Guard Your Heart

This past Saturday was the Hebron Youth Conference for 2009, entirely put together by the associate pastor of my church. He was simultaneously going through a rough spot in his family, so I am awestruck that he put so much time and effort into this as well. God definitely blessed his efforts!

I went as a chaperone, for the youth from my church. The theme was Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” The main point being that we, as Christians, are to be holy – which does not mean “off in a monastery” but it does mean “set apart”. We need to keep out of the grime and sin of the world and culture. It’s a hard thing to do, but when the fruits God promises are things like love, joy, peace, etc. it does seem like there are good rewards. (And it is your “reasonable service.”)

I am not going to go over every thing every speaker said, but I will point out a few things that struck me as interesting takes. When you have been listening to sermons since birth sometimes it is amazing and refreshing to hear something that seems new.

  • Holiness is supposed to be as desirable and enjoyable as a sunny day vs. a cloudy rainy dark day.
  • We are not to “pursue victory” and be “defeated by sin” – that puts all the emphasis on US. In reality we are to realize that sin isn’t just a “struggle” within us; when we sin, we mar God’s reputation, as God’s children, and show the world that being a Christian doesn’t make us any different. That should be one of the motivations not to do it. And so it isn’t a victory/defeat issue, it is a “you are being disobedient” issue.
  • Sometimes our ATTITUDE is what determines whether a thing is beneficial to us or not.
  • When you have daily devotions, the object of your devotion is God. Even your time of prayer should focus on God and not just on “God help me X, Y, Z”
  • Keep having daily devotions even if you have no desire; the desire will come later.
  • Since the Bible is inspired, when you open it, by definition you take the the very breath of God!

Penultimately, I want to add a list of “Five things we want the Lord Jesus to be able to say to us if the Rapture should occur today” – as listed by Dr. Michael Peck. (I was even more struck by these since I knew the two other chaperones sitting next to me were going through such family trials that these were heart-wrenchingly relevant – and still nodding and amen-ing along with this. I was humbled and awed.)

  1. You obeyed Me even when you didn’t understand why. (Mt 4:18-20)
  2. You trusted Me even when it was hard (Ps 125:1)
  3. You worshipped Me even when your heart was breaking (Job 1,2)
  4. You loved Me even when others walked away (Jn 14:15)
  5. You accepted My will even when it was not what you would have personally chosen (Ps 40:8, Ps 143:10)

Finally, in the border of my notes during the sermons I ended up with this little character. I drew her once during each message, and so this was message #5, the final version. (We did have a 6th sermon but I didn’t draw her again.)

Oodle
Oodle

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas (even if you don’t celebrate it)!
This is not a typical post. Since Christmas is not a typical day, I thought I’d do something pointedly appropriate for Christmas, but it really isn’t my usual blog style.

My pastor gave a sermon on this carol Sunday, and I used some notes from it, and my own thoughts.

Charles Wesley said “Merry Christmas” one of the best ways. (Isn’t it cool that he wrote something in 1739 and we STILL sing it today? That’s quite amazing. Anyway…):

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”

(Col 1:19-20 “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.”)

Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”

Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Christ by highest heaven adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!

Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity

(“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning….The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-2, 14-15))

Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel

(My pastor pointed out that Christ laid asside the independent use of His attributes as God during the time of His humility on earth. Wow, I can’t imagine that. I mean, we daydream about being super-powered and things like that, don’t we? (Well I do.) And He voluntarily laid aside everything! To die! That blows my mind. I mean this is true all year, but this carol brings the truth home yet again.)

Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Now I had the HARDEST time finding the lyrics to verse 4 online,
but verse 4 deals with Christ as Savior! We can’t leave this one out!

Come, Desire of Nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conquering Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.

(The KEY to the Old Testament: Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.)

Adam’s likeness now efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.

Once more reconciled to God by this life-changing, personal Salvation!

Hark! the herald angels sing
“Glory to the new-born King!”

Now I COULD have found a verse for practically every line in this wondeful hymn.
Here are two other websites that did, but I can’t say I necessarily vouch for their doctrine, I just wanted to find the lyrics: here and here.