Laudable Linkage

A collection of good reading onlineHere are some great reads collected in the last couple of weeks.

Women Wielding the Word.Such a good post by Sue on maintaining a habit of meeting with God in His Word. “I figure if I can’t give God five minutes anytime on any given day, I’m not taking Him and our relationship seriously.” ” We don’t worship the habit – that’s a rope on our necks instead of an anchor to our souls. God’s not interested in my checking off boxes in His name. I don’t worship the habit, but habits help me worship.

More and More, HT to Challies. I think many of us can identify with Glenna’s discouragement at not being more Christlike. “I’m beginning to think that when we’re most discouraged by our sin, God is working something good. The more we see it, the more He helps us to fight it.”

One Way to Build Your Trust Muscles, HT to Maree. “But if you’re looking for ways to strengthen your trust muscles for the days ahead, now might be a good time for you to start gathering up some stones from your past too.”

The Two Paths Out of Trials, HT to Challies.

The Right Response to the Old Testament Law. “Some struggle to understand how these laws reflect divine love and noble character. But this should not be surprising since we live at such a vast distance from that culture. If we want to see how the laws are just and fair and good, we need to study not only the laws, but also the context in which they were given”

Thankful for God’s Good Gift of Government. Our church has read through Ezekiel and Daniel in the past months, and one truth that comes through those books loud and clear is that God works behind, in, and through governments. That doesn’t mean they are always right. But he does call us to obey and honor them unless they contradict His commands.

5 common triggers for highly sensitive people, and 5 antidotes to help them survive social distancing by Anne Bogel, HT to Linda. This fits me to a “T” and was a good reminder. And a reassurance that I’m not the only one.

On Christians Spreading Corona Conspiracies: Gullibility is not a Spiritual Gift, HT to Linda. “God has not called us to be easily fooled. Gullibility is not a Christian virtue.” “Spreading unproven speculation is bearing false witness.”

How to Talk to Your Kids About the Tragedies of COVID-19, HT to the Story Warren.

The Worst Rebrand in the History of Orange Juice, HT to Challies. “Don’t let beautiful design distract from what’s important: Communicating the right information to your customer at the right time.” Yes! I hate when products undergo a major rebranding that’s artsy but doesn’t tell me what I need to know at first glance.

Of Stuck-ness and Sustaining Books. I loved this—partly because Pooh was a beloved character at our house, partly because of the scene Disney left out, and the comfort of “sustaining books” and kindness.

Mincaye Is Now With Jesus. Many of you are familiar with Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, and the other missionaries who were speared to death by the tribe they were trying to reach in Ecuador in 1956. Their story has been dear to me since I first read Through Gates of Splendor in college, and I have read much about the men and the families since that time. Mincaye was one of the killers of the men who later came to the Lord and became a grandfather figure to Steve Saint’s kids. Mincaye just passed away this week. Steve Saint’s tribute to him is here.

Finally, I loved this attempt at a professional video with a toddler “helping,” especially the end. The comments are fun, too. I am not sure if the video will show up in Feedly or emails: if not, you might need to click through to see it.

Happy Saturday!

A revival of what?

Some days ago I turned on the radio to catch the news at noon, and caught the last few minutes of the prayer time my Christian radio station has right before 12:00. As I listened, I heard the announcer pray for “a revival of Biblical values” in our society. I stopped in my tracks and thought, “What?

50sI’m sure he meant well, and I am pretty sure I know what he meant, but that request struck me as a little off-base. I had the same reaction as I do when people speak of “reclaiming our culture for Christ.” I know they don’t mean this, but it brings to mind a 50s-style era where people were at least fairly decent in their lifestyles and even to some extent “God-fearing.” The problem is you can have a pleasant culture exactly like that with most of its members totally lost and on their way to hell.

I don’t think we’re called to reclaim cultures or promote Biblical values without the underlying base of trying to introduce people to the Lord. He has called us to make disciples. That kind of change comes from within and then influences a person’s actions which will then result in a change of values. Trying to promote Biblical values without a heart change is coming at things from the outside. It may make a person easier to live with, but it doesn’t change their destiny or character. But in this postmodern era, especially, Biblical values don’t make sense to someone without a Biblical heart.

I don’t mean that Christians should not be active in government. I’ve been listening to bits of Stephen Davey’s message “Stay on Task” (in other places it appears to be named “I Pledge Allegiance, Part II”) on the radio. I agree with the general thrust of his message that “The mission of the church is not moral reformation, but spiritual transformation” and “Our true battle is against the kingdom of darkness which has blinded the minds of the world to believe that God is not watching.” (It’s a great message – I encourage you to listen to or read it). On the other hand, just because Jesus or the apostles never tried to organize voters or push for campaign issues doesn’t mean it is wrong to do so. Unlike Bible times, we do have a government in these days where we can use our voice. We should first of all pray “For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (I Timothy 2:1-3). And personally I believe we should at least vote, as intelligently as possible. To be given such a gift at this time in history and not use it would be terribly negligent. Some might be called to do more, as described in the article “Is Voting Enough?” I think it is good for Christians to be involved in government as in every other segment of society, to be salt and light there. Since our government can be influenced by our voices, I am grateful for some who keep on top of issues, stand for the right, keep voters informed, and voice our concerns to our representatives. I don’t believe our ultimate hope is in government, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a tool in God’s hands that can be used for good. Proverbs 21:31 says, “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.” God didn’t tell people to abandon their horses, but He told them rather to remember that ultimately safety is of Him. Our trust is in Him, not in any tools, even though He may use various tools to accomplish His objectives.

And in past history He has done so without a conservative culture or a representative form of government. I am extremely thankful for both of those and I hope we keep them. But the church can and should thrive with or without them. In Paul’s time, dictators were in power, yet the church grew in numbers and in character.

While we can and should use the tools at our disposal, those pursuits should never take priority over the basics of what God has called us to: being salt and light wherever we are, showing His love and grace to people, and telling them about the only God and Savior who alone can save them and meet their needs.