THE PECULIAR IDOL OF PERSONAL OPINION

With the rise of the Internet and social media, we have seen the growth of a number of negative trends and factors in society, one of which is the glorification of personal opinion. This article makes the cogent point that our opinions about things have become new idols for us. Here is a takeaway for me: “It’s possible that never in the history of the world have human beings felt more entitled to their own feelings and opinions…. Social media has filled in the gap between fool and expert, and it is filling the world with foolishness disguised as expertise.” From Your Mom has a Blog…….

Dallas Willard Answers the Question: What is Joy?

What is Joy?

Joy is a positive outlook of hopefulness based upon a pervasive, overall sense of well-being. Joy, like love, has a “feeling” component that is pleasant. Yet joy, like love, is not a feeling. Joy maintains a positive posture in life that assumes that good will be supported and eventually triumph over any apparent obstacle. Therefore, joy is fully compatible with the experiences of pain, disappointment, or sorrow, because joyfulness always takes a wider view of circumstances and works with hope to expect good to prevail. Joy enables patience, faithfulness to commitments, and the all-important ability to defer instant gratification. Joy gives one the ability to say no, or perhaps a very firm “not yet,” to the immediacy of desire. Both responses are evidence of joy’s ability to overcome the tyranny of the urgent, since one is joyful with the present state of affairs, whatever that may be. The bearing of joy on the good life should be obvious. It is indispensable to steady contentment and perseverance in any task. Joy liberates from the demand or temptation of immediate satisfaction, which resists waiting for what is good or best. Accordingly, joy is the best platform from which to make any sound investment.

From The Divine Conspiracy Continued: Fulfilling God’s Kingdom on Earth. Copyright © 2014 by Dallas Willard amd Gary Black Jr. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Kingdom Living with Dallas Willard

Where there is a will, there is a way

In the spiritual life it is actually true that “where there is a will there is a way.” This is true because God is involved and makes his help available to those who seek it. On the other hand, where there is no will (firm intentions based on clear vision) there is no way. People who do not intend to be inwardly transformed, so that obedience to Christ “comes naturally,” will not be transformed. God will not pick us up and throw us into transformed kingdom living, into “holiness,” against our will.

From Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks. Copyright © 2016 by Willard Family Trust. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Thoughts on Christian Living from Dallas Willard

The Path of Liberation Through the Disciplines

Experimental [practical], prayerful implementation of solitude, silence, fasting—and other appropriate practices, such as service, fellowship, worship, and study (there is no such thing as a complete list of spiritual disciplines)—will certainly liberate us into the riches of Kingdom living. They are the key to the keys. We do not have to live under the thumb of our circumstances. For most, it is a considerable test of faith to take control of how they spend their time. But that is up to us. And putting time-tested, biblical disciplines for the spiritual life into sensible practice will soon lead us into an abundance of the life that is eternal in quality and power.

From The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship. Copyright © 2006 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Become Who You Already Are

Here is a takeaway for me from this article: “Our identity in Christ is one of those critical truths that, if grasped early in our Christian life, will avert all kinds of problems and issues later on. In Christ, we get to know the God of the gospel, Father, Son, and Spirit.” From Desiring God…………….

more wisdom from dallas willard

Benefits of Practicing Solitude

Solitude well practiced will break the power of busyness, haste, isolation, and loneliness. You will see that the world is not on your shoulders after all. You will find yourself, and God will find you in new ways. Joy and peace will begin to bubble up within you and arrive from things and events around you. Praise and prayer will come to you and from within you. With practice, the “soul anchor” established in solitude will remain solid when you return to your ordinary life with others.

From The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship. Copyright © 2006 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Our God Knows Our Pain

Here is a nice little article from The Navigators on how God can be trusted because He understands our struggles in life. Here is a takeaway for me: “God has entered the trenches. He has eaten the same food and been struck by the same bullets.

Wisdom from dallas willard

God Desires Fellowship But Gives us Distance

From the viewpoint of the natural world, God is not very obvious to those who do not wish to see Him. I suppose He could write in the sky every morning what He wanted us to know for the day. That would be impressive, wouldn’t it? He could have wired our minds so that He could directly communicate in an undeniable way with us every minute of the day. But none of this would be consistent with His project for humanity.

When God created human beings and gave them a job, which He did right off, He left some distance between them and Himself. And He came to visit with them. From the very beginning God intended that we should have fellowship with Him, but also that there should be some distance, so that we might be free and capable of choosing and deciding what we would be.

From The Allure of Gentleness: Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus. Copyright © 2015 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

not our home

This is a really great reminder that, though God is a good Father and wants us to enjoy our life now, our life here is only a hint of what is to come. As C.S. Lewis said, “‘The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world:…Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.’” From Feeding on Christ………………

More wisdom from dallas willard

The Presence of the Holy Spirit

The presence of the Holy Spirit can always be recognized by the way He moves us toward what Jesus would be and do (John 16:7–15). When we inwardly experience the heavenly sweetness and power of life—the love, joy, and peace—that Jesus knew, that is the work of the Spirit in us.

From The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship. Copyright © 2006 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

A Bit of Wisdom from Dallas Willard

Spritiual formation is both inward and outward

One of the ironies of spiritual formation is that every “spiritual” discipline requires or involves bodily behavior. We have to involve the body in spiritual formation because that is where we live and what we live from. Spiritual formation is formation of the “inner” dimensions of the human being, resulting in transformation of the whole person, including the body in its social context. Spiritual formation is never merely inward but is always manifested explosively outward.

From Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks. Copyright © 2016 by Willard Family Trust. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

ASK

The first thing we should do [to bring strongly before us the joyous vision of the kingdom] is emphatically and repeatedly express to Jesus our desire to see Him more fully as He really is. Remember, the rule of the kingdom is to ask. We ask to see Jesus, and not just as He is represented in the Gospels, but also as He has lived and lives through history and now, and in His reality as the One Who literally holds the universe in existence. He will certainly be aware of our request, just as you would be aware of anyone expressing their desires to you in your house.

We should make our expression of desire a solemn occasion, giving at least a number of quiet hours or a day to it. It will also be good to write down our prayer for His help in seeing Him. We should do this privately, of course, but then we should share what we have done with a knowledgeable minister or friend who could pray with us and talk with us about what we are doing.”

From The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. Copyright © 1997 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Wisdom From Dallas Willard

So begins a series of short excerpts from the writings of Christian thibnker and author Dallas Willard. He had a deep and unique insight into truly living as a disciple of Christ……..

Study

Now, disciples of Jesus are people who want to take into their being the order of the kingdom of God that is among us. They wish to live their life in that kingdom as Jesus himself would, and that requires internalization of its order. Study is the chief way in which they accomplish that. They devote their attention, their thoughtful inquiry, and their practical experimentation to the order of the kingdom as seen in Jesus, in the written word of scripture, in others who walk in the way, and, indeed, in every good thing in nature, history, and culture.

Thus Paul’s practical advice from his jail cell to his friends at Philippi, “Whatever things are true, serious, right, pure, lovable, well regarded, any virtue and anything admirable, let your mind dwell on them. What you have learned, received, heard, and seen in me, do that. And the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:8–9, PAR). For all such good things are of God and his reign.

From Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks. Copyright © 2016 by Willard Family Trust. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

NEW TROUBLES ARE MET WITH NEW MERCIES

When I read this first this first paragraph, “I don’t know about you, but when I read, ‘Don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own’ (Matthew 6:34 CSB), I think, ‘Well, that’s exactly what I was worried about with tomorrow!’,” I knew I needed to read the rest! From Core Christianity………………….

New Troubles Are Met With New Mercies

Downcast Talking with the Risen Lord | Articles | Two Journeys

This article makes a great point with the incident of the two disciples who spoke with the Lord on the road to Emmaus. After they realized they had been speaking with the risen Christ, they also connected to the fact that their hearts “were burning within them” as He opened the Scriptures to them. If we are downcast in spirit, then we need to get into the Word! From Two Journeys……….

Source: Downcast Talking with the Risen Lord | Articles | Two Journeys

Perseverance, Wisdom, and Spiritual Growth (James 1:1–5)

From this brief commentary from the resource The Theology of Work Bible Commentary, it definitely appears that the Epistle of James can be very useful in the workplace! From The Theology Of Work Project……………………

How Do We Interpret Old Testament Narrative?

I really enjoyed this brief but informative article. Here is the takeaway for me: “OT narrative is first and foremost about God: his holiness, grace, salvation and justice.” From Overflow Chat…………….

4 Reasons Christians Might Wrongly Distinguish Between Happiness and Joy

Author and pastor Randy Alcorn wrote a book a while back on happiness in which he made the point that, unlike what we hear in a lot of sermons and read in a lot of Christian books, happiness is not an inferior feeling and emotion to joy. Alcorn believes they are really one and the same thing. He goes into a little more depth in this article. From Eternal Perspectives Ministries……………….

How to Have a Meaningful Quiet Time

Having a quality and effective quiet time is like the difference between eating junk food and eating a hearty, home-cooked meal — a healthy quiet time will feed your soul and spirit much better than glancing at a couple of Bible verses on your way out the door! From Crosswalk.com………

Overcoming Hopelessness with Hope — Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Yes, you defeat being hopeless by becoming hopeful. But to be hopeful, you have to obtain and then incorporate God’s truth! From Dr. Michelle Bengtston and Hope Prevails………………

We all have those times when the stresses of this world seem overwhelming and we begin to wonder which side is up. When hard times come, we can overcome hopelessness by fixing our eyes on God’s promises rather than on personal circumstances. How do you do that? Sheryl Turner shares about a “truth tool” she…

Overcoming Hopelessness with Hope — Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Key Essentials for Daughters — Biblical Viewpoint

As the father of a wonderful daughter, I can wholeheartedly endorse this article from Biblical Viewpoint!……………….

While pivotal in the upbringing of their own sons, fathers have an equally significant role and impact in the healthy development of their daughters. ♦ In a previous post, Key Essentials for Sons (4/30/21), the importance of parents and particularly fathers was highlighted and the pivotal role they play in the proper teaching and upbringing […]

Key Essentials for Daughters — Biblical Viewpoint

The 5 Movements in Isaiah

The Book of Isaiah is one of my very favorite books in all of the Bible, and is very rich in theology. It is the most quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament, but for those of us who are outside of the Jewish culture and unfamiliar with the ancient Israelite history, it can be overwhelming to understand the contemporary aspects of the prophecy. This article does a great job in organizing the book in a way that makes a lot of sense! From The Gospel Coalition……………..

21 Bible Verses on Trusting God | Cru

This is a great article that does a wonderful job of summarizing some of the best verses in the Bible on why we should trust God. My takeaway: God is certainly much more trustworthy than people, things or situations! From CRU……………

Trusting God is a vital part of your relationship with Him. Here are 21 verses that can help you grow in your understanding of and trust in God.

Source: 21 Bible Verses on Trusting God | Cru

Is Everything Sad Going to Come Untrue? Why We Need Eschatology Now More than Ever – Canon Fodder

Here is the takeaway for me in this article: With God, everything in this world that is sad will become untrue…. From Canon Fodder…………………….

In my opinion, some of the most overlooked portions of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy are the chapters right after the final battle in The Return of the King.  In these chapters, Tolkien expresses a vision for cosmic renewal that closely mimics the one laid down in the biblical accounts themselves. In Rev […]

Source: Is Everything Sad Going to Come Untrue? Why We Need Eschatology Now More than Ever – Canon Fodder

The Slow Hand of God

I like the analogy employed in this article for how God’s actions in our lives seem to happen too slowly. And here is another one….we don’t much like rain or snow in the short term, but we would be in a world of hurt without the rain and snow! An insightful article from Credo House………….

This Anxious Age — Intentional Faith

This article is beautifully written and serves as a great reminder to all believers that God is still on His throne. Don’t let the world drag you down!! From Intentional Faith………….

This past year has, not surprisingly, contributed to a spike in anxiety. You already know why—a global pandemic, sheltering in place, online schooling, unstable job markets, the inability to go to church or meet with friends, racial injustice and tensions, politics, and social media. By now, you’ve heard thousands of stories on those themes. But […]

This Anxious Age — Intentional Faith

7 Strategies to Control Anxiety

scenic view of mountain during daytime
Photo by Johannes Rapprich on Pexels.com

 

Anxiety has become one of the leading causes of all diseases encountered by physicians with their patients — degrading overall health, adversely affecting work performance and relationships with family and friends, and costing consumers billions a year in medication and lost productivity for employers. As an anxiety sufferer myself, I try to make it a daily regimen to practice some of the tips and strategies I will mention below. All of the tips you see have medically and psychologically proven benefits!

SLEEP

Believe it or not, optimal sleep is one of the two most important ways to reduce anxiety. It really is true that the average adult needs about 7 – 8 hours of sleep a night. Try something as simple as going to bed at least 30 minutes earlier than normal for 3 or 4 nights out of the week. And try to keep your bedroom as uncluttered and cool (65 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal) as possible. And NO cellphones right before bed!!

BREATHE

Breathing correctly is perhaps the single-most important thing one can do to handle panic attacks and severe anxiety, due to the fact that correct breathing causes an autonomic response in the body that actually quells the hormones and nervous system responses that we experience as anxiety. The easeist technique is the “4 – 3 – 8” method. One breathes in, using the diaphragm, for 4 seconds and using your nose only. Then, hold your breath for 3 seconds; finally, exhaling through your mouth for 8 seconds. Do this at least 4 times in a row, and your anxious feelings will melt away!

TAKE A LAUGH BREAK

This is another technique that makes use of the mind-body connection to control or remove anxiety.  Simply login to Youtube and watch 10 – 15 minutes of funny videos ( I personally recommend funny cat and dog videos, and scenes from “Mr. Bean,” but all to your preference). Just make sure they are video clips that bring you delight and joy!

EXERCISE

We all now by now that exercise has any number of excellent health and wellness benefits. For anxiety reduction, my suggestions are really simple: Get outside (prefavorably when the sun is shining, and simply move around for 5 -10 minutes: This can include walking, stretching, light calisthenics, or simply waling from your parked care to a nice seat in a public park.

KEEP A GRATITUDE LIST

This can be a simple little notebook/notepad. Although it is best to have a physical pad to write in, since physically writing things down involves more of your brain, and has more overall benefits; if you feel you would lost a physical notepad, then by all means keep such a list on your smartphone, or computer so that it will not get lost, and will be easy for you to read and review. It does not have to be a long list, but try to write at least 3 things you are thankful for each day.

LIGHT A CANDLE

Studies have shown true therapeutic effects from breathing in various aromas for 20-30 minutes.  (This also works for essential oils). The aromas found to be most effective are: lavender; bergamot; frankincense; sandalwood; orange or orange blossom; and geranium.

CHEW GUM

Don’t laugh, but this is another one of those activities that gets the body’s autonomic system working for you. It makes no difference or flavor or style — simply chew a piece of gum for about 15 minutes and you will notice that anxiety before the big meeting melt away!

I believe these practices are not overly taxing, expensive or impractical. Give them a try for 30 days

scenic view of mountain during daytime
Photo by Johannes Rapprich on Pexels.com

straight and see what happens!

 

Are You Conveying the Loveliness of Christ to Your Kids?

I think this is a really lovely and encouraging article — but not just for parents. The New Testament teaches that we are drawn to Jesus and thus to the Father, through His kindness and gentleness. From Crossway…………….