Links & Quotes

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In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis has one demon giving advice to his young protege demon. This is profound wisdom: “You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” —C.S. Lewis

Two surveys seem to be related: First, “Fifty-four percent of U.S. teens 15-to-17-years-old do not live in a home with their married mother and father.” Read more in this post. (2) Lee Strobel reports on some findings from a Barna Group survey he commissioned: “Two findings emerged in a new national poll that I commissioned on fatherhood and faith: the younger the generation, the more people report having difficult relationships with their fathers. At the same time, the younger generation reports the highest percentage of people who are struggling with belief in God.” You can read Lee’s thoughts on this in Fathers & Faith.

Frank Viola shared this great story—In light of their doctrinal disagreements, someone once asked George Whitefield if he thought he’d see John Wesley in heaven. Whitefield replied, “I fear not, for he will be so near the eternal throne and we at such a distance, we shall hardly get sight of him.”

“Grace is simply another word for God’s tumbling, rumbling reservoir of strength and protection. Grace comes to us not occasionally or miserly but constantly and aggressively, wave upon wave. We’ve barely regained our balance from one breaker, and then, bam, here comes another.” Read more in Max Lucado’s post Grace—A Never Ending Supply.

Astronomers are perplexed by the size of a black hole. Apparently it is challenging their views on the origins of the universe. Perhaps there is a better explanation….

Very moving—

Thursdays With Oswald—Concealing And Revealing

Oswald ChambersThis is a periodic 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.

Concealing And Revealing

     One of the most delicate issues in the history of the human soul is that of concealing what ought to be made known and of making known what ought to be concealed. When concealing is a great relief, question it; when revealing is a great relief, question it. The only guiding factor is obedience to the highest we know. The wriggling we indulge in to escape from being humiliated prevents our being right with God.

     For instance, you have a wrong attitude of mind towards another, and the Spirit of God tells you to put it right between yourself and that one (cf. Matthew 5:24), and you say—No, I will put it right between myself and God. You cannot do it; it is impossible. Instead of deliberately obeying God, irrespective of what it costs, we use the trick of prayer to cover our own cowardice. It is a very subtle subterfuge to prevent ourselves being humiliated, but God will bring us into a place of humiliation externally, and others will see we are humiliated. If, on the other hand, there is something between yourself and God, and you feel it would be an enormous relief to tell someone else about it, don’t. “Immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood” [Galatians 1:16]. It is never a question of giving an explanation to someone else, but of maintaining obedience to the highest we know at all costs. [bold font added by me for emphasis]

From Not Knowing Where

Enough said!

…And Then A Miracle Occurs

The Miracle of JesusLast week I shared how important it is for us to remember what we were before meeting Christ, and what we now are after meeting Him (you can click here to read that post). But we need to spend some time looking at how we went from “were” to “are.”

First, we need to recall how bad we really were without Christ. We were…

  • …dead (Ephesians 2:1)—this is a rotting corpse.
  • …separated (2:12)—we faced a gaping, unbridgeable, uncrossable chasm.
  • …alienated (4:18)— we were completely shut-out from fellowship with God.
  • …given over (4:19)—this implies an open betrayal which resulted in us running the opposite direction from God.

“The man on the street would simply shrugged his shoulders at this charge and say, ‘Sure, no one’s perfect.’ Even we Christians talk about failures and defeats, but the Bible uses other terms. It speaks of wickedness and rebellion (Leviticus 16:21). The Bible speaks of King David as despising God (2 Samuel 12:9-10). It charges another man of God with defying the word of the Lord… (1 Kings 13:21). It is evident by these descriptive synonyms for sin—rebellion, despising, defying—that God takes a far more serious view of sin than the man on the street or even most Christians.” —Jerry Bridges, in Transforming Grace (bold font added)

…and then a miracle occurs! You who once WERE far away [dead, separated, alienated, disgustingly sinful] HAVE BEEN brought near through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13). Jesus Himself becomes our salvation … He IS the miracle! Notice the wording here—

  • He Himself IS our peace (v. 14a)
  • HE has made the two one (v. 14b)
  • abolishing IN His flesh (v. 15a)
  • create IN Himself (v. 15b)
  • IN this one Body…by which HE put to death their hostility (v. 16)
  • THROUGH Him we both have access to the Father (v. 18)

Jesus Himself IS (1) our peace, (2) our reconciliation, and (3) our atonement.

Not only must we always remember what we WERE and what we ARE, but remember the MIRACLE whereby this transformation could happen: The blood of Jesus spilled for us on the Cross!

We’ll be continuing our walk through the Book of Ephesians next Sunday, and I’d love to have you join us.

Links & Quotes

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“We can gather that their state [ISIS] rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.” Read more of this fascinating piece in The Atlantic: What ISIS Really Wants.

Frank Viola wrote, “Mark it down: As you go on with the Lord, your faith will be sorely tested. You will be tempted to ‘shrink back’ into unbelief. But you—dear child of God do not belong to those who shrink back.” Read more from his post The Crisis Of Faith.

Rob Bell is fast becoming irrelevant himself, by choosing which parts of the Bible he wants to follow, when he states “the Church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense” for traditional marriage.

[VIDEO] Epigenomes in the human body are like a symphony. How amazing is our Creator! Check out this artistic depiction of how this works—

Links & Quotes

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“‘Let him ask of God’ [James 1:5]; that is the advice of the Scripture. We are all so ready to go to books, to go to men, to go to ceremonies, to anything except to God. Man will worship God with his eyes, and his arms, and his knees, and his mouth—with anything but his heart—and we are all of us anxious, more or less, until we are renewed by grace, to get off the heart-worship of God.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Newly published research combining genetic, language, and demographic data challenges the idea of a single lineage of languages and human populations evolving out of Africa. Instead, the data supports the idea that multiple people groups have independent origins—a condition one would predict if the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel happened as described in the Bible.” Read more in Out Of Babel.

Dr. Tim Elmore always has great insight for parents, teachers, coaches―anyone working with youth. Don’t let the title of this fantastic post fool you, because it’s not just for athletes: Helping Athletes Navigate A Short-Term, Shortcut Mindset.

This is not a quote from Teddy Roosevelt…

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…but it does, I believe, capture his mindset. This is a quote from one of my favorite US presidents: “We have a given problem to solve. If we undertake the solution, there is, of course, always danger that we may not solve it aright; but to refuse to undertake the solution simply renders it certain that we cannot possibly solve it aright.” ―Theodore Roosevelt

Links & Quotes

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“Long-term studies have measured the substantial impact of marriage on financial stability, as well as relationship longevity and health outcomes.” Read more in 5 Facts About Cohabitation You May Not Know.

“Since the beginning of the war on poverty, marriage has declined sharply. In 1964, 7 percent of U.S. children were born outside marriage. Today, the number is 41 percent. Society is dividing into two castes. In the top half, children are raised by married couples with college education; in the bottom half, children are raised by single mothers with a high-school degree or less. When compared to children in intact married homes, children raised by single parents are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink, and use drugs; be aggressive; engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior; have poor school performance; be expelled from school; and drop out of high school.” Read more in How The Welfare State Penalizes Parents Who Marry.

Parents, check this out: A Letter To My Children About Fifty Shades Of Grey.

“Do you desire God and His way and His promises more than anything, and do you believe that He can and will honor your faith and obedience by being unashamed to call Himself your God, and to use all His wisdom and power and love to turn the path of obedience into the path of life and joy? That is the crisis you face now: Do you desire Him? Will you trust Him? The Word of God to you is: God is worthy and God is able.” —John Piper

“But this is the badge of a true child of God: that a man endures to the end.” —Charles Spurgeon

Kids with Down Syndrome aren’t likely to be singers, as the strain on vocal chords and fine motor skills to move their mouth isn’t usually possible. But Madison defies the odds. And the song she picked to memorize and sing is perfect. Click this link to read more behind-the-scenes information, and then watch this―

Links & Quotes

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Parents and teachers should check out this post from Tim Elmore: Mastering The Art Of Tough Love.

A disgusting movie which glamorizes deviant sexuality opens this weekend. Do NOT be tricked into seeing Fifty Shades Of Grey! Instead check out the post Fifty Shades of Nay.

“We are sinful not because we’re victims of darkness, but because we’re lovers of darkness.” ―John Piper

More proof that so-called “global warming” or “man-made climate change” is not based in science: EPA Under Fire For Concealing Controversial Scientific Data.

shortest-longest-books-of-bibleIf you love studying the Bible like I do, then you have got it check out The Overview Bible Project. Here is one of Jeffrey’s latest infographics…

“I do not know how philosophers may ultimately define religion; but from Micah to James it has been defined as a service to one’s fellow men rendered by following the great rule of justice and mercy, of wisdom and righteousness.” ―Theodore Roosevelt

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