Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

William Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect show us a successful model for positive social change.

Farshid Fathi is a Christian pastor imprisoned in Iran for his faith. His letter from prison is absolutely amazing!

So some of Lois Lerner’s “lost” emails have been found, and it is clear why she and the IRS wanted them not to be seen. Check out how liberal political agents attack their conservative opponents.

“The solution to life’s problems is spiritual because the essence of life is spiritual. It is astonishing how many difficulties clear up without any effort when the inner life gets straightened out.” —A.W. Tozer

“It’s natural enough in our species, as in others, that the young birds should show off their plumage—in the mating season. But the trouble in the modern world is that there’s a tendency to rush all the birds on to that age as soon as possible and then keep them there as late as possible, thus losing all the real value of the other parts of life in a senseless, pitiful attempt to prolong what, after all, is neither its wisest, its happiest, or most innocent period. I suspect merely commercial motives are behind it all: for it is at the showing-off age that birds of both sexes have least sales resistance!” —C.S. Lewis

Like A River

AG founding [1914]I am proud of my Pentecostal heritage. Both my parents and grandparents grew up in the Assemblies of God, and saw firsthand powerful moves of God. This year (2014) marks the 100th anniversary of the formation of the A/G fellowship. Check out this video from 1964 when the A/G was celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Thursdays With Oswald—The Most Audacious Verse

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 Most Audacious Verse

     The faith that does not react in the flesh is very immature. Paul was so identified with Jesus Christ that he had the audacity to say that what men saw in his life in the flesh was the very faith of the Son of God. Galatians 2:20 is the most audacious verse in the Bible! Paul is not referring to his own elementary faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior, but to the faith of the Son of God, and he says that that identical faith is now in him.

From Conformed To His Image

Do you think that Paul is being audacious?

If so, do you think that Chambers is right that we can have that sort of faith?

If so, what’s it going to take?

Links & Quotes

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Some interesting reading from today…

“A gracious Hand leads us in ways we know not, and blesses us not only without, but even against, our plans and inclinations.” —William Wilberforce

A cool article about George MacDonald’s influence on C.S. Lewis.

Ken Davis uses an optical illusion to make a fantastic point in his post Perception Or Reality?

The son of a Hamas founder confirms that this terrorist group targets civilians.

[INFOGRAPHIC] This is a win-win: Benaiah featured on The Overview Bible Project.

Praise God!! Millions of Muslims converting to Jesus Christ!

“Commend me to the Christian who says, ‘I bless God I am saved; now what can I do for others?’ The first thing in the morning he prays, ‘God help me to say a word to some soul this day.’ During the day, wherever he may be, he is watching his opportunity, and will do good if he can.” —Charles Spurgeon

“There’s a great deal of trust in the love of God, and a great deal of love in the trust of God.” —John Piper

13 Quotes From “Yawning At Tigers”

Yawning At TigersYawning At Tigers by Drew Dyck is a wake-up call to any who view God as tame or Christianity as boring. As I read this book I found myself frequently saying, “Yes!” out loud to the truths Drew has shared. I loved this book! You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are a few of the quotes I highlighted (unless otherwise noted, the quotes are from the author).

“We can’t truly appreciate God’s grace until we glimpse His greatness. We won’t be lifted by His love until we are humbled by His holiness.” 

“Here, the contrast between God and an idol couldn’t be clearer. We are told that after offering sacrifices to the golden calf, the Israelites ‘sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry’ (Exodus 32:6). But when God descended on Mount Sinai, ‘everyone in the camp trembled’ (Exodus 19:16). You don’t tremble before an idol. … An idol is safe. It never challenges you. It isn’t threatening. It doesn’t judge sin or demand loyalty. But the Holy One of Israel is a jealous God—passionate and loving, yes, but unspeakably dangerous too.”

“The language we use reveals an awful lot about how we think about God. A cursory examination of the way we speak exposes how pervasive this Jesus-as-my-nonjudgmental-buddy attitude is in the church.” 

“While we know enough about God to receive salvation and enter into a relationship with Him, our knowledge of Him is still far from complete. Our intelligence is too small, our languages too limited. When it comes to God, we are all beginners.”

“So soon as we become satisfied with any picture of God, we are in danger of idolatry.” —Victor White 

“Unfortunately, in our efforts to make the Bible interesting and relevant, we try to normalize God. We become experts at taking something lofty, so unfathomable and incomprehensible, and dragging it down to the lowest shelf. We failed to account for the fact that God is neither completely knowable nor remotely manageable.”

“We lack a practice of personal holiness because we’ve lost a theology of divine holiness. When we neglect a part of God’s nature, we shouldn’t be surprised when that same attribute goes missing in our lives. … The Bible repeatedly makes explicit the connection between God’s holiness and ours. ‘Be holy,’ God says, ‘because I… am holy’ (Leviticus 19:2). The New Testament echoes this theme. ‘Just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do’ (1 Peter 1:15).” 

“Only a God who punishes evil and rights wrongs is ultimately a God of love. … To fear the Lord is not to suggest God is callous or cool. Just the opposite, in fact. It is God’s consuming love that makes Him so dangerous. Because He cares deeply for His creation, He will not tolerate evil and injustice forever.”

“The evidence of the Christian’s zeal and piety was made clear to all the pagans. For example, they alone in such a catastrophic state of affairs gave practical evidence of their sympathy and philanthropy works. All day long some of them would diligently persevere in performing the last offices for the dying and burying them (for there were countless numbers, and no one to look after them). While others gathered together in a single assemblage all who were afflicted by famine throughout the whole city, and would distribute bread to them all. When this became known, people glorified the God of the Christians, and, convinced by the deeds themselves, confessed the Christians alone were truly pious and God-fearing.” —Eusebius

“When we root our sense of identity in God, everything changes. Once our vertical connection is healthy, the horizontal ones tend to thrive. However, a cruel irony comes into play when we seek validation from others that only God can provide. When we lean too heavily on human relationships, we actually end up sabotaging them. We become clingy, controlling. We find ourselves piling expectations on people they were never meant to bear.”

“This doesn’t mean the New Testament is solely about God’s intimacy. Nor does the Old Testament speak strictly about God’s transcendence. The entire Bible speaks of both. All through Scripture we are reminded that God is both great and near.” 

“For people in the throes of suffering, the Bible offers something much different than an answer—it offers a Person.”

“We shall never succeed in knowing ourselves unless we seek to know God.” —Teresa of Avila

No Kindas

no kindasAmaziah could have been one of Judah’s great kings. His father had cleaned up the Temple and had begun a revival of worship of God. When he came to the throne, Amaziah quickly led his army to an impressive victory over the Edomites.

That’s when things started to unravel.

Actually, things were beginning to come apart right from the start of Amaziah’s reign, but no one seemed to notice.

We get the clues in the language the biblical writers use. Amaziah frequently had a “but” or a “however” attached to what he did. Notice—

  • Amaziah “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, BUT not as his father David had done” (2 Kings 14:3).
  • He worshiped God “HOWEVER the high places [of pagan worship] were not removed” (14:4).
  • He rallied his fighting men for battle BUT “he also hired a hundred thousand [mercenary] fighting men from Israel” (2 Chronicles 25:6).
  • Amaziah led his army to victory over the Edomites with God’s help BUT “he brought back the gods of the people of [Edom] … bowed down to them and burned sacrifices to them” (25:14).
  • The king of Israel warned Amaziah not to attack Israel “HOWEVER Amaziah would not listen” (25:20).

Not only did these BUTS and HOWEVERS take Amaziah farther away from God, they took him farther away from his people too: “From the time Amaziah turned away from following the Lord, they conspired against him in Jerusalem (25:27).

There is no “kinda” following God. It’s all-in or nothing. My heart is either fully devoted to God with no BUTS or HOWEVERS, or am I moving away from God and from others around me.

It should be a huge warning sign when I hear myself say “but” or “however” in regard to anything involved with following my God.

Yawning At Tigers (book review)

Yawning At TigersI’ve been longing for a book like Yawning At Tigers to be published! For years I have been concerned with the “taming” of God that I see among so many in our culture, so the subtitle of Drew Dyck’s book nails it: You Can’t Tame God, So Stop Trying!

Drew opens with a real-life story of exotic animals which were set loose in a small town in the midwest. Where people had viewed the animals behind bars and plexiglass before and found them tame, their attitude was completely changed when those same animals were walking down their street! Drew uses this story to draw an analogy to the way people view a “tame God” contained behind stained glass windows, as opposed to the true God set loose in their neighborhoods.

Drew writes, “Even when we see evidence of God in our midst, when we glimpse His holiness, we’re more likely to yawn than yell. Somehow we’ve succeeded in making the strange ordinary.” It’s sad, but true in far too many settings.

Yawning At Tigers is an impassioned call to open the Scriptures up and really see God. He is awesome, He is ferocious, He is a warrior, He is white-hot love! Until we really see God, others will yawn at the thought of Christians or church. Again Drew gets it right when he says, “Only when we gain a proper understanding of God’s identity can we begin to appreciate the implications of His love.”

If you are desirous to see God revealed in all His fullness in your life, in your church, in your community, then you will resonate with the message of Yawning At Tigers.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading (and watching) from today…

This year will mark the centennial celebration of the Assemblies of God fellowship. I am so blessed to have this as not only my heritage, but my current affiliation as well. This video was made at the 50th anniversary … what a rich history!

“The part of wisdom is to accept our Christian brothers and sisters for what they are rather than for what they should be. … An old Italian proverb says, ‘He that will have none but a perfect brother must resign himself to remain brotherless.’ However earnestly we may desire that our Christian brother go on toward perfection, we must accept him as he is and learn to get along with him. To treat an imperfect brother impatiently is to advertise our own imperfections.” —A.W. Tozer

“The wise man does nothing but what can be done openly and without falseness, nor does he do anything whereby he may involve himself in any wrong-doing, even where he may escape notice. For he is guilty in his own eyes before being so in the eyes of others; and the publicity of his crime does not bring him more shame than his own consciousness of it.” —Ambrose

Mark Atteberry says he is hopelessly uncool. I pray I am too!

Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards is so out of touch! And to think, our taxes dollars fund this sort of nonsense!

When I read this article about dinosaur extinction, all I could think of was: “If ifs and buts were candies and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas!”

The Centre for the Study of Global Christianity in the United States estimates that 100,000 Christians now die every year, targeted because of their faith—that is 11 every hour. The Pew Research Center says that hostility to religion reached a new high in 2012, when Christians faced some form of discrimination in 139 countries, almost three-quarters of the world’s nations.” Read more of this eye-opening article.

Eye Exam

EyechartProbably at one time or another everyone has gone through some sort of eye exam where you read an eyechart to get information about your vision. This simple exam gives your doctor a standard by which to measure the visual acuity of your eyes. After all, without an objective standard for your vision, who’s to say whether your eyesight really is good or bad?

After taking the exam, the doctor can determine whether you have…

  • emmetropia—normal vision where light from your eye’s lens is properly focused on the retina at the back of your eye; or
  • myopia—also called short-sightedness, where the light is focused in front of the retina; or
  • hyperopia—or far-sightedness, where the light is focused behind the retina.

Both myopia and hyperopia can be corrected by lenses. Glasses, contact lenses, or even corrective surgery can correct your focal point, restoring emmetropia again. But notice this:

Lenses don’t change what you see, but how you see it. 

By refocusing the light into the right place, you are now looking at the same object, but the focal point is corrected. You are able to see things that were there all along, but that your out-of-focus vision caused you to miss. For a Christian, the Bible works the same way—

Scripture doesn’t change the events or circumstances in your life, but it does change how you see them. 

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. (Matthew 6:22-23)

Vision problemsWhat’s true for an eye exam is also true for a spiritual exam: If you don’t read the eyechart, it’s hard to tell if your vision is out-of-focus.

Far too many people don’t read the Bible for themselves, so they never have given the Holy Spirit a chance to show them where their attitude or lifestyle is out of focus with God’s design. However, if you are reading the Bible, here are three warning signs that you may have blurry spiritual vision that needs to be corrected:

  1. You try to rationalize what the Holy Spirit is saying to you through the Bible, instead of simply obeying what He says.
  2. You discount the wisdom of other God-fearing people who are saying the same thing God’s Spirit is saying.
  3. You frequently find yourself saying, “I know that’s what the Bible says, but….”

You don’t have to live with blurry spiritual vision. Read the Bible for yourself, and let the Holy Spirit point out how your vision can be corrected.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from this weekend…

Quebec just legalized euthanasia and requires every doctor to either euthanize legally qualified patients or cooperate in finding a doctor willing to provide a lethal injection. Victoria, Australia has a similar law requiring all doctors’ participation or complicity in abortion. Moreover, the American medical establishment already opposes conscience exemptions for abortion and the dispensing of contraception.” Read more in this scary post: Will Doctors Be Forced To Kill?

More scary medical news: Obamacare Driving Doctors Out Of Business. (So much for the claim “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”!)

So much for Islam being a “religion of peace”: ISIS Forcing Women To Undergo Genital Mutilation.

How would you like terrorists having a say in your internet activity? That is what will happen if ICANN is removed from US control.

“When we have communion with God in the doctrine we contend for—then shall we be garrisoned by the grace of God against all the assaults of men.” —John Owen

“Doctrinal controversy is both essential and deadly. The attitude toward controversy in various groups of Christians depends largely on which of these two they feel most strongly. Is it essential? Or is it deadly? My plea is that we believe and feel both of these. Controversy is essential where precious truth is rejected or distorted. And controversy is deadly where disputation about truth destroys exultation in truth.” —John Piper

“There is no getting at our God sometimes because of the multitude of our friends. But when a man is so poor, so friendless, so helpless that he has nothing, he flies into his Father’s arms, and how blessedly he is clasped there! So that, I say again, happy trouble that drives you to your Father! Blessed storm that wrecks you on the rock of ages!” —Charles Spurgeon

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