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Wisdom for the Day

An idol is taking a good thing and making it the most important thing, which then can become an obsession, which turns into an addiction, which without the intervention of God, will eventually and ultimately consume you.

You are never more like God than when you show mercy to someone who doesn’t deserve it.

When will Christians finally get tired of playing at church and finally become the church and fulfill the mission God gave her?

No outward reformation can bring lasting peace.

The most truly gifted are usually the least conscious of their gifts.

No act is wise that ignores remote consequences.

A sermon misses it’s mark if it hits no one.



Woodworking Tips and Tricks: Vix Bit or Self Centering Drill Bit

There are some tools in my arsenal (that implies that I attack wood with weapons..some days it feels like that with the resulting outcomes) are just mundane and I don’t think much about them.  I just grab it and go.  This last week I used one that I can’t imagine being without.

It’s called a Vix Bit, or self centering drill bit.  They are cheap and will save you a LOT of misery.  It’s a spring loaded taper with a drill bit inside.  It’s used for drilling a hole centered in a recess, like on a hinge or other hardware.  They come in various sizes.  I use two, one for #8 screws and one for #6 screws, 99 percent of what I use.

Let’s say you have built a masterpiece, and one of the last things is getting that hinge or lid latch perfectly located.  You carefully lay it out, mark it off on the piece, double check everything, and then drill a pilot hole so the screw goes in straight and true.  But all your measuring didn’t account for grain that pulled the drill bit sideways and now the screw is no longer centered in the hardware hole.  Or say you don’t drill a pilot hole and even with a self centering punch (like the vix bit but with a pointed end instead and hit with a hammer), the grain will still wreak havoc with driving the screw straight and centered.  Or maybe you are really adventurous and drive a screw by eye.  Even a little bit off can cause problems, even if it’s just that the screw head does not fit perfectly in metal recess and looks amateurish.

The simple vix bit solves this problem.  I bought mine as an apprentice over 40 years ago and am still using them, almost every week.  I have drilled probably thousands of holes with those bits and I can’t imagine doing the job with any kind of precision without them.

Yes, you have to hold the drill as 90 degrees as you can get it or the bit doesn’t work too good at centering. But I have found that it’s easier and more accurate than doing it by eye.

This pilot hole is especially necessary when screwing into very hard materials, where driving small screws can snap them off, especially brass.  Better be safe than sorry!  And if the wood is soft, you can still use the bit to start the screw centered by just drilling a dimple in the wood and not go all the way in.

One trick with brass screws is to use a steel screw first to make the threads and then use the brass screw.  Saves from snapping them off.  You only get enough screws in the package and if you break one, you have to not only get the broken nub out, but also find another matching screw.

Go buy at least the two I mention and you will wonder why you waited.

Wisdom for the Day

A work of art is never finished, only abandoned to the viewer.

You can’t pursue man’s approval and God’s approval at the same time.

Jesus is not a fixer but a redeemer.  But the redeemed need to be willing.

Prosperity is carbon monoxide to the soul.

Entrance into heaven isn’t based on how good you are, but how bad you are.  Jesus didn’t come for the righteous, but for sinner.

Since God is omnipresent, He is present in hell.  No wonder Jesus came to die for us.

Contentment is not just being satisfied with what you have but also with what you don’t have.

Prosperity does not have the power to make you happy.  The sooner you learn that, the sooner you will abandon the pursuit.

If you don’t understand hell, you won’t understand John 3:16.

Book Quotes from Holy Transformation by Chip Ingram

More quotes from the book Holy Transformation by Chip Ingram

The way to holiness isn’t crowded but you will discover you are not alone.

…spend time with people going in the same direction [you] want to travel.

[After a life changing lunch with Dr. Howard Hendricks, Chip states:]  The man [Chip] who went to lunch thought of himself as a man for God.  The man who came back from lunch realized he needed to be a man of God.

God is more interested in, capable of, and involved in transforming you than you could ever be.

Life is filled with challenges that you will never overcome by trying harder, but that you can master if you go into training.

Notice that unless we got into training in the area of personal integrity, there is no hope whatsoever of personal transformation.

Getting and staying in shape is not about trying but about training.

Knowing you will have to go back and apologize will help you begin to tell the truth in little things and in big things.

Refuse shortcut mentality.  It infects all of life.  It makes us think we can live Holy lives without Holy training.

We want things to grow as fast as weeds, and look like, and be as strong as, oak trees.


Wisdom for the Day

God is not impressed with you like you are impressed with you.

In the Old Testament, the lamb dies for the shepherd.  In the New Testament, the Shepherd dies for the lamb.

You may be a loyal follower of Jesus, but are you a profitable servant? Does God’s Kingdom advance and prosper under your care as steward/trustee, or are you just content with keeping your campsite clean?

The great strength of being ordinary is that you can do it for a lifetime.

Building the road to the Kingdom of God starts with tearing down your own castle.  Two objects can not occupy the same space at the same time.

Where do you go to get your reputation back?

In hell, Jesus said there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Is this because the person is in hell or because they are not in heaven?

Where is Your Bible?

Where is your Bible?

In a day when many people, including Christians, first turn to Facebook and Google for answers to life’s questions, we need to be even more centered on the sufficiency of God’s Word for these answers and the need to pursue Him through His Word.  We are bombarded daily with the world’s messages about almost every topic imaginable.  Where can we go for balance, for truth, for counsel, for rebuttal to those who call wrong right, and right wrong?  What is our ultimate weapon in this battle for our faith and people’s souls?  If the Bible is not the first place we go, then we have been seduced by those who say we can get along without it, that we can do this Christian life without daily (minute by minute?) reference to what God has to say about it.

God has only promised to bless His word, not our words.  If His Words are not central to our gatherings, then where does that leave God’s blessing?  If God’s Word is not central, not only as a foundation, but as a clearly visible active part when we get together, what do we really have to stand on?  What are we doing/saying that God can bless?

Acts 2 is the chronicle of the beginnings of the Church.  It is recorded that these new believers continually devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching, fellowship, eating together, and prayer.  As a result, “everyone kept feeling a sense of awe,” experiencing true communal living, sharing each other’s lives.  And the Church grew as God blessed and there was awe in those around who saw the supernatural results of God working in their midst.  Have we in our American Christian culture somehow progressed to a higher level, where we don’t need these four things?  I guess one question I have is, where is the awe in our gatherings?  For those who don’t attend, where is the awe of Almighty God and what He does?  What has happened to the supernatural results that came from these first century Christians?  Is the answer maybe that we have fellowshipped and eaten together way too much and not “continually devoted” ourselves to the Word of God with resulting prayer to cement what we have learned?  Have we held a low view of Scripture, of the need to be drenched in it, with the result being that the American Christian is anemic, weak and malnourished?

In John 6, during a moment of ministry crisis, many of Jesus’ followers were leaving Him after He had said some hard things, like eating His Body and drinking His blood.  He turns to His disciples and asks them if they are going to leave, too.  Peter responds, “Lord, where would we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”  Where do we usually go for words of life?  Social media?  Internet search?  Blog posts? Texting friends?  Or do we go to God and His Word first? When others come to us with life’s problems, where do we go to help them?  Our own storehouse of wisdom, our own life experiences, or send them some internet links?  Or do we turn first to the Scriptures, pointing them to the only trustworthy source of wisdom and help?

The major theme of Psalm 119 is that the Word of God is to be central and the core of our lives as believers, and is the first and only place we should go for  sustenance, growth and answers to life’s problems.   Do we truly see that is true?  Can we recite verses from Psalm 119 and really be telling the truth of how we feel about His Word?

2 Tim. 3:16 “God’s Word is profitable  for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness,”  so we can actually go out and do what God has called us to do, holy being and holy doing.  What does this say about the study of God’s Word?  If we, alone and together, are not continually in His Word, then we are not profiting, not being reproved, not corrected, and certainly not being trained in righteousness, regardless of how good we think our church programs and teachings are.  I think the Church has spent its “interest” and is now living on the “principle” of years past, where the Word was central, not only to the believer’s life but in the Church.  We are near bankruptcy and it shows in the lack of impact on lives inside the church (not to mention on culture), where church folks don’t look or live much different than those whose lives have not been changed by God.

I can hear some say, “But we do believe that the Bible is the supernatural verbally inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, and the supreme and final authority in doctrine and practice.  See?  It says so right here on our church’s website.”  Well, the proof is not in the saying but in the doing.  And if we really believed it was all these things, was truly a supernatural Book, our use of it would be a lot different than it is today.  In an age where the Bible is so easily accessible, we have become jaded to its existence.  It’s just another book on the shelf or another app on our phones, something we carry to church out of habit but rarely open because the words are provided for us in the bulletin or PowerPoint.  We don’t open it for ourselves nor for others.

“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine through the land– not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.”  Amos 8:11 Are we in those days predicted 2700 years ago?  Have we unwittingly fulfilled this prophecy ourselves?

If God’s Word is really just that, if we really believed that He actually spoke those words, I think we would be “continually devoted” to it, yearn for it, love it, can’t get enough of it, be obsessed with His Word.  If we had a CD of God actually speaking to us, speaking directly to us about Who He is, what He has been about for millennia, what He has done for our salvation, what we can do to grow after we are saved, and then tells us how all this is all going to end, would we just throw the CD into the back seat along with all the other CDs back there?  I think we would be playing portions of it wherever we go, handing them out to others freely and urgently.  But, alas, all we have is a book.  And it no longer has the draw it once had, back when we were newly saved and couldn’t get enough.  Jesus has some hard things to say to 7 churches in Revelation. The antidote to His harsh words of losing their first love, being dead, blind, naked and destitute, is to repent and do the things they once did.  And one does not repent of things that are not sin.  So leaving our first love is sin.

When I finally turned my life completely to God at age 18, I was daily devouring the Scriptures.  I carried my Bible everywhere, and every spare moment, I was in it, with my colored pencils, underlining meaningful verses. (The guys at work called me Bible Bob…) I went to at least 4 Bible studies a week.  I couldn’t get enough.  But, I have lost my first love.  I need that “need to” back again.  I need it, not just want it.  I need to be around others who feel the same way.  I need them to encourage me, to exhort me to hold me accountable to do the things I did at first.  I also need to see that the Scriptures are as important to them as oxygen.  I need this modeled so I can be encouraged by observing them.  I think if we are honest, most of us have pretty much left our first love.  Some call it “Christian maturity”, but it’s probably just a stone-cold heart.  For if we were wholehearted in our love of/for God, then we would hold His Words as sacred as life itself.  We wouldn’t get far without that steady rhythm of breathing in and out.  What if we had to think about breathing in order to breath?  Our immersion in His Word should be the same.  It should be as natural as breathing, not only privately but when we assemble as believers in whatever setting.

Persecuted Christians would be appalled at our gatherings.  Few have Bibles and they gather around in secret to hear the Words of Life, copying down verses, chapters and books so they can have some of it for their own, knowing that if they are caught, it could be death or torture or years in prison, or all three.  Can I be frank?  We are lazy in this country.  Lazy about our faith.  Lazy about God’s Word.  We talk a lot about how important it is but with very little to show for it.  They don’t have time for that.  Their very lives depend on their faith in God and His provision.  They walk miles weekly to gather together to soak in His Word.  There is no lethargy in their lives or their gatherings.  Life itself is at stake for them.  There is no dead wood in their churches.  It’s too risky.  Too dangerous.  So they meet on purpose, “continually devoted” to the four things that the first century church was devoted to.  And their churches grow, not by having fancy programs or stealing people from other churches,  but by people being saved in the face of death itself.  Would our faith stand up to that?  I wonder…

Continually, we need to be pointing people back to God and back to His Word, for it’s the only sure thing we have as believers that we can use as an anchor for our souls.  Sure, we can engage each other about life issues, but only Christians have a Book with God’s actual Words with ultimate answers about life, and with the obvious result that we should intentionally  and naturally end up in God’s Word for what is needed: being comforted, confronted and instructed by what He says, not by what our friends say.  If we are not consistently pointing others to what God says, chapter and verse, then we elevate our words above God’s Word, no matter how well meaning and helpful.  We need to be giving God’s answers, not our thoughts.  They need His eternal principles, not our filtered “I think…”

May we become convicted over our deficient view of God’s Word, and may it again become central to our lives and our communication with others, in or out of the Church.

Wisdom for the Day

There is real joy in laying down one’s life for the brethren.  There are always those who will say, “You are working too hard; you ought not do do this, and ought not to do that.”  The devil always has a lot of lieutenants who say, “Be careful; you health is much more important.”  It is ten thousand times better to wear out for Jesus by blessing others, and hear a “Well done, good and faithful servant,” than to have to go to the judgement seat of Christ and give account for a lifetime of selfishness.  William Booth

God’s purposes are way bigger than your plans.

Forgiveness is like the air you breath:  If you receive it from God but don’t give it out to others, you can’t take the next breath in for yourself.

Truth should be shared with light, not heat.

The fact we understand darkness shows we know there is light.

Living the Christian life is difficult; only one thing is harder: living without Christ.  The price you pay to follow Jesus is far less than the price you’ll pay if you don’t.

“To do well rather than do much” will be the motto of him whose main purpose is to please God.

A holy man is an awesome weapon in the hands of God.

“Financial security” is an oxymoron.