Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Wind In Our Face

Samuel Rutherford is one of my favorite authors. A.W. Tozer is another. So when Tozer quotes Rutherford, it gets my attention. Tozer once quoted Rutherford's famous advice, "God hath called you to Christ's side, and the wind is now in Christ's face in this land; and seeing ye are with Him, ye cannot expect the leeside or the sunny side of the brae."

Tozer goes on from that to comment, "To accept the call of Christ changes the returning sinner indeed, but it does not change the world. The wind still blows toward hell and the man who is walking in the opposite direction will have the wind in his face. And we had better take this into account when we ponder on spiritual things. If the unsearchable riches of Christ are not worth suffering for, then we should know it now and cease to play at religion."

We have the "peace that passes understanding." But we do not have the promise of ease. Rather, if we are following a man headed to a cross, we ought to expect there to be difficulties.

"Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours." John 15:20

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I read the Bible out of different translations. As soon as I finish reading from one translation, I switch to another one and begin again. I do not use any of the one-man paraphrases (Living Bible, the Message, Phillips...). Those may have their place, but I stick to more literal translations carried out by a committee of scholars.

One reason for using different translations is that the change in wording will sometimes make me notice something that I have overlooked in previous readings. For example, the English Standard Version of Proverbs 21:17 reads, "Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich." I suppose that I have read that verse a score of times, at least, but I do not recall having a serious discussion with myself about its application to me. I have never been a wine drinker, and somehow the word "pleasure" did not challenge me. But this year I am reading from the Geneva Bible (the translation that was most popular in England before the King James). The Geneva Bible translates this verse, "He that loveth pastime, shall be a poor man; and he that loveth wine and oil, shall not be rich." I found that a little more challenging.

We do not think of ourselves as people who love pleasure, but if we allow our pastimes to become a major measure of our lives, we are doing wrong. The time, money, and effort put on pastimes in this country is incredible. The extracurricular activities have overrun the curricular activities in many schools. Sports dominate the family schedule in many households.

A pastime has its place. We need some forms of recreation for the down times between duties. But when the pastimes become the main event and work and worship must be scheduled around the sporting activities, we are headed for poverty (materially and spiritually).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Battle

Someone has defined professional football as "40,000 people who need exercise gathering to watch 22 men who need rest."

At a football game, or a baseball game for that matter, no one expects or wants anyone to climb down out of the stands and join in the game. But the church is different. Everyone is supposed to be involved.

Some of the epistles are addressed to individuals; Timothy, Titus, and Philemon are examples of this. But most of them are addressed to the whole church. Second Corinthians is addressed to the church and emphasis is placed on the fact that it is intended for all the Christians in the region (2 Cor 1:1). The instruction in this book is for all, not just the elders, deacons, and evangelists.

What are they all to be doing?

They are all to be engaged in the battle. They are told, "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete" (2 Cor. 10:4-6)

Are you taking every thought captive for Christ? Are you engaged in the battle? Or are you merely watching the action and perhaps cheering occasionally?

Christianity is not a spectator sport, it is a battle. Christians are soldiers, not spectators. Watching, when we should be engaged in the battle, is unfaithfulness.