Righteousness and Good Works

dandelionLast week I talked about being content. But I can’t stop there. I tend to err on the side of being too content.

I’m meant to be serving God with joy, but that has softened into happiness. Which melted down into contentment – not with myself, but with my place in life. I’m often satisfied with living a socially acceptable life and letting God’s grace fill in the gaps. I’m not zealous for the Lord! I’m just satisfied with where my life is going, and that is not the same thing at all. There must be love for God’s Word, fear of His holiness, and zeal for walking in the Spirit.

Matthew 6:5 says:

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,
For they shall be filled.

And the Westminster Confession tells us that good works are the fruits and evidences of a true and living faith.

Good works must come from a heart that is humble and right with God. A good work can only be what is commanded in the revealed will of God. And it must be done for the kingdom and glory of God, with the intention of loving God and my neighbour.

Good works come from the Holy Spirit’s influence, but we mustn’t always wait for His special leading. Instead, we must be diligent in stirring up the grace of God in us.

“Why should we do good works if we have been saved? What purpose can there be in struggling against the flesh when salvation is sure?” you might ask. Well, I know how hard and even hopeless striving for godliness can seem in this broken world. But here are the reasons given by the Heidelberg Catechism  – and, sister, these are biblical reasons!

86 Q. : Since we have been delivered by grace alone through Christ, why must we yet do good works?

A. : Because Christ, having redeemed us by his blood, also renews us by his Holy Spirit to be his image, so that with our whole life we may show ourselves thankful to God for his benefits, and he may be praised by us.
Further, that we ourselves may be assured of our faith by its fruits, and that by our godly walk of life we may win our neighbours for Christ.

The Westminster Confession Chapter 16 says that by doing good works, we show thankfulness, strengthen our assurance of salvation, edify our fellow believers, adorn the profession of the gospel, deprive our opponents of arguments against it, and glorify God. Great!

NB I am not talking about salvation by works, but life after salvation by grace.

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Singleness and Contentment

singlenessWhen I was about 13, I decided that getting married when I was 17 would be realistic, so I wrote up a chart of when I would start having children. According to that list, I gave birth to triplet girls on the 8th of February 2015 (at age 18). I would then have a son in 2017, another in 2019, have another set of girl triplets 11 months after that, and finally end up having twins, my 13th & 14th children at the age of 31.

Honestly?

No, friends, that simply hasn’t happened! And it doesn’t bother me a bit. In fact, I’m quite glad that I’m not a mother of three. 🙂

I’m not a married woman. I’m still single. And this post is about being single, and being content with life just the way it is.

To me, being single isn’t a big deal. It’s not a bad thing at all! It’s just that marriage isn’t the Lord’s will for me yet. If it ever is, I’ll be happy to accept.

And I think contentment really starts with realising that what you do have comes from God, and you don’t actually deserve any of it. Everything in your life is a gift from God. So thank and praise Him for His gifts, every day.

Another thing is that God is always near. No matter where you are, or how you feel, He is right there with you. You can pour out your heart to Him.

So, sister, if marriage has not come your way, I would encourage you to have a thankful spirit, pray to God often, have a peaceful spirit, and enjoy life the way God has given it to you.

Love, Rhoda

Rivers of Living Water

In the last few weeks I have listened to three sermons with commonality – all three preachers talked about water.

The first two sermons were read in our church one Sunday. They were both written by pastors in the Reformed Churches of New Zealand. One sermon was on Jeremiah 2:9-13, and the second one was on Romans 1:8-17. The third I heard on RefNet; it was by John Piper.

The first illustration is that God is a spring of living water. He supplies all our needs. From Him flows a fountain of life, love, mercy, and joy. Through Jeremiah, God is saying that the Israelites had this, but they forsook God and made themselves idols. Idols are a lot of work to make and look after! And the other thing – they can give us nothing! They are but cisterns – broken cisterns that can hold no water. Idols cannot provide life and love, mercy and joy. They are brokenness and deceit, a waste of time and a fraud. There is no-one like God.

The second illustration is about us, the people of God. The way I see it is, when all that cool velvet water of life comes pouring over us, what are we doing with it? We can be a reservoir by trying to keep the water for ourselves, hang on to moments, and live in the past. Or, we can let the water flow through every corner of our lives and on into the lives of other people we know. We can follow Jesus, and strive to be like Jesus.

The Gospel must not stay in my heart. It must flow on like a river.

Thirdly, in John Piper’s sermon “The Pleasure of God in Public Justice” he says

I have a fountain of living water that never runs dry and always satisfies my thirst.

That is Who God is for us. So I encourage you to let the waters of God fill your life and overflow into the lives of other people. Serve God by becoming more like Jesus, and do it all with joy!

Love, Rhoda

Casting Our Cares on Him

file0001010718196One night I lay on my bed, with all the weight of this world‘s cares, frustrations, and worries lying heavily on my shoulders. As well as this life’s usual problems, I had a couple of larger issues to deal with.

But something changed-

I remembered “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”, a verse in 1 Peter 5. And instantly they were gone – cast upon my Saviour, with whom our yoke is easy, and our burden is light.

And then I thought-

What should I care about? I’ve already discovered that my desires should be for His second coming, and for His kingdom to be extended through all the earth. There needs to be something more, however. And while we should take every thought captive, some earthly things must be thought of while we are here on earth. We cannot live without thinking of that which we are doing. But the cares of our hearts should not overwhelm us, as in Mark 4:18-19. Ask yourself, would God care about this?

With our worries in the hands of our Saviour,

knowing that we belong to Him, and that He cares for us, we are free to serve Him!