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Thoughts From Ray Ortlund

Dear Friends, Last week I sent out a “thought” having to do with knowing the heart of God by a man named Dane Ortlund. This week I pass one along from Dane’s father, Ray Ortlund, which has to do with the Gospel and what happens in us when we really believe it. This was posted on ‘The Gospel Coalition’ blog site on March 30, 2017. I share it because it resonates with what my home group has recently discovered as we’ve been going through a book on the “31 Ways to be a “One-Another Christian” – Loving Others with the Love of Jesus.” We’ve come to the same conclusion as Mr. Ortlund. Enjoy. “The beautiful 'one another' commands of the New Testament are famous. But it is also striking to notice the ‘one another’s’ that do not appear there. For example, sanctify one another, humble one another, scrutinize one another, pressure one another, embarrass one another, corner one another, interrupt one another, defeat one another, sacrifice one another, shame one another,
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More Thoughts From Dane Ortlund

Dear Friends, What’s the best way to seek to win people to Christ? The options are plentiful and the answers vary – as you surely know. Yet, today, I want to offer you an answer to that question which I have become more convinced of as I study the Gospel and read how the most effective of the saints preached it in the past. This “thought” is taken from an excellent and rather recent book (2020). It is by Dane Ortlund, and is entitled “Gentle and Lowly, Christ’s Heart for Sinners and Sufferers.” If you want a really good read which is a beautiful combination of scholarly, down to earth, and devotional, I highly recommend it. In this excerpt he focuses on elements of two messages preached by Jonathan Edwards, one of the major players in the First Great Awakening that swept through all the colonies of early America in the 1730's and 40's. Given what little some people know of Jonathan Edwards, from only one of his famous sermons, you may be surprised at his answer. E

Thoughts From the Travel Journal

Dear Friends, At present I have ventured to 26 different countries. Prior to one of those trips, I was given a Travel Journal by a friend so I could record significant memories. At the top of each page is a quote having to do with travel and opposite that quote is a Bible verse. Yet, many of the quotes don’t really deal with “travel” per se, but rather, our journey through life. That’s how I would ask you to see the following quotes; thoughts to ponder as we travel the paths of this life. I have selected 15 of them for you. Enjoy. “God will not send us out on a journey for which He does not equip us… Each of us may be sure that if He sends us on stony paths, He will provide us with strong shoes.” Alexander Maclaren “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” T. S. Eliot “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the diff

Thoughts From Max Lucado

Dear Friends, Today’s “thought” comes from one of America’s favorite Christian authors - Max Lucado (author of too many books to list)! To use the old saying, he simply, “has a way with words.” This particular excerpt is two of his daily devotionals with similar themes combined. They are taken from his 365 day devotional collection, entitled, “God is With You Every Day” (a Christmas gift from my twin sister)! They are about how we sometimes treat people versus how God calls us to treat people. Good stuff! Challenging and maybe a bit convicting, but good stuff. Enjoy. An Entirely Different Approach “God has shown me that he doesn’t think anyone is unclean or unfit." Acts 10:28 (CEV) “As long as we can call people common or unfit, we can go our separate ways. Labels relieve us of responsibility. Pigeonholing permits us to wash our hands and leave. “Oh, I know John. He’s an alcoholic.” (Translation: “Why can’t he contro

Thoughts About Money and Spiritual Growth

Dear Friends, No matter who we are, money has had, is having, or will have an effect on us. Sometimes it’s not so noticeable and other times it’s very noticeable. Sometimes it affects us for the better, and sometimes it’s for the worse. Money can enhance life, or it can rob us of life – spiritually that is (Luke 16:13-16). It all depends on how we view, value, desire, and choose to use money. So our “thought” for today is entitled “Money and Spiritual Growth.” It was put together by the Youth For Christ editorial staff. I found it insightful. I trust you will as well. Enjoy. Money and Spiritual Growth “How can money – or the lack of it – hinder our spiritual growth? Strangely enough, having too much money, or two little money, results in basically the same problems, and both can hinder our spiritual growth. As Agur, a writer in Proverbs, so aptly put it: Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and dis

Thoughts From Edward Pearse

Dear Friends, One of the key truths of the Gospel is our “union” with Christ by faith. It’s a union (or joining of the soul to Jesus) which is so real that the Bible can call believers (the Church universal, and all who truly make it up) the “Bride of Christ.” Therefore, I wanted to share an excerpt today from a book entitled, ‘The Soul’s Marriage (Espousal) to Christ.” The author, Edward Pearse (who died at 40 years of age from Tuberculosis) pastored St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster, next to Westminster Abbey, in London. I send this out as a way of helping answer his dying prayer – explained at the end. Enjoy. The Three Acts of Faith by Which We Are Joined to Christ in a Marriage Covenant. 1st) An act of choice or election. In the act or work of believing, the soul is, by the Spirit of God, made solemnly and deliberately to choose Christ as its only Head and Husband, Lord and Savior, as He is offered in the Gospel… We may conceive of this act of

Thoughts From Hannah Hurnard

Dear Friends, I’m always encouraged when a Christian (especially a well-known and well-respected Christian) is very honest and transparent about their personal flaws and struggles. Maybe it's because I’m so well-aware of my own that I find it comforting to know I’m not alone! After all, it strengthens one’s resolve to realize that others carry similar burdens. We find in the honest testimony of fellow-strugglers a friend in the fight. It gives us hope that change is possible. In fact, when we see that the Lord persevered with them – often for many years – and despite their flaws, it assures us of the Gospel promise that God is with us for the long-haul. He does not discard His people because we struggle with what the Puritans called “besetting” or long-standing sins. That’s why I share today’s “thought.” It is a very honest confession by a very well-known Christian missionary and author named Hannah Hurnard (1905-1990) who wrote a best-selling Christian allegorical n