Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Greatest Sermon Ever Preached.

I have had the privilege of hearing many great sermons, from many preachers, but no sermon compares to the one that Jesus preached. Oh and by the way I'm not talking about the Sermon on the Mount, although it is probably second. The greatest sermon wasn't spoken, although there were some words, but it was a whole life lived to the glory of God. For his first point Jesus was born of a virgin, and lived without sin. For his second point he showed God's mighty power, great love and mercy to the world. For his third point he stood before Pilate, and accepted a fierce beating. For his fourth point he walked to Golgotha, and hung on a cross. For his fifth point he rose from the grave on the third day, and after a little more time with those who had followed him, he ascended into heaven, where he now sits at the right hand of God. Now most modern preachers, use a five point sermon: Intro, point 1, point 2, point 3, conclusion. Jesus however has more points, and the sermon is not finished. For his sixth point he sent the holy spirit as a comforter to those who belong to him. And his conclusion, which has yet to be delivered, but has been promised, will be when he returns, this time it will not be a humble birth in secret, but with the sound of trumpets, and all will know, and every knee in Heaven, on Earth, and under the Earth, will bow, and he will gather to him those that belong to him.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Five Steps to Spiritual Success: a Study of Wisdom from the Book of Proverbs

As I laid in bed trying to sleep, I began to pray, and felt compelled to get up and study my bible. So I began to read in Proverbs chapter 1, and several things stuck out to me, and I was really blessed in the reading. It inspired an excitement and closeness to God in me, that I have longed for. It is like those mountaintop experiences from a christian retreat, and I just can't help but try to share some of the insights that spoke to me. I hope it is encouraging for you.
The first thing that stuck out was talking about how you become wise. It lists some charactaristics of people who are wise. In Proverbs 1:5 these two charactaristics: continually learning; and attains wise counsel. If we are going to become wise we must love learning, and be very careful to take advice from people who are wise, we must be discerning of the counsel we accept. All wisdom is not valuable for a christian. We must seek Godly wisdom, so we need to love learning the scriptures, and seek counsel from Godly men and women. I love the way the christian walk is never a singular walk, a key to success as a christian is always other christians. Proverbs 1:7 says, "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." If we are going to be wise we must have an accurate view of God, we must recognize that he is mighty, and worthy of awe and reverence. Proverbs 1:10 advises not to consent to temptations, the following verses give the example of people coming and talking about using violent means to make dishonest gain. It also states about these people that they unknowing seek to kill themselves. In the same way that it is important for us to seek wise counsel, we must also avoid evil counsel.
Another nugget that I found is in Chapter 2:4-5 "If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God." These verses describe wisdom as something that is very valuable and worthy to be sought, because it will bring you to the fear of the Lord. Chapter 2 will continue to say that the Lord gives wisdom, and that he stores sound wisdom for the upright, and is a shield for those who walk uprightly.
So what does it look like when wisdom enters your heart. The following discriptions are given
>will have discretion which means cautious and correct judgement.
>will have understanding
>will love knowledge
>will not go with evil company
>will not speak perverse things
>will not leave the path of righteousness
>will not be sexually immoral
>will not go down the paths of the dead
>will walk in goodness
Now to finally get to the five commands for success Chapter 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.
Chapter 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge the Lord.
Chapter 3:7 Do not consider yourself wise, instead fear God and flee from evil
Chapter 3:9 Honor the Lord with all your possessions
Chapter 3:11 Do not despise the chastening of the Lord.
I could talk about each of these, but will instead just challenge you to take them one at a time and apply them to your life. I truly believe that growing in these will enrich your life and reignite your fire for the Lord.