Why I Still Dress Up for Church

tie-690084_1280

Why have so many people missed that verse in Hagamuk? You know the one–

Hagamuk 2:10: “Thou Shalt Wear Thy Best Robes to Worship.”

Okay, so I tried. As you most likely already know,  there is no “official” verse on why one should dress up for church. And since the church has been busily throwing out traditions for the last 20 years, dressing up is now completely out of vogue. It is the exception–and certainly not the norm–to see people dressed in their best for Sunday mornings. And since there is nothing official in scripture stating why one should dress nicely–well, I don’t have much I can say, do I?

And, I would like to say right here–just so you are not confused–I am in no way judging you if you do not agree with me. Since there is not anything directly spoken to this issue in scripture, what you wear to church is between you and the Lord.

But just in case someone wonders why anyone would hold onto TRADITION so tightly like my family and me–well, I thought I would give some insight. Because it is a decision that our family has carefully thought through and not based on some thoughtless dedication to a long-held tradition that has now been completely tossed to the wind by most church-goers.

As I have mentioned already, within the past 20 years churches have gradually become a place where anything goes. Wear your jeans, your t-shirts, and your shorts. All people will be welcomed, no matter what you wear. And so they should be!! But dressing up doesn’t mean that we make people unwelcome. Do you feel unwelcome at a bank? Or when you go to see a lawyer or accountant’s office? It is so interesting that people still dress up to go to work. If you go into a bank or you work in a corporation, you still find “business attire”.  It has long been understood that if you are dressed nicely, you act differently–more respectful and more professional–than if you are dressed casually.

I have also noticed that people still dress up to do things like meet the President of the United States, attend a wedding or a funeral,  or to go to a symphony. Why do they bother to go to the work of dressing up? It is because they want to honor the person(s) in whose honor they are attending the function. It is a sign of respect and honor.

And so this is why our family has continued to wear our best on Sunday mornings, when the world around us has decided not to. Yes, we know that God looks on the heart (the argument we hear over and over again about why you don’t need to dress up for church). But let’s turn it around and instead of putting the focus on ourselves, let’s move it to God. What is the best way we can honor and respect God when we worship? One of the ways our family thinks this can be accomplished is by dressing up when we go to God’s House to worship.

And, by the way, just because some people wear nice clothing to church and then have hearts that are filled with legalistic garbage, doesn’t mean that all people who wear nice clothing are doing so because of legalism. This just isn’t the case.

I will close with a quote from Elisabeth Elliot’s book “Discipline”. She has encapsulated my thoughts perfectly.

“I know I am skating on very thin ice to bring up the question of dress, since it has, for several decades, been considered by most Christians as of very minor importance or of absolutely no importance since God looks on the heart.  But I believe it is worth reconsidering in terms of respect.  Is it not an indication of my regard for another person’s worth when I am willing to “dress up”- for a job interview, for example; for a special guest I am entertaining; for a social event to which I feel honored to have been invited?  Is it not a sign of a performer’s respect for his audience and of the audience’s for the performer, when they dress for the occasion?  It may be scorned as a form of pride (“who are you trying to impress”), but it may be genuine humility of the same sort that would prompt one to polish the silver, get out the beautiful tablecloth, and have candlelight and flowers for someone greatly loved.  The attitude of students, I have noticed, is strongly influenced by a professor’s dress, as well as his manner.”

The Watchman

The Watchman
by Scottish pastor, Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)

Thy way, not mine, O Lord, however dark it be;

Lead me by Thine own hand, choose out the path for me.

“…if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ … I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me.” Ezekiel 33:6-7

“Some one, then, must undertake the ungracious task of probing and laying bare the evils of the age; for men must not be allowed to congratulate themselves that all is well. If others will not, he will.

If others shrink from the obloquy of such a work, he will not…. He loves his fellow-men too well. They may upbraid him; they may call him a misanthropist, or a prophet of evil; they may ascribe his warnings to the worst of motives, such as pride, or arrogance, or self-esteem, or malice, or envy; but he will give no heed to these unjust insinuations.

He will prefer being thus misunderstood and maligned, to allowing men to precipitate themselves upon a ruin which they see not. Rather than that they should perish, he will allow his own good name to be spoken against. He will risk every thing, even the hatred of brethren, rather than withhold the warning. If they give no heed to it, he has, at least, saved his own soul. If they do, he has saved both his own soul and theirs.

He would rather take up the glad tidings of peace, and tell men of Him who came the first time for shame and death, and who is coming the second time for glory and dominion; but he feels as one who has a special and personal message to deliver, which cannot be postponed.

He must remember that he is a watchman; and, having seen danger pressing on, he must not hesitate to make it known. He must speak his message of forewarning and rebuke, sparing no arrows, and neither smoothing down nor hiding any form of sin, but laying his finger upon every sore, and beseeching men to turn from their ungodliness. The evils around him press upon him sadly; the coming evils are foreshadowed upon his spirit, and, therefore, he lifts up his voice like a trumpet.

Satan has many snares which need to be detected; the world has many spells and lures which must be disenchanted; religion has many guises which must be unmasked, many devious paths of inconsistency which must be pointed out, many cherished errors which must be condemned, many carnal taints which must be abhorred and shunned. All these he must protest against without fear or favour.”

Smooth let it be or rough,

It will be still the best;

Winding or straight, it leads

Right onward to Thy rest.

I dare not choose my lot;

I would not, if I might;

Choose Thou for me, my God,

So I shall walk aright.

 

The Making of a Brick

Brick-making.  Who thinks about that?   And who cares?  And why in the world would I write about it?  Well, bear with me for a moment.  We all know that, in order for a brick to be useful, it must be rock hard.  It cannot have the slightest bit of flexibility or softness.  But it doesn’t start out that way.

A brick starts out as a soft, lumpy pile of clay, straw, and sometimes even manure, depending on which country you are in!  It is put in a mold and then set out to dry…in the hot sun…for a long time.

Maybe that is us, too?  Perhaps?  A mushy lump of clay, straw, and manure.  Nothing of value.  Impossible to be useful.  Until we are hardened by the sun.  Until we are tested and tried.  You see, it is only by the heat that we can be made into something valuable and useful for the Kingdom.

In James 1 we are told:  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

This is nothing new to your ears, I am sure.  I don’t know why I am even wasting my time writing it.  But maybe someone out there somewhere needs to be reminded that their time under the hot, burning sun right now–where they are completely uncomfortable and miserable–will turn them into something useful for God’s purposes.  If we have the right heart about it all.  If we don’t grow bitter and angry at God for allowing it.  If we turn our eyes on Jesus instead of our own suffering.  If we keep a proper perspective.

A brick has no choice but to become hardened in the sun.  But we humans actually have a choice.  We can become more self-centered and bitter and miserable when we are placed under the heat.  Or we can become stronger…more like Christ.  It’s up to you.

When is a baby actually a baby?

I don’t delve into politics much.  I have my opinions.  But I am not blogging about them.  Usually.  But I can’t help myself this morning.  Last night I caught a bit of the news.  A story came on in which the newscasters sounded just horrified as they discussed it.  The man reading the statement could hardly withhold his disgust.  Here is the gist of the story:

A “doctor” in Philadelphia had actually induced mothers with 6, 7, even 8 month old fetuses into labor, allowed the babies to be born, and then MURDERED them!

This IS horrible.   I feel sick inside when I hear of someone doing this.  Our minds can’t comprehend such evil.

But I was filled with such puzzlement.  Why is it so abhorrent when this tiny life is murdered outside the womb, but just a “late-term” abortion when it is inside the womb?  Why is the world appalled and shocked when the baby is delivered and then murdered…but not horrified when it is violently murdered inside it’s safe, warm environment?  I don’t get it.

It is quite a world that calls a living being a “human” when it is outside the womb, but a “non-human” when it is inside the womb.  It breaks my heart.  What have we come to in this country?  God have mercy on us.

 

Psalm 139: 13-16

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[b]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

Tangled

I don’t think it is any secret how much I enjoyed Disney’s new animated fairytale “Tangled”.  I don’t really like animated films very much, so I was quite surprised that I enjoyed it so much.   It is the story of Rapunzel and her escape from the tower.  The story is, delightfully, an old-fashioned fairytale…with a prince, a princess,  a villain, and a few other unusual characters throw in.

But I got to thinking.  How many times have I looked at a situation in my life and felt like it was a tangled mess?  Have you ever tried to untangle a necklace?  I think it is one of the most frustrating tasks there is…especially if there is more than one necklace.  It often feels impossible.  Sometimes you have to walk away and return later to try again.   Sometimes my life feels like that.  Or at least a certain situation in my life.  I have one like that right now.  I look at it from all different angles.  I go in circles as I think about it.  I feel hopeless about it.  I see that there is no way possible for me to untangle the string.   It has been going on for months and does not seem to be getting better…I think it may even be getting worse.   What is God doing here?  And that is when I realize a couple of things.  1) I have absolutely no control whatsoever.    2)  God has complete and total control.  3)  I have a choice to make…not to trust and to spend my time worrying and fretting over something I can’t change or to trust and hand it over to the Lord (maybe over and over again…but still make the conscious decision to give it to the Lord).

I remember another time…many, many years ago…when I learned this lesson in an almost miraculous way.  We had an employee who we felt was almost irreplaceable.  He was a talented and honest guy who did an important and difficult job within the company.   One day he shared with us his decision to move in a different direction.  He felt the Lord moving him on to a different career.  We understood his desire to move on.  But I felt instant panic.  What were we going to do?!  Surely, we were going to have a difficult time replacing him.  I don’t remember many details, but I do remember that within a few short weeks, my husband ran into a former employee who was familiar with the job that need to be filled.  He was also very talented and gifted in this area.  AND he was looking for a job.   Coincidence?  I think not.  God knew we needed him.  And he provided this man at just the right time to fill a big hole within our company.  What looked like a problem that could not be solved…a maze that had no way out…a tangled mess…had suddenly become untangled.  And to no credit of ours.  It was all God.

You see, when we get ourselves out of a mess, then who gets the glory?  WE do.  Look how smart we are!  Look how amazing and gifted we are!  Look how clever we were to think of that solution!  But when it is so tangled that there is no way that we could untangle it ourselves…and then we see God work in amazing, unbelievable ways…well, at that point, we have no choice but to give God all of the glory.

Sure…I know what you are thinking…some things never seem to get resolved.  Some things never get untangled.  That is true.  But God still uses those things to change us.  And you will find that even though the situation hasn’t changed, YOU have changed.  Maybe you are experiencing a deeper faith.  A stronger trust in God’s plan.  Maybe you have released bitterness or an unforgiving heart.  Perhaps you have grown to love God’s Word in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without that tangled trial in your life.

I don’t know what you are facing today.  And you don’t know what I am facing today.  But we know Who holds the answers.  We know Who can choose to untangle the complicated confusion and hopelessness we find ourselves in…or choose to grow us and deepen our faith while enduring the tangled trial.

Let’s give God the glory for the Holy Spirit is at work in the lives of believers in remarkable ways.  Let’s not forget just how powerful and amazing our God is!  No tangled life is too much for Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct[a] your paths.

 

 

Stop Whining!

Have you complained yet today?  I mean…you know…been frustrated or discouraged about something and expressed that with your mouth?   You could have knocked me over with a feather when one of my kids described me as a “complainer” the other day.  I did not realize just how much I vocalized my feelings.  I mean, I already know that I talk a lot.   And that generally means sharing a lot of what I think.  I am not much of a mystery (as most of you readers probably figured out already!).   But, I was challenged.   Just because I think something negative about my circumstances does not mean I need to speak it.

Do you have any problems with that?  Or am I alone in this propensity?   Do you complain when an activity you were looking forward to is canceled due to weather?  Do you complain when your husband comes home late for dinner?  When your children leave their things on the floor right where you walk?  Or perhaps when you are doing your gazillionth load of laundry?

It is human nature, isn’t it?  I would go even further and say that it is of our flesh…our old nature.  It is not of the Spirit.  It is not a fruit of our new nature.  You see, I think complaining is one of those things that we often do without even thinking.  We don’t even realize the sinfulness of it because it is a habit.  And habits are hard to break.

But Paul tells us in Galatians that we are new creatures.  Old things have passed away.  There should be a battle going on when we sin.  Galatians 5:16&17 says  “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”

As has happened so many times in the past…God has brought something to my attention that is sin. It is not just a bad habit that is annoying to my family.   It is not just something that I say that sounds ungrateful and unloving.  It not just a vocalization of a discontent heart.  It is sin.

The funny thing is…and I don’t know if you find this to be true in your own life…but I am not discontent.  I am not ungrateful.  I thank the Lord often for the many blessings in my life.  I find that I just have this tendency to speak my mind when something doesn’t suit me.   James 3 talks about just how powerful the tongue is.   Perhaps thinking before opening my mouth would be a good start to ridding myself of the habit of complaining!

If you don’t struggle with this, you can thank the Lord that you are not like me.  But if you do, I hope that I have helped you see that you are not alone and that I have given you cause to think before you speak today.  Because it is never appropriate to whine about our circumstances!

Death.

You probably heard that Tom Bosley (Happy Days), Dixie Carter (Designing Women), and Rue McLanahan (Golden Girls) died in 2010.  You may have even heard about Dennis Hopper (Speed, Hoosiers), Leslie Nielsen and Peter Graves (Airplane),  and Merlin Olsen (Little House on the Prairie). But did you know that the creator of “spaghettios”, Donald Goerke, died?  So did Miep Gies, the Dutch woman who protected Anne Frank.   Andy Irons, the three time world champion surfer, died at age 32.   Alexander McQueen, creative director of Gucci, died at age 40.   Sports greats Robin Roberts (Phillies), Sparky Anderson (Reds & Tigers), and Don Meredith (Cowboys) also passed away in 2010.    That is a short list from World magazine’s (January 1, 2011 issue) article entitled “Departures”.

You may say “So what?  What do I care?”  You may not be familiar with most of them.  (As I get older, I realize that I become more and more familiar with the names of those who have died).   But each of these people accomplished something of enough importance to be listed in World magazine.   For many, it was simply acting in a television show or movie.  For others, it was a political accomplishment.  There was also there the world’s oldest twitterer (a lady named Ivy Bean who died at the age of 104) and the scientist, Thomas Peebles, who isolated the measles virus, which led to the development of the vaccine.

And yet, many of us have never even heard of most of these people.  Most of the names I was familiar with were the names of actors.  The people who had accomplished something of value to this world were unknown to me.  And, so it is in this life.  Most things of value, while they might bring one a small amount of fame in certain circles, do not bring great notice to most of the world.  Do you know the names of the scientists working feverishly to develop a cure for cancer?  Are you familiar with the names of the people who invented the first computer…the dishwasher……the space shuttle…the internet?  Unless you are an avid reader or have great interest in any of these specific areas, you are probably unfamiliar with most of these people.

What about the people who accomplish great things for God?  Do we know who they are?  Sure, we have all heard of Martin Luther, David Livingstone, Hudson Taylor.  But what about the missionaries who reached out to the natives in Irian Jaya?  Or the natives in Peru?  Who started Voice of the Martyrs, the ministry that reaches out to imprisoned believers?  Who braved the Iron Curtain and smuggled Bibles to those who couldn’t get them?  Who is doing that currently in countries that have out-lawed God’s Word?  We don’t know, do we?

Ironically, as I was writing this, my husband told me about the attack on Gabrielle Giffords, congresswoman, and the 6 people who died in that attack.  Jan 8, 2011.  Outside a grocery store in Tucson.  Part of that group was a 9 year old girl, the young granddaughter of Dallas Green, the old Philadelphia Phillies manager.

So…what is my point?  We are all going to die.   Most of us will die without doing anything of enough value to be mentioned in World magazine.  Most of us will not die in a tragic shooting that is broadcast around the world.  But we all will die.  We will all leave some kind of legacy.  It will probably not be a legacy that brings on accolades of men.  It will probably not be a legacy that will cause someone to write an article about you in Wikipedia.  But we will all leave a legacy.  What will be your legacy?  What will be my legacy?

I want my legacy to be that of a godly woman who lived with honesty, kindness, and integrity.  Someone that her children could model themselves after.  Someone who was a blessing to her church family, her extended family, her friends, and her community.  I want to be known as someone who embraced every opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.   Because, quite truthfully, the chances are slim to none that I will ever have a blog that is read by thousands of people.  Or that I will be a famous musician.  I will never have the platform to talk to millions via television about Jesus.

But I do have opportunities every day to be a blessing to those around me.  I have opportunities every day to share with others about Jesus.  What are we doing with our lives that is of eternal value?  What are we doing to make life better for those around us?  What will be our legacy?

I will leave you with the following hymn:

Verse 1
You may build great cathedrals large or small,
you can build skyscrapers grand and tall,
you may conquer all the failures of the past,
but only what you do for Christ will last.

Chorus
Remember only what You do for Christ will last.
Remember only what you do for Christ will last,
only what you do for Him will be counted at the end;
only what you do for Christ will last.

Verse 2
You may seek earthly power and fame,
the world might be impressed by your great name,
soon the glories of this life will all be past,
but only what you do for Christ will last.

Verse 3
Though your armies may control each hemisphere,
and your orbits out in space cause men to cheer,
your scientific knowledge may be vast,
but only what you do for Christ will last.

Verse 4
Though your song and prayers are heard and praised by man,
they’ve no meaning unless you’ve been born again,
sinner, heed these words, don’t let this harvest pass,
for only what you do for Christ will last.

 

Ignoring Inconvenient Truths

We all do it, don’t we?  Ignore something because it is just…easier.  At least, it is temporarily easier.  Here are a few I can think of:

–If I discipline and communicate with my child on a consistent basis, they will become a responsible adult.

–If I confront this person in love, we will be able to continue in a friendship full of love and grace.

–If I eat things that are good for me, I will stay at a healthy weight and feel so much better.

–If I study God’s Word, He will use that study powerfully in my life to grow me as a believer.

–If  spend carefully and wisely, I will be financially secure and be able to give with generosity later on.

 
Of course, there are exceptions to everything.  But,  like Proverbs 22:6 (Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it) is a guideline for life…a golden nugget of wisdom, so the above statements are guidelines…patterns for us to follow.  But we are awfully good at ignoring them, aren’t we?

And we all struggle with different things.  I, for one, struggle with the whole food thing.  Which I think I have mentioned here before!  But I did learn a lesson the hard way this past month.  I threw my whole eating plan to the wind and filled my body with junk on a pretty consistent basis.  I was not careful of my sugar intake and felt too busy (operative word is FELT) to care about how many fruits and vegetables I ate.  And, do you know what?  I paid for it dearly.  I felt so sick the whole month of December.  Like I was operating at 50% power.  Until, on December 30, I got incredibly sick…sicker than I have ever been as an adult.  No one else in my house got sick.  Just me.  And it has made me wonder…did ignoring the TRUTH that my body needs good food to eat and cannot handle all of that sugar so weaken my immune system, that I had no way to fight back?

You may think that had nothing to do with it.  But I will never let my guard down like that again.  I will always be much more diligent, no matter what the time of year.  That way, if I do get sick, I will know it is not due to my lack of self-discipline and my unwise way of eating.

You may not struggle with eating.  You may religiously eat your vegetables and fruits.   Sugar may not even appeal to you (could you tell me how you got to that point??!)  But, I would encourage you to check other areas of your life that you may be ignoring an “inconvenient truth”…perhaps you know that your teenager is disobedient in the music they listen to…or the friends they hang out with.   You know that no good can come of that behavior.  But it is easier just to ignore it.  Because you are tired of the battle.

Or maybe you are a spender.  You go to the store and the beautiful merchandise calls your name.  When you are swiping a credit card, it is so easy to forget that you will have to pay for that later.  You ignore the truth that you will eventually have to pay for that item.

Or perhaps you are really struggling with a sin in your life.  Or you have a decision to make.  Or perhaps you need to forgive someone.   God gives us the wisdom for life in His Word.  And, yet, we ignore it.  We would much rather “discuss it”  or read the latest bestseller on how to help ourselves.

Or perhaps there is someone who has sinned against you or offended you deeply…they may not even know it.   And instead of talking it through with that person, you have made the choice to just ignore it.  Which is fine, if you are truly letting it roll off of your back.  But, instead, many of us dwell on it, until anything that person does becomes irritating to us.  They cannot even open their mouths without annoying us.   We are ignoring the truth that loving confrontation  heals relationships.

Romans 2: 5-11  says “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”:[a] 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.” (emphasis mine)

We have a responsibility to pay attention to the truth in every area of our lives.  Not just the convenient ones.  Not just the doctrinal ones.  But every area.   It is my prayer that I will never let my guard down again.  That I will never again ignore any truth.  But, given my very unhealthy past month, it would appear I have a lot yet to learn!

The Book of Psalm abounds with verses about truth.   In conclusion, I will leave you with a few–

Psalm 51:6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Psalm 86:15 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious,Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.

Psalm 91:4 He shall cover you with His feathers,And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

Psalm 119:30 I have chosen the way of truth;Your judgments I have laid before me.

Psalm 119:151 You are near, O LORD,And all Your commandments are truth.

Psalm 119:160 The entirety of Your word is truth,And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.

 

 

So what if you never grew old?

Finding the “Fountain of Youth” has been the topic of many stories over the years.   But think about what would happen if you really could find a spring that would keep you from growing older when you drank from it…truly think about the ramifications of that.    You would never see another wrinkle.  Your body would stay young and strong and healthy.  You wouldn’t lose your hair.  You would be able to run as fast 1000 years from now as you can right now.  You could accomplish all of your dreams because you wouldn’t have a lifetime…you would have until the world ends.  You could try all kinds of dangerous things because you would never die.  Sounds good, doesn’t it?  But what about the other ramifications?   Not everyone could (or would want to) drink from the spring.   The majority of the world would be moving on, while you were staying the same.  You would watch classmates and family members grow older and die.  You would see generations come and go.  And yet there you would be.  Stuck.  You would never mature more than you are right at that moment.  For all the days left on this earth.

You see, this push for youth…the pressure to stay looking and acting young…it all sounds nice, doesn’t it?  But would you REALLY want it?  What would be the point?   I wouldn’t want to stay young while all those around me grew old.   Can you imagine?  You would be stuck in high school…or with toddlers…or with teenagers…forever.  Because your kids would never grow up…if you gave them some water.  Or if you didn’t, they would grow up and you would become younger than them.    You would watch others around you suffer.  Perhaps even you would suffer.  But you would never die.   Does this sound appealing?

Yes, growing old saddens us.   So does change.  But what if it wasn’t there?   What if people never changed?  It is part of life.  It is not always a pleasant part of life…but we need it.

You see, I am at a part of my life where I find myself increasingly nostalgic.  My kids are growing up so quickly.  I miss the days of cuddling babies, toddlers full of wonder, and elementary children full of energy and fun.  But, when I stop and think…would I want to go back?  No, I wouldn’t.  I love my teenagers.  And I enjoy them, too.  And one day, when my teenagers are all adults…well, then I will enjoy that time of my life, too.   As much as I hate change, I wouldn’t want things to stay the same.  Would you?

As I come to a close, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my excitement about my future, however!  A future which Jesus has promised in the Bible to those who truly believe in Him.  Scripture promises me a place where I will live forever.   I will live forever along with all of the inhabitants of that place.  But it will be a place of perfection.  A place of love, joy, and peace.  A place where no one will get sick.  No one will cry.  (Revelations 21:4) Jesus has promised this place for His followers.  Those who have repented of their sins (Mark 1:15), accepted God’s gift of salvation by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8), and have shown the fruit of that decision by denying themselves, taking up their crosses, and following Him (Luke 9:23, Mark 8:34). I hope as you ponder your own mortality, you know without a shadow of a doubt where you will spend eternity.  If you don’t know where you will spend eternity, please take the time to search the scriptures.   Ask God to open your eyes.  And I will be praying for you, my friend.

 

The Bible

What could possibly be the  best New Year’s resolution?  Lose 20 pounds?  Save “x” amount of money?  I think the best resolution you can possibly have is to take your Bible off the shelf and start reading it.   I came across this sermon of Spurgeon’s.  It is entitled “The Bible” and was written in 1855.  It seems that ours is not the only culture that placed novel-reading ahead of Bible-reading.  Or business ahead of holiness.  Sure, today we could insert a few more things that take precedence over our Christian walk.  I found this quite an indictment.  Don’t read it if you don’t want to feel convicted.  I am only sharing a bit of it here with you.  The rest can be found at the link at the end of this post.

Our last point is: The treatment which the poor Bible receives in this world; it is accounted a strange thing. What does that mean—the Bible accounted a strange thing? In the first place, it means that it is very strange to some people, because they never read it. I remember reading, on one occasion, the sacred story of David and Goliath, and there was a person present, positively grown up to years of maturity, who said to me, “Dear me! what an interesting story; what book is that in?” And I recollect a person once coming to me in private; I spoke to her about her soul, she told me how deeply she felt, how she had a desire t serve God, but she found another law in her members. I turned to a passage in Romans, and read to her, “The good that I would I do not; and the evil which I would not that I do!” She said, “Is that in the Bible? I did not know it.” I did not blame her, because she had no interest in the Bible till then; but I did not wonder that there could be found persons who knew nothing about such a passage. Ah! you know more about your ledgers than your Bible; you know more about your day-books than what God has written; many of you will read a novel from beginning to end, and what have you got? A mouthful of froth when you have done. But you cannot read the Bible; that solid, lasting, substantial, and satisfying food goes uneaten, locked up in the cupboard of neglect; while anything that man writes, a catch of the day, is greedily devoured. “I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.” Ye have never read it. I bring the broad charge against you. Perhaps, ye say, I ought not to charge you with any such thing. I always think it better to have a worse opinion of you than too good an one. I charge you with this: you do not read your Bibles. Some of you have never read it through. I know I speak what your heart must say is honest truth. You are not Bible readers. You say you have the Bible in your houses; do I think you are such heathens as not to have a Bible? But when did you read it last? How do you know that your spectacles, which you have lost, have not been there for the last three years? Many people have not turned over its pages for a long time, and God might say unto them, “I have written unto you the great things of my law, but they have been accounted unto you a strange thing.”
    Others there be who read the Bible; but when they read it, they say it is so horribly dry. That young man over there says it is a “bore;” that is the words he uses. He says, “My mother says to me, when you go up to town, read a chapter every day. Well, I thought I would please her, and I said I would. I am sure I wish I had not. I did not read a chapter yesterday, or the day before. We were so busy, I could not help it.” You do not love the Bible, do you? “No, there is nothing in it which is interesting.” Ah, I thought so. But a little while ago I could not see anything in it. Do you know why? Blind men cannot see, can they? But when the Spirit touches the scales of the eyes, they fall off; and when he puts eye-salves on, the Bible becomes precious. I remember a minister who went to see an old lady, and he thought he would give her some precious promises out of the word of God. Turning to one, he saw written in the margin “P.,” and he asked, “What does this mean?” “That means precious, sir.” Further down, he saw “T. and P.,” and he asked what the letters meant. “That,” she said, “means tried and proved, for I have tried and proved it.” If you have tried God’s word and proved it—if it is precious to your soul. then you are Christians; but those persons who despise the Bible, have “neither part nor lot in the matter.” If it is dry to you, you will be dry at last in hell. If you do not esteem it as better than your necessary food, there is no hope for you; for you lack the greatest evidence of your Christianity.

    I have done. Let us go home and practice what we have heard. I have heard of a woman, who, when she was asked what she remembered of the minister’s sermon, said, “I don’t recollect anything of it. It was about short weights and bad measures, and I didn’t recollect anything but to go home and burn the bushel.” So, if you will remember to go home and burn the bushel, if you will recollect to go home and read your Bibles, I shall have said enough. And may God, in his infinite mercy, when you read your Bibles, pour into your souls the illuminating rays of the Sun of Righteousness, by the agency of the ever-adorable Spirit; then you will read to your profit and to your soul’s salvation.

http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0015.htm

Scroll to Top