But Joseph came to realize that God is able to use even offensive and intentionally evil acts to accomplish His purpose. Why would Joseph seek revenge or maintain animosity toward tools that God used to bring about good? With this awareness, he was free to forgive his brothers. . . . Walking in righteousness keeps us alert to the fact that God is at work in everything, even the things we tend to find offensive. This then enables us to forgive those who hurt and offend us. God will deal with those people. In the meantime, He will use their negative actions to produce His best through us. ~Joseph M. Stowell
President Reagan kept a sign on his desk that read, “There is no limit to what a man can do if he doesn’t care who gets the credit.” Biblically, there is no limit to what God can do through us if we are willing to give Him the credit. That’s what it means to glorify His name. ~Joseph M. Stowell
What does it mean to walk by faith? It means to obey God's Word in spite of the feelings within us, the circumstances around us, and the consequences before us. The people of Israel saw the Red Sea before them and the Egyptian army behind them, but Moses looked by faith to the Lord above them, and he led the nation safely out of Egypt. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
As a Christian, I'm not a physical unit in a religious organization. I'm a living part of a miraculous spiritual unity in Chris t- a member of one body, a stone in one temple, a branch in one vine, to name but a few of the New Testament images of the church. All Christians are different, and yet we are all united in Christ. Regardless of race, color, gender, political, or economic status, believers are "all one in Christ Jesus." Unity without diversity is uniformity, and diversity without unity is anarchy; but unity and diversity combined by the Holy Spirit in the church will produce a dynamic life of sacrifice and service that can change the world. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
Humble prayers build bridges, but selfish prayers tear down and build barbed wire fences. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
The Lord usually starts to answer prayer by working first in the hearts of those who are praying. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
"Well, the least I can do is pray for you," we hear Christians say, but they are dead wrong. The most we can do is to pray for others, because that's the first step in our getting involved with them to help meet their needs. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
The phrase "love one another" is found at least a dozen times in the New Testament, and prayer is one way we practice that love. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
"The purpose of preaching is to express and not to impress," and the same truth applies to our praying, especially our public praying. We should pray because we want the Father to be glorified, not because we want to impress Him or anyone else with our vocabulary or our theology. How tragic to please everybody except God! ~Warren W. Wiersbe
Has the glory of God departed from some of our homes, churches, and parachurch ministries and we don't realize it? Is there really "glory in the church" or just crowds of people seeking religious entertainment? Not to desire to glorify God is the beginning of sin and leads to a dark and foolish heart (Romans 1:21). ~Warren W. Wiersbe
When I see worshipers arriving late and walking into the sanctuary carrying cups of coffee, I wonder if they would arrive late to see the president at the White House and carry their cups into the Oval Office. . . . I recall visiting a famous national historical site, and the sign at the door read: "No Smoking-No Food-No Chewing Gum." I wanted to get copies for the church I was serving. Standing on a church platform, I've often seen people in the congregation chewing gum one minute and singing "Holy, Holy, Holy" the next minute. There is a better way for those who revere God's name (Mal. 4:2). ~Warren W. Wiersbe
"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God" (Ps. 20:7). If you want a 20th-century application of that verse, I suggest: "Some trust in money and management, others in clever promotion and sophisticated equipment, and some in Hollywood-style religious entertainment, but we will give ourselves to prayer and God's Word and trust in the name of Jesus." ~Warren W. Wiersbe
I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
A sinner by choice and an alien by birth;
But I've been adopted, my name's written down,
An heir to a mansion, a robe, and a crown.
I'm a child of the King, a child of the King:
With Jesus my Savior, I'm a child of the King. ~Harriet E. Buell
Our task as a chosen people is to advertise by our words and deeds the glorious virtues of Jesus Christ. We are to live and serve in such a way that others will want what we have in Jesus Christ. But how can the church advertise the virtues of Christ if the church is imitating the world? We have been called to shine as lights, not to reflect as mirrors. We don't belong to this world system (John 17:14-19) but to a heavenly counterculture that is hated by the same world system that hated Jesus and crucified Him. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
Near the end of the Fiddler on the Roof is a brief but poignant conversation that may help us better understand the use and abuse of a future hope. The Russian authorities gave the residents of the Jewish village of Anatevka three days to clear out and find other places to live. Mendel, son of the rabbi, says to his father, "Rabbi, we've been waiting for the Messiah all our lives. Wouldn't this be a good time for Him to come?" His father replies, "We'll have to wait for Him someplace else. Meanwhile, let's start packing." Like some people today, Mendel saw the coming of Messiah only as the perfect solution to the painful problems of life. Let Messiah come! In an instant, the enemy will be defeated and the village will be rescued! But the beloved rabbi had the correct approach. To paraphrase his reply: "The promise doesn't change, only our location changes, and we can take the promise with us. The promise must not be an excuse for indolence. Now, get to work! ~Warren W. Wiersbe
Like Herod, some people miss the miracle of Christmas because they don't want to get off the throne. There can't be two kings. ~Will Rice
"Your kingdom come" implies that God rules first of all in our lives and then through us in the lives of others as we pray for them and minister to them. We want God's kingdom to rule in homes and families, in places of employment and ministry, in various government offices and agencies, and in places of authority and ministry around the world. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
Someone has said, "The secret of happiness is to have someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to." Certainly we who have trusted Jesus have someone to love, and He asks us as He asked Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" (see John 21:15-19). Jesus didn't ask Peter about his doctrine or his progress in preaching. He asked Peter if he loved Him most of all. That's the foundation for ministry and the first step toward happiness. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
Someone to love means worshiping.
Something to do means working and witnessing.
Something to look forward to means waiting and watching. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
The will of God is nourishment, not punishment! To live and serve in the will of God means to mature spiritually day after day, to discover our gifts and use them joyfully, and to become all that we can become for the glory of God. The more we do the Lord's will, the more we enjoy the Lord's blessings that he has tailor-made especially for us. ~ Warren W. Wiersbe
Yes, there are times when obeying God's will is costly and painful, but not doing God's will is even more costly and painful. ~ Warren W. Wiersbe
Three goals for 2012: Praise God, Preach God, Please God!!!
Don't try to explain God's ways (Romans 11:33) . It can't be done. Just do what He says by faith and He will take care of everything. Faith is living without scheming. ~ Warren W. Wiersbe
Don't try to change God's mind (Romans 11:34). You'll be the loser. ~ Warren W. Wiersbe
Don't try to buy God off (Romans 11:35) His will is nonnegotiable. You don't bargain for God's blessings; you obey his commands. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
Don't try to steal God's glory (Romans 11:36). Then you'll miss everything God wants to give you. He will provide all that you need, but He will never give His glory or praise to anyone else (Isaiah 42:8) ~Warren W. Wiersbe
Romans 12:2 says, "test and approve what God's will is." The verb test means "to discern, to find and to follow," as in testing metals and separating the gold from the dross. It suggests that God's guidance usually involves several factors that must be evaluated carefully, such as circumstances, personal counsel, Scripture, self-examination, and the Spirit's inner direction. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
If we are living in the Word and seeking to glorify Christ, the Spirit will direct us when we must make these "routine" everyday decisions. If we unintentionally begin to move in the wrong direction, the Lord will stop us and instruct us (Phil. 3:12-14). Paul called this "keeping in step with the Spirit" (Gal. 5:25). ~Warren W. Wiersbe
When God is not permitted to rule, He often over-rules and is able to bring blessings out of disobedience and disappointment. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
It's much easier for us to ask God to change other people than it is to ask Him to change us. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
If somebody is being a file or sandpaper in our lives, let's ask God to use the experience to polish us, not to scratch or irritate us. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
We exercise our stewardship a day at a time, a fact so important it is mentioned twice: "Give us today our daily bread! ~Warren W. Wiersbe
As Henry David Thoreau said in the first chapter of his classic book, Walden, "As if you could kill time without injuring eternity." Christian believers respect time because the way we use time prepares us for eternity. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
Someone has said that the average American is being "crucified" between two thieves: the regrets of yesterday and the worries about tomorrow. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
There is always time for the will of God. I complained about my schedule at our family dinner one evening and our youngest daughter asked, ,"Dad, who plans your schedule?" Ouch! ~Warren W. Wiersbe
Knowing, loving, and doing the will of God is the key to an effective life. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
We are not manufacturers; we are distributors. Our works depend on His grace, and we can't earn grace. "But He gives more grace" (James 4:6), and we receive it by faith. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
When your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep is your downfall. They who go a-borrowing, go a-sorrowing, says an old English proverb, and when that was written, there were no credit cards. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
We may forget our decisions, but our decisions will never forget us. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
You can measure the distance from the north pole to the south pole but not from east to west. It's a beautiful image of our sins being taken away forever! ~Warren W. Wiersbe
Love is the circulatory system of the body of Christ, the church. ~Howard Hendricks
The word restore (Gal. 6:1) was a medical term that meant "to set a broken bone." Would you want your physician to set a broken leg using a pipe wrench and a sledgehammer? We must not be gentle with sin, but we must be gentle with sinners. "So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!" (1 Cor. 10:12). ~Warren W. Wiersbe
"If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear" (Ps. 66:18 NASB). The word translated "regard" means "to know it is there and approve of it." ~Warren W. Wiersbe
When we don't permit God to rule, he will overrule us and accomplish His great purposes anyway, but there will be a greater price for us to pay. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
Sunshine is good for plant life only if the plants have roots. Trails bring blessings to true Christians but not shallow "professors" (Matthew 13:6). ~Warren W. Wiersbe
. . . faith is living without scheming. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
. . . the Lord never permits temptations or trails unless they are necessary. We may not understand why God allows us to suffer, but we don't live on explanations - we live on promises. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
To quote P.T. Forsyth, "It's a greater thing for pain's conversion than for pain's removal." Paul pleaded three times that God would remove his painful thorn in the flesh, but instead God converted the pain into power and transformed Paul's weakness into strength (2 Cor. 12:1-10). ~Warren W. Wiersbe
We don't fight for victory but from victory, the victory Christ won for us on the cross. "And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross" (Col. 2:15). ~Warren W. Wiersbe
The tail feathers of pride should be pulled out of our prayers, for our prayers need only the wing feathers of faith. ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon
True worship involves praise wrapped in prayer. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
The command, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10) literally means, "Take your hands off. Relax!" We are too prone to tell the Father what to do and to start manipulating circumstances to suit ourselves, when we should submit to Him because the kingdom is His. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
. . . my life is fragile and transient; only the Lord can make anything lasting out of it. "The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever" (1 John 2:17). ~Warren W. Wiersbe
C.S. Lewis wrote in The Four Loves, "All that is not eternal is eternally out of date." We Christians are often called "old-fashioned" or "not with it" or "outdated" by people who don't know Christ, when actually it is our accusers who are out of date! Because we share in God's eternal life, the passage of time takes nothing away from us that really is essential. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
As unbelievable as it sounds, here on earth we are sharing in eternity! That's why the words kingdom, power, glory, forever, and amen, are so important. They help us to take inventory so we can make sure we are "on praying ground."
Kingdom-Am I a faithful child of the King?
Power-Am I depending on His power as I serve Him?
Glory-Is my motive only to glorify Jesus Christ?
Forever-Do I live with eternity's values in view?
Amen-Am I walking by faith and saying "Amen!" to His promises?
If we can answer "yes" to the above questions, then we are privileged to share in eternity as we pray. ~Warren W. Wiersbe
God's calling for you as a husband was not to marry the woman you love, but to love the woman you married. ~The Kendrick Brothers
Be aware that when you are fearful, frustrated, or fatigued, you are most vulnerable. Avoid tempting situations rather than trying to resist temptation. ~The Kendrick Brothers
Don't follow your heart, lead it. The more you pray for your wife, focus on her positive attributes, and invest in your marriage, the more your heart will turn toward her. ~The Kendrick Brothers
Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proven, and to be steady on all the battle fronts besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point. ~ Martin Luther
Fearless of all consequences, you must do the right thing. You will need the courage of a lion unhesitatingly to pursue a course which shall turn your best friend into your fiercest foe; but for the love of Jesus you must thus be courageous. For the truth's sake, to hazard reputation and affection is such a deed that to do it constantly you will need a degree of moral principle which only the Spirit of God can work in you; yet turn not your back like a coward, but play the man. Follow right manfully in your Mater's steps, for He has traversed this rough way before you. ~Charles
The question for believers is never, "Will God provide?" but "How is He going to do it?" God provides in His own way and in His own timing, but He is always faithful to His role as Provider. If you need transportation to get to work, God may provide a car to you free of charge as a gift from someone. Or He may provide the money to buy the car. Or a way to earn the money to buy the car. Or send you a bicycle. Or change your job so you can walk or even work from home. But you can rest assured that He is on it and in the end will deliver what you need so you can get food on the table. And in the meantime, you need to walk by faith and stay busy asking, seeking, and knocking until He reveals what He has provided. But He will; you can rest on it. ~ The Kendrick Brothers
If you want to see a happy person, look at someone who has just been forgiven! They have a refreshing humility and joy that's hard to deny. Regret doesn't have the power to haunt them anymore. They sinned or failed others, but they've been forgiven and set free. It's a beautiful thing! But there's another joy worth pursuing - the liberation you feel after forgiving someone who has deeply hurt you. When wounded people finally forgive, the dark clouds part in their emotions, and a breath of fresh air and sunshine rushes into their hearts. ~ The Kendrick Brothers
It has been wisely said: "Bitterness does more damage in the life where it is stored than the one on whom it is poured." ~ The Kendrick Brothers
There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man, which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus. ~ Blaise Pascal
But if you confess only so you can feel better and look better - if you are angry about the consequences - if you don't think you'd have done anything differently if you could go back and do it over, and if you make no changes to keep from doing it again in the future, then your repentance is not real. Regret and tears don't mean repentance; change does. ~The Kendrick Brothers
If you are a man of integrity, then you will speak the truth all the time, whether generally in broad terms or specifically when reporting facts. Whether much is at stake or nothing is at stake, you will be the same in public as you are in private. ~The Kendrick Brothers
That word sincere, by the way, means "without wax." Ancient sculptors and pottery makers would hide imperfections in their work by pouring wax into the cracks of their fractured merchandise, then painting over the blemishes. After it was sold and used around heat, the wax would melt out, proving the piece to be faculty. But those craftsmen who made reputable products with no fractures would stamp SINCERE on the bottom to show that their work was "without wax" and was the real thing. It was solid. True. It had integrity. ~The Kendrick Brothers
God never intended for you to live out the journey of your spiritual life alone. When you get connected to Christ, you also became spiritually connected to everyone else who is in Christ. "We, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another" (Romans 12:5). We are permanently joined together and deeply need each other. ~The Kendrick Brothers
I DO solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.
I WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of my home.
I WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.
I WILL bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength.
I WILL train them to honor authority and live responsibly.
I WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.
I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion.
I WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.
I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.
I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man answerable to God.
I WILL seek to honor God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do His will.
I WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:25 (from the movie Courageous)
God is not satisfied until there exists between Him and His people a relaxed informality that requires no artificial stimulation. The true friend of God may sit in His presence for long periods in silence. Complete trust needs no words of assurance. ~A.W. Tozer
Make your heart a vacuum and the Spirit will rush in to fill it. ~A.W. Tozer
God impoverishes only to make rich, becoming in secret Himself the substitute for all that He takes away from the soul. ~Jeanna Guyan
Idolatry is not only the adoration of images . . . but also trust in one's own righteousness, works and merits, and putting confidence in riches and power. ~Martin Luther
Hold loosely all that is not eternal. ~Agnes Maude Royden
Every advance that we make for God and for His cause must be made at our inconvenience. If it does not inconvenience us at all, there is no cross in it! If we have been able to reduce spirituality to a smooth pattern and it costs us nothing - no disturbance, no bother and no element of sacrifice in it - we are not getting anywhere with God. ~A.W. Tozer
He [Abraham] had everything, but he possessed nothing. There is the spiritual secret. There is the sweet theology of the heart which can be learned only in the school of renunciation The books on systematic theology overlook this, but the wise will understand. ~A. W. Tozer
Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee. ~Augustine
A man's spiritual health is exactly proportional to his love for God. ~C. S. Lewis
God works powerfully, but for the most part gently and gradually. ~John Newton
God is too wise not to know all about us, and what is really best for us. He is too good not to desire our highest good. If what He has appointed for us does not seem to us the best, or even to be good, we need to remember that He sees further that we do, and that we shall understand Him in time when His plans have unfolded themselves. ~Henry Parry Liddon
Christian faith is a grand cathedral, with divinely pictured windows. Standing without, you see no glory, nor can imagine any. But standing within, every ray of light reveals a harmony of unspeakable splendors. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
Every man will have to decide for himself whether or not he can afford the terrible luxury of unbelief. A.W. Tozer
Why doesn't the sky fall down? Why is it that stars and planets do not go tearing apart and ripping off into chaos? Because there is a Presence that makes all things consist - and it is the Presence of the One who upholdeth all things by the Word of His power. This is basically a spiritual explanation, for this universe can only be explained by spiritual and eternal laws. ~A.W. Tozer
It takes real faith to begin to live the life of heaven while still upon the earth, for this requires that we rise above the law of moral gravitation and bring to our everyday living the high wisdom of God. And since this wisdom is contrary to that of the world, conflict is bound to result. This, however, is a small price to pay for the inestimable privilege of following Christ. ~A.W. Tozer
A thousand voices clamor for our attention, and a thousand causes vie for our support. But until we have learned to be satisfied with fellowship with God, until He is our rock and our fortress, we will be restless with our place in the world. ~Erwin W. Lutzer
We do not need to go "somewhere" to find God, any more than the fish needs to soar to find the ocean or the eagle to plunge to find the air. ~Rufus Jones
God does not communicate things to us so much as He just is Himself in us. We are the vessels, the containers, so that the first work after the new birth is to cultivate the habit of receptivity. ~Norman Grubb
My unassisted heart is barren clay,
That of its native self can nothing feed:
Of good and pious works Thou are the seed,
That quickens only where Thou sayest it may:
Unless Thou show to us Thine own true way
No man can find it: Father! Thou must lead. ~Michelangelo
First is the desire to be holy rather than happy.
A man may be considered spiritual when he wants to see the honor of God advanced through his life.
The spiritual man wants to carry his cross.
Again a Christian is spiritual when he sees everything from God's viewpoint.
Another desire of the spiritual man is to die right rather than to live wrong.
The desire to see others advance at his expense is another mark of the spiritual man.
The spiritual man habitually makes eternity-judgments instead of time-judgments. ~A.W. Tozer
Our nature hungers for God even when it broke with Him long ago, perhaps the more intensely the longer ago it was. It experiences a sort of famine. But the devil rides it and spurs it on, to distract it from its own need. He changes its hunger into haste. That is why people today are in such a hurry. Their speed is to distract their hunger. ~Louis Evely
God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. ~C.S. Lewis
No one questions the need of times of formal address to God, but few admit in any practical way the need of quiet waiting upon God, gazing into His face, feeling for His hand, listening for His voice. God has special confidences for each soul. Indeed, it would seem as though the deepest truths come only in moments of profound devotional silence and contemplation. ~Charles H. Brent
There is hardly ever a complete silence in our soul. God is whispering to us well nigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the world die out in the soul, or sink low, then we hear these whisperings of God. He is always whispering to us, only we do not always hear because of the noise, hurry, and distraction which life causes as it rushes on. ~Frederick W. Faber
When conscience begins to be awakened by God, we either become subtle hypocrites or saints, that is, either we let God's law working through conscience bring us to the place where we can be put right, or we begin to hoodwink ourselves, to affect a religious pose, not before other people, but before ourselves, in order to appease conscience - anything to be kept out of the real presence of God because wherever He comes, He disturbs. ~Oswald Chambers
Does not all nature around me praise God? If I were silent, I should be an exception to the universe. Does not the thunder praise Him as it rolls like drums in the march of the God of armies? Do not the mountains praise Him when the woods upon their summits wave in adoration? Does not the lightning write His name in letters of fire? Has not the whole earth a voice? And shall I, can I, silent be? ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
It is in lonely solitude that God delivers His best thoughts, and the mind needs to be still and quiet to receive them. ~Charles R. Swindoll
Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years. ~Charles H. Spurgeon
I prayed for faith and thought that some day faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith did not seem to come. One day I read in the tenth chapter of Romans, "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God." I had up to this time closed my Bible and prayed for faith. I now opened my Bible and began to study and faith has been growing ever since. ~Dwight L. Moody
Faith wears everyday clothes and proves herself in life's ordinary situations. ~Bertha Munro
I am so made that worry and anxiety are sand in the machinery of life: faith is oil. ~ E. Stanley Jones
True faith is never found alone; it is always accompanied by expectation. The man who believes the promises of God expects to see them fulfilled. Where there is no expectation there is no faith. ~A.W. Tozer
Faith reposes on the character of God and if we believe that God is perfect we must conclude that His ways are perfect also. ~A.W. Tozer
To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances! To seek Him is the greatest of all achievements! To find Him is the greatest human achievement! ~Raphael Simon
Has it ever occurred to you that 100 pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which one must individually bow. So 100 worshipers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become "unity" conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified. ~A. W. Tozer
God fully expects the church of Jesus Christ to prove itself a miraculous group in the very midst of a hostile world. Christians of necessity must be in contact with the world but in being and spirit ought to be separated from the world - and as such, we should be the most amazing people in the world. ~A. W. Tozer
We find the Bible difficult because we try to read it as we would read any other book, and it is not the same as any other book. ~A. W. Tozer
Fellowship with God leads straight to obedience and good works. That is the divine order and it can never be reversed. ~A. W. Tozer
No one can long worship God in spirit and in truth before the obligation to holy service becomes too strong to resist. ~A. W. Tozer
Worship is the highest and noblest act that any person can do. When men worship, God is satisfied! And when you worship, you are fulfilled! ~Raymond C. Ortlund
The well-defined spiritual life is not only the highest life, but it is also the most easily lived. The whole cross is more easily carried than the half. It is the man who tries to make the best of both worlds who makes nothing of either. And he who seeks to serve two masters misses the benediction of both. Both he who has taken his stand, who has drawn a boundary-line sharp and deep about his religious life, who has marked off all beyond as forever forbidden ground to him, finds the yoke easy and the burden light. For this forbidden environment comes to be as if it were not . . . And the balm of death numbing his lower nature releases him for the scarce disturbed communion of a higher life. So even here to die is gain. ~Henry Drummond
It's ludicrous for any Christian to believe that he or she is the worthy object of public worship; it would be like the donkey carrying Jesus into Jerusalem believing the crowds were cheering and laying down their garments for him. ~Charles Colson
The stone was rolled away from the door, not to permit Christ to come out, but to enable the disciples to go in. ~Peter Marshall
The humble person has changed humiliation into humility. ~Bernard of Clairvaux
Dear Christ, make one that which we are and that which we appear to be. ~Calvin Miller
I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above another and that the taller we grew in Christian character the more easily we could reach them. I now find that God's gifts are on shelves one beneath the other and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower. ~F. B. Myer
What you possess in the world will be found at the day of your death to belong to someone else, but what you are will be yours forever. ~Harry Van Dyke
Lord, make me childlike. Deliver me from the urge to complete with another for place or prestige or position. I would be simple and artless as a little child. Deliver me from pose and pretense. Forgive me for thinking of myself. Help me to forget myself and find my true peace in beholding Thee. That Thou may answer this prayer I humble myself before Thee. Lay upon me Thy easy yoke of self-forgetfulness that through it I may find rest. Amen. ~A. W. Tozer
Teach me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see;
And what I do in anything,
To do it as for Thee! ~George Herbert
Monday through Friday employment is pure, it's sacred - just as sacred as your Sunday activities. ~Charles Swindoll
Do little things as if they were great because of the majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ who dwells in you; and do great things as if they were little and easy because of His omnipotence. ~Blaise Pascal
Who is the greatest saint in the world? It is not he who prays most or fasts most; it is not he who gives most alms, or is most eminent for temperance, chastity, or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God wills, who receives everything as an instance of God's goodness, and has a heart always ready to praise God for it. ~William Law
There is no work better than another to please God; to pour water, to wash dishes, to be a cobbler, or an apostle, all is one; to wash dishes and to preach is all one to please God. ~William Tyndale
Lord, turn the routines of work into celebrations of love. ~unknown
We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan, for love of Him; and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before Him who has given me grace to work; afterward I rise happier than a king. ~Brother Lawrence
Christianity is neither contemplation nor action. It is participation. Contemplation is looking at God as if He were an object. But if you participate in God in the sense that you let yourself be penetrated by Him, you will go to the cross like Him, you will go to work like Him, you will clean shoes, do the washing up and the cooking, all like Him. You cannot do otherwise because you will have become part of Him. You will do what He loves to do. ~Louis Evely
Where is the church at 11:25 on Monday morning? The church then is in the dentist's office, in the automobile sales room and repair shop, and out in the truck. It is in the hosspital, in the classroom, and in the home. It is in the offices, insurance, law, real estate, whatever it is. That is where the church is, wherever God's people are. They are doing what they ought to be doing. They are honoring God, not just while they worship in a building but out there. ~Arthur H. DeKruyter
It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it. ~A.W. Tozer
Through art we can know another's view of the universe. ~Marcel
As I stepped out of the cab, it struck me that our conversation had been sparked by a novel, a work of fiction. Yet should that be surprising? After all, where do most people wrestle with the big questions of life - about God, morality, and the meaning of life? Today's most influential worldview are born in the universities, but they touch all of us through the books we read, the music we listen to, and the movies we watch. Ideas penetrate our minds most deeply when communicated through the imaginative language of image, story, and symbol. It is crucial for Christians to learn how to "read" that language and to identify worldviews transmitted through cultural format. William Barrett wrote, an age sees itself "in the looking glass of its art." ~Nancy Pearcy
Ideas are born, nurtured, and developed in the universities long before they step out onto the political stage. ~Nancy Pearcy
Those with the authority to define what qualifies as knowledge wield the greatest power. ~Nancy Pearcy
One of the most important steps in recovering a Christian worldview is simply to recognize it, reclaim it, and reconnect it to its Biblical roots. ~Nancy Pearcy
J. Greshan Machen wrote "False ideas are the greatest obstacle to the reception of the gospel." Not pop culture. Not consumerism. Not moral temptation. False ideas. ~Nancy Pearcy
The most significant factor most effective in helping young people retain their Christian convictions was whether they had a safe place to wrestle with doubts and questions before leaving home. The study concluded, "The more college students felt that they had the opportunity to express their doubts while they were in high school, the higher [their] levels of faith maturity and spiritual maturity. ~Nancy Pearcy
A Biblical motivation for studying worldviews should be the same principle that motivates all authentic discipleship: The goal is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind," and to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Matt. 22:37-39). Loving requires knowing the person well. We nurture love for God by studying a Biblical worldview to become more deeply acquainted with His truth, His character, His purpose in history and in our lives. And we demonstrate love for others when we study their worldview to get inside their thinking and find ways to connect God's truth with their innermost concerns and questions. ~Nancy Pearcy
We might say there have been repeated re-enactments of the day of Pentecost when people from multiple nations heard the gospel "in their own language" and were converted (Acts 2:8). According to Lamin Sanneh, a former Muslim from Gambia who now teaches at Yale University, "Christianity is the religion of over two thousand different language groups." There are more Christians who "pray and worship in more languages than in any other religion in the world. ~Nancy Pearcey
In the New Testament times, the Greeks had a term for the underlying principle that unifies the world into orderly cosmos, as opposed to randomness and chaos. They called it the Logos. The Stoic philosophers conceived it as a pantheistic mind pervading the universe. But the apostle John applied the term to Christ. "In the beginning was the Word" - Logos (John 1:1). Every Greek who heard John's gospel understood that He was claiming that Christ Himself is the source of the order and coherence of the universe. As Paul put it, "in Him all things hold together" (Col. 1:17). Creation has a rational, intelligible order that reflects God's creative plan. ~Nancy Pearcey
True wisdom consists in seeing every field of knowledge through the lens of God's truth - government, economics, science, business, and the arts. When Christians speak of a worldview, they are simply using modern terminology to restate the Bible's comprehensive claim. ~Nancy Pearcey
The Christian gospel is unique because it is the narrative of what God has done in history to accomplish salvation. ~Nancy Pearcey
Many church leaders think the way to attract people into the sanctuary is by using skits, pop music, and video clips in the worship service. But surprisingly, the study found that real church growth has nothing to do with tricks or techniques. Instead the central factor is a church's view of truth. The study found that the more strongly people affirmed orthodox Christian doctrines as objectively true - for everyone, everywhere - the more likely they were to be actively involved in a church. ~Nancy Pearcey
Knowing God is a love relationship that engages the whole person: heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). To maintain that rich balance, however, Christians must always lean against the predominant error of their age. And the most characteristic error today is the break-up of truth. ~Nancy Pearcey
Whoever marches on the English department - and the rest of the university - will end up wielding political power. ~Todd Gitlin
The church is a training ground to equip individuals with a Biblical worldview and to send them out to the front lines to think and act creatively on the basis of Biblical truth. The result is not oppression but a wonderful liberation of their creative powers. ~Nancy Pearcey
In Reasons to Believe, reporter John Marks tries to explicate the Biblical concept of truth - somewhat like an anthropologist interpreting the customs of obscure tribe. It takes Marks almost a page, in rising crescendo prose, to communicate what the Bible even means by truth. "When a Bible-believing Christian talks about truth . . . he is not speaking about a thing conditioned by culture or crafted ultimately by language," Marks writes. (That is, truth is not a social construction.) It is not "affected by tides and times or rendered different from generation to generation." (Truth is not relative to time or place.) Scripture is "the explicit word of God." (It has a transcendent source.) It is "nothing more and nothing less than the ultimate fact of existence, raw and undiluted." (It is ultimate truth.) The gospel "does not dissolve in water or burn in fire. It is Truth. It is final! You can almost imagine trumpets blaring as the text climbs to its concluding climax. Marks' struggle simply to explain the Biblical view of truth (which he does not accept) spotlights the challenge faced by Christians today. ~Nancy Pearcey
All art is a language - a language of color, sound, movement, or words. When we immerse ourselves in a work of art, we enter into the artist's worldview. It can be expansive and glorious worldview, or it can be cramped, dehumanizing worldview. ~Dana Gioia
. . . aesthetic elements grow ultimately out of worldviews. This can be a difficult concept to grasp. In popular music, for example, most people readily recognize that the lyrics express the songwriter's perspective and experience. But they tend to assume that musical style is neutral. That is a mistake. Artistic styles develop originally as vehicles for expressing particular worldviews. As painter Louis Finkelstein says, "The sense of all stylistic change is that the underlying view of the world changes." ~Nancy Pearcey
. . . art is never just a copy of nature. Artist always select, arrange, and order their materials to offer an interpretation or perspective. ~Nancy Pearcey
Most of the major figures who jump-started modern science were devout Christians - Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Boyle, Newton. In a 2003 study, sociologist Rodney Stark identified the fifty-two top "stars" who did groundbreaking work to launch the scientific revolution. Turning then to biographical documents, he discovered that all but two of them were Christian. Does that surprise you? Today many people assume that science and religion are inherently in conflict. But historians of science have turned that assumption upside down. Today most historians agree that the scientific outlook actually rests on fundamental concepts derived from a Biblical view of nature. ~Nancy Pearcey
The linkage of natural and spiritual was the trademark of Christian realism. The Catholic apologist Frank Sheed once said, "The secular novelist sees what is visible; the Christian novelist sees what is there." Just so. On one hand, Christian realists affirmed the goodness of the empirical realm known by the senses. On the other hand, they regarded it as only one respect of a richer, multi-dimensional reality created by God. In their worldview, Auerbach explains, the influence of God, "reaches so deeply into the everyday that the two realms of the sublime and the everyday are not only actually unseparated but basically inseparable." Truth was unified. Christian realists gave temporal things eternal significance. ~Nancy Pearcey
God's good gifts - including things like skill and insight - are given to everyone. This is the doctrine of common grace: that God "causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matt. 5:45). As a result, most artists' vision is better than their worldview. They are sensitive to dimensions of reality that go beyond what is strictly permitted within the cramped categories of their secular worldview. One might say that the more attuned artists are to actual human experience, the less restricted they are by their worldview, and the richer their vision of the world. ~Nancy Pearcey
C.F. von Weizsacker sums up the difference: "Matter in the Platonic sense . . . will not obey mathematical laws exactly." But "matter which God has created from nothing may well strictly follow the rules which strictly follow the rules which its Creator laid down for it." In this way, he concludes, modren science is "a legacy, I might even have said a child, of Christianity." ~Nancy Pearcey
The chief aim of science is to discover the rational order and harmony which has been imposed on it by God and which He revealed to us in the language of mathematics. ~Johann Kepler
Secularism is not neutral, though it often claims to be. In relation to the Biblical God, secularists may be skeptics. But in relationship to their own god substitutes, they are true believers. To adapt an observation from C.S. Lewis, their skepticism is only on the surface. It is for use on other people's beliefs. "They are not nearly skeptical enough" about their own beliefs. And when they enforce secular views in the realm of law, education, sexuality, and health care, they are imposing their own beliefs on everyone else across an entire society. ~Nancy Pearcey
Typology is far more than a literary device, however. The New Testament writers speak of Christ's death and resurrection as cosmic events in which that any individuals in any age can participate. "I have been crucified with Christ" (Gal. 2:20). "We suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him" (Rom. 8:17 ESV). "Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed" (1 Pet. 4:14). The pattern of Christ's life is a prototype that can explicate and give meaning to any individual's life, imbuing both suffering and joy with additional layers of spiritual significance. It provides the pattern by which your life and mine can be woven into the larger story of God's redemption history. ~Nancy Pearcey
Because all people were created by a personal God, they cannot completely obliterate personal expression. Even when they reject the Biblical worldview in their thinking, inevitably it comes out in some way in their lives. They cannot help expressing their own nature as individuals created in the image of God. ~Nancy Pearcey
In 1925 [Igor] Stravinsky developed an abscess on his finger, painful enough that he almost cancelled an upcoming piano concert. "Somewhat to his own surprise, he went to a church, got on his knees, and asked for divine aid." The finger continued to fester, however, even as he walked out on the stage. He apologized to the audience for what he feared would be a poor performance and sat down at the piano - when suddenly the pain ceased. He removed the bandage and found that his finger was completely healed. Starvinsky took the sudden cure as a miracle. He returned to the Russian Orthodox Church and wrote several sacred compositions, many of which draw on medieval chant. At the top of the score for Symphony of Psalms, for the first time he wrote the same dedication that Bach attached to all his works: "To the glory of God." ~Nancy Pearcey
As a young man, [Vincent] Van Gogh wanted to become a preacher, but he was turned down by the theology school where he tried to enroll. Undaunted, he trained as a missionary and worked as an evangelist in a poor coal-mining district in southern Belgium. Determined to share the miners' poverty, he gave away his belongings and slept on the floor. Unfortunately, the missionary school did not appreciate his passion, and he was dismissed. Finally Van Gogh realized that art too can be a means of serving God. His swirling stars and writhing landscape express "a vision that ultimately belongs more to the realm of religious revelation than to astronomical observations. ~Nancy Pearcey
We must never treat worldview analysis simply as a way to slap a label on a work of art and pigeonhole it into some neat schema. Historically, artists were not just making pretty pictures but were wrestling with profound questions about life - not through words but through color, texture, tone, and composition. Art is a visual language, and Christians have a responsibility to learn that language. All worldviews contain some grains of truth, simply because all people are made in God's image and live in God's world. Christians are called to identify what is good, and pour it into Biblical wineskins (to adapt Jesus' metaphor). This explains why Christian artists are able to employ many of the same stylistic elements as secularist artists - taking what is true and pouring it into the much richer, fuller wineskin of a Biblical worldview. ~Nancy Pearcey
Christianity provided the unity he [C.S. Lewis] longed for. Christ's life, death, and resurrection were events that occurred in the physical world, testable by the same means as any other historical event. Yet they were also the fulfillment of the ancient myths that Lewis had always loved. He used the term myth not to mean a story that is false but one that answers the deep human longing for transcendence. In his own words, "The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also fact. The old myth of the Dying God, without ceasing to be myth, comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history." In other words, the great events of the New Testament have all the wonder and beauty of a myth. Yet they happen in a specific place, at a particular date, and have empirically verifiable historical consequences. The realm of empirical fact is imbued with profound spiritual meaning. Christianity unifies the two realms. The Biblical worldview fulfills both the requirements of human reason and the yearnings of the human spirit. ~Nancy Pearcey
The Bible teaches that history is linear, moving in a definite direction toward a future in which all wrongs will be righted and all wounds healed. Every event has meaning within this overarching goal or purpose. ~Nancy Pearcey
When Paul writes, "We live by faith, not by faith" (2 Cor. 5:7), many readers seem to think he is speaking metaphorically and means "by faith not reason." But Paul is speaking literally. His point is that the spiritual realm is unseen, invisible. It takes tremendous faith to act on the basis of realities we cannot see. He does not mean that Christianity is opposed to reason. Tragically the high dignity accorded to reason as part of the image of God has been so thoroughly lost that even theologically orthodox Christians often hold the mistaken notion that Biblical faith is irrational. This is a major reason they are ineffective in addressing the contemporary world. They have absorbed the same faith/reason dichotomy that lies at the core of contemporary worldview. Thus they have no genuine alternative to offer. ~Nancy Pearcey
Throughout history Christians have employed the metaphor of two books - the book of God's Word (the Bible) and the book of God's world (creation). And because God is the author of both He has author-ity over the right way to interpret them. There is an objective standard of truth. By the same token, human beings, created in God's image, are genuine authors of their own works. If you want to know what a text means, you ask the author. ~Nancy Pearcey
The same neo-Marxist worldview has filtered down to theology, where it has inspired black, feminist, and liberation theology. During the 2008 presidential campaign, the American public was stunned to discover how radical some versions of black theology can be. For some twenty years, then-candidate Barack Obama had attended a Chicago church pastored by Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who asked God not to bless America but to "damn" it. Wright is a follower of theologian James Cone, who condemns white churches as "the racist Antichrist" and advocates " destruction of the white enemy." Marxist-inspired theologians typically say, I'm not a Marxist, I merely use Marxist tools of analysis. Thus Cone writes, "The Christian faith does not possess in its nature the means for analyzing the structure of capitalism. Marxism as a tool of social analysis can . . . help Christians to see how things really are." Cone is tragically mistaken. A Christian worldview does have the resources to analyze economic structures like capitalism. But because he does not recognize those resources, Cone reaches over to the Marxist toolbox to borrow its conceptual tools. The problem with this strategy is that the conceptual tools we use change the way we think - just as practical tools, like the car or the computer, have changed the way we live. Liberation theology often ends up as little more than theological frosting on a Marxist cake. ~Nancy Pearcey
As Paul says, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer each person" (Col. 4:6). The study of worldviews provides the tools to individualize our approach in presenting the gospel. ~Nancy Pearcey
James Spiegel, professor of philosophy at Taylor University, writes that "every film offers a worldview, a set of beliefs and values for understanding how the world is and how it should be." When watching a movie, we should be asking: What worldview is the movie communicating? Are there elements that are true? Are there elements that are false and destructive? If Christians do not learn to ask those questions, they may well absorb nonbiblical ideas without even being aware of it. T.S. Eliot once noted that the serious books we read do not influence us nearly as much as the books we read for fun (or the movies we watch for entertainment). Why? Because when relaxing, our guard is down and we engage in the "suspension of disbelief" that allows us to enter imaginatively into the story. As a result, the assumptions of the author or screenwriter may go unnoticed and seep all the more deeply into our consciousness. When we "suspend disbelief," we must take care not to suspend our critical faculties. ~Nancy Pearcey
In every subject area, it is Christians who should think the most deeply and be the most creative - until people wonder why it is that all the best books and movies are by Christians. ~C. S. Lewis
"A movie story when 'told' has an informing vision . . . a frame of reference," writes Robert K. Johnson in Reel Spirituality. "In fact, no story can develop without some more-or-less coherent perception of reality, some fundamental opinion about life." Thus, "any film, as a product of human creativity, contains hints on the worldview of the moviemaker."
Of course, a movie is more than the worldview it expresses. Because filmmakers are made in God’s image, their art is often better than their worldview, bringing universal themes to life. ~Nancy Pearcey
Because we live in a moral universe that has been spoiled, every act of redemption involves a kind of death. After all, the cross is not a piece of shiny jewelry; it’s a symbol of brutality about a tortured Messiah. ~Rick Pearcey
While it’s fine to enjoy film as art and entertainment, we should also watch for the ways it reveals the thinking of our generation – not primarily so we can launch protests and boycotts, but so we can respond to the people in our lives more intelligently and compassionately. Learning to “read” pop culture provides tools to connect with people better and communicate the life-giving truths of Scripture in language and concepts they will understand. ~Nancy Pearcey
No great radical idea can survive unless it is embodied in individuals whose lives are the message. ~Erich Fromm
Where are today's counterparts to Bach? Where is the music and art that expresses Biblical truths so eloquently that it invites people to embark on a search for God? Christians must go beyond criticizing the degradation of American culture, roll up their sleeves, and get to work on positive solutions. The only way to drive out bad culture is with good culture. After all, Jesus called His disciples salt and light. The metaphor of light means Christians must seek out places of darkness and despair, and enter into those places to illuminate them with the splendor of God's truth. And because salt was used in Biblical times as a preservative - to prevent food from spoiling and decaying - the salt metaphor means that Christians must seek out places where society is corrupt and falling apart, and enter into those places with God's power to preserve and renew. ~Nancy Pearcey
The church must once again become a place with a reputation for nurturing artists, those with a special gift for giving visual and imaginative expression to Biblical truth. The arts are not just window-dressing on a didactic message - a candy coating to help teaching go down more easily. Scripture itself is made up of a wide variety of literary forms: poetry, proverbs, prophecy, historical narrative, commands, parables, love songs, practical admonition, and hymns of praise. In fact, only a fraction of Scripture is devoted to straightforward didactic teaching. The writers of Scripture used artistic and literary forms to convey truths too profound for straightforward propositional statements. ~Nancy Pearcey
Christians are called to adopt the mentality of a missionary, even if they never set foot in a foreign country. A missionary has to sift the indigenous culture carefully, deciding which aspects of the society can be redeemed and which must be rejected. ~Nancy Pearcey
The same sifting must be done in every era. On one hand, much of human culture is good, because all humans are made in the image of God and must live within the structures of the world God created. They benefit from God’s common grace, the gifts that God bestows on all creation. As Matthew 5:45 puts it, God causes His rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike. The implication is that non-Christians can be creative artists, successful businessmen, skillful doctors, and loving parents. As Jesus said, even “you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children” (Matt. 7:11). On the other hand, Scripture also teaches that sin and evil are pervasive. No part of life is untouched by corruption and falsehood. Nothing is theologically neutral. Christians are responsible for evaluating everything against the plumb line of Scriptural truth. Taken together, these two themes give Christians a balanced approach to culture – affirming and supporting what is good, while resisting anything that conflicts with Scripture. To use Jesus’ metaphor, we are to be innocent as doves but wary as serpents (Matt. 10:16). ~Nancy Pearcey
Today’s parallel to Victorianism would include praise music that mirrors the vapid emotionalism and egocentrism of pop culture. I once visited a church where I was startled to hear the congregation sing lines like “You are my all desire,” and “I want to feel the warmth of your embrace.” The lyrics made no mention of God or Jesus. No reference to salvation or justification or any other theological theme. Nothing to suggest that the song was anything but a love song to someone’s girlfriend. The lyrics were such an extreme example of the Jesus-is-my-girlfriend genre that I wondered how any man could sing it with a straight face – though as I looked around the room, I saw several men with their eyes closed, arms raised. Why are evangelicals attracted by such superficial emotionalism? Because they have absorbed a two-story dualism of their own. We call it the sacred/secular split. The problem is that when spiritual things are moved to the upstairs, then worship is reduced to little more than an emotional buzz. Church becomes a brief escape that does little to equip people to deal with the real world of sin, sorrow, conflict, and alienation. The sacred/secular dualism isolates God’s truth in the upstairs, away from the ordinary world – which implicitly denies God’s power to redeem the ordinary world. “It capitulates to the banishment of the arts and of worship from a materialist world,” says theologian and literary critic Amos Wilder. And in the process it “abandons the actual life of men as unredeemable.” ~Nancy Pearcey
In Dynamics of Spiritual Life, Richard Lovelace makes a compelling case that the best defense is a good offense. “The ultimate solution to cultural decay is not so much the repression of bad culture as the production of sound and healthy culture,” he writes. “We should direct most of our energy not to the censorship of decadent culture, but to the production and support of healthy expressions of Christian and non-Christian art.” Public protests and boycotts have their place. But even negative critiques are effective only when motivated by a genuine love for the arts. The long-term solution is to support Christian artists, musicians, authors, and screenwriters who can create humane and healthy alternatives that speak deeply to the human condition. ~Nancy Pearcey
Yet in Art for God’s Sake Philip Ryken says, “God’s gifts are never to be hidden; His calling is never to be denied.”
As Dennis Hollinger puts it, the church itself is the best apologetic. “Postmoderns can best understand a holy, loving, just, forgiving, life-giving God of grace when they see a holy, loving, just, forgiving, life-giving community founded on the grace of God.” The Christian community is the concrete reality where the transcendent reality of the gospel is made manifest – “a visible, corporate expression of the Christian worldview. This is a sobering thought; because the other side of the coin is that the gospel is also most easily discredited through the church. What happens when nonbelievers hear preachers proclaim the importance of the family, but see churches full of workaholic parents with little time for their own children? When they see power relationships that are as exploitive as anywhere else? When they see Christians trapped in the same sexual addictions as the rest of society? When they see evangelical celebrities using the same dishonest spin tactics as the secular advertising world? Christians may preach passionately about the need for a Biblical worldview, but unless they are submitting themselves to a continual process of sanctification, they will not have the power to live out that worldview – and they will discredit the very message they are seeking to communicate. ~Nancy Pearcey
Self-interest and personal ambition can so cloud our perception that we literally do not recognize certain spiritual truths. ~Nancy Pearcey
In order to develop a Biblical worldview, each person must first make a searching inventory of his or her own areas of sin, temptation, and weakness, and embark on a process of sanctification in every area of life. ~Nancy Pearcey
J. Gresham Machen once said the church is called to advance the kingdom of God in two ways: extensively by attracting ever more people but also intensively by consecrating our lives ever more deeply to God. As Machen put it, “The Church must seek to conquer not merely every man for Christ, but also the whole man.”
Francis Schaeffer quote from 1974, “One of the greatest injustices we do to our young people is to ask them to be conservative. Christianity is not conservative, but revolutionary. The technical meaning of conservative is to conserve the status quo. But “we must teach the young to be revolutionaries, revolutionaries against the status quo.” We are called to revolt against false idols and the power they exert over minds and hearts. Christians should be on the front lines fighting to liberate society from its captivity to secular worldviews.
For the first time since the start of the second millennium of the Christian era, the face of Christianity has again become brown. The great historic churches of Europe and North America are not only minorities within the Christian world, but they are static or declining in the face of real expansion in Asia, Africa, and South America. ~Nancy Pearcey
Excuses are an anesthetic of Satan. They numb us to the operation of sin in our lives. They make us insensitive to sin’s impact and deceive us as to our responsibilities. ~Joseph Stowell
“Life is not made by the dreams we dream but by the choices we make.” How true. Choices are the ingredients of triumph or failure. ~Joseph Stowell
Never look at the temptation. Always look beyond it and see the tempter! ~Joseph Stowell
Satan uses creation (the tree) to entice man into his control. Man submits to the alluring creation and in so doing serves Satan. God is expelled from the experience. This new “fallen factor” permeates everything godless man does. Tragically, it is even reflected in the behavior of some believers. Creation, in the form of silver, gold, cars, houses, bodies, vacation spots, and every material portion of the universe, lures us to live for it and to sacrifice values of godliness to satisfy our unchecked desires. This fallen factor places the material over the spiritual. It degrades us, and it brings death and Satan’s defilement to our environment and experience. ~Joseph Stowell
To dedicate self to the benefit of God and others is a strong defense against sin (Matthew 22:37-40). ~Joseph Stowell
Though we as parents don’t personally select our children’s partners, we can be committed to the same ideals and pass them on to our children. Here are a few principles we can start with.
Principle # 1: Never consider marrying anyone outside the scope of your spiritual heritage (Genesis 24:3-4).
Principle # 2: Never spiritually backtrack for marriage (Genesis 24:5-6).
Principle # 3: Maintain an unflinching trust in God (Genesis 24:7-8).
Principle # 4: Make a commitment to these principles before you begin searching for a partner (Genesis 24:9).
Principle # 5: Go where the fishing’s good (Genesis 24:10-11).
Principle # 6: Pray (Genesis 24:12-14).
Principle # 7: Ask God for discernment (Genesis 24:15-21). ~Joseph Stowell
It is instructive to note the basis for Abraham’s interest in Rebekah. The qualities she had developed set a standard for anyone looking for a meaningful marriage partner today.
• Neat Appearance (Genesis 24:16)
• Moral Purity (Genesis 24:16)
• Respect for Authority (Genesis 24:18)
• Hospitality (Genesis 24:17-18)
• Willingness to Go the Extra Mile (Genesis 24:19-20) ~Joseph Stowell
The Fall of man (Genesis 3) realigned our nature to reflect the will, emotions, and personality of Satan and his system. Redemption was God’s way of restoring us to our original purpose (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). His indwelling Spirit became the internal dynamic that would lead and teach us for the purpose of glorifying Him (John 16:12-15). This divine purpose requires that I commit to align myself with God by submitting my will to His will, and to submit my emotions and character to the work of the Spirit that I might reflect His character. But alignment is not easy. ~Joseph Stowell
President Reagan kept a sign on his desk that read, “There is no limit to what a man can do if he doesn’t care who gets the credit.” Biblically, there is no limit to what God can do through us if we are willing to give Him the credit. That’s what it means to glorify His name. ~Joseph Stowell
While it is relatively easy to tell people what God is like, it is even more significant to show them with our actions. ~Joseph Stowell
Kingdom people are meant to be people in process – people continually growing and becoming more like Christ. This process is a lifelong development of our spiritual potential, yet it takes place one-step at a time. It’s a slow yet significant stretch. ~Joseph Stowell
God sovereignly chose Abraham and Sarah to become stewards of the promised victory through Christ (Genesis 12:1-3). He stepped out with God, became mobile, and entered the process. It was a process that demanded three things from Abraham.
• First, the process demanded obedience, a submitted will (Hebrews 11:8). There is essentially one key principle to spiritual mobility: God is the boss and can unconditionally call the shots in our lives.
• Second, Abraham’s process demanded persistence. Victory is not assured at the altar of commitment. It is won in the persistence of our hearts not to flinch from our resolve to obey (Hebrews 11:9, 15-16).
• Third, the process involved productivity. Twenty-five years after obeying God and leaving their home country, Abraham and Sarah gave birth to Isaac, the promised son of the messianic line (Hebrews 11:11-12). Persistent obedience is not a dead-end street. God will produce His plan through us in His time and His way, as long as we remain faithful. ~Joseph Stowell
For every good plan of God to bless us, Satan responds with some kind of counterattack. The account of Abraham and Sarah in Hebrews 11 delineates four obstacles that threaten to block the progress of God’s process.
Fear of the Unknown-When threatened by fear of the unknown, we must remember all that God is and all He promises to be. The one sure known in the unknown is that God is there (Hebrews 11:8).
Past Comforts-The second obstacle we can expect is the pull of past comforts (Hebrews 11:9, 13, 15). Obedience to God may demand lowering our comfort level to live a simpler, less materialistic existence, and the pull of past standards of living will threaten to bring the process to a quick halt. Why did Abraham and Sarah persist in the process? Because “they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16).
Believing the Impossible-There are some words you should never use in His presence, and impossible is one of them. It’s not in His vocabulary. Obedience to God often moves us into the territory of the impossible. When God does the impossible, then and only then can He show the extent of His strength on our behalf. That’s how He demonstrates His glory to a watching world. He delights in the impossible.
Lack of Immediate Gratification-Lastly, the process of spiritual growth is difficult because there is seldom instant feedback (Hebrews 11:13). Even with no instant feedback, this life was persistent in the process and productive far beyond itself.
When we step out with God, we must do so in faith, believing that He is the known in the unknown. We must develop an unflinching belief that He is the God of the impossible. Our commitment is not to the here and now, but to the bigger picture. These things fortify our persistence and guarantee productivity. ~Joseph Stowell
Financial pressure always distracts us from God’s best. ~Joseph Stowell
If we understand why God doesn’t come rushing to our side every time we call Him, we can learn to wait patiently for Him. There are at least three reasons why God waits before responding to us.
1. God waits for the sake of our growth. Prosperity without pain doesn’t do much to motivate my spiritual life. But let some crisis hit and immediately I become sensitive to God.
2. God waits for the sake of His glory. Why did God wait till Abraham and Sarah were past childbearing age to give them a son? It was so He would be glorified and the credit would be totally His. Abraham and Sarah both needed firsthand experience with the glory of God. As faithful as they had been so far, neither of them really believed that He was the God of the impossible (Genesis 17:17-18; 18:10-14). Therefore, He allowed them to wait until it would take a miracle to honor His promise to them, and then He glorified Himself on their behalf.
3. God waits because He works on our ground. God works His plans and purposes through our lives, our politics, our economics, our complexities, and Satan’s domain. God’s design is to work His will on our turf and in the environment of this world. That takes time because we are slow to change and Satan’s domain is strong and aggressive. ~Joseph Stowell
When God requires from us what He has promised to us, always-eventually supernaturally-repays. And when He does, we are better off than before (Hebrews 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death)). ~Joseph Stowell
The issue of values is not a matter of what we own, but rather a matter of what owns us. ~Joseph Stowell
We detect signs of our divided loyalties when we are willing to exchange character for cash, conviction for convenience, Christ for comfort, purity for pleasure, holiness for self-fulfillment, financial faithfulness for material gain, God’s way for our way, or truth for error. Each of these actions is a betrayal kiss on the cheek of Christ who dwells within us. ~Joseph Stowell
Love for God and love for others will drive us to purity. ~Joseph Stowell
But Joseph came to realize that God is able to use even offensive and intentionally evil acts to accomplish His purpose. Why would Joseph seek revenge or maintain animosity toward tools that God used to bring about good? With this awareness, he was free to forgive his brothers. When Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34), He recognized that behind those wicked hands was the hand of God, accomplishing the most glorious event in history (Acts 2:23-24). Walking in righteousness keeps us alert to the fact that God is at work in everything, even the things we tend to find offensive. This then enables us to forgive those who hurt and offend us. God will deal with those people. In the meantime, He will use their negative actions to produce His best through us. ~Joseph Stowell
War. Battles. Conflict. Strategy. These may be concepts that make us uncomfortable. We prefer lives that are smooth, peaceful, and tension free. Yet the kingdom conflict is both Biblical and relevant to our lives today. Just because we don't enjoy discussing battle plans doesn't mean the war isn't taking place. We should learn from th e victories of those who have gone before us. And more importantly, we should learn from their mistakes. Why else would Scripture be so starkly honest about so many people's failures if not to teach us and give us the opportunity to avoid making the same blunders? ~Joseph Stowell
It’s never too late to start doing what is right. ~Charles Swindoll
Donald Grey Barnhouse said, “ Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace.” To show grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it. ~Chuck Swindoll
One more thing should be emphasized about grace: it is absolutely and totally free. You will never be asked to pay it back. You couldn’t even if you tried. ~ Chuck Swindoll
Do you know what the most often-repeated command from Jesus’ lips was? “Fear not.” ~ Chuck Swindoll
Ron Allen in a footnote in the Nelson Study Bible says, “The word, agape, describes a love that is based on the deliberate choice of the one who loves rather than the worthiness of the one who is loved. This kind of love goes against natural human inclination. It is a giving, selfless, expect-nothing-in-return kind of love . . .. Our modern ‘throw-away’ society encourages us to get rid of people in our lives who are different to get along with, whether they are friends, family, or acquaintances. Yet this attitude runs in complete contrast to the love described by Paul. True love puts up with people who would be easier to give up on.” Chuck Swindoll says, “ . . . eros is a mystery that evokes good feelings, agape is a choice that reveals good character.”
As I attempt to probe the mind of Paul, trying to find some common denominator, some secret clue to his joy, I have to conclude that it was his confidence in God. To Paul, God was in full control of everything. Everything! If hardship came, God permitted it. If pain dogged his steps, it was only because God allowed it. If he was under arrest, God still remained the sovereign director of his life. If there seemed to be no way out, God knew he was pressed. If things broke open and all pressure was relieved, God was responsible. ~Chuck Swindoll
Basically there are two kinds of people: people who choose joy and people who don’t. People who choose joy pay no attention to what day of the week it is . . . or how old they are . . . or what level of pain they are in. They have deliberately decided to laugh again because they have chosen joy. ~Chuck Swindoll
The way of God is complex. He is hard for us to predict. He moves the pieces and they come somehow into a kind of order. ~Euripides
There is something fundamentally flawed about a purely academic interest in God. God is not an appropriate object for cool critical detached, scientific observation and evaluation. No, the true knowledge of God will always lead us to worship . . .. Our place is on our faces before Him in adoration. John R. W. Stott
Remember, nothing is a surprise to God. His plan may seem unfair, humanly illogical, even lacking compassion, but that’s because we dwell in the here and now. We lack the vertical view. ~Chuck Swindoll
This determined, decreed dimension of God’s will has four qualities: (1) It is absolute. (2) It is immutable, which means “unchangeable.” (3) It is unconditional. (4) It is always in complete harmony with His nature. In other words, the decreed will of God will be holy, it will be just, it will be good, it will be righteous; therefore, it will be best. And everything – even the evil intended by others and the afflictions of a world given over to evil – will work toward God’s predetermined ends. ~Chuck Swindoll
Just remember: no one ultimately is able to frustrate God’s plan . . . no one. No one who lets us down surprises God. No one who walks away from his or her responsibilities causes God to wonder why. In the final analysis, God will have His way. What He has determined will transpire. ~Chuck Swindoll
The better you get to know the Word of God; the less confusing is the will of God. Those who struggle the least with the will of God are those who know the Word of God best. ~Chuck Swindoll
God’s Word provides all the light we will ever need on our journey through this life. It’s “a lamp to [our] feet, and a light to [our] path” (Psalm 119:105). It brings light to our darkened minds. It helps us think theologically. Strange and mysterious though His leading may seem, when we derive our understanding from a serious investigation of the written Word of God, we will not be led astray. And we will continue to stand on the solid rock of God’s Word of truth. All other ground is sinking sand. ~Chuck Swindoll
PREREQUISITES FOR FOLLOWING THE WILL OF GOD
1. Foremost you must be a Christian (Romans 8:14).
2. You must be wise (Ephesians 5:15-16).
3. You must really want to do the will of God. (John 7:17).
4. You must be willing to pray and to wait (Matthew 7:7-8).
5. Following the will of God means you must be willing to give up your creature comforts (Acts 20:22-24). ~Chuck Swindoll
HOW DOES GOD LEAD TODAY
1. Most Basic, God leads us through His written Word (Psalm 119:105).
2. God leads us through the inner prompting of the Holy Spirit (Philippians 2:12-13). Nothing wrong with planning. Nothing wrong with thinking it through, listing all the pros and cons, talking it over. But as you are moving along, stay sensitive to the quiet, yet all-important prompting of God through His Holy Spirit. By doing so, you may well sense inner promptings that will spur a thought, such as, “I can’t believe I’m still interested in that. I wonder what the Lord is doing? I wonder where He’s going with this?”
3. God leads us through the counsel of wise, qualified trustworthy people (Proverbs 11:4).
4. God leads us into His will by giving us an inner assurance of peace (Colossians 3:15). ~Chuck Swindoll
Are you willing to make a major change in your life – assuming that it’s the Lord’s will? I’m now convinced that the real issue is not so much “What does the Lord want me to do?” as it is, “Am I willing to do it once He makes it clear?” ~Chuck Swindoll
Distance from God is a frightening thing. God will never adjust His agenda to fit ours. He will not speed His pace to catch up with ours; we need to slow our pace in order to recover our walk with Him. God will not scream and shout over the noisy clamor; He expects us to seek quietness, where His still, small voice can be heard again. God will not work within the framework of our complicated schedules; we must adapt to His style. We need to conform to His way if our lives are to be characterized by all-encompassing word Godliness. ~Chuck Swindoll
God often does His best work in us when He catches us by surprise and introduces a change that is completely against our own desire. ~Chuck Swindoll
Prayer is listening as well as speaking, receiving as well as asking; and its deepest mood is friendship held in reverence. So the daily prayer should end as it begins – in adoration. ~George A. Buttrick
A primary purpose of prayer is connecting with God in order to transfer His will into your life. It’s collaborating with God to accomplish His goals. ~Chuck Swindoll
Prayer often involves other disciplines, such as meditation, worship, silence, solitude, and surrender – always surrender. ~Chuck Swindoll
Prayer is an authentic seeking of His plan as we willingly adjust our will to match His. ~Chuck Swindoll
Prayer is not a natural response; it's a Spirit response. If we fail to cultivate this discipline, prayer winds up being our last resort rather than our first response. ~Chuck Swindoll
I am especially fortunate to serve in a church whose elders are mature spiritual leaders. Their dedication to prayer reveals their maturity. Our meetings are punctuated by times of prayer. We begin by praying then dive into general matters of the church only to realize it’s time once again … time for more prayer. We may see matters on the agenda that are beyond our ability to handle, so we lay them before the Lord in prayer. We stop everything to spend at least fifteen to twenty minutes each meeting in prayer as each one of us comes before the Lord with specific concerns.
This would probably seem like a huge waste of valuable time to a corporation. Some might say, “You can’t keep doing that; you’ve got a church to run.” No. Actually, we don’t.
It’s not our church; it’s God’s - and it’s not our responsibility to run it! Fortunately, He is responsible for the church’s success, however that should be defined. Our priority is to devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word. In the end, we find that our time praying is an investment that pays for itself many times over. When each elder or pastor has his will aligned with the Lord’s, we waste no time arguing for our own. It’s amazing what effect prayer has on our relationships with one another. Barriers are broken down. Hearts are softened. Wills become submissive. And fresh ideas flow freely. ~Chuck Swindoll
Worry is wrestling with anxiety on your own rather than releasing it to the Father. ~Chuck Swindoll
So if you tend to worry a lot, here’s a better plan; pray a lot. For such relief to become a reality, you will have to exercise the discipline of surrender as you rely on Him to solve the problem … in His way and in His time. Effective, results-getting prayer includes the thought, Lord, this is Your problem to fix. You take control. Let me know what You want me to do if I’m to be involved in the solution. By leaving it with You, I will consider it solved.
Our primary goal in calling out to God … can be summed up in four words: intimacy with the Almighty. Seek that first, and you will have everything you’ve longed for in life, including all the things you never knew you needed. ~Chuck Swindoll
Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in the blood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends. ~Dwight D. Eisenhower
No, humility isn’t a result of having a poor self-image. True humility comes from a place of strength and inner security. ~Chuck Swindoll
In God’s kingdom plan, suffering brings reward. ~Chuck Swindoll
When grace changes the heart, submission out of fear changes to submission out of love, and true humility is born. ~William Hendriksen
I am convinced that wise planning is good. But plans, like material possessions, must always be held loosely. Yes – always! Plan wisely, but be ready for God to rearrange things and take you along paths that may feel dangerous to you. Don’t sweat it; He knows what He’s doing. And He isn’t obligated to inform you … or request permission to upset your neat little agenda! ~Chuck Swindoll
Forgive us, O God, for the doubting suspicion with which we regard the heart of God. We have faith in checks and banks, in trains and airplanes, in cooks, and in strangers who drive us in cabs. Forgive us for our stupidity, that we have faith in people whom we do not know and are so reluctant to have faith in Thee who knowest us altogether. We are always striving to find a complicated way through life when Thou hast a plan, and we refuse to walk in it. So many of our troubles we bring on ourselves. How silly we are. Wilt Thou give to us that faith that we can deposit in the bank of Thy love, so that we may receive the dividends and interest that Thou art so willing to give us. We ask it all in the lovely name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. ~Peter Marshall, the late chaplain on the United States Senate, concluded his message, “Sin in the Present Tense” with this prayer
Never miss a good chance to shut up. ~Will Rogers
“We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). To do what is right is to side with the truth of God. And never doubt it, the truth of God will always prevail. Evil may cause setbacks, and it may hamper the steady march of God’s plan, but it is ultimately powerless to stop it. To do what is right is to join the winning side of the fight, though the battle will not be without pain or struggle. ~Chuck Swindoll
We aren’t just thrown on this earth like dice tossed across a table. We are soverignly and lovingly placed here for a purchase, having been chosen by God. His choosing us was according to His foreknowledge, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that we may obey Jesus Christ, having been sprinkled with His blood. Powerful words! God has given us a purpose for our existence, a reason to go on, even though that existence includes tough times. Living through suffering, we become sanctified – in other words, set apart for the glory of God. We gain perspective. We grow deeper. We grow up! ~Chuck Swindoll
I'm absolutely convinced that nothing - nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable - absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. (Romans 8:31-39 MSG)
Where sin abounds, grace superabounds! ~Chuck Swindoll
They cared nothing about the woman [the woman caught in adultery] or her future. At the moment she meant nothing to them or to anyone else for that matter – no one except JESUS (John 8:1-11). ~ Chuck Swindoll
The only person on earth qualified to condemn the woman [the woman caught in adultery] refused to do so. Instead, He freed her. ~ Chuck Swindoll
To all weighed down by shame remember those most unqualified to condemn you, will and the One most qualified to condemn you, won’t. ~ Chuck Swindoll
There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds. ~Alfred Lord Tennyson
A reflective Christian is one who is thinking deeply, questioning often. When we doubt, our minds are at work. ~ Chuck Swindoll
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. ~Jim Elliot
I realized that life doesn’t revolve around me – my comfort, my desires, my dreams, my plans. Clearly, it is all about Him. ~ Chuck Swindoll
The discipline of sacrifice is one in which we forsake the security of meeting our needs with what is in our hands. It is total abandonment to God, a stepping into the darkened abyss in the faith and hope that God will bear us up …. The cautious faith that never saws off a limb on which it is sitting never learns that unattached limbs may find strange, unaccountable ways of not falling. ~Dallas Williard
We’re often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety. This is especially true when our treasures are loved ones, relatives, and friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed. ~A.W. Tozer
How and why we give is of far greater significance to God than what we give. Attitude and motive are always more important than amount. ~Chuck Swindoll
We know that it was no accident. God performs all things according to the counsel of His own will. The real issues at stake on January 8, 1956, were very far greater than those, which immediately involved five young men and their families, or this small tribe of naked “savages.” Letters from many countries have told of God’s dealings with hundreds of men and women, through the examples of five who believed literally that “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot
God will not likely expect you to surrender your life all at one as these men [Jim Elliot, Nat Saint, etc.] did. Instead, He patiently waits for you to sacrifice yourself in small amounts, one decision at a time, one day at a time, so that you might enjoy an ever-increasing intimacy with Him. And this deepening intimacy with Him will inevitably make you more like Christ. ~Chuck Swindoll
When we committed ourselves to following Christ, we also committed to living our lives in such a way that a watching world would catch a glimpse of God’s character – His love, justice, and mercy – through our words, actions, and behavior. “We are … Christ’s ambassadors,” wrote the apostle Paul, “as though God were making His appeal through us” (2 Cor. 5:20). God chose us to be His representatives. He called us out, to proclaim the “good news” – to be the “good news” – and to change the world. Living out our faith privately was never meant to be an option. ~Richard Stearns
Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God. ~Bob Pierce
Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now. ~Saint Teresa of Avila
Kindness has converted more sinners than zeal, eloquence, or learning. ~Frederick W. Faber
Faith today is treated as something that only should make us different, not that actually does or can make us different. In reality we vainly struggle against the evils of this world, waiting to die and go to heaven. Somehow we’ve gotten the idea that the essence of faith is entirely a mental and inward thing. ~Dallas Willard
God's love was intended to be demonstrated, not dictated. ~Richard Stearns
Think about all the things that must happen before there can be a good harvest of crops. First, someone has to go and prepare the land. This is backbreaking work that involves felling trees, pulling massive stumps out of the ground, extracting rocks and boulders from the field, moving them aside. But there’s no harvest yet. Next the soil has to be broken up. The earth needs to be plowed, fertilizer churned in with the soil, and orderly rows tilled to prepare for the seed. Then the seeds must be carefully planted and covered. But still no harvest. Perhaps a fence needs to be built to protect the plants from animals that might devour them. And always, the seedlings must be carefully watered, nurtured, and fed over the long growing season. There are sometimes setbacks – bad weather, blights, floods, and insects – that can jeopardize the harvest. But if all of the hard work is done faithfully and with perseverance, and if God provides good seed and favorable weather, finally a glorious harvest is the result. Haven’t we heard the stories of faithful missionaries who dedicated their whole lives in another country without seeing even one person embrace Christ as Savior – only to learn that fifty years later there was a tremendous harvest? In our instant-gratification society, we would prefer to go directly to the harvest. Who wants to do all that hard work of stump pulling and boulder moving? But isn’t all that “other” work the essence of the coming of the kingdom of God in its fullness? When we become involved in people’s lives, work to build relationships, walk with them through their sorrows and their joys, live with generosity toward others, love and care for them unconditionally, stand up for the defenseless, and pay particular attention to the poorest and most vulnerable, we are showing Christ’s love to those around us, not just talking about it. These are the things that plant the seeds of the gospel in the human heart. ~Richard Stearns
Preach the gospel always; when necessary use words. ~Saint Francis of Assisi
We have shrunk Jesus to the size where He can save our soul but now don’t believe He can change the world. ~Anonymous
To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice. ~Confucius
Whosoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did. ~1 John 2:6
Why did God make me? The answer? To love, serve, and obey Him. ~Richard Stearns
Are you willing to be open to God’s will for your life? ~Richard Stearns
The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. ~Frederick Buechner
Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. ~Joshua 24:15
When we say that we want to be His disciple, yet attach a list of conditions, Jesus refuses to accept our terms. His terms involve unconditional surrender. ~Richard Stearns
God expects us to serve Him on His terms – not ours. ~Richard Stearns
If money be not thy servant, it will be thy master. The covetous man cannot so properly be said to possess wealth, as that may be said to possess him. ~Sir Francis Bacon
Growth demands a temporary surrender of security. ~Gail Sheehy
God never picks the person you or I would choose. He chose a posse of fishermen, tax collectors, and insurgents to be His disciples. He picked Paul, the greatest persecutor of Christians, to be Apostle to the Gentiles and to write most of the New Testament. He selected David, the runt of Jesse’s litter, to be king over Israel, and Moses, a shepherd, to confront the most powerful man on earth, the Pharaoh, and to lead several hundred thousand Israelites out of slavery. [So way wouldn’t He chose you?] ~Richard Stearns
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. ~Hosea 6:6
Hell will be full of people who thought highly of the Sermon on the Mount. You must do more than that. You must obey it and take action. ~John Macarthur
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. ~Martin Luther King Jr.
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. ~Micah 6:8
Live as if Christ died yesterday, rose this morning, and is coming back tomorrow. ~Martin Luther
If we truly love God, we will express it by loving our neighbors, and when we truly love our neighbors, it expresses our love for God. ~Richard Stearns
To love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds – means that we must love God with our whole being – totally and completely. All forms of obedience to God must first and foremost flow out of our love for Him. ~Richard Stearns
We are not to give up on the world, nor retreat from it – just the opposite. We are to reclaim and redeem the world for Christ’s kingdom. ~Richard Stearns
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference ~Robert Frost
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. ~C.S. Lewis
God uses broken and imperfect people to challenge and inspire others. He utilizes our mistakes and our victories to shine a light on the path, so that others might follow. ~Richard Stearns
Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. Both God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. ~1 Corinthians 1:26-29
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. ~Jim Elliot
A holy life will produce the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns, only shine. ~D.L. Moody
If God only used perfect people, nothing would get done. God will use anybody if you’re available. ~Rick Warren
Anything we put ahead of God in our lives becomes an idol. ~Richard Stearns
God can’t give you the blessings He has for you until you first put down the other things you are clutching in your hands. ~Richard Stearns
Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. ~Richard Stearns
God chose those deemed to be weak and imperfect by the world to do great things. ~Richard Stearns
Every follower of Christ was made for a purpose and our most important task is to discern what that purpose is. ~Bill Hybels
He created us all for a purpose and envisioned our lives at the very beginning of time itself. He gave us each a unique personality and a set of aptitudes and placed us each in a particular family. Day by day, He brings key people into our lives and provides life experiences that shape us. God does all this with His purpose in mind, tailored to the individual – you and me. ~Richard Stearns
Discerning our unique calling is not always a simple thing. We need to be quiet enough to hear God’s still, small voice. We must also faithfully read the Scriptures, pray diligently, follow the Lord’s teachings, listen to wise friends who know us, and consistently make ourselves available to serve. Finally, we have to remain open to God’s possibilities, always willing to take the outrageous risk and do the unpredictable thing. ~ Richard Stearns
Often we are too busy pursuing our careers to discern our calling. But there is a vast difference between career and calling. Read what Pastor John Ortberg had to say about it:
“American society does not talk much about calling anymore. It is more likely to think in terms of career. Yet, for many people a career becomes the altar on which they sacrifice their lives. A calling, which is something I do for God, is replaced by a career, which threatens to become my god. A career is something I chose for myself; a calling is something I receive. A career is something I do for myself; a calling is something I do for God. A career promises status, money or power; a calling generally promises difficulty and even some suffering – and the opportunity to be used by God. A career is about upward mobility; a calling generally leads to downward mobility.”
For perhaps the first time in my (Richard Stearns) life, God had me right where He wanted me, helpless and relying completely on Him. Mother Teresa once said, "I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world." She had it right. We're not authors, any of us. We are just the "pencils." Once we understand that, we might actually become useful to God.
The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied … but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing. ~John Berger
More and more I come to value charity and love of one’s fellow being above everything else … All our lauded technological progress – our very civilization – is like the ax in the hand of the pathological criminal. ~Albert Einstein
Facts are stubborn things. ~John Adams
The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it. ~Flannery O’Connor
The Bible is clear from the Old Testament through the New that God’s people always had a responsibility to see that everyone in their society was cared for at a basic-needs level. Ruth was able to glean wheat from Boaz’s field because God had instructed those who controlled the land to not harvest everything, so that there would be food left for the poor: “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien” (Lev. 23:22). A modern-day version of this might read: “If your job produces a decent income for you, do not spend it all on yourself. Make some of it available to the poor and the less fortunate, that they, too, might live a decent life.” For Christians, this is a justice issue or, stated more bluntly, a moral issue in which those of us who have plenty seem willing to allow others to have nothing. ~Richard Stearns
Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. ~Helen Keller
We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems. ~John W. Gardner
While providing things like these in urgent situations is sometimes necessary, it neither addresses the underlying stubbornness of poverty, nor is it sustainable; it just creates a dependency. Frankly, giving things to the poor does much more to make the giver feel good than it does to fundamentally address and improve the condition of those in need. ~Richard Stearns
He who is dying of hunger must be fed rather than taught. ~Thomas Aquinas
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everything. ~Martin Luther King Jr.
Don’t fail to do something just because you can’t do everything. ~Bob Pierce
He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done. ~Proverbs 19:17
Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it. Well, why don't you ask Him? Because I'm afraid He would ask me the same question. ~Anonymous
Bad news goes about in clogs, good news in stockinged feet. ~Welsh Proverb
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world ~John 16:33
Pray, but when you pray, move to your feet. ~African Proverb
We’ve drifted away from being fishers of men to being keepers of the aquarium. ~Paul Harvey
Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand. ~Leo Durocher
If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. ~Proverbs 21:13
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” ~Isaiah 29:13
When our churches become spiritual spas in which we retreat from the world, our salt loses its saltiness, and we are no longer able to impact the culture. Morgan Chilulu, an African pastor of a small and humble church in the midst of the AIDS pandemic, once told me, “A church that lives within its four walls is no church at all.” ~Richard Stearns
The world can no longer be left to mere diplomats, politicians, and business leaders. They have done the best they could, no doubt. But this is an age for spiritual heroes – a time for men and women to be heroic in their faith and in spiritual character and power. The greatest danger to the Christian church today is that of pitching its message too low. ~Dallas Willard
One of the highest and best ways of expressing our love for God is by demonstrating His love tangibly to those around us. ~Richard Stearns
We will never effectively demonstrate Christ’s love to the world, if we cannot first demonstrate it to the Church – the whole Church, and that includes those struggling just to survive. ~Richard Stearns
We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. ~Martin Luther King Jr.
Our Christian habit is to bewail the world’s deteriorating standards with an air of rather self-righteous dismay. We criticize its violence, dishonesty, immorality, disregard for human life, and materialistic greed. “This world is going down the drain,” we say with a shrug. But whose fault is it? Who is to blame? Let me put it like this. If the house is dark when nightfall comes, there is no sense in blaming the house; that is what happens when the sun goes down. The question to ask is “Where is the light?” Similarly, if the meat goes bad and becomes inedible, there is no sense in blaming the meat; that is what happens when bacteria are left alone to breed. The question to ask is “Where is the salt?” Just so, if society deteriorates and its standards decline until it becomes like a dark night or a stinking fish. There is no sense in blaming society; that is what happens when fallen men and women are left to themselves, and human selfishness is unchecked. The question to ask is “Where is the Church? Why are the salt and light of Jesus Christ not permeating and changing our society?” It is sheer hypocrisy on our part to raise our eyebrows, shrug our shoulders, or wring our hands. The Lord Jesus told us to be the world’s salt and light. If therefore darkness and rottenness abound, it is largely our fault and we must accept the blame. ~John Stott
Can you imagine the impact on our own culture if American Christians began using their riches as if they belonged to God and were intended primarily to further God’s kingdom? I’m pretty certain the world would take notice. ~Richard Stearns
How different our standard is from Christ’s. We ask how much a man gives. He asks how much he keeps. ~Andrew Murray
If charity cost nothing, the world would be full of philanthropists. ~Jewish Proverb