The World We Will Inherit

The world being built…
is the world we will inherit…black.tree.2

Have you ever thought about that? Just last evening in my catechism class, the elder who was taking it said to us:

I think that the world in the time you will live in will be  even worse than in mine

Help! I hadn’t thought of that! I’d always imagined my life ahead as being, while not exactly a bed of roses, pretty easy. I had seen my life stretching ahead of me, just waiting to be lived. I hadn’t considered the persecution, the sorrows, the battles to be fought on every side.

Every month, it seems, there is some fresh attack against the family, the church, the Bible, and ultimately, God Himself. More and more the leaders of our nations are straying in their ways, and so leading us away from God also. Our Western civilizations are nearing their ends. Of course, this is a result of six thousand years’ disobedience. Many other causes can be mentioned, but, as always, the matter comes back to the heart. Our leaders’ hearts are turned away from God.

But  we can’t let all the blame rest there. It’s time to look at ourselves. Who are we? What are we doing? Where are we going? Do we understand our world, the way is now, the way it has been, and where it is headed?

Let’s not be content with the direction our world is going. There’s no gain in being fatalistic. Jude verse 3 says “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

We MUST fight the good fight! God will be pleased when we serve Him in desiring his will for all the world.

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To Go or To Stay

For several months now I’ve been feeling God calling me to the mission field. It began with a Bible reading: Jeremiah chapter one verses four to eight. It continued with a missionary’s newsletter, which included this verse : “And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Luke 10:2)

go

This call has only been growing stronger since then. I’ve been reading through the book of Acts, and read, spread through chapter 22, these words:
‘Get up and go, why do you delay? Get up, Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ (vv. 10, 16, 21) I wanted to go so much that I cried because of this ache I couldn’t dull. I didn’t know how, or where. But I knew that I had to go. Soon.

Then came yesterday.

I sat outside on a piece of roofing iron, crying again. (That happens when you’re growing up 🙂 ) I was wondering suddenly, whether to go or to stay.

Stay

My heart was changing… and I wasn’t sure why. This is what I wrote later that evening:  “I was wondering whether to go or to stay. Was ‘go’ a test, to see if, after being called to the mission field, I would be content to stay at home? Crying, I imagined. I imagined a wise man sitting down beside me. He spoke to me, some words of reassurance that God loved me now and forever. Then he turned and pointed to the moon. He said

“See the moon? See the white part, the part where the sun yet illuminates? That is your life, the part you have lived. You can see all of it. Now see the rest of the moon, the dark side? It’s not completely black, but dark brown. And if you look closely, you can see its outline. That is the rest of your life, the part yet to come. The white part shows the simple shape of the rest, but not the particulars. It is this way with your life. The part you have lived, you can see clearly, with all its humps and hollows, ins and outs, ups and downs. The rest, you will see as it comes.”

I had been totally convinced that the way I would be spending a good-sized portion of my life was on the mission field. And when that tugging left, it left me pondering. “Am I called to go, or to stay?” But I learned that knowing my calling isn’t the important thing.

All I need to know about the rest of my life is this:

  1. That I will sin
  2. That God has forgiven all my sins
  3. That I must live in thankfulness to Him for His mercies (Psalm 136)

So I still don’t know whether I am called to go or to stay, but It Doesn’t Matter. Not now. What matters is that I remember to be humble in all circumstances before Almighty God.

And Serve Him with Joy!

Go or Stay

Note: When I posted this, it was more than two weeks after the ‘evening’ and ‘yesterday’ spoken of here.

Obedience is Only Instant

tea towelsImagine your mum comes into your room, and says “Go hang out the washing”. Do you:
Say “Sure, Mum, I’d be glad to,” put a marker in to your book, and head to the laundry?
Say “Yes Mum,” finish your chapter, and go along out?
Say “Mmhmm”, read for 15 minutes, and then climb out the window and sneak round the house so she doesn’t see you?
Well, I’m sure you realize that only the first scenario is the right one. And it makes no difference who gave you the instruction, what it was, or what you were doing. If you don’t obey instantly, you’re not real obeying at all. And this doesn’t just apply to legal minors. This is true for all of us, no matter who we’re supposed to be obeying.
Imagine that your instructor instructs you, and then hangs round staring at you until the task has been carried out. It would be irritating in the extreme, but you would definitely get onto the job much sooner, and perhaps even do a better job, knowing that you were being watched.
I’ve just realized that God is always watching. He sees every time you sit around, slack, take too much break time, or carry out your chore with a sullen attitude or rebellious heart. God sees. And he cares.
Look up these verses, in context, to more fully understand this important truth. John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Acts 5:32 “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Romans 2:8 “but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.” Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

An instant response to the initial prompting of the Holy Spirit, or to the commands of another authority, is true self-control. Look up 2 Peter 1 and  Galatians 5:22-23 on the subject.

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 We don’t serve God because we have to. We are freed from Satan. Serving is our privilege, and it is our work of thankfulness to God for our freedom from slavery to Satan. Put aside your pride, and become an obedient servant of God, and all the authorities He’s placed over you. And do it with Joy!

Pictures of Home

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This picture was taken in New Zealand, the beautiful country which I have never left. It was just such a scene as this which I gazed upon as I returned from a family reunion in Wanaka at the end of 2012. Wanaka is in Central Otago, a dry, tussocky place, like the one shown here. After two days of fulfilling the Newton family motto, “If you’re not eating, you’re not having a good time,” my coastal eyes were homesick – for the sea.

As we drove down the Waitaki Valley (and yes, it might help if you looked this all up on Google Maps!), I felt an aching tug in my heart, because I was going home.

However, as I thought this over, I realized that where I was headed was not actually my home. Instead, this moment served as a picture of heaven, that far-off country which we cannot see. It was a reminder of that fact of my heavenly citizenship.

Whenever I see a striking part of God’s creation like this one, I see it as a glimpse and a shadowy picture of heaven. These moments come and go, but the knowledge of living where I do not belong does not.

The longing to see my home in Oamaru was soon replaced by a stronger one, that of waiting for the return of Jesus in the clouds, and our ascension into heaven. Only then will we truly be at home. Because, after all,

This world is not our home.

This World is Not Our Home

file000520062726This world is not our home. John 17:14 makes that clear: “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ,” adds Philippians 3:20.

OK… so what? We know that. We’re headed for heaven, and, well, that’s good, isn’t it?

If you are assured of your salvation, that’s a reason to rejoice! But this knowledge also has implications for our lives in this world.

If we don’t belong here, we shouldn’t live as if we do. We should actively examine our motives for all that we do, say, and think. This is assuredly no easy task, and this need for godly wisdom and discernment is a reason to spend time with godly, wise older people who have learnt from their life experiences and can give us help in our lives. Spending time with people, or girls, of this world will just encourage us to be like them, worldly, foolish and certainly not a good influence. But mature believers who have walked life’s narrow road for some years are sure to be a help, and not a hindrance!

Another implication of our heavenly citizenship is that we should not be satisfied with our lives as they are. We should be able to see our sins, faults, and unwise choices, and work to eliminate them. If you are comfortable with your life, and the world around you, you should do some serious thinking about how you measure up to God’s standards.  Even if you aren’t, we all need to evaluate our habits, and examine our lives.

If you are living for this world, and the things of this world, you may be of it.

We must also look at our serving, and be sure that we are serving God, and not the world.  It must show that we are not taken up with worrying about earthly things, but concerned only with giving the glory to God. It must be honouring to Him, and show that we are waiting for our eternal reward.  Because, after all,

This world is not our home.