Links & Quotes

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“Be not satisfied, my dear friends, with being saved; desire to know how you are saved, why you are saved, the method by which you are saved. It is a rock on which you stand, I know, but think upon the questions—how you were put upon that rock, by whose love you came there, and why that love was set on you. I would to God that all the members of this church were not only in Christ Jesus, but understood Him, and knew by the assurance of the understanding whereunto they have attained.” —Charles Spurgeon

“I get the impression that some Christians think there are two kinds of history, two kinds of time. First, there is Bible time, and Bible history. Things happened in the Bible that were unique, and that we don’t expect to see happen in normal time and history, where we live, you know, today. Things like God doing extraordinary acts of deliverance, help, and support, or extraordinary empowerments for witness or service. Like Moses leading the people out of Egypt, or Joshua leading them to subdue the land of promise, or David leading an entire nation to build a glorious temple for the Lord. That was then, many Christians seem to think; this is now. But when we think this way we may be cutting ourselves off from one of the most powerful resources for visionary leadership, and that is the promise of the past … Visionary leaders understand that God has done remarkable, nearly incredible things in the past, and they reach back and recall those mighty works of God in order to encourage His people in the present. They recognize that the straight line of the covenant continues from Scripture through Church history right down to our day.” —T.M. Moore

“The psalmist does not yield. He battles unbelief with counterattack. In essence, he says, ‘In myself I feel very weak and helpless and unable to cope. My body is shot and my heart is almost dead. But whatever the reason for this despondency, I will not yield. I will trust God and not myself. He is my strength and my portion’ [Psalm 73:26]. … God has put these testimonies in the Bible so that we might use them to fight the unbelief of despondency.” —John Piper

Yesterday I posted a book review about our brains. Here is 11 things you need to know to keep your brain healthy.

“If homosexuals are bullied, we need to protect them. If they’re unjustly discriminated against, we need to help them. If they’re treated with contempt, the person hurting them should be stopped. If a family member comes out as gay and then is belittled, harmed, or vilified, then the offending family needs to be corrected. If Christians ridicule people who identify as gay or lesbian, they need to admonished. If a church doesn’t welcome seekers of all stripes (including people who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual), then it needs to change. But none of these circumstances are reasons to reinterpret Scripture to affirm homosexuality” (emphasis mine). Read more in Bad Reasons To Adopt Pro-Gay Theology.

Importunity

Praying HandsImportunity is not a word that pops up in everyday conversation, but the concept permeates Scripture. Check out these words from Jesus—

I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is a friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. (Luke 11:8, NIV)

Boldness here in the NIV is translated IMPORTUNITY in the King James Version. It’s the only time this Greek word is used in the New Testament, and it is used in context to prayer (see vv. 1-4). The English and Greek dictionaries both agree on the definition of importunity…

…urgent, shameless asking, sometimes to the point of being annoying!

This is how Jesus tells us to pray.

Notice Jesus said the friend responded not out of friendship, but because of the importunate attitude.

God responds to our importunity as well (vv. 9-10). He responds not as an annoyed friend and not even as a loving earthly father (vv. 11-12). Friends and fathers have moods and they have limits—Our God has no limit on His love nor on His supply!

He will give him as much as he needs … Ask and it will be given to you… How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (vv. 8, 9, 13).

“Our giving depends much on the state of our minds at the moment. When depressed, we have no pleasure in giving; we either refuse, or we give merely to get quit of the applicant. Darkness of mind shrivels us up, makes us selfish, neglectful of others. When full of joy, giving seems our element—our joy overflows in this way; we cannot help giving; we delight in applications; we seek opportunities of giving. So with the blessed God. Being altogether happy, His delight is to give; His perfect blessedness flows out in giving. We can never come wrongly to such an infinitely happy Being.” —Horatius Bonar (emphasis added)

May the Holy Spirit help us to be importunate in our prayer today, for you can never come wrongly—nor too often—to such a happy, loving, generous Father!

Links & Quotes

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“The Apostle Paul tells us that a temple of God, properly adorned and maintained, grows in unity and maturity in the Lord Jesus, as pastors and teachers equip church members to do the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16). A building and other facilities can aid in this process, but they are not essential. Indeed, in many ways they can actually distract us from our task by so defining and confining what we do in the name of ministry that our endeavors consistently look more like the ways of the world than the work of the Lord, more like maintaining and maximizing an institution than seeking and advancing a Kingdom not of this world. … As we build our churches let us not lose sight of the fact that what matters most to the Lord is not the number, shape, and usability of the buildings we erect, but the health, growth, and ministries of the people in whom He has come to dwell.” —T.M. Moore

“When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow.” —Anais Nin

“The Lord’s Prayer contains 56 words; the Gettysburg Address, 266; the Ten Commandments, 297; the Declaration of Independence, 300; and a recent U.S. government order setting the price of cabbage, 26,911. At the state level, over 250,000 bills are introduced each year. And 25,000 pass the legislatures to disappear into the labyrinths of the law.” —Al Ries and Jack Trout

“For some (even for some Christians), faith is best defined as ‘believing in something that lacks supporting evidence.’ But this is not the definition of faith that is presented on the pages of Christian Scripture.” Read more from J. Warner Wallace on how Christianity Promotes Rational (and Evidential) Exploration.

Frank Turek points out, “Remember, Moses was on the wrong side of the golden calf. And [Abraham] Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was on the wrong side of Dred Scott.…” In this post he shares why same-sex “marriage” proponents are on the wrong side of God, evolution and humanity.

[VIDEO] This 5-minute clip of noted New Testament scholar N.T. Wright on homosexuality is well worth your time—

My son tipped me off to a thought-provoking post on dating relationships: How Our Dating Culture As Already Broken Your Future Wife’s Heart.

Sometimes Your Silence Says A Lot

Silence speaks“Pilate [knew] it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him” (Mark 15:9, 10).

There was no credible evidence against Jesus, and Pilate knew it! Yet, “wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed Him over to be crucified” (v. 15). Even without evidence, Pilate was still swayed by the noise of the crowd.

How eerily similar to our culture today: Noise trumps evidence; emotions trump facts; the “popular crowd” gets their way.

It was not Christ’s words at this time—but His silence—that had the lasting impact. He did not try to defend Himself of the false charges before Pilate, but committed Himself to God (John 19:11; Luke 23:46). It was this that both amazed Pilate (Mark 5:5), and prompted the centurion to say, “Surely this Man was the Son of God!” (v. 39).

When I simply share the gospel, God will confirm His Word with miracles (Mark 16:20). I don’t need to match volume levels with the crowd, nor sink to their base rhetoric, nor defend myself—I commit myself to my God and His directive for me to be His witness (16:15). He will take care of the results!

Links & Quotes

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“I want to be a soldier who is fully prepared for the battlefield. I know that victory is won long before the battle begins. It’s won in boot camp, in training and conditioning. When the enemy suddenly comes at me, I’m going to need all available ammunition, and that ammunition is supplied by the powerful Word of God as I hide it away in my heart. So, the next time the devil attacks, I’m confident I’ll have reserves to draw on. I’ll have won the battle alone with God, prior to the battlefield.” —David Wilkerson

“I know the math is impossible, but we certainly act as though the other person is the unreasonable one, no matter which side of the table he sits on.” —Seth Godin

The story goes that D.L. Moody arrived home late one evening from preaching a revival service. As the tired Moody climbed into bed, his wife asked, “So how did it go tonight?” Moody replied, “Pretty well, two and a half converts.” His wife smiled and said, “That’s sweet. How old was the child?” “No, no, no!” Moody answered, “it was two children and one adult! The children have their whole lives in front of them. The adult’s life is already half-gone.”

Eric Metaxas has a great reminder for Christians as they pass through this age: Exiles, Yes, But Engaged Exiles.

Boz Tchividjian shares an important article for anyone who works with kids: 4 ways to protect children from sexual abuse.

10 Blessings From Obeying God’s Word

Wonderful WordThe entire 119th Psalm is a love song to God for His amazing Word. Quite simply it is “far exceeding anything conceived by man” (v. 129, AMP) and “a miracle Word” (v. 129, MSG).

In the 8-verse section called Pe, the psalmist says, “I can’t think of any better response to Your Word than to obey it!” In Pe, here are ten blessings that come with that obedience—

  1. Light … this is the discernment that allows for the “Aha!” revelations of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Understanding … the blessing of comprehending what God is saying to us.
  3. Longings fulfilled … nothing but God’s Word will ever satisfy like God’s Word!
  4. More clearly seeing God’s face as He shines upon us.
  5. God’s mercy and favor.
  6. A greater understanding of God’s love.
  7. Secure paths that keep us from sin’s snares.
  8. Freedom from satan’s extortions … this is literally what the phrase redeem me from the oppression means in verse 134.
  9. Greater obedience.
  10. Learning God’s Word so that I can teach it to others.

The psalmist also gives us good insight into how to respond to those who reject God’s Word: Rivers of tears gush from my eyes because people disobey Your instructions” (v. 136). With all the blessings that come from obeying God’s wonderful law, why would you ever want to try to live any other way?!

I will be continuing our series on Psalm 119 this Sunday. If you are in the area, I would love to have you join us!

Links & Quotes

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“Faith does not shirk the fight; she longs for it, because she foresees the victory.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Faith honors Him whom it trusts with the most reverent and highest regard, since it considers Him truthful and trustworthy.” ―Martin Luther

“A rejection, or in Scripture’s strong language, a crucifixion of the natural self is the passport to everlasting life. Nothing that has not died will be resurrected.” ―C.S. Lewis

“You didn’t sign up for this crash course in single parenting or caring for a disabled spouse, did you? No, God enrolled you. Why? So you can teach others what He has taught you. Rather than say, ‘God, why?’ ask, ‘God, what?’ What can I learn from this experience? Your mess can become His message!” —Max Lucado

I have often said that low expectations can sink someone’s future. Seth Godin agrees. Check out his post The Tragedy Of Small Expectations.

[VIDEO] Pentatonix is a very talented a cappella group! Check out this mash-up of Michael Jackson hits—

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