Monthly Archives: November 2016

December Days and Wisdom

nativity

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

As a child, waiting just fifteen minutes for some looked forward to pleasure seemed impossible. As a 60 plus year old woman, those quarter hours fly by like calendar pages flipping haphazardly into a vacuous past just like they did in the cartoons I watched as a young girl.

November is almost gone. We are on the verge of stepping into December, a time of year I both love and loathe.

I love December for obvious reasons. It’s the time of year we celebrate the birth of Christ. I loathe December for obvious reasons. It’s the time of year we celebrate the birth of Christ, or rather, it’s how we celebrate that for me often devolves into a mess of plans and purchases, desire and failure to do everything perfectly, and an undercurrent of anxiety as I compare my faltering efforts to celebrate Christmas “rightly” with the relative ease that others seem to enjoy.

So this Christmas season, I’m asking the Lord to help me number my days and apply wisdom. There’s something to growing older that makes me want to slow things down. But in order to number these December days aright, I need the Lord’s wisdom to do it.

It is wise to ask for wisdom from the One who gives generously…that is pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, sincere wisdom.

It is wise to take my eyes off myself and look to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.

It is wise to reflect on the brevity of time and ponder anew the beauty of eternal perspective as it relates to the Christmas story.

It is wise to celebrate the season as simply as possible and guard my sense of wonder and awe in honoring the birth of the One whose life, death and resurrection changed the world.

It is wise to stop comparing myself to others resulting in prideful arrogance at doing better or self-centered pity at doing worse (oh, how grievous are both of these pitfalls!).

It is wise to look past the clamor and commotion of the season and find time to be quiet and still before God.

It is wise to cultivate a thankful heart, to count my myriad blessings and appreciate the loved ones near and remember those who live in memories of Christmas past.

It’s inevitable that I will fail to thoughtfully number my days and apply wisdom perfectly. So, it is wise to let the Gospel inform the truth and miracle of Christmas. My sins do not change who Christ is, and my sins do not change who I am in Christ.

Lastly, it is appropriate and wise to consider these words from Spurgeon:

“Our lives are illustrations of heavenly goodness, parables of divine wisdom, poems of sacred thought, and records of infinite love; happy are we whose lives are such tales.”

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

 

 

 

 

 

 


Crazy Times and an Eternal Perspective

One week ago, the electorate chose Donald J. Trump to be President of the United States of America.

It was a crazy campaign season and honestly quite discouraging for me. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were the best we could come up with. Do these two people really represent what America has become?

For the record, I did not vote for either candidate. And now, I’m just glad all the campaign nonsense is over. It was the most brutal, rancorous, vitriolic election cycle I have ever experienced.

This is not a political blog, of course, so the goal of this post is not to rehash all the rhetoric we’ve heard over the last several months or even argue whether or not our President Elect was the best choice for the highest office in the land, but rather to take a step back and try to get a glimpse of an Eternal Perspective.

I do not know what kind of president Mr. Trump will be. We can try to guess, but only time and experience will give the answer to that question. But there are a few things about the future we can know.

We can know God is Good.
You are good and do good… Psalm 119:68

We can know God is righteous and just.
The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice. Deut. 32:4

We can know God is subject to none.
“…for I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish my purpose,…'”  Isaiah 46:9, 10

We can know He is the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will. Ephesians 1:11

We can know God is Sovereign over all of human history.
…His kingdom rules over all. Psalm 103:19

We can know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

We can know that our [true] citizenship is in Heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself. Philippians 3:20

We can know peace through Christ, and we can move forward.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid…Rise, let us go from here.”
John 14:27, 31

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


It’s Been a Year

It’s been a year since I’ve posted anything on the Gospel Apprentice. I don’t know how that much time has gone by so fast.

Lots of stuff has happened over the last twelve months. Good and bad, joy and sorrow, victories and failures as well.

I write in my Bible journal almost every morning, just bits and pieces of ideas or fragments of lessons that the Lord is teaching me. I’ve also been affected by some good old-fashioned writer’s block lately–all of that and the cares and concerns of life have conspired together to dampen my desire to write.

So, this afternoon I had the idea of using my journal entries over the last year as inspiration, a jumping off point if you will, and develop them into blog posts.

I miss blogging. We will see how this goes.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie

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