Practice What Is Preached

Have you really made an impact, an impression? Does your life bear witness to your faith in Christ and show the grateful response to your undeserved salvation? No? We seem to suffer from Gospel-forgetfulness.

It might be that you are a Christian and that your desire is to apply that what you have learned. This desire is usually at its strongest after coming into contact with the Bible, be it in church, small groups or conversation with a fellow Christian; yet you find yourself a week later without a single example of a practice that is implied from what has been preached.

Think about the previous sermon at your church or application discussion during last week’s small group gathering. How much have you applied?

  • Do you approach work as if it is for God, not your employer? (Col 3:23)
  • Do you serve with the gifts which has been entrusted to you? (1 Pet 4:10)
  • Do you busy yourself with charitable deeds? (Matt 25:31-40)
  • Do you give to your church with a willing heart? (2 Cor 9:7)
  • Does your spouse become more like Jesus because of you or in spite of you?  (recipe being Eph 5:21-33)
  • etc

So how does it work? How do I apply what I heard in church, read in the Bible and discussed during my weekly small group? What is the switch that needs to be flicked? And so we turn to Thomas Manton:

“What is the reason there is so much preaching and so little practice? For want of meditation…. Constant thoughts are operative, and musing makes the fire burn. Green wood is not kindled by a flash or spark, but by constant blowing.” —Thomas Manton (1620–1677)

As we constantly ponder the things of God, of Jesus and what has been revealed to us in His word we in effect discipline our minds; we redirect our hearts and find our hands busy with the things we want them to do.

Maak ‘n Punt Daarvan.

Om elke dag ‘n tyd in te ruim om te rus in God is ______ :

“Now then, little man, for a short time fly from your business; hide yourself for a moment from your turbulent thoughts.  Break off now your troublesome cares, and think less of your laborious occupations.  Make a little time for God, and rest for a while in him.  Enter into the chamber of your mind, shut out everything but God and whatever helps you to seek him, and, when you have shut the door, seek him.  Speak now, O my whole heart, speak now to God: ‘I seek thy face; thy face, Lord, do I desire.’”

-Anselm of Canterbury (ca. 1033-1109), Proslogion, chapter one

Soos gesien op God is Deeper Still, No Way This Man Become Shallow, Ray Ortlund

Resolution #56

Introduction to The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards:

“Being sensible that I am unable to do any thing without Godʼs help, I do humbly entreat him, by his grace, to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christʼs sake.”

There are some things worth fighting for and a certain Mr Edwards, with great resolve, took up a fight:

 #56 Resolved:

– Never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be. –

12 Ways to Glorify God at Work

Say you spend 9 hours a day at work, that’s 37,5% of your day. If you sleep 7 hours a day then you spend 53% of your non-comatose hours at work. How would a Christian approach this reality? Well, aren’t we suppose to bring glory to God in everything we do? And did God not create work? (Gen 1:28; 2:15)

Josh Etter discusses the command of glorifying God in the workplace by giving 12 tips:

1. Believe that all legitimate work is holy or unholy before God based on our faith, not the nature of the work itself.

2. Be just and honest in all your dealings with money.

3. Be prayerfully dependent upon God, pouring contempt on self-sufficiency.

4. Use the wages earned by your work to provide for and bless others.

5. Grow in your skill-set, work hard, and strive for excellence.

6. Exemplify love for your neighbor in how you interact with your colleagues.

7. Plan ahead and sincerely preface future tasks with “if God wills.”

8. Speak the gospel to your colleagues.

9. Work as unto the Lord and as unto men.

10. Focus on the work you’ve been given.

11. Speak words of grace.

12. Rest in your justification by faith alone in Christ alone.

For the Biblical references and some more detail see 12 Ways to Glorify God at Work, Josh Etter from desiringGod.com

Resolution #52

How would you look back on your time on earth? Following that examination; how would you approach today when viewing it as something you would ponder on in the distant future knowing you would not relive this day? Jonathan Edwards resolved on the matter:

“I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, That I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age.”

-Jonathan Edwards, Resolutions, July 8, 1723.

 

Resolution #57

With what adversity, heartache, “bad luck” do you concern yourself? We all experience the perpetual nagging feeling of some or other unresolved issue. In the resolutions of Jonathan Edwards he reminds himself that those feelings are to be moved aside once we have concerned ourselves with nothing but our duty (John 5:13 & 14, salt & light) and our sins.

Resolved, When I fear misfortunes and adversity, to examine whether I have done my duty, and resolve to do it and let the event be just as Providence orders it. I will, as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin.

Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards, June 9, and July 13, 1723.

 

Is Your Ability to See God Blinded?

Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things . . . —Isaiah 40:26

The people of God in Isaiah’s time had blinded their minds’ ability to see God by looking on the face of idols. But Isaiah made them look up at the heavens; that is, he made them begin to use their power to think and to visualize correctly. If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in nature and will realize that it is holy and sacred. We will see God reaching out to us in every wind that blows, every sunrise and sunset, every cloud in the sky, every flower that blooms, and every leaf that fades, if we will only begin to use our blinded thinking to visualize it.

The real test of spiritual focus is being able to bring your mind and thoughts under control. Is your mind focused on the face of an idol? Is the idol yourself? Is it your work? Is it your idea of what a servant should be, or maybe your experience of salvation and sanctification? If so, then your ability to see God is blinded. You will be powerless when faced with difficulties and will be forced to endure in darkness. If your power to see has been blinded, don’t look back on your own experiences, but look to God. It is God you need. Go beyond yourself and away from the faces of your idols and away from everything else that has been blinding your thinking. Wake up and accept the ridicule that Isaiah gave to his people, and deliberately turn your thoughts and your eyes to God.

One of the reasons for our sense of futility in prayer is that we have lost our power to visualize. We can no longer even imagine putting ourselves deliberately before God. It is actually more important to be broken bread and poured-out wine in the area of intercession than in our personal contact with others. The power of visualization is what God gives a saint so that he can go beyond himself and be firmly placed into relationships he never before experienced.

 

-Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (10 Feb)