Poetry Saturday—A Man

Edgar A. GuestA man doesn’t whine at his losses,
A man doesn’t whimper and fret,
Or rail at the weight of his crosses
And ask life to rear him a pet.
A man doesn’t grudgingly labor
Or look upon toil as a blight;
A man doesn’t sneer at his neighbor
Or sneak from a cause that is right.

A man doesn’t sulk when another
Succeeds where his efforts have failed;
Doesn’t keep all his praise for the brother
Whose glory is publicly hailed;
And pass by the weak and the humble
As though they were not of his clay;
A man doesn’t ceaselessly grumble
When things are not going his way.

A man looks on woman as tender
And gentle, and stands at her side
At all times to guard and defend her,
And never to scorn or deride.
A man looks on life as a mission.
To serve, just so far as he can;
A man holds his noblest ambition
On earth is to live as a man. —Edgar A. Guest

Thursdays With Oswald—The Value Of Temptation

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.

The Value Of Temptation

     Temptation is not sin…. Temptation is something that exactly fits the nature of the one tempted, and is therefore a great revealer of the possibilities of the nature. … A good illustration of temptation is the way steel is tested. Steel can be “tired” in the process of testing, and in this way its strength is measured. … Temptation trains innocence into character or else into corruption. … 

     If the power to disobey were removed, our obedience would be of no value, for we should cease to be morally responsible. It is gloriously possible not to sin, but never impossible to sin, because we are moral agents. Morality must be militant in this order of things, but we can be “more than conquerors” every time. …

     Spiritual life is attained…by moral choices, whereby we test the thing that presents itself to us as being good. … Health is the balance between my physical life and external nature. If the fighting force on the inside begins to dwindle or is impaired, I get diseased, things outside begin to disintegrate my vital force. … The same is true spiritually; if I have enough spiritual fighting capacity, I will produce a character like Jesus Christ’s. Character must be attained, it is never given to us.

From The Philosophy Of Sin

It is interesting to think that what tempts us is a revealer of what’s really inside of us. We need to watch carefully what is enticing us toward sin, because that will help us see the areas of weakness in our lives.

God allows temptation to occur as a means of helping us submit that area of revealed weakness to His control. Lust is wanting something my way, and sin is when I give in to that lust. What I should do instead of giving in is submit that area of weakness to Christ’s Lordship.

I can develop the same character that Jesus Christ exhibited on earth, IF I will allow the Holy Spirit to develop that “vital force” in me. The Holy Spirit doesn’t give me character, but He gives me strength to overcome temptation and thus develop that Christ-like character.

Don’t confuse temptation with sin. But don’t treat temptation lightly either. See temptation for what it really is: (1) a revealer of an area of weakness in your heart, and (2) an opportunity for you to develop Christ-like character.

Thursdays With Oswald—God’s Plan For Building Spiritual Muscles

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.

God’s Plan For Building Spiritual Muscles

     If a man has used his arm only for writing, and then becomes a blacksmith, he will groan for days with the tremendous pain in the deltoid muscle until by practice the time comes when there is no more pain because the muscle has become rightly adjusted to its new work. 

     The same thing happens spiritually, God begins to teach us how to walk and over and over again we begin to howl and complain. May God save us from the continual whine of spiritual babes—“Teach us the same things over and over again, don’t give us the revelations of God which are painful, give us the ‘simple gospel,’ what we have always believed, don’t tell us of things we have never thought about before, because that causes pain” (Hebrews 5:12). Of course it does. 

     Thank God there is a pain attached to being saved, the pain of growing until we come to maturity where we can do the work of a son or daughter of God. … 

     Look back over your life in grace, whether long or short, and ask yourself which are the days that have furthered you most in the knowledge of God—the days of sunshine and peace and prosperity? Never! The days of adversity, the days of strain, the days of sudden surprises, the days when the earthly house of this tabernacle was strained to its last limit, those are the days when you learned the meaning of this passion of “Go.” 

From The Philosophy Of Sin

The only way to build physical muscles is to push them beyond their comfort level.

The only way to build physical stamina is to run farther than you have run before.

The only way God can build our spiritual muscles—and our spiritual stamina—is to push us beyond our comfort zone, to challenge us to go deeper and farther than we’ve gone before. Don’t push Him away. God loves you too much to leave you where you are!

20 More Useful Maxims

Useful MaximsFor anyone who would like to get your message to “stick” with others—like parents, pastors, teachers, coaches, mentors—I highly recommend Useful Maxims by Brian Ridolfi. You can read my book review to get more background info on this innovative book.

I previously shared 20 useful maxims from Brian’s book, and now here is my next set of 20…

  1. Strong men do not always lift weak men, but weak men always bring down strong men. The lowest common denominator dominates.
  2. You cannot force someone to be tolerant without being intolerant toward their intolerance.
  3. Offending the truth for the sake of the offended is most offensive.
  4. Just fitting in fits in with just giving in.
  5. Prayer is a slayer. To not pray is to become prey.
  6. People aligned with good are maligned by evil.
  7. There is little success when little is involved.
  8. Better to make the last move than to make the first one.
  9. Smart men run from danger; wise men avoid it altogether. Better to prevent than to lament.
  10. Your life becomes a job whenever a job becomes your life.
  11. Those with no time to spare have no time to care.
  12. Wisdom becomes foolishness when foolishness becomes wisdom.
  13. A Christian without a Bible is like a knight without a sword.
  14. Relativists believe in relativism until they or their loved ones are victims.
  15. Vinegar is not bitter to those who have not tasted honey.
  16. Questions cannot be answered if answers cannot be questioned.
  17. Sound wisdom sounds odd in a world deaf to God.
  18. Bad entertainment entertains bad behavior.
  19. Good guys look bad when bad guys look good.
  20. To help the helpers is to help the helpless.

To read some of the other quotes from Useful Maxims that I am sharing, be sure to follow me on Twitter and on Tumblr.

20 Useful Maxims

Useful MaximsI thoroughly enjoyed reading Useful Maxims by Brian Ridolfi (check out my review of his book by clicking here). Here are 20 of Brian’s useful maxims that caught my highlighter.

  1. Going to church is good; going to God is better.
  2. Progress is not good if you are progressing in the wrong direction.
  3. Good demeanor does not validate bad behavior.
  4. Broken commandments break down integrity.
  5. The Bible’s meaning is not hidden from men; men hide from its meaning.
  6. Actions are better indicators of character than rhetoric.
  7. The indifferent make no difference.
  8. Remaining weak takes strength. It takes power not to use power.
  9. Great men step in when everyone else steps out.
  10. Moral arguments which are entirely material are entirely immaterial.
  11. Peacemakers and saltshakers dispense enrichment.
  12. A grudge will keep you deep in sludge. Points of contention are points of retention.
  13. Revenge is hard to reverse.
  14. Never put faith in people who have no faith.
  15. Everything goes when anything goes.
  16. Your sin is not just your problem.
  17. Parental neglect prompts government parenting.
  18. Where no one fears God, everyone fears man.
  19. The right battle is lost with the wrong weapon.
  20. Insecurity secures instability.

Watch for more maxims soon. Or follow me on Twitter and Tumblr to read some of Brian Ridolfi’s maxims.

6 Quotes On Commitment From “The Seven Laws Of Love”

The Seven Laws Of LoveIn The Seven Laws Of Love, Dave Willis gives us some highly practical, biblically-based counsel for investing in all of our relationships. Normally when I share quotes from books, I share all of them at once, but I felt like it would be good to share these quotes a bit more slowly, to give you time to read them and apply them.

The seven laws Dave identifies are:

  1. Love requires commitment
  2. Love selflessly sacrifices
  3. Love speaks truth
  4. Love conquers fear
  5. Love offers grace
  6. Love brings healing
  7. Love lives forever

Dave writes in the introduction to his book, “God wants love to flow through our lives like a mighty river. The laws of love are the invisible banks God has placed around love for our prosperity and protection. When our relationships live with in those boundaries, everyone involved is enriched. When we dismiss or disregard the boundaries, our relationships can quickly become unhealthy and unsustainable.”

From law #1, here are some quotes on commitment—

“God created love to be a transformative force in every aspect of our lives. … Before that can happen, though, there must be commitment. Without a real commitment, there can be no real love.”

“The strength of your commitment will always determine the strength of your relationship.”

“God brought His own Son through the lineage of a poor young woman named Ruth who understood the power of commitment in the meaning of love. God wants to create a generational impact through your life as well. The level at which you’ll make an eternal impact is defined by your level of commitment to the people God has placed in your life.” 

“Our commitment to others is evident in the consistency with which we serve them. Grand, one-time gestures can be nice, it’s what we do with consistency that will ultimately shape our relationships.”

“We’ve traded true intimacy for porn. We’ve traded committed marriages for commitment-free cohabitation. We’ve traded having children for having pets. We’ve traded meaningful conversations for text messages. We’ve traded ‘till death do us part’ for divorce. We’ve traded the pursuit of holiness for the pursuit of happiness. We’ve traded love for lust. We’ve attempted to exploit all the benefits and pleasures of love without investing the commitment and self-sacrifice that love requires.” 

“Your life and your relationships will be defined by the commitments you make and how well you keep them.”

Check out my review of The Seven Laws Of Love by clicking here.

Watch for more quotes from the other laws of love explained in this book throughout the next few days.

11 Ways To Be A Good Minister

© Lori Oxford Photography

Here are 11 ways to “be a good minister of Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 4:6)—

  1. Know the Scripture well enough to point out false doctrines (vv. 1-6a)
  2. Be a good teacher (v. 6b)
  3. Train myself to be godly (v. 7)
  4. Take care of my physical health (v. 8)
  5. Put my hope solidly in God (vv. 9, 10)
  6. Set an example worth following (vv. 11, 12)
  7. Use the Scriptures in everything I preach (v. 13)
  8. Turn my God-given gifts into strengths (v. 14)
  9. Have a good work ethic (v. 15a)
  10. Be consistently growing (v. 15b)
  11. Carefully and prayerfully evaluate my doctrine (v. 16)
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