Monday Picks ~ 12-5-2016

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This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

I found this very challenging…

Love Is Never a WasteJared Wilson
loveWe think of those who have tried to love someone back from the brink only to see the person eventually go over. Certainly love fails in these circumstances, right?

I don’t think so. I think that’s true only if we are thinking of our love in terms of a results-based value. But that is not what Jesus is telling Peter. And that’s not what Paul is telling us.

Jesus does not offer Peter a loophole. There is no Forgiveness Contingency Plan. There’s no limited time warranty. Whether the person you’re loving embraces your forgiveness or not, you keep forgiving. Whether the person you love is changed by your love or not, you keep on loving.

In this sense, I don’t think “Love never fails” means “Love always gets the result the lover wants.” I think it means what it says: Love is not a failure. Love is not a failure regardless of the results.

This is why: Because God is not a failure, and God is love.


This may not be what you think it is…

You Could Be Doing So MuchNicholas McDonald
Image result for neverending story reading
“You could be living the life of your dreams.”


This is a powerful and challenging piece. Some may find it controversial. It shouldn’t be…

Enough Is EnoughGary Thomas
Abusive MenIf the cost of saving a marriage is destroying a woman, the cost is too high. God loves people more than he loves institutions…

The danger of what I’m saying is clear and even a little scary to me, because no marriage is easy. Every marriage must overcome hurt, pain, and sin. … I’m not talking about the common struggles of living with a common sinner, or every man and woman could pursue divorce… Charging someone with “abuse” when it doesn’t truly apply is almost as evil as committing abuse, so we need to be careful we don’t bear “false witness” against a spouse to convince ourselves and others that we can legitimately pursue divorce to get out of a difficult marriage…

Our loyalty to marriage is good and noble and true. But when loyalty to a relational structure allows evil to continue it is a false loyalty, even an evil loyalty.

Christian leaders and friends, we have to see that some evil men are using their wives’ Christian guilt and our teaching about the sanctity of marriage as a weapon to keep harming them.


I’ve participated in The Lord’s Supper pretty much every single week since 1962, but I had never considered this question. I very much appreciate this insight…

He Didn’t Choose the Lambhttp://gentlereformation.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/bread-wine.jpgI found myself wondering why did the Lamb not choose the lamb to make his point when he instituted the Lord’s Supper at a Passover meal? Why bread? … All the symbolism was there. The lamb was there. But he chose the bread. Or more particularly he didn’t choose the lamb. I grant that bread has a lot of history and symbolism in scripture too, but this seems more deliberate. Why?


Thanks to Tim Fall for this important and often missed distinction…

https://timfall.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/grace-doesn_t-tell-you-you_re-fine.jpg


Flight delay…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTYvMTEvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTYxMTMwXzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

Luke 2:1-7

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 2:1-7
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,[b] who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.[c]

From this passage I hear God asking me:
At the time, who had more significance in the world:
Caesar Augustus, or Jesus?
Now, 2017 years later, who has more significance:
Caesar Augustus, or Jesus?
Would you even know about Augustus if it weren’t for Jesus?
Why is that, do you think?
What does that tell you about significance?
What does that tell you about your life?

Weekend Picks ~ 12-2-2016

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This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

I’ve heard well meaning believers use every one of these…

5 Christian Clichés That Need to DieMatt Smethurst
weathered tombstone with RIP
Sometimes, in our desire to simplify truth, we can trivialize and even obscure it. And to obscure the truth is to tell a lie.

Here are five popular Christian clichés that aren’t biblical and therefore need a memorial service…

While the heart behind these five mantras is often genuine, they’re all unhelpful for one overriding reason: They are unbiblical.


Image result for chip and joanna gainesTwo more reactions to Buzzfeed & Cosmopolitan’s attempt to smear Chip & Joanna Gaines…

Buzzfeed is willfully ignorant about the teachings of biblical Christianity.David French

BuzzFeed Wants To Destroy Chip And Joanna Gaines For Being Christian And Wildly PopularHans Fiene


We’ve all got to get better at this…

Being ‘Wise as Serpents’ in the Era of Fake News
Jesse Carey
Unlike traditional media—like TV, radio and print—the barrier of entry to “publishing” and “broadcasting” news is extremely low. Anyone can set up a website (that looks like a legitimate journalistic operation), and say whatever he or she wants.

By creating sensational fake news, the “sources” aren’t simply building audiences, they are shaping ideas, political opinions and sometimes destroying reputations…

Like it or not, we now all have the responsibility to vet the information we share. Or, even if it’s unintentional, we can become complicit in a lie…

Before sending out His disciples, He told them to “be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

If Christians take these commands seriously, we can help stop America’s disease of fake news.


This is so, so good! Please don’t miss this article…

What Persecuted Syrians Can Teach Us About American PoliticsMindy Belz
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/what-the-persecuted-syrians-can-teach-us-about-american-politics.jpg
For those Christians who in recent months feel they’ve awakened in another country or walked into a foreign church, how do we chart the way? The Bible is full of wilderness experiences, and so are the testimonies of today’s suffering church.

Bishop Audo, like many other church leaders I have met in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere, has held on in the face of mortal danger not by retreating from life but by engaging in service—to his church, his community, and, yes, to his enemies. The wilderness may be harsh, but it can also be a place free from distraction, a place to rekindle first loves, a place to learn (again) how trials and suffering conform us to the image of Christ.

As Bishop Audo’s life grew harder during Syria’s descent into civil war, he poured himself all the more into his community—officiating at weddings while bombs exploded a few streets away, or feeding countless homeless. He redoubled his efforts to care for Muslims, feeling that they needed not simply his help but his witness, his otherness.


This video is definitely worth 5 minutes of your time…

“This should be compulsory. There would be no such thing as extremism in the world if people knew their heritage like that.”

“It’s easy to think there are more things dividing us than uniting us. But we actually have much more in common with other nationalities than you’d think. We asked 67 people from all over the world to take a DNA test, and it turns out they have much more in common with other nationalities than they would ever have thought. ”


If I hosted a Food Network show…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/everyday-foodie-menu1.jpg
Wrong Hands

Luke 1:57-80

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 1:57-80
57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
    for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
    and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74     that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75     in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
    in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    whereby the sunrise shall visit us[a] from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
No questions today. Just meditate on verse 68.
Consider the amazing mystery it contains.
Carry it in your heart during the whole “Christmas Season.”

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people.”

Thursday Picks ~ 12-1-2016

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This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

“Pray for Chip and Joanna and their church. The cultural inquisition is coming…”

Are Chip and Joanna Gaines ‘Cultural Heretics’?Trevin Wax
Image Credit: HGTV
Cosmopolitan and Buzzfeed recently discovered that the church Chip and Joanna Gaines attend…is led by a pastor who does not support same-sex marriage and who believes that homosexual practice is a sin. In other words, Chip and Joanna Gaines attend a historically Christian congregation on the matter of sexual ethics.

…there is nothing newsworthy about a Christian church teaching that male-female marriage is God’s original design and that newly invented definitions fall short of God’s intention for human flourishing.

What is newsworthy is the religious undertone of the Cosmopolitan article. It reads like a heresy hunt. The magazine has “uncovered something many fans will likely want an explanation for—a startling revelation that has left many wondering where Chip and Jo stand.”…

The Cosmopolitan article says the revelation about the Gaines’ church is startling due to “the diversity of their audience.” If diversity were truly valued, then it wouldn’t be controversial to have a traditional Christian on an HGTV show…

…pray for Chip and Joanna and their church. The cultural inquisition is coming.

Here are a couple of other notable responses to the same articles:

BuzzFeed Targets HGTV Hosts for Attending Christian Church -Gabriel Malor

10 Questions For BuzzfeedSamuel D. James


This has got to be the best new TV family drama in years…

Why we’re obsessed with the hit show ‘This is Us’
Russell Moore
Maybe we find ourselves brushing away tears because we so often wonder in our own lives about whether to stew in our regrets and our missed opportunities or whether to see, behind all the mess, a sign of grace.

“This is Us” is a pro-family show. The family is presented as a positive force for good. But this good is grounded in complexity, and even in forgiveness.

We see the plot behind the plot, but the characters don’t. They learn to show mercy when they realize how much they don’t — and can’t — understand, even about themselves. Maybe we love “This is Us” because this, in fact, is us.


This is a wonderful piece of writing…

Hooray for the new individualism! Now we can all be ‘prejuvenated’ sex objects until we die.  –John Robson
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in Star Wars.
Man, I really have to start getting out less. Otherwise I’m going to run into hordes of people “prejuvenating.” At least, that’s what it said on a piece of newspaper I was using to start a fire. Instead of waiting until you have wrinkles to inject artificial goop into your face, you can do it early so your face never develops character…

The AAFPRS, whose website features sultry male and female 20-somethings giving you that look, calls prejuvenation “a hot new term that refers to when smart young women start non-invasive beauty treatments like Botox and chemical peels earlier in order to prevent aging — rather than correct it.” But putting plastic into your face doesn’t prevent or correct aging. It just makes you look like something you aren’t.

Or worse, something you are, with a face that doesn’t express meaningful inner states you don’t have. It’s like something out of Logan’s Run or Brave New World, people shallowly obsessed with having artificially perfect, entirely personality-less faces while living artificially perfect, entirely personality-less lives.


Follow the link below for encouragement from Adam Ford
It’s a great time to be a Christian!

 


Post-election promises fulfilled…
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Non Sequitur – Click image for a larger view.

 

Luke 1:39-56

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 1:39-56
39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be[a] a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
When you read Mary’s Song, where do you see yourself?
1. The proud (v. 51), the mighty (v. 52), the rich (v. 53)?
2. The fearful (v. 50), the humble (v. 52), the hungry (v. 53)?
Reminder: $34,000/year puts you in the world’s wealthiest 1%.
So, are you rich, or hungry? (v. 53)
Why do you think I chose Mary?
Could I have chosen you?
Reminder: Because of Jesus, I have chosen you.