“PULSE: Life In Rhythm” by Brian Branam

There is a commercial that runs that shows a guy walking around in a park asking people this question: “Do you know how healthy your heart is?”. After they answer this rather simple question, he goes on to explain to them that they can have a complete EKG rating in their hands in just a matter of a few seconds with a new electronic device. This revolutionary device will actually let them know for sure how healthy (or unhealthy) their heart actually is.

Pulse: Life In Rhythm is one such “revolutionary device” that can help our spiritual hearts stay in rhythm with God’s.

Brian Branam is a pastor, blogger (www.brianbranam.com), author and more importantly, a friend! He has written several books entitled Lionheart & #TheWalk. His latest book PULSE: Life In Rhythm is our subject of today’s Quotes from My Readings.

In PULSE: Life In Rhythm, Brian walks people through the life of David and shows us that even though God said that “David was a man after my own heart”, that David’s heart was not always in rhythm with God’s. Brian describes the book this way:

Men are giving up. Men are giving up on family, work, and at a staggering rate; men are giving up on life.

Pulse is an examination of David, whom the Bible calls a man after God’s own heart. David was royal and awful. He was a success and a failure. He was raw, but redeemed. David had plenty of reason to give up, but was consistently drawn to deeper truths that helped him get his life back in rhythm.

By telling the story of a man whose heart went in and out of rhythm, Pulse give every man reason to get up rather than give up.

This book discusses topics such as Commitment, Courage, Toughness, Valor, Favor, Obedience and others. I wanted to share with you today several of my favorite quotes from this book:

The world is looking for every opportunity to use a man like a rusty tool and then toss him. But when God grabs hold of our story, a man’s life takes on new significance.

The people who are sought and supported may not be the most talented, most intelligent, or most physically gifted, but they have a devoted heart.

Every man needs something inside him that’s bigger than what comes against him. David’s inner passion for the glory of God made him gigantic, regardless of his physical size.

If you can focus on God’s purpose for you, then nothing asked of you will be beneath you. Nothing will belittle you. You may have big hopes, big dreams, and a big calling, but never ignore an opportunity for humble obedience.

Falling for temptation is a personal foul because you can’t sin without it negatively changing who you are in your heart.

When things go wrong, stubborn human beings always tend to get angry with God. But we seldom consider how our circumstances may be a direct consequence of our own terrible decisions. God often lets the nature consequences of our wickedness run their course.

Without fear, people measure every worship service, sermon, or answer to prayer by whether or not it pleases them. Conversely, those who fear God worship him in Spirit and truth, making it their utmost concern to do only what pleases him. Without fear, we exalt our sinfulness and ignore God’s holiness. We drive ignorantly into dangerous places. Fear is the foundation for true obedience.

I can not tell you how much I needed this book. Just like an EKG helps to show us if our heart has a good rhythm or not, this book served as a guide to help me see areas that needed to be put back in rhythm with God’s own heart.

I can not tell you how much you will be strengthened & encouraged by this book. I can not recommend it enough that you get a copy and read it for yourself. You will be strengthened and encouraged! (You can order a copy below)

May we always be in rhythm with the pulse of God Almighty!

You can order your own copy of PULSE: Life In Rhythm on Amazon – https://amzn.to/3a7C7yq

Quotes From Kyle Idleman’s book “Grace Is Greater” – Part 1

Quotes from my readings banner

I started reading Kyle Idleman’s new book entitled Grace Is Greater a few weeks ago and it is just like his other books – excellent!

Part of the description on the back of the book explains it this way, “Perhaps nothing is as difficult to explain as God’s grace. The best way – perhaps the only real way – to understand it is to experience it.

In this book, Kyle Idleman leads the readers “past our hang-ups toward an understanding of grace that is bigger than our mistakes, our failures, our desires for revenge, and our seemingly impossible situations. Through powerful stories of grace experienced, this book will help you truly grasp God’s grace … even if the Christians around you have failed to live it”.

I am only a few chapters into this book, but wanted to share with you a few of my favorite quotes so far:

God’s grace is compelling when explained but irresistible when experienced.

Our ability to appreciate grace is in direct correlation to the degree to which we acknowledge our need for it. The more I recognize the ugliness of my sin, the more I can appreciate the beauty of God’ grace.

If we miss the reality and the depth of our sin, we miss out on the grace of God. As long as we think I’m not a bad person, grace will never seem that good.

We can all find ways to reach the conclusion that I’m not that bad, but in doing so we miss out on God’s great gift of grace. Until we recognize our need for grace, we won’t care about receiving it.

I can tell you confidently that you’ve done nothing so horrible that grace can’t cover it. Grace is always greater – no matter what. The truth is I am worse than I ever wanted to admit, but God’ grace is greater than I ever could have imagined.

One of my favorites so far:

The worst thing that could happen is that you spend your life trying to outrun God because you think he’s chasing you to collect what you owe – when he’s really chasing you to give you what you could never afford.

Quotes are from “Grace Is Greater” by Kyle Idleman (chapters 1-2)

Quotes from David Platt’s Book “Counter Culture”

Quotes from my readings banner

david-plattJust recently, my church went through David Platt’s Bible study entitled “Counter Culture”. It is an excellent study that shows how Christians should be countering our culture when faced with things like poverty, same-sex marriage, racism, immigration, abortion, pornography, and orphans.

A description of the book is as follows:

Everywhere we turn, battle lines are being drawn – traditional marriage vs. gay marriage, pro-life vs. pro-choice, personal freedom vs. governmental protection. Seemingly overnight, culture has shifted to the point where right and wrong are no longer measured by universal truth but by popular opinion. And as difficult conversations about homosexuality, abortion and religious freedom continue to inject themselves into our workplace, our churches,, our schools and our homes, Christians everywhere are asking the same question: How are we suppose to respond to all this?

David Platt (current president of the International Mission Board & former pastor at The Church at Brook Hills) tackles these subjects head-on and takes us to God’s Word for the answers. Each subject is looked at through the lens of what God says in His Word vs. what the world is saying.

Each chapter is excellent and brings out some great points but I want to focus on several quotes from the last chapter entitled “The Most Urgent Need: The Gospel & The Unreached”.

David opens the book with asking three questions that each of us must answer for ourselves.

  1. Are we going to choose comfort for the cross?
  2. Are we going to settle for maintenance or sacrifice for mission?
  3. Will our lives be marked by indecisive minds or undivided hearts?

Platt is urging the church and Christians to answer these questions. He makes the following statement:

Are we going to follow Jesus? Not, are we going to bow our heads, say a prayer, read the Bible, go to church, and give a tithe while we get on with the rest of our lives? But, are we going to follow Jesus with all our lives, no matter where He leads us to go, how countercultural the task is, or what the cost may be for us, our families, and our churches?

He goes on to talk about choosing comfort over the cross:

When we observe our churches today, do they look like groups of people who gather with one another as they give their lives to spread the gospel among unreached people, impoverished communities, abandoned orphans, lonely widows, dying babies, sex slaves, and suffering brother and sisters around the world? Sadly, I don’t believe that’s the picture we portray. Instead, we spend the majority of our time sitting as spectators in services that cater to our comforts. Even in our giving to the church, we spend the majority of our money on places for us to meet, professionals to do the ministry, and programs designed around us and our kids.

I can’t help but wonder what might happen if we put aside our personal preferences, let go or our extra biblical (and in some cases unbiblical) traditions, lay down our cultural comforts, and organize ourselves solely and sacrificially around God’s Word and gospel mission.

David Platt then talks about are we settling for maintenance or are we willing to sacrifice for the mission:

Over the course of the book, we have considered massive physical needs in the world. Yet as we contemplate these needs, if we are not careful, we run the risk of ignoring people’s most pressing need. That need is not for water, food, family, freedom, safety, or equality. As urgent as all of these things are for men, women, and children around the world, they are surpassed in urgency by a much greater need. That need – the most urgent need – is for the gospel.

The central message of the church in the world, then, is proclaiming the gospel to the world.

Jesus Christ gave us marching orders, and they are clear. Proclaim the gospel – the good news of God’s great love for us in Christ – to every people group on the planet.

Platt concludes the chapter by explaining that too many people are marked by indecisive minds. He pleads with each of us to have undivided hearts toward the work of spending the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Following Jesus doesn’t just entail sacrificial abandonment of our lives: it requires supreme affection from our hearts.

What must be consistent for all of us, however, is that we pray, give and go as He leads, and as we do, that we proclaim the gospel with conviction, compassion, and courage.

My favorite quote from this chapter and one that I hope and pray that I live out is the following:

For if the gospel is true, and if our God is worthy of the praise of all people, then we must spend our lives and mobilize our churches for the spread of Christ’s love to unreached people groups all around the world. Jesus has not given us a commission to consider; He has given us a command to obey.

Raising Kids For TRUE Greatness – Part I

Quotes from my readings banner

So what is TRUE greatness?

You can ask 10 people this questions and receive 10 different answers back in return.

I just got finished reading a book entitled Raising Kids for TRUE Greatness by Dr. Tim Kimmel. Dr. Kimmel is the founder of Family Matters Ministries and is a Bryan College graduate. He is an award-winning author of Grace Based Parenting, Why Christian Kids Rebel & Little House on the Freeway. 

Kimmel begins the book by say,

A person can be successful without coming close to being truly great. And wouldn’t we all rather aim our children toward true greatness?

I believe that every parent would want their children to be truly great! The problem is that people have looked to the world to gain their definition of success instead of looking into God’s Word. The world defines success by the following:

  • Fame
  • Power
  • Health & Beauty
  • Wealth

By the world’s standards, if you have these things, then you are successful. It does not matter the cost or what it takes to get there. But this is so contrary to what God’s Word teaches us. Dr. Kimmel explains that “according to Jesus, if we want our kids to be truly great, we must first teach them to be servants.”

Matthew 20:25-28 says, “But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

God’s goals for our children often run counter to the default mode of the human heart.

Dr. Kimmel’s definition of TRUE greatness is this:

TRUE greatness is a passionate love for God that demonstrates itself in an unquenchable love and concern for others.

Sounds a whole lot like the two greatest commandments – doesn’t it!?!

Why do we dream such small dreams & expect so little from our children? Why do we assume that we have such limited capabilities as parents? Why do we assume that great people have to be the exception rather than the rule when it comes to our efforts as parents? Why don’t we think that our children can ever take rank among the truly great? Worse, why do we sell God’s bigger plan for our lives so short?

It makes so much more sense to raise your kids to live faithful and effective lives on earth and then leave the breadth of their success up to God.

Be watching for more blog post about Raising Kids for TRUE Greatness!

I would like to invite you to join Mickey Rector & myself for Parenting Essentials on Facebook LIVE every Wednesday at 12 noon. Parenting Essentials is a broadcast filled with practical advice to help parents train and disciple their children. Visit the Mile Straight Baptist Facebook page to watch!

We Need Everything From God

Quotes from my readings banner

I am currently reading through the book “Big Truths for Young Hearts” by Bruce A. Ware. Bruce is a professor of Christian theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The reason he wrote this book was to impart “big truths” to his daughters. He would put them to bed and talk about these subjects, but put them in a language that even a small child would understand. After this daughters were grown, they earned him to compile all of these big truths and put them in book form.

Two great “big truths” that he started off with are “God is God from Us” & “God is God with Us”. Let me explain, or better yet, read what Bruce wrote:

BIG TRUTH: God is God from Us

God is God – completely and perfectly – without anything in the world helping God to be God.

Indeed, God is great – so great that nothing could add to his greatness. And the greatness of God – the fact that he possesses within himself everything that is good and wise and perfect – indicates to us just how much we should honor him as God and depend on him for all that we need. We should be humbled before this great and mighty God, realizing that while we can give nothing to him that he doesn’t already have, he has everything that we need. Our hearts should long to praise this God and to live in dependence upon him. Yes, indeed, God deserves nothing less.

BIG TRUTH: God is God with Us

Even though God is fully God apart from us and apart from the whole creation that he has made, the Bible also teaches that God is a God who is with us. We must first realize that God didn’t need to create this world or to create us. So, we are not here to fill some supposed emptiness in God or because God needs us somehow to help him out. Second, we must remember that after God created us, we turned against him, rejected his goodness and wanted to live our lives our own way. Because we have sinned against God, we deserve to be rejected by God, not accepted by him.

So, it really is amazing and wonderful that even though God doesn’t need us, and even though we have turned away from God in our sin, God comes to us, makes himself know to us, and desires to give himself fully to us. While God is fully God apart from us, amazingly, God is also a God who has chosen to be with us.

Why has he chosen to do this? Has he come because he needs something from us? No, rather God sees that we need something – everything! – from him. God chooses to come to those who are humble before him, “to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to review the heart of the contrite.” In other words, God comes to us not so we can fill up some emptiness in God (there is none), but so he can fill up the huge emptiness in us. Even though God doesn’t need us, he loves us, and he wants us to receive from him all of the goodness, blessing, and the joy that he has for those who will be humble and dependent before him.

Praise the Lord that he is God from us and that he is God with us!

Quotes from “The End Of Me”

The End Of Me Banner


I just finished reading a book by Kyle Idleman entitled “The End of Me”. Kyle is the teaching pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the bestselling author of “Not A Fan”, “Gods At War” & “AHA”. “The End of Me” is described this way:

Kyle Idleman reveals that the key to the abundant life Jesus promises lies in embracing His inside-out way of life.

Kyle examines Jesus’s Sermons on the Mount and unpacks many other counterintuitive truths from Scripture, including brokenness is the way to wholeness, mourning is the path to blessing, and emptiness is required to know true fullness. As you begin to live out these paradoxical principles, you will ultimately discover how Jesus transforms you.

Only when you come to the end of yourself can you begin to experience the full, blessed, and whole life Jesus offers.

This book was packed with lots of greats quotes and so I wanted to share some of them. (Bold quotes are my favorite)

The End Of Me:

Reaching the end of me is a daily journey I must make because it’s where Jesus shows up and my real life in Him begins.

Jesus will show us that blessings and fulfillment is found in the least likely place – the end of ourselves.


Jesus is saying that God’s kingdom begins in you when you come to the end of yourself and realize you have nothing to offer. It’s precisely the opposite of every assumption we tend to make in this world.

The less you see your own brokenness, the more broken you are.


There’s nothing life can throw at us that God can’t use to draw us nearer to Him.

Without seeing the depths of sin, we’ll never understand the heights of God’s love and grace.


Pride is the ultimate issue of the human condition – not just one of the “deadly sins” but the mother of them all.

Bible-time Pharisees were so good with rules and pious acts that they became legends in their own minds. Yet it wasn’t real. The Messiah stood before them, invisible to their eyes. The needs of the hungry and the sick, all around them, didn’t register. The things they cared about didn’t intersect with the things God care about.

The greatest danger in life is anything other than Jesus that becomes a foundation for our confidence.


When the inside and outside match up,  you’re pure in heart and you’re where He wants you to be.

A great part of the upside-down inside-out message of Jesus is that God doesn’t look so much on the outside, which is so easy to fake. He looks more on the inside, where we are what we are.

Jesus calls us to live one life and live it out in the open. His name for that is purity of heart, and his reward for that is a rich and fulfilled blessing in life.

To authentically know Him and to be authentically known by Him is what my soul was made for.

Empty To Be Filled:

The story found in 2 Kings 4, is a reminder that God loves to fill empty things – whether it’s a jar or a measure of hope. Jars are made for filling. They don’t fill themselves, but they receive what is poured into them. All jars begin with emptiness.

Disqualified To Be Chosen:

If anyone was disqualified for leadership, shouldn’t it have been a man who murdered believers and organized search-and-destroy missions against the church? (Paul)

Coming to the end of me also means allowing Jesus to put an end to the guilt and shame of the past. He declares your permanent record and offers you a new beginning with a new purpose.

For those of us worried about how others see us, we have to move forward even if we don’t know where we stand with them. God determines your future, not others.

Weak To Be Strong:

Why poverty? What a stable? Why blue-collar shepherds? Because He’s God, and God chooses weakness as the best setting to display His strength. Weakness creates the space that God fills with his strength. He stepped into poverty, weakness, and obscurity, and all we’re left to say is, “Look what God can do.” He takes a blank canvas of drab gray and says, “Watch this!”

The End Of Me:

Death renders all worldly points moot. It’s the ultimate, required surrender of yourself and all you have. When Jesus speaks of dying to ourselves, this is what He wants us to think about. All the stuff of the world is dead to us, and we’re dead to it.

It’s inherently human to focus on ourselves, It’s how we are. Jesus teaches us to deny ourselves, to die to ourselves but that doesn’t mean it ever becomes easy. Each day when we climb out of bed to begin a new day, we’re still human. The old self gets out of bed with us, and we have to put on Christ as an act of will, over and over.

I would love to hear from you on what your favorite quote was. Leave me a comment.