Links & Quotes

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“It can be difficult at times to remember that people who are outspoken in their opposition to God and the Gospel, who have nothing kind to say about anything Christian, and who seem so angry whenever anything related to religion comes up—these people actually have a good deal in common with those of us who believe.” Read more from T.M. Moore in his post Common Ground.

Even if the argument is true that “anyone can be a good parent,” that does not mean that marriage should be redefined. Check out this great post.

Pornography is devastating our country! If you live anywhere near Cedar Springs, please join us for a special presentation by Fight The New Drug on May 8. Get all the details here. Think porn is a harmless activity? Better read this.

Thursdays With Oswald—Christ’s Perfection In You

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.

Christ’s Perfection In You

     Paul does not say, nor does the Spirit of God say anywhere, that after we are born again of the Spirit of God, Jesus Christ is put before us as an Example and we make ourselves holy by drawing from Him. Never! Sanctification is Christ formed in us; not the Christ-life, but Christ Himself. In Jesus Christ is the perfection of everything, and the mystery of sanctification is that we may have in Jesus Christ, not the start of holiness, but the holiness of Jesus Christ. …  

     Those of you who are hungering and thirsting after holiness, think what it would mean to you to go out tonight knowing that you may step boldly into the heritage that is yours if you are born of the Spirit, and realize that the perfections of Jesus are yours by His sovereign gift in such a way that you can prove it experimentally!

From Our Brilliant Heritage (emphasis added)

Oswald Chambers says there are three Mysteries that are impossible for us to fully grasp with our natural minds: (1) The Triune God—Father, Son and Spirit all equally God; (2) The Incarnation of Jesus—fully Man and fully God; and (3) Christ in us.

Yes, it’s a mystery, but it’s true! Jesus doesn’t want to be your Example. He wants to be in you, and wants you to be in Him. His desire is that you are at-onement (that’s what the word atonement means) with Him, so that when people look at you they see Jesus.

You don’t have to earn this, or try to work it up in your life. If you have invited Jesus into your life, He truly is IN you—all of His perfection is IN you! Ask the Holy Spirit to make this real to you today.

Links & Quotes

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“You can’t love Christ too much. You can’t think about Him too much or thank Him too much or depend upon Him too much. All our justification, all our righteousness, is in Christ. This is the gospel—the good news that our sins are laid on Christ and His righteousness is laid on us, and that this great exchange happens for us not by works but by faith alone.” —John Piper

“The beginning of true revival comes when a godly company of believers takes on the Lord’s burden for a church or a city trapped in sin. This godly company fasts and prays, pleading with God to begin rebuilding the walls and gates that will protect His people from every enemy.” Read more in David Wilkerson’s post The Beginning Of Revival.

Even in the midst of ISIS persecution in the Middle East, there is some really good news!

[VIDEO] How do scientists come up with the date for Adam and Eve?

17 Final Quotes From “Not Knowing Where”

Not Knowing WhereI’ve been sharing some of the amazing quotes from Oswald Chambers’ book Not Knowing Where. Here is the last set of quotes from this book.

“The natural life is not spiritual, it can only be made spiritual by deliberately casting it out and making it the slave instead of the ruler. … Jesus Christ cannot give me a meek and quiet spirit, I have to take His yoke upon me; that is, I have to deliberately discipline myself. … If we do not resolutely cast out the natural, the supernatural can never become natural in us.”

“Remember, Abraham had to offer up Ishmael before he offered up Isaac. Some of us are trying to offer spiritual sacrifices before we have sacrificed the natural. The only way we can offer a spiritual sacrifice to God is to do what He tells us to do, discipline what He tells us to discipline.”

“Common sense is not faith and faith is not common sense; they stand in the relation of Ishmael and Isaac, of the natural and spiritual, of individuality and personality, of impulse and inspiration. Faith in antagonism to common sense is fanaticism, and common sense in antagonism to faith is rationalism. The life of faith brings the two into right relationship.”

“We have the idea that the body, individuality, and the natural life are altogether of the devil; they are not, they are all of God, designed by God, and it is in the human body and in the natural order of things that we have to exhibit our worship of God. The danger is to mistake the natural for the spiritual, and instead of worshiping God in my natural life to make my natural life God.”

“How am I going to find out what the will of God is? In one way only, by not trying to find out. If you are born again of the Spirit of God, you are the will of God, and your ordinary common sense decisions are God’s will for you unless He gives an inner check. When He does, call a halt immediately and wait on Him. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind that you may make out His will, not in your mind, but in practical living. God’s will in my common sense life is not for me to accept conditions and say—‘Oh well, it is the will of God,’ but to apprehend them for Him, and that means conflict, and it is of God that we conflict. Doing the will of God is an active thing in my common sense life.”

“As Abimelech rebuked Abraham when he was in the wrong (see Genesis 20), and Abraham in his turn rebuked Abimelech, so in the same way the children of men from time to time rebuke the children of God, and the children of God rebuke the politics of natural men. Compromise with each other or unity between them is immoral. Arbitration until He comes Whose right it is to reign is the God-ordained program.”

“The very nature of faith is that it must be tried; faith untried is only ideally real, not actually real. Faith is not rational, therefore it cannot be worked out on the basis of logical reason; it can only be worked out on the implicit line of living obedience.”

“God does not further our spiritual life in spite of our circumstances, but in and by our circumstances.”

“To say ‘Here I am’ when God speaks, is only possible if we are in His presence, in the place where we can obey.” 

“God never fits His Word to suit me; He fits me to suit His Word.”

“True faith does not so much take God at His Word as take the Word of God as it is, in the face of all difficulties, and act upon it, with no attempt to explain or expounded.”

“The path to God is never the same as the path of God. When I am going on with God in His path, I do not understand, but God does; therefore I understand God, not His path.”

“Christ died in the stead of me. I, a guilty sinner, can never get right with God, it is impossible. I can only be brought into union with God by identification with the One Who died in my stead. No sinner can get right with God on any other ground than the ground that Christ died in his stead, not instead of him.” 

“The maturity of character before God is the personal channel through which He can bless others. If it takes all our lifetime before God can put us right, then others are going to be impoverished.”

“The genius of the Spirit of God is to make us pilgrims, consequently there is the continual un-at-home-ness in this world (cf. Philippians 3:20).”

“It is impossible for a saint, no matter what his experience, to keep right with God if he will not take the trouble to spend time with God. In order to keep the mind and heart awake to God’s high ideals you have to keep coming back again and again to the primal source.”

“Bitterness and cynicism are born of broken gods; bitterness is an indication that somewhere in my life I have belittled the true God and made a god of human perfection.”

You can read other quotes I’ve shared from Not Knowing Where by clicking here, here, and here.

And my book review of Not Knowing Where is here.

Augustine On Prayer

AugustineSome great quotes from Augustine on prayer…

“O Lord, the house of my soul is narrow; enlarge it that You may enter in. It is ruined, O repair it! It displeases Your sight; I confess it, I know. But who shall cleanse it, or to whom show I cry but unto You? Cleanse me from my secret faults, O Lord, and spare Your servant from strange sins.” —Augustine

“Grant us in all our duties Your help, in all our perplexities Your guidance, in all our dangers Your protection, and in all our sorrows Your peace.” —Augustine

“Grant unto me Your servant: To my God—a heart of flame. To my fellow man—a heart of love. To myself—a heart of steel.” —Augustine

“Hear, Lord, my prayer; let not my soul faint under Your discipline, nor let me faint in confessing unto You all Your mercies, whereby You have drawn me out of all my most evil ways, that You might become a delight to me above all the allurements which I once pursued; that I may most entirely love You, and clasp Your hand with all my affections, and You may yet rescue me from every temptation, even unto the end. O Lord, my King and my God, for Your service be whatever useful thing my childhood learned; for Your service, that I speak, write, read, reckon. For You did grant me Your discipline, while I was learning vanities; and my sin of delighting in those vanities You have forgiven. In them, indeed, I learned many a useful word, but these may as well be learned in things not vain; and that is the safe path for the steps of youth.” —Augustine

“He should be in no doubt that any ability he has and however much he has derives more from his devotion to prayer than his dedication to oratory; and so, by praying for himself and for those he is about to address, he must become a man of prayer before becoming a man of words. As the hour of his address approaches, before he opens his thrusting lips he should lift his thirsting soul to God so that he may utter what he has drunk in and pour out what has filled him.” —Augustine, writing to pastors

“And he [the preacher] should not doubt that [God] is able to do these things, if he is at all able and to the extent that he is able, more through the piety of his prayer than through the skill of his oratory, so that, praying for himself and for those whom he is to address, he is a petitioner before he is a speaker.” —Augustine, writing to pastors

“Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.
Amen.” —Augustine

Links & Quotes

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“We must be much alone with God, if we would have a clear sense of His love! Let your cries cease, and your eyes will grow dim. Much in prayer, much in heaven; slow in prayer, slow in progress.” —Charles Spurgeon

“There is no doctrine [Hell] which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power. But it has the full support of Scripture and, specially, of Our Lord’s own words; it has always been held by Christendom; and it has the support of reason. If a game is played, it must be possible to lose it. If the happiness of a creature lies in self-surrender, no one can make that surrender but himself (though many can help him to make it) and he may refuse. I would pay any price to be able to say truthfully ‘All will be saved.’ But my reason retorts, ‘Without their will, or with it?’ If I say ‘Without their will’ I at once perceive a contradiction; how can the supreme voluntary act of self-surrender be involuntary? If I say ‘With their will,’ my reason replies ‘How if they will not give in?’” —C.S. Lewis

421chartrtaHere are 8 reasons why the Supreme Court should let the states decide their own marriage policy.

The Daily Signal has other good arguments for this marriage issue as well, including the infographic to the left.

“The nation that forgot God has never been allowed to endure.” —George Washington

“It is not our duty to leave wealth to our children, but it is our duty to leave liberty to them.” — John Dickinson, signer of the Declaration of Independence

Dr. Tim Elmore uses former NFL player Chris Borland as a case study for the benefits of long-term thinking. He writes, “When making a decision… (1) Choosing short-term benefits often leads to long-term consequences. (2) Choosing short-term consequences often leads to long-term benefits.”

Porn Is Stealing From Your Marriage

Fight The New DrugHere is a great article from Stephen Miller entitled 3 Ways Porn Steals From Your Marriage. Pornography is a disease that is devastating families!

Miller says, “This isn’t a how-to article on eliminating porn from your life. In marriage mentoring and counseling, I have seen countless men addicted to pornography. The ones who have successfully been delivered from that addiction all had several things in common. They recognized what their addiction was doing to their relationship with God, they recognized what their sin was doing to their relationship with their wife and they recognized the very real capability of sexual sin passing down through the generations to their children. They then after reviewing all the evidence, made a firm decision that they wanted pure relationships more than secret sin.” (emphasis added)

If you are in the Cedar Springs area, please join us on Friday, May 8, for a special presentation from Fight The New Drug on the dangers of pornography, and how you can defeat it from controlling your life. Get all the details by clicking here.

Please read the full article, but Miller lists these three areas porn hurts marriage—

  1. Porn steals honest, open communication
  2. Porn steal genuine, unconditional love
  3. Porn steals the holiness God intended for marriage

You must get rid of porn before it destroys your most precious relationships! Get the help you need today.

Links & Quotes

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Now that the Spring weather is here, get outside for some fresh air … listen to the birds, smell the flowers, look at the beauty around you! “A study of rodents, published in Science in 2013, indicated that the brain’s place cells are much less active when animals make their way through computer-generated landscapes than when they navigate the real world.” —Nicholas Carr

“We have men of science, too few men of God. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.” —Omar Bradley

“No man who enters upon the office to which I have succeeded can fail to recognize how every president of the United States has placed special reliance upon his faith in God. Every president has taken comfort and courage when told…that the Lord ‘will be with thee. He will not fail thee nor forsake thee. Fear not—neither be thou dismayed.’ … Each of our presidents in his own way has placed a special trust in God. Those who were strongest intellectually were also strongest spiritually.” —John F. Kennedy

Frank Turek has a fascinating post on why the Supreme Court of the United States shouldn’t allow homosexual “marriages” because of our 14th Amendment.

Innovation Adoption Lifecycle“If you want a population to adopt your innovation, you have to create a problem that is solved by adoption. And that problem is almost always related to, ’what about the others?’” Check out this insight from Seth Godin on product adoption.

 

[VIDEO] Greg Koukl addresses on Christians can demonstrate Christ-like tolerance and Christ-like tolerance—

[VIDEO] Dr. Bobby Conway and Nel Brace discuss a great tool for helping Christians defend their faith—

8 Quotes On Suffering & Overcoming

Jesus has overcomeEarlier today I posted a recap of the message I delivered Sunday morning at Calvary Assembly of God addressing the question on why we have to go through suffering. Here are a few quotes I found during my study time last week.

“By nature, we evaluate nearly every situation according to its immediate impact on our desires, and we make our choices accordingly. Consequently, we often sacrifice that which would bring infinite eternal benefit in exchange for temporary gratification.” —Stephen K. Scott

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” —Jesus Christ

“Wherever souls are being tried and ripened, in whatever commonplace and homely way, there God is hewing out the pillars for His temple.” —Phillips Brooks

“Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.” —Thomas Moore

“Sorrows remembered sweeten present joy.” —Robert Pollok

“Joys are our wings, sorrows our spurs.” —Jean Paul Richter

“Sorrow is divine. Sorrow is reigning on all the thrones of the universe, and the crown of all crowns has been one of thorns. There have been many books that treat of the sympathy of sorrow, but only one that bids us glory in tribulations, and count it all joy when we fall into divers afflictions, that so we may be associated with that great fellowship of suffering of which the incarnate Son of God is the head, and through which He is carrying a redemptive conflict to the glorious victory over evil. If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.” —Harriet Beecher Stowe

I walked a mile with Pleasure—
She chattered all the way
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne’er a word said she,
But, oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me. —Robert Browning Hamilton

An End To Tears

No more tearsI was asked the age-old question: Why is there suffering and pain? This is usually accompanied by the other often-pondered question: Why do bad things happen to good people?

I’m not sure that I can answer that one, because I’m not a “good” person. I’m a sinner. I’ve messed up more time than I can count, and it is only by God’s mercy that His righteous judgment hasn’t consumed me.

Here’s what I do know:

  • God loves me so much that He sent His Son to rescue me—John 3:16-17
  • I am of immeasurable value to my Heavenly Father—Luke 12:6-7
  • Suffering on earth is temporal; rewards in Heaven are eternal—Romans 8:18
  • God develops something in my through suffering that I could learn in no other way—Romans 5:3-4
  • God can be glorified through my suffering if I will let Him—John 9:1-3; 11:3-6

I also know that Jesus is Perfection. If anyone ever deserved to not have anything bad happen to them, it was Him. And yet He was rejected by His family (Mark 3:21), betrayed by one of His companions (John 13:21), abandoned by all His followers (Mark 14:50), and even felt the sting of God forsaking Him (Mark 15:34).

What makes this even more startling to me is that He knew all of this was coming (Isaiah 53:3; Luke 9:22; Matthew 26:54-56). But He went through all of that pain because His suffering meant He could become the prefect Intercessor and Mediator for our suffering (see Hebrews 5:7-9; 4:14-16).

Jesus us told us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

And the last book in the Bible promises that eventually God’s children will have every tear wiped away! There will be no more death, no more mourning, no more crying, and no more pain! (Revelation 21:4)

In the midst of your pain, hold tightly to the One Who loves you so much and is interceding for you!

If you are near Cedar Springs this coming weekend, and you don’t have a home church, I would love for you to join us as we continue to learn about the greatest words ever spoken.

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