An Easy Aid to Remember What You Read

If you read a lot of nonfiction, you will surely have realized that remembering things you read is difficult.

Here’s one trick to aid in comprehension as well as memory:

Stop at regular intervals to write a short, one-sentence summary of your impression from what you’ve read. If you read from several sources at once, as I do (seven different books, as well as the Bible!), you are typically shifting from subject to subject, and the Sentence Summary will help keep thoughts organized and remember where they came from.

Want to take your Sentence Summary to the next level? Rather than write your summary on any scrap of paper that happens to be around, or on your hand, or on the end pages of your book, keep a journal with a section dedicated to your summaries.

Happy (and memorable) reading!

Lazy Faith is Lost Faith: if it’s saving, then it’s working

The book of James tells us that lazy faith is lost faith: “faith without works is useless.”

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the the person who has saving faith that works will be walking on water, raising the dead, or causing droughts.

Instead, faith that works does things that might be less dramatic, but no less miraculous: rejoicing despite suffering, controlling the tongue, purifying motives, avoiding prejudice, rescuing believers.

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Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart (Nashville: Broadman Holman, 2013)

The common understanding of salvation as “asking Jesus into your heart” is problematic for those who lack assurance that they “asked” enough or Jesus left, as well as for those who have a false sense of security, believing that because they “asked,” Jesus was obliged to enter and remain.

J.D. Greear addresses this issue, and hints that we are not left with either false insecurity or false security in his subtitle: How to know for sure you are saved.

What Christians Should Expect from Government

Christians can evaluate candidates for public office by examining the platform of the party to which they belong, by researching their history of public service and voting records, or by assessing their personal character, among other things.

Sometimes those standard criteria don’t provide much help in choosing between equally good (or equally unattractive) candidates. One thing that helps is for the Christian to consider what the Bible says we should expect from government, as God’s agent.

Government Should Know Its Place

Government is not God. But the tendency of government is to take more and more god-like power for itself, and the tendency of people who do not know the true God, or who have forgotten who he is, is to give more and more god-like power to it.

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Church Elders Nab Absent Members with Sting Operation

SPOOF, Wisconsin (Wire) — Inactive members of a local church expressed alarm and surprise when their elders used a police-style sting operation to draw them out of hiding.

“I’m hurt and embarrassed that our spiritual leaders would resort to subterfuge and chicanery to lure me out of my indifference, sloth and lukewarmness. It’s a real shame,” said one disgruntled alleged member.

When asked to describe their methods, one of the church’s elders said “For example, we intentionally ‘under-edit’ our bulletin, newsletter and emails, and leave a few mistakes. We know that those who are able to resist spiritual discipline can’t resist the urge to correct someone else’s grammar. It gets them every time.”

One member, who admitted that he avoided speaking to elders in the halls and ignored the pastor’s requests to meet for devotions, thought he was on solid theological ground. “Don’t I have the right to use my God-given talents of correcting others while standing in the shadows? Isn’t that a fruit of the Spirit?”

Another member said she couldn’t resist attending a church meeting when she thought that the congregation’s future was at stake. “Why, I just had to go! They said they were going to change the color of the carpet, but when I got there, it was just a prayer meeting. For Pete’s sake, I couldn’t just leave then. I actually had to say things to people. I was mortified.”

The Elders said they have no intention of stopping. “Our next project is to draw in inactive members with the promise of a steak dinner, then surprise them with a spiritual gifts inventory and visits to our shut-ins.”

Southern Pastor Learns North Not Filled with “Bible-Heads”

SPOOF, Wisconsin (Wire) — Local pastor Jim Bob Evans, a recent transplant from the Deep South, says he was surprised to learn that the area was not the locus of spiritual revival, as he was led to believe.

“When I first come up here to give my trial preachin’,” said Evans, “I thought some serious rejuvenatin’ out to lunchwas goin’ on. I kept hearin’ all these radio spots talkin’ about this bein’ the Bible-head capital of the world.”

Through a thick accent and many dropped Gs, Evans told how he misread the spiritual landscape.

“I always say you find where the Spirit’s movin’ and join him there, but I hadn’t heard o’ no Bible-heads before. I just figured it musta been sorta like Bible-thumpers and Jesus freaks, as we say down to the farm. When I heard ’em say the biggest Bible-head business was right here, I was so excited I wanted to cannonball into the baptismal pool.”

Evans found his baptismal frequently frozen, and eventually discovered that he had also been the victim of differences in regional vocal inflection.

“After movin’ all my earthly goods and kin up here to start spreadin’ the good news with the rest of the holy-rollers, I learnt that people talk different, and they weren’t sayin’ Bible-heads at all. They were talkin’ ’bout those dolls with the spring-loaded noggins.”

Apparently the Midwest accent detectable in commercials for a local bobble-head maker led to Evans’ confusion. It remains unclear whether Evans’ congregation is able to understand him through the brogue, or if he is able to order successfully at a drive-thru. Evans nevertheless remains hopeful.

“When you think about it, bobble-heads look like they might  be filled with the Spirit, and show more excitement than some church folk.”

How to Know if you are Partial to the Beast and Party in Babylon

The apostle John was taken into a desolate place where his vision guide showed him the real picture of the Harlot, Babylon.

In Revelation, Babylon is the Harlot (Rev. 17-18), who is depicted using her charms and allurements in an attempt to draw people in to her, and away from true delight in and commitment to the Lord.

The Beast represents man’s lust for power, when those who have it use it benefit themselves, and when those who don’t fight to get in in order to benefit themselves. Babylon joins forces with the Beast to undermine God’s plan to draw people to himself by appealing to their desire for power and their lust for pleasure.

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