Learn How to Live a Victorious Christian Life and Seek the Heart of God
Victorious Christian Living Newsletter – April 2014
This issue includes:
1 Article From Me
Something to Think About
Interesting Bible Facts
A Powerful Story
Favorite Article from My Blog
Links to My Other Sites
Always Keep The Main Thing The Main Thing
Take care of the depth of your life and God will take care of the breadth of your ministry.
We trade our lives for something every day; let it be the right thing. You can be limited, be destroyed, or grow by things around you and how you react to them and how much they influence you.
Every form of life must have proper nutrients and care in order to achieve the maximum growth. To survive and grow properly a Christian must stay in proper relationship with their root which is Jesus.
What is inside us will be shown eventually by the way we act outside.
THE MAIN THING IS TO KEEP THE MAIN THING THE MAIN THING.
Everything has a main thing it does.
I found these awesome notes as I was doing some reorganizing in my office. I had written them down several years ago when evangelist Peter Lord came to our church to do a revival. He did lunch teachings each day and I took notes furiously because I knew what he was saying could really make a difference in my life if I applied it. I have reread them several times during the last few years.
These meetings were one of those times for me where the Word took hold and I was changed forever in certain areas of my life. I will never forget that revival. I was hungry for God and He used Peter Lord to feed me some spiritual truths that have remained to this day.
But…God knew that I needed to be reminded again to keep the main thing the main thing. I had forgotten for a time!
The book Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren was written in 2002 but I didn’t read it until 2014. It is amazing how the Holy Spirit works everything out so that you come into contact with things at the exact time you can fully understand and be changed by them. For those who haven’t read the book, it is to be read in a period of 40 days, reading 4 – 5 pages per day so that you can think about what you have read. I am a voracious reader, so when I came upon the book in my library, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t already read it. Obviously that’s where the Holy Spirit comes in.
He knew that, just like the lunch teachings with Peter Lord, I needed to read this book at this moment in my life to be reminded of what is really important.
I had been going through some tough things for several months that felt like they would never end.
First, I couldn’t understand why I was going through these things.
Second, I didn’t see how I could continue to hold up under the intense stress they were causing and still allow God to use me in ministry. I felt like a huge failure and didn’t see why or how God would even want to continue to use me.
As I was reading this book, the Holy Spirit reminded me very strongly that I had forgotten Peter Lord’s words and had started to look at this life as if it is the MAIN THING.
It is not – the purpose for this life is to get me ready for my life in heaven where I will live forever and ever.
God desires to purify, cleanse, and build my character to His Image and His Character so that He can use me as HE desires while I am here on the earth. If I am bogged down all the time by my circumstances, I won’t ever be able to get past them to let God use me in any way.
(If you have the book Purpose Driven Life already and are going through the same thing, read Day 22 again and see if it will help you like it helped me.)
I certainly don’t want to miss out on the best He has in store for me in Heaven because I was so bogged down by all my problems here on earth that I could never let Him use me in the way He desired.
Sometime ago I read a joke-story about riches and heaven. It goes like this:
Bring Riches With You
There once was a rich man who was near death. He was very grieved because he had worked so hard for his money and he wanted to be able to take it with him to heaven. So he began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth with him.
An angel hears his plea and appears to him. “Sorry, but you can’t take your wealth with you.” The man implores the angel to speak to God to see if He might bend the rules.
The man continues to pray that his wealth could follow him. The angel reappears and informs the man that God has decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man gathers his largest suitcase and fills it with pure gold bars and places it beside his bed.
Soon afterward the man dies and shows up at the Gates of Heaven to greet St. Peter. St. Peter seeing the suitcase says, “Hold on, you can’t bring that in here!”
But, the man explains to St. Peter that he has permission and asks him to verify his story with the Lord. Sure enough, St. Peter checks and comes back saying, “You’re right. You are allowed one carry-on bag, but I’m supposed to check its contents before letting it through.”
St. Peter opens the suitcase to inspect the worldly items that the man found too precious to leave behind and exclaims, “You brought pavement?!!!”
The material things that I hold so dear on earth are nothing compared with the awesomeness of Heaven. If the street is paved with gold, imagine what the rest of it looks like. Even in our wildest dreams we will never be able to imagine the wonderful things God has in store for us.
This story illustrates so well the fact that we get caught up with what we THINK is the main thing, when it really is NOT the main thing.
God allows us to live here to get us ready for Heaven. If you are hungry for the things of God, the things of this world will never satisfy you. Material things are not bad; God just doesn’t want them to mean more to you than He does.
He wants to be the most important person in your life. If that is true, everything else will fall into place. All you have to do is KEEP THE MAIN THING THE MAIN THING.
Something To Think About
The popular writer F W Boreham once lost patience with a difficult man named Crittingden, who said and wrote many critical words. Boreham, angered beyond endurance, finally wrote a flaming letter designed to sting and rebuke the complainer. He walked to the mailbox to post the letter.
It was a lovely night for a walk, and he passed by the mailbox without dropping the letter in. He said to himself, “I’ll mail it on the way back.”
A quarter of a mile further on, he met a friend who said, “Poor old Crittingden is dead.”
Boreham was shocked. “Is he indeed? When did this happen?”
“Oh, he died suddenly – early this afternoon. It’s really for the best, you know. He’s had a hard time. You know all about it, I suppose?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Oh, I thought everybody knew. He only had two children, a son and a daughter. The son was killed soon after his wife died, and the daughter lost her mind and is in the asylum. Poor old Crittingden never got over it. It soured him.”
Boreham returned to his fireside that night, humbled and ashamed. He tore the letter into small fragments and burned them one by one. And as he knelt before the blaze, he prayed that he, in days to come, might find the grace to deal gently and lovingly with difficult people, even as he wished they might have the grace to treat him.
Interesting Bible Facts
(high or holy ground ), a mountainous district of Asia mentioned in the Bible in connection with the following events:– (1) As the resting-place of the ark after the deluge. ( Genesis 8:4 ) (2) As the asylum of the sons of Sennacherib. ( 2 Kings 19:37 ; Isaiah 37:38 ) Authorized Version has “the land of Armenia.” (3) As the ally, and probably the neighbor, of Minni and Ashchenaz. ( Jeremiah 51:27 )
[ARMENIA]The name Ararat was unknown to the geographers of Greece and Rome, as it still is to the Armenians of the present day; but it was an ancient name for a portion of Armenia. In its biblical sense it is descriptive generally of the Armenian highlands–the lofty plateau which overlooks the plain of the Araxes on the north and of Mesopotomia on the south.
Various opinions have been put forth as to the spot where the ark rested, as described in Genesis 8:4, but it is probable that it rested on some of the lower portions of the range than on the lofty peak to which exclusively Europeans have given the name Ararat, the mountain which is called Massis by the Armenians, Agri-Dagh , i.e. Steep Mountain , by the Turks, and Kuh-i-Nuh , i.e. Noahs Mountain , by the Persians.
It rises immediately out of the plain of the Araxes, and terminates in two conical peaks, named the Great and Less Ararat, about seven miles distant from each other; the former of which attain an elevation of 17,260 feet above the level of the sea and about 14,000 above the plain of the Araxes, while the latter is lower by 4000 feet. The summit of the higher is covered with eternal snow for about 3000 feet.
Arguri, the only village known to have been built on its slopes, was the spot where, according to tradition, Noah planted his vineyard. “The mountains of Ararat” are co-extensive with the Armenian plateau from the base of Ararat in the north to the range of Kurdistan in the south, we notice the following characteristics of that region as illustrating the Bible narrative; (1) its elevation. It rises to a height of from 6000 to 7000 feet above the level of the sea. (2) Its geographical position.
Viewed with reference to the dispersion of the nations, Armenia is the true centre of the world; and at the present day Ararat is the great boundary-stone between the empires of Russia, Turkey and Persia. (3) Its physical character . The plains as well as the mountains supply evidence of volcanic agency. (4) The climate. Winter lasts from October to May, and is succeeded by a brief spring and a summer of intense heat. (5) The vegetation. Grass grows luxuriantly on the plateau, and furnishes abundant pasture during the summer months to the flocks of the nomad Kurds. Wheat, barley and vines ripen at far higher altitudes than on the Alps and the Pyrenees.
Abomination of Desolation
Mentioned by our Savior, ( Matthew 24:15 ) as a sign of the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, with reference to ( Daniel 9:27 ; 11:31 ; 12:11 ) The prophecy referred ultimately to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and consequently the “abomination” must describe some occurrence connected with that event. It appears most probable that the profanities of the Zealots constituted the abomination, which was the sign of the impending ruin; but most people refer it to the standards or banners of the Roman army. They were abomination because there were idolatrous images upon them.
in Holy Scripture, is either, I. Material–with oil–or II. Spiritual–with the Holy Ghost–
- Ordinary . Anointing the body or head with oil was a common practice with the Jews, as with other Oriental nations. Anointing the head with oil or ointment seems also to have been a mark of respect sometimes paid by a host to his guests.
- Official . It was a rite of inauguration into each of the three typical offices of the Jewish commonwealth. a. Prophets were occasionally anointed to their office, and were called messiahs, or anointed. b. Priests, at the first institution of the Levitical priesthood, were all anointed to their offices, but afterwards anointing seems to have been specially reserved for the high priest, so that “the priest that is anointed,” is generally thought to mean the high priest. c. Kings. Anointing was the principal and divinely-appointed ceremony in the inauguration of the Jewish Kings. The rite was sometimes performed more than once. David was thrice anointed. d. Inanimate objects also were anointed with oil, in token of their being set apart for religious service. Thus Jacob anointed a pillar at Bethel.
- Ecclesiastical. Anointing with oil is prescribed by St. James to be used for the recovery of the sick. Analogous to this is the anointing with oil practiced by the twelve. II. SPIRITUAL
- In the Old Testament a Deliverer is promised under the title of Messiah, or Anointed, and the nature of his anointing is described to be spiritual, with the Holy Ghost. In the New Testament Jesus of Nazareth is shown to be the Messiah, or Christ or Anointed, of the Old Testament, and the historical fact of his being anointed with the Holy Ghost is asserted and recorded. Christ was anointed as prophet priest and king.
- Spiritual anointing with the Holy Ghost is conferred also upon Christians by God. “Anointing “expresses the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit upon Christians who are priests and kings unto God.
(Taken from Smith’s Bible Dictionary)
A Powerful Story
Stephen Covey writes in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People about an experience he had on a subway in New York.
It was Sunday morning, and the passengers were sitting quietly, napping, reading the paper, lost in thought. But the peaceful scene changed when a man and his children suddenly boarded. The children were loud and rambunctious, and they disrupted the entire car.
The man sat down beside Covey, seemingly oblivious to the situation. The children were yelling, throwing things, and even grabbing people’s papers. It was very disturbing, and yet the man did nothing.
Covey fought the feelings of irritation that rose in him, but as the confusion grew worse he finally turned and said, “Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more.”
The man lifted his gaze as if coming to himself, and then he said softly, “Oh, you’re right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.”
Covey later wrote, Can you imagine what I felt at that moment? My paradigm shifted. Suddenly I saw things differently, and because I saw differently, I thought differently, I felt differently, I behaved differently. My irritation vanished…my heart was filled with the man’s pain. Feelings of sympathy and compassion flowed freely. “Your wife just died? Oh, I’m so sorry! Can you tell me about it? What can I do to help?”
Everything changed in an instant.
My Favorite Blog Post For The Month
Why It’s So Hard To Live In Cognitive Dissonance
If new people we meet turn out to be totally different than us, it is easy to look down on them just because they might be dirty, unlearned, friendless, hurting, or a myriad of other things. But isn’t the church supposed to be a spiritual hospital to those people who desperately need God the most?
I came across this definition in a secular setting, but I couldn’t help but think that this applies almost perfectly to why it is so hard to open our hearts to another person when they are totally different and even unbecoming in their ways.
We like to stay in our little comfort zone most of the time and opening your heart to another whose life is messed up and might need more than just an encouraging word every now and then will definitely make you have to depend on God for answers.
What is cognitive dissonance? It’s the discomfort you feel when you try to reconcile two conflicting ideas or thoughts in your mind.
Cognitive dissonance is a hugely powerful force in our minds and our lives.
We need to make sense of our lives and our beliefs, so we avoid ideas and beliefs that contradict what we already think is right or true.
Many times we find ourselves going to huge lengths to justify our current belief, because to even consider the alternative is just too uncomfortable. I have found that something might not be morally or spiritually wrong, but it might contradict what I want to do versus what God wants me to do. His way usually takes me out of my comfort zone and places me into the “unknown” for a short period of time or even a long one.
During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He made it a point to seek out the people who were the neediest and gave them something that changed their life forever. The neediest people are not always the ones who are poor or hooked on drugs. Zaccheus was a very rich man, though he had gotten most of his riches from charging too many taxes to the ordinary people so he could pad his own pockets. That didn’t stop him from being miserable enough with his life to climb a tree so he could see this Jesus better that was passing by. Somehow he must have known this man could help him in his miserable condition.
What if Jesus had passed him by because it would have taken too much time to help him? Zaccheus might have never taken another opportunity to seek help again.
Our Jesus can help even the worst of sinners, but He wants you to be willing to get involved and also be willing to pray intensely for that person to change and let the Holy Spirit show you how to help them. You can’t do it on your own, but with God’s help all things are possible.
I can look back on my life and see that more times than I would like to admit, I have been stubborn and bull-headed about things I knew God was telling me to do. Sometimes I just didn’t want to take the time to get involved because I had my own agenda or the need was too overwhelming and I didn’t know where to begin.
Sometimes it gets messy when we try to help others or we might even get burnt, but God wants us to concentrate totally on what He desires and not worry about anything else.
He wants us to be a bright light in a very dark world so that those with the most desperate needs will be able to see there is something better than what they have now.
Then they might do like Zaccheus and run to our source of light (God) because they can see that we have something that can truly change their life.
I know that living out of your “comfort zone” will never be easy, but OH! how great will be the rewards that will come from it. You can have the same peace and joy that Zaccheus had after his encounter with Jesus totally turned his life around – never to be the same again!
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That’s it for this newsletter. May God bless you as you strive to live for Him and walk in obedience to what He desires!