Criticism and Self Examination

“Be advised to consider what others say of you and improve it to this end, to know whether you do not live in some way of sin…And though the imputation may seem to us to be very groundless and we think that they, in charging us so, are influenced by no good spirit; yet if we act prudently, we shall take so much notice of it as to make an occassion of examining ourselves … it is most imprudent as well as most unchristian, to take it amiss, and resent it, when we are thus told of our faults: we should rather rejoice in it, that we are shown our spots … we should improve what our enemies say of us. If they from an ill spirit reproach and revile us to our faces, we should consider it, so far as to reflect inward upon ourselves and inquire whether it not be so, as they charge us … they are likely to fix on real faults, they are likely to fall upon us where we are weakest and most defective.”

– Jonathan Edwards, The Necessity of Self Examination.

Exposed: Excuses: Inadequacy


MAIN POINTS

  • We live with a constant sense of being unfulfilled
  • Excuses are thieves (for the soul) – very dangerous
  • Excuses rob us from the fullness of life in Christ
  • inadequacy – possibly number 1 excuse
  • Inadequacy catch phrase: ‘Who me? I cannot do it/go there…’
  • Explore Moses’ excuses: 3:11; 3:12; 4:1; 4:10 – ‘me-centred’
  • Explore God’s response: 3:12; 3:13; 4:2; 4:11: ‘I’ – ‘God-centred’
  • This is not about self-esteeem/self-confidence but confidence in HIM
  • exploring the postive example of David: 1 Samuel 17:26,37

PRACTICAL

  • Discover Him (afresh) – listening to His voice: Scriptures
  • Dscover Him (afresh) – speaking to Him in prayer
  • Discover Him (afresh) – obeying Him – His commands/will

PERSONAL QUESTIONS

  1. Are there any excuses I have made that I need to repent of?
  2. In what areas of my life do I use the excuse of inadequacy?
  3. What made Moses uses these excuses? Do I usem them? In what context?
  4. How can I cultivate a heart like David’s? What was his relationship with God like?

EXTRA

‘Abraham was old, Jacob was insecure, Leah was unattractive, Joseph was abused, Moses stuttered, Gideon was poor, Samson was codependent, Rahab was immoral, David had an affair and all kinds of family problems, Elijah was suicidal, Jeremiah was depressed, Jonah was reluctant, Naomi was a widow, John the Baptist was eccentric to say the least, Peter was impulsive and hot-tempered, Martha worried a lot, the Samaritan woman had several failed marriages, Zacchaeus was unpopular, Thomas had doubts, Paul had poor health, and Timothy was timid. That is quite a variety of misfits, but God used each of them in his service. He will use you too if you stop making excuses.’       Rick Warren

CHOSEN: Pride Will Kill You: Esther 3 & 5

MAIN POINTS: what pride does to you

  1. Pride takes offence: 3:1-4
  2. Pride settles scores: 3:5-6
  3. Pride distorts truth: 3:8-9

REMEMBER:

  • Beware of subtle neglect: danger of pride
  • This is a daily battle
  • Possible areas: self pity & self-centered Christianity
  • Repent – chose to ignore
  • Repent – chose to forgive
  • Repent – chose to praise
  • Repent – chose to pray
  • Repent – chose to serve

EXTRA:

‘They that know God will be humble, and they that know themselves, cannot be proud.’      John Flavel

The trouble with prayer

Had an interesting discussion with someone today re. the church prayer meeting. Not just that of any specific church – just the prayer meeting in general. One of my observations was that most churches tend to struggle with the prayer meeting. The second observation was that there are exceptions: some of my Pentecostal friends experience real fiery and well attended meetings.

I admire that. But, often the focus would be on people coming with needs for healing/deliverance/etc. It smacked as being a little ‘consumer-driven’.  Is not that the very reason the rest of the churches struggle to attract attendees? Because they don’t ‘get anything’ from it….

Now I shift the focus on myself. I often wonder whether my content and focus in prayer is the right one….

I came across this on Randy Alcorn’s blog and I will try to explore it further:

Here’s a partial list of things the New Testament tells us to pray for:

Pray for people who give you a hard time (Matthew 5:43-44;Luke 6:28)

Pray for children (Matthew 19:13)

Pray for strength to endure difficult times (Luke 21:36)

Pray you will not fall into temptation (Luke 22:40)

Pray for all Christians (1 Thessalonians 5:25; Hebrews 13:18)

Pray that God’s Kingdom will come and His will be done (Matthew 6:10)

Pray God will provide your daily needs (Matthew 6:11)

Pray for God’s forgiveness as we forgive others (Matthew 6:12)

Pray we will not be led into temptation, but delivered from evil (Matthew 6:13)

Pray for boldness in proclaiming the gospel and for God to do miracles in people’s lives (Acts 4:29-31)

Pray all the time, be alert, pray for fellow believers (Ephesians 6:18)

Pray for fearless teaching of the Word (Ephesians 6:20)

Pray to be filled with the knowledge of His will (Colossians 1:9)

Pray for open doors for the gospel (Colossians 4:3)

Pray that the Word of God may be glorified (2 Thessalonians 3:1)

Pray for deliverance from evil men (2 Thessalonians 3:2)

Pray for everyone, government leaders, peace, quiet, godliness, holiness (1 Timothy 2:1,2)

Pray for sinners to find life in Christ (1 John 5:16)

Ask God for wisdom (James 1:5)

CHOSEN: Stepping Out: Esther 4-5


MAIN POINTS:
lessons in risk-taking

  • Decision: 4:15-16
  • Preparation: 4:15-16
  • Action: 5:1-8


REMEMBER
:

  • My destiny is HIStory
  • Learn to make decisions: listening
  • Learn to prepare: carope diem
  • Learn to act – no procrastination


EXTRA:

‘Tomorrow is the devil’s day, but today is God’s.  Satan does not care how spiritual your intentions are, or how holy your resolutions, if only they are determined to be done tomorrow.’      J.C. Ryle

This letter was written by Southern Baptist Missionary to Iraq, Karen Watson, prior to leaving for the Middle East. The letter was dated March 7, 2003. Karen was killed, along with four other missionaries, on March 15, 2004.

Dear Pastor Phil and Pastor Roger:

You should only be opening this letter in the event of my death. When God calls there are no regrets. I tried to share my heart with you as much as possible, my heart for the nations. I wasn’t called to a place. I was called to him. To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, his glory my reward, his glory my reward. One of the most important things to remember right now is to preserve the work….I am writing this as if I am still working with my people group. I thank you all so much for your prayers and support. Surely your reward in heaven will be great. Thank you for investing in my life and spiritual well-being. Keep sending missionaries out. Keep raising up fine young pastors. In regards to any service, keep it small and simple. Yes, simply, just preach the gospel….Be bold and preach the life-saving, life-changing, forever-eternal gospel. Give glory and honor to our Father.

The Missionary Heart:

Care more than some think is wise.

Risk more than some think is safe.

Dream more than some think is practical.

Expect more than some think is possible.

I was called not to comfort or success but to obedience….There is no joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving him. I love you two and my church family.

In his care,

Salaam,

Karen

FINDING LOVE: 1 John 3:16a

MAIN POINTS:

  • Essential questions
  • What is authentic love?
  • Where can I find it?
  • Love is about Christ
  • Love is about the Cross


REMEMBER:

  • John – there is a way: Christ & the Cross
  • What does His love mean?
  • Searches for you: Samaritan Woman – unexpected
  • Saves you: repentant thief – great price


EXTRA:

‘The heart of Christ became like a reservoir in the midst of the mountains. All the tributary streams of iniquity, and every drop of the sins of his people, ran down and gathered into one vast lake, deep as hell and shoreless as eternity. All these met, as it were, in Christ’s heart, and he endured them all.’ C.H. Spurgeon

‘We are never nearer Christ than when we find ourselves lost in a holy amazement at His unspeakable love.’ John Owen

‘The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference’     Ellie Wiesel

ORIGINAL DESIGN: Genesis 1-3

MAIN IDEAS: The man was designed to be a:

  • Worshiper – devotion
  • Warrior – vigilance

PERSONAL QUESTIONS

  • Do you spend time with God – TIME?
  • Do you make him your passion – ADORATION?
  • Do you make His will your priority – DECISIONS?
  • Do you make Him known – WITNESS
  • Are you aware of the spiritual battle?
  • Are you prepared – PRAYER?
  • Are you prepared – WORD: read/memorise?

EXTRA:

‘Where a man belongs is up early and alone with God seeking vision and direction for his family.’ John Piper

‘If we haven’t learned to be worshipers, it doesn’t really matter how well we do anything else.’ Erwin Lutzer

‘(Spiritual strongholds) begin with a thought.  One thought becomes a consideration.  A consideration develops into an attitude, which leads then to action.  Action repeated becomes a habit, and a habit establishes a “power base for the enemy,” that is, a stronghold.’ Elisabeth Elliot

‘Masculinity equals responsibility.’     Mark Driscoll

Success

‘Whenever success is made the motive of service, infidelity to our Lord is the inevitable result…The only way to keep true to God is by a steady persistent refusal to be interested in Christian work and to be interested alone in Jesus Christ.’
Oswald Chambers