Pursuit of Glory (5)

Companionship

This chapter is about companionship and marriage.  The author describes a trip to Europe where he saw spectacular scenery in Switzerland but had no-one to share it with. “God did not design us to experience life alone” (Gen.2:18).

We crave companionship but we were created originally for fellowship with God, the fellowship that is enjoyed in the Trinity, and the fall destroyed that and our relationships with each other. Selfishness creates conflict in marriage. He quotes the example of a mega-rich businessman whose job priority was at the expense of family. “It is family and friends that make this life so special. We must invest our time in the things that matter most–God, family, and friends.”

God’s law commands us to love him and our neighbour. Counterfeit love is lust. “Love seeks the betterment of others while lust is for the satisfaction of self.” “Lust has more in common with hate than love, it uses people for personal pleasure then throws them in the wastebasket after their resources are used up”–witness Amnon and Tamar (II Samuel 13). Real love is from God and is supernatural (I Cor.13)-love will sacrifice without seeking to receive. “A loving mother understands it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). Love delights in bringing joy and blessings to others. To love someone and to be loved by someone is the most treasured of all blessings.”

But even the best earthly relationship falls short. We need the love of God because his love is perfect, unconditional and unchangeing. Out of sheer love Christ gave everything for his people (Rom.5:5,8, 2:4, 8:31-39). We were saved to enter covenant love with God and his people–the fellowship of the saints. Heaven needs no marriage because the earthly type is swallowed up in the reality it typified, namely the marriage of Christ and his church.

Further reading: Keeping God’s covenant (Engelsma/Hanko), Communion with God (John Owen), Handle with Care (Dr Julian Kennedy), Walking in the Way of Love (Nathan Langerak)

Confidence

Confidence

We are often told about sportspeople or teams or managers that they are confident of winning. Where is their confidence? Usually it is in themselves and their own ability!
Confidence means to have faith in and rely on yourself or someone else with the assured certainty of your own ability or their help. The middle three letters of the word point to faith (fidei) and because for the Christian our Lord maintains this bond of faith with us, we actively respond trusting him to lead us into victory over the world, flesh and devil. We should be confident people!  We boast in the Lord (Jeremiah 9:23,24). Our faith overcomes the world! Let us always be confident in him-he is our omnipotent, loving Father and we are united to his omnipotent, loving Son. We are united to both and indwelt by his loving omnipotent Spirit. We must never underestimate the power at work in us!
In II Kings 18:19 the blaspheming Rabshekeh of the King of Assyria poured scorn on King Hezekiah for having confidence in his God. But his confidence in God was not misplaced as his angel smote 180,000 of the enemy in one night!
The writer of proverbs encourages his son with these words, “ For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” Proverbs 3:26
“For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” Isaiah 30:15.

Our confidence must be in God alone, not ultimately anything we have or own, or any other people.

Fire-a useful servant but bad master!

“And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.” Lev.9:24.
“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” 10:1,2.
The same fire that confirmed God’s presence and help to his elect people, slew those who were disobedient and reprobate. In the same way God confirms his loving presence to us in answering prayer and opposes and destroys our enemies who do not repent.
 “Observe how jealous God is in matters of worship; how much he dislikes hypocrites, and formal professors; how severe he will be against such who bring in strange doctrines; what will be the fate of the contemners of Gospel doctrines and ordinances; and how much he resents those who trust in themselves, and their works, and bring in anything of their own in the business of salvation, which is strange fire, sparks of their own kindling, a burning incense to their own drag, and sacrificing to their own net.” John Gill.
“I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?” Luke 12:49

God’s gracious gift of prayer

Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church, Singapore

Professor.  Russell Dykstra 19th August 2018

Prayer is a privilege and a lifelong blessing!

Luke 11:1-13  Heidelberg Cat. L.D.45

A vital and precious NEED, INDISPENSIBLE

Covenant fellowship (communion), worship and expression of thankfulness.

  • We must know him, ask according to the model prayer and for what is needed.
  • We are dependent creatures with material and spiritual needs (grace/Spirit/our calling/life’s hardships).
  • We are sinners needing forgiveness and cleansing.
  • It is hard because it is SPIRITUAL and we are EARTHLY!
  • We shall be heard.

Contrary to what RD says it may contain apparent trivia (God is interested in the minutiae of life) and be spontaneous, informal and just by “shooting” a thought to heaven (Nehemiah 2:4).

CERC Message

Psalm 90

Despite the brevity of life, for the believer it is dwelt in God and he in us (the covenant).
Psalm 90 (John Gill commentary)
Psalm 90:9
“For all our days are passed away in thy wrath.
The life of man is rather measured by days than by months or years; and these are but few, which pass away or “decline” as the day does towards the evening; see ( Jeremiah 6:4 ) or “turn away their face”, as the word may be rendered: they turn their backs upon us, and not the face to us; so that it is a hard thing to get time by the forelock; and these, which is worst of all, pass away in the “wrath” of God. This has a particular reference to the people of Israel in the wilderness, when God had swore in his wrath they should not enter into the land of Canaan, but wander about all their days in the wilderness, and be consumed there; so that their days manifestly passed away under visible marks of the divine displeasure; and this is true of all wicked men, who are by nature children of wrath, and go through the world, and out of it, as such: and even it may be said of man in general; the ailments, diseases, and calamities, that attend the state of infancy and youth; the losses, crosses, and disappointments, vexations and afflictions, which wait upon man in riper years; and the evils and infirmities of old age, do abundantly confirm this truth: none but God’s people can, in any sense, be excepted from it, on whom no wrath comes, being loved with an everlasting love; and yet these, in their own apprehensions, have frequently the wrath (anger-JK) of God upon them, and pass many days under a dreadful sense of it:”
Prayer- Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. (vv.16,17

The Practical Aspects of Prayer

This is true whatever the age-and the younger the better! The so called “Quiet time” or “Personal devotions”.

Young Calvinists

To finish off this series on prayer, this post will lay out four practical aspects of prayer that come out in the life and example of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The first is simply time. In Mark 1:35 we read, “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Even in the busyness of Jesus’ life and work of casting out demons, talking with his disciples, and preaching, he went into a solitary place to have communion with his Father in prayer. We likewise ought to set aside time to be alone and commune with God in prayer. Throughout the busyness of our lives as Christian young people, it is easy for us to overlook personal devotions, or at least, not make them a priority. We often find time for other things an allow those…

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Pray Without Ceasing

Young Calvinists

In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, the apostle gives the members of the church instruction concerning their lives as children of the light. One particular command is “Pray without ceasing.”

What does this mean? How can we do this?  The Bible also commands, “6 days shalt thou labor and do all thy work…” How can we work or play and still continually pray?

Did you pray while you drove to school this morning? It says “without ceasing.”  That’s what it means right? Not ceasing, not stopping.  Why must we pray without ceasing?   Prayer is the chief part of all thankfulness. It is conversation with God. Talking to Him.

When we pray, we often ask God for guidance dealing with family problems, accidents, trials, and temptations. We ask Him for this and that, but is that the only time we pray to Him? When we need something? If this is the…

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