Welcome to the Mountjoy Ministries Blog

This blog was authored by Bryan W. Sheldon, author and Bible teacher. His books are listed below. The studies in the blog are offered in the desire that they may be helpful in directing readers to the truths contained in the Bible.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Dear Friends and fellow bloggers. Please accept my apologies. There has been nothing new on this blog for a couple of weeks now, and I am afraid it will be another week before I will be back at my desk. Other duties and a vacation has kept me fully occupied.

In the meantime, keep on keeping on.

Keep us Lord, O keep us cleaving
To Thyself and still believing
'Till the hour of our receiving
Promised joys in heaven.

'Till next week, every blessing.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Discipleship Considered

Disciples and Discipline

We come to discipline next. The word has many negative connotations, but we are not concerned with that side of the subject. We are looking at that part of the training of a disiciple of the Lord that is expected to produce a particular pattern of behaviour, especially that which is expected to produce moral or mental improvement. Our interest is in self-discipline that will improve our ability to serve the Master.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

The creation of humankind was one of God's many master-strokes. If we may echo the Psalmist, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We marvel at this mixture of flesh, blood, bone, muscle, sinew and nerves. Our physical frame can run, walk, dance, sleep, jump, throw, catch, swim, twist, bend, play games, pick apples, dig trenches and build walls.

And yet we are more than just physical beings. We have an understanding of the ego, the soul, the person who inhabits the body. We use personal pronouns like 'I', 'me' and 'mine'. We have a sense of humour - we can laugh and enjoy a joke. We understand irony and satire. We appreciate beauty. We can even enjoy the ridiculous. We have imagination, conscience and a will of our own. We can make educated choices. We have an inner self - a quality that means we are self-aware. We are the only ones who really know what is going on in our own minds. We think, we reason, we learn, we calculate, we are remarkable.

We were designed by the Omniscient One, the God who is all-wise, and we were made by the Omnipotent One, the God who is able to perfectly make that which He Himself designed.

God has been very generous with His gifts, and for those of us who acknowledge the 'Giving God' and seek to serve Him, having such faculties means we have a responsibility to use them as they were designed to be used. We should think creatively, objectively, sensibly, imaginatively, constructively, as to how we can best live the quality of life He planned for us and fulfil the purpose He has for us.

Disciples will exercise

In accordance with the basic principles of growth, it is only as we exercise our faculties do they get stronger and improve. Take a walk in the park almost any day and you will see those who are going through their paces. Many jog, some do sprints, lots do stretches and warming up and cooling down routines. There are people of all ages, giving a great deal of attention to the toning of the body. They know that, in the main, the healthier they are, the longer they will live. But they also want to keep in good shape to enhance their current enjoyment of life. An excellent aim, but I would suggest that Christians must also consider spending time on those exercises that will hone the mind, spirit and will. Only then will we come near to reaching our full potential, and only in so doing will we improve the satisfaction we get from our work, our leisure time, our witnessing, our home life, our social life, our church life and best of all, our spiritual life. The Bible says, "... bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come" (1 Tim.4:8). We should not neglect the body, but let us aim to acquire the right mind-set to live for God. We should make godliness a habit. Living the life He planned for us will not guarantee worldly success, or financial gain, but it will provide peace of min, a joy that does not depend on circumstances, and a meaningful ministry in the body of Christ.

But we must have a plan. Those who seek to keep the body fit generally follow a regimen - they have a series of exercises drawn up for them. Some even commit themselves to a regular visit to the gym in pursuit of physicial perfection. So those who wish to make a mark for God should also have some programme to follow. But I am not ignorant of the fact that, for each of us, our walk with the Lord is an individual affair. We each must follow the wise man's advice. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Prov.3:5,6).

Neverthelss, while we look to the Lord for guidance as to how we should pursue our Christian walk, there are some general principles that might be worth examining. We will examine some of these in the next blog.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Discipleship Considered (Continued)


In the matter of Christian character we soon encounter a difficulty. Christ-like character is normally the result of overcoming difficulties and trials. Paul wrote: "we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character" (Rom.5:3,4) In view of this, motivation is going to be a problem. The life that is set before us is not easy. Jesus constantly cautioned His followers that they would be faced with difficulties and the closer they walked with Him, the more persecution and problems they would face. Paul, who was called to leadership, in defending himself against opponents, lists the experiences he had to survive in his calling.

"Are they ministers of Christ - I speak as a fool - I am more: in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness - besides the other things, what comes upon me daily; my deep concern for all the churches" (2 Cor. 11:23-28).

His contention was that these were part and parcel of his calling. He was not called to a life of ease. These things may have changed now, and these forms of persecution have been outlawed in civilised communities, but we must state very clearly, the Christian life is beset with difficulties, and if we are not resolute and motivated, we will end up paddling around in some back-water getting nowhere.

So where is this motivation going to come from. The great motivator for the human condition is love. I realise this is a somewhat ethereal quality - often confused with human appetites - but Biblical love is real and a great motivator. Paul, in appealing to the Corinthians said, "the love of Christ compels us" (2 Cor.5:14). Christians who make a difference will seek to live this life to the glory of God because they are responding to love; they are motivated by the love of God. Jesus Himself said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). The practical outworking of a love for Christ is a life lived under His control.