Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Confessions of a Sinner turned Saint – part 3

…but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.  - 2 Peter 3:18 (NKJV)

See previous posts for part 1 & 2. I shall call this section: Getting Grounded & Surrender.

When I was 16 there was another milestone in my Christian walk. For the past 3 years I had tried to get into the habit of reading my Bible daily. I wanted to, but often would completely forget! That fall I attended a week-long video seminar – Bill Gothard’s Basic Life Principles seminar. There were several things that impacted me through that week at this time in my life, but the one thing that stuck the most was this: Mr. Gothard made a challenge to those listening, that if we struggled with reading our Bible daily to pray about making a vow to God that we would read it every day provided He reminded us. It was a very serious commitment to make (warning: not one everyone should make – this was just my experience and personal conviction), but I was compelled to do it and promised God that from that day on I would read at least 1 chapter in my Bible every day, as long as He would be faithful to remind me. After that, the Lord was very faithful to remind me of this commitment and I very quickly had a daily habit of spending time reading not just one chapter, but multiple chapters, books and eventually all the way through the Bible in the next year and a half.

“You all have by you a large treasure of divine knowledge, in that you have the Bible in your hands; therefore be not contented in possessing but little of this treasure.”   -  Jonathan Edwards

When was in college I began to really grow doctrinally. Attending a private Seventh-Day Adventist college as a Baptist meant I had to pay attention in chapel and really search the Scriptures for myself. I began to really study different aspects of Scripture like the person and work of Christ, salvation (how we get saved), sanctification, the Church, the end times and more. I am so grateful now that I attended that school because 1) it allowed me to live at home with my family, and 2) it really stretched me spiritually and grounded me in my faith. There were some who were genuine Christians there, but the majority of the students in my department were not, and actually many weren’t SDA either.  

 During 4 summers between and after college I worked at a Christian camp and was blessed to spend two of those weeks each summer under a great Bible teacher. This is where I really began to deeply study the Bible and all its different aspects. Through his teaching and example as well as the sharpening of brothers and sisters in the Lord I learned so much and was driven to study the Bible all the more.

"I spend half my time telling Christians to study doctrine and the other half telling them that doctrine is not enough."   –  D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones 

Also during my college years another milestone occurred. I attended a week-long revival put on by LifeAction ministries at a church in the area. The Lord really used the messages that week to convict me of some things in my life that I needed to confess to others and make right that I had been ignoring. There was a lot of soul-searching and conviction and the Lord graciously brought me through and gave me the willingness and strength to surrender my fears and walk in obedience. If I hadn’t surrendered those seemingly small things, my spiritual life would have been greatly hindered.

I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord," And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.   - Psalms 32:5 (NKJV)

The idea of being fully surrendered is throughout Scripture. We are in and of ourselves, self-dependent and proud. We want to do things our way. Sure often we want to do good things, like go to the mission field, but things that are not done in God’s way will not have God’s blessing. Somehow we think that the "little things" won't matter, "It won't really make a difference... I mean really, what's just a little compromise. And it's not really compromise... I mean...." We are SO good at rationalizing in order to do what we want! The little things DO matter. Let us learn to surrender even the small things, for if we are faithful in little we will be faithful in much and we will lack no good thing.

“Let us see that we keep God before our eyes; that we walk in His ways and seek to please and glorify Him in everything great and small. Depend upon it, God’s work, done in God’s way, will never lack God’s supply.”   -  Hudson Taylor

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.   - Psalms 37:4-5 (NKJV)

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