Manifestations of Pride

   Posted by: jmueller   in Accountability

Excerpted and adapted from “The Exemplary Husband” by Dr. Stuart Scott

  1. Complaining against or passing judgement on God (Numbers 14:1-4, 9, 11; Romans 9:20).  Being critical, judgmental.
  2. A lack of gratitude (2 Chronicles 32:25).
  3. Anger (Proverbs 28:25; Matthew 20:1-16).
  4. Seeing yourself as better than others (Luke 7:36-50).
  5. Having an inflated view of your importance, gifts and abilities (Acts 12:21-23).
  6. Being focused on the lack of your gifts and abilities (1 Corinthians 12:14-25).
  7. Perfectionism (Matthew 23:24-28).
  8. Talking too much (Proverbs 10:19).
  9. Talking too much about yourself (Proverbs 27:2; Galatians 6:3).
  10. Seeking independence or control (1 Corinthians 1:10-13; Ephesians 5:21).
  11. Being consumed with what others think (Galatians 1:10).
  12. Being devastated or angered by criticism (Proverbs 13:1).
  13. Being unteachable (Proverbs 19:20; John 9:13-34).
  14. Being sarcastic, hurtful, degrading, talking down to them (Proverbs 12:18, 24).
  15. A lack of service (Galatians 5:13, Ephesians 2:10).
  16. A lack of compassion (Matthew 5:7, 18:23-35).
  17. Being defensive or blame-shifting (Genesis 3:12-13; Proverbs 12:1).
  18. A lack of admitting when you are wrong (Proverbs 10:17).
  19. A lack of asking forgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24).
  20. A lack of biblical prayer (Luke 18:10-14).
  21. Resisting authority or being disrespectful (1 Peter 2:13-17).
  22. Voicing preferences or opinions when not asked (Philippians 2:1-4).
  23. Minimizing your own sin and shortcomings (Matthew 7:3-5).
  24. Maximizing others’ sin and shortcomings (Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 18:9-14).
  25. Being impatient or irritable with others (Ephesians 4:31-32).
  26. Being jealous or envious (1 Corinthians 13:4).
  27. Using others (Matthew 7:12; Philippians 2:3-4).
  28. Being deceitful by covering sins, faults, and mistakes (Proverbs 11:3, 28:13).
  29. Using attention-getting tactics (1 Peter 3:3-4).
  30. Not having close relationships (Proverbs 18:1-2; Hebrews 10:24-25).
  31. Unwilling to seek help when needing it or receiving help when offered.
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The Gospel – Eric Ludy

   Posted by: jmueller   in Media


The devil’s draw-net!

   Posted by: jmueller   in Dead Theologians, Thomas Watson

(Thomas Watson, “Dearly Beloved” 1662)

“He who walks with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed!” Proverbs 13:20

Take heed of the company you keep! Beware of unnecessary familiarity with the ungodly.

We cannot catch health from another–but we may soon catch a disease! The disease of sin is very contagious! I should be as afraid of going among the wicked–as going among those who have the plague! “They mingled among the pagans–and adopted their evil customs!” Psalm 106:35. If we cannot make others better–let us take care that they make us no worse.

Lot was a ‘miracle’–he kept fresh in Sodom’s salt-water!

My beloved, take heed of the occasions of sin–evil company is a great occasion of sin. The Nazarites in the old law, as they were not to drink wine–so they were also forbidden grapes, from which the wine was made, as you read in Numbers 6. This teaches us, that all occasions of sin must be avoided.

Evil company is the devil’s draw-net, by which he draws millions to Hell. How many families, and how many souls have been ruined and undone by evil company? Many there are, who go from a play-house and from a tavern–to the bottomless pit!

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Top Ten Myths About Evangelism

   Posted by: jmueller   in Uncategorized

I found this excellent list over at GospelCentric.org:

1. It’s my responsibility to convert people.

We are only responsible for what we can do, not what others do. Our responsibility is simply to proclaim the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit and leave the results to God. We don’t have to push.

2. We can witness by osmosis (i.e. without words).

By definition a witness is “one who testifies.” What if all the “witnesses” in a court trial only answered in mime? As Christians our lives need to be consistent with our words but they are not a substitute for them.

3. We must “earn the right” to be heard.

While there is merit in the idea of gaining a hearing, the notion of “earning the right to be heard” can also put Christians on their heels. Do Hollywood producers call you to ask if you might be offended by the scenes and themes of their upcoming movie? Do professors in colleges distort Christian ideas and qualify their lectures with an apology? All around us people are making bold assertions about what is right and true. We have the truth. We are called to declare it sensitively and assertively.

4. My friends already know what I believe

If your friends did understand what you believe and why you believe it, then they might believe it too. It’s better to ask than assume. You’ll soon discover that people all around you have all sorts of false notions about God and what it means to be a Christian.

5. People’s beliefs about God are based on reason.

We often assume others have thought about their spiritual beliefs to the extent we have. Many people believe what they do more for emotional reasons or expedience. People often believe what they want to believe – what makes them feel good. This is especially true among those influenced by the philosophy of postmodernism, reflected in this way: “Whatever you believe about God is fine and true for you, but it’s not for me.” On some occasions you might succeed in thoroughly answering a person’s intellectual objections only to find they still resist. We need to lovingly discern “smoke screens” and surface the core issues that keep a person away from God.

6. People aren’t interested.

Our experience on Gospel Outreaches verifies that there is overwhelming interest in discussing the substantive questions of life. Nobody likes to be pushed, but there is strong interest in discussing spiritual ideas. By experience we’re seeing that many people are tired of shallow conversations and the rules of political correctness that make it taboo to talk about God.

7. I must have all the answers.

”And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

8. I must have a close long-term relationship with someone before I can share the gospel with them.

While this helps, the gospel’s inherent power is not bound by our personal connections. God may bring people across our path for even a brief time by His sovereign design in order that we would share the message of Christ with them. Remember the account of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch? (Acts 8:26-4) Sharing the gospel is a supernatural endeavor that requires supernatural power. That’s why the disciples were told to wait for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to be God’s witnesses (Acts 1:8). That power is now available to every believer.

9. I must wait for people to come up to me, ask me why my life is so different, and ask me to tell them about Christ.

Do you fish? When was the last time a fish jumped out of the pond, flapped all the way up to your house and asked, “Hey, where’s your fishing pole? I wanna get on your line right now.” Fishing for men requires initiative on the fisherman’s part, not the fish! Sharing the gospel with others is an active endeavor, not a passive one.

10. Sharing your faith is inherently confrontational.

Most people are uncomfortable with interpersonal confrontation. Sharing your faith should be a conversation not a confrontation. Although there is a very real battle taking place in the spiritual realm, on a personal level people need to know that we genuinely care about them. We need to refine the art of asking good questions and listening. See Luke 2:46-47; the principles in this passage are excellent and very insightful with regard to our personal witness. If someone is clearly uncomfortable discussing God then we should back off. Whoever said that the same rules which apply in “normal life” don’t apply in personal evangelism?

BONUS: I must tell a person everything I know about God in every situation.

Not every opportunity to share the message is going to be equal. In some cases you’ll have just a few minutes to talk, ask a question, share an idea, or simply listen. Make the most of it and relax (Colossians 4:5). Try to discern how much a person is ready to hear. Jesus Himself said “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear” (John 16:12). Even with His disciples he did not feel compelled to unload everything at once.

-from PROCLAIM: Joining God in the Unstoppable Spread of the Gospel

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You can’t love God and the world

   Posted by: jmueller   in Dead Theologians

(by James A. La Belle)

“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4

It is my firm conviction that worldliness is destroying the church of Jesus Christ. The church is more and more becoming . . .
like the world,
indistinguishable from the world,
pursuers of the world,
lovers of the world.

Our relationship with Jesus Christ is hardly more than an appendage or appendix to our busy, worldly lives. We are no longer distinguished as separate, consecrated, pilgrims, sojourners, or holy unto the Lord; instead, we have . . .
eyes full of the world,
hearts in love with the world,
ears attentive to the world,
lips filled with worldly speech,
hands filled with worldly things,
feet comfortable with worldly paths, and
bodies no longer ready to depart and be with Jesus since that would mean giving up the world.

There is a heaven to be won and a hell to be shunned, and all those who have no visible, practical, transforming, determinative, self-denying, world-abhorring love for Jesus Christ–will be anathema at His coming!

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world.” 1 John 2:15-16

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The Christian’s Daily Prayer

   Posted by: jmueller   in Dead Theologians, James Smith, Prayer

(James Smith, 1865)

“O Lord, remember me, and visit me.” Jeremiah 15:15

The prophet was in great trouble! Life was almost a burden. Yet the Lord had promised to show him special favor. He had promised to be with him, and that it should be well with his remnant. But the promises which support us — do not always cheer us. We have always more wealth in our possession — than we turn to account. But he falls upon his knees, he looks up to his God. Oh, what a relief is prayer! We never value prayer — as we do in deep affliction, when the heart must find vent or burst!

He cries, “O Lord, you know my sincerity and deep suffering.” He had sincerely sought the people’s good, and done the Lord’s will. But sincerity often exposes to suffering — but while it does so, it soothes the spirit. “Lord,” he says, “remember me, and visit me.” How beautifully simple! How expressive! How suited to us! Let us look at this prayer, and make it our own.

It is a prayer for times of trouble. Most are suffering from one cause or another. Oh, that the Lord would sanctify the sorrows of his people, and make the sufferings of his foes — the means of their conversion!

“O Lord, REMEMBER me!” Who can bear to be forgotten? Especially by a kind, wealthy, and powerful friend. How could we bear to be forgotten by the Lord? But though he never will forget us — yet we may plead for a special remembrance:

“Lord, I am tried, troubled, and cast down! Remember that I am your child! You have put me among your children. I have called you, Abba, Father. You have owned me at your throne of grace, and I cannot live contented without your smile and your blessing. Lord, I am your weeping child. The sorrows of my heart are enlarged; oh, bring me out of my distresses!

Oh Lord, remember that I am your friend. I have been reconciled to you by the death of your Son. I have committed my all unto you. I have been familiar with you. I have poured out all my heart before you. I cannot be happy — except you think of me, send to me, and show me friendship.

Oh Lord, remember that I am your soldier, engaged in your cause and quarrel. I wear your armor. I fight under your banner. I am jealous of your honor. But I am wounded in the field. I find my foes too strong for me. My heart betrays me. My courage fails me. I cannot conquer — unless you appear for me, and strengthen me with strength in my soul.

Oh Lord, remember that I am your servant. I have been long in your family. I love your children. I sometimes enjoy your work. But I am weak, beset with fears, and discouraged in the path of duty! Lord, oh, remember me!

Oh Lord, remember me, for I am in an enemy’s land. It is not the country I love and long for. I am in a howling wilderness, where there are few friends, little pleasant food, or refreshing rest. I am in a house of disease and death. All are suffering, and many are dying around me.

Oh Lord, remember . . .
my weakness — for it is great;
my fears — for they are many;
my temptations — for they are violent;
my infirmities — for they are numerous and painful; and
my present circumstances — for they are very trying.

Oh Lord, remember . . .
my prayers — and answer them;
my desires — and grant them;
my needs — and supply them;
my sorrows — and sanctify them;
my labors — and crown them with your effectual blessing!

Oh Lord, remember me — though I am so sinful — though I am so unworthy. Remember me, for I do remember you, and long for your presence and your love.

Oh Lord, remember me, for Jesus did so when he suffered in Gethsemane, and died on the cruel tree.

Oh Lord, remember me, or I shall be miserable now, and wretched for evermore! Oh Lord, remember me, for it does not matter who else remembers me or who forgets me — if I only have the assurance of your love and favor. Remember me, O Lord, with the favor you bear unto your people. Oh, visit me with your salvation, that I may see the good of your chosen people, and glory with your inheritance.”

“O Lord, VISIT me!” What is life — without God’s presence! What would the world be — if God did not visit us! How could we bear it — if he were to say, “You have had the last visit — I will come to you no more!” But he will see us again, and our hearts shall rejoice. He will come unto us, and he will bless us. Still, promises are not enough — if we are really alive to God. We want their fulfillment. We cannot be satisfied unless the Lord comes, and manifests himself unto us.

O Lord, visit me — and soften my heart — it is hard and unfeeling! I have tried to melt it in vain. I have taken it to Sinai — there it grows harder. I have taken it to Gethsemane and Calvary — but no place, no scene, no subject will do. It must be your presence, your smile, the sense of your love. Only come unto me, and my hard heart will yield, and flow with streams of penitential tears.

O Lord, visit me — and sanctify my temper. It is harsh and unlovely. It is trying to myself and others. I have had a long and severe conflict with it — but it is unlovely still. But your presence will make me meek, gentle, loving, kind-hearted, and good-tempered with all about me. In my very worst moods, a visit from you fills me with shame, self-abhorrence, gratitude, and humility; and then I am good-tempered in a moment.

O Lord, visit me — and revive my graces. My faith is weak. My hope is languid. My love is unsettled and wandering. A visit from you will fill me with confidence, raise my expectations, and cause my whole soul to glow with love! Then zeal will burn, repentance will work, fortitude will spring up, and every grace that should adorn the Christian character — will be in lively act and exercise.

Oh Lord, visit me — and brighten my evidences. They are often so dim, so unsatisfactory, that I can derive no comfort from them. I want to feel sure that I am a Christian: to have no doubts, no misgivings; to have every satisfactory evidence in my heart and life; but unless you visit me, I feel certain that I shall not.

Oh Lord, visit me — and cheer my spirits. I am dejected and cast down. My comforts droop and die. I am low — in a low place.

Oh Lord, visit me — and confound my foes. They are many. They are powerful. They get access to my heart. They bewilder, confuse, and mislead me! They often cast me down wounded, and fill me with fear and dread.

Oh Lord, visit me — and perfect my resignation. I would yield to your will in everything. I would prefer your choice to my own. I would be perfectly satisfied with all your arrangements.

Oh Lord, visit me, and produce this blessed, this desirable state of mind.

Beloved, God’s remembrance is always fruitful, it always brings us good things. God’s visits are always beneficial. They check every evil, nourish every grace, revive every virtue, and satisfy every really good desire. In this short prayer — is all we shall need in life or in death.

Are you concerned that God should remember you? Could you bear to be forgotten of God? Did God ever visit you in mercy? Has he visited you lately? Can you be satisfied without his visits? Oh, make the prophet’s prayer your own, and daily cry, “O Lord, remember me, and visit me!”

“Lord, when I quit this earthly stage,
Where shall I fly, but to your breast?
For I have sought no other home,
For I have desired no other rest.

I cannot live contented here,
Without some glimpses of your face;
And Heaven without your presence there,
Would be a dark and tiresome place!

When earthly cares engross the day,
And hold my thoughts aside from thee,
The shining hours of cheerful light,
Are long and tedious years to me.

And if no evening visits paid,
Between my Savior and my soul,
How dull the night! how sad the shade,
How mournfully the minutes roll!

My God! and can a humble child,
That loves you with a flame so high,
Be ever from your face exiled,
Without the pity of your eye?

Impossible! for your own hands
Have tied my heart so fast to thee,
And in your book the promise stands,
That where you are — your friends must be!”

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(James Smith, “PROCRASTINATION” 1865)

“As Paul reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the coming day of judgment, Felix trembled and replied: Go away for now. When it is more convenient, I will send for you!” Acts 24:25

Here is Felix listening to the apostle Paul. He is attentive. He is interested. He is affected. He trembles. He realizes something of the solemnity of eternity. He feels concern–but it is not deep enough, therefore he says, “Go away for now. When it is more convenient, I will send for you!” He does not positively refuse–but he postpones the matter. He thought there would be a more convenient time–but there never was! Felix has had some eighteen hundred years in Hell to rue his folly! He is regretting it at this moment–and he will regret it forever!

Many have imitated his foolish conduct. They say to God’s ministers, “Go away for now. When it is more convenient, I will send for you!”
What they are really saying is, “I love sin. It is my element. It is my delight. I cannot give it up just now. The dance–the jovial party–the customs of the present world–these are things that I like. I am not prepared to part with them, and embrace the gospel you preach. Go away for now. I had rather remain as I am–at least a little longer. I do not wish to be saved at present. By and bye, when I am too old to enjoy sin, or when sickness has made me too weak to follow any carnal pleasures–then, at this convenient season, I will send for you.”

Oh, sinner, sinner! Will you spurn God’s gracious invitation–will you turn a deaf ear to the message of mercy?

Will you persevere in sin–until you lie down in black despair?

Will you go to Hell–when so near the gates of Heaven?

Will you perish in your own deceivings?

Have you no fear of God?

Have you no dread of eternal torments?

Have you no wish to escape from the wrath to come?

What will you do in that dread day . . .
when death arrests you,
when the just Judge passes sentence upon you,
when Satan seizes you,
when Hell opens to engulf you, and
when the gates of the infernal pit close upon you forever?

What will you do?

What can you do?

To whom will you flee for help?

How will you, how can you, escape?

Alas! escape then, will be impossible!

Then the door of hope will be forever shut!

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10 Myths About Islam

   Posted by: jmueller   in Media, Miscellany

Here is a link to an online book that is very informative about Islam:  http://www.studytoanswer.net/islam_myths.html

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Pennies for Pencils 5k Results

   Posted by: jmueller   in Running

I ran in the Pennies for Pencils 5k race with my brother on Saturday, October 16, while my wife and two sons walked it.  It was a beautiful, sunny, brisk morning.  It was a pretty tough course with a lot of turns and several hills through the Eastern Michigan University campus.  When we showed up and met my brother at 8:30 am, we found out that the race start and finish were right outside the building that his department is temporarily using for offices.

I have uploaded the race results here: 2010 Pennies for Pencils 5k Results

I ended up with a 9th place finish overall.  My official time was 23:37.99.  This was the fastest pace that I have run yet.

Here is a link to my Personal Record on RunningAhead.com

Now it is time to practice for the Turkey Trot 10k in Downtown Detroit on Thanksgiving Day morning.

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Prayer Life Improvement

   Posted by: jmueller   in Prayer

I was going through my notebook that I use to keep notes in as I drive and listen to different things.  I think this list came from Todd Friel at WretchedRadio.com.

  • Start by asking God to help you.  Beg Him!  Ask Him for the desire to pray.
  • Preach the Gospel to yourself every day.  Listen to hard preaching, then you will want to talk to the kind, gracious God.
  • Make a plan.  Commit to it.  Pray until you feel like praying.
  • Consider your position – kneel, prostrate yourself, etc.
  • Read “Valley of Vision” – Puritan book on prayer and “Face To Face” by Ken Boa.
  • Do Evangelism – start witnessing.  It will horrify you and make you ask God for strength.
  • Don’t neglect prayer, but don’t pistol whip yourself over it, either.  Strive for concentration.
  • Read “A Call To Prayer” by JC Ryle.
  • If you are a Christian, you will pray.  If you don’t, you’re not a Christian.

The last statement may seem harsh and judgmental.  I don’t necessarily agree with the way it is worded, but I think I see what he means.  A Christian will gain and have a desire to communicate with our Lord.  It is a natural outpouring of Salvation.  I think some latitude is necessary here, though, especially for new believers, as they grow and learn about the Spiritual Disciplines.

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