Wednesday, March 31, 2010


"For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death." (2 Corinthians 7:10 NKJV)

It is characteristic of the thinking of our time that the problem of guilt and forgiveness has been pushed into the background and seems to disappear more and more. Modern thought is impersonal. There are, even today, a great many people who understand that man needs salvation, but there are very few who are convinced that he needs forgiveness and redemption... Sin is understood as imperfection, sensuality, worldliness -- but not as guilt.

-- Emil Brunner in The Word and the World


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger; well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim; well, there is such a thing as water. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world… I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country which I shall not find until after death. I must make it the main object of my life to press on to that other country.

-- C. S. Lewis


Monday, March 29, 2010


NOTE: Today, March 29, 2010 marks the eleventh anniversary of the founding of this SOUND BITES Ministry™. SOUND BITES was begun on March 29, 1999 in memory of my son, Dustin, on the first anniversary of his death. SOUND BITES was a GOD IDEA, as today's quote describes.

On this eleventh anniversary, we would value hearing from you and learning how the Spirit is using this God idea of SOUND BITES to minister to you, or how you use it to minister to others. You may comment below. You can also view other comments there as well. Over 2,500 quotes have been sent since beginning SOUND BITES, and now it is reaching over 1,925 subscribers directly and many more as a forward or through the blog. SOUND BITES reaches every state in the U.S. as well as 17 foreign countries that we know of.

Thank you for your support for this God idea, and for sharing SOUND BITES with others.

May you experience a blessed Holy Week…

Rev. Dave Wilkinson, Deacon
First United Methodist Church
Green Bay, Wisconsin


"Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Growing up, I always heard this verse interpreted in negative terms. Take sinful thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. And that is half the battle. But if we see only the negative implications and not the positive possibilities, it becomes a half truth. This verse is not just about capturing sinful thoughts and getting them out of our minds; it's also about capturing creative thoughts and keeping them in our minds. It means stewarding every word, every thought, every impression, and every revelation inspired by the Spirit of God. I call them God ideas. And the way we create culture and change culture is by taking those God ideas captive and then turning them into reality via blood, sweat, and tears. There is a first creation when the God idea is conceived. There is the second creation when the dream becomes reality. And there is a lot of hard work in between.

-- Mark Batterson in PRIMAL: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity


Friday, March 26, 2010


"Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,‘Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

Then [Jesus] entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when He had looked around at everything, as it was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve." (Mark 11:9-11 NRSV)

As a teenager, I thought the triumphal entry was the most exciting story in the Gospel narratives.... Jesus had earned the hosannas of the triumph. The hosannas prove that He has done His job on earth well. The only flaw in my theory comes in this distressing verse from Mark [11:11] that indicates rather clearly that the crowd's acclaim was of no moment to Him; it was just another piece of the job He had to finish. Now that I am older, I have learned that He was right and that keeping one's attention on the kingdom rather than the crowd is the most Christ-like of the spiritual disciplines.

-- Phyllis Tickle in The Upper Room Disciplines 2000, used with permission.


Thursday, March 25, 2010


It is no strain of metaphor to say that the love of God and the wrath of God are the same thing, described from opposite points of view. How we shall experience it depends upon the way we shall come up against it: God does not change; it is man's moral state that changes. The wrath of God is a figure of speech to denote God's unchanging opposition to sin; it is His righteous love operating to destroy evil. It is not evil that will have the last word, but good; not sorrow, but joy; not hate, but love.

-- R. J. Campbell in The Call of Christ


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Romans 3:12 says, "All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." Verse 23 explains, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

The Bible says we're sinners. And when we live with someone, there's little we can hide. In marriage, sinful natures surface in one way or another.

Sin is rebellion against God. It's trusting in only yourself. It's a failure to do right and persistence in doing wrong. It shows up first in our thoughts, then it's revealed by words and actions.

Sin separates. It tears us away from God. It messes up our relationships, including our marriages.

-- Janet Chester Bly in When Your Marriage Disappoints You


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


God made everything through Jesus Christ. John's Gospel… declares, "In the beginning was the Word… He [Christ, the Word] was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and without Him not one thing came into being" (John 1:1-3). John affirms the biblical faith that "in the beginning… God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). Christ is preexistent, greater than any angel, and God through Christ (through the Word) created the universe, which is therefore good (Genesis 1:31). Christ is the Lord over all other forces "visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers" (Colossians 1:16). He is Lord over them because He created them. So why go to them for knowledge? Go directly to Him, for "in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell" (Colossians 1:19).

-- Richard and Julia Wilke in DISCIPLE: Remember Who You Are


Monday, March 22, 2010


[The Christian] refuses to give his heart to, or be taken in by, the values and pleasures off this passing world. He does not hesitate to use all that is good and beautiful and true, partly because he knows that his God gives him "richly all things to enjoy", and partly because he knows that in all life's impermanent beauties and pleasures, there is the promise of the real and permanent which he is thoroughly convinced will exceed his wildest expectations.

But even the Christian, for all this satisfying and hopeful conviction, does not know the meaning of the mystery of life, and if he is wise he does not pretend to. He has enough light to light him on his way, but there are a great many gaps in his knowledge. When he says, "One day we shall understand", he is by no means always uttering a pious platitude. Quite frequently he is voicing a solid conviction, a genuine facet of hope. At present his vision is severely limited, and that is probably just as well, if his sanity is to be preserved. But when he is free of the limitations of temporal life, he has every hope of being able to know as surely as he is at present known.

-- J. B. Phillips in New Testament Christianity


Friday, March 19, 2010


Prayer is co-operation with God. It is the purest exercise of the faculties God has given us--an exercise that links these faculties with the Maker to work out the intentions He had in mind in their creation. Prayer is aligning ourselves with the purposes of God...

Prayer is commitment. We don't merely co-operate with God with certain things held back within. We, the total person, co-operate. This means that co-operation equals commitment. Prayer means that the total you is praying. Your whole being reaches out to God, and God reaches down to you...

Prayer is communion. Prayer is a means, but often it is an end in itself. There are times when your own wants and the needs of others drop away and you want just to look on God's face and tell Him how much you love Him...

Prayer is commission. Out of the quietness with God, power is generated that turns the spiritual machinery of the world. When you pray, you begin to feel the sense of being sent, that the divine compulsion is upon you...

-- E. Stanley Jones in Growing Spiritually


Thursday, March 18, 2010


While a student at what is now Minot State University, I served as choir director and radio soloist for one of the local churches. One Sunday during our live broadcast, I faced the ultimate test of keeping my composure when the pastor announced my solo: "Mr. Tornow will now sing the old Swedish hymn, 'Children of the Heavenly Father,' in memory of Gust Johnson who died at the request of his wife on January 18."

Fortunately, the accompanist came to my rescue by playing a long introduction -- enough time for me to stop laughing.

-- Edward Tornow in Christian Reader "Lite Fare"


Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Wonder not then that all the true followers of Christ, the saints of every age, have so gloried in the cross of Christ, have imputed such great things to it, have desired nothing so much as to be partakers of it, to live in constant union with it. It is because His sufferings, His death and cross, were the fullness of His victory over all the works of the devil. Not an evil in flesh and blood, not a misery of life, not a chain of death, not a power of hell and darkness, but were all baffled, broken, and overcome by the process of a suffering and dying Christ. Well, therefore, may the cross of Christ be the glory of Christians!

-- William Law in The Spirit of Love


Tuesday, March 16, 2010


The world is not divided into the strong who care and the weak who are cared for. We must each in turn care and be cared for, not just because it is good for us, but because it is the way things are.

-- Sheila Cassidy, quoted in Healing After a Loss by Martha Whitmore Hickman


Monday, March 15, 2010


"Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments." (1 John 5:1,2 NRSV)

All of us are like [the prodigal] son, needing more desperately than anything else the strong and gentle embrace of the hands of God. We must be those hands for each other -- not someday, but today…

Let us be gentle with each other. Let us touch each other. Let us touch even those who seem in some superficial way to be different. For we are all of us sons and daughters of God.

I once heard Peter Storey, preaching in Johannesburg during the reign of apartheid, suggest that we should be prepared when we sing that old child's hymn: "Into my heart, into my heart, come into my heart, Lord Jesus." Storey imagined that Jesus' reply would be: "Okay, here I come, but I'm bringing all these other people with Me."

-- James C. Howell in Yours Are the Hands of Christ


Friday, March 12, 2010


Jesus shares our suffering; He nurses us and heals us by His own wounds and stripes. As we go through our valleys, He keeps us constant company. And that is what makes the difference. His presence is joy.

-- Colleen Townsend Evans


Thursday, March 11, 2010


I have long been convinced that it's not too difficult to be Biblical if you don't care about being relevant, and it's not too difficult to be relevant if you don't care about being Biblical. But to be Biblical and relevant is really the assignment confronting the seminary today. If we're going to impact a generation we cannot afford to become disengaged from the society to which God has called us to minister.

-- Dr. Howard Hendricks, Dallas Theological Seminary


Wednesday, March 10, 2010


The deepest longing in a person's heart is to have a relationship with God. When we open the Scriptures, we are surprised to discover how much God desires for His people to have a love relationship with Him. In fact, the more we study the Scriptures, the more we are overwhelmed at the greatness of God's salvation and the love relationship that He seeks to develop with us. God's salvation set in motion everything He intended to accomplish in us. If we do not understand the extent of God's accomplished work on our behalf, we will never experience abundant life, nor will we fulfill God's purpose for our lives. God is not primarily interested in making us successful; instead, His heart desires for us to experience the full measure of His great salvation.

-- Henry Blackaby and Melvin D. Blackaby in Experiencing God Together: God's Plan to Touch Your World


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


The quest for the lost soul of Christianity always leads us back to the Bible. But discovering the wonders of Scripture requires more than reading. That's where the quest begins, but that's not where it ends. Not if you want to get it into your soul. You have to meditate on it. Then you have to live it out. Meditating on it turns one-dimensional knowledge into two-dimensional understanding. Living it out turns two-dimensional understanding into three-dimensional obedience.

-- Mark Batterson in Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity


Monday, March 8, 2010


Repentance is not necessarily the gloomy and self-loathing practice it is sometimes made out to be. To repent is not to be confirmed in what that little voice within keeps whispering: that you are no good, that everything bad that happens to you is your own fault, that if only others knew what you were really like, they would cease to care for or be interested in you. No.

True repentance begins with the felt knowledge that we are loved by God… Repentance consists not so much in flagellating ourselves over our "failures" as in courageously and painstakingly reorienting our priorities, unlearning old patterns, turning our faces, like the sunflower, toward the dawning of the light of God.

-- Wendy M. Wright in The Vigil: Keeping Watch in the Season of Christ's Coming (Nashville, Tenn.: Upper Room Books, 1992, used with permission)