Really proud of the cleanup crew that joined me in Cedar Springs today. As a part of Earth Day 2011, we were assigned a busy stretch of road past all the fast food restaurants. We declared, “This is our street!” and made sure every scrap of trash was bagged up.
This Monday, May 2, is the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version of the Bible. I’m going to participate in a “flash mob” reading of the entire KJV Bible in 400 seconds with people from around the world.
Wouldst thou likest to join in? If so, click here to go to YouVersion.
I grew up on the KJV, and to this day when I recall verses I have memorized, they are almost always in ye old English. And apparently I’m not alone. Check out this infographic YouVersion put together showing the KJV phrases that are in common everyday use still to this day.
You can quickly spot the influential people throughout history: they typically only need one name to distinguish them from all others. And Mitch Stokes does a masterful job showing why this noted scientist/mathematician/philosopher deserves the one-name designation in Galileo.
The first thing that stood out to me was how Galileo “found his way.” As the son of a musician, the field of science was never on his horizon. In fact, the start of his university career was in medicine. But as he quickly showed no aptitude nor passion for these pursuits, it was refreshing to see how his father let Galileo explore other areas of study to find his niche.
The next thing that amazed me was how Galileo’s new study and future employment in mathematics quickly evolved and expanded into areas such as philosophy, and later in life, astronomy and cosmology. Although Galileo is known today for his studies of the heavens through his improved telescope, those discoveries were only pursued to bolster his mathematic hypotheses.
Then it was amazing to see how deftly Galileo handled himself when he foresaw that his new discoveries that supported Copernicus’ claims of a heliocentric universe would upset those in the Catholic Church. Galileo said and wrote often that he was not trying to make new theology or correct old theology, but was simply trying to show how the Bible and science fit together. It was really the politically-minded (and Inquisition-minded) Cardinals in the Church that stirred up trouble for Galileo, but never the other way around.
Galileo demonstrated so beautifully through his observations and careful mathematic theorems how God had created an orderly and wonderfully-made universe. He believed that scientists had the responsibility to use their skills of observation and calculation to show how God and science are companions and not adversaries.
This is a part of Thomas Nelson’s Christian Encounters Series, and I not only highly recommend this book, but I’m looking forward to reading others in the series as well.
This 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.
Don’t Explain; Pray
Eliphaz claimed to know exactly where Job was, and Bildad claims the same thing. Job was hurt, and these men tried to heal him with platitudes. The place for the comforter is not that of one who preaches, but of the comrade who says nothing, but prays to God about the matter. The biggest thing you can do for those who are suffering is not to talk platitudes, not to ask questions, but to get into contact with God…. Job’s friends never once prayed for him; all they did was to try and make coin for the enrichment of their own creed out of his sufferings.
From Baffled To Fight Better
Great reminder: The biggest thing you can do for those who are suffering is…get into contact with God on their behalf.
Although originally published 20 years ago, The Church In Exile by James W. Thompson is even more on-target today.
Taking its title from a phrase in the book of 1 Peter in the Bible (aliens and strangers in the world), Dr. Thompson makes the Apostle Peter’s counsel readily applicable for today. Christians don’t belong to this world, we are simply exiles living here temporarily until we reach our true home in heaven. Peter addresses how we as exiles are to conduct ourselves in foreign—often hostile—territory.
Dr. Thompson brings in just enough cultural background from the first century to set the stage, but then quickly shows the reader the parallels to the twenty-first century. He also uses just enough of his extensive knowledge Greek to pull out the deeper definition of words, but not so much as to make this a dry read. On the contrary, I was almost instantly hooked, and learned so much from every chapter.
I found this quote near the beginning of the book which set the stage for me:
“The changes that have taken place within the last generation will not make exiles of those whose Christian commitment demands little of them. Nor will it make exiles of churches that speak only to echo what others are already saying. Indeed, religion may remain popular in our culture as long as it exists only to bless the popular values. However, those who are willing to say that God has decisively revealed Himself only in Jesus Christ, and that our response to Him is a matter of ultimate importance, will be exiles in a culture that believes that all commitments are equally valid.”
The Church In Exile could easily be used as a personal Bible study tool, as a companion to reading through 1 Peter. However, the discussion questions at the end of each chapter would also make this book an excellent study guide for a small group Bible study.
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Things seem to be going very, very well for Israel! Check out what Isaiah wrote:
Their land is fullof silver and gold; there is no end to their treasures. Their land is full of horses; there is no end to their chariots.
Sounds like a success story to me!
But wait: the next verse sounds a bit ominous:
Their land is full of idols; the people worship things they have made with their own hands.
Prosperity? For everyone.
They were no longer looking to God, but they were looking to what they had made with their own hands. In other words, they made Money their god.
Money can save us!
Money can fix all our problems!
Without Money we are lost!
Only those with Money can be saved!
Sadly, I believe what was said of Israel 2500 years ago could be said of the United States of America today. In God We Trust is printed on all our currency, but it really has become In Money We Trust. We have made Money our god.
Don’t believe me? How do you think most people would answer these fill-in-the-blanks:
I need _____________ to get clothes.
Without _____________ I cannot feed my family.
If I lost _____________ today I would be devastated.
I frequently think about how more _____________ in my life would make my life better.
What should go in the blank: Money or God? Again, let’s let Jesus have the final word: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Luke 16:13).
After nearly 21 years of marriage, I thought I had my wife pretty well figured out, but Shaunti & Jeff Feldhahn made me second-guess that belief in For Men Only.
This book is the compilation of surveys, focus group discussions, and lots of highly revealing emails and letters from women all over the country. Then Jeff & Shaunti dig through all of the data to help us guys figure out what’s really going on inside the hearts and minds of the special women in our lives.
Although there were a lot of statistics and bar charts throughout the book, For Men Only is not a dry academic book. On the contrary, the Feldhahns make these results so “livable” for all of us clueless men. The bottom line: when we guys try to understand and communication with the women in our lives the same way we understand and communicate with other guys, we’re setting ourselves up for a lot of frustration.
In the famous “love chapter” in the Bible (1 Corinthians 13), the Apostle Paul implies that love should always be maturing. And when the Apostle Peter says that men should live considerately with our wives, he is really saying that we should live with ever increasing knowledge of them. For Men Only is really helping me do this, and I believe it will help any other men who are serious about continuing to understand their wives better so they can love them more deeply.
Never say anything that isn’t true. Have nothing to do with lies and misleading words. (Proverbs 4:24)
Most decent people don’t have an issue with this one. We would never dream of whispering to someone we care about things like…
…you’re a loser.
…you can’t seem to do anything right.
…hey, stupid, nice job. Not!
But the verse just before says this:
Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. (v. 23)
I wonder how many times we whisper words like loser, failure, or stupid to ourselves. The things we’d never say to someone else, we seem all too ready to say to ourselves!
What are you whispering to yourself? Listen closely. Are you whispering things to yourself that you would never whisper to someone else? Then it’s time to start whispering something new.
Solomon preceded this with these words of affection that seem to come right from our Heavenly Father’s mouth:
My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen to my words. Never let them get away from you. Remember them and keep them in your heart. (vv. 20-21)
God’s Spirit will never, ever, EVER speak cutting, hurtful, unkind, or untrue words to you. God loves you as if you were the only person on earth to love! He loves you so much that He sent His Son to rescue you.
Listen closely because He’s saying it right now, “I love you!”
A Collection Of Wednesdays is written by Amy Gaither Hayes, who describes herself as, “I am not One Who Must Write; I am One Who Can Write When She Must.” The One Who Can Write When She Must has delivered a book that is part memoir, part observation, and part poetry.
Arranged into fourteen distinct sections, Amy sometimes tell a story about her life, and sometimes shares with the reader what she is observing around her each week. Then each section is wrapped up with a couple of poems she has written about that particular subject. Her writings are an honest, fresh look at how we process the people and events in our lives who have gone into shaping who we have become (and are becoming).
The title of the book comes from Amy’s weekly writing time, which I think would be an appropriate way to read this book: one section each week, giving yourself time to reflect on not only Amy’s insights, but your thoughts about your own past, present, and future.