8 Prayers From “Dangerous Prayers”

Dangerous Prayers give a brief biography of 50 culture-shifting people, and the world-changing prayers they prayed. Check out my full book review by clicking here, and then enjoy just a few of the prayers from this excellent book. 

“Listen to my supplication, Master, so that my soul doesn’t stagger under Your instruction, so that I don’t stumble in testifying to Your mercies, by which You tore me away from all my ruinous pathways. Thus You’ll grow sweet to me beyond all that led me wrong, in my willingness to follow it. Thus I’ll love You most mightily, and grasp Your hand with all the strength of my inmost being. Thus You’ll tear me away from every trial, clear to the end.” —Augustine 

“Restore me to liberty, and enable me so to live now that I may answer before Thee and before the world. Lord, whatever this day may bring, may Thy name be praised. Amen.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer, while awaiting execution in a Nazi concentration camp 

“Give us grace, O God, to dare to do the deed which we well know cries to be done. Let us not hesitate because of ease, or the words of men’s mouths, or our own lives. Mighty causes are calling us—the freeing of women, the training of children, the putting down of hate and murder and poverty—all these and more. But they call with voices that mean work and sacrifice and death. Mercifully grant us, O God, the spirit of Esther, that we may say: ‘I will go unto the king and if I perish, I perish.’” —W.E.B. DuBois 

“Because we have need continually to crave many things at Your hands, we humbly beg You, O heavenly Father, to grant us Your Holy Spirit to direct our petitions, that they may proceed from such a fervent mind as may be agreeable to Your holy will.” —John Knox 

“O keep us, we beseech Thee, Lord, for without Thy keeping we cannot keep ourselves.” —Charles Spurgeon 

“Oh Jesus, You who suffer, grant that today and every day I may be able to see You in the person of Your sick ones and that, by offering them my care, I may serve You. Grant that, even if You are hidden under the unattractive disguise of anger, of crime, or of madness, I may recognize You and say, ‘Jesus, You who suffer, how sweet it is to serve You.’” —Mother Teresa 

“I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in His holy protection, that He would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that He would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble invitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.” —George Washington 

“God give me a deep humility, a well-guided zeal, a burning love, and a single eye, and then let men or devils do their worst.” —George Whitefield 

10 Quotes From “Jesus’ Terrible Financial Advice”

I loved the financial insights that John Thornton presented in Jesus’ Terrible Financial Advice. The advice is “terrible” in that it flies in the face of conventional financial wisdom and puts it in the proper biblical light. Check out my full review of this book by clicking here.

“As God waits patiently to receive our all, wonder, and appreciation for all He is and does, an idol steps in to accept our applause. Like an insidious illusionist, the idol misdirects our attention to itself. … What does an idol do? Nothing. That’s all an idol can do. Nothing. Nothing but steal God’s glory.”

“Jesus is not trying to impoverish us when He tells us to store up treasures in heaven.”

“Here is where some people mistakenly make it about the money. They wrongly conclude that rich people can’t make it to heaven, but poor people can. This is a grave error. In truth, no one can enter the kingdom of heaven, rich or poor, without God.”

“If we are seeking heaven because our life here is so good that we don’t want it to end, or simply because we don’t want to go to hell, we’ve missed the point. We’ve made the same mistake this young man made [Mark 10]. So doing what Jesus always did, He redirected the young man to the right thing. The greatest good. He redirected the young man to God. Jesus clarifies that no one is good but God Himself. … What makes eternal life good isn’t the length. It’s the company. God Himself is what is good about heaven [John 17:3].”

“Regardless of how much of a blessing of wealth has the potential to be, it becomes a curse for us when it separates us from the love of God.”

“Don’t wrongfully conclude that rich people can’t make it, but poor people can. Or that poor people are godly, but rich people are not. If we do this, we miss the point entirely. We think that Jesus is just calling out rich people. We think He is talking about people’s financial position, when He’s really talking about our heart condition. … At the end of the day, answer to the question ‘Does Jesus want you rich or poor?’ is obvious. The answer is yes! Jesus wants you. And the answer is all about God’s goodness, not ours.”

“The number one theme related to wealth in the Bible is that it is a blessing from God.” 

“Whenever we conclude that the plans we have for our lives are better than the plans God has for us, or that the gifts we have for ourselves are better than His gifts, the false master Money steps up. Money promises to put us in charge. With it, we can smooth the way or save the day. Don’t worry. Be happy. But God has a better plan for our lives. We were made to live for so much more. And He is more. God wants us to understand and know Him, His ‘kindness, justice and righteousness,’ for in these He delights (Jeremiah 9:24). God’s plan is to complete us.”

“Wealth becomes a curse for us when we choose it over God.” 

“In a society where we have taken independence, individual freedom, and self-love to cult status, submission is taboo. We want to be our own master. Money offers us what we want, so we love it or fear it, trading in the true God for a false one. But Jesus shows us we have it all wrong. He shows us that submission to His Father is the only way to be truly free. Free to live life to the full. The only way to live a life that matters is to find our sole purpose in Him.”

6 Quotes On Being Poor In Spirit From “The Blessing Of Humility”

The Blessing Of HumilityAs I stated in my review of Jerry Bridges’ book The Blessing Of Humility, reading through these thoughts slowly—Beatitude by Beatitude—would bring about the most life-changing impact. In that spirit, I will be sharing some noteworthy quotes one Beatitude at a time. Here are some quotes on blessed are the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3)…

“The Greek word that Jesus used for ‘poor’ is the word ptochos. It is used to describe not ordinary poverty but abject poverty. Ptochos is not like my parents struggling to make ends meet [during the Great Depression]. Rather it describes a person who is completely destitute and helpless to do anything about it.”

Spirit refers to one’s inner being, our self-awareness. Specifically here it means how we evaluate ourselves with regard to our own spiritual condition. This abject poverty of spirit comes from our awareness of our own dreadfully sinful condition.”

“In the Beatitudes Jesus is talking about the character traits of those already in the kingdom. And He says we should be poor in spirit. It should be the ongoing daily attitude of one who is growing spiritually. Believers who are growing continue to see more sin in their lives. It is not that they are sinning more; rather they are becoming more aware of and more sensitive to the sin that has been there all along. … And it is the realization that even the sins, which seems so minor in our eyes, would bring us under the wrath of God, were it not for the atoning blood of Christ shed for us on the Cross, that should cause us to be poor in spirit.”

“Those who are poor in spirit…see Christ’s blood and righteousness as their hope not only for eternity but for God’s favor each day. They groan over their sin and earnestly pursue holiness but they do not trust in their holiness. Instead they say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty’ (Luke 17:10).”

“The person who is poor in spirit has a deep, awe-filled reverence for God and His Word.”

“We live in a culture that promotes self-esteem. And I am concerned that this attitude has permeated the body of Christ. We see ourselves as better than we are. We look at sinful society around us, and we can be like the Pharisee who prayed, ‘God, I think You that I am not like other men’ (Luke 18:11).”

Quotes on the next Beatitude will be posted soon. Stay tuned…

Poetry Saturday—Some And Some More

FullSizeRender 4Some have much, and some have more,
Some are rich, and some are poor,
Some have little, some have less,
Some have not a cent to bless
Their empty pockets, yet possess
True riches in true happiness. —John Oxenham

Links & Quotes

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“Scripture is about God, God is love, therefore, if you want to learn the Scriptures, look to learn love.” —T.M. Moore

“It is remarkable that the persons in positions of power who wrote most of Israel’s Wisdom Literature did not present the poor as immoral or second-class, but as neighbors in need of mercy. On the other hand, there is never an indication that the needy are necessarily more pious; after all, poverty was never presented as an ideal of Israelite society (Deuteronomy 15:4).” —Archeological Study Bible

“Where would you have been but for grace? To repeat the old saying of John Bradford, when he saw a cartful of men going off to Tyburn to be hanged, ‘There goes John Bradford but for the grace of God.’ When you see the swearer in the street, or the drunkard rolling home at night, there are you, there am I, but for the grace of God. Who am I? What should I have been if the Lord, in mercy, had not stopped me in my mad career?” —Charles Spurgeon

[VIDEO] I hadn’t thought of it this way before, but John Maxwell says there is a healthy and unhealthy way of being defensive—

What Would Happen…?

In His StepsIn His Steps by Rev. Charles Sheldon is a timeless classic that every Christian should read (you can check out my book review by clicking here). This quote is a part of the final message that one of the main characters, Pastor Henry Maxwell, delivers at a prominent church in Chicago.

What would happen if in this city every church member should begin to do as Jesus would do? It staggers our minds to imagine the results! We all know that certain things would be impossible that are now practiced by church members. What would Jesus do in the matter of wealth? How would He spend it? How would Jesus be governed in the making of money? Would He take rentals from saloons? From tenement property? 

What would Jesus do about the great army of unemployed who tramp the streets and curse the church, or are indifferent to it, lost in the bitter struggle for the bread that tastes bitter when it is earned on account of the desperate conflict to get it? Would He say it was none of His business? 

What would Jesus do in the center of a civilization that hurries so fast after money that the girls employed in great business houses are not paid enough to keep soul and body together without fearful temptations? Where the demands of trade sacrifice hundreds of lads in a business that ignores all Christian duties toward them in the way of education and moral training and personal affection? Would Jesus, if He were here today as a part of our age and commercial industry, feel nothing, do nothing, say nothing in the face of these facts that every businessman knows?

How would you answer Pastor Maxwell’s questions?

Links & Quotes

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These are links to articles and quotes I found interesting today.

[VIDEO] Disgusting! Child Sex Trafficking Coverup At Planned Parenthood

“Don’t imagine I doubt for a moment that what God sends us must be sent in love and will all be for the best if we have grace to use it so. My mind doesn’t waver on this point; my feelings sometimes do. That’s why it does me good to hear what I believe repeated in your voice—it being the rule of the universe that others can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves and one can paddle every canoe except one’s own. That is why Christ’s suffering for us is not a mere theological dodge but the supreme case of the law that governs the whole world; and when they mocked Him by saying, ‘He saved others, Himself He cannot save,’ they were really uttering, little as they knew it, the ultimate law of the spiritual world.” —C.S. Lewis

“Christianity is the greatest intellectual system the mind of man has ever touched.” —Francis Schaeffer

[PHOTOS] Funny Doodles Of A Bored Commuter

Tim Elmore has a good word for parents: The Fine Line Between Commitment & Obsession

“Give so often and so much as a matter of course that you know more take note that you have helped the poor than that you have eaten your regular meals.” —Charles Spurgeon

‘Nuff Said

'Nuff SaidWould you like God to bless your work? Would you like Him to bless all of your work?

He said it pretty simply. There are two actions / attitudes (because the actions must be done with the right attitude) that will bring God’s blessings:

  1. Tithe on what you earn—Deuteronomy 14:28-29
  2. Help the poor—Deuteronomy 15:7-11

‘Nuff said!

14 Quotes From “Unfinished”

UnfinishedI found Unfinished by Richard Stearns to be both confrontational and motivating. You can read my full book review by clicking here. These are some of the quotes I especially appreciated from this book. Unless otherwise marked, they are quotes from Stearns—

“God created you intentionally to play a very specific role in His unfolding story. God didn’t create any extras meant to stand on the sidelines and watch the story unfold; He created players meant to be on center stage. And you will feel fully complete only when you discover the role you were born to play.”

“You don’t have to go to the Congo or to Uzbekistan to change the world. You don’t have to be brilliant to change the world—or wealthy or a spiritual giant. But you do have to say yes to the invitation. You do have to be available and willing to be used, and you may have to pay the price that comes with following Jesus because changing the world and following Jesus isn’t easy, and it doesn’t come cheap.”

“Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feel that he is ‘finding his place in it,’ while really it is finding its place in him.” —C.S. Lewis

“Yet that is exactly how many Christians view the gospel of Christ. I do a deal with God, buy the fire insurance policy, put it in my drawer, and then I can go back to the party. Sure, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go to church now and then to dip my feet into spiritual waters, and it wouldn’t hurt to pray from time to time, but, basically, with my salvation secured I can now get on with my life. This is what Dallas Willard refers to as the ‘gospel of sin-management.’”

“So we need to dispense with any notion that we can take this Jesus on our own terms, that we can simply add Him to the structure of our lives, fit Him into our plans, worship Him once a week for an hour or so, and offer Him a prayer when we find ourselves needing something. No, Jesus demands the total commitment of our lives in His service. We are called to enlist in His army and lay down every other priority in our lives at His feet. Our ambitions, our careers, our relationships, our possessions, even our families must be laid at His feet to do with as He wishes.”

“Authentic churches truly living together… offer a radically different and beguiling attractive alternative to every other model of human community.”

“God’s deepest desire is not that we would help the poor. God’s deepest desire is that we would love the poor; for if we love them, we will surely help them.”

“Love always requires tangible expression. It needs hands and feet. As followers of Christ we can too easily become overwhelmed by the complexity and depth of our Christian faith, and we can become confused by doctrine and theology. But the beautiful simplicity of our faith is that it distills down to the exact same bottom line for both the brilliant theologian and the five-year-old child: love God and love each other—period. Everything else derives from that.”

“Now, here is a really important thing to understand. If you lay down all of these things in the service of Christ and His kingdom, He won’t necessarily take them away from you. He doesn’t ask us all to quit our jobs, leave our homes, and have an estate sale to liquidate all our earthly possessions. No, He only asks that we turn all of those decisions over to Him. If you have built a business that can generate great wealth, He may leave you right there so that the business can be used to His glory and to accomplish His purposes. If you are an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, He may want you to stay put and become a kingdom builder right where you are stationed by letting your light shine in a place where a shining light may be desperately needed. If you love your community, He may use you to help transform it and reclaim it for His kingdom. He might even use your addiction as a powerful tool of His restorative power to transform human lives. But he does require that the certificates of title be signed over to Him. He becomes the owner, and we become the stewards, not of our possessions but of the Master’s possessions.”

“I am only one, but I am one;
I cannot do everything,
But I can do something.
What I can do I ought to do,
And what I ought to do
By God’s grace I will do.” —Edward Everett Hale

“Think of it this way: If we all worked for Boeing, our general calling would be to engage in the building of airplanes. But our specific calling might be to assemble the landing gear, wire and install the instruments, assemble the wings, or design the roomy and comfortable coach seats. And which of those specific tasks we were called to would be determined by the boss’s best judgment, taking into consideration our unique skills and abilities. … The same is true in building the kingdom of God. We all have the same general assignment but our specific roles within it will be unique to us as individuals and will take into account our gifts and talents but also our experience, our assets, our physical location, and our connections and associations.”

“The chief purpose of the church is to bring glory to God by accomplishing the Great Commission pronounced by Jesus. Everything else—worship, preaching, teaching, discipling, congregational care, the sacraments, feeding the hungry, caring for the poor, and so on—while valuable for us and pleasing to God in and of themselves, are ultimately means to the end of faithfully completing the assignment given to the church by Jesus just before He left.”

“Jesus envisioned these communities of believers would transform the world in which we live, much as springtime melts the cold and snow of winter and releases the exuberance of new life bursting forth. We would be drawn to the cold places, the broken places, the ragged edges of our world. We would be drawn to the open sores upon our societies: poverty, disease, hunger, injustice, and exploitation, becoming a healing balm to those who feel marginalized, excluded, and discarded. … Our generosity would astound, our determination amaze, and our love be irresistible.”

“The most important thing to remember is this: to be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become.” —W.E.B. DuBois

Gettin’ Messy

In any culture where it exists, leprosy makes its victim an outcast. People might feel bad for the afflicted, but they quickly look away. No one invites the leper to dinner, few even go to visit the leper. Shunned, closeted away, quickly forgotten.

In every culture where it exists today, pain and suffering are treated almost like leprosy. We’ll talk about the problem, pray for the victims, form organizations to address the problem, and even give money to address the issue. But few people do more.

We feel safe at a distance.

We feel sanitized if we don’t have to touch the hurting.

We feel we’ve done our part if we throw a few dollars at it.

But not Jesus. He handled the hurting … literally.

A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus. He said, “Lord, You have the power to make me well, if only You wanted to.” Jesus put His hand on the man and said, “I want to! Now you are well.” At once the man’s leprosy disappeared.

Jesus put His hand on the man. He didn’t just pray. He didn’t give money. He didn’t organize a rally to address the problem of leprosy. He touched a hurting man.

He got messy.

He conveyed love to a hurting man like nothing else could have.

Robert Shuller wisely noted, “Being a Christian is offering yourself to Him. Your mind for Christ to think through;  your heart for Christ to love through; your lips for Christ to speak through; your hands for Christ to touch through.”

What about it? Are you ready to convey the love of Christ by touching — literally — people’s problems? Nothing says “I love you” like the human touch.

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