Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog
- Only God knows what tomorrow holds (Prov. 27:1).
- Death is certain, but when we die is uncertain. Because of sin we are destined to die. I could’ve died on a motorcycle, or from a heart attack from too much bacon. Bottom line, we must be spiritually prepared to leave this earth at any moment (Heb. 9:27; Matt. 24:42-44).
- Some things are more important than a motorcycle. Like my parents’ mental health and blood pressure. Emily’s well-being and peace of mind is far more important than a bike. It’s a matter of looking at things from the other person’s point of view. Practicing the golden rule (Matt. 7:12). I would be a wreck if either of my parents bought a motorcycle (pun intended).
Many know that Psalm 119 is the greatest, inspired tribute to the Word of God known to man. 176 verses, eight verses under the heading of every Hebrew letter, grace these pages of our Bibles. All but a few verses mention some synonym for God’s Word. So many individual studies can be made of themes and thrusts in Psalm 119, but by reading it one discovers David giving many benefits or needs for studying the Bible. Consider what is no doubt an inexhaustible study.
- To keep from sinning against God (11)
- I am a stranger in the earth (19)
- The influential can be against us at times (23)
- Our soul often melts from heaviness (28)
- To keep our eyes from worthless things (37)
- To have an answer for him who reproaches us (42)
- It causes hope (49)
- For comfort in affliction (50, 76)
- It causes righteous indignation (53)
- It leads us to seek God’s favor with our whole heart (58)
- It makes us choose better companions (63)
- It brings good judgment and knowledge (66)
- It prevents apostasy (67)
- It makes us more attractive to the God-fearing (74)
- That I may live (77, 93, etc.)
- For revival (88)
- For greater understanding (99)
- To be upheld and safe (117)
- To have a proper sense of self (125)
- For a proper sense of values (128)
- For proper emotional investment (136)
- For righteous zeal (139)
- For a proper sense of dependency (147)
- It brings confidence (152)
- It gives us the proper sentiment toward the world (158)
- To develop a proper “praise life” (164)
Have you ever had someone that seemed to have it out for you? Not only did they not like you, but they actively undermined you. They may have slandered you or even lied about you. You may have even felt that they were trying to ruin your life!
Have you ever had something that seemed to overwhelm and overshadow you? It could be something from your past, present, or future, worry, guilt, regret, fear, trouble, pain, problem, or other stress. Maybe it was something that was nearly impossible to shake or something of which you were constantly reminded.
In a beautiful context writing about assurance, Paul asks, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). That is an eminently fair question to ask. Here are some potential foes that could undo us: tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, sword, death, life, angels, principalities, powers, the present, the future, height, depth, or any other created thing (35, 38-39). Examine that list closely. Doesn’t it include just about every potential threat and trial? Do we believe the assertion of Romans 8:31, this rhetorical question firmly implying that God is bigger and stronger than any potential problem or person?
When it comes to our righteous plans, isn’t this same principle vital to our process? What can we do and be as a church? The only limitation is that which goes against God’s will or that which can dominate God’s will. We must give great care to the first part, but we need not worry for a second about the second part. There will be factors that strain or intimidate. There will be reverses and failures. But, if we will persist and persevere, what can defeat us?
How exciting, in our personal and congregational lives, to serve a God more powerful than any foe or fear! We can succeed by His help and to His glory, come what may! Let us trust this timeless truth and live our lives as though we believe it!
Have you heard about a “goat situation” in Oklahoma City that, well, stinks? Members of a Satanic Temple there want a 7-foot Satanists’ statue to be placed at the capitol building right next to a monument of the 10 commandments. The group submitted to a panel with oversight of the capitol grounds “an artist’s rendering that depicts Satan as Baphomet, a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a long beard that’s often used as a symbol of the occult. In the rendering, Satan is sitting in a pentagram-adorned throne with smiling children next to him” (via Huffington Post, Sean Murphy, 1/6/14). Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves added, “”The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation” (ibid.).
I first heard about this from one of our local news networks, reporting on the story. They were aghast and appalled at the very idea, especially the thought that this would potentially be a place where children could sit on Satan’s lap. While I wholeheartedly agree that even the idea is disturbing, we as parents need to make sure we do not, in our negligence, allow our kids to figuratively do such.
That means being plugged into our kids’ social media (they are abandoning Facebook for other forms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, by the way), knowing who their friends are and something of their friends’ character, safeguarding our homes from ways Satan gets in (TV, computer, movies, phone, etc.), and modeling proper and biblical values as parents. It also means arming them, encouraging and sharing Bible study, prayer, and Christian service with them. It is about setting our affections on things above, not on things of the world (Col. 3:1-2). It is about being transformed and not conformed to this world (Rom. 12:1-2).
While most everyone would never set their children in that creepy Satan statue, are we, through their wardrobe, activities, friends, priorities, and the like, doing what is tantamount to that? God has entrusted us with an eternal stewardship—our children! Like those in Luke 18:15-17, let us ever be bringing our children to the “lap” of Christ!