Poetry Saturday—Smart

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My dad gave me a one dollar bill
‘Cause I’m his smartest son,
And I swapped it for two shiny quarters
‘Cause two is more than one!

And then I took the quarters
And traded them to Lou
For three dimes—I guess he don’t know
That three is more than two!

Just then, along came old blind Bates
And just ‘cause he can’t see
He gave me four nickels for my three dimes,
And four is more than three!

And I took the nickels to Hiram Coombs
Down at the seed-feed store,
And the fool gave me five pennies for them,
And five is more than four!

And then I went and showed my dad,
And he got red in the cheeks
And closed his eyes and shook his head—
Too proud of me to speak! —Shel Silverstein

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10 More Quotes From “The Christian In Complete Armour”

The Christian In Complete Armour is a classic work about a Christian’s spiritual warfare. Check out my review of this amazingly insightful book by clicking here, and check out other quotes I’ve shared from this book by clicking here. 

“When you see men of power and intellect using their talents against God, weep for their souls.”

“God permits satan’s temporary reign in order to increase the saint’s eternal joy.”

“If you see someone taking along, treacherous journey alone and unprotected, you conclude he expects no thieves on the road and you might well question his wisdom. Many pretenders to Christianity travel in a similar fashion. They tell you they are on their way to heaven, yet they show little inclination to travel in the company of the saints—as if they had no need of fellowship on the journey! Most of them go unfortified, without anything even resembling armor. Others brandish some vain, flighty hopes of the mercy of God, without so much as a single Scripture for ammunition. Such ‘hope’ is a rusty pistol and will fly in the fool’s face when he tries to use it.”

“Do you think for a moment your Heavenly Father would give His archenemy a sword too mighty for you, His own child, to overcome?”

“Let this encourage those of you who belong to Christ: The storm may be tempestuous, but it is only temporary the clouds that are presently rolling over your head will pass, and then you will have fair weather, an eternal sunshine of glory.”

“Trusting in your own goodness will eventually destroy it. Inherent grace is weak. Force it to endure the yoke of the law, and sooner or later it will faint by the wayside, unequal to the task of pulling the heavy load of your old nature. What you need is Christ’s yoke, but you cannot take it until you shed the one that harnesses you to works.” 

“How we would ridicule the man who, when the sun shines in at his window, tries to trap the sunbeams indoors by closing the shutters. But we are just as foolish to take our present joy, then turn away from God’s presence, supposing that we have all we need. You can feel the heat from the sun only when you stand beneath its rays; you can feel God’s comfort only as you keep your face turned toward Him.”

“Watchfulness is more important for the Christian soldier than any other. In temporal battles soldiers fight against men who need sleep the same as themselves, but the saint’s enemy, satan, is always awake and walking his rounds. Since the devil never sleeps, the Christian puts himself in grave danger by falling asleep spiritually—that is, by becoming secure and careless. … The weakest temptation is strong enough to foil a Christian who is napping in security.”

“A thief is just getting up when honest men are going to bed. The devil, I am sure, begins to tempt when saints cease to watch.”

“While the Holy Spirit is a comforter, He is also a convincer: He comforts us by teaching us.”

A New Kind Of Apologist (book review)

For years, Josh McDowell has been ranked as a first-class Christian apologist: one who can persuasively defend the Christian faith. Sean McDowell grew up in this environment, being well mentored by his apologist father, and has become a world-renown apologist himself. So when Sean speaks of the need for a new kind of apologist, Christians should take notice.

A New Kind Of Apologist is a collection of essays edited by Sean McDowell. The book also contains short interviews which Sean has conducted with both those defending and opposing Christianity. This book covers everything from how apologists can be the most effective in a new generation of skeptics and seekers, as well as some thoughtful ways to address the issues at the forefront of the minds of this new generation.

The essays in this book are written by seasoned veterans of Christian apologetics, and some who are newer to the scene. But all of them write with a voice that is relevant to this current generation.

Not only will this book inform your brain, but it will challenge your heart as well. The overriding theme through all of these excellent essays is this—Christians must seek to love people more than win an intellectual argument. The new apologist knows his “stuff” but also knows how to develop genuine, caring relationships with those skeptics and seekers that need to hear the good news that Christianity offers.

I loved this book! It is clearly one that I am going to be referring to again and again and again as I seek to hone my apologetic and relationship-building skills.

I am a Harvest House reviewer.

Thursdays With Oswald—Not Everything Good Can Be Explained

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Not Everything Good Can Be Explained

     We are apt to imagine that if we cannot state a thing in words it is of no value to us. What counts in talking and in reading is the atmosphere that is produced and what is opened up that would not be otherwise. There is a literature of knowledge and a literature of power. The former gives us in forming stuff and we can say—This is what I have got; by the latter you cannot say what you have got but you are the better for it, your mind and heart are enlarged. We need more than the information. The domain of things represented by the literature of power is that which comes with a knowledge of God’s Book. …  

     The basis of Christianity is not primarily virtue and honesty and goodness, not even holiness, but a personal relationship to God in Jesus Christ. … 

     It is a haphazard life, and we have to bank on God’s wisdom, not on our own.

From Shade Of His Hand

Oswald Chambers is not an anti-intellectualist; quite the contrary! Numerous times in his works he counsels Christians to sharpen their thinking.

However, here he is commenting on Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes, and he is noting that not everything has a “satisfactory” explanation. I love to think of it this way: The one with an experience is never at the mercy of the one with an argument.

Let me explain it this way. Someone can list all of their scientific facts that they say explain that there is no God. However, I know by personal experience the difference a relationship with Jesus Christ has made in my life. Can I explain this by “literature of knowledge”? No. Can I explain this by “literature of power” and by my enlarged heart and mind? Yes, yes, yes!

Sharpen your intellect with knowledge, but don’t ever discount the power that is demonstrated by your changed life!

Beyond IQ (book review)

Beyond IQHow many times have you been told that your Intelligence Quotient (IQ) determines how smart you are? Probably quite often, but Garth Sundem’s new book Beyond IQ challenges that long-held assumption.

Sundem writes, “Raw intelligence is good: it helps shape your potential top speed. But there’s much, more more that goes into realizing it. This brain-training book for everything but IQ will teach you how to drive your mind—to get the most from what you’ve got under the hood.”

Indeed, Sundem not only shares the findings of top psychologists and other brain experts from around the world, but tells you the practical applications of those findings. Each chapter is loaded with brain-boosting exercises that you can do to tap into the intelligence that God has given you.

I found this book to be not only educational, but a lot of fun too! The exercises were engaging and challenging in a way that made me want to bookmark them and come back again and again. That, says Sundem, is what will allow you to harness the greatest potential in your brain power.

I am a Three Rivers Press book reviewer.

Thursdays With Oswald—Don’t Try To Persuade

ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Don’t Try To Persuade

     You can’t persuade a man to believe in God; belief in God is not an act of the intellect, it is a moral creation produced by the interaction of God’s Spirit and my spirit in willing obedience; intellect comes in afterwards to explain what has happened. 

From Conformed To His Image

I love reading and studying apologetics, but it’s important to remember that I’m not reading these arguments to persuade someone to believe in Jesus. Oswald Chambers is right on target: no one can be be persuaded to believe.

The Bible says that faith in Christ comes through hearing God’s Word. So I unabashedly share as much Scripture as I can, refraining from adding my own commentary. The Word speaks for itself. As Charles Spurgeon said, “How do I defend the Bible? I treat it like a lion. I let it out of its cage and it defends itself.”

The apologetic training comes in handy after someone has already placed their faith in Christ to explain what has happened. It works like this:

The Bible → Faith in Christ. 

Apologetics → Understanding my faith.

Caring For Your Soul

Thomas a KempisThe spiritual man puts the care of his soul before all else; and whoever diligently attends to his own affairs is ready to keep silence about others. You will never become interior and devout unless you refrain from criticism of others, and pay attention to yourself. If you are wholly intent on God and yourself, you will be little affected by anything outside this.” —Thomas á Kempis

My dear pastor, by the very nature of our position we are constantly giving out. We are ministering to the needs of others and it is physically, spiritually, emotionally and intellectually draining.

It’s a pretty simple statement: You cannot give what you do not have. You have physical, spiritual, emotional and intellectual limits.

So some simple questions for you to ponder this weekend:

  • What are you doing to care for your own soul?
  • How are you replenishing yourself?
  • After you have emptied yourself in ministry, how are you being re-filled?

If you’d like to share some thoughts in the comments, please feel free to do so.

Thursdays With Oswald—Appealing Control

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Oswald Chambers

Appealing Control 

     We have to be so controlled by the Holy Spirit, to so submit our intelligence to Him, that Jesus Christ is presented along the line that appeals to those to whom we talk. 

From Bringing Sons To Glory 

God has given humans the amazing capacity of intelligence to think and reason, and to communicate our thoughts persuasively and creatively to other humans. This is a gift, but it can also be a hindrance. My intelligence is only going to glorify God when it is under the control of the Holy Spirit.

It is not my responsibility to convince others about God; it is my responsibility to be controlled by the Holy Spirit so that He can convince others. So the question I need to ask myself about my conversations with others is: Who’s in control?

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