RickThomas.net 
21Sep
The blessing of being whittled down to size NS

The blessing of being whittled down to size

The blessing of being whittled down to size NS

My former neighbor, Mr. Campbell, loves to whittle. He has an amazing talent for taking the nothingness of a stick and turning it into something special. Shortly after the first Christmas of our daughter, Tristen, I was dragging the Christmas tree to our back yard for disposal.

Mr. Campbell saw what I was doing and asked if he could have the tree. It had no more value to me, so I gave it to him, though I was unsure of his intentions. After a while, I had forgotten he took our tree.

One year later

The following Christmas, Mr. Campbell knocked on our door. To my surprise, he was standing there with a beautiful hand carved walking stick, about the size and shape of a baseball bat. (See the stick at the end of this piece.) At the top of the stick was a wonderfully detailed carving of Santa’s head. On the side of the stick were these words:

Tristen’s Very First Christmas Tree, 2001

Mr. Campbell took our used and useless tree and carved a beautiful walking stick to commemorate our daughter’s first Christmas. We were humbly surprised with what he accomplished. Mr. Campbell said,

I went down to the creek and sat on my bench. Then I began to ask, “What is inside this tree?” So, I sat and started whittling. This is what I found inside your tree.

He sat.

He whittled.

He took off some good wood and some knotted wood.

He kept cutting until he came to what he was hoping to find.

The discovery inside our useless tree was a treasure nobody else could see. I did not see it. My wife did not see it. Tristen did not see it. Only the master craftsman had a vision of what it could be.

After months of curing the tree in the heat of the summer and a few days of carving through the fall, Mr. Campbell unveiled the treasure that was previously hidden.

The process was long and hard, but the woodcarver knew what he wanted and he had the skill and patience to bring it to pass.

Whittled down to size

There are no good analogies for what Job experienced in the final chapter that documents his journey. My tree story is a small attempt to convey a big...

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19Sep
Jesus Calling - A full review of the Sarah Young book NS

Jesus Calling – A full review of the Sarah Young book

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young is a difficult book for me to review, not only because of its complex issues, but also because I have many dear friends who love it deeply. I want to communicate my thoughts graciously yet without compromise. Forgive me if I fail on either account.

Jesus Calling is written in the first person, as if Jesus were speaking directly to the reader using personal pronouns to refer to Himself. This is more than just stylistic; it is a very deliberate choice based on how Young perceives her book’s inspiration.

The...

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18Sep
Do you know what your wife is thinking NS

Do you know what your wife is thinking?

Boy meets girl.

They start liking each other.

They soon figure out ways to spend time together.

When they are not spending time together, they are strategizing on how to spend time together.

Soon they become an item.

A thing.

The attraction is strong and binding. Both of them are feeling that destiny is in play. If they are Christians, their thoughts are about sovereignty and providence. It takes little to convince them how they were meant for each other.

If they date for a year or less, there will probably be no major...

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18Sep

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping The Gospel The Main Thing

The Cross Centered Life is a small book, the gift-sized kind that you can breeze through in an hour. I read it more slowly over a period of some weeks with my adult Bible fellowship group, and I’m glad that I did. This is a deceptively simple little book; the truths that it treats are anything but obvious. Or rather, they are obvious, but we manage to miss them anyways.

The book’s message is summed up in the subtitle: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing. It is amazing how good we Christians are at replacing the Cross with other things. Maybe it’s a social cause like stopping abortion or defining marriage, or a denominational creed. It could be all our church...

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17Sep
Wise parents teach their children curse words NS

Wise parents teach their children how to curse

  • Will your child learn curse words?
  • Who will teach your child curse words?
  • From what context do you want your child to learn her first curse words?
  • Does your child have a theology of curse words?
  • Who is teaching your child a theology of curse words?
  • It is impossible to engage our culture at any level and not hear curse words. Whether it is a television show or a stroll in the park, the words of our culture do not discriminate.

    Like soldiers on a mission to kill and destroy the language of our world has a...

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    17Sep
    Teens rebel because they are rebels NS

    Adolescentes se rebelam porque são rebeldes

    No final das contas, não importa por que você tem um adolescente rebelde ou qual tem sido seu papel na formação da sua rebelião. Quando tudo estiver dito e feito, você tem um adolescente rebelde e ele terá de se arrepender e acertar as coisas com você e com Deus.

    Não jogue o jogo da culpa

    Nenhum de nós tem passe livre quando se trata de pecar. Embora eu possa dar uma longa lista de razões pelas quais eu fui rebelde, nenhuma delas é aceitável a Deus:

  • Meu pai abusou verbal e fisicamente de mim.
  • Meus irmãos não gostavam de mim e...

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  • 16Sep
    The orientation of your home follow the leader NS

    The orientation of your home: follow the leader

    Jay is passionate for God. Jenny, Jay’s wife, is joyfully following Jay. Jeremy, James, and Jacob, the children, are humbly submitting to their parents. Jack and Jill, the dog and the cat, are fat, dumb, and happy.

    There you have it.

    One big happy family. That is how things ought to be. The orientation of a God-centered home should look like that. So, let us self-evaluate: what does your home look like?

    Start with the husband

    Husband, your agenda is straightforward. It is to follow hot after God. God should be your passion, your goal, and...

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    16Sep
    When looking for pornography…begin in the heart NS

    Al Buscar la Pornografía…Comience En El Corazón

    ¿Dónde buscar para localizar el problema principal con la pornografía?

    ¿En nuestra cultura?

    ¿Siente la tentación de reaccionar inicialmente a la realidad sensual de nuestra cultura?

    ¡Usted debe reaccionar!

    ¡Usted debe preocuparse!

    Pero cuando usted abordar el problema de la pornografía, ¿Esta usted más propenso a comenzar el diálogo con los temas frecuentes, dominantes, culturales y de la falta de modestia?

    Pero...

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    15Sep
    How can I trust God when He does not act the way I think He should NS

    How can I trust God when He does not act the way I think He should?

    Reality

    Each of us will lose everyone and everything. Except for Christ, there is nothing we will gain that we will not lose. From a Christian world view perspective, this news does not have to be spiritually debilitating.

    Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. – Philippians 3:8 (ESV)

    The loss of all things normally evolves incrementally throughout our lives, until the very end when we lose the last thing we possess, which is our lives. Though this is a dark...

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    15Sep

    Jesus Calling

    Jesus Calling by Sarah Young is a difficult book for me to review, not only because of its complex issues but also because I have many dear friends who love it deeply. I want to communicate my thoughts graciously yet without compromise. Forgive me if I fail on either account.

    Jesus Calling is written in the first person, as if Jesus were speaking directly to the reader using personal pronouns to refer to Himself. This is more than just stylistic; it is a very deliberate choice based on how Young perceives her book’s inspiration. The introduction is very telling. Young writes, “I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more”...

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