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Reflect On The Wonder Of The Cross

I haven’t posted anything in a long time, and have so much I could say. Unfortunately, I don’t have very much time, so I can’t quite update you all on what has occupied my summer yet, but I can give some quick encouragement. The easiest way to do this: quote someone who is more spiritually mature than I. Ironically, this man, C.J. Mahaney, also happens to be quoting others. I hope you find this as edifying as I did.

“Martin Lloyd-Jones wrote the following about the surest way to pursue humility:

There is only one thing I know of that crushes me to the ground and humiliates me to the dust, and that is to look at the Son of God, and especially contemplate the cross. 

When I survey the wondrous cross 

On which the Prince of Glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss

And pour contempt on all my pride

Nothing else can do it. When I see that I am a sinner… that nothing but the Son of God on the cross can save me, I’m humbled to the dust… Nothing but the cross can give us this spirit of humility.

“John Stott helps us understand why the cross has this powerful effect:

Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to be saying to us, ‘I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying your death I am dying.’ Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.

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Struggles, The Word

I was going to make a post on this same subject, but I agree with everything Sierra has said. I have very little to add, as this is basically an echo of my own thoughts. J.C. Ryle spoke well in reference to pride and humility – “Remember how often Scripture sets before us the excellence of a humble spirit. How strongly we are warned “not to think of (ourselves) more highly than (we) ought to think!” (Rom. 12:3) How plainly we are told, “If anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know!” (1 Cor. 8:2). How strict is the command, “Put on humbleness of mind!”(Col. 3:12). And again, “Be clothed with humility” (1 Pet. 5:5). Sadly, this is a garment of which many seem not to have so much as a scrap.” – J.C. Ryle was very insightful in regards to pride. So, we know we are to practice humility; how do we do this? Where should we look? Christ Himself was the perfect example of humility. It was His defining characteristic when He was on earth. In Philippians 2:3-8, Paul speaks to this, saying: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” The glorious Lord Jesus Christ, whose image we are to always be conforming to, is the complete and perfect example of selflessness, obedience, and humility. We cannot honor God without humility, for actions seemingly God-glorifying will only be tainted by impure motives of self-righteousness; pride, the very sin that cast Lucifer from the presence of God.

As Sierra said, when the Lord blesses us, we are to boast in Him, and Him alone. It is our responsibility to do so, and we should at all times, especially in suffering. Paul speaks of this in 2 Corinthians 11:21-33. In verse 30, he says, “If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.” Boast only of the sufferings and trials Christ has placed in your life, and by His grace, allowed and strengthened you to conquer. Please read and consider Sierra’s post. Examine yourself; where does pride exist in your heart? In what ways does it manifest itself in your life? For it does, the reader can be sure of that.

Anchored Soul

Psalm 34:1b-3, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the Lord; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”

2 Corinthians 10:17-18, “But He who boasts is to boast in the Lord. For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.”  

Who am I, a sinner ravaged by selfishness and pride, that God would look upon me with grace and magnanimous favor? All that I am, God has given. And yet, have I learned to boast in Him for His blessings? When will my heart glory in the only One worth bragging about? Boasting. My heart will always boast. But in whom is the question to be answered…

God is reminding me that He is the only…

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Struggles, The Word

Love As He Loves You. Forgive As He Forgives You.

To all of you who were wondering, the reason I haven’t made a post in a while is because I have been struggling. I’ve been struggling against the sin of the flesh, and it’s been harder than anything I have ever dealt with aside from when I first believed. Praise be to God, for He is strong when we are weak! The only way I can overcome these sins that infect my thoughts and actions is through Christ, as Colossians 1:13 and 14 say:

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Oh, His beloved, precious Son, how I long to look like Him! I thank and praise my Father for giving me such hard times, because when we suffer and overcome our sin through Him is when we tend to grow the most.

My struggle was with three sins in particular: jealousy, bitterness, and selfishness. It all starts with the way I view my friends. For the longest time, I have viewed the majority of my friends as the world views them: sources of pleasure, wanting all of their attention to feel good about myself, feeling important, or even loved, in an ungodly way. What was this view of my friends coming from? Selfishness. I did not pursue relationships with them so that they would be built up in Christ, or encouraged by me to follow Him with more of a passion. If I may pause from the story to challenge you. Examine your relationships, your friendships. Have you sought out friendships to encourage the other person in Christ? Or have you chased them because that other person made you feel good about yourself. What about your love relationships? Have you truly kept Christ at the center of that relationship, so that the one you love will look more like Christ in every aspect? Or have you pursued that person they made you feel loved, important, beautiful, or handsome, as the case may be. Please, examine closely. If looking more like Christ is not at the center of your relationship, and it’s goal is not the glory of God, then your friendship with that person at this moment has no eternal benefit. What matters in the end of all things? That, in your life, you glorified God in all things. So glorify Him in your friendships.

So, as an effect of me not having my friendships centered around the right thing, when someone else came along, who was another close friend of mine, and stole the spotlight from me, what do you think my reaction was? Jealousy. The point of my relationships with these people was my own pleasure, so when a friend came along who was more entertaining than me in almost every way, my reaction was jealousy. When he was there, my friends ignored me for him. He deprived me from feeling good about myself. I tried to change how I acted, so that I could get that prideful feeling from my friends again, but it didn’t work. I was still ignored, and that made me angry. I wasn’t content with Christ, with how He had made me, and I still desired that prideful feeling I got from my friends so much.

But, I was also committing another sin towards this person in response to past sins committed by him. Bitterness. I forgave him for what he did, with my lips, but hadn’t truly forgiven him in my heart. I felt a festering bitterness towards him for what he had done, and this made it hard for me to even be around him.

Through help from my parents and the careful examination of God’s Word, I saw my sin, and I saw what I needed to change in my actions and thoughts toward my friends. Love. I need to love them as Christ loves them. As Christ loves me. Forgiveness. I need to forgive them as Christ has forgiven me. If I am to be like Christ in everything, then I should not be hesitant to pour out forgiveness upon my friends. Christ forgave me of my vile sins against Him, an eternally holy God who loves me, by dying on a cross for my sins. So why should I be so hesitant to forgive a friend who has offended me? Here are some passages that have encouraged me, showed me my sin, and what I need to do to combat that sin. I have put off the sin, and now I put on Christ’s love, and forgiveness.

1 Corinthians 13:3-8a: 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.

Romans 8:31-39 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 Just as it is written,

“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Colossians 3:12-14 12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

I pray that you who are reading will examine yourself according to the Scripture here, and that you will be able to see through the Lord where you have failed, and where you have done well. If you have failed, repent, and pursue Christ’s righteousness, love, and forgiveness. If you have succeeded in these things, rejoice, give the glory to God, and continue to excel still more.

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The Word

Get Over Yourself

This weekend I was on a short summer vacation, and was able to see a younger friend whom I had not been with for about a year and a half.  Throughout the weekend, the boy would have a rebellious attitude toward the things his parents told him to do, responding to his parents’ commands with rejection.  My mother encouraged me to talk to him about it, and challenge him about whether it was right or wrong for him to do so.  I didn’t really desire to do so, I didn’t want to get in that situation, as it would be uncomfortable for us both.  The next morning in my devotions, I didn’t have my Bible available so I opened my Bible app on my phone.  The passage it was set on was this:

Titus 3:1,2

1  Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,2  to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.

  I prayed that morning, before I read the Scripture, that I would take to heart what I read in His word that morning and practice it throughout the day.  And what do I find?  A passage that dealt with the very thing I was struggling with.  God used His Scripture to give me a kick in the boot. To say, “Noah, you need to do this.” I find it amazing how quickly and effectively God uses His Word to challenge us to do something.  That day I purposed to speak to the boy about his behavior. I mentioned things to him several times throughout the day and then that night, while talking about the church we were going to tomorrow, he asked me, “So how do you get to heaven?” and so I was able to share the gospel with him again, as he had already heard it, but I was able to stress repentance, which he hadn’t heard before.

You see, if we can(through the Lord’s help) get over ourselves, our own fear and pride about how situations where we talk about our faith with unbelievers make us look, then there is nothing holding us back from what we know we need to do as followers of Christ.  When we struggle with such sin, we should always pray and look to His Word, and God will show us what to do.

If you could keep the boy in your prayers, as he is not a believer but is interested. And interest is sometimes a sign of God calling someone. The boy’s name is Drew.

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The Word

A King

Something that we as Christians do not normally think about was brought to my attention just this last week at a camp put on by my church. Jesus is not only our God, but He is our King. He is proven to be a King, having been born in the line of David as prophesied in the Bible. Now a thought in reply to this statement maybe something like, “Well that’s a good thought, but how does that change the way I am living my life right now?” Well, we as Christians tend to do the things Christ commanded us to do out of obligation, not necessarily doing them with joy, but rather with a sense of duty. Now take the statement, “Jesus is our King,” and think about my previous sentence in that light. How do the subjects of a good king respond to the king’s commands? They do them with joy, hoping to please the king.

See, now it changes everything. From the things we say, to the urgency with which we do what our King has commanded us.  We should be desirous to do what Christ commanded us to honor Him as King, and we should be drawing others into Christ’s kingdom, that they may serve Him as well.  And there are many people who do not know His love.  Studies show that there are approximately 6 billion people in the world who do not know Christ.  That is our mission as soldiers of the King, to go out and make disciples of all the nations. Christ our King has shown us His extravagant love, and why should we be scared to show it to those whom have not heard? It is our flesh, using pride and fear of what others may think to stop us.  Ah, think of the difference we could make if we even just took the time to share with one person every other day. And we still have trouble doing just that.  Our flesh is strong, but He is stronger.  Though we are weak, wrapped and bound in these chains of flesh, we can through our strong and magnificent King, accomplish anything.

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