The Dancing Puritan

Friday, July 28, 2017

Vacation



It would be a tragedy of tragedies to get to the end of this busy, noisy, anxious, and difficult life only to find no rest beyond the grave. Imagine an eternity with endless toil, worry, restlessness, and no sleep. Such a thought should cause fear and trembling.

Just outside of my door, the waves are crashing and people are resting beneath the sun on Daytona Beach. This is vacation. Some people live for vacation, others long for it, and many imagine that they have no time for such frivolity. For those who make the investment and travel the miles they are looking for rest, renewal, and restoration. Perhaps they are on a search for peace.

God built rest into the very order of creation.  He gave us six days for hard-work. Those days are for making a living, mowing the lawn, and engaging in all of the normal stuff that it takes to make life work. One day in seven is ordained a special day of rest. A day of rest is not the path of total inactivity but it is a call to take a different path. Why did God build a day of rest at the front of the seven days that he created?

1.  To show us that we are not indispensable.

       Cemeteries are filled with indispensable people.

2.  We are not super-human.

3.  We are ultimately dependent.

4.  We need a full day to pause and focus on God more intently.

5.  This present life is not the end of the story.

God has built a day of rest as the vital fountainhead to a week of work. We need this day; it is a gift from God. He also gives us rest amidst our daily trials (Psalm 127:2). He sometimes gives us seasons of relative rest and peace. Those seasons may consist of a day, a week, or longer (especially if you are from France).

One of the distinguishing marks of Hell is that it is a place of restlessness. There will never be a moment of laughter, joy, peace, or sleep in Hell, not even one second. God says of hard-hearted people, Therefore I swore in my wrath, 'They shall never enter my rest' (Psalm 95:11).

The times of rest that God gives us now are pointers to a future day of rest. The Sabbath is a reminder that God is good. It reminds us that in the midst of the heartaches of this life that there is hope.  Every restless night now is a reminder to the Christian that one day he will enter into a peaceful eternity where Christ is present in grace. The real meaning of vacation is to create a longing for Christ and eternity. Don't miss rest now and especially not then.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

10 Commandments of "You Shall Not Steal."

Here are a few commandments related to "You shall not steal." Add more if you like.

1.  You shall not steal the worship that belongs to God. God alone is to be worshipped and it is wrong to have other gods before him. Other gods may be family, friends, activities, money, power, popularity, entertainment, comfort, etc.

2. You shall not steal the Lord's Day. The Lord's Day is designed, in part, for congregational worship. When God's people gather to worship and to stir up love among the saints, then God is glorified and his church is blessed. When you allow sports, vacations, family, and other activities to constantly take you away from the Lord's Day services then you steal glory from God and love from his people.

3.  You shall not steal the love, honor, and care that are due your parents. Parents are to be obeyed while you are young and then honored for the rest of your life. You steal from your parents when you do not pray for them, call them, visit them, and make sure that they are cared for when they are elderly or sick.

4.  You shall not steal the faithfulness that you owe to your spouse. Lustful looks and desires, romantic attachments to one who is not your spouse, and physical immorality all steal from your spouse. Do not steal from your spouse the love, honor, and respect that are due to them. You also steal from your spouse when you honor them ahead of God. You cannot love your spouse as you could if you do not love God, as you ought.

5.  You shall not steal life, love, or reputation from your friends, neighbors, church members, and strangers. If you hate, dismiss, or wish that a person would simply go away, then you murder them. When you slander another person, you murder them.

6.  You shall not steal that which belongs to your neighbor via unlawful desire. Do not take your neighbor's wife or his boat into your heart. You cannot love your neighbor if you are longing for that which belongs to him.

7. You shall not steal from your children by refusing to parent them. You do not love your children when you allow them to parent you. You must train them up to know and love God and to know and love God's people. Training involves positive instruction as well as necessary correction.

8.  You shall not steal the joy of others by an ungodly attitude. Your attitude is more powerful than you know. How often have you stolen the joy of your spouse, your children, your fellow church members, your employee, your teammate, and your neighbor via your bad attitude?

9.  You shall not steal encouragement that should be offered to friends. Life is hard for everybody. Don't be so self-centered that you fail to lift up a friend or stranger with a word of encouragement.

10. You shall not attempt to steal the grief that people rightly feel. "Cheer up," is not usually the right remedy for a person who has suffered loss. Love them radically and let them grieve.