Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Getting Through The TOUGH STUFF

One of my favorite writers, Charles Swindoll, has written a wonderful book, Getting Through The TOUGH STUFF. He lists fourteen stuff items especially for men and spends a chapter on each. Some of the topics covered include temptation, anxiety, doubt, remarriage, pain, hypocrisy, and death. I trust the quotes below will challenge you.

I'm convinced that most of us are rarely tempted in the area of our weaknesses but far more often in the areas of our strengths. I'm not the first to point that out. One man writes,
We must always remember that again and again we are tempted through our gifts. The person who is gifted with charm will be tempted to use that charm "to get away with anything." The person who is gifted with the power of words will be tempted to use his command of words to produce glib excuses to justify his own conduct. That person with a vivid and sensitive imagination will undergo agonies of temptation that a more stoic person will never experience. The person with great gifts of mind will be tempted to use these gifts for himself, and not for others, to become the master and not the servant of men. It is the grim fact of temptation that it is just where we are strongest that we must be forever on the watch. pp. 5-6

Among your circle of friends, be certain you have a few who care less for your comfort than they do for your character. p. 117

If some of our children spoke to their dads as we talk to God, we'd laugh out loud. "Oh, great, delightful, good, and loving earthly father. What is it thou dost wish me to do?" Good grief. p. 163

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Friday, December 25, 2009

The Power of Desperation

From the Pastor of the church that made the film, Facing the Giants, Senior Pastor, Michael Catt has written several books. He is a wonderful writer. This book, The Power of Desperation, is jammed pack with valuable truths! Please read and apply the quotes below.

Desperation is a powerful force. Desperation focuses our attention and energies on the things that count. p. xi

"Desperation now precedes revelation," my now-deceased friend, Manley Beasley, was accustomed to saying. "When you're desperate, God may finally have your attention." p. xii

God cannot bless us until he has us. When we try to keep within us an area that is our own, we try to keep an area of death. Therefore, in love, he claims all. There's no bargaining with him. - C.S. Lewis p. 5

"A glimpse of Jesus will save you, but to gaze at him will sanctify you." - Manley Beasley p. 16

"The grace, the groans and the glory are all part of the eternal purpose. Where there is no groaning, there is no growing now, nor glory to come." - Vance Havner p. 19

Remember that the Lord your God led you on the entire journey these 40 years in the wilderness, so that He might humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. - Deuteronomy 8:2 p. 19

The wilderness can indeed be a productive time. Sufferings have their purpose. They drive us to desperation and prayer. p. 31

Isn't that true of many believers? They are delivered from sin, but somehow they are never delivered from self. They are set free from their past, but they live in failure and defeat in their present. They stop seeking. They settle, get comfortable, and lose their passion and purpose. They become "good" Christians with little impact for the kingdom. Wandering in circles, they mindlessly move from home to school, to career, to retirement, to glory, but they never make a real difference. p. 32

He earned a B.N. (Be Nothing) degree in the seminary of suffering and sheepherding. Faith works best when there is no natural hope. God speaks best when all other voices are silenced. p.34

The hardest part of the wilderness experience is seeing what's really in our hearts. God removes the facades. He cares nothing about how great our peers say we are. He knows the truth, and He reveals it to us. He uses the dust and desert to expose our hearts and our motives. "Remember that the Lord your God led you on the entire journey these 40 years in the wilderness, so that He might humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands." (Deut. 8:2, italics added). p. 34

"We will never crave to e filled until we are convinced we are empty." - John Blanchard p. 43

I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and width, height and depth, and to know the Messiah's love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19 p. 43

PUSH: Pray until something happens. p. 51

"The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith. The two are opposite sides of the same coin." - A.W. Tozer p. 67

This is how we know that we love God's children when we love God and obey His commands. For this is what love for God is: to keep His commands. 1 John 5:2-3 p. 67

And to whom did He swear they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:18-19 NASB) p. 70

In verse 18, he says they couldn't enter because of disobedience; in verse 19, he says unbelief was the cause. Well, which was it -- disobedience or unbelief? It was both. For obedience and faith are two sides of the same coin. You act on what you believe and you obey whom you trust. p. 79

If He were to explain how everything works out, then faith and obedience wouldn't be required.

  • God told Noah to build a boat and spend 120 years doing so, even though it had never rained.
  • God told Moses to cross the Red Sea and walk across on dry land. But it's hard to believe God can part the waters until you stand back and see the salvation of God.
  • God told the Israelites to follow the ark into the Jordan. Then, and only then, would it dry up and permit them to cross.
  • God told Joshua and the people of Israel to merely walk around Jericho and sound the trumpets, and the walls would fall.
  • God told David to conquer the formidable Goliath with a few smooth stones and a slingshot.
  • God told Mary she would give birth to the Son of God, even though she had never been with a man.
  • And God continues to do impossible things through ordinary people. pp. 83 - 84
"I will never despair, because I have a God; I will never presume, because I am but a man." - Owen Feltham p. 89

God, you are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for you in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water. - Psalm 63:1 pg. 89

God isn't pushing me to fix it; He's pushing me to faith it. p. 90

Admitting we can't is the first step toward admitting He can. p. 90

We must remember that God uses the wilderness to get our undivided attention. And to write songs in our heart whose lyrics can only be discovered in despair. p. 97

God takes the old clay and starts working it to make it into a new and usable vessel. While we tend to throw away broken vases and call them junk. God throws away the unbroken items and calls them useless. It's our willingness to be broken and remade that allows us to fully experience all God has for us. p. 115

The vessel in Jeremiah's prophecy was marred, but it as in the hand of the potter, so there was still hope for it. The potter didn't quite. God has taken vessels just like you and me -- marred and flawed as we are -- and used us in great and mighty ways. "He made it into another jar," a useful vessel. God is not finished with you. He does not view failure as final. p. 116

Nothing can touch us until it has passed through the will of God. "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper" (Isa. 54:17 KJV). God has a plan for my life. God is working according to a fixed, eternal purpose. p. 118

What we might see as marring, God sees as an opportunity to form us into His image. What we may see as problems are in fact possibilities for God to work in us. p. 118

But if the potter's work is to be permanent, the vessel must go through the fire. In the fire the vessel is strengthened and made useful. Some of the greatest moments of our lives turn out to be the times when we are broken, molded, and reshaped by the Lord. Painful times cause us to cry out to God, and there we find Him, sitting, working, molding, and making us into His likeness. pp. 118 - 119

"God does not witness to the world by taking his people out of suffering, but rather by demonstrating his grace through them in the midst of pain." - C. Samuel Storms p. 121

He renews my life; He leads me along the right paths for His name's sake. Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff -- they comfort me. Psalm 23:3-4 p. 121

It is well known that the Chinese symbol for the word crisis represents both opportunity and danger. Pain and suffering may bring danger, but they also bring an opportunity for maturity and growth. p. 129

We cannot let the folks whose motto is "You can't do that" run our lives. p. 131

  • Dr. Seuss's first book was rejected by twenty-three publishers. When he finally found a publisher, his first book alone sold six million copies.
  • Vince Lombardi didn't become a head coach in the NFL until he was forty-seven, and now the Super Bowl trophy is named after him.
  • During their first year of business, Coca-Cola only sold four hundred Cokes.
  • During the depression, Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts had trouble getting anyone to join the Augusta National Golf Club. They tried to sell houses and build a subdivision around the course to help pay for it.
  • In the first three years in the automobile business, Henry Ford when bankrupt twice.
  • Michelangelo spent seven years lying on his back to paint the Sistine Chapel.
  • After years of unsuccessful experiments, imprisonment for debt, and ridicule from family and friends, Charles Goodyear finally developed a type of rubber that would not be affected by temperature extremes.
  • NBA great Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
  • Archie Manning's dad committed suicide, and Archie was the one who found him dead. He almost gave up football at Ole Miss.
  • In 1905 the University of Bern rejected Albert Einstein's Ph.D. dissertation.
  • Abraham Lincoln failed at most of his attempts in business and politics.
  • John Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim's Progress during a long stay in prison.
  • The official church rejected Martin Luther.
  • John Knox is buried under a parking lot.
  • Joseph made it to Pharaoh's palace by way of both the pit and prison.
  • Moses experienced forty years in the desert before he led God's people out of Egypt.
  • David ran for his life for years before finally becoming king of Israel.
  • Jeremiah was the weeping prophet.
  • The apostle Paul had enough scars to make any man want to quit.
  • Today the church is growing in Muslim countries despite incredible opposition and persecution. While American Christianity seems to be declining, the persecuted church is prospering. pp. 132 - 134
When Jesus is in sight, the impossible becomes a Him-possible. p. 136

"There can be no hope without faith in Christ, for hope is rooted in him alone. Faith without hope would, by itself, be empty and futile." - Ernst Hoffmann p. 139

Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put you hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God. . . . The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night -- a prayer to the God of my life. Psalm 42:5, 8 p. 139

It's easy to come to church, fellowship with believers, and never touch Jesus. We can be in the crowd and never really be part of the congregation. We can sing songs but never worship. We can take notes on sermons, and never apply the Word to our hearts. Attendance doesn't mean we're paying attention. I believe Jesus is passing by the aisles of our churches every Sunday, looking for people who are desperate for Him. Unfortunately most of us miss Him because we aren't really desperate to worship and adore the Lord of glory. pp. 155 - 156

"Unbelief makes the world a moral desert, where no divine footsteps are heard, where no angels ascend and descend, where no living hand adorns the fields, feeds the birds of the heaven, or regulates events." -- F.W. Krummacher p.g 159

Then Jesus said to him, "If You can?" Everything is possible to the one who believes." Immediately the father of the boy cried out, "I do believe! Help my unbelief." Mark 9:23 - 24 p. 159

Let's be honest with ourselves. The average church doesn't want Jesus to be there. We don't want the kind of people that Jesus attracted: sinners, prostitutes, the demon-possessed, tax collectors, outcasts of society. We like to sit in our nice, neat circles in our folding chairs, having our little theological discussions about everything from predestination to who will care for all the pets left behind at the rapture. Are we not, in fact and in practice, an unbelieving generation? We hear stories of power in other places around the world, but where is the power of God in the American church? Where's the church that is doing things that cannot be explained apart from the infusion of Holy Spirit power in the life and breath of the body of Christ? p. 167

Jesus tells them to do what we must do as well. "Bring him to Me!" Whatever the situation, take it to Jesus. No issue is too great, no need too small for Jesus. Take your family, your prodigal, your broken marriage, your desperate situation to the Savior. Throw yourself at His mercy, and see Him while He may be found. p. 167

"We can never be blessed until we learn that we can bring nothing to Christ but our need." - Vance Havner p. 179

Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken. My salvation and glory depend on God; my strong rock, my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is our refuge. - Psalm 62:5 - 8 p. 179

"The grand design of God in all the afflictions that befall his people is to bring them nearer and closer to himself." - Thomas Brooks p. 215

Lord, I call You; my rock, do not be deaf to me. If You remain silent to me, I will be like those going down to the Pit. Listen to the sound of my pleading when I cry to You for help, when I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary. -- Psalm 28: 1 - 2 p. 215

One reason many people are unwilling to be broken is because they know the price of everything and the value of nothing. God has a different set of scales, and He weighs by different measures. Nothing offends religious people more than someone showing them up, especially when that person is sincere. p. 223

To stand before an audience of One, you have to come knowing you are nothing and that He alone is worthy of praise. p. 223

We may not think much of giving a cup of cold water or of visiting someone in prison, but Jesus does. He notices the small things that pass the attention of the casual onlooker. He watches the treasury and sees the widow's mite. He sees the prayer made in secret. We may not know until eternity how our afflictions, brokenness, and sacrifices were used to further the gospel. p. 227

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Game Plan for Life

Joe Gibbs asked eleven of his friends to help write this book. The friends include: Josh McDowell, Ken Boa, John C. Lennox, Ravi Zacharias, Charles Colson, Don Meredith, Ron Blue, Os Guinness, Walt Larimore, Tony Evans, Randy Alcorn. Gibbs and friends covers topics that are important to all men. My wonderful wife stood in a line at the Charlotte Lifeway bookstore to have my copy signed by Joe Gibbs himself. Joe coached the Washington Redskins to several Super Bowls and has had several successful NASCAR racing teams. He now lives here in Charlotte. I know anyone that reads this book will be blessed. Enjoy!

We must care for our bodies as though we were going to live forever, but we must care for our souls as if we are going to die tomorrow. p. 23

This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord. p. 33

The concept of stewardship appears often throughout the Bible. Stewardship is more than just giving a certain percentage of our income to the church or other ministries. The biblical concept is that God owns everything and we are temporary managers of what He has allowed us to have. If you agree that all we have is from God's hand, you'll quickly grasp my definition of stewardship: Biblical stewardship is the use of God-given gifts and resources (time, talent, treasure, truth, relationships) for the accomplishment of God-given goals. p. 189

If it's true that God owns it all, then He has the right to whatever He wants, whenever He wants it. It's all His. Owners have rights; stewards have only responsibilities. p. 190

The second implication of God's ownership of everything is that not only is our giving a spiritual decision, but every spending choice is a spiritual decision. p. 190

To help you on this journey, I have created an evaluation tool that allows you to examine your four health wheels. www.Dr p.244

The one who dies with the most toys is still dead. p. 254

First, there the highway of passion. p. 259

Second, there's the highway of abilities. p. 259

Third, there's the highway of personality. p. 259

Fourth, there's the highway of experience. p. 259

So don't despair because life has been unfair. God knows how to take your good, your bad, and your ugly and use them for His purpose in your life. p. 260

Fifth, there's the highway of opportunity. p. 260

Christians are not in the land of the living on our way to the land of the dying. We are in the land of the dying on our way to the land of the living. p. 261

God wants to write your eulogy as well. Despite all our activities, honors, and recognition, God desires our hearts. He wants men who will function according to His design and influence their generation for Him because they are committed, above anything else, to doing His will. p. 261

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The Treasure Principle

The little book, The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorn is a helpful book that helps and reminds me how to handle money. I trust the quotes below will challenge you to treat your money as God's.

A steward manages assets for the owner's benefit. The steward carries no sense of entitlement to the assets he manages. It's his job to find out what the owner wants done with his assets, then carry out his will. p. 25

Nothing makes a journey more difficult than a heavy backpack filled with nice but unnecessary things. Pilgrims travel light. p. 53

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God Came Near

Max Lucado's God Came Near is a wonderful devotional book. I trust you will enjoy the quote below.

Christianity, in its purest form, is nothing more than seeing Jesus. Christian service, in its purest form, is nothing more than imitating Him who we see. To see His Majesty and to imitate Him, that is the sum of Christianity. p. 13

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jesus Loves Me

This is the first Calvin Miller book I have read. I enjoyed it. He wrote this book based on the song, "Jesus Loves Me." Very interesting and also helps and reminds you how much Jesus really loves us. I trust you will enjoy the quotes.

Jesus Loves Me

Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.

Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven's gate to open wide!
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in

Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way,
If I love Him when I die
He will take me home on high.

Anna B. Warner, 1860

But why is life so hard? Could it be because we work so hard to stay in charge of it. p. 50

Roosevelt wrote in 1899:
It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done then better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who does actually try to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. pp. 50-51

Self-sufficiency isolates our need from God's supply. Better we should approach God with empty bowls, begging him to fill our insufficiency. "We are weak, but He is strong." p. 124

Confess to God, "Lord, I suffer from an inferiority complex," and you will hear God reply, "Well, of course you do. That's because you are inferior. If you want to be all you can be, trust me and let me fill you with my power. Once I fill your life, you will not be able to feel inferior; all your insufficiency will have been filled with my sufficiency." p. 140

A second way the cross is presented is wearing the letters "I.H.S" -- an abbreviation for In Hoc Signo (Vinces) or "By this sign (the cross) you will conquer." p. 153

King Jesus! When I say these words I confess I am a servant. Greatness, perhaps even fame, rarely originates in either heredity or environment. It is born when I catch a view of what I can do or am willing to become often by serving Christ in the most mundane of circumstances.

But I must not see myself as special. To do so is to deny Christ's total control of my life. The most extraordinary people never saw themselves as great. In fact many of them struggle against a negative group opinion. Albert Einstein for instance, didn't talk till he was four years old and he didn't start to read till he was seven. One of his teachers labeled him as "mentally slow, unsociable and adrift in his foolish dreams." Thomas Edison was considered "too stupid to learn anything," said some of his teachers. The rookie coach Vince Lomardi was said to possess minimal football knowledge and to lack motivation. Walt Disney was fired by a local newspaper because he had a "lack of fresh ideas."

What is it that changed these ordinary souls into icons of heroism? Their inner view was strong enough to stand against their belittling critics. p. 155

Solitude gives God a mouth by making us an ear. p. 195

But in the cross Jesus not only said, "Lo, I am with you always." What he really said was, "Lo, I am with you regardless!" p. 207

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Noticer

Someone loaned me the book,The Noticer by Andy Andrews. What an excellent, encouraging book. I'm only listing a few quotes, but I know this would be a good book for everyone to read.

"Think with me here . . . everyone wants to be on the mountaintop, but if you'll remember, mountaintops are rocky and cold. There is no growth on the top of a mountain. Sure, the view is great, but what's a view for? view just gives us a glimpse of our next destination - our next target. But to hit that target, we must come off the mountain, go through the valley, and begin to climb the next slope. It is in the valley that we slog through the lush grass and rich soil, learning and becoming what enables us to summit life's next peak." p. 8

"Here's the connection," Jones said. "One way to define wisdom is the ability to see, into the future, the consequences of your choices in the present. That ability can give you a completely different perspective on what the future might look like. p. 65

"Five seagulls are sitting on a dock. One of them decides to fly away. How many seagulls are left?"
"Well . . . four."
"No," Jones responded. "There are still five. Deciding to fly away and actually flying away are two very different things."
"Listen carefully to me. Despite popular belief to the contrary, there is absolutely no power in intention. The seagull may intend to fly away, may decide to do so, may talk with the other seagulls about how wonderful it s to fly, but until the seagull flaps his wings and takes to the air, he is still on the dock. There's no difference between that gull and all the others. Likewise there is no difference in the person who intends to do things differently and the one who never thinks about it in the first place. Have you ever considered how often we judge ourselves by our intentions while we judge others by their actions? Yet intention without action is an insult to those who expect the best from you. 'I intended to bring you flowers, but I didn't.' 'I meant to finish this work on time.' 'I was going to be there for your birthday . . .'" p. 111

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What the Bible Says About Angels

Another great book about Angels. David Jeremiah does a wonderful job in teaching about angels in his book, What the Bible Says About Angels. I trust you will enjoy the quotes below:

  • The Bible gives no indication angels will respond if we pray directly to them for help. p. 18
  • In fact in Scripture we don't find any instances of people even asking God to send them an angel's protection. And the only person in Scripture who tried persuading someone else to seek help form an angel was Satan, who quoted an Old Testament verse about angelic protection while tempting Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:6). p. 18
  • Scripture gives no basis for assuming angles will serve and help non-Christians. The Bible describes angels as "ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation." (Hebrews 1:14). p. 18
  • The only sufficient aim in a study of angels: that you might draw closer to God. p. 25
  • Notice the proportion: Four wings for worship and only two for work - twice as much attention to being in God's presence as compared to carrying out other responsibilities. It seems like we today often reverse his ratio. We would do well to be more like the seraphim. p. 147
  • Apparently angels and believers alike all have their own perfect jobs in carrying out God's perfect will. p. 153
  • Some worship, rightfully stressing the joy and confidence that the believer has in relationship to a loving heavenly Father, goes beyond that point to an excessive familiarity treating him as an equal, or worse yet, as a servant.... While there are room and need for enthusiasm of expression, and perhaps even an exuberance, that should never lead to a loss of respect. There will always be a sense of awe and wonder.... Although there are love and trust and openness between us and God, we are not equals. He is the almighty, sovereign Lord. We are his servants and followers. (M.J. Erickson) p. 173
  • Mature believers know that a heart full of thanksgiving is the most fertile soil for freedom in worship. But offering thanks isn't reserved just for redeemed mankind. We see the twenty-four elders demonstrating this for us in 11:16-17. They fall on their faces and say,
We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. p. 176
  • Again and again in the Scriptures we see this pattern: Those who are given the privilege of a direct visible or audible ministry from angels are those with mature hearts who want to encounter God---not angles. p. 192
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Saturday, August 1, 2009


In preparation for Sunday School I am reading a few books about angels. Billy Graham's book is a classic. I trust will enjoy the quotes below:

Yes, there are angels in our very midst-but not all supernatural forces are good, and not all angels are from God. Paul warns that "Satan transforms himself into an angel of light" and he deceives many people-including many spiritual leaders. p. xii

Some biblical scholars believe that angels can be numbered potentially in the millions since Hebrews 12:22 speaks of "an innumerable [myriads-a great but indefinite number] company of angels." p. 32

But no matter what the traditions, our frame of reference must be the Scripture as our supreme authority on this subject. p. 36

While angels may become visible by choice, our eyes are not constructed to see them ordinarily any more than we can see the dimensions of a nuclear field, the structure of atoms, or the electricity that flows through copper wiring. Our ability to sense reality is limited: The deer of the forest far surpass our human capacity in their keenness of smell. Bats possess a phenomenally sensitive built-in radar system. Some animals can see things in the dark that escape our attention. Swallows and geese possess sophisticated guidance systems that appear to border on the supernatural. So why should we think it strange if men fail to perceive the evidences of angelic presence? p. 37

After all, the Scriptures mention their [angels] existence almost three hundred times. p. 45

At the same time, both angels and the Holy Spirit are at work in our world to accomplish God's perfect will. Frankly, we may not always know the agent or means God is using-the Holy Spirit or the angels-when we discern God's hand at work. We can be sure, however, that there is no contradiction or competition between God the Holy Spirit and God's command of the angelic hosts. God Himself is in control to accomplish His will-and in that we can rejoice. p. 48

The holy angels will never die. The Bible also teaches that angels are sexless. p. 52

We cannot study the subject of angels in the Bible without becoming aware of ranks among angelic beings. The evidence shows that they are organized in terms of authority and glory. Though some see the ranking of celestial powers as conjectural, it seems to follow this pattern: archangels, angels, seraphim, cherubim, principalities, authorities, powers, thrones, might, and dominion (Colossians 1:16; Romans 8:38). p. 79

While Scripture designates only Michael as an archangel (Jude 9), we have biblical grounds for believing that before his fall Lucifer was also an archangel, equal or perhaps superior to Michael. The prefix "arch" suggests a chief, principal or great angel. Thus, Michael is now the angel above all angels, recognized in rank to be the first prince of heaven. p. 80

Gabriel, in Hebrew, means "God's hero," or "the mighty one," or "God is great." p. 82

Gabriel is primarily God's messenger of mercy and promise. He appears four times in the Bible, always bearing good news (Daniel 8:16, 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26). p.82

The word seraphim may come from the Hebrew root meaning "love" (though some think the word means "burning ones" or "nobles"). p. 85

The ministry of the seraphim is to praise the name and character of God in heaven. Their ministry relates directly to God and His heavenly throne, because they are positioned above the throne - unlike the cherubim, who are beside it. pp. 85-86

The Scriptures do not, however, support the common belief that all angels have wings. p. 86

God's angels often protect His servants from potential enemies. Consider 2 Kings 6:14-17. The king of Syria had dispatched his army to Dothan, learning that Elisha the prophet was there. Upon dressing in the morning, the prophet's helper exclaimed excitedly to Elisha that the surrounding countryside bristled with armies and implements of war. Elisha assured him, "Don't be afraid!...our army is bigger than theirs" (verse 16, TLB). Elisha then prayed that God would open the eyes of the young man to see the hosts of protective angels: as He did so, the young man "could see horse and chariots of fire everywhere on the hills surrounding the city."This passage has been one of the great assurances and comforts to me in my ministry. pp. 135-136

Some believe strongly that each Christian may have his own guardian angel assigned to watch over him or her. This guardianship possibly begins in infancy, for Jesus said, "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven" (Matthew 18:10). pp. 136-137

The most important characteristic of angels is not that they have power to exercise control over our lives, or that they are beautiful, but that they work on our behalf. They are motivated by an inexhaustible love for God and are jealous to see that the will of God in Jesus Christ is fulfilled in us. p. 137

"There are many times when God withdraws to test your faith. He wants you to trust Him in the darkness. Now, Son, reach up by faith in the fog and you will find that His hand will be there." p. 147

In the same way any evangelistic ministry sounds the note of urgency concerning the gospel. We have no time to waste because we can never claim this moment. We may never have a second chance to witness if we neglect the first. p. 185

Satan always directs his sharpest attack at his victim's weakest point. He knows where the Achilles heel may be and he does not fail to strike at the opportune time. p. 192

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Justice Game

Another fiction book, Randy Singer's, The Justice Game, has one section I need to quote. If you enjoy Christian fiction then this would be an excellent read for you. Randy Singer is the lawyer that was involved in the lawsuit involving the shooting at Atlantic Shores Christian School. Not only was he the lawyer, but his wife taught at the school and his children attended. The incident happened on December 16, 1988. Although this book is not about that particular incident, it was the basis for this book. Below is a quote that touched by heart:

She walked toward the beach and collapsed on her knees in the ankle-deep water. She stayed there for a minute, trying to catch her breath. How close had she been to dying? How many more minutes could she have fought the tide?

She knew God had snatched her out of danger. In a private moment that no one else would share or comprehend, He had rescued her. But only after she had quit fighting against the riptide. Only when she had been ready to give up and let the powerful ocean claim its victim. That's when she had felt Him move.

Kneeling in the sand, she thought about some verses her dad had often quoted. The words of Jesus, though Kelly couldn't remember when or where. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?

The whole world-a law career, a reputation, national fame.

What do you benefit if you gain the whole world and lose your soul?

To her horror, Kelly realized how much she had been toying with that bargain. Her pride and her shame had driven her away from God. She had been swimming against the need for repentance and reconciliation, trying to curry His favor with her crusades when what she really needed was mercy and acceptance.

Kneeling there in the sand, she asked God to forgive her. p. 325

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The Case for Christ

I finally read Lee Strobel's book, The Case for Christ. All I can say is wow! It is a well written book for both believers and non-believers. He ask the hard questions and makes the case for a true living, dying, and resurrected Christ. He shows historically through eyewitnesses, documentary, corroborating evidence, scientific evidence, rebuttal evidence, identity evidence, psychological evidence, etc. He interviewed experts in each field to get this information, using his journalism degree. If this sounds like a lawyer it may be because Lee has a law degree. I trust you will enjoy the quotes and will purchase the book.

What criteria did they use in determining which documents would be included in the New Testament?

Basically, the early church had three criteria. First, the books must have apostolic authority-that is, they must have been written either by apostles themselves, who were eyewitnesses to what they wrote about, or by followers of apostles. So in the case of Mark and Luke, while they weren't among the twelve disciples, early tradition has it that Mark was a helper of Peter, and Luke was an associate of Paul

Second, there was the criterion of conformity to what was called the rule of faith. That is, was the document congruent with the basic Christian tradition that the church recognized as normative? And third, there was the criterion of whether a document had had continuous acceptance and usage by the church at large. p. 66

Let's pretend we didn't have any of the New Testament or other Christian writings. Even without them, what would we be able to conclude about Jesus from ancient non-Christian sources, such as Josephus, the Talmud, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, and others?

We would still have a considerable amount of important historical evidence; in fact, it would provide a kind of outline for the life of Jesus.

We would know that first, Jesus was a Jewish teacher; second, many people believed that he performed healings and exorcisms; third, some people believed he was the Messiah; fourth, he was rejected by the Jewish leaders; fifth, he was crucified under Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius; sixth, despite this shameful death, his followers, who believed that he was still alive, spread beyond Palestine so that there were multitudes of them in Rome by A.D. 64; and seventh, all kinds of people from the cities and countryside-men and women, slave and free-worshiped him as God. p. 87

Dr. James Strange of the University of South Florida is an expert on this area, and he describes Nazareth as being a very small place, about sixty acres, with a maximum population of about four hundred eighty at the beginning of the first century. p. 103

I wanted to ask about one other commonly cited discrepancy. "Jesus said in Matthew 12:40. 'For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.' However, the gospels report that Jesus was really in the tomb one full day, two full nights, and part of two days. Isn't this an example of Jesus being wrong in not fulfilling his own prophecy?"

"Some well-meaning Christians have used this verse to suggest Jesus was crucified on Wednesday rather than on Friday, in order to get the full time in there!" Craig said. "But most scholars recognize that according to early Jewish time-reckoning, any part of a day counted as a full day. Jesus was in the tomb Friday afternoon, all day Saturday, and on Sunday morning-under the way the Jews conceptualized time back then, this would have counted as three days. p. 217

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Do The Right Thing

I have thoroughly enjoyed Mike Huckabee's talk show on Fox News. I just finished reading his book, Do The Right Thing. As you will see from the quotes below he is the "real" thing.

To truly be pro-life means that we should e just as much concerned about the child who is eight years ld and living under a bridge or in the back seat of a car, or the life of an elderly person who is eighty years old, terminally ill, and living in a long-term-care facility. My answer prompted spontaneous applause from his audience. Whether or not they agreed with my position, they at least respected that being pro-life was not limited to being pro-"pre-born." In fact, our passion for human life needs to be as equal and uniform as we perceive the value and worth of each human being to truly be. It is impossible to claim to be pro-life and have one's compassion end at the moment of birth. Truly being pro-life requires that at every stage of a person's life, regardless of the function of that person, there is a respect and protection of that life. pp. 40-41

The most closely watched of these statewide polls is in Ames, a town of about fifty-five thousand right in the middle of the state. It's a nonbinding poll, you don't have to be a republican to vote in it, and only a relative handful of people take part. Besides that, voters have to buy a $35 ticket to a fund-raising dinner for the Iowa Republican Party to get in, and candidates can scoop up as many tickets for their supporters as they want in an effort to influence the outcome. All in all, not the stuff of big time political campaigning. Yet in the eyes of the party leaders, national media, and many of the Republican faithful, the Iowa straw poll is the first test of a candidate's organization and marketability. p.98

Virtually all of the Ivy League colleges and universities (the complete lists includes Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale) were started with a very specific Christian mission.

Of the eight current Ivy League Schools, all except Cornell and Penn (founded by Benjamin Franklin) were founded by ministers, clergymen, or churches and had the express intent of training new ministers. p. 112

Ivy League Schools

Brown University
Founded: 1764
Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Motto: In Deo Speramus
Meaning: "In God We Hope"

Columbia University
Founded: 1754
Location: New York, New York
Motto: In Lumine Tuo Videbimus Lumen
Meaning: "In Thy Light We Shall See the Light"

Cornell University
Founded: 1865
Location: Ithaca, New York
Motto: "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study"

Dartmouth College
Founded: 1769
Location: Hanover, New Hampshire
Motto: Vox Clamantis in Deserto
Meaning: "A Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness"

Harvard University
Founded: 1636
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Motto: Veritas
Meaning: "Truth"

Princeton University
Founded: 1746
Location: Princeton, New Jersey
Motto: Dei Sub Numine Viget
Meaning: "She Flourishes Under Protection of God"

University of Pennsylvania
Founded: 1751
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Motto: Leges Sine Moribus Vanae
Meaning: "Laws Without Morals Are Useless"

Yale University
Founded: 1701
Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Motto: Lux et Veritas
Meaning: "Light and Truth"
pp. 113-114

On the first day of school in August of 2005, Martha prepared her classroom by taking all the desks out of the room. She told her principal what she was doing and had permission for her most vivid lesson ever. When the students arrived for class that day, they entered an empty room with not a school desk in sight. Naturally they asked, "Ms. Cothren, where are the desks?"

Martha told the first-period class, "You don't get your desk until you can tell me how you earn it."

The students were stunned to think they would have to "earn" a desk and began to venture guesses as to what might earn them one. The ideas ranged from making good grades to behaving in class, but with each guess Martha told them they had not come to the correct answer as to how to earn a desk. The students sat on the floor or stood against the wall for the entire class period. Same for second period. Ditto for third period. By lunch time, the campus at Joe T. Robinson High was buzzing about the teacher who flipped out and wouldn't let the students have desks. Kids called their parents on their cell phones and by the afternoon, all four of the local network affiliate television stations had sent crews to the school to find out what was going on with the teacher who removed the desks from her classroom.

By the last period of the day, no one had yet guessed how to earn a desk. Martha stood at the front of her room and looked out at the confused faces of kids sitting on the floor and standing around the wall.

"OK, no one today has figured out how you can earn your desk, so I will tell you," Martha said, as she then went to the door of her classroom and opened the door and motioned. In walked twenty-seven veterans, all carrying a school desk. They quietly placed the desks neatly in rows, and as they did, Martha told the students something they likely will never forget:

"Kids, you don't have to earn your desks because these guys earned it for you. Every day when you come to class,, you get to sit in these desks for free. You are given books for free, and you don't have to bring money to pay me each day. You have access to a free education, but while it is free to you, it wasn't free to these men or to their friends who didn't come home from wars they fought to give you your freedom. Whenever you sit in that desk, try to remember who earned it for you."

By the time she had finished, there were tears in the eyes of the students and the veterans, and even on the face of one of the TV news photographers who approached Martha afterward and said, "Ma'am, I was in Vietnam, and when I came home, people spit on me and cursed me. I was made to feel shame for what I thought was my proud service to my country. Today is the first day since I've been home that I felt like someone appreciated what I did." pp. 193-194

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Growing Deep In The Christian Life

Chuck Swindoll's book, Growing Deep in the Christian Life, is an exc ellent addition to every Christian's library. I think you will agree as you read the quotes below:

Do you know how long it was that our forefathers stayed on this continent before they established a school of higher learning? A mere sixteen years. They survived those bitter winters. They built their houses. As early as possible they established their government. Some then devoted themselves to establishing an educational center in a little place called Newtown, which was later changed to Cambridge. And they named that school, the first American school of higher learning, after a thirty-one-year-old clergyman who had died prematurely. He had left his library and half his estate to the school. His name was John Harvard.

Every read the cornerstone at Harvard University? When I ministered at Massachusetts, back in the mid 1960's, I remember driving down to that campus. It was during a harsh winter storm that I stood knee deep in sow near the wall that contained the etched cornerstone. I wiped the ice and snow off the bronze and copied these words:

After God had carried us safe to New England and wee had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God's worship, and settled the civil government, one of the next things wee longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust. pp. 24 - 25

Three timeless principles: 1). No one person has all the truth. 2). No single church owns exclusive rights to your mind. 3). No specific interpretation is correct just because a gifted teacher says so. p. 47

Three doctrinal terms you need to remember: revelation, inspiration, and illumination. Revelation occurred when God gave His truth. Inspiration occurred when the writers of Scripture received and recorded His truth. Today, when we understand and apply His truth, that's illumination. That would include discovering new truth for our lives, understanding it, and implementing it. Revelation has ceased. Inspiration has ceased. But illumination is going on right up to this moment! pp. 61 - 62

You can prove anything (yes, anything!) you want to prove from Scripture if you just stop reading soon enough and don't finish the thought, or if you twist a term here and there, "spiritualizing" the meaning. Or if you start in the middle of a paragraph and don't consider the context, you can make it say what you want it to say. And every time you do. . . you abuse! But those who refuse to commit biblical abuse don't go about it that way. p.78

When God gives us a command, it's always for our good---and it's often for our survival. p. 106

Our job isn't to clean up the fish bowl, certainly not initially. It's to fish--just fish. I rather imagine that as time passed the changed woman became intensely uncomfortable with her lifestyle. You can't enjoy walking with a holy God and, at the same time, continue to enjoy living with a person out of wedlock. But before a person can be expected to walk, Chris must come and live within, giving the power that is needed. p.162

It calls to mind the lady who wanted to marry four different men in her lifetime. She said each one would help her with the four things she needed most. First, she wanted to marry a banker. Second, a movie star. Next, a clergyman. And finally, a funeral director. When asked why, she answered, "One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and four to go!" p. 264

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

Never forget that verse! When someone presents to you the idea that God cruelly and gleefully dances about heaven as the last people are dumped against their will into hell, remind them of Peter's words. With patience and grace he offers the gift of eternal life and heaven to all who will accept it. Those who refuse the gift He offers must suffer the consequences, having made their own decision about eternity.

What about those who have never heard? Or, What about those who sincerely follow their own beliefs and their own religion? We must always be careful about stepping into the role of God. Only He knows the destiny of people. People you and I may think are in the family may not be . . . and vice versa. p. 323

"Worship is the missing jewel of the evangelical church". A.W. Tozer - p. 389

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Surviving a Recession

Clearwater Christian College publishes a newsletter called The Chronicle. In the Spring 2009 issue Mr. Robert Carver seven things to consider as we go through this recession. He says:

On a personal note: While surviving a recession seems to be a major media campaign of 2009, we know that the implementation of basic Scriptural principles is the key to successful financial futures. Mr. Carver has given us a breakdown of foundational truths that will sustain us throughout this period of economic instability:

  • Thankfulness: A recognition that everything I have, I owe to Him. James 1:17
  • An Eternal Perspective: We brought nothing into this world, why think we can bring anything out? 1 Tim. 6:7
  • Contentment: In every circumstance, every blessing, be content in Him. Phil. 4:11
  • Good Stewardship: What we do have, be it little or great, is entrusted to us by God. We must take good care of it and invest it wisely. 1 Peter 4:10
  • Continued Support of God's Work: Ministries and missionaries feel the crunch of difficult economic times. We must not slack off in our giving. It is a privilege to give, and thanksgiving for what God has given us in Christ should always motivate us. 2 Cor. 8:9
  • Dependence on Him: Our confidence must not be first and foremost on bank accounts, government programs, or natural or borrowed wisdom, but on God. 1 Cor. 9:8
  • Examine Our Hearts: Ask ourselves the question: What is God teaching me in this situation? Ps. 143:10

So yes, Philippians 4:19 does apply to 21st century America: as God has providentially provided for His children in the past, so shall He provide for us in the present.

My God shall supply all your need . . . Philippians 4:19

For more information on Clearwater Chrsitain College's Chronicle click here!

The Truth Project

What a wonderful article in the May/June Family North Carolina magazine. The article is titled, " Worldview Crisis: The Truth Project Helps Develop a Biblical Worldview." The "Truth Project" was developed by Focus on the Family for the purpose of helping Christians develop a Biblically-informed worldview. I have quoted the first couple of paragraphs to help us understand what a worldview is:

A worldview is the conceptual framework by which one understands the world around him. Another way to explain the concept of "worldview" is a set of lenses through which one sees his or her surroundings. Glasses bend light before it enters the eye and is reflected off the retina, thereby altering with varying degrees of subtlety what one sees. While eyeglasses generally bend light in such a way as to connect impaired vision, the fact remains that they alter what one sees. That is, they serve as a barrier or field through which all visual imput must pass before it reaches the retina and is interpreted by the brain. As long as a person is wearing glasses, the images he sees will always be slightly altered in order to present an image of the world that has been adjusted, however slightly.

Worldviews work in a similar manner. Instead of glass, worldviews are made of presuppositions that determine how one understands the world. These presuppositions are determined by factors like tradition, experience, and possibly even genetic factors. Every bit of information that a person digests is interpreted through these "lenses," so that any conclusions drawn from that information will necessarily be shaped by the person's presuppositions. pp. 25-26

Utimately, The Truth Project is about actively forming a worldview instead of being passively formed by one. p. 27

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To learn more about the truth project click here!

A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity

Bill O'Reilly's A Bold Fresh of Humanity is an interesting read. He contends the things he has encountered through his life experience has shaped his vision and his philosophy. I agree but would call it his worldview. That is why as Christians we need to stay in the Word and be faithful to church. That's why it is important to have friends who think Biblically. I've only included two quotes for you to think about:

When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer "present" or guilty." Theodore Roosevelt p. 7

Along the way, he has many adventures and encounters that have shaped his vision and philosophy. p. 252

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The Long Goodbye

Even though I do not agree with Patti Davis on political issues, I will say she is an excellent writer. And her Dad happens to be my favorite President in my life time. In her book, The Long Goodbye, she tells about the last days of her Dads life here on earth. You will see a child's heart and love for her father. I trust you will enjoy the quotes below:

"Why aren't you crying?" [Reagan favorite horse had died] I asked him through my own tears. He (RR) put his hand on my shoulder and met my eyes. "Because," he said, "I'm thinking about all the wonderful times I had with her [the horse]. We had some great years together." It was one of my first lessons about death - about looking past it, if only for a few moments, at all the life that went before, all the loveliness and the rich memories. Those are what sustain us, is the lesson my father was trying to impart. p. viii

As his daughter, I will remember his strong arms lifting me onto the back of a horse and how he taught me that one of the most important things was to get back on whenever I fell off so fear wouldn't set in. p. xv

It's echoed throughout my life: Get back on after you fall off, so fear won't set in. p. 80

In my father's pocket, he keeps what he calls his lucky coin. One of them says, "Let go and let God." p. 100

He changed America because America liked him. And when we like someone, we do change; we become less rigid, more content. Even the people who disagreed with Ronald Reagan stood for liked the man. They couldn't help it. It was his warmth, his humor. p. 122

We're not always meant to know why, my father used to say; we're meant to trust. p. 195

One day, when we reached the top, wind swirling around us and the sky big and endless above, I stood on my tiptoes, stretched my arm up toward all that blue, and asked him, "If I reach up really high, can I touch God?" He answered, "You don't have to reach up. God is everywhere, all the time, all around us." p. 196

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The Last Lecture

Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture is a must read. Even though he uses some "bad" words he has much truth in this book. I have included a few below:

When you're screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they've given up on you. That lesson has stuck with me my whole life. When you see yourself doing something badly and nobody's bothering to tell you anymore, that's a bad place to be. You may not want to hear it, but your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you, and want to make you better. p. 37

The brick walls are there for a reason. They're not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. pp. 51-52

Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer. p. 149

Sometimes, all you have to do is ask, and it can lead to all your dreams coming true. p. 179

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the five people you meet in heaven

Mitch Albom reminds me in his book, the five people you meet in heaven, that no one lives for just themselves. We all have a part in other people's lives. Sometimes for good and sometimes for bad. I have listed a few quotes from the book below:

Sometimes when you sacrifice something something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it on to someone else. p. 94

We move through places every day that would never have been if not for those who came before us. Our work-places, where we spend so much time-we often think they began with our arrival. That's not true. p. 123

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Trial By Ordeal

If you enjoy adventure and a compelling, realistic story then you need to read Craig Parshall's Trial By Ordeal. It was such a fun, enjoyable read. I usually do not share quotes from a novel, but sometimes there is something that I want to be reminded of. So I've shared that below:

Like the way I learned the folks at the Windy City Mission could look at ruined people, in stained clothing and smelling of urine, and still see the image of God there. Marred by sin - but worthy of redemption. p. 319

I want God to constantly remind me about those that may be unlovely are the ones we need to allow Him to love through us!

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Clayton's Story

You will be convicted after watching this video:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

In His Steps

What if we lived like Jesus? That is the theme of Charles M. Sheldon book, In His Steps. This is an old book, but it has some powerful truths for today. Read the paragraphs below and see if you agree.

The editor of the News has always advocated the principles of the great political party at present in power, and has theretofore discussed all political questions from the standpoint of expediency, or of belief in the party as opposed to other political organizations. Hereafter, to be perfectly honest with all our readers, the editor will present and discuss all political questions from the standpoint of right and wrong. In other words, the first question asked in this office about any political question will not be, "Is it in the interests of our party?" or, "Is it according to the principles laid down by our party in its platform?" but the question first asked will be, "Is this measure in accordance with the spirit and teachings of Jesus as the author of the greatest standard of life known to men?" That is to be perfectly plain, the moral side of every political question will be considered its most important side, and the ground will be distinctly taken that nations as well as individuals are under the same law to do all things to the glory of God as the first rule of action.

The same principle will be observed in this office toward candidates for places of responsibility and trust in the republic. Regardless of party politics the editor of the News will do all in his power to bring the best men into power, and will not knowingly help to support for office any candidate who is unworthy, no matter how much he may be endorsed by the party. The first question asked about the man and about the measures will be, "Is he the right man for the place?" "Is he a good man with ability?" "Is the measure right?" p. 67

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The book, Relentless, is very interesting. If you enjoy science fiction you will enjoy this book. Robin Parrish has a gift for writing. This is a Christian fiction book, however, I think even the non-believers will enjoy reading this book. I have a little quote below to give you a taste of this book:

“Grant, you have to understand…” Daniel said, taking on his best scholarly tone. “Scientists study the order of nature. But one thing science has never been able to explain is why that order exists. Why are there scientific laws that hold the universe together? Why doesn’t everything spiral out of control, into chaos? As much as we try to reason our way around it, some parts of our existence simply can’t be explained with formulas or proofs.”

“The human brain’s complexity, for example. Our ability to be self-aware and have consciousness and reasoning and imagination. The fact that as vast as the solar system is, our planet rests in the one orbit-the one precise position around our sun that’s capable of supporting life. There are a million examples all around us.” p. 253

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Don't Forget to Dream

Tim Dowdy is the Pastor of Eagles Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, GA. This is also home to the music group "Casting Crowns." His book don't forget to dream is a must read for high school students. I have listed several quotes below:

That's why I've come to the conclusion that Decision Time is always 5:15. p. 38

And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Corinthians 5:15) p. 38

Be very careful, how you live - not as unwise but as wise. (Ephesians 5:15) p. 38

I've learned that God speaks most often through three ways: His Word, His Holy Spirit, and circumstances. The best way for Him to hear from you is through prayer. p. 40

Being careful means habitually spending time in God's Word and prayer. Being careful means waiting on the Lord to make the picture clear. It means diligently examining circumstances and squaring them with Scripture. Being careful means seeking the counsel of godly friends and adults (but please make sure they're godly, and if anyone ever gives you counsel that goes against Scripture, ignore it - it's not from God). p. 40

When someone asks, "Who are you?" you should not respond by saying, "Well, I'm a student" or "I'm a technician," or "I'm a stay-at-home mom." That's what you do, but it's not your identity. Your identity is forged by clawing down to the foundational decision of whom you serve--God or self--and what kind of person you're going to be. Ask yourself, "Am I going to live for myself or am I going to live for God? Am I going to be wholly devoted to Jesus or am I going to fit into the crowd? Am I going to be a leader or a follower?" p. 42

Once you choose to honor God by living out His dream, then the answer to the question of what you will do begins to shape. In fact, it often becomes instantly apparent. p. 43

We may think that we're only making friends for a season, but relationships can impact us for a lifetime. p.60

We are who our friends are. p. 61

"If you go to heaven, you'll most likely take someone with you through your influence. But if you go to hell, you'll most likely take someone to hell with you." The Dr. Rogers quoted Romans 14:7: "For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone." p. 64

The Bible tells us that we are not created to live for ourselves. We're designed to live for God. If we are made in His image and He is others-focused, then the only path to contentment is to live for Him and for others, just as He does. God lives for Himself. He's God, so He has that privilege. He has designed the entire universe to sing His praises and to reflect glory upon Him because He alone is worthy of honor. Yet He also lives for others, and He sent His Son to die for others. p. 103

Philippians 2:3-4 "Do nothing out of selfish ambitions or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others." p. 106

You want what you watch. So I encourage you to watch what you want. So "watch what you want." You will want what you watch. p. 109

That you have to watch what you desire, because your desires can take you away from Jesus as well as take you to Him. You can be living for the wrong goals. p. 112

We should do what we were designed to do. When we do what we're designed to do, we're going to enjoy it. It won't always be easy, but it will always be best.  It doesn't mean God needs you, because He doesn't. He just wants you. Doesn't that blow your mind? He wants to include you in His  mission. And as you fall in step with Him, you embark upon the grandest and freshest of journeys. p. 157

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Light in the City

I really enjoy both Janet and Craig Parshall. Craig has written several fiction books. He and Janet both wrote this non-fiction book, The Light in the City. This book details how America was founded on Christian values and how we are losing those values. Even though I've included lots of quotes the book is a must read if you love America and our freedoms we have in Christ!

In God's sovereignty, there are no accidents. In His economy, no position, talent, or experience is ever wasted. p. 46

Pastor Tony Evans wrote:
There are believers out there who should be running for office. Politics is only as dirty as the people involved. The way to clean up politics is to put righteous people in office.

This society needs people who feel God's call on their lives to serve Him in politics. Then, we will have leaders like the ones Jethro told Moses to choose: "able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain." (Ex. 18:21) p. 67

Norman Geisler wrote:
Everyone realizes the "pro-life" people want to impose: They want to protect the baby and thus impose on the mother the duty of carrying her child to term. But what is so often missed in this debate is that "pro-choice" activists want to impose their morals on others, as well: They want to impose the morals of the mother on the baby and, in some cases, on the father. When abortion is the choice, the morals imposed on the baby come in the form of a knife, a vacuum, or scalding chemicals. Such a choice also imposes on the biological father by depriving him of fatherhood and the right to protect the child. p. 69

In the 1892 Supreme Court case of Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States the following was stated or observed:

The Court then proceeded to give a remarkable and powerful testimony of the influence of Christianity in the founding of America. Christopher Columbus's commission from Ferdinand and Isabella recounted that they invoked "God's assistance." Sir Walter Raleigh carried with him the authority to enact regulations in the new colonies as long as they did not conflict with the "true Christian faith." The first charter of Virginia set forth the obligation and privilege of "propagating the Christian Religion to such people as yet live in darkness." The charters of the various colonies each contained references to God or to Jesus Christ. The Declaration of Independence invoked a divine "Creator" as the source of all true rights and liberties. The Court further noted:

Every constitution of every one of the forty-five states contains language which either directly or by clear implication recognizes a profound reverence for religion and an assumption that its influence in all human affairs is essential to the well being of the community.

Lastly, as the Supreme Court explained, Article I, section 7 of the Constitution exempts Sundays (the Christian Sabbath) from the calculation of the ten days the president has to veto a bill passed by Congress; and the First Amendment further underscores the importance of religion by protecting it from any law "prohibiting the free exercise thereof," or "respecting" its "establishment."  p. 81

... the real point is that we must measure our involvement in contemporary culture, whatever the issue, by the general principles and precepts of Scripture-in other words, by what the Bible does say, not what it doesn't. p. 89

The Bible shows that the dual purposes of government are to restrain evil and to promote good (Rom. 13:3-4). It also says that we have obligations to both Caesar and God (Mark 12:17); yet when the two come into conflict, our primary obedience must be o the Lord (Acts 5:29).

This historical epoch of spiritual revival in the early 1700's conveniently overlooked by politically correct historians, was one of the true catalysts for America's fight for freedom. p. 128

Historian Paul Johnson noted:
The Great Awakening was the proto-revolutionary event, the formative moment in American history history, preceding the political drive for independence and making it possible. . . Its key text was Revelation 21:5: "Behold, I make all things new" - which was also the text for the American experience as a whole.  p. 129

The point of the Great Awakening and its causal contribution to the American Revolution is that the evangelical understanding of the gospel has, throughout history, been a contributing factor to a new, and sometimes radical, understanding of how our nations should be run. When God penetrates our hearts with His light and opens our eyes to His Word, that becomes the preeminent guiding event. It is logical to believe, then, that we should (or even can) fail to take that preeminent guiding event along with us into our involvement in the public affairs of the day-into the local school board, or the town council, or the state house, or the Congress? p. 129

One of the first orders of business for Congress, in 1789, was to pass a measure providing for the payment of a salary for the chaplain of the Congress, who would conduct opening prayers. Three days later, the same men approved the language of the First Amendment. It is obvious that they had no flights of fancy about the kind of absolute "wall of separation" between church and state imbedded in the thinking of our current courts. 

When President George Washington resigned his commission as commander in chief of the revolutionary army, he circulated his farewell message to the governors of the thirteen states. He ended it with his "earnest prayer," that they remember: "what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God," quoting from Micah 6:8. He expressed, in this farewell address, the belief that the only possibility for a "happy nation" lay in our adopting the characteristics of Jesus Christ. Thirteen years later, when he gave his farewell address after serving as president of the United States, Washington returned to the same theme, proclaiming that there was no chance of any successful national morality--indeed, no hope for any real civic virtue at all---apart from the primary source of morality, which is found in our worship of God.

John Adams, one of the pioneers of the movement for American independence and later a president himself (and the father of John Quincy Adams, who also became president), once wrote in the twilight years that there were two principles which knit the nation together during the Revolution: the ideas of English and American liberty, and the general principles of Christianity.

While president, James Madison signed a bill into law that aided the Bible society in distributing Scripture. He also issued proclamations for official days of fasting, prayer, and thanksgiving to God.

While Thomas Jefferson is often cited by secularists as someone who would have approved our contemporary hostility toward expressions of belief in God in the public sphere, his actions do not bear this out. As the founder of the University of Virginia (a public university), he voiced no objections over its earliest commencement exercises, which included prayer and religious invocations. pp.. 132-133

Tocqueville noted that while "religion in America takes no direct part in the government of must be regarded as the first of [America's] institutions...I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions." He also wrote: The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in heir minds that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other; and with them this conviction does not spring from that barren, traditionary faith which seems to vegetate rathe than to live in the soul. Thus religious zeal is perpetually warmed in the United States by the fires of patriotism. p. 134

The title of Jerry Falwell's response in Christianity Today sums it up: "I'd Do It All Again." He asks: If Christians do not also lead the battle in defense of the unborn, who will? If believers do not oppose same-sex marriages, who will? If people of faith do not aggressively defend religious freedom in the public square, including our public schools, who will? If Christians do not cry out against wickedness in high places, who will? p. 148

If Christians are going to be successful in these cultural and spiritual battles, especially the volatile ones, we have to learn to separate the sinner from the sin--to separate the public policy issue from the person. The ultimate aim is not just to win the important case, or to oppose bad policy, or to pass good legislation. The ultimate goal is to love the other side to the cross of Christ while convicting them with the truth. p. 179

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If God Should Choose

If you want to read of faith in Christ lived out then read Kristen Stagg's book, If God Should Choose. This book is about ABWE missionaries, Jim and Roni Bowers. Their plane was shot down over Iquitos, Peru by Peruvian Force A-37 fighter. Both Mom and daughter were killed. Through this tragedy God has used Jim's testimony to motivate many to surrender their life to the mission field. I have only one quote from the book and it is by Steve Saint:

In life, many of us Christians have tried to preach and have tried to believe that the life of a believer is all joy and no pain. That isn't so. And we've tried to believe that for those people who don't know the Lord as we do, their life is ll pain and no joy, and that isn't so. You know what the difference is (and it's taken me a long time to learn it)? For them, the pain is fundamental and the joy is superficial because it won't last. For us, the pain is superficial and the joy is fundamental.

A good friend of mine, Steven Curtis Chapman, wrote a song taken from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 and I give this to you. He wrote,

"This is not how we thought it was supposed to be.
We had so many plans for you. We had so many dreams.
And now you've gone away leaving us with nothing
but the memories of your smile.
And nothing we can say and nothing we can do
can take away the pain, the pain of losing you.
But we cry with hope, and we say good-bye with hope
because we know our good-bye is not the end.
We can grieve with hope because we believe with hope,
there's a place where we'll see your face again."  pp. 216-217

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Call Me TED

Ted Turner's book, Call Me Ted, is an excellent read. Even though politically I do not agree with him, his life has always intrigued me. He is/was very much a risk taker and is a man of great vision. I recommend you read his book. It is long, 433 pages, but has lots of interesting information. I have only listed a few quotes from the book for your enjoyment:

He [Ted's Dad] then told me something I've never forgotten. He said, "Son, you be sure to set your goals so high that you can't possibly accomplish them in one lifetime. That way you'll always have something ahead of you. I made the mistake of setting my goals too low and I'm having a hard time coming up with new ones." p. 56

I'm convinced that one of the reasons I've been successful is that almost always competed against people who were bigger and stronger but who had less commitment and desire than I did. p. 184

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Soul Tracker

I think of Bill Myers as a Science Fiction Christian Writer. His book, Soul Tracker starts slow, but if you stick it out it is an excellent read. Though this is a fiction book, I did find some good quotes. I trust you will enjoy them.

A scientist who believes in the Bible? There is more than sufficient empirical evidence to prove- p. 83

All right . . . Empirical evidence can be found in any one of several disciplines. History, archaeology, mathematic-
You can prove the claims of Jesus Christ mathematically? According to the laws of probability, there is little doubt that He is the Messiah. pp. 83-84

As we can best determine, there are up to three hundred Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah that were fulfilled by Jesus Christ.
David raised an eyebrow. What type of prophecies? His actions, the location of His birth, the precise time of His appearance-not to mention specific details of His crucifixion-a form of execution not even invented when the prophecies were written. 
David started back toward his desk. Couldn't some of that be coincidence?
Perhaps, but the odds of one man fulfilling only eight of the major prophecies is roughly one in ten to the seventeenth power.
That's steep.
The equivalent of covering the state of Texas in two feet of silver dollars, painting one red, and giving a blind person one chance to pull it out.
David sat back on the edge of his desk, quietly absorbing the information. So, in your mind, that makes Jesus Christ the Messiah.
Among other evidence, yes. And, if that is the case, I must accept His claims.
Which are?
Several. But the one that should give you the greatest comfort in His promise that those who put their trust in Him will not die but live forever in heaven.  p. 84

... religion, rules, and regulations, they're a hundred times easier to follow than God's love. Nice and neat, no mess. No risks... and no real need to listen to His heart. p. 190

... Christ didn't come to condemn the lost, but to save them. p. 190

As far as I know, the only ones He ever condemned were the religious folks who claimed to be so righteous. p. 190

My point is this-real Christianity is both grace and truth. It's like that sign up there. She motioned to the placard above the door that read, "Jesus Saves." That sign is truth, but it just sits there. It can't come down off the wall and love people like you and I can. It can't even save them. It's pure truth, but it's pure useless-like most Christians I know. They got truth all neatly wrapped and preserved, but they're afraid of getting it dirty-they're afraid to come down off the wall and soil their hands. p. 191

I'm just saying that real love is messy. So messy that it could get you killed-especially by truth keepers. Just ask Jesus. p. 191

Jesus will never judge anybody with His truth that He didn't first die for with His love. And unless you and I have that type of love, our truth is vain and empty and useless. Like Paul says, without love we're an obnoxious clanging cymbal. p. 191

Amazing, isn't it . . . The Creator of the whole universe loves us more than His own life. Makes no difference who we are, what we've done-He loves us. Isn't that what He proved on the cross? That He loves us more than His own life? And once we get ahold of that, I mean, once we really understand and accept that, then the love, it just starts gushing out, doesn't it-it just starts gushing, and there's nothing we can do to stop it. p. 235

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Why It's Hard To Love Jesus

Joseph M. Stowell in his book, Why it's hard to love Jesus, makes some great points. It is really a convicting book. I trust some of the quotes below will allow God to work in your heart.

Any addition to or subtraction from who He is, what He is like, and what He requires is a move away from Him. Ungodliness is not always about the really bad people. Sometimes it is about the really good people who are more restrictive than God. pp. 24-25

... a true love for Christ is not a responsibility but a relationship based on a love for Christ that consumes him. p. 63

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23). Love as a responsibility is about lifestyle. Love as a response is about heartstyle. God is not interested in our lifestyle if it does not begin with heartstyle. From God's perspective, lifestyle without heartstyle is no style at all. p. 63

Loving Christ is about living life at His feet, not about having Him sit with us at our table. Until we absorb that reality, we will be tempted to use Him, not love Him. p. 87

We have long forgotten that even our good works in the light of His holy presence are like trash (Isaiah 64:6). Yet we insist on parading them as a badges of honor. You and I could point out the times we have said no to temptation and yes to the really hard things He has asked us to do. But He is not impressed. Under the shinning spotlight of His holiness our desperate condition comes into view. p. 103

That's what Christ did for us. Broken, abandoned, and lost in the depth of our sin, we were dead in the polluted waters. The hand of the Master Redeemer plucked us out and crafted us into new creations. The hollow cells that sin craved within us now resonate with life sounds that glorify Christ. In turn, we fill our world with the unsurpassed harmony of His presence. p. 104

Christ knows we love Him by watching what we do with our lives. And we treat people is the first place He looks. p. 105

Think of walking through the mall and seeing a group of "alternative" teens approaching. As they get closer, you notice the arrogant swaggers and hair shaved on one side of the head and styled in red-and-orange spikes on the other. These teens have metal pierced into just about every conceivable place on their bodies, and their wrists are wrapped with leather bands sporting metal spikes.
What is your heart response? Do you pray as you walk by that someone will love them and lead them to Christ? Do you smile at them, hoping to let them know that someone our age really does care? Or does the revulsion in your soul win the day? pp. 114-115

From your "neighbors" in heavy traffic, to the neighbors next door, to the neighbors in the poorer sections of your town, to the most intimate "neighbors" who live under the same roof, Jesus made one thing crystal clear: Loving Him is about loving them. p. 119

Abiding in His love is also reciprocal. Vines and branches reciprocate in the relationship. The vine is the source of strength, supply, nourishment, and support. The branch bears fruit for the benefit and the glory of the vine. And the branch finds joy and satisfaction in fulfilling its purpose.
Christ teaches us that fruit is the sign that genuine abiding has taken place. When we stay in love with Christ in every choice, action, and attitude, we will be fruitful for Him and a source of blessing to others. For instance, choosing to love Christ by loving those who offend us triggers the fruit of forgiveness. That, in turn, glorifies His character and blesses those who receive forgiveness. p. 166

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The Family

The Family
Braves Game 2012