home > Pastor’s Desk > 2016 > December 2nd > Teach Me

TEACH ME

more-difficult-less-difficultWhat is the most difficult thing for you to do? If you are not sure you might try asking the same question in a different way. What is it that you really don’t want to ever have to do? What is it that you would much rather have someone else do, than do it yourself? This question is also answered by looking at how we spend our time. Those things which are really difficult for us to do tend to get put down our priority list even though they belong at the top of our priority list. When something is too difficult for me to do I tend to procrastinate attempting it and then treat my lower priorities as more urgent. My procrastinations are an indication of what I find most difficult. This year, I have had to come to terms with my propensity for avoiding the difficult. I needed to learn some things and for this to happen I have had to be taught.

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
Psalm 86:11

 

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

Teenager with help sign.  Needing help.God has designed for us to deal with difficulties. God has also designed for us to be taught how to deal with difficulties. During Old Testament times God ordained for leaders to teach. This included priests, elders, kings and parents. In our New Testament times, even with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit – Whom Jesus said would teach, lead, and guide the believer – God has particularly gifted certain people with the primary responsibility of teaching others.

And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers…
First Corinthians 12:28

If I was prone to digressing, I would at this point, point out that not all those who want to teach, can teach well. I would also point out that just because someone is able to teach about a particular subject, does not mean that they can teach all subjects. But I have been taught not to digress so I will make neither of these points.

 

The prayer God delights to hear and to answer.

The prayer, “Teach me!” occurs most frequently in the Psalms. Generally the psalmist was seeking to learn the ways of God and to learn how to follow those ways. We might join with the psalmists and pray the same prayer for the same reasons so that we too can know what God’s will for us is and how we can fulfil it. But we might also learn from the psalmists and apply this principle more particularly. There are times in each of our lives where we do not really know what, or more precisely, how to do what needs to be done. My experience and observations inform me that God most usually answers such prayers by sending us a teacher. You should be careful when this happens because sometimes they do not look like a teacher. They might not even be present in the flesh. They might be within the pages of a book, or the screen of a computer, or the voice on a radio or podcast. They may also be right in front of us.

While God has ordained for pastors to teach His unfathomable Word to His people, which may have a lifetime duration, more commonly, the teachers whom God will answer our “Teach me!” prayers are present for a moment, a season, a time. They may teach us directly, or God may even use them inadvertently to teach us indirectly when their mistakes and failings become instructive warnings for us, or perhaps more positively, their lives become a silent example for us.

I think the most beautiful prayer that ascends into the Throne-Room of Heaven is a “Teach me!” prayer that has been reduced to a one word prayer: “Help!” (At least I hope it is one of the more beautiful prayers to God because I tend to pray that prayer a lot.) Some even pray this one word prayer expecting God to solve all their difficulties without realising that God is answering this prayer differently – as if it was the prayer He delights to answer: “Teach me Oh God.

¶ Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path…
Psalm 27:11

The most difficult things you will have to do will involve your interactions with others. Conflicts, disagreements, misunderstandings, confession, seeking forgiveness, rebuking, managing, and leading difficult people, are chief among the most difficult things you will ever do. Rather than despair; rather than procrastinate; rather than get frustrated; pray the prayer that God delights to hear and then watch carefully how He answers it.

Amen.

Your Pastor,

Andrew

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

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3 EXERCISES THAT WILL WILL MAKE YOU HEALTHIER, FITTER, AND STRONGER, PART 3

Now I turn my attention to an oft neglected aspect of our spiritual well-being: resting. As a disclaimer, I am one of the least qualified to discuss this topic—but, embarrassing, any lessons I have learned about the value of rest have come negatively from not resting as I should have and then enduring the inevitable consequences.

3 EXERCISES THAT WILL MAKE YOU HEALTHIER, FITTER, & STRONGER, Part 2

A healthy lifestyle involves regular vigorous exercise (aerobic exercise) – such as long brisk walk, a competitive game of tennis, or a 30-minute jog – and, eating a healthy diet. In Part 1, I drew the parallel to how we maintain our physical health with how we can contribute to our spiritual health. In particular I pointed out that just as doing aerobic exercise delivered more oxygen into our blood stream, so too does developing our times of prayer add spiritual oxygen into our soul. In this instalment, I am going to draw parallels with maintaining a healthy diet of eating fresh fruit and vegetables, cutting down on sugared and processed foods, and how our spiritual diet. Too many Christians have poor diets. I hope to encourage you not to be one of them. 

3 EXERCISES THAT WILL MAKE YOU HEALTHIER, FITTER, & STRONGER, Part 1

Every physical fitness coach will tell you that daily exercise which causes you sweat and puff is the kind of exercise that is doing you long-term good. Vigorous physical exercise such as running will cause you to need more air in your lungs which will cause you to puff. Puffing, the act of heavy breathing to replenish your need oxygen helps your respiratory and cardio-vascular systems to become healthier. Interestingly, breathing is the word that the Bible uses to describe how God created the First man. As a result of the lack of spiritual exercise, too many people do not have spiritual reserves, and consequently lack spiritual strength, capacity, confidence, psychological contentment, or the emotional happiness that they would otherwise have had. Yet, this is so unnecessary considering that there are three very simple spiritual exercises that everyone whose spirit has been regenerated can do to remedy this malady. 

AS MOSES LIFTED UP THE SERPENT

It might seem an odd thing to write about just two days before Christmas, but the story of God plaguing the Israelites with poisonous snakes and then commanding Moses to construct a bronze serpent and attach it to a cross-beamed pole has baffled even the best minds for centuries. Some people have regarded this story as yet another reason for them to reject God and the Bible and consider both to be nonsense. An ever-so-slightly-less-cynical approach that some, who seem to really want both God and the Bible to be true, have taken is to regard the story as a fictional myth with mysterious allegorical meaning. I think this is how Dr. Jordan Peterson recently interpretted it in his discussion with Mr. John Anderson on their Youtube discussion last week. The high profile psychologist Dr. Peterson seems to have been on an interesting spiritual journey of late and he is obviously delving into the Bible and coming up with what appear to be some roadblocks to his complete acceptance of the claims of Christ largely due to these obscure passages in the Bible such as this account in Number 21. “No one has ever been able to explain it to me!” he told Mr. Anderson. I wish he had asked me, because if he had, this is what I would have explained to him.

THUS SAITH THE LORD

Within the sixty-six books of Scriptures we have a unified and coherent revelation from God about His identity as the Creator, the Law-giver, the Redeemer, the Saviour, and the Final Judge. Its sixty-six books tell one story – God’s plan of redemption and conquest over and ultimate vanquishing of evil. Within the Scripture is the revelation of how to be reconciled to God by having our sins forgiven through Christ. It is the Scriptures which assure us that we have one mediator between us and God the Father – Jesus the Christ (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 9:15; 12:24) through whom we can directly appeal. It is within the Scriptures that we find the commands of God for how we are to live, conduct our lives, order our affairs, treat others, and prioritise our worship of God. Thus, we are not permitted to just be “hearers” of God’s Word, we are to accept its authority and be compliant with its commands and imperatives (Rom. 2:13; 1 Tim. 4:16; James 1:22-23) – because it is the Word of God.

HOW TO BE A SUCCESSFUL INVESTOR (OF MORE THAN JUST MONEY)

The most basic form of investing was described by Christ in the parable of the talents where He described it as putting money with the money-lenders to earn interest. Albert Einstein stated that ‘compound interest’ is the eighth wonder of the world! When some people hear the word ‘investing’ they might think that it only involves money. Investing involves thinking about present action and the future consequences of those actions. And then acting in a way that sacrifices present income to invest in a richer future. Understood in a much broader sense, investing can and should mean thinking about much more than just money. It can involve investing time, effort, wisdom, training, and prayer. Investing done well results in increased wealth and riches which is not just limited to financial rewards. It is exemplified in the biblical promise, “You reap what you sow.” Each generation is responsible to steward the resources that are at its disposal. These resources are managed by individuals, families, communities, states, nations and the Church. Church leaders have a duty to invest well into the spiritual resources that shape culture to the glory of God so that a tree is planted for the next generations will be the ones who enjoy its shade.

AMAZING ACCESS

Anyone who has attended a large event such as the recent Will Graham Outreach event that was held at the Launceston Silverdome would be familiar with the varying levels of access that are provided to staff and volunteers associated with this type of event. The security system used included identification in the form of different coloured shirts, prayer volunteer cards, and all access cards that permitted access to the entire venue with no questions asked by security personnel. This is like the access level that God has to our lives. Being omnipresent, He has unhindered access to every aspect of our lives. He knows our innermost thoughts, sees all that we do, hears all that we say. God has the ultimate ‘all access’ card.

WHY FINDING TRUTH MATTERS

How can we determine whether a claim is true or false? Some people think there are different kinds of truth — my truth, their truth, and your truth. But how do they know that their assessment of truth is true? After all, their assessment – that there is my/their/your truth might just be based on their truth rather than the truth. Truth has certain qualities that distinguishes it from what is false-
 Truth corresponds to reality.
 Truth is verifiable (that is, if it is true, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is falsifiable (that is, if it is false, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is sometimes testable (that is, claims that are experiential can be tested by experience – including scientific claims, historic claims, and existential claims).
We have good reasons for the believing that the Bible is true because it is the divinely inspired, reliable and authoritative Word of God which has been superintendedly preserved by the Holy Spirit (read more about this).

THE 5 MOST IMPORTANT YEARS OF ANYONE’S LIFE

Parents, Kids Church leaders, and Christian school teachers should be intentional about shaping children to be fully devoted followers of Christ who have reasons for believing Christianity is true – which shapes them into virtuous contributors to society and to find their role in God’s Kingdom. This will be one of the necessary and indispensable means for the Church to fulfil the Great Commission of Christ.

TIME- YOU CAN’T CONTROL IT – BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT

We live in a fast paced world. We expect things to happen quickly. None of us like to be kept waiting. Even when we order something online we expect it delivered straight away. Some of us having to work two or even three jobs just to be able to pay the bills. We describe ourselves as time-poor. Yet, we all get twenty-four-hours in a day. Sixty-minutes in an hour. And sixty-seconds in a minute. Most of us need to adjust how we see, understand, and treat our time. This will involve, what will be for some, adopting a foreign and largely unaccustomed view of time that involves worship, sabbath, and deepening relationships. From this biblical perspective we will come to see time as a gift from God, not a curse, or source of frustration. Within this gift of time God teaches us how to worship in those times when it is difficult to do so. Rather than thinking this divine gift of time is ours to do with what ever we want, God uses this gift to teach us that we should gift it back to Him beginning with (but not limited to) treating Sunday as a sabbath to come together to recommit our hearts, voices, minds, and presence with God’s people, back to God. God gives us passing time to learn to deepen relationships – especially with our kin, and our friends. Time is meant for relationship building.