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Prayer Day?

I recently went to a local outdoor park with some men and had a half day of prayer on a Saturday morning. We met at 7:30, had coffee and bagels, enjoyed some fellowship and received the instructions for our morning. We used a prayer guide called “Making Time for Prayer” which can be purchased at MIMbooks.com.

Before going into the time, I had rehearsed the issues, “the what” that I was going to bring up before God. Relationships, my to-do list and schedule, health, finances and other complaints—the normal typical issues most of us carry around. I know I needed this time as it had been awhile since I spent three-plus uninterrupted hours with Him. I related to David in Psalm 25:27, “The troubles of my heart are enlarged.”

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Death and Hope

We have a hope to live; a hope for life and a hope to never experience death. We loath the thought of death.

Death is the ultimate enemy of hope. Death is final. It extinguishes hope. In death, hope ceases.

Death, its process and the inevitable coming experience on the other side of death is out of our control.

Perhaps that is why we tend to shy away from discussing death. And we are aware that it extinguishes our hope.

But does it?

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Sex, Body and Soul – Part 3

In Part 2 we discussed man’s body and soul/spirit. To review, God created man with two parts: a body and a soul/spirit. As Christians we spend this life investing in our souls. This is the process of dying to ourselves (e.g. Luke 9:23-24 and John 12:24-25), of being conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29), of allowing Jesus to increase as we decrease (John 3:30). Investing in our souls during this earthly life impacts the quality of our souls in eternity.

But what about our bodies? The bible tells us that bodily discipline is of little profit (1 Timothy 4:8). I may be convicted out of stewardship to invest in a healthy earthly body, but a healthy earthly body does not translate into a healthy eternal body. So, how do I invest in my eternal body? The bible teaches us that there is one area in our earthly lives that impacts our eternal bodies: sexual morality.

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Sex, Body and Soul – Part 2

One of the major themes of the bible is the value of our souls. Jesus teaches in Matthew 10:28, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Our earthly bodies can be spared, but at all costs we are to guard and preserve our souls. How we invest in our soul on earth impacts the quality of our soul in eternity. But what about our resurrected body? Is there anything we can do on earth that will affect the quality of our body in eternity?

1 Timothy 4:7b-8 states: “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

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Sex, Body and Soul – Part 1

There is nothing in the human experience quite like the act of sex. It is a uniquely physical act. It is a uniquely spiritual act. It is beautiful if performed within God’s boundaries. But it is destructive to body and soul if experienced outside God’s design.

What the bible teaches regarding marriage and sex is fundamentally different than what the world teaches. It is no secret that in recent years our world has undergone a seismic change in regards to its perspective toward sex. Those who seek to uphold a sexual morality based on biblical standards find themselves increasingly at odds with the prevailing culture, mocked for holding an antiquated worldview, and slandered as being intolerant and close-minded.

How do we stay encouraged and resolute in our pursuit for purity? Where can we find motivation as we swim upstream against an increasingly hostile environment? How do we teach our children to view sexuality through a biblical lens and impart to them a desire for purity amidst a generation that disdains moral excellence?

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An Opportunity or a Test?

Many times in life, circumstances can bring opportunities our way. This could be a new job opportunity, a relocation opportunity, a relationship opportunity or maybe even an opportunity to go the route of vocational ministry. The question sometimes we need to ask ourselves: could the opportunity be a test from the Lord? We see in 1 Samuel 24 and 26, David had two great opportunities to eliminate Saul so that he wouldn’t have to run any longer.

In Chapter 24 Saul and three thousand men are pursuing David and his men. Saul decides to go into a cave to relieve himself. Of all the caves he chooses, the one he enters is where David and some of his men are hiding. While Saul is taking care of business David cuts off a piece of his robe. What is very interesting is that David’s conscience bothers him. In verse 4, David’s men tell him that “the Lord has delivered your enemy into your hand”. David disagrees and says the following in verse 6, “Far be it from me because of the Lord that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.” David persuades his men and does not allow them to strike Saul when they had the opportunity…

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The Sacrificial Life

The Apostle Paul instructs us in Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Then again in I Peter 2:5 we are instructed to “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” As followers of Jesus Christ, it is clear in Scripture that we are commanded to live sacrificial lives. This Biblical truth is one that many may hear and be aware of, but do we really understand and know what it means to live a “sacrificial life?”

A working definition of sacrifice is “to give up something of current value for something of greater future value.” The baseball team readily understands this principle. With a man on third and no “outs,” they will next hit a “sacrifice fly ball” most every time. What this means is that the batter will intentionally hit a fly ball to the outfield to be caught, thus securing an “out” for the opposing team.

This “out” in our illustration represents the “something of current value.” The “out” is sacrificed because it is then known that it will subsequently result in their runner on third scoring after the “out” was secured. The ability for the runner on third to score represents the “greater future value.”

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Taking Every Thought Captive

King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 23:7, “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so he is: eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee” (KJV). Another way to read this is, we are what we think about. For anyone who has spent time in the Bible, it’s no surprise that the wisest man to live pointed out this truth.

What we think about captures our attention, and what has our attention determines our action.

Try this exercise for yourself. Write down the two or three things that have your attention in life. What do you think about most these days? As they come to mind, look at how you are spending your time, money, or talents. It’s likely the resources God provides are being used to pursue what has your attention. We move in the direction of our strongest thoughts.

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Choosing Fear (Part 2)

Some hold that fear and love contradict one another–that fear is contrary to love. But in actuality, these go hand in hand. Love and fear are necessarily related.

Below are three points of perspectives on this relationship.

Firstly, that which we cherish and hold dear, we love.

We love that which is precious and hate the thought of losing that which is so important to us. We don’t want to lose that or whom we love or have it or them taken from us.

Thus we fear losing that which we love. And hence, in effort to mitigate the fear of loss, to what extent will we love the beloved? Fear drives us to the action of faith.

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Choosing Fear (Part 1)

We will fear that in which we hope. Fear follows our hope. And behavior (faith) follows our fear. Therefore, our fears and actions reveal that in which we hope for and hope in. What do your actions tell you about your fear and your hope?

Fear has a bad reputation. It is associated with weakness and cowardice. But if placed with the right object (God), it is meant for our protection, for our good, a driver to obedience, and motive of avoidance of sin and pain–and to do what is ultimately in our best interest. It leads to positive changes in our lives, pushes us to love and good deeds, strengthens us, unchains and frees us up. Fear can become our strength!

“The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10) and “Conduct yourselves in fear of God while on Earth” (1Peter 1:17).

Fear of God is not only the best beginning but the necessary foundation for in a walk with Jesus Christ.

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