Brody Holloway
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Strong
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Romans 16:25-27

"Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my Gospel and the proclamation about Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept silent for long ages but now revealed and made known through the prophetic Scriptures, according to the command of the eternal God to advance the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles—to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ—to Him be glory forever! Amen."

How do we get stronger?  Strength is gained through WORK.  No one lays around, watches Netflix, plays video games, and simultaneously gets stronger.  I remember as a kid in elementary school that my dad and uncle were power lifters.  My dad’s best friend was a world-champion power lifter who holds record in the Master category to this day.  Power lifting is a type of weightlifting that requires lifting really heavy stuff off the ground and then putting it back down again.  There are a few different lifts that are used.  All of them are major movements that are designed to push a person to extreme limits.  

I would come home from school and my dad and uncle would be in the basement of the house lifting, and the sounds coming out of that basement were INTENSE.  They didn’t have a normal set of weights like you might find at a fitness equipment store.  Instead, they had fabricated their own equipment from various parts of heavy equipment.  This stuff was heavy!  One set of plates weighed ninety pounds each—double that of traditional weight lifting plates!  The sound of those heavy plates dropping or hitting metal racks, along with the barbaric grunts of my father and the motivating yells of my uncle was almost scary.  I was used to it, but it was always funny when I would have a friend over during my dad’s workouts.  The look on the kid’s face would be priceless when he heard the noise from the basement.  It was almost like he thought someone was being assaulted down in the dungeon!  I would smile and say, “Oh that is just my dad and uncle lifting weights.  They always yell a lot.” 

Getting stronger is hard, and requires a lot of gritty work.  There is no easy path to it.  But along with hard work, there is a need for good nutrition and rest.  Competitive athletes and weightlifters take these two things seriously.  Work, nutrition and rest are all so important for strength and growth. 

The same is true of us if we are to grow stronger in our faith and our Christianity. We need to understand the balance of work, spiritual nutrition, and spiritual rest.  We work in obedience, and we rest in Christ.  Consider the 5 things this passage tells us will strengthen us in our Christian walk.

  1. According to the Gospel.
  2. The proclamation of Jesus Christ.—2 Timothy 1:7-8, "for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.  Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord."
  3. The Word of God— "according to the revelation of the mystery kept silent for long ages but now revealed and made known through the prophetic Scriptures."
  4. Obedience to God— "According to the command of the eternal God to advance the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles."
  5. Worship— "To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ—to Him be glory forever."

 

Let Doubt Drive You to Christ
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­Romans 11:33-36

"Oh the depth of the riches, the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable His ways! 'For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor? Or who has given a gift to Him that He might be repaid?' For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen."

This past year, we saw massive destruction caused by hurricanes in Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida. Here in the mountains of NC, we watched and prayed for the people living in these areas and for those of you living in areas affected. Many not only saw it but they lived it out first hand. 

Back in 2004 a giant tsunami hit land in the Indian Ocean.  Tens of thousands of people were killed.  This catastrophe was the biggest tidal wave of the last century, and early that morning, no one knew what was about to hit them.  So much damage was caused that entire cities had to be rebuilt in the aftermath.  Many people were on vacation and lost their lives at a time and place they should have been relaxing and relieving stress. 

There was one interesting group of people I read about during this time.  There was a team of scuba divers who were out on a morning dive enjoying the beauty of the ocean’s depths.  When the wave hit, they had no idea of the chaos passing above them.  They described the experience as “being in a washing machine”.  They tumbled and were tossed around but they were safe.  The reason they didn’t suffer death was because they were deep enough down in the ocean that they remained somewhat stable. 

In James 1, the Bible says that doubt causes us to be tossed about like a wave of the sea.  The best way to deal with the storms of doubt, anxiety and fear in my life is to dive deeper into the depths and truths of God’s Word and of personal praise and worship of Jesus. 

Romans 11:33-36 gives us two great truths to hold onto when we are facing the storms of doubt and fear. 

1.    Dive deeper into our knowledge of God.  He is infinite in His being.  Our problems are temporary, but our God is infinite and the knowledge that comes from knowing Him and His Word will strengthen us. 

2.    Praise HIM!!!  The Bible says that He literally dwells with us in the midst of our praising Him.

How about you?  When doubts, fears or anxieties arise do you try to deal with it on your own?  Do you look to others to help you?  Look to Jesus and His Word!  He will strengthen you, grow you and keep you. 

 

GospelBrody Holloway
Mark 10: The Rich Young Ruler
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Mark 10:17-31
The Rich Young Ruler

Big points: Money can’t get you into heaven. Good works can’t get you into heaven. Salvation is impossible unless God saves us. We ALL need to be saved. There are often idols in our lives that keep us from Jesus, but one day those idols will be worth nothing.

In this story, a young man comes to Jesus with some very important questions that we should all consider. What are the questions the man asks Jesus?

The Bible calls this man “The Rich Young Man”, or, “The Rich Young Ruler”. The man is a ruler of a synagogue, and he is very successful. He has made a lot of money at being a “good and religious” person. Can money or religion get a person into heaven?

In verse 18, Jesus says that no one is good. He is saying that no one is good enough to save their self from their own sin. In verse 27, He says it is IMPOSSIBLE to save yourself. But in both verse 18 and verse 27 He also gives us the hope of how we can be saved. What is that hope?

The man replies to Jesus’ answers and questions by saying that he is good, and has kept all of The Commandments. Read James 2:10. The man tells Jesus that he has obeyed all of The Commandments. Do you think he really had? Talk about the impossibility of keeping The Law perfectly.

Some people think that just because they come from a Christian family, they are automatically Christians. This man told Jesus that he had been good from the time he was young. Does everyone really need Jesus to save him or her? Why can’t we just do good and then Jesus will accept our good works and we can be saved?

In the Second Commandment, we were warned about having gods and idols that were more important to us than Jesus. This man has chosen to worship something other than Jesus. What is it?

So, we see that idols don’t have to be little, carved statues. An idol is anything you love or hold onto more than Jesus. Do you have idols in your own life that maybe stand in the way of obedience to Christ? What are they? What can you do about it?

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In verses 29-31 Jesus says that no matter what we give up in this life, Jesus is better, and the life to come will be greater. Take some time to pray and ask God to give you the faith you need to live this life, in this world, worshipping and loving Jesus above all things.

Personal Sanctification and Biblical Marriage
  • Genesis 2:15-22Ephesians 5:22-33

  • In each of these things that we will look at, the connecting thought will come from Ephesians 5:22-26 where both the man and the woman are working to help the spouse become more like Jesus.  In other words, the common goal in each of these characteristics is SANCTIFICATION.  

  • Jesus is the one, in Ephesians 5:25-26, who does the sanctifying.  Look how he describes this; “having cleansed her by the washing with the Word.” It can be compared to washing a wound with water and nothing else.  If you were to do this, it takes a high volume of water. Christ is the only one who has the power to sanctify. 

These are a couple of things to understand concerning what you CANNOT do for, to, or IN your spouse:

  1. You cannot force yourself into their conscience.  In other words, you cannot convict him or her of sin.  But Jesus can.
  2. You cannot, personally, change them.  But Jesus can.
  3. You cannot make him or her understand you perfectly, and you cannot understand him or her perfectly.  But Jesus can.  
  4. You cannot change or enhance his or her desires.  But Jesus can.  
  5. You cannot fill whatever void exists in his or her life.  In other words, you are not a functional savior for that person.  Jesus is.  

It is Christ alone who can save us, make us righteous in the sight of God, and give us the strength to pursue holiness in our daily lives. 

Marriage for The Glory of God

Your marriage was instituted for the Glory of God ALONE.

What is the Glory of God?
The Glory of God is the holiness of God put on display.

What is the Holiness of God?
The holiness of God is the purity of his character and the life-giving nature of him. It can be described as the sun which brings warmth and life to the earth.

WE MUST ASK THIS QUESTION: Does my marriage exist for the Glory of God?

  • When we sin against each other in marriage, we sin against a holy God and we need to be reconciled with him first and foremost before our spouse.

“Strive to have the kind of love that Christ has for us for your spouse.”
“Gospel-driven love is selfless and sacrificial and loves that person for the Glory of God.”
  • The greatest hope we have is in the reality that, as a believer, we will one day be made perfect like Christ.
  • This is what we love our spouse for. We love them for something of more eternal significance than life.

It is never too late to glorify God more with our marriages.

  • Ephesians 5

  • We need to focus on GOD more and not our MARRIAGE.
  • He loved and saved us sacrificially, and that is how we should love our spouse.
“Creation declares the Glory of God and the one thing that will glorify him more is two selfish individuals glorifying him in the way they love and serve each other.”

 

Snowbird, GospelBrody Holloway