Passion Points

Here are some good posts for your weekend reading:

Remember, He Loves You– Joseph Tenney (DG)
Those of us whose lips are parched from sucking on the sands of idolatry, whose souls are shriveled from being hidden under the shadows of lesser loves, whose hearts long to drink full from his cup and be flooded with an inextinguishable light, we need only turn to Jesus. In Jesus, we experience the love that the Father has for us.

Four Questions for Obeying the First Commandment – Kevin DeYoung
What should we do in prayer? Try adoration, trust, invocation, and thanksgiving. What should we find in our corporate worship services? Plan for adoration, trust, invocation, and thanksgiving. What can we talk about with our friends in the car, our family at the dinner table, or our kids at bedtime? How about adoration, trust, invocation, and thanksgiving.

The Biggest Temple in Town – David Mathis (DG)
Sports and athletic competitions are good gifts from God, but we dare not go all-in without our eyes wide open. Not in this culture. Sport is one of the most alluring, and subtle, competitors for our heart’s deepest allegiance.

Why Sunday Should Be a Day of Rest – Nicholas Davis
Do we view Sunday as our own time, or is it God’s time? By attending church on Sunday, we show that we really belong to Christ. The question Christians ask should never be who am I? Instead, it should be whose am I? Since we belong to God, our time—and even a portion of the day—is not our own but instead belongs to another (God) and to others (our neighbors).

Hope you have a great Lord’s Day resting and worshiping our great God with your local church!

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Sermon Songs: Ephesians 5:18-21

MusicNotes

Be filled with the Spirit and Word
Be under God’s control
Sing to each other and the Lord
With all your heart and soul
Give thanks to God now and always
To each other submit
Follow his leading and his ways
Be filled with the Spirit

(To the tune of “We Sing the Greatness of Our God”)

 

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Heaven

heavenIn the truest sense, then,
heaven

in terms of the final state of the believer
is our dwelling
in the presence of our triune God
in our resurrection bodies
in a renewed universe
forever.

– Stephen Wellum in Heaven

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Reflections on Joshua 13-17

With much of the land conquered, Joshua begins to divide up the land between the tribes of Israel.

  • Wholly follow – The first to receive land west of the Jordan is Caleb. Caleb testifies that forty years earlier, when the other ten spies brought a bad report, that he had wholly followed the Lord 14:8).  Moses had promised him an inheritance because he wholly followed the Lord (14:9).  Now God had brought them into the land and Caleb received his inheritance because he had wholly followed the Lord (14:14).  Can you testify that you wholly follow the Lord?  Could others say that you wholly follow the Lord?  The issue is not perfection, but attitude and general pattern of life.  In what ways do you need to change so that the phrase – “wholly followed the Lord” – might be true of you?
  • Pagan influence – Though most of the book celebrates Israel’s faithfulness to God, the two tribes of Joseph both fail to drive out the Canaanites from their land (16:10, 17:13). This failure sets the stage for Israel to reject God and practice idolatry in the book of Judges.  How careful are you to guard against pagan influences in your life?  What cultural practices are you tempted to follow before God?

 

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Cultivating Your Prayer Life

CultivatePrayerIn How Can I Cultivate Private Prayer, Joel Beeke challenges us to take hold of ourselves in seven ways to cultivate private prayer. His first point for this week is to remember the value of prayer.  He lists five values to prayer (which I will let you read), before focusing on two: the value of finding God in prayer and the value of God answering prayer.

First, no matter what way God may choose to answer our prayers, there is great value in finding God.  Beeke writes:

God is always greater and more valuable than His answers.  The greatest mercy is to find God, not His mercies.

Our time in prayer draws us closer to the Lord as we seek him, cry out to him, and wait upon him.  What a wonderful opportunity we have to find God and commune with him!  What activity could be more valuable?

Second, what a wonderful thing it is to see how God answers prayers.  We have a powerful God who can do all things, and he chooses to work through our prayers.  Think of ways that God has answered prayer in your life, in your family, and in your church.  His answers to our cries make prayer of huge value as He is able to do what only He can do.

We must remember the value of prayer if we would commit to grow in prayer.  We must believe that it is valuable – of highest importance – if we would give greater time and energy toward it.

So let us remember the value of prayer.  And let us cultivate our private prayer accordingly.

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Prayer Quote of the Week

praying-hands-smLike most disciplines of the Christian faith, we learn best to pray alone when we have been taught in community.

– Daniel Henderson

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Reflections on Joshua 8-12

The conquest continues and is a great success, except for one misstep.

  • God’s counsel – The Gibeonites pretend to come from a long distance to make a covenant with Israel. Rather than seek the Lord’s direction (9:14), Joshua and the leaders decide on their own to make a treaty with them.  Only then, do they realize they have been deceived – but it is too late.  How easily we can be deceived!  A situation may appear one way to us, but is really very different.  What decisions do you need to make?  Are you seeking the Lord’s direction?
  • No fear – As the southern kings gather to fight Israel, God tells Joshua not to be afraid (10:8). Later, as the northern kings gather, God again tells Joshua not to be afraid (11:6).  What situations cause you fear?  Will you remember that God goes with you and will help you?  Trust him, and do not be afraid.
  • Obedience – As Joshua fights the northern kings, we read that Joshua obeyed God. Indeed he left nothing undone that the Lord commanded him (11:15).  How careful are you to obey the Lord?  In what areas of your life do you need to be more careful to obey the Lord?

 

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Classic Quote

OldBooksHumility is the great ornament and jewel of the Christian religion.

– Jeremy Taylor

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Joshua 8-17: Faithfulness

(8-17) What promise did God make to Abraham back in Genesis 12:6-7?  How does God show his faithfulness to keep his promise in chapters 10-12?

In chapters 14-17?

How has God shown himself to be faithful to keep his promises in your life? (Consider for example: Romans 10:13, I John 1:9, Psalm 9:9-10, 23:4, 34:18, 55:22)

(8) After conquering Ai, the people gather on Mt Ebal and Mt Gerizim as Moses had commanded in Deuteronomy 27.  How does this location specifically point to God’s faithfulness (using the map, compare with Genesis 12:6-7 and 33:18-20)?

(8, 10-11) What promise does God give in each of these chapters (8:1-2, 10:8, 11:6)?  In light of that promise, what do they not need to do?

When are we tempted to be afraid?  How can God’s faithfulness to keep his promises give us courage?

(9) How did Israel prove to be unfaithful in this chapter (see especially v14)?  When are we tempted to act like this?

What did Joshua do after he discovered the deception?  Why?  What application do you see for your own life?

(13-17) In what way did Israel prove to be unfaithful in these chapters (see 13:13, 16:10, 17:12-13)?

Compare their unfaithfulness to Caleb’s faithfulness.  What did he do in his old age (15:13-17)?

What phrase is used three times to describe Caleb (14:6-15)?  What did that look like in Caleb’s life?

What would that look like in our lives today?

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Sermon Songs: Ephesians 5:15-17

MusicNotes

God calls us to walk carefully
With wisdom fear the Lord
Walk in His strength and love daily
And follow His true Word
Make good use of the time at hand
Do what He made us for
The will of our God understand
Jesus always adore

 (To the tune of “We Sing the Greatness of Our God”)

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