Sky Links, 3-3-18

Photo: Spacebridge by longobord CC 2.0

After preaching the wonderful news of the gospel there and winning a large number of followers to Jesus, they retraced their steps and revisited Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch. At each place they went, they strengthened the lives of the believers and encouraged them to go deeper in their faith. And they taught them, “It is necessary for us to enter into the realm of God’s kingdom, because that’s the only way we will endure our many trials and persecutions.”
-Acts 14:21-22 (TPT)

The Seven Deadly Sins: Sloth
-Charles Pope

Some modern commentators describe sloth as a “don’t care” feeling. Some even say it is a kind of falling out of love with God and the things of God (cf Rev 2:4). On account of sloth, the idea of right living and the gift of a transformed humanity inspires not joy, but aversion or even disgust because it is seen as too difficult or as requiring the setting aside of currently enjoyed or sinful pleasures. Through sloth, many experience sorrow rather than joy or zeal in following God and receiving a transformed human life. They are distressed at the prospect of what might have to occur should they embrace the faith more deeply.

Sloth also tends to dismiss the power of grace, focusing instead on the “trouble” or effort involved in walking in the Christian way.

Again, sloth is not merely laziness; it is more properly understood as sorrow or indifference. And while sloth may sometimes look like boredom and a casual laziness about attaining spiritual good, it can also be manifested by a frantic “busyness” with worldly things so as to avoid spiritual questions or living a reflective life.

When Your Friends And Family Don't Get Your Battle With Mental Illness
-Brittney Moses

It can be disappointing when the ones you depend on the most, can’t seem to meet your deepest needs of love and belonging when you need it the most.

A parent. Your closest friends. A significant other. Maybe your faith community.

It’s easy for us to give others the expectation of fulfilling us at our lowest moments, when in reality, we find these relationships still have their limitations. You may be deeply struggling with depression, anxiety or a diagnosis and those around you either don’t take it seriously, think you’re being dramatic, preach at you with little empathy, or simply check out because they cannot relate. One might argue that it’s not that they don’t genuinely love and care for you, but they are loving the best way they know how based on the range of knowledge and experience they’ve obtained up to this point in their lives. Now, that’s not an excuse for anyone to stay where they are and not commit to the growth of understanding others. But the hard truth is, this is just the state of many people.

-Matthea Glass

After the initial shock of my son’s death, I became inconvenient.

Elizabeth Kubler Ross finds acclaim for writing the most important book for caring for the dying, On Death and Dying. In her well researched book, she describes the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. She is both right and wrong. If I were caring for the dying understanding these stages would be helpful. If I am caring for my friend whose child died, these stages do no good. There are no stages for the ones left living. No one grieves the same. Every loss is not the same.
I found that grief came in waves, easing some days, and crashing over me in overwhelming super waves on others.

Everyone around me wanted me to get to the finish line. They wanted the final stage according Ross, acceptance. I wearied them with my sadness. I wearied them with my insistence that not everyone could just get over it and move on. They were busy. My grief didn’t fit in with their schedule. God was doing big things 

Brian Simmons
The most difficult season of your life is about to be over. You will see a victory that will cause you to explode with joy and rejoice in song. The prophetic destiny of your life will be advanced, even in a wilderness of uncertainty. You will turn a setback into a comeback.

Beyond Sundays by Wayne Jacobsen — A Book Review
by Kenny Burchard

Wayne Jacobsen’s great new book, Beyond Sundays (176 pages published by Trailview Media) is essential reading for those seeking to better understand and engage with the reality that tens of millions of Jesus-followers are leaving the typical church structures they’ve always known while they continue to intentionally pursue their relationship with Christ, His people, and His mission. If you are one of these people, or you know someone on this journey and you’re trying to understand what’s happening to them, this should be the next book you read.

Muslims Are Converting to Christianity in Record Numbers.  How are so many conversions taking place in oppressive countries where proselytizing can bring a death sentence?
-Patti Armstrong

“We are in a time of the first ever mass conversions of Muslims,” Father Mitch Pacwa SJ told me in a phone interview. “God is doing a mighty work among them.”

Pacwa is a host for EWTN radio and TV, a frequent pilgrim guide to the Holy Land and is fluent in 13 languages including Arabic. He is considered an expert on the Middle East and produced the DVD Christianity & Islam: Are We at War? and co-authored Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics.

Pacwa said he began hearing talk of conversions to Christianity around 2005 on Al Jazeera Television, the Arabic news satellite TV channel with 80 bureaus around the world. “They were reporting on the mass conversions of Muslims—as many as 6-8 million—in sub-Saharan, Africa, and they have repeated the warning every year,” he said. “I’ve confirmed it with Africans I know who have told me again and again about conversions in places like Nigeria, Uganda, Mali … that’s why Boko Haram has become so active. They are actually quite scared and trying to terrorize. But the very act of terrorizing people has ended up with people becoming more disgusted with Islam.”

135 Questions Jesus Asked
-Eric von Atzigen

I have been amazed by how masterfully our Lord uses questions to teach vital spiritual truths. Jesus never asked a question because he needed to know the answer. He used questions the way a surgeon uses a scalpel, to delicately cut into a new level of understanding.

Billy Graham Oral Roberts Prophecy
-Mark Chirrona

The Stripping Away
-Christy Wimber

When I laid my Church aside last year clearly I felt the Lord remind me that if I cannot lay aside what ministry I lead then it is the ministry that is leading my life rather than the God I serve. How easy that is to say. How gut wrenching painful it is to walk out.

However, its not just letting go of things as God is too economical for that. He tends to do much before we can even realize whats happening. Its the letting go as well as the stripping away of anything that may have attached itself to what we've been called to let go of. Whatever we were leading or spending our time on and it could be the letting go of a relationship, a job or a ministry and perhaps thats not the hard part, although difficult, is doable. But the stripping away of misplaced identities or false ideas of security or what our hope was truly in gets revealed quickly and that in itself can be much harder, even painful. But its necessary. All of its necessary as what was must be removed in order to step into new spaces. Oftentimes we don't realize the depth of what we are carrying until those things begin to fall by the wayside. The stripping process can be painful and also quite exposing, but there is no way around it. I have found, yet again, to let go is not to lose, but rather to gain what I wouldn't have been able to take hold of otherwise.

How to Really See a Blind Person
-Brad Snyder

I tell my story a lot. I tell the story of how I wasn’t always blind. I tell the story of how I lost my vision while serving in Afghanistan, by stepping on an I.E.D. I tell the story of how I put my own injury into perspective by considering the greater sacrifice of my fallen comrades, and how I owed it to them to make the most of my escape from death.

I tell the story of how I did that by winning a gold medal in swimming at the Paralympics on the first anniversary of the loss of my vision. And after I tell it, people often thank me. They tell me that it’s an incredible story, and that I’m a good storyteller. They tell me how inspiring it is to see how I’ve overcome my blindness.

But that’s not my whole story.

It’s part of it, I suppose — in many ways, I have overcome my blindness. Five years after losing my sight, I have a rewarding job teaching leadership at the Naval Academy, a lovely house on a creek in historic Annapolis, Md., a loving family and a number of truly deep friendships. My quality of life is very high. Day to day, week to week, I don’t find that my blindness is an obstacle.