Dating…yeah…it gets kicked around, discussed, misused, abused, and spit out again and again…and sometimes it feels like we never really address the real issues. Further more, what are the issues? How do we approach the dreaded subject with a biblical mindset? Is it really that important?Does God want singles to date? Join Charles and Daniel as they begin a new series on dating…
I have been going through my books, organizing and getting rid of those I don’t need. This exercise drew me back to a book I read years ago; and I mean years ago. It was a book by Joyce Landorf entitled The Richest Lady in Town. I truly do not remember anything in this book except one story she told. It has always stuck with me.
She tells of a woman whose daughter came to her saying she needed a white fancy dress for a particular function. This daughter had no clue that the family had fallen on hard times financially. But the mother said okay.
In the next few days the mother presented her daughter with a beautiful white flowing organdy gown. As the daughter walked past the dining room, she noticed the white organdy curtains that used to hang over the windows were gone! That daughter had the richest mother in the neighborhood.
This past weekend we had company, and the woman asked me where I got a particular cabinet I have in my dining room. Just speaking of the lady who owned this cabinet brought all kinds of emotions to my heart. I speak of a lady named Lizzy Wade. She lived on the corner in the small rural town where my husband was a pastor years ago in Arkabutla, MS. This lady did not have much in the way of things, but she had a heart that overflowed for others. She would make pots of vegetable soup and give it away to lots of people around the community.
As you would come into this small town, Miss Lizzie’s house was the place many stopped to sit on her front porch. My two sons spent many hours on that porch conversing with Lizzy and other adults, and I know that was part of the training for what The Lord had planned for their lives today.
Lizzy was the most selfless, sacrificing, and giving person I have known. But the women above did not do these things for show or gain. Their riches stemmed from hearts towards others, not for their own glory. I know that Lizzy did these things from a heart which loved her Lord, and He guided her life for good for His glory. The last time we visited her home and saw her was the day she passed away. My husband said to her, “I wish we had spent more time with you.” To which she replied, “That’s okay Pastor. I’m just grateful for what I got!” Safe to say she was the richest lady in town!
Romans 2:4 and 5 says, “Or do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgement will be revealed.”
My dear friends, the world apart from Christ has no knowledge of the riches in the heart that displays God’s glory and not its own. So much emptiness is paraded by us every day and lifted up as something to grasp. So I present to you the real riches.
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How us searchable are His judgements and His ways past finding out.” (Romans 11:33) “In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7) “But God, for His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:4,5,10)
This is the grace that guides the heart for His glory and not its own.
I am not advocating that it is wrong for you to obtain riches. The Lord daily rains material and financial wealth on the just and the unjust. But as Psalm 49:11 tells us, our inward thought should not be that our houses, lands, money, etc. will continue forever, this is folly.
Upon reflection, my heart is overwhelmed by God’s grace upon my life. My children walk in the truth. My husband loves me unconditionally. The Lord daily loads me with benefits. He has forgiven me and set me on a straight path for His glory. I must stop and say, “Thank You, I am the richest lady in town!”
Daniel and Charles wrap up their discussion and study on the person of Jesus Christ. Obviously, we are never done talking about Christ but join today as they do a fly over of their study. We know that He is the fullness of all things but lets attempt to get a taste…a glimpse of what that looks like…
(Paraphrase of Psalm 146:3)
As humans, we are always looking for something or someone to make things better for us. As Christians, we are prone to join with the world in looking for some savior who will win the day, turn things around, and make things as they ought to be. Our confidence is often bolstered by the rare and occasional statesman or stateswoman who honors our confidence by fulfilling their God-given responsibility to govern wisely and selflessly. So the next time we who have the privilege of electing leaders pray and work for someone we hope will be at least as good if not better. If only we can elect the right leaders, we will see real and lasting progress that will change our lives and those of our fellow-citizens for the good.
Yet our experience has shown us that this is not true. Political and governmental leaders are, more often than not, driven by selfish personal agendas that motivate them to make decisions that are at best not for the good of their constituents and at worst morally wrong. They often feel no sense of moral responsibility and no accountability to those who elected them.
However, these things should not be the primary motivation for us to stop looking to our leaders as deliverers. Scripture makes it clear that our trust should be in God and God alone. He is the one Who governs the affairs of humanity. So to trust in men or women to do for us what only the Sovereign of the universe can do is an affront to our Lord. He alone is worthy of our trust. He alone can and does change the hearts and decisions of rulers for the good of His people and the glory of His great name.
So should we as Christians pull out of political involvement and be unconcerned with the election of governmental leaders? Should we look with a detached cynicism at those who work hard in the political process and celebrate the election of those who support their hopes and plans? What is our perspective if we believe that God rules over all?
We must remember that our trust is ultimately only in our Lord. We honor Him by looking to Him to govern our lives and the governance of those we elect. We can rest in His wisdom and loving rule over His people and all things.
We must also realize that our God is a God of means. He uses circumstances and people to exercise His rule and to bring to pass the things He has ordained. He also vests in them the responsibility to fulfill their roles with wisdom and justice and holds them accountable for the way they govern.
Finally, under the lordship of Christ, we must commit ourselves to working for the election of those we are convinced are most likely to fill such roles and fulfill the trust we lace in them. Yes, I said trust: not ultimate trust, of course. But there is a level of trust we place in those we elect with the realization that they are sinful men and women who will fail us; sometimes woefully. And when they do, we can be sure that our God has not failed and that His purposes are not thwarted in the least. The tension between our Lord’s sovereign rule and our very real responsibility will never disappear this side of eternity. But it is a tension we can and must live with as the Psalmist tells us. “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in The Lord his God.” (Psalm 146:5)
We have come to the hinge point in our discussion of the person of Christ. Everything else has lead to this because ultimately we desire to promote and proclaim the supremacy of Christ. Join Charles and Daniel as they discuss ‘Christ: The Firstborn’ …
The current political, cultural, and international climate confronts the serious-minded Christian with many challenges. The Christian world view is being minimized, marginalized, and villainized. Not the least of these challenges is our response to Islam; its spread and growth. Frightening depictions of attacks and beheadings leave many understandably disturbed and uncertain what to do. It is natural to distrust those with certain ethnic features, since we tend to identify them with the violence and nefarious intentions of a growing religious radicalism. We watch as our once predominantly European nation loses its white, Anglo-Saxon heritage. What should be our attitude, and how should we respond to these changes, and what should we as Christians expect of our government in light of the dangers that some of these changes pose?
First, it is right for all Americans to expect its government to be about the business of protecting its citizens from those who would do them harm. Timidity, reticence, and uncertainty have no place in the exercise of responsibility by public servants. When these qualities which are unworthy of public trust do exist, they should be replaced with courage, decisiveness, and action. Fears of offending certain people groups or somehow exacerbating past wrongs are no excuse for indecisiveness and inaction in the face of clear and present dangers. As Christians, we should pray that our Lord will embolden our leaders to do what is necessary to protect our nation and give them the prudence to do so in the best way. Second, we must avoid the racial and ethnic bigotry that comes from an unbiblical attitude of self-righteousness and arrogance and that hinders us from taking the Gospel to all peoples. There has been a wretched tendency for those of us with white skin to see ourselves as superior. Even our evangelism has sometimes issued from condescending motives. Of this we must be careful. As I heard a preacher of the past say, we are prone to focus on the issues that divide us, like skin, when we ought to be moved by the issue that unites us, which is sin. “All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned every one to his (or her) own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquities of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
So, what do we do? Pray that our Lord will bring to nothing the intentions and actions of Islamic Jihadists who fight for world domination and the elimination of those who embrace Christ. May The Lord use the leaders of this nation and others to fight this violent and merciless onslaught of hatred, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:2)
Let us also pray that God will burden our hearts for the Muslim people. Let us pray that He will use us to bring many of them to Christ, and may He give us the privilege of seeing them praise Christ’s glorious name. May He use the hatred of radical Islam to reveal the emptiness of Christless religion to all who worship idols. May the church of Jesus Christ go forth with the Gospel as it’s only sword, and may the gates of hell not prevail against it. And may we love The Lord our God with all that we are and our neighbors (all of them)as ourselves. May He use government to fulfill its biblical purpose and those of us who know Him to fulfill ours. It may be that in the process, many of us who have enjoyed the relative peace and tranquility of America will find it necessary to lay down our lives for Christ and His Gospel. If that is so or not, may our great God bring these words to pass.
Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You.
O let all the nations be glad and sing for joy: for You shall
Judge the peoples righteously, and govern the nations on earth.
Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You.
Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own
God shall bless us.
God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.
That in all things He might have the preeminence,