Many pastors have heard that Spurgeon would prepare his sermons on Saturday evening. Colin Adams checked it out and passes on Spurgeon’s own advice about the practice. I guess I won’t be pulling off a Saturday night special.
Quote from Essential Church: A church is not the assembly of perfect people; church is the assembly of authentic people worshipping a perfect Savior. I’m concerned that too many of us wear masks and lose the authenticity. Only when we understand the grace of God, and learn to be gracious people will those masks come off.
Tim Challies writes about “How to Pray Badly”. His fourth point seems to be often overlooked by men of God:
It is God’s will that families live together in peace and harmony. It is, of course, impossible for us to live in perfect peace, but God demands that we maintain close relationships and that we seek harmony in our family relationships. It is foremost the responsibility of the father, as the head of the household, to ensure that there is not discord within the family. When this discord exists, especially in the relationship of a husband to his wife, his prayers may well be hindered. The apostle Peter, a married man himself, exhorted husbands to live with their wives in an understanding way, being sensitive to their needs, "showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered" (1 Peter 3:7).
The relationship between a husband and a wife is to reflect that of Christ to his church. It is to be a relationship of absolute love, adoration and sacrifice. If Christ gave his life for the church, how can a husband do any less for his wife? This is, of course, impossible when the relationship is strained or broken. Thus a man should examine his relationship with his wife to ensure this is not a hindrance to his prayers (and to hers).
Once again this Summer, we have uninvited visitors hanging out in our yard. A family of Talpidae, aka “moles”, aka “annoying-to-the-extreme-pests” have decided to summer at the Jack’s. I thought that surely they had such a bad time last year that they wouldn’t return, but I guess we have the best in ground grubs in Sammamish. I’ve never actually seen them, but I certainly see their work … vein-like mounded trails throughout the grass (aka, “moss”) and the carefully laid bark that is supposed to look good to a potential buyer. I’ve tried a couple of methods to move them on to somewhere else … like my neighbor’s lush garden, or the forest that surrounds us. But no, they seem to like where they are … I’ve been told that they are pretty much creatures of habit. I can smash their visible burrows and runs, but they come back when I’m not watching. I’ve filled their burrows with water, but I think I hear them laughing and splashing. I’ve baited them with Big Red gum (anecdotal mole antidote) but all I got was moles with nice breath, though a couple tossed it back with little notes asking for something more minty. Next stop is to check in with the experts (aka “rent Caddyshack”).
Anyway … moles are a pain. They make a mess. They hide under the surface, and you will rarely see them, but you can’t miss their damage. Left alone they do their work of destruction – turning solid ground into mush.
Kind of reminds me of the sin that becomes so entrenched in my life.
“Worrying always results in sin …. Fretting rises from our determination to have our own way”
“Fretting is wickedness for a child of God.” “All our fretting and worrying is caused by planning without God.”
“Have you been propping up that foolish soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God to handle?”
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest. July 4.
Sometimes things seem stacked against us. I jotted these notes to myself when I was a youth pastor in the midst of a discouraging season. I’m not sure whether they were completely my own thoughts, or if they had their source from some writer or teacher. I think they still make sense.
- Reality check first. Acknowledge what it is that caused your condition. Be real. Sin? Failure? Circumstances? Whatever it is, be real about it. It is amazing how we lie to ourselves
- Focus directly upon the Lord rather than the odds against you. So often we are looking more at our situation, at what others have, at what has been done to us, or at we just get caught up in ourselves.
- Declare your allegiance. “I can with the Lord” (Philippians 4:13).
- No matter the odds, remember that God often seems to prefer working through small things, through a “remnant”, through that which is weak … those who are weak (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
- Don’t get arrogant when God uses your life for his good … when his plans come to light … when he overcomes the odds.
Discouragement is “disenchanted egotism.” “Things are not happening in the way I expected they would, therefore I am going to give it all up.” To talk like that is a sure sign that we are not possessed by love for Him, but only by love for ourselves. Discouragement always comes when we insist on having our own way.
(Chambers, O., & McCasland, D. (2008). The Quotable Oswald Chambers).