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Wednesday, April 1 Encouragement
Wednesday, April 1 Encouragement

Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church • April 01, 2020

Paul calls us to pray for those in high positions of authority (1 Tim. 2:1-2) so that we might live a peaceful life. A similar command is also found in Jeremiah (29:7). It is important to make a distinction on the kind of peace for which we seek by praying for those in high positions. It is an earthly peace. This earthly peace is directed toward our neighbors. Earthly peace is like a cast to mend a broken arm. The cast does not mend the wayward heart, but it still serves a good end, which includes the right laws to the good order of society. 

This earthly peace is different than the heavenly peace of Christ (Rom. 5:1), which is the only peace that completes and perfects a wayward person. Augustine makes this same distinction between an earthly and heavenly peace in his commentary on 1 Timothy. He writes, “Yet even such a people cherishes a [earthly] peace of its own which is not to be scorned, although in the end it is not to be had because this peace, before the end, was abused. Meanwhile, it is to our advantage that there be such peace in this life. For, as long as the two cities [earthly and heavenly] are mingled together, we can make use of the peace of Babylon. Father can assure our exodus from Babylon, but our pilgrim status, for the time being, makes us neighbors.” 

For what kind of earthly peace are we to pray? Consider the instruction of the sixth commandment. The Westminster Larger Catechism explains,

Q. 135. What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?

A. The duties required in the sixth commandment are, all careful studies, and lawful endeavours, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting all thoughts and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; by just defence thereof against violence, patient bearing of the hand of God, quietness of mind, cheerfulness of spirit; a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labor, and recreation; by charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness; peaceable, mild, and courteous speeches and behavior: forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil; comforting and succoring the distressed, and protecting and defending the innocent.

Among the many ways this command applies, we pray for “lawful endeavors to preserve the life of ourselves and others… and avoiding all… practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any.” Such laws to preserve life are for the welfare of the city. As our political nation searches for answers to the coronavirus, let us pray for them that their laws and orders aim “to preserve the life of ourselves and others.”

In Christ, Pastor Jud

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Tuesday, March 31 Encouragement
Tuesday, March 31 Encouragement

Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church • March 31, 2020

Good Shepherd, 

As I reminded you last week, we must keep in mind that God is sovereign over all that is taking place, including this virus. If God is not sovereign over everything, including this virus, then we can have no confidence in any of the other promises God has made to us in the Scriptures. Today I want to remind you that part of God's sovereignty over this virus involves God using this virus for His own good purposes. This is not to say that the virus itself is good, for it is certainly a fruit of the curse. Nonetheless, while suffering, disease, and affiliction are naturally evil, the wise overruling hand of God uses these things for good.  

In his book All Things For Good, Thomas Watson reminds us that even the worst things work together for godly, and that includes affliction. He lists several ways in which God uses affliction for good, and one of those ways is that it is a "means of loosening our hearts from the world." He writes the following: "When you dig away the earth from the root of a tree, it is to loosen the tree from the earth; so God digs away our earthly comforts to loosen our hearts from this earth. A thorn grows up from every flower. God would have the world hang as a loose tooth which, being twitched away, does not much trouble us...Why does the Lord break the conduit-pipe, but that we may go to Him, in whom are 'all our fresh springs' (Ps 87:7)." 

To summarize, one purpose that God desires to accomplish through this virus is to drive us away from the love of the world and towards the love of God. God is reminding us that the world we're living in is fallen, and it is not our final home. In fact, this sin cursed world is, according to the Apostle John, "passing away along with its desires" (1 John 2:17). You see, that's one of the benefits of afflictions and suffering. It's easy to drift day by day into an affection for the things of this world. But then times like this come along and vividly remind us that this world is fallen, and therefore it is foolish for us to set our hearts and minds on the things of this world. God is "loosening our hearts from this world", so that we may run to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the alone fountain of everlasting life and joy.  

Grace and peace,

-Pastor Brennan 

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Monday, March 30 Encouragement
Monday, March 30 Encouragement

Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church • March 30, 2020

Good Shepherd family,

As we continue a study of Psalm 90, we approach a very modest petition. Verse 15 says, "Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil." It does not hide the fact that much of life is pain and suffering. It instructs us to pray not that pain is eliminated from our time but that we are provided with as much joy that matches the burden.  

Without denying the eternal weight of glory that will come, this verse is a petition for this brief and wayward life now. The Psalmist is set firmly in the present time, asking that right now the Lord would equal the number of days of joy to the years of distress.  

Scripture reveals that there will be no more pain or mourning when the new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven from God. It comes down from God; it is not built by us. Holding onto the promise of the new heavens and the new earth, the Psalmist knows that life now is currently lived with the "thorns and thistles" of this wayward life. He boldly prays for an equal number of joyful days from the Lord's hands.

Does that sound hedonistic? No, it is a petition to persevere by the Lord's help until the majestic appearing of his glory to faithful servants. May we boldly ask for the Lord's gifts of gladness as we travel through the "thorns and thistles" of this present age.

In Christ, Pastor Jud   

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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Living in Anxious Times

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Knowing Misery

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Do Not Be Anxious
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