Paul Madson

THOUGHTS, QUOTES & REFLECTIONS

Month: January 2020

Loving Others Well in the Midst of a Watching World

“Nothing discredits the Christian gospel like churches that don’t look like Christ. If we become a religious version of the ugly partisanship already rampant in the world, we are screaming at the top of our lungs, ‘Jesus isn’t real, and we’re here to prove it!’  The ‘only’ point of being a church is, by His grace and for His glory, to represent Jesus as a convincing, satisfying alternative to this world. So much is at stake in every church!”
(Ray Ortlund)

“How are you doing loving the people God has put in your life? We don’t need to be looking for new people to love. We just need to start really loving the ones God has already given us.”
(Bill Hull)

“The purpose of the discipleship process is to create loving, Christlike people who live for others. Disciples are not trophies to be admired; we are servants who are to love people like Christ does.”
(Bill Hull)

“New life [in Christ] makes being saved attractive. People are drawn to beauty.”
(Bill Hull)

Jesus said in John 13:34-35“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 5:14, “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Here’s a suggestion for all of us:

Let’s not waste time thinking about someone else we know who needs this message, let’s only focus on the person staring back at us in the mirror.

I would suggest that that project alone could keep us busy for the rest of our lives.

Quotes to Note – January Edition

“The work God needs to do in you matters far more than the work you think He needs to do through you.”
(Sam Allberry)

“If you’re familiar with Bach, you may know that at the bottom of his manuscripts, he wrote the initials, “S. D. G.” Soli Deo Gloria, which means “glory to God alone.” What you may not know is that at the top of his manuscripts he wrote, ‘Jesu Juva,’ which is Latin for ‘Jesus, help!’ There’s no better prayer for the beginning of an adventure.”
(Andrew Peterson, from Adorning the Dark)

“There are many things that can only be seen through eyes that have cried.”
(St. Romero)

“Having received such grace, Christians have a compelling reason to be remarkably gracious, inviting, and endearing toward others, including and especially those who disagree with us.”
(Tim Keller)

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

“Few things are more refreshing than a Christian who’s quick to assume the best.”
(Ray Ortlund)

“Faithfulness today is the best preparation for the demands of tomorrow…. Can we wholeheartedly surrender to God, leaving quietly with him all the “what ifs” and “but what abouts”? Will we truthfully say to Him, “Anything You choose for me, Lord – to have to be, to do, or to suffer. I am at Your orders. I have no agenda of my own”? It comes down to Trust and Obey, ‘for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus,’ as the old gospel song goes.”
(Elisabeth Elliot, from Secure in the Everlasting Arms)

“New-Year’s resolves, apart from the formation of new habits, likely will not become new-year realities. New habits that really matter don’t just typically thread into your current ones. They must displace the old. According to Groopman, ‘the key lies not in breaking a habit through willpower but in replacing one habit with another.’”
(David Mathis)

“At the root of insecurity — the anxiety over how others think of us — is pride. This pride is an excessive desire for others to see us as impressive and admirable. Insecurity is the fear that instead they will see us as deficient. Insecure pride is a dangerous fear because insecurity can lead to great disobedience.”
(Jon Bloom)

“To practice Sabbath is a disciplined and faithful way to remember that you are not the one who keeps the world running, who provides for your family, not even the one who keeps your work projects moving forward.”
(Tim Keller)

“A rightly oriented Christianity causes us to care not only about ourselves and our families but also about our communities, cities, and society generally.”
(Matt Perman)

“Christian giving is to be marked by self-sacrifice and self-forgetfulness, not by self-congratulation.”
(John Stott)

“Serving God is not about impressing the crowd, crafting a brand, or building an empire… The work of God is not about the fireworks of human talent. It’s about faithfulness to a divine call. It’s not about showmanship but showing up, every day, determined to follow Jesus.”
(Timothy Dalrymple)

As you read through Scripture this year, don’t forget…

If you don’t have a plan to read through the Scriptures in 2020 yet, can I make a recommendation?

I have found the Five-Day Reading Schedule to be one of the most effective.

Why do I like it and recommend it?

  1. It guides you through the entire Bible in one year. If you invest approximately 20 minutes a day (five days a week), you will read Genesis to Revelation in one year.
  2. You only read five days a week – with two days off (allowing you to catch up for those missed days).
  3. The schedule is laid out in a (generally) chronological order, which means (for example): you will read the Psalms at the appropriate moments in the life of David and the books of Kings and Chronicles are read in harmony.
  4. And finally, this plan doesn’t start until the week of January 5 (so you’re not behind when you begin next week)!

Click here to download the free PDF schedule.

As we read and study Scripture, we must never forget that the goal of all Bible reading (as well as listening, studying, memorizing, etc.) is application to our daily lives so that we become more and more transformed into the image of Jesus.

In other words, Bible knowledge is not the end – rather it is the means to the end, which is becoming more like Jesus in all of our thoughts, attitudes and actions.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told the story of the wise man and foolish man (Matthew 7:24-27). Both men heard God’s Word – but only one put into practice what he learned – and thus his life was built upon a “rock” (as opposed to sand) and withstood the storms that life threw at him.

Chuck Swindoll said it this way:

“What is a sign of [spiritual] maturity? Practicing what you hear. Through practice you become mature. You see, it’s one thing to grow old in the Lord, but it’s another thing to grow up in the Lord.

There are many people cruising from church to church, from Bible conference to Bible conference, filling notebook after notebook, wearing out Bible after Bible, who are still some of the crankiest, fussiest, grumpiest, most irresponsible people you meet. Why? Because they do not practice the things they hear.

This is the whole thrust of the book of James. He wants you to put to the test what you claim to believe – by doing it. A mature person is one who is involved in practicing on a regular, consistent basis what he hears and what he takes in. Just being exposed to Bible instruction won’t solve problems.”

James said “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22)

And then he goes on to say in verse 25…

“But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” (James 1:25)

Finally, let the words of John Stott encourage your heart as you begin another year of reading and studying Scripture:

“We must daily soak ourselves in the Scriptures. We must not just study, as through a microscope, the linguistic minutiae of a few verses, but take our telescope and scan the wide expanses of God’s Word, assimilating its grand theme of divine sovereignty in the redemption of mankind.

‘It is blessed,’ wrote Charles Spurgeon, ‘to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in scriptural language, and your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord, so that your blood is bibline and the very essence of the Bible flows from you.”

I pray you have a wonderful 2020 as you personally engage with Scripture and seek to apply it to your life.

Happy New Year!

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