Posts Tagged ‘Charles Spurgeon’

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“FAT DENIED” – April 13

April 13, 2015

“Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”  Philippians 3:19

lose-weight-now-300x200I have reached an unachievable milestone.

Four years ago my bathroom scale registered 227 lbs.  That too was a milestone but not a surprise.  I had been on a rather rapid ascension as I broke new heavier weights on a regular basis.  This ascension was quickly taking me to 230 lbs; an unthinkable weight that no longer allowed me to deny the reality of my physique.  I had ceased to be husky or thick or filled-out.

I was fat.

For years, my exercise had consisted of mere yard work associated with the eating habits of a twenty-nothing’s metabolism.  Inevitably, every birthday was heralded with a larger number on the bathroom scale.  Yet, my body type allowed me to deny the reality of the bathroom scale.  I carry my weight throughout my upper body.  As a result, I have never had a big gut.  I carry weight across my chest, down my back and through my torso.  In fact, my body has an amazing ability to insert fat into body locations that I didn’t know could hold fat.  I confused strategically placed fat for being muscle.

The result was a redefining of being overweight.

I read an article in Bicycling magazine about the ideal cycling weight.  According to the article, my ideal cycling weight is 167 lbs, which I thought was simply absurd.  There was no way that a guy of my stature and build could be 167 lbs.  So, I changed a couple of the variables in the formula and re-calculated an ideal weight of 186 lbs.  I felt that this weight while maybe not absurd, it surely was ridiculous.  There was no way a guy with my muscle mass could get down to 186 lbs.

Yesterday, when I stepped upon my bathroom scale, it registered 186.6 lbs.

It was a rather anticlimactic achievement of the unachievable.  I had a mental image of what 186 lbs. would look like and reality has not matched my mental glamour shots.

I still can’t see my abs.
I still have “man-boobs” and love-handles.
I can still lose another 10 lbs.
I can grab hold of exactly where the next 15 lbs. will come from.

When I was 227 lbs., I argued against obesity charts that stated I needed to lose 40 lbs.  I scoffed at an ideal of losing 60 lbs as impossible.  I am no longer scoffing.  I had lived a lifestyle that normalized excessive weight.  I criticized those who stated the reality of an ideal as being ridiculous and without understanding.

I have now proven who was ridiculous.

The most disturbing aspect of this weight loss is the realization of how deceived of my own condition I had become.  No one had deceived me.  I had done it to myself.  I like to think of myself as a logical and rational person.  However, I had convinced myself through years of denial that fat was muscle.  How irrational was that?  Yet, I don’t think I am alone.

obesity-overweight-statistics-diet-planIt was only when I had achieved some weight loss that the combination of a bathroom mirror and scale began to provide an effective rebuttal to years of justification.  I now know the ideal cycling weight is possible.  It is an ideal not measured by what others are doing or what I think is possible.  It is an ideal based upon accurately identifying fat.

The realization of this self-deception has caused me to contemplate the possibility of a similar pattern of denial in far more important aspects of my life.  I look at my spiritual life and consider myself reasonably mature.  I endeavor to live in a manner of obedience to the ideal presented in the Bible.  Jesus Christ says follow me and that has been what I desire to do.

However, I wonder if years of living in a soft and decadent age may have eased me into a redefinition of what is possible in the Christian life.  I can provide a series of justifications as to why the ideal of perfect sanctification has not occurred within my life.  Yet, could many of those justifications merely be a confusion of disobedience for spiritual maturity?  Self-deception substituting of sin for strength. Just as 65% of Americans are physically overweight to obese, how many professing Christians are spiritually over-weight to obese with sin?

We live in a world of convenient confession and an inoffensive gospel.  Individual self-esteem is idolized through every aspect of our society, including the Church.  There are many in the “church” who redefine sin as virtue and confuse unrighteousness with strength.

I fear me that the Christian church is far more likely to lose her integrity in these soft and silken days than in those rougher times. We must be awake now, for we traverse the enchanted ground, and are most likely to fall asleep to our own undoing, unless our faith in Jesus be a reality, and our love to Jesus a vehement flame. Many in these days of easy profession are likely to prove tares, and not wheat; hypocrites with fair masks on their faces, but not the true born children of the living God.  ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Many professing Christians are spiritually fat with sin, having deceived themselves into thinking the ideal is absurd.  I don’t want to be one.

We must return to believing that there is an ideal of obedience.  We must not redefine obedience in order to make it reasonable or appropriate for our time.  We must not criticize those who state the reality of the ideal as being ridiculous and without understanding.

Also, we must believe the ideal of obedience is possible for all those who are in Christ.

Some ideals of obedience may seem unachievable and they may not be achievable, today.  However, that does not eliminate our hope.  Do not be deceived into thinking that God does not have something better for you.  We are continually being transformed from one degree of glory to another.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.  (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Do not give up on the ideal of sanctification.  Do not be deceived into thinking you are strong when you are not.  Do not be content with carrying strategically placed sin simply because no one notices or you have a better façade than your friends.  Press on toward the goal of obedience emanating from a grateful heart in love with God.  Press on despite what the world around you is languishing in.  Press on toward the holiness that God has called us to because the obedience we desire comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.  All things are possible for those who are in Christ.

Let us never measure our religion by that of others, and think we are doing enough if we have gone beyond our neighbors. ~ J.C. Ryle

PRAYER: Lord, remove any self-deception that I may have allowed in my life.  Help me to see clearly.  Examine my heart and show me where I have allowed sin to linger and accumulate.  Make me lean in obedience to you.  Father, you have been so good to me.  Thank you for the gift of faith.  Lord, you are my good Father and you have said that you will give me what I ask in your name; I ask to be sanctified in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ.  Transform me from one degree of glory to the next.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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QUOTE (C.H. Spurgeon) – Jan 6

January 6, 2015

Português: fotografia de Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“You know more about your magazines and novels than what God has written; many of you will read a novel from the beginning to the end, and what have you got? A mouthful of foam when you are done. But you cannot read the Bible; that solid, lasting, substantial, and satisfying food goes uneaten, locked up in the cupboard of neglect; while anything that a man writes, a best seller of the day, is greedily devoured.”
~ C.H. Spurgeon

“The Bible must be your chart, and you must exercise great watchfulness that your way may be according to its directions. You must take heed to your daily life, as well as study your Bible, and you must study your Bible that you may take heed to your daily life. With the greatest care a man will go astray if his map misleads him; but with the most accurate map he will still lose his road if he does not take heed to it. The narrow way was never hit upon by chance, neither did any heedless man ever lead a holy life. We can sin without thought, we have only to neglect the great salvation and ruin our souls; but to obey the Lord and walk uprightly will need all our heart and soul and mind. Let the careless remember this.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon

In honor of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, an English Baptist preacher, who was converted to a living faith at age 16 on this day in 1850.

Resources:
January 6 – Today in Christian History
Quotes> C.H. Spurgeon

 

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QUOTE (Charles H. Spurgeon) – June 7

June 7, 2014

Spurgeon near the end of his life.

“Those who have no master are slaves to themselves. Depend upon it, you will either serve Satan or Christ, either self or the Savior. You will find sin, self, Satan, and the world to be hard masters; but if you wear the livery of Christ, you will find him so meek and lowly of heart that you will find rest unto your souls. He is the most magnanimous of captains.”

“There never was his like among the choicest of princes. He is always to be found in the thickest part of the battle. When the wind blows cold he always takes the bleak side of the hill. The heaviest end of the cross lies ever on his shoulders. If he bids us carry a burden, he carries it also. If there is anything that is gracious, generous, kind, and tender, yea lavish and superabundant in love, you always find it in him. These 40 years and more have I served him, blessed be his name! and I have had nothing but love from him. I would be glad to continue yet another 40 years in the same dear service here below if so it pleased him. His service is life, peace, joy. Oh, that you would enter on it at once! God help you to enlist under the banner of Jesus even this day! Amen.”
~ Charles H. Spurgeon

In honor of Charles Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, who preached his last sermon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on this day in 1891.

Resources:
Last Spurgeon Sermon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle – 1891
June 7, 1891: Charles Spurgeon Preaches His Last Sermon

 

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QUOTE (Charles H. Spurgeon) – April 19

April 19, 2014

Spurgeon at age 23.

“My sins were the scourges which lacerated those blessed shoulders, and crowned with thorn those bleeding brows: my sins cried “Crucify him! crucify him!” and laid the cross upon his gracious shoulders. His being led forth to die is sorrow enough for one eternity: but my having been his murderer, is more, infinitely more, grief than one poor fountain of tears can express.”
~ Charles H. Spurgeon

In honor of C.H. Spurgeon, known as the prince of preachers, who was called, at the age of 19, to pastor the New Park Chapel in London on this day in 1854.

Resources:
Today in Christian History – April 19
Charles H. Spurgeon>Quotes

 

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QUOTE (C.H. Spurgeon) – Jan 6

January 6, 2014
Foter.com / Public Domain Mark 1.0

“Conversion may be known, next, by this fact, that it changes the whole man. It changes the principle upon which he lives. He lived for self—now he lives for God. He did right because he was afraid of punishment if he did wrong—but now he shuns evil because he hates it. He did right because he hoped to merit Heaven, but now no such selfish motive sways him—he knows that he is saved and he does right out of gratitude to God! His objects in life are changed—he lived for gain, or worldly honor—now he lives for the Glory of God! His comforts are changed—the pleasures of the world and sin are nothing to him—he finds his comfort in the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Spirit. His desires are changed—that which he once panted and pined for, he is now content to do without. And that which he once despised, he now longs after as the hart pants after the water brooks.”
~ C.H. Spurgeon

In honor of Charles H. Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, who came to saving faith in Christ on this day in 1850.

RESOURCES:
Today in History – January 6 
Signs of True Conversion — Charles Spurgeon (Quote of the Day)

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“A PRAYERFUL RUN” – May 20

May 20, 2013

“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.  For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”  Matthew 5:44

I pray while I run.  I pray that I will finish the loop and won’t die but I pray about everything else also.  Running is very meditative for me.  I have found that I pray in rhythm with the cadence of my foot strikes.  It is nothing that I try to do, it just happens.  My prayers come out in measure with my breathing.  It is rather meditative.

I do not know exactly why it is such a sweet time for my soul.  It might be the lack of distractions.  It might be due to just being alone and fully awake.  It might be that the physical excursion allows my mind to just flow.  I don’t know why it feels natural for me to talk with God while I run.  It just does.

I don’t come to these times with a prayer list.  My running-prayer time is more of a conversation.  As things and people come to my mind, I pray about them.  I usually spend some time mulling and praying through the passages that were in my Bible reading.  I spend most of my time praying for my wife and kids.  I pray for my extended family.  I pray about all the issues we are facing.  I pray about work.  I pray for people I have met and my friends.  I pray for our world leaders.  I pray for my… enemies.

This one got me stumped the other day.  I was in the back stretch of my run.  I was tired and the fog of fatigue was clouding my mind a bit.  I was praying through the lawsuit that my company has been threatened with.  I have written about this before in But I Don’t Wanna Be Slapped and Dealing with Troubles.  As you can see, it is an ongoing and reoccurring theme.

Evidently, I need to continue to preach to myself about loving my enemies and praying for them.  In that moment, I had a complete blank of what to pray for them about.  It seems all that I could bring to my mind would give them stability and their stability appears to lead directly to my instability.  Praying for them felt like I was praying against myself and my colleagues.

What could I pray for them about?  I struggled with that question for a couple of miles as their faces flashed through my mind.  As the asphalt passed under my feet, I wondered if I really loved them.  We are told to love our enemies.  That is an easy command when you don’t have anyone really coming after you.  It is so much harder when you anticipate having to go into an unnecessary legal battle with them.

I don’t love what they are doing.  I hate it.  I hate everything that has come out of it.  I hate how it makes me feel.  I hate all the uncertainty and waste.  However, I was reminded what their actions are; sin.  Their actions against me are coming from a heart that needs to be redeemed.  Several of the players on the other side are not Christians.  I want them to be saved.  Just because they have been very active in tearing down my company’s reputation, does not mean that I want them to go to hell.  I don’t; I just want them to leave us alone.  As my legs moved in a mindless motion, I realized that I don’t hate them.  I don’t want a pound of flesh out of them.  I don’t want them to lose their jobs.  I don’t want them to be humiliated.  I want them to be saved.  I want them to come to Jesus and know my Savior…I want to spend eternity with them.

That is a lot more like love…I can love them by praying for their salvation.

There are a few in the other camp who are professing Christians.  It distresses me to think that fellow brothers in the Lord would act as these men have.  I don’t have a problem with Christians disagreeing.  However, it is how we disagree.  I truly believe that Christians can disagree in the secular environment with integrity and in a manner that is glorifying to God.  From my perspective these men have not done that.  I can pray about that.  I can pray that the Spirit would work in their hearts and motivate them to pursue a route that brings the most glory to God out of a bad situation.  They are my brothers in Christ.  I care more about the condition of their souls then I do about the money they are so passionately pursuing.  I know that they hold me in pretty low opinion.  That is fine; I know my heart and I am worse than they think.

If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him, for you are worse than he thinks you to be.
~ Charles Spurgeon

I just hope and pray that these men who profess the name of Jesus will use this conflict between us to glorify God.  I can ask no more.  If that happens then I will be satisfied.

I finally returned to my driveway.  My run had served its purpose.  It is so easy to pray for those who love us.  It is easy to pray for those who are indifferent to us.  It is easy to love those who love us.  However, is there any difference in that from what those who hate Jesus do?

The most loving thing I can do for my enemies, those who persecute and prosecute, is to pray for their salvation and sanctification.  God can do anything.  He can handle this little problem as well.  May HE be glorified, first and foremost and may my actions speak to a difference that does not come from this world.

PRAYER: Lord, forgive me for my attitudes towards these men.  Forgive me for confusing their actions with who they are.  Lord, I pray that they will stop doing what they are doing and act with integrity.  Father, examine my heart – I want to resolve this issue.  However, I want these enemies of mine to know You more than anything else.  Father, I pray for their salvation and sanctification.  Please use this messy situation to draw them closer to You.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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