Saturday In The Psalms—Blessings For The Obedient

Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments (Psalm 112:1).

For the one who loves God and wants to obey Him, check out these blessings—

  • blessed, powerful descendants
  • blessing the current generation
  • taking care of his household
  • keeping his righteousness intact
  • giving him light in dark times
  • multiplying his graciousness, compassion, and righteousness
  • blessing him to be a blessing to others
  • giving him discretion
  • a solid, unshakable foundation
  • a legacy to pass on to his children
  • no fear of evil
  • steadfastness
  • more than enough to share with others in need
  • exalted on earth and in heaven

Bring it on!

10 More Quotes From “The Beauty Of Intolerance”

Beauty Of IntoleranceI found Josh and Sean McDowell’s book The Beauty Of Intolerance to be such a timely book! Parents, teachers, pastors, and anyone who works with youth should definitely read this book to help navigate through the tolerance-saturated world we live in. You can check out my review of this book by clicking here.

“God gave Moses pages and pages of highly specific rules to govern the relationships and morality of His people. Each of those rules, which we call precepts, applies to a specific situation. But each is important because it is grounded in a principle, which is a fundamental, primary law from which other laws—the precepts—are derived. Each principle, in turn, is grounded in a Person—in the very character of God Himself. … God is not behind the principles and precepts simply to validate the rules; He is there as a Person for the purpose of relationship.”

“When moral truth becomes a matter of opinion, personal preference, or the individual’s views and feelings, then practically anything goes. … In a culture of tolerance where the individual decides morality, morality has no bounds.”

“An entire generation tends to go to the Bible not to discover the truth and bend their lives to it accordingly but to use it as sort of a self-help book to help them form their own version of what’s true and false, good and evil, right and wrong.”

“When you discuss the Bible, do not refer to it simply as a spiritual book that teaches us how to live, but as a road map leading one toward the discovery of true reality. … The one true God’s communication to humanity and the whole of Christianity as a religion is based on three primary realities supported by evidences: (1) The historic reliability of Scripture; (2) The deity of Christ; and (3) Christ’s bodily resurrection.”

“While we all may have a sense of what is evil and what is good, under the philosophy of cultural tolerance, evil and good can only be relative ideals. Without an objective truth—a set of universal moral values—good and evil are defined by the individual, community, or society. Therefore we have no moral basis by which to judge another person, community, or nation for what they do or don’t do.”

“Unless justice is rooted in a moral authority beyond those with the most power or even with the most votes, there cannot be true justice for all. … Justice, charity, and human rights are grounded in the fact that we are created in God’s image with value, dignity, and worth. … God’s mercy and justice as our model has fostered societal justice and provided more positive contributions to society in general than any other force in history.”

“The intolerance of the early Christians was a beautiful thing. They believed that everyone—including the poor, the homeless, the handicapped, the sick—was made in the image of God with dignity and worth. They were utterly intolerant of injustice, and they did whatever they could to correct the injustices they saw in society.”

“Real love—biblical, Godlike love—exposes cultural tolerance as the counterfeit of love because cultural tolerance fails to point people to a universal standard of morality designed to save them from serious harm. Cultural tolerance does not address what is in the best interest of a person—it possesses no moral standard that aligns to what is universally right and good. Real love, on the other hand, looks out for the best interest of others.”

“Every truth, every rule, and every guideline coming from God’s Word is issued from the loving heart and character of God for our own good.”

“Love is making the security, happiness, and welfare of another person as important as your own. Biblical love is not merely focused on another but on the good of another, even if the other does not recognize or accept the reality of the good.”

To read the first set of quotes I shared from The Beauty Of Intolerance, please click here. And be sure to follow me on Twitter and Tumblr to read more quotes from this book, and from lots of other profound thinkers, that I share daily.

7 Quotes From “The Beauty Of Intolerance”

Beauty Of IntoleranceTolerance and intolerance are definitely the buzzwords of today’s culture. But depending upon whom you’re asking, the definition of these words may be dramatically different. This is where Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell’s book The Beauty Of Intolerance can help. Please be sure to check out my book review here, and then check out some of the quotes from this very important book below.

“It’s natural—and if done properly, even healthy—for the people of each new generation to establish a unique identity apart from their parents. Yet what we are experiencing today is far from the typical generation gap. We are seeing a cultural shift that is separating Christian parents from their children perhaps unlike anything seen before.”

“Your narrative about truth is probably based on your understanding of the Bible. Whether they realize it or not, our young people today largely derive their narrative about truth from a culture that says moral truth is found within the individual. These two narratives can be expressed in terms of the biblical narrative about truth and the cultural narrative about truth. When our young people accept the cultural narrative, it becomes the lens by which they interpret relationships and much of the world around them.”

“If each person is a valid, independent source of applied truth, then there can be no basis for external disapproval. There is no overarching standard by which to apply judgment. That means tolerance as the culture defines it is the only appropriate response to each individual’s moral choices. That kind of tolerance—what we will call cultural tolerance—propagates the notion that all moral truth is equal. From that perspective it only seems right to respect, accept, and approve of diverse views and the behavior of others, since doing otherwise would be intolerant and judgmental. … But what many of today’s young people don’t understand is that they have unwittingly bought into cultural tolerance, which is a faulty narrative about moral truth that fundamentally changes the traditional meaning of words like tolerance, acceptance, respect, and the like. They tend to think that they have the right to determine what is right and wrong for themselves.”

“God is not only the standard of what is true—He is truth—but He is also the perfect standard for tolerance. That is, He is the standard for tolerance in the original and traditional meaning of the word—a tolerance that loves us without approving of our sinful condition. Both truth and traditional tolerance reside in the character of God, and they are inseparable.”

“While the Incarnation is the personification of love and acceptance, God’s disdain for sin reflects His holy intolerance. What sin did to humans broke His heart. Separated from God, the human race wallowed in greed, lust, jealousy, hatred, and conflict. Human sin has rippled down from one generation to another with the same tragic results: pain and suffering, heartache and ruin, destruction and death. God’s hatred of evil and injustice—of everything that hurts us—prompted Him to be radically intolerant of sin and its devastating effects on His creation. His amazing love for us prompted Him to do something to save us from it. That something cost Him the death of His only Son, but He considered you and me worth it. God’s intolerance is an amazing and beautiful thing.”

“Moral truth isn’t simply an abstract concept; it originates in a Person who is the original and standard for morality. Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’ (John 14:6). Moral truth ultimately finds its source in a ‘Who,’ not merely in a ‘what.’ In other words, moral claims are true if they correspond to the character of God—Who is the objective source for morality. God is the source of all moral truth.”

“The reason we think there are such concepts as ‘fair’ and ‘unfair’ is because our Maker is a just God and we have been made in His image (Genesis 1:27). The reason love is a virtue and hatred a vice is because the God of relationships who formed us is a God of love. The reason honesty is right and deceit is wrong is because God is true. The reason fidelity in marriage is honorable and infidelity is not is because God is faithful. The reason chastity is moral and promiscuity is immoral is because God is pure. … All truth claims cannot be equal because Jesus didn’t claim to be ‘a’ truth—one among viable others. His claim was exclusive.”

I will be posting more quotes from The Beauty Of Intolerance in the near future. If you would like to be notified when these quotes appear, please enter your email address in the form on the right to subscribe.

Also check out quotes from this and other books that I share daily on Twitter and Tumblr.

The Beauty Of Intolerance (book review)

Beauty Of IntoleranceOur current culture sets tolerance as a high virtue, so those who exhibit the greatest levels of tolerance are upheld as the model for everyone else. On the other hand, intolerance is an ugly label for anyone to have. So what do you think when you hear that Josh and Sean McDowell have teamed-up to write a book called The Beauty Of Intolerance?

Many times there is a generational clash of worldviews: today’s grandparents and parents tend to hold to viewpoints which many of today’s youth find intolerant, mean, or even bigoted. Does that mean that the older generations are unenlightened, and the younger generations have seen the light? Or does it mean that the younger generations are rebelling, while the older generations are holding the line? Josh and Sean have become the “translators” between these two starkly-different worldviews.

It starts, the McDowells say, with an understanding of the word “tolerance.” It turns out that the this word has taken on a new meaning with younger generations, but that doesn’t mean that the younger generations don’t value what the older generations do. For example, consider a t-shirt that Josh McDowell designed. The front of the shirt says, “Intolerance is a beautiful idea.” But the back of the shirt clarifies this statement by reminding us:

  • Mother Teresa was intolerant of poverty.
  • Bono was intolerant of AIDS.
    Nelson Mandela was intolerant of apartheid.
  • Martin Luther King was intolerant of racism.
  • Jesus was intolerant of bigotry.

It turns out it’s not just the word “tolerance” that needs a tune-up, but also words like “respect,” “dignity,” “acceptance,” “morality” and “truth.” Fortunately for us, The Beauty Of Intolerance leads us through a modern-day understanding of all these terms.

Using true-to-life dialogue between parents and children, Josh and Sean help both generations see how intolerance really is a beautiful thing. The McDowells guide us through conversations we might encounter at home, in school, in the government, at church, and in day-to-day living. They give us the tools necessary to help everyone see that intolerance can be a beautiful thing!

For anyone who wants to speak the truth lovingly and convincingly across generational lines, The Beauty Of Intolerance is a must-read book.

I am a Shiloh Run Press book reviewer.

The Incense Of Prayer

E.M. Bounds has challenged and inspired my prayer life probably more than any other author. Check out these words from his book Purpose In Prayer

Purpose In Prayer“God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers are deathless. The lips that utter them may be closed in death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them and prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.

“That man is the most immortal who has done the most and the best praying. They are God’s heroes, God’s saints, God’s servants, God’s deputies. A man can pray better because of the prayers of the past; a man can live holier because of the prayers of the past, the man of many and acceptable prayers has done the truest and greatest service to the incoming generation. The prayers of God’s saints strengthen the unborn generation against the desolating waves of sin and evil. Woe to the generation of sons who find their censors empty of the rich incense of prayer; whose fathers have been too busy or too unbelieving to pray, and perils inexpressible and consequences untold are their unhappy heritage. Fortunate are they whose fathers and mothers have left them a wealthy patrimony of prayer.” (emphasis added)

When God gave Moses instructions for building the tabernacle, the altar of incense was placed before the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. The Bible does not tell us how the high priest passed through or by the curtain, so many believe that as he worshiped God, his prayers mingled with the incense, and God translated him through the curtain and into His presence.

There are other verses to support this:

  • Let my prayer be set forth as incense before You, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. (Psalm 141:2)
  • The book of Revelation gives us a glimpse into Heaven, and twice we see the prayers of the saints being linked with the incense of worship (see Revelation 5:8 and 8:3-4).

Notice what E.M. Bounds says … our prayers TODAY are providing the incense the NEXT GENERATION will need! If we fail to pray now, we’re not only hurting ourselves, but we’re putting our children and grandchildren on a path toward “perils inexpressible and consequences untold.”

Instead, let’s leave them “a wealthy patrimony of prayer”! Will you pray? Today?

Keep On Keeping On

I was challenged by the message “Grandpa George” (also known as Tom Amrozowicz) shared with our church yesterday morning. This coming from a man who is a third-generation Pentecostal, and has walked with Jesus for over 70 years. The Bible text he shared was:

O God, You have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things You do. Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim Your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me. (Psalm 71:17-18)

I am also a fourth-generational Pentecostal, and I have walked with Jesus for over 40 years (I know, I’m a rookie compared to Tom!). Tom’s words and God’s Word challenged me.

O God, You have taught me from my earliest childhood. I never want to take this for granted!

I constantly tell others about the wonderful things You do. Constantly? I hope my life is always showing how I am grateful for God’s blessings, but I know I needed that reminder to also be telling others how grateful I am.

Now that I am old and gray. Gray? Yes. Old? Well, let’s just say older.

Do not abandon me, O God. I don’t believe God would abandon me, but I need to ask myself, “Am I more attentive to following Him as I was a year ago?” You might ask, “Why ‘more attentive’? Don’t you just need to be as attentive?” When I was a teenager, there were things I ate that I never gave a second thought to, but I would never consider eating those things now because I know they aren’t the healthiest diet choices. In others words, as I’ve gotten older, I’m paying more attention to my physical health. Shouldn’t I pay more attention to my spiritual health too?

Let me proclaim Your power to this new generation. I want to make sure my kids, who are fourth-generation Pentecostals, know about the power of God that can be theirs.

Let me proclaim… Your mighty miracles to all who come after me. I also want to find relevant ways to tell younger generations about all that God has done for me, and all He wants to do for them too.

So if I were to sum up what the Holy Spirit was saying to me yesterday morning, it would be this:

I need to keep on keeping on. Don’t rest on the past, but use the past as a launching pad for even greater things in the future!

Be Careful

In the final instructions before the Israelites were going to enter the Promised Land, the book of Deuteronomy uses the phrase be careful fifteen (15) times:

  • Be careful not to forget
  • Be careful to obey
  • Be careful to avoid making idols
  • Be careful to honor your leadership
  • Be careful of your thoughts

In the dictionary careful is defined as being attentive to potential danger, error, or harm. It implies paying special attention to accuracy and being discerning.

God doesn’t ask this of me to cramp my style but to put me in a place where He can bless me. And not just me: being careful leads to generational blessings. Here’s my favorite be careful verse:

Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you today, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord your God.

Sometimes to be careful we have to slow down. We seem to want everything quickly and with as little effort as possible. Remember the cliché “Haste makes waste”?

What if you slowed down a bit today?

What if you took just a little time to be attentive to potential danger?

What if you paused long enough to discern if you were giving your best to God?

What if you took a moment to simply ask God to give you the wisdom needed to make a godly decision?

Being careful so that it may ALWAYS go well with you and your children after you….

Isn’t that worth it?

A Man Named Jonadab

What an incredible family line! Moses’ father-in-law Jethro was the ancestor of the Kenite family line, and from this family tree came a man named Recab.

The Recabite family was of immense help to the Israelites. They served as scouts for them, and they joined in the battle to defeat the Canaanites in Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron. Years later a Recabite named Jonadab was with King Jehu when he rid Israel of King Ahab’s evil influence of Baal worship.

Jonadab called the Recabite family to follow him in living a holy lifestyle. He set some incredibly high standards for them, but for the next 200+ years the Recabite family held to these standards. Even as the nation of Judah was carried into captivity because of their gross sin against God, the Recabite family stood solidly for God, never getting caught up in society’s pull toward sin.

Their fidelity toward God wasn’t without notice. Here’s an incredibly powerful statement: God said, “Jonadab son of Recab will never fail to have a man serve Me.”

Think about that. A family line that is always serving God for generation after generation after generation. That’s what I want. It took Jonadab making a dramatic counter-cultural stand for his faith in God and then passing that on to his family. Wow!

For the sake of never failing to have my descendants serve God, I am willing to make a stand. I am ready to live counter-culturally. I’m going to stand strong. What about you?

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