Monday, April 20, 2015

A Small Study on the Conscience

Cross-cultural ministry, circumstances, Scripture, and the Holy Spirit have led me to consider and reconsider what the Bible teaches about the conscience. There is clearly a large study to be done here, but I wanted to post some brief conclusions along with some verses that I will be adding to my daily prayer list.

The Bible says that there are those with strong consciences, who correctly discern right from wrong and are free from guilt and shame. There are also those with weak consciences who feel conviction and guilt over things that are not wrong (such as eating the wrong foods). (1 Cor 8)

The Bible also speaks of those with seared and defiled consciences who can no longer feel conviction (1 Tim 4:2, Titus 1:15).

We must not violate our conscience. Whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).

The blood of Christ cleanses us and our conscience (Heb 9:14, 10:22).

We cultivate good, strong consciences by having a strong faith in the sacrifice Christ for a right relationship with God (no guilt, no shame) and by seeking the Word of God and the community of faith to keep us from blind spots and areas where our conscience has been hardened by experience.

Verses for my prayer list:

Acts 23:1
Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.”

Father I want to live in a good conscience before you every single day. I never want to violate my conscience. Teach me wisdom and give me strength to live according to every inner conviction. Help me to only make decisions when I know my conscience is clear on the subject.

Acts 24:16
This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.

2 Corinthians 1:12
For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.

1 Timothy 1:5
Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,

Hebrews 9:14
how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Father, I want my conscience to be cleansed. Lord there are many things that I remember that still bother my conscience, and there are many things that I have questions about. I have confessed all known sin to you, and I now I ask that you would cleanse my conscience from every dead work, that all guilt and shame would be gone and that I would walk before you in complete confidence in my service to You, in Jesus name.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Skill-Power, Proverbs, and Freedom



While researching addiction, I came across this excellent Ted Talk. The principles taught in this talk are highly practical and reminded me of numerous Scriptures. As I pursue freedom for others and myself, I continually discover the power of practical obedience. Principles matter. Truth sets us free. Jesus is the answer. But we must respond to that truth. We must obey it. We have a responsibility to apply wisdom and truth to our lives: to access the power of the Holy Spirit, and to do whatever it takes to be free. Below are the results of my Bible Study inspired by this Ted Talk.

#1 Willpower
Repentance, "Do You Want to be Free?"
Matthew 15:1-20, James 4:1-10

#2 Skillpower
What does the Bible say about to deal with your specific struggle?
Hosea 4:6, Psalm 119, 2 Timothy 3:16, Matthew 22:29

Control the sources that control us:
Mark 3:22-27

#3 Social Pressure
1 Corinthians 15:33, Ecclesiastes 4:12, Proverbs 12:26, Proverbs 13:20

#4 Social Ability
James 5:16, Proverbs 27:17, Proverbs 9:9

#5 Rewards
(Lots of Scripture on the rewards of holiness, gotta narrow this one down and choose the most practical)

#6 Space
2 Timothy 2:22, Matthew 6:13, Romans 13:14

Plan to deal with setbacks:
Proverbs 24:16, Micah 7:8-9, 1 John 1:7-9

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

What Does the Bible Say About Money?

Life has been full of Bible reading projects for the last year or so, but I have been selfishly holding out on my readers. I'm going to try to do better.

About a week ago I was praying in the shower, and I felt the Lord impress me to ask my brother to do a Bible study with me over Google Hangout. He lives in Philadelphia, and I am here in Detroit. I use video conference often to do Bible studies and train believers to make disciples all over the nation. I felt that I should tell him to pick a topic and that I would study whatever he wanted: a book, a book of the Bible, a topic, whatever.

As we talked, he mentioned that he was trying to save money. He is a computer programmer for a hedge fund and is quite adept at both programming and investing. I mentioned that I was trying to save more money and raise more support as I need a significant increase in my income in order to have a family. It occurred to both of us that we should study money.

We both read the book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes this week, highlighting all the verses we found that spoke about money. I used a green highlighter and used a cheap edition of the New Living Translation, which I love for the Old Testament and especially Proverbs. I have been reading proverbs every month along with my reading plan, so this study fit right in. You can see the evangelistic DVD Magdalena stuck in the pages. I used it as a straight edge so that my highlighting wasn't wavy. After I was finished I hopped on BibleGateway and copied and pasted all the verses I highlighted into a Google Doc which my brother, and I will discuss on Google Hangout (this post brought to you by Google . . . just kidding).

My goals for this study are to get quality time with my brother, learn about how to make more money, steward what God gives me better, and raise more support. I really want to honor God as He blesses me with enough income to get married and increase ministry. When I first entered full-time ministry I was super-spiritual about money. I don't regret that because I learned to trust the Lord, seek the Kingdom first, and live with absolute integrity when it came to finances. My first year in full-time ministry I made less than $6500. Since then the Lord has greatly blessed me, and I know that He will bless me more and more as I apply His Word, wisdom, and hard work.

You can learn more about my ministry, contact me, and donate at jonathanammon.org (there are also many free sermons and trainings)