Links & Quotes

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“God is not merely mending, not simply restoring a status quo. Redeemed humanity is to be something more glorious than unfallen humanity would have been, more glorious than any unfallen race now is (if at this moment the night sky conceals any such). The greater the sin, the greater the mercy: the deeper the death, the brighter the re-birth.” —C.S. Lewis

“Zeal for God feeds itself upon the thought of the eternal future. It looks with tearful eyes down to the flames of Hell and it cannot slumber: it looks up with anxious gaze to the glories of Heaven, and it cannot but bestir itself. Zeal for God thinks of death, and hears the hoofs of the white horse with the skeleton rider close behind. Zeal for God feels that all it can do is little compared with what is wanting, and that time is short compared with the work to be done, and therefore it devotes all that it has to the cause of its Lord.” —Charles Spurgeon

“For those who know the sound of a Goliath, David gives us this reminder: Focus on giants—you stumble. Focus on God—your giants tumble.” —Max Lucado

Frank Viola has some excellent thoughts for Christians to respond to the narrative of the culture.

Porn surveyFight The New Drug shares the results of a survey of pornography actresses, that shows their lifestyles are highly unhealthy compared to the general population. Read the full article here. Here is the important takeaway: If you are watching porn, you are keeping these young ladies in bondage to these destructive habits.

Jeffrey Kranz at the Overview Bible Project has a great infographic to help us all understand why publishers sometimes change an English translation of the Bible. (And while you’re there, check out all the other great resources on the Overview site.)

Links & Quotes

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In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis has one demon giving advice to his young protege demon. This is profound wisdom: “You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” —C.S. Lewis

Two surveys seem to be related: First, “Fifty-four percent of U.S. teens 15-to-17-years-old do not live in a home with their married mother and father.” Read more in this post. (2) Lee Strobel reports on some findings from a Barna Group survey he commissioned: “Two findings emerged in a new national poll that I commissioned on fatherhood and faith: the younger the generation, the more people report having difficult relationships with their fathers. At the same time, the younger generation reports the highest percentage of people who are struggling with belief in God.” You can read Lee’s thoughts on this in Fathers & Faith.

Frank Viola shared this great story—In light of their doctrinal disagreements, someone once asked George Whitefield if he thought he’d see John Wesley in heaven. Whitefield replied, “I fear not, for he will be so near the eternal throne and we at such a distance, we shall hardly get sight of him.”

“Grace is simply another word for God’s tumbling, rumbling reservoir of strength and protection. Grace comes to us not occasionally or miserly but constantly and aggressively, wave upon wave. We’ve barely regained our balance from one breaker, and then, bam, here comes another.” Read more in Max Lucado’s post Grace—A Never Ending Supply.

Astronomers are perplexed by the size of a black hole. Apparently it is challenging their views on the origins of the universe. Perhaps there is a better explanation….

Very moving—

Links & Quotes

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Open Door USA reports that Christian persecution around the world has never been worse than it is now. We must pray!!

Here is a cool story about how God used some praying Christians to save a young girl from sex trafficking.

J. Warner Wallace says, “When [Richard] Dawkins and [Sam] Harris say we, as Christians, believe in something for which there is no supporting evidence, they simply betray their ignorance about the nature of evidence and the way in which detectives and prosecutors build cases.” Check out his post on the evidence that supports the Christian worldview.

Frank Viola has an encouraging word. He says, “If God has called you to a specific work, there is a time in which that work will find its greatest fulfillment and its widest impact.” Please read Your Time Has Not Yet Come.

“Angels might have wept as they saw the folly of men who sought anything except the Lord, Who alone can make a house His temple; Who alone can make a ministry to be a ministration of mercy; without Whose presence the most solemn congregation is but as the herding of men in the market, and the most melodious songs but as the shoutings of those who make merry at a marriage. Without the Lord, our solemn days, our new moons, and our appointed feasts, are an abomination such as His soul hates.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Remember always that religious emotion is only a servant.” ―C.S. Lewis

I love this! Like an experience from the Book of Acts is Pastor Saeed Abedini in his Iranian prison.

Craig Gross writes this about Fifty Shades Of Grey, “This is not a love story. This is not even an erotic story. This is a story of broken people continuing a cycle of dysfunction in their lives rather than dealing with their issues.” Read the rest of his post.

Links & Quotes

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“We can gather that their state [ISIS] rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.” Read more of this fascinating piece in The Atlantic: What ISIS Really Wants.

Frank Viola wrote, “Mark it down: As you go on with the Lord, your faith will be sorely tested. You will be tempted to ‘shrink back’ into unbelief. But you—dear child of God do not belong to those who shrink back.” Read more from his post The Crisis Of Faith.

Rob Bell is fast becoming irrelevant himself, by choosing which parts of the Bible he wants to follow, when he states “the Church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense” for traditional marriage.

[VIDEO] Epigenomes in the human body are like a symphony. How amazing is our Creator! Check out this artistic depiction of how this works—

Links & Quotes

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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.

Links & Quotes

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“Search the Scriptures. Do not merely read them—search them; look up the parallel passages; collate them; try to get the meaning of the Spirit upon any one truth by looking to all the texts which refer to it. Read the Bible consecutively: do not merely read a verse here and there—that is not fair.” —Charles Spurgeon

“How does the Lord reward His diligent ones? It has been my experience that when I walk arm in arm with Jesus, so in love with Him, rewards break out on all sides. Everything I do or have is blessed: my wife, children, friends, ministry. There comes a life of Christ within that flows like a mighty river. Yes, we’ll have trials and tribulations. But through it all He rewards us with manifestations of His presence. … Those who neglect the Lord soon spin out of control as the devil moves in and takes over. Such a person has a devastated self-image. His or her feelings and thoughts cannot be curbed, and their tongue wags and moves under the power of bitterness and anger.” —David Wilkerson

Small problems can become huge problems if they are not addressed early on. Max Lucado has a great reminder in his post Go After The Small Drips.

Here is a great way to check out lots of books. Frank Viola has a link to a special offer from Leaders Book Summaries.

“If the Holy Spirit is obeyed the stubbornness is blown out, the dynamite of the Holy Ghost blows it out.” ―Oswald Chambers

[VIDEO] John Maxwell reminds us that only mature people can compromise to make relationships successful. Check this out―

Book Reviews From 2014

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Some good reading from today…

“This is the wisdom of God: Purchase the day! Purchase the hour! Purchase the moment! Spend whatever it takes to buy each hour and harness it in the chariot of your highest, eternal goal—the glory of God.” —John Piper

“Yet let the love of righteousness suppress this thirst for ambitiousness…. For this is a great enemy to our faith, if the desire of glory have more room in our hearts than he fear or love of our God….” —Augustine

“No, there is no merit in late hour prayers, but it requires a serious mind and a determined heart to pray past the ordinary into the unusual.” —A.W. Tozer

Frank Viola has funny cartoon asking what if 21st-century Americans lived in Christ’s day?

Detroit Tigers fans, this is a great story about how George Kell won the batting title on the last day of the season.

Scary, scary stuff: China is building up their military specifically to confront the USA.

An interesting look into the minds of voters in the millennial generation.

Good news: the abortion rate in the US is declining. Bad news: our abortion rate continues to rank near the highest quartile among Western nations.

Nearly 500 NFL players were cut this past week, as the NFL teams got down to their 53-man roster. The media, however, is obsessed with just one player: Michael Sam. Can you say, “agenda”?

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“The upright man must never think of depriving another of anything, nor must he ever wish to increase his own advantage to the disadvantage of another. This rule the Apostle gives thee, saying: ‘All things are lawful, all things are not expedient; all things are lawful, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but each another’s.’ That is: Let no man seek his own advantage, but another’s; let no man seek his own honor, but another’s.” —Ambrose

Frank Viola has a challenging word to Christians in the quote he shares from A.W. Tozer: Recovering The Departed Glory.

Claiming Jesus is not what many think it is, says Chilly Chilton in his post: Name It, Claim It, Proclaim It!

When we don’t know that life is a war and satan is the enemy, or forget when we need to know it most, we can’t make sense of our struggles, suffering, and strife.” Read more of Mark Driscoll’s post Spiritual Warfare: Who, What & Why.

The Overview Bible Project always uncovers some cool things in Scripture. Like this post about what Beelzebul really means.

Why is it organizations are not allowed to hire a Christian, but at that same time are encouraged (forced?) to hire homosexuals? The story of David Tyree is a case-in-point.

The fact is, that the same moment which brings the consciousness of sin ought to bring also the confession and the consciousness of forgiveness.” —Hannah Whitall Smith

Both Testaments

BibleThis past week I’ve had two conversations that seemed like contradicting thoughts about the Bible, but they’re really exactly the same.

Conversation #1—Since Jesus Christ set us free from the law, there is no longer any need for us to read or study the Old Testament.

Conversation #2—The New Testament is a perversion of the Old Testament, so we should ignore it and stick with the “original” Scripture.

One thing that has helped me see the Scripture in a more correct light is a thought I picked up from Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola in their book Jesus: A Theography. Instead of the titles we’ve given the two divisions of the Bible, it will be better to call them the First and Second Testaments. “Old” and “New” have a tendency to make us think out-dated and updated; First and Second remind us that they go together.

Hosea is one of the first prophets in the First Testament whose words were put into writing. It’s interesting to note how many of the themes from the Pentateuch, Joshua and Judges are linked to Israel’s condition in the last few years before the northern tribes went into exile.

“Hosea’s allusions to Genesis through Judges are highly significant. First, they help to establish the fact that these books had already been written by the time of Hosea, in the eighth century B.C. (Many scholars consider these books to be from the sixth century B.C. and even later.) Second, Hosea’s construal of these books helps us to understand early Biblical interpretation, which in turn gives us a better understanding of how the [Second] Testament interprets the [First].” —Archeological Study Bible

When we move into the Second Testament, we see over 850 First Testament passages are quoted, sometimes entire paragraphs. In every instance, the Second Testament authors see the fulfillment of the First Testament in the life of Jesus Christ.

In fact, Jesus Himself quoted from 22 books of the First Testament, even on the day of His resurrection He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself (Luke 24:27), and He said He would open our minds so that we too could understand all the Scriptures (Luke 24:45-47).

Finally there is the issue of fulfilled prophesy. Not only were First Testament prophesies fulfilled during the First Testament time, but even more were fulfilled during the Second Testament. In Jesus Christ alone about 200 such prophesies were fulfilled.

Both Testaments are equally important, and equally valuable. In fact, either Testament without the other robs God of His glory and robs us of seeing His fullness.

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