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Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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25 Great Quotes from the First Half of New Morning Mercies by Paul Tripp

One of the books that I am using for my devotional reading this year is New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul Tripp. I’m really enjoying the book, and would like to share 25 of my favorite quotes through the first half of the year:

  1. God reminds us that this is not all there is, that we were created and re-created in Christ Jesus for eternity.
  2. Next time you face the unexpected, a moment of difficulty you really don’t want to go through, remember that such a moment doesn’t picture a God who has forgotten you, but one who is near to you and doing in you a very good thing.
  3. If you have been freed from needing success and acclaim to feel good about yourself, you know grace has visited you.
  4. Your hope is not to be found in your willingness and ability to endure, but in God’s unshakable, enduring commitment to never turn from his work of grace.
  5. Your hope of enduring is not to be found in your character or strength, but in your Lord’s.
  6. God will remain faithful even when you’re not, because his faithfulness rests on who he is, not on what you’re doing.
  7. Don’t be discouraged today. You can leave your “what-ifs” and “if-onlys” in the hands of the One who loves you and rules all things.
  8. There is no greater argument for our need for grace than the ease with which our hearts fall under the rule of things other than God.
  9. True lasting hope is never found horizontally. It’s only ever found vertically, at the feet of the Messiah, the One who is hope.
  10. Why tell yourself that you know what you need, when the One who created you knows better and has promised to deliver?
  11. All the glories of the created world together are meant to be one big finger that points you to the God of glory, who made each one of them and is alone able to give you life.
  12. You no longer have to hope and pray that someday you will measure up, because Jesus has measured up on your behalf. How could you hear better news than that?
  13. Sure, you’ll face difficulty. God is prying open your fingers so you’ll let go of your dreams, rest in his comforts, and take up his call.
  14. In grace, he leads you where you didn’t plan to go in order to produce in you what you couldn’t achieve on your own.
  15. God’s grace not only provides you with what you need, but also transforms you into what he in wisdom created you to be.
  16. Quit being paralyzed by your past. Grace offers you life in the present and a guarantee of a future.
  17. All of what I look back on and would like to redo has been fully covered by the blood of Jesus. I no longer need to carry the burden of the past on my shoulders, so I am free to fully give myself to what God has called me to in the here and now.
  18. He always gives freely what we need in order to do what he has called us to do.
  19. Prayer is abandoning my reliance on me and running toward the rest that can be found only when I rely on the power of God.
  20. Rest is only ever found in trusting the One who has everything figured out for your good and his glory.
  21. There aren’t two things in all of life more important than these—that grace has purchased for you a place in God’s family and that, because you are in his family, God rules over all things for your good.
  22. You and I will never find inner peace and rest by trying to figure it all out. Peace is found in resting in the wisdom and grace of the One who has it all figured out and rules it all for his glory and our good.
  23. When he calls, he goes with you. What he calls you to do, he empowers by his grace.
  24. We don’t obey to get his favor; we obey because his favor has fallen on us and transformed our hearts, giving us the willingness and power to obey.
  25. Only grace can cause you and me to abandon our confidence in our own performance and place our confidence in the perfectly acceptable righteousness of Jesus Christ.

If you are looking for a good devotional book, check out Paul Tripp’s New Morning Mercies: A Gospel Devotional.

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20 More Great Quotes from ‘The Prodigal Prophet’ by Tim Keller

The Prodigal Prophet is quite simply the best book I’ve read this year. I recently shared my review and 20 of the best quotes from the book. Below are 20 more great quotes from the book:

  1. To work against social injustice and to call people to repentance before God interlock theologically.
  2. When you say, “I won’t serve you, God, if you don’t give me X,” then X is your true bottom line, your highest love, your real god, the thing you most trust and rest in.
  3. When Christian believers care more for their own interests and security than for the good and salvation of other races and ethnicities, they are sinning like Jonah. If they value the economic and military flourishing of their country over the good of the human race and the furtherance of God’s work in the world, they are sinning like Jonah. Their identity is more rooted in their race and nationality than in being saved sinners and children of God.
  4. We are reading and using the Bible rightly only when it humbles us, critiques us, and encourages us with God’s love and grace despite our flaws.
  5. We learn from Jonah that understanding God’s grace—and being changed by it—always requires a long journey with successive stages.
  6. As long as there is something more important than God to your heart, you will be, like Jonah, both fragile and self-righteous. Whatever it is, it will create pride and an inclination to look down upon those who do not have it. It will also create fear and insecurity. It is the basis for your happiness, and if anything threatens it, you will be overwhelmed with anger, anxiety, and despair.
  7. Jesus is the prophet Jonah should have been. Yet, of course, he is infinitely more than that.
  8. Christian identity is received, not achieved.
  9. Here we see God’s righteousness and love working together. He is both too holy and too loving to either destroy Jonah or to allow Jonah to remain as he is, and God is also too holy and too loving to allow us to remain as we are.
  10. One of the main reasons that we trust God too little is because we trust our own wisdom too much. We think we know far better than God how our lives should go and what will make us happy.
  11. Life in the world is filled with storms—with difficulties and suffering—some of which we have directly brought on ourselves but many of which we have not. In either case, God can work out his good purposes in our lives through the storms that come upon us (Romans 8:28).
  12. There’s love at the heart of our storms. If you turn to God through faith in Christ, he won’t let you sink. Why not? Because the only storm that can really destroy—the storm of divine justice and judgment on sin and evil—will never come upon you. Jesus bowed his head into that ultimate storm, willingly, for you.
  13. A God who suffers pain, injustice, and death for us is a God worthy of our worship.
  14. One of the main concerns of the book of Jonah is that believers should respect and love their neighbors, including those of a different race and religion.
  15. Individual Christians can and should be involved politically, as a way of loving our neighbors. Nevertheless, while individual Christians must do this, they should not identify the church itself with one set of public policies or one political party as the Christian one.
  16. Jonah resents God’s mercy given to racial “others.” His race and nation have become not merely good things that he loves but idols.
  17. It is common for us to insist that everyone “respect difference”—allow people to be themselves—but in the very next moment we show complete disrespect for anyone who diverges from our cherished beliefs. We sneer at people more liberal than us as social justice warriors; we disdain those more conservative than us as hateful bigots.
  18. What makes a person a Christian is not our love for God, which is always imperfect, but God’s love for us.
  19. To ground your identity in your own efforts and accomplishments—even in the amount of love you have for Jesus—is to have an unstable, fragile identity.
  20. When you become a Christian you don’t stop being Chinese or European, but now your race and nation don’t define you as fully as they did. You do not rely on them for worth and honor in the same way. You are a Christian first and Chinese or European second.


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BOOK REVIEW of Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness by David Powlison

good-angryGood and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness by David Powlison. New Growth Press. 256 pages. 2016
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David Powlison serves as the Executive Director of the Counseling & Education Foundation (CCEF), and has decades of counseling experience.  He writes that this book is not about “solving” anger problems, but to teach the reader how to more fruitfully and honestly deal with our anger. He tells us that if we are willing to enter the conversation the book will prove to be about our anger. He wants us to think about reading the book as an honest conversation about something that really matters.  One goal of this book is that the reader will think more carefully about how they think when angry, so that our “inner courtroom” will grow more just.

He divides the book into four sections. The first section helps the reader ask questions and explore our particular experience of anger. The second section answers the question what is anger? The third section tackles how destructive anger is changed into something constructive. The final section looks at particular difficult cases.

He suggests that we read the book with a pen and yellow highlighter in hand. He wants us to pay close attention whenever we find ourselves thinking “But what about…?” (Or as he refers to them as BWAs). He states that the book is the product of hundreds of BWAs that he has asked about anger over many years. He tells us that if we take the book to heart, we’ll get anger right more often.

The author states that at its core anger is very simple. He states that anger expresses ‘I’m against that.’ It is an active stance we take to oppose something that we assess as both important and wrong. He states that anger expresses the energy of our reaction to something we find offensive and wish to eliminate, and ultimately anger is about displeasure. Anger is the way we react when something we think important is not the way it’s supposed to be.

He defines good anger as the constructive displeasure of mercy. There are four key aspects to the constructive displeasure of mercy. Each of these four implies active disapproval of what’s happening. But, the author writes, unlike the vast bulk of anger, each breathes helpfulness in how it goes about addressing what it sees as wrong. The four key aspects are patience, forgiveness, charity and constructive conflict.  He states that we can’t “do” anger right without the constructive displeasure of mercy.

He tells us that anger is something we do with all of our heart, soul, mind, and body. We learn how to be angry in two different ways. We pick it up from others, and we develop our own style through long practice.

He refers to God as the most famous angry person in history. He writes that we can learn a great deal about ourselves and others by slowing down and taking an actual look at what is described as the “wrath of God.” He states that it is the clearest example he knows of how to get good and angry, as well as to be patient, merciful, and generous at the same time. He tells us that we can’t understand God’s love if we don’t understand His anger.

The author then tackles how we change, moving from darkness to light. He addresses how distorted humans become what they are meant to be. Here he looks at scripture passages such as James 3-4.

I found the book to be very helpful, and both practical and interactive, with several examples or case studies to illustrate the points he makes.  The book is organized effectively, addressing topics such as six common reactions to the statement that we all have an anger problem, six common wavelengths within the spectrum of bad anger and four expressions of anger in which God expresses his love for his people. He provides us eight questions to help us make sense of any incident of anger, which will help you turn an anger incident into something positive. He looks at four reasons that people feel angry at themselves. The author’s final word is that anger is going somewhere. It will someday be perfected, swallowed up in joy.

Favorite Quotes50 Great Quotes from Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness by David Powlison 

There is much of value in David Powlison’s new book Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining and Bitterness. I encourage you to read the entire book. Here are 50 great quotes from the book:

  1. It’s no surprise that when the apostle Paul lists typical sins, half his list belongs to the anger family (Galatians 5:19–21).
  2. The most immediate anger problem for many people is not what they do, but what someone else does to them.
  3. Irritability is anger on a hair trigger.
  4. Arguing is the disagreeable “he said, she said” of interpersonal friction.
  5. Bitterness expresses how anger can last a long, long time.
  6. Passive anger hides behind surface appearances and even beneath conscious awareness.
  7. Self-righteous anger enjoys the empowering sense of grievance, of getting in touch with honest emotion and expressing it freely. It feels good to let it out, and it often gets results.
  8. Anger always makes a value judgment. Anger is always a moral matter.
  9. What is anger? It’s the way we react when something we think important is not the way it’s supposed to be.
  10. Anger is a feeling of distress, trouble, and hatred.
  11. Anger is the attitude of judgment, legal condemnation, and moral displeasure. But judgment can show good judgment—and even mercy.
  12. Anger does things. It appears in accusatory words, sarcasm, threats, and curses. It adopts that tone of voice. Gestures and body language speak loudly: hitting the dashboard, giving a disgusted sigh, walking out of the room, raising the decibel level, rolling the eyes, scowling. You do anger with all that you are, and you do it as an inter-action.
  13. Anger has an object, a target.
  14. Anger is a central feature wherever conflict occurs: marriages, families, churches, workplaces, neighborhoods, and nations. People use anger to get what they want and to defeat other people.
  15. Anger is a weapon to coerce, intimidate, and manipulate others—and it is a shield to defend yourself.
  16. Anger happens for reasons that arise from who we are and what we want.
  17. Anger occurs not only in your body, emotions, thoughts, and actions. It comes from your deepest motives.
  18. When anger goes bad, it’s because motives operate in the godlike mode. “I want my way. I demand that you love me on my terms. I will prove that I am right at all costs.
  19. When anger goes right, there’s always something higher, some higher purpose or person who puts a cap on anger, who sets a limit on bitterness, who gives reasons not to whine and complain. The most high God, his higher law, his loving mercies, and his higher purposes transform anger.
  20. When God’s larger purposes are in control, the poisonous evil of anger is neutralized. Anger becomes a servant of goodness. The anger becomes just, and the purposes become merciful to all who will turn and trust and become conformed to his image. He changes our motives.
  21. Anger is the fighting emotion. Anger is the justice emotion. Anger is the deliver-the-oppressed-from-evil emotion. It stems from love for the needy. All of us come wired with a sense of justice. We can override it or pervert it. We can direct it to wholly selfish purposes.
  22. Our anger is natural. It is a capacity given by creation in the image of the God who is just.
  23. Your anger is Godlike to the degree you treasure justice and fairness and are alert to betrayal and falsehood. Your anger is devil-like to the degree you play god and are petty, merciless, whiny, argumentative, willful, and unfair.
  24. You learn exactly how to be angry in two different ways. You pick it up from others, and you develop your own style through long practice.
  25. Good anger operates as one aspect of mercy. It brings good into bad situations. It stands up for the helpless and victimized. It calls out wrongdoers, but holds out promises of forgiveness, inviting wrongdoers to new life.
  26. The actions and attitudes that express constructive displeasure of mercy are exactly how the Bible portrays the man Jesus in action. They also describe how a wise person acts. They describe someone who is becoming like Jesus.
  27. You can’t “do” anger right without the constructive displeasure of mercy.
  28. Constructive conflict is part of the redemption of a bad situation. It is the only merciful alternative to giving up in exhaustion, disgust, or fear.
  29. The constructive displeasure of mercy means the redemption of the world. It is the glory of God and the love of God. It is God reforming you into his image.
  30. To become slow to anger is to become like God. It is a quality that frequently describes God and frequently describes what we are meant to be.
  31. The things that naturally most outrage you, those things that most universally upset human beings everywhere, are the very things that the Bible labels “sin.”
  32. You can never really understand yourself (or God, or other people) unless you understand both sin and the wrath of God.
  33. The constructive displeasure of mercy makes God’s anger your friend.
  34. Naturally those who repent of an angry critical spirit become full of mercy.
  35. Anger is provoked. Anger has an occasion. Anger is about something. Anger flares up for some reason, in some specific time and place.
  36. Your anger reaction is not caused by the situation alone. It is caused by what you most deeply believe and most passionately cherish—right now, when you find yourself in this situation.
  37. Anger has consequences. It creates feedback loops, vicious circles. The Bible uses a vivid metaphor: you reap what you sow.
  38. Studies seem to show that angry people have a higher incidence of heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
  39. When something is so wrong that you will never get over it, your reaction will either make you live or it will kill you. Great suffering puts a fork in the road, and you will choose. The choice is between the way of bitterness and the way of grace and mercy.
  40. Learning to live fruitfully in the face of great wrong will take a lifetime of going to God for mercy and help in your time of need.
  41. One of the effects of being marked by suffering is learning to value the future. Not all the crying or pain goes away now, but he will make all things new.
  42. Everyday angers are very difficult to overcome. They become habits we’re not even aware of. But habits that have become second nature can change—rarely in an instant, usually in a slow growth process in the right direction. The Lord who creates a new nature in you will stick by you.
  43. Jesus tells it to us straight: grumbling is a most serious sin, a capital crime, a primal offense against the God whose universe this.
  44. From Jesus’s point of view, all everyday disgust and negativity shares DNA with murder, after all.
  45. Even when self-condemnation is merciless, the Father of all mercies has mercy for people who need mercy. He is mercy. And he comes in person looking for you.
  46. There is something instinctive, irrational, compulsive, and virulent about anger at God.
  47. Anger at God is not first an emotion. It is the stance a person takes, a core commitment of the heart.
  48. Anger at God is wrong. It overflows with mistrust toward God. The presence of anger depends on the presence of evil.
  49. Wherever there is evil, you find anger. Where there is no evil, you find no anger. No possibility of anger.
  50. Are you being remade into the image of God? Is your anger something that you grieve, because you see how your irritations and resentments are so often reckless and self-serving? If you are being remade into his image, then you will join his battle to rid the world of wrong. You will participate in the wrath of God. If you are not being remade into his image, then you are his enemy. You will experience the wrath of God against you.