Can't top what I received in my Grace Gems e-mail feed today (www.gracegems.org), so I will share it with you as my post. If you are discouraged today, take heart in these words:
Poor in self--rich in Jesus!
(James Smith, "The Pastor's Morning Visit")
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3
The Lord's people are all poor; they see and feel that sin has stripped them of every excellence; and has left them wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked. They can do nothing of themselves, they can procure nothing for themselves; but free grace has made ample provision for them, and the Gospel informs them that Jesus has everything they need--and that all that He has, is for them!
When they look at, or into themselves--they are discouraged; but when they look to Jesus--they rejoice! He has riches of grace--and riches of glory; and He says, "Every one who asks--receives." He gives liberally, and upbraid…
This Resource Wednesday, I'd like to recommend to you the book I am currently reading, Bookends of the Christian Life by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington. I am a little over halfway through the book and look forward to completing it. Please refer to Monday and Tuesday's posts (04/26 and 04/27) for more information about the premise of the book.
As I would recommend with any book written by man, read it, glean from it, compare it to Scripture, and apply the concepts that line up with the Bible to your life. As you read through a book like this, I would also recommend that you look up the Scripture references in your Bible as you go.
Yesterday I explained that I am currently reading Bookends of the Christian Life by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington. Please see yesterday's post for full explanation. Yesterday I introduced gospel enemy #1 Self-Righteousness. Today we introduce gospel enemy #2 Persistent Guilt. With each of these concepts, the authors provide some tools to help us examine ourselves. I'll share the second one with you today:
Gospel Enemy #2: Persistent Guilt (pgs 56-58)
"Whether the voice of your conscience is extremely loud or barely audible, remember that you don't have to be a scandalous sinner to suffer from persistent guilt. So we should ask and answer the following questions carefully and regularly in order to identify the influence of this gospel enemy: Are you painfully preoccupied with a particular habitual sin?Are you discouraged or depressed by your failure to measure up?Do you frequently experience anxiety that something is about to go wrong?Does it appear God can use others …
I am in the process of reading Bookends of the Christian Life by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington. I purchased this book from our church book stall, and it has been a real gem.
The premise of the book is to think of your life as a long bookshelf. The books on it represent all the things that you do, both spiritual and temporal with titles such as: Church Attendance, Bible Study, Sharing the Gospel, Serving Others, Job Performance, Educational Pursuits, Recreation, Driving the Car, Doing the Laundry, Paying the Bills, to name a few. Without adequate bookends, even if we succeed in getting all our books to remain upright, their stability is precarious at best. The first bookend: The Righteousness of Christ. The second bookend: The Power of the Holy Spirit.
The book goes on to give very thorough explanations of both "bookends". As the authors explain "The Righteousness of Christ", they name two enemies to the Gospel in our lives. They are 1) Self-Righteousness and 2)Pers…
Today I'd like to share with you another video from the Living Waters University series. This is Ray Comfort witnessing to a young woman named Jamie. It's a thoughtful conversation and an interesting witnessing encounter to watch.
I'm not on the streets engaged in evangelism this evening. I'm at a church ladies' event.
Tonight I thought I'd leave you with a few tips I've learned since making it my aim to get out once a week and share the gospel with strangers I meet. Basically, this is the "routine" I follow each week.
During The Week: I preach the gospel to myself. If I am not convinced of my own need for the gospel, I will not be able to persuade others of theirs. I read my Bible. I have no source of truth within myself. Without reading God's Word during the week, I am likely to rely on my own knowledge and start believing I have the answers. I pray. I pray for God to call people unto Him. I pray for the Holy Spirit to work on the hearts of those I will be talking with on Friday night. I pray that I will present the gospel without error, that my words will not cause confusion. I pray for boldness and courage. I listen to podcasts of sound sermons (Bible Baptist Church podcast, S…
I am currently reading through the book of Matthew in my morning Bible reading time. Anything I write on my blog (thoughts from my head) pales in light of Scripture, so I leave you today with Scripture. May you be as encouraged as I am.
Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV)
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, w…
This Resource Wednesday I commend to you the book What Do I Know About My God? by Mardi Collier. We read this book and used it to study the Bible in our women's Bible study group at church last year. As you read through the book, the author encourages you to start a notebook of the same title (What Do I Know About My God?). You fill the notebook with headings such as: "My God Answers Prayers", "My God is in Control", "My God is the Creator", "My God is Holy", etc. The goal is to write down verses under the headings as you read through the Bible. This notebook has been a great study tool for me and an encouragement to me. I use it still today, and I'm still adding to it.
I highly recommend reading the book What Do I Know About My God? by Mardi Collier and starting your own notebook today. It is a valuable resource.
Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily, Carissa, and Ethan. For supper we had a Minnesota favorite: Tator Tot Hotdish. For our baking project made carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. We read lesson 27 (God Gave His Son for Us) from Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. We also read Proverbs 1:1-7. We're working on making wise decisions, so we've turned to the book of Proverbs in the Bible for advice in that area. As usual, a good time was had by all.
Today I'd like to share with you a video from the Living Waters University series. The video shows Ray Comfort sharing the gospel with a man named Frog. The language is a bit crude, so young people let your parents view it first. Frog is a very charismatic guy, and this is an engaging conversation between him and Ray. Watch carefully, around the middle of this interview, you will see Frog's face change and you will find soberness in his eyes (right around the time the conversation moves to the legal implications of Christ's death on the cross). It is definitely worth watching and a reminder to share the gospel with all we meet.
I went out later than usual this evening and found very few people out and about, though it was a beautiful evening by Minnesota standards. The skate park was totally empty. I gave out one tract to a young man walking a dog (or was it a dog walking a young man--it was hard to tell). It was a reminder to me to remain faithful in the sharing of the gospel. The results are in God's hands. Each Friday night out is a different experience from the last one.
Tonight I'd also like to share with you a video about the motivation of sharing the gospel. This video depicts a young man being challenged to hand out a gospel tract. He originally said he couldn't do it, but when he was offered money to do it, he found courage. The conversation that followed the experience was very interesting as well. I think this is definitely worth watching.
Today I'll share a quote with you that I received in my "Of First Importance" daily e-mail feed (http://www.firstimportance.org/). We often ponder the love of God, how often do we ponder the justice of God?
God Never Negotiates His Justice
“God is loving, but a major part of what He loves is His own perfect character, with a major aspect being the importance of maintaining justice and righteousness. Though God pardons sinners and makes provision for expressing His mercy, He will never negotiate His justice. If we fail to understand that, the cross of Christ will be utterly meaningless to us.”
- R. C. Sproul, The Truth of the Cross (Orlando, FL; Reformation Trust Pub., 2007), 19.
This Resource Wednesday I'd like to highlight the website Fish with Trish (www.fishwithtrish.com). Trisha Ramos works for Living Waters ministry and actively shares her faith. She is also a great encourager of others (particularly women) to share the gospel as well. On her website, she often posts ideas and tips on how to hand out tracts and witness to others while out in the community. She is currently featuring a giveaway on her website. She is giving away a beautiful handmade purse filled with tracts (she has done a few giveaways of this nature in the past). Participation is simple and the steps are listed on her website. Ladies, I would encourage you to check out Trish's website and to sign up for the purse giveaway. It could be a great starter pack for your personal evangelism ministry. There is also a link to the Fish With Trish website listed under My Favorite Links at the side of this blog.
Each week, listed in our church bulletin, is the Overcomer Verse. This is a verse that our pastor has picked out for memorization, one that he would like us (as a congregation) to hide in our hearts. During our Thursday night Bible Study meetings our pastor takes time to go over the verse and explain it. Each month, the verses follow a theme. This month's theme is wisdom. I will be listing the verses at the side of this blog weekly, as I seek to memorize them. This week's passage: Proverbs 1:20-22.
As I've been learning a bit about biblical counseling lately, I've taken away a tip for learning Scripture. I have written the overcomer verse on an index card and try to review it 25 times a day. On the back of the card I wrote: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. (one for each day). Then I put a tally mark under that day for each time I review the verse. I'm finding the review helpful for learning the verse and getting it into my mind. I thought I'd pass this info on, …
Today I'd like to share with you the devotional I received from my daily e-mail feed from Grace Gems (www.gracegems.org). It was a much needed word for my life today. I hope you will gain from it as well.
Affliction prepared for and improved
(Thomas Sherman, "Aids to the Divine Life--A Series of Practical Christian Contemplations" 1680)
"It was good for me to be afflicted--so that I might learn your decrees." Psalm 119:71
As it is the duty of God's children to prepare for affliction before it comes; so it is also their duty to improve affliction when it does come.
If we do not prepare for affliction--we shall be surprised by it; and, if we do not improve it--we are likely to increase it.
He who would prepare for affliction, must beforehand: (1.) resign all to God, (2.) strengthen his graces, (3.) store up divine promises, (4.) and search out secret sins.
And he who would improve affliction when it does come, must labor to see: sin more and more in its filthiness--so as …
This Frightening Friday post actually happened on Saturday. Friday I drove to the skate park but was too intimidated to get out of my vehicle.
Saturday I went back to the park in the afternoon. I walked around the park area attached to the skate park for a few minutes. As I passed two boys stretched out on a picnic table, I gave them a million dollar bill tract and said, "It has the million dollar question on back." I was about say, "What happens to a person when they die?" But before the words came out of my mouth, one of the boys read the question and the entire message on back out loud. As he read through four of the ten commandments that were listed, he answered the questions aloud (Have you ever told a lie? "Yes." Have you ever stolen anything? "Honestly, I would have to say yes I have." and so forth). When he finished reading the tract, three other boys joined us. I gave them tracts as well. Then the questions ensued. They had a lot of them…
This week I'm switching up the order slightly: Evangelism video today (Friday). Intentional evangelism tomorrow (Saturday).
Today I'd like to share with you a video from Paul Latour at The Word Street Journal. Paul and his wife, Kim, engage in street evanagelism at least once a week. I'm very encouraged by their ministry. Paul makes videos of their efforts and posts them on his blog. Today I'll share with you the video depicting their evangelism efforts over Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday (Easter). Note: Be sure to watch it to the end (the ending is great on this one).
Here's an excerpt from the The Word Street Journal blog that accompanied this post:
"With our confidence in the Holy Spirit, Kim and I set out to the streets of the Byward Market in Ottawa on Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday to bring the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the multitudes out enjoying the warm Easter weather, who might otherwise not have heard or received the most impo…
Tonight, after our Thursday Night Bible study and prayer meeting at church, we helped my friend Katelyn (from Musings of the King's Daughter blog-link found at the side of this page) and her brother Chris (twins) celebrate their 12th birthday. Their parents have decided to highlight the 12th birthday as a mark of transition time into adulthood. They asked members of our congregation to write letters to Chris and Katelyn of "encouragement and exhortation toward adulthood and Christian maturity". I wrote a letter to Katelyn, and Greg wrote a letter to Chris.
I really appreciate the intentionality with which this family is raising their children (Katelyn and Chris are the oldest of 5 children). They are truly teaching them how to be godly. Greg and I both appreciated the opportunity to challenge our minds to write a letter of edification to these two young people in our church. We asked ourselves why we haven't done this before, and we decided we will be doing it again w…
This Resource Wednesday, I would like to recommend The Christian Worldview website (www.thechristianworldview.com). The Christian Worldview is a weekly radio broadcast with host David Wheaton. The show's tag line is "Think Biblically, Live Accordingly". They do a great job providing speakers and topics that help you do just that.
Another feature of this weekly, one-hour broadcast (Saturday mornings, check out the website for details on how to listen to the show) is a bookclub. They suggest a book to read and give you a couple months to do that. Then they have the author on the radio program and discuss the book. I haven't read any of the books yet, but I have heard the discussions, and I really enjoy them. The book they are currently featuring (yet to air on the radio show, so there's still time) is The Disciplined Life by Richard Taylor. When the author is on the show, there is also opportunity to call in and ask him/her questions. It is a unique format for a boo…
On Sunday evening (Easter), Greg and I were on the road toward home after attending the evening service at church. I had 7 Easter packs left in my purse (see the Frightening Friday posts from 3/26 and 4/2 for more details on that). It was dusk, getting dark but still light enough to see. About 3 miles from our home, there is a skate park. The weather is getting warmer, and the skate park is getting busier. As we were rounding the bend before the skate park, I was going to ask Greg to stop if he saw kids there, but the words never came out of my mouth. And there were several kids at the skate park. We arrived home and parked in the garage. I stood by the van. Greg said, "Are you coming in?" I said, "Would you drive me back to the skate park?" My loving husband, without a question, said, "Yes."
We went back to the skate park, and I handed out my remaining Easter packs (each containing some candy and a gospel tract). As I got out of the van at the park, I tho…
Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Carissa and Ethan. We made brownies from a brownie-in-a-jar mix I had in the cupboard. Carissa cracked her first egg this evening. Remember the first time you cracked an egg? Yep, that's pretty much how it went in this scenario as well. I've yet to find an egg-cracking prodigy amongst the nieces and nephews, though each one has been sure they were the one. When Carissa finished cracking the egg, she echoed what I had told her when I was teaching her how to crack it. She said, "It's harder than it looks." The weather was beautiful this evening, so we managed to squeeze in a walk on the walking trails in our neighborhood. We also had time to read from Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. We're halfway through the book now and enjoying every lesson. We ended the evening with a rousing game of Zingo (a Cookie Baking Night favorite). As usual, a good time was had by all!
Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go …
Last night, at our Good Friday service at church, our pastor preached a most excellent sermon from Romans 3:21-26. I highly recommend listening to it. It will help you to prepare your heart and mind for Resurrection Sunday. Click here to listen to the sermon.
Today is Good Friday. I took the day off of work to spend time thinking about the gospel and spreading the gospel message to the best of my ability.
Since this is my usual day for intentional evangelism, I made plans to spend the morning handing out the Easter packs I had prepared last week (see post Frightening Friday, 03/26/10 for details). A friend of mine from church, Jenny, joined me for this venture. I was greatly encouraged by her presence.
We met at my house at 10:00 am, had a time of prayer (so enjoyed that), and then headed out to local businesses in search of people. The goal was to drive to towns near our church and hand out packs that included the gospel message, a bookmark encouraging the reading of the Gospel of John during this Easter season, a card that contained the service information for Good Friday service and Easter service at our church, and a couple pieces of candy.
We arrived in the parking lot of one business and never left it. We had 48 packs prepared and hande…
Today is Good Friday, a day to remember the death of Jesus Christ. If you read Isaiah 53 this week, you will see much of the predicted prophecy played out in this passage in the Gospel of John.
And he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but rather, 'This man said, I am King of the Jews.'" Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written." When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into f…
If you have not read Isaiah chapter 53 lately (I listed some of it at the end of Tuesday's post) I would encourage you to do so this week. It is an amazing passage that foretells the coming of the Messiah. It is incredible to read such an accurate description of Jesus so many years before His birth (and death). It also gives a pretty clear picture of God's wrath and why Jesus died for us. There is an intensity and importance in the entire tone of the passage that should not be overlooked.
I highly recommend reading Isaiah 53 this week.
Note: If reading the Bible is new to you, I'm speaking of the book of Isaiah in the Bible, Old Testament, 53rd chapter of the book (can be found pretty much in the center of the Bible).