Randy’s Weekly Reads (6/5/15)

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This has been a great week of encouraging articles. I could have listed five more, but for now, here’s my favorite “reads” from this past week:

3 Current Cultural Crises That Provide Great Opportunities for Leaders (If You Seize Them)

I thought this piece by Canadian pastor and author Carey Nieuwhof was insightful and a proper assessment of the culture and the opportunity leaders have if they seize it. I loved this statement: “The crisis in our culture isn’t a crisis of information, it’s a crisis of meaning.”

 5 Reasons Why America Remains the World’s Only Superpower

I have always been a history buff, and while this piece is not typical of what I usually highlight, I still found it incredibly informative, and a reminder to all Americans, and especially all Christians in America, of just how influential America is on the world’s stage.

 Seeing the Invisible God

I was thoroughly encouraged by this article by counselor and professor Ed Welch. He addresses a question all of us have asked at one time: Can’t I just see God, at least once? His answer is profound as he shares that God has already answered that question.

Lastly, Pastor Ray Ortlund had a great quote from scholar Francis A. Schaeffer describing what the real problem is in our culture, and life in general:

“The central problem of our age is not liberalism or modernism, nor the old Roman Catholicism or the new Roman Catholicism, nor the threat of communism, nor even the threat of rationalism and the monolithic consensus which surrounds us [nor, I would add today, postmodernism or materialistic consumerism or visceral sensualism or whatever].  All these are dangerous but not the primary threat.  The real problem is this: the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, individually or corporately, tending to do the Lord’s work in the power of the flesh rather than of the Spirit.  The central problem is always in the midst of the people of God, not in the circumstances surrounding them.”

Francis A. Schaeffer, No Little People (Wheaton, 2003), page 66.

I hope you have a great weekend!

RA

The Secret Things of God

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A few weeks ago I started teaching a summer session of my Old Testament class. One of my personal resolutions during that class is to read as much of the Old Testament to them as possible, and not just tell them about the Old Testament. This past weekend, as we were completing our study of the Torah, or the first five books of the Old Testament, I read Deuteronomy 29:29 (here it is in both the New American Standard and the Holman Christian Standard Bible):

 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” (NASB)

 “The hidden things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our children forever, so that we may follow all the words of this law.” (HCSB)

I love this verse, but also marvel at it for a variety of reasons. For instance, it declares:

  • We serve an infinite, awesome God whom we approach with our limited, finite minds.
  • We will never fully understand God or all of his ways.
  • We are expected to understand and obey what has been “revealed”.

Take a moment to dwell on those statements! I don’t know about you, but I’ve stumbled over these truths and failed to comprehend them too many times to mention. For starters, I want to know the “secret things”! At times, if I’m being honest, my questions for God (“Why this? Why that?”) are more numerous than my praises!

And not only that, but I’ve also noticed another curious fact about those “secret things.” For the longest time, I used to think that as I drew closer to God and meditated on his word more and more, I expected the “secret things” of God to decrease in size, but I’ve since learned collectively it actually enlarges! Why?

But as I slow down and truly reflect on all that God has revealed to me, I’m humbled and incredibly embarrassed by what I still don’t understand and fail to obey consistently. As an example, I know 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 by heart (the famous “Love Chapter”), but I’m still not always “patient” with my loved ones, or as “kind” to them as I should be, and so on as the rest of vv.4-8 unfolds.

All of this reminds me of a comment I came across by pastor and author Pete Wilson. In his book What Keeps You Up At Night? How to Find Peace While Chasing Your Dreams, he wisely says:

“We think the more spiritually mature we are the more clarity we should have. The fact is, the more spiritually mature we are the less clarity we need.”    

 Why? Because as Deuteronomy 29:29 helps us to understand, the more mature we become and closer we draw to God, we discover how great and magnificent he truly is, and the tremendous task before us of being accountable simply for all he has already revealed! That should consume us, and not the “secret things”, for while that may enlarge as we truly comprehend how great and profound God is, so should our love and trust for God, as we marvel at how much he has already revealed and the manner in which he has loved us!

And that’s what people of faith should be occupied with.

RA