God Centered Family Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to God Centered Family. Here they are! All 100 of them:

Unbelievable and true. Anna Solokov is neither a frightened girl nor a criminal spider in the center of a huge web of drugs and god knows. No, that dangerous young woman could easily do both at different times, and to different people. No doubt that is part of George’s attraction to her. She is victim. Yet when necessary, or when it suits her, she is victimizer. Does he imagine he is battling for her soul?
Susan Rowland (Murder On Family Grounds: A Mary Wandwalker Mystery)
The greatest source of security our children have in this world is a God-honoring, Christ-centered marriage between their parents.
Voddie T. Baucham Jr. (Family Shepherds: Calling and Equipping Men to Lead Their Homes)
Contrary to popular opinion, the most important characteristic of a godly mother is not her relationship with her children. It is her love for her husband. The love between husband and wife is the real key to a thriving family. A healthy home environment cannot be built exclusively on the parents' love for their children. The properly situated family has marriage at the center; families shouldn't revolve around the children.
John F. MacArthur Jr. (Twelve Extraordinary Women : How God Shaped Women of the Bible and What He Wants to Do With You)
Marriage includes a spouse, and often children. But the goal, center, and purpose of marriage is not self, spouse, or children. The ultimate goal of marriage and family is the glory of God. Only when marriage and family exist for God's glory - and not to serve as replacement idols - are we able to truly love and be loved. Remember, neither your child nor your husband (or wife) should be who you worship, but instead who you worship with.
Mark Driscoll (Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, & Life Together)
Family and friends become oppressors the moment they teach you that loyalty is more important than what is done to people outside your social circle. What they are really saying is this: Save yourself because God is more interested in an intact family or social circle that looks righteous, rather than you being a person of integrity that has compassion for others. It is this absurdity that teaches the wrong version of God and creates the next generation of "me" centered individuals.
Shannon L. Alder
Your love life is insignificant when it comes to raising your children to be respectable human beings. The moment you see them suffer or lower their standards because of your selfishness, is the day you should realize that nothing matters more than them. You are not just the queen or king of your fairy tale. The real story of your life is the gift of time God gave you with them.
Shannon L. Alder
What I mean is this, you need to quit being so self-centered about yourself and look at life from a new perspective. Look at life with the perspective that life is not about you, it is about the others in your life. It is about your family, your friends, and who else God puts in your way. If you learn life from this perspective and focus on others your life will become more enriched by the others doing the same for you.
Mark Villareal (Leadership Lessons From Mom)
We deem it opportune to remind our children of their duty to take an active part in public life and to contribute toward the attainment of the common good of the entire human family as well as to that of their own political community. They should endeavor, therefore, in the light of their Christian faith and led by love, to insure that the various institutions—whether economic, social, cultural or political in purpose—should be such as not to create obstacles, but rather to facilitate or render less arduous man’s perfecting of himself in both the natural order and the supernatural.... Every believer in this world of ours must be a spark of light, a center of love, a vivifying leaven amidst his fellow men. And he will be this all the more perfectly, the more closely he lives in communion with God in the intimacy of his own soul
Pope John XXIII (Pacem in Terris: On Establishing Universal Peace)
Great Goddess, Great God, I come before you at the end of another day and thank you for the many blessings in my life. For friends and family and pets, for home and health and good food. I thank you for (the names of whichever people crossed my path that day in meaningful ways) and for (whatever good things happened or whichever not-so-great things they helped me survive.). Please help me to get a good night's sleep so I might wake in the morning refreshed and energized and ready to face another day. Watch over me and those I love. So mote it be.
Deborah Blake (Everyday Witchcraft: Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World (Everyday Witchcraft, 4))
Love others as you love yourself.’”1 Learning to love unselfishly is not an easy task. It runs counter to our self-centered nature. That’s why we’re given a lifetime to learn it. Of course, God wants us to love everyone, but he is particularly concerned that we learn to love others in his family. As we have already seen, this is the second purpose for your life. Peter tells us, “Show special love for God’s people.”2 Paul echoes this sentiment: “When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it. But we should give special attention to those who are in the family of believers.”3
Rick Warren (The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?)
Father Michaels' sermon was mercifully short. He had a reputation for three-minute homilies, tightly written, provocative and insightful. His words centered on the true meaning of Christianity. That is was all about love. Love of God, love of self, love of family, love of community. Love was a gift.
Dorothea Benton Frank (Sullivan's Island (Lowcountry Tales, #1))
God is a good horseman. He waits while we circle the fences of our lives—whatever they are, whether it be a bad childhood, or a destructive habit, family problems, an addiction, a personal tragedy, an inability to forgive someone else or to allow ourselves to ask forgiveness, or believe we deserve it. The Good Horseman waits, and each time we turn and look at Him, He stretches out His hand, slow and quiet, until finally, sooner or later, we reach for it, and we come to the center with Him, and find that peace was waiting there all along.
Lisa Wingate (Word Gets Around (Welcome to Daily, Texas #2))
One day God will review your answers to these life questions. Did you put Jesus at the center of your life? Did you develop his character? Did you devote your life to serving others? Did you communicate his message and fulfill his mission? Did you love and participate in his family? These are the only issues that will count. As Paul said, “Our goal is to measure up to God’s plan for us.”21
Rick Warren (The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?)
Oddly enough, many people struggle to learn how to pray because they are focusing on praying, not on God. Making prayer the center is like making conversation the center of a family mealtime. In prayer, focusing on the conversation is like trying to drive while looking at the windshield instead of through it. It freezes us, making us unsure of where to go. Conversation is only the vehicle through which we experience one another. Consequently, prayer is not the center of this book. Getting to know a person, God, is the center.
Paul E. Miller (A Praying Life: Connecting With God In A Distracting World)
Once the spiritual journey begins, we leave the circumference of the circle and begin to travel along the radius of divine wisdom to reach the Center. This is a journey in and through the self of the human being. The End is the experience and knowledge of yourself as infinite eternal spirit. Along the way we leave behind every identification of gender, family, nationality, race, and religion, and understand ourselves as the Universal Human Being, the Child of God. In the past, the Greek mystery religions called this Logos; the Christian Gnostics called it Christos; the Sufis call it Insani Kamil. Some have experienced the inbreath of Holy Spirit — whether through a murshid, a realized being, a community of lovers of God, a living tradition — and this has initiated a process of transformation that, if nurtured and protected, will lead to the actualization of the divine in the human being. Such a person will relate from the Divine in himself or herself to the Divine in another.
Kabir Helminski
Hodge’s attitude toward women centered in his understanding of marriage and family values. As he wrote, “Marriage is a divine institution ordained by God for His glory and the happiness of men.” While a husband in the marriage ceremony had to promise to be “faithful and loving,” the woman had in addition to promise to be “obedient.
Jack Rogers (Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality, Revised and Expanded Edition: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church)
human society is deeply fragmented when anything but God is our highest love. If our highest goal in life is the good of our family, then, says Edwards, we will tend to care less for other families. If our highest goal is the good of our nation, tribe, or race, then we will tend to be racist or nationalistic. If our ultimate goal in life is our own individual happiness, then we will put our own economic and power interests ahead of those of others. Edwards concludes that only if God is our summum bonum, our ultimate good and life center, will we find our heart drawn out not only to people of all families, races, and classes, but to the whole world in general.14
Timothy J. Keller (The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism)
We’re all afraid of something. We’re human. But tonight God wants us to lay our fears at the foot of the manger. The way Mary and Joseph did. And do this…” He moved to the center of the stage and peered across the dark room. “Keep walking. Keep seeking His plan. And keep believing.” He grinned. “The miracle you’re waiting for might be closer than you think.
Karen Kingsbury (Truly, Madly, Deeply (The Baxter Family #6))
Days after the elections of 2016, asha sent me a link to a talk by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. We have to have hope, she says to me across 3,000 miles, she in Brooklyn, me in Los Angeles. We listen together as Dr. deGrasse Tyson explains that the very atoms and molecules in our bodies are traceable to the crucibles in the centers of stars that once upon a time exploded into gas clouds. And those gas clouds formed other stars and those stars possessed the divine-right mix of properties needed to create not only planets, including our own, but also people, including us, me and her. He is saying that not only are we in the universe, but that the universe is in us. He is saying that we, human beings, are literally made out of stardust. And I know when I hear Dr. deGrasse Tyson say this that he is telling the truth because I have seen it since I was a child, the magic, the stardust we are, in the lives of the people I come from. I watched it in the labor of my mother, a Jehovah's Witness and a woman who worked two and sometimes three jobs at a time, keeping other people's children, working the reception desks at gyms, telemarketing, doing anything and everything for 16 hours a day the whole of my childhood in the Van Nuys barrio where we lived. My mother, cocoa brown and smooth, disowned by her family for the children she had as a very young and unmarried woman. My mother, never giving up despite never making a living wage. I saw it in the thin, brown face of my father, a boy out of Cajun country, a wounded healer, whose addictions were borne of a world that did not love him and told him so not once but constantly. My father, who always came back, who never stopped trying to be a version of himself there were no mirrors for. And I knew it because I am the thirteenth-generation progeny of a people who survived the hulls of slave ships, survived the chains, the whips, the months laying in their own shit and piss. The human beings legislated as not human beings who watched their names, their languages, their Goddesses and Gods, the arc of their dances and beats of their songs, the majesty of their dreams, their very families snatched up and stolen, disassembled and discarded, and despite this built language and honored God and created movement and upheld love. What could they be but stardust, these people who refused to die, who refused to accept the idea that their lives did not matter, that their children's lives did not matter?
Patrisse Khan-Cullors (When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir)
There is a vast difference between being a Christian and being a disciple. The difference is commitment. Motivation and discipline will not ultimately occur through listening to sermons, sitting in a class, participating in a fellowship group, attending a study group in the workplace or being a member of a small group, but rather in the context of highly accountable, relationally transparent, truth-centered, small discipleship units. There are twin prerequisites for following Christ - cost and commitment, neither of which can occur in the anonymity of the masses. Disciples cannot be mass produced. We cannot drop people into a program and see disciples emerge at the end of the production line. It takes time to make disciples. It takes individual personal attention. Discipleship training is not about information transfer, from head to head, but imitation, life to life. You can ultimately learn and develop only by doing. The effectiveness of one's ministry is to be measured by how well it flourishes after one's departure. Discipling is an intentional relationship in which we walk alongside other disciples in order to encourage, equip, and challenge one another in love to grow toward maturity in Christ. This includes equipping the disciple to teach others as well. If there are no explicit, mutually agreed upon commitments, then the group leader is left without any basis to hold people accountable. Without a covenant, all leaders possess is their subjective understanding of what is entailed in the relationship. Every believer or inquirer must be given the opportunity to be invited into a relationship of intimate trust that provides the opportunity to explore and apply God's Word within a setting of relational motivation, and finally, make a sober commitment to a covenant of accountability. Reviewing the covenant is part of the initial invitation to the journey together. It is a sobering moment to examine whether one has the time, the energy and the commitment to do what is necessary to engage in a discipleship relationship. Invest in a relationship with two others for give or take a year. Then multiply. Each person invites two others for the next leg of the journey and does it all again. Same content, different relationships. The invitation to discipleship should be preceded by a period of prayerful discernment. It is vital to have a settled conviction that the Lord is drawing us to those to whom we are issuing this invitation. . If you are going to invest a year or more of your time with two others with the intent of multiplying, whom you invite is of paramount importance. You want to raise the question implicitly: Are you ready to consider serious change in any area of your life? From the outset you are raising the bar and calling a person to step up to it. Do not seek or allow an immediate response to the invitation to join a triad. You want the person to consider the time commitment in light of the larger configuration of life's responsibilities and to make the adjustments in schedule, if necessary, to make this relationship work. Intentionally growing people takes time. Do you want to measure your ministry by the number of sermons preached, worship services designed, homes visited, hospital calls made, counseling sessions held, or the number of self-initiating, reproducing, fully devoted followers of Jesus? When we get to the shore's edge and know that there is a boat there waiting to take us to the other side to be with Jesus, all that will truly matter is the names of family, friends and others who are self initiating, reproducing, fully devoted followers of Jesus because we made it the priority of our lives to walk with them toward maturity in Christ. There is no better eternal investment or legacy to leave behind.
Greg Ogden (Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time)
God simply revealed the self-centered core that began to motivate each of them: The woman would continue to try to draw life and nurturing from a man who was not capable of filling these deep needs—never was and never will be. And the man would be forever trying to rule over the woman, either aggressively or passively trying to keep her quiet about his inadequacy to fill her needs.
Jeff VanVonderen (Families Where Grace Is in Place)
On Thanksgiving Day, 2011, my pastor Peter Jonker preached a marvelous sermon on Psalm 65 with an introduction from the life of Seth MacFarlane, who had been on NPR’s Fresh Air program with Terry Gross. MacFarlane is a cartoonist and comedian. He’s the creator of the animated comedy show “The Family Guy,” which my pastor called “arguably the most cynical show on television.” Terry Gross asked MacFarlane about 9/11. It seems that on that day of national tragedy MacFarlane had been booked on American Airlines Flight 11, Boston to LA, but he had arrived late at Logan airport and missed it. As we know, hijackers flew Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. My preacher said, “MacFarlane should have been on that plane. He should have been dead at 29 years of age. But somehow, at the end of that terrible day, he found himself healthy and alive, still able to turn his face toward the sun.” Terry Gross asked the inevitable question: “After that narrow escape, do you think of the rest of your life as a gift?” “No,” said MacFarlane. “That experience didn’t change me at all. It made no difference in the way I live my life. It made no difference in the way I look at things. It was just a coincidence.” And my preacher commented that MacFarlane had created “a missile defense system” against the threat of incoming gratitude — which might have lodged in his soul and changed him forever. MacFarlane, “the Grinch who stole gratitude,” perfectly set up what Peter Jonker had to say to us about how it is right and proper for us to give thanks to God at all times and in all places, and especially when our life has been spared.
Cornelius Plantinga Jr. (Reading for Preaching: The Preacher in Conversation with Storytellers, Biographers, Poets, and Journalists)
The ending is brilliant and satisfying. It’s satisfying because we don’t need to wonder whether Jonah repented and saw the light. He must have. How do we know? Well, how else would we know this story, unless Jonah told it to someone? And who would ever tell a story in which he is seen as an evil fool on every page, except a man in whom God’s grace had reached the center of his heart? Why, though, are we not shown Jonah’s response in the book? It is as if God aimed an arrow of loving rebuke at Jonah’s heart, set it a-fly, and suddenly Jonah vanishes, leaving us in its path. The question is coming right at us, because you are Jonah and I am Jonah. We are so enslaved to our idols that we don’t care about people who are Different, who live in the big cities, or who are just in our own families but very hard to love. Are we, like Jonah, willing to change? If we are, then we must look to the Ultimate Jonah, and to his sign, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Timothy J. Keller (Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters)
In Corrie’s beloved book The Hiding Place, she tells of how being led to join Betsie in the kitchen had protected her from being struck by a shard of shrapnel that fell onto her pillow in her bedroom during a night of bombings. In response to Corrie’s “if I hadn’t heard you in the kitchen . . .,” Betsie said, “There are no ‘ifs’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety—Oh Corrie, let us pray that we may always know it!” This
Alison Hodgson (The Pug List: A Ridiculous Little Dog, a Family Who Lost Everything, and How They All Found Their Way Home)
Many fathers and mothers are simply more satisfied with a child’s conformity and less concerned with the youngster’s motivation and hidden desires, with what the Bible calls “the thoughts of the heart.” Often unconsciously, the self-centered parent labors to form an orderly child who performs well in public and does not shame the family by disturbing the status quo. The problem, of course, is not with the orderliness of the child, but with the shaping of a person with a desensitized conscience, a performer who has never learned to love God or people from the heart (pp. 160-161).
C. John Miller (Come Back, Barbara)
Ethics has three levels, the good for self, the good for others, and the good for the transcendent purpose of a life.1 The good for self is the prudence by which you self-cultivate, learning to play the cello, say, or practicing centering prayer. Self-denial is not automatically virtuous. (How many self-denying mothers does it take to change a lightbulb? None: I’ll just sit here in the dark.) The good for a transcendent purpose is the faith, hope, and love to pursue an answer to the question “So what?” The family, science, art, the football club, God give the answers that humans seek. The middle level is attention to the good for others. The late first-century BCE Jewish sage Hillel of Babylon put it negatively yet reflexively: “Do not do unto others what you would not want done unto yourself.” It’s masculine, a guy-liberalism, a gospel of justice, roughly the so-called Non-Aggression Axiom as articulated by libertarians since the word “libertarian” was redirected in the 1950s to a (then) right-wing liberalism. Matt Kibbe puts it well in the title of his 2014 best seller, Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto.2 On the other hand, the early first-century CE Jewish sage Jesus of Nazareth put it positively: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s gal-liberalism, a gospel of love, placing upon us an ethical responsibility to do more than pass by on the other side. Be a good Samaritan. Be nice. In
Deirdre Nansen McCloskey (Why Liberalism Works: How True Liberal Values Produce a Freer, More Equal, Prosperous World for All)
Or is it the opposite-that the US has moved so far and so fast toward cultural permissiveness that we've reached a kind of apsidal point? It might be instructive to try seeing things from the perspective of, say, a God-fearing hard-working rural-Midwestern military vet. It's not that hard. Imagine gazing through his eyes at the world of MTV and the content of video games, at the gross sexualization of children's fashions, at Janet Jackson flashing her aureole on what's supposed to be a holy day. Imagine you're him having to explain to your youngest what oral sex is and what it's got to do with a US president. Ads for penis enlargers and Hot Wet Sluts are popping up out of nowhere on your family's computer. Your kids' school is teaching them WWII and Vietnam in terms of Japanese internment and the horrors of My Lai. Homosexuals are demanding holy matrimony; your doctor's moving away because he can't afford the lawsuit insurance; illegal aliens want driver's licenses; Hollywood elites are bashing America and making millions from it; the president's ridiculed for reading his Bible; priests are diddling kids left and right. Shit, the country's been directly attacked, and people aren't supporting our commander in chief. Assume for a moment that it's not silly to see things this man's way. What cogent, compelling, relevant message can the center and left offer him? Can we bear to admit that we've actually helped set him up to hear "We 're better than they are" not as twisted and scary but as refreshing and redemptive and true? If so, then now what?
David Foster Wallace (Consider the Lobster and Other Essays)
People who believe that their ruler is in some sense “son of a god” are less likely to rise in revolt than people who see their rulers merely as ordinary muddled human beings. And when the good news of Jesus called its hearers to turn from “idols,” some of those idols, in towns and cities across Paul’s world, would have been statues of Caesar or members of his family. It begins to look as though Paul’s geographical strategy had a quiet but definite political undertone. Many of the key places on his journeys—Pisidian Antioch, where we will join him presently, but also such places as Ephesus, Philippi, and Corinth—were key centers of Roman rule and of Roman cult in the eastern Mediterranean. And of course he was then heading for Rome itself, and for Spain, a major center of Roman culture and influence.
N.T. Wright (Paul: A Biography)
First, you cannot make it your central goal to call a pastor who will not bore you. The people in your community are drowning. They don’t need someone to row out beside them and entertain them. They need the life preserver of God’s Word. The people in your pews face great trials today and will in the days to come. Their most desperate need in life, even more important than whether or not they have a warm bed and food, is to hear from God. Whatever you do as a search committee, you must call a pastor who will preach the Word. Second, if you do call a pastor who preaches the Word in a biblical way, then you will not be bored. People may get upset. A few may use the sermon time to catch up on their sleep. But if you call a truly Word-centered pastor, you can expect your church family as a whole to look forward to a weekly event where the Word is exposited and lives are changed.
Chris Brauns (When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search: Biblical Principles and Practices to Guide Your Search)
Suppose he really is in love. What about her? She never has anything good to say about him.” “Yet she blushes whenever he enters a room. And she stares at him a good deal. Or hadn’t you noticed that, either?” “As a matter of fact, I have.” Gazing up at him, she softened her tone. “But I do not want her hurt, Isaac. I must be sure she is desired for herself and not her fortune. Her siblings had a chance of not gaining their inheritance unless the others married, so I always knew that their mates loved them, but she…” She shook her head. “I had to find a way to remove her fortune from the equation.” “I still say you’re taking a big risk.” He glanced beyond her to where Celia was talking to the duke. “Do yo really think she’d be better off with Lyons?” But she doesn’t love him…If you’d just give her a chance- “I do not know,” Hetty said with a sigh. “I do not know anything anymore.” “Then you shouldn’t meddle. Because there’s another outcome you haven’t considered. If you try to manipulate matters to your satisfaction, she may balk entirely. Then you’ll find yourself in the sticky position of having to choose between disinheriting them all or backing down on your ultimatum. Personally, I think you should have given up that nonsense long ago, but I know only too well how stubborn you can be when you’ve got the bit between your teeth.” “Oh?” she said archly. “Have I been stubborn with you?” He gazed down at her. “You haven’t agreed to marry me yet.” Her heart flipped over in her chest. It was not the first time he had mentioned marriage, but she had refused to take him seriously. Until now. It was clear he would not be put off any longer. He looked solemnly in earnest. “Isaac…” “Are you worried that I am a fortune hunter?” “Do not be absurd.” “Because I’ve already told you that I’ll sign any marriage settlement you have your solicitor draw up. I don’t want your brewery or your vast fortune. I know it’s going to your grandchildren. I only want you.” The tender words made her sigh like a foolish girl. “I realize that. But why not merely continue as we have been?” His voice lowered. “Because I want to make you mine in every way.” A sweet shiver swept along her spine. “We do not need to marry for that.” “So all you want from me is an affair?” “No! But-“ “I want more than that. I want to go to sleep with you in my arms and wake with you in my bed. I want the right to be with you whenever I please, night or day.” His tone deepened. “I love you, Hetty. And when a man loves a woman, he wants to spend his life with her.” “But at our age, people will say-“ “Our age is an argument for marriage. We might not have much time left. Why not live it to the fullest, together, while we’re still in good health? Who cares about what people say? Life is too short to let other people dictate one’s choices.” She leaned heavily on his arm as they reached the steps leading up to the dais at the front of the ballroom. He did have a point. She had been balking at marrying him because she was sure people would think her a silly old fool. But then, she had always been out of step with everyone else. Why should this be any different? “I shall think about it,” she murmured as they headed to the center of the dais, where the family was gathering. “I suppose I’ll have to settle for that. For now.” He cast her a heated glance. “But later this evening, once we have the chance to be alone, I shall try more effective methods to persuade you. Because I’m not giving up on this. I can be as stubborn as you, my dear.” She bit back a smile. Thank God for that.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
There’s a story that’s sometimes called the parable of the long spoons. No one is sure which religion or philosophy it originates from, though it seems to appear as a myth in many traditions. The details change across cultures—spoons, chopsticks, soup, or rice. But the basic points are the same: A man asks God to show him heaven and hell, and God presents to him two rooms. In the first, sickly people sit around a table, and in the center is a gigantic pot of delicious-smelling soup. Each person can reach the pot, but their spoons are so long that there is no way to get them back into their mouths. Each tortured soul struggles in vain to get a bite to eat. They writhe in pain as they fruitlessly ladle and starve. This, of course, is hell. And in the second room is the same table, the same soup, the same terribly long spoons—but this time, the diners, sated and happy, pour spoonfuls of soup into their neighbors’ mouths. In hell, we starve alone. In heaven, we feed each other.
Jill Biden (Where the Light Enters: Building a Family, Discovering Myself)
Indeed, living a spiritual life requires a change of heart, a conversion. Such a conversion may be marked by a sudden inner change, or it can take place through a long, quiet process of transformation. But it always involves an inner experience of oneness. We realize that we are in the center, and that from there all that is and all that takes place can be seen and understood as part of the mystery of God’s life with us. Our conflicts and pains, our tasks and promises, our families and friends, our activities and projects, our hopes and aspirations, no longer appear to us as a fatiguing variety of things which we can barely keep together, but rather as affirmations and revelations of the new life of the Spirit in us. “All these other things,” which so occupied and preoccupied us, now come as gifts or challenges that strengthen and deepen the new life which we have discovered. This does not mean that the spiritual life makes things easier or takes our struggles and pains away.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (The Spiritual Life: Eight Essential Titles by Henri Nouwen)
The most important way to gain a hearing from postmodern people, confront nominal Christians, wake up “sleepy” Christians, and even delight committed Christians — all at the same time — is to preach the gospel as a third way to approach God, distinct from both irreligion and religion. Why? First, many professed Christians are only nominal believers; they are pure “elder brothers” (see Luke 15:11 – 32), and often making this distinction can help to convert them. Second, many genuine Christians are elder-brotherish — angry, mechanical, superior, insecure — and making this distinction may be the only way to reach them. Third, most postmodern people have been raised in or near churches that are heavily “religious.” They have observed how religious people tend to bolster their own sense of worth by convincing themselves they are better than other people, which leads them to exclude and condemn others. Most contemporary nonbelievers have rejected these poisonous fruits of religion, but when they did so, they thought they had rejected Christianity. If they hear you calling them to follow Christ, even if you use biblical language such as “receive Christ and you will be adopted into his family” (see John 1:12–13), they will automatically believe you are calling them into the “elder brother,” moralistic, religious approach to God. Unless you are constantly and clearly showing them that they have misunderstood the gospel and that you are talking about something else besides religion, they won’t be listening for the true gospel.
Timothy J. Keller (Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City)
Build houses and make yourselves at home. You are not camping. This is your home; make yourself at home. This may not be your favorite place, but it is a place. Dig foundations; construct a habitation; develop the best environment for living that you can. If all you do is sit around and pine for the time you get back to Jerusalem, your present lives will be squalid and empty. Your life right now is every bit as valuable as it was when you were in Jerusalem, and every bit as valuable as it will be when you get back to Jerusalem. Babylonian exile is not your choice, but it is what you are given. Build a Babylonian house and live in it as well as you are able. Put in gardens and eat what grows in the country. Enter into the rhythm of the seasons. Become a productive part of the economy of the place. You are not parasites. Don’t expect others to do it for you. Get your hands into the Babylonian soil. Become knowledgeable about the Babylonian irrigation system. Acquire skill in cultivating fruits and vegetables in this soil and climate. Get some Babylonian recipes and cook them. Marry and have children. These people among whom you are living are not beneath you, nor are they above you; they are your equals with whom you can engage in the most intimate and responsible of relationships. You cannot be the person God wants you to be if you keep yourself aloof from others. That which you have in common is far more significant than what separates you. They are God’s persons: your task as a person of faith is to develop trust and conversation, love and understanding. Make yourselves at home there and work for the country’s welfare. Pray for Babylon’s well-being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you. Welfare: shalom. Shalom means wholeness, the dynamic, vibrating health of a society that pulses with divinely directed purpose and surges with life-transforming love. Seek the shalom and pray for it. Throw yourselves into the place in which you find yourselves, but not on its terms, on God’s terms. Pray. Search for that center in which God’s will is being worked out (which is what we do when we pray) and work from that center. Jeremiah’s letter is a rebuke and a challenge: “Quit sitting around feeling sorry for yourselves. The aim of the person of faith is not to be as comfortable as possible but to live as deeply and thoroughly as possible—to deal with the reality of life, discover truth, create beauty, act out love. You didn’t do it when you were in Jerusalem. Why don’t you try doing it here, in Babylon? Don’t listen to the lying prophets who make an irresponsible living by selling you false hopes. You are in Babylon for a long time. You better make the best of it. Don’t just get along, waiting for some miraculous intervention. Build houses, plant gardens, marry husbands, marry wives, have children, pray for the wholeness of Babylon, and do everything you can to develop that wholeness. The only place you have to be human is where you are right now. The only opportunity you will ever have to live by faith is in the circumstances you are provided this very day: this house you live in, this family you find yourself in, this job you have been given, the weather conditions that prevail at this moment.
Eugene H. Peterson (Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best)
When everyone is seated, Galen uses a pot holder to remove the lid from the huge speckled pan in the center of the table. And I almost upchuck. Fish. Crabs. And...is that squid hair? Before I can think of a polite version of the truth-I'd rather eat my own pinky finger than seafood-Galen plops the biggest piece of fish on my plate, then scoops a mixture of crabmeat and scallops on top of it. As the steam wafts its way to my nose, my chances of staying polite dwindle. The only think I can think of is to make it look like I'm hiccupping instead of gagging. What did I smell earlier that almost had me salivating? It couldn't have been this. I fork the fillet and twist, but it feels like twisting my own gut. Mush it, dice it, mix it all up. No matter what I do, how it looks, I can't bring it near my mouth. A promise is a promise, dream or no dream. Even if real fish didn't save me in Granny's pond, the fake ones my imagination conjured up sure comforted me until help arrived. And now I'm expected to eat their cousins? No can do. I set the fork down and sip some water. I sense Galen is watching. Out of my peripheral, I see the others shoveling the chum into their faces. But not Galen. He sits still, head tilted, waiting for me to take a bite first. Of all the times to be a gentleman! What happened to the guy who sprawled me over his lap like a three-year-old just a few minutes ago? Still, I can't do it. And they don't even have a dog for me to feed under the table, which used to be my go-to plan at Chloe's grandmother's house. One time Chloe even started a food fight to get me out of it. I glance around the table, but Rayna's the only person I'd aim this slop at. Plus, I'd risk getting the stuff on me, which is almost as bad as in me. Galen nudges me with his elbow. "Aren't you hungry? You're not feeling bad again, are you?" This gets the others' attention. The commotion of eating stops. Everyone stares. Rayna, irritated that her gluttony has been interrupted. Toraf smirking like I've done something funny. Galen's mom wearing the same concerned look he is. Can I lie? Should I lie? What if I'm invited over again, and they fix seafood because I lied about it just this once? Telling Galen my head hurts doesn't get me out of future seafood buffets. And telling him I'm not hungry would be pointless since my stomach keeps gurgling like an emptying drain. No, I can't lie. Not if I ever want to come back here. Which I do. I sigh and set the fork down. "I hate seafood," I tell him. Toraf's sudden cough startles me. The sound of him choking reminds me of a cat struggling with a hair ball. I train my eyes on Galen, who has stiffened to a near statue. Jeez, is this all his mom knows how to make? Or have I just shunned the Forza family's prize-winning recipe for grouper? "You...you mean you don't like this kind of fish, Emma?" Galen says diplomatically. I desperately want to nod, to say, "Yes, that's it, not this kind of fish"-but that doesn't get me out of eating the crabmeat-and-scallop mountain on my plate. I shake my head. "No. Not just this kind of fish. I hate it all. I can't eat any of it. Can hardly stand to smell it." Way to go for the jugular there, stupid! Couldn't I just say I don't care for it? Did I have to say I hate it? Hate even the smell of it? And why am I blushing? It's not a crime to gag on seafood. And for God's sakes, I won't eat anything that still has its eyeballs.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
But she had learned about love through books, knew enough of it to recognize its absence in her life. Everywhere she looked, she was blinded by other forms of love, as if God were taunting her. From her bedroom window, she’d watch mothers pushing strollers, or children hanging from their father’s shoulders, or lovers holding hands. At doctors’ offices, she’d flip through magazines to find families smiling wildly, couples embracing, even women photographed alone, their bright faces shining with self-love. When she’d watch soap operas with her grandmother, love was the anchor, the glue that seemingly held the whole world together. And when she flipped through American channels when her grandparents weren’t looking, again love was the center of every show, while she, Deya, was left dangling on her own, longing for something other than her sisters to hold on to. As much as she loved them, it never felt like enough. But what did love even mean? Love was Isra staring dully out the window, refusing to look at her; love was Adam barely home; love was Fareeda’s endless attempts to marry her off, to rid herself of a burden; love was a family who never visited, not even on holidays. And maybe that was her problem. Maybe that’s why she always felt disconnected from her classmates, why she couldn’t see the world the way they did, couldn’t believe in their version of love. It was because they had mothers and fathers who wanted them, because they were coddled in a blanket of familial love, because they had never celebrated a birthday alone. It was because they had cried in someone’s arms after a bad day, had known the comforts of the words “I love you” growing up. It was because they’d been loved in their lives that they believed in love, saw it surely for themselves in their futures, even in places it clearly wasn’t.
Etaf Rum (A Woman Is No Man)
Missy and I haven’t spent a lot of time asking God why Mia was born with her difficulties. We have accepted that it’s yet another opportunity to glorify Him. A couple of years after Mia was born, one of the nurses at St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe called Missy. The nurse told her that there was a couple at the hospital, and they had just given birth to a baby with a cleft lip and soft palate. The couple was really struggling with the shock, and the nurse told Missy she remembered how we handled it. Missy and I went to the hospital and talked to the parents. Missy told the nurses to call us whenever a similar situation occurred. A few months later, Missy and Mia were in Dallas for a checkup. The nurse from St. Francis called Missy and told her there was another baby born with the same condition. Since Missy was out of town, she called me. “Jason, you have to go up there,” she said. “I can’t do this,” I said. “The parents are devastated,” she said. “You have to go.” “I can’t,” I said. After I hung up the phone, I thought about the situation for several minutes. I remembered how Missy and I felt when Mia was born, and I knew the parents at the hospital needed all the support in the world. I called Missy back and told her I was going. When I walked into the hospital room, the parents were there with some family members. Everybody was crying, and it seemed like the normal joy of a child being born was missing. They looked at me like, “Who is this guy?” I was so quiet I could have heard a pin drop. Their new son was with the other babies in the nursery, and I could see him through the glass wall that separated the waiting room and the nursery. I’d brought along before-and-after photos of Mia. I took them out of my pocket and held them up. “I have a girl named Mia, and when she was born she looked a lot like him,” I said. “All I can tell you is that you can make it through this. It is going to be okay.
Jase Robertson (Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl)
Suddenly, Coach Spinks’s face mellowed. There was a dissociation of form and substance. His eyes glistened; his gaze became beatific. “Let us pray,” he said and all the heads on the team dropped floorward as though they were puppets strung to the same wire. “O sweet Jesus, we come again to ask your blessings and your forgiveness for our many trespasses against you and our fellow neighbor. We are playin’ West Charleston High School tonight, Lord, but there’s no need to tell you that since you knew about it two or three million years before I did. We ask, good Jesus, not that we beat West Charleston High but that we do our best before our God, our family, and our country. We do ask, Lord, if you see it befitting, that we score a point or two more than West Charleston even though I know that Coach Warners is a God-fearin’ man and a deacon in the Baptist Church besides. But you know as well as I, Lord, he’s one of the mouthiest so-and-so’s that ever wore socks. I’m also aware, dear Jesus, that their players are all clean cut boys and also pleasant to your sight. We don’t want to ask for anything special, Lord, but help my rebounders get off their feet. Help Pinkie and Jim Don control their tempers. Give Philip and Art a little more temper. And get Ben to quit throwin’ those big city behind-the-back passes. And, Lord, please help this high school if I got to make any substitutions. My scrubs is good boys but they’ve been havin’ a devil of a time puttin’ that ball into the hole. The real thing I want to ask, Lord, is that all these boys make the first team in that great game of life. If they make mistakes, Lord, blow the whistle because you’re the great referee. Call time out and bring them to center court for another jump ball. Don’t let them go out of bounds, Lord. If they bust a play, make ’em run wind-sprints and figure eights but stay with ’em, Lord. Coach ’em all the way to the championship of life. A-men.” “A-men,” the team echoed in relief.
Pat Conroy (The Great Santini)
The Big Picture: From Abraham to Armageddon Down through the ages, the sons of Jacob have survived trials, persecution, and thousands of years in exile from their homeland. The Scriptures foretold the dispersion of the Jews and also of their regathering toward the end of the age. After a long absence from a country left in desolation, the Jews have come home to the land that God promised to Abraham: “…a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety.” (Ezekiel 38:8). The other branch of Abraham’s family—the sons of Ishmael— are the Islamic Arabs that inhabit the lands surrounding Israel. Ishmael’s descendants epitomize the spirit and temperament that the Bible predicted more than three millennia ago: “…his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers” (Genesis 16:12). The Prophet Ezekiel tells us that these same sons of Ishmael will be among the enemies who seek to destroy Israel in the end times: “And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land…” (Ezekiel 38:16). The day is soon coming when Ishmael’s descendants will unite as one: “…they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast.” Their ultimate purpose being the fulfillment of a long-held dream: the annihilation of Israel. Muslims have been taught for centuries that the Last Day will not come until they wage a final war against the Jews and rid the world of them once and for all. They believe that only after this is accomplished will Muslims enjoy a golden age of peace, justice, and worldwide Islamic rule. However, the Bible tells us that God has other plans: Before Israel can be destroyed He is going to intervene, and bring to ruin those who seek her destruction. On that day, multitudes of Jews will realize that Jesus is Messiah, and many Muslims will realize that they have made a fateful mistake. Though most are unaware, we, today, are witnessing the fruition of seeds that were planted nearly four thousand years ago with the birth of Abraham’s sons. God promised Abraham that He would make great nations of both Isaac and Ishmael. To be sure, one would be hard pressed to argue that He did not. The Jewish and Arabic peoples have had an immeasurable impact on the world and can now be found at center stage in the arena of world politics and conflict. Thus, the history of mankind will reach its pinnacle, essentially where it began, in a region literally located at the center of the globe; more specifically, Israel and the nations that surround her.
T.W. Tramm (From Abraham to Armageddon: The Convergence of Current Events, Bible Prophecy, and Islam)
In the cities of the Jewish diaspora (especially Alexandria, Antioch, Tarsus, Ephesus, and Rome), Jews were widely admired by their gentile neighbors. For one thing, they had a real religion, not a clutter of gods and goddesses and pro forma rituals that almost nobody took seriously anymore. They actually believed in their one God; and, imagine, they even set aside one day a week to pray to him and reflect on their lives. They possessed a dignified library of sacred books that they studied reverently as part of this weekly reflection and which, if more than a little odd in their Greek translation, seemed to point toward a consistent worldview. Besides their religious seriousness, Jews were unusual in a number of ways that caught the attention of gentiles. They were faithful spouses—no, really—who maintained strong families in which even grown children remained affectively attached and respectful to their parents. Despite Caesar Nero’s shining example, matricide was virtually unknown among them. Despite their growing economic success, they tended to be more scrupulous in business than non-Jews. And they were downright finicky when it came to taking human life, seeming to value even a slave’s or a plebeian’s life as much as anyone else’s. Perhaps in nothing did the gentiles find the Jews so admirable as in their acts of charity. Communities of urban Jews, in addition to opening synagogues, built welfare centers for aiding the poor, the miserable, the sick, the homebound, the imprisoned, and those, such as widows and orphans, who had no family to care for them. For all these reasons, the diaspora cities of the first century saw a marked increase in gentile initiates to Judaism. Many of these were wellborn women who presided over substantial households and who had likely tried out some of the Eastern mystery cults before settling on Judaism. (Nero’s wife Poppea was almost certainly one of these, and probably the person responsible for instructing Nero in the subtle difference between Christians and more traditional Jews, which he would otherwise scarcely have been aware of.) These gentiles did not, generally speaking, go all the way. Because they tended to draw the line at circumcision, they were not considered complete Jews. They were, rather, noachides, or God-fearers, gentiles who remained gentiles while keeping the Sabbath and many of the Jewish dietary restrictions and coming to put their trust in the one God of the Jews. Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, however, could turn out to be a difficult test of the commitment of the noachides. For here in the heart of the Jewish world, they encountered Judaism enragé, a provincial religion concerned only with itself, and ages apart from the rational, tolerant Judaism of the diaspora. In the words of Paul Johnson:
Thomas Cahill (Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before & After Jesus)
Family. Moralism can make a person a slave to parental expectations, while relativism/pragmatism sees no need for family loyalty or keeping promises and covenants if they do not meet one’s needs. The gospel frees us from making parental approval a form of psychological salvation by pointing to how God is the ultimate Father. Grasping this, we will be neither too dependent nor too hostile toward our parents.
Timothy J. Keller (Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City)
It is good to be connected to family and friends, but when we cannot resist the urge to check updates or upload a photo, we are veering toward idolatry. Idols serve our needs according to our schedule. When we call, they answer. They give us a false sense of being in control. But over time, the relationship reverses. We end up attending to their needs, centering our lives on their priorities and agendas.
Craig Detweiler (iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives)
And no one knows how to love in the most broken of all stories like you, Jesus. Because you drank the cup of God’s judgment, you now give us the cup of your grace. How are we to love and serve these families in the coming hours and days? What will being present and keeping watch look like? Though you were abandoned by sleeping disciples, you will never abandon us. Jesus, help us know how to love in the darkness. Bring your limitless, tender mercies to bear. No one can offer tears of hope and a tear-wiping hand like you, Jesus. We pray in your solace-laden name. Amen.
Scotty Smith (Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith)
THE MEANS OF GOSPEL RENEWAL While the ultimate source of a revival is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit ordinarily uses several “instrumental,” or penultimate, means to produce revival. EXTRAORDINARY PRAYER To kindle every revival, the Holy Spirit initially uses what Jonathan Edwards called “extraordinary prayer” — united, persistent, and kingdom centered. Sometimes it begins with a single person or a small group of people praying for God’s glory in the community. What is important is not the number of people praying but the nature of the praying. C. John Miller makes a helpful and perceptive distinction between “maintenance” and “frontline” prayer meetings.1 Maintenance prayer meetings are short, mechanical, and focused on physical needs inside the church. In contrast, the three basic traits of frontline prayer are these: 1. A request for grace to confess sins and to humble ourselves 2. A compassion and zeal for the flourishing of the church and the reaching of the lost 3. A yearning to know God, to see his face, to glimpse his glory These distinctions are unavoidably powerful. If you pay attention at a prayer meeting, you can tell quite clearly whether these traits are present. In the biblical prayers for revival in Exodus 33; Nehemiah 1; and Acts 4, the three elements of frontline prayer are easy to see. Notice in Acts 4, for example, that after the disciples were threatened by the religious authorities, they asked not for protection for themselves and their families but only for boldness to keep preaching! Some kind of extraordinary prayer beyond the normal services and patterns of prayer is always involved.
Timothy J. Keller (Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City)
A new church in the community usually leads existing churches to face this issue of kingdom-mindedness. New churches typically draw most of their new members from the ranks of the unchurched, but they will also attract some people from existing churches. When we lose two to three families to a church that is bringing in a hundred new people who weren’t going to any other church before, we have a choice! We must ask ourselves, “Are we going to celebrate the new people the kingdom has gained through this new church, or are we going to bemoan and resent the families we lost to it?” In other words, our attitude to new church development is a test of whether our mind-set is geared to our own institutional turf or to the overall health and prosperity of the kingdom of God in the city. Any church that bemoans its own small losses instead of rejoicing in the larger gains of the kingdom is betraying its narrow interests. Yet the benefits of new church planting to older congregations can be great, even if that benefit is not initially obvious.4
Timothy J. Keller (Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City)
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:14–19)
Scotty Smith (Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith)
Leaders who finish well have the faith to trust God’s Word—its promises and its commands. They are willing to step out in faith, in obedience to God’s revealed will for their lives, even if they cannot see where that step will take them. As Corrie Ten Boom aptly pointed out, we should “never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Our faith must be centered on God Himself. When my family and I first came to Lancaster Baptist Church, we had no solid financial foundation. We had just spent all of our savings on moving and in fixing the building and the property of our new church. With no money in the bank and no salary from the church, we based our assurance that all would be well on God’s promises. Our faith was not misplaced, for we never missed a meal or saw our needs unmet. Twenty-three years later, I’m so thankful we came to Lancaster even before we knew what God was going to do here. When I see how God has blessed this ministry, it motivates me to take further steps of faith. What in your life requires faith? When God gives a leader a vision of His plan for his life or ministry, it’s far greater than what can be accomplished in human strength. Refuse to question God’s ability; instead trust God’s plan. Faith is not an emotion fueled by success stories or emotionally charged sermons. Faith is a simple choice to trust God.
Paul Chappell (Leaders Who Make a Difference: Leadership Lessons from Three Great Bible Leaders)
When I conform my will, my desires, and my passions for the good of my family I conform myself to the will of God.
Darlene Schacht (The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife: 18 Powerful Lessons for Personal Growth)
Global citizenship means simply being willing to focus on the game, to notice the world and the people in it. It does not mean noticing your world, but the world. It means being conscious of the fact that you, and your country, are not the center of God's universe. It is the recognition that the world is made up of people with similar needs, desires, responsibilities, and dreams. It is the willingness to connect to people all over the world, realizing that the choices you make each day affect them and that their decisions affect you. It is noticing that the world is your family.
Holly Sprink (Faith Postures: Cultivating Christian Mindfulness)
When we fulfill our vocation, when love-dispensing families fan out across the globe, we subdue the planet by a kind of husbandry that prospers the world and all it contains. By the far-flung migrations of families reflecting the self-giving image of God, creation erupts in a song of impassioned thanksgiving to its Maker.
Donald Arthur Carson (The Gospel As Center)
Throughout history the church has always zeroed in on “ezer” (pronouncedazer with a long sounding ¯a, as in razor) as the preFall piece of Eve that defines a woman’s role and remained intact despite her sin. God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper [ezer] suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). The meaning of ezer, however, was diminished when translators rendered it “helpmeet” and restricted it to marriage.4 A woman’s mission centered on home and family — vital spheres of ministry to be sure, but only a slice of the vast mission God originally cast by calling women to rule and subdue the earth. Thinking regarding the ezer began to change when scholars pointed out that the word ezer is used most often (sixteen of twenty-one occurrences) in the Old Testament to refer to God5 as Israel’s helper in times of trouble. That’s when ezer was upgraded to “strong helper,” leaving Christians debating among themselves over the meaning of “strong” and whether this affects a woman’s rank with respect to the man. Further research indicates ezer is a powerful Hebrew military word whose significance we have barely begun to unpack.6 The ezer is a warrior, and this has far-reaching implications for women, not only
Carolyn Custis James (Lost Women of the Bible: The Women We Thought We Knew)
For the glory of Jesus alone, I ask you to demonstrate the truth, beauty, and power of the gospel by pouring out the Holy Spirit on our church family in a most tangible and transforming way. My hope is in knowing that you are a far more generous God than we are a desperate people, and we are desperate. We need what you alone can give, Father. Make yourself unmistakably known as the Lord in our midst.
Scotty Smith (Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith)
Don’t continue to straddle the fence. Commit your total effort and energy to Christ. The wholeheartedly committed Christian is the truly happy Christian. In Philippians 1:21 we read: “To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” When we lose sight of who God is and forget to give Him honor, anxiety sets into our lives and day-to-day living doesn’t make sense. When we make our goal the pursuit of things and we take our eyes off Jesus, we invariably will be disappointed in our journeys. God does not fail us. He gives us moderation and balance and direction and purpose. A full life. As I’ve mentioned, one of our family’s favorite verses is Matthew 6:33: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” Yes, this is the ultimate anxiety breaker—seek first His kingdom. Bob and I use this as our test for doing anything in life. When we face a decision, we ask ourselves if we are truly seeking His kingdom first, or are we seeking to build our vision of success and value? In John 16:33 we read: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (NASB). God has promised us peace, but many of us choose anxiety instead. We will never be the women God wants us to be until we heed His call—“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Prayer: Father God, take my eyes off the things of the world. I realize that life is more than things. I know that they don’t give my life purpose and meaning. I want to focus on serving You all of my existing days. Give me the power and conviction to follow Your ways. Amen.   Action: Analyze what is making you anxious. What are you going to do about it? Physically write out on a piece of paper what these anxieties are and what you will do to change each into peace. Today’s Wisdom: Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centered in anything short of God and His will for us. —BILLY GRAHAM
Emilie Barnes (Walk with Me Today, Lord: Inspiring Devotions for Women)
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. —Matthew 5:6 (KJV) Hey, old man.” It was my sister Keri on the line. “I can’t believe you are about to turn forty.” Hearing those words rang hard in my head. How could I be forty? It was time for a reality check. I was passionate about my career. My son Harrison was a wellspring of joy, and six-month-old Mary Katherine had forever changed Corinne’s and my life for the better. Yet, I couldn’t help but think about my shortcomings. Did I reach out to others or was I too self-centered? Was I giving back in proportion to what had been given to me? Was I mindful enough of the teachings of Jesus? Was I His defender? I tortured myself remembering that Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. achieved greatness before age forty. How could my life ever measure up to theirs? My big day started with birthday calls, but by lunch I was feeling disappointed. How anticlimactic it seemed. In the afternoon, Corinne suggested we take a drive to a friend’s farm. She led me to a converted barn and swung open the door. “Surprise!” The room was filled with family and friends. Toasts followed. One friend spoke of our work in Africa; another thanked me for helping his parents through a hard financial time; another mentioned my work in the inner city. Small steps, I thought. Tiny acts far from greatness. But wait! Why am I treating forty as a deadline? What better age to begin again to make the world right, to reach out, to give, to defend God’s rightness? Everything old turned new in that moment, and I was on my way. Father, I want to do more than long for a better world. Come with me. Help me make it happen. —Brock Kidd Digging Deeper: Gal 6:9; Eph 2:10
Guideposts (Daily Guideposts 2014)
Finding Genuine Peace But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace. Ephesians 2:13-14 NKJV On many occasions, our outer struggles are simply manifestations of the inner conflicts that we feel when we stray from God’s path. What’s needed is a refresher course in God’s promise of peace. The beautiful words of John 14:27 remind us that Jesus offers peace, not as the world gives, but as He alone gives: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful” (HCSB). As believers, our challenge is straightforward: we should welcome Christ’s peace into our hearts and then, as best we can, share His peace with others. Today, as a gift to yourself, to your family, and to your friends, invite Christ to preside over every aspect of your life. It’s the best way to live and the surest path to peace … today and forever. To know God as He really is—in His essential nature and character—is to arrive at a citadel of peace that circumstances may storm, but can never capture. Catherine Marshall In the center of a hurricane there is absolute quiet and peace. There is no safer place than in the center of the will of God. Corrie ten Boom I believe that in every time and place it is within our power to acquiesce in the will of God—and what peace it brings to do so! Elisabeth Elliot I want first of all…to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life…. I want, in fact—to borrow from the language of the saints—to live “in grace” as much of the time as possible. Anne Morrow Lindbergh When we do what is right, we have contentment, peace, and happiness. Beverly LaHaye Prayer guards hearts and minds and causes God to bring peace out of chaos. Beth Moore Every one of us is supposed to be a powerhouse for God, living in balance and harmony within and without.
Freeman Smith (Fifty Shades of Grace: Devotions Celebrating God's Unlimited Gift)
If you’re married, recognize you hold a covenant with your spouse, not your work. God ordained the biblical covenant of marriage. He didn’t create one for work. Your first priorities are God, the very center of all we do, and then your family. And then—and only then—your work. The problem is that we confuse our service to God with our vocation, and the two are not synonymous.
Peter Greer (The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good)
QUALITY TIME, QUANTITY TIME Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. Psalm 90:12 HCSB Make no mistake: caring for your family requires time—lots of time. You’ve probably heard about “quality time” and “quantity time.” Your family needs both. So, as a responsible Christian, you should willingly invest large quantities of your time and energy in the care and nurturing of your clan. While caring for your family, you should do your best to ensure that God remains squarely at the center of your household. When you do, God will bless you and yours in ways that you could have scarcely imagined. There is so much compassion and understanding that is gained when we’ve experienced God’s grace firsthand within our own families. Lisa Whelchel Apart from religious influence, the family is the most important influence on society. Billy Graham A TIMELY TIP Your family is a precious gift from above, a gift that should be treasured, nurtured, and loved.
Freeman (Once A Day Everyday … For A Woman of Grace)
Only if our highest love is God himself can we love and serve all people, families, classes, races; and only God’s saving grace can bring us to the place where we are loving and serving God for himself alone and not for what he can give us. Unless we understand the gospel, we are always obeying God for our sake and not for his.6
Timothy J. Keller (Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City)
Luther’s teaching is this: Anything we look to more than we look to Christ for our sense of acceptability, joy, significance, hope, and security is by definition our god — something we adore, serve, and rely on with our whole life and heart. In general, idols can be good things (family, achievement, work and career, romance, talent, etc. — even gospel ministry) that we turn into ultimate things to give us the significance and joy we need. Then they drive us into the ground because we must have them. A sure sign of the presence of idolatry is inordinate anxiety, anger, or discouragement when our idols are thwarted. So if we lose a good thing, it makes us sad, but if we lose an idol, it devastates us.
Timothy J. Keller (Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City)
Ultimately, this is what I realized: God must be the center of our marriage. And both Jep and I have to love God even more than we love each other. That’s the only way it’s going to work and the only way our marriage is going to survive. God is the glue that holds our marriage together, and I’ve learned that if I seek Him, He answers. He heals all wounds--not in a day, maybe not even in a week--but He cares, and He can put relationships, and people, back together in His own time and in His own way.
Jessica Robertson (The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God: What Honesty and Pain Taught Us About Faith, Family, and Forgiveness)
The show is a part of our lives, but it’s just a part. Our lives are more about our faith in God, our love for each other, and the family we are raising together. You know, if God wasn’t for us, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Because we love God more than we love each other, we’ve been able to overcome the hurts and the scars of our younger lives and build a new life, centered on Him, focused on faith and family rather than on ourselves. And even though we sometimes fly here and there and do things famous people do--to do our part to support the show--in the end, I love being at home. Most of the time I wish I could just sit in my house all day, with a quilt on my lap, enjoying Jep’s cooking, catching a rerun of Golden Girls or Murder, She Wrote, playing cards with the kids, and enjoying my family. Fame is fleeting, but family is forever.
Jessica Robertson (The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God: What Honesty and Pain Taught Us About Faith, Family, and Forgiveness)
God is created by the brain and can also be destroyed by the brain. But this way ‘Love’ doesn’t exist either, because it also is the result of molecular interaction within the brain. Love is a result of complex and mind-blowing interactions between neurotransmitters like Oxytocin, Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins and the reward center of the brain. Does this mean we should downright stop loving our family or friends? Since there is no existence of actual ‘Love’, should we just deny what our heart feels for our beloved ones? Whatever the answer is, the same goes for the faith upon divine existence. Only one thing to remember – Love gives life, so should faith.
Abhijit Naskar (The God Parasite: Revelation of Neuroscience)
Jesus, the gospel should be all the motivation I need for living as a compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient man—especially when I consider this is how you relate to me 24/7, in full view of my ill-deserving ways. I’ll never experience you as insensitive, unkind, proud, harsh, or impatient. Indeed, through the gospel, I’ve become a member of God’s chosen, holy, dearly loved people. Yet it does take more: sometimes it takes pain. Today is just such a day. As I pray, I’m hurting big-time. Today it will be easier for me to clothe myself with compassion than with cotton. Yesterday afternoon I forgot that exercising at the gym doesn’t qualify me to be a refrigerator mover. But as I hurt, I’m moved to pray today for chronic sufferers—those who cry, “How long, O Lord?” for better reasons and with more tears than I have. Jesus, I pray for people with unrelenting pain in their bodies—those who no longer get any relief from physical therapy or medication. I pray for people with emotional and mental diseases, who live in the cruel world of delusional thinking and sabotaging emotions. I pray for their families and caregivers. I pray for the unconscionable number of children in the world who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition and for their parents who feel both shame and helplessness. Lord, these and many more stories of great suffering I bring before you. I also pray for the worst chronic suffering of all: for those who are “separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12 NIV). Come, Holy Spirit, come, and apply the saving benefits of Jesus to the religious and the nonreligious alike—to those who may be in the church or in the culture but who are not in Christ. Jesus, I anticipate getting over this back pain pretty soon, but I don’t want to get over compassionate praying and compassionate living. I pray in your kind and caring name. Amen.
Scotty Smith (Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith)
In his book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Eugene Peterson gives us a fine definition of how a humble person approaches life: “I will not try to run my own life or the lives of others; that is God’s business. I will not pretend to invent the meaning of the universe; I will accept what God has shown its meaning to be. I will not noisily strut about demanding that I be treated as the center of my family or my neighborhood or my work, but seek to discover where I fit and what I am good at.”8
Judson Edwards (Quiet Faith: An Introvert's Guide to Spiritual Survival)
He concludes Simply Christian this way: We are called to be part of God’s new creation, called to be agents of that new creation here and now. We are called to model and display that new creation in symphonies and family life, in restorative justice and poetry, in holiness and service to the poor, in politics and painting.10
Timothy J. Keller (Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City)
BIG FEET, BIGGER HEART If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. Deuteronomy 15:7–8 Former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo is seven feet two and has size 22 feet. “I’ve no control over that. The Almighty has plans for us to make a place so we can go on and make a difference,” he said. “It all has to do with my faith; I am deeply religious. It goes back to my roots, to my mom and my dad.” Some estimate that he earned more than $100 million while playing with the Denver Nuggets and the Philadelphia 76ers. He didn’t blow the dough on fast cars and bling. Instead, he put the money in the bank and decided to give back. (He must know that the fastest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your wallet.) He created the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation and built a hospital and research center in the Congo, named after his mom, Biamba. In 1999, his mother had a stroke, just a couple of hours after talking to her son on the phone. Because she couldn’t get to a hospital, she died in her living room. He couldn’t even attend her funeral because of that nation’s civil war. Mutombo donated millions of his own money to create the hospital in honor of his mother and her faith. “I come from a large family, but I was not raised with a fortune,” he said. “Something more was left me, and that was family values.” SWEET FREEDOM IN Action Today, don’t listen to liberals when they mock “family values” like they’re some relic of an ancient past. Rather, pass them on to your kids and watch what God does to change the world.
Sarah Palin (Sweet Freedom: A Devotional)
Self-centered people try to keep their lives unruffled and undisturbed, safe and secure. Our temptation is to give our time and effort to the goals of this world. Then, when we are successful in the world's eyes, we seek to bring God into our world by honoring Him with our success. We may say, “Now that I have succeeded in business [or sports, or politics, or with my family, or even Christian ministry], I want to give God the glory for it!” God is not interested in receiving secondhand glory from our activity. God receives glory from His activity through our lives. The world will entice you to adopt its goals and to invest in temporal things. Resist the temptation to pursue your own goals, asking God to bless them. Rather, deny yourself and join the activity of God as He reveals it to you.
Henry T. Blackaby (Experiencing God Day By Day)
Finishing her cigarette, Raven put it out in the ashtray then sighed. “I never really bought into the God thing. Religion felt like a lie men told to make people listen to them. Mostly, it seemed dumb to think a magic man in the sky cared about us. Like if I was a magic man and could make the earth or whatever, I wouldn’t waste time on helping out losers.” Raven set the ashtray on the ground and crossed her arms as if cold. “I see what Lark has now with you, this house, the ugly dogs, her friends, and now the baby. It makes me think God might exist. While losers run in our family, Lark could be more if she let herself. Now she has more and I think God might have helped her out. I prayed someone would. Even not believing, I prayed and told God if He was real and wanted me to believe that He needed to help Lark. I guess He heard me because she’s happy like I’ve never seen her happy before. Not even when Phoenix was alive and we were the best we ever were as a family.” “I’m glad you’re here and you’re welcome to stay as long as you want, but, Raven, my dogs aren’t ugly.” She laughed and tapped her foot against mine. “You’re a good guy. I know I said that before, but I didn’t think you would be. I’ve been around and good guys are rare.” “They exist though.” Raven nodded. “I need to quit men the way I need to quit smoking. Just go cold turkey. If I try to be rational about it, I’ll fool myself into falling for another creep. No, just say enough is enough all that shit. Focus on other stuff like a job and roller derby and family.” “If you ever get sick of living here, the Johanssons have an apartment that Cooper used to live in.” “There are plenty of apartments in Ellsberg.” “Yeah, but if you want to avoid loser men, those apartments won’t help. They’re full of assholes. College shitheads and lowlife fuckers. If you stay out there with the Johanssons, no man will bother you. You might even like Bailey. She’s an acquired taste, but a good friend if you can deal with her mouth.” “Bossy bitches are my favorite,” Raven said, pulling her knees up to her chest. “No hurry moving out though. Lark is feeling unsure about stuff and having you here makes her feel more centered. Like she’s combining her old life with her new one and it fits.” “I just have one question, bud,” Raven said, standing up and ready to leave the cold evening. “Are you planning to fix her damn worm?” “I don’t normally tattoo pregnant women.” “You really going to have your kid born to a chick with a worm tattoo?” Smiling at Raven, I nodded. “I don’t want to do anything to jinx the pregnancy. Since we’ve been together, Lark was hurt by Larry, got into a fight with my ex, and had to hide under the table during a bar brawl. I want the rest of her pregnancy to be as pain free as possible.” “Sissy,” she said, grinning. “I’m really glad you aren’t an asshole. It was a pleasant surprise.” “Glad you approve, but don’t mock my dogs again and stop barking at Pollack.” “Fuck off,” she said over her shoulder while walking inside.
Bijou Hunter (Damaged and the Cobra (Damaged, #3))
The Church is a group of individuals who have made sacred covenants with God through his divine authority. When individuals cease to keep those covenants, they remove themselves from the Church whether or not the Church formally removes them from the rolls. We need to help youth, young adults, and ourselves make sacred covenants in the waters of baptism and the temple. We need to remember those covenants by reviewing records of those covenants (scripture study) and communicating with the author of those covenants (prayer). We need to form our families by covenants and center them in covenants. We need to renew those covenants by regularly partaking of the sacrament. We need to keep those covenants and repent when we stray from those covenants. If we keep our covenants, the statistics will take care of themselves.
John Gee (Saving Faith: How Families Protect, Sustain, and Encourage Faith)
We are members of families, employees of businesses, and citizens of countries whose goals and aspirations are frequently sub-Christian. When those differences are unjust or evil, we need to distinguish ourselves from them. But where possible, we should gather near, identify common ground, and draw lines as sparingly as possible. Salt should not remain in the saltshaker. A lamp should not be placed under a bushel. Christians should not fail to affirm the good, true, and beautiful wherever we see it, even if it emerges from sources with whom we would otherwise disagree. We need to travel together, even in our differences. Living in the world means seeking common ground with people and pursuits that are not always gospel-centered. For the adventurer, this is welcome news, because it allows us to ask different questions. What might God be doing in this situation? With what struggles can I empathize? What bridges can be built? Where might the kingdom of God be manifesting?
Timothy J. Keller (Uncommon Ground: Living Faithfully in a World of Difference)
However, what Ben-Ghiat is not telling you is that the theory about “the Authoritarian Personality” originates with the Frankfurt School, and she omits the most important historical fact about this theory—the agenda behind it. As we noted in the previous chapter, the psychological theories and research that came out of the Frankfurt School were designed to ignite a Marxist cultural revolution to take down America by destroying Christianity, traditional marriage and the nuclear family, biblical moral values, and patriotism. The Frankfurt School launched their Marxist cultural revolution through venues like political correctness, education, media, arts, literature, sex, religion, and psychology. These Marxist professors partnered with Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud, who developed the theory of psychoanalysis. Together, they created the still-popular theory that the repression of sexual urges of any kind, especially through Christian or biblical teachings and a strong father-centered family structure, creates severe psychological problems that give rise to phenomena such as “the Authoritarian Personality.” One of the primary tenets of Marxism and communism is to destroy the concept of the individual and replace it with groupthink where people find their identities by being part of the team, group, or collective. Individuality is considered a product of capitalism and Christianity. In the ideal Marxist society, the individual disappears, the collective emerges, and the state replaces God. A strong individual leader who has enough self-confidence to be fearless and doesn’t need the approval of the collective is a direct threat to Marxism. This is because the Authoritarian Leader possesses the power, along with the people who follow him, to stop or overthrow a Marxist revolution. The primary motive for the creation of the Authoritarian Leader theory is to use it as a
Paul McGuire (Trumpocalypse: The End-Times President, a Battle Against the Globalist Elite, and the Countdown to Armageddon (Babylon Code))
Someone get the camera and start filming!” the oni shouted. A yōkai with a weasel-like face rushed to do as told. The oni then leaned down and whispered in her ear, his grating voice and breath on her neck making Lindsay shiver. “You’re gonna die today, bitch. I’m gonna fucking kill you.” Oh, God! Lindsay felt her bladder threaten to go. Her body was a shivering wreck. She couldn’t control it. Her mind had become overridden with fear. She didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t do anything. She was helpless! The weasel-faced yōkai turned to face them, the camera on. The oni grinned as he gripped Lindsay’s head between his hands. Lindsay sobbed. This was it. She was going to die. She was going to die and there was nothing she could do about it. I don’t wanna die… Visions flashed before her eyes, images of her friends, of her family, of the people she would leave behind. Please… She thought about Kevin, the boy she still sorta liked, even though he was a male. Someone… She thought about Christine, the girl she did like, and regret welled up inside of her as she realized she would never see the yuki-onna again. Help… “I want everyone to watch this,” the oni said, but his voice sounded far away. Lindsay’s mind was locked, clammed up with fear and overflowing with remorse. “This is what happens to humans who think they can befriend us! You should all learn to fear yōkai!” This… this is the end. Lindsay closed her eyes, hoping against hope that it would make the end less painful, that maybe, just maybe, if she closed her eyes, she wouldn’t suffer as much. “Prepare for trouble!” “And make it double!” What? Lindsay’s eyes snapped wide open upon hearing two very familiar voices. She quickly looked toward where she heard the voices and couldn’t believe her eyes. There, standing in the center of the amphitheater, back to back, was Kevin and Lilian. Hope welled up inside of her breast. It was a hope that suddenly stopped, giving way to confusion instead, when she saw their outfits. Are they wearing leather spandex?
Brandon Varnell (A Fox's Hostility (American Kitsune, #9))
Before publication of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, we were largely a family-oriented, normal-minded, churchgoing, God-centered nation. We were not perfect. Racism, sexism, and bigotry are ever-present human failings. Yet our country was increasingly given to respectful tolerance and equal rights for women and for all races and religions, secular and even atheist.
Judith Reisman (Sexual Sabotage: How One Mad Scientist Unleashed a Plague of Corruption and Contagion on America)
The gospel is the glorious, Christ-centered, cross-centered, grace-centered news of what God has done in Jesus Christ (the last Adam) to redeem man from the fall of his federal head (the first Adam) and to give man an eschatological hope that all things will eventually be redeemed in Christ.
Voddie T. Baucham Jr. (Family Shepherds: Calling and Equipping Men to Lead Their Homes)
A woman’s mission centered on home and family — vital spheres of ministry to be sure, but only a slice of the vast mission God originally cast by calling women to rule and subdue the earth.
Carolyn Custis James (Lost Women of the Bible: Finding Strength & Significance through Their Stories)
We need to place God at the center of our family . . . As a family, we need to walk with God daily.
Billy Graham (Billy Graham in Quotes)
But in fact the traditional creed knows nothing of what love really is. For love is simply the strongest thing in the universe, the most awful, the most inexorable, while the most tender. Further, when love is thus seen in its true colors, there is less than ever an excuse for the mistake still so common, which virtually places at the center of our moral system sin and not grace. This it is which the traditional dualism has for centuries been doing, and is still doing. Doubtless retribution is a most vital truth. Universalists rejoice to admit it; nay, largely to base on it their system; but there is a greater truth -which controls, and dominates the whole, the truth of Love. We must not, in common phrase, put the theological cart before the horse. Retribution must not come first, while love brings up the rear; nor must we put the idea of probation, before that of God's education of His human family. In a word, to arrive at truth is hopeless, so long as men virtually believe in a quasi-trinity -God and the Devil, and the Will of Man.
Thomas Allin (Christ Triumphant: Or Universalism Attested)
human society is deeply fragmented when anything but God is our highest love. If our highest goal in life is the good of our family, then, says Edwards, we will tend to care less for other families. If our highest goal is the good of our nation, tribe, or race, then we will tend to be racist or nationalistic. If our ultimate goal in life is our own individual happiness, then we will put our own economic and power interests ahead of those of others. Edwards concludes that only if God is our summum bonum, our ultimate good and life center, will we find our heart drawn out not only to people of all families, races, and classes, but to the whole world in general.
Timothy J. Keller (The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism)
Sin makes us glory thieves... At the bottom of a broken marriage, a shattered family, or a forsaken friendship you will always find stolen glory. We crave glory that does not belong to us, and we step on one another to get it. Rather than glorifying God by using the things he has given us to love other people, we use people to get the glory we love. Sin causes us to steal the story and rewrite it with ourselves as the lead, and with our lives at center stage.
Paul David Tripp (Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands Facilitator's Guide: How to Help Others Change)
Sin makes us glory thieves... At the bottom of a broken marriage, a shattered family, or a forsaken friendship you will always find stolen glory. We crave glory that does not belong to us, and we step on one another to get it. Rather than glorifying God by using the things he has given us to love other people, we use people to get the glory we love. Sin causes us to steal the story and rewrite it with ourselves as the lead, and with our lives at center stage. But there is only one stage and it belongs to the Lord. Any attempt to put ourselves in his place puts us in a war with him... Sin has made us glory robbers. We do not suffer well, because suffering interferes with our glory. We do not find relationships easy, because others compete with us for glory. We do not serve well, because in our quest for glory, we want to be served. But the story of Scripture is the story of the Lord's glory. It calls me to an agenda that is bigger than myself. It offers me something truly worth living for. The Redeemer has come so that glory thieves would joyfully live for the glory of Another. There is no deeper personal joy and satisfaction than to live committed to his glory. It is what we truly need.
Paul David Tripp (Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands Study Guide - How to Help Others Change)
Notice how not even once were we told to just bow down and worship God via song for our entire lives. Yet our churches are nearly addicted to making this the high point of spiritual formation and worship. And let me be clear, this is important and true. But, at least in Genesis, it's not primary. Or another way to put it is, yes, we are called to sing to God but that singing happens through our vocation, not our mouths. Worship at the beginning of the Bible primarily was centered around the job God gave us. Our job was to make, cultivate, create, build, steward, and tame. That is the original mission, the original mandate.
Jefferson Bethke (Take Back Your Family: From the Tyrants of Burnout, Busyness, Individualism, and the Nuclear Ideal)
We must discover within us the divine nature by living and honoring this heritage daily, especially as Padre used to say, “With silence, with prayer and with the continued application of the law of love.” We must love everything and everyone, keeping in mind that it should be done according to our faith and that we will be judged by how we were able to love. On the other hand, even within daily family life, all it takes is just a little misunderstanding to justify resentment which leads to no longer communicating. If only we could see the damage we cause to ourselves with these negative feelings, certainly we would think long and hard before falling into them. I insist on this, because such negativities take us away from that Light and make it dim, though it wants to shine in all its intensity. Whenever a problem arises within the family or outside, we have the ability to resolve any situation through that spark of God that is always ready to intervene and help us bring balance back into our lives. Let us never forget that the divine light is energy. “The energy of divine light is the center of all universal life.
Adolfo Affatato (Padre Pio and I: Memoirs of a Spiritual Son (The Mission of Padre Pio Book 4))
God was saying that the human heart takes good things like a successful career, love, material possessions, even family, and turns them into ultimate things. Our hearts deify them as the center of our lives, because, we think, they can give us significance and security, safety and fulfillment, if we attain them.
Timothy J. Keller (Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters)
In the spring of 1519, the Bishop of Coventry received word that certain families were teaching their children the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments in English. The bishop ordered the arrest of Mr. Hatchets, Mr. Archer, Mr. Hawkins, Mr. Bond, Mr. Wrigsham, Mr. Landsdale and Mrs. Smith. While they were held at an abbey outside of town, their children were brought to Greyfriar’s Monastery in Coventry. The boys and girls were made to stand before Friar Stafford, the abbot. One by one, Stafford interrogated the children about their parents’ beliefs. “Now then,” he told them, “I charge you in the name of God to tell me the whole truth—you shall suffer severely for any lies you tell or secrets you conceal.” “What do you believe about the church and the way to heaven?” he asked them. “Do you go to the services of the parish church? Do you read the Scriptures in English? Do you memorize the Lord’s Prayer or other Scriptures in English?” After getting from the children’s own lips the information he needed to convict their parents, he warned them. “Your parents are heretics!” he bellowed. “They have led you away from the teachings of the church. You are never to meddle again with the Lord’s Prayer or the Ten Commandments or any other Scriptures in English. And if you do—rest assured you will burn at the stake for it!” The next day, the six fathers and Mrs. Smith stood before a panel of judges that included the bishop and Friar Stafford. After presenting the evidence against them—and because the men had been warned before by the bishop not to persist in their Lollard ways—the men were condemned to death by burning. But since this was Mrs. Smith’s first offense, the court dismissed her with a warning not to teach her children the Scriptures in English anymore under pain of death. It was late in the evening when the court dismissed, so the bishop’s assistant decided to see Mrs. Smith home in the dark. As they walked out into the night, he took her arm to lead her across the street. Hearing the rattling of papers within her sleeve, he stopped and said, “Well, what do you have here?” He grabbed her arm, reached into the sleeve and pulled out a little scroll. Under the light of a lantern, he read it and found that it contained handwritten in English the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the Apostle’s Creed. “Well, well,” he said with a sneer. “Come now, this is as good a time as any!” He dragged her back again to the bishop. The panel quickly sentenced her to be burned with the six condemned men and sent her off to prison to await her fate. A few days later, guards led Mrs. Smith and the Lollard men to an open space in the center of Coventry known as Little Park. They tied them to a stake and burned them to death for the crime of teaching their children the Word of God in English.
Richard M. Hannula (Radiant: Fifty Remarkable Women in Church History)
Tech’s love affair with the myth of meritocracy is ironic for an industry so in thrall to the potential of Big Data, because this is a rare case where the data actually exists. But if in Silicon Valley meritocracy is a religion, its God is a white male Harvard dropout. And so are most of his disciples: women make up only a quarter of the tech industry’s employees and 11% of its executives.11 This is despite women earning more than half of all undergraduate degrees in the US, half of all undergraduate degrees in chemistry, and almost half in maths.12 More than 40% of women leave tech companies after ten years compared to 17% of men.13 A report by the Center for Talent Innovation found that women didn’t leave for family reasons or because they didn’t enjoy the work.14 They left because of ‘workplace conditions’, ‘undermining behaviour from managers’, and ‘a sense of feeling stalled in one’s career’. A feature for the Los Angeles Times similarly found that women left because they were repeatedly passed up for promotion and had their projects dismissed.15 Does this sound like a meritocracy? Or does it look more like institutionalised bias?
Caroline Criado Pérez (Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men)
God doesn’t call everyone to have a major platform, speaking to thousands at a time. Most of us are called to make an impact on one person or one family at a time. If we are willing to be obedient for one, God will show us how we can impact more when the time is right to do that.
Victoria Duerstock (Extraordinary Hospitality for Ordinary Christians: A Radical Approach to Preparing Your Heart & Home for Gospel-Centered Community)
when we are accessing the King energy correctly, as servants of our own inner King, we will manifest in our own lives the qualities of the good and rightful King, the King in his fullness. Our soldiers of fortune will drop to their knees, appropriately, before the Chinese Emperor within. We will feel our anxiety level drop. We will feel centered, and calm, and hear ourselves speak from an inner authority. We will have the capacity to mirror and to bless ourselves and others. We will have the capacity to care for others deeply and genuinely. We will “recognize” others; we will behold them as the full persons they really are. We will have a sense of being a centered participant in creating a more just, calm, and creative world. We will have a transpersonal devotion not only to our families, our friends, our companies, our causes, our religions, but also to the world. We will have some kind of spirituality, and we will know the truth of the central commandment around which all of human life seems to be based: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God [read, “the King”] with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And thy neighbor as thyself.
Robert L. Moore (King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine)
On March 1, 2002, at 1:00 p.m., three men broke into our high-rise apartment in Russia and brutally attacked me and my children. By the grace of God, our lives were spared and we were not terribly injured—physically. But the masked attackers had left deep spiritual and emotional wounds. We were sent to a trauma center for counseling for a month, then returned to Russia, our field of service, to complete our missionary term. Four months later, burned-out and spiritually empty, we packed our bags and returned to America for our scheduled one-year home service. I had no plans to return. Secretly, I harbored deep in my heart a resolve to never again set foot in Russia, with its many dangers. I had done eight hard years of service there and felt that I had given the best part of myself to a country that didn’t care. And no one—not even God—was going to change my mind. Yes, He’d spared my life, but I had serious doubts I could ever trust Him again. But God knew better. Not only is He gentle, but He understands and can handle my pain and my questions. I dove into the Psalms, finding hope in David’s cries to the Lord and healing in his praise to the Almighty in the darkest hours. I observed God’s goodness to me, providing for my needs in the past—and present—and I allowed myself to be embraced by the body of Christ, who loved us well. Finally, as time and distance began to heal me, I was able to look behind and see God’s grace embracing me every moment of the difficult journey. He reminded me that He would meet me in my future with the same abundance of grace. I wrote Anne and Noah’s story while struggling through the dark night of the soul. Amazingly, many times I felt as though the words that appeared on the page were more for me than for Anne. I journeyed with Anne until I, too, could see God embracing me in the darkest hour. Her victory is mine. On New Year’s Eve 2003, I surrendered to the Lord my future, agreeing to continue missionary work in Russia if God so chose. The peace that flooded my heart told me that His grace would carry me wherever He took our family. His grace is sufficient. For every heartache, every fear, every wound. Thank you for reading Tying the Knot. I pray that somehow Anne and Noah’s journey of faith and love will encourage and bless you. And that you will know, above all, that it is well with your soul. In His grace, Susan May Warren
Susan May Warren (Tying the Knot (Deep Haven #2))
Classification and then reduction, the mind’s strongest weapon against conscience, if it wants to relieve your conscience to kill innocents, it would classify them within a group and include with them those who deserve death in its view, then reduce all the small details into generalities, and ignore them. As it will not fail a trick, to make the killing of children and women an inevitable necessity, towards a higher goal and a better world. Thus began the story of Baibars himself, nearly twenty years ago, when the extremist organization decided to classify the entire American people as one group, ignoring that the number of Muslims killed by Muslims themselves was many times greater than those killed because of American policies in the Middle East, and then decided that the destruction of their opponents in the Middle East. The destruction of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Their minds reduced all the details; a child playing in his father’s office, a girl waiting for her mother’s return, a wife on the plane eager to meet her husband, their conscience did not hesitate for a moment to kill thousands of innocent people, for the sake of their ultimate goal. And so did America itself, when it decided to avenge its murderers, categorized, reduced, and shot everyone. Its pilots saw neither the children nor the families in the homes they were about to demolish over their heads. So did Hitler, Napoleon, Hulagu, and every serial killer known to mankind. It makes you like a pilot driving a plane, throwing a bomb over the houses, not seeing the trace of what it did on the ground, and if he carried it with his hand and walked in the streets, and watched the children, women, the innocent, who would fall dead from this bomb, he would not detonate it, but he only sees houses that look like matchboxes from the sky, general picture, no details. Satan’s most powerful weapon for controlling the mind, or the most powerful weapon of the mind to control us, and at some point, it masters it, to the point where it no longer needs to justify, reduce, or categorize anything, kill your opponents, and all their offspring, destroy them, burn them, leave none of them. Since many minds are tools in the hands of Satan, it can manipulate them as it wants. Since its working mechanisms have become known to him, Baibars decided, why not? Why do not we make them tools for good. He used Satan’s own style, manipulated everyone, and at times, reduced, but according to his laws, do not reduce the innocent. He is not afraid, he made his decision in the war, and whoever made this decision must bear the consequences of it. He wished time would go back a thousand or two thousand years and freeze there, where the wars between human beings were fought with swords and arrows, at that time, not many innocents fell, only soldiers who made their decision in advance to war, to kill, knowing that they might die. Everyone had the time and the ability to think, make decisions, and even escape. While today, most of the victims of wars do not make a decision, they pay with their lives without anyone asking them if they want to be part of this war at all. Cities are bombed and destroyed over the heads of their inhabitants, and most of them reject this war from the beginning. When someone detonates a bomb in a mall, he does not ask the victims of his bombing about their political stances, their religion, and even if they want to be part of this war, and so do the planes, they do not ask, and their victims have no opportunity to make a decision. As for him, Baibars, he made up his mind It is to fight in defense of those who did not have the opportunity to take it.
Ahmad I. AlKhalel (Zero Moment: Do not be afraid, this is only a passing novel and will end (Son of Chaos Book 1))
In those days as now, many people attended the church, because it was the center of everything. My family also attended regularly. The children learned to write at the church’s Hangul school. But after my wife and youngest son died, I no longer felt like going to church. I felt resentful if such things were God’s will.
Lee Geum-yi (The Picture Bride)
There are many religious people who believe if they act or believe in accordance with God’s will, God should and will protect them from calamities such as bad health and early death. Many pious people have been afflicted with disease and many non-religious and evil people have lived long and healthy lives. It should be obvious to anyone there is simply no correlation between religiosity and being protected from illness. (There are measurable health benefits to leading the purposeful, family-centered, and community-centered life healthy religious practices provide, but that is another matter.) How could there be such a correlation? As Harold Kushner has observed, does the belief God protects the righteous mean a good religious person can go out in freezing weather without a coat and never get sick? If God really did protect religious people from all illness, why would any rational person not be religious? Moreover, faith would no longer be faith. It wouldn’t take any faith to believe in God and to lead a religious life. It would be a completely empirically based decision: Observe x and you will never get cancer; believe y and you will never get heart disease. That’s not faith, it’s a health care decision. The belief God protects those with proper observance or faith from all disease must ultimately lead to an unsympathetic, even judgmental, response to people who get sick: ‘If only they were more observant [or] if only they had a deeper faith—they wouldn’t have gotten cancer or had that heart attack.’ The victim of cancer or a heart attack is then doubly victimized.
Dennis Prager (The Rational Bible: Exodus)
Spend some time before the mirror, looking into your own eyes. Affirm that you are a radiant child of eternal light. See the beauty, the goodness, the Divine love shining in your own eyes. Remind yourself that you come from God, that you are showered in God’s love, that you share that Divine love with everyone you meet, that you love yourself, and that others love you. Know that you are a blessing to your family and to society. Feel the glow of Divine grace and love in your own heart. Work on the plane of spiritual consciousness as well as on the physical plane. Look into your eyes without blinking and feel the calmness there. Recognize the blessings of God manifesting in your being. Doing this mirror work regularly will make you more beautiful. It will create miracles. You will grow in self-esteem. You will become more aware of your inner strength and power of mind. Divine grace will manifest miracle after miracle around you. You will become your own, true, orienting center. Reading, Day 2   The Universal Journey Our human journey is from lower truth to higher truth, from darkness and ignorance to light and wisdom, from fear of death to deathlessness. It is a journey through the mind, a journey which trains the mind, a journey which always returns the mind to its true, encompassing home in the unifying spirit. We do the basic work of that journey by continuously cultivating our befriending mind, anchoring and re-anchoring ourselves in the ultimate truths of spirit.
Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari (Your Mind Your Best Friend: 30 Days to Build Your Most Important Friendship)
One day I found myself on my knees in the center of my family room, my face planted in the ground. I didn’t speak a word but mentally sent a desperate and agonizing prayer to God: “Everything I think I am, I give it to you! Everything the world has taught me about my value as a woman, I give it to you! I am empty now. You will have to show me who I am.
Sabrina Lawton (Each Day a Gift: A Gratitude Devotional for Women: 90 Devotions to Make a Habit of Praise and Thanks)
We had a lot to learn. We were humbled by our loving God, who gently led us to a new way of parenting our children. We turned our focus to connection over correction, looking for the needs behind the behaviors, and putting the relationship at the center of every interaction.
Jennifer Ranter Hook (Thriving Families: A Trauma-Informed Guidebook for the Foster and Adoptive Journey)
This pattern of decreasing age going from northwest to the southeast of the Hawaiian island chain had already been recognized by ancient Hawaiians and is represented as such in the telling of the Pele legend. It is said that the volcano goddess Pele and her family came from the land of Kahiki (Tahiti), which was regarded as a faraway mythical land to ancient Hawaiians. In the vein of Hawaiian mythology being centered around families and gods having a certain element that they are intimately connected with, Pele and her family looked to build a home of lava and fire in a volcanic hollow. She began digging on the island her family first landed on, the island of Niʻihau. But for every deep and large hole she dug, groundwater would rush in and flood the pit, rendering it unsuitable for her and her family. Pele continued with her efforts on all of the islands, making her way southward, only to have her efforts fail again and again. When she reached the island of Hawaiʻi, she was able to find a home for her family in the water-free pits of Mokuʻaweoweo and Halemaʻumaʻu. Pele and her family made their abodes there in fiery homes of lava and magma. Today, those two pits lie in the calderas of Mauna Loa and Kilauea, respectively, with Mauna Loa being the largest active volcano on Earth and Kilauea being Hawaiʻi’s most active volcano.
Captivating History (History of Hawaii: A Captivating Guide to Hawaiian History (U.S. States))
Had these wise storytellers lived in modern America, they might point to a poor, black transgender woman or an asylum-seeking toddler alone in a detainment center and say: God is in this one. This one—the one on the outermost ring of the rankings we’ve made up about who matters. This one—the one farthest from whom we have centered. This one is made of our same flesh, blood, and spirit. When we hurt her, we hurt our own kin. This one is One of us. This one is Us. So let us protect her. Let us bring her gifts and kneel in front of her. Let us fight for her and her family to have every good thing we want for ourselves and our families. Let us love this one as we love ourselves. The point of this story was never that This One is more God than the rest. The point is that if we can find good in those we’ve been trained to see as bad, if we can find worth in those we’ve been conditioned to see as worthless, if we can find ourselves in those we’ve been indoctrinated to see as other, then we become unable to hurt them. When we stop hurting them, we stop hurting ourselves. When we stop hurting ourselves, we begin to heal.
Glennon Doyle (Untamed)
The views of St. Paul on marriage are set forth in I Corinthians VII 1-9: 1. Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence; and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband; and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 6. But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. 7. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man has his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 8. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them to abide even as I. 9. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. ...one wonders what would have become of, our race if all women had carried St. Paul's teaching, "It is good for them if they abide even as I," into practice. Bertrand Russell, in his "Marriage and Morals," has gone to the root of the matter when he states, "He does not suggest for a moment that, there may be any positive good in marriage, or that affection between husband and wife may be a beautiful and desirable thing, nor does he take the slightest interest in the family; fornication holds the center of the stage in his thoughts, and the whole of his sexual ethics is arranged with reference to it. It is just as if one were to maintain that the sole reason for baking bread is to prevent people from stealing cake.
David Marshall Brooks (The Necessity Of Atheism)
It is precisely because he is dangerous that they value his presence in the family—not because he is dangerous to them but because he is dangerous to the sin and chaos that threatens the harmony of the household. He is the center that holds their world together; if he were not dangerous, he could not defend that world against everything that endangers it and threatens to pull it apart.
Michael Foster (It's Good to Be a Man: A Handbook for Godly Masculinity)
RUSH HOUR   So many of us find the morning as a rush hour. Various family members scurry in different directions with various needs and diverse timetables. One has lost a sock; another can’t find last night’s homework. One needs a sack lunch; another needs lunch money. One leaves with a kiss, another with a shout, and another needs encouragement to open her eyes as she stumbles out the door. A “quiet time” in the morning to center ourselves and to renew our relationship with our Heavenly Father stands in sharp contrast. Carving out that time for yourself may be your supreme challenge of the day, but it is an effort worth its weight in gold, as so aptly stated by Bruce Fogarty: THE MORNING HOUR Alone with God, in quiet peace, From earthly cares, I find release; New strength I borrow for each day As there with God, I stop to pray. Alone with God, my sins confess’d, He speaks in mercy, I am blest. I know the kiss of pardon free, I talk to God, He talks to me. Alone with God, my vision clears, I see my guilt, the wasted years. I plead for grace to walk His way And live for Him, from day to day. Alone with God no sin between, His lovely face so plainly seen; My guilt all gone, my heart at rest With Christ, my Lord, my soul is blest. Lord, keep my life alone for Thee; From sin and self, Lord, set me free. And when no more this earth I trod, They’ll say, “He walked alone with God.”5   BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD; I WILL BE EXALTED AMONG THE NATIONS, I WILL BE EXALTED IN THE EARTH! PSALM 46:10 NKJV
David C. Cook (Good Morning, God: Wake-up Devotions to Start Your Day God's Way)
The essence of becoming a disciple is, to put it colloquially, becoming like the people we hang out with the most. Just as the single most formative experience in our lives is our membership in a nuclear family, so the main way we grow in grace and holiness is through deep involvement in the family of God. Christian community is more than just a supportive fellowship; it is an alternate society. And it is through this alternate human society that God shapes us into who and what we are.
Timothy J. Keller (Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City)