Links & Quotes

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Some good reading & watching from today…

“[God] will be infinitely merciful to our repeated failures; I know no promise that He will accept a deliberate compromise. For He has, in the last resort, nothing to give us but Himself; and He can give that only in so far as our self-affirming will retires and makes room for Him in our souls.” —C.S. Lewis

“To live well is the way to die well. Death is not our first foe but the last; let us then fight our adversaries in order, and overcome them each in its turn, trusting that He Who has been with us even until now will be with us until the end.” —Charles Spurgeon

“It  is sin in the heart that makes one say, ‘This is far too hard for me!’ The yielded heart, on the other hand, becomes free, and obedience is no longer a burden. For the surrendered heart, it is all joy.” —David Wilkerson

Membership in your local church is one of the most important things about you.” Read more from Jonathan Parnell on the local church.

Warning: Essure birth control is deadly for women!

Amazing new insights into how God designed plants to manage their hours of sunlight in the photosynthesis process.

Rick Warren on homosexual “marriage”: The church must not cave-in.

[VIDEO] John Maxwell on the importance of making good decisions…

“Some people don’t lead their lives, they accept their lives.” —John Kotter

The Delight In God’s Word

Psalm 119Psalm 119 is a loving poem to God because His Word to us is so amazing! All 176 verses of this psalm say something special about God’s laws, statutes, decrees, precepts, or commands.

Like this psalmist, we too can discover 176 praiseworthy things in God’s Word. Things like…

  1. Blessing by walking according to His law
  2. Blessing by keeping His statues
  3. Blamelessness when walking in His ways
  4. Full obedience when obeying His precepts
  5. Steadfastness because we obey His decrees
  6. No shame in following His commands
  7. Uprightness in learning His laws
  8. His continual presence when obeying His decrees
  9. Purity in living by His word
  10. Direction when following His commands
  11. A sinless life by hiding His word in our hearts
  12. More reasons to praise Him when He teaches us His decrees
  13. Joy in recounting His laws
  14. Rejoicing in following His statutes
  15. Joy in meditating on His precepts
  16. Delight in attending to His word
  17. Life and goodness in obeying His word
  18. Wonderful things in His law
  19. God’s companionship in His commands
  20. Our soul’s longings fulfilled in His laws
  21. No curses by keeping His commands
  22. No scorn in keeping His statutes
  23. Immune to slander in meditating on His decrees
  24. A delightful counselor in His statues
  25. A preserved life in His word
  26. God’s answers in His decrees
  27. Understanding wonderful things in His precepts
  28. Strength in His word
  29. Grace in His law
  30. Truth in His laws
  31. No shame in His statutes
  32. Freedom in His commands
  33. God’s counsel in His decrees
  34. Deeper understanding in His law
  35. Direction and delight in His commands
  36. A strengthened heart through His statutes
  37. Eternal life in His word
  38. Fulfillment in His promises
  39. No dread nor disgrace in His laws
  40. Preserved life in His precepts
  41. Salvation in His promises
  42. Answers for enemies in His word
  43. Hope in His laws
  44. Eternal security in His law
  45. Freedom in His precepts
  46. Influence in His statutes
  47. Delight in His commands
  48. Love in His commands
  49. Hope in His word
  50. Comfort in suffering in His promises
  51. Steadfastness in His law
  52. Comfort in His laws
  53. Proper emotions toward the wicked in His law
  54. Songs in His decrees
  55. Nighttime comfort in His law
  56. Healthy practices in His precepts
  57. Complete help in His word
  58. Finding God in His promise
  59. Course corrections in His statutes
  60. Motivation in His commands
  61. Rescue in His laws
  62. Midnight thanks in His laws
  63. Friendship-strengthener in His precepts
  64. Seeing His love everywhere through His decrees
  65. Blessing in His word
  66. Knowledge and good judgment in His commands
  67. Healing in His word
  68. Goodness in His decrees
  69. Immunity to slander in His precepts
  70. Enlivened emotions in His law
  71. Help for affliction in His decrees
  72. Riches in His law
  73. Understanding in His commands
  74. Encouragement for others in His word
  75. Godly paradigms in His laws
  76. The comfort of His unfailing love in His promise
  77. Delightful compassion in His law
  78. Justice in His precepts
  79. Influential friendships in His statutes
  80. Blamelessness in His decrees
  81. Hope in His word
  82. Comfort in His promise
  83. Preservation in His decrees
  84. Perseverance in His law
  85. Victory in His law
  86. Trust in His commands
  87. Staying power in His precepts
  88. Life and love in His statutes
  89. Firm foundation in His word
  90. Generational faithfulness in His word
  91. Enduring glory revealed in His laws
  92. Delight in affliction in His law
  93. Preserved life in His precepts
  94. Salvation in His precepts
  95. Peace in His statutes
  96. Perfection in His commands
  97. Love in His laws
  98. Wisdom in His commands
  99. More insight than your peers in His statutes
  100. More understanding in His precepts
  101. Avoiding evil through His word
  102. Personally taught by God in His laws
  103. Sweetness in His words
  104. Understanding in His precepts
  105. Light in His word
  106. Direction in His laws
  107. Preservation in His word
  108. Praise in His laws
  109. Safety in His laws
  110. Avoiding snares in His precepts
  111. Joyful heritage in His statutes
  112. Developing an obedient heart through His decrees
  113. Strong love in His law
  114. Hopeful refuge in His word
  115. Repelling evildoers through His commands
  116. Sustaining power in His promise
  117. Deliverance in His decrees
  118. Acceptance in His decrees
  119. Purity in His statutes
  120. Awe and reverence in His laws
  121. God’s constant presence in His word
  122. Victory over oppressors in His law
  123. Salvation in His promises
  124. Loving treatment in His decrees
  125. Discernment in His statutes
  126. Justice in His law
  127. Riches in His commands
  128. Knowing right from wrong through His precepts
  129. Wonder in His statutes
  130. Illumination in His words
  131. Fulfillment in His commands
  132. Mercy in His word
  133. Victory over sin in His word
  134. Redemption in His precepts
  135. His favor in His decrees
  136. Passion in His law
  137. Righteousness in His laws
  138. Confidence in His statutes
  139. Zeal in His words
  140. Throughly-tested truths in His promises
  141. Enhanced memory in His precepts
  142. Everlasting truth in His law
  143. Peace in trouble in His commands
  144. Fuller understanding in His statutes
  145. Answers in His decrees
  146. Salvation in His statutes
  147. Hope in His word
  148. Peaceful meditation in His promises
  149. Preservation in His laws
  150. Peace around enemies in His law
  151. God’s presence in His commands
  152. Eternity in His statutes
  153. Deliverance in His laws
  154. Defense in His promise
  155. Finding God in His decrees
  156. Compassion in His laws
  157. Victory over persecutors in His statutes
  158. Satisfaction in His word
  159. Love in His precepts
  160. Eternal truths in His laws
  161. Learned reverence in His word
  162. Great riches in His promise
  163. Love in His law
  164. Reasons to praise in His laws
  165. Great peace and stability in His law
  166. Salvation in His commands
  167. Great love in His statutes
  168. Blessed paths in His precepts
  169. Understanding in His word
  170. Answers to prayer in His promise
  171. Praise in His decrees
  172. Songs in His word
  173. Ready help in His precepts
  174. Delight in His law
  175. Sustaining praise in His laws
  176. God seeking me out in His commands

Oh, how wonderful is God’s Word!!

Poetry Saturday—Thou Sweet, Beloved Will Of God

Gerhard TersteegenThe Will of God
Thou sweet, beloved Will of God,
   My anchor ground, my fortress hill,
My spirit’s silent, fair abode,
   In Thee I hide me, and am still.

O Will, that willest good alone,
   Lead Thou the way, Thou guidest best;
A little child I follow on,
   And trusting lean upon Thy breast.

Thy beautiful, sweet Will, my God,
   Holds fast in Its sublime embrace
My captive will, a gladsome bird,
   Prisoned in such a realm of grace.

Within this place of certain good,
   Love ever more expands her wings;
Or, nestling in Thy perfect choice,
   Abides content with what it brings.

Oh, sweetest burden, lightest yoke,
   It lifts, it bears my happy soul,
It giveth wings to this poor heart:
   My freedom is Thy grand control.

Upon God’s Will I lay me down,
   As child upon its mother’s breast;
No silken couch, nor softest bed,
   Could ever give me such sweet rest.

Thy wonderful, grand Will, my God
   With triumph now I make It mine,
And Love shall cry a jealous Yes,
   To every dear command of Thine. —Gerhard Tersteegen

 

Rewards For Faithfulness

NunI unabashedly tell anyone who asks me what my favorite book is … It’s the Bible. I have yet to find such a collection of writings that work every single time they’re applied.

Two summers ago we began a series of messages on the 119th Psalm. It appears that the psalmist shares my passion for God’s Word, as he writes time and time again the difference Scripture makes in his life.

The other thing that makes this psalm so cool to me is the organization of the 176 verses into twenty-two 8-verse segments, with each verse in a segment beginning with the the same Hebrew letter as its title. In the Hebrew language, the letters in the alphabet had their own meaning. In English an “n” is simply spelled “n.” It has no other definition or meaning. But in Hebrew the letter nun has both a spelling and a meaning. Nun is spelled nun-vav-nun (final), and it means both faithfulness and the reward for faithfulness.

Look at the three Hebrew characters that spell nun. Reading right to left it tells a story and gives the meaning of the letter/word—the one who is humbled in faithfulness will be the one who stands in righteousness. The perfect example of this is Jesus, Who humbled Himself when He came to earth and to the Cross, and then was exalted by the Heavenly Father to wear the crown of righteousness (see Philippians 2:5-11 and Revelation 14:14). Paul starts this passage by calling on us to “have the same attitude as that of Jesus” (v. 5), and concludes with the call to stick with it all the way to the end (see vv. 12-13).

RewardsThe psalmist calls us to this same thing in nun (Psalm 119:105-112). The “bookend” verses say, “Your Word is a lamp for me… so my heart is set on keeping Your Word” (vv. 105 and 112). In between the psalmist commits himself to a life of humbly persevering to God’s ways, and reaps the rewards of a changed heart, the joy of the Lord, and a heritage to pass on to others.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day—and not only to me, but also TO ALL who have longed for His appearing (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will lift you up (James 4:10).

My heart is set on keeping Your decrees to the very end (Psalm 119:112).

Rewards here (new heart, joy, heritage) AND rewards in Heaven (a crown of righteousness). How awesome is that!!

If you are in the Cedar Springs area, I will be continuing our series through Psalm 119 next Sunday, and I would love to have you join us.

Links & Quotes

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Some great reading from today…

“Ask yourself—Is God justified in my justification? Do I prove by the way I live and talk and do my work that God has made me holy?” —Oswald Chambers

Keep praying and speaking out for Meriam Ibrahim’s freedom. Sudan has imprisoned her and sentenced her to death because she is a (gasp!) Christian.

“The economy shrank for the first time in 58 years! Many of you, this has never happened in your life. The Drive-By Media, of course, is going to ignore this. Or, as the AP does here, say, “The setback is expected to be temporary with growth rebounding solidly since spring.’ Really? Well, every Drive-By news report I’ve read on the economy for the past six years has had the word ‘unexpected’ or ‘surprised’ in it, meaning everything they’ve reported has been a shock. They haven’t expected it. So it’s no big deal. Yeah, it shrank 3%. But that’s just expected to be temporary. … And so, for I don’t know what—the umpteenth or gazillionth time in the last six years—we are being told that prosperity is just around the corner. How long has AP been spreading this sunshine now? How long have ABC, NBC, CBS, the Washington Post, the New York Times been spreading this BS that prosperity is just around the corner—we’re poised for growth, waiting to break out—while the day-to-day reality is it’s worsening?” —Rush Limbaugh

Do you take vitamin supplements? This latest report says you should, and it says you shouldn’t.

Lower courts make a ruling on redefining marriage that is just flat-out wrong.

“Joy is increased by spreading it to others.” —Robert Murray McCheyne

“satan will try to bring upon you the most dreadful temptation or trial you have ever faced. He wants you to get bogged down in guilt, condemnation and self-examination. Dear saint, you have to arise in the Spirit and get your eyes off your circumstances and bondage. Do not try to figure it all out. Start praising, singing and trusting God—and He will take care of your deliverance.” —David Wilkerson

Alexander Solzhenitsyn tells us why countries fail: “Men have forgotten God.” Read more here.

I Like Giving (book review)

I Like GivingWhen you read a title like I Like Giving you might immediately think, “This is a book telling me to tithe, or give bigger offerings to my church, or support my local charity.” And you would be dead wrong. Brad Formsma’s book isn’t really about giving money away, it’s about giving yourself away.

Brad writes, “When we choose to give, we change, and the people around us change. When we move from awareness to action, miracles happen. When we allow giving to be our idea, a world of possibilities opens up before us, and we discover new levels of joy.”

Indeed, Brad weaves together his own personal stories, with stories from other givers, and even a healthy dose of medical and psychological research data to show us just how life-transforming and joy-producing it is when we are giving people. Not only are the gift receivers benefitted, but so are the gift givers.

Let me state it again: this book isn’t about giving your money to a charitable organization or a church; it’s about you seeing a need and finding a way to take care of that need. If everyone took on this mindset, just imagine how our communities would change!

One final thought from author Brad Formsma—“I don’t think we can ever overestimate just how profound the effects of giving can be. You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving. The reality is that other people are watching how we live our lives, and what we do can have extraordinary effects in our communities. Generosity is for all of us. It is available to all of us, even when the cultural tide is moving in the opposite direction. Why not be brave and live differently?” (emphasis added)

Let I Like Giving be a springboard for you to live differently and to make a difference where you live!

I am a Waterbrook book reviewer.

Links & Quotes

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Some interesting reading from this weekend…

Assemblies of God missionaries were addressing the issue of sex slaves and sex trafficking as far back as 1917.

Chilly Chilton challenges us to view worship as serving: Serving Up Some Worship!

This infuriates me … a Planned Parenthood staffer recommends abusive sex to a 15-year-old! And guess what? Our tax dollars are paying for this garbage.

More medical evidence that stress is bad for your heart.

“It will take an infinite number of ages for God to be done glorifying the wealth of His grace to us—which is to say He will never be done. And our joy will increase forever and ever. Boredom is absolutely excluded in the presence of an infinitely glorious God.” —John Piper

Don’t just study; study well. Here are some important questions to ask yourself.

The Overview Bible Project has a cool look at the Psalms.

How can we ever hope that our kids will become moral, ethical, committed people when we can’t keep our word, can’t keep our pants on, and can’t seem to hold our tongue or liquor? To all three groups of leaders, I simply say: We don’t expect you to be perfect, but we do expect you to embody integrity.” Read more from Tim Elmore’s post The Only Way To Turn Students Into Ethical Leaders.

“As Christians we are called upon to exhibit the character of God, and this means the simultaneous exhibition of His holiness and His love.” —Francis Schaeffer

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