Friday’s Thought From C.S. Lewis

Monday’s Verse From 1 Corinthians

A-Z-ARCHIVE-V-CHALLENGE; Victory

http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/a-z-archive-v-challenge/

Another Thought From Horatius Bonar

* I was going to save this for tomorrow but in light of some conversations I’ve been having today with some of you, I thought it appropriate to go ahead and post it today.  

This Day’s Thought From Wednesday & Thursday

 

This Day's Thought

Prayer Requests

All His glory and beauty come from within, and there He delights to dwell.  His visits there are frequent, His conversation sweet, His comforts refreshing:  His peace passing all understanding.

Thomas Kempis


This Day's Verse

Then, knowing what lies ahead for you, you won’t become bored with being a Christian, nor become spiritually dull and indifferent, but you will be anxious to follow the example of those who receive all that God has promised them because of their strong faith and patience.

Hebrews 6:12
The Living Bible 

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This Day's Thought

Prayer Requests

Three-hundred million years from now, the only thing that will matter is whether you’re in Heaven or in Hell.

Mark Cahill


This Day's Verse

“And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”

Ezekiel 36:27
The New International Version 


This Day's Smile

There is no impact without contact.  Evangelism is a contact sport.

Douglas M. Cecil


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This Day’s Thought for Wednesday

 

This Day's Thought

Prayer Requests

Christ turned a brilliant guess into a solid certainty and endowed the hope of eternal life with grace, reason, and majesty.

Hugh Elmer Brown


This Day's Verse

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.  Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.  Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 4:25-29
The English Standard Version


This Day's Smile

I came from God, and I’m going back to God, and I won’t have any gaps of death in the middle of my life.

George Macdonald


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This Week’s Sermon From The Ranch – Setting Your Mind On What The Spirit Desires

(This Day’s Thought is pleased to bring you Eric Elder’s new sermon series, “Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind.”
SPECIAL NOTE FROM ERIC:  I recently taught an online class to show others, step-by-step, how they can self-publish their own paperback books on websites like Amazon.com, as well as make their books available in eBook format for Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and Apple’s iPads, iPods and iPhones.  I recorded the full 2 hour and 10 minute class, and I’d be glad to share it with you for a donation of any size to our ministry this month.  For more details about the class and how to watch it, see the P.S. at the end of today’s message.  )


The Ranch: A Place of Healing and Restoration


Setting Your Mind On What The Spirit Desires

Lesson 16 from Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind

By Eric Elder
The Ranch

What is it about rules that makes us want to break them?  I was in a church one day when the pastor was talking about the benefits of a new diet he had started.  He was telling us how he ate a bowl of oatmeal every morning for breakfast, and how much of a change that was from the way he used to eat.  He said he previously used to sit down some nights and eat an entire 2-pound bag of peanut M&M’s in one sitting!   

As surprised as I was to hear that, as soon as he said it, something sprang to life within me.  I began to imagine what it would be like to sit down and eat a whole bag of peanut M&M’s, all by myself, in one sitting.  It sounded crazy.  I’d never even thought about the idea before.  That’s a lot of M&M’s!  But it sounded really good, too.  (And in case you don’t know what peanut M&M’s are, they’re peanuts dipped in chocolate and covered by a hard candy shell).

The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it.  Although it seemed wrong, I still wanted to do it.  Somehow, his sermon on the benefits of this new diet just made me want to eat more.  The very thing he was telling me not to do was the very thing I wanted to do—and it was his sermon that sparked the idea in me to do it!  

When one of my daughters asked me what I wanted for Christmas that year, only one thing came to the forefront of my mind:  a 2-pound bag of peanut M&M’s.  

What was happening to me?  Why was I now desiring something that I had never thought of desiring until I was told that I shouldn’t desire it?  Wouldn’t it have been better if I had never heard that sermon at all?  And what could I do about it now that I had?

The Apostle Paul describes this dilemma in Romans chapter 7 (except for mentioning the peanut M&M’s ), which also includes one of the most tongue-twisting passages in all of Scripture:

“What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”  But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire.  For apart from law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.

“Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.  I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

“So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:7-24).

I like the way Paul puts this.  He says that the law is good, but that sin is always present, too, ready to spring into life at any moment.  And when sin sees an opportunity, it seizes it, producing within us our covetous desires. The law is not the problem, sin is.  And sin seems already nearby and ready to seize upon such opportunities.  

It seems like a dilemma that could cripple us for life.  But Paul doesn’t leave us there, and neither does God.  Paul asks: “Who will rescue me from this body of death?”  And then he continues with the answer to that question, as well how to win the battle over the sins and temptations that you face in life, too.  Paul says:

“Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so He condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.  You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.  And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you” (Romans 7:25-8:11).

Paul says it clearly:  the one who can rescue you from the battles you’re facing is Jesus Christ our Lord. The same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is living within you, if you’ve put your faith in Him.  And that same Spirit can bring the same power and the same victory to you, if you’ll set your mind on what the Spirit desires.

Jesus has already fought the hardest battle on your behalf, dying for your sins so you don’t have to.  Now your job now is to set your mind on what the Spirit desires, letting go of anything that is pulling you back into your sinful desires.

If you can win the battle in your mind, you’re well on your way to winning the battle in your flesh, too.

My sweet daughter bought me a 2-pound bag of peanut M&M’s for Christmas that year.  But when I got the bag and came face to face with the choice I was about to make, I did something I hadn’t expected.  I changed my mind.  

Whereas before I had only imagined what it would be like to indulge my desires, I now thought through what that decision would mean down the road.  What if I really did eat the whole bag in one sitting?  How sick would I get?  How many pounds would I instantly be adding to my already growing body fat?  In a matter of minutes, I had changed my mind.  I decided to just eat just a few.  I shared a few more.  Then I put the rest away in a cupboard, to be eaten only occasionally as a special treat, or to be served to friends who stopped by.  

Instead of being controlled by my fleshly desires, I set my mind on what the Spirit desires instead.  And in so doing, I won the victory.

Believe me, I know there are bigger battles in life than facing a 2-pound bag of peanut M&M’s.  But I also know that God is bigger than any of those battles, too.  The choices you make in your mind will affect the choices you make with your body.  I want to encourage you today to make good choices—to set your mind on what the Spirit desires, and not on fleshly things.  

When tempted to look at someone who’s attractive for longer than you should, just look away.  Leave them there.  And don’t look back.  When tempted to click on an inappropriate website, just let it go.  Don’t click that link.  Ask yourself, “What does the Spirit desire?”  

When tempted to start a bad habit, remember that the best way to stop a bad habit is never to start in the first place.  Just don’t do it.  Don’t even get started.  When fighting a bad habit that you’ve already started, just drop it.  Let it go.  Find a way to redirect your time and energy into something more godly and healthy.

Then call upon the Spirit of Christ who lives within you to help you do what He wants you to do.  Remember:

“And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.”

Will you pray with me?

Father, thank You for doing the hardest work of all in our battle against sin.  Help us to do the hard work we have to do of setting our minds on what Your Spirit desires.  Help us in the battles we face today so we can drop whatever might threaten to harm us, and to take hold of that which will lead us to life.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Self-Publishing ClassP.S.  On another topic, I’ve self-published a dozen books over the years, and some people have asked me how they can self-publish their books, too.  So I’ve put together an online class that shows you step-by-step how to upload your books to Amazon.com and make them available for others to buy in paperback form, or to print out copies for yourself at a very low cost.  The class also includes how to publish your books in eBook format for use on Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Apple’s iBookstore for the iPhone, iPod and iPad.  I taught this class live online, and I recorded the full 2 hours and 10 minutes so you can learn from it, too.  If you’d like to see it, I’d be glad to send you the link where you can watch it online for yourself for a donation of any size to our ministry.  Your donations really do help us significantly, plus they encourage me to continue putting together more classes like these in the future!  If you’d like to make a donation online and get the link to watch the class, just click the link below:
Watch The Class

Questions for Reflection
1.  Read Romans 7:7-8:11.  Have you ever experienced what Paul described in verse 9 where “sin sprang to life” after hearing about something you shouldn’t do?
2.  What does Paul say is the cause such experiences?  Is the law at fault, or something else?
3.  What encouragement do you take from the solution Paul puts forth, that if the Spirit of Christ lives in you—the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead—that He can give life to your mortal bodies as well?
4.  Is there an area in your life where you could use the help of the Spirit of Christ right now to overcome a battle that you’re facing?  How could simply setting your mind on what the Spirit desires help you in this area?

To read more from this series, Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind, please visit:
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A Thousand Tears

I have cried a thousand tears
Seems I’ve lived a thousand years

I have survived a thousand fears
That ended in a thousand tears

As the end of life nears
and I remember my lost peers

All my thoughts keep switching gears
as a thousand my mind clears

The Lord my God eternity steers
as the end of life nears

I know a thousand more tears
I will shed my last years

But my death holds no fears
for heaven’s promise my soul endears!

Teresa Marie  9/16/11

For my parents

 

Where Is The Love?

Where is love to be found

            working in the world we live,

when it’s more important to receive

            than it eve r is to give?

                                    Where we’re more concerned for animals

                                                than a starving child who’ll die

                                    or to help a battered mother

                                                who in her pain does cry?

How did humanity get this way?

            Why are we filled with greed?

When our only concern’s for ourself

            who then the poor will feed?

                                    Who’ll buy a pill for a quarter

                                                and save the life of a child?

                                    Who will help to give assistance

                                                to the woman who was defiled?

Love came down from heaven once

            and took the form of man.

Because of love Jesus lived

            to fulfill the Father’s plan.

                                    Before He was put to death

                                                He had three years to teach,

                                    and He went about in Israel

                                                the Word of God to preach.

The most important thing he taught

            was growing in compassion and love.

How do you suppose He feels

            as He now watches from above?

                                    Do you suppose He is happy

                                                with all that He does see

                                    or do you suppose He’s thinking

                                                “See  how they dishonor Me?”

I know that He’d have come

            if only to save just one,

which leaves me with this question,

                        wicked world, what have we done?

Teresa Marie    —   12/29/10

In The Mud

 When you’re down
in the mud
on the ground
covered in crud

You can’t get out
on your own
filled with doubt
turned to stone

God does see
where you are
you’ll never be
gone to far

He’ll wash you clean
from your sin
’til you’re pristine
by grace you win!

Teresa Marie  8/21/11