Good morning. It’s Monday morning, February 5, 2012. Another work week begins today. But this will be a short one for Christi and me, because we are taking Friday off and heading down to Glen Rose for our semi-annual weekend stay at Paluxy River Bed Cabins! We can’t wait for the rest and relaxation that we will get over this coming weekend. We are grateful to Rachel and Justin for staying at our house with Stephanie over the weekend. The weather for the weekend is less than perfect (some showers predicted on Friday and Saturday, with cool temps), but we will still have a marvelous time. For a look at our feelings and thoughts about this place, check out This Entry in my other blog.
The weekend was pretty nice, and things went pretty well for both of us during the worship celebrations yesterday morning at The Exchange. In fact, I can’t remember anything going wrong. That’s a first!
My Utmost For His Highest
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24
“Joy means the perfect fulfillment of that for which I was created and regenerated, not the successful doing of a thing.” Christ’s joy was in doing what the Father had sent him to do. Has the Lord given me a ministry? Then my life’s work should be to fulfill that ministry; I must be loyal to it. What joy would be mine, to hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” at the end of my earthly life! But in order to know what this ministry is, we must know Jesus more deeply. My loyalty needs to be to whatever I discern from him while in closest contact with him. But the need is not the call; “the need is the opportunity. The call is loyalty to the ministry you received when you were in real touch with Him.” And this just might mean that I have to ignore other demands for service.
Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:16
Christians are identified by their belief in “the Apostolic gospel.” But in order to believe something, it is kind of necessary to understand it, right? And to understand something, it helps to have a summary. Questions and answers 22 and 23 of the Heidelberg Catechism “assert that the gospel is summarized in the Apostles’ Creed, a Trinitarian confession grounded in the teaching of Jesus.” Even though the Creed does not mention some things which are essential to the gospel, it is important to note that, for example, the early church did not debate the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, therefore, that is not addressed in this Creed. “Instead, the early Christians spent most of their time and effort defending the nature of God against heretics who denied Christ’s deity and the personhood of the Holy Spirit, among other things.”
What the Apostles’ Creed is all about is the “news of what the triune God has done for sinners to glorify Himself.” It is “a fine summary of the biblical gospel. It tells us that our Father, of His own initiative, sent His Son to live, die, and be resurrected for His people. It is about God’s work on our behalf, not what we do to earn a right standing before Him.” To believe what the Apostles’ Creed teaches is to believe the gospel.
The Bible Panorama
Mark 9:30-50; Numbers 34-36
As I continue reading Mark 9, Jesus again foretells his death and resurrection in verses 30-32. What follows after that is that the disciples are caught debating among themselves who is the greatest. Jesus turns it around on them and declares that the greatest must be the least. He uses a child to demonstrate this. Then, in verses 38-41, an event occurs that causes Jesus to speak the words, “For the one who is not against us is for us.” I have never heard a sermon preached on that statement, but I’ve heard plenty on the opposite one. He then asserts that even giving a cup of water to a brother or sister in need will result in a blessing. The chapter closes with a dire warning about being one who causes someone else to sin. There is also a very real description of hell in the words of Jesus.
Numbers 34 consists of a description of the boundaries of the Promised Land, and a list of the tribal chiefs who would be responsible for dividing the land. Chapter 35 describes cities that would be given to the Levites. It then goes into detail about a unique concept called “cities of refuge.” These would be cities where a person could flee in the case that he or she accidentally killed someone. In a city of refuge, they would be protected from the vengeance of the family of the one killed. However, if murder was committed, with forethought, there was no protection. A murderer, convicted on the testimony of multiple witnesses, would be put to death. Chapter 36 concludes the book of Numbers with some regulations about the women from an earlier chapter whose father had died in the wilderness and left no sons. The regulations dealt with who they could marry in order to retain their inheritance.
Father, I pray that you would make my ministry calling clear to me again. I confess that, in the past year or so, there has been confusion regarding this. I pray for clarity. I pray for determination to keep you close. I pray for a more intimate walk with Christ. And I pray that the focus of the rest of my life would be on whatever ministry you have laid before me.
I thank you for clear pictures of what the gospel is. I believe the gospel, Lord. Occasionally, there is shadow of doubt, but my spirit is in agreement with your Spirit, and I believe that Jesus Christ lived, died, and was resurrected to take away our sins, and to finally defeat our worst enemy, death. I believe that I will one day live for eternity in my heavenly home, where that winds up being. I believe that I will joyfully spend eternity worshiping you.
I pray for this day, Lord, that Christi and I will have a good day at work. I pray that Stephanie will have a good meeting with her teacher today, and that you will help her get caught up on her math work, so that she can get her grade average up.
Thank you for a good weekend. I also thank you that Bart was at church Sunday! It was so great to see him!
What is your calling? Discern that during intimate times with Christ and then follow it will everything you’ve got.
Grace and peace, friends.