Do to others what you would like them to do to you. (Matthew 7:12)
Think on this: Do I apply the Golden Rule negatively (just trying to avoid offending)? Or do I apply it positively (creatively trying to find ways to help others)?
How do “Bible” and “artisan” belong in the same title? They’re more connected than you may have previously thought, and The Artisan Collection Bible is the perfect place to explore this connection.
If you were to ask someone what occupation Jesus had while He was on earth, it would be a safe bet that most people would say He was a carpenter. Indeed, the Greek word tekton is translated as “carpenter” for both Joseph and Jesus (see Matthew 13:54-56 and Mark 6:2-3). However, the consensus among Greek scholars today is that the word tekton is more likely to mean an artisan than just merely a wood-working carpenter.
That makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, you would expect boundless creativity from the Creator. The One who fashioned our beautiful universe would certainly still be interested in expressing Himself in creative and beautiful ways.
For myself, reading the Bible sparks in me a desire to be creative with words, and images, and colors, and designs. This is exactly what The Artisan Collection Bible gives you the space to do. And I literally mean “space.”
One of the most attractive features to me about this Bible is the extra-wide margins along every single page. As you read God’s Word and the beauty of the Creator is illuminated in your heart and mind, you have readily available space to express your own creativity as worship to the Creator. Try crafting a poem, or turning the passage into a personal prayer, or drawing a picture that captures the vibrancy of God’s love letter written to you. The design of this Bible helps you to do more than just read the Word of God, it invites you to interact with the God of the Word.
The Artisan Collection Bible would make an excellent gift for your creative friend or loved one.
I am a Zondervan book reviewer and a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid. As a book reviewer I received a free copy of this book from the book publisher. I am not compensated for my review. Although I may have received the book free of charge, I am under no obligation to write a favorable review. I am free to express my honest opinion about the book’s content. If I say it’s a good book, it’s because I think it’s a good book!
According to Paul, there are only two ways people can live: in the flesh or in the Spirit. That is—(1) operating separate from God, or (2) with a soul/body that is operating with God’s full involvement.
The trouble is: we’re always—as long as we’re alive—still in the flesh because we need these bodies to carry around our soul and spirit. But changes begin to occur first at salvation (when the connection of our spirit to God’s Spirit is reestablished), and even more so after being baptized in the Holy Spirit (when we are not trying to work out things on our own).
As a result, we have the same brain, but a mind that is being renewed; the same eyes, but insight that is being expanded; the same ears, but learning new ways to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying.
Remember that Jesus promised that the baptism in the Holy Spirit would empower us TO BE His witnesses (Acts 1:8). Not just to do things differently, but to have our spirit so enlivened by the Holy Spirit that we are living, breathing, walking, talking witnesses of a life transformed.
Have you noticed that there wasn’t a steep “learning curve” for the disciples of Jesus following Pentecost? Part of that is due to four key habits that the Holy Spirit helped form in their lives.
“Your life as a Christian should make unbelievers question their disbelief in God.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Amen! Your life as a Christian that is living out daily habits that have been empowered by the Spirit should make everyone around you want to go deeper and deeper into all that the Holy Spirit has in store for them too.
If you missed any of the messages in this series, you can access the full list of messages by clicking here.
Erwin McManus’ book The Way Of The Warrior will unleash something in you to want to become the warrior for peace that God intended you to be! Check out my full book review by clicking here.
“There is no territory more critical or difficult for you to take than that of your inner world. … Every battle that you will ever face in the outside world must first be one in your inner world.”
“When your mind is shaped by hope, you do not see simply two paths; you see an endless number of paths filled with opportunity, possibility, and beauty. However, if your mind-set is shaped by cynicism or fear or doubt, then the only paths you see in front of you are the ones that are filled with pain and disappointment, with failure and hardship.”
“The warrior knows that honor is not found in the victory. Honor is found in the nobility of the battle. If the battle is not worthy of the warrior’s life, there is no honor in its victory. In the same way, the warrior knows there is no dishonor in defeat. Failure and defeat are not the same. To fear defeat is to surrender victory. There is only a good fight and a good death for the one whose life is given to the noble. The warrior never claims victory for themselves but only for others. In the same way, the warrior never gives blame for defeat but owns it for themselves. The warrior owns defeat, and therefore defeat never owns the warrior. The warrior who lives and dies with honor enters each eternity undefeated.”
“Here is the hard reality: even if it’s not your fault, it’s still your responsibility. Though the wounding wasn’t your fault, the healing is your responsibility. Though your past may not be your fault, your future is your responsibility. Though their choices were not your fault, your choices are your responsibility. Don’t let those who are at fault keep their hold on your life by relinquishing your power to change and to be free of them.”
“Energizing and exhausting are not diametrically opposed. The things that give you energy also cost you energy, but that cost has a return. The things that energize you the most might actually cost you the most energy. They might be the hardest things that you do. They might be the most difficult challenges in your life. But when they are energizing, you do not find yourself in a deficit of energy, because whatever it costs you, the return is greater.”
“The warrior finds their strength because they fight only battles that matter.”
“Worry consumes your energy without productivity. … Worry is a waste of energy. Emotions such as anxiety and stress are the result of unharnessed energy misdirected by our fears and doubts. … When you doubt, you hesitate. When the warrior hesitates, he faces certain defeat. … When you doubt, your energy wars against itself. It becomes unharnessed and unfocused and loses its power. There is a strength that comes when you have confidence that even if you fail, you’ve given yourself to the right battle. We spend too much of our lives trying to make sure we are right about the what, the where, the when, and the how, and too little time making sure we are right about the why.”
“We transmit to one another what occupies our souls. Your soul is the conduit of your energy. If your soul is empty, you will consume energy from the world around you. … When you are full of life, you become a conduit of life. You will become a source of what is good and beautiful and true. People will naturally draw inspiration from your life. They will see you as a source of hope.”
“This is the paradox that the warrior has come to know. They know they are not the source of their own strength. The fire that burns within the warrior is an eternal fire. The warrior knows their strength because they know their weakness. It was Jesus who said, ‘Apart from the Father I can do nothing.’ The warrior understands there is no weakness in this. The warrior has found their strengths and their weaknesses. Jesus spoke to Paul about this: ‘My power is made perfect in weakness.’ The way of the warrior is to know that God is our strength. The warrior boasts all the more gladly about their weaknesses so Christ’s power may rest on them. The warrior knows they were created by God who is Spirit. Though we appear as flesh and blood, every cell in our bodies is energy. All our energy comes from God. What we do with our energy is up to us.”
Check out some of the other quotes from The Way Of The Warrior that I shared here.
Hal Donaldson makes the case that a revolution of kindness can be started by what you do in the next 24 hours. It’s a great book! Check out my review of Your Next 24 Hours by clicking here, and then enjoy some of these quotes that I found enlightening.
“Think of your heart as a bank vault that’s packed with the currency of love and kindness. When that currency is hoarded—it is wasted. But when it is invested in the lives of others, it pays great dividends. With each disbursement, you give others strength, hope, and value.”
“You have a unique capacity to bring hope and beauty to the world. Don’t waste your precious energy using the wrong ruler. Granted, not everyone will acknowledge your unique gifts. But don’t allow how others see you to dictate how you see yourself. The words they use to describe you don’t define you. You can’t control how they respond to you, but you can influence what they have to respond to.”
“If all you possess are two hands, collect trash along the way. If all you own is a smile, use it to befriend someone who is lonely. If all you have is an umbrella, share it with someone who is quivering in the rain. If all you have is a kind word, encourage those who think the world is against them. To the lonely, rain-soaked, and downtrodden, your resourcefulness is their miracle.”
“If enough families are built on a foundation of kindness, communities will see crime rates fall, domestic disputes decline, suicides drop, teen pregnancies wane, and cases of child abuse fade.”
“Whenever you see injustice, it’s safer to ignore it and do nothing. When you raise your voice in defense of others, you put yourself at risk. Retreating will protect you temporarily, but that approach only perpetuates more injustice and suffering. Don’t allow the threat of retaliation to make you a spectator.”
“From a heart of kindness, will you stand and say, ‘There are no second class citizens—nor should anyone be made to feel like one. Every life is precious to God and must be treasured, because “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”?’ Remember, your voice is a vote for justice; your silence may be interpreted as a vote for injustice.”
“To offer the right prescription of hope and encouragement, you need to be emotionally and spiritually prepared.”
“No life experience should be wasted, because crises teach patience, empathy, and perseverance.”
“Make it your goal to do more for your friends and family members than they do for you. When they are facing hardship, make an effort to be by their side. They may not know how to ask for help, so don’t be afraid to be proactive.”
“Occasional kindness has limited power. But relentless kindness has the power to restore, inspire, rescue, and unite.”
“Your acts of kindness are an outward expression of the love and happiness that are in your heart.”
I’ll be sharing more quotes from this wonderful book soon. To be notified right away when these quotes are posted, enter your email address to subscribe. Also be sure to follow me on Twitter and Tumblr, where I share quotes from Hal Donaldson and other thought-provoking people every day.
I read a fascinating article in Influence, written by Mark Batterson, called “Right-Brain Leadership.” If you are involved in any type of speaking or teaching role, you should check out what he has to say about the power of creativity.
Here are some quotes I especially liked…
“Creativity is the natural, supernatural by-product of a Spirit-filled life.”
“Loving God with half your mind doesn’t cut it. Half-minded is no better than half-hearted. God wants to sanctify your right brain imagination so you can see visions and dream dreams.”
“Neuroimaging has shown that as we age the center of cognitive gravity tends to shift from the imaginative right brain to the logical left brain. That neurological tendency presents grave spiritual problems for leaders: At some point, most of us stop living out of imagination and start living out of memory. Instead of creating the future, we start repeating the past. Instead of living by faith, we start living by logic. Instead of going after our dreams, we do it the way it’s always been done.”
“Uniqueness if God’s gift to you. Creativity is your your gift back to God.”
“What to say is content. How to say it is creativity. Part of my calling as a writer and as a preacher is to say old things in new ways. I think that’s precisely what Jesus did with the parables. Most of them are no more than 250 words, but hear them once and you’ll remember them for ever. Jesus was the master of metaphors.”
“The brain processes print on a page at 100 bits per second, but it processes pictures at a billion bits per seconds. That means that a picture isn’t worth a thousand words; it’s worth 10 million.”
In Proverbs 9, Wisdom and Folly are both personified as women. And both of them call out the same thing to their would-be followers: “Let all who are simple come in here!” (vv. 4, 16). They both claim to have ‘the goods’ for those searching for truth, but here are five things that separate them.
How ironic that some people respond to Folly’s call, “Let all who are simple come in here,” and yet they act like they know it all already, not wanting to learn anything new.
Bottom line: If you are willing to learn, Wisdom has much to teach you. But if you know it all already, best to just hang out with Folly.
I have shared several strategies about prayer throughout January (you can read them here, here, here, and here). One danger in putting these steps into practice in our life in what I call one-and-done. We do it once and think we’ve done all we need to do.
Scientists tell us at a minimum it takes 21 days in a row to make a habit. Jesus went even farther than that in talking about prayer in Matthew 7:7. When we look at the three aspects of the verbs ask, seek, and knock in this verse, it would be better stated like this—
You need to keep on asking, and keep on seeking, and keep on knocking. This is not good advice or a helpful suggestion, but it is vital for your spiritual life. So after you have asked, sought, and knocked, then do it again, and again, and again.
Matthew Henry said it this way: “Here is a precept in three words to the same purport, Ask, Seek, Knock; that is, in one word, ‘Pray; pray often; pray with sincerity and seriousness; pray, and pray again; make conscience of prayer, and be constant in it; make a business of prayer, and be earnest in it.’”
In the English language the dictionary has a word for this: importunity = being urgent and persistent, sometimes annoyingly so!
I believe importunity requires these four characteristics:
Keep these in mind as you make importunity a key part of your prayer life. And check out the full video of my message on importunity in prayer here—
“Culture becomes corrupt when it is employed according to the whims and passions of men rather than the purposes and standards of God. … When culture falls into this sorry state, it is the duty of those who perceive this condition to do whatever they can to redress it. Christians are the salt, light, and leaven of the world; it is our duty to take every thought, and all of culture, captive for obedience to Jesus Christ, to redeem culture from the destructive powers of sin and rebellion, so that it can be renewed for the purposes of God and His glory.” —T.M. Moore
“Surely the fertile brain of invention must be the Creator’s gift. … The puffing of steam from a kettle, or the falling of an apple from a tree have led thoughtful minds to discover great and important truths, and who shall attribute these circumstances to any but to ‘Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will,’ and Who gives wisdom to the wisest of the sons of men? Let us adore the mighty God, not only as we read our Bibles, but as we traverse the halls of art and science, and visit the exhibitions which in these days of ours are being reared on every side. Let us make man’s skill speak to us of God’s glory.” —Charles Spurgeon
Good teaching from John Maxwell on being a virtuous person—
I thoroughly enjoy photography. Looking at the way a photographer creatively captures his image has always fascinated me, and I’ll never forget the thrill of the first time I developed my own roll of film from my 35mm SLR camera. I’m still learning this art, and Bryan Peterson’s book Learning To See Creatively is a wonderful textbook to help me grow.
Although, it’s really more than just a textbook. The way Bryan walks the reader through the process of seeing the shot, setting up the shot, and processing the shot feels like I was taking a class with him, allowing me to look through his viewfinder with him. This book is chockfull of pictures that are detailed in their account of which lens he used, at what settings, and what point of attraction caught his attention.
God has given us an amazing camera in the eyes He created for us. Learning To See Creatively allows us to capture the way we are seeing the world to share with those around us. What a gift this is! Anyone interested in upping their photographic game will enjoy this book.
I am a Random House book reviewer.