The Week of January 26th, 2020 – February 1st, 2020

Sunday:

Yesterday morning I ran on the roads at an easy pace averaging 8:58 per mile for 1 hour and 21 minutes. I was happy to be back outside running and I did so pain free. While running I thought about how I should exercise this week. I plan to exercise 5 days this week: Monday and Friday I will cross train for 40 minutes; 20 minutes on a stationary bike and 20 minutes on an elliptical trainer. On Tuesday and Thursday, I will run for 40 minutes; 10 minutes easy pace, 20 minutes at my goal 15k pace, and 10 minutes easy pace. Then on Saturday I will run on the road for 1 hour and 20 minutes at an easy pace. Darlene and I stayed home yesterday, we relaxed and read; I began reading “The Way of the Master” by Ray Comfort. Reading this book again having completed a Master of Theological Studies degree is good. When I read the book before, I was a baby Christian, but this is no longer the case. I can really see the biblical truth of the way of the master and will be employing this method of evangelism in my daily interactions with people. I plan to return to open air preaching but more than that I must talk with people daily. Today I arose at 5:00am and read the book of Ruth. There are a number of genealogies in Scripture and Ruth the Moabitess is in the line of David; therefore, in the line of our Lord Jesus Christ. (cf. Mt. 1:5) The story of Ruth and her kinsmen redeemer Boaz is a picture of the gospel. 

Monday:

This is the day that the Lord has made, may I rejoice and be glad in it. This morning I read first Samuel chapters 1 – 3 and recited John chapter 8 vs 1 – 30. Yesterday, Phillip Dancy preached a sermon that he called “Discipleship Tested,” from Luke chapter 14 vs 25 – 35. The main idea is that if you are to follow after Jesus Christ you must die to self. You may lose your possessions, your family and even your physical life; the question is, are you prepared to do that? Have you counted the cost? This reminds me of Pliable and the swamp of despond from John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress. Pliable was not sold out. He came as far as was comfortable and when the journey became difficult he turned back to the city of destruction, but Christian continued on the journey despite that trial and the many trials to come. I am a man often despondent regarding the trials of this life. I desire for my children to follow Jesus Christ, to marry Christ loving spouses and give Darlene and I grandchildren, but at present none of these things have happened. So, do I look to the things of this world, or do I set my sight on the kingdom of God? I have a good job as a Registered Nurse in Cardiac Rehab but am I willing to lose that job for the sake of the gospel? I do not think that I would lose my wife as she loves the Lord, but would I be willing for the sake of the gospel? I believe that the American gospel is a lie. The prosperity gospel comes right out with it but there is a taint in most American gospel presentations, all you have to do is look at the tracts. We were all created by God to represent him on the earth. We have all broken his law. The penalty is hell and Christ Jesus paid that penalty on the cross. He was forsaken by the Father, then on the third day he forever defeated sin and death by rising from the dead. What we must do is simple in word but not so simple in deed. We must all repent (turn from self) and believe (trust) in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life in the kingdom of God. Today, I will be driving to Canton, TX. I will spend the morning working at the Canton Clinic Cardiac Rehab. 

Tuesday:

I have to be at work earlier than usual, so I arose at 4:00am and read 1 Samuel 4 – 7; then, I recited the later half of John 8. Yesterday, I drove to Canton, TX, but I was not needed when I arrived. I stayed for about 2 hours and departed. The time was not wasted because I listened to 2 sermons on false conversion that Ray Comfort believes is a result of telling people that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. You have a hole in your heart that only God can fill. If you will come to Jesus Christ you will have joy, peace and a wonderful abundant life. I believe that Ray Comfort is correct, because throughout history the difficulties resulting from the fall are present in this world for both the righteous and the unrighteous. In addition to that the Christian is tempted by his flesh, the world and Satan everyday. Christians throughout the ages are persecuted for following Jesus. I do not think that it right to tell people these things because this is not the gospel. All must flee to Jesus Christ to escape the wrath that is to come. We all deserve death and hell for our crimes committed against God, but God demonstrated his own love for us in that while we were yet sinning Christ died for us. I believe that the Roman road is good if one uses it the way paul did; however, it is not used that away. In giving the Roman road, the evangelist begins with Romans chapter 3 vs 23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;” however, he does not point out what sin is and specifically how the person has sinned. The apostle spent 3 chapters doing that very thing before summarizing that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Yes, the law must be preached before grace can be appreciated. Telling someone that they can have a better life in this world by following Jesus is a lie. The hope for the Christian is in the world to come. Today I will be working in the CVICU ambulating patients. Yesterday, I rode a stationary bike for 20 minutes and an elliptical machine for 20 minutes. After work, I plant to run for 40 minutes, 20 of which at my 15k race pace. Completed Spanish: Beginner I – Course 2 – lesson 7. 

Wednesday:

I arose at 4:30am and read first Samuel  chapters 8 – 10 and recited John chapter 9. The description of Saul brought back memories of my father and I could not help but think of him as I read: “a choice and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people.” (1 Sm 9:2) There is a picture in my study of his graduation from the Dallas Fire Department rookie school. My father was a choice and handsome man. The tops of the men’s heads are at his shoulders; therefore, from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people. I have difficulties in relating to my mother without my father and I think that she has difficulty relating to me. I love her for she is my mother, but I confess there was a special bond that I had with my father that I do not have with my mother. My family, Darlene and our children were always considered first in my parents’ household but since my fathers’ departure we have become last. I am not saying this out of envy, but it is a fact, my sister and her children are first in my mothers’ home. The commandment of God: “‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you.” (Dt. 5:16) Some think that the ten commandments were only given to Israel; however, all are espoused in the New Testament to Christians. (cf. Mt. 15:4, 19:19; Mk. 7:10, 10:19; Lk. 18:20; Eph. 6:2, 3; Col. 3:20) Yesterday, I sent a text message to my mother while I was at work just asking her how she is doing. Her answer was about Julie and her two boys. This is the norm when communicating with her because Julie and the boys are her entire world. How do I honor my mother as the Lord commanded? My father left her with all that she needs to live on. To honor as a noun or a verb denotes counting that person of high value. It is the duty of children to honor their parents. My mother does not honor my family as she honors my sister’s or even my brother’s families; regardless, I must count her of value high. How do I honor my mother? During breakfast I completed Spanish: Beginner I – Course 2 – lesson 8. 

Thursday:

Yesterday I worked in cardiac rehab from 7:30am – 3:30pm; after this, Darlene and I ate dinner at Sylvania church. Darlene is not feeling well because of a head cold, so we went home. We have been entertained in the evening by watching episodes of “The Little House on the Prairie.” Darlene fell asleep on the couch and about 7:45. I encouraged her to go to bed and I made my way to my study where I picked up Ray Comfort’s book “The Way of the Master.” I read this book several years ago as a new Christian prior to receiving theological education. Now, having that background, I am reading it again in a new light.  I keep thinking about John 1:17, “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” I am amazed as I read by those who believed in preaching law before grace: D. L. Moody said, “It is a great mistake to give a man who has not been convicted of sin certain passages that were never meant for him. The Law is what he needs.... Do not offer the consolation of the gospel until he sees and knows he is guilty before God. We must give enough of the Law to take away all self-righteousness. I pity the man who preaches only one side of the truth - always the gospel, and never the Law.” These kinds of statements are repeated over and over again by men of God from the past. How can a man appreciate the cure unless he is convinced that he has the disease? The Law must precede grace because men are self-righteous. Yes, people in this world are often in a place of brokenness but this is caused by worldly sorrow. They don’t have the place in this world that they would like to have, and this produces sorrow. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom 3:23) That really does not mean anything when you are not convinced of your own sin before a righteous and holy God. In fact, hearing it without Law may cause you to be flippant regarding personal sin. What do I mean when I say Law? I mean those text of Scripture that speak of God’s holy and righteous standard. Did John mean that Moses preached Law and Jesus only preached grace? No, in fact Jesus expounded the Law. The sermon on the mount is incredible to this regard. Jesus says: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” (Mt. 5:17) Then he begins to explain that the Law reveals what is in the human heart. During the time of Jesus ministry, the scribes and Pharisees were considered the most righteous of all; yet, Jesus called them white washed tombs because they gave the appearance of perfect righteousness on the outside but inwardly they were wicked, just as all are wicked. Jesus explained that God sees anger and hatred as murder and lust as adultery. He concludes this section of the sermon by saying that other men are not the standard, the righteousness of God is the standard to enter the kingdom of God. (Mt. 5:21-48) The Law makes grace appreciable when you understand the standard and have no hope of qualifying in the flesh. Today, woke a little earlier than usual, not by intention. I intended to arise at 4:30am but awoke thirsty at 4:15am. I read 1 Samuel 11 – 13; in only three chapters Saul became king and was rejected by God because he wanted all authority in heaven and on earth. I recited John 10:1-21, Jesus is the good shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep; thus, demonstrating his own love for us at the cross. Today I started Spanish: Beginner I – Course 2 – lesson 9. 

Friday:

This morning, I arose at 5:00am and recited John 10:22-42; and read, 1 Samuel 14-15. The kingdom was taken away from Saul because he disobeyed the Word of the Lord. In John, Jesus is called the Word and, in the section, that I recited this morning Jesus said: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. (Jn. 10:27-28) The apostle John calls sin lawlessness. (1 Jn. 3:4) Lawlessness is deciding for oneself good and evil rather than observing the Law (Word) of God. Throughout the New Testament I find that Jesus Christ is put in the place of the Law. This makes since since Jesus is the Law become flesh. Therefore, in the new covenant Jesus Christ is the Law for all who repent and believe. He is the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to God but through Jesus. (Jn. 14:6) Following Jesus Christ is obeying the voice of the Lord and not following Christ is rebellion. Therefore, what is the purpose for the Old Testament Law in the life of a Christian? 1) To know God’s standard of righteousness. 3) To convict the sinner. 4) To drive the convicted sinner to the gospel for salvation. Yesterday, I worked in cardiac rehab from 7:30am – 6:30pm, then I ran on a treadmill at a moderate-hard effort for 40 minutes. 

Saturday:

I arose at 5:00am, recited John 11:1-37 and read 1 Samuel 16-17. Lazarus became sick and died. Jesus’ disciples were afraid to go to Bethany because the Jews sought to kill him. Saul had been rejected by God as king and David was secretly anointed by Samuel as God’s chosen king; therefore, he defeats the Philistine Goliath with a sling and a stone. There is an aspect of the spirits in this text that I wonder about. The Spirit of the Lord came strongly upon David but departed from Saul and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him. Yesterday, I worked in cardiac rehab from 9:30am – 5:00pm. In the morning, I received 1 new patient for orientation. I spent the afternoon breaking down 4 charts: 1 a recent graduate who completed cardiac rehab and 3 who dropped out of the program. The difference in outcomes data between those who regularly attend all 3 weekly sessions for 3 months and those who do not is great. I have been slowly reading through The Way of the Master by Ray Comfort and have concluded that Comfort’s method is correct which he concluded from 2 conversations that Jesus had with strangers. The 2 conversations are the Samaritan woman at the well and the rich young ruler. Regarding the woman at the well the Lord did 4 things: First, he struck up a conversation with her in the natural realm. Second, he purposely began to talk of spiritual things. Third, he pointed out her sin. The woman was not justifying her sin; therefore, fourth, Jesus revealed himself to her. Regarding the rich young ruler. Jesus corrected his understand of a good person by using the 10 commandments. His god was his wealth, thereby breaking the 1stcommandment. Jesus then gave him the prescription for eternal life; turn away from your sin and follow Jesus Christ. This morning I will be running 15km at a moderate pace. 

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