Thursdays With Spurgeon—Evidence Of Christian Maturity

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.

Evidence Of Christian Maturity

     One of the first evidences that anyone is a child of God is that he hates with a perfect hatred and seeks to live a holy, Christlike life. … 

     I bless God that I have learned to have very little respect for the vision of the man with the measuring line. When I see an angel with it, I am glad enough; but when I see a man with it, I tell him that he must give me a warrant from God and show me how he is to know the elect by any other method than that laid down by our Lord Jesus Christ: “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16). … 

     He who truly grows in grace does not say, “Dear me! I can feel that I am growing; bless the Lord! Let’s sing a hymn. ‘I’m a-growing! I’m a-growing!’” I have often felt that I was growing smaller; I think that is very probable, and a good thing, too. If we are very great in our own estimation, it is because we have a number of cancers, or foul gatherings, that need to be lanced, so as to let out the bad matter that causes us to boast of our bigness. 

From The Autobiography Of Charles Spurgeon 

Some Dos and Don’ts for Christian growth:

Do—hate those things that keep you from God’s presence
Do—seek to be conformed to the image of Jesus

Don’t—look at other people as your measuring line
Do—make sure your life is fruitful according to God’s standards

Don’t—brag about your growth
Do—humbly thank God for your growth
Do—be quick to repent of un-Christlike things the Holy Spirit reveals to you

Saturday In The Psalms—A Sabbath Psalm

A psalm. A song for the Sabbath day (preface to Psalm 92).

The Sabbath is—

  • a day of reflection
  • a day of rejoicing
  • a day of reconnecting
  • a day of meditating on past blessings
  • a day of strengthening for the upcoming week
  • a day of acknowledging the Creator
  • a day of appreciating creation
  • a day of assessing the investment of my God-given talents
  • a holy day—different from all other days

So … “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night” (vv. 1, 2).

Sabbath is not just a noun, but a verb—sabbathing—something that can be done every day, but something which also takes on special significance for the one day each week that we set aside as our holy day or worship and reflection. 

The Creator’s works and wisdom should be pondered and praised as we sabbath (vv. 4-6), something “a fool” doesn’t take time to do.

As we sabbath, we should confess to God—and then turn over to Him—those things which have overly preoccupied our minds (vv. 7-9).

We should recommit that the place of growth and blessing is in God’s presence (v. 13) as we endeavor to keep our hearts there. And then we can be energized and joy-filled as we contemplate His blessing which never diminishes nor grows old (vv. 14, 15).

Truly sabbathing is a good thing!

Do you have a Sabbath day? Do you find time to regularly sabbath in God’s presence? 

My “I” Crossed Out

sweet-i-crossed-out“You shall be blameless before the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 18:13).

“Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

Blameless = complete, whole, entire, sound; from the root word “to be finished.” 

Perfect = finished, not needing anything else to be completed.

I cannot be perfect on my own.
I sin.
I strive but always fall short.

But the Cross of Jesus is the “I” crossed out!
From the Cross Jesus said, “It is finished.” 
There was nothing needing to be completed.
Finished.
Perfect.
Entire. 
Sound.

I, too, must take up my cross.
This is the only way to have my “I” crossed out.

Jesus said, “You are in Me and I am in you.”
As long as I remain in Him I am blameless.
I am perfect.
I am complete.
“Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God” (Deuteronomy 18:13, KJV).

Hallelujah! What a Savior!
I am complete in Him!
Today I will walk out this perfection.
Every day.
Jesus, may You be seen in me as I remain in You.

I am only perfect in You!

6 Ways To Make Sure Everything You Do Is Sacred

It's all sacredAround 1300 AD, the Church began propagating a myth. It showed up in two words that were created around that time: clergy and laity.

Simply stated, clergy is from a root word that means “the learned men … the ones enlighten for ministry.” And laity is anyone not in that inner circle.

Insecure leaders did this to maintain control. They continued to read the Scriptures in Latin, which few could read, so they made sure that the clergy alone had a Bible, and they alone became the expounders of how the Bible told us to live.

In the clergy-laity divide, they also created a sacred-secular divide.

When Paul addresses the Colossians he does so with anything but a clergy-laity divide in mind. He calls them the holy and faithful brothers in Christ (Colossians 1:2). The KJV translates holy as saints, for that’s how Paul indeed sees them. And he sees them as his very own faith-filled brothers.

Paul also has anything but a sacred-secular divide in mind as he instructs then—whatever you do, whether in word or deed.

He makes it clear that everything we do as faith-filled, holy saints is to be sacred and God-honoring.

How do we do whatever we do in a sacred, God-honoring way? We ask these six questions:

[1] Can it be done with a clear conscience? (Acts 23:1; 24:16)

  • “It is not WHAT a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is WHY he does it.” —A.W. Tozer

[2] Will it promote the Gospel? (Philippians 1:27)

[3] Is it a good deed? (Acts 10:38; James 3:13)

[4] Does it point people to God? (1 Peter 2:12; 1 Corinthians 10:31)

[5] Can I do it in the name of Jesus? (Colossians 3:17do it ALL in the name of Jesus)

[6] Does it cause others to be thank-full? (Colossians 3:17giving THANKS to God the Father).

Live according to your high calling, for all you do is sacred!

(To check out more thoughts on Colossians 3:15-17, click here and here.)

Taking A Rest

“This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations; but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.” — Westminster Confession

“A holy rest” is usually a hard concept to grasp. When we rest we often feel one of two things:

  • There is something I should be doing; or
  • I’m just lazy!

But rest is not the same thing as inactivity.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thursdays With Oswald #8

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Integrated Life

God will never allow us to divide our lives into sacred and secular, into study and activity. We generally think of a student as one who shuts himself up and studies in a reflective way, but that is never revealed in God’s book. A Christian’s thinking ought to be done in activities, not in reflection, because we only come to right discernment in activities. Some incline to study naturally in the reflective sense, others incline more to steady active work; the Bible combines both in one life. We are apt to look on workers for God as a special class, but that is foreign to the New Testament. Our Lord was a carpenter; Paul was a weaver. If you try and live in compartments, God will tumble up the time.

From Approved Unto God

You and I don’t have sacred and secular lives. If you are a follower of God, your whole life is holy: it’s all set apart for God. Don’t slack off in areas that you think are secular; treat everything as holy.

Shining Like Stars

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright stars in a world full of crooked and perverse people. (Philippians 2:14-15)

Those who follow Jesus are supposed to be different.

The word holy means different; it means “set apart from everything else for a special purpose.” But holy shouldn’t be a repelling different, but a winsome, appealing, attractive different. Instead, our holy lives should shine like bright stars.

When we first had kids, people began to talk to Betsy and me about where our kids would go to school, and their first assumption was that we would send them to a “Christian” school. But we felt differently about this. We have been called by Jesus to let our light shine before men that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven. So our desire is that our kids may let their light shine in their public schools.

While I am grateful for the A’s and B’s on all of their third-quarter report cards, there are other statements on my kids’ report cards that make me even prouder—

  • “You are a pleasure to have in class.”
  • “I am so blessed to have him in class.”
  • “You have proven yourself to be a responsible, respectful, and hard working student.”
  • “She does a fantastic job of helping out other students in class.”
  • “He is extremely respectful towards others and a pleasure to have in class!”
  • “He is always willing to lend a helping hand to others if needed.”
  • “You are a joy to be around, and I look forward to your smile every morning!”

These comments reflect lifestyles that are different—a winsome, appealing, attractive different.

This light shining out from our kids has opened the door for us to share our faith in Jesus with both teachers and students. In fact, my daughter has been able to lead one of her classmates to faith in Christ, and she and her family are now attending our church!

My kids challenge me to do everything in a way that shines. I want to be different … I want to shine … I want to live in a way that attracts others to Jesus Christ. What about you?

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