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Perception versus reality is often a difficult battle for a Christian. For this world is not my home, I’m just passing through. Paul speaks of this in 2 Corinthians 6 where he talks of persecution versus the reality of situation.

We are treated

as impostors, and yet are true;

as unknown, and yet well known;

as dying, and behold, we live;

as punished, and yet not killed;

as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing;

as poor, yet making many rich;

as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

2 Corinthians 6:8b-10

We are treated as impostors in this world, and yet we have the truth. Help them to know the truth, and the truth will set them free. As Paul says later on in the chapter, “widen your hearts” that we who are poor can make others rich.

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Why Does He Save Us?

jordantmoody —  October 23, 2014 — Leave a comment

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses made us alive together with Christ– by Grace you have been saved-– and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:4-6

So God…

  1. Loved us
  2. Saved us
  3. Raised us

But why?

Have you ever thought about that?

Why did God go through all the trouble to stick with us good for nothing mess-ups?! Well, the answer is found in verse 7 and also in Psalm 67:2

WHY:

So that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  Ephesians 2:7

that your way may be known on earth,

your saving power among all nations. Psalm 67:2

The answer isn’t as fuzzy feely as you might have hoped.

  1. God saved us to promote his own grace and kindness.
  2. God saved us to show his saving power to everyone everywhere.
  3. God saved us to glorify himself.

At first, I had a hard time coming to grips with this megalomaniac I was reading about here. But it all started to make sense to me through the following illustration that just popped into my brain the other day.

It’s the 4th quarter, it’s the last 10 seconds, it’s the last shot to win the game. Who do you want taking that shot? I would want my best player taking that shot. I would want the best player in the world taking that shot.

It’s a penalty kick in the 93rd minute of the game. It’s tied 1-1. You make this penalty kick and you win the game. Who do you want taking that kick? The best player, obviously.

For me this whole idea becomes very clear to me when I take into account my inabilities and God’s supreme abilities. God is the best ever.(period) There is nothing else like him. He calls himself I AM THAT I AM in order to insure our awe (pick gaping jaw off of ground) at his infinite state of being. He was there before the foundation of the world. He is. We are. He is the Uncaused Cause. We only exist because he exists. The very notion of existence exists because he exists. Okay. You get the point.

It’s the end of time. You only got one shot at death. Jesus steps up to the plate.

He’s pinch hitting for me. Jesus is up to bat for me.

So when we win. (Revelation says so) I’m glad He gets the glory.

Because He deserves it. He hit the home-run I would never have been able to hit.

Thank-you Jesus.

All glory and honor to your name.

 

I have been studying through “Spiritual Leadership” by J. Oswald Sanders and I’ve come across some incredible challenging thoughts. I would like to simply share some of those thoughts with you and with myself as I seek to record some of these key ideas for future reminders.

 

Professor G. Warneck described Hudson Taylor, the missionary pioneer to China: “A man full of faith and the Holy Ghost, of entire surrender to God and His call, of great self-denial, heartfelt compassion, rare poser in prayer, marvelous organizing faculty, indefatigable perseverance, and of astounding influence with men, and withal of childlike simplicity himself.”

 

Vision involves foresight as well as insight.

 

Vision involves optimism and hope. The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty. The pessimist tends to hold back people of vision from pushing ahead. Caution has its role to play. We all live in a real world of limitation and inertia. Cautious Christians draw valuable lessons from history and tradition, but are in danger of being chained to the past.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a conviction that no sermon is ready for preaching…until we can express its theme in a short, pregnant sentence as clear as a crystal. I find the getting of that sentence is the hardest, the most exacting and the most fruitful labor in my study…I do not think any sermon ought to be preached, or even written, until that sentence has emerged, clear and lucid as a cloudless moon

How to Prepare a Sermon – J.H. Jowett

J.I. Packer – Knowing God – Selective clips from Chapter 20

To many Christians, guidance is a chronic problem. Why? Not because they doubt that divine guidance is a fact, but because they are sure it is. 

They know that God can guide, and has promised to guide, every Christian believer. Books, and friends, and public speakers, tell them how guidance has worked in the lives of others. Their fear, therefore, is not that no guidance should be available for them, but that they may miss the guidance which God provides through some fault of their own. 

This is me. When it comes down to finding God’s will for my life, to often I am looking for a shooting start to point the way. I know God can communicate but I am anxious that it won’t be obvious and I will miss the direction.

Belief that divine guidance is real rests upon two foundational-facts: 

  1. The reality of God’s plan for us
  2. The ability of God to communicate with us.

Has God a plan for individuals? Indeed He has. He has formed an ‘eternal purpose,’ a plan for the fullness of time, in accordance with which he ‘accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will’ (Ephesians 3:11, 1:10, 11). 

Moreover, Scripture contains explicit promises of divine guidance whereby we may know God’s plan for our action.

‘I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you,’ says God to David (Psalm 32:8)

Earnest Christians seeking guidance often go wrong about it. Why is this?

Their basic mistake is to think of guidance as essentially inward prompting by the Holy Spirit, apart from the written Word. 

This class of problems concerned with what we may call ‘vocational choices’–choices, that is, between competing options, all of which in themselves appear lawful and good. Examples are: should I contemplate marriage, or not? should I marry this person, or not? should we aim at having another child? should I join this church, or that one? should I serve God in the land of my upbringing, or abroad? which of the professions open to me should I follow?

This is me again. I hate having choices. Some people I know love making decisions about everything in order to customize every part of their life. Some want to jailbreak their phone so they can choose so many other options and I personally say I like it the way it is. When it comes to finding God’s will for my life their often seem to many choices and so many turns and in order to avoid having to make a U-Turn I better make the right turn. I like the way J.I. Packer puts this next phrase for life.

The idea of a life in which the inward voice of the Spirit decides and directs everything sounds most attractive, for it seems to exalt the Spirit’s ministry and to promise the closest intimacy with God; but in practice this quest for super-spirituality leads only to frantic bewilderment or lunacy. Hannah Whitall Smith writes of the woman who each morning, having consecrated the day to the Lord as soon as she woke: would then ask Him whether she was to get up or not,’ and would not stir till the voice told her to dress. As she put on each article she asked the Lord whether she was to put it on, and very often the Lord would tell her to put on the right shoes and leave off the other; sometimes she was to put on both stockings and no shoes; and sometimes both shoes and no stockings; it was the same with all the articles of dress…

 

The biggest mistake of all is the failure to grasp that the fundamental mode whereby our rational Creator guides His rational creatures is by rational understanding and application of His written Word. 

The true way to honour the Holy Spirit as our guide is to honour the Holy Scriptures through which he guides us. The fundamental guidance which God gives to shape our lives– the instilling, that is, of the basic convictions, attitudes, ideals, and value-judgments, in terms of which we are to live–is not a matter of inward promptings apart from the Word but of the pressure on our consciences of the portrayal of God’s character and will in the Word, which the Spirit enlightens us to understand and apply to ourselves.

The Spirit leads within the limits which the Word sets, not beyond them. ‘He guideth me in the paths of righteousness’ — but not anywhere else.

 

 

Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World

Do you relate to God as if he exists to further your selfish ambitions or are you convinced that you exist to glorify him? Are you trying to live without God? Iain Murray describes this way of thinking:

Worldliness is departing from God. It is a man-centered way of thinking; it proposes objectives which demand no radical breach with man’s fallen nature; it judges the importance of things by the present and material results; it weighs success by numbers; it covets human esteem and wants no unpopularity; it knows no truth for which it is worth suffering; it declines to be “a fool for Christ’s sake”. Worldliness is the mind-set of the unregenerate. it adopts idols and is at war with God. 

Are you at war with God?

If not what is your heart like?

You see worldliness is not simply externals but rather a matter of the heart.

For that’s where worldliness is. It exists in our hearts. Worldliness does not consist in outward behavior, though our actions can certainly be an evidence of worldliness within. But the real location of worldliness is internal. It resides in our hearts.

Oftentimes, we seek to define worldliness as anything or anyone involved with today’s culture. But culture is not worldliness. As soon as one mentions this there is often an immediate chance for people to take offense. However, “the conflict often reveals a wrong focus on externals.”

Yes, it is true conduct often reveals the intent of the heart. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” But your judgment of others conduct does not always ring true with the Bible. You pass judgment on someone’s differing external behaviors but you miss the beam in your own eye. When inclined to judge, first stop and check your motives. Is your heart motivated by love? Is your heart motivated with kindness? Is your heart motivated with an intent to restore? If so judge and confront, but if not, back off and get your own heart right first. Worldliness is not a clothing style or a music style but rather it is an arrogant confident love for something that is dying. We must seek to confront those who are loving the world but be cautious not misjudge someone’s “culture” because it is simply not our own.

The idea and quotes came from the below mentioned book.
Book suggestion: BUY THIS BOOK: (click the link for information) C.J. Mahaney’s book called,  Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World
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Life is choices
Choices have consequences
Make right choices

– Cliff Jenkin

Week 25 ~ Acts 1-6

jordantmoody —  January 7, 2013 — Leave a comment

Over Christmas vacation we read through the entire book of Luke and combined a few weeks into 2 weeks. It was a bit more work than usual but profitable for all. We are now going to begin our look at the book of Acts. The Acts of the Apostles as many explain this book but I like to look at it as the Acts of the Holy Spirit. The controlling force throughout the book is the Holy Spirit and the power He gives to the believers of the early church and to us today.

 

READ ACTS 1-6

Philemon

Author: Paul

Provenance: Roman imprisonment

Destination: Philemon

Occasion: Philemon’s slave escapes, meets Paul, becomes a believer, and is sent back to his owner

Purpose: To encourage Philemon to accept Onesimus as a brother and to send him aback to Paul and possibly grant his freedom

Theme: Love and reconciliation in the body of Christ

Ephesians

Author: Paul

Date: AD 60

Provenance: Roman imprisonment

Destination: Circular letter or Ephesus

Purpose: To declare and promote cosmic reconciliation and unity in Christ

Theme: The summing up of all things in Christ

Assignment: WEEK 8 OCT. 30- NOV.5   READ PHILEMON AND EPHESIANS