May 24, 2019

Renew Me, O Lord by Haley Dempsey

I thought I would post a new poem I finished today. It is based from a verse in Romans 12; “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” -Romans 12:2a. I hope this is an encouragement to you!

Renew Me, O Lord by Haley Dempsey
O Lord, my God, hear my plea;
Renew my hear, for Thee to beat.
Make me more like Christ to be,
For Thou are strong while I am weak.

Help me to Thy word transform,
My hear to yearn for Thee alone.
I will not to this world conform,
But through my life let Christ be shown.

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

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

Questions to Ask While Reading Scripture

The following is taken from the excellent book, Welcome to the Story: Reading, Loving and Living God’s Word by Stephen J. Nichols

The purpose of reading the Bible is not to find self-fulfillment, although sometimes that’s an easy trap to fall into. There are some questions we can ask ourselves as we read Scripture to make sure we are reading for the right reasons:

  • What does this passage teach about God?
  • What attributes are on display?
  • What work is God doing?
  • How does the biblical author point us to God in this text?
  • Even though God may not be explicitly mentioned in this text, how is he at work in what is happening? How is he directing “behind the scenes?”
  • How does this passage either reveal or reflect the glory of God?

In addition to these information-gathering questions, we can also ask some application-oriented questions:

  • Does this passage offer any models of those who miss the point by not seeing God at work and by not focusing on his glory?
  • Does this passage offer any models of those who get the point?
  • What can I learn from these negative and positive models?
  • What does this text teach me about my own pursuits and agendas?
  • What selfish ambitions and pursuits do I need to repent of in light of what I just read in God’s Word?
  • What have I learned from this text that helps me keep God and his glory at the center of my life?

In short, we need to read the Bible with it’s grand mission in mind: God and his glory. It is only by living for his glory that we find what is best for us.

Learn more about Welcome to the Story.

If God is all powerful, then why does he allow suffering?

“Keep in mind that from a biblical perspective, suffering is intrinsically related to the fallenness of this world. There was no suffering prior to sin. The Scriptures  teach that suffering in this world is part of the complex of God’s judgment on the world. You are asking, How can a righteous judge allow a criminal to suffer? How can a just judge allow a violent offender to be punished? The question we should ask is, How can a just judge not allow punishment for those who have committed acts of violence or crimes of any sort? Behind that question always stands the holiness of God and his perfect righteousness. Our understanding of God is rooted and grounded in the teaching of Scripture that he is the just Judge. The Judge of all of the earth always does right.

In the ninth chapter of John, the Pharisees say to Jesus, “Why was this man born blind? Was it because of his sin or the sins of his parents?” Jesus said, “Neither one.” We can’t come to the conclusion that an individual’s suffering in this world is in direct proportion to that individual’s sin. That was what Job’s friends did when they came to him and tormented him by saying, “Boy, Job, you’re really suffering a lot. This must be an indication that you’re the most miserable sinner of all.” But the Bible says that we can’t use such a formula. The fact is, if there were no sin in the world, there would be no suffering. God allows suffering as part of his judgment, but he also uses it for our redemption—to shape our character and build up our faith.”  ~ R.C. Sproul

The Christian’s Home by Haley Dempsey

Christian Going to the Celestial City (Pilgrims Progress)

I’m pressing toward my heavenly home,
To glories, not of streets of gold,
But Christ, my Lord upon His throne.
Forever His glory to behold.
No other thing will captivate ,
But Christ, the one who died for me.
From Him I will not gravitate
But forever with Him I shall be.
By: Haley Dempsey

Priority of the Christian Life

Hey everyone! I wanted to write and talk about God being the first priority in your life; particularly in the lives of young adults.  It seems to me that many of us, myself included, often go through our daily routines of going to school, doing homework, maybe working or playing sports, but we who claim to be Christians spend little time in the Word and in prayer.  Instead we just tack God on as something  we do on Sundays and Wednesdays. Our Christianity should not be something we just do on Sundays and Wednesdays but a constant orientation around God and living out our lives in everything we do to His glory. Having a relationship with Christ is not something exclusively for adults but for every believer of any age. To have a vital relationship with him you must spend time in the Bible and in prayer. The Bible is where we learn everything we can ever know about Jesus.  Many young people do not think God can use them because of their age and inexperience, but God can, will, and does use anyone  who is walking with God and has a desire to bring God glory.  The goal of the Christian life should be as Matthew 6:33 says “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…” Young people need to realize that our priorities are not our friends, school, sports, etc., but God who has redeemed us. I hope this is an encouragement to you to live your life for God because he is all in that is worth living for!

Related Reading for Young Adults

 

Six Steps to Knowing God’s Will

Need God's Direction

Hey everyone! Check out these six steps to knowing God’s will. I found this while looking at my Dad website that has hundreds and hundreds or articles of anything you could think of! Check it out at: http://www.graceonlinelibrary.org/.  I hope this post is beneficial to you!

  1. Begin by prayer for wisdom. Do not doubt that God has a wise course of action for you and will make it known.
  2. Intentionally seek God’s face even more than His answers. “In Your light we see light” (Psalm 36:9).
  3. Seek to be willing to take any course that God would have for you. Be thorough in your work on yourself. Often people miss God’s will because they are not fully willing to be submissive to God whatever He leads them to do.
  4. Carefully seek to discover if there are any directives already given in Scripture which could guide you. Are there illustrations, commands, principles, which speak to this issue? Meditate on these and see if Scripture promotes or rules out any action you are considering. Try to find not only what God permits and does not permit, but what God likes, what is dear to His heart. Go directly to any passage which deals with the general subject to see if there is help to be found which you had not discovered before. Always read the Bible in context.
  5. List each possible course of action, and in a prayerful frame of mind write out what are the pros and cons of each option. Put these options before the lens of Scripture one by one to see if God has spoken on these issues in some way. You will find more being said about most issues than you might first believe.
  6. When helpful, seek objective counsel from godly and wise men or women you can trust.
  7. Finally, examine your will again. If you are willing to do anything God might direct and that is certain in your mind, then you are free to pursue what God may be placing in your thinking related to the issue. Is there a long-term righteous desire in you?
  8. Now, act in faith. If God in His perfect cadence intervenes so as to cause everything to turn again, this is His business. For your part, you are required to take action along the lines of the wisest choice you can biblically make. Rejoice and do God’s will!-Jim Elliff, Led by the Spirit

What is it to Meditate?

Hey everyone! I have been reading through Thomas Watson’s book, Heaven Taken By Storm
and read through the section on prayer and meditation. If you’re like me you probably haven’t ever thought too much about what it means to meditate, but when you read in Psalm 1, “and on his law he meditates day and night” it is obviously pretty important to know what it means. I’ll share some of the thoughts from Thomas Watson on this subject.

“Thomas Watson says that meditation is a duty wherein the very heart and lifeblood of religion lies. You may be wondering what meditation even is, well Watson gives a wonderful definition of meditation being described as a holy exercise of the mind whereby we bring the truths of God to remembrance, and seriously ponder upon them and apply them to ourselves. In meditation two things are required: A Christians retiring himself from the world; meditation can not be done in a crowd and serious thinking upon God. This is not a few transient thoughts that are gone quickly, but a fixing and staying of the mind upon heavenly objects. [Read more…]