”

On August 24, 2014, we will be united together in worship as Christians—believers in Christ. I am honored this year to be able to share the message from God’s Word.

I hope you can join us. Check out the UNITED website to get all the details.

Stand Strong (book review)

Stand StrongNick Vujicic was born without arms or legs, as a result, he said he grew up being a “bully’s dream.” But Nick is an overcomer! He conquered his bullies, and in his book Stand Strong he wants to help students learn to conquer their bullies too.

Nick explains, “Your bully’s motives don’t matter. You do. Your safety and your happiness are more important to me and everyone else who loves and cares about you; so instead of focusing on why a bully is picking on you, let’s focus on helping you feel secure and happy again. … I will help you build your antibully antibodies.”

Using his own life as an example, Nick shares the raw emotions he felt when he was picked on by bullies. He is also transparent enough to share all the wrong ways he tried to avoid being bullied, and ultimately how he discovered the pattern for successfully navigating the bullies that come along all our paths. As Nick wraps up the book he observes, “Seriously, here is the idea I’m asking you to consider: what if you could find ways to learn and grow from being bullied? What if you took a bully’s hurtful actions and turn them into lessons learned so that you became stronger, wiser, and more confident?”

I found the steps in Nick’s Antibullying system to be steps that can be immediately applied. They are very do-able! And they will indeed make students stronger, wiser, and more confident.

This is a book I would recommend to not only school-aged students, but also parents, teachers, and school principals. If everyone could get together on the same program, the results would lead to a completely new environment in our schools.

I am a Waterbook book reviewer.

Links & Quotes

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Some interesting reading & watching today…

“The treacherous enemy facing the church of Jesus Christ today is the dictatorship of the routine, when the routine becomes ‘lord’ in the life of the church. Programs are organized and the prevailing conditions are accepted as normal. … That would be perfectly all right and proper for a cemetery. Nobody expects a cemetery to do anything but conform.” —A.W. Tozer

John Stonestreet reminds us that even in the scientific community, Macroevolution Has No Clothes.

“Father, we fear our deadly fondness for floating toward the falls when we ought to be swimming against the current. Oh, God, have mercy to waken us again and again to the perils of drifting in the Christian life. Help us heed Hebrews 2:1, ‘We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.’” —John Piper

I love this story: Communion On The Moon.

Hamas are terrorists pure and simple. The Egyptians get it. Why doesn’t the Western media get it? Why don’t Western leaders get it? And why don’t Christian leaders get it?” Read more about the Israeli battle against Hamas in Middle-East Meets Middle-Earth.

[VIDEO] Ken Davis has a hilarious take on airplane restrooms.

The Wall Street Journal rightly sees the situation at Gordon College as The Next Religious Liberty Case.

Dr. Tim Elmore lays out The Messages We Must Send To Millennials About Life After College.

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