11 Quotes From “Peace In The Face Of Cancer”

This book is a MUST READ for anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, or is a caregiver to someone with cancer. Lynn Eib’s Peace In The Face Of Cancer will give you insight and encouragement for your journey. Check out my book review by clicking here, and then enjoy a few quotes below.

“We always want people to give us the benefit of the doubt or cut us some slack, but we have to admit, it’s not always easy to do the same for others—especially when our world as been rocked by something as life-threatening as cancer. Our emotions are fragile, our bodies are hurting, and our spirits can be wounded easily. … Nevertheless, if we want to find peace in the face of cancer, sometimes we will have to hear people’s hearts and ignore their words (and perhaps their actions, too).”

“There is a much more reliable source of truth and good news no matter what you’re facing. I guarantee it has the kinds of hopeful words you will want to reverberate through your brain. That source is the Word of God. (For example: Psalm 119:28; Proverbs 1:33)

“God designed us to need each other and to be able to offer one another our talents, our gifts, our insights, and our special brand of encouragement. Please don’t let those differences become a wedge in your relationships. One of the primary ways satan discourages families and friends facing cancer is to get us at odds with one another. Don’t let that deceiver win.”

“Be a friend. Be a shoulder. Be a hugger. Be an asset. Please just be there and God will be there.

If you do this you will be the giver of the greatest gift a suffering friend needs—presence without fixing; love without an agenda.”

“The most loving thing you may do for your loved one today is to be good to yourself. … Do something to lift your spirits so afterward you can once again lift someone else’s.”

“Please don’t surrender to cancer. Even if it ultimately takes your life or your loved one’s life, you never have to become submissive to it. Cancer is not in charge. Those errant cells are not calling the shots. This disease is not in control. God is.”

“Quit searching for life’s Ctrl+Z button and stop pretending you could be in charge of it all. Go ahead and give up the control stick and declare with the psalmist, ‘My future is in Your hands’ (Psalm 31:15). Trust the only One who is all-knowing, all-seeing, and all-powerful. He will lead you into all your tomorrows.”

“No matter what havoc cancer wreaks on your body, it does not have the final say. Those who have everlasting life never lose their battle with cancer because if God doesn’t take the cancer out of them on earth, He takes them out of the cancer and home to Heaven.” 

“Don’t fix your eyes on what is seen. Don’t fix them on pathology reports or CT scans or bloodwork or insurance bills or cancer statistics or anything else you can see. No matter what this life brings, fix your eyes on what is unseen.”

“Your purpose in life never changes. It is the same whether you or your loved one has a lot of cancer, a little cancer, or even no cancer. Your purpose in life—and mine—is to know God and love Him more, and to help others know God and love Him more.” 

I will be sharing more content from this phenomenal book soon. Stay tuned…

12 Quotes From “A New Kind Of Apologist”

A New Kind Of Apologist is edited by Sean McDowell and contains a collection of fabulous essays to prepare Christian apologists to be effective in this current generation. You can read my full book review by clicking here. These quotes mainly deal with the attitude that a Christian apologist should adopt.

“Truth must be wedded to grace, and what we say is important…but how we say it is equally critical.” —Sean McDowell 

“To listen to a person will require that we temporarily set aside our objections to what a person is saying and allow him or her to speak openly without fear of being challenged.” —Tim Muelhoff

“Our character and relationships with others have a greater capacity for attracting those around us to the Christian message than do our arguments or rhetoric.” —Ken Wytsma & Rick Gerhart 

“If our beliefs are not expressed in love and by example, we miss the greatest command of all, which is loving God and loving others.” —Dan Kimball

“The Barna Research Group found that twentysomethings who stay in church were twice as likely to have a close personal friendship with an adult inside the church. Those who had an adult mentor at church, aside from the pastor, were almost three times as likely to stay as those who did not.” —Jeff Myers

“Any fully-orbed presentation of the truth about ourselves and God’s plan for us cannot be a disembodied, purely intellectual truth; it must truthfully reflect our nature as created beings.

“Part of being incarnate means that it is good and right for us to have emotions and express them—as our Lord did, for example, by weeping at the tomb of Lazarus and getting angry with the money changers in the temple. The fact that little children wanted to come to Him suggests that He had a welcoming physicality and a warm personality that they instinctively trusted and found attractive. He wasn’t just a walking dictionary of Christian theology.” —Holly Ordway

“At its core, apologetics is the art and science of defending the faith. However, practically understood, the work of the apologist is simply to answer with integrity, clarity, and compassion the questions critics are asking about the gospel (1 Peter 3:15). The context of this passage implies a lifestyle on the part of the apologist that engenders and welcomes questions from their audience. The encouragement of Peter seems to be that we avoid the telemarketer approach of simply enduring questions solely for the sake of closing the deal. Rather, Peter calls us to anticipate and patiently answer the questions of our unbelieving friends, family members, and neighbors in an uncompromising and yet humble manner.” —Christopher Brooks

“We must be Christians first and apologists second, which means our intellectual lives must be primarily shaped by seeking to understand the faith we live within rather than debating, disputing, or even persuading those who do not believe it.” —Matthew Anderson 

“It is our responsibility to share the message of hope through Christ ‘with gentleness and respect’ and ‘with grace,’ as Peter and Paul taught. The gospel message is already offensive to some. We need not make it more offensive by presenting it in a manner that lacks gentleness, respect, and grace.” —Mike Licona

“Truth without grace is abusive and arrogant. Grace without truth is mushy sentimentalism. … As much as possible, always deal with the person in grace and the issue itself in truth.” —Glenn T. Stanton

“Paul doesn’t say that we ought to know how to answer each question [see Colossians 4:5-6]. He specifically teaches us to answer each person. … Paul tells us that we aren’t in the question-answering business. We are in the people-answering business. Today’s apologist must understand that questions don’t need answers; people need answers. … I am convinced that the key to apologetics today is to identify what non-Christians thirst for most and show how the Christian faith alone can slake that thirst.” —Abdu Murray

“The manner in which we communicate the gospel is not a minor add-on to the gospel itself [see 1 Peter 3:15-16]. Very often it is the nature of the communication that determines whether the gospel gets a hearing at all. …

“It remains true that it is not arrogant to make truth claims, it is not arrogant to pursue a knowledge of that truth, and to argue that we’ve found it. It is important that the content of our message is a genuine reflection of the gospel, and that the manner in which we communicate it doesn’t become a stumbling block.” —Tanya Walker

More quotes from A New Kind Of Apologist will be coming soon. You can also follow me on Tumblr and Twitter to read great quotes every single day.

12 Quotes From “The Shadow Of An Agony”

the-shadow-of-an-agonyIn The Shadow Of An Agony, Oswald Chambers explores how we should process the hard events of our lives which seem to totally rock our neat and orderly world. Check out my book review by clicking here, and then enjoy a few quotes from this book.

“If Jesus Christ were only a martyr, His Cross would be of no significance; but if the Cross of Jesus Christ is the expression of the secret heart of God, the lever by which God lifts back the human race to what it was designed to be, then there is a new attitude to things.”

“The agony of a man’s affliction is often necessary to put him into the right mood to face the fundamental things of life. The Psalmist says, ‘Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now I have kept Thy Word.’ The Bible is full of the fact that there has to be an approach to the holy ground. If I am not willing to be lifted up, it is no use talking about the higher heights. … No man can do wrong in his heart and see right afterwards. If I am going to approach the holy ground, I must get into the right frame of mind—the excellency of a broken heart.”

“Jesus Christ did not come to give us pretty ideas of God, or sympathy with ourselves; He came from a holy God to enable men, by the sheer power of His Redemption, to become holy.”

“No man is the same after an agony; he is either better or worse, and the agony of a man’s experience is nearly always the first thing that opens his mind to understand the need of Redemption worked out by Jesus Christ.”

“The attitude of the Bible to the human race is not a common-sense one. The Christian aspect deals with the a specimen of a human race which is a magnificent ruin of what it was designed to be. Supposing the view of the Bible to be right, to whom it is it ‘up to’ to right the wrong? The Creator. Has He done it? He has, and He has done it absolutely single-handed. The tremendous revelation of Christianity is not the Fatherhood of God, but the Babyhood of God—God became the weakest thing in His own creation, and in flesh and blood He levered it back to where it was intended to be. No one helped Him; it was done absolutely by God manifest in human flesh. God has undertaken not only to repair the damage, but in Jesus Christ the human race is put in a better condition than when it was originally designed.”

“We have been taken up with creeds and doctrines, and when a man is hit we do not know what to give him; we have no Jesus Christ, we have only theology. For one man who can introduce another to Jesus Christ by the way he lives and by the atmosphere of his life, there are a thousand who can only talk jargon about Him.”

“The New Testament view of a saint is a more rugged type. You and I are a mixture of dust and Deity, and God takes that sordid human stuff and turns it into a saint by Regeneration. A saint does not mean a man who has not enough sin to be bad, but a man who has received from Jesus Christ a new heredity that turns him into another man.”

“Our guide as to what emotions we are going to allow is this—What will be the logical outcome of this emotion? If it has to do with sin and satan, then grip it on the threshold of your mind and allow it no more way. You have no business to harbor an emotion the outcome of which you can see to be bad; if it is an emotion to be generous, then be generous, or the emotion will react and make you a selfish brute.”

“When I receive the Spirit of God, I am lifted not out of reason, but into touch with the infinite Reason of God.”

“Any fool will give up wrongdoing and the devil, if he knows how to do it; but it takes a man in love with Jesus Christ to give up the best he has for Him.”

“Churchianity is an organization; Christianity is an organism. Organization is an enormous benefit until it is mistaken for the life.” 

“The stupendous difference between the religion of Jesus Christ and every other religion under heaven is that His religion is one which brings help to the bottom of hell, not a religion that can deal only with what is fine and pure.”

Every Thursday I share a section of the current Oswald Chambers book I am reading, in a series called “Thursdays With Oswald.” If you would like to be notified when these posts go live, just enter your email address in the box on the right, and then click “Sign me up!”

6 Quotes About Understanding Sexual Sin

Focus On The FamilyEarlier this week I shared some quotes from a Focus On The Family (FOTF) reading plan I completed on YouVersion regarding the problems with pornography. Here are some additional quotes from a related FOTF reading plan called Understanding Sexual Sin.

“Sexual sin distorts the image of the Trinity mirrored in our marital relationships.”

“If our sex lives are meant to function as reflections of the image of God, it stands to reason that they should be shaped by the qualities of the Trinity. Three primary principles apply here.

1) We may never use another person as an object, sexual or otherwise. The members of the Trinity never relate to each other as objects or things to be used. Instead, they relate to one another in love, each seeking to serve and enhance the goodness and glory of the others.

2) We must keep sexual relations within the bounds of a loving and committed marriage. … This sexual embrace within the bond of marriage mirrors the nature of the relationship between the members of the Trinity as nothing else in creation can. Ideally, the marital bond is designed to be loving, permanent, exclusive, and self-giving.

3) We must respect and honor the God-designed differences between male and female. Male and female are not simply cultural constructs. They are God-created characteristics of humanity. Together, they personify the Trinitarian nature of God in a fundamental way…. The differences between male and female provide the fullest picture of the image of God in creation.”

“Biblically speaking, sexual immorality (Greek porneia) is any sexual activity that takes place outside of marriage. This includes adultery, premarital sex, and extramarital sex. Scripture teaches that both are off-limits for Christians (see 1 Corinthians 6:9; Acts 15:29; Hebrews 13:4).”

“It’s a mistake to confuse normal sexual attraction with lust. Sexual attraction is natural. … True lust involves a choice and an act of the will. To a certain extent it’s a conscious decision to pursue the desirable object instead of simply allowing it to pass by. It’s a willingness to give in to the natural impulse.”

“Pornography represents a departure from God’s design for sex in that it depersonalizes real people, strips them of their dignity, and turns them into sexual objects.”

“It is never wise to give more weight to feelings than to rational conclusions and clear biblical teachings. Feelings don’t make you who you are. Beliefs, values, and conscious commitments do.”

4 Reasons To Study Your Bible

Commitment to readYou probably hear Christians say quite frequently, “You should read your Bible.” But one thing you may not hear as often is why you should read your Bible. There are probably many more reasons, but here are four reasons why I believe reading your Bible should be a daily part of your life.

(1) To help spot errors.

When the devil tempted Jesus, it is noteworthy that Jesus didn’t try to use logic, or persuasion, or even willpower. Every temptation was blocked by Jesus saying, “It is written” as He quoted Scripture.

In the second temptation, the devil tried the same tactic. He, too, quoted a couple of verses from the Psalms, but he took them out of their context. So notice Christ’s reply, “It is also written” (Matthew 4:7). The best way to spot error is to know the full counsel of God’s Word. This tactic the devil tried with Jesus wasn’t something new, but it was something he used on the very first humans: “Did God really say…” (Genesis 3:1), and he will try it again on you!

(2) To clarify your emotions.

Most of us allow our emotions to control our actions. Or sometimes we wrestle with, “My heart says one thing, but my head says something else!” In this tug-of-war, we allow our emotions to determine our beliefs, and then our beliefs determine our actions. This is not only dangerous, but it is contrary to what the Bible teaches.

The healthy way to respond is by fully knowing what we believe, and then acting according to our beliefs. Our proper emotional response will then follow those actions.

Look at the example of Jesus in John 2:13-16. He was ticked off at how people were misusing His Father’s house, and He did some serious house cleaning! Just reading those four verses, you may get the idea that Christ’s emotions carried Him away. But check out verse 17, in which we see He was acting in accordance to His beliefs, which were fully grounded in Scripture.

(3) To know prophesy.

All of the Scriptures point to Jesus, so all of the Scriptures are illuminated by Christ (Luke 24:27, 45). If you want to know what is happening in our world, turn to the pages of Scripture and see how Jesus is revealed. This will help you put even current events into perspective.

(4) To give sound answers.

When people need help, I want to be able to give them real answers. Not my opinion, but truth that they can apply. The Apostle Peter told us to always be prepared to give people an answer that is based on our knowledge of Jesus (1 Peter 3:15).

“Beware of saying, ‘I haven’t time to read the Bible, or to pray’; say rather, ‘I haven’t disciplined myself to do these things.’” —Oswald Chambers

Can I challenge you to do something I challenged my whole church to do … Make a commitment to read the Bible every day for the next seven days. See what happens as God meets with you, and reveals Himself and His wisdom to you, every day.

We’ll be learning some Bible study strategies next Sunday, and I invite you to join us.

The Joy Of Trials

Drawing othersA quick show of hands: How many of you would consider your difficult situations a blessing from God?

Probably not a lot of hands went up, but it’s true.

Peter lists six blessings of God for which we can bless Him (see 1 Peter 1:3-3-9):

  1. God’s great mercy
  2. New birth
  3. Living hope
  4. An inheritance that can never perish
  5. God’s shielding power
  6. Trials

Trials?! Yep!

Peter is quick to tell us that trials only last for a little while, but they are sent our way to prove that our faith is genuine. He says that trials result in praise, glory and honor from God to us, and that successfully going through our trials lead to “an inexpressible and glorious joy.”

In trials you probably don’t feel like praising God, but our God-breathed soul is made up of more than just emotions. We also have been given a mind and a will. So here’s what I would suggest—in your trials, use your mind to reflect on the blessings of God. Then use your will to open your mouth. When you you do this, you will experience the emotion of an inexpressible and glorious joy.

In other words: you are more likely to act yourself into feeling than you are you feel yourself into action!

Look at how David did this in Psalm 34. In a huge trial…

  • …he used his mind and will: I will extol the Lord at all times.
  • …then his emotions kicked in: My soul will boast in the Lord.
  • …his worship helped others: let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
  • …and this pointed everyone to God: Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together.

Seeing your trials as a way to bless God not only benefits you, but it draws others to God’s sustaining power as well.

If you live near Cedar Springs and don’t have a home church, it would be great to have you join us this Sunday as we continue in our Aliens and Strangers series. If you can’t make it in person, you can tune-in via Periscope (search for @craigtowens).

10 Quotes On Emotional Health From “Brain Savvy-Leaders”

Brain-Savvy LeadersOur emotions start in our brain. Charles Stone wrote a very helpful book called Brain-Savvy Leaders, in which he covers a lot of ground inside our heads. One aspect is our emotional health. I encourage you to read my review of this book by clicking here. Below are some quotes Charles shared on our emotional health.

“Gratefulness is actually good for brain and body health.” 

“When the emotionality of leaders takes over, they compromise their ability to lead well in these ways:

  • impulse can overwhelm intention
  • imagination gets pushed aside by instinct
  • defensiveness stifles healthy positions
  • automatic behavior shuts down reflective thought
  • emotionality gets in the way of intentionality.”

“Fear, conscious and unconscious, is prompted by the amygdala. The brain naturally focuses on problems and the negative. It overestimates threats and underestimates opportunities. In fact, two-thirds of the brain cells in our amygdala are primed for negativity and fear. Negative networks in our brain outweigh positive ones by five to one. And negative emotions are more easily consolidated (made more permanent) into our long-term memory than positive emotions.”

“Fear can even be subconscious, especially if we’re surrounded by bad news, critical people, or if our self-talk is constantly negative.”

“Neuroscientists have found that stuffing, denying, or a ignoring our emotions reinforces them, affects short-term memory, increases blood pressure, and robs our brain’s prefrontal cortex of the mental energy it needs.”

“Although it may seem counterintuitive, tagging your emotions, through labeling and naming them by putting feelings into words, actually recruits our impulse break and dampens activity in our panic alarm.”

“Anger is the wind that blows out the lamp of the mind.” —Chinese Proverb

“Since our brains process and remember bad events more thoroughly than good ones…it’s vital that we develop the discipline of being aware of our thoughts. … Thinking about our thinking is called ‘metacognition.’”

“Emotions play a significant role in decision-making and influence how well your team will embrace change. Just presenting facts without engaging positive and hopeful emotions will seldom move your team forward. The brain can only handle so much change at once. Trying to create too much change too quickly can engage the brain’s fear center and cause an away response, thus hindering change.”

“In one research study in Israel, Dr. Tal Shafir looked at the impact of movement on the brain of twenty-two young male and female participants. They looked at video clips of actors performing various emotions that corresponded to sad, fearful, happy, or neutral. Happy movements included raising their arms in the air, skipping, and jumping. Sad movements included closing their chests and slumping forward. The participants then either mimicked the movements or imagined themselves doing them. The emotions they reported mirrored the corresponding movements. So, if you need a mood boost, keep a good posture or throw your arms up and out into the air.”

Previously I shared some other quotes from this book on how we learn, and on how to keep our brain healthy. Please check these out too.

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