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Archive for November, 2015

“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).

God gave us His Word to be heard, to be understood, and to be applied to our lives. We do the first two fairly well (most of the time), but the final element is something we have trouble with. It seems that we think we’ve done our job if we hear God’s Word and have a rudimentary grasp of it – if we can pass the comprehension test, in other words. James wrote this command, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, because it can be such a blind spot for us.

So, how do we do what it (God’s Word) says, and not merely listen to it? Let me offer a few suggestions.

  1. Seek God. In other words, pray. Ask God how He would have you apply the particular truths of the verse or passage you’ve read, or meditated upon, or heard preached, or taught.
  2. Write it down. If there is a clear application, take the time to write it down. Be specific (“Today I will ask forgiveness of the person I’ve sinned against,” or “This week I’ll encourage a brother or sister in Christ who needs it”).
  3. Do it. Don’t put off being a doer of the Word. As Ben Haden used to say, “Tomorrow letters never get written.” By the same token, tomorrow  application of God’s Word never gets done.

Hearing and doing are two sides of the same coin. Do both for God’s glory and our good!

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psalm-136-header

This morning I had the privilege of preaching on Psalm 136 (“The Great Thanksgiving”). Here is a one-sentence summary of my sermon: We ought to give thanks to God at all times, in all places, and in all circumstances, because of His character, creation, redemption, and provision.

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object50

This morning I had the privilege of preaching on John 10:31-42. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: That Jesus is the Son of God is seen by His works, His words, and the witness of John the Baptist.

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Pray with Thanksgiving

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Let me recommend something to you that will do you spiritual good. I guarantee it!

Although the spiritual discipline of prayer ought normally to include elements such as adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication (requests) and intercession for others, there are times when one of them could be emphasized without doing damage to the others.

My recommendation is that you spend  a period of time (you determine the length) simply giving thanks to God. Don’t ask for anything. Don’t praise God for who He is (His attributes and character). Don’t confess your sins. There’s plenty of time for for all of those things, but take five minutes and tell the Lord what you’re thankful for.

It’ll be hard the first time you try it, but before too long you’ll find that five minutes isn’t nearly enough time to express your thanks. As you give thanks to God, you’ll find your attitude changing from grumbling or indifferent or whatever else it might be characterized by, to gratitude. The Lord will use your prayers of thanksgiving to change your outlook, and as a result, you’ll grow spiritually – you’ll become more like Christ!

Give it a try! You’ll be glad you did, for His glory and our good.

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john10-28

I had the privilege of preaching on John 10:22-30 this morning. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Jesus saves and secures those who belong to Him.

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i-am-the-good-shepherd-with-glowing-shepherds-crook

This morning, I had the privilege of preaching on John 10:11-21. Here is a one-sentence summary of my sermon: Jesus is the good shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep, knows them, unites them, and separates them from the goats.

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cslewis

C.S. Lewis was an atheist for many years and had a big question:

If a good God made the world why has it gone wrong? And for many years I simply wouldn’t listen to the Christian answers to this question, because I kept on feeling, ‘whatever you say and however clever your arguments are, isn’t it much simpler and easier to say that the world was not made by an intelligent power? Aren’t all your arguments simply a complicated attempt to avoid the obvious?’ But then that threw me back into those difficulties about atheism which I spoke of a moment ago.

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man doesn’t call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man isn’t a water animal: a fish wouldn’t feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that then my argument against God collapsed too – for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not that it just didn’t happen to please my private fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God didn’t exist – in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless – I found that I was forced to assume that one part of reality – namely my idea of justice – was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out it has no meaning: just as if there were no light in the universe and no creatures with eyes we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.

(The Case for Christianity, pp. 34-35. Italics in original.)

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