Invitations to preach are always both humbling and challenging, never more so when a title or topic are assigned. I am presently working on a five part series on Spiritual Warfare that has taken me in directions I did not anticipate nor plan. From reading the fascinating accounts of Demon Possession by John L Nevius to wrestling with the insights of Dr Wayne Grudem to working out for myself what I believe the NT actually teaches about Spiritual Warfare I have been and continue to be enjoying this journey.
It is also interesting how the Lord in His providence has ordered my weekly exposition through Revelation to have me contemplating the reality of evil agents and Satanic activity in Revelation 9 and John’s vision of the fifth and sixth angels and their trumpet blasts. There the apostle vividly informs us through apocalyptic vision of the reality of Satan and his agents oppressing the lost world to the point of causing unbelieving men to despair of life itself and those same agents being responsible for carnage and death throughout the world. How tragic the conclusion of these visions are ! Man in his natural condition of sin remains impenitent and perishing, alienated from God and heading for destruction.
These sobering realities about our world magnify the glory of God in the gospel. What amazing grace has opened my eyes to behold the glory of God in the person and work of Jesus Christ ! Who can stand in the face of such evil forces? Who can survive in a world of such hostile enemies? Man is doomed apart from Jesus Christ ! He has come to destroy the works of the devil and to plunder the strong man’s house. He is leading many sons to glory and how I rejoice that by His grace alone I am one of them! If it were not for the extravagant grace and abundant mercy of God in Christ towards me I know I would have been lost in a hostile world heading for eternal condemnation because of my sin. Praise be to God that the gospel is truly the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes !
During our Adult SS class we are working through Shepherding your Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. It is an excellent resource that every serious parent should give time to read and study. This week we will be discussing the issue of shaping influences and the God-ward orientation of children’s hearts.
There are many shaping influences that we have no control over as parents. These things include God’s dealings with us in divine providence. Things like sickness, death or social and cultural movements that bleed into our lives and homes. There are many things in the early years in particular that we can control by way of shaping influences. Our family atmosphere is one, our relationships in terms of conflict resolution and sometimes the lack thereof, attitudes towards work, education, recreation etc.
Our children are not neutral non-responders, they are innate worshipers of something, they will respond according to the disposition of their hearts. We are called as parents to shepherd the hearts of children in a God-ward way, in a way that will lead them by God’s grace to respond in ways that please God. Too many of us make the focus of our parenting the shaping influences on their lives but we neglect the God-ward orientation of their heart. We need to see the danger of this and avoid it.
We should seek to govern the shaping influences on the lives of our children by Scripture, but we should also seek to shepherd their hearts as they respond to the shaping influences on their lives. Our desire is to see them love God, delight in God, serve God and please God in every area of life.
Pick up a copy of Ted’s book and read it, you will be challenges, encouraged and helped as a parent !
How often do you memorise Scripture? Is it a discipline that you practice regularly? I know for myself Scripture memorisation is something that I have allowed to slip over the years. Familiarity with the Scriptures through regular reading and study can be used as my ‘reason’, but in reality I must confess complacency and sloth have contributed in memorisation. As I prepare material for our nurture groups in our church Don Whitney’s book ‘Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life’ has faced me with the importance of re-establishing this discipline in my life. His helpful insights into the importance of memorisation has rekindled a desire to exercise my soul in this way. In being challenged about the discipline of memorising scripture I want you to consider it too. We are in a spiritual war as believers, we need the scriptures to dwell in our hearts and govern our minds. How is your memorisation of Scripture? Are you willing to make time to do it? Are you willing to do it every day? Are you committed to choosing key texts or whole portions of Scripture? If like me you have some repenting to do in this arena, join me in the important discipline of scripture memorisation, choose your own texts and let’s get down to it, knowing that the benefit to our souls will surely be great !
We just recently began a new season of Nurture Groups at IBC. Each Wednesday evening after Prayer Meeting, our Nurture Groups are held in the main building of the church. I am taking my group through what I regard as a modern classic. Don Whitney’s book ‘Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life’. Whilst not an exhaustive treatment of the subject, Dr Whitney lays out ten important spiritual exercises that every believer would benefit from engaging in. He reminds the reader that our God is a God of means and as we employ the means God has given us for spiritual growth we will benefit. I highly recommend that you obtain the study guide that accompanies this book, you will not be disappointed in setting aside time to work through the material.
Welcome to the official blog of ‘Declaring the Word’, the radio ministry of Immanuel Baptist Church of Sacramento, California. ‘Declaring the Word’ has been broadcasting on 710AM KFIA for almost 4 years. The objective of ‘Declaring the Word’ is to bring the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to as many listeners as God enables us to. Our present official broadcast time is 4:30pm on every Friday afternoon. We hope that by developing our new blog site listeners will be able to contact us with any questions or queries they may have about our ministry. We trust that you will become a regular visitor to our blog and that the content will be useful in teaching you the word of God.