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Tidbits – January 2024

It was the best and worst of times

“The Christian only has to endure this world, this is as bad as it gets for us. But non-Christians have to enjoy this world, this is as good as it gets for them!”
– Kel Richards’ The Case of the Damascus Dagger

Titles worth the price of the book

I’ve read my favorite writing book a few times now, but in recent years, when I’m battling a bout of writer’s block, I don’t need to read it. I can just pull it off the shelf, take a good long look at the title there on the cover, and that’s enough: If You Can Talk, You Can Write. Here are a few other books with especially instructive titles.

  • Everyone’s a Theologian – R.C. Sproul knows theology – the study of God – isn’t just for pastors, but for parishioners too.
  • Why It Might Be OK to Eat Your Neighbor: If atheism is right can anything be wrong? – Sometimes a title can be too good. I haven’t read this one, and feel like, after reading this fantastic title, I might have gotten enough of the gist that I don’t need to.
  • Fire Someone Today – This is a business book by a Christian businessman, Bob Pritchett, running a Christian company, and he found out that, while you want to do right by your employees, it is also good to recognize God does give out different talents, so sometimes firing an employee who can’t measure up is actually freeing them up to find out what they really should be doing.
  • Amusing Ourselves to Death – Neil Postman’s oldie but goodie is still applicable in a time when social media contagions have folks amusing themselves right into cutting off healthy body parts.
  • Do Hard Things: A teenage rebellion against low expectations – Two teens, brothers Alex and Brett Harris, wrote a challenge to teens to pull up their socks… and make their beds… and clerk for Supreme Court Justices.
  • Oops! I forgot my wife – How many wives suffer from neglect? This one’s a humorous, fictional smack-down on the self-centered husband written by a counselor who wants to help them change.
  • Just Do Something – Looking for God’s will for your life, and stuck in neutral trying to figure out what it is? Kevin DeYoung has some help for you and it starts on the front cover!
  • Do Not Be True to Yourself – Another from Kevin DeYoung, gets right to the point. We were made to glorify God, not ourselves!
  • Wolf in their Pockets – Occasional RP contributor Chris Martin wrote a book on smartphones and social media that’s well worth reading, but the title offers quite the refresher all on its own.

National debt costs $3 a day in interest for every man, woman, and child

In a Sept. 15 press conference, Christian Heritage Party leader Rod Taylor noted that:

“…Canada is deeply in debt. The federal government owes about $1.2 trillion. A trillion is a thousand billion and a billion is a thousand million. Our current government is adding to that debt at the rate of $109 million per day. And what is that debt costing? $120 million every single day in interest alone.”

With a population of almost 39 million, that works out to an average of around $100 a month or just over $1,100 a year that the Canadian government will have to take from every man, woman, and child in Canada, just to service our interest payments. Of course, they aren’t even managing that, which is why our debt continues to grow, increasing the burden for the next generation. That is not the sort of inheritance that the good man of Proverbs 13:22 is supposed to leave for his children’s children.

A dozen deep thoughts

  • A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
  • Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  • Save a tree. Eat a beaver.
  • Always remember that you are unique; just like everyone else.
  • Few women admit their age; few men act it.
  • Never answer an anonymous letter.
  • Was the pole vault accidentally discovered by a clumsy javelin thrower?
  • Two wrongs may not make a right, but three lefts do.
  • If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?
  • Can you buy an entire chess set at a pawnshop?
  • If Americans throw rice at weddings, then Asians must throw hamburgers.
  • Don’t think that you’re thinking. If you think that you’re thinking you
    only think that you’re thinking.

5 ways to improve instantly that require no talent

If your basketball team tryouts are tomorrow, it’d be great if you could shoot 40% from the 3-point line. The coaches would love that! But that’s a skill that takes years to develop, so if you don’t already know how to do it, there’s not a lot you can do about it between now and tomorrow.

But there are things you can do right now that don’t require any skill, but could get you noticed by a coach. These could make you a valuable member of the team instantly, and they go way beyond just sports. If it’s tough to keep all five in mind, then focus on couple, or three, for now.

  1. REALLY LISTEN – It’s one thing to listen, and another to engage your brain and interact with what your coach is saying. How many of your teammates are thinking through why the coach has you running this particular drill? If you know the why behind the what you’ll be able to make the most of your practice time, and your skills will grow. Listen with your brain!
  2. BE ON TIME – If you’re just 5 minutes late, but 11 teammates and a coach are waiting for you, you’ve just blown an hour’s worth of practice time (12 x 5 = 60 minutes). So respect your coach and teammates’ time by showing up just a bit ahead of when you’re supposed to.
  3. OUTWORK YOUR OPPONENT – A mediocre player giving 100% may be able to shut down a much more skilled player who’s going just 80. The trick here is that we often think we’re giving it our all, when we actually have a lot more in the tank. So analyze your effort.
  4. HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE – There are professional athletes who make millions without ever getting on the court – they’re wanted just for their positive presence on the bench and in the locker room.
  5. GOOD BODY LANGUAGE – Show your positive attitude. Just as an athlete can show attitude toward his coach and teammates without saying a word, you can give them a boost by walking around with energy, whooping it up from the bench, and just keeping the energy flowing!

Dad joke refresher

For the fathers out there needing some new material…

  • I asked the beekeeper for a dozen bees, and he gave me thirteen – he said the last one was a freebee.
  • The Texan I dated broke up with me; she said I was just too un-American. I should have seen it coming a kilometer away.
  • Yesterday I was painting the house with my son. He said, “Dad, can’t you just use a paintbrush?”
  • My wife asked me if I’d seen the fish bowl. I told her, “I never imagined he could.”
  • My wife really knows nothing about sports. When I told her I’d gotten a hole in one, she went and got me a pair of socks.
  • I hear some people pick their nose, but I never got consulted.
  • How do flat-earthers travel? On a plane.
  • My wife is into philosophy. On our last date night, when I got the chicken salad she picked the egg salad just to see whose order would come first.
  • I can’t keep up with the abbreviations kids use these days and my daughters are no help. When I asked what “idk” stood for, they all pretended not to know.

When the mask comes off

Laura Klassen’s pro-life organization Choice42 regularly saves babies from abortion by helping out their moms. And when a baby is born, the thankful mom will often share a pic with Choice42, to encourage other moms to make the same choice. But a curious thing happens when Klassen posts one of these baby pictures. Folks from the other side blow a gasket. But why? As Klassen notes:

“Funny how whenever we post pics of babies saved from abortion, some people get triggered and feel the need to comment about #abortionrights or their general hate for babies. A simple ‘congrat’ will do. After all, these women chose their babies, and y’all are #prochoice, right?”

Getting out of the friend zone

Commentator Aaron Renn has coined “The Kathy Keller Rule” for all of those out there stuck firmly in the dreaded “friend zone.” As he explained it in his newsletter some years back, getting stuck in the friend zone happens,

“…when one person wants more out of a friendship than the other person does…. one person wants to make the relationship romantic but the other person wants to remain friends.”

While it isn’t always so, the “wants more” is often the girl, while “just friends” is typically the guy. There can be some cluelessness to this; the fellow might not be stringing her along on purpose. But intentional or not, he’s enjoying some of the joys of a real relationship – the flattering, even ego-boosting, attention of the opposite sex, and the convenience of having someone who’ll drop most anything to go see the latest movie with you – without having to actually give her much of himself. This one-sided exchange is only possible because there is what Renn calls an “asymmetry of intent.” He gives as an example, a story Tim Keller tells in his book The Meaning of Marriage, about Keller’s relationship with his wife.

“Though we were best friends and kindred spirits, I was still hurting from a previous relationship that had ended badly. Katy was patient and understanding up to a point, but the day came when she said, ‘Look, I can’t take this anymore. I have been expecting to be promoted from friend to girlfriend. I know you don’t mean to be saying this, but every day you don’t choose me to be more than a friend, it feels as if I’ve been weighed and found wanting – hoping that someday you’ll want me to be more than a friend. I’m not calling myself a pearl, and I’m not calling you a pig, but one of the reasons Jesus told his disciples not to cast pearls before swine was because a pig can’t recognize the value of a pearl. If you can’t see me as valuable to you, then I’m not going to keep throwing myself into your company, hoping and hoping. I can’t do it. The rejection that I perceive, whether you intend it or not, is just too painful.

“That’s exactly what she said. It got my attention. It sent me into a time of deep self-examination. A couple of weeks later, I made the choice.”

Renn then proposes “The Kathy Keller Rule”:

“Do not stay in a friendship where your desire for romance is persistently denied, but deliver an ultimatum (or ask the other person out on a date), exiting the friendship if the other person chooses not to reciprocate your desires.”

I think this is great advice. Really great advice even. But I’ll also add, this isn’t out of the Good Book, so take it for what it is – some common sense to consider, but not an 11th Commandment to be obeyed without question.

Just one issue?

“If you’re pro-life, you realize abortion is murder. How can you say ‘it’s one of many issues’ and vote for a pro-choice candidate? What policy of theirs could be so good that it’s worth allowing millions of babies to be killed?”
– Seamus Coughlin

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In a Nutshell

Tidbits – December 2023

“You better watch out!” It’s nearing that time of year again, when you might hear the chorus of a familiar Bing Crosby hit. I always thought it sounds a bit like he was talking about God (he's not). My friend's thinking went in a completely different direction, and he wrote his own ending... He knows when you've been sleeping He knows when you're awake He knows if you've been bad or good, We're in a surveillance state! Next issue for the Supreme Court? Despite dying over a hundred years ago poet William Cosmo Monkhouse (1840-1901) has his finger on the pulse of today’s culture. There once was an old man of Lyme Who married three wives at a time. When asked, “Why a third?” He replied, “One’s absurd! And bigamy, sir, is a crime.” Lyrics o’ the month In his song Screen Door, Rich Mullins seemed to be working through James 2:14-26, (and Matthew 7:15-20, Galatians 5:6, Hebrews 6:10, etc.). It's about as useless as a screen door on a submarine Faith without works baby, it just ain't happening One is your left hand, one is your right It'll take two strong arms to hold on tight Some folks cut off their nose, just to spite their face I think you need some works to show for your alleged faith Well there's a difference you know 'Tween having faith and playing make believe One will make you grow, the other one just make you sleep Talk about it but I really think you oughta Take a leap off of the ship before you claim to walk on water Faith without works is like a song you can't sing It's about as useless as a screen door on a submarine Faith comes from God and every word that He breathes He lets you take it to your heart, so you can give it hands and feet It's gotta be active if it's gonna be alive You gotta put it into practice, otherwise… Faith without works is like a song you can't sing It's about as useless as a screen door on a submarine T-shirt Christianity. the best kind sells shirt to direct people to their website, which offers up compelling and comprehensive information on the evils of abortion. You can buy this shirt and many others at here. And if you want to create your own t-shirt design, be sure to check out RP's t-shirt contest. Spurgeon spouting sense on… EVANGELISM: “Every Christian here is either a missionary or an imposter.” BEATING PROCRASTINATION: “The way to do a great deal is to keep on doing a little. The way to do nothing at all is to be continually resolving that you will do everything.” FINDING A PERFECT CHURCH: “If I had never joined a church till I had found one that was perfect, I should never have joined one at all; and the moment I did join it, if I had found one, I should have spoiled it, for it would not have been a perfect church after I had become a member of it. Still, imperfect as it is, it is the dearest place on earth to us.” LOVING GOD’S WORD: “A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” Top 10 math jokes • Counting in binary is as easy as 01, 10, 11… • Do you hear about the mathematician who was afraid of negative numbers? He’d stop at nothing to avoid them. This is either funny or educational “There are just two kinds of people in this world: those who believe in false dichotomies, and penguins.” SOURCE: Spotted on a t-shirt  Laundry tips for guys Shirts have to be changed daily; jeans can last forever. No one sees it, and it doesn’t wrinkle anyway – don’t fold your underwear. Stress relieving tip: when buying black socks, make sure all of them are exactly the same. Pairing sports socks wastes time – make sure you've bought just one kind, then dump the mass of them straight into your sock drawer. No one knows how to fold a fitted sheet – don’t try. Washing your shirts in cold will keep your whites from becoming pinks. Only your underwear, towels, sheets, and workout clothes need to be washed in hot. Nothing like a good (or gross) illustration to clear away the confusion While it seems safe to say most Reformed Perspective readers didn't see Fifty Shades of Grey, many professing Christians did. And one of the justifications they used might sound familiar: “I’m not watching it for the sex; I’m watching it for the story.” This is a line that many a Christian has used to justify watching many a film that wouldn't meet with grandma’s approval. "But grandma," we say, "we understand the sex scene is vile, but we’re enduring it to get to all the other good stuff in the film." However, WORLD magazine writer Emily Whitten says Christians are just lying to themselves with this type of justification. She makes use of a simple illustration to help us see through our self-deception. "Here’s a quick reality check as to whether the played a role in your enjoyment: If all the sex in the movie were replaced with long scenes of the characters’ experiencing recurring diarrhea, would you still find the story as endearing or entertaining? Would you be willing to sit through something so disgusting to get to the love story?  If not, then you are seeing it for the sex scenes at some level." SOURCE: Emily Whitten’s “Five myths about Fifty Shades of Grey” I think I get it, therefore I am Rene Decartes walks into a bar. The bartender asks, “Would you like a beer?” Descartes replies, “I think not,” and then promptly disappears. SOURCE: Andy Simmon’s “25 Jokes that make you sound like a genius” in the Sept. 2014 issue of Reader’s Digest The Bible is a miraculous whole In my first-year English class our learned professor told the class that the Bible was most certainly the greatest book ever. He praised it for the excellence found in its many parts – I can still remember the quiet awe that came over him when speaking of the Bible’s poetry. But despite that awe, he wasn’t a Christian. I don’t think he understood how all those excellent parts came together in a remarkable whole. As pastor R.A. Torrey once explained, the unity of the Bible gives evidence of the One Mind behind it all. "The Bible consists of sixty-six books, written by more than thirty different men, extending in the period of its composition over more than fifteen hundred years; written in three different languages, in many different countries, and by men on every plane of social life, from the herdsman and fisherman and cheap politician up to the king upon his throne; written under all sorts of circumstances; yet in all this wonderful conglomeration, we find an absolute unity of thought. "A wonderful thing about it is that this unity does not lie on the surface. On the surface there is oftentimes apparent contradiction, and the unity only comes out after deep and protracted study. "More wonderful yet is the organic character of this unity, beginning in the first book and growing till you come to its culmination in the last book of the Bible. We have first the seed, then the plant, then the bud, then the blossom, then the ripened fruit. "Suppose a vast building were to be erected, the stones for which were brought from the quarries in Rutland, Vermont; Berea, Ohio; Kasota, Minnesota, and Middletown, Connecticut. Each stone was hewn into final shape in the quarry from which it was brought. These stones were of all varieties of shape and size, cubical, rectangular, cylindrical, etc., but when they were brought together every stone fitted into its place, and when put together there rose before you a temple absolutely perfect in every outline, with its domes, sidewalls, buttresses, arches, transepts–not a gap or a flaw anywhere. How would you account for it? You would say: 'Back of these individual workers in the quarries was the master-mind of the architect who planned it all, and gave to each individual worker his specifications for the work.' "So in this marvelous temple of God’s truth which we call the Bible, whose stones have been quarried at periods of time and in places so remote from one another, but where every smallest part fits each other part, we are forced to say that back of the human hands that wrought was the Master-mind that thought."...