Bridle Your Tongue

Vincere = Bridle Your Tongue

Vincere = Conquer in Latin

vincēre

PART FOUR OF SIX

Our tongue. It can be a friend or one of our biggest foes. I wrote a little on this subject several weeks ago, saying, “We need to be encouragers and watch what we say as our words have much power. For years now, I try to read the Proverbs on a daily basis. There are 31 Proverbs, so whatever date it is, I try to read that Proverb during my quiet time. For instance, today is July 9, so I read Proverbs 9 this morning. A recurring theme and one of the greatest traits of wisdom is to know how to bridle our tongue. What we learned as children, we should practice as adults, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”” ( https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/cotidie.blog/141).

For instance, a few things Proverbs tell us:

“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin” (Proberbs 13:3).

“Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 29:20).

“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame” (Proverbs 18:13).

“To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!” (Proverbs 15:23).

“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble” (Proverbs 21:23).

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4).

“Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent” (Proverbs 17:28).

James also has much to say about taming, or bridling the tongue:

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

“How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water” (James 3:1-12).

James clearly tells us that the tongue cannot be tamed. It is impossible. A wild beast can be tamed, but the tongue cannot be tamed. I should wrap it up and quit writing then, right? No, there is one mightier than the tongue; God Almighty. God’s Spirit living within us can conquer our tongue, bridling it and making it subject to His will. He will set up guard if we ask Him to and allow it. He will help us.

Just for today, let the Lord bridle your tongue. Be on guard with the words that you speak, every word.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Five…..

As A Man Thinks

Vincere = Take Your Thoughts Captive

Vincere = Conquer in Latin

vincēre

PART THREE OF SIX

As a man thinks, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). If you could write down your thoughts for a 24 hour period, what drives them? What dominates your thoughts? What would you be if your thoughts defined you? And would that definition be a reflection of God?

If we are to conquer ourselves, we must conquer our minds and our thought lives. Following are three things I think can greatly help us in this area:

Do you have the mind of Christ? “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). We can look at Paul’s writing leading up to the statement in verse 16 to gather several things. The mind of Christ involves the wisdom of God (verse 7). The mind of Christ is given to believers through the Holy Spirit (verses 10-12). The mind of Christ is folly to the unbeliever, but spiritual discernment is given to the believer through the mind of Christ (verses 14 and 15). We have the mind of Christ if we know the Lord. The Lord gives us wisdom and discernment through the mind of Christ and reveals heavenly things to us; we are tasked with the responsibility to use it.

Are you transformed by the renewal of your mind? “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Being transformed by the renewal of our mind is the direct opposite of being conformed to this world. As Christians, we must think differently as we are not of this world. What is opposite of this world? God’s Holy Word. We say, “I want to be transformed, how do I do it?” By the renewing of your mind; examining what God’s Word says about each and every matter (a shout out to my good friend Pascal Nayigiziki on this one).

Have you learned to take your thoughts captive? “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). As we battle the flesh, sinful thoughts are bound to creep into our mind. Thoughts of lust, greed, envy, anger, and other lies from the devil will try to get a foothold. We must not let them! We must learn to dismiss them quickly and replace them with biblical and spiritual truths.

Follow me for a minute: the mind of Christ can be equated with feeling as wisdom and discernment are often given to us through feelings. I have seen over and over in my own life how God has given me wisdom and discernment through feeling. I just knew something and could feel it in my bones. The renewal of our mind is based on truth. As we study God’s word, our mind is renewed over and over again. Keep your nose in the word and it is just about impossible to be conformed to this world. Conquering our mind cannot be done with just feeling alone. Nor can it be done with the truth by itself. But if we partner the feelings given through the mind of Christ (wisdom and discernment) with the truth of Scripture in renewing our minds, we can take action to take every thought captive. God gives us discernment over our thoughts that remind us of the truth of Scripture and we are able to put this into action. Revelation through feelings, together with renewal through the truth of the word, empowers us to take action. If you put these three together, you have a powerful combination in our thought battle against the flesh.

When we start to think in a worldly manner, we must stop our thoughts immediately. Switch channels to the mind of Christ; through wisdom and discernment we see what is right. Be transformed by the renewal of your mind; the truth of Scripture renews us. Capture every thought in obedience to Christ; we will not let worldly thoughts overtake our mind and turn into the action of sin.

Just for today, take your thoughts captive. Let the Lord conquer your mind. Ask Him to do it. Revelation. Renewal. Action.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Four….

Soften Your Heart

Vincere = Soften Your Heart

Vincere = Conquer in Latin

vincēre

PART TWO OF SIX

Several years ago my good friend and favorite preacher Jerry Vineyard created a motto and a logo as a reminder for us in our church ministry. The logo was a picture of a rhinoceros and the motto underneath said , “Tough hide, soft heart.”

Nothing but the Lord could have prepared us for ministry at the church we planted in 2011 called Under Over Fellowship. We are a church that meets outside in a park and ministers to many homeless and marginalized, as well as the mortgaged and celebrated. We run a Mission that is open most days where people can take a shower, get food, a change of clothes, and wash their clothes. We also have a men’s transitional housing program to help men get back on their feet. I never would have predicted this ten years ago, but at least one of our pastoral staff gets cursed out almost on a daily basis, for sure on a weekly basis. We are threatened much more frequently than you would ever imagine. When you are dealing with people so deep in their addiction, it is often tough to try to help them.

In our men’s program, we have suffered much heartache and even tragedy. We pour into these men. Time after time we have seen a man doing so good and serving the Lord; and then seemingly on a whim, they leave the program and end up right back where they began. This is very disheartening, to say the least, and tough to deal with. We have also seen former program members, church attendees, and people we served through the Mission die during the life of our church. It is heartbreaking.

This “tough hide, soft heart” mantra was to remind us “to not grow weary in doing good” (Galatians 6:9). We cannot let our hearts harden towards those the Lord has called us to serve. We cannot let our hearts harden towards God and the call He has placed in our lives. If I get cussed out today, I will show up tomorrow morning and take another cussing, if necessary. The Apostle Paul even tells me I should “count it pure joy” when I face trials (James 1:2).

There was a day that even the disciples of Jesus hearts started to harden. As Jesus spoke about bread, the disciples only thought of the physical food, not the spiritual food that comes from the Bread of Life. It’s as if the disciples had already forgotten the miracle of feeding the multitudes with so little. Jesus asked them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not perceive or understand? Are you hearts hardened?” (Mark 8:17).

It is very easy to let our hearts harden. We live in a sinful and many times cruel world. A hard heart is a tool of the devil. Our hearts can harden for many reasons. It can be easy to let our hearts harden towards the people we minister to. We let our hearts harden towards people that hurt us in relationships. Maybe you have a hard heart towards a friend or family member; they have done something that you just cannot seem to forgive.

Maybe your heart has hardened towards God. The message of the Gospel does that in itself, for those that do not respond. I believe there is always a response to the Gospel; either we allow God to draw us near or let our hearts harden a little more towards the message. I have people I love that have lost children and spouses. They might cry out, “God, why did you allow this to happen?” Their heart potentially can harden towards God because of the circumstances of this life.

However, we must not let our heart harden towards God or towards others. I know it is easier to write about than to do. The Great Commandment tells us to “love God, love others.” We cannot carry this out with a hardened heart. The circumstances of this world do not change the fact that God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and all-loving.

One of my favorite portions of Scripture is in Romans 11, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:33-36).

As hard as we try, we cannot understand God’s ways much of the time. He knows best, no matter what. If you are holding on to a hardened heart towards Him, let it go today, and trust Him completely. To Him be glory forever; on the best of days and on the worst of days.

If there is a person, family member, people group, political group, the list can go on and on, that you have a hard heart towards, pray for them and let it go right now. Let you heart soften towards them and keep a soft heart.

God wants to completely conquer your heart; let Him.

Just for today, have a tough hide and soft heart. Think of someone you have a hard heart towards and pray for God to take it away.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Three…

Conquer Yourself

Vincere = Conquer Yourself

Vincere = Conquer in Latin

vincēre

PART ONE OF SIX

We are in a battle. Every day. And our biggest enemy is often the person staring at you when you look in the mirror.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

As an athlete must deny himself and practice self-control, so must the believer. After all, self-control is one of the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and then self-control. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness are mostly outward displays, but self-control is inward. The battle against the flesh is very personal.

There is an interpretation of 1 Corinthians 9:27 that says, in effect, “I will buffet my body and make it my slave (compared to, “So I discipline my body and keep it under control”, ESV).” This is the picture I like the best. I will figuratively beat my body into submission and make it my slave. This is an athletic metaphor. You can think of all the toil, discipline, and pain an Olympic athlete endures to win a gold medal.

This week we will be looking at how to conquer ourselves in several areas: our heart, our mind, our tongue, and our actions. If we can conquer ourselves, we can conquer anything. Or better stated, allow ourselves to be conquered by Christ daily; I think this is the real key to self-control.

Just for today, pray about an area of self-control you are having difficulty with. Pray the Lord will help you conquer yourself in this area.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Two..

Orate

Orate = Conclusion

Orate = Pray in Latin (Pray without ceasing)

ōrāte

PART SIX OF SIX

“Lord, teach us to pray.” That has been the theme this week. I hope the Lord has spoken to you through this request as He has to me.

When it comes down to it, Jesus showed us through the model prayer what he wants from us. God wants our adoration. He wants us to be different than this world. He wants us to seek His will each and every day. He wants us to rely on Him for provision in our lives, in everything, and recognize that it all comes from Him anyway. He wants us to forgive. He wants to strengthen us as only He can, if only we will let Him.

I think He wants us to pray the Psalms, as He has given us a gift of a prayer book in the Bible. He wants us to pray without ceasing, to talk to Him throughout the day. He wants us to believe and have complete faith in the power of prayer. And above all He wants a relationship with you. If we have no prayer life, how can we be rightly related to God?

And then He wants us to intercede for others through prayer. Oswald Chambers said, “The real business of your life as a saved soul is intercessory prayer. Wherever God puts you in circumstances, pray immediately, pray that His atonement may be realized in other lives as it has been in yours. Pray for you friends now; pray for those with whom you come in contact now.

We build each other through prayer. I was attending a friend’s wedding years ago, and I ran into a long-time family friend named Marcia George there. She and her husband Pat were friends with my parents and even my grandparents. Marcia had recently been diagnosed with cancer when I saw her. She asked me to pray for her. I said I would. She grabbed my hand and paused, looking me intently in the eyes, and said, “No, I mean it. I really need you to pray for me. Don’t just say it.” Both Marcia and Pat are with Jesus now, but this moment forever influenced my life. I will never forget it.

How many times do we make “empty-prayer promises?” We tell people we will pray for them and our intentions are good, we do not mean to do this; but then we never actually pray for them. We forget. Our lives are too busy. We leave that moment and do not take action for those in need of prayer.

Marcia really opened my eyes and my heart that day. I vowed to never make an “empty-prayer promise” again. If someone asks me to pray with them, I try not to leave that occasion without praying, either actually praying “with” them or praying “for” them to myself.

Fellowship with other believers is about our relationship with God too, and a big part of our fellowship should be prayer. I need your prayers and you need mine. If we are not in fellowship with other believers, can we really be rightly related to God?

Just for today, make an intentional effort to pray “with” someone today. If you do not have a chance, pray “for” someone specifically.

Tune in tomorrow for Song of Sunday.

The Power of Prayer

Orate = The Power of Prayer

Orate = Pray in Latin (Pray without ceasing)

ōrāte

PART FIVE OF SIX

I hear a lot of talk about revival. I think we want it, although it is hard to tell sometimes. I know we pray for it. “Lord, give us revival in this city, in this state, in this nation.” The last true revival in the United States was in 1857. It started through the power of prayer. And it started with a pretty average man named Jeremiah Lanphier.

Lanphier was a single, middle-aged businessman with no children or family. He began to work with the Old Dutch North Church at Fulton and Williams streets (located near the former location of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center) in New York City as a lay minister doing church visitations. Without much success, Lanphier had an idea that local businessmen might like to get out of the office for prayer at noon once a week. So he started planning and passing out flyers for the first meeting.

I am sure Lanphier met the day with much anticipation on the morning of the first meeting, September 23, 1857. Noon came that day, not one person showed up. Lanphier looked at his watch at 12:10, still not one. 12:15 came and went, then 12:25. Finally at 12:30, Jeremiah heard steps. Six total men showed up that first day, and they agreed to meet the next Wednesday.

The next week twenty men showed up. Forty showed up the next week. Then Lanphier decided to make the prayer meeting daily instead of weekly. That very week a terrible financial panic happened; the worst in history. There were runs on banks, people were out of work, and food became scarce. There might have even been a run on toilet paper, who knows? Sound a little familiar?

Soon the meeting had 3,000 attendees, then 10,000 within six months. The meetings were moved to around twenty locations throughout the city. Then noon prayer meetings began to spring up all over the country, in cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit, and Chicago. It is estimated that 150,000 people were saved in New York City through the Fulton Street Revival, and one million souls total.

This was a revival of prayer that united Americans as they prayed together. The format of the meeting was simple: a leader opened the meeting promptly at noon with a hymn, prayer, and Scripture reading not to last longer than ten minutes. Then the meeting was opened for prayer and exhortation. Prayer requests were taken, one by one. A request was given and someone in the meeting immediately prayed for that request. Each prayer was not to exceed five minutes. So it went a little something like this: request, prayer, request, prayer, request, prayer. This went on until 12:55, when the meeting was ended with a closing hymn.

Through this simple meeting and a country crying out to God, the world was changed. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Although I personally believe this country and this world is in dire straits spiritually, it is not too late. The God who saved a million souls through the Fulton Street Revival is still on the throne. Revival starts through the power of prayer. The revival starts with you. The revival starts with me. Let us hit our knees in prayer.

Just for today, start a revival in your own heart. You never know what can happen from there.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Five of Six……

https://www.cslewisinstitute.org/webfm_send/577

CHAMBERS, TALBOT W. NEW YORK CITY NOON PRAYER MEETING: a Simple Prayer Gathering That Changed the World. ARSENAL PRESS, 2019.

https://www.tkc.edu/stories/new-york-city-landmark-sculpture-relocates-to-kings-lobby/ (Image also courtesy of)

Throwback Thursday

Good Morning! If you have been following along, I have been writing on the subject of prayer this week. I have had an editorial calendar planned until the end of July of what I was going to write each day, and am usually a week ahead on my writing. However, life has caught up to me. We are moving this weekend, and I have been knee deep in moving boxes. I really want to finish strong and do the last two sections of prayer justice, but I need some time, so here is the new plan:

Friday and Saturday (26th and 27th, today and tomorrow) – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Sunday the 28th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Monday-Thursday, 29th-2nd – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Friday and Saturday, 3rd-4th – I will be finishing up prayer.

Sunday the 5th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Then hopefully I will be returning on Monday, July 6, with new content.

Thanks for your support!

Regula Aurea = Be the Change

Regula Aurea = The Golden Rule in Latin

regyə lə aüreâ 

PART SIX OF SIX

If you have been following along, I talked about this week: defining a neighbor, how to deal with strife with a brother, building others up, the Golden Rule, and the Great Commandment.

The theme of this week is the Golden Rule, “do unto others as your would have them do unto you.” It is much easier to say than do, but as believers, we must strive every day to follow it.

We live in a time where everyone is looking for change in this sinful, fallen world. A famous quote, sometimes credited to Gandhi, says, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Is not this the Golden Rule said in another way? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

I cannot expect others to change if I am not willing to change. As Christians, we are to change; sanctification is “becoming holy,” trying to be a little more like Jesus each and every day. This is a lifetime process only achieved through submission and surrender to the Lord.

We are not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewal of our minds, that by testing we may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2). You know what is not the will of God? Hating others, partiality, and discrimination.

We are to continue to grow in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10) and to draw near to Him through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13). As we see our need for Jesus, we are sensitive to sin in the world and those who do not know Him. The only road to repentance is through the message of the Gospel.

We must remember that the message of the Gospel is foolishness to those who do not believe, but the power of God to those who understand (1 Corinthians 1:18). Acts 4:11 says, “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become our cornerstone.” The truth is that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). We must look at the world through a gospel lens. Jesus looked at the crowds with compassion for “they were like a sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). We must do the same. We cannot expect godly living from people who do not know the One True King. People are searching for a remedy and it exists, it just does not come from the government or anything in this world.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness … for if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:3-11). We have everything we need through His divine power.

As hard as we try, evil will not be eradicated from the earth. But when Jesus returns, He will restore all things and perfect justice will be executed. We are not to just sit and wait for that to happen, however. Change starts with me. It starts in my household. Then we can be the change together. It starts in my household and it starts in your household. It is looking for ways to be a neighbor to those that need it the most. It is handling disagreements biblically and respectfully. It is looking for ways to build up others and encourage them, not tear them down. It is treating others the way we want to be treated. It is loving my neighbor as myself. Before you know it change is multiplied.

No, we will never have complete peace on Earth until Jesus returns. But many others can be introduced and know Peace through us and the way we follow Jesus.

Be the change you want to see in your household. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you in your household. Be the change you want to see in your neighborhood. Be the change you want to see in your city. Be the change you want to see in your state. Be the change you want to see in your nation. Be the change you want to see in the world, to the end of the earth.. Be His witness in these places.

Just for today, YOU be the change you want to see. After all, you are the only person you can control. Treat others with love, see them through the eyes of Jesus, have compassion; as you want to be treated. Be His witness.

Throwback Wednesday

Good Morning! If you have been following along, I have been writing on the subject of prayer this week. I have had an editorial calendar planned until the end of July of what I was going to write each day, and am usually a week ahead on my writing. However, life has caught up to me. We are moving this weekend, and I have been knee deep in moving boxes. I really want to finish strong and do the last two sections of prayer justice, but I need some time, so here is the new plan:

Friday and Saturday (26th and 27th, today and tomorrow) – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Sunday the 28th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Monday-Thursday, 29th-2nd – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Friday and Saturday, 3rd-4th – I will be finishing up prayer.

Sunday the 5th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Then hopefully I will be returning on Monday, July 6, with new content.

Thanks for your support!

Evangelii = The Gospel in Latin

ēvangeliī

PART THREE OF SIX

What Jesus said about the Gospel (Part Two) – Repent and Believe in the Gospel

Robert Robinson was an 18th century English clergyman. He was a gifted poet and hymn writer, as well as a skilled pastor and preacher. After many years in the pastorate, however, his faith began to drift. He left the ministry and ended up in France caught up in sin. One night he shared a carriage with a woman from Paris who was a new convert to Christianity. She was interested in Robinson’s opinion of some poetry she was reading: Come thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing thy grace, Streams of mercy never failing, Call for hymns of loudest praise. The woman noticed Robinson was crying when she looked up from reading the poem. “What do I think of it?” he asked in a broken voice. “I wrote it. But now I’ve drifted away from him and can’t find my way back.” “But don’t you see,” the woman said gently, “The way back is written right here in the third line of your poem: Streams of mercy never ceasing. Those streams are flowing even here in Paris tonight.” That night Robinson recommitted his life to Christ (Reported in R Kilpatrick, “Assurance and Sin” in RC Sproul (editor), Doubt and Assurance (Baker, 1993)).

Robinson had forgotten the words of Christ, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” This is not a one time event. It is every day, or cotidie in Latin. As my good friend and favorite preacher Jerry Vineyard says, “We should speak the gospel to ourselves each day.”

Throughout the Bible, we find out a few things about the gospel:

  1. Galatians 2:5 says it is the good news of truth.
  2. Colossians 1:23 says the gospel is good news of hope.
  3. Ephesians 6:15 tells us it is good news of peace.
  4. Ephesians 3:6 says the gospel is good news of God’s promise, saying, “The mystery that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
  5. 2 Timothy 1:10 says it is good news of immortality.
  6. Ephesians 1:13 says the gospel is good news of salvation, the gospel is the power to live life victoriously and to conquer sin.

But first there is that word, repent, that must be dealt with. The Greek word used for repent literally means “a change of mind.” We can easily confuse two things: sorrow for the consequences of sin and sorrow for sin. The question is: if you escape the consequences of your sin will you return to it? We have to be careful, for in this case, it is the consequences of sin that are hated, not the sin itself. Real repentance means changing our mind to hate sin itself, not just its consequences.

Repentance is an action word. It is not about feelings. Jesus wants us to change our mind, not merely feel sorry for our sin. It’s about changing direction, doing a complete 180. We must leave the sin life and dwell in the Kingdom of God.

True biblical repentance includes four elements: 1. An awareness of one’s guilt, sinfulness, and helplessness, 2. It takes hold of God’s mercy through Jesus Christ, (believing Jesus died on the cross for us and rose again), 3. It is a change of attitude about sin, and 4. It results in seeking obedience to God’s command in the pursuit of living a holy life (Is He the Lord of your life?).

Jesus said Repent and Believe. Belief is about taking God at His word, trusting Him, and living a relationship that depends on Him.

There are many people who believe Jesus (they know who He is), they do not believe in Him though (they have not placed their hope in faith in Him and His claims or are apathetic in their faith). The Bible tells us, “Even the demons believe” (James 2:19). In the same way, we must believe in the gospel, not just say it is true intellectually.

His streams of mercy never cease, no matter where we are or what we have done. We must repent and believe in the gospel. We must return to the gospel, over and over again, never ceasing.

Just for today, speak the good news of the gospel to yourself. And therefore, call for hymns of loudest praise.

Throwback Tuesday

Good Morning! If you have been following along, I have been writing on the subject of prayer this week. I have had an editorial calendar planned until the end of July of what I was going to write each day, and am usually a week ahead on my writing. However, life has caught up to me. We are moving this weekend, and I have been knee deep in moving boxes. I really want to finish strong and do the last two sections of prayer justice, but I need some time, so here is the new plan:

Friday and Saturday (26th and 27th, today and tomorrow) – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Sunday the 28th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Monday-Thursday, 29th-2nd – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Friday and Saturday, 3rd-4th – I will be finishing up prayer.

Sunday the 5th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Then hopefully I will be returning on Monday, July 6, with new content.

Thanks for your support!

Sola Scriptura = The Tree Stump Prayer

Sola Scriptura = Scripture Alone in Latin

sōlā scrīptūrā

PART ONE OF SIX

Sola Scriptura. These two words have caused much division and debate over the past few centuries. I am not going to get into a lot of this debate this week; my main point is to show what a difference it can make in our lives if we submit to the authority of the Bible and accept it is true.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every work.” This will be the main verse for the week. For now, the beginning of the passage will be the focus, “All Scripture is breathed out by God…”

Everyone has no doubt heard the name Billy Graham. Will Graham, Billy Graham’s grandson, tells us though, “What many people may not know is that it (his ministry) almost didn’t happen. Everything we know of the ministry of Billy Graham from the late 1940s on – the massive stadium events, the evangelistic movies, the radio programs, the counseling of presidents and kings – hinged on a singular moment in history that took place at the California retreat center of Forest Home.”

Billy Graham was discouraged and seeking God’s plan for him. His last crusade had “flopped” and he was questioning whether evangelism would be his focus. He was also the president of Northwestern College, so young Billy Graham was at a crossroads in his life. Should he commit to education, which would require him to get more education himself, or was evangelism what God was calling him to?

Will Graham shares, “At the same time, a very good friend and contemporary of my grandfather’s, a man named Charles Templeton, had begun challenging my granddaddy’s way of thinking. Mr. Templeton, who had preached with Youth For Christ as well, had gone on to study at Princeton, where he began to believe that the Bible was flawed and that academia – not Jesus – was the answer to life’s problems. He tried to convince my grandfather that his way of thinking was outdated and the Bible couldn’t be trusted. My grandfather had more questions than answers. Did he even believe the Bible from which he was preaching, or should he follow Templeton in questioning its validity? You see, while he was at Forest Home, he spent a great deal of time studying the Bible, and he kept seeing the same phrase pop up. “Thus sayeth the Lord… Thus sayeth the Lord…” While my grandfather had always accepted in his head the authority of the Scripture, this became the turning point as he realized in his heart that God’s Word is divinely inspired, eternal and powerful! One night at Forest Home, he walked out into the woods and set his Bible on a stump – more an altar than a pulpit – and he cried out: “O God! There are many things in this book I do not understand. There are many problems with it for which I have no solution. There are many seeming contradictions. There are some areas in it that do not seem to correlate with modern science. I can’t answer some of the philosophical and psychological questions Chuck and others are raising.” And then, my grandfather fell to his knees and the Holy Spirit moved in him as he said, “Father, I am going to accept this as Thy Word—by faith! I’m going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts, and I will believe this to be Your inspired Word!”

The rest, as they say, is history.

Paul tells us all Scripture is God breathed. The Bible does not just contain the Word of God, it is the Word of God. The Word of God is infallible, free from error, and is absolutely trustworthy.

I have a friend named Miguel, who I met at a conference in California. He and his wife, Clarice, were both attending. Miguel shared with me that his wife Clarice had accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, but he still was holding onto doubt. They were attending church as a family, but he just could not make the commitment to fully believe and follow. I was able to share my faith and go to dinner with my new friends and stayed in touch after the conference. A few weeks later, Miguel shared with me that he was going out to Joshua Tree, just he and God, for a few days to make a decision once and for all. He was going to spend his time in the Word and prayer, and ask God to remove his doubt. He texted me a few days later, “I leave the desert pledging my life to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” I think so much of my friend for admitting his doubt, and making such an important issue a priority in his life. He took much time and care to investigate his doubts and seek the truth. I think so much of Clarice for allowing her husband this time of solitude with God. I pray God does mighty things with their family.

We all come from different backgrounds and teachings. The Bible might be or mean different things to different people. Comparing ourselves to Billy Graham is a bit daunting. He was seemingly a spiritual giant who God used in many mighty ways. But I believe if we are to follow God properly, we all have to have our “tree stump moment.” We all have to say, in effect, “Father, I am going to accept this as Thy Word—by faith! I’m going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts, and I will believe this to be Your inspired Word!” We all have to have our Joshua Tree moment, where we investigate the claims of the Bible and let God speak to us. We have to leave the doubt behind, once and for all, for that is the place the enemy wants us to remain.

We have to read what 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God..,” and answer for ourselves, “Is this true?”

Just for today, if you are holding onto any doubt, I encourage you to have your tree stump or Joshua Tree moment. Take the time and ask God to speak to you. Otherwise, think back to that moment in your life, and praise the Lord for it.

Source: Will Graham, https://billygraham.org/story/the-tree-stump-prayer-where-billy-graham-overcame-doubt/.

Throwback Monday

Good Morning! If you have been following along, I have been writing on the subject of prayer this week. I have had an editorial calendar planned until the end of July of what I was going to write each day, and am usually a week ahead on my writing. However, life has caught up to me. We are moving this weekend, and I have been knee deep in moving boxes. I really want to finish strong and do the last two sections of prayer justice, but I need some time, so here is the new plan:

Friday and Saturday (26th and 27th, today and tomorrow) – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Sunday the 28th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Monday-Thursday, 29th-2nd – I will be posting some of my favorite “throwback” posts from the past couple of months.

Friday and Saturday, 3rd-4th – I will be finishing up prayer.

Sunday the 5th – Song of Sunday as usual.

Then hopefully I will be returning on Monday, July 6, with new content.

Thanks for your support!

Adveniat Regnum = Glory Days

Adveniat Regnum = Kingdom Come in Latin

ad-vay-NEE-at REG-noom

PART ONE OF SIX

Glory days, well they”ll pass you by, Glory days, in the wink of a young girl’s eye, Glory days, Glory days” (Lyrics from Glory Days by Bruce Springstein, the cover picture is the album Born in the U.S.A., in case you did not recognize). You are welcome. I know you are singing that song right now and just might have it stuck in your head all day.

When I say glory days, what do you think of?

Your mind might flash back to the football field, playing for a team like the Conroe Tigers or Mexia Blackcats. Maybe you were in the band, or the FFA, or student government, a cheerleader, or in drill team. We think back to our “glory days” with fond memories.

The first thing I think of is my first game on the varsity baseball team as a 15 year-old. I came in to pitch relief with the bases loaded and the other team’s all-state senior shortstop up to bat. I got him out and we got out of the inning, so I was probably feeling like pretty hot stuff at the time; you know, the stuff glory days are made of.

No matter what you think your glory days are, I want to tell you that God has something much bigger for you. Previously, I shared the story of Porter Barrington sitting with a dying friend (https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/cotidie.blog/432). Reverend Barrington did not name his friend, but for the purposes of this blog, we will call him Clarence (remember that name).

You see, Clarence had to go back to his glory days for an offering, back when he first met Christ. His spiritual birthday was the biggest accomplishment in his life. He accepted Jesus as Savior, but was saved “only as through fire,” as 1 Corinthians 3:15 says.

Let me ask you this…..Was your birthday the biggest achievement of your life? You really did not have much to do with it, did you? It was an important day, no doubt, for without being born nothing else would have been possible. In the same way, our spiritual birthday is of utmost importance. We can look back and celebrate what God has done for us and that date points squarely to Jesus. However, this is the starting line for us. It is the glorious day we met Jesus.

We cannot stay there, however. We cannot focus only on the starting line for there is a race still to run.

My good friend and favorite preacher Jerry Vineyard once preached on the Bema Seat of Christ, which is the judgment seat for believers, where believers will be judged not for their sins, but for all they have done or not done for the body of Christ, the Church.

Place your hand on your heart right now. Feel that beat? That is called a purpose. You are alive for a reason. Don’t give up! Don’t stay at the starting line. If you feel like you have no hope or no purpose; hope is still alive and His name is Jesus Christ. He is the reason-the sooner you realize that the better.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

We must have a Kingdom mindset and realize our day of salvation is but the starting line. And our time here on Earth is not all there is.

Just for today, meditate on this truth.