Thursday, November 08, 2012

Dying Thoughts

Be particularly thankful, O my soul ! that God 
hath made any use of thee for the service of his 
church on earth. My God, my soul for this doth 
magnify thee, and my spirit rejoiceth in the re- 
view of thy great undeserved mercy. O what am 
I, whom thou tookest up from the dunghill, or 
low obscurity, that I should live myself in the 
constant relish of thy sweet and sacred truth, and 
with such encouraging success communicate it to 
others ! that I may say, now my public work 
seems ended, that these forty-three or forty-four 
years I have no reason to think that ever I la- 
bored in vain! O with what gratitude must I look 
upon all places where I lived and labored; but, 
above all, that place which had my strength [i.e., Kidderminster]! I 
bless thee for the great numbers of them gone to 
heaven, and for the continuance of piety, humility, 
concord, and peace among them. Also for all 
that by my writings have received any saving 
light and grace. O my God, let not my own heart 
be barren while I labor in thy husbandry to bring 
others unto holy fruit ! Let me not be a stranger 
to the life and power of that saving truth which 
I have done so much to communicate to others ! 
O let not my own words and writings condemn 
me as void of that divine and heavenly nature and 
life which I have said so much of to the world!  

- From "Dying Thoughts" by Richard Baxter

Sunday, January 01, 2012

From One Generation to the Next

A few weeks ago, Psalm 145 popped up in the lectionary (as it would have again this week had Christmas not been on a Sunday).   Verse 4 of the Psalm says, "One generation shall praise your works to another, and shall declare your power."  During evening prayer on a Sunday night a few weeks back, my wife and I stood in our living room as we said this Psalm together out loud.  As we stood together in praise and prayer, our one-year-old son crawled around our feet, crying and fussing and playing.  I could not help but think that this verse was being fulfilled at that moment.   It was a beautiful thing, and I thanked God for it.  

But then it hit me, not only were my wife and I the ones proclaiming to the next generation, but we were, in the moment, being recipients of others'  proclamation.  The reason why we were able to declare God's mighty acts to each other and to our son was because so many generations before have done the same.  The very words we were reading on the printed page, a translation labored over and derived from manuscripts copied for generations by the hands of the faithful, these words, and the whole of the Bible as well, are a testimony of the Church living out this proclamation of God's works to the next generation.  The Bibles we read are themselves the fulfillment of Psalm 145:4.    

Praise God that, though She has many faults, the Church has always heeded Psalm 145:4 (and 2 Timothy 2:2) and has told each successive generation of God's great works.

  • Have you thanked God for this?  Have you thanked God that we know about the great things God did so many years ago (things we read about in the Scriptures)?  Can you thank Him right now? Thi
  • Have you told your family about God and the amazing things He's done in history? (And in your own life!?)  Can you do that this week? Christmas is the perfect time to do this.  If you have family in your home, you could just offer to read a short passage of Scripture during dinner.  Or if you see your family less often, you could simply ask a question next time to talk to them: "Isn't it amazing that God became a man?  Have you ever thought about it?"  (Or maybe you could think of a better way to talk about Christmas... that's just the best I could do.)
  • A note for parents:  It is your responsibility of parents (especially fathers) to see that your children know what it means to be a follower of Christ.  (Deut 6:5-9; Eph 6:4)  We do not have the luxury to let others do it (e.g. a Sunday school teacher or pastor); it is our great privilege and responsibility.  You may be thinking, "I don't know how!"  If that's you, I want to say two things to encourage you:
    1. I can promise you when you take steps to learn how to do something for which you were made, God honors those steps.  2. There are always people who can help you (your pastor would be one), but you'll have to be humble and hungry enough to ask.