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Mark5

While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?” (Mark 5:35)

Jairus, the synagogue official, had come to Jesus asking Him to heal his daughter who was very near death. As the Lord was on His way to the girl, He had an encounter with a woman whom He ended up healing. During those few moments, Jairus’ daughter died. The grieving father was told to stop bothering Jesus – there was nothing more that could be done.

Think about the phrase, “why trouble the Teacher anymore?” Have you ever felt that way? Why bother God with this anymore? You’ve prayed and prayed and prayed, but what you’ve asked for hasn’t happened yet, so why keep bothering God? It seems like a lost cause, so why keep troubling God? I’ve felt that way on more than one occasion.

We should never think our coming to God in prayer troubles or bothers Him. It doesn’t! He longs and loves to hear from His children.

There is nothing too hard for God and no such thing as a lost cause. It wasn’t too late for Jairus’ daughter, and it isn’t too late for us, either.

 

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Consider Job

Job

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:20-21).

Job made this incredible statement after he lost nearly everything he held dear. It is a statement filled with faith and trust in God. It’s also a statement that is very hard to make – we have to be honest.

Nevertheless, what Job said is true. We came into this life with nothing and we leave the same way. The Lord has graciously given us everything we have, and if He chose to, He could remove it. Either way, He is to be praised.

Blessed be the name of the Lord in life or death, health or sickness, joy or pain, success or failure, employment or unemployment, happy or sad, choppy seas or smooth sailing, and even waiting. Blessed be His name in whatever He ordains.

Yes, it can be hard to say what Job said and really mean it. But there is more comfort in its truth than anything else. Praise God!

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ScriptureType-Romans8-28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:28-29).

Romans 8:28-29 is a precious promise to those of us who belong to God. I quote it, refer to it, and meditate upon it regularly. But I noticed something important that isn’t directly stated. The only way this promise works is if God is sovereign. God is on His throne – ruling and reigning as King, exercising dominion over great and tiny things alike. His dominion is total: He wills and chooses and carries out all that He wills, and none can thwart or stay His hand.

If God is not sovereign, His promise to work everything together in order to conform us to the image of Christ cannot be guaranteed. Maybe He can’t actually carry out everything He promises, or maybe someone (or some thing) can stop Him from doing what He wants. This promise, therefore, doesn’t work with a non-sovereign God. That’s not a very pleasant thing to think about.

But God is sovereign, and He always keeps His promises because He is able to keep them! We can have absolute confidence that God will make us more like the Lord Jesus Christ (His purpose for us) by working all things for our good (His method). This promise works because God is sovereign – He does as He pleases and, at least in this case, we know what He pleases – He fulfills this promise. Praise God!

 

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2+2=?

(What follows is an illustration used by Douglas Wilson–I didn’t think this one up myself.)

Imagine this scenario:

You’re called the fifty-yard line of a stadium filled with 50,000 people. A man says, “Two plus two equals…?” and puts a microphone in front of you. You answer by saying, “Four.” Upon hearing your response, the entire stadium breaks out in laughter. Loud, uproarious laughter.

The man says, “Let’s try this again, two plus two equals…?” He puts the microphone in front of you again and your answer is the same: “Four.” The crowd reacts, but this time they’re not laughing. They’re enraged. Everyone in the stadium is angrily screaming–all of it directed at you.

The man asking the question approaches you again, this time quite sternly, and says, “This is your last chance. Two plus two equals…?”

At that very moment, the question is not a matter of simple arithmetic, it’s a question of courage.

The point is this: Christians fear God more than people. Fearing God produces people who are willing and able to amuse and enrage those in the stadium by giving the right answer–the truth–“four.” We need that kind of bravery and courage today, and we need it desperately.

Let him who has ears to hear, hear.

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“Heavenly Father, take away the fear, darkness, chaos, confusion, and despair, and replace them with trust, light, peace, truth, and hope; for Your glory and our good, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

As for trust, Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” Psalm 91:2 says, I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”

With regard to light, Psalm 27:1 says, The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?” John 8:12 says, Then Jesus again spoke to them saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

As for peace, Psalm 29:11 reads, The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace. John 16:33 says, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

In relation to truth, Psalm 31:5 says, Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth. John 14:6 reads, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no ones comes to the Father but through Me.”

As for hope, Psalm 42:5 reads, Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence. Romans 15:13 says, Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Brothers and sisters, pray and don’t lose heart (Luke 18:1).

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Coronavirus, protests, rioting, looting, lockdowns, nearly fifty million people unemployed in the United States alone – all in the space of four months. This series of unfortunate events has produced fear, anxiety, irritation, anger, and even depression among other things (a few of them positive, by the way – I don’t want to discount them). How then should we, as Christians, live? What should we do during this time?

Consider this:

Let love be without hypocrisy.

Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.

Give preference to one another in honor.

Don’t lag behind in diligence.

Be fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.

Rejoice in hope.

Persevere in tribulation.

Be devoted to prayer.

Contribute to the needs of the saints.

Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Be of the same mind toward one another.

Do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly.

Do not be wise in your own estimation.

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.

Respect what is right in the sight of all men.

If possible, so far as it depends upon you, be at peace with all men.

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

“But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

(Romans 12:9-21)

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Theses are difficult, trying, and unusual times. A Chinese proverb, which may have been something of a curse, says, “May you live in interesting times.” Whether we like it or not, our times are interesting, to say the least.

How should we then live? What should we do as Christians? The answer, by the way, is not to go into a shell and do nothing. Here’s what we should do:

But we request of you, brethren,

  • Appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction
  • Esteem them very highly in love because of their work
  • Live in peace with one another
  • Admonish the unruly
  • Encourage the fainthearted
  • Help the weak
  • Be patient with everyone
  • See that no one repays another with evil for evil
  • Seek that which os good for one another and for all people
  • Rejoice always
  • Pray without ceasing
  • In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
  • Do not quench the Spirit
  • Do not despise prophetic utterances
  • Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good
  • Abstain from every form of evil

(1 Thessalonians 5:12-22)

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Random Thoughts

I’ve just started reading Erik Larson’s book The Splendid and the Vile. It’s the story of Winston Churchill’s first year as Prime Minister of Great Britain (May 10, 1940 to May 10, 1941). This period of time included the Dunkirk rescue and The Blitz – the nightly German bombing raids on London. Larson normally writes historical fiction, but this is straight non-fiction. This will be the first book of Larson’s I’ve read.

If I never hear the term “social distancing” ever again, it will be too soon.

“Everywhere you go, there you are.” We take our worldview with us wherever we go. We take our past, our particular baggage, our opinions, our attitudes, and the way we look at everything with us. A Christian is a Christian in a pandemic or in peacetime; in Beaverton, New York, or North Platte, Nebraska. It’s impossible to be a Christian at home, but not one at work. We take ourselves with us wherever we go.

Dustin Benge wrote this on Twitter:

We’ve created a 21st century fabrication of God.

A god who is wringing his hands.

A god who is powerless to intervene.

A god who has no wrath.

A god who can be manipulated.

Refuse to preach this god!

I guarantee that every (well, at least 99.999999%) pastor has felt this way. Read Lee Eclov’s article, then pray for your pastor.

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Tozer on God

A.W. Tozer begins his book The Knowledge of the Holy by saying,

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.

The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.

He ends the first chapter by saying,

The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him–or of her. In all her prayers and labors this should have first place. We do the greatest service to the next generation of Christians by passing on to them undimmed and undiminished that noble concept of God which we received from our Hebrew and Christian fathers of generations past. This will prove of greater value to them than anything that art or science can devise.

(The Knowledge of the Holy, pp. 1, 4)

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JC-Ryle

Beware of manufacturing your own god: who is all mercy but not just; all love but not holy; has a heaven for everybody but a hell for none; makes no distinction between good and evil.

He is not the God of the Bible. Beside the God of the Bible there is no God at all.

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