Monthly Archives: June 2008

Learning Self-Discipline

John MacArthur07PhotoJohn MacArthur

For many years, I have had the privilege of knowing the renowned classical guitarist Christopher Parkening. By the time he was thirty, he had become a master of his instrument. But such mastery did not come easily or cheaply. While other children played and participated in sports, he spent several hours a day practicing the guitar. The result of that self-disciplined commitment is proficiency on his instrument that few can match.

Self-discipline is important in any endeavor of life. It’s best defined as the ability to regulate one’s conduct by principle and sound judgment, rather than by impulse, desire, or social custom. Biblically, self-discipline may be summarized in one word: obedience. To exercise self-discipline is to avoid evil by staying within the bounds of God’s law.

I’m grateful for my parents, coaches, professors, and the others who helped me develop self-discipline in my own life. People who have the ability to concentrate, focus on their goals, and consistently stay within their priorities tend to succeed. Whether in academics, the arts, or athletics, success generally comes to the self-disciplined.

Since self-discipline is so important, how do you develop it? How can parents help their children develop it? Here are some practical tips that I’ve found helpful:

Start with small things.

Clean your room at home or your desk at work. Train yourself to put things where they belong when they are out of place. Make the old adage “A place for everything and everything in its place” your motto. After you’ve cleaned your room or desk, extend that discipline of neatness to the rest of your house and workplace. Get yourself to the point where orderliness matters. Learn how to keep your environment clean and clear so you can function without a myriad of distractions. Such neatness will further develop self-discipline by forcing you to make decisions about what is important and what is not. Learning self-discipline in the little things of life prepares the way for big successes. On the other hand, those who are undisciplined in small matters will likely be undisciplined in more important issues. In the words of Solomon, it is the little foxes that ruin the vineyards (Song of Sol. 2:15). And when it comes to a person’s integrity and credibility, there are no small issues.

A famous rhyme, based on the defeat of King Richard III of England at the battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, illustrates the importance of concentrating on small details:
For want of a nail, a shoe was lost,
For want of a shoe, a horse was lost,
For want of a horse, a battle was lost,
For want of a battle, a kingdom was lost,
And all for want of a horseshoe nail.

Get yourself organized.

Make a schedule, however detailed or general you are comfortable with, and stick to it. Have a to-do list of things you need to accomplish. Using a daily planning book or a personal information manager program on your computer would be helpful. But get organized, even if all you do is jot down appointments and to-do items on a piece of scrap paper. The simple reality is that if you don’t control your time, everything (and everyone) else will.

Don’t constantly seek to be entertained.

When you have free time, do things that are productive instead of merely entertaining. Read a good book, listen to classical music, take a walk, or have a conversation with someone. In other words, learn to entertain yourself with things that are challenging, stimulating, and creative. Things that are of no value except to entertain you make a very small contribution to your well-being.

Be on time.

If you’re supposed to be somewhere at a specific time, be there on time. The apostle Paul listed proper use of time as a mark of true spiritual wisdom: “Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16). Being punctual marks a life that is organized. It reveals a person whose desires, activities, and responsibilities are under control. Being on time also acknowledges the importance of other people and the value of their time.

Keep your word.

“Undertake not what you cannot perform,” a young George Washington exhorted himself, “but be careful to keep your promise.” If you say you’re going to do something, do it–when you said you would do it and how you said you would do it. When you make commitments, see them through. That calls for the discipline to properly evaluate whether you have the time and capability to do something. And once you’ve made the commitment, self-discipline will enable you to keep it.

Do the most difficult tasks first.

Most people do just the opposite, spending their time doing the easier, low priority tasks. But when they run out of time (and energy), the difficult, high-priority tasks are left undone.

Finish what you start.

Some people’s lives are a sad litany of unfinished projects. In the words of poet John Greenleaf Whittier,
For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: “It might have been!”
If you start something, finish it. Therein lies an important key to developing self-discipline.

Accept correction.

Correction helps you develop self-discipline by showing you what you need to avoid. Thus, it should not be rejected, but accepted gladly. Solomon wrote “Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days” (Prov. 19:20); and “He whose ear listens to the life giving reproof will dwell among the wise. He who neglects discipline despises himself, but he who listens to reproof acquires understanding” (Prov. 15:31-32).

Practice self-denial.

Learn to say no to your feelings and impulses. Occasionally deny yourself pleasures that are perfectly legitimate for you to enjoy. Skip dessert after a meal. Drink a glass of iced tea instead of having that banana split that you love. Don’t eat that doughnut that caught your eye. Refraining from those things will remind your body who is in charge.

Welcome responsibility.

Volunteer to do things that need to be done. That will force you to have your life organized enough to have the time for such projects.These practical suggestions may not seem to involve any deep spiritual principles. Yet you cannot split your life into the secular and the spiritual. Instead you must live every aspect of your life to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). And self-discipline cultivated in the seemingly mundane things of life will spill over into the spiritual realm.


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COPYRIGHT ©2008 Grace to You

You may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commerical purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/MeetGTY/Copyright).

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Are You A Good Person?

Lets see –Take the test Are you a Good person ?

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Tozer short but sweet

A. W. TozerAfter the Bible the next most valuable book for the Christian is a good hymnal.

“Man: The Dwelling Place of God”, 1966, page 168

Amen to that A W, Amen to that!!!

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A.W. Tozer (Former CMA Pastor)

A. W. TozerPeople in the Christian churches who put their own convenience and their own comfort and their own selfish interests ahead of the claims of the gospel of Jesus Christ surely need to get down on their knees with an open Bible—and if they are honest as they search their own hearts, they will be shocked at what they find!(“Who Put Jesus on the Cross?”, 1975, page 79)

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Oh!!! where OH!!! where is Discernment!

Discernment!! Discernment! Discernment!!

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1 Timothy 4:15-16 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

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What did I learn in Church yesterday

We just ended the Gospel of Mark Study, which took us 57 weeks. I do not bring that up as a great accomplishment but as to glorify God. We studied it verse by verse and I believe allowed the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts and received the true meaning of the text. What amazed me through out the study was the passion the group showed during the year long class and the passion they had for the word of God.
There was a core group of people every week that never missed and I seen so much fruit from them, I am truly blessed to be part of this group. This is true fellowship Hebrews 10:24-25 and I believe this study of the Gospel of Mark has help us gain a genuine mutual love for each other 1 Peter 1:22 and as true believers we had fellowship with the Lord Himself. Revelation 3:20 Were not done yet. Next week we will start a study on the greatest sermon ever preach, The Sermon on the Mount. And by God’s power we will but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.2 Peter 3:18

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What was “Reformed” in the Reformation?

If one wants to know what the Protestant Reformation was all about without reading huge volumes of historical literature, it is perhaps most clarifying to look at the theological results. One should specifically note the rediscovery of five critical biblical doctrines that had been obscured from public view by the medieval version of what we now know as the Roman Catholic Church. And just so you know, Rome still either openly opposes or seriously distorts these doctrines. Using the Latin names given to each, they are:

Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone): The Reformers were united in their belief that the Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for salvation and Christian living (cf. 2 Peter 1:1-4). They held the Word of God to be the only standard by which men’s consciences may be bound. Rome, on the other hand, then and now, denies sola Scriptura by elevating Papal decrees and church tradition to what they say are equal (but are in reality greater) positions of authority than that of the Bible. Where the meaning of the Bible differs from the opinion of the Pope or official doctrine (as is very often the case) the Word of God plays a mute second fiddle.

Sola Gratia (by Grace alone): The reformers understood that salvation is not a cooperative event carried out by God and man working in partnership. In salvation, sinners are rescued from God’s wrath by His grace alone (cf. Titus 3:3-7). God’s grace is His spontaneous and unmerited favor, granted to the spiritually dead and helpless sinner through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. God mercifully releases those whom He is saving from their own willful bondage to sin and thus enables them to repent and believe (cf. John 3:3; 6:44; Rom. 8:6-8; 9:16). Interestingly, this point of doctrine is disputed today, not only by Rome, but also by many evangelicals.

Sola Fide (through Faith alone): “Justified” is the biblical term that describes a person as forgiven, not guilty, and perfectly righteous in God’s sight. According to Scripture, justification is bestowed on the sinner by grace alone through faith alone, “not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9; cf. Gal 2:16). According to official Roman Catholic dogma, however, using the word “alone” after the word “faith” will earn you a pronouncement of anathema (formal damnation). Rome actually forbids you to believe or repeat what the Bible plainly states! They insist that while justification begins with faith, it can only be completed through the sinner’s personal effort. In Roman Catholic theology, one may not say, “Therefore, having been justified by faith,” or “having now been justified by His blood” (the exact words of Paul in Romans 5:1 and 5:9, emphasis added). According to Rome, one may only believe that he is being justified—by faith plus works.

Solus Christus (because of Christ alone): The reformers understood that the salvation of God’s people was the work of Jesus Christ alone. His death was a sufficient and effective sacrifice for sin (cf. Heb. 9:12, 26, 28; 10:12, 14). He is the only mediator between God and men (cf. 1 Timothy 2:5). Only Christ’s righteousness (not the sinner’s personal righteousness) merits the believing sinner’s justification (2 Cor. 5:21). Rome, on the other hand, commands the performance of seven essential works of merit (sacraments) for justification. Rome also insists that Mary (not Jesus) is the dispenser of grace. While Rome denies that Christ’s righteousness may be imputed to the believing sinner, Mary is said to have vast amounts of excess rightousness which can be imputed to sinners. This form of blasphemy against the Son of God is bad enough, but it culminates in blasphemy against God the Father—the idolatry of Mary worship. Mary is praised as the “co-redemptress” and “co-mediatrix” with Christ. Rome even refers to her in some places as the savior of mankind, the one who commands God to save whom she will.

Soli Deo Gloria (for the glory of God alone): It is obvious that in Roman Catholic theology Mary receives equal (if not greater) credit than God for the salvation of sinners. Rome openly glorifies her. Also, God is robbed of His glory by making the sinner the one who ultimately performs (via the sacraments) or suffers (via Purgatory) his own way into heaven. But the Bible insists, and the reformers recognized, that God saves sinners by Himself. Therefore He alone should receive all praise and glory. And the God of the Bible is a jealous God (cf. Ex. 20:5). He will not share His glory with another (cf. Isaiah 42:8; 48:11).

So what was reformed (or recovered) during the Protestant Reformation? In the final analysis, it was the gospel of God’s grace. And the “church” that stole the gospel the first time and will gladly do so again if Christians everywhere do not take seriously the command to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3).

Copyright © 2006 Daryl Wingerd. Permission granted for reproduction in exact form. All other uses require written permission

Romans 11:36

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A.W. Tozer on religious work

Much religious work is being done these days that is not owned by our Lord and will not be accepted or rewarded in that great day. Superior human gifts are being mistaken for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and neither they who exercise these gifts nor the Christian public before whom they are exercised are aware of the deception. Never has there been more activity in religious circles and, I confidently believe, never has there been so little of God and so much of the flesh. Such work is a snare because it keeps us busy and at the same time prevents us from discovering that it is our work and not God’s. 1 Corinthians 4:3–5 Colossians 1:28–29 (The Size of the Soul, 42)

A.W.Tozer

You call me the way and walk me not. You call me the life and live me not. You call me master and obey me not. If I condemn you, blame me not.

You call me bread and eat me not. You call me truth and believe me not. You call me Lord and serve me not. If I condemn you, blame me not

Geoffrey O’Hara

Romans 11:36

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Lorrie Scheuerman and the band, OH and Mark too!!

Lorrie sings Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) at our Tent Revival right-click here to download or listen below

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Romans 11:36

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Why call me, Lord, Lord and do not the things I say

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Luke 6:46

You call me the way and walk me not. You call me the life and live me not. You call me master and obey me not. If I condemn you, blame me not.

You call me bread and eat me not. You call me truth and believe me not. You call me Lord and serve me not. If I condemn you, blame me not

Geoffrey O’Hara

Romans 11:36

Grace and Peace to you

in Him with love
Lenny
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