Posted by: Chris Avery | April 6, 2010

To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice

Posted by: Chris Avery | March 9, 2010

The Exam

Posted by: Chris Avery | February 18, 2010

Lord, Help Me To Glorify You

Lord, help me to glorify you;
I am poor, help me to glorify you by contentment;
I am sick, help me to give you honor by patience;
I have talents, help me to extol you by spending them for you;
I have time, Lord, help me to redeem it, that I may serve you;

I have a heart to feel, Lord,
let that heart feel no love but yours,
and glow with no flame but affection for you;

I have a head to think,
Lord, help me to think of you and for you;

You have put me in this world for something, Lord,
show me what that is,
and help me to work out my life-purpose:

I cannot do much, but as the widow put in her two mites,
which were all her living,
so, Lord, I cast my time and eternity too into your treasury;

I am all yours;
take me, and enable me to glorify you now,
in all that I say, in all that I do, and with all that I have.

-Charles Spurgeon

Posted by: Chris Avery | February 18, 2010

Guidance of the Holy Spirit

I began reading the book of Acts today. I think I’m going to read a chapter a day and just type my thoughts about something I read. Some things may be my own ideas and others might be something I discovered after reading a commentary.

Acts 1

After Jesus’ ressurection, He said that the promised helper would come soon. This is the Holy Spirit. This is the Spirit that indwells all believers. At the end of the chapter they were trying to find a replacement for Judas who had killed himself. They sought God’s guidance in the matter and drew lots to decide between Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus) and Matthias. Matthias would become the 12th disciple. This is the last time that casting lots is mentioned in the Bible. Immediately following in the next chapter is the coming of the Holy Spirit.

As believers in the new covenant we no longer need to cast lots, flip a coin, or try to look for a hidden sign. We also don’t have to wait for “a message from God”. The method for Christians to make decisions today is to always be in the word, seek Godly council from other Christians, pray, and make a decision. This does not have to be hasty and may take time to work through. The Christian also does not need to delay it by worrying themselves to death if it is the right decision. If the previous steps are taken and it is the desire of the man to honor God with their actions, they can make a decision and trust that God will lead them in the right way.

What if it turns out really bad?

Despite what the prosperity preachers say about everything going great if you have enough faith, life won’t always be easy. The Bible promises that the believer will experience trials, tribulations, and temptations. In fact, it’s hard to find any time in the Bible when people following God had it easy. God may allow “bad” things into our lives but it is all part of his sovereign will. From Romans 8:28, “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” A big desire of God’s is for us to be like Christ. We grow in character when we experience hardships and we are better for it. If everything were perfect all the time, would there be a need for faith? Would there be a dependence upon God? God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. He has chosen the foolish things of this world to shame the wise and the weak things to shame the strong. God isn’t seeking for the self sufficient. It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. God takes those who humble themselves before Him. Those who come like little children who have nothing to offer. They have no achievements, no money, and no great worth. He takes those who are willing to leave their selfishness and sins behind and follow Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. God, as our Father, wants to help us. He wants to hear our prayers. He wants our ultimate good. The ultimate good is for us to be forgiven for our sins by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Then for us to be conformed into His image day by day. Today, may we seek His kingdom and His righteousness as we are led by His Spirit for His glory.

I apologize that I actually started to cover several topics. They might all ramble on like this, but I hope you have found some value within.

Posted by: Chris Avery | February 10, 2010

J.R. Miller Works

I have friended Grace Gems on Facebook. As a break from my school studying I decided to read a few of the short writings. These were from J.R. Miller and I really liked the ones I read… which you can tell with me sharing several articles on facebook.

It is the student who must learn the lesson!

“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling” Philippians 2:12-13

People sometimes think that salvation imparts . . .
godly virtues,
fine qualities of Christian character,
lovely traits of disposition, and
elements of spiritual beauty–
without any cost or effort to the believer himself!

Christ’s followers are transformed–old things pass away, and all things become new. Those who believe in Him–are fashioned into His image. But these blessings do not come easily. The heavenly graces are not put into our life–as one might hang up lovely pictures on the walls to adorn a home! They must be wrought into our life in a sense, by our own hands. We must work out our own salvation, although it is God who works in us, both to will and to work.

For example, patience is not put into anyone’s life–as one brings in a piece of new furniture. You cannot merely receive patience as a gift from God. Patience is a lesson to be learned–through long and watchful self-discipline. Christ is the teacher–but you are the student, and it is the student who must learn the lesson! Not even Christ will learn it for you–to spare you the effort. Nor can it be made an easy lesson for you. It costs to grow patient, and you must pay the price yourself!

The same is true of all the elements of a godly and worthy character.

We are always at school in this world. God is teaching us the things we need to learn. The lessons are not easy–sometimes they are very hard! But the hardest lessons are the best–for they bring out in us the finest qualities, if only we learn them well.

Those, therefore, who find themselves in what may seem adverse conditions, compelled to face hardship, endure opposition, and pass through struggle–should quietly accept the responsibility; and, trusting in Christ for guidance and strength, go firmly and courageously forward, conscious that they have now an opportunity to grow strong, and develop in themselves the qualities of worthy and noble character!

He who holds the pruning-knife!

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. . . . He prunes every branch that produces fruit–so that it will produce more fruit.” John 15:1-2

Our Father is the gardener; we are branches under His care. He watches over our lives. The painful afflictions which cut into our very souls, the taking from us of objects that are dear to us, as when the gardener with his sharp knife removes luxuriant branches from the vine–are our Father’s prunings! No hand but His–ever holds the knife! We are sure, then, that there is never any careless cutting, any unwise or mistaken pruning, any needless removing of rich branches or growths.

We really need to go no farther than this. A strong, abiding confidence that all the trials, sorrows and losses of our lives–are parts of our Father’s prunings–ought to silence every question, quiet every fear and give peace and restful assurance to our hearts, in all their pain. We cannot know the reason for the painful strokes–but we know that He who holds the pruning-knife is our Father! That is all we need to know.

The other thought in the Lord’s parable, is scarcely less full of comfort to a Christian. Jesus says, that it is the fruitful branches which the Father prunes: “He prunes every branch that produces fruit–so that it will produce more fruit.”

Afflictions are not, then, a mark of God’s anger or disapproval; rather, they are a mark of His favor. The branches into which He cuts, from which he trims away the luxuriant growths–are fruit-bearing already. He does not prune the fruitless branches–He cuts them off altogether as useless, as mere cumberers, absorbing life and yielding nothing of blessing or good.

Some Christians have the impression that their many troubles indicate that God does not love them–that they cannot be true Christians, or they would not be so chastened. This teaching of Christ shows how mistaken they are. The much chastening shows that the Father is pruning His fruitful branch–to make it more fruitful! All whom the Father loves–He chastens!

It is the fruitless branch that is never pruned; the fruitful branch is pruned, and pruned–not by one without skill, not by an enemy–but by the wise Father! Thus we see how we may rejoice–even in our trials and afflictions!

One who was altogether ignorant of the art and purpose of pruning, who should see a man with a sharp knife cutting off branch after branch of a luxuriant vine, would at first suppose that the pruner was ruining the vine. So at the time it seems–but by and by, it appears that the prunings have made the vine more fruitful. In the season of vintage, the grapes are more luscious, with a richer flavor in them–because of the cutting away of the superfluous branches.

In like manner, if an angel who had never witnessed anything of human suffering, and who knew nothing of its object, were to see the Father causing pain and affliction to His children, it would seem to him that these experiences could be only destructive of happiness and blessing; but if the angel were to follow those chastened lives on to the end, he would see untold blessing coming out of the chastenings! The Father was but pruning the branches–that they might bear more and better fruit!

We should never lose sight of the divine purpose in all trials–to make our lives more fruitful.

Posted by: Chris Avery | February 8, 2010

John Piper – The gospel saves from morality

Posted by: Chris Avery | February 7, 2010

Why Is It Hard to Get Excited? – Jerry Bridges

Posted by: Chris Avery | February 1, 2010

Paul Washer Mocks Modern “Gospel”

Posted by: Chris Avery | February 1, 2010

Love for Christ

Posted by: Chris Avery | January 8, 2010

Misery of the Soul in Hell

Part of a quote from Jonathan Edwards:

The nature of man desires happiness; it is the nature of the soul to crave and thirst after well-being; and if it be under misery, it eagerly pants after relief; and the greater the misery is, the more eagerly doth it struggle for help. But if all relief be withholden, all strength overborne, all support utterly gone; then it sinks into the darkness of death.

We can conceive but little of the matter; we cannot conceive what that sinking of the soul in such a case is. But to help your conception, imagine yourself to be cast into a fiery oven, or of a great furnace, where your pain would be as much greater than that occasioned by accidentally touching a coal of fire, as the heat is greater. Imagine also that your body were to lie there for a quarter of an hour, all the while full of quick sense; what horror would you feel at the entrance of such a furnace! And how long would that quarter of an hour seem to you! And after you had endured it for one minute, how overbearing would it be to you to think that you had it to endure the other fourteen!

But what would be the effect on your soul, if you knew you must lie there enduring that torment to the full for twenty-four hours! And how much greater would be the effect, if you knew you must endure it for a whole year; and how vastly greater still, if you knew you must endure it for a thousand years! O then, how would your heart sink, if you thought, if you knew, that you must bear it forever and ever! That there would be no end! That after millions of millions of ages, your torment would be no nearer to an end, than ever it was; and that you never, never should be delivered!

But your torment in hell will be immensely greater than this illustration represents. How then will the heart of a poor creature sink under it! How utterly inexpressible and inconceivable must the sinking of the soul be in such a case!

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