Category Archives: Quotes
From today’s reading in Streams in the Desert: 365 Devotional Readings by L.B. Cowan, updated by Jim Reimann.
Perhaps you are very dissatisfied with yourself. You are not a genius, have no distinctive gifts, and are inconspicuous when it comes to having any special abilities. Mediocrity seems to be the measure of your existence. None of your days are noteworthy, except for their sameness and lack of zest. Yet in spite of this you may live a great life.
John the Baptist never performed a miracle, but Jesus said of him, “Among those born of women there is no one greater” (Luke 7:28). His mission was to be “a witness to the light” (John 1:8), and that may be your mission and mine. John was content to be only a voice, if it caused people to think of Christ.
Be willing to be only a voice that is heard but not seen, or a mirror whose glass the eye cannot see because it is reflecting the brilliant glory of the Son. Be willing to be a breeze that arises just before daylight, saying, “The dawn! The dawn! And then fades away.
Do the most everyday and insignificant tasks knowing that God can see. If you live with difficult people, win them over through love. If you once made a great mistake in life, do not allow it to cloud the rest of your life, but by locking it secretly in your heart, make it yield strength and character.
We are doing more good than we know. the things we do today—sowing seeds or sharing simple truths of Christ—people will someday refer to as the first things that prompted them to think of Him. For my part, I will be satisfied not to have some great tombstone over my grave but just to know that common people will gather there once I am gone and say, “He was a good man. he never performed any miracles, but he told me about Christ, which led me to know Him for myself.” George Matheson
A good an encouraging reminder. Success is not measured by numbers, but by faithfulness.
“In the last few decades, though no one can say exactly how it happened, the unthinkable became tolerable. And then acceptable. And then legal. And now, God help us, applaudable.”
Joni Eareckson Tada, When is it Right to Die: A Comforting and Surprising Look at Death and Dying
The context of the quote is that Joni is talking about society’s acceptance of euthanasia and assisted suicide. The quote can also apply to any type of sin. What was taboo only a generation ago is celebrated today. Compromise is a slippery slope that leads to destruction.
I am working my way through a thought provoking book, A Practical Guide to Culture; Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World, by John Stonestreet & Brett Kunkle. In Chapter 5: Identity after Christianity (pgs. 104-106), the author explain that in today’s culture, people find their identity in what they do rather than what they think. Behavior defines identity more than beliefs. Consequently, we have developed a whole new set of idols.
Our twenty-first century, having inherited that twentieth-century baggage, is full of contradiction. We strive to champion and expand human rights without knowing what a human is. We educate students with whats and hows but offer no coherent vision of why. We dramatically protect, heal, and save some babies in the womb while targeting others for extinction, particularly those with disabilities. We fill our lives with entertainment, gadgets, experiences, activities, and other distractions but have no clear telos, or ultimate purpose. In short, we want human flourishing without God. But it won’t happen.
Of course, those who reject God still worship, only at other altars. We may snicker at those who, in the past, carved an ear on a block of wood and then prayed to it, but we have our false gods too: gods that make us into their images. “Those who make [idols] become like them,” wrote the psalmist, “so do all who trust in them” (Ps. 135:18).
The modern pantheon of idols includes the following:
Self. The first of the Ten Commandments is “You shall have no other gods before [Me]” (Exod. 20:3). Today we have no other gods before me.
State. The apostle Paul wrote, “My God will supply every need: (Phil. 4:19). Today we increasingly look to the state to supply our needs, and even many of our wants.
Sex. This very good gift of God, a means of expressing love and marital oneness, is for many life’s highest pursuit, an end in and of itself.
Science. The word of science (or, more accurately, of scientists) has replaced the Word of God as the source of absolute truth. Rather than pointing us to the God who made the world, science allows us to remake the world, and even ourselves, as we see fit.
Stuff. Blaise Pascal famously wrote of a God-shaped void we all have that only God can fill. Today, the constant barrage of commercials and marketing slogans proclaim that our void is stuff shaped. Yet the more we fill our lives with stuff, the less we’re satisfied.
Of course, idols can never replace God, but even more, they dehumanize us. We see ourselves and others in the image of whatever it is we worship. People become sexual objects, valued because of their appearance and used for our pleasure, rather than subjects with inherent dignity and value. Just as we value stuff that is useful and convenient, we devalue those with disabilities, and those who aren’t sufficiently useful or convenient are targeted and dismembered in the womb. In the twentieth century, many government, in godlike fashion, eliminated those who stood in the way of Marxist, fascist, or Nazi agendas. In the twenty-first century, many governments ostracize and silence those who refuse the agendas of sexual ideologies.
Insightful, challenging, and thought provoking.
Book Review: Make Your Voice Heard in Heaven: How to Pray with Power, by Barry C. Black, Chaplain of the United States Senate
The best thing about Barry Black’s book on prayer is that it is thoroughly biblical. It is not based on personal experience, good ideas, or pragmatic principles. It is thoroughly and solidly based on and grounded in what Scripture teaches about prayer.
Barry C. Black is Chaplain of the United States Senate. He was asked to be the keynote speaker at the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast. As he explains,
With about three months to prepare, I began to sleep, eat, think, walk, and talk about prayer. The book you are now holding is the result of those three months of ruminating, agonizing, and organizing. Having practiced these principles in my own private prayer life and in my role as chaplain of the US Senate, I offer my observations and advice about how to pray with power and make your voice heard in heaven.
The book is organized by themes and divided into 15 chapters. The author describes how to pray with assistance … the Model prayer … with purity … fearlessly … with effectiveness … to escape the squeeze of temptation … when God is silent … when you don’t feel like being good … with patience … with celebration … with intimacy … with fervency … with perseverance … with submission … with a partner.
While the author uses personal stories, historical examples, and insightful quotes, the vast majority of the content is solidly centered on what Scripture teaches about prayer. That alone sets the book apart from many books on prayer.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale Blog Network http://tyndaleblognetwork.com/ book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.