Sunday, July 19, 2009

Counsel For The Christian Soul

Jeff Purswell preached today at Grace Church. I had no doubt at all that he would deliver a fantastic message, and I got no less of what I suspected. He is the Pastor that is responsible for pastor care and helping pastors in the Pastors College. Well, let's get to the message:

Phillipians 4: 4-7: "4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

The First thing I see is that Christians are to be joyful, when? Always. Does that mean through trials and hardships? Yes. Paul seems pretty pitiless, doesn't he? But remember this: Paul went through trials just as hard as we have it. He actually had people hunting him because of his work to spread the Gospel. We Rejoice in the Lord, at all times. It can be easy to Rejoice in happiness when things go for you, but not always when it seems to go against you. In hardships, we Rejoice in the Gospel, because it promises us that we will not be forever in pain. And, though it is hard, Even in Suffering, remember that we have FAR more than we should or deserve. In the midst of wrong doing done to you, a Christian should be loving and easy, as well as gentle, and they must show it to all. I believe that is what Paul is getting at in the first sentence of verse five. Then the end of verse five links to first six. The Lord is near and with you in times of trouble, so do not be anxious to do the wrong thing, or to believe in a falsehood that sounds real.
Verse seven is a really comforting one: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. That's a very strong reassurance.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Recommended Reading: A Hunger For God, by John Piper

In this wonderful and inspiring book, John Piper talks about fasting. John Piper is what I'd almost call a present day C.S. Lewis. Now I am not even all the way through the book, not even halfway. And even though I got it at the family christian book store, it is at Grace's book store as well. As Jesus puts it in Matthew and the other synoptics, (Matthew, Mark and Luke, but I bet he talks about it in John as well) Fasting is a large test: It pin-points to where your heart is. Is it with the Lord, or the large problem with the praise of men? That's not just something you can answer in two flat seconds.

It is not at all a sin if you fast while people are around; but it depends HOW you fast. After all, Piper says this: "Seen Fasting and Fasting To Be Seen is not the same thing." I agree. By your works...nevermind, I need to Rephrase that. After you've been baptised or know the Lord and your submission to him, it will show if you're fasting for God or glory for yourself. Praise of man is VERY DECEPTIVE. That's one reason why Fasting is a very complicated Spiritual Discipline. (Fasting is not a spiritual gift. Here's why: If you have the Lord in you, you'll find that you cannot DO without fasting.) Fasting is both Depression and Joy to the Lord. It is quoting Deuteronomy 8:3: "And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."
Another interesting thing is this: The Isrealites wandered in the wilderness for forty years...Guess how long Jesus fasted in the wilderness before the devil begins tempting him? Forty days. What a coincidence? (But guess what? That's no coincidence. If you believe otherwise, get your facts straight please.)

Lee Over 'N Out...