Laudable Linkage

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I don’t want to “laud” my own writing, but I wanted to let you know The Perennial Gen published a piece I wrote titled “Limitations Don’t Limit Your Ministry.”

Here are some great reads discovered this week:

How to Study Your Bible in 2020.

How a “You do You” Culture Has Made Us Vulnerable to the Coronavirus, HT to Challies. “We can only stop the virus by doing what is best for others not just for ourselves.”

A Life That Points Others to Christ. “My most earnest prayer is that when someone hears my testimony, they would be compelled to go find Jesus and His Word for themselves.”

God Is Always Good. “We evaluate God’s character based on our circumstances, when we should evaluate our circumstances based on God’s unchanging character.”

Safe, HT to Challies. A poem by Paul Tripp.

‘Progressive’ Christianity: Even Shallower Than the Evangelical Faith I Left, HT to Challies. “I’ve walked in both shoes: the shoes of those who deserted and the shoes of Peter who couldn’t leave, no matter how hard it seemed to stay. I was an #exvangelical who left the faith of my youth for ‘progressive Christianity.’ Then I returned. Here’s my #revangelical story.”

Was Jesus Married to Mary Magdalene? Revisiting a Stubborn Conspiracy Theory, HT to Challies. In a word, no. This post debunks some of the false claims.

Surrendering Control When Facing Coronavirus, or any other situation where we don’t have control. “I’ve found it helpful, when facing out-of-control situations that cause me anxiety, to sort my concerns into two categories: 1. What I Can Control; 2. What I Cannot Control.”

3 Ways of Confronting the Problem of Diminishing Attention Spans Through the Great Books, HT to Challies. Good reasons to read the classics.

Guides for Kids and Middle-Schoolers to Take Notes During the Sermon, HT to Challies.

The Story Warren has a round-up of “awesome good-priced, free, discounted, livestreamed, giveaway, etc., stuff” being offered online during our “sheltering at home.”

Finally this video shows How Soap Kills the Coronavirus, HT to Challies.

Have a good Saturday, and stay safe.

31 Days With Elisabeth Elliot: Several Short Quotes

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As I knew would happen, there were many more quotes from Elisabeth that I wanted to share than there were days in October for the Write 31 Days project. I decided to put a few of the shorter ones together in one post:

From A Lamp For My Feet.

To listen to one word and go out and obey it is better than having the most exalted “religious experience.” “The man who has received my commands and obeys them–he it is who loves me: and he who loves me will be loved by my Father; and I will love him and disclose myself to him” (Jn 14:21). There is the order: hear, do, know.

From Keep a Quiet Heart:

If my life is once surrendered, all is well. Let me not grab it back, as though it were in peril in His hand but would be safer in mine!

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Convicting, isn’t it? And it is so silly that we do this, but too often we do.

I don’t know which of Elisabeth’s writings this came from, but it is short and sweet and very helpful:

“Pray when you feel like praying. Pray when you don’t feel like praying. Pray until you do feel like praying.”

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From a chapter titled “God’s Curriculum” in  Keep a Quiet Heart:

An angry retort from someone may be just the occasion we need in which to learn not only longsuffering and forgiveness, but meekness and gentleness; fruits not born in us but borne only by the Spirit.

Too often I fail to learn that lesson and react in a fleshly manner instead of a spiritual one, so I am thankful for this reminder to seek the Spirit’s help in reacting in a right way.

I don’t know the source of this one, either:

A surrendered mind is not one which is no longer in operation. It is, rather, a mind freed from rebellion and opposition. To be Christ’s captive is to be perfectly free.

From Keep a Quiet Heart in a section on self-image:

If I’m so beautiful and lovable, what was Jesus doing up there, nailed to the cross and crowned with thorns? Why all that hideous suffering for the pure Son of God? Here’s why: There was no other way to deliver us from the hell of our own proud self-loving selves, no other way out of the bondage of self-pity and self-congratulation. How shall we take our stand beneath the cross of Jesus and continue to love the selves that put Him there? How can we survey the wondrous cross and at the same time feed our pride? No. It won’t work. Jesus put it simply: If you want to be My disciple, you must leave self behind, take up the cross, and follow Me.

Finally, this is from a chapter titled, “Nevertheless We Must Run Aground” in Love Has a Price Tag:

Heaven is not here, it’s There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.

Someone suggested that I share a list of Elisabeth’s books, so I will do that tomorrow, along with a video shown at her memorial service.

See all the posts in this series here.

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This is the last day to enter DaySpring.com’s contest for Write 31 Days readers. To enter to win a $500 DaySpring shopping spree, just click on this link & follow the giveaway widget instructions by October 30. Best wishes, and thanks for reading!

31 Days With Elisabeth Elliot: Transformation

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This is from Elisabeth Elliot’s book A Lamp For My Feet concerning Romans 12:1-2:

The primary condition for learning what God wants of us is putting ourselves wholly at his disposal. It is just here that we are often blocked. We hold certain reservations about how far we are willing to go, what we will or will not do, how much God can have of us or of what we treasure. Then we pray for guidance. It will not work. We must begin by laying it all down–ourselves, our treasures, our destiny. Then we are in a position to think with renewed minds and act with a transformed nature. The withholding of any part of ourselves is the same as saying, “Thy will be done up to a point, mine from there on.”

If God is almighty, there can be no evil so great as to be beyond his power to transform. That transforming power brings light out of darkness, joy out of sorrow, gain out of loss, life out of death.

Sometimes we boggle at the evil in the world and especially in ourselves, feeling that this sin, this tragedy, this offense cannot possibly fit into a pattern for good. Let us remember Joseph’s imprisonment, David’s sin, Paul’s violent persecution of Christians, Peter’s denial of his Master. None of it was beyond the power of grace to redeem and turn into something productive. The God who establishes the shoreline for the sea also decides the limits of the great mystery which is evil. He is “the Blessed Controller of all things.” God will finally be God, Satan’s best efforts notwithstanding.

We tend to want bad things prevented rather than transformed. That day will come, but it is not now. A friend once said she realized that if God were to wipe out all the evil in the world, He would have to wipe out all of us, for we all sin. I am thankful He transforms us rather than just doing away with us, and and we can trust Him to limit what He allows of evil and trust Him to somehow work it together for good (Romans 8:28) until the day when it is taken out of the way completely. It starts within my by “laying it all down,” rather than saying “Thy will be done up to a point.”

See all the posts in this series here.

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DaySpring.com is celebrating all of the amazing Write 31 Days readers who are supporting nearly 2,000 writers this October! To enter to win a $500 DaySpring shopping spree, just click on this link & follow the giveaway widget instructions by October 30. Best wishes, and thanks for reading!

31 Days With Elisabeth Elliot: Learning the Father’s Love

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This is from a chapter titled “Learning the Father’s Love” from Elisabeth’s book A Lamp For My Feet:

When my brother Dave was very small, we spent a week at the seaside in Belmar, New Jersey. In vain my father tried to persuade the little boy to come into the waves with him and jump, promising to hold him safely and not allow the waves to sweep over his head. He took me (only a year older) into the ocean and showed Dave how much fun it would be. Nothing doing. The ocean was terrifying. Dave was sure it would mean certain disaster, and he could not trust his father. On the last day of our vacation he gave in. He was not swept away, his father held him as promised, and he had far more fun than he could have imagined, whereupon he burst into tears and wailed, “Why didn’t you make me go in?”

An early lesson in prayer often comes through an ordeal of fear. We face impending adversity and we doubt the love, wisdom and power of our Father in heaven. We’ve tried everything else and in our desperation we turn to prayer–of the primitive sort: here’s Somebody who’s reputed to be able to do anything. The great question is, can I get Him to do what I want? How do I twist His arm, how persuade a remote and reluctant deity to change His mind?

Poor Dave! His father could have forced him to come into the water, but he could not have forced him to relax and enjoy it. As long as the child insisted on protecting himself, saving the life he was sure he would lose, he could not trust the strong love of his father. He refused to surrender. In this simple story we hear echoes of the most ancient story, of the two who, mistrusting the word of their Father, fearing that obedience to Him would ultimately bar them from happiness, chose to repudiate their dependence on Him. Sin, death, destruction for the whole race were the result.

Learning to pray is learning to trust the wisdom, the power, and the love of our Heavenly Father, always so far beyond our dreams. He knows our need and knows ways to meet it that have never entered our heads. Things we feel sure we need for happiness may often lead to our ruin. Things we think will ruin us … if we believe what the Father tells us and surrender ourselves into His strong arms, bring us deliverance and joy.

The only escape from self-love is self-surrender. “Whoever loses his life for Me will find it” (Matthew 16:25, NIV). “Dwell in my love. If you heed my commands, you will dwell in my love, as I have heeded my Father’s commands and dwell in His love. I have spoken thus to you, so that my joy may be in you, and your joy complete” (John 15:9-11, NEB). My father knew far better than his small, fearful, stubborn son what would give him joy. So does our Heavenly Father. Whenever I have resisted Him, I have cheated myself, as my little brother did. Whenever I have yielded, I have found joy.

I can sure identify with that little boy. “The only escape from self-love is self-surrender.” Hard, but true.

See all the posts in this series here.

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DaySpring.com is celebrating all of the amazing Write 31 Days readers who are supporting nearly 2,000 writers this October! To enter to win a $500 DaySpring shopping spree, just click on this link & follow the giveaway widget instructions. Best wishes, and thanks for reading!