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Archive for February 17th, 2013

Barry York shares “A Helpful Marital Thought”

In Christian marriage two saints, who still have plenty of sin’s remnant clinging to them, form a lifelong union. This means then, with the baring of the soul’s wiring that marriage exposes, sparks are going to fly.  Marital conflict is inevitable.

So when the sea of anger begins rising, the emotional waves start rolling, and the marital boat is rocking, what is one immediate way to batten down the hatches to prevent the ship from capsizing?  Bring to mind that this conflict is for your benefit, to help you become more like Christ.  Remember that Jesus did not only speak peace and calm the sea for his scared disciples out in the boat in the storm.  Before this, while watching from a mountain above as He prayed, He sent the storm to them so they could grow in their holiness by experiencing Him in new ways.

In his book Renewal as a Way of Life, Richard Lovelace states that one great purpose of marriage is as “a contract to aid in one another’s sanctification.”  So all of marriage is God giving us one intimate friend, someone fashioned by God Himself to be our complement, who will see us like no other.  Your spouse becomes then, as Lovelace states, an expert in what is wrong with you.  You see, your husband or wife is designed by God to be the sandpaper to your bumps. Ouch!  But, viewed from God’s perspective, that is a good ouch.

There’s a bit more to this article here.

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Liberal giving

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
(2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 ESV)

We ought to be free in our giving to others since God has been so free in His giving to us. As He has abounded toward us in infinite liberality, we ought to abound towards all with whom we come in contact up to the full measure of our ability in all love and kindness and mercy. In every benevolent enterprise Christian men should take a hearty interest. Read that 17th verse “Comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.”

I am a man and being a man everything that concerns men concerns me. I am a Christian man and as a follower of Christ, the Son of Man, everything that can do good to my fellow men is a matter in which I delight to take my share. This should be done in direct actions as well as in words. Read – “Establish you in every good word and work.” Certain of the oldest manuscripts run, “In every good work and word” and I suppose in our new translation we shall have it so and very properly, too. In this case work is probably first and word next.

Some Christian people think that “word” should be everything and work nothing, but the Scriptures are not of their mind. These professors speak a great deal about what they will do; talk a great deal about what other people ought to do and a great deal more about what others fail to do – and so they go on with word, word, word and nothing else but word. They do not get as far as “work” – but the Apostle put work first in this case, as much as to say, “whether you talk about it or not, do it. Be established in every good work even if you do not get so far as being capable of a multiplicity of words.”

Brethren, let us yoke word and work together—every good thing should command our advocacy and secure our aid to the fullest of our ability. Direct practical assistance should be rendered by us all, since our Lord loves not in word, only, but in deed and in truth. This should be done without pressure. No one could lay constraint upon God to bless His people. No pressure was put upon Christ to redeem us! Everything, as we have shown, was spontaneous, sovereign, free. Even so should men give to God out of an overflowing heart. Give to Him as a king gives to a king! How does a king give? Why, as he likes and that is the way to give – to give because you are delighted to give – not because you feel obliged to do it by being observed by others, but out of a royal heart which delights in liberal giving!

Charles Spurgeon. Excerpt from sermon “Free Grace a Motive for Giving”. June 13, 1880 (HT: HereIBlog)

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I grew up in Toledo, OH.  I have family who live in Mentor, OH.  So this is just a great story all around!

When faced with deciding between the two loves of his life, for Ben Pike, it wasn’t even close. Football would not win this time.

That’s how you know his love is true and strong.

When Pike’s fiancee, Ashlee Barrett, learned in April 2012 she was battling leukemia, Pike began to prepare for the end of his football career at the University of Toledo. Barrett, a former Toledo basketball player, already had graduated and was back in her hometown of St. Louis, teaching second grade. Pike wanted to be with her as she navigated the long road of chemotherapy and recovery.

When Barrett, 23, learned Jan. 25 that the leukemia had returned, that the short respite of remission was over, the decision was solidified.

Keep reading this heart-warming story that illustrates the principle of Ephesians 5:25-27.

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On Christ, and what he has done, my soul hangs for time and eternity. And if your soul also hangs there, it will be saved as surely as mine shall be. And if you are lost trusting in Christ, I will be lost with you and will go to hell with you. I must do so, for I have nothing else to rely upon but the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived, died, was buried, rose again, went to heaven, and still lives and pleads for sinners at the right hand of God.

Charles Spurgeon, ” A Bold Challenge Justified”

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Terry Enns writes a post on this verse:  “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10, ESV):

 It is God’s intention for me to be used in the church to meet the needs of others.  And it is His intention to have others meet my needs.

What are those needs?  Sometimes it is something physical — a meal, a financial gift, assistance with a car repair project — but most often it is something that will be good for them spiritually.  And just what might that be?  First Thessalonians tells us that as well – “And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men” (5:14).  Do you wish to meet another’s need?  Find someone who is struggling with sin and humbly instruct him and call him back to the faith (cf. Gal. 6:1-2).  Find someone who is spiritually tired and recall for him the great truths and promises of the faith that will embolden him.  Find someone who is a spiritual infant and disciple him so that he will be strengthened in his faith.  And whoever you find, be patient and forgiving with them (just as God is with you).

This verse also points out another truth that we miss too often.  Be intentional in providing blessing to others.  Don’t merely wait for someone to “cross your path” before doing good, but at the beginning of your day or week, intentionally make it your objective to seek a particular person to provide a spiritual blessing to him.

You know those notes of encouragement you were planning to write?  Do it today.  Remember that friend you were going to call?  There’s no time like the present.  Did you see that family that visited your church on Sunday morning?  Contact them and do something to welcome them into the church family.  Do you know a single parent?  He or she could probably use a baby-sitter to get some errands done.  Why don’t you call?  How about that friend that told you about a spiritual struggle he’s having?  An encouraging email or note would probably be well received, as would a phone call to pray with him, asking God to give him needed spiritual strength.

All these are simple ways to demonstrate, “I am committed to you as a brother in Christ.  I love you.”  And that is important, because it is in God’s house — His family of believers — that we most vividly demonstrate the truth of God’s love living in us.

Read all of “Let Us Do Good To One Another”

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