Thursday, September 3, 2015

Living Fully for the One Who Gave His Life for Us

As recently posted in the Emma Joy Weekly Newsletter

Many Choices Pale in Comparison

What are you living for? What makes you get up in the morning? What do you look forward to doing each day or are willing to wait for with expectation? What brings you happiness or makes you feel like you have arrived? What gives you a sense of security that if it were taken, your world would crumble?

Is it weekends out with friends? Popularity? The pursuit and attainment of wealth? Physical beauty? Hobbies? Your kids? Pursuing a college degree? Buying expensive clothing and shoes or nice furnishings for the home? The hope of taking a long-awaited vacation? A promotion at work? ...

I would submit that most of the stuff we cling to and hope for can often serve as a distraction from fully rejoicing in and living for Jesus; the One who gave His life for us.

Too often do we let the days, weeks, and months go by with little regard to how we can make an impact in the lives of others for eternity or where we sit humbly at Jesus' feet and simply rest in Him.

We might not be able to remember the last time we studied Biblical resources, made weekly attendance in church a priority, or picked up our Bible to devour.

What a concept, isn't it? To devour the word of God? But I'm convinced that is precisely what God wants of us! To so treasure it that we acknowledge God before we start our day through reading it or listening to an Audio Bible. To pray Scripture and memorize it. To take God's word seriously and let it fuel our passion for Him. To show us our need for Him and how far we are from being the people He calls us to be (yet still He faithfully intervenes and works in our lives despite our willful rebellion, disinterest at times, or if we were honest, boredom). God uses His word to give us a correct view of who He is, how He sees sin, to show us what Jesus has accomplished on behalf of sinners, to give examples of people who took Him seriously and gave God His proper place in their lives, and to warn us of the consequences of sin.

Would you like to join me in committing to read God's word faithfully from this day forward? We can keep each other accountable, make known our progress, and share what we are studying and learning through church and our own pursuit of Jesus by excellent sermons, books, videos, and articles by Christian speakers and thinkers who teach God's word in an accurate manner, in a thought-provoking, life-transforming way. A few of my favorite thinkers and speakers (or authors) include:

Ravi Zacharias

Timothy Keller

The speakers of Stand to Reason

John Lennox

I strongly believe reading all of God's word (both Old and New Testaments) is crucial to understand God's heart, character, will, and salvation. It's so easy to overlook what a treasure chest the Bible is because we are so focused on what is temporary. Seriously, let's commit to reading His word daily and praying each day that God would renew our minds through our intake of it (Romans 12: 2) and give us a love for His word, the desire and willingness to read it, and the joy that results from keeping Jesus first in our lives.

Months ago, my Uncle said, "...Continue on your path of righteousness. Life is like getting in shape, working out to see physical results of our efforts. When we practice our faith in God, it may take a while to see manifestations of God's hand shaping our spiritual lives; this takes perseverance, patience and faith. There have been so many times in my life, even now, that I feel so distant from God, but I am able to hold fast to what I have learned through my years of studying and memorizing Scripture."

Here are a few books that present valid evidence for the claims of the Bible and Christianity:

Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell

The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig

The Reason for God by Timothy Keller

I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist by Norman Geisler

Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

Five Things Every Christian Should be Doing with God's Word

The Importance of Treasuring God's Word

Finding Delight in God's Word

The Book of Proverbs

Next week, I will be posting about the importance of prayer and issuing challenges over the topic, so stay tuned.

Take Jesus seriously. Cling to, believe, delight in, memorize, obey, and hold His word dear. And do read all the posts on my blog regarding God's word. I listed a few above.

Elizabeth and Jim George said, "Nothing else in this world can renew our minds like the Bible, which is: a light to guide us, a rod to correct us, a staff to lead us, a mirror to reveal us, a banquet to feed us, and a rudder to steer us."


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