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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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Help for Women Under Stress

Help for Women Under Stress [Kindle Edition] by Randy and Nanci Alcorn

Stress. It’s part of our everyday lives, sometimes as the spark that keeps us moving forward and sometimes as the avalanche that threatens to bury us. Chances are, since this book’s title has caught your eye, you are looking for some relief from stress, or at least hope that relief is possible.

In this thoroughly revised and updated edition of Help for Women Under Stress, originally published in 1986, Randy and Nanci offer you both the hope and the help you are looking for. They not only help you understand what stress is and how it operates, but give plenty of useful tips and strategies for bringing peace to the chaos of your daily life.

Your energy is perishable, but can be daily replenished. Don’t waste your life in unnecessary and unwise responses to stress. Let this book help you live in a way that honors God and your loved ones, while understanding and respecting your limits. And let it remind you that one day God will wipe away all the downsides of stress in an eternal world of rest, refreshment, thriving relationships and unending adventure.

Free Kindle book for a limited time.


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Extraordinarily Ordinary Christians

Funny how a topic just keeps popping up here and there.  Back in July, Tim Challies posted about Ordinary Christians and a Great Commission.  That was a topic of discussion with others with the post “Just” a Mom and The Great Commission.  The sum of some of the discussion is that just being Christian wives and mothers is ‘Radical’ today.  A similar topic actually came up again in our ladies’ Titus 2 Bible Study.  How does it look to share the gospel and witness to the those outside our family for a mom of little ones or a variety of ages at home?  Should that even be a focal point for us?  Then when you add in homeschooling that even increases the load at home.

Jesus spent the majority of His time with twelve disciples as He was going along. He even narrowed that group several times to four of what is commonly called the “inner circle”, consisting of Peter, Andrew, James and John.  It was very rare for Jesus to be separate from His disciples except when He went away to pray.  So surely there is nothing wrong with us as moms focusing on making disciples, our children, by making sure we are with them in the mundane things of life leading, guiding and teaching.  We might haul them with us when we go out to serve others but generally they should be our focus.

{The God of the Mundane by Matt B. Redmond, who is actually from Birmingham, Alabama, fits this whole discussion.}

Yesterday I read this post from Michael Horton Ordinary: The New Radical?  While it covers a similar topic as Challies post, it does point out some different ideas.

“Many Christians express astonishment when a fellow believer is content with an ordinary Christian life, with an ordinary church, among ordinary Christians, where God showers his extraordinary gifts through ordinary means of grace.”

“Facing each day with ordinary callings to ordinary people all around us is much more difficult than chasing dreams.”

“My target isn’t activism itself, but the marginalization of the ordinary as the richest site of both God’s activity and ours.  Our problem isn’t that we are too active. Rather, it is that we have been prone to successive sprints instead of the long-distance run.  There’s nothing wrong with energy.  The danger is that we’re burning out ourselves—and each other—on restless anxieties and unrealistic expectations.  It’s an impatience with the familiar, sometimes slow, and mostly imperceptible aspects of life.

Think of the things that matter most to us.  They aren’t movements; they are institutions.  They require us to submit to a community, to be “tied down” in ways that clip our restless wings.  Yet in the process, the discipline brings wisdom and delight.”

These all remind me of the saying “You can die for your wife, but can you die to yourself day by day for her?”  What if you turned it around and asked “You can die for Christ, but can you die to yourself for Christ every day in your ordinary everyday life?”  Is Christ more glorified by our going out to the ends of the earth or by our serving Him in the mundane, ordinary things of life?  The world, even Christians, praise those who go to the ends of the earth to share the gospel but where is the praise for unclogging the toilets at church so a congregation can gather to worship the Lord?

Missionaries in Africa or China use books and Bibles produced and published by Christian printing houses.  They use commentaries written by theologians.  They use computer Bible programs designed by programmers.  They use paper produced in factories. Drive cars made by assembly line workers. We need those who labor to teach in seminaries and colleges.  We need those who focus on school so they can be our doctors and nurses.  Even in the local church we need those ordinary Christians.  The ones who repair the broken windows, clean the toilets and mop the floors.  The church and the missionaries need men who work hard 40 – 60 hours a week to support families and yet sacrifice to share hard earned money to support Kingdom work.  We even need bank tellers to help us transfer the money to where it is needed.

So how do believers mesh the idea of leading quiet lives at home with the push to be radical, missionaries to the world?

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 (ESV)

9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,

10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more,

11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,

12 so that you may live properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

How does “to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands” in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 look?


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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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Marriage Made In Heaven


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“Just” a Mom and The Great Commission

Ever feel like being “just” a mom and staying home caring for your family is less than the Lord has called you to?

Feel like unless you are serving overseas as a missionary you couldn’t possibly be fulfilling the Great Commission?

Feel pressured that laundry, cooking, cleaning and caring for children is less worthy than other things?

Being Christian wives and mothers is ‘Radical’ today.

This should be encouraging!

Ordinary Christians and a Great Commission by Tim Challies

For a long time now I’ve had a fascination with what we might refer to as ordinary Christianity, Christian living for the rest of us. This kind of a life stands in contrast to the demands of so many of today’s bestselling Christian books, books that tell us we ought to live extraordinary lives, crazy and above-and-beyond lives. Some of these authors tacitly (or even blatantly) suggest that ordinary must be synonymous with apathetic and that all these comparative and superlative terms–this-er, that-er–are synonymous with godly. But when I look to the Bible I just don’t see it.

The Bible gives us those well-known big-picture commands, the meta commands for the time between Christ’s resurrection and return. “Go and make disciples of all nations.” That Great Commission tells us the what but does not give us a lot of instruction on the how. How do we do that in our daily lives? How does this look in the home and in the office and in the church? Can normal people living normal lives do all of this?

Answers come all through the New Testament and I find it fascinating that concern of the biblical writers is how to be ordinary, how to be normal. In their minds being ordinary offers challenge enough and to be normal is to honor God. Ordinary Christians carry out a Great Commission in ordinary ways through their ordinary lives.

….   Be sure to read the rest

 


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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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