Friends: I preached this message at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel as the New Year (2018) unfolded. Let me know if you find it useful.
Tag Archives: disciplines
But the Christian life involves more than (but not less than) reading God’s Word and praying. I’m not at all sure I’ve mastered those two habits, but I’m working on them.
A third habit that really helps me is to practice a spirit of thankfulness. This might seem like an odd “discipline,” but it is certainly biblical. We read in Romans 1 that our default setting is unthankfulness: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” My foolish heart gets darkened when I stop being thankful.
For me this is a several-times-a-day habit. I’ll say to myself, “List five things you thank the Lord for. Right now!” It’s not all that hard to do. I’m still vertical (alive). I’ve got a great wife. I’m getting opportunities for significant ministry. We’ve been given six wonderful grandkids. I actually have people reading my blog! You get the picture.
We glorify God with thanksgiving (Ps. 69:3). We are to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” (Psalm 100:4). In fact, we are to overflow with thankfulness (Col. 2:7 says that we are to be “rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”) I don’t quite understand how I am to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” (I Thes. 5:18), but I believe it and I want to practice it! When it comes to joking around (which I like to do), Paul commands in Ephesians 5:4 the following: “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” And then my prayer life ought to help me with my anxiety and worry, for Scripture says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6).
Is this a holy habit you want to cultivate? Then I thank God for you and pray for you to take steps toward that discipline! (to be continued)
Friends: My son posted this the other day on his Facebook page. It was so good, I had to steal it, I mean, borrow it!
“For years I’ve struggled to read the Bible consistently.
It seemed like just another “should” in my life. Like avoiding potato chips and doing a few push-ups each day.
Do you know what finally opened the door for me?
The movie War Room.
I know, it probably sounds ridiculous to say “a movie changed my life.”
But that movie really caused me to think about “the compound effect” in my heart and mind.
See, I understand that eating a handful of potato chips each day adds up to 47 large bags of potato chips each year. No thanks.
And one beer each night adds up to 31 gallons of beer each year. Disgusting.
But not reading my Bible each day leads to…
I wasn’t clear on what.
And motivation comes from clarity.
When we are clear on our vision for the future and who we want to become, we make daily decisions and take tiny actions in that direction.
It’s either a slow fade or a slow build. Either way the process is slow.
The movie “The War Room” led me to consider the necessity of having a place in my home dedicated towards assisting in my own spiritual growth.
A place set aside where I can read, pray, and plan.
It’s only been a few months, but I’m starting to see the results of the power of habit.
And one of these is my knowledge of and confidence in the Bible.
There is so much foolishness in our world today.
So much distraction.
Starting my day with the Bible has begun to open my eyes to so much that is broken in my own life.”
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT
#whatthebibleactuallysays #whowereallyare #letterstotimothy