Glory Revealed?

My eyes have seen the glory of the Lord – or have they?

Why is it that we don’t like some people? That some people drive us nuts?

Maybe it’s because we’re too focused on US – ourselves, our desire, our wants, our expectations – what we think they should be like, etc. We think they should be more ______ or less ________ or this or that. Suddenly we’ve become god. We’ve taken the place of the one who made them in His own image. We’ve hijacked the great and good God. We’ve become a terrorist. We’re about to cause an explosion in the sky but it’s not the beauty of the sun, it’s a bomb.

What is going on here?

We’ve tried to replace the Great Artist with our puny amateur attempt. We’re trying to re-create what the Artist has already made – like a child attempting to “fix” a Van Gough.

Because we have fallen out of love with the Great Artist Himself. For if we loved the Artist, we would attempt to understand His piece of artwork. What/Where is the beauty that He has created here? How is He making Himself glorious, great, and good in this masterpiece He has created (for we are all His masterpiece, His work of art).

When we love the Artist and His greatness, His goodness, His grandeur…then we will realize it is US, it is our eyes that need adjusting. We have been living in the dark and need to re-adjust, to squint as it were, to re-focus on the Artist Himself and then…maybe in His goodness and grace He will reveal to us the beauty of Himself that is reflected in this work of art called…image of God, person, human, representative on earth…one who once found IN Christ will judge the angels and creation beside HIM! This too is a mystery to behold.

Surely, my original impression of this person was wrong. I was blind. My taste buds were off. My ADD needed a dose of reality. I needed to pause…to linger…to dwell on what the Maker of Heaven and Earth who makes all things good had made – standing before me – that my ill perceiving senses are missing.

And then, as I re-align myself with my Maker, The Creator…when I remember His grace, goodness, gentleness to me I will then realize that as I saw this person – He has never seen me, no never. Because as He made me and saw me as a reflection of Himself, as a grand work of art – so too are they – and suddenly light the morning sun breaking through the dawn, I realize – I begin to see, just bits and pieces at first, but pieces nonetheless – that yes, they too are scattered beams of the glory of the Son!

Inspired and Adapted from chapter 6 of Look and Live by Matt Papa (a great read).

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Over 100 FREE e-books TODAY only.

If you are interested in books in the Wesleyan tradition, Seedbed has all their e-books for FREE TODAY only in honor of their birthday. Most of the books are already set for e-book default, others you simply have to select the e-book format instead of the default print. There’s over 100 FREE books TODAY only!

I would also point you to Tim Challies A LA Carte List for today with over 100 Kindle deals. To see a Google spreadsheet of the titles and prices go here.

I think the NAC Theology Series for Kindle is also still on sale at Amazon for $4.99 each.


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Start the New Year on the Right Foot

2015 is here and the resolutions will begin to fly. I want to encourage you to do two things this year – (1) Simplify and (2) Spiritualize!

On the first, I would encourage you to re-evaluate your lifestyle, especially your social media consumption. During the last week of December as I was laying sick in bed I began unsubscribing from 10 emails per day. I have unsubscribed from about 40 so far (I think) and I plan to continue to whittle this down. For me, this is even including unsubscribing from email lists that update me about book sales – the fact is, I just can’t keep buying books and the sales are very tempting so in the spirit of simplifying and being a better steward I recommend unsubscribing as part of simplifying.

On the second I want to recommend two apps  (FREE) that I have been utilizing over the past month or so and one app I just discovered today (also FREE). The first app is GoTandem and this is a fantastic app. Research indicates that the number one spiritual growth indicator, bar none, is at least 4 engagements with the Bible each week. GoTandem sends you as many ‘engagements’ per day as you want – by topic you choose or otherwise. The great thing about the app is that the verses come with questions to make you actually engage with God, not just read them. Get the app. It is awesome!

The second app is called PrayerMate and I’ve used it for the past couple months, though not as regularly as I should. It enables you to create prayer lists and then indicate how many of the people/items on the list to pray for each day. So if there are 50 people are your friend list for instance, you can pray for 7 per day to (almost) get through them all in a week or you could do 3 per day and take two weeks to get through that particular list.

The third app I’ve just discovered today but it looks good for keeping track of your Bible reading (not just Bible engagement like GoTandem). The Bible Companion App  helps create and maintain good Bible reading habits by tracking your Bible readings with consistency meters, progress bars, and reading stats displayed within daily, weekly, & monthly charts. Other tracking features include setting goals for prayer, reflection, community, Bible Study, and other readings. The BCA does not contain the Scriptures. You are free to read from the Bible and medium of your choice.

So for 2015 start right – simplify and spiritualize – and grab a friend to do this together with and you’re likely to enjoy greater success and encouragement.

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New Books and a Sale or Two

The books are endless and with e-books and e-delivery the pace is almost unsettling, nevertheless here’s a few more to catch your fancy.

Good: The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood is a new eBook from Desiring God. It is a compilation of writings related to Gospel life as a Man and Woman under Christ. It is available for free in pdf, EPUB and MOBI formats. Of related note, check out the similar Twitter or Facebook feed.

Get J. Ligon Duncan’s Exposition on Romans free e-book from Monergism Books.

WTS is offering the book On Guard for 35%-60% off depending on how many you purchase. This book deals with preventing and responding to child abuse in the church.

Practical Shepherding has three e-books on sale also: Practical Shepherding for $3.99, Visit the Sick for $2.99, Prepare Them to Shepherd for $2.99 and Conduct Gospel Centered Funerals for $2.99.

New in Print

G. K. Beale’s newest book Hidden But Now Revealed: A Biblical Theology of Mystery was released this month, Adam, The Fall, and Original Sin: Theological, Biblical, and Scientific Perspectives from Baker Academic was just released and James Hamilton’s With the Clouds of Heaven: The book of Daniel in biblical theology (New Studies in Biblical Theology Series) was released the end of August. I am currently reading Hamilton as I’m teaching through Daniel with our kids and teens this fall. It’s good.

J. A. Medders has a new book, Gospel Formed releasing Nov. 27th. You can find the information here. Also, G. K. Beale has another new book; God Dwells Among Us: Expanding to the Ends of the Earth releasing in December.

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Growth: Miles or Millimeters?

Everyone wants to grow – in some fashion or other. Children want to be teenagers. Teenagers want to be Adults. Adults (wish they were kids!) want to be better able to hand pressure, stress, life, money, etc.

As Christians, we desire to be like our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. We desire to be there today but we know we are not. For those of us discipling someone (which should be all of us), we often wish for faster growth in our ‘pupil’.

And yet it is often the little things in life that are the most meaningful; the lazy afternoon with the kids or a loved one, the flowers brought home, the breakfast in bed, the extra hug, the “I love you”.

Little things can have a powerful impact. How else can you explain the impact a little red fire ant that is often no more than a few millimeters take down a grown man. Considering that a fire ant (no larger than 6 mm or 1/4 inch long) could potentially take down a 6 feet man, who is 288 times larger, I would say little things can have a big impact. Being personally allergic to fire ants, I know the pain they can cause.

Bees, Hornets and wasps are another one. This past weekend while enjoying my anniversary with my wife I accidentally put my hand down on the side of the pool, right on top of a hornet/wasp (I really don’t know which!). Three days later my hand still has a swollen spot and is sore – from a little flying insect! Little things can make a big difference.

One last illustration: One Degree – just one degree – the difference between boiling water and not boiling water – the difference between having steam and not having steam (which can power all sorts of things). The difference between ending up in one destination or another (over a period of miles) on a nautical journey. Little things can make a big difference.

And when it comes to growing in Christ-likeness it is the little things, done over a long period of time that make the difference. That is our responsibility. That is our expectation. Big changes – to the degree of miles, in contrast to millimeters, are the work of God. Those are putting the Holy Spirit inside us – that’s mile change, not millimeter change. But then when the Holy Spirit says “Do this” or “Don’t do that” on a daily basis – those are the millimeter decisions we make that set the course for our future growth on earth.

While Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither are we transformed in a day (in the earthly sense) and so we need to learn to celebrate the millimeters because the millimeters become meters and meters become miles and that is simply a work of God. So stick to the Little Things that God tells you to do each day and let Him take care of the Big things that are out of your control anyway. He has promised to complete the work He began in us (Phil. 1:6), now let’s stick to working out what He’s already worked in us (Phil. 2:12).

And if you’re discipling someone and feeling frustrated, focus on faithfully encouraging the millimeters and let God take care of the miles. Difficult to understand sometimes, but the grace of God is SO much more than we can fathom – it was sufficient for Moses and Abraham, David and Solomon, Peter and Paul, and it is sufficient for us as well.

Let’s get them millimeters in!

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Books and More

David C Cook has a couple free e-books.

Inspire has the following five books at 50% off plus free shipping. $44.48 for all 5.

  • The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, White (4/14) 
  • The End of Apologetics: Christian Witness in a Postmodern Context, Penner (6/13)
  • The Atheist’s Fatal Flaw: Exposing Conflicting Beliefs, Geisler/McCoy (6/14) 
  • Can We Still Believe the Bible? Evangelical Engagement w/Contemporary Questions, Blomberg (3/14) 
  • More Than a Theory: Revealing a Testable Model for Creation, Ross (4/12)

GoTandem is offering a free copy of a new devotional entitled Growing in Christ as well as a new Bible App (bottom of page on left-email required).

Faith Gateway is running a 65% off sale on select books

Stephen Miller of Real Life in Austin, TX has a free Christmas EP and Charts (email required).

WTS is offering a special on the book Resisting Gossip. Their package deal includes 5 copies of the book plus 5 copies of the Participant Guide and free shipping  – all for $50. You can also purchase individual copies, currently on sale for $8 and $4 (Participant Guide) Free videos are also available to supplement the use of the curriculum. The e-book is available for $4.

If you are a user of Wordsearch Bible Software, there is currently a great deal on a 91 volume Charles Spurgeon library for just $89.95 – that’s less than $1 per book. This price is good through Nov. 1st.

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Books, Blogs, Discipleship Training and Jesus App

It’s been busy so far this week but here’s some book deals for you.

The BibleArc blog is running a free one month trial for TODAY only. This may be a way for you to dig deeper into Scripture. Check it out, along with their Arcing 101 to get you started.

E-Book: Man Stuff: Thoughts on Faith, Family, and Fatherhood by Josh Turner for 99 cents.

Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman is $5.00 at FaithGateway until Oct. 31st.

Inspire Resources is running a great sale on Baker’s Illustrated Reference works – at 50% off plus a freebie. This package deal includes Baker’s Illustrated Bible Commentary, Dictionary, Handbook and Guide to Life in Bible Times. All 4 books for $59.98 with free shipping. Great Deal.

CCEF is offering their 5 volumes of JBC Must Reads at 60% off. They include On Anger, Redeeming Psychology, Relationships, Suffering, Parenting. The entire set is $20. Anything from CCEF and JBC (Journal of Biblical Counseling) are beneficial to the growing Christian and very useful for counseling, discipling, pastoring.

Discipleship Training International offers some free resources for making more effective disciples.

The Story of Jesus App from DCC is available for free in dozens of languages and presents an animated (comic book) edition of the Life of Jesus. Available for Android and Apple devices.

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