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“Who among you today is doing the most for your Master’s kingdom? I will tell you. Lend me a spiritual thermometer by which I may try the heat of your heart, and I will tell you the amount of your success.” —Charles Spurgeon

Max Lucado shares A Prayer For America.

A couple of free ebooks for you―

“Someday there will be a community where everyone behaves and no one complains. But it won’t be this side of heaven. So what do we do? We reason. We confront. We teach. But most of all, we love.” —Max Lucado

“It turns out that the most productive thing we can do is to stop working on someone else’s task list and figure out a more useful contribution instead. This is what separates great organizations from good ones, and extraordinary careers from frustrated ones. The challenge is that the final step requires a short-term hit to your productivity. But, if you fail to invest the time and effort to find a better path, it’s unlikely you’ll find one.” Read more of Seth Godin’s post The Productivity Pyramid.

[PHOTOS] Some really cool pictures from the scientific world.

And for some pseudo-science: Was 2014 “the hottest year on record”? Better read this for the facts.

You Are God’s Favorite Place On Earth

Favorite placeUndoubtedly you have a favorite place. It might be a special friend’s house, or a summer cabin. Perhaps it’s your favorite wooded path around a lake, or even a comfy chair in your home where you find rest.

In our favorite places we might hear from God or reconnect with friends. Maybe in our favorite place we de-stress and get re-energized for life’s challenges. Wherever the place is, and whatever happens there, one thing is certain: We cannot stay there forever. At some point we’ll have to leave that favorite place.

But we can take that favorite place with us. That energizing, affirming, consoling, encouraging feeling we gained in our favorite place can go with us in our hearts and minds.

The people of Bethany and the disciples had a favorite Person in Jesus Himself. Jesus, too, had a favorite place—the village of Bethany—and favorite people—a special family in Bethany and His disciples—but He said, “It is for your good that I go away, so that I can send the promised Holy Spirit to you” (see John 16:7). Just before He ascended to Heaven, Jesus took His followers with Him to Bethany and instructed them to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:4-8). This time of waiting was the only time that Jesus instructed His followers to wait, after this we were to GO!

Indeed, this empowerment of the Holy Spirit was for us to go into all the world with the message of Jesus; it was not for us to hunker down in our favorite place. So the empowerment of the Holy Spirit helps us take our favorite place and Person with us. When we GO, we GO with a message of hope for the world.

We become God’s favorite place on earth, as we GO with an invitation for others to know this favorite relationship as well!

Being baptized in the Holy Spirit means that you’ve given Him unlimited access to your thoughts, your talents, your personality, your opportunities—your all—so that He can show the love of Jesus to others through you.

If you haven’t experienced this empowerment of the Holy Spirit, remember that it is a promised gift God wants to pour out on you (see Luke 11:11-13; 24:49; and Acts 1:4). All that is needed is for your willing heart to wait on Him to pour out this gift on you. What are you waiting for?!

11 Quotes From “God’s Favorite Place On Earth”

God's Favorite Place On EarthI loved this book! Please read my full book review of God’s Favorite Place On Earth by Frank Viola by clicking here, but my one-word review is: Wow!

Here are a few quotes that especially caught my attention—

“Jesus talked a lot about losing, taking up our cross, denying ourselves, and laying down our lives. These are the fruits of brokenness before God. It’s not hard to spot a Christian in ministry who isn’t broken. Unbroken people don’t know how to lay their lives down and lose. They only know how to try to win. If they’re criticized they retaliate. If they’re attacked, they return fire. If misunderstood, they defend in anger. They are capable of doing all sorts of damage to others in order to save their own ministries and keep their reputations. 

“On the contrary, people who have been broken by the hand of God know how to turn the other cheek. They know how to go the second mile. They know how to give their coats when asked for their shirts. They know how to speak well of those who misrepresent them. They know how to return good for evil. They know how to lose. And in so doing, they exhibit the Spirit of the Lamb and allow God to win.” 

“All service must flow out of a razor-sharp desire to please God rather than a desire to get noticed by others. If it does not, it will lead to either complaint or criticism.”

“As high as God is going to elevate you is as deep as He digs to lay the foundation. Sometimes the brightest light comes from the darkest places. And what doesn’t destroy you ends up defining you in some significant way.”

“Suffering is worldwide and neck deep. But for the Christian, suffering has a special purpose. It’s the chiseling of God designed to transform you into the image of His Son.”

“A Spirit-led man or woman is someone who has faced tragedy, faced loss, looked unbearable and exquisite pain in the face … and has stood his or her ground. With their garments still smoking, these men and women have said before God, mortals, and angels: ‘It is well with my soul. God’s enemy has thrown his best at me, and I’m still here. I’m still on the Rock. I’ve not sunk. I’m still standing. I’ve not been destroyed, and I’ve not gone under. I will continue to follow my Lord, come hell or high water, He is still on the throne!’”

“Christ saves as the Son of God, but He feels as the Son of man.”

“Faith often takes a nosedive when we are on the brink of tragedy. At such times, we forget the Lord’s words. Sometimes confessions and creeds, as important as they are, are not enough to move God to act. Only falling at His feel and weeping will suffice.

“Every crisis in our lives is an opportunity to broaden, deepen, and heighten our revelation of Christ.”

“Basing your faith on God’s performance—what you think He should do according to what you’ve been taught about His promises—is a profound mistake. … Thus the only solid basis for unwavering faith and an unshakable devotion is to believe that God is … and that He does ‘all things well,’ no matter what takes place.”

“Christians aren’t saved from troubles or delivered from problems. We have been given an ascendant life to rise above them.”

“Sharing what one has with others is what keeps our hearts detached from earthly treasures.”

God’s Favorite Place On Earth (book review)

God's Favorite Place On EarthGod’s Favorite Place On Earth by Frank Viola is one of those rare books that I could hardly put down! This is easily one of the most interesting looks at the earthly life of Jesus Christ that I have read in quite awhile.

This book focuses on the visits that Jesus made to the village of Bethany, and the family that lived there with whom Jesus spent considerable time. In fact, some of the most loved stories from Christ’s public ministry took place in Bethany; specifically, the raising of Lazarus from the dead, and the pre-crucifixion anointing of Jesus by Mary.

God’s Favorite Place On Earth doesn’t fit neatly into one literary genre. Each visit Jesus made to Bethany is told in first-person narrative form through the eyes of Lazarus. Although none of his words are recorded in Scripture, the way he “speaks” in this book makes the scriptural text come alive in a very tangible way.

After Lazarus tells his story, Frank Viola then steps in to help us apply that visit of Jesus to our lives. He makes the connection between the historical village of Bethany, and our hearts becoming a modern-day, present-tense Bethany for Jesus to visit and to minister.

So the book was simultaneously enlightening, inspiring, and immediately applicable. To help further the conversation, there are some great discussion questions included at the back of the book.

For a unique look at the ministry of Christ both in historical Israel and in your life in present-day, I believe you too will thoroughly enjoy this book!

Note: I happily reviewed this book at the request of the author.

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