Poetry Saturday—God Is Present Everywhere

They who seek the throne of grace
Find that throne in every place;
If we live a life of prayer,
God is present everywhere.

In our sickness and our health,
In our want, or in our wealth,
If we look to God in prayer,
God is present everywhere.

When our earthly comforts fail,
When the woes of life prevail,
‘Tis the time for earnest prayer;
God is present everywhere.

Then, my soul, in every strait,
To thy Father come, and wait;
He will answer every prayer:
God is present everywhere. —Oliver Holden

How To Be Wholly Healthy

healthy-growthA man named Luke recorded a couple of amazing things about the life of Jesus. As both a doctor and an historian, Luke was an excellent “noticer.”

In first-century biographies, a person’s early life usually wasn’t mentioned. So it’s not uncommon that two of the four Gospel writers don’t pick up Jesus Christ’s life story until He was about 30 years old. Even Matthew, who did record something about the birth of Jesus, didn’t go into much detail.

Luke, however, notices two important things.

First, in covering the first 12 years of Christ’s life Luke says, “The Child grew and became strong…” (Luke 2:40).

healthy-growth-001The Greek word Luke uses for grew means a continual process of increasing. Sometimes we mistakenly think this means a continual movement on a graph upward and to the right. But I’ll give you one instance where this is not the case—when we record someone’s height, we do so in feet not in years. In other words, we say someone is 6’4” tall, but we don’t say they are 6-years and 4-months fall. We understand there is a limit to that sort of growth.

What Luke is referring to is a different kind of continual increasing. All of us go through four quadrants as we learn:

  • unconscious incompetence—we’re no good in an area but we don’t even know it
  • conscious incompetence—we know that we’re no good in an area
  • conscious competence—we’re good in an area but we still have to think about what we’re doing
  • unconscious competence—we’ve gotten so good in an area that we no longer need to think about it

healthy-growth-003When Luke said Jesus grew, he meant not upward and to the right, but a continual cycle of learning what He didn’t know and increasing His competence in that area. When Luke said Jesus grew and became strong, he was saying that Jesus learned how to apply the lessons He was continually learning.

Second, in covering Christ’s next 18 years Luke says, “Jesus grew” (Luke 2:52), but he uses an entirely different word. This Greek word means to be hammered out, as a blacksmith hammers metal into shape. Notice that Jesus is not the One doing the hammering, but He is the One submitting to His Father’s hammering. He is letting God the Father shape Him into what He needs to be.

Luke says that Jesus grew in…

  1. …wisdom—mental health
  2. …stature—physical health
  3. …favor with God—spiritual health
  4. …favor with men—emotional (or social) health

In other words, Jesus was growing in a wholly healthy way. God wants us to be wholly healthy too. He wants us to continually allow Him to point out areas where we are lacking, and then submit to His guidance on how we can improve in those areas.

I’ll be exploring these four areas—mental, physical, spiritual and emotional—over the next few weeks. But in the meantime, why don’t you pray the prayer David prayed and ask God’s Spirit to search out any areas where you are falling short of optimal health. And then submit to God’s work of helping you get wholly healthy in every area of your life.

 

Book Reviews From 2016

12 Quotes From “Think On These Things”

think-on-these-thingsJohn Maxwell’s books always inspire me to think differently. In Think On These Things—the first book Maxwell wrote—we get to see the seed thoughts that would appear in fuller form in his later books. Be sure to check out my review of Think On These Things by clicking here, and then enjoy a dozen John Maxwell quotes.

“Your life today is a result of your thinking yesterday. Your life tomorrow will be determined by what you think today.”

“The truth of a man is known not by how he acts when he is in control but how he reacts when things are beyond his control.”

“Your willingness to learn and adjust positively from mistakes and shortcomings will largely determine how far you will travel the road to success.”

“A thankful heart is one that has had time to count blessings.”

“Our spiritual, physical, and emotional condition will greatly determine how we react to situations. The better we feel, the more capable we will be to evaluate difficult situations and make important decisions.”

“If you haven’t made any mistakes lately, I question if you are trying hard enough. … When you make a mistake, you can resolve never to make another one. But that is impossible. You can decide that mistakes are too costly and become fearful of them, that that fear will keep you from fulfilling your potential. You can constantly think about your mistakes and live with regret, but that is self-torture. Finally, you can learn from your mistakes and become a better person, and that is progress.”

“Success is never instantaneous. It is never an accident. Success is continuous. It takes growth and development. It is achieving one thing and using that as a stepping-stone to rise higher up the mountain of accomplishment.”

“No problem will leave you the same person after it has gone. Problems are the great dividers between success and failure. How you handle them will determine on which side you will live.”

“An experience is not a failure if it prods us to keep on trying. An experience is not a failure if through it we discover how we failed and put that knowledge to good use. An experience is not a failure if through it we discover our own true selves. An experience is not a failure if through it we become better-disciplined individuals.”

“Problems are reminders. They remind us that we need God’s help to handle the upheavals of life.”

“Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lesson afterward. Experience is yesterday’s answer to today’s problems.”

“It is vitally important to realize that either the situations around us control our lives or we control them.”

Links & Quotes

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“Patience is the evidence of an inner strength. Impatient people are weak, and therefore dependent on external supports—like schedules that go just right and circumstances that support their fragile hearts. Their outbursts of oaths and threats and harsh criticisms of the culprits who crossed their plans do not sound weak. But that noise is all a camouflage of weakness. Patience demands tremendous inner strength. For the Christian, this strength comes from God.” —John Piper

“Prayerless people soon become faithless people. The more they forsake the gift of access, refusing to draw on God’s provisions, the more they drift away.” —David Wilkerson

“Christians are not fighting for victory. They are fighting from victory. The outcome has been determined.” —Tony Evans

Whether you are a Detroit Tigers fan or not, this is a very cool story: The Day Willie Horton Saved Al Kaline’s Life.

Researchers are working on some amazing advances to treat infections without using antibiotics.

Links & Quotes

link quote

FAM101-How-RFRA-Works-Infographic-R5“Based on the vitriol directed towards Indiana, one would never know that 19 states and the federal government already have a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) virtually identical to the one passed by the Hoosier state. One governor, Malloy of Connecticut, blasted Governor Pence even though Connecticut’s RFRA potentially goes further than Indiana’s in offering protections to people of faith. Companies such as Apple speak of boycotting Indiana while simultaneously opening stores in China and Saudi Arabia, places of real enslavement and discrimination. While most of the rhetoric is designed to intimidate other states from following Indiana’s lead, it is disturbing to see how many Americans places greater importance on sexual freedom and economic prosperity than they do on freedom of conscience.” ―Michigan Family Forum

Here’s a great infographic explaining how the RFRA really works.

The Barna Group has some research showing what Americans believe about Jesus.

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Here are 5 signs that someone may have been (or is being) abused.

Interesting: research is showing that you might be healthier not getting a blood transfusion.

Seth Godin says, “Being really good is merely the first step. In order to earn word of mouth, you need to make it safe, fun and worthwhile to overcome the social hurdles to spread the word.” Read more in his post The Selfish Truth About Word Of Mouth.

[VIDEO] J. Warner Wallace and Bobby Conway discuss when you should stop looking at other religions…

 

11 Quotes From “Going To Pot”

Going To PotWilliam Bennett and Robert White have given us an important book, especially during this time when so many are rushing to legalize marijuana in our country. You can read my full book review by clicking here, and below are some of the quotes and statistics I found quite interesting.

“Today’s marijuana THC levels are in the double digits―we’ve gone from about 3 to 5 percent THC in yesteryear’s marijuana to just above 13% THC―but common strains are available that go much higher, into the 20 percents and beyond. The difference between 3 to 5 percent THC and 13 to 30 percent THC is very significant. It is like comparing a 1twelve-ounce glass of beer with a 1twelve-ounce glass of 80 proof vodka.”

“No scientific studies documented the safety or efficacy of marijuana for patients with cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis, or glaucoma.”

“Marijuana stays in the brain for a long time so that the brain is still experiencing the effects from pot smoking days after the drug use as stopped, in contrast to alcohol use…. Unlike cocaine, which often brings users to their knees, marijuana claims its victims in a slower and more cruel fashion. It robs many of them of their desire to grow and improve, often making heavy users settle for what is left over in life…. Marijuana makes its users lose their purpose and their will, as well as their memory and motivation.” ―Robert Dupont, psychiatrist 

“Frequent marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems experienced by tobacco smokers. … There are 33 cancer-causing chemicals contained in marijuana. … When equal amounts of marijuana and tobacco are smoked, marijuana deposits four times as much tar into the lungs.”

“Teenagers who use marijuana regularly are at greater risk for long-term brain damage and declines in both IQ and cognitive functioning years later.” ―Psychology Today

“Most drug users, over 90 percent of them, including marijuana users, started using drugs in their adolescent years. In fact, if one abstains from substance abuse up to the age of twenty-one, the chances one will ever have a substance abuse problem are next to zero.”

“Marijuana also raises heart rate by 20-100 percent shortly after smoking; this effect can last up to 3 hours. In one study, it was estimated that marijuana users have a 4.8-fold increase in the risk of heart attack in the first hour after smoking the drug.” 

“Nationwide, over 70 percent of teens admitted to a substance abuse treatment program claim marijuana as their primary drug of abuse. Neither alcohol, tobacco, nor prescription drugs are responsible for over 70 percent of teen substance abuse problems. It is marijuana that has that dubious distinction.”

“Accidents would increase, healthcare costs would rise and productivity would suffer. Legal alcohol serves as a good example: The $8 billion dollars in tax revenue generated from that widely used drug does little to offset the nearly $200 billion in social costs attributed to its use.” ―Kevin Sabet, a former adviser to President Barack Obama

“In constant dollars, the money spent by Americans on marijuana went up from $21.6 billion in 2000 to $40.8 billion in 2010. That is more than Americans spend each year on pornography, Halloween, and video games combined.”

“Sixty-two percent of the adults who first tried marijuana before they were 15 are likely to go on to use cocaine.” 

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