How Joy Is A Source of Strength

The joy of the Lord is a source of strength, but it’s so much more.

Joy is a Gift

If you are grieving or going through a difficult time right now, it’s hard to have joy, but the joy of the Lord is a great source of strength, but it’s also a gift from God. Human joy can’t take us very far. It disappears in the dark shadows of our trials and tribulations, but the joy which God gives is permanent and is as eternal as the life God has given us through Christ. Prior to Jesus going to the cross and returning to the Father, He told His disciples, “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24). Notice that they must have had some joy in order for it to be full, so even though the disciples were troubled about Jesus leaving them, He said, “you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22). The Lord has “spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). The psalmist understood that joy did not from a human source, but from God, writing, “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound”(Psalm 4:7). What God puts there, stays there, so first of all, joy is a gift from God.

 

The rest us at: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2019/06/05/how-joy-is-a-source-of-strength/

How Should We Engage in Spiritual Warfare? video

https://churchleaders.com/pastors/videos-for-pastors/276333-russell-moore-how-should-we-engage-in-spiritual-warfare.html

7 Reasons We Preachers And Teachers Need To Practice Reading The Word Of God Aloud

~ Lawless

In my preaching class as a student, the professor required us to stand before the class and read a Scripture passage. He critiqued each of us for our reading. At the time, I thought the exercise was an unnecessary, if not demeaning, one. Now many years later, I’m convinced the professor took us in the right direction. Here’s why we need to practice reading the text aloud before we teach it publicly:

  1. The Word of God is the Word of God. That simple truth ought to make us think deeply about how clearly we read the Word aloud when we’re teaching or preaching. We must handle the Word with care.
  2. We often spend much more time on preparing the sermon than on reading the text aloud. That makes sense, but many of us devote no time to reading the text aloud. It should not be that the first time we read the text aloud is when we stand before God’s people.
  3. We sometimes stumble over hard-to-pronounce words in the Scripture when we don’t first practice reading the text. In some cases, our congregation then hears our mispronunciation more loudly than the rest of the reading. Practice may not result in perfect pronunciations, but we’re much less likely to stumble if we’ve already worked diligently on reading the Word.

Read the rest: http://chucklawless.com/2019/07/7-reasons-we-preachers-and-teachers-need-to-practice-reading-the-word-of-god-aloud/

Necessary Being

A Broadcast with R.C. Sproul

Our world cannot exist by its own power. The laws of nature demand a self-existent, eternal being from whom and by whom all things come into existence. Today, R.C. Sproul reveals the necessity of God’s being.

Let’s Not GRIEVE the Holy Spirit of God!

Ephesians 4:30 —  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

https://larrydixon.wordpress.com/2019/07/28/the-forgotten-third-developing-a-relationship-with-god-the-holy-spirit-lets-not-grieve-the-holy-spirit-of-god/

Signs Of The Enemy’s Attacks On Individuals

~ Chuck Lawless

Earlier this week, I wrote on ways the enemy attacks the church. In this post, I want to suggest some anecdotal signs of attack I’ve seen on individuals– particularly, if not primarily, on those Christian leaders who are taking steps of faith to get the gospel to a lost world:

  1. Unusual marital and family conflict. I’ve seen some of the healthiest homes face surprising strife when they take strong steps of obedience. Marriages are particularly a target.
  2. Recurring and uninvited temptations. We’re ultimately responsible for our wrong choices, but the tempter delights in setting traps for us. For example, the man who has lived in purity for decades is shocked by past images that suddenly erupt in his head.
  3. Returning, controlling sin. The enemy particularly wants us to return to actions of our “old self” (Eph. 4:22) so we begin to question the power of the gospel to transform. Battles won long ago now become sites of defeat.
  4. Strong discouragement and defeat. One day, hope and faith resound; the next day, disbelief and struggle reign, at least temporarily. Nothing has changed, except the enemy is attacking.
  5. Crippling doubt. You may have been moving in faith for some time, but you begin to hear messages like, “God is not going to use you. You’re not going to make much difference.” The enemy’s goal is to get you to quit.
  6. Evangelistic apathy. This happens when we focus more on ourselves and our situation than on others and their spiritual condition. If the enemy entices us toward personal recognition and hardens our hearts toward lostness, he’s gained some ground.
  7. Team disunity. From the Garden of Eden, Satan has sought to turn people against each other. A divided team doesn’t pose much threat to the enemy.
  8. Personal isolation. Under attack, even extroverts will sometimes withdraw in the battle. The problem is that leaders who fight battles alone most often lose.
  9. Inward focus. Satan has a way of turning faithful believers away from the blessings of obedience to the potential loss because of obedience. “Look at what you’re giving up,” he says.
  10. Prayer struggles. Sometimes, the leader who has always prayed diligently finds prayer unexpectedly difficult as he moves into the front lines. Prayerlessness equals powerlessness, and the enemy knows that fact.
  11. Physical persecution. It happens around the world, even if you don’t face this reality today. Our enemy, who is bent on destruction (see Rev. 9:11), wants to destroy the work of God by destroying the people of God.
  12. Reading distractions. The Word of God is the sword we use in the battle (Eph. 6:17). Distractions that keep us from reading—including the “good” work of ministry at times—can be a tool of the enemy.
  13. Demon hunting. This one might be a surprise to you, especially given the topic of this post. But, if you come out of this reading and find a demon behind every rock – a demon that’s causing every issue you face – you’re likely under attack. Satan often distracts us by claiming more power and influence than he really has.

Comment: http://chucklawless.com/2019/07/signs-of-the-enemys-attacks-on-individuals/

The Modern Church Has Lost Its Purpose

“Many U.S. churches today have ‘forgotten’ their purpose, becoming entertainment-driven social organizations eager to blend in with secular culture instead of focusing on biblical discipleship” warns Dr. David Jeremiah in a recent interview with Christian Post reporter Leah MarieAnn Klett.

“We’re not an entertainment service; we’re not here to see how close we can get to what the world does,” said Jeremiah, the founder of Turning Point Radio and Television Ministries. “But there’s so much of the world in the Church and vice versa that we can’t tell a difference.”

While I would have some theological differences with Dr. Jeremiah, I would have to agree with him that too many churches today have lost their way. And have abandoned their God-ordained purpose.

Jeremiah believes that many churches today are worshiping “at the attendance altar,” by being too focused on numbers and are “obsessed’ with being relevant.

Ironically, he believes this false focus is actually driving away millennials and Generation Z.

“Here in California, we see interest on the part of millennials and younger for the Bible and for truth,” Jeremiah observed. “Most of the time, we see statistics about how people are leaving the Church, but in many respects, young people are demanding more truth, more teaching, and less entertainment. They’re not interested in shallow expressions of religion.”

The books of Acts records for us the establishment, growth, and spread of the Lord’s church throughout the first century. Beginning with the Jerusalem church we see the apostles and early Christians driven by God’s purpose. Acts 2:42-47 speaks to 5 specific spiritual components that defined the church.

(1) A Worshiping Church.

They met to praise God, pray and remember Jesus through partaking of the Lord’s supper. Worship was a vital part of their lives. It wasn’t a matter of meeting an attendance requirement, but voluntarily and enthusiastically joining with other Christians to “worship God in spirit and in Truth,” as Jesus commanded (Jn 4;23-24).

Jeremiah is right. Churches offering entertainment in the place of worship have lost their way. And people who are seeking a place and preacher who will amuse them, have missed the true meaning of the assembly.

(2) A Family-Bonded Church

Noted in the Jerusalem church was the closeness of the Christians. These Believers “were together.” They “had all things in common.” They met together “from house to house.” They were a spiritual family. God’s household.

Christianity was never meant to be a solo act. It has been often observed that we are not just called to believe, but to belong. The often repeated “one another” passages” remind us of our relationship with other believers. And the value of fellowship. 

More at: https://thepreachersword.com/2019/07/23/the-modern-church-has-lost-its-purpose/