VIDEO Things to Avoid, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones Sermon

Christian Praise and Worship in Songs, Sermons, and Audio Books
June 5, 2016

The false notion of passivity; the danger of zeal without knowledge; the dissipation of energy and the need of a planned life; the need to think more and talk less; enervating atmospheres that sap the Christian life; avoiding diseases and infections; the importance of the authority of Scripture.

Things to Avoid – Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones Sermon

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (20 December 1899 — 1 March 1981) was a Welsh Protestant minister, preacher and medical doctor who was influential in the Reformed wing of the British evangelical movement in the 20th century. For almost 30 years, he was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London.

Thank you to the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Recordings Trust for permission to use this audio sermon.

We Are In His Presence

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord. Psalm 89:15

The seventeenth-century monk Brother Lawrence, before a day’s work as cook in his community, would pray, “O my God . . . grant me your grace to stay in your presence. Help me in my labors. Possess all my affections.” As he worked, he kept talking to God, listening for His leading and dedicating his work to Him. Even when he was busiest, he would use intervals of relative calm to ask for His grace. No matter what was happening, he sought for and found a sense of his Maker’s love.

As Psalm 89 confesses, the fitting response to the Creator of all who rules the oceans and is worshiped by hosts of angels is to lift up our lives—our whole lives to Him. When we understand the beauty of who God is we “hear the joyful call to worship”—whenever and wherever we are, “all day long” (vv. 15–16 nlt).

Every moment can be lived in God’s presence.

Whether it’s standing in store or airport lines, or waiting on hold minute after minute, our lives are full of moments like these, times when we could get annoyed. Or these can be times when we catch our breath and see each of these pauses as an opportunity to learn to “walk in the light of [God’s] presence” (v. 15).

The “wasted” moments of our lives, when we wait or lay ill or wonder what to do next, are all possible pauses to consider our lives in the light of His presence.  guest writer

Adapted from a book of Brother Lawrence’s work by Harold Myra. See

Every moment can be lived in God’s presence.

By Harold Myra 


This Messianic psalm reflects on the eternal covenant that will ultimately be realized through King David’s descendant, the Lord Jesus Christ. It develops themes of God’s love and protection for His covenant people, laying the foundation for worshiping God wherever we are.

What opportunities can you take today to praise God?

Dennis Fisher

Rewards of Patience

Luke 11:9-10

Photography has taught me a great deal about patience. My team and I once spent four days waiting to photograph the Matterhorn in Switzerland—inclement weather kept the peak totally hidden. On the last night of my stay, I went to sleep praying. Very early the next morning, I opened my eyes to see that huge white mountain glistening against the pitch-black sky. I was amazed to discover the modest hotel we’d selected had a view of the mountain!

Rather than wait until we reach heaven, the Lord sends many blessings to us now. However, we must not get ahead of Him if we hope to receive His gifts. Several things happen when we choose to be patient.

1. We see God at work. His way is the best way, and we become more aware of this when we observe Him working out His plan in our life.

2. We can achieve our objectives. The Lord knows the right moment to provide what we want or need. If we give up too soon or try to manipulate circumstances, we miss out on the fullness of what He wants to bestow.

3. We have God’s favor. When we are patiently waiting for His will, then He can freely bless us. The heavenly Father certainly wants to pour out His love on our life.

We are blessed when we abide patiently in God’s will. Unfortunately, we will all face circumstances in which we are tempted to be impatient. What determines whether or not we express patience is the value we place on whoever else is involved—another believer, a friend, a coworker, or God. Do you value the Lord enough to be patient with His timing?

Asking and Receiving

“For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:8)

The tremendous resource of prayer is far too often neglected by far too many Christians. If nothing is standing between us and the Lord to keep us from asking effectively (sin, unbelief, selfish motives, etc.), then God has promised to act when we ask by giving us our request or something better. Note just a few of the many promises to those who ask:

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God . . . and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).

“Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).

“How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13).

“And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1 John 3:22).

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

“If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14).

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).

Obviously, there are conditions. These marvelous promises assume that those who ask are abiding in His commandments, truly desiring His will, having His priorities, thinking His thoughts, and are asking in faith and in His name. HMM

Verily thou shalt be fed

1 Kings 17:7-24

1 Kings 17:7-9

When one door shuts, another opens. God is not confined to one method of supplying his servants. It was wonderful that Elijah was fed by ravens; it was a new wonder to find him fed by a poor widow, and she a foreigner.

1 Kings 17:10

He did not question the command, but obeyed it; this is the walk of faith.

1 Kings 17:10

How unlikely it seemed that she would be able to sustain the prophet, yet Elijah confidently addressed himself to her.

1 Kings 17:11, 12

The good woman had recognised Jehovah’s servant, and was ready enough to serve him, but his request for bread touched her in a tender place, for she had barely enough meal for one scanty repast, and then she expected to die with her child.

1 Kings 17:13, 14

She was to exercise obedient faith first, and then her needs would be supplied. Many try to reverse this order.

1 Kings 17:15, 16

Thus shall our little always be enough. We shall often scrape the bottom of the barrel, but there will always be a handful left. It may be that we shall never have much in hand, but this is no evil, for then our provision will never grow stale, but come to us fresh from our heavenly Father’s hand.

1 Kings 17:17, 18

We are all too apt to mistake the grounds of our afflictions, and to blame second causes. The child had been preserved from starving by the prophet, how then could the woman blame him for his death? Sorrow makes us hasty. Elijah knew this, and was very tender towards her.

1 Kings 17:22

If the prophet obtained miracles in answer to prayer, how much more may we expect good things which are according to the common course of nature! If we pray like Elias, we shall have like Elias.


Love divine, all joys excelling,

Joy of heaven, to earth come down:

Fix in us thy humble dwelling,

All thy faithful mercies crown;

Jesus, thou art all compassion;

Pure, unbounded love thou art;

Visit us with thy salvation,

Enter every trembling heart.


Finish, then, thy new creation,

Pure and spotless let us be;

Let us see thy great salvation,

Perfectly restored in thee:

Changed from glory into glory,

Till in heaven we take our place,

Till we cast our crowns before thee,

Lost in wonder, love, and praise!


God only my salvation Is,

And my strong rock is he;

He only is my sure defence,

I shall not movèd be.


Ye people, place your confidence

In God, your God, alone,

And you shall see your enemies

Each one of them o’erthrown.


In holy contemplation,

We sweetly now pursue

The theme of God’s salvation,

And find it ever new.


Set free from present sorrow

We cheerfully can say,

E’en let the unknown morrow

Bring with it what it may;


It can bring with it nothing

But he will bear us through:

Who gives the lilies clothing,

Will clothe his people too:


Beneath the spreading heavens,

No creature but is fed;

And he who feeds the ravens,

Will give his children bread.


Though vine nor fig-tree neither

Their wonted fruit should bear,

Though all the field should wither,

Nor flocks nor herds be there;


Yet God the same abiding,

His praise shall tune my voice;

For while in him confiding,

I cannot but rejoice.


Fear not the face of man,

But bravely serve the Lord;

Stand forth and bear thy witness well,

According to his word.


Thou art thyself a king,

Girt with majestic power,

Thy foe is but a puny thing,

A creature of an hour.


Saw ye not the cloud arise,

Little as a human hand?

Now it spreads along the skies,

Hangs o’er all the thirsty land:


Lo, the promise of a shower

Drops already from above;

But the Lord will shortly pour

All the Spirit of his love.


Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!

The trumpet-call obey;

Forth to the mighty conflict,

In this his glorious day;

Ye that are men, now serve him,

Against unnumber’d foes;

Your courage rise with danger,

And strength to strength oppose.


Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!

Stand in his strength alone:

The arm of flesh will fail you;

Ye dare not trust your own:

Put on the gospel armour,

And watching unto prayer,

Where duty calls, or danger,

Be never wanting there.


Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!

The strife will not be long;

This day the noise of battle,

The next the victor’s song.

To him that overcometh

A crown of life shall be;

He with the king of Glory

Shall reign eternally.


Exercise Thyself Unto Godliness

1 Timothy 4:7

At the time I am writing this book, our apartment in Moscow frequently looks like an athletic club. Our three sons and their friends regularly fill our living room to do pushups, sit-ups, and weightlifting to develop their muscles and attain the form they desire. As a result of their hard work, commitment, and consistency, their muscles are getting bigger and bigger, and their bodies are nearly the ideal for young men their age.

Every morning, my wife gets up at the crack of dawn to walk up the seven flights of stairs in our Moscow apartment building a minimum of six times. Once she reaches the top, she takes the elevator back to the first floor and starts up the 210 steps to the seventh floor once more. Multiply that times six, and you’ll find that Denise walks up 1,260 steps every morning of her life. When she finishes those 1,260 steps, she comes huffing and puffing into the apartment with a look of elation, thrilled that she accomplished her goal. Needless to say, she is in super shape!

We don’t own an automobile in the city of Moscow where we live, so I walk many of the places I need to go. Because it’s difficult to take care of an automobile in this massive city, most people in Moscow don’t own automobiles, so I fit right into the crowd as I walk and walk. As a result of continual walking through the streets of this gigantic city, my lower legs are muscular and strong.

It takes hard work to get in good physical shape, and it takes a commitment to maintain a good physical condition. In the same way, it also takes hard work and commitment to maintain a good spiritual condition. Anyone who wants to get into good spiritual shape has to be diligent to exercise himself spiritually. This is why the apostle Paul told Timothy, “… Exercise thyself rather unto godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7).

The word “exercise” is the Greek word gumnadzo, and it literally meant to exercise while stark naked or to exercise in the nude. It is a word that was developed from the word gumnos, the Greek word that is literally translated naked. It is from these words that the English words gym or gymnasium are derived.

I realize that it may seem strange to our minds that Paul would use such a word, but to Timothy, this was a very powerful and graphic picture. You see, the word gumnadzo (“exercise”) was only used to describe the professional athletes of that day. By using this word, Paul was conveying a message to Timothy that was absolutely clear to the younger man.

As noted earlier (see November 4), Timothy was the senior pastor of the world’s largest church during the first century. As pastor of such a massive church, he was working very hard. Nevertheless, Paul urged Timothy not to fantasize about things ever getting easier but instead to joyfully dive into the work with all his strength and might.

This may not have been the message Timothy wanted to hear. But instead of falsely telling the younger man that a day would come when things got easier, Paul admonished him to “exercise unto godliness.” And when Timothy saw the word “exercise,” he knew exactly what Paul was telling him. Professional athletes and their activities were quite famous in Timothy’s day.

The word “exercise” (gumnadzo) was only used to describe the professional combat sports of boxing, wrestling, and pankration (see June 9 to read more about these ancient athletic sports). These athletes wanted the freedom to move their muscles without hindrance, and they didn’t want to wear any items of clothing that an opponent could grab hold of to take them down. For these reasons, they exercised and competed naked.

These combat sports were so ferocious that when each competition ended, one of the competitors was usually dead. Knowing that a stiff, life-or-death battle awaited them, these athletes exercised and exercised and exercised to get themselves into the best possible physical condition. This included submitting themselves to self-imposed hardships in order to make themselves tougher. For instance, because the actual games usually occurred during the blistering hot temperatures of summer, the athletes trained in extremely hot temperatures so they could become acclimated to intense heat. And in order to become hardened to brutality, they would deliberately ask other athletes and trainers to viciously beat them. In this way, they could learn to take as much abuse as possible without allowing it to affect their performance in case they were wounded during the actual games.

Rather than look for the easy way out, these combat-sport athletes stripped off all laziness, all comfort, and even all their clothes so they could energetically exercise and drive themselves nonstop toward physical perfection. Only those who were the most fit would survive and win the games, so they approached hardship as a positive occurrence—an opportunity to develop their mental resilience, their stamina, their courage, their physique, and their staying power. To these professional athletes, hardship was a good thing, for if they properly responded to it, it could only make them better and, in the end, help them live a longer life!

This was exactly the message Paul was giving to Timothy when he told him to “… exercise thyself rather unto godliness.” Paul was telling the younger minister, “Don’t run from the challenges before you or spend your time hoping to find an easier route for completing a very difficult task. Instead, strip yourself of all mentalities that would hinder your growth, and embrace this difficult time as an opportunity to spiritually exercise and to develop yourself in the Lord.” Paul knew what would happen if Timothy stripped wrong attitudes from his life and approached these challenges with the right attitude: The hardships he faced wouldn’t hurt him but rather would assist in developing him and making him stronger.

But notice that Paul said, “… exercise thyself rather unto godliness.” The word “godliness” is the Greek word eusebeia, a Greek word that describes piety, godliness, or a radical, fanatical devotion. In other words, Paul was telling Timothy, “Don’t do just the average that others would do and get an average result. Put your whole heart and soul into developing yourself to the maximum level.”

Our commitment to spiritual development is to be so intense that we literally exercise and exercise and exercise ourselves to the point of a radical, fanatical devotion to God. We must be as committed to our spiritual development as those professional Greek athletes were to their physical development.

Just as physical muscles are developed only through exercise, hard work, training, and commitment, it takes exercise, hard work, training, and commitment to become fit spiritually as well. This is why Paul urged Timothy to take his moment of hardship as an opportunity to stretch, develop, exercise, and make himself stronger.

Do you hear the Spirit of God speaking to you today? Is He telling you to change the way you are looking at your current hardships? You don’t ever have to be depressed and defeated by the affairs of life. Just change the way you’re looking at the challenges you face. Determine that you are going to use this time in your life to exercise your faith and become stronger in the Lord!


Lord, I ask You to help me change the way I’ve been looking at the hardships and challenges in my life. Yes, it’s true that I don’t enjoy them, but since I’m in this time of my life, help me use my time to the maximum by strengthening my faith and exercising myself spiritually. Rather than be broken by this difficult season, I want to come out of it stronger than ever. Holy Spirit, please help me today to change the way I am looking at life. I want to make a firm commitment to exercise myself unto godliness until I am so strong spiritually that nothing in life can stop me from fulfilling the dreams God has put in my heart.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I confess that I am getting stronger and stronger in the Lord. I have made the choice to use everything that comes into my life as an opportunity to exercise my faith and develop myself spiritually. This is not a one-shot reaction, for I am making this my lifetime passion and devotion. I will exercise, train, and do everything I can to become stronger and stronger in the Lord.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. What is the single most difficult issue you are facing in life right now? What is the second most difficult challenge you are facing on a regular basis?
  2. How are you responding to the challenges in your life? Are you being paralyzed or broken by the hardships you face, or have you been using them as opportunities to learn, to spiritually exercise, and to develop yourself into a stronger, more resilient believer?
  3. What thought processes do you need to change in order to receive great benefit from the hardships you face in life instead of being destroyed by them?

Do you hear the Spirit of God speaking to you today? Is He telling you to change the way you are looking at your current hardships? You don’t ever have to be depressed and defeated by the affairs of life. Just change the way you’re looking at the challenges you face. Determine that you are going to use this time in your life to exercise your faith and become stronger in the Lord!


Six Questions To Ask Yourself About Your Practices In Business

The common perception among people in business is that if you operate with total integrity, the playing field is no longer level. Because the odds are stacked against you, you can’t successfully compete with those who bend the rules. So, the natural reaction is to live in two worlds: The “religious” world one day a week, and the “real” world six days a week. By so doing, we demonstrate our stubborn refusal to trust God in operating our business. And we negate His ability to miraculously intervene on our behalf. For example, if we would allow Him, God would:

  • Impress customers to respond to our initiatives when it is appropriate.
  • Plant creative ideas for business in our minds.
  • Move in the hearts of good men to assist us in our endeavors.
  • Shield us from those who are bent on doing us harm, etc., etc.

Perhaps these six questions will help us determine in which world we are operating:


1. Do I trust God to move in the hearts of people on behalf of my business? Or do I find myself manipulating circumstances and people to accomplish my ends? “The kings heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a water course wherever he pleases.” (Proverbs 21:1) (See Proverbs 16:9; 20:24; Isaiah 14:24; Daniel 4:35)


2. Am I profoundly influenced in my decisions by the fact that God knows my motives? Or do I rationalize the gray areas, assuming compromise doesn’t really matter all that much? “All a mans ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart.” (Proverbs 21:2)


3. Do I understand that God values my obedience over religious “sacrifice”? Or do I mask questionable business practices with a “Christian” facade? “To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:3) (See 1 Samuel 15:22)


4. Am I continually checking my heart against insidious pride? Or do I ensure the fact that one way or another, I will get the credit? “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin!” (Proverbs 21:4) (See Proverbs 8:13; Isaiah 2:11, 17; Luke 18:14)


5. Do I realize that there is no substitute for old-fashioned hard work? Or do I let things slide here and there when no one is checking up on me? “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” (Proverbs 21:5) (See Proverbs 10:4; 27:23-27)


6. Do I truly believe that integrity lies at the very foundation of a healthy business? Or do I cut corners and shade the truth when it is to my advantage? “A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.” (Proverbs 21:6) (See Proverbs 13:11; 30:8; Jeremiah 17:11)


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