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Archive for April, 2007

Discipline of God

April 29, 2007 1 comment

I come from a family full of military people. My father and younger brother are Marines. My older brother is in the Army. Each of them has stories about boot camp that they love to tell. These stories describe hardship and pain that they volunteered for. This borders on masochism in my eyes but each of them felt that they matured because of their experiences. I have often wondered why they went through all that pain. Why did they march several miles a day regardless of the weather? Why would they practice the same drills over and over again? Why would they allow themselves to yield to a grueling schedule that they did not come up with? There must have been some motivation. My father informed me that everything was done so that they would be prepared. You have to be trained in order to be a soldier. You cannot expect to go into battle and automatically know what to do unless you have first disciplined yourself to react in a certain way. Every drill, routine, or exercise, regardless of its difficulty, is used to discipline the recruit. The recruit does not have the right to complain about the discipline because it is necessary if he plans on being a soldier. The process of discipline is vital to the military if it wants to be successful in the combat that it engages.

The Bible discusses the topic of spiritual warfare on several occasions. Ephesians 6:12 is a reminder that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” This means that Christians are at war! Just like the military there is a need for preparation and discipline if we want to survive this conflict. Proverb 3:11 states that we should not “reject the Lord’s discipline.” This discipline will result in our spiritual lives being more like Christ. Hebrews 12:1-13 shows the effect this has on spiritual formation.

“…Throw off everything that hinders…”
Athletes usually train with many weights on their body in order to become stronger. On the day of the game the weights are removed so that the athlete can perform at their best. If we want spiritual formation to take place then we must examine our lives and see what is holding us back from serving God. We are given some difficulties to go through in life to strengthen us. Many people fail under pressure because they have areas of their life that are hindering them. Career, family, homes, money, attitudes and many other things can keep one from progressing spiritually because of an unwillingness to get rid of the dead weight. It will be impossible to keep up with where God is leading you if some serious self evaluation is not completed.

“…Run with perseverance…”
If you want to run in a marathon you cannot stop after 15 miles and expect success. The runner must be motivated to endure even when their body does not want to go any further. This type of drive will benefit the runner every time. Spiritual formation cannot be attained by giving up easily. The disciplines have to be approached with the mindset of long term grown. I cannot pray for wisdom tonight and wake up the next day expecting it to be there. We must cultivate a faith is “steadfast and immovable” (1 Cor. 15:58). When this is accomplished then giving up because the discipline is hard will never be an option.

God is able to make this requirement of us because He is faithful and full of perseverance. Countless times in the Bible He redeems His people and did not give up on them. This model set by God must be responded to it with the same vigor in which it was given.

“…Consider Him…”
There can be a temptation to feel that the discipline commanded by God is too difficult. It can be easy to complain when we do not feel like going through with what He has asked of us. The comfort given is to remember that Christ died for our sake. Christ took following the will of His Father so serious that He gave up His life for it. Because of His dedication I cannot look at my discomfort and think that it is unbearable. The discipline that I personally go through can never be compared to what happened on the Cross. It is because of this “consideration” that we have the hope that things can and will get better because Christ has already traveled this path ahead of us.

“…it produces a harvest of righteousness… for those who have been trained by it..”
The discipline we receive from God has a purpose. It is God’s intention that we receive the blessing of righteousness if we have received the proper training. It is through this training that God shows us how we are to respond to this world. If I am successful in being discipline by God then I will not have to worry about anything. I will live an existence of peace because I will be ready for anything that comes my way. This is the exciting adventure of spiritual formation that God has called all His believers to partake in.

So how will you respond to God’s discipline? Will you continue to carry extra weight around or discard your extra baggage? Will you give up when things get hard or persevere till the end? Will you consider what Jesus has already done sacrificially or think about your rough experience? Will you produce a harvest of righteous that leads to peace or continue to worry because that is what you are accustomed to? Your answers to these questions will determine the outcome of your spiritual formation.

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Weird Email

April 23, 2007 2 comments

Some people make blogging really easy for me. Being a minister I get emails all the time from people with religious backgrounds wanting my opinion on things. I usually don’t have a problem answering the questions, but sometimes the conversation can get a bit weird. Below is an email that I received today. I really do not know what to think of it so you can read it for yourself. I have purposely removed their name and link to their website.

Title: The Harlot of Revelation 17-18

Over the years you have been serving the Lord faithfully. An everlasting paradise beyond the exosphere awaits all of you. Do not let the “great whore” rob you of immortality in the
Kingdom of God. The bitch-witch, who is that last great enemy of God; the she-beast, Who is the bride of the Beast of Revelation, will pollute the world with immorality. She will disperse her “abominations” to all the nations. The idolatrous woman will extol her religions of
consumerism and materialism. Among her limitless arsenal of weapons, she will utilize pornography, casino gambling, careerism, frenzied consumerism, new age religions, and easy credit to lure humans onto the path that leads to eternal damnation. Do not permit
secular bureaucrats and powerful CEOs of the corporate world force the doctrines of the Lord’s church to conform to the dominant, ungodly ideology of the filthy prostitute. God expects you to be soldiers, not conformists.

He will not overlook your attempts, regardless of whether it’s intentional or not, to mislead your sheep as to the identity of the end-time whore. Do not let all those years of hard work go to waste. You must do your part in preventing others from “sharing in her plagues”.
You know about the false doctrines that the wicked woman preaches in her media and within the confines of her cultural institutions. Therefore, you know what to preach against. The spirit of “Mystery Babylon” is present in virtually every nation (“She sits on many waters),
particularly in America, Japan, and Germany. These three nations hold the most seats in the WTO, IMF, and World Bank. These three global financial institutions play an integral role in the integration of the world economy. Revelation 18 “for thy merchants (business people; not her
priests, ministers, or pastors) were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived”. Her merchants will come mainly from the three aforementioned nations.

Mystery Babylon cannot be a Church or one of the monotheistic religions. It is a global economic superpower (Revelation 18:9-24). Please try to overcome any bias or prejudice you may have toward other denominations or major traditional religions. Help put an end to the cut-throat
capitalist competition that has penetrated many churches. It is abomination unto the Lord. God will deal deadly blows to Japan in the form of tsunamis and earthquakes. China’s army will finish her off. For it was God who formed the mushroom clouds in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as punishment for the atrocities committed in China by the killer dwarfs.

Categories: weird

Mad House

It has been a hectic week here at the Jones house. With Emily coming a couple of days early we had to adjust our schedules quite a bit. Dana and Emily came home safely yesterday. Both are doing well and in good spirits.

As of yesterday there were 10 people in our house. There are the Cleona Jones family (Dana, Mikayla, Michael, and Emily), the Henderson Jones Family (Robert and Thelma), and Dana’s mom, younger sister, niece, and nephew. We have all claimed our space in our three bedroom, one bath townhouse. It has not been pretty.

We feel very fortunate to have the support of our friends, family, and church family. Everyone has been so helpful in this major transistion. We continue to ask for your prayers and support.

Below are some random pictures from the past few days. I hope you enjoy them.





Categories: Family

How Do I Live Without You?

Do they know the talent that they just voted off? He was to music what David Haselhoff is to the field of psychiatry. I am very sad and will go into mourning over this.

Categories: satire

And Baby Makes Four

April 18, 2007 3 comments

Baby Emily is here. She weighs 8 lbs 6 oz. 19 ½ inches long and tons of black hair. She was born at 9:47 a.m. Please continue to pray for us. More pictures will come soon.

Mike

Categories: Family

A Grandparents’ Love

My parents will be flying here on Thursday for the birth of Emily. It has been five months since Dana and Mikayla have seen them. Mikayla misses them very much because we used to only live about 1 1/2 hours from them for the past 2 years. The 1000 mile trek to TN is not one we are able to do very often. She tells us frequently that she wants to go back to Memphis.

Yesterday my parents sent Mikayla a letter that I just had to share with you:

Dear Mikayla,
I thought I would write you a letter and tell you how much Grandpa and Grandma loves you. We can’t wait to see you. I also wanted to give you some advice because you will be a “Big Sister” in a few days and I know you have never been a “Big Sister” before but I have and wanted to give you some pointers.

1) Big Sisters are special because they are full of love and they share that love with the baby Emily.

2) Big Sisters are very smart because they know that mommy and daddy will always love them and they are so full of love that everybody can share and snuggle and always be loved.

3) This is the Big one – When Emily starts to talk she will tell everybody “This is Mikayla and she is my Big Sister. I love Mikayla because she loves me and she helps to take care of me when I was a baby.” That’s what Big Sisters do they take care of their little sisters.

Being a big sister is a big responsibility but Grandpa and Grandma know you will be great.

Love,

Grandma and Grandpa Jones

Categories: Family

Tough Critic

April 13, 2007 1 comment

I asked Mikayla if I was the best preacher she ever heard. The video is a copy of her response.

Categories: Family