Poetry Saturday—Judge Not

Judge not; the workings of his brain
And of his heart thou canst not see;
What looks to thy dim eyes a stain,
In God’s pure light may only be
A scar, brought from some well-won field,
Where thou wouldst only faint and yield.

The look, the air, that frets thy sight,
May be a token that below
The soul has closed in deadly fight
With some infernal fiery foe,
Whose glance would scorch thy smiling grace,
And cast thee shuddering on thy face!

The fall thou darest to despise—
May be the angel’s slackened hand
Has suffered it, that he may rise
And take a firmer, surer stand;
Or, trusting less to earthly things,
May henceforth learn to use his wings.

And judge none lost; but wait and see,
With hopeful pity, not disdain;
The depth of the abyss may be
The measure of the height of pain
And love and glory that may raise
This soul to God in after days! —Adelaide Proctor

Stand Your Ground!

“If you are going to live the life that God created you to live, if you are going to live to your full potential, if you are going to live the kind of life that never settles, you have to come to a place where you decide to stop running and instead choose to take a stand. 

“You have to eventually stop trying to be what everyone else wants you to be, and you have to stop choosing to become only what comes easy to you. You have to decide what will define you. What will mark you as a person? How will you be known by others? Your decisions are the direct result of truly knowing yourself. … 

“When we run in fear, we are only postponing the inevitable. We will eventually have to face those fears. We will eventually have to fight those battles. Running only makes us weaker and makes our opposition stronger. …  

“There comes a time and a place you have to decide, This is worth fighting for. This is where I stand. This is who I am. This is the life I have chosen. I will not run. I will not allow fear to move me from where I should be to where it wants me to live. I would rather die facing the challenge than exist running from it.” —Erwin McManus, in The Last Arrow (emphasis added) 

Check out my review of The Last Arrow here, and check out some quotes from this book here, here, and here.

Thursdays With Oswald—Seeing The Light In The Darkness

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.

Thursdays With Oswald—Seeing The Light In The Darkness

   Oh, the unspeakable benediction of the ‘treasures of darkness’! But for the night in the natural world we should know nothing of moon or stars, or of all the incommunicable thoughtfulness of the midnight. So spiritually it is not the days of sunshine and splendor and liberty and light that leave their lasting and indelible effect upon the soul but those nights of the Spirit in which, shadowed by God’s hand, hidden in the dark cleft of some rock in a weary land, He lets the splendors of the outskirts of Himself pass before our eyes. It is such moments as these that insulate the soul from all worldliness and keep it in an ‘other-worldliness’ while carrying on work for the Lord and communion with Him in this present evil world. ‘Even the darkness hideth not from Thee, but the night shineth as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee’ [Psalm 139:12].

From The Place Of Help

I know from my life, there has been a ‘light’ God has revealed to me in some really, really dark places, that I wouldn’t have seen in any other way.

If your life is in a dark place right now, hang on to this: God sees you, God loves you, and God wants to show you something. Someday you will look back on this and be grateful for what God has revealed in the darkness.

Poetry Saturday—A Psalm Of Life

LongfellowTell me not, in mournful numbers,
   Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
   And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
   And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
   Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
   Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
   Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
   And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
   Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
   In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
   Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
   Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
   Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
   We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
   Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
   Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
   Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
   With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
   Learn to labor and to wait. —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Fight (book review)

FightThere’s something about the way Craig Groeschel writes that energizes me to take action. And since Fight is especially addressed to guys, this book has me really fired up!

Near the beginning of Fight, Craig explains the goal of the book this way—

“If you read this book, you will uncover who you really are—a man created with a warrior’s heart in the image of God—and how to fight the good fight for what’s right. You will find the strength to fight the battles you know you need to fight—the ones that determine the state of your heart, the quality of your marriage, and the spiritual health of your family.”

And, ladies, Craig has something to say to you too: “Ladies, if you are still reading, don’t miss this. The man you want isn’t the guy who wins tough-guy fights but the man who knows his weaknesses and fights in God’s strength. He won’t be perfect. But God will be perfecting him.”

Using the life story of Samson (from chapters 13-16 of the book of Judges in the Bible) as the backdrop, Craig sprinkles in some of his own life’s stories with some powerful, take-action-now truths. It’s a fun and enjoyable book to read, but it is also a bare-knuckled wake-up call for Christian men to be real men. Or as Craig says it, “Don’t try just to ‘be a better man.’ Be God’s man.”

Not only did I need to hear these concepts and be reminded again of the type of man God has created me to be, but I can’t wait to walk through these principles with some other godly warriors as well.

Guys, you need to read this book! Ladies, please encourage the men in your lives to read it. And then both of you can stand back and watch the godly transformation take place as a God-honoring warrior emerges and begins to fight for what’s right.

I am a Zondervan book reviewer.

10 Quotes From The “Necessity Of An Enemy”

I was intrigued by the title of the book: The Necessity Of An Enemy. But I was even more intrigued by what I read in Ron Carpenter’s thought-provoking book. You can read my full review by clicking here.

Here are 10 quotes that caught my eye from this book:

“You will never be an exceptional person if you only fight ordinary battles.”

“Because you have a God-given purpose, this means the devil’s painted a bull’s-eye on your back. …It’s good to have enemies and the trouble they bring—it means you’re in the game.”

“When Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians that ‘we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory’ (Ephesians 1:12), he didn’t tell them to just give God praise. He urged them to be a praise. … In New Testament terminology, glory actually means ‘likeness’ or ‘to resemble.’ In other words, for you to bring glory to God means that God is hard at work making you become something that resembles Him, something that more clearly bears His image. It comes as no surprise that this reality makes someone very upset: The devil isn’t concerned with fighting something that you’re doing; he fights who you’re becoming.”

“God’s definition of winning is fulfilled when you fight the battle and, after it’s over, you are even more established in the identity He designed for you.”

“God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). … So the fact that He started the area of your life where you’re now facing a challenge from an enemy is the very evidence that He’ll bring you through the battle to complete the thing.”

“A good teacher does not use a test to teach you something…a test measures what you already know.”

“Negative people, allowed to speak into your life, will become agents of destruction of your purpose. An enemy will always try to weaken your passion for your dream.”

“Sometimes it’s easier to super-spiritualize something and blame the devil than to understand a need or personal flaw and take ownership for it.”

“An enemy is someone who increases, strengthens, encourages, or enables an area of weakness in you that God wants to remove from your life.”

“In your progress toward God’s purpose for you, anything you hang onto that God wants you to drop is an enemy.”

The Necessity Of An Enemy (book review)

Have you ever wished that all of your enemies were totally defeated? Have you ever prayed to ask God to defeat all of your enemies? I’ll be honest with you: I have. But according to Ron Carpenter, Jr. that may not be the best prayer for you. In fact, his book might say the exact opposite; it’s called The Necessity Of An Enemy.

Ron uses his personal story of being attacked and personally vilified to show us—as the subtitle states—how the battle you face is your best opportunity. Near the beginning of the book, Ron states:

“I have some important news for you: to fulfill your purpose and stay true to your calling, you’ll need to understand the reason for enemies. If you do that, then when they rise up against you, you will quickly recognize what’s happening.” 

Many of the enemies we face are to prepare us for the greater purpose for which God created us. We cannot simply run away from every battle or ask God to subdue every enemy we face, because those battles and enemies may be preparing us for something greater. Think about David: before he fought Goliath, he had to learn his stone-slinging skills by fighting off a lion and a bear. What if he had asked God to simply scare away the lion, or strike the bear dead? What would David had learned from that?

This book is divided into several sections, and each section has several very short chapters. This format, combined with the study guide at the back of the book, makes it ideal for applying the principles slowly in your life, or for having a great small group discussion with others.

God wants you to be victorious, but He doesn’t want you to take shortcuts to get there. He allows enemies to help build your spiritual skills, and The Necessity Of An Enemy can be a great part of your battle strategy as well.

I am a Waterbrook book reviewer.

5 Quotes On Battle From “The Book Of Man”

I really enjoyed reading The Book Of Man by William J. Bennett (you can read my book review here). The topics were very broad, so I’ll be sharing some of my favorite quotes on the different sections in this book over the next few days.

Here are five quotes about battle…

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” —John Stuart Mill 

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” —Calvin Coolidge

Whom neither shape of danger can dismay, 

Nor thought of tender happiness betray; 

Who, not content that former worth stand fast, 

Looks forward, persevering to the last, 

From well to better, daily self-surpast: 

Who, whether praise of him must walk the earth 

For ever, and to noble deeds give birth, 

Or he must fall, to sleep without his fame, 

And leave a dead unprofitable name— 

Finds comfort in himself and in his cause; 

And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws 

His breath in confidence of Heaven’s applause: 

This is the happy Warrior; this is He 

That every Man in arms should wish to be. —William Wordsworth

“Thus choosing to die resisting, rather than to live submitting, they fled only from dishonor, but met danger face to face, and after one brief moment, while at the summit of their fortune, escaped, not from their fear, but from their glory.” —Pericles

“So that in the nature of man, we find three principal causes of quarrel. First, competition; secondly, diffidence; thirdly, glory. The first maketh men invade for gain; the second, for safety; and the third, for reputation. The first use violence, to make themselves masters of other men’s persons, wives, children, and cattle; the second, to defend them; the third, for trifles, as a word, a smile, a different opinion, and any other sign of undervalue, either direct in their persons or by reflection in their kindred, their friends, their nation, their profession, or their name.” —Thomas Hobbes

Pain May Be A Good Thing

Yesterday I posted the following on Facebook, which generated quite a few positive responses—

“God may not recall the soldier from the battle, but if He gives him a greater stomach for the fight, and increased strength for its toils, it may be better still for him” (Spurgeon). Think about it: If God has left you in the battle, He will give you the strength to be victorious. Either way, you come out stronger AND God is glorified!

Since several commented on Facebook or emailed or texted me with words like, “That’s just what I needed to hear right now,” I thought I would add a couple additional thoughts for you.

“Let’s be honest, 90% of our prayers revolve around personal comfort, not God’s glory. Too often we try to pray away every problem. But what if that is the very thing that God wants to leverage for His glory? Let’s not be too quick to pray away the pain, the suffering, the situation, the problem. Let’s not just pray ‘get me out’ prayers. We sometimes need to pray ‘get me through’ prayers.

“We need a paradigm-shift in our prayer lives. It’s not about us. It’s all about God. And when you begin to pray for God’s glory above and beyond everything else it’s a game changer! You no longer pray away every problem. You pray through the problem. You know that God might do a miracle, but that isn’t the goal. The goal is God’s glory. And if suffering with grace yields more glory to God then so be it.” —Mark Batterson, in The Circle Maker

And finally, this prayer thought—

“Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle; but you shall be a miracle.” —Phillips Brooks

If you need someone to stand with you as you “pray through” your battle, let me know. I would be honored to join my prayers with yours.


The Ephraimites, armed to the teeth, ran off when the battle began. …They forgot what God had done—marvels He’d done right before their eyes. (Psalm 78:9, 11)

Forgetfulness breeds fear.

Even though the Israelites / Ephraimites had seen what God had done for them, they forgot. And when they forgot, they ran away.

How do I keep re-remembering?

  • I keep “souvenirs” around me. Things that remind me of times God did miracles right before my eyes.
  • I keep telling and re-telling those God-moment stories. I tell them to myself and I tell them to my kids.

If you feel fearful, it may be because you have forgotten what God has done for you. If you want to win the battle you’re facing, keep re-remembering what God has done.

What are you going to do to keep re-remembering?

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