Immeasurable!

Your value to God is immeasurable!

Jesus called satan the father of lies, that means every word he speaks is false. He uses his falsehoods to constantly slander God’s children, “For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth—the one who accuses them before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:10).

But we’re not helpless victims against the devil’s slander. The Holy Spirit reminds us of what the Word of God says, and what the God of the Word has done (John 14:26). That Word becomes our sword and shield against the slanderer, “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:10-11).

This passage from Psalm 139 is a great weapon to use against the devil whenever he slanderously calls into question your worth in God’s sight. Silence his lies and strike him down with the Truth that your value to God is immeasurable!

Thursdays With Oswald—Getting The Order Right

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.

Getting The Order Right

     Beware of walking in the spiritual life according to your natural affinities. We all have natural affinities—some people we like and others we do not; some people we get on well with and others we do not. Never let those likes and dislikes be the rule of your Christian life. “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another” [1 John 1:7], i.e., God gives us fellowship with people for whom we have no natural affinity. …  

     Our example is not a good man, not even a Christian man, but God Himself. We do not allow the big surprise of this to lay hold of us sufficiently. Jesus nowhere says, “Follow your Father which is in heaven—that you may be good men? that you may be lovable to all men?” No, “that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven” [Matthew 5:44-45], and that implies a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ. …  

     It takes a long time to get the full force of our Lord’s statements. “I say unto you, love your enemies”—an easy thing to do when you have no enemies; an impossible thing when you have. “Bless them that curse you”—easy when no one is cursing you, but impossible when someone is. “Do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you.” It seems easy to do all this when we have no enemies, when no one is cursing or persecuting us; but if we have an enemy who slanders and annoys and systematically vexes us, and we read Jesus Christ’s statement “I say to you, Love your enemies”—how are we going to do it? Unless Jesus Christ can remake us within, His teaching is the biggest mockery human ears ever listened to. …

     “I say unto you, love your enemies.” Jesus does not say, “Love every one.” The Bible never speaks vaguely, it always speaks definitely. People speak about loving “mankind,” and loving “the heathen”; Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” Our Lord does not say, “Bless your enemies,” He says, “Love your enemies.” He does not say, “Love them that curse you”; He says, “Bless them that curse you.” “Do good to them that hate you”—not bless them. He does not say, “Do good to them that despitefully use you”; He says, “Pray for them that despitefully use you.” Each one of these commands is stamped with sheer impossibility to the natural man. If we reverse the order Jesus has given it can be done with strain, but in His order I defy any man on earth to be able to do it unless he has been regenerated by God the Holy Ghost. When a man does love his enemies, he knows that God has done a tremendous work in him, and everyone else knows it too. 

From Studies In The Sermon On The Mount

It’s impossible to do what Jesus commands if we’re trying to do it solely in our own strength. But when we allow the Holy Spirit to remake us from within, we can do what Jesus says:

  • If someone is your enemy—love them.
  • If someone persecutes you—pray for them. 
  • If someone curses you—bless them.
  • If someone hates you—do good to them. 

When we operate this way, we know that God has made this possible in us—and everyone else knows it too!

Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty (book review)

Ty Cobb was baseball’s first superstar and its first inductee into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Yet when most people think of him, they think of a racist jerk. Was he? Charles Leerhsen unpacks Ty Cobb’s life in an outstanding biography entitled Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty.

Leerhsen himself initially believed all the negative reports about Cobb. He wrote:

“When I started researching this book I believed, like a lot of people, that Ty Cobb was a maniac, meaning a racist and a mean, spikes-sharpening son of a bitch. This was not a professional opinion based on knowledge; it was an assumption based on stories I’d been hearing all my life. People said it in bars; Ken Burns said it in his baseball documentary, so it must be true—that sort of thing. That I’d come to this conclusion without investigating the matter myself made the myth more, not less, powerful for me. … The experience [of researching and writing this book] taught me a lesson about how assumptions can shape our thinking, and hence our lives. Just because you’ve heard something a thousand times doesn’t mean it’s true.”

As Leerhsen began meticulously going through the real-time daily accounts of Cobb’s life, when he began reviewing original source material, all his preconceived ideas about Ty Cobb began to melt away. Leerhsen discovered that an opportunistic journalist named Al Stump almost wholly made up the derogatory claims about Cobb from unnamed sources. And as the cliche goes, the bad stuff is easier to believe than the good stuff, so the lies about Cobb stuck.

Ty Cobb was a phenomenal baseball star. He set 90 Major League records in his career, and he still holds the records for:

  • Combined runs scored and runs batted in (4065)
  • Highest career batting average (.366)
  • Most batting titles (11)
  • Most steals of home (54)
  • Stealing second, third, and home in succession (5) … once he did that on consecutive pitches!
  • The youngest player to compile 4000 hits and score 2000 runs

Not only does Leerhsen rebut all of the lies about Cobb, but he uncovers the life of a man who almost singlehandedly made Major League Baseball the national pastime that it became.

There’s also a great lesson to be learned here—never judge someone by what “they” say, but get the facts for yourself!

All baseball fans—and especially Detroit Tigers fans like me—will thoroughly enjoy this book.

Tuning Out Enemies

“…they thought to do me harm”Nehemiah

Nehemiah had enemies on almost every side as he attempted to complete his work (the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem). Check out his enemies’ strategy and his response to them—

Enemy’s tactic #1—Get Nehemiah preoccupied with attending meaningless meetings.

Nehemiah’s response—“I’m doing a great work; I can’t come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down to see you?”

Enemy’s tactic #2—Send out letters slandering Nehemiah.

Nehemiah’s response—“There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.” Then he prayed, “God, give me strength.”

Enemy’s tactic #3—Try to scare Nehemiah into running away.

Nehemiah’s response—“Should someone in my position run from danger? I know that God wouldn’t like that.”

Nehemiah had a vision from God and he stayed focused on that.

  • It determined his priority
  • It set his daily agenda
  • It gave him discernment
  • It gave him courage

The result: “When all our enemies heard [that we had completed our project]…they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.”

A mark of a godly leader is one so focused on God’s plan that he pays no attention to his critics or enemies.

This is Part 7 in my series on godly leadership. To read my other posts, please click here.

Craig Groeschel On Online Gossip

#strugglesI love technology! I love how social media and my iPhone can keep me in touch with family and friends. But one of the dark sides to this easy access to technology is the ease with which people can gossip—or even slander!—people publicly online. In his book #struggles, Craig Groeschel has some good counsel for avoiding gossip.

“God is crystal clear on how He feels about gossip. Solomon said, ‘There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him…a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community’ (Proverbs 6:16, 19). What a perfect way to describe a gossip: ‘A false witness who pours out lies,’ and someone who ‘stirs up conflict in the community.’ God hates that.”

“The people being gossiped about hate it, and God hates it. So before you post, comment, or link, consider three sets of questions to keep yourself gossip-free online.

  1. Is what I’m about to say helpful or hurtful? Will this build others up or tear them down? What’s my intention behind what I’m about to type? [Ephesians 4:29]
  2. Am I making private matters public? Am I about to share something that would be better handled privately? [Proverbs 11:12-13]
  3. Am I permitting—maybe even encouraging—others to gossip? It’s not only wrong to dish it out; it’s also wrong to eat it up. Notice that this verse [Proverbs 17:4] doesn’t say that only gossipers are wrongdoers. No, it says wrongdoers are also those who ‘listen to gossip.’ It’s not just wrong to spread gossip; it’s wrong to consume it. Why? Because what you permit, you promote.”

You can read my review of #struggles by clicking here. I have also posted other quotes from this book here and here.

Links & Quotes

link quote

“The busyness of duties will knock us out of relationship to God more quickly than the devil.” —Oswald Chambers

“The moment I come into possession of something which my neighbor or my fellow man has not, I become a debtor to that fellow man! … It is to God, then, that in the first place Paul feels himself an infinite debtor in the fullest sense [Romans 1:14]. To God Himself he cannot pay this debt directly, but he can indirectly, by pouring out the God-given treasure upon others.” —Horatius Bonar

“To lose temper, and call names, is a common sign of a defeated cause. … The true Christian in the present day must never be surprised to find that he has constant trials to endure from this quarter. Sinful human nature never changes. So long as he serves the world, and walks in the broad way, little perhaps will be said against him. Once let him take up the cross and follow Christ, and there is no lie too monstrous, and no story too absurd, for some to tell against him, and for others to believe. But let him take comfort in the thought that he is only drinking the cup which his blessed Master drank before him. The lies of his enemies do him no injury in heaven, whatever they may on earth. Let him bear them patiently, and not fret, or lose his temper. When Christ was reviled, ‘He reviled not again’ (1 Peter 2:23). Let the Christian do likewise.” —J.C. Ryle

I like hearing this: Senator Ted Cruz points out how Congress can end abortion without the Supreme Court.

Rev. Tim Dilena shares a video message of how to finish well: Fighting The Reprehensible Thing.

Are you infringing on someone’s copyright? Check out this infographic from ChurchMag.

Links & Quotes

link quote

“Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The temptation to quit is huge. Don’t. You are in good company…. You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible. He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope!” —John Piper

In another post, John Piper writes, “Christianity means change is possible. Deep, fundamental change. It is possible to become tender-hearted when once you were callous and insensitive. It is possible to stop being dominated by bitterness and anger. It is possible to become a loving person no matter what your background has been.” Read more in You Are Not Enslaved To Your Past.

“The depravity of man is on full display in the press as powerful and wicked people now openly suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” Check out this post on media distortion and disinformation.

Mental illness impacts so many people! Are we in the church handling it correctly? Check out 10 misconceptions about mental illness and faith.

“Remember, the more a person uses porn, the greater the amount and explicitness required to achieve the same level of satisfaction. This means more women and children are becoming commodities in this industry—and being forced to do these things we deem now as ‘disgusting.’ Studies prove that for some regular porn users, pornographic acts they found disgusting in the past now turn them on. And as you can imagine, it’s harder for the so-called ‘legit’ porn producers to hire people to do those extreme things. It’s much easier—and less expensive—for people to be kidnapped, devalued, dehumanized, and turned into nothing more than sex slaves.” —Anne Miller

[VIDEO] Rabbi Joseph Telushkin has some challenging words for us about how we speak about others—

[VIDEO]

The Dead Reckoning guys refute Bill Nye (the Science Guy) on his abortion claims—

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