Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Daily Links 2-12-14

In today's edition: looking away from worthless things, happiness and marriage, an uncommon brotherhood, and more.


Looking away from worthless things:

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Psalm 119:37: "Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in your way." 
God asks us to meditate upon things that are true, right, noble, pure, excellent, lovely and praise-worthy (Phil 4:8).  But in today’s modern world, it is all too easy it is to fill our minds with frivolous, meaningless, worldly distractions even if we aren’t trying to.  The moment we walk into a restaurant, mall, or grocery store, our senses are typically bombarded with worldly images, sensuality, and pop-culture icons.  Even if we don’t willingly participate in these things - the sights, sounds, and worldly messages we encounter can easily clutter our minds and undermine our ability to be solely focused on Jesus Christ. 
I have learned firsthand that it’s not enough for me to merely “disagree” or “disapprove” of the worldly images and messages that seek to assault my senses, but to proactively turn my eyes away from looking at worthless things, as Psalm 119 prescribes.  I may shake my head and say “Tsk, tsk!” while studying a magazine cover that celebrates impurity or watching raunchy images float across a television screen.  But this does not protect my mind from the damaging effects of those things.  And while it’s not possible to walk around blindfolded, I do have the ability to look away as soon as I encounter an image or message that is opposite of God’s Truth. 


Innovation alert: 7 simple improvements that perfected everyday products. These are really neat.


"Happiness is the result of a healthy marriage. It is not the reason for marriage."

The point of marriage isn’t to find our missing half. It’s to help each other become all God intended. Our future, real selves. In marriage, two people partner to that end. They see the best in each other—the person God created them to be—and they push and pull each other toward that goal. 
Don’t get married because you think he or she is “the one.” Trust me, they’re not. There’s no such thing! But do get married when you see who God is making somebody to be, and it lights you up. When you want to be a part of that story of transformation, that journey to the future. When you are well aware it will be a long and bumpy ride, but you don’t want to miss one mile. Because you believe in God’s calling on them, and you want in. 


Always treat your girlfriend right: A World War II case study. Some food for thought in how we treat each other in relationships.


An Uncommon Brotherhood. The true story of the Four Chaplains - men of different faiths who came together in a time of crisis to provide comfort to those in need.


Why preach through books of the Bible?

I had a conversation with a minister friend who had been involved in discussing what pastors were preaching in their churches. While most seemed to agree that exposition of the biblical text must have priority in the church, few thought it wise to preach consecutively through books of the Bible—particularly with series that extended beyond twelve weeks. I understand the challenge of longer series but also see the value in the long run. The forty-four sermons that I preached through Ephesians in 1990–91, literally transformed my life, theology, and congregation. Eight or ten sermons would not have sufficed to uproot faulty theology and set us on a right course. The fifty-two sermons in Hebrews in 2000–01, sharpened our understanding of the gospel and its application to the whole of life.

Hat tip: Aaron Armstrong

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