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Archive for the ‘Christian life’ Category

A great post from Jason on 20 Ways To Be Refreshing in the Local Church.  Read the whole article and then pick a few that you can plan for this coming Sunday and the week to follow. Here’s just a sample:

  • Greet people on Sunday mornings with a smile. It is o.k. to let your face say that you are “happy” to be at church. Go out of your way to say, “Hi,” ask questions about the lives of others, and listen attentively.
  • Visit the widows and shut-ins of your church. Take an afternoon and visit three or four. Sit, talk, listen, and be willing to look at their photo albums—all of them (1 Timothy 5:3)!
  • Have a mouth that is overflowing with grace (Ephesians 4:29) and is slow to wander down any other road.
  • Show up each Sunday morning with a mental list of three or four people that you are going to find and minister to (Philippians 2:4). Many of us walk into church with an attitude of, “I wonder who will minister to me today.” Nothing can be as drastically encouraging to a local church’s membership than a people united in the understanding that they are there to serve and love one another.
  • Be a Monday morning encourager instead of a Monday morning critic by sending your pastor an email detailing what you appreciated about his Sunday sermon.
  • Don’t rush out of church on Sunday mornings. Be one of the last to leave because you are taking the time to talk with everyone you can (this will be hard for the introvert—but some of the most engaging and refreshing people I have served with are introverts. They wear themselves out on Sunday morning). The football games and lunch will be there fifteen or thirty minutes later.

And while we are talking about life in the body, why not jump over and read “7 Things Your Church Needs from You” by Tim.  He elaborates on these points in very practical ways. Your church needs you to. . .

  • be humble
  • prioritize church
  • consider giving God a day
  • live like a Christian all week long
  • get to know people not like you
  • learn generosity
  • be a great church member

If you put the two lists together, you have 27 ways to practically build up the body of Christ where you fellowship!  Read, pray, think, plan and get started today!

 

 

 

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The death of fear

“The fear of God is the death of every other fear; like a mighty lion, it chases all other fears before it.” —Charles Spurgeon

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.” (Proverbs 14:27, ESV)

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George Lawson reminds us of some important truths to keep in mind–especially when we experience deep suffering and loss.  He knew the Tittle family in Arkansas–the family who buried three loved ones yesterday and whose house was leveled to the ground by the tornado that hit last Sunday.  Great and needed words here:

Out of all the places for a tornado to touch down in Little Rock, why the Tittles’ home? Not only were 3 out of 11 family members taken but their entire two story home was reduced to the concrete foundation it was built on.

Was God caught off guard? Did He not know?

Was God aware but just powerless to prevent this disaster? Was He not able?

Or was God so preoccupied with some other place in the universe, that He ignored the inevitable path of the storm? Did He not care?

A god, that does not know, is not able or does not care, is a small and pathetic deity, who is not worthy of worship, adoration or trust. Ultimately a small god can offer no comfort for what happened on Sunday night. None.tittle family

The only God sufficient for a Big Storm is a Big God — The omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent and omnibenevolent God of the Bible. He hasn’t lost control. He is the One who has “established His throne in the heavens and His sovereignty rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). He is the One who declares “the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done” (Isaiah 46:10). He is “God Almighty” (Genesis 17:1) who fills “the heavens and the earth” (Jeremiah 23:24). And He is also the One who is the “Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). What comfort would a small god be able to offer anyone?

Read the rest of  Small God, Big Storm

 

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Complete in Him!

You are complete in Him. What words are these, from the same man who says, ‘In me dwells no good thing?’ May we learn to rejoice in Christ Jesus, while we learn, also, to have no confidence in the flesh.

It was so with the apostle. He felt that anything was too hard, the simplest thing too difficult, without Christ; the work before him only became possible—easy—when the promise was fulfilled—‘My grace is sufficient for you; and my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Then he could confidently say, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’

Yes, Christian, although in your daily course you seem to struggle in your duty, and though nothing seems to go on satisfactorily, be assured of this, so long as you are really looking to Christ and relying upon Him—so long is He working in you by His Spirit—however difficult may be your tasks, you will make progress. You perhaps may never perceive it—you may not appear to make a step in advance—but, be not discouraged. Remember, ‘All the promises of God in Christ are yes, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God;’ and these promises are yours.

— John MacDuff, The Throne of Grace from FI

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1.    Praise God for the cross: for his mercy and grace in saving you.
2.    Thank him for all his spiritual benefits: forgiveness, adoption, the Word, spiritual gifts, the church.
3.    Ask Jesus to fill you with his own joy (JN 15:11).
4.    Thank him for his steadfast love that never ceases.
5.    Thank God for your temporal blessings: for your spouse or for the blessings of being single, kids, health, sight, food, strength, home, computer and coffee.
6.    Praise God for his attributes: his greatness, sovereignty, goodness, love, wisdom and power.
7.    Praise Jesus for being a compassionate high priest who intercedes for you.
8.    Thank him for all the specific good he is producing in you through trials: patience, perseverance, and faith.
9.    Thank God for his past faithfulness.
10.    Give to the kingdom.
11.    Give to the poor.
12.    Serve others (PHP 1:25).
13.    Don’t dwell on whether you are joyful or not.  Try to forget yourself.
14.    Thank the Lord that he is making you like Christ.
15.    Seek God’s presence in prayer (PS 16.11; PS 43.4).
16.    Read the Word – it produces joy (PS 119.111; JE 15:16).
17.    Thank God that he will never turn away from doing good to you (JE 32:40).
18.    Ask others to pray for God to fill you with joy.
19.    Ask the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit of joy in you.
20.    Confess your sins to God and ask him to restore the joy of your salvation (PS 51:12).
21.    Memorize God’s promises to give you joy and ask him to fulfill them (JN 16:24; RO 14:17; 15:13; PS 4:7; 30:5; 68:3; 97:11; 126:6).
22.    Consider others who have it much worse than you.
23.    Pray for others who are suffering.
24.    Contemplate the joys of heaven and the world to come.
25.    Read John Piper’s book, When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy

–Thanks to Stephen Altrogge for sharing these.  Would you add any more?

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“To those who struggle with temptation, the writer of Hebrews says, “we have a high priest who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

This is even greater than having a friend who has been through what you have been through and can identify with you. Yes, Jesus is compassionate, but he is also strong and victorious!”

–Read the rest of Erik Raymond’s Can Jesus Relate to My Temptations?

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Does this mean Jesus “loved a good party”? Or that He “hung out with drunks”? Or that he “didn’t take sides”?

What exactly does it mean that Jesus was a friend of sinners?  Read this short but helpful essay by Kevin DeYoung who in part writes:

Jesus was a friend of sinners not because he winked at sin, ignored sin, or enjoyed light-hearted revelry with those engaged in immorality. Jesus was a friend of sinners in that he came to save sinners and was very pleased to welcome sinners who were open to the gospel, sorry for their sins, and on their way to putting their faith in Him.

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