"The difference between believers and unbelievers as to knowledge, is not so much in the matter of their knowledge, as in the manner of knowing. Unbelievers, some of them, may know more, and be able to say more, of God, his perfections and his will than many believers; but they know nothing as they ought, nothing in a right manner, nothing spiritually and savingly, nothing with a holy, heavenly light. The excellency of a believer is not that he hath large apprehension of things; but that what he doth apprehend, which perhaps may be very little, he sees in the light of the Spirit of God, in a saving, soul-transforming light; and this is that which gives us communion with God, and not prying thoughts, or curious raised notions."
“I find nothing that promotes work better than angry fervor; for when I wish to compose, write, pray and preach well, I must be angry. It refreshes my entire system, my mind is sharpened, and all unpleasant thoughts and depression fade away.”
It was a pretty slow year for reading -- the slowest since 2001. However, none of my choices were wasted, and each title comes highly recommended, especially the final one.
"The joy is on the other side of the hard work. This is basic to all growing up. Part of maturity is the principle of deferred gratification. If you cannot embrace the pain of learning but must have instant gratification, you forfeit the greatest rewards of life." (John Piper, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God, pg. 47)
"Hosea loved beyond the way
Of mortal man. What man would say,
'Love grows more strong when it must wait,
And deeper when it's almost hate.'" (John Piper, Velvet Steel: The Joy of Being Married to You, pg. 58)
"Your memory is a monster; you forget -- it doesn't. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you , or hides things from you -- and summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!" (John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany, pg. 34)
"Before World War I many premillennialists had stayed aloof from cultural concerns and all were skeptical of any plans concerned merely with the future of civilization. By the end of the war their strongest line of attack on modernism committed them to a position which put forward the survival of civilization as a principal concern. This position accentuated the longstanding paradox in the thinking of American premillennialists. As premillennialists they had to say that there was no hope for culture, but at the same time they were traditional American evangelicals who urged a return to Christian principles as the only cultural hope." (George Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture, pg. 149)
"Christians who struggled with BPD now learned that they were actually battling with the flesh and needed to learn to trust God and begin to walk in the Spirit. Easy? No. Magic? No. Change happened the same way it happens for all Christians -- through spiritual battle: 'the blood, sweat, and tears of dying to self and listening to God.' They 'put off' their 'issue-based identity' (BPD) and 'put on' (Eph. 4:22-24) their 'Christ-identity.' With that identity in place . . . they began to grasp the truth of the gospel; they had died with Christ and were therefore 'no longer . . . slaves of sin' (Rom. 6:6) -- or of BPD!" (Cathy Wiseman, Borderline Personality: A Scriptural Perspective, pg. 6)
"But you can't start. Only a baby can start. You and me -- why, we're all that's been. The anger of a moment, the thousand pictures, that's us. This land, this red land, is us; and the flood years and the dust years and the drought years are us. We can't start again. The bitterness we sold to the junk man -- he got it all right, but we have it still." (John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, pg. 119)
"People with BPD often perceive other people as either the wicked witch or fairy godmother, a saint or a demon. When you seem to be meeting their needs, they cast you in the role of superhero. But when they perceive that you've failed them, you become the villain." (Paul Mason, Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder, pg. 26)
"Turning back, Mr. Nichol could not help exclaiming, 'How can you whistle, when our friends are in so much danger!'
'Would you have me anxious and troubled?' was the quiet reply. 'That would not help them, and would certainly incapacitate me for my work. I have just to roll the burden on the Lord.'" (Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret, pg. 209)
"We buck when we hear these things because we are proud. We say that we do not want God's holiness impugned, but really we do not want our autonomy restricted. If God appoints all the seasons of every man's life, then no man can live unto himself, and no man can find the fount of wisdom within. If God decrees all things, then I cannot escape him, not even by plunging myself into all depravity. A man who embraces evil simply finds himself a tool in the hand of the Almighty. A man who rejects evil and follows wisdom finds himself a son in the family of the Almighty. The one option not offered us is that of thwarting and restricting the purposes of God." (Doug Wilson, Joy at the End of the Tether, pg. 47)
10. New York Jets, 1980s-1990s (I remember when the new was old and the old was new, and I didn't have a huge problem with the Jets going back to their Joe Namath unis, but they just looked faster in these ones.)
9. St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals, 1960s-2000s (This was a classic look that needed no change.)
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1970s-1990s (The change was inevitable because the old unis were so closely associated with losing, but they were unique, and they traded that uniqueness for a poor copy of the 49ers look. Their eventual Super Bowl win would have meant more in these.)
7. Seattle Seahawks, 1970s-2000s (The old ones look better and better each time they get a makeover.)
6. Philadelphia Eagles, 1970s-1990s (Like the Jets, they just looked faster in these.)
5. Cincinnati Bengals, 1980s-2000s (These ones gave a player the look of a tough, ferocious tiger rather than the prancing gay tigers that they resemble now.)
4. Denver Broncos, 1970s-1990s (I blame the Denver Broncos for starting the wave of ridiculousness that has overtaken NFL haberdashery back in 1997 when they traded in these classic unis for their current eyesores.)
3. San Diego Chargers, 1960s-1970s (Nobody in their right mind prefers the current Chargers unis to these classics, but they have taken steps in the right direction over the past few years, so hopefully it won't be long before they return.)
2. Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1970s-1990s (The only thing more baffling than the Rams getting rid of these classic unis was the fact that they did it immediately after winning a Super Bowl. You just don't do that.)
1. Minnesota Vikings, 1970s-1990s (What more can we say about the greatest uniforms in the history of sports? I don't think there's a Vikings fan alive who is proud of his team's current look. I would have rather seen my team move to L.A. than change the uniforms. May sanity be restored soon.)
23.New Orleans Saints (These are bad enough already, but when they break out the black pants I have to shut the TV off and turn on the radio.)
24.Arizona Cardinals (Hey, let's take a perfectly good uniform that's been around for decades and make it look like roadkill. Yeah, that'll work.)
25.Baltimore Ravens (Too many colors. Black pants! And don't come into the league in the mid '90s and try to be the second team to pull off purple. There is was only one team that can could do that.)
26.Seattle Seahawks (We've already discussed this, but as bad as they are, they still may be an improvement on the 2002-2011 unis. Nevertheless, there was no reason to abandon the originals.)
27.Cincinnati Bengals (I loved the simplicity of the jerseys juxtaposed with the striking tiger-striped helmet when they finally abandoned the Cleveland Browns replicas in 1981, but when they tried to jazz up the jerseys it was too much. Know when to say when.)
28.Jacksonville Jaguars (As if the teal wasn't bad enough, now they've decided to add a couple of stripes down the side for no reason. They may move up a couple of notches though now that they've switched to black as their primary jersey color.)
29.Cleveland Browns (I like simplicity, but this is ridiculous. And are they the Browns or the Oranges? Get a nickname and a logo already.)
30.Minnesota Vikings (Neither the Herschel Walker trade, nor threatening to move to L.A., nor blowing two winnable NFC championship games has tested my loyalty to my team like the insane choice to change the uniforms in 2006. But they still tease me once or twice a year by wearing the sweetest looking throwback uniforms of all time. I can only hope that they will come to their senses soon so I can watch my team again without cringing.)
31.Atlanta Falcons (I never really liked the Falcons uniforms in the 80s and 90s, but what they've done to them lately actually makes the old ones look good. It seems like they sampled the worst features from all the current uniform designs and put them in a blender and a Falcons jersey popped out.)
32.Green Bay Packers (If you're going to go with spinach and lemon as your primary colors you'd better come up with a really nice design to pull it off. The big G on a yellow helmet obviously ain't it. I would suggest trying the Falcons' strategy and throwing it in a blender.)
Coming up next: the top ten NFL uniforms that no longer exist....
1.Oakland Raiders (If I had just arrived from some far away land and was not bound by geographical loyalties and had to pick a team based purely on the uniforms, the Raiders would be my team. Same result if I had to pick a team based on the theme song.)
2.Buffalo Bills (The Bills were very close to taking the top spot here. I loved the old unis of the 60's and 70's and adored the 80's-90's look as well. Even when they were getting slaughtered in four straight Super Bowls they at least looked cool in the process. The overhaul in '02 was a huge disappointment and I rejoiced when they went to a more classic look last year. Whoever designed this uniform should have a Ninja Turtle named after him.)
3.Washington Redskins (Enjoy them while you can. If the Washington NBA team can move up from gun violence to witchcraft, who knows what direction the NFL team will go. But you can bet the uniforms won't be as sweet as these.)
4.Kansas City Chiefs(See number 3 and number 7.)
5.San Francisco 49ers (Another team that wised up after trying to improve on perfection. Many other teams in the league need to follow their example.)
6.Pittsburgh Steelers (The uniforms alone win them two or three games a year.)
7.Indianapolis Colts ("Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." -Da Vinci)
8.Chicago Bears (It pains me to say it, since I so vigorously root against them twice a year, but you can't wear a Bears uniform without looking tough.)
9.Philadelphia Eagles (It's a step down from the sweet threads that Randall Cunningham and Reggie White wore, but they're still pretty sharp.)
10.Dallas Cowboys (This would be higher on the list if they would wear their home uniforms at home, but unfortunately we only get to see them once or twice a year.)
"When a guy singles out a young woman in some romantic fashion, this means that one of two things is happening. Either he is trying to get her into bed dishonorably, or he is attempting to get her into bed honorably"
The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done. Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain't you.
"This experience has been checked off the list. It isn't just that it's over, but also because it no longer belongs to the exclusive realm of imagination, and to be quite honest, I think my imagination will miss it."
RENTON, WA -- The Seattle Seahawks have decided to take a bold stand this year. In an effort to raise awareness for gay rights, the Seahawks have unveiled the gayest uniforms in NFL history and say they plan to wear them for the entire season.
The uniforms were unveiled earlier this year, but nobody really expected them to be worn on a football field, by football players, in a real football game. But the Seahawks shocked everybody by suiting up the entire team with their gay-friendly jerseys and pants during their first preseason game last Friday, and sources say they will continue to show their support for the gay community in this way for the entire NFL season.
"This is just one small way we can help draw attention to this issue," said owner, Paul Allen. "Perhaps people will be watching a Seahawks game when we're playing against a team that people care about and see that football doesn't have to be such a masculine sport after all. And maybe I should go make out with one of my buddies during halftime."
Many of the Seahawk players are starting to embrace their new identity as the gayest looking team in sports. "At first I wasn't so sure about it," said quarterback Matt Flynn. "But the more I wear this uniform, the gayer I feel. I don't even care about winning anymore. I just wanna dance."
In recent years, other teams like the Falcons, the Bengals, and the Jaguars have tried to raise awareness for gay rights with some of their uniform changes. But the current gay rights campaign by the Seattle Seahawks is being called the boldest move in sports since the Green Bay team chose their nickname. "The Seahawks have set a great example for the rest of the league," said commissioner Roger Goodell. "Perhaps someday we can get to a place where the rest of the league won't be afraid to take a stand like this, and the NFL will be known as the gayest league in the world."