From the Word
“Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, ‘Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.’” (Zephaniah 3:14-17)
“Imagination is the highest kite that one can fly.” (Lauren Bacall)
“Most of the shadows of life are caused by standing in our own sunshine.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
“All of us would be wiser if we would resolve never to put people down, except on our prayer lists.” (D. A. Carson)
“Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance. It is laying hold of his willingness.” (Martin Luther)
“A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.” (Thomas Carlyle)
Around the Net
Depression. Panic attacks. Emotional PTSD. Been there. Even as a believer. “I’m here to say mental health issues happen to everyday people—even to believers who are strong in faith and have friends, because it happened to me. The bad part was the sense of shame some Christians made me feel about my emotional struggles, but as I discovered how God views healing, I realized it wasn’t my faith that was flawed; it was their views toward mental health and faith.”
I’m adopted, and it seems like we always have at least one set of friends in the process of fostering or adopting. It’s a hard road. “There are many ways that you can express care for those considering adoption and those who have adopted already. As an adoptive father and former pastor, I offer a few thoughts on how to help adoption become a biblically based, heart-led, missional movement in your church and not merely another program on your church’s list.”
Today 26 percent of Americans identify as evangelicals. Of that total, 64 percent are white, 19 percent are black, 10 percent are Hispanic, and the remaining 6 percent are Asian, mixed race, or other ethnicities. What is significant is about these figures is that while Protestants remain mostly white, the share of non-white Protestants has grown steadily since 1991. “The American religious landscape has undergone dramatic changes in the last decade, and is more diverse today than at any time since modern sociological measurements began.”
God can meet us in the wilderness of life. “I was 17. I had my whole life ahead of me and yet, there I found myself, wanting it all to end. I sat silently in a stark white hospital room, broken, hurting, and alone. . . . Whether we recognize it or not, we all thirst and hunger to be filled in the deepest parts of our soul, but we are easily satisfied with short-term happiness. However, the wilderness provides an opportunity for those temporary means of pleasure to be removed, exposing the state of our hearts and, hopefully, driving us to recognize Christ as the only One who can satisfy us.”
The clarity of God’s truth must be expressed with the character of God’s heart. Big public statements seldom do that. “The NS is not a failure of biblical theology and morality. The NS is a deplorable failure of practical pastoral theology. I have had gay friends sleep in our home. We listened to them, wept with them. . . . I wonder how many signers of the NS have done that? I’m just asking.” I might not say everything exactly like Pastor Frye does, but the relational context in which the church says, “Go, and sin no more” really does matter.
Something to Ponder
The Wrath of Humanity
“Whatever else was true about the crucifixion of Jesus, it was clearly an outpouring of the wrath of humans against God. They were over the top in their mockery, their brutality, and their violence, all out of proportion to the activities of the good man who stood before them in serene silence.
“Their rage admitted to be true what they passionately insisted was false—that he was the human face of God. With religious zeal, they unleashed their God-anger on the God-son. They took out on him their frustrations with the One whom they believed had disappointed, burdened, frightened, and hurt them. They hurt him back. They killed God.
“Impossibly, he absorbed the anger, and transformed it, and redeemed it. That’s the beauty of resurrection. The anger always stops with him; his love is deep enough to hold it for all eternity, so we need never nail a person to a cross. We have already done so! Let’s be done with our anger, once and for all, and love each other back to life.”
– Anthony L. Blair
The Glory of Creation
Image Credit: Abyss Alpha Coders.
Into All the World
“I began learning long ago that those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” (Booker T. Washington)