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Thursday, November 25, 2010

When Skeptics Ask

My oldest son, Paul, loaned me a book, When Skeptics Ask, to read. This is an awesome book and a good book to have as a reference. It covers some very heavy questions from the skeptics. I trust you will enjoy the quotes below:

The Gift of Pain
Dr. Paul Brand, a leading researcher and therapist of Hansen's disease, expressed significant insights on the problem of pain. Having just examined three patients, Lou - who may lose his thumb to infection from playing the autoharp, Hector - who can't feel the damage he is doing to his hand while mopping, and Jose - who is unwilling to wear special shoes to prevent the loss of the nubs that were once his feet, Dr. Brand says this:
Pain - it's often seen as the great inhibitor which ropes off certain activities. But I see it as the great giver of freedom. Look at these men. Lou: we're desperately searching for a way to give him simple freedom to play an autoharp. Hector: he can't even mop a floor without harming himself. Jose: too proud for proper treatment, he's given a makeshift shoe which may keep him from losing even more of his feet. He can't dress nicely and walk normally: for that, he would need the gift of pain. [From Where Is God When It Hurts? by Philip Yancey (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977), p. 37] p. 66

C.S. Lewis said, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." In some sense, we need pain so that we are not overcome by the evil that we would choose were it painless. He alerts us to the fact that there are better things than misery. p. 68

People don't go to hell because God sends them; they choose it and God respects their freedom. "There are two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done.' and those to whom Gods says, in the end ' Thy will be done.' All that are in hell, chose it." p. 68

Jastrow closes his book God and the Astronomers with these words:

For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries. p. 222

To order this book click here!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Beyond the Barriers

If you never have read a Harold Morris book, I would high recommend it. I believe he has written at least three books. I remember seeing his Focus on the Family video, Twice Pardoned, many years ago at my church Northside. I picked up his book Beyond the Barriers at a Good Will store. It is about his life after he leaves prison. Such a encouraging book about how God will use anyone who yields his life to God. I'm only including a couple of quotes, but please not misunderstand, this is an excellent read.

. . . true security was not found by accumulating things, money, or degrees. True security was my relationship with Jesus Christ. p. 86

. . . the people you associate with will determine the outcome of your life, good or bad. p. 94

To order this book, click here!

The Fred Factor

The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn is a book about how Mark's postman, Fred, showed Mark "How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary." I gleamed many great principles from this book. I trust you will enjoy the quotes below:

Everyone wants to count, to know that what he or she does each day isn't simply a means of making a living, but "a living of making meaning." The unhappiest people of all may well be those who go to jobs they hate because they need the money. Why not go to a job you love because you need the money? you can. Convert your job into one you love, not by doing a different job, but by doing the one you have differently! pp. 29-30

Here's a mystery: If you expect praise and recognition, it will seldom come. I really don't know why, but life has demonstrated repeatedly that if your motive for doing something is to receive thanks or praise, you'll often be disappointed. If, however, you go about doing the right thing, knowing that the doing is its own reward, you'll be fulfilled whether or not you get recognition from others. When reward or recognition comes, it will be icing on an already tasty cake. p. 31

It is possible that you are making significant impressions on others and don't even know it? We need to be conscious not only of the primary effects of the things we do but of the secondary consequences, which are a ripple effect that touches far more people than those in our immediate presence. You just never know who's watching and listening. Our lives, to paraphrase Shakespeare, play out on a stage. p. 69

Uninspired people rarely do inspired work. Passionate people in an organization are different. They do ordinary things extraordinarily. p. 74

John Maxwell says, "You teach what you know, but you reproduce who you are." p. 90

Forget that foolish saying, "Those who can, do; and those who can't teach." Not only is this statement derogatory and insulting to the dedicated professionals in education and training, but with few exceptions it just ain't so. The reality? Those who do best teach best. The man or woman who can demonstrate a lesson with his or her life most powerfully impacts others. When those who know are able to show, those who learn are able to grow. p. 94

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. -Aristotle p. 99

At the Day of Judgement we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done - Thomas A Kempis p. 105

Life wasn't a set of difficult rules designed to keep people in their places, but rather a relationship with the Creator who enabled people to be all they were meant to be. p. 106

Whom do we most remember? We remember those who, like Jesus, lived to serve others. We are most impressed and affected not by what people gain but by what they give; not by what they conquer but by what they contribute. p. 107

I've learned that love is, among other things, an action. I can love someone I don't necessarily like. I can do something or act toward that person in a certain way because I know it is the right thing to do even if I don't feel warm and fuzzy doing it. So here's my working definition of love: Love is the commitment to treat a person with dignity and kindness regardless of how you feel about him or her. pp. 108-109

The Bible says that "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7). The implication is clear; Giving is good, but giving with the right attitude is better. p. 112

Attitude colors everything you and I do in life.
A positive attitude works out of opportunity, not obligation.
A positive attitude looks for the best, not the worst, in circumstances.
A positive attitude is "can-do," not "must-do."
A positive attitude is hopeful, not pessimistic. pp. 112-113

Here's how the apostle James put it: "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:26, NASB). Intention without action is only a dream. In the end it isn't what we want to do or plan to do but what we actually do that makes any difference. p. 113

To order this book click here!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Handle With Prayer

Another great book by Charles Stanley, Handle With Prayer. Since I am teaching a Sunday School series on prayer I'm trying to read as much about prayer as possible. Stanley has much good teaching in this book. Enjoy the quotes below:

The shortest distance between a problem and the solution is the distance between our knees and the floor. p. 10

Satan knows that real spiritual battle is done on our knees. Prayer is the weapon he fears most; therefore it is prayer against which he makes his greatest attack. p. 22

Fasting is abstinence from anything that hinders our communion with God. p. 30

. . . life's battles are won or lost in the place of prayer, not on the battlefield of everyday life. The real spiritual success or failure of a church does not depend on the talent of the preacher, the size of the congregation, or the strength of the organization. Success from God's point of view will only be obtained through prayer. The person who sees these other things as the criteria for success has no concept of the working of the Holy Spirit. It is by these outward signs that the world judges the church. But God does not win His battles through outward signs. God wins His battles through men and women who intercede on behalf of the kingdom. pp. 101-102

God's business, for the most part, is to be taken care of on our knees. When dealing with any situation, first we must pray. For it is on our knees that the real work is done. p. 102.

To order this book click here!

The Family

The Family
Braves Game 2012