Posts Tagged ‘Deep Thoughts’

One ‘Resolution’

26 January 18

Like clockwork, it seems that millions of people are caught up in a whirlwind of making well-intentioned ‘RESOLUTIONS’ at the start of a new year, vowing to overhaul themselves—resolving to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal, or to otherwise improve their life.

According to research on the topic, about 50-60% admit to making New Year’s resolutions. However, when the groundhog pops his furry head up a month later, over 50% of the folks have abandoned them amid defeat—simply because they couldn’t accomplish an ‘overhaul’ by then. Even worse than that, only about 8-9% see their resolutions through for the entire year!

 

There are many reasons people don’t stick to their resolutions—from setting too many of them to getting derailed by small failures. The key is to just make a few small, incremental changes—preferably only one—and you will have a much greater chance of creating ‘real’ change.

According to the time management firm FranklinCovey, a resolution may be wrong for one of three main reasons:

1. It’s a resolution created based on what someone else (or society) is telling you to change.
2. It’s too vague.
3. You don’t have a realistic plan for achieving your resolution.

To be successful, they say your goals should be “S.M.A.R.T.” That’s an acronym coined in the journal “Management Review” for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. It works for business management, so I’m thinking it could be valuable in setting your personal resolutions, too.

 

So, what are people ‘resolving’ for 2018? Well, here’s the top 10 I put together by reviewing a few listings online:

1. Diet or eat healthier (71%)
2. Exercise more (65%)
3. Lose weight (54%)
4. Save more and spend less (32%)
5. Learn a new skill or hobby (26%)
6. Quit smoking (21%)
7. Read more (17%)
8. Find another job (16%)
9. Drink less alcohol (15%)
10. Spend more time with family and friends (13%)

 

Writer Don Marquis reminds us that, “Successful people aren’t born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don’t like to do.”

[ FYI: A previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post discussed habits:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/poignant-reminders-v206/ ].

Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit” says, “Focus on these small wins so you can make gradual progress…If you’re building a habit, you’re planning for the next decade, not the next couple of months.”

 

There’s nothing wrong with having a desire to become a better person, but have you tried asking God what He wants you to do in your life this year? Well, let me suggest just ONE ‘RESOLUTION’ that you can consider making, that will be valuable for way more than the next decade—but for eternity—to BE LIKE JESUS!

 

So, how does one become like Jesus? Well, many people that want to ‘be like’ someone else, make that person their “role model”—and they want to be ‘exactly’ like that person.

In 1992, most teenagers idolized Michael Jordan. At that time, he was the supreme model of coolness. They wanted to talk like him, walk like him, and dunk the basketball like him—in every sense to “Be Like Mike,” and Gatorade capitalized on that:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0AGiq9j_Ak

Michael Jordan has done some amazing things on the basketball court, but my earthly role model ‘changed the world’—the Apostle Paul—and he talked a lot about ‘THE’ role model, Jesus.

 

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul was encouraging the church in Philippi to develop humility—something all Christians are ‘called’ to do—to follow the example of Jesus’ great humility in coming down from Heaven to earth. So, Paul wrote “Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped for His own selfish enjoyment, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” [ Philippians 2:5-8 ]. In order to have ‘true’ humility, one must be like Jesus—the supreme ‘Model’ of humility.

Then, to buttress his notion about Jesus being our ‘role model’, he said: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into His likeness, from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” [ 2 Corinthians 3:18 ].

So, it is by the indwelling Holy Spirit that we are being changed to becoming like Christ—transforming us into the image of Jesus. However, for one to have the Holy Spirit ‘indwelling’ them, they must have been “born again,” or “saved”…a ‘regenerated soul’, a “Christian.”

[ Note: If you are not yet a “Christian,” click on the following link to learn about it:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/saved-from-death-v219/ ].

 

God the Father’s primary ‘resolution’ is to have His people (“Christians”) to become like His Son, Jesus. “God has predestined His people to be conformed to the image of His Son: that is, to become like Jesus” [ Romans 8:29 ].

A non-believer that makes Jesus their role model will definitely improve their moral character by doing what He did, but they will not change where they will spend their eternity—they still won’t be going to Heaven!

[ Note: If you are interested in how to get to Heaven click on the following link to learn about it:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/a-place-to-retire-v221/ ].

 

The Apostle John also talked about this: “…he who says he abides in Christ ought to walk in the same way as He walked” [ 1 John 2:6 ]. In other words, if we claim to be a Christian, we must be Christlike. In addition to that, although we don’t know in any detail what we shall be like on our last day on this earth, we are promised that we will be like Christ when we get to Heaven: “Beloved, we are God’s children now and it does not yet appear what we shall be but we know that when He appears, we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” [ 1 John 3:2 ].

 

Consider these three perspectives for the Christian: past, present, and future, and all of them are pointing in the same direction. There is God’s ‘eternal’ purpose: we have been predestined; There is God’s ‘historical’ purpose: we are being changed, transformed by the Holy Spirit; and there is God’s final or ‘eschatological’ purpose: we will be like Jesus, and we shall see Him as He is. All three, the eternal, the historical, and the eschatological, combine toward the same end of Christlikeness. Specifically, there are five main ways in which we are to be like Jesus: in His humility (Philippians 2:5-8); in His service (John 13:3-16); in His love (Ephesians 5:2); in His endurance (1 Peter 2:18-25); and in His mission (John 20:21; John 17:18).

[ Note: With becoming “born again,” there comes a ‘new identity’—we are a “new creation.” To find out more about this, read this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/new-identity-v220/ ].

 

In our own strength, Christlikeness is clearly not attainable, but God has given us his Holy Spirit to dwell within us, to change us from within. William Temple, Archbishop in the 1940s, used to illustrate this point from Shakespeare:

“It is no good giving me a play like Hamlet or King Lear and telling me to write a play like that. Shakespeare could do it—I can’t. And it is no good showing me a life like the life of Jesus and telling me to live a life like that. Jesus could do it—I can’t. But if the genius of Shakespeare could come and live in me, then I could write plays like this. And if the Spirit could come into me, then I could live a life like His.”

God’s purpose is to make us like Christ, and His way to make us like Christ is to ‘fill us’ with His Spirit.

 

One of the best ‘examples’ of a Christlike person was Jonathan Edwards. He was a Protestant theologian, an American revivalist pastor, philosopher, and played a critical role in shaping the “First Great Awakening,” a religious revival in America from 1730-1740. He said: “A true and faithful Christian does not make holy living an accidental thing. It is his great concern. As the business of the soldier is to fight, so the business of the Christian is to be like Christ.”

So, in 1723, when Jonathan Edwards was just nineteen years old, knowing his weaknesses and being aware of the destructive nature of his sin, he resolved to make and keep certain resolutions in his effort to become Christlike. He prefaced his 70 resolutions with these words:

“Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.”

These simple, introductory words of Edwards not only provide us with a glimpse into the mind of one of history’s greatest minds, they provide us with insight into a young man whose heart had been humbled and mastered by God. We would therefore do well to consider Edwards’ prefatory remarks as we seek to develop our own resolutions.

Just as Edwards’ were, our resolutions must be in ‘accord’ with the Word of God (the Bible), and any resolution we make must allow us to fulfill all our particular callings in life. Just as Edwards did, we must consider all the implications of our resolutions, and be careful to make resolutions with others in mind, even if it means implementing new resolutions incrementally over time.

Edwards showed us that a well lived life doesn’t just happen; it requires intentionality, and intentionality manifests itself in a certain ‘structure’ that help us maintain our intentionality. Edwards’ resolutions are an example of such a structure in ones life.

So, Edwards is a good example not just of a life that was lived well, but also of the ‘practical side’ of how to actually build that intentionality into our lives, rather than just letting it remain a vague wish that never takes deep root and makes a real difference.

Any Christian that wishes to make particular resolutions to assist them in their sanctification would be wise to do it by the power of the Holy Spirit—Who’s primary ‘job’ is to make every Christian to be just like Jesus.

[ NOTE: The entire list of Jonathan Edward’s 70 Resolutions in presented in the “Articles” section below. The subheadings and categorization are suggested by Matt Perman to increase the readability. Click this link to get a PDF of them:
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/edwardss-resolutions-in-seven-categories
].

 

Developing the ‘character’ of Christ is life’s most important task because it is the only thing we’ll take with us into eternity. Jesus made it quite clear, in His “Sermon on the Mount,” that eternal rewards in Heaven will be based on the character we develop and demonstrate here on Earth.

Character is never developed in a classroom. God builds character in our lives by allowing us to experience situations where we are tempted to do the exact opposite of the character quality—and character development always involves a choice. Whenever we choose to respond to a situation in God’s way instead of following our natural inclination, we develop character. For this reason, God allows all kinds of character-building circumstances like conflict, disappointment, difficulty, temptation, loneliness, and delays.

If you want to know what Christlike character looks like, a good place to start is the list of nine character qualities Paul lists in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

The fruit of the Spirit is a perfect ‘picture’ of Christ. He embodied all nine qualities perfectly. So, if you’re going to develop Christlike character, you, too, must develop these qualities in your life.

[ NOTE: The “Fruits Of The Beatitudes” is something I developed to help one develop the ‘attitudes’ of Jesus which in-turn produce the ‘character’ of Jesus:
http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/ ].

 

The ‘world’ recommends you consider these common ways on how to improve your life: Put yourself first, believe in yourself, create your own reality, and follow your heart. The thing is, all their recommendations for self-empowerment won’t help you become a better person. Instead, you will end up in a ‘pit’ of self-centeredness—and these are nothing like the instructions found in God’s Word (the Bible).

However, the ‘ultimate’ form of self-improvement should be the goal of every believer—to become like our “Teacher,” Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29)—but, this transformation requires that we cooperate with His ‘training’ program. This primarily involves studying the Bible (though it also includes getting to know Him intimately, learning to pray according to His will, serving and loving one another, and even taking some suffering ‘field trips’).

 

Do you often make time to spend with God? It’s sure easy for that “first love” to cool off, and time between you and Jesus gets squeezed out by other things. Cultivation of any relationship requires time.

It never ceases to amaze me how a young man and a young woman can be extremely busy, but when they meet and things ‘click’ between them, suddenly they can find many hours every week to be together. What were they doing to fill all those hours before they met? Whatever it was, it gets shoved aside so that they can pursue this new relationship.

That can be similar to our relationship with God, and He has chosen to reveal Himself to us through His written Word (the Bible), which essentially tells us all about His Son, Jesus Christ (“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the Heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name He has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” – Hebrews 1:1-3).

Thus, we come to know Jesus through the Bible—which tells us of Him—and we come to know God the Father through Jesus Christ.

 

You may have known a spouse/friend/family member for many years, yet you’re still getting to know them better every day. How do you do that? By spending time with them, talking with them, listening to them, and asking them questions.

Likewise, we can get to know Jesus by spending time in the Bible, going to Him in prayer, meditating upon Him, and asking Him for help.

If you have taken my suggestion of implementing one “small, incremental change” to become like Jesus by have a “daily quiet time” with Him, here’s a few sources for both online and daily e-mails for reading the Bible:

Daily Devotions:

https://odb.org/
https://www.gty.org/library/devotionals/drawing-near
https://www.gty.org/library/devotionals/strength-for-today
https://www.gty.org/library/devotionals/life-of-christ
https://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/morningandevening/
https://go.navigators.org/email-devotions/
https://tabletalkmagazine.com/

Daily Reading Plans (to read through the Bible in one year):

https://www.gty.org/library/devotionals/daily-bible
https://www.ligonier.org/blog/bible-reading-plans/

 

There are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity. Genuine “discipleship” is a life-long process. The Bible pictures it as a ‘marathon’ and not a sprint; a ‘journey’ and not a destination. As Eugene Peterson said, becoming like Jesus is the result of “a long obedience in the same direction.” In fact, the Greek word for “disciple” means, “learner” not “expert,” because the truth is we are ALWAYS LEARNING more about what it means to become like Jesus. We don’t stop working on this until we get to Heaven.

Let me note to you that if you make your ‘resolution’ to become like Jesus, you will start to see ‘opportunities’ all over the place to apply what you are learning—sometimes the very same day! You will have temptations where you need to rely on Jesus’ ‘help’. You will face trials where you come to know something of His sufferings. You will encounter irritations where you must learn to be more conformed to His character. View it all as an opportunity to know Jesus better, and to remind yourself that it is preparing you for that great day when He comes back for you—and takes you to Heaven with Him!

However, for the Christian, Heaven is not their ‘goal’, it’s their destination. The goal is that “Christ be formed in you,” to use the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians (4:19). To the Romans, he also declared, “Those whom [God] foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). Then, to the Corinthians, he said, “But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Thus the ‘overarching’ goal of the Christian life can be summarized as our being ‘formed’, ‘transformed’, and ‘conformed’ into the image of Jesus Christ!

 

So, let me encourage you to think of this ‘RESOLUTION’ as a ‘lifestyle’—not something that lasts until Punxsutawney Phil shows up, or maybe until the summer gets busy before you give up. This is something that you should consider doing DAILY until the day that you see His ‘face’! (Revelation 22:4).

The thing is, in 11 months, if you go with the ‘resolution’ of BECOMING LIKE JESUS, you won’t have to ‘worry’ about which one you will try to achieve in 2019—this ONE RESOLUTION can be the one you ‘work on’ EVERY YEAR—for the rest of your life!

So, will it be your ONE ‘RESOLUTION’?

 

[ Excerpts from: John Piper; Charles Stanley; Burk Parsons; Jonathan Parnell; FranklinCovey; John Stott; Jonathan Edwards; Inc. Magazine ]

 

“PRAYER OF REPENTANCE”
In the Bible, there is a parable that Jesus told about a Pharisee and a tax collector praying in the Temple. He notes that the tax collector didn’t even dare to lift his eyes toward Heaven as he prayed. Instead he “beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner’”—and Jesus said that the tax collector “went home justified,” he had been “born again” and ‘reconciled’ by God. (Luke 18:9-14).

If you are ‘sensing’ something like that right now, let me strongly encourage you to HUMBLE YOURSELF, CRY OUT to God, and PLEAD for Him to mercifully ‘SAVE’ YOU! None of us have a ‘claim’ on our salvation, nor do we have any ‘works’ that would cause us to deserve it or earn it—it is purely a gift of Divine grace—and all any of us can do is ask. So, CONFESS YOUR SINS and acknowledge to God that you have no hope for Heaven apart from what He provides through Jesus.

There is no ‘formula’ or certain words for this. So just talk to God, in your own words—He knows your ‘heart’. If you are genuinely sincere, and God does respond to your plea, one will usually have a sense of joy and peace.

Jesus said, “He that comes to Me, I will not cast out” [ John 6:37 ].

[ NOTE: If you have ‘tasted the kindness of the Lord’, please e-mail me—I would love to CELEBRATE with you, and help you get started on your ‘journey’ with Jesus! ].

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RESOURCES:

—————-
Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals
By: Michael Hyatt

We all want to live a life that matters. We all want to reach our full potential. But too often we find ourselves overwhelmed by the day-to-day. Our big goals get pushed to the back burner–and then, more often than not, they get forgotten. New York Times bestselling author Michael Hyatt wants readers to know that it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, he thinks that this is the year readers can finally close the gap between reality and their dreams.

In Your Best Year Ever, Hyatt shares a powerful, proven, research-driven system for setting and achieving goals. Readers learn how to design their best year ever in just five hours

– three simple ways to triple the likelihood of achieving their goals
– how to quit-proof their goals
– what to do when they feel stuck
– and much more

Anyone who is tired of not seeing progress in their personal, intellectual, business, relationship, or financial goals will treasure the field-tested wisdom found in these pages.

https://www.amazon.com/Your-Best-Year-Ever-Achieving/dp/0801075254/

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The Power of One Thing: How to Intentionally Change Your Life
By: Randy Carlson

From counselor and popular radio host Dr. Randy Carlson comes a new book containing the surprising truth: Living a better life is easier than you think! Instead of making big resolutions that quickly overwhelm you, The Power of One Thing invites you to begin moving toward change one daily, intentional step at a time. You’ll learn how to figure out which positive change can make the biggest payoff in your life; you’ll get practical tips from those who have already benefited from this plan; and you’ll see how your one thing, lived intentionally over time, will help you to achieve the dreams you’d almost given up on.

https://www.amazon.com/Power-One-Thing-Intentionally-Change/dp/0842382224/

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Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions: And Advice to Young Converts
By: Jonathan Edwards (Author),‎ Stephen J. Nichols (Editor)

While completing his preparation for the ministry, Jonathan Edwards wrote seventy resolutions that guided him throughout his life. About twenty years later he wrote a letter to young Deborah Hatheway, a new convert in a nearby town, advising her concerning the Christian life. These two writings, often reprinted during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, overflow with straightforward and biblically sound advice. This advice is as current today as it was in the 1700s, and it far surpasses the “how to” books now overrunning bookstores.

https://www.amazon.com/Jonathan-Edwards-Resolutions-Advice-Converts/dp/0875521894/

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The Resolution for Men
By: Stephen Kendrick,‎ Alex Kendrick,‎ and Randy Alcorn

“A man cannot be passive about what Scripture tells him to do for his family and expect to be found faithful to God in the end. He must see with spiritual eyes and realize that future generations are directly impacted by his daily decisions.”
—The Resolution for Men

The Resolution for Men is the inspiring book born out of Courageous, a new film by the makers of Fireproof coming to theaters nationwide in fall 2011. The movie, which presents a powerful story of strong male leadership, is an emotionally charged wake-up call to fathers whose influence upon their children and society is immeasurable. The Resolution for Men follows to challenge men of all ages to become as bold and intentional about embracing their responsibilities as leaders of their homes, marriages, and children.

Written by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, screenwriters of Courageous and authors of New York Times No. 1 best seller The Love Dare (five million copies sold), The Resolution for Men strategically inspires men to reconcile with their past, re-engage in the present by taking full responsibility for their wives and children, and then move forward with a bold and clear resolution for the future. Written in partnership with the movie and Priscilla Shirer’s new book, The Resolution for Women, it is designed to inspire a revolution.

https://www.amazon.com/Resolution-Men-Stephen-Kendrick/dp/1433671220/

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The Resolution for Women
By: Priscilla Shirer,‎ Stephen Kendrick,‎ and Alex Kendrick

Written in partnership with Sherwood Pictures’ upcoming film, COURAGEOUS, in The Resolution for Women, popular speaker and author Priscilla Shirer challenges all women to be intentional about embracing and thriving in God’s beautiful and eternal calling on their lives.

Like the men in the movie who resolve to fully accept their responsibilities before God, Shirer explains how today’s women can and should live out their own resolution. It is “a defining banner that hangs over your life, written in the ink of your own choices.” A woman’s banner should be an accurate reflection of who she desires to be-someone completely Christ-centered who blesses and changes things in her world for the better.

The Resolution for Women inspires women with intentional, spirit-filled living from three unique angles. Section one, entitled, “This Is Who I Am,” helps a woman define herself as “authentically me, purposefully feminine, surprisingly satisfied, and faithfully His.” Section two, “This Is What I Have,” invites her to value “my best, my blessing, my honor, and my heart.” And Section three, “This Is What Matters To Me,” focuses on joyfully honoring God as a wife, mother, and family member while resolving to live with the grace that leaves a godly legacy. The Resolution for Women is designed to inspire a revolution.

https://www.amazon.com/Resolution-Women-Priscilla-Shirer/dp/1433674017/

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Think, Act, Be Like Jesus: Becoming a New Person in Christ
By: Randy Frazee

The Bible teaches that the goal of the Christian life is to become like Jesus―for our own personal growth and for the sake of others. Every believer needs to ask three big questions: What do I believe? What should I do? And who am I becoming?

In Think, Act, Be Like Jesus, bestselling author and pastor Randy Frazee helps readers grasp the vision of the Christian life and get started on the journey of discipleship. After unfolding the revolutionary dream of Jesus and showing how our lives fit into the big picture of what God is doing in the world, Frazee walks readers through thirty short chapters exploring the ten core beliefs, ten core practices, and ten core virtues that help disciples to think, act, and be more like Jesus Christ.

This compelling new book can be used in conjunction with the 30-week all-church Believe campaign or read separately as an individual study. Either way, readers will deepen their understanding of what it means to not just know the Story of God, but to live it.

https://www.amazon.com/Think-Act-Be-Like-Jesus/dp/031025017X/

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So, You Want To Be Like Christ?: Eight Essentials to Get You There
By: Charles Swindoll

Inspired by the acts of sacrifice and discipline exemplified by the D-Day generation as well as the current generation of young American soldiers, many Christians today are looking for an obedient, disciplined approach to faith. This user-friendly study guides readers toward a greater understanding of eight spiritual disciplines of the Christian faith-prayer, humility, self-control, sacrifice, submission, solitude, silence, and hope. Each chapter defines and discusses the concept, then provides interactive assignments and suggestions for further study, as well as content summaries and outlines that aid in retention. Activities can be revisited again and again for a new outlook or just for a periodic refresher. Perfect for individual or group or family study, So, You Want to be Like Christ? is just right for anyone desiring to delve deeper into the fundamental elements of Christian life, and essential for all who hunger for authentic faith experiences. It is destined to be a classic text on the practice of Christianity.

https://www.amazon.com/You-Want-Like-Christ-Essentials/dp/0849913527/

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Just Like Jesus: Learning to Have a Heart Like His
By: Max Lucado

God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you there. He wants you to be just like Jesus.

Can you think of a better offer?

Jesus felt no guilt; God wants you to feel no guilt. Jesus had no bad habits; God wants to do away with yours. Jesus had no fears; God wants the same for you. Jesus had no anxiety about death; you needn’t either. God’s desire, his plan, his ultimate goal is to make you into the image of Christ.

But how does this change occur? And why does the change seem so slow? If God wants me to be just like Jesus, why do I still seem just like me?

In Just Like Jesus, Max Lucado helps you answer these questions. He helps you understand God’s wonderful ways of transformation. Would you like to know more? Then read on. And remember: God loves you just way you are, but he refuses to leave you there. He wants you to be just like Jesus.

https://www.amazon.com/Just-Like-Jesus-Bestseller-Collection/dp/0849921228/

Devotional:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0849948509/

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Designed to Be Like Him: New Testament Insight for Becoming Christlike
By: J. Dwight Pentecost

Dr. Pentecost has created a thoughtful analysis of New Testament teaching on Christian living. It offers comprehensive instruction that challenges mature believers to understand why and how to be more Christlike.

https://www.amazon.com/Designed-Like-Him-Testament-Christlike/dp/0929239881/

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Walking Like Jesus Did
By: Larry E. McCall

This challenging but easy-to-read handbook helps Christians better understand what it means to walk as Jesus did. McCall explains that mirroring the character of Jesus should be the normal pattern of life for a Christian. The author lays out 14 character traits Jesus demonstrated in His own life, and he explains how those traits can and should be reflected in the daily lives of Jesus’ followers. Field-tested discussion questions make this a natural for small-group use.

https://www.amazon.com/Walking-Like-Jesus-Did-Character/dp/0884693031/

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One Perfect Life: The Complete Story of the Lord Jesus
By: John F. MacArthur

Read the best news the world has ever been given about the most significant life in all history―Jesus Christ. In One Perfect Life, Dr. John MacArthur shares with us the complete story of the Eternal Christ from Genesis to Revelation. Using Matthew as the base text, Dr. MacArthur blends the gospels and other biblical material about Jesus into one continuous story that will help you better understand Scripture and grow stronger in your faith. No other harmony of the Gospels includes such extensive study notes to help you unpack the meaning of each verse.

Features include:
– Verse-by-verse explanations from one of the most important pastor-teachers of our time
– Every verse connected to Christ from Genesis to Revelation
– A harmony of the Gospels that demonstrates the inerrancy of Scripture
– New King James translation

https://www.amazon.com/One-Perfect-Life-Complete-Story/dp/1401676324

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Get a Basic Overview of the Bible
By: R.C. Sproul

Virtually every Christian at some point has resolved to read the entire Bible. If we believe the Bible is the Word of God, it’s natural not to want to miss a word of it. If God delivered a letter to your mailbox, I am sure you would read it. But the Bible is a pretty big letter, and its sheer bulk is somewhat daunting, even to the person with the best of intentions. Therefore, few Christians actually keep a resolution to read through the Bible.

https://www.ligonier.org/blog/get-basic-overview-bible/

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R.C. Sproul’s Starter List for Reading the Bible
By: Tim Challies

In the fall of 2008, Reformation Trust Publishing re-released a revised and expanded version of R.C. Sproul’s 5 Things Every Christian Needs to Grow. In that book, Dr. Sproul recommends a starter list for people who have never read the Bible. It is quite a helpful list that gives a bird’s eye overview of the flow of Scripture.

https://www.ligonier.org/blog/rc-sprouls-starter-list-reading-bible/

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How to Study the Bible

You try faithfully to read and study your Bible, yet you still wonder, How can I study the Bible so it really makes a difference in my life? Or, What’s the best way to dig into the Word?

[ John MacArthur ]

https://www.gty.org/library/topical-series-library/82/how-to-study-the-bible

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How to Study the Bible
By: John MacArthur

The Bible is the Word of life. As such, studying the Bible is crucial to the life and growth of every believer.

In this revised work, John MacArthur examines various Scripture passages in the Old and New Testament to answer both the “why” and the “how” questions of Bible study.

How to Study the Bible can be used alongside or apart from the audio series available from Grace to You in either a personal or group study.

Features study questions.

https://www.amazon.com/How-Study-Bible-John-MacArthur/dp/0802453031

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The MacArthur Daily Bible: Read the Bible in One Year, With Notes From John MacArthur

Take a tour through the Bible with pastor-teacher John MacArthur –unleashing God’s truth, one verse at a time.

The MacArthur Daily Bible takes a portion of the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs for each day of the year, with daily comments that guide and inform you as you read through the Bible in a year. John MacArthur’s insight maximizes the benefit of each day’s reading. If a commitment to daily Bible reading never worked for you before, this is the answer. With John at your side, there’ll be no such thing as a tough portion of Scripture.

https://www.amazon.com/MacArthur-Daily-Bible-Read-Notes/dp/B002GJU5NU

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Religious Affections: True Faith Shows Itself in the Fruit of the Spirit and Christlike
By: Jonathan Edwards

You probably know him for preaching the sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”—but Jonathan Edwards had much more to say about the Christian life. The central figure in New England’s first Great Awakening, Edwards offers a detailed description of the signs—true and false—of conversion, while highlighting the role truly balanced emotions play within the Christian life. He takes a long, hard look at the evidence of true saving faith—the fruit that comes from living like Christ. This newly-typeset edition of Religious Affections is updated and abridged for ease of reading.

https://www.amazon.ca/Religious-Affections-Itself-Spirit-Christlike/dp/1624167136

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Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit: Growing in Christlikeness
By: Christopher J. H. Wright

How should Christians live? On the one hand, some very legalistic Christians stress the importance of keeping all the rules―that you must do this and never do that if you want to prove you are really a Christian. On the other hand, there are those who reject the whole idea of rules or traditions in the church and see the point of the Christian faith as setting us free from the institutionalized religious burden. But Paul addresses these two competing views by showing us a far better way―a truly Christian way to live our lives. It is the way of the Spirit of God given to us through Christ: “Walk by the Spirit . . . led by the Spirit . . . live by the Spirit . . . keep in step with the Spirit.” That is the heart and soul of Christian living. It is the center and secret of what it means to be a person who belongs to Christ. Pastor and scholar Christopher Wright invites us to live a life in step with the Spirit by cultivating the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These nine chapters, each addressing a different fruit, each conclude with questions for contemplation or discussion. Feed on the Word of God, grow in Christlikeness, and live a fruitful life.

https://www.amazon.com/Cultivating-Fruit-Spirit-Growing-Christlikeness/dp/0830844988/

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“FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES” WEBSITE
(The ATTITUDES of Jesus that produce the CHARACTER of Jesus)

CLICK ON THE LINK to view:
http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/

FACEBOOK PAGE:
https://www.facebook.com/FruitsOfTheBeatitudes/

[ Mark Besh ]

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[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about reading the Bible visit the following link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q12_d3_1of10.html

 

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ARTICLES:

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Be Like Mike
(1992 Gatorade Commercial)

Sometimes I dream
That he is me
You’ve got to see that’s how I dream to be
I dream I move, I dream I groove
Like Mike
If I could Be Like Mike
Like Mike
Oh, if I could Be Like Mike
Be Like Mike, Be Like Mike
Again I try
Just need to fly
For just one day if I could
Be that way
I dream I move
I dream I groove
Like Mike
If I could Be Like Mike
I wanna be, I wanna be
Like Mike
Oh, if I could Be Like Mike

Original:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0AGiq9j_Ak

Remake:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDlyXYOzh_4

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The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

[ NOTE: The subheadings and categorization (bolded headings) are suggested by Matt Perman to increase the readability ].

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

OVERALL LIFE MISSION
1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.

3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power; might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.

62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Eph. 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; “knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.” June 25 and July 13, 1723.

GOOD WORKS
11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances don’t hinder.

13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.

69. Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.

TIME MANAGEMENT
5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

18. Resolved, to live so at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.

19. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.

37. Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself: also at the end of every week, month and year. Dec. 22 and 26, 1722.

40. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking. Jan. 7, 1723.

41. Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better. Jan. 11, 1723.

50.Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. July 5, 1723.

51.Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned. July 8, 1723.

52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.

55. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments. July 8, 1723.

61. Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it-that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, etc. May 21, and July 13, 1723.

RELATIONSHIPS
14. Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.

15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings.

16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

31. Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.

33. Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining, establishing and preserving peace, when it can be without over-balancing detriment in other respects. Dec. 26, 1722.

34. Resolved, in narration’s never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity.

36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. Dec. 19, 1722.

46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eve: and to be especially careful of it, with respect to any of our family.

58. Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity. May 27, and July 13, 1723.

59. Resolved, when I am most conscious of provocations to ill nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July 2, and July 13.

66. Resolved, that I will endeavor always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.

70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.

SUFFERING
9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.

57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to examine whether ~ have done my duty, and resolve to do it; and let it be just as providence orders it, I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin. June 9, and July 13, 1723.

CHARACTER
8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.

12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.

21. Resolved, never to do anything, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.

32. Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that in Prov. 20:6, “A faithful man who can find?” may not be partly fulfilled in me.

47. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented, easy, compassionate, generous, humble, meek, modest, submissive, obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable, even, patient, moderate, forgiving, sincere temper; and to do at all times what such a temper would lead me to. Examine strictly every week, whether I have done so. Sabbath morning. May 5, 1723.

54. Whenever I hear anything spoken in conversation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, Resolved to endeavor to imitate it. July 8, 1723.

63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan. 14 and July 3, 1723.

27. Resolved, never willfully to omit anything, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.

39. Resolved, never to do anything that I so much question the lawfulness of, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or no; except I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.

20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.

SPIRITUAL LIFE
Assurance

25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.

26. Resolved, to cast away such things, as I find do abate my assurance.

48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or no; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of. May 26, 1723.

49. Resolved, that this never shall be, if I can help it.

The Scriptures
28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

Prayer
29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.

64. Resolved, when I find those “groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26), of which the Apostle speaks, and those “breakings of soul for the longing it hath,” of which the Psalmist speaks, Psalm 119:20, that I will promote them to the utmost of my power, and that I will not be wear’, of earnestly endeavoring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

The Lord’s Day
38. Resolved, never to speak anything that is ridiculous, sportive, or matter of laughter on the Lord’s day. Sabbath evening, Dec. 23, 1722.

Vivification of Righteousness
30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.

42. Resolved, frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God, which was made at my baptism; which I solemnly renewed, when I was received into the communion of the church; and which I have solemnly re-made this twelfth day of January, 1722-23.

43. Resolved, never henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s, agreeable to what is to be found in Saturday, January 12, 1723.

44- Resolved, that no other end but religion, shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it. Jan.12, 1723.

45. Resolved, never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion. Jan. 12-13, 1723.

Mortification of Sin and Self Examination
23. Resolved, frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God’s glory, to repute it as a breach of the 4th Resolution.

24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.

35. Resolved, whenever I so much question whether I have done my duty, as that my quiet and calm is thereby disturbed, to set it down, and also how the question was resolved. Dec. 18, 1722.

60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4 and 13, 1723.

68. Resolved, to confess frankly to myself all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23 and August 10, 1723.

56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

Communion with God
53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.

65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance; according to Dr. Manton’s 27th Sermon on Psalm 119. July 26 and Aug. 10, 1723.

Aug. 17, 1723

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PDF:
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-resolutions-of-jonathan-edwards

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The Excellency of Christ
By: Jonathan Edwards (in Modern English)

The Excellency of Christ is one of Jonathan Edwards most powerful and beloved sermons. As you read, you will notice chapter divisions. These are mine, not Edwards’, and are simply used as markers to help break the text up a bit.

http://gloryfocus.com/2014/03/06/the-excellency-of-christ/

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Called To Be Christ Like

“…The one eternal purpose is that you bear fruit. The Scripture brings it out very clearly in John 15:16. You have not chosen Me, but I’ve chosen you, And I’ve ordained you that you should go and bear forth fruit. I’ve chosen you. I’ve called you. That you’re calling that you’re choosing that you go and bear for fruit.

Then the question arises, what is that fruit, if I’m to bear fruit some? Think it’s soul-winning? Others have other explanations. But I see only one in the Scripture, and that fruit is to be Christ-like—to bear much fruit is to become more and more like Jesus. That more fruit is the more likeness of Christ that is shown forth in our activities, in our lifestyle, in our relationships to others. Bearing fruit is the reflection bearing the reflection of Jesus Christ. If I’m not Christ-like. If that is not being shown in me visibly noticeably by those I live with and those I associate with, if I am exuding more and more of the likeness in the presence of Jesus in my life, I have missed my purpose. No matter what I accomplished, no matter what I do, I have missed my eternal purpose on this earth.”

[ Davis Wilkerson ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dckOElOHrXs

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How to Be Like Jesus

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

When this verse in Second Corinthians says we are changed into the “same image,” it is referring to the image of Jesus Christ. Being transformed into His image is the goal, the ambition, of every true believer. But how do you become more like Jesus?

Ways Some Try to Be More Like Jesus
Many people try ways that may sound good but will not help you become more like Jesus.
You’re not going to become like Jesus by elimination. You can’t simply take things out of your life. Some folks want to be like Jesus, so they make a list of sins and try to eliminate them from their lives. They become proud of what they don’t do, but they’re not one bit more like Jesus. A telephone pole doesn’t smoke, drink, or tell lies; but it’s not like Jesus. Elimination doesn’t deal with the root just like pruning a tree doesn’t change its nature.

Also, you won’t become like Jesus by imitation. You can’t just try to be more like the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, there’s a certain sense in which Jesus is our Leader; but if all you do is imitate the Him, you have become a cheap little imitation. Have you ever seen artificial, plastic flowers? Well, there are a lot of plastic Christians around trying to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ, but they will never, ever make it.

Finally, you’re not going to be more like Jesus by determination. You might say, “I’m going to be like Jesus if it kills me.” But you don’t have in you what it takes. If you were drowning, you couldn’t reach up and take the top of your hair and lift yourself up out of the water to save yourself. You just can’t do it. And I don’t care how determined you are; you will never be more like the Lord Jesus Christ by sheer determination.

Receiving, Retaining, and Reflecting
Now, having said how not to try to make changes, let me tell you how you do become more like Jesus. You must become a spiritual mirror. When you understand that you are a mirror, you are going to understand how to be transformed into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ – by beholding or reflecting the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, let me give you three laws of transformation that deal with a mirror.
First, as a mirror you must receive the image of Jesus Christ. A mirror does not create an image; it only receives one. Jesus Christ is the image; you are the mirror. And you must receive the Lord Jesus Christ. You must receive His image.

In order to receive, a mirror must be…

– clean and uncovered — A draped or soiled mirror cannot receive an image. There are a lot of people with a blinded mind, which just puts a shroud over their hearts. You must be open and willing to receive Jesus.
– pointed in the right direction — The mirror is going to receive whatever it is pointed at. The secret of becoming like Jesus is to receive the image of Jesus by constantly beholding Jesus.
– in the light — In the darkness, a mirror can’t reflect anything. You must stay in His light and keep focusing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Not only must you receive the image of Jesus; you must retain the image of Jesus. If you keep your heart fixed on Jesus, the image will not disappear. If you’re saved, your inner nature is Jesus Christ. And when you are transformed, that inner nature comes to the surface and you’re changed. You will continue to become more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ because you are a mirror that receives His image. And then, by continuing to behold the Lord Jesus, you will retain His image.

And finally, you must reflect the image of Jesus Christ. As I have already said, being like Jesus is not accomplished by imitation but by reflection. Imitation is mechanical and occasional. But a mirror doesn’t have to work to reflect. Many times, you’ll not even be aware that you’re reflecting Jesus because it just becomes second nature.

So, you see it’s easier than you thought to become like Jesus. He’ll do it. Just rely on Him.

[ Adrian Rogers ]

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In Discipleship Journal, Carole Mayhall tells of a woman who went to a diet center to lose weight. The director took her to a full-length mirror. On it he outlined a figure and told her, “This is what I want you to be like at the end of the program.” Days of intense dieting and exercise followed, and every week the woman would stand in front of the mirror, discouraged because her bulging outline didn’t fit the director’s ideal. But she kept at it, and finally one day she conformed to the longed-for image.

[ Daily Bread, August 8, 1990 ]

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A Little Theology of Resolutions

[ John Piper ]

https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/a-little-theology-of-resolutions

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Christlikeness

The process by which believers are conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ, especially in relation to obedience to and trust in God. Through the Holy Spirit, God refashions believers in the image of his Son, who is set before them as a model of the form of the redeemed life.

Believers are to become Christlike
1Co 11:1; Php 2:5 Paul is arguing that believers must allow God to make them Christlike, which is the natural goal of their process of growing in faith. Christlikeness is not achieved by people merely trying to imitate Jesus Christ, but by God making believers more like his Son in sanctification, through the Spirit. See also Jn 13:15; Ro 8:29; Eph 4:11-13; Php 3:8-11,20-21; 1Jn 2:6

The Holy Spirit makes believers Christlike
2Co 3:18 See also Ro 8:5-9; Gal 5:22-23; 1Th 1:6

Christlikeness is the aim of discipleship
Mt 10:25 See also Lk 6:40; 1Jn 2:6

Christlikeness is based on total commitment to Jesus Christ
Lk 9:57-62 See also Mt 9:9 pp Mk 2:14 pp Lk 5:27; Mt 19:21 pp Lk 18:22; Jn 1:43; Jn 10:27; Jn 12:26; Jn 15:10; 2Jn 9

The demonstration of Christlikeness
In costly sacrifice Mk 8:34-35 pp Mt 16:24 pp Lk 9:23-24 1Pe 2:21-23 See also Mt 10:38; Lk 14:26-27; Jn 12:26; Jn 21:19; Php 3:10; 1Pe 4:1

In humility and service Mt 20:26-28 pp Mk 10:43-45 See also Mt 11:29; Mk 9:35; Lk 22:24-26; Jn 13:14-15; Php 2:4-5

In love for other believers Jn 15:12; 1Jn 3:16 See also Jn 13:34; Jn 15:17; Eph 5:2,25

In a readiness to forgive others Col 3:13 See also Mt 6:12 pp Lk 11:4

In sharing Jesus Christ’s mission to the world Mt 4:19 pp Mk 1:17 See also Jn 20:21

By following godly examples that imitate Jesus Christ 1Co 11:1 See also Eph 5:1; 1Th 1:5-6; 1Th 2:14; Heb 6:12; Heb 13:7-8; 3Jn 11

Christlikeness is part of God’s re-creation
Ge 1:26-27; 2Co 4:4; Eph 4:24; Col 3:10

The process of becoming Christlike
It is the purpose for which believers are saved Ro 8:28-29 See also Eph 2:10; 2Pe 1:4

It continues in the experience of believers 2Co 3:18

It will be complete when believers finally share Jesus Christ’s glory 1Jn 3:2-3 See also Ps 17:15; Jn 17:24; 1Co 15:49-53; Gal 4:19; Php 3:20-21; Col 3:4; 1Jn 4:17

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Be Like Jesus
(From Series: Encore 2010)

Have you ever noticed that friends who spend a lot of time together begin to look alike? And family members often share the same bone structure? We’re looking into the mirror and asking how much do we look like Jesus?

[ Alistair Begg ]

https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/sermon/be-like-jesus/

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Walk On: Five Characteristics of Christlikeness

You know Jesus, yet you’re regularly frustrated as you try to grow as a Christian. You have the hope of Christ in you, but you struggle to find the abundant life He promises in John 10:10.

Welcome to “the walk.” Human nature versus spiritual nature. Joy. Frustration. Sanctification. It’s a process – a lifetime adventure.

Simplify Your Spiritual Life

To be a Christian is to be a follower of Christ, meaning we are to seek after His character and strive to be Christlike. While we’ll never arrive at the perfection of Christ, we are called to be like Him, to walk with Him. Although this list is certainly not comprehensive, there are five characteristics all Christians need to pursue: humility, purity, discipline, patience, and compassion.

“These are aspects of Christlikeness,” says Don Whitney, author of 10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health and two books on spiritual disciplines (www.spiritualdisciplines.org). Whitney, who is also a professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, says we must pursue the characteristics of Christ in the context of relationship.

Romans 8:29 tells us that God created us “to be conformed to the image of His Son.” It is Him we pursue, not merely His actions. And yet, identifying and striving toward the behaviors and attitudes Christ exhibited will draw us closer to Him. Separating the person from the characteristics, however, could draw us into “almost a backward self-centeredness,” Whitney warns. “If we are constantly asking, ‘Am I (fill in the blank) enough?’ who are we fixing our eyes upon? Us. The Bible says to fix our eyes upon Jesus. He is our desire. He is our power to do these things.”

Therefore, let us consider His character as we continue our walk.

Humility
“Your own ambitions are your biggest distractions from following your life mission. The number one reason people don’t find their mission is they are not willing to give up their own plans. (Rick Warren)”

Ouch! This is a sharp reminder that we must lay down our life to pick up Christ’s. Want to see the ultimate confused, unhappy person? Find a Christian trying to live his life and Christ’s. He isn’t living either very well, he’s overwhelmed and he probably wonders what’s wrong!

What’s wrong is that our human nature says to live for ourselves. When we receive Christ’s life, we are to die to self. But so often we lay down our life, then pick it up. Lay it down, then pick it up. But Christ knows what’s best for us, and if we’ll lay down our life – and leave it there – we will pick up one of purpose and power. Christ has come that we may have abundant life (John 10:10). He has called us to do greater things than He did (John 14:12). And He has called us to serve others (John 21:17). Such a life brings privilege and power but is only possible when we give up our lives, our plans, and our purposes.

James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” The practical expression of humility means thinking of others first, seeing ourselves as we really are, elevating others, and particularly elevating Jesus Christ.

Actually, being humble is both powerful and empowering to others. It brings respect. It gives people freedom to dialogue with us, to be real with us – and that’s the best way to minister to them.

And most important, being humble opens us to Christ’s life-changing power. It allows His power to flow through us.

Purity
Just as the life of Christ is blocked from flowing through us if we are battling with Him for preeminence, it is polluted if we are not pure.

“The Bible says the pure in heart are the ones who are going to see God,” Whitney says, referring to the Beatitudes, particularly Matthew 5:8. “This is recognizing that our bodies are not our own. We’re bought with a price. We don’t make ourselves, don’t own ourselves. He has all rights to us.”

Paul pleaded with the church at Thessalonica to purify itself (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8). The Greek word used for purify – katharismos – is where we get the English word catheter, a device used to drain off anything infectious, helping to cleanse and purify.

Personal purity is a matter of getting enough of God. It’s a matter of putting the right things into our bodies and minds and keeping the wrong things out. When we don’t get enough of God, we seek comfort, help, hope and relief in other things. Sometimes those things don’t look so bad, but they lead us down a slippery slope. Sometimes the emotional hole in your heart can seem to be satisfied by an illicit sexual experience, a drug, or some other diversion – but you’re as empty after as before.

Discipline
We can’t purify ourselves without being disciplined. We must make and act upon choices about what will enter our minds and bodies and about what we will think. And discipline is work. Paul wrote to Timothy, “Exercise yourselves toward godliness.”

He told the church at Rome, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2).

The perfect will of God is attainable, in part, by discipline, but never apart from it. Whitney says, “Godly people are godly people because they are spiritually disciplined people.”

Discipline is first mental: deciding what to do and not to do, deciding what to take in. But it’s also physical. Many Christians make a strong effort at mental discipline but ignore their body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. In fact, physical discipline (proper exercise and diet) is pleasing to God, making a better vessel of the Holy Spirit.

Whitney says spiritual disciplines should start with the two most important things: the Word and prayer. “Everything else grows out of these two,” he says.

Patience
If you don’t like this one, you’re not alone. Few people are overwhelmed with patience.

Whitney nails down the essence of patience: trust. “The question here is, Do we believe that God is in control and that God knows best?”

If the answer is yes, it will show in our patience. If the answer is no, it will show in our impatience. “You always do what you do because you believe what you believe,” Whitney says.

Patience means waiting, and we live in a culture that says, “Get what you want now!” That’s not how God works. If He gave us what we wanted before He prepared us to receive it, we wouldn’t appreciate it – we might not even recognize it.

So we must wait. For the husband or wife (He’s teaching you how to love and trust Him first). For the true friendship you never seem to find (He’s teaching you that He is the perfect and sufficient friend). For the job and income that will meet your needs (He’s teaching you how to be satisfied with little or plenty).

Romans 15:4-5 says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.”

Compassion
If indeed we so focus on God that we become like Him, we will be clothed with compassion. The compassion – often translated as “mercy” – of God will be visited upon you if you know Him personally. He intends for you to pass it on.

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, we read a distinct passage about why God shows compassion. Verse four is especially clear: “(He) who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

Christlike people are channels of God’s blessing; God flows through them so that He is revealed foremost.

“Love is the chief mark of a Christian,” Whitney says. “Jesus said to the Pharisees, ‘Go and learn this: I desire compassion, not sacrifice.’ So many of the most popular stories about or by Jesus – the good Samaritan, Jesus and the woman at the well – speak of compassion.”

The practical living of a compassionate life calls for mentally disciplining ourselves to view people as Christ does, that is, to see and treat their sin as Christ treats us when we sin – with lovingkindness and mercy. If we share the compassion of Christ, we will be imitators of Christ – and that is the ultimate goal of a Christian.

[ Victor Lee ]

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Becoming like Jesus Campaign

Dr John Stott on the big issue of Christlikeness

During his final public talk John Stott told everyone that at the end of his earthly journey he has come to realise that life is all about becoming like Jesus.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-y7BOWsB4s

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Christlikeness: The Goal of Discipleship

“Take your Bible, if you will, and look with me at the tenth chapter of Matthew. It is our unique and long awaited privilege to enter into an examination of Matthew chapter 10 verses 24 to 4?. And I think it would be fitting if I read that section to you, although this morning I’m going to do nothing more than introduce it, I think it would be well to have it in mind.

Beginning at verse 24 of Matthew 10, our Lord instructing the disciples says:

The disciple is not above his teacher, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be like his teacher, and the servant like his lord…” [more].

[ John MacArthur ]

https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/2281/christlikeness-the-goal-of-discipleship

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Pursuing a Passion for God Through Spiritual Disciplines: Learning from Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards is a spiritual hero to many Christians, and rightly so. Probably the main reason you’re reading this is because he’s a spiritual hero of yours. The Bible commands us to have the right kind of spiritual heroes. In Hebrews 13:7 we’re told, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith” (All Scripture references in this chapter are from the NASB).

We acknowledge, of course, that even the holiest human heroes are inconsistent ones. All our heroes are imperfect and sinful. As the next verse in this passage reminds us, only the perfect and sinless Hero, only “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (verse 8). Nevertheless, the right kind of heroes, because they were devoted followers of Christ and people of his Word, will guide and protect us far more than they will mislead us.

Jonathan Edwards is just such a spiritual hero. Like those whom the first recipients of the letter to the Hebrews were to follow, Edwards is one “who spoke the word of God” to us through his life and works. As such, he is a hero whose life we should “remember,” “consider,” and “imitate” after the fashion of Hebrews 13:7. The purpose of this chapter is to help us remember, consider, and imitate Edwards’s example of pursuing a passion for God through spiritual disciplines… [more].

[ Don Whitney – Desiring God National Conference – 2003 ]

https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/pursuing-a-passion-for-god-through-spiritual-disciplines-learning-from-jonathan-edwards

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God’s Call to Christlikeness

In this study, we found that the One Another injunctions and statements of Scripture fall into two categories: those that deal with attitudes and those that deal with actions because they are so closely related. In fact, we are told in Scripture to have the same mind with one another which is essentially, the mind of Christ. This is not simply so we can be nice to one another, but so that, in our love for one another, we can also become a united and effective body in the work of God.

To be a Christ-like people, we must also have the mind of Christ. This is vital to our ability to respond to God’s call and challenge as His people who are here to declare the excellencies of His grace. The church must come to understand who it is and why it is here and then become united in the purpose of that understanding… [more].

[ Bible dot org ]

https://bible.org/seriespage/5-god-s-call-christlikeness

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Christlikeness and How to Get It

[ Blythefield Hills Baptist Church ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6NUe-IWeBo

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God Wrote a Book

It is an immeasurable wonder that God has given us an inspired book containing the truth about himself and his ways and what he wills for our lives

[ John Piper ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOhkldCSs04

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How to Read Both Sides of the Bible

There is nothing more basic to Bible study than Bible reading. Imagine trying to interpret a middle chapter in the allegorical Pilgrim’s Progress without knowing the larger story, or studying the significance of World War II without a good understanding of World War I. Proper Bible study cannot be built on a scattered compilation of pet verses or a narrow study of a particular doctrine—it must be grounded in a comprehensive understanding of broad biblical themes and history. And the only way to obtain that is faithful, diligent Bible reading.

Ironically, many people engage in studying the Bible without ever reading it. They may read a lot of books about the Bible, but there is no substitute for reading Scripture on its own. My suggestion is that you follow a deliberate reading plan that will take you all the way through both the Old and New Testaments.

The Old Testament

A healthy goal for all Christians is to read through the Old Testament once a year. There are thirty-nine books in the Old Testament, and if you read about twenty minutes a day, you should be able to get through it in one year.

As you do this year after year, you’ll be building comprehension as you read. I would also suggest, as you read, that you make notations in the margin to mark places that you don’t yet understand. As you continue to re-read the Old Testament you will begin to check those notations off as you gain increasing understanding of the portions that once confused you. Whatever remains unanswered can be used for individual study with a commentary or other sources to find the meaning.

It is unrealistic to expect to exhaustively learn the meaning of every Old Testament verse. Such an unattainable goal will only cultivate a sense of intimidation for such a large reading program. Trust the Holy Spirit to do His illuminating work as you persist with your daily schedule. You will gain an ever-expanding knowledge of the material.

The New Testament

Paul described the New Testament as the unveiling of the Old Testament (Colossians 1:25–26). He alluded to the Old Testament insofar as it illustrated and elucidated and supported the New Testament.

The message of the New Testament is the culmination of revelation. It is that which embodies and engulfs all that was in the Old Testament. In a sense, the New Testament will summarize for you the content of the Old Testament, as well as lead you further into the fullness of revelation. It is for this reason our major thrust in Bible study should be reading the New Testament.

My Strategy

When I was in seminary I decided to read 1 John every day for thirty days. You should try it; it will only take you about twenty-five minutes to read it all the way through. Fight the temptation on about the eighth day to think you’ve got it down. If you stick with it, you’ll gain a tremendous comprehension of 1 John.

When preparing sermons, I always read through the pertinent book repeatedly until the whole book fills my mind in a kind of visual perception. It is also very helpful to take a three-by-five card and write down the major theme of each chapter. As you do this you’ll begin to develop a mental map of the book you’re studying.

After 1 John, go to a large book in the New Testament like the gospel of John. Don’t be intimidated by the twenty-one chapters, just divide it into three sections. Read the first seven chapters for thirty days, the second seven for thirty days, and the third seven for thirty days. At the end of those ninety days you will have pretty well mastered the content of the gospel of John along with memorizing the major theme of each chapter.

After the gospel of John you might want to go to Philippians, another short book. Then you might want to go to Matthew, then to Colossians, and then to Acts. Divide it up like that, continually going back and forth between a small book and a large book. Such a plan is highly achievable if you keep moving forward one step at a time. In approximately two and a half years you will have finished the whole New Testament—and you’ll be on your third time through the Old Testament! You should read the Bible anyway, so you might as well read it in a way that you can remember it.

The Benefit

The Bible is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). It will come alive in your life as you read it in a repetitious manner. When I started using this method I was amazed at how fast I began to retain the New Testament. Isaiah said that we learn, “Order on order, order on order, line on line, line on line, a little here, a little there” (Isaiah 28:13).

You learn by repetition. The reading retention you gain from that will lay a wonderful foundation for the vital task of rightly interpreting the sacred text. Sound Bible interpretation is the next phase of Bible study and we’ll look at that next time.

[ John MacArthur ]

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Why a Study Bible?

The editors of Tabletalk asked me to speak about study Bibles and what drove Ligonier Ministries, in particular, to publish a thoroughly revised and updated version of the Reformation Study Bible. I’m glad to take up this task, as I continue to believe that a good study Bible is one of the most important tools for helping people grow in the things of God.

Another article this month will deal with the history of study Bibles, so I won’t go into detail on that specific subject. However, I do want to point out that our efforts to produce a study Bible are born of the same passion that drove men in years past to get the Word of God into the minds and hearts and souls of every person. This passion compelled William Tyndale to cross the whole continent of Europe, moving from city to city to escape execution, translating the ancient Hebrew into words that a literate plowboy could read and understand. After the Diet of Worms, Martin Luther fled in a faked-kidnapping episode to the Wartburg castle. There, he donned a disguise and undertook the task of putting the Bible into the German vernacular. This was anathema to the Roman church—Luther was told that if he were to translate the Bible into the common tongue, he would open a floodgate of iniquity. Hundreds of different denominations would arise, each claiming to base their faith on the Bible. Luther agreed that that could very well happen. But, he said, if getting the gospel that is plain enough for every child to understand into the hands of the normal person carries with it the risk that some will misinterpret Scripture and open a floodgate of iniquity, then so be it. Luther understood the importance of every person’s knowing Scripture, and he knew that the church had to get it out to the masses even though misuse of the Bible was possible. As long as the church is faithful to this Word, she cannot be held accountable for its misuse.

At Ligonier, we’re confident in the power of the Word of God to convert sinners and equip Christians for every good work. We want the gospel to go forth to every nation, even if some may take that gospel and twist it to their own ends. But we want the people of God to grow deeper in their faith and to explore the depths of the gospel, which is simple enough for all to understand and yet so deep that in our lifetime we can only begin to scratch the surface of its meaning and application. For that, sound teaching is indispensable, and that’s why our goal has been to provide a study Bible grounded in the Reformed tradition of Christian theology.

Reformed theology, which C.H. Spurgeon said is merely a nickname for Christianity, is our passion here at Ligonier. We want to spread the knowledge of the gospel to as many people as possible to help churches around the world understand the substance of its message. Everything we do through Ligonier Ministries is directed toward that end, including the Reformation Study Bible.

There is distaste in our day, even in the church, for doctrine. People say, “I can live the Christian life without being concerned about doctrine.” Well, if you are not concerned about doctrine, then the best thing you can do with your Bible is throw it away, because that is what the Bible is—it is sixty-six divinely revealed books of doctrine. On the night before His execution, Jesus met in the upper room with His disciples and prayed His High Priestly Prayer. He poured out His soul to the Father in behalf of His followers—His disciples and those who would believe through the ministry of the original disciples. And His prayer was for their sanctification. He said to His heavenly Father, “Sanctify them through thy truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). Now, if you want to be sanctified, if you want to grow in conformity to the image of Christ, you need to know the truth of God. You need to know doctrine. The whole point of a good study Bible, such as the Reformation Study Bible, is to help you learn the theology that God reveals in His sacred Word that will shape your life and bring you into conformity with Christ.

The original Geneva Bible, which you will read about in this issue of Tabletalk, was developed to help people learn the theology revealed in God’s Word. It is in the spirit of that Geneva Bible that we produced the original New Geneva Study Bible, and then the Reformation Study Bible. We wanted a resource that, like the Geneva Bible, faithfully taught the Scriptures and presented the key tenets of Reformed theology rediscovered in the Protestant Reformation. And in that same spirit, we have the completely new, reworked edition of the Reformation Study Bible—which really excites me.

[ R.C. Sproul ]

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How to Study the Bible

Have you ever a read passage in the Bible and discovered something you never noticed before? How many interpretations can one Scripture passage have? Are all interpretations valid? While the basic message of Scripture is clear, those who do not understand and apply the basic principles of biblical interpretation can easily misinterpret it. In this message, Dr. R.C. Sproul, Sr. will introduce some of the more important tools and concepts that are necessary in order to properly study and understand the Bible.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRmWSB1c6L8

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Beautifully True

How can we know that these are the words of God? He opens our eyes to his unique beauty on this canvas called the Bible.

[ John Piper ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXiXWx6so_4

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Audience of One

I come on my knees to lay down before You
Bringing all that I am, longing only to know You
Seeking Your face, and not only Your hand
I find You embracing me just as I am

And I lift these songs to You and You alone
As I sing to You in my praises make Your home

To my audience of one, You are Father, and You are Son
As Your Spirit flows free, let it find within me
A heart that beats to praise You
And now just to know You more has become my great reward
To see Your kingdom come and Your will be done
I only desire to be Yours, Lord

So what could I bring to honor Your majesty?
What song could I sing that would move the heart of royalty?
And all that I have is this life that You’ve given me
So Lord, let me live for You, my song with humility

And Lord, as the love song of my life is played
I have one desire to bring glory to Your name

[ Big Daddy Weave ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1NqAOYDZv0

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Audience of One

Lord you see every part of me
I’m tired of feeling underground
It’s time to take this inside…
And all my insecurity
It always gets the best of me, now

You and I will be alright
If there’s nothing more to come
’cause Lord I know I sing tonight
For an audience of one

There’s something new inside of me
I’m overwhelmed by what i’ve found
Time to take this inside…
And all my insecurity
I won’t let it get the best of me, now

Time to turn this thing around
It’s time to turn this thing around

Far from these ordinary ways i’ll stay
So far from these ordinary ways i’ll stay

[ Sanctus Real ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgvfWpplUW8

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Holiness

Holiness, holiness is what I long for
Holiness is what I need
Holiness, holiness is what You want from me

Holiness, holiness is what I long for
Holiness is what I need
Holiness, holiness is what You want from me

So, take my heart and form it
Take my mind and transform it
Take my will and conform it
To Yours, to Yours, oh, Lord

Faithfulness, faithfulness is what I long for
Faithfulness is what I need
Faithfulness, faithfulness is what You want from me

So, take my heart and form it
Take my mind and transform it
Take my will and conform it
To Yours, to Yours, oh, Lord

So, take my heart and form it
Take my mind and transform it
Take my will and conform it
To Yours, to Yours, oh, Lord
To Yours, to Yours, oh, Lord

Brokenness, brokenness is what I long for
Brokenness is what I need
Brokenness, brokenness is what You want from me
It’s what You want for me
It’s what I want.

[ Sonicflood ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g85J9O7RU-4

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Parable Guy
(Parody of “American Pie” by Don McLean)

A long, long time ago, I can still remember how amusing He could make things sound
And I knew if I’d had my pen, that I should take notes even then
And maybe then I’d have them for you now
But every word He said was clever — and every parable I remember
Matthew has recorded — and Luke, I think, has more yet
I can’t remember if I try — what I learned about in junior high
But some things taught by Jesus Christ remain, refusing to die
So bye, bye Mr. Parable Guy
Got my blessin’ through the lessons taught by Heaven’s Messiah
Them good old days of seekin’ wisdom divine
Sittin’ list’nin’ to the Parable Guy — Listen to the Parable Guy
Did you like the Book of Luke and do you like fables that are true
If you like I’ll tell you some
Cause a true believer’s crop is slow when seed gets wasted on the road, but
Plant ’em deep and plow the land and they’ll grow
Now I know the storms will come again so don’t start your mansion in the sand
He won’t pick off the fruits if that fig tree didn’t produce
And if a lowly widow won’t give up she can make her case and win a wicked judge
But the new wine is powerful stuff — it waits for you to try
You gotta drink it CHORUS
Now, if a shepherd’s sheep are all at home and one goes out on his own alone
Well, that’s not where he needs to be
Won’t the shepherd search for the missing sheep and of course, a woman doesn’t sleep
Till the coin she can’t find is retrieved
Oh, and while the kid was gettin’ down and spendin’ all his money in town
Of course his father yearned — oh, for him to return
And all the weddin’ guests who don’t get smart
The Lord just catches them off guard
And leaves them virgins in the dark the day the groom arrives
Bells were ringin’ CHORUS
Selfish wealth it isn’t gonna help if your barns are stocked like a fallout shelter
Grain piled high with all your cash
The wedding has a lot of guests — Today it’s time for your formal best
I’d suggest you follow guidelines when you dress
Now at halftime there were things to do so the farmer paid another crew
They all got paid for that — Oh, but the jealous ones were mad
And as the treasure finder pays takes the field — The merchant says this jewel’s a steal
They’ll lose it all for such a deal and pay the fullest price
They got the kingdom CHORUS
Oh, and there they were all in one place from every nation, tongue and race
With goats and lambs apart in pens
So c’mon, drag the fishnet, catch the fish — Don’t splash that on your candlestick cause
Flour with the leaven’s gonna spread
Oh, and as they robbed him on the way the man was left in disarray
No neighbor stopped to help — And he couldn’t save himself
And as a stranger finally pulled aside — He spied the battered Israelite
I saw Him save him gladly with delight — He made it through the night
He was strengthened CHORUS
The little children sang the blues and they blasted forth some happy tunes
But things just failed to turn their way
“I went out and I made some more!” said the servant who got his reward
But the man that had excuses couldn’t pay
And when the wheat was filled with weeds
The mustard climbed from the smallest seed
And all the birds were hopin’ the birdhouse now was open
And the thing that I admire most from all those funny parables
They taught the lessons for the folks whose faith was rooted in Christ
Cause they were seekin’ CHORUS

[ ApologetiX – “Jesus Christ Morningstar” album ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qS5zVxEbsa0

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Livin What Jesus Spoke Of
(Parody of “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin)

He’s been through crucifixion – That cat’s been through it all
Christ’s real; He ain’t religion – God’s Word’s gonna save your soul
He’s into new creation – Proved it when He came alive
He’s God – are you a Christian? Forget those pagan lies
He’ll make you take your cross up
And go stand against the grain
He’ll make you leave this crazy life
But He’ll take away your shame
If you’re truly born again – C’mon
Let Christ in right now
Livin’ what Jesus spoke of
Don’t pussyfoot around
Livin’ what Jesus spoke of
You’ll live forever then
And your sins He will dispose of
He will bail you out
Livin’ what Jesus spoke of (3x)
Wake up, you know you’re sinnin’
And it’s fun till it leads to hell
He took your part and He took your punishment
He wants to save me and you as well
Your newer nature’s goin’ to make your older friends complain
But once you have a faith in Him you’ll never be the same
Cause I think you’re gonna change – C’mon
CHORUS
He’ll make you take your cross up
And go stand against the grain
He’ll make you leave this crazy life
But He’ll take away your shame
Bite the bullet and get saved – C’mon
CHORUS

[ ApologetiX – “Spoofernatural” album ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOvp3JpXnUM

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La Bible
(Parody of “La Bamba” by Ritchie Valens)

Follow along in the Bible
Follow along in the Bible
You’ll never read any book that is better
Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
Joshua, Judges and Ruth
Then 1 & 2
Samuel and Kings and Chronicles
Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther
And then Job, Psalms and Proverbs
Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon, Song of Solomon
Then Isaiah
Jeremiah
Lamentations – uh huh
Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea
Joel, Amos and Obadiah
And Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk and
Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and
After these there’s Malachi
LEAD
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John-a
Acts of the Apostles and Romans
1,2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians
Philippians, Colossians, 1,2 Thessalonians
and 1,2 Timothy
Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1,2 Peter
1,2,3 John
Jude, Rev’lation
That’s the Bible
I like Bible
Try my Bible
Bye Bye Bible

[ ApologetiX – “Spoofernatural” album ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmFAHBTmQbk

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I Wanna Read The Bible
(Parody of “I Wanna Be Sedated” performed by the Ramones and written by Joey Ramone)

Twenty twenty twenty-four hours or more
I wanna read the Bible
Old Testament don’t have to be a chore
I wanna read the Bible
It’s just Genesis, and Exodus, Leviticus again
Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua and then
Judges, Ruth and First and Second Samuel makes 10
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!
Twenty twenty twenty-four hours or more
I wanna read the Bible
Old Testament don’t have to be a bore
I wanna read the Bible
It’s just First and Second Kings
And First and Second Chronicles
Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther and the book of Job
Psalms and Proverbs and Ecclesiasteeees
And Song of Songs of Solomon
Twenty twenty twenty-four hours or more
I wanna read the Bible
Old Testament don’t have to be ignored
I wanna read the Bible
It’s Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations and Ezekiel
Daniel and Hosea, Joel and Amos, Obadiah
Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah
Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi-yi-yi-yi
Bi-Bi-Bi-Bible
Bi-Bi-Bi-Bible … I wanna read the Bible
Bi-Bi-Bi-Bible
Bi-Bi-Bi-Bible … I wanna read the Bible
Bi-Bi-Bi-Bible
Bi-Bi-Bi-Bible … I wanna read the Bible
Bi-Bi-Bi-Bible
Bi-Bi-Bi-Bible … I do believe we made it!

[ ApologetiX – “Rare Not Well Done” album ]

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Message In The Bible
(Parody of “Message in a Bottle” by the Police)

Oh! There’s a vast array of idle philosophies, oh
They want to know the way, but no one’s here but Me, though
More holiness than any man could bear
Yes, you see the door to follow through is narrow

I’ll send My S-o-n to the world
I’ll send My S-o-n to the world
I hope that someone gets My
I hope that some will get My
I know that some will get My
Message in the Bible, yeah
Message in the Bible, yeah

The years have passed since I wrote My quotes
I sent them notice right from the start
The Holy Ghost can teach them the rest, though
Let Him in your life, illuminate your heart

I’ll send My S-o-n to the world
I’ll send My S-o-n to the world
I hope that someone gets My
I hope that some will get My
I know that some will get My
Message in the Bible, yeah
Message in the Bible, yeah
Ohhhhh, message in the Bible, yeah
Message in the Bible, yeah

Wrote down these warnings – they don’t believe in My Law
100 million Bibles tossed out and ignored
Seems a lot of folks are reading it, though
And it will not pass away – look there for some hope

I’ll send My S-o-n to the world
I’ll send My S-o-n to the world
I hope that someone gets My
I hope that some will get My
I know that some will get My
Message in the Bible, yeah
Message in the Bible, whoa
Message in the Bible, whoa
Message in the Bible, yeah
Sending down My S-o-n
Sending down My S-o-n
I’m sending down My S-o-n
I’m sending down My S-o-n
I’m sending down My S-o-n
I’m sending down My S-o-n
Sending down My S-o-n
Sending down My S-o-n

[ ApologetiX – “Only A Glorified Cover Band” album ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYHaY0BnXAs

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At the commencement of the year 1874, one such believer composed the following hymn as a New Year’s greeting card.

Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
In working or in waiting, another year with Thee.
Another year of progress, another year of praise,
Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service, of witness for Thy love,
Another year of training for holier work above.
Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
On earth, or else in heaven, another year for Thee.

[ Frances Havergal, “Another Year Is Dawning,” Un­der the Sur­face, 1874 ].

 

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DEEP THOUGHTS:

“A true and faithful Christian does not make holy living an accidental thing. It is his great concern. As the business of the soldier is to fight, so the business of the Christian is to be like Christ.”
[ Jonathan Edwards ]

“I do not want to be like a Paul or any mere man. I want to be like Christ. I want to follow Him only, copy His teachings, drink in His Spirit, and place my feet in His footprints. Oh, to be more like Christ!”
[ Adoniram Judson ]

“If you long to be more like Christ, then act like Him, and walk as He walked.”
[ Jonathan Edwards ]

“The Bible is so simple you have to have someone else help you misunderstand it.”
[ Harmon Okinyo ]

“Renewal of mind begins with reading and mediation on the Scriptures.”
[ Lailah Gifty Akita ]

“You can read the Bible, and should, but until you study it, it doesn’t come alive for you and teach you a lasting lesson.

Take time. Study God’s Word. It will change you.”
[ Gail Davis ]

“It’s not the amount of Bible you read, it’s the amount of Bible you believe.”
[ Carlos A. Rodriguez ]

“Anytime I’m not reading my Bible or praying, I feel like I’m wasting my time.”
[ Mark Batterson ]

“I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from The Savior of the world is communicated to us through this Book.”
[ Abraham Lincoln ]

“The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”
[ Søren Kierkegaard ]

“The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.”
[ Augustine of Hippo ]

“It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it’s the parts that I do understand.”
[ Mark Twain ]

“The Bible was not given for our information but for our transformation.”
[ Dwight Lyman Moody ]

“The reason you don’t like the Bible, you old sinner, is because it knows all about you.”
[ Billy Sunday ]

“The primary purpose of reading the Bible is not to know the Bible but to know God.”
[ James Merritt ]

“A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”
[ Charles H. Spurgeon ]

On a wall near the main entrance to the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, is a portrait with the following inscription: “James Butler Bonham–no picture of him exists. This portrait is of his nephew, Major James Bonham, deceased, who greatly resembled his uncle. It is placed here by the family that people may know the appearance of the man who died for freedom.” No literal portrait of Jesus exists either. But the likeness of the Son who makes us free can be seen in the lives of His true followers.
[ Bill Morgan ]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

FOCUS VERSES:

“God has predestined His people to be conformed to the image of His Son: that is, to become like Jesus.”
[ Romans 8:29 ]

“And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him.”
[ 2 Corinthians 3:18b ]

Mark

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If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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