Have you ever noticed how the cereal companies market their cereals. First of all theirs pictures on the box that tells you who their target audience is. If the target audience is young children you without a doubt know that somewhere on the box a little blurb has been written especially for moms. This little blurb shouts out "A source of 9 or 8 essential vitamins". What they don’t mention in such big words is that their cereal is 50% sugar as well.
The bottom line is this: there are vitamins that you I need to daily put into our bodies if we are going to remain healthy and strong. In our health conscious day and age we are all more than aware that our bodies require a regular input of foods that contain all the essential vitamins and minerals that a human body needs. If we don’t get these essentials into us then we weaken and become susceptible to sickness.
Just as there is a list of essential vitamins that we need to take in to be physically healthy the same is true spiritually. For you and I to be strong in the Lord and strong as Christians there are some essential practices that must a part of our daily lives.
Over the next two months we are going to consider as our topic "Spiritual disciplines that make for a strong Christians". The disciplines we examine are essential, non negotiable disciplines that make for strong Christians.
Last week we kicked this series off by considering Isaiah 26:8. Our topic was "The kind of person I want to be". The kind of person I want to be is one who is completely submitted to God and his ways. I also want to be a person who is passionate for God and filled zeal for Him.
Have you noticed that there is a connection between strong Christians and passionate for God Christians. The fact is that they are one and the same. Strong Christians are passionate about God. The result of truly giving oneself to the pursuit of godliness and the spiritual disciplines is that ones heart becomes inflamed for God and filled by Him and his glory.
If you said Yes last week to wanting to be a passionate for and about God kind of person, then this series is for you: for as we discipline ourselves to be godly our hearts will be set afire for God.
In I Timothy 4:7b-8 it says "Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."
This is a good verse for us to memorize for it reminds us that godliness doesn’t come naturally, it takes effort, discipline, perseverance, commitment, hard work. Also held out for us is this: such training benefits us in this life and in the life to come.
FOR YOU AND ME TO BE STRONG CHRISTIANS. FOR YOU AND ME WHO ARE INTERESTED IN BEING A PASSIONATE FOR AND ABOUT GOD KIND OF CHRISTIAN….PRAYER IS A DISCIPLINE THAT WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO TRAIN OURSELVES IN.
On several occasions this past week it was confirmed to me that my talking about the discipline of prayer today is right. (Magazines I received in the mail, radio sermons I listened to)
The topic of prayer is an immense one and I could preach dozens of sermons on the subject, but here’s the bottom line. If you and me are going to be strong Christians then we are going to have to train and discipline ourselves in the area of prayer.
That we might be encouraged to take up this discipline and so reap untold benefits let us consider the account of Daniel in Daniel 6.
The lions aside, our focus today will be upon Daniel as a man of prayer.
When he was just a young teen Daniel was taken into the land of Babylon as a captive of war. God was punishing Israel for her sins. God’s decree was that for 70 years Israel would be captives of Babylon.
At this point in our text Daniel is approximately 85 years old. He’s an old man—but he’s a godly old man.
For most of his life he has been a top official in the Babylonian kingdom. Amazing really. He’s a Jew, not a native. Yet God saw to it that he was elevated to an extremely influential position in the Babylonian kingdom: a kingdom noted for idol worship and sin.
Here’s a great verse that you need to memorize. In I Samuel 2:30 God says "Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained"
What was the secret to Daniel’s "success" and place of honor in the kingdom of Babylon? Honoring God was his priority. He had a heart for God. He was sold out for God and because of that he was blessed: God says to you and me "Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise will be disdained."