Saturday, April 29, 2017

THE TESTIMONY: ACCUMULATION

THE TESTIMONY:  ACCUMULATION


Ecclesiastes 6:1-2     I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on men: God gives a man wealth, possessions and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires, but God does not enable him to enjoy them, and a stranger enjoys them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.


The ways of the world began to influence and affect my life. College days were spent in learning the wisdoms of the world. The days of employment were marked by the struggle for material success and acknowledgement by others of my successes. A high salary, impressive titles and position, many employees to rule over, people to impress these were the marks of my success as I understood success. The world had me by the heart and mind. Their philosophy I learned in self-help books. My mentors were men of the world. Greed, lustful, self-centered, egotistical were their principles of life they shared with me. They were my role models. Church life and Christian beliefs were no longer a part of my life. They were no existent in my world.

            All the efforts for material and worldly success proved to provide no happiness. I was neither content nor satisfied with the attainment of the world's success symbols. I realized in 1987 that my life was moving further from my family and my heart felt beliefs. Everything I tried to do as the world taught me was not proving to be fulfilling.



Grace Presbyterian Church,  June 12, 1993



Friday, April 28, 2017

THE VULNERABLE LOVER

THE VULNERABLE LOVER

Song of Songs 8:6-7    Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.


            God desires that we love Him with all our heart, our soul and our mind. After this He directs us to love our neighbor as our self.  Love is what a Christian is called to do in all walks of life. Your pastor has been called to this love as well. He involves himself in your lives. He shepherds you in the direction of Jesus Christ. This is no small task. His love exposes him to those who know no love. It makes him vulnerable to the sufferings of others.             The Apostle Paul speaks of his vulnerability in serving the church at Corinth: "I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep...I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches [the people]. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? “(2 Corinthians 11:27-29)

            “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The
alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside heaven where you will be perfectly safe from all dangers and perturbations of love is hell.” (The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis)

            Do not fall into the trap of being discriminating with your love. The tragedy of life is when love is not shared with God and others. It's all too easy to become selfish with love when you consider others who are different than you in one or many ways.



Reformed Theological Seminary, 1994.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

GOD WORKS IN SECRET

GOD WORKS IN SECRET

Genesis 37:28  So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.


             God humbles his people before he elevates them. He kills them in order to bring them back to life. He devastates them before honoring them. He knocks them down in order to pick them up. God’s methods show the highest artistry and wisdom. We cannot understand how events like these are a part of God’s plan until we were his plan completed. When these events are happening, they can’t be understood, except through faith alone.

            In the same way, faith in the Son of God will comfort me when I leave this earth. Even so, my body will be buried in the ground and eaten by worms; it will rot and decay (Job 17:14). I don’t see God’s plan for me when I look at death. Yet God has promised that I will come back to life. Christ said, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19). But how will I live? I will live in eternal life, in a body that is brighter and more beautiful than the sun. I can’t see or feel any of this yet. But I believe it, and I can tolerate the short delay. Eternal life is already prepared. As Paul says, “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day” (2 Timothy 4:8).

            But God does everything in secret. We have to be patient while God hides his intentions from us. Jacob and Joseph couldn’t see the future prize. But with the sale of Joseph to the Ishmaelites, the future was being prepared. Gold sees everything as if it has all taken place already. Everything he wants to happen will certainly happen!

 


Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional, By Martin Luther. March 24.

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