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Theology is living.

Let us cast to the winds as idle talk the common notion that it is possible to be “extreme” and go “too far” in religion. This is a favourite one of the devil, and one which he circulates with vast industry. Jc Ryle
I remember when i was newly born -again. I remember it like it was yesterday. It has been over 18 years. I’m ashamed at the lack of growth, at the low level of sanctification i have cooperated with my Lord to experience. I could list a myriad of reasons for my failure to grow in Christlikeness but I am persuaded that whatever reason I would give would stem from a deep root of faulty theology. What’s more, this faulty theology was picked from the hands of well-meaning others and not from my initial readings of the word of God.

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

Self-Confrontation

The eye can see everything but itself. – Thomas Watson

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://chapellibrary.org:8443/pdf/books/sexafg.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwiojIy-u6vmAhUGLK0KHVsTBSAQFjAAegQIAhAB&usg=AOvVaw1U91WwXnbLGagYp04m0iGM

Above is a link to The Free Grace Broadcaster’s issue on self-examination. On pages 38-41 they have included a list of questions from Thomas Wilcox to help with the process a personal examination. This is in the public domain. Thomas Wilcox died in 1687, but his works live on. I have greatly benefited from this list of questions and wanted to share it with you. I hope it is beneficial to you and your walk with Christ.

2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Philippians 2:12-13 ESV Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken

Jesus, I my cross have taken,All to leave and follow Thee.Destitute, despised, forsaken,Thou from hence my all shall be.

Perish every fond ambition,All I’ve sought or hoped or known.Yet how rich is my condition!God and heaven are still my own.

Let the world despise and leave me,They have left my Savior, too.Human hearts and looks deceive me;Thou art not, like them, untrue.

O while Thou dost smile upon me,God of wisdom, love, and might,Foes may hate and friends disown me,Show Thy face and all is bright.

Man may trouble and distress me,Twill but drive me to Thy breast.Life with trials hard may press me;Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.

Oh, tis not in grief to harm meWhile Thy love is left to me;Oh, twere not in joy to charm me,Were that joy unmixed with Thee.

Go, then, earthly fame and treasure,Come disaster, scorn and painIn Thy service, pain is pleasure,With Thy favor, loss is gain

I have called Thee Abba Father,I have stayed my heart on Thee. Storms may howl, and clouds may gather;All must work for good to me.

Soul, then know thy full salvation. Rise oer sin and fear and care. Joy to find in every station,Something still to do or bear.

Think what Spirit dwells within thee,Think what Father’s smiles are thine,Think that Jesus died to win thee,Child of heaven, canst thou repine.

Haste thee on from grace to glory, Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.Heavens eternal days before thee,Gods own hand shall guide us there.

Soon shall close thy earthly mission,Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,Hope shall change to glad fruition,Faith to sight, and prayer to praise. ~Indelible Grace

This version comes from a Shepherd’s Conference, and I love the beauty of it. The sound of hundreds of pastors from around the world worshipping. A taste of heaven.

Snare… PT. 2

2Timothy 2:25b-26 ESV God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

In my previous post, I mentioned the word snare and in my personal reading today I came across another verse that happened to include the same word.

This verse is interesting because it brings to our attention the blessed fact that it is God who releases us from the snares we are captured in. A simple, yet vitally important truth. A truth that reminds us of the need to pray, for others as well as for ourselves.

This truth led to a bucket of confusion for me, however! I was instructed, from books and from fellow believers I knew, that to try too hard in my struggle against sin was, in fact, a work of the flesh. I knew enough to know that anything done in the flesh was of no use to God, and of no use in my struggle. So I took the advice, and tried to yield to the Spirit and allow him to work.

I should have kept reading… and comparing Scripture to Scripture. Jc Ryle said, “Others are so afraid of ” works” being made part of justification, that they can hardly find any place at all for “works” in their religion.”

Verses stating our personal responsibility in sanctification abound in Scripture. Of course, any “good” a Christian ever does is based solely on the Work of Christ on their behalf and through the empowering of the Holy Spirit. We pray for God’s gift of repentance, and we act on what he reveals.

Galatians 5:24 ESV And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Colossians 3:5 ESV Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Hebrews 12:1 ESV Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

Philippians 2:12 ESV Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Clearly these are commands, not just things we are to pray about and wait for God to zap us! My prayer is that we would do some self-refection and self-confrontation, without the snare of fear we are being self-righteous, and commit ourselves to new obedience to Christ. After all, he is not just our Lord in name only.

Theology is Living

There is a direct, inseparable relationship between sound doctrine and saintly living, something scripture teaches clearly and consistently. The reverse is also true – where there is false belief, there will be sinful behavior. – John MacArthur, Biblical Doctrine

In the process of looking at how far I have fallen and returning to my first love, it’s clear to me how important the opinions of others have been to me! The Bible describes this sin as the “fear of man” in verses like Proverbs 29:25, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

I know that a snare is a trap to take things captive. When researching the word, I discovered that there are two kinds of snares. One uses a rope, which either captures the feet or the neck. The other type of snare uses a net, either to camouflage a pit to fall into or to fall on top of the thing being captured, preventing escape. Quite the picture!

One fear of man trap I am by faith avoiding now and in the future is believing my desire to be obedient to God means I think I am better than others. If God has given me the desire to seek him with all my heart, pushing him away in response to the ridicule of others is a direct insult to the grace he graciously gave someone so undeserving! I would never want someone to think I was holy, or to think I thought I was holier, but if someone considers me a “goodie two shoes” and all I’m doing is trying to love God the best I know how, I can’t do anything about the way they feel.

Of course, loving God with all my heart requires acting in love towards others. I believe now that it is far more important to desire to please my Savior then to try to appease everyone who may misunderstand my intentions or motives. Previously I was trying so hard to not offend anyone. I thought that was loving. I thought it would gain me an audience to maybe one day present the gospel by trying to be like the world in whatever ways I could find common ground. Well, it did not gain me an entry point for speaking the gospel! It did however give me plenty of opportunities to succumb to multiple temptations from the world and my own vile fleshly desires.

To correct this faulty thinking, I have clung wholeheartedly to a couple of scriptures. I praise God for his holy word! Philippians 2:14-15 ESV “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” And another, John 15:19 ESV, ” If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

These versus sent the truth into my heart that my job is to obey God, which brings me joy! Blending in with the world is NOT the way to be a witness! I will fear God and let him deal with the results and the opinions of others. Maybe God will see fit to use THAT as an opening to share the Gospel.

Thanks for your patience as I figure out this blogging thing…