A Rule & Rhythm of Life

Some call them spiritual disciplines. Others refer to them as daily rhythms. The monks established a “Rule of Life” to live by. Whatever you want to call them, if you are a Christ-follower, there are more than likely some habits that you try to keep up in your life.

For me, these used to be boxes to check to prove to myself that I was doing what I was supposed to.

Now, I view them more like the ingredients in the recipe of my life — a recipe I want to follow if what I’m trying to cook is wholeness.

In pursuit of that wholeness, I’ve discovered some things that are part of my daily rhythms. Call it a modern-day Rule of Life. They fall into four categories, which happen to be the four relationships that I think are prone to buckle and break in one way or another. While once things were “good” and declared so by God, my own rebellion and stubbornness created gaps in each of these areas. I’m not whole, and I desire wholeness.

Me & God

  1. Daily Liturgy — I use an app called Pray As You Go. It’s Catholic-ish and everyone speaks in a British accent.

Read more: https://tituslive.com/2019/08/07/a-rule-rhythm-of-life/

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6 Reasons Christians Should Be Readers

It’s been a long day. You’ve completed your daily tasks at work, ate your dinner, enjoyed time with your family and put the kids to bed. Now, it’s your “me time.” What should you do? Find a new series on Netflix? Play a new video game?

Imagine sitting in a crowded waiting room at the doctor’s office. Judging by your past experience and the number of people waiting to be seen, you know you’re going to be there a while. Almost naturally, you pull out your phone and peruse social media to help the time pass.

May I suggest another option for these situations and many like them we often face? Instead of turning to your TV or phone first, perhaps use that time to read.

For many, the mere thought of reading illicits the same response as nails scratching a chalkboard. While it might seem like a long lost art, the value of reading has been recognized all throughout human history. I believe there should be more emphasis on reading in our society as a whole, but specifically for Christians.

Here are 6 reasons Christians should be readers:

BECAUSE GOD HAS REVEALED HIMSELF THROUGH THE WRITTEN WORD

Find more out at: https://growingingrace.blog/2019/07/21/6-reasons-christians-should-be-readers/

Are You Cheating on God?

8 Questions to Reveal Your Heart’s Desire

By Frank Powell

heart's desire

Are you cheating on God? What’s your ultimate heart’s desire?

A pastor at a large church in Florida admitted to an affair. Shortly after the admission, he resigned. It’s a gut-wrenching story. Lysa Terkeurst and her husband Art Terkeurst walked through an affair and reconciliation to remarriage.

Cheating on a spouse is a serious offense. Rightfully so. When a covenant is broken, there are ramifications. But as I read this story, God spurred another question in my mind.

“Frank, are you cheating on me?”

Hey God, nice to talk with you too. Can you not say hey first? Anyway, the question sunk deep into my heart. And I want to ask you the same question.

Our Ultimate Heart’s Desire

You and I are in a relationship with God. And there are many ways to spend time with God. Our relationship parallels (and exceeds) the one between a husband and a wife. When Tiffani and I exchanged vows, I knew what I signed up for. From that point forward, she wasn’t competing with other women. She was the only woman. I pledged to remain pure and faithful to one woman … for the rest of my life. That’s heavy.

And if vowing faithfulness to one person is heavy, how much more so with God?

When Moses delivered the Ten Commandments to the Israelites in Exodus 20:2-3, the first commandment was, “You will have no other gods before me.”

When God says, “You shall have no other gods before me,” he is also saying, “Don’t cheat on me. Don’t place anything in front of me. Vow to remain faithful to me.” You get the idea?

God is jealous (Exodus 20:4-5). He relentlessly pursues you because he infinitely loves you. And when anything other than God sits at the apex of your desires, values, worth and identity, destruction is certain. You place a weight on something only God can bear.

So, I want to ask you again … Are you cheating on God?

Continue: https://churchleaders.com/worship/worship-articles/265085-are-you-cheating-on-god-8-questions-that-reveal-your-hearts-ultimate-desire.html

4 Reasons To Attend Worship

In recent days there has been some discussion on facebook about a quote from the Christian hip hop artist Toby McKeehan, better known by his stage name TobyMac.

Some have suggested his quote as posted above implies that the only reason we attend church is to worship God. Others have opined that we are also there for fellowship. And so the discourse ensued, debating and discussing the purpose of our worship assembly.

The Bible reveals at least 4 valid reasons for attending church services.

(1) Worship Exalts God.

I would agree that our primary purpose in attending church is to focus on the object of our worship–God Almighty. The Psalmist penned, “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together” (Ps 34:3).

Jesus told the Samaritan that God is seeking true worshipers who “worship Him” (Jn 4:23-34). God is worthy of our worship because He is our Creator. He is holy. Eternal. Immutable. Omniscient. Omnipotent. Omnipresent. And present in our worship services.

(2) Worship Elevates My Spirit.

While worship is not all about me, when I come before God in true worship my spirit is raised and ennobled as I experience the presence of God and the joy of worship. David spoke regarding the joy of going to worship when he wrote, “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord” (Ps 122:1).

How can we not experience a joyful feeling when we obey Jesus’ command to “worship God in spirit and in truth”? Worship demands both the heart and head. It engages our intellect as well as our emotions.

When worship becomes a rote, ritualistic, and routine experience something is wrong. And the first place to examine is our own heart. It is possible to go to a place where God is worshiped and not worship.

For worship to be a joy, I must see it as essential to my spiritual well being. Critical to my relationship with God. And indispensable to my Christian walk.

Continue at: https://thepreachersword.com/2019/06/13/4-reasons-to-attend-worship/

How To Resist Temptation

Chuck Swindoll, in Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back, tells a story about a father concerned about the danger of a nearby canal, ordered his son, “Don’t swim in the canal.”

“OK, Dad,” he answered.

However, later that day he saw his son coming home carrying a wet swimsuit.

“Where have you been?” demanded the father.

“Swimming in the canal,” answered the boy.

“Didn’t I tell you not to swim there?” asked the father.

“Yes, Sir,” answered the boy.

“Why did you?” he asked.

“Well, Dad,” he explained, “I had my swimsuit with me and I couldn’t resist the temptation.”

“Why did you take your swimsuit with you?” he questioned.

“So I’d be prepared to swim, in case I was tempted,” he replied.

This story illustrates that too often we fail to take precautions against temptation to sin. In fact, sometimes we do things that make giving in to temptation easy. Regarding this problem, the apostle Paul issued this warning in Romans 13:14.

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

Continue reading: https://thepreachersword.com/2019/06/07/how-to-resist-temptation/

3 Lessons from a Vineyard Farmer about Your Growth

In John 15 when Jesus told His disciples that He is the true vine and they were the branches, He assured them that those who abide in Him would produce fruit because of their connection to Him. Judas, His betrayer, had already departed and thus proved to not really belong to Jesus – to be a branch that was removed. And Jesus promised that those who remained would be pruned.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. [John 15:1-2]

I don’t always like this verse because I don’t particularly like to be pruned. Admittedly, I am often comfortable with my current level of fruit and there have been times where the pruning has felt like too much.

I asked a farmer I know about this passage. He owns a large vineyard and sells to forty different wine companies. I better understand the illustration now. Here are three lessons from a vineyard farmer about how God grows us spiritually:

1. Pruning is necessary for this season AND next season.

The farmer told me that pruning causes the branches to bear fruit in the current season and the following season. Future fruit is the result of today’s pruning.

Read more: http://ericgeiger.com/2019/06/3-lessons-from-a-vineyard-farmer-about-your-growth/

Maintaining Spiritual Health Throughout Life

Committed younger Christians often manifest considerable enthusiasm and exertion in their personal devotion, obedience and service to Jesus. It’s a joy to see them running their spiritual race with such eagerness and discipline.

Faithful older Christians who have been in the spiritual race for a lot of years are an inspiration to watch as well. They may no longer have the high levels of physical energy and emotional intensity that they possessed in younger years. They may need to pace themselves a bit more slowly. But they still have a strong desire and determination to maintain a close personal relationship with the Lord, to honor Him through their habitual obedience and to be useful to Him through their steady service.

To all committed Christians, younger and older, I say, “Good for all of you! Way to maintain good spiritual health and diligence in the various areas of your Christian walk. With God’s gracious, ongoing encouragement and enablement, let’s all continue to do so through the whole course of life’s journey.”

Read the whole blog: http://vancechristie.com/2019/05/28/maintaining-spiritual-health-throughout-life/