Friday, April 30, 2010

T4G-The Book's Back Cover

Those of us who had the privilege of attending this year’s Together For the Gospel conference in Louisville were given 20 books that we are encouraged to read over the coming months. I thought I would let you know the titles and authors of those books along with the quote from the back cover. These postings are in no particular order.

Book: Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel by J. Mack Stiles

Evangelism is not rooted in a method but in something much deeper. It is found in what makes us whole and healthy messengers of God’s truth about Jesus. Mack Stiles shows how the gospel changes all of who we are and what we do. It means not just going through the motions of accepted behaviors. It means showing the unity of witness and justice. It means love. It means community. Join Mack Stiles in a life-giving adventure of boldly knowing, living and speaking the gospel.

D.A. Carson writes, “I do not think I have ever read a book on evangelism that makes me more eager to pass it on than this one – better, that makes me more eager to evangelize than this one.”

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Church, God's Temple

I found this interesting section in the book, Our Lord Prays for His Own. The author, Marcus Rainsford, is speaking about the fact that Jesus Christ is creating for himself a temple composed of his people.

Yes; sinners believing on the Lord Jesus Christ are “living stones,” gathered out of the quarry of nature. They are cemented by the blood of Christ into this building, which, when it is complete, Jehovah Himself shall fill: inhabiting the praises of His people for evermore; revealing to heaven and earth, to angels and men, the sanctuary of God, where He will dwell forever, and rest in His love; communing there with His outward creation; and making known by the church to “the principalities and powers in heavenly places . . . the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. 3:10). If the Most Holy Place of old was glorious, what think you will be the glory of this sanctuary which the Lord Jesus Christ has anointed? His home of grace and glory; the habitation of the Most High God; furnished with all His fullness; provided with all His graces, defended by His omnipotency; adorned by all His attributes; a praise through all the universe; admired by all creation; a monument of what His love could do; of what His power could do of what His Christ could do – to the praise and the glory of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for ever and ever.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Puritan Prayer

I bless you for my soul you have created,

for adorning it, sanctifying it, though it is fixed in barren soil;

for the body you have given me,

for preserving its strength and vigor,

for providing senses to enjoy delights,

for the ease and freedom of my limbs,

for hands, eyes, ears that do your bidding;

for your royal bounty providing my daily support,

for a full table and overflowing cup,

for appetite, taste and sweetness,

for social joys of relatives and friends,

for ability to server others,

for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,

for a mind to care for my fellow-men,

for opportunities of spreading happiness around,

for loved one in the joys of heaven,

for my own expectation of seeing you clearly.

I love you above the powers of language to express, for what you are to us your creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Memorization Monday -- Challenge - Separate from the World

2 Corinthians 6:17, 18
Therefore, "Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hymn of the Week -- I Asked the Lord

"I Asked the Lord" by John Newton

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”

Monday, April 12, 2010

Memorization Monday -- Challenge -- Follow Christ

I Peter 2:21
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Biblical Manhood - Raising Children Part 5

Finally, Ephesians 6:4 tells us that the nurture and admonition must be “of the Lord.”

We are to nourish them in the sphere and context of God’s discipline and admonition. We are God’s agents. It is not self-serving as some would suggest to teach our children to obey us. We teach them to obey us not because we are selfish. We teach our children to obey us because God says that this is the first commandment with promise that it may go well with them. Children need to be taught and Goad has given us that responsibility.

Look at Proverbs 3:1-6. Here you have an example of a father passing on Godly wisdom to his son. What is the expected result in verse 4? He would find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and men. Scripture tells us of two other men who increased in favor with God and man? Who are they? I Samuel 2:26; Luke 2:40, 51, 52

Favor is the same word as grace. A child who is growing in favor with God means he is growing in God’s grace. That should be one goal. The other part of the goal is a child who finds the right kind of favor with men.

Hebrews 12:11 Tells us the result of effective discipline in those who have been trained by it. And what is that result? We will be partakers of God’s holiness, and it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.

These are worthy goals and it is my prayer for all fathers who happen to read these thoughts on raising children, that each one may take this responsibility seriously and prayerfully and thoughtfully train his children in the ways of God.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Biblical Manhood - Raising Children Part 4

Last time we discussed what it means to nurture our children. The next description used in Ephesians 6:4 is “admonition.” We are to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. This means to “put in mind.” This is training by teaching whereas nurture is more training by discipline.

There is another English word, remonstrate, which means to protest or demonstrate opposition to. This is not the same thing as admonish. Too many parents remonstrate when they should be admonishing.

Lookk at the example of Eli in 1 Samuel 2:23-25. Eli remonstrated his sons, but that didn’t work. Look at God’s assessment in 1 Samuel 3:13. God judges Eli for not restraining his sons. He had spoken to them, but that did not accomplish the goal. God expected more from Eli than that.

1 Corinthians 10:11 tells us that Scripture was given for our admonition and there for the teaching we give our children must rely heavily on Scripture and scriptural principles.

Consider Deuteronomy 6:6. God’s Word should first of all be in our own hearts. And then we are to teach it diligently to our children. Conversations involving the word are to take place all the time. Reminders should be everywhere. In the process of training our children, we need to listen to them. Not listening is one of the chief ways of provoking your children to wrath which is what our Scripture passage warns against. Dads find it hard to listen, but we must make the effort.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Biblical Manhood - Raising Children Part 3

Ephesians 6:4 says, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

The last time we discussed this, several weeks ago, I explained that bring them up means to nourish them by providing the kind of spiritual nourishment they need day by day. You need to know where they are in their spiritual lives and what they need to best help them to grow.

Two words are given in this passage telling us how to nourish them. We need to do so with the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Let’s look at “nurture” this time and “admonition” in the next post.

Nurture means child training, chastisement and discipline. You will find the same word in Luke 23:16 where the word is used to tell what Pilate did to Jesus. It is also found in Hebrews 12:6 to explain what God the Father does to us His children – He “chastens” us. In 1 Corinthians 11:32 we are told that we are “chastened” by the Lord so we won’t be condemned with the world.

The idea of nurture involves the discipline we apply to the lives of our children. Proverbs 13:24 for example says that “He who spares the rot hates his son.” Proverbs 22:15 tells us that the rod drives out foolishness.

So there is a type of physical chastening taught in Scripture that is to be used to discipline and chasten our children in such a way that they learn obedience and respect for authority and ultimately God. This kind of discipline should not be construed to mean abuse nor punishment out of anger. Hebrews 12 tells us that the Lord chastens those He loves. We are to do the same. It’s not a matter of being angry and taking it out on children. It’s a matter of loving our children enough to desire and expect that they learn how to behave themselves in the world in which they live.

Monday, April 05, 2010