Thursday, March 26, 2009

On My Heart !!

I wanted to share some excerpts from the Manly Dominion Book I am reading with the 1:28 class..I read several chapters today and felt an extremely strong calling to apply this to my/our life..I am not sure why the strong tug on my heart and soul, but I certainly want to be sensitive to this type of feeling whenever I get it..

Chapter 16 - Personal Devotions - As a Christian, my heart is a well. The land of my Christian Life is teeming with hostile forces determined to do me harm by separating me from my water source. The world hourly blows in the burying sands of vanity. My flesh (indwelling sin) welcomes in unclean sights and sounds that putrefy the waters. The devil works hard with distractions to harass and dispute my every attempt to drink deeply.

My heart will be kept open, fresh and clear only by my aggressively watching, guarding and keeping the condition of my heart. Passive negligence in my devotional life will result in certain famine.

I should understand my heart is disputed territory. If I go to the prayer closet and discover that my heart is stopped up with apathy and carnality I should not be surprised or deflated. When I find my heart stopped up, it is not time to turn away from the prayer closet with a bone dry bucket. It is time for me to roll up my sleeves and get to work. It is time to do some holy digging by resolute prayer, attentive reading and purposeful meditation. We must not say with fainting dejection "I must be missing something", simply because were habitually required to work at keeping our hearts in a good condition. Heart keeping is a standard daily chore of every Christian.

JC Ryle writes " This paper may fall into the hands of someone who reads the bible much, and yet fancies he is no better for his reading. This is a crafty temptation of the devil. At one stage he says "Do not read the bible at all" and at another he says "Your reading does you no good; give it up". Are you that man? Do you think you are getting no good from the bible, merely because you do not see that good day by day.(This is me). The greatest effects are by no means those which make the most noise and are most easily observed. The greatest effects are often silent, quiet, and hard to detect at the time they are being produced. The word may be gradually producing deep impressions on your heart, of which you are not present or aware....settle it down in your mind as an established rule, that, whether you feel it at the moment or not, you are inhaling spiritual health by reading the bible, and insensibly becoming more strong.

In our personal devotional lives, we can not permit ourselves to be pushed around by our environment. We can not let ourselves be bullied by the world, the flesh and the devil..

That chapter spoke volumes to me and was exactly what I needed to hear as I felt I was getting a parched throat from my study and not the refreshing waters I thought I should..This chapter encouraged me in this area to persevere.

Chapter 17 - Family Devotions - Do you think after the famfest weekend and now this chapter that God is desperately trying to get my attention with regards to my role and spiritual leader of the home and my role and leader of family devotions..I would say emphatically YES

What father would be so uncaring as to negligently permit his family to suffer chronic dehydration of their souls? The head of the household is solemnly responsible to provide spiritual hydration for his whole household; he is the spiritual "irrigation system" for his family.

Our wives are our assigned fields whose souls were to conscientiously cultivate and irrigate with the hoe and water of the word..and each child composes an additional field that the Lord has solemnly assigned to our estates. A loving and godly man will make it a conscientious priority to spiritually nurture every soul that has been appointed to his care (Whew!!)

God fearing parents also are assigned the task of continuously communicating the words of God to their children. Deut 6:7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Soul cultivation needs to be our chief priority. It is quite easy for series of devotionless days to become devotionless weeks, then a devotionless month, then a devotionless year and ultimately a devotionless upbringing in your home

Lets liken our children's soul as an Olympic size swimming pool. If each day, you poured a large pail of water into the pool, by the end of twenty years, you would have some real depth. It would be nearly full to the brim. On the other hand, if you forgot to pour on half the days, the pool would hardly be swimmable . If you neglected pouring on most days, the pool would barely have any water. Do we want our children to have spiritual depth? or are we content for them to be spiritually shallow? Before you know it, your children will be gone an out of the house. The brief day of parenting will soon be over. Today is the day to start pouring so grab hold of your solemn chore to irrigate our families with the Word..

JW Alexendar said " There is no member of a household who individual piety is of such importance to all the rest, as the father or the head: and there is no one whose soul is so directly influenced by the exercise of family worship. Where the head of the family is lukewarm or worldly, he will send the chill through the whole house; and if any happy exception occur, and one or another surpass him in faithfulness, it will be in spite of his evil example....Where the head of a family is a man of faith, of affection and of zeal, consecrating all his works and life to Christ, it is very rare to find all his household otherwise minded"

Chapter 18 - Churchmanship - Prevailing attitudes toward church attendance are of the "I'll participate if I feel like it" variety. I'll participate as long as I feel like it and as long as it's cheap. As long as it's convenient and pleasant. I'll partake. But if your asking me to miss some of my entertainment, rearrange my weekends, weary my body, re prioritize my life or deny myself, then I am not really interested....

Many view their duty toward the church as fluctuating with their feelings. NO longer is church a sacred house where worshipers come to serve the Lord. Now the church has become an amusement park where thrill seekers come to amuse themselves. The pop culture perversion of church has conditioned many to say "What do you offer for me today?" verses the scriptures calling of "How can I serve the Lord today?

The Lord is worthy of our first fruits..the cream..of our lives

The following are guidelines for true churchmanship
1. Regarding attendance - So help me God, my family and I will be there. It will be a priority in our schedules. We would never miss work or class or soccer games because of a sniffle. Why is a sniffle an excuse to miss worship. Why should our employer get a higher priority treatment than our Savior

2. Regarding Worship - So help me God, I will not sit passively back in my pew, waiting to be entertained, but will gird up the loins of my mind, and expend concentration energy as I worship in Spirit and truth. We should be willing to isometrically press our minds against his the sermon for the full duration. If we can give our attention over for three consecutive hours to a football game, surely we can give nearly an hour to listening to God's word preached. The pagan world get well over 100 hours of our waking attention per week..Why should we begrudge the preached Word getting two or three hours of our full attention in the same span?

3. Regarding Service - So help me God, I will sacrificially give myself to serving my local church ministry. A valiant churchman willingly serves his turn in the nursery, and sometimes cheerfully fills in when somebody else forgets. He volunteers to drive the older handicapped saint to church. He is willing to burn the Saturday night midnight oil to teach a Sunday School class. He is willing to habitually go beyond the comfort zone of his familiar friends in order to greet and meet visitors and even invite them over to his home for hospitality. He receives from his Lord and Savior "Well done, thou good and faithful servant"

4. Regarding Public Praying - So help me God, I will take up my solemn duty to carry my share of the load of leading groups in prayer..

5. Regarding Financial giving - So help me God, I will give faithfully and sacrificially to the cause of the Your church and Your Kingdom - To pluck a weed from the roadside and present it to a sovereign would be no better than an insult. Yet how often is God served with that which costs men nothing! Men will lavish hundreds and thousands to gratify their own fancy, what miserable driblets they often give to the cause of God!

Chapter 19 Conversion - Isaiah 64:6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all of our righteous deeds are like filthy garments: and all of us wither like a leaf and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away

Faith is connection with Christ. Christ is on the shore, so to speak, holding the rope of faith and if we lay hold of it with the hand of our confidence, He pulls us to shore. But our good works, having no connection with Christ, are drifted along the gulf of despair. Grapple them as tightly as we may, even with hooks of steel, they can not avail us in the least degree. We can't save ourselves by our good works..but Jesus came to do what we could not do..There on His back, He bore the load of sinners

How can I know if I am really saved? If you are genuinely saved, the Holy Spirit lives in you as a down payment of your salvation. His presence will be observable as He will warm your soul to the things of God, resulting in the gradual melting away of patterns of sin. He produces a love for the Savior and a hatred for sin.

If your life is blanketed with habits and patterns of sin, if your heart is consistently hard and cold to the Bible's urgings and warnings, if your soul is a stranger to the Spirit's stirring up within you a love of Christ that desires to obey His Word, then you have good reason to doubt your salvation. 2 Corinthians 13:5 " test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless indeed you fail the test?

I really felt led to write this all out as it has weighed on my soul very heavy today..and having read all this one and now writing it all down again has forced me to deal with these issues head on in my own life..There are moments in our life on earth that we need to heed the words spoken to us and to apply them to our lives..and not just intellectually understand what we read..This has caused me to think about myself in all these areas and how I conduct myself..where my strengths are and exposing the areas I need serious work on and guidance and strength from God..I just know God is looking out for us and desires for us to do things His way...and if we will do things His way, the wisdom, grace, mercy and Love will runneth over in our very own lives..

EB (footnote - Manly Dominion by Mark Chanski)
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