Monday, February 16, 2009

How to Treat Your Pastor

These are fine words from MCheyne, written for an ordination service:

(1) Love your pastor. So far as I know him, he is worthy of your love. I believe he is one to whom the Lord has been very merciful, that God has already owned his labours, and I trust will a thousand times more. Esteem him very highly in love for his work's sake. You little know the anxieties, temptations, pains, and wrestlings, he will be called to bear for you. Few people know the deep wells of anxiety in the bosom of a faithful pastor. Love and reverence him much. Do not make an idol of him; that will destroy his usefulness. It is said of the Erskines, that men could not see Christ over their heads. Remember, look beyond him and above him. Those that would have worshipped Paul were the people who stoned him. Do not stumble at his infirmities. There are spots upon the sun, and infirmities in the best of men. Cover them--do not stumble at them. Would you refuse gold because it was brought you in a ragged purse? Would you refuse pure water because it came in a chipped bowl? The treasure is in an earthen vessel.

(2) Make use of your pastor.--He has come with good news from a far country. Come and hear.
First, wait patiently on his ministry. --He does not come in his own name. The Lord is with him. If you refuse him, you will refuse Christ; for he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts.
Second, Welcome him into your houses.--He is coming, like his Master, to seek that which was lost, and to bind up that which is broken; to strengthen that which was sick, and to bring again that which was driven away. You have all need of him, whether converted or not. Remember there is an awful curse against those who receive not gospel messages. He will shake the dust off his feet against you, and that dust will rise against you in judgment.
Third, Do not trouble him about worldly matters. --His grand concern is to get your soul saved. He is not a man of business, but a man of prayer. He has given himself to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
Fourth, Go freely to him about your souls.--...I would like to see the taverns emptied, and the minister's house thronged. Do not hesitate to go to him. It is your duty and privilege. It is your duty. It will encourage him, and show him how to preach to your souls. It is your privilege. I have known many get more light from a short conversation than from many sermons.
Fifth, Be brief.--Tell your case. Hear his word and be gone. Remember his body is weak, and his time precious. You are stealing his time from others or from God. I cannot tell you what a blessing it will be if you will be very short in your calls. The talk of the lips tendeth to penury (poverty--vr).
(3) God's children, pray for him.--Pray for his body, that he may be kept strong, and spared for many years. Pray for his soul, that he may be kept humble and holy,--a burning and a shining light,--that he may grow. Pray for his ministry, that it may be abundantly blessed,--that he may be anointed to preach good tidings. Let there be not secret prayer without naming him before your God, no family prayer without carrying your pastor in your hearts to God. Hold up his hands, so Israel will prevail again Amalek.
(4) Unconverted souls, prize this opportunity.--...Some, I fear, will be the worse of this ministry, and not the better. The election will be saved, and the rest will be blinded. Some will yet wish they had died before this church ws opened. Be sure, dear souls, that you will either be saved, or more lost, by this ministry. Your pastor comes with the silver trumpet of mercy. Why will ye turn it into the trumpet of judgment? He comes with glad tidings of great joy. Why should you turn them into sad tidings of endless woe? He comes to preach the acceptable day of the Lord. Will will ye turn it into the day of vengeance of our God?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Angry at God?

A question I have asked myself for some time is: Is it okay to be angry at God? I've read various answers, but I finally found one that satisfies me that it conforms to scripture. Here it is, from Respectable Sins, by Jerry Bridges:

"I have encountered a number of Christians who are angry at God for some reason. Some of them think that God has let them down in some way; others feel that God is actually against them. I sit here now looking at a letter in which the writer says, 'I have felt so many times that He has slapped me in the face when I was really depending on Him.' This person freely admitted to being angry at God, because she had concluded that God was actually against her.

What are we to say to people who are desperately hurting and feel that God has let them down or is even against them? Is it okay to be angry toward God? Most pop psychology would answer yes. 'Just vent your feelings toward God.' I've even read the statement, 'It's okay to be angry at God. He's a big boy. He can handle it.' In my judgment, that is sheer blasphemy.

Let me make a statement loud and clear. It is never okay to be angry at God. Anger is a moral judgment, and in the case of God, it accuses Him of wrongdoing. It accuses God of sinning against us by neglecting us or in some way treating us unfairly. It also is often a response to our thinking that God owes us a better deal in life than we are getting. As a result, we put God in the dock of our own courtroom. I think of a man who, as his mother was dying of cancer, said, 'After all she's done for God, this is the thanks she gets.' Never mind that Jesus suffered untold agony to pay for her sins so she would not spend eternity in hell, this man thought that God also owed her a better life on this earth.

I acknowledge that believers can and do have momentary flashes of anger at God. I have experienced this myself. But we should quickly recognize those occurrences as the sins that they are and repent of them.

How, then, can we deal with our temptation to be angry at God? Must we just 'stuff' our feelings and live in some degree of alienation from God? No, that is not the biblical solution. The answer a well-grounded trust in the sovereignty, wisdom, and love of God. Second, we should bring our confusion and perplexity to God in a humble, trusting way."

I remember, as a 3 year-old Christian, being VERY angry with God for sending Greg to Korea for a year. I had Paul, and was 3 months pregnant with Dan. How I railed on God! I ended up asking His forgiveness and making my peace with it, and God gave me one of the best, albeit most painful, years of my Christian life. I learned lessons that year that I couldn't have learned with Greg around. He changed me that year. And I needed it desperately. And He protected me and provided for me in wondrous ways. And He kept Greg safe and pure in Korea, which, in man's eyes, is a HUGE accomplishment! I never would have chosen it for myself, but God, who knows the end from the beginning, and loves me with an incomprehensible and undeserved love, knew what I needed, and sent me this trial. "I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me."--Psalm 119:74

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Highly Recommended

Rebekah sent me a most wonderful link, and here it is. Professor Horner (no relation) has a bible-reading system that Sarah and I have started, and we're loving it. Check it out and tell me what you think. You can start it any time. I'm on Day 11.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Don't Tell the Others

That's what I said to the Lord on the way home. Don't tell them what? That He has a favorite!

Here's what happened.... Stopped to visit Mom and the others at the nursing home on my way home. Who even knew it was supposed to storm? I told Mom I wanted to take off before it was completely dark. The local news said there was hail in Coleman, and the nurses and aides were trying to get their cars under the canopy in the front. It had stopped raining when I took off. A little ways down the road I hit STRONG winds (those I had all the way home) and HARD rain! It's feast or famine around these parts! It wasn't quite hard to see yet, but getting there. Then came the HAIL! Whee! God was so kind in that I was right near the Hord's Creek Store, which has gas pumps and a canopy over them. So I headed there, praying I wasn't driving into a ditch, as the rain was so bad it was hard to tell where the pavement was. So I pulled in, and a truck pulled in next to me. If you had heard Tina's stories today, you would have been creeped out! So I locked my doors (like someone's gonna attack me in a hail storm!) and waited a bit. Some of the hail was rock hard, and some was like mini-snowballs, which was kinda neat! I at first thought that there was only one person in the truck (A BIG MAN! of course), but after the rain let up a bit I saw frail and white hair combined. I rolled the window down, the sweet lady rolled hers down and yelled, Isn't this awful? and that was the end of the conversation, as the hail started up again with a vengeance. I was soaking it up, as I ADORE storms, while trying to remember if we still had full coverage on the car! (We do. Yay.)

So, the rain and hail let up and the truck took off. I said to meself, Wouldn't it be a good idea to follow them, in case the hail gets REAL bad--at least someone will know where I am. So I did, and they turned off in Talpa. Thank you for the truck, Lord! (BTW, the ride home from Coleman is 35 miles of 2-lane road, with no stores [Hord's Creek is closed] or anything commercial the whole way, and Talpa is the halfway point.)

So the rain had quit, and now it was VERY WINDY! Still is. I said, Lord, thank you for easing up on the rain; that was very kind. If You send more rain, that's fine; I know you'll help me, but a dry ride would be nice. Then I looked up and saw a STAR! Precious. And I concluded that, if you can see a star, there are no clouds (so no rain or hail!) between me and the star!

I hope y'all aren't jealous. My Father loves me, and He delights in showing me special tokens of His love. And I am blessed.
PS The pic is from the flight home from Orlando.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


What a subject! Why write on that? I found a quote in my journal that I thought I'd share. Dare I say that depression is not something I struggle with? Believe it or not, I've had ONE DAY of depression since God saved me in 1974. I've been pretty sad and desperately grieved since then, but not depressed. To skip the details and get to the point, on this ONE DAY I could NOT stop crying, and it scared me, because I like to be in control of myself and my emotions at all times!
And, how weird is this--in the midst of that uncontrollable crying, I thought to myself, I HAVE to remember how this feels, so I can help others who tell me they feel this way ALL the time. And God sent me help, and I did stop crying. But it was SCARY.

Here is Lloyd-Jones' quote from "Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cures":

"The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself.... You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: "Hope thou in God"--instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way, and then you must go on to remind yourself of God, who God is, and what God has done, and what God has pledged to Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: "I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God."

Good advice. He tells you your responsibility in the matter, and God's help that you need.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

More Good Quotes from TBOTB

Ill that He blesses is our good,
And unblest good is ill;
And all is right that seems most wrong
If it be His sweet will.
--Gadsby's Hymns

"There is enough in our holy faith to create and justify the utmost degree of rapturous delight."

Concerning a lost man: "Let him seek his happiness in God, and he will carry about a paradise in his own bosom."
--Henry Martyn

"...that having risen from the dead, He is enthroned in heaven; and uniting in His wonderful Person the tenderest sympathies with Divine perfections, His is in every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Saviour."
--Baptist Articles of Faith

"Can Christ be in thy heart, and thou not know it? Can one king be dethroned and another crowned in thy soul, and thou hear no scuffle?"
"What God takes from me is less than I owe Him, but what He leaves me is more than He owes me."
--William Gurnall

"Times are bad, God is good."
--Richard Sibbes

"Death is never sudden to a saint; no guest comes unawares to him who keeps a constant table."
--George Swinnock

"Mary Magdalen sees angels in the sepulchre, but that will not do unless she see Jesus."
--Matthew Henry

Samuel Rutherford was "impatient of earth, intolerant of sin, rapt into the continual contemplation of one unseen Face, finding his...happiness in its returning smile."

"We are never nearer Christ than when we find ourselves lost in a holy amazement at His unspeakable love."
--John Owen

"A real Christian...feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen, talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another, empties himself in order to be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up, is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest, and happiest when he feels worst. He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, and knows that which passeth knowledge."
--A W Tozer

"But never read God's Word excepting with great reverence, for in it the Highest Majesty speaketh to thee, a poor sinner."
--Christopher Dock

"It is the look that saves, it is the gaze that sanctifies."
--Robert M'Cheyne

"All is well if God be mine."
--Matthew Henry

My Scariest Quote

I collect good quotes in the back of my Bible, as the best quotes are IN my Bible. Here is one that quickly sobers me up. This is from "The Christian in Complete Armour," given to me by a former pastor who, tragically, did not heed its advice. He is now dead. And he did not have a good exit.

"Possibly God hath given thee much of His mind; thou art skilful in the Word of life, and therefore thou darest venture to breathe in corrupt air, as if only the weak spirits of less-knowing Christians exposed them to be infected with the contagion of error and heresy. Thou hast a large portion of grace, or at least thou thinkest so, and venturest to go where an humble-minded Christian would fear his heels should slip under him. Truly, now thou temptest God to suffer thy lock to be cut, when thou art so bold to lay thy head in the lap of temptation." --William Gurnall

May we fear God, and love Him with all our hearts, souls, and minds!