March 26, 2019

Challenges For This Coming New Year

Hey everyone! Sorry about not posting more on my blog, I have been very busy. I wanted to challenge you all in looking at this coming new year. In this I am not just talking to all of you out there but to myself also.

“Resolution 1: I will live for God. Resolution 2: If no one else does I will stand.” -Quote attributed to Johnathan Edwards. As we approach the new year lets resolve and predetermined that we are going to live for God this year, forsaking the flesh, carying our cross and following God. We need to resolve that even if we are the only ones we will stand up and do what is right before God and what he requires of us and not follow the main stream which is set against God. The verse that is going to be my theme for this year is one we all at one time or another have heard but is important to practice; Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrafice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Be not conformed to this world be be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” This year let every thing we do be as 1 Corinthians says, “do all to the glory of God.”

More verses to reflect on for the new year
Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”

Quote on the Priority of the Bible

‎”This Book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s character. Here paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand object; our good is its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is given you in life and will be opened in the judgment and will be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.” -Author Unknown

Video Series: Fabulous Life of a Teenager by Alex and Brett Harris

Many of you have heard of Alex and Brett Harris and their impact in making teens realize there is more to their teen years than ‘taking a vacation from responsibility.’ I have read their book Do Hard Things and would recommend it to any teen. I saw on their website theses awesome videos. I hope you take a few minutes to watch them and apply them to your life. God bless!

Alex and Brett Harris

“According to popular belief, being a teenager is a fabulous life. Wild parties, flashy clothes, shiny gear—the whole decade is basically a vacation from responsibility. But God has something more in mind. Our youth is a launch pad into His mission for our life. When we reset our expectations for our time as teenagers, we will accomplish things for God that are far more fabulous than we could imagine.”-Alex and Brett Harris
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Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Seven laws for running the [Christian] race by Jim Elliff

Seven laws for running the [Christian] race.

  1. Run to win: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).
  2. Observe strict discipline: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training… I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).
  3. Don’t look back: “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
  4. Get constant encouragement: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us…run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
  5. Throw off restraints: “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).
  6. Discount pain: “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:22-24).
  7. Don’t let up until you cross the line: “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
    -Jim Elliff

Four Reasons to Passionately Pursue God by John Piper

John Piper

I saw this very helpful and encouraging post on the Desiring God Blog.  I wanted to share it with you and hope that it is an encouragement to you to “passionately pursue God.”

Pastor John Piper in 1984; Adapted from  Going Hard After the Holy God

Why do I insist that you must go hard after God, or, which is the same thing, why must we go hard after Christ? Here are four reasons:

1. In Order to Know Him

First, we must go hard after Christ in order to know him. Philippians 3:7–8: “Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Paul went hard after Christ, forsaking all the things people normally boast about; and he did it in order to know him.

Why? Because knowing Christ is a value that surpasses everything else. The evidence of conversion is whether you become a Christian Hedonist. Christian Hedonists always go hard after the highest value. They sell everything joyfully for the buried treasure and pearl of great price (Matthew 13:44–45). We must go hard after Christ, because not to means that we don’t want to know him. And not to want to know Christ is an insult to his value and a sign of spiritual stupor or deadness in us. But when you go hard after Christ, to know him, the reward is your joy and his honor.

2. To Confirm Our Justification

Second, we must go hard after Christ to confirm our justification. Justification refers to the wonderful act of God in which he forgives all our sins and imputes to us his own righteousness through our faith in Christ. Philippians 3:8–9, “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”

Philippians 3:9 is clear: the righteousness Paul pursues is based on faith. But he is pursuing it! As a Christian he counts all things as loss in order to have this righteousness. The faith which justifies is a faith which forsakes earthly values and pursues Christ. If justification depends on faith, and if forsaking the world as rubbish is necessary for having the benefits of justification, then it is plain: saving faith is not merely a one-time decision for Christ, but is an ongoing preference for Christ over all other values. The pursuit of Christ is the evidence of genuine faith in Christ as our treasure. Therefore, we must go hard after Christ in order to confirm our justification.

3. Because We Are So Imperfect

We must go hard after Christ because we are so imperfect. Philippians 3:12, “Not that I have already obtained or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own.” We must go hard after Christ because we are so deficient. A failing student should pursue a special tutor. Nearsighted people should pursue an optometrist. People with strep throat should take antibiotics. Alcoholics should pursue a support group. Young apprentices should follow their master at his work.

Not to go hard after Christ means that either you don’t trust his power and willingness to change your imperfections, or that you want to cling to your imperfections. In either case, Christ is scorned and we are lost.

4. Because He Has Made Us His Own

The final reason why we must go hard after Christ is that he has gone hard after us and, indeed, has by faith made us his own. Philippians 3:12 again: “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” This sentence explodes the false logic which says that if Christ has found us, we need no more seek him. If he has laid hold of us, we need not press on to lay hold of him.

Paul reasons exactly opposite to this: I press on in order to gain Christ, because Christ has already gained me. Paul’s conversion was not a cage to hold him back but a catapult into the pursuit of holiness. The irresistible grace of Christ overcoming Paul’s rebellion and saving him from sin did not make Paul passive, it made him powerful!

Quotes on Missions

As many of you know I have a desire for missions and think God may be calling me to go to the mission field one day. I thought I would share some great quotes about missions.

“All my forefathers have passed away into darkness without knowing anything of what was to befall them; how is it that your forefathers, knowing all these things, did not send word to my forefathers sooner?” -African Chief speak to Missionary David Livingstone

“The concern for world evangelization is not something tacked on to a man’s personal Christianity, which he may take or leave as he chooses.  It is rooted in the character of the God who has come to us in Christ Jesus.  Thus, it can never be the province of a few enthusiasts, a sideline or a specialty of those who happen to have a bent that way.  It is the distinctive mark of being a Christian.” -James S. Stewart

“The primary qualification for a missionary is not love for souls, as we so often hear, but love for Christ.” -Vance Havner

“Many of us cannot reach the mission fields on our feet, but we can reach them on our knees.” -T.J. Bach

“A church that says no to missions is not just saying no to men. It is not just a matter of leaving men in their sins. It is saying no to God’s greatest concern: the spreading of His glorious name among the peoples of the world. This is His passionate concern; it must be ours.” -Steve Fernandez

“Missions is the overflow of our delight in God because missions is the overflow of God’s delight in being God.” -John Piper

“We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never heard of the first.” -Oswald J. Smith

“The bedrock of missions is not the value of man. It is the spread of God’s glory. The biblical commitment to evangelism and missions is rooted in God’s passionate concern to make His name known.” -Steve Fernandez

Bless the Lord, O My Soul Psalm 103:1-20

“[103:1] Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! [2] Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
[3] who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, [4] who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,  [5] who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. [6] The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. [7] He made known his ways to Moses,  his acts to the people of Israel.  [8] The LORD is merciful and gracious,  slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. [9] He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.  [10] He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities. [11] For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; [12] as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. [13] As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. [14] For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.  [15] As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; [16] for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. [17] But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, [18] to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. [19] The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. [20] Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!” -Psalm 103:1-2

Christ’s Sufficiency

I saw this quote today and though it was fabulous showing Christ’s sufficiency in all things. I hope this encourages you like it has me!

In Christ we have a love that can never be fathomed; a life that can never die; a righteousness that can never be tarnished; a peace that can never be understood; a rest that can never be disturbed; a joy that can never be diminished; a hope that can never be disappointed; a glory that can never be clouded; a light that can never be darkened; a happiness that can never be interrupted; a strength that can never be enfeebled; a purity that can never be defiled; a beauty that can never be marred; a wisdom that can never be baffled; and resources that can never be exhausted. -Author Unknown

Teens Relationship with Parents by Karl Graustein

“The world says teenagers should break away from their parents and live more and more independent lives. Most people expect teens to have a poor relationship with their parents, whether they are Christian teens or not. This is a lie that we must reject. The Word of God calls children to honor and obey their parents, and the standards do not change when someone turns 13, 16, or 19.” -Karl Graustein

Jonathan Edwards’ Resolution (1722-1723)

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards (1722-1723)

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.

Jonathan Edwards

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.

3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can. [Read more…]