Fixing Our Eyes On Jesus

 

I have been in the process of highlighting a few key thoughts from the book Spiritual Depression, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. In this blog we will probe some key ideas from chapters ten and eleven on faith. In both of the chapter Lloyd-Jones drew his text from times when the disciples were in a boat and were very afraid because of a storm and the waves. The first text is from Luke 8:22-25.

Now it came about on one of those days, that He and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. 23 But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended upon the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. 24 And they came to Him and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. 25 And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”

The title of this chapter is, Where Is Your Faith. And it is the very words that Jesus’ used to rebuke His disciples. Their lack of faith was demonstrated in their fear of the circumstances. As Lloyd-Jones pointed out, since Jesus was with them in the boat, they should have been content and confident regardless of the circumstances—the waves. “The Christian is never meant to be carried away by his feelings, whatever they are—never. That is always wrong in a Christian.”

I think the idea that we should grasp here is that as a Christian we ought to always be aware that Jesus is with us, ready to help us. We should never let the circumstances around us get to us. When we are faced with fears as the disciples were, we should take it up immediately with God in prayer, and draw on the word of God. That is how we respond in faith.

The text of chapter eleven is from Matthew 14:22-33.

And immediately He made the disciples get into the boat, and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And after He had sent the multitudes away, He went up to the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already many stadia away from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were frightened, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”  28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  32 And when they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”

The message here is similar to that in the previous chapter. In both cases the problem is a lack of faith. In this story the lack of faith (of Peter) was created by looking at the waves—the circumstances, instead of Jesus. A Christian should keep his eyes on Jesus always. Lloyd-Jones said, we produce our own doubts when we look at the waves—at our circumstances. “We lead ourselves into doubts by dabbling with certain things which should be avoided.”

Lloyd-Jones points out that the antidote to weak faith, and depression, is great faith. And we can build great faith by building our knowledge of bible doctrine, or to build our knowledge of Him.

 

 

 

 

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Key Leaders under Attack from the Enemy

Prayer for Trump and Country

It is undeniable. Our key country leaders are under attack from many who hate them—ultimately from our enemy, the devil. I read from Psalm 38 this morning, and it seems to fit.

Psalm 38:19-22

But my enemies are vigorous and strong,

And many are those who hate me wrongfully.

20 And those who repay evil for good,

They oppose me, because I follow what is good.

21 Do not forsake me, O Lord;

O my God, do not be far from me!

22 Make haste to help me,

O Lord, my salvation!

Lord, please help our leaders to be strong and to turn to You for help always.

Prayer for President Trump

I don’t know how he is able to keep going the way he does. It seems like everyone hates him and is seeking his impeachment.

Lord, give the President great strength and endurance in the face of the…

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The Essence of Sin

I just finished reading the book Spiritual Depression, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. This blog is a short summary of the essential points of chapter two: The True Foundation.

The way I see the truths of this chapter is in the following outline.

 

Why Many Unbelievers Do Not Find Salvation

1. They don’t see themselves as a sinner. This may not be entirely true of every person, but for many this is their problem. They have the wrong idea of what sin is, or they see sin in a very limited way. They may see sin, or a sinner, as a murderer, or a bank robber, or an adulterer, etc., and so when they don’t see themselves that way, they think they are okay. They may think of themselves as better than most, and so they feel that they are okay. They feel no conviction of sins.

And this is a problem, because they have sinned and just aren’t aware of it. Hence, they don’t see their need of God or of His salvation.

2. They don’t know the essence of sin. People go wrong in their belief system because of their wrong idea of sin. They are not looking at the law of God, they are comparing themselves with others. And when they see that they are better than other, they think they are okay.

I like what Lloyd-Jones says about this. He says that to know ourselves as a sinner is not to compare ourselves with others, but to come face to face with the law of God. And what is the law of God? It is more than just the Ten Commandments; it is mainly this—Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy strength, and also, Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself. If we are not doing this than we are a sinner.

Lloyd-Jones goes on to point out what Jesus said in John 17:3; that eternal life is to know God. Hence, he says that the essence of sin is not knowing God; it is not enjoying God; it is not living entirely for the glory of God; and it is not having a relationship with God. And so it comes down to this: sin is rejecting God’s offer of a relationship with Him. It is thinking that we do not need Him.

3. They think too much of themselves. If people don’t see themselves as a sinner, they will go on their way thinking they are good enough. But the moment they are faced with problems and sins, since they don’t know really what the essence of sin is, they will let sin get the best of them. They will try and try to be good enough, to conquer sin on their own, but will fail every time. They will say to themselves, I will overcome this problem; I can do it. I, I, I, I, I. So you see the problem. They don’t know Christ and don’t know how to trust Him.

 

But many Christians have a similar problem.

We have forgotten our first love—Jesus. We compare ourselves with others just like the pagans do. We don’t know the essence of sin. That is, we have neglected our relationship with Him. We fail to spend time with Him: to read the word and pray. And when we sin we do everything under the sun to better ourselves, but we don’t come to Him for help. This in itself is sin!

 

 

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5 Benefits of Forgiving Others

 

There are so many benefits you can reap when you forgive others.  I will put them into five categories:

1. Forgiving others frees us from the consequences of not forgiving. When we forgive we avoid all the consequences we have previously discussed and more.

2. Forgiving others makes healing possible. When we learn to forgive, God forgives us and cleanses us.  And through that cleansing process He thoroughly heals us of all the pain that our anger, bitterness and resentment have caused us.  Moreover He heals us from disgust and rejection we feel from ourselves (from bad habits) and from others.  His cleansing and healing process is so complete that we will feel like a new person (2 Cor. 5:17).  

3. Forgiving others leads to the growth of relationships. What not forgiving has done to destroy relationships, forgiveness will do to develop and nurture relationships.  And that is because when we forgive others God works in us to restore our emotional health and our ability to love and care for others.

4. Forgiveness makes fellowship with God possible. This is the main benefit of our forgiving.  It is such a great benefit that all others seem nonexistent in comparison.  In fact, in the end, our fellowship with God will be all that matters.

5. Forgiving others makes power with God possible. Oh my brothers and sisters, how God longs to give us His power.  If we don’t forgive, His power remains locked up inside of Him.  But when we forgive, He in turn hands us the key to His own mighty power.  Then, whenever we choose, we can use it to unlock any of the promises of His grace.  For He has said to us, “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (Jn. 15:7).

 

 

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Spiritual Depression by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: from Psalm 42:11

 

I consider Martyn Lloyd Jones to be one of the greatest bible expositors ever. His book Spiritual Depression is one of the best I have read. As is true with most of his books, it is simply a copy of his sermons; each chapter consists of one forty minute sermon, twenty one sermons in this book.

As for my next few blogs, I have highlighted in the book what I consider to be key thoughts for me, and so, I will write on those areas.

In this first blog, in the first chapter entitled General Considerations, we will look at Psalm 42:11.

Why are you cast down, O my soul?

And why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God;

For I shall yet praise Him,

The help of my countenance and my God.

This verse, along with verse 5, is the text for Lloyd Jones’ sermon. It is a very basic idea that the Psalmist is suggesting, to help us with any sadness we are having. He tells us simply to talk to ourselves instead of having ourselves talk to us. Lloyd Jones says,

We must talk to ourselves instead of allowing ourselves to talk to us…Most of our unhappiness is due to the fact that we [listen to ourselves too much].

So when we feel sad we must say to ourselves: “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God.” Then also remind yourself of who God is and what He has done for you, and what He wants to do for you.

These self-talk exercises may seem like psychology, but it is very good psychology. It is bible psychology. And it will help our unbelief and our errored thinking. These days when we have so many false ideas swirling around in our head, we need to constantly tell ourselves of what is true and how God loves us. The whole problem with those who get easily depressed is that they are letting the devil take a hold of self and he is using our thoughts against us. We need new thoughts, thoughts that will give us new hope and a bright outlook on life.

 

 

 

 

 

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Why I Think the Antichrist Will Rise to Power in the E.U.

Studying Bible Prophecy

The man who will emerge as the Antichrist will probably be a military man, and will be possessed with power. And he will no doubt also be a leader in the government of the E.U. And, by the way, he could at this very moment be in the E.U. military or have some position in the government.

And I believe this strongly, because of what is said in Daniel 9:24-27.

“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place. 25 “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be…

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Five Reasons Why Forgiving Another Seems So Difficult

1. Pride. Pride I think is the main reason why it’s so hard to forgive. Pride makes it harder for us to trust God. We say to ourselves, I don’t want to forgive, and I don’t have to!  And so in our pride we cut off God’s help to us.

2. Fear. Fear also keeps us from His help. We say to ourselves, I’m afraid; forgiveness is too hard. Here again we are not looking to God for help; we are instead looking at our weakness, the giant who hurt us, and the huge problem ahead of us.

So pride and fear I think are the real reasons why forgiveness is so difficult and why we don’t forgive.  But I also want to give you three of the reasons (or excuses) we will give as to why forgiveness is too hard for us—so we can take a look at them and analyze them:

3. Suffering for another’s sin doesn’t seem just. Naturally we don’t like the idea of having to bear the penalty for another person’s sin.  We don’t like having to suffer for something they did to us—because it is so hard and seems unfair.  And so we don’t trust God to carry out His justice in His time.  We want justice our way and in our time—now, not later.

4. Revenge seems better to us. We say: It is only natural to want revenge.  If someone harms me it’s only right for me to harm him back.  So instead of forgiving and letting God be the judge we act as God to carry out our own idea of justice.

5. Keeping the separation seems safer. Richard P. Walter, in his book, Forgive and Be Free, talks about fear as being a huge barrier in forgiving a person.  He states, “…We may believe that forgiving the other person will increase the chances that he or she will hurt us gain.”3  Unfortunately, many of us believe this.  We think that if we keep distance between those that hurt us we are safer.

The problem with this is that even though we may seem safer, all the while the distance we attempt to create makes us more vengeful and bitter, causing ourselves even more hurt.  In the end we become a very bitter, angry person, incapable of love and kindness toward others—because we have learned only to create distance not to reconcile.

As far as our notion that we need to establish our own justice and revenge, let’s look at what the Bible says.  In Romans 12:9 it says, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

Our trying to punish or take revenge will do nothing for our pain.  It will only make the problem worse, because after we take our own revenge, we will have to suffer the guilt of our wrongful retaliation.  But if we let God handle it, then the whole weight is lifted off our back—guilt is removed, and understanding and love take its place.

 

3 Richard Walters, Forgive and Be Free, Healing the Wounds of Past and Present (Zondervan Publishing House: Grand Rapids, Michigan:) 1983, p. 43.

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