Free People Rest: Do you?
“When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.”
Caring is wearing me out
Understanding and responding to ministry stress. And along similar lines, here’s David Sunday on Embracing the Biblical Tension between Family and Church Ministry
May 17, 2012 • By David Murray • 4 Comments
Our enemy says, “Youth for pleasure, middle age for business, old age for religion.” The Bible says, “Youth, middle age, and old age for your Creator.”
But as it’s especially in our youth that we are most inclined (determined?) to forget our Creator, it’s especially in these years that we must work to remember our Creator (Ecc.12:1). Remember that He made you, that He provides for you, that He cares for you, that He watches you, that He controls you; and remember that He can save you too. That’s a lot to remember, but it’s much easier to start memorizing when we are young!
1. Energetic years
However, that’s not the only reason why God commands us to remember our Creator in our young years. It’s also because these are our most energetic years.
Why wait until we are pegging out, until we are running down, until our gas is almost empty, before serving our Creator? The God who made us deserves our most active and healthy years: our bodies are strong and muscular (well kind of), our minds are sharp and clear, our senses are receptive and keen and sensitive, our enthusiasm is bright and bushy, our wills are steely and determined. Remember Him in your energetic years.
2. Sensitive years
Why do far more of us become Christians in our youth than in our middle or old age? It’s because youthful years are sensitive years. Without giving up our belief in “Total Depravity” we can say that it’s “easier” to believe and repent when we are younger. It’s never easy, but it’s easier. And it’s easier because as we get older our heart is hardened thicker, our conscience is seared number, our sins root deeper, our deadness becomes deader.
Let’s use our youthful sensitivity and receptivity to remember our Creator before the evil days of callous indifference set in.
3. Teachable years
We learn more in our youth than in any other period of life. That’s true in all subjects, but especially true in religious instruction. All the Christians I’ve met who were converted to Christ late in life have expressed huge regrets about how little they know and how little they can now learn. I encourage them to value and use whatever time the Lord gives them, but they often feel they have to study twice as hard to learn half as well.
4. Dangerous years
Young years are minefield years: hormones, peer pressure, alcohol, drugs, pornography, immorality, testosterone, etc. Few navigate these years without blowing up here and there. Dangers abound on every side – and on the inside. How many “first” temptations become “last” temptations! How much we need our Creator to keep us and carry us through this battlefield.
Remember to remember
Let me then give you some helps to remember your Creator during these best of years (and “worst” of years):
- Be persuaded that you have a Creator: Get well grounded in a literal understanding of Genesis 1-2 and shun all evolutionary influences.
- Get to know your Creator: Study His Word using sermons, commentaries, and good books. But also study His World using microscopes and telescopes and any other instruments He gives.
- Join with your Creator’s friends: Build friendships with other creatures that love to remember and respect their Creator.
- Follow your Creator’s order: He set and gave the pattern of six days work followed by one day of rest for contemplation of His Works.
- Ask for your Creator’s salvation: Even if your rejection of your Creator has broken you in pieces, He’s willing to re-create you in His image.
- And while we’re on the subject of salvation, I don’t want elderly readers to be discouraged. Compared to the aeons of eternity, you are still in your “youth.” It’s not too late to remember Him, before these evil days come even nearer.
May 16, 2012 • By David Murray • 3 Comments
All Christians believe that God has a “Salvation Planning Department.” Although Calvinists and Arminians disagree about what goes on in that department, with Calvinists favoring “Big Government” here and Arminians demanding more “Limited Government”, yet all agree that God plans our salvation.
But God also has a “Good Works Planning Department.” He has not only planned our salvation, but also all the good works that follow our salvation. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
God planned not only His good work of conversion but our good works in sanctification. He has mapped out every single day of our Christian life, and every single good work of each day.
Think of every Christian, in every country, and every good work that each will do each day, and then think of the solo-staffed planning department that has plotted, organized, and arranged all this!
That changes the way we view each day, and every opportunity to serve that comes along. Whether it’s cleaning a drain, typing an email, preaching a sermon, sharing the Gospel, visiting the sick, seeking justice, or phoning a widow, etc., none of these “good works” come by chance.
The Planner has planned it all; long before He was in your plans.
May 16, 2012 • By David Murray • 0 Comments
Stop using (some) illustrations
“My heart always sinks when I hear the words ‘I’m not sure whether to use this illustration or not….’ in a sermon. Mrs R tells me that at that point she always wants to stand up and shout, ‘Don’t do it, preacher!’”
Two reasons why finding the root problem may not be a good goal for counselors
Another good reason to subscribe to Phil Monroe’s blog. Though- provoking, thought-changing, and thought-leading.
A Classical Christian School Reading List: 4th to 5th Grades
Many parents and children will benefit from Justin’s compilations.
Jesus loves the little children
$3 introductory book on the subject of infant baptism.
Unashamed Workman Has Moved
Great site for pastors, especially on the subject of preaching.
Obama, Gay Marriage, and the Black Church Vote
“Do not be deceived: Our votes will not come cheaply. Our mutual identity as African Americans is something we celebrate every time you laugh off the ignorance of those who question your American citizenship and when you make those long strides that have come to characterize your trek from Marine One to your home. Yet our confidence in your ability to govern the nation justly and equitably is not based solely on the contrasting ethnicities of your opponent and you. Yes, our ancestors made many sacrifices for us to have the right to vote. However, they also died while trying to stand for righteousness. So we can use the nil option in November, opting not to vote for you or the presumptive Republican nominee.”
May 15, 2012 • By David Murray • 0 Comments
Thinking, imagining, creating, concentrating, inventing, innovating, improvising, beautifying, loving, decorating, styling, polishing, and presenting.
Description of an artist?
No, it’s God. It’s God at work on His latest masterpiece. And its name – look closely – is “YOU.”
Yes, believer, you are God’s masterpiece (Eph. 2:10)! His craftsmanship! His handiwork! It’s literally “His poem.”
Think of how much time and talent the poet pours into every word she crafts, every line she composes. God is lavishing even greater time and talent on you each and every day. He is weaving together the seemingly disconnected rhythms and rhymes of your life into an epic poem of grace.
I remember a cartoon from my childhood in which a sculptor was tapping away on a block of ugly stone for days, months, and years, without any sign of progress. As he aged through the years, the mocking crowds grew larger as this poor little man tip-tapped away with patient care. And still, for all his work, not one chip of stone had fallen to the ground. The block was unchanged ugliness.
But one day, when the jeering crowd was particularly large and hostile, the sculptor leaned on his stool, took a little silver hammer, and gave the block one faint tap on the top. A crack started moving down and out, breaking up into multiple tributaries. Little chips began to fall away, then larger blocks, until at last an avalanche of material was cascading to the ground.
The dust settled, jaws dropped, eyes popped, and voices gasped: ”It’s a masterpiece!”