I am so thankful to the Lord for the opportunities I have had these past 2 weeks to preach His Word at the Newton Bus Exchange. The third week has just began and as I reflect on the past 2 weeks, my heart is filled with such great joy. What a privilege the Lord has given me to preach His Word daily! Truly humbled by such a great blessing bestowed upon me not only to be numbered among His children saved by grace through the merits of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ – but to also be one of His servants. There is no greater joy than to be in Christ and to be an instrument in His hands.
One of the joys from the past two weeks is that I am beginning to form relationships with some of the people who usually travel by bus. There are many people who have to take the bus daily to go work, school, etc. I see many of these people everyday and they see me. We may not always talk, but we notice each other. However, I have had the special privilege of being able to talk with some and relationships are naturally being formed with these people.
Last Friday, I enjoyed talking to a couple of international students (from Iraq and Cameroon) who are studying here. Being new to Canada, they somehow feel lost. Both of them mentioned how frustrating and difficult it has been trying to find a good/faithful church. They want to study the Bible deeper but do not know where to go to find help. My wife and I have for many years talked about starting an outreach to international students here – and it seems that the Lord is leading us closer and closer to the day when we will actually get to do this. It seems that he has brought us to this part of Surrey for such a ministry as this among other things. So, Lord willing, we will be launching a new Bible Study in October specially targeting students (local and international). Please remember to pray with us regarding this new ministry venture. Specifically, please pray that the Lord will prepare our hearts and get us ready to serve these students and minister to their physically as well as spiritual needs. Many of these students lack godly company, they lack provisions (i.e. finances), food, and most importantly, they lack spiritual guidance. While we may not be able to meet all their needs, we do look forward to the opportunity to meet some of them as the Lord leads and provides.
Alistair Begg tells a story of how as a young boy, his father took him to a candy store. While in the store everyone was commenting on what a good boy Alistair was to his great delight.
An older gentleman in the store noticing how Alistair was basking in the praises that were being showered upon him commented, “Young man, praise is like perfume. It’s good as long as it remains on the outside. But dangerous if you swallow it.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
But why is it often hard to say “give thanks in all circumstances?” What gets in the way of gratitude? PRIDE!
Gratitude and pride do not sleep in the same bed. The proud man is a thankless person. When on the receiving end of success, good fortune or an act of kindness, the proud man boasts, “I deserve this.” When failure, misfortune or an act of unkindness is his lot, the proud man grumbles, “I deserve better.” No matter what is going on, whether things are going well or not, gratitude is ever absent in a proud man’s vocabulary. Gratitude is a foreign language to a proud man.
But oh, how sweet when the proud man learns humility! Gratitude for and in everything naturally follows. Humility and ingratitude do not sleep in the same bed. The humble man is a thankful man. When on the receiving end of success, good fortune or an act of kindness, the humble man says, “I don’t deserve this.” When failure, misfortune or an act of unkindness is his lot, the humble man says, “I deserve worse.” No matter what is going on, whether things are going well or not, gratitude is ever present in a humble man’s vocabulary. Gratitude is the mother-tongue of a humble man.
Which of the two are you?
Question 8 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism (WSC) reads: “How does God execute His decrees?” Answer: “God executeth His decrees in the works of creation and providence.” A little bit later in Question 11, the WSC asks: “What are God’s works of providence?” Answer: “God’s works of providence are His most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all His creatures and all their actions.”
What a relief, joy and comfort to know that the LORD is governs me and all my actions. Both fall perfectly well under His most holy and wise governance.
E. Paxton Hood (an English Puritan) once stated, “Providence is a soft pillow for anxious heads.” Oh, how true!.
As you go through this day, may you be encouraged by the fact that you and all of your life to the minutest details, are being governed by the sovereign LORD and Ruler of the whole world. We do not always know or understand, God’s providence(s) in the moment. Like the Hebrew language, God’s providences must be read backwards as far as we as His creatures are concerned.
So, take heart dear friend, brother or sister in Christ especially if you are going through hard providences in your life right now. As William Cowper wrote long ago:
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
Have a blessed day!