His commands are not burdensome

It is true to say that to love God is to obey God.

His commandments are not burdensome.

You cannot obey God without loving him.   That is called being a pharisee.  You cannot love God without obeying him, that is called being a hypocrite.  1 John 2

If you love God it is not a burden to obey him.  It is an act of faith.

 

It is possible that the bible is a burden. If you approach the bible as a burden… or If you feel crushed under the weight of God’s commands… Some thing is amis.  Something is not lined up correctly.  Something is mis-aligned.  Something at the HEART LEVEL is not aligned.

Need to ask the question… IF I feel burdened… why?

IF I feel like it is a checklist… why?

If I do not love it…..  why?

Heart issue…

Bible says “love God and obey him and his commands are NOT a burden”  so if I feel burdened… something is wrong… what?  (Note… it does not say they are easy… just not a burden)

Obedience to God through his word is ultimately an act of LOVE.   And so we need to ask ourselves the question…  WHY am I not delighting, WHY am I not treasuring?

**It is a HEART issue.**  Only I can answer that question… or only I in a community of people that I trust can answer that question….

It is not meant to be a burden and if it is a burden it is a problem with ME… no my work, my kids, my spouse, my God, my finances, my country or my community…

In fact it may be a good prayer — God would you deal with my heart.  In this moment give me a heart that treasures and prioritizes this book and prioritizes you?  Would you do that because I love you.

The bible is connected to God’s heart for us.

 

 

 

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Marriage

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/adding-some-spice-to-your-marriage

Adding Some Spice to Your Marriage.mp3

Pastor and author Ted Cunningham combines humor with practical advice for enjoying more connection and intimacy in your marriage.

 

  1. Men are microwaves, women are crock pots.
  2. Crock pot candle
  3. Start early in the Morning
    1. NST (non-s-touch) – 12 per day
      1. Hair over ear
      2. back
      3. thigh
      4. holding hands
  4. Call her during the day… no reason… just say “I was thinking of you”
  5. Get home early
    1. do something domestic
  6. Music playlist – turn it on
  7. candles in bedroom
  8. Interest is a function of ENERGY
    1. Kids suck energy out of mom – get kids out of picture

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/adding-some-spice-to-your-marriage

Adding Some Spice to Your Marriage.mp3

Pastor and author Ted Cunningham combines humor with practical advice for enjoying more connection and intimacy in your marriage.

 

God “Let us make man in our image”

http://www.gotquestions.org/God-plural.html

Question: “Why does God refer to Himself in the plural in Genesis 1:26 and 3:22?”

Answer: Genesis 1:26 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’” Genesis 3:22 states, “And the LORD God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us.’” There are other passages in the Old Testament in which God refers to Himself using plural constructions. It is also interesting to note that Elohim, one of the primary titles of God in the Old Testament (occurring over 2,500 times), is in the plural form.

Some people have used these verses to hypothesize that there are more than one God. However, we can rule out polytheism (belief in multiple gods), because that would contradict countless other Scriptures that tell us that God is one and that there is only one God. Three times in Isaiah 45 alone, God states, “I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me” (vv. 5, 6, 18).

A second possible explanation for God’s referring to Himself in the plural is that God was including the angels in His statement. In saying “us” and “our,” God was speaking of all the heavenly host, Himself included. However, the Bible nowhere states that angels have the same “image” or “likeness” as God (see Genesis 1:26). That description is given to humanity alone.

Since the Bible, and the New Testament especially, presents God as a Trinity (three Persons but only one God), Genesis 1:26 and 3:22 can only represent a conversation within the Trinity. God the Father is having a “conversation” with God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament hints at the plurality of God, and the New Testament clarifies this plurality with the doctrine of the Trinity. Obviously, there is no way we can fully understand how this works, but God has given us enough information to know that He does exist in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Recommended Resource: Knowing God by J.I. Packer

http://www.gotquestions.org/God-plural.html

Faith

  • Christianity (Faith) is hard – you have to work it out for yourself
  • Christianity is not a blind leap – Christianity is following a person.  Jesus.
  • You can argue that there are good grounds for believing in God.  You can argue there is a lot of good evidence and suggestions for believing in God.
  • You cannot scientifically deduce the existance of God.  You cannot do this for good reasons.  If you could deduce the existance of God then God would be an object in the universe. The Christian God is not an object in the universe.  The Christian God is outside of the universe and the creator of the universe.
  • So, there comes a point beyond which human reason cannot get you to.   You have to step out, understand what Christianity is, decide if you will put your trust in it or find it rupulsive.  If you choose to put your trust in Jesus – you have faith.
  • Often people suggest religion is the only place that we live by faith. Not true.  For example, marriage.  We know that more than 50% of marriages in the western world fail.  Often with horrible emotional trauma for spouse and children.  Scientific evidence shows that often marriage does not “make you happy”.  But in spite of this scientific evidence that relationships cause trauma most of the time, every day, rational human beings look into the eyes of another person and say “I trust you with my heart”  I will put my faith in you, though good times and bad, sickness and health.    We do this in all sorts of areas in our life where evidence cannot absolutely prove one thing or the other but based on the available evidence we make a choice to put our trust/faith in one option.

Empathy

As a man, I jump to the fix after the first 1/2 of the first sentence.   This breaks relationships.  To build the relationship just do empathy (Just don’t try to do the fix..).  This is how:

  • Empathy is:  putting yourself in the shoes of the other person and look at the world through their eyes.   (NOTE Empathy is not fixing the problem.)
  • Here is the goal..  produce an accurate document (only for yourself) clearly detailing (only) their side of the story, their perspective.    (NOT my side of the story, not my fix.)
  • When they are talking – try to look at it from THEIR perspective (write down their perspective)
    • What did they say   (Repeat back to them… “Did you say _____”?)
    • What are they thinking     (Repeat back to them “Where you thinking _____”?)
    • What are they feeling   (Repeat back to them “So, you were/are feeling ____”?)
    • Write that down… ASK question to clarify and make sure you got it right
      • Repeat back to them what you think you heard.
  • Must listen because if you do not listen you will never understand each other.
  • When you think you accuratley have it all documented…  Say out loud…  “Honey, I think I hear what you are saying.”
  • When you think you accuratley have it all documented… Say: Yes, I can see how that makes a lot of sense.  YES YOU CAN HONESTLY SAY THIS because you are in their shoes, looking at it from their point of view and if they think it, if they believe it, if they do it, it makes sense to them.
  • Pray about it together.  Ask for God’s wisdom in the situation.  God’s guidance for the best possible solution.  God’s help.

 

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/embracing-the-various-seasons-of-marriage-pt1

  • Embracing the Various Seasons of 1_2.mp3

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/embracing-the-various-seasons-of-marriage-pt2

  • Embracing the Various Seasons of 2_2.mp3

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/when-god-gives-you-a-second-chance-pt1

  • When God Gives You a Second Chance1_2.mp3

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/when-god-gives-you-a-second-chance-pt2

  • When God Gives You a Second Chance2_2.mp3

Pray – Pray for one another

I want to be honest when I tell people I pray for them.

The command of James 5:16: “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”

The “one another” in that text implies that I am connected with people.

To do so is to please God.   God is smiling upon us, because we are doing what he said to do.

Paul is praying for his kinsmen, Romans 10:1, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.”

Philippians 1 example goes like this: “It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:9–10).

Romans 15:30–31, “I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable.”

Everybody we know needs prayer like that.

Seven Simple Prayer Tips – JP

1) Use a list. Break it up in categories. We are talking about people now, all right? You probably over time are going to know more people, have more people ask you to pray, have your circle of relationships grow so that one list is hopeless. You have got to break it up into pieces, various groups. And I find that creating a notebook in Evernote on my iPad, I have got a notebook called prayer. And under prayer, I have these different kind of groupings, and you can add people to various lists and then you can decide on when you are going to pray for those people. So use lists.

2) Think and pray in concentric circles with the closest relationships near the center and then move out to the more anonymous prayers for groups and ministries and nations. So, for example, in my Evernote folder, I move from my immediate family at home — that is, the three of us, well, actually two now that Talitha is in college, but it used to be three — out from there to the children and the grandchildren who live away and then out from there to the ministries I am associated with and the people in Bethlehem Baptist Church and desiringGod.org and Bethlehem College & Seminary. I have a whole slew of people that I pray for there.

And then I move out to the church planters that I know and the Treasuring Christ Together fellowship. And then I move out to ministries like Together for the Gospel and The Gospel Coalition and Training Leaders International and a lot of friends there that are on my list. And then I move out to my neighborhood and a few people I have written down in the neighborhood and, sometimes just in my jogging-evangelism that I do in good weather and I will meet people and they will tell me their name and I ask them what I can pray for and that goes on one of my lists. So concentric circles is one way I handle the diversity of those lists.

3) Pray the Word of God over these people. This will keep your prayers from being merely repetitive. Read the Word of God first. Meditate on it. Pray in it. And then pray what God shows you from the Word for the people that are appointed to be prayed for that day.

4) Periodically assess your prayers for them by comparing what you pray with what the New Testament prays. I gathered in one place — and I think this is available. We could check, Tony, and make it available. I think it is available at Desiring God. I gathered into one place all of the things that are prayed for in the New Testament — a list of about 40 different prayers. And I use that list not every day, but periodically. I just run through it and say: Okay, am I neglecting anything important that the New Testament prayed for?

5) Mingle general prayers with specific prayers. A lot of people are skittish about general prayers. I love general prayers. Like: Hallowed be thy name all over the world. That is a big, general prayer. Specific prayers are also important. So a specific prayer might be: Grant that Bill would find a job this week. He has been out of work, Lord. Help him find a job. That is specific. You can just — bang — you can see the answer to that immediately. A general prayer would be: Lord, cause Bill to love you more and to treasure you above all. That is a lot harder to detect, right? But so crucial that you pray for.

6) Be quiet over the people and see if God brings things to mind that people might need today and then pray those things if God brings anything specific to mind.

7) And lastly, I would say: Look for answers. Take note of them. Keep some kind of record, maybe in your journal or in another folder: answers. And what keeps it all fresh and authentic is the way it all flows from the Word and goes back to the Word, the Scriptures. And I can’t stress enough that we don’t want to become rote, we don’t want to become mechanical and repetitive. And the best way to do that is to let the Word be fresh daily and let the Word make your prayers for people fresh daily.

 

 

 

http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/seven-simple-tips-to-refresh-your-prayer-life

apj-820.mp3