Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from this weekend…

[INFOGRAPHIC] Another great Bible study resource from The Overview Bible Project on the book of Hebrews.

Eric Metaxas reminds us that our existence itself is a miracle.

“God has not called us to save America; He has called us to save Americans from the coming judgment of God by introducing them to faith in Jesus Christ.” —Robert Jeffress

uknowkids has a good post for parents and teachers: 7 Signs Your Teen Is Suffering From Peer Pressure.

“It is the Spirit of Christ in us that will draw satan’s fire. The people of the world will not much care what we believe and they will stare vacantly at our religious forms, but there is one thing they will never forgive us—the presence of God’s Spirit in our hearts. They may not know the cause of that strange feeling of antagonism which rises within them, but it will be nonetheless real and dangerous. satan will never cease to make war on the Man-child, and the soul in which dwells the Spirit of Christ will continue to be the target for his attacks.” —A.W. Tozer

“The real trouble about the duty of forgiveness is that you do it with all your might on Monday and then find on Wednesday that it hasn’t stayed put and all has to be done over again.” —C.S. Lewis

Thursdays With Oswald—Two Ways To Handle A Crisis

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 ChambersTwo Ways To Handle A Crisis

     A man must decide whether he will be identified with the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, which will mean the turning out not only of the “old man,” but of the old responsible intelligence, the old bondage, the old legalism, the things which used to guide the life before, and the forming of a totally new mind. 

     It works out this way: in your practical life you come to a crisis where there are two distinct ways before you, one the way of ordinary, strong, moral, common sense and the other the way of waiting on God until the mind is formed which can understand His will. 

     Any amount of backing will be given you for the first line, the backing of worldly people and of semi-Christian people, but you will feel the warning, the drawing back of the Spirit of God, and if you wait on God, study His Word, and watch Him at work in your circumstances, you will be brought to a decision along God’s line, and your worldly “backers” and your semi-Christian “backers” will fall away from you with disgust and say, “It is absurd, you are getting fanatical.” 

From Biblical Psychology 

When you have to deal with a crisis, there are two options: (1) Use your common sense and the good ideas of others, or (2) Do it God’s way.

God’s ways usually defy the world’s common sense.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts,” says God. (Isaiah 55:9)

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and … the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. (1 Corinthians 1:25; 3:19)

If you want to try to do it the “common sense” way, go ahead. God will let you try it, and a lot of people will encourage you to keep at it. But I think you will quickly find that the “God sense” way is so much better! Although very quickly your former “backers” and “cheerleaders” will look at you as a fanatic.

“There are two kinds of people: those who say to God ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right then, have it your way.’” —C.S. Lewis

Understanding Sexting

uKnowkids logoSexting is something parents MUST be aware of. It is beyond unhealthy and unsafe, it is an outright danger to your son or daughter!

In case you haven’t heard the term before, sexting is the sending of suggestive sexual messages, or suggestive, nude or semi-nude pictures via text. It galls me to think that we’ve given our kids cell phone so we can keep them safe, and that same cell phone is being used to rob their innocence, put them in embarrassing situations, and placing them in very dangerous places.

In Understanding Sexting I read some alarming statistics:

  • 28% of teens admitted to having sent a sext
  • Three-quarters of teens that sext also admitted to having sexual intercourse
  • Kids involved in sexting are twice as likely to experience psychological distress, including thoughts of suicide
  • Sexts are quickly becoming the preferred way of cyber-bullying

uknowkids.com has made available a very easy-to-read guide on the topic of sexting. Understanding Sexting can be read very quickly, and it will help you as a parent to be aware of the dangers your kids face, give you some discussion-starter ideas with your kids, as well as sharing some technology tools we can use to keep our kids safe.

“The single biggest deterrent to this risky behavior is parental involvement.” Understanding Sexting

Understanding Sexting is a FREE e-book from uknowkids.com. Click here to be taken directly to the download page.

Don’t turn a blind eye to this dangerous use of technology that your kids are probably holding in their hand right now. Read this book and talk to your kids. Let’s keep them safe!

Who Do You Think You Are? (book review)

Who Do You Think You AreIf you’ve ever heard Mark Driscoll speak, you know that he pulls no punches as he unashamedly uses the Bible to address the situations we all face. Who Do You Think You Are? is no exception.

Your friends, Madison Avenue, your colleagues, even your family members are all trying to influence you. They all weigh-in on who you are, or who they think you should be. But Pastor Mark Driscoll wants to show you who the Bible says you are. So using the book of Ephesians in the Bible, Pastor Mark convincingly and lovingly will show you that you are…

  • In Christ
  • A saint
  • Blessed
  • Appreciated
  • Saved
  • Reconciled
  • Afflicted
  • Heard
  • Gifted
  • New
  • Forgiven
  • Adopted
  • Loved
  • Rewarded
  • Victorious

Pastor Mark writes in a very readable, conversational style as he uses the powerful words of Ephesians, along with some personal stories from his own life, as well as the lives of others he has known, to make sure you know how God sees you. In a world where everyone else wants to squeeze you into a different mold, how freeing it is to discover how God sees you, and to know that God loves you because you’re you!

This was a very encouraging read. I’d recommend this to anyone struggling with peer pressure or with their own self-identity. I also think this would be an excellent book to use in a small group setting, perhaps even among a recovery group.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

(Dis)Approval

Have you ever been doing or saying something, and then “the look” on someone’s face caused you to stop or change what you were saying/doing? We often look to certain people for their (dis)approval to gauge how we’re doing.

But what if we’re looking at the wrong faces?

God called Jeremiah to be a prophet while he was still fairly young. So when this young man starts saying, “This is what God says,” can you imagine the looks he’s going to get?!?

So right out of the gate, God says two things to Jeremiah: Do not be afraid of them … Do not be terrified by them (Jer. 1:8, 17). I like how the King James Version renders these verses: Do not be afraid of their faces … Do not be dismayed by their faces.

  • Afraid means to look at faces for approval.
  • Dismayed or terrified means to look at faces for disapproval.

But people’s faces aren’t the faces Jeremiah — or you or I — should be looking at. The only face that matters is God’s! Look how many “I” statements God makes about Himself in this chapter —

  • I formed you (v. 5a)
  • I knew you in advance (v. 5b)
  • I set you apart (v. 5c)
  • I appointed you (v. 5d, 10)
  • I am sending you (v. 7a)
  • I give you the words to say (v. 7b, 17)
  • I am with you (v. 8a, 19a)
  • I will rescue you (v. 8b, 19b)
  • I will put my words in your mouth (v. 9)
  • I am watching over you (v. 12)
  • I am making you strong (v. 18)

The faces of people are not how you and I should gauge (dis)approval. How sad to look at other faces for approval, only to hear God say, “Depart from Me. I never knew you!How liberating to know that even though other faces may disapprove me, I can still hear my Master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!

Whose face are you looking at today?

Not Mine But God’s

Have you ever wondered how Cain and Abel could end up so night-and-day different from each other? Think about it:

  • Same parents
  • Same home
  • No peer pressure
  • No real outside influences

Yet Cain became a farmer and the first murderer, and Abel became a shepherd and the first murder victim.

Yes, I know personality and temperament come into it. But so does the involvement of their parents. It’s interesting that Eve (not Adam) names their boys. There seems to be a little bit of “father absenteeism” that is involved here. But more telling is the commentary that Eve makes in naming her boys.

With Cain she said, “I have gotten a man from the Lord.” Digging a little deeper in the Hebrew language, Cain means “a possession.” So Eve said, “This is mine. I did it.”

When Abel is born, there is no commentary. However his name means “breath.” Something only God can give.

See the difference:

Cain = mine!

Abel = God’s!

As a result, Cain grew up wanting to do things to please himself, and Abel only wanted to please God.

As a Dad, I always have to remember that my children are God’s. He loaned them to me to raise them up to serve and love Him. They are not mine. They are His.

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. (Psalm 127:3)

Keep that in mind, Moms and Dads, when you’re interacting with your gifts and rewards today.

Dinner That’s More Than Dinner

The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told Him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. (Mark 6:30-32, NLT)

Sometimes dinner is more than dinner. It’s not just food for our physical bodies; it can be so much more.

The apostles returned from their first ministry assignment. They were so excited to come back and tell Jesus how incredible their time had been. They breathlessly rushed into the house where Jesus was waiting for them. “Master,” Peter started, “You should have seen how Andrew…” and he was cut short by a new visitor.

Next James tried, “Whoa, it was so cool when we…” and yet another distraction.

Time and time again their stories and questions and concerns were interrupted by the busyness of life and ministry. In fact, it got so chaotic that the disciples couldn’t even eat their food, except in quick gulps between visitors.

Finally Jesus said, “Guys, let’s get out of here. I really want to hear about your ministry. I want to debrief a little with you. And, frankly, we’re all hungry and could use a quiet dinner. Let’s go some place to hang out together.” Now that’s more than a dinner!

Check out the advantages of simply eating together:

I love our family meal times… it is one of the best times to catch up on what’s happening with everyone. Last night we were joined at dinner by a young couple from our church. After dinner, the kids were off playing and Betsy and I could have a quiet conversation just with our friends. We talked about the newlyweds’ adjustment to marriage, what makes a good church, education, career, china patterns, and the way God speaks to us. We laughed and dreamed and talked about dreams. It was fantastic!

Turn off the TV. Make a healthy dinner. Set aside time to eat with family and friends. Jesus gave us a great example: “C’mon, friends, I really want to spend some quiet time with you.”

So here’s to dinners that are more than dinners. Feel free to share your more-than-dinner stories with me.

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