Making Something Of It

Posted: March 16th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Back in my growing-up days, when teen-age boys had fusses it was not unusual to hear the expression, “Ya wanna make sumpthin’ uh-vit?” Usually, somebody did, and the conflict started. It has been my observation that most of the conflicts between grown-ups (including Christians) begin in much the same way—when somebody wants to “make something of it”.

Not that some things don’t need to have something made of them, to be sure. When sin is in the camp, it is not a time for the Corinthian-like silence that suggests approval. In the proper spirit and manner, it is time for the faithful to make something of such a situation. When false doctrine is being taught among us, it is time for making something of it. When we become lazy, complacent and indifferent about serving the Lord, we need someone around to wake us up (Eph. 5:14), and to make something of it. In fact, to sit idly by at such times becomes as wrong as that which is tolerated. No doubt, the Lord’s cause has been hurt immeasurably by compromising Christians who would not make something of sin and error among them.

However, there is another—and perhaps as equally hurtful side to be considered. It is the practice of making something big over little or nothing. For instance, serious problems among brethren can sometimes be traced back to trifles, such as an imagined or unintentional slight. Failure to speak or to shake a hand may be misconstrued in a dozen ways, all bad. And regrettably, some seem disposed to finding little mole hills from which they can make mountains of trouble. Such “pickiness” may seem a small thing, but its effects on the Lord’s work have been devastating.

Few Bible class teachers have escaped the “shots” of the picky sniper. Make a statement that may possibly be taken the wrong way and he will, and may even quit the class because of the “false teaching” being done. He sees any emphasis on faith as minimizing works and vice versa. He may view an honest inquiry into a controversial subject as “softness” or compromise, and advertise it accordingly. He may discourage the teacher, disrupt the class and distract other students, but he is bound and determined to make something of it!

Further, the frailties of the flesh make most of us easy targets for those disposed to make something of it. We say things we should not, we often express ourselves poorly, we complain, we criticize, we forget and we neglect. Now we may need help, but we don’t need to have our weaknesses and mistakes exploited by imperfect nit-picking brethren! When we stumble (and we will) what we need is a merciful hand extended from a compassionate heart. And that’s what every Christian should be willing to give. To do otherwise is to dishonor the One we claim to follow and jeopardize our own soul. Don’t miss the point. Sin must be dealt with as noted earlier, but we are never at liberty to deal with sin in a sinful way. When we set out to make something of it, whatever it is, let’s try to make it better!

-Dan S. Shipley

 


Self-Righteousness

Posted: March 12th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men; extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess” (Luke 18:11-12).

We will not seek God as we should if we are hindered by self-righteousness. If our focus is centered on the good deeds we’ve done and we forget how far short of perfection we still fall, we won’t recognize how much we continue to need His mercy. There will be no real longing for grace or gratitude for forgiveness.

This, of course, is the attitude illustrated by Jesus in His familiar parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, a story in which the Pharisee thanked God that he was not sinful like other people and, in effect, congratulated himself for being so careful in his observance of God’s law. Luke prefaced this parable by saying that Jesus spoke it to some “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others” (Luke 18:9). Those who trust in themselves do not seek God. They may visit the self-help section in the bookstore, but they do not seek God.

Self-righteousness is such a devilish thing because it begins to afflict us at those times when we really are making some spiritual progress. Just when we begin to demonstrate some diligence in our spiritual lives and to take some long-overdue steps in the direction of obedience, our enemy is often able to rob us of our progress by tempting us to become proud of our progress! The joy and wholesome confidence that come with doing what is right begin to slide off into the murky waters of self-satisfaction. Ever so secretly, we begin to entertain the thought that, yes, maybe we are a little more deserving of salvation than those who are less spiritual-minded. And although we’ve gone no more than a little distance in our journey toward God, we begin to be proud of ourselves for our “patience” with those who are somewhat less enlightened than we—and we can hardly understand why they aren’t more eager to let us help them with their problems.

And so it can happen, if we’re not on constant guard, that we end up with an attitude that is not very different from that of the Pharisees, who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous.” And if what started out as spiritual progress ends up as spiritual pride, then our adversary will have held on to us after all. “Self-righteousness is the devil’s masterpiece” (Thomas Adams).

-Gary Henry

 


Christians And Politics

Posted: March 12th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

No one should doubt for a moment, if they understand the nature and purpose of the New Testament church, that the Lord’s church must keep itself free from entanglement in politics. The church is the “pillar and ground of the truth” and its role is not to defend or promote systems of government—whether democracy, monarchy, oligarchy, socialism, etc. The body of Christ has a clearly defined spiritual work and must leave government to citizens and politicians.

This is not to say, though, that government does not sometimes deal with issues that impinge upon the truth that both the Christian and the church must uphold.

1. When government legalizes the right of women to kill unborn babies, both Christians and the church have something they must say about murder (Matt 19:18).

2. When government legalizes the loveless abuse and taking advantage of citizens through gambling, both Christians and the church must declare the necessity of love for thy neighbor (Rom 13:9-10).

3. When government exalts homosexuality and legalizes the right of a man to marry a man and a woman to marry a woman, both Christians and the church must cry out against such immorality (Rom 1:26-27).

4. When the government finances contraceptives for unmarried teens and educational programs that rationalize fornication, both Christians and the church must censor perversion and defilement of the bed (Heb 13:4).

5. When the government legalizes pornography, both Christians and the church must make their voices heard against lascivious and lewd minds that objectify the body in lust, rather than be devoted to a person in the one flesh union of marriage (Matt 5:27-28; Gal 5:19; Jude 4).

6. When the government says to churches that they cannot withdraw their association from immoral or ungodly members, Christians and the church must obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29; 2 Thess 3:6-15).

The Lord, of course, does not give us the option of withholding taxes when our government supports what is irreligious and immoral. The currency of any nation belongs to the government. They issue it and have authority from God to control it. Jesus Himself took a Roman coin and noted to His critics in the presence of His disciples that it contained the image and superscription of Caesar. His point was that the coin belonged to Caesar and he had the right from God to demand payment from every citizen who possessed these coins. Whether Christians are to pay taxes is answered simply by Jesus: Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” (Matt 22:21). This was necessary even if the nation persecuted the saints and demanded and supported idolatry and Caesar-worship.

Paul confirms by the Spirit the teaching of Jesus, saying that civil authority is ordained by God and to resist that power is to resist God. Citizens, he notes further, must “render to all their dues, tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor” (Rom 13:1-2, 7). Peter, however, adds that no Christian may obey civil authorities in violation of God’s teaching. In that case, the apostle says: “We must obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29).

There are, however, four things the Lord’s disciples can do:

1. Pray. The Spirit of God teaches us to pray for the rulers in high places. Pray especially that we will be granted a peaceful setting in which we can worship and serve God (1 Tim 2:1-2).

2. Honor. We may not approve of our leaders’ lifestyles or their political duplicity or views, but we must respect and honor them as representatives of our country to legislate (1 Pet 2:17).

3. Speak. Christians must always speak the things that they see and hear revealed in the pages of scripture—what is religiously, morally, and socially right (Acts 4:19-20).

4. Vote. The Lord’s disciples as citizens have, as did Paul, the privilege of exercising their political rights, including the right to vote (Acts 16:22, 35-39; Acts 25:10-12).

-L. A.


A Way of Escape

Posted: March 2nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Cor 10:13).

In our darker days of spiritual warfare, we can begin to feel that we are all alone in the struggles we are facing. Everyone else comes to church with a happy face. They seem to have everything figured out. No one is facing the battles I am. No one else could possibly understand what I’m going through.

It is a lie! God plainly tells us that we are not alone in the temptations we face. All our struggles are common to mankind. And just because your brethren don’t use the assembly as a place to hang out their dirty laundry doesn’t mean they aren’t involved in the same spiritual battles as you. Yes, we each have different strengths and weaknesses. We each have challenges that are uniquely our own. But if our eyes were opened to the struggles our brethren are facing from day to day, we would recognize they are not far removed from our own.

Why is it so dangerous to believe this lie? What is Satan trying to accomplish by this tactic? He is trying to isolate us from the rest of the flock. He is trying to convince us that we must face him alone. This is between us and him, and he doesn’t want any one else involved. And once he backs us into a corner all by ourselves, he knows he can overpower us.

But it’s not one-on-one if God is on our side, right? It will be like David and Goliath. We don’t need the rest of the army fighting with us. God will deliver Satan into our hands… Yes, God is fighting on our side, but He has a much different battle plan in mind. He wants us to escape, flee from the corner Satan has backed us into, and take our battle back out into the open.

Often we fail in these spiritual struggles because we refuse to follow God’s escape plan. Time and time again he clears out a path for us to flee, but we refuse to leave the corner in which we have barricaded ourselves. We convince ourselves it’s courage that keeps us standing our ground, but in God’s eyes it is only foolish pride.

Listen to His council: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16). “And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart” (Eccl 4:12). Will you listen to the King’s orders or stubbornly hold your position within Satan’s trap?

-Grady

 


Spiritual Help In The Assembly

Posted: March 2nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

A prime responsibility of faithful brethren is to “restore” a fellow saint who is overcome with a trespass and to “convert” a brother from the error of his ways (see Gal 6:1; James 5:19-20). A number of brothers and sisters here are seeking to meet this responsibility. But this work is doubly the duty of elders whose role in the church is to “watch in behalf of…souls” (Heb 13:17). One thing all who engage in this important work learn rather quickly is that they cannot “restore” or “convert” those who do not want to be restored or converted.

A couple of examples from my own experiences of the past come to mind in my work here as an elder. One disciple I sought to visit years ago insisted that she had a problem that only she could work out. At the time, others called her and she refused to confide in any one of us. We were therefore helpless to steer her toward some solution.

Another disciple did receive me into his home and he spoke to me of a problem that he was struggling to work out. I offered to discuss it with him to see if the two of us together could arrive at some answer. He was, however, unwilling to disclose the issue he was facing. At the time, so far as I could determine, he had not sought out any other brethren to whom he might reveal his difficulty and with whom he might seek some resolution.

All I could do in both of these cases was to urge each of them to go to God for an answer. This, I suggested, should begin with sincere, dedicated prayer and study of God’s word. And, secondly, I stressed that going to God would include faithful attendance at the assemblies of the church. My point to each was that Christians cannot solve spiritual problems by human wisdom alone. When our service to God is hindered by problems of this world, we need wisdom from God. That wisdom comes in three ways: prayerfully asking God in faith, sincerely studying God’s word, and assembling with the brethren for worship (see James 1:5-7; 1:25; Heb 4:12; 10:25).

What I failed to get over to either of these brethren, as is true with so many brethren, is that an important place to find answers to spiritual problems is in the assembly. Think about it. In the assembly we are singing spiritual and scriptural songs written by reverent Bible students that point us to God and His power to bless us. These hymns also urge us to walk with Christ where we can develop a deeper spirituality. Not only this, but we pray to God in the assembly in which we offer thanks to God and make requests for His grace and mercy to help us in times of need.

And beyond this we actually open up the scriptures to study, read, and listen to words that come from deep in the fountain of God’s mind and wisdom. There comes forth teaching, rebuke, reproof, exhortation—instruction that can inform us, pierce us, and challenge us. And joined to all of this is the observance of the Lord’s Supper in which we are reminded of God’s love for us and the sacrifice of Jesus to save us. Here we remember the Lord and the greatest commandment—the commandment of love that can solve any problem.

My purpose with both of these erring saints was to impress on them that any serious and sincere effort to solve spiritual problems will lead struggling disciples to the assembly to worship with fellow brethren. It need not be hypocritical for erring brethren to assemble. It can be a dedicated search to find a relationship with God who is not the author of confusion but of order and peace that passes understanding (see Php 4:6-7).

-L. A.

 


The Lord’s Day

Posted: February 28th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

We often refer to the first day of the week as “the Lord’s Day”. The term is only used once in scripture. It describes the day on which John saw his vision recorded in the book of Revelation (Rev 1:10). Writings of the early church confirm that this term is a reference to Sunday. In A. D. 306, Peter of Alexandria wrote, “But the Lord’s Day we celebrate as a day of joy, because on it he arose again. In A. D. 250 Cyprian of Carthage spoke about, “The eighth day, that is, the first day after the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day.” Eusebius, in his writings around A. D. 324, constantly refers to the first day of the week as “the Lord’s Day.”

While every day is a gift from God and should be used for Him, there is something special about Sunday. It is the day Jesus rose from the dead (Mark 16:9). It is the day the New Testament church was established, seeing as Pentecost always fell on the first day of the week (Acts 2:1; Lev 23:15-21). It is the day the early church was commanded to contribute to the collection for the saints (1 Cor 16:1-2). It is the day the early church came together to “break bread” (Acts 20:7). This memorial meal was sometimes referred to as the “Lord’s Supper” (1 Cor 11:20-21). This passage, besides John’s reference to the “Lord’s Day”, is the only other time the word kariakos (“belonging to the Lord”) is found in scripture.

And so, the first day of the week in particular is a day of devotion and worship to our Lord. In somewhat similar fashion to the Sabbath day of the Old Law, it is a day for us to set aside other cares or distractions and focus on the Lord. It’s not just about making sure I’ve partaken of the Lord’s Supper and then rushing on to do whatever I want with “my day”; it’s about focusing on our service to the Lord and allow the day to be His and His alone. Our Sunday morning assembly is not inherently of greater importance than our morning Bible classes or evening assembly. They are all part of the Lord’s Day. They all belong to the Lord.

Having said all this, when the Hebrew writer exhorts us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, he doesn’t limited it to any certain day of the week. We should be striving to encourage one another “all the more as we see the day approaching” (Heb 10:24-25). Just as our service to the Lord is not limited to one day a week, our responsibility to our brethren should not be confined to the Lord’s Day either.

The Lord’s Day could be compared to Father’s Day on our secular calendars. While our earthly fathers deserve our appreciation and respect every day of the year, Father’s Day is a special day to express it. While Jesus our Lord deserves our praise and devotion every day of the week, the Lord’s Day is a special day for us to express it. How are you using the Lord’s Day? Are you truly giving it to Him?

-Grady

 


“…As We Stand And Sing”

Posted: February 24th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

“If there is anyone here this morning who…” It’s time to put away your Bible and get out your song book. The preacher is still mumbling something, but you’ve heard it all a thousand times. Now you’re just waiting for the next cue. “…As we stand and sing.” There it is. You finally get to stretch your legs and start thinking about what your going to eat for lunch… if you haven’t been thinking about it already.

Unfortunately, this is how many have come to see the concluding remarks of a sermon. The invitation is nothing more than a traditional ending to the preacher’s message. It’s kind of like “in Jesus name, Amen” at the end of a prayer (Oh wait, that actually has meaning too). Jesus warned us against meaningless repetition (Matt 6:7), but it seems to have found its way not only into our prayers, but into our Lord’s Supper talks and sermons.

There is nothing wrong about repetition within itself. We are a forgetful people and need constant reminder. It would be foolish and dangerous for us to pursue a fresh new approach to our worship each week. It’s not the order and procedures of our worship that need to be shaken up, it is our hearts. “I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder” (2 Pet 1:13). We need to be woken up from time to time and reminded of why it is we say things and do things the way we do. Our repetition must be meaningful, not meaningless.

And so, the invitation is not an outdated practice that we should blindly discard for something more non-traditional. Nor is it something we should continue to practice as a mindless ritual. We must stir up our hearts to see its purpose and value. We must clear out our ears and consider the call that is extended to each and every one of us.

Whether at the end of a 30 minute sermon or the focus of a 5 minute talk, the invitation is an opportunity for each of us to examine our hearts. It is a time to take serious inventory of our lives and identify any changes we need to make. This may not require stepping out into the aisle and making your way to the front of the building, but that doesn’t mean the invitation is irrelevant for you.

And for some a response to the invitation may include that trip to the front. We need to consider this before we decide to pick the invitation song as our time for a quick exit or bathroom break (If as many would walk towards the front as do toward the back, we would have a lot more baptisms). We need to consider this before we chose to skip out on the invitation. What message does that send to our children?

The invitation is no less important than the rest of our assembly. It is not a meaningless ritual. We include it in our assemblies for a valuable purpose. It is well worth a few more minutes of our attention. We would each do well to give it the heed it deserves.

-Grady

 


Evangelism Report – February 2015

Posted: February 24th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

“But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance” (Luke 8:15)

Each day we are striving to find the good soil within our community. We are looking for good and honest hearts who will receive and hold fast to God’s word. We can’t see into other’s hearts and know how they will react to God’s word, however. So there is only one way to find open hearts—sow the seed.

As we sow the seed we should expect to encounter many hardened, rocky, and thorny hearts. We shouldn’t be surprised if 3 out of 4 evangelistic contacts result in a dead end. There is no avoiding this.   And there is only one way to handle it—sow more seed.

As studies fall through and contacts turn back to the world or their favorite flavor of denominationalism, we must not grow discouraged. It does not mean we are failing. It means we must search harder for the good soil. And that is exactly what we are trying to do.

First of all, our meetup group Bible studies are continuing to go well. This month our online membership increased from 34 to 41. All these people have signed up to get updates about our studies. Hopefully in time many of them will actually attend one of our meetings. In our 3 studies this month, we had one new visitor and two return visitors.

The number of personal Bibles studies we’re involved in has continued to grow as well. Some doors have closed, but there always seems to be more doors opening. I’ve had evangelistic contacts from the meetup group studies, visitors to our assemblies, friends of other brethren, and random conversations in the community. There are many opportunities for all of us to share the gospel if we are looking for them.

Efforts to revamp our tract rack have continued to progress. After reading at least 50 or 60 tracts I’m almost finished narrowing it down. I’ll be presenting about 20 tracts to the elders this month for us to order. They will address topics such as evidences, salvation, the church, and a few specific false teachings. We hope this will be helpful tools in reaching out to your friends and neighbors.

Over time I hope to add some original tracts to those we are now selecting. These tracts could be customized to address the issues we find most needed and include our contact information here at Kirkwood. If any of the brethren want to present ideas for consideration, we would welcome your input.

There are 6 qualities I consider necessary for a truly effective tract. 1. Concise (maxi-mum of 10 pages); 2. Attractive (a cover that would catch your eye); 3. Engaging (an introduction that would keep your attention); 4. Organized (broken up into smaller headings and paragraphs that logically flow together); 5. Readable (written at a 4th or 5th grade reading level, using a translation other than KJV or ASV, free of misspellings and printing errors); 6. Geared Toward an Evangelistic Audience (avoiding terminology or topics that would be confusing to someone outside of the church with limited biblical knowledge).

Another evangelistic effort you should keep in mind is our Spring Gospel Meeting with David Thomley. It is scheduled for April 12-17, only about a month and a half away. Mark it on your calendars. Start including it in your prayers. By next month’s evangelism report we should have flyers ready to pass out in the community.

The tools and opportunities for you to sow the seed are plentiful. Don’t leave the seed in the barn. You never know where you might find a patch of good soil amongst the thorns and thistles of this world.

-Grady

 


A Temple Made With Hands

Posted: February 24th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

In the late 1990s residence of St. Louis were treated to a spectacle of plush opulence, crass materialism, superstitious rituals, and biblical ignorance when they were permitted to tour at that time the latest and newest Mormon temple. This, my notes indicate, was the 50th temple the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had built in various parts of the world. It is clearly a temple made with hands and is just as clearly a place where God does not dwell (see Acts17:24).

The only biblical rationale for erecting such an elaborate edifice is God’s command to Solomon to build a house for the Lord in Israel. The temple of Solomon became the permanent residence of God to replace the portable tabernacle Israel carried with them from place to place throughout their trek in the wilderness on the way to the land of promise. The “holy place” and “most holy place” were the rooms, both in the tabernacle and temple, where God-ordained rituals were performed to glorify and honor God under the Mosaic Law. In the “most holy place” God’s glory appeared once a year when the blood of an unblemished goat was sprinkled on the mercy seat to atone for the nation’s sins.

This ancient temple was clearly an elaborate physical and material display of worship designed by God to foreshadow a spiritual temple and the entrance of the Messiah into heaven before the face of God to make “real” atonement for sin. The blood of bulls and goats could never take away sins and was only a “type” or material illustration of the sacrifice of Jesus that would purify the conscience of man from dead works of sin. God, however, brought to an end that sanctuary of “this world” that contained “carnal” ordinances that purified only the defilements of the “flesh.” It was but a “figure” or parable of a perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, which Jesus would dedicate (see Heb 9:1-28; Heb 10:1-25). Furthermore, God annulled the law of Moses at the cross of Jesus and destroyed the temple made with hands by the Roman army in A. D. 70 (see Matthew 24).

God’s temple today is the church—his fellow citizens and saints who have been sanctified by the blood of Jesus through faith. These citizens are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets laid by the preaching of the gospel through the Holy Spirit. It is among these people who have been raised to sit with Christ in heavenly places that God dwells. God took away the old covenant and its worldly, carnal, material ordinances to establish the new covenant by which sinners are purified through the obedience of faith and are clothed in Christ and righteousness (see 1 Cor 3:16-17; Eph 2:1-22; Acts 26:18; Rom 1:5, 16; 1 Pet 1:21-22; Heb 10:9-10).

The Mormon idea of temples made with hands, decorated with white enamel, and compartmentalized into holy rooms, where men can array themselves in white garments and be sanctified by humanly-conceived rituals is Mosaic and pagan in concept and radically different from “biblical” Christianity in general and the “first-century” church in particular.

Our tour of the Mormon temple years ago is still a startling and jarring reminder to serious Bible students of Judaism and the inadequacy of “worldly” and “carnal” ordinance to redeem man. Jesus came to mediate a “new” and “better” covenant which was enacted upon better promises. Thank God who through Jesus and his sacrifice delivered us from those “earthly” ordinances of Moses and from that “law of sin and death” delivered to Moses by angels. May God keep us from similar entanglements in modern forms of Judaism such as Mormonism and other temples made with men’s hands (Rom 8:2; Heb 8:6; Gal 1:6-9; Gal 5:1-4).

-L. A.

 


Managing Multiple Priorities

Posted: February 16th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

“And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things” (Luke 10:41).

Even in the simplest life that one can live, there are still many things to be done. Those who would grow strong spiritually must learn to work energetically and productively without being eaten up by the time pressure that characterizes so many of our lifestyles. We must discover how to manage multiple priorities without sacrificing that which is our highest priority: the glorification of God. This is a discipline that we can learn, but learning it will be anything but easy in this age of the world.

It is possible to be very busy and not suffer from the corrosive stress that most of us feel when we’re busy. Jesus, for example, was extremely busy, and He well knew what it was to be tired (John 4:6), but His activities were always surrounded by the peacefulness of complete surrender to the will of God. Although He was busy, He was never frantic. He felt no need to “make things turn out” according to selfish demands.

Our anxiety, on the other hand, is often the result of an urge to control certain outcomes. It springs from the desire that things should happen as we wish rather than as God wills. Yet if we can let go of this desire, much of the compulsiveness that drives our activities will disappear.

Having said that, however, we should also say that most of our lives would profit from some serious simplification. As a people, we are over-committed and strung out. We try to do more than one human being can do effectively. And the result is one that ought to alarm us greatly: we are at a disadvantage when it comes to the devil. Richard J. Foster, who has written perceptively on the value of the simple life, has said, “Our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry, and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in ‘muchness’ and ‘manyness,’ he will rest satisfied.”

Spiritually, we are never more vulnerable than when we are, like Martha, “worried and troubled about many things.” Thus one of the most constructive spiritual steps that we can take is to simplify our interests and our activities. But even when we do, there will still be many matters to claim our attention. We must learn the art of God-centered restfulness.

“Lord Jesus, make my heart sit down” (African Proverb).

-Gary Henry