Sunday, May 4, 2014

Highlights This Week

This week's top ten:
Thou wilt show me the path of life; in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalm 16:11) (KJ21)
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:10, 11) (ESV)
Show me Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths. (Psalm 25:4) (KJ21)
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (Psalm 32:1) (KJ21)
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) (KJ21)
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13) (KJV)
Ye are all the children of light and the children of the day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:5) (KJ21)
But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7) (KJ21)
For with Thee is the fountain of life; in Thy light shall we see light. (Psalm 36:9) (KJ21)
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10) (KJ21)
The reason that we who pray need a theologian at our side is that most of the difficulties of prayer are of our own making, the making of well-meaning friends, or the lies of the devil who always seems to be looking after our best self-interests. We get more interested in ourselves than in God. We get absorbed in what is or is not happening in us. We get bewildered by the huge discrepancies between our feelings and our intentions; we get unsettled by moralistic accusations that call into question our worthiness to even engage in prayer; we get attracted by advertisements of secrets that will give us access to a privileged, spiritual elite. But prayer has primarily to do with God, not us. It includes us, certainly—everything about us down to the last detail. But God is primary. And the theologian’s task is to train our thinking, our imagination, our understanding to begin with God, not ourselves. This is not always reassuring, for we want someone to pay attention to us. But it is more important to pay attention to God. Prayer, which began simply enough by paying attention to God, can only recover that simplicity by re-attending to God. Prayer is the most personal thing that any of us do, the most human act in which we can engage. We are more ourselves, our true, image-of-God selves, when we pray than at any other time. This is the glory of prayer, but it is also the trouble with prayer, for these selves of ours have a way of getting more interested in themselves than in God. ~ Eugene Peterson, Forward to The Soul of Prayer 
Believe the truth. Do not pretend to believe it, but believe it thoroughly. And he who does believe it, and fixes his faith first in Christ, and then in all Christ says, will not be likely to let it go. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "The Form of Sound Words," (1856)
I believe there is a great reason for some of us to suspect whether we believe our religion at all. An infidel once met a Christian. “Because,” said the other, “for years you have passed me on my way to my house of business. You believe, do you not, there is a hell, into which men’s spirit are cast?” “Yes, I do,” said the Christian. “And you believe that unless I believe in Christ I must be sent there?” “Yes.” “You do not, I am sure, because if you did you must be a most inhuman wretch to pass me, day by day, and never tell me about it or warn me of it.” I do hold that there are some Christians who are verily guilty in this matter; God will forgive them, the blood of Christ can even wash that out, but they are guilty. Did you ever think of the tremendous value of a single soul. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "Gospel Missions" (1856)
Ironically, many believers don't view an absence of love for Jesus Christ as sin. They view it simply as something they lack. This misunderstanding may be part of the holdup. If God's absolute priority for all followers of Christ is love—for Him first and others second—then the absence of such love is sin. I pound this point but not to condemn. Remember, it's not an irreversible condition! I pound the point so that we can do what we must to get on with the business of loving! God says, “Repent!” I'm not sure we'll be able to welcome the resource of love and His means of shedding it abroad in our hearts until we do. Repent means turn. I believe God told them and is telling us to turn from whatever has taken the place of our sacred romance with Christ and pour our lives back into the first things. Keep in mind that with the “first things” rightly established, all other things of value come to us as well. ~ Beth Moore, Beloved Disciple
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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