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The Process Is The Point – Hebrews 12:1

Hebrews 12:1–3 (ESV)

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

6. Lay aside every weight

Hebrews 12:1 (ESV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Notice that weights are different from sins? What might be some weights that hinder us yet it isn’t sin?  They may even be good things that keep us from doing the best things.

What could you streamline?  Hobbies, extra activities, etc.

How can you evaluate things as to being a weight?

1. Glorify God?

1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV) So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

2. Profitable? or

3. Enslaving?

1 Corinthians 6:12 (ESV) “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.

4. Cause Others to stumble?

1 Corinthians 8:9 (ESV) But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.

5. Edify Yourself or others?

1 Corinthians 10:23 (ESV) “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.


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The Process Is The Point – 1 Corinthians 9:27

1 Corinthians 9:24–27 (ESV)

    24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

    25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

    26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

    27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

 

4. Discipline my body

1 Corinthians 9:27 (ESV) But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

If we do not discipline ourselves, God will discipline us.

Hebrews 12:5-11 (ESV)

5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Discipline leads to the fruit of righteousness.

Hebrews 12:11 (ESV) For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Discipline ourselves for godliness.

1 Timothy 4:7-8 (ESV)

7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;
8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

 

5. Keep my body under Control

1 Corinthians 9:27 (ESV) But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Keeping your body under control requires training it.

1 Timothy 4:7-8 (ESV)

7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;
8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Did you notice that this verse also points out that there are promises for the present life and for the life to come?

 


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The Process Is The Point – 1 Corinthians 9:25-26

1 Corinthians 9:24–27 (ESV)

    24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

    25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

    26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

    27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

 

2. Exercise Self-Control

1 Corinthians 9:25 (ESV) Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

What is self-control?

2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV) We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

Self-control is taking every thought, word or deed captive under Christ to obey Christ.

We can’t exercise self-control on our own though, it is a fruit of the Spirit.  Only through the Holy Spirit’s working in our lives can we have self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

We also must compete according to the rules, no making up the rules as you go along.

2 Timothy 2:5 (ESV) An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

Otherwise you may be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:27 (ESV) But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.   

 

3. Do not run Aimlessly

1 Corinthians 9:26 (ESV) So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

Run as for the Lord

Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)

23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.


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The Process Is the Point – Run to Obtain the Prize

1 Corinthians 9:24–27 (ESV)

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

 

1. Run to obtain the prize

1 Corinthians 9:24 (ESV) Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

What is the prize?

  • An Imperishable and unfading wreath

1 Corinthians 9:25 (ESV) Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

1 Peter 5:4 (ESV) And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

  • The wreath is the crown of life, righteousness, glory (James 1:12; Rev 2:10; 2 Tim 4:8;)

James 1:12 (ESV) Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

  • Upward or Heavenly Call of God

Philippians 3:14 (ESV) I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

Those are all future prizes for those who run the race.  But there are also present day prizes.

Luke 18:29-30 (ESV)

29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,
30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Notice how that passage says “in this time and in the age to come”?

There are present time rewards for those who are running the race not “just” a future hope.

Not that the future hope is not enough but because the Lord knows we would struggle with a seemingly distant hope and no rewards along the way.  He is a gracious and generous God to those He loves.

 


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The Process is the Point; How You Run the Race Matters

Previously we looked at The Process is the Point.  (Shockingly this was started in June and now we are mid November!  Too many processes going on here! ) How just as important as achieving our goals is the process in which we strive for them. Based off of 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and Hebrews 12:1-3, I listed 10 key points to running our race.  But didn’t really spend much time with them.

1. Run to obtain the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24)

2. Exercise Self-Control (1 Corinthians 9:25)

3. Do not run Aimlessly (1 Corinthians 9:26)

4. Discipline my body (1 Corinthians 9:27)

5. Keep my body under Control (1 Corinthians 9:27)

6. Lay aside every weight (Hebrews 12:1)

7. Lay aside sin which clings (Hebrews 12:1)

8. Run with endurance (Hebrews 12:1)

9. Look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2)

10. Do not grow weary or fainthearted (Hebrews 12:3)

All of these come from just those two passages!!!  That is alot of guidance for running the race.

1 Corinthians 9:24–27 (ESV)

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

 

Hebrews 12:1–3 (ESV)

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Let’s look closer at each of these and pull in other verses from the Bible that apply.


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What Is Real Love?

A few months ago I was asked “What is love?”  The point being what is real love beyond the emotional response.

We have a very good picture of love in the Bible in the person of Christ.

John 3:16 (ESV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 5:7-8 (ESV)

7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:10 (ESV) In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Then in 1 Corinthians 13 we have a very good description of love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (ESV)

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant

5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends.

But this video is a very good example of love.

 

Imagine if all love was displayed so selflessly!

This is love.  The desire to love and serve another for 50 years or more no matter what may happen or whether they are able to return the love or benefit you in anyway.  Just because Christ loved you in such a manner.


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Mr. Right or Miss Right?

This is another pet peeve of mine. 😉   Sorta along the lines of did David Dance Naked?   Yes, I know some of you are rolling your eyes, not that one again!  {I’m constantly reminded of it, because that post has been read sometimes three times an hour since 2009!}

Since 2008 when I started my blog I have gotten lots and lots of emails from a variety of people.  Many of them have been from women who are asking questions concerning their marriages.  There is often a regular theme that occurs.  Essentially a woman has determined that she did not marry “Mr. Right” because she did not do things God’s way or follow “Biblical” Courtship.  So now she desires to straighten out the mess she made in order to seek God’s will and find the real “Mr. Right”.

Now I don’t know about you but I really just cringe when someone uses the expression “Mr. Right” or “Miss Right” because I think that gives our children a wrong perception of marriage.  The idea that there is only one person out there that God has for us to marry is not a Biblical idea.  Because using that reasoning then if somehow you miss that person, sinned, or misunderstood and chose the “wrong” person then you have failed and are not in God’s will for you.  Or what if they choose wrong or sinned?  What happens then years later?  Do you seek to get back in God’s will for your life, even if that means divorcing your present spouse?  Heaven forbid!

There is technically a “Mr. Right” or “Mrs. Right” and they are your present spouse.  Once you are married you are married to “Mr. Right” or “Mrs. Right”.  No if, ands, or buts!  But until you are actually married that person may or may not be God’s will for you.  Once you are married that person is God’s will for you.  Whether or not that person is a wise choice is a whole ‘nother can of worms.  But once the choice has been made you are married to “Mr. Right.”

This also means that you are not to divorce because suddenly years down the road you’ve decided you did not seek God’s will and marry the “right” person.  The Bible is much more clear on marriage and divorce than it is on choosing a marriage partner.

Marriage, Divorce & Remarriage covers my best understanding of what the Bible says on marriage and divorce.  Granted that is much more strict than most interpret the passages, but nevertheless, never does the Lord say that a NT believer should divorce and seek another spouse.  Even in the case of a believer married to an unbeliever, the believer is commanded to remain with their spouse if the unbeliever will stay.

1 Corinthians 7:10-13 (ESV)

10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband  

11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.  

12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her.  

13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.

Beyond the general guidelines of a man and woman who are not too closely related there is very, very little instruction given about choosing a spouse.  Oh, there are principles provided about character and qualities such as in Proverbs 31:10-31 and Ephesians 5:25-31.  Those and many more character qualities make useful studies to help in making wise decisions; however, they are just guidelines not commands.

The only specific instruction in the NT to believers is that they are to marry a believer.

1 Corinthians 7:39 (ESV)  A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV)  Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

While a believer can do all they can to strive to marry a believer, even then they may find that years later they were actually married to an unbeliever.  Our hearts can deceive ourselves (Jeremiah 17:9) and they can very easily deceive another.  You cannot always know a person’s heart well enough.  You can really only look closely and judge the fruit of their life.  Bad fruit before marriage will become rotten fruit after marriage.  But even then, thankfully, the Lord may bring real life out of the rotten fruit.  So don’t despair if you find you are married to a unsaved spouse.  He may become a good fruit bearer later.

Do you understand how freeing this is?  If you use the false premise that there is one person out there for you to marry then you can get caught up in a lot of false ideas.  The thought that if you failed to go to that event because you were sick and now you missed that one chance to meet “Mr. Right” and he is with your friend instead.  The idea that if you just continue to wait longer the real “Mr. Right” will eventually show up.   Or the idea that some other person who turns up years later was the real “Mr. Right” and you married too early and messed up your chance.  The real “Mr. Right” is who you are married to.

Until then make wise decisions.  Follow Biblical principles.  Seek wise counsel.  Listen to wise counsel. 😉  Observe, listen, talk, spend time with others, spend time with the extended family, and pray, pray, pray.  But once you marry that certain person then know he is “Mr. Right” and God’s will for you.  Don’t look back and don’t second guess.   “Mr. Darcy” is just fiction, real young men and older men are sinners like us, hopefully though saved by grace.

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Marriage Made In Heaven


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Al Mohler – Fatherly Advice to Singles

Fatherly Advice to Singles–Get Married
with: Al Mohler from 5/16/13

Dr. Al Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, talks to singles about the mystery of marriage.

Download      Transcript

Some quotes from the transcript:

The longer you wait to get married, the more habits and lifestyle patterns you will have that will be difficult to handle in marriage.

The more you, as an adult, define yourself as an “I”, the longer you do so resiliently, the harder it’s going to be to become a “we”.

Now, if you’re 13 or 14, don’t go to the middle school and pop the question. [Laughter] And if you’re 17, 18, 19, or 20—in your early 20’s—what are you waiting for? I don’t mean to get married this weekend. I mean to look for the spouse God has given you. What are you waiting for? Do you think, all of a sudden—you’re going to be 25 or 26—and you’re going to get a telegram from heaven, “By the way,—”? [Laughter]

You’ve got to be urgently seeking as much as you would seek what God would have you to do vocationally—as much as you would seek what God would have you to do in terms of your mission for life. Understand that you must be looking—guys—for that wife of your youth, in whom you can find such fulfillment when the “we” is created, and a one-flesh relationship is given, and you grow up together in the faith, and in the Lord, and in your adulthood.

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Marriage Made In Heaven


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The Process is the Point

Ha!  This post has been rumbling around in my head for over a week.  I just really have not had time to sit and type it out.  Why not?  Because the processes going on have kept me from getting to the point. 🙂

Anyway,  I have been reminded over and over again in the past few weeks of this concept “The Process Is the Point.”  What do I mean by that?  That we all set goals and have desires we are striving to accomplish.  However, just as important as achieving our goals is the process in which we strive for them.  The journey, and how we travel it, is as important as the destination.

Life is a race, not a sprint, but an endurance race. Lots of people start out at a sprint but quickly fall to the wayside.  It is amazing how many verses in the Bible refer to life as a race and how we run that race.

1 Corinthians 9:24–27 (ESV)

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Hebrews 12:1–3 (ESV)

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Just look at how many things are given to us in how we are to run the race in these verses.

1. Run to obtain the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24)

2. Exercise Self-Control (1 Corinthians 9:25)

3. Do not run Aimlessly (1 Corinthians 9:26)

4. Discipline my body (1 Corinthians 9:27)

5. Keep my body under Control (1 Corinthians 9:27)

6. Lay aside every weight (Hebrews 12:1)

7. Lay aside sin which clings (Hebrews 12:1)

8. Run with endurance (Hebrews 12:1)

9. Look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2)

10. Do not grow weary or fainthearted (Hebrews 12:3)

Those principles are important no matter what goals we are striving for.  I could spend quite some time looking at each concept and how we are to achieve them.  But right now just take whatever goal or accomplishment you have before you and see how these apply in that situation.

Now you might ask “Aren’t you taking that out of context?  See those verses are talking about how we run our life of faith and how we strive for Christ and the goal of eternal life.”  Yes, that is right, they are.  But then every other goal we ever have should be such to aid us along to achieving our ultimate goal.  If our personal desires and goals are not such that they will aid us in achieving our ultimate goal then maybe we should reevaluate them.

The Lord is just as concerned with how we go about accomplishing our goals as He is with whether or not we accomplish our goals.  The process does matter.  I can spend all day cleaning the house and getting it ready for showing hospitality.  Yet if in the process I allow sin to have dominion and affect the process have I actually accomplished my goal?  If I am short tempered with the kids or allow them to misbehave because I’m too busy to discipline, then sin has hindered my goal.  For some reason it seems the Lord often allows things to occur which potentially hinder us accomplishing our goals or at least give us ample opportunity to sin and get sidetracked.

We don’t just grow as we check off our checklist of goals in life.  The Lord helps us to grow by stretching us along the way.  He gives us plenty of opportunities to choose to do right even when things do not go our way.  The whole process or journey is a source for growth not just the end point.

 


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Marriages Today

I started a Bible study on marriage over four years ago.  I even have my notes left over which show how I would take sermon notes and then a stray thought would occur concerning the marriage Bible study and I would write it down.  Don’t remember why I was working on it exactly at the time though.  Now I’ve decided to combine it with some Bible study on courtship, sorta the lead up into marriage (“Biblical” Courtship) and then a look at Biblical marriages.  Aha! That is interesting. 😉

I know that some of what started my initial Bible study was the number of emails I get regularly from ladies all over the world.  My last set of emails concerning marriage were from Romania.  There is often a regular theme that occurs.  Essentially a woman has determined that she did not marry “Mr. Right” (warning: future long rant on that one coming up) because she did not do things God’s way, “Biblical” Courtship.  So now she desires to straighten out the mess she made in order to seek God’s will and find the real “Mr. Right”.  See a problem there?

The post on The Perfect Marriage Made in Heaven is just a humorous look at some expectations that have been placed on young adults so that they do everything just right.  This is particularly stressed for those in the homeschooling community, even if only indirectly.  After reading the post, my oldest son joked and said obviously the young man in the story never slept.  My daughter pointed out that she could buy soap and honey cheaper on sale and save money and time.  Her book keeping would be simpler, it would be balanced and she would then have more time for Bible study.

Don’t believe a seemingly impossible burden has been laid on young people?  A pastor friend of ours, who pastors a local Reformed Baptist Church, actually said that if it was possible we seemed to have succeeded in making our young people take marriage too seriously.  If everything is not perfect then don’t proceed.  This is from the pastor of a church full of young people.   He said he runs across men in their late twenties and thirties who say they aren’t prepared for marriage yet.  In another church I know, the average age for marriage is around thirty or later.

How have we extended adolescence through the twenties now?  See when my grandparents married it was not unusual for young ladies to marry at fourteen and a young man to be married by sixteen.  More importantly these marriages still lasted a lifetime and they did not have an easy life.  But now we have gotten to a point that marriages are begun typically in the late twenties and early thirties.  Yet they don’t necessarily last any longer.  But why?  Are young people today really that immature?  Even those which have been homeschooled and we expected more from?  Are we not preparing them adequately?  Have we scared them from marriage?  Is selfishness the issue?  Now, of course, there are some who aren’t delaying marriage but by far the majority are.  {Albert Mohler has a whole series of posts and audios concerning this subject.  I’ll post some links later.}

Another complaint is that there are large portions of young ladies who feel deserted by the young men they know.  It appears that often the goal has been set so high for a young man that he gives up and moves to a different pond to fish from.  It is easier to do so when the young men go away to college and yet the young women they grew up with are still at home in the shrinking pond.

But marriage is a serious matter and it takes maturity and forethought.  How do you navigate between the two ditches of protracted delay and lack of maturity and preparation?

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Marriage Made In Heaven


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