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i brought this really old book the other week, at the recommendation of my friend Joe at Count It All Joy – and it is soooo good. so challenging and so blunt that it is refreshing. it is Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devises, written by Thomas Brooks. old book. great book. is full of haths and thous but otherwise is easy to read. i recommend it.
“Christ is all that matters!” Colossians 3:11
So says the saved soul: “Why do you tell me of this and
that outward comfort, when I cannot see the face of Him
whom my soul loves? Why, honor is not my Christ; riches
are not my Christ; the favor of the creature is not my Christ!
Let me have Jesus—and let the men of this world take
the world, and divide it among themselves! I prize my
Christ above all, I would enjoy my Christ above all other
things in the world.”
His presence will make up the absence of all other comforts.
His absence will darken and embitter all other comforts.
Christ is all and in all, to truly gracious souls.
We have all things in Christ.
Christ is all things to a Christian.
If we are sick, Jesus is a physician.
If we thirst, Jesus is a fountain.
If our sins trouble us, Jesus is our righteousness.
If we stand in need of help, Jesus is mighty to save.
If we fear death, Jesus is life.
If we are in darkness, Jesus is light.
If we are weak, Jesus is strength.
If we are in poverty, Jesus is plenty.
If we desire heaven, Jesus is the way.
The soul cannot say, ‘this I would have, and
that I would have.’ But having Jesus, he has
all he needs—eminently, perfectly, eternally.
Luther said he had rather be in hell with Christ,
than in heaven without Him.
‘None but Christ! none but Christ!’ said Lambert the
martyr, lifting up his hands and his flaming fingers!
exert from an awesome book i am reading, found here at choice excerts
2 peter 1:3 according as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who has called us to glory and virtue…
what a awesome wow verse.
God has given us all the tools, resources, strategies, wisdom and strength to fulfill His call on our lives, bring Him glory and ‘suceed’ in this christian living.
i truely believe this because it is God who is doing the giving and enabling, for His glory and purposes. God doesnt dangle a carrot and not deliver. He completes the good work. He doesnt set us up to fail. God is more towards us than we think. He is more at work in us to will us to do His will. He is refining us and shaping us. He loves us and desires us to follow Him. He dseires to be glorified and lifted up in our lives.
“Spiritual change requires discipline. I can remember as a college student sitting for hours on end in tiny, windowless practice rooms, playing the same piece of music again and again.
I knew that I never would reach my goal–to make beautiful music–without that rigorous discipline.
Discipline for the purpose of godliness is not the same as self-effort. Rather, it means consciously cooperating with the Holy Spirit–yielding to Him so that He can conform us to the image of Christ.
The problem is, we want the outcome without the process. We want victory without the warfare.
Praying and hoping for spiritual change is futile if we sit glued to a television set or neglect the means that God has provided for our growth in grace.
Bible study, meditation, worship, prayer, fasting, accountability and obedience are disciplines that produce a harvest of righteousness in our lives” (Nancy Leigh DeMoss).
spiritual discipline can sound heavy, and like a bad thing. some people say that spiritual discipline quash the freedom of the Spirit to move…
to that i say NOT!
spiritual disciplines are steps we take to draw near to God. it is the making of time to sit and read our bibles and pray and worship. it is the process of reading the Word and learning the Word and learning about God.
we dont sit down to pray and worship and read our bible in a disciplined or regular way and switch our heart off or switch our mind off.
discipline does not mean DEAD!
i have found having an every day time when i read my bible to be the best thing for my relationship wtih God. every day i come and i read and i learn and i listen and my faith grows. i have a plan and i love it. God is not limited by my plan, and nor am i limited by it. sometimes i read on, or i read another place. often i am delightfully *surprized* (not really a surprize because i know that God speaks!) when God encourages me or gives me wisdom from a passage in my plan, a just at the right time word.
it is not dead time. it is not one sided. it is not for a tick on a chart.
it is so i might know God.
life gets busy and without a regular time time flies by…
we want to be people who know our God, who walk with him, who know his ways and his heart.
It is not the glorious battlements, the painted windows, the crouching gargoyles that support a building, but the stones that lie unseen in or upon the earth. It is often those who are despised and trampled on that bear up the weight of a whole nation. John Owen
Oh, how few find time for prayer! There is time for everything else, time to sleep and time to eat, time to read the newspaper and the novel, time to visit friends, time for everything else under the sun, but – no time for prayer, the most important of all things, the one great essential! Oswald J. Smith
1 peter 3: For Christ also once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, indeed being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit;
bring us to God…
a beautiful phrase.
Jesus brings us to God. He stepped out of heaven, became the man, died in our place, now taking our hand and introduces us personally to Father God, we can draw back the curtain and enter the holy of holies, welcomed.
i love how sometimes a song can teach us – a song can contain truth that lifts us up and changes us and gives us faith… do u know what i mean?
its like it teaches us what the truth is and we then see clearer, or see bigger – and we see God as he is, more than we did before.
worship is us loving God and drawing near to him and worshipping him and honouring him… and it is also us declaring the truth of his power and love…
yesterday in church the worship team played this song for the first time… i was semi recongizing it from somewhere… some cd i own perhaps… but had never played it much and given it much attention….
and it got my attention yesterday….
and it spoke truth to my heart…
and made me look up at my great God…
and trust him more…
the song is Across The Earth by Hillsong and is on their THIS IS OUR GOD cd…
the chorus is real simple:
your kingdom reigns
your kingdom reigns
and that did it for me.
that was it.
our God reigns. over all. the name of Jesus Christ is above all names. he is king of kings and lord of alls. though him and by him and for him is all creation. he holds all together with the power of his word.
his kingdom reigns. he reigns. he sees all and knows all and is working in all. he reigns.
i do not need to run after this and that to find answers. i need to come and find him and surrender to him and trust him. that is what faith is. saying you are big enough God and i will trust you.
his kingdom reigns. he is big enough. he is God.
“Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.” Wesley
we need to be people who are passionate about God… not indifferent…
i remember someone telling me once that the letters to the churches in revelation was a prophetic timeline of history and that right now we were living in the days of the church of laodicea. i was mortified! as a brand new christian i was so intensly focused and in awe of God that i could not imagine such a condition as lukewarmness.
how do we get get lukewarm? how do we cool down? is it bad???
yes it is bad! imagine a marriage where the love dies… itleads quickly to heartbreak, hurts, hostility and divorce.
love between people needs to be nurtured and so does our relatinship with God.
it takes time and communication and “hanging out” and trust and obedience.
as christians we need to be spending regular time with God, worshiping him, loving him, learning about him, knowing him, being amazed by him. these are all realities, not ideals. we need to remind ourselves of his faithfulness and trustworthy ness and his wonderfulness. the israelites saw God mightily devlier them from egypt but then spent their days grumbling and complaining in the wilderness as if they had never seen God at work. they forgot who God was. they forgot who God is.
have we forgotten who God is?
we must remind ourselves and stir up our love.
are you excited abuot God? about living for him? do you obey him because you love him or hold yourself back? are you ready to do whatever he says and go wherever he tells you to? is God real in your life? are you seeing him work in your life and through your life?
when you see God at work in you and through you life is exciting! it makes you burn! it makes it more real. God is near… not far away. not indifferent. lets not be indifferent in turn to him.
dont let people squash your joy and excitment about God. dont let htem put you down. rise up and be the generation that is going to know their God and do exploits and make him known! be the generation that burns for God and changes the world. be the generation that demonstrates his love and glory!
i am about to go into leviticus! i read the M’Cychne bible plan which does the OT once, Psalms twice and the whole NT twice in the year… which is great!
there are some ‘hard’ parts for us to read (by that i mean bits that dont seem relevant or are just plain hard to read, like the lists of names and families, and in leviticus and numbers etc) but when you think big picure – that some of it is a shadow of what God was doing in Jesus – and when you look at it as an account of how a people “uncovered themselves” (think of adam and eve and the fig leaves) and how God provided the covering – both in OT sacrifice system and in Jesus Christ the one sacrifice for the whole world and that it is a story of faith and unbelief and mercy and grace, only complete when we know Jesus….
over at Thinking Out Loud we’re encouraged to keep going and not give up in reading the bible through – to keep going knowing that “some easier” reading is ahead….
and also we should keep the end goal in mind and heart – to know God – to know his ways – to know who he is – to draw near to him – to be his children – to be transformed to know him.
all scripture is God inspired – useful to teach us and reveal to us the ways of God. all. not just ephesians and john but also numbers and leviticus. ask God to make it real and fresh and relevant and revelation to you.
the good thing about bible plans is that when you are reading leviticus you are also reading something else… like philippians or isaiah or luke…. its like a meal, we may not always want to eat our brocoli, but it sure is good for us!
the good thing about having a plan is also that you are purposing to make that time with God and to read his word. his word reveals to us who he is and his promises. it increases our faith. it challenges us.
We need to read the Word of God with fresh eyes. If we’re not getting revelation and not getting wow moments and not getting excited about reading the Bible we need to repent and ask God to make it fresh and real and relevant in our lives. The Bible is God’s revelation of himself and his ways and his promises to us! The Bible is the eternal words of God – life giving – empowering – transforming! Its not a dead book or a bunch of rules but inspired by God! If you have issues about the Bible – and some people do – and sometimes “their issues” infect us and make us doubt the bible, its relevance, its authority, its power – then deal with it. Take it to God, he is big enough. Get it sorted.
On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and shouted, “If you are thirsty, come to me and drink! Have faith in me, and you will have life-giving water flowing from deep inside you, just as the Scriptures say.” John 7:37-38
Jesus answered, “You don’t know what God wants to give you, and you don’t know who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you would ask me for the water that gives life.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you don’t even have a bucket, and the well is deep. Where are you going to get this life-giving water? Our ancestor Jacob dug this well for us, and his family and animals got water from it. Are you greater than Jacob?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again. But no one who drinks the water I give will ever be thirsty again. The water I give is like a flowing fountain that gives eternal life.” John 4:10-15
God satisfies. He satisfies every need and emptiness we can feel. He gives us peace for our restlessness, hope for our hopelessness, purpose for our present. He walks with us in the storms of life giving us comfort and perspective. We fix our eyes upon him and live our life for him and his glory. He fills us with his Holy Spirit and we never will be alone or empty again. Are you feeling dry? Jesus promises that we will have life giving water flowing from deep within, from within our spirit. The source is Jesus. He is the one who gives the water.
What stops the water flowing in our lives?
But no one who drinks the water I give will ever be thirsty again. The water I give is like a flowing fountain that gives eternal life.” The woman replied, “Sir, please give me a drink of that water! Then I won’t get thirsty and have to come to this well again.” Jesus told her, “Go and bring your husband.” The woman answered, “I don’t have a husband.” “That’s right,” Jesus replied, “you’re telling the truth. You don’t have a husband. You have already been married five times, and the man you are now living with isn’t your husband.” The woman said, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. My ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say Jerusalem is the only place to worship.” Jesus said to her: Believe me, the time is coming when you won’t worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans don’t really know the one you worship. But we Jews do know the God we worship, and by using us, God will save the world. But a time is coming, and it is already here! Even now the true worshipers are being led by the Spirit to worship the Father according to the truth. These are the ones the Father is seeking to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth. The woman said, “I know that the Messiah will come. He is the one we call Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” “I am that one,” Jesus told her, “and I am speaking to you now.”
Jesus told the samaratian woman about the water he offers and then challenges her about her lifestyle and heart condition. She responds by revealing her desire to know the true God…. For more than just religion and rules and restrictions… but to know God in truth and to worship him… to know the Messiah who would write on their hearts and make them God’s children and God their God… What stops the water flowing? When we don’t relate to God, when we are separated from him by sin and restriction, when we have drawn away.
Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. As we develop our relationship with God we are like the trees psalm 1 talks about, planted by the streams, fruitful, growing, established, strong, alive.
these are the beginnings of my notes for preaching this week at our young adults church – the topic is the word of God….
In the beginning God said….
Let there be light
Speed of light = 299,792,458 m per second
3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
6Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
9Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
11Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.
14Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;
20Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.”
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
The Word is the truth and is divinely powerful to change situations. Experience should not shape our doctrine, rather our doctrine should shape our experience. All Scripture is God-breathed, and is the only solid foundation on which to build our lives and our theology. The Word is divinely powerful to change situations – as we speak it and believe it, our lives, situations and world are changed.
Exodus 3:14-15 God said to Moses: I am the eternal God. So tell them that the LORD, whose name is ” I Am,” has sent you. This is my name forever, and it is the name that people must use from now on.
We can expect God to act exactly as he says he will. The bible is God saying stuff! The Bible reveals who God is. So we know what he is saying. So we know what to believe and have faith in.
Isaiah 55:10-11 The LORD says, 10“Rain and snow fall from the sky. But they don’t return without watering the earth that produces seeds to plant and grain to eat. 11That’s how it is with my words. They don’t return to me without doing everything I send them to do.”
Gods word is powerful. God spoke and light and zebras and butterflies and glaciers and kauri trees and cats were formed… and now we have the Word of God, creative, power, life changing, spiritual, supernatural in a book – NOT “just a book” but a book that contains great power and revelation!
The word of God renews our minds – which changes our lives. One of the two methods of transformation is to have our minds renewed by the Word of God. The way to become changed into the person God is calling you to be is to challenge the lies in your mind with the truth of God’s Word. Studying and meditating on God’s word writes it on our minds and hearts. When we chew on the Word of God, we enter a process by which that Word is written on our minds and hearts. This acts like a guard on our heart and mind and keeps us from sinning against God.
Hebrews 4:12 For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ,
“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.
With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:9-11
“…Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27