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Consecration by Jonathan Edwards

jonathan edwardsI claim no right to myself—no right to this understanding, this will, these affections that are in me; neither do I have any right to this body or its members—no right to this tongue, to these hands, feet, ears, or eyes.

I have given myself clear away and not retained anything of my own. I have been to God this morning and told Him I have given myself wholly to Him. I have given every power, so that for the future I claim no right to myself in any respect. I have expressly promised Him, for by His grace I will not fail. I take Him as my whole portion and felicity, looking upon nothing else as any part of my happiness. His law is the constant rule of my obedience.

I will fight with all my might against the world, the flesh, and the devil to the end of my life. I will adhere to the faith of the Gospel, however hazardous and difficult the profession and practice of it may be.

I receive the blessed Spirit as my Teacher, Sanctifier, and only Comforter, and cherish all admonitions to enlighten, purify, confirm, comfort, and assist me. This I have done.

I pray God, for the sake of others, to look upon this as a self-dedication, and receive me as His own. Henceforth, I am not to act in any respect as my own. I shall act as my own if I ever make use of any of my powers to do anything that is not to the glory of God, or to fail to make the glorifying of Him my whole and entire business.

If I murmur in the least at afflictions; if I am in any way uncharitable; if I revenge my own case; if I do anything purely to please myself, or omit anything because it is a great denial; if I trust to myself; if I take any praise for any good which Christ does by me; or if I am in any way proud, I shall act as my own and not God’s. I purpose to be absolutely His.

—Jonathan Edwards

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The Bible Epic Series

Absolutely looking forward to this series, not only on TV, but teaching right along side the subject matter at church!

The Bible is an epic five-part miniseries premiering March 3, 2013 on the History Channel. Each episode of The Bible brings Scripture to life with powerful performances and dazzling visual effects to present tales of faith and courage from Genesis through Revelation.

Bible Verses that the World is Reading

Bible app iconFor the past couple of years, YouVersion has published the top verses being read by millions of people using their app and Web site. The Bible is so powerful and we have favorite passages or life-verses that mean a little more to us personally than others. What is YOUR favorite verse?

YouVersion community’s top 10 most bookmarked verses of 2012:

  1. Philippians 4:6
  2. Proverbs 3:5
  3. Jeremiah 29:11
  4. Romans 12:2
  5. Philippians 4:7
  6. Proverbs 3:6
  7. Philippians 4:13
  8. Matthew 6:33
  9. 1 Corinthians 13:4
  10. 1 Corinthians 13:7

Shuttle and the Stars

One of my favorite photographers is Trey Ratcliff. You can find more of his work at http://stuckincustoms.com . This is a shuttle launch he took of the Endeavor.

When I think of the new Mars Rover mission and the heavens, it inspires me. Here’s a Bible verse that might help you think about our creator, too.

Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.

YouVersion’s Top 10 Bookmarked Verses of 2011

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I’m not really sure if you have used YouVersion — but if you are into apps for your Smartphone, you probably have the “Bible” app. Actually that app IS YouVersion. It is AWESOME both on the phone and online. Here is a release they put out in January. I think it SPEAKS VOLUMES about the encouragement God’s Word brings us. It would make a great 10-week study, too!

2011 was a big year for Bible engagement in the YouVersion community. One of the ways we did that was by creating tens of millions of bookmarks. A bookmark is a great way to keep track of a verse you want to return to again and again, whether it’s because you want to memorize it, you want to share it with a friend, or simply because it’s one of your favorites. Here are the top 10 bookmarks that the YouVersion community saved during 2011*:

1. Philippians 4:6 – 123,035
2. Jeremiah 29:11 – 100,044
3. Proverbs 3:5 – 97,758
4. Romans 12:2 – 95,804
5. Philippians 4:13 – 87,120
6. Philippians 4:7 – 83,193
7. Romans 8:28 – 78,491
8. Proverbs 3:6 – 74,770
9. Matthew 6:33 – 73,544
10. 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 71,923

Reading Leads to Knowing

Have you ever wanted to know God? I mean, really KNOW Him? If you do, it will take a lot of time. Knowing God is much more than a simple hike in the mountains, soaking in a sunset, or running in the rain. All those things are romantic, emotional, and refreshing. But there is so much more to it, isn’t there.

If you want to strengthen your faith, a formula exists. It has been proven over much time and by the millions. You gain faith by READING the BIBLE. Yes, reading it a lot!

Many people KNOW a ton about Harry Potter, the Twilight series, even Star Wars or Jaws. I’ve “put in my time” with the Rocky movies and can talk about him with the best of them.

When it comes to IDENTIFYING with CHRIST, we must absorb and then practice. Study – to SHOW yourself approved and then realize that you were created to do great things for the cause of Jesus.

Ummm…. it LOOKS like something. A changed life lives it’s values OUT LOUD. I challenge you to allow God to change YOU!

“One of the marks of our modern time is the fact that many are guilty of merely “nibbling” at the truth of the Christian gospel. If the cross of Jesus Christ means what it should to us and we know that we must carry it and die on it and then rise and live above it, we will have a constant desire to advance and gain spiritual ground.”

- A.W. Tozer, Day By Day

2008 Thanksgiving Year of the “Social”

I have to agree with a lot of the favorite tech things that Greg Atkinson wrote about on his blog post. In 2008 there are three services in particular that bounced to the top for me.

Facebook

Twitter

Ustream.tv

The reason is this — making the connection — with a LOT of other people I haven’t talked to or communicated with in a long time. And you know what? I still like them!! ;-)

God created us to love Him and to love others. One small way to BEGIN to love someone is to connect, interact, communicate, pray, and have conversations. In MY conversations, I want to bring hope and inspiration and to be transparent.

But when it’s all said and done

Larry Norman and DC Talk

I remember being at a DC Talk concert when they did this. I also remember the first time I ever heard this song when it came out in the movie “A Thief in the Night.”

Matthew 24:36-44

36 “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.

41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. 42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.

44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

Praying for New Words to Express Common Bible Verses?

You gotta love this. When I was a teenager someone showed up with a Bible that used a lot of the phrases being said by the Jesus Movement. I always wanted one like that as a novelty, I guess, but I just liked the unique way words met culture.

Today I discovered the Pidgin Bible. Well, it’s not complete, but has phrases loosely translated this way. Check out a common passage, Philippians 4:6-9.

Eh, no worry bout notting! Mo betta, everyting dat happen, pray bout um, an aks God fo do wateva you guys like him fo do. An same time, no foget tell him, “Mahalo plenny!” Den, God goin make you guys hearts rest inside. Dat goin be mo betta den anybody can figga. God goin take care yoa hearts an yoa heads, cuz you guys stay tight wit his Spesho Guy Jesus Christ. So den, tink bout all dese kine stuffs — wateva stay true, wateva get respeck, wateva stay right, wateva no stay pilau, whoeva you get aloha fo, wateva you talk good bout, wateva da bestes kine, weneva peopo can say, “Dass good!” — tink everytime bout all dat kine stuff. Everyting you guys wen learn from me, everyting I wen give you guys, everyting you wen see an hear wen I was wit you guys — go do um! Den, da God dat can make you guys hearts rest inside, he goin stay wit you guys. (Fo da Philippi Peopo 4:6-9)

Bible Study Resources

study

Online Bible Search

  1. eBible
    Search the Bible as part of the social network. Ability to tag and personalize your Bible is an amazing tool for study groups.
  2. Bible Gateway
    Search the NIV plus many other versions.
  3. Bible Server
    Search many versions of the Bible including the NIV.

Audio Bibles

  1. Bible Gateway Audio Bible
    Ready by Max McLean of Listeners Bible
  2. Listeners Bible
    Buy Bible mp3s by Max McLean
  3. Audio Bible
    Free but ugly site. Requires Real Player.
  4. Audio Treasure
    Buy Bible on audio
  5. The Audio Bible
    Read by George Sarris

RSS and Podcast Feeds

  1. Bible Gateway’s Verse of the Day
  2. Fighter Verses Podcast Feed
  3. The Daily Audio Bible Podcast

Memorization

  1. Fighter Verses
    Fighter Verses are short passages of Scripture which Bethlehem Baptist have chosen to memorize each week. Based on the ESV Bible.
  2. Bible Memory
    Get your verses to memory free via email

Bible Resources

  1. Open Bible Topical Bible
    Mashup up of Yahoo! web services and a Topical Bible
  2. Open Google Map of Passion of Christ
    Follow Jesus in Jerusalem
  3. Open Bible Geocoding
    Amazing use of Google Earth
  4. Bible in 90 Days
    Journal about your experience of reading the Bible in 90 days
  5. Minor Prophet Bible Blogs
    A blog tool focused on blogging about the Bible.

Bible Web Services (for web developers)

  1. ebibleicious WordPress plugin from eBible
  2. Bible Gateway Verse of the Day Flash widget

From Plaid Blog

Hostage! Addiction Notes

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you… Genesis 4:7

“…but you must master it.”   Genesis 4:7

HOW TO MASTER YOUR ADDICTIONS

1)    TURN TO GOD.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires…but rather offer yourselves to God…For sin shall not be your master…  Romans 6:12-14

WHO OR WHAT IS YOUR LORD?

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3:19

2)    SHARE THE FINAL 10 Percent — in order to become fully accountable. Don’t just give 90 percent.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed… James 5:16

•    FIND ACCOUNTABILITY.
•    CREATE A CLIMATE OF ACCEPTANCE.
•    KEEP IT IN THE ROOM.

3)    FIGHT FOR FREEDOM.
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

2 Corinthians 10:3-4

WEAPONS FOR FREEDOM:

•    IRRATIONAL OBEDIENCE
•    CONFIDENCE IN GOD’S WORD
•    MILITANT PRAYER

“No temptation has seized you except that which is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”  1 Corinthians 10:13

Nicodemus and John 3

click HERE for full image size
made with http://wordle.net

Need Wisdom?

It makes sense that you can gain wisdom through research. That research becomes overwhelming and seeming infinite when it comes to the World Wide Web. We have Wikipedia, Google, Yahoo! search, and many ways to find information.

This is what millions of people do on an hourly basis throughout the world.

Economy in trouble? I’m sure you can find a lot of opinions and answers. What about grilling a steak? Yes, you can find that too. Philosophy? Psychology? Scientific research? Sociology? It’s all out there.

What about how to discipline or raise a child? You can find that, too. How to survive a divorce? 5,890,000 results on Google today.

But what about the wisdom that comes from God?

First, no matter what, if you want your faith to increase and to get solid foundational answers about God, you should read the Bible. Wisdom and information pours out of it. Although it is historical, the Bible is not a “History” book, per se. (I think that’s the first time I ever wrote out the phrase per se ;-)  )

The intent of the Bible was to point to Jesus, the one way to be made right with God. See Romans 10 and Hebrews for more clarity about that. Anyhow, we can gain wisdom by spending time in God’s Word, the Bible.

Second, we can ask God for wisdom.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  – James 1:5 (NIV)

Don’t be afraid to pray and ask God to help you … and us as a nation. We could all use a little more wisdom. So take a little time and invest your life in learning — and — asking!

HOSTAGE! ADDICTION

On September 28, 2008 learn how to BREAK FREE! Or help someone else BREAK FREE from addictions. More information at RestoringHope.com, the Central Assembly in El Sobrante, California website.

New School vs. Old School — Same Goal

Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Twitter, and like about 100 others. All social networks, and people by the MILLIONS are embracing them.

Just as interesting is how fickle people can be. Earlier this year, Twitter was having technical difficulties. As a result, several other “micro-blogs” popped up all over the internet. In a way, that’s how we are today. Democrats vs. Republicans vs. Vice President choices. It’s a maddening race for popularity.

Facebook Graphic

Facebook Graphic

Of course, for most of us it comes down to VALUES — what do people and social networks stand for — and where do I fit into their scheme? As a Follower of Christ, I am influenced by a standard, God’s Word, the Bible. It has and continues to shape me. That message does not change or move.

I love it’s anchor. In a world where there are no moral absolutes, where rules change, and where networks of people move around so much, I need that. I have also attempted to live by those standards.

Oh, no, I am not perfect, that’s for sure. However, when I get off course I can look forward and strive toward a finish line that DID NOT move.

It can be confusing to follow the commands on the Bible. In fact there were like 1,630 of them listed. When Jesus was asked which was the most important He brought it down to a level we can all not only understand, but we can RELATE to it.

Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Now THOSE SOCIAL NETWORKS ROCK!

Yosemite Fires Bring Me a Reminder

This AP story shows a what is happening near Yosemite National Park. That park is just a few hours from where we live. In fact, we will actually be there next week on vacation.

We love the beauty of God’s creation. We will be doing some 4-wheeling, reading, watching sunsets, and once again we will visit Lake Eleanor — a hidden and pristine lake treasure.

Many years ago, we had a guest Revival Speaker come to our church. Leonard Ravenhill was a brash, straight-shooting, no-way-out kind of preacher. He scared us a little. But the fear was kind of authentic because of what his core message communicated.

The message was pretty simple. In comparison with the Holiness of God — how are we living out our faith? Is it sincere and active and honoring the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY?

Woah, it sure had us praying for a true move of God to be known in our individual lives.

Now for the fire reminder: Leonard Ravenhill was asked to provide promotional materials so we could get more of the public to respond to his visit. You know, we just wanted to advertise the event.

His response? “YOU NEVER HAVE TO ADVERTISE A FIRE!”

And it’s true, fire attracts attention. The attention goes directly to the source of the flames, to the heat and to the available fuel – in this case, believers willing to “burn” in order to keep God’s evidence in clear view.

July 4 — Fireworks — and Jesus!

It’s the 4th of July weekend here in the USA. It represents FREEDOM.

I love that word, FREEDOM. And I have experienced it first-hand. I have enjoyed this freedom in my work, with my family, on holidays, and in my spiritual walk as well. I have learned a lot about what the term means.fireworks in dc

When I think about the founders of this nation, there are many examples where God, faith, and an aspiration live the values of God’s Word was evident. They left us many important lessons that involved listening to each other, but not compromising that moral compass that led them to stop and worship their creator.

The scriptures state that the cornerstone or foundation of the Christian faith is Jesus Christ. Jesus was not a beaten-down-and-defeated-just-a-good-teacher figure in history. Like the buildings all over Washington DC are inscribed with Biblical passages and faith-inspired messages, God wrote His laws on the tablets of our hearts.

I love celebrating. I love FIREWORKS. I love the USA. And most of all, I love JESUS! And there will be that day that I anticipate so often, when He brings a light show that will blast us all into eternity!

For when the Son of Man returns, you will know it beyond all doubt. It will be as evident as the lightning that flashes across the sky. Luke 17:24

Depression and Light and Springtime

You have probably heard of S.A.D. where light deficiency becomes a problem for some people during the low-light become depressed. It is also known as Winter Depression.

Now, I’m not sure this winter and it’s dim and cloudy days had that kind of effect on me, but I have really been glad the past few days here in Northern California. For like 6 or 7 days in a row it has been sunny and mild, like near 70 degrees! Although I love the “seasons” weather-wise, I REALLY love the spring and summer. Mild weather and riding on winding roads on my motorcycle or spending time at the coast are just awesome to me.

Of course we all have these “seasons” in life, too. Dim and cloudy skies, longer nights, colder feelings. They are all there with a time-line that sometimes seems endless. Depressing.

Well, let me leave you with these verses to encourage you. Because I know with faith in God we actually have hope no matter the season. Here you go!

space sunrise

Psalm 30:5 (NLT) … weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Psalms 112:4 (MSG) Sunrise breaks through the darkness for good people— God’s grace and mercy and justice!

True Love — Happy Valentine’s Day!

This is one of the most prolific and poetic ways to say love. God’s Word expresses it so well that it has stood the test of time for some 2000 years.


Have a wonderful time with those special people you love. Make the day count!1 Corinthians 13 (THE MESSAGE)

The Way of Love

(1) If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. (2) If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. (3-7) If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end. 8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

(11) When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

(12) We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

(13) But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Pray and Find God

The “Message” translation of the Bible paraphrases one of my very favorite verses in the Bible.

I have a need. That need is to know God. In fact God created us to know Him. That is something I discovered somewhat in my late teens, but my admiration and love for Him has certainly grown through my life’s journey. About the time I think I have it all together, something happens where I MUST press in and re-focus. I MUST know him even more and to really process my distractions.

One thing that is learned that when you read the Bible is that God is a God of love. Think of Him as a loving Father. We may or may not have had that in our personal lives, but that doesn’t change Him!

Well, here is that verse that I really like…

11 I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. 12 “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. Jeremiah 29:11-12 (MSG)

Why not leave a comment or even your favorite Bible verse?

Answer for Feeling Down or Depressed

Ps 5:11 But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.
AMP

Shifting your focus or point of view can be truly life-altering. What if each time we had a crisis, a challenge, or chaos in our lives we would switch our perspective.

Those with faith in God understand what this can mean. Instead of dread or despair, when you think about shelter and/or defense and safety — instead of betrayal we once again trust God — there is an unbelievable release! Now instead of depression our thoughts are alert and optimistic. And you know what??? I totally like the feeling of looking UP instead becoming bogged down by the cares of each day.

Question: Where has your focus been the past 7 days? I give you permission to turn your eyes upward!

FEARLESS?

The FEARLESS series inspired by Lifechurch.tv has been going very well. We are impacting people for God. Many have been talking about how God is speaking to them each week.

We have seen countless commitments to the Lord, both people asking Jesus to become their Lord as well as more and more dedicating a “new” phase of their lives to a deeper walk with Jesus. We are all here to make a difference and to devote our lives to Christ. Along this journey of our lives we face many challenges … and many opportunities.

It’s time to build these relationships with people. It’s time to be bold. It’s time to step into God’s plans — (which, by the way are not for disaster) — and pursue His destiny for us.

Are you timid or afraid things might not work out if you try to do something for Jesus? Well, don’t be. You are not alone in those FEARS and thoughts, they happen to us all. Just hang on and take a risk, you WON’T be sorry, I promise … what’s even much better … GOD PROMISES!

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (NKJV)

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