Thursday, August 27, 2009

To Know & Do

George MacDonald wrote, "Where people know their work and do it, life has few blank spaces for ennui, and they are seldom to be pitied. Where people have not yet found their work, they may be more to be pitied than those that beg their bread. When a man knows his work and will not do it, pity him more than one who is to be hanged tomorrow."

Col. 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Col. 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rest Up From The Vacation

How many times have you heard it? "I need to get home and rest up from my vacation." Why is it that we can spend so much time and effort (and money) on a vacation, and find that it provided us with few of the benefits that are supposed to come from a vacation? Why do so many people have restless vacations?

There may be several answers, but the one I am most sure of is this. Too many people leave the giver of rest at home when they go on vacation. The Lord told Moses, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest" (Exodus 33:14). The Lord tells us, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

We feel this terrible need for rest because we spend too little time with the source of rest. We travel about, rush about, recreate about, and feel less rested because we use our vacation as an excuse to take even more time away from the Lord. How can we expect rest without the giver of rest? How can we expect healthy recreation when our recreation is used as an excuse to ignore our creator?

The last two times Chery and I took vacations, the highlight of our vacation was our Wednesday night visit with the brothers and sisters in the town we happened to be in. To see the joy on the faces of those we joined for Bible study was more restful than all the sights and tourist traps along the way.

The economy is bad. Perhaps you could not afford a vacation this year. Try spending some extra time with the one who promises to give you rest. That is one vacation you will not have to rest up from.

Friday, August 21, 2009

But By The Cross

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." (Acts 13:2, ESV)

William Still wrote,
"The believers in Antioch recognized that the Lord is no one’s debtor. When he commands that the church’s best leaders be sent away to new pastures, it is not to impoverish the fellowship that ‘loses’ them, nor to imperil those who go: in all things God works for the good of those who love him." It is our responsibility to remain detached from our local situation in such a way as to be ready, willing, and eager to scatter the saints in an outward drive of evangelistic ministry. This principle, lived out to the full by our blessed Lord, is essential and indispensable in any and every true work of God. ‘There is no gain, but by a loss; we cannot save but by the cross!’"

William Still, Through the Year With William Still, Edinbugh: Banner of Truth, 2006, p. 243.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Coping With Blues (advice from Samuel Rutherford)

There are a number of advantages to reading the old authors. For one thing, they have some really good thoughts. For another, they express themselves in such picturesque terms. Thirdly, their works are not under copyright, so you can quote them at length without fear. I am not going to quote at length here, but just share a few lines from a letter Samuel Rutherford wrote in 1637. In two places the vocabulary is modernized.

"I shall be loath to put you off your fears, and your sense of deadness; I wish it were more. There are some wounds whose bleeding should not be soon stopped. You must take a house beside the Physician. It will be a miracle if you be the first sick man whom he put away uncured, and worse than he found you. Nay, nay, Christ is honest, and in that the sinners have nothing to say against him. ‘And him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out’ [John 6:37]"

"Your heart is not the compass Christ saileth by. He will give you leave to sing as you please, but he will not dance to your daft tune." [daft spring]

"If Christ were to refer the matter to me (in his presence I speak it), I might be ashamed to vote my own salvation. .... I think it manhood to play the coward and duck on the lee-side of Christ." [jouk in the lee-side]

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Have a Look

Have a look at the blog titled Resurrected Life, and particularly at the entry titled "God for Heaven or Heaven for God." It is well worth reading.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Real Missionary

I hate to say it, but there are missionaries and then there are real missionaries (which kind I was, the Lord knows, “I do not even judge myself,” 1 Cor 4:3). There are a few (I want to emphasize that it is very few) who enter upon mission work because of romantic notions or because they were somehow unsuited to work back home.

Then there are the real missionaries, the kind of people who are capable of doing fine back home, but who want to serve others, who feel called to serve in a difficult place. Dr. Robert Whittaker is such a brother. He certainly did not become a missionary for the money -- as a doctor, he could easily be making lots of money in either Britain or America. Bob has endured discomforts and dangers that many can barely imagine. What happened to him last week (being violently kidnapped and held for ransom) is the most dramatic of the events he has endured, but it may not have been the most dangerous. For thirty years, his work has been about long hours, incredible stress, and paltry earthly rewards.
That man is a real missionary.

I hate to say it, but there are nominal Christians and then there are real Christians. I wish that I could say that the nominal are few in number. There is not enough room here for a full explaination of the difference, but, if you really want to know, you will figure out the difference between the nominal and the real for yourself.

Matthew 16:24-25 Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”