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Excerpt from C. H. Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

Morning, August 2

“Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”

Ephesians 1:11

Our belief in God’s wisdom supposes and necessitates that he has a settled purpose and plan in the work of salvation. What would creation have been without his design? Is there a fish in the sea, or a fowl in the air, which was left to chance for its formation? Nay, in every bone, joint, and muscle, sinew, gland, and blood-vessel, you mark the presence of a God working everything according to the design of infinite wisdom. And shall God be present in creation, ruling over all, and not in grace? Shall the new creation have the fickle genius of free will to preside over it when divine counsel rules the old creation? Look at Providence! Who knoweth not that not a sparrow falleth to the ground without your Father? Even the hairs of your head are all numbered. God weighs the mountains of our grief in scales, and the hills of our tribulation in balances. And shall there be a God in providence and not in grace? Shall the shell be ordained by wisdom and the kernel be left to blind chance? No; he knows the end from the beginning. He sees in its appointed place, not merely the cornerstone which he has laid in fair colours, in the blood of his dear Son, but he beholds in their ordained position each of the chosen stones taken out of the quarry of nature, and polished by his grace; he sees the whole from corner to cornice, from base to roof, from foundation to pinnacle. He hath in his mind a clear knowledge of every stone which shall be laid in its prepared space, and how vast the edifice shall be, and when the top-stone shall be brought forth with shoutings of “Grace! Grace! unto it.” At the last it shall be clearly seen that in every chosen vessel of mercy, Jehovah did as he willed with his own; and that in every part of the work of grace he accomplished his purpose, and glorified his own name.

 

Evening, August 2

“So she gleaned in the field until even.”

Ruth 2:17

Let me learn from Ruth, the gleaner. As she went out to gather the ears of corn, so must I go forth into the fields of prayer, meditation, the ordinances, and hearing the word to gather spiritual food. The gleaner gathers her portion ear by ear; her gains are little by little: so must I be content to search for single truths, if there be no greater plenty of them. Every ear helps to make a bundle, and every gospel lesson assists in making us wise unto salvation. The gleaner keeps her eyes open: if she stumbled among the stubble in a dream, she would have no load to carry home rejoicingly at eventide. I must be watchful in religious exercises lest they become unprofitable to me; I fear I have lost much already—O that I may rightly estimate my opportunities, and glean with greater diligence. The gleaner stoops for all she finds, and so must I. High spirits criticize and object, but lowly minds glean and receive benefit. A humble heart is a great help towards profitably hearing the gospel. The engrafted soul-saving word is not received except with meekness. A stiff back makes a bad gleaner; down, master pride, thou art a vile robber, not to be endured for a moment. What the gleaner gathers she holds: if she dropped one ear to find another, the result of her day’s work would be but scant; she is as careful to retain as to obtain, and so at last her gains are great. How often do I forget all that I hear; the second truth pushes the first out of my head, and so my reading and hearing end in much ado about nothing! Do I feel duly the importance of storing up the truth? A hungry belly makes the gleaner wise; if there be no corn in her hand, there will be no bread on her table; she labours under the sense of necessity, and hence her tread is nimble and her grasp is firm; I have even a greater necessity, Lord, help me to feel it, that it may urge me onward to glean in fields which yield so plenteous a reward to diligence.

 

This work is published in the public domain.  

Posted in: Bible study, Christian Living, Security, Uncategorized

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Some Thoughts on Finances

As the daughter of a frugal woman, (who pinched pennies throughout the Great Depression and never quite accustomed herself to a comfortable retirement), I walked a fine line between practicality and desire.  After four college years with few discretionary funds, I remember going downtown determined to splurge with money from my first paycheck.  First one thing and then another attracted my attention, but each time I would think, “I don’t really need this,” and I returned home rather upset with myself that I still had my money intact.   I don’t know if it was the specter of my frugal mother or a gene that both she and I had inherited from our Scotch ancestors that restrained me but, obviously, whether by nature or nurture, I had developed a conflicted mindset about money. 

Not long after, the fact was impressed upon me that God did not own just a tenth of my income, but that it all came from Him, therefore, it belonged to Him. “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1). “Every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). The Lord is the owner.  Owners have rights.  Stewards have responsibilities.  I realized that He was going to hold me accountable as a faithful steward of how I cared for what He gave me (Matthew 25:14-30). 

I could not figure out how to be a careful steward without keeping track of how the money given to me was spent, so I began recording expenditures in a college blue book. Then I met Stan who shared my philosophy concerning money. Because he was one of the first I had dated with whom I could trust my money, I married him and happily turned over to him the treasurer’s job in our family. 

We moved to Massachusetts for my husband to attend graduate school while I worked. Money was tight. Our apartment, at first, was furnished with a bed, a card table with chairs, and packing crates. Gradually we added attic furniture from the second-hand store.   

One of the major attractions in Boston is the Freedom Trail that winds its way by historic landmarks including North End church where Paul Revere hung the lantern to warn that the British were coming. The North End was an Italian ghetto. It was the first time I had observed such poverty. During the time before marriage when I shared an apartment with a friend, we had subscribed to several magazines (our substitute for info before the Internet.) One I had paid for was Better Homes and Gardens. From it, I garnered ideas for my “dream home.” It struck me suddenly that better stewardship and contentment would come from viewing more ghettos than dream magazines and I dropped my subscription.  

Stan finished his grad school studies and we found ourselves “stuck” in Massachusetts far from our California home.  Failing to find employment on the west coast, Stan got a good job as a physicist in Boston. Our children were on the way.  God kept us there for ten years until his company downsized. Stan had always wanted to teach physics. God moved us back to California and the next four years were the most exciting period of our lives. We saw God provide for us while living on a part-time teaching salary – a necessary steppingstone for Stan to gain entrance into that profession.   

I remember thinking in those lean years, “Lord, you promised to reward with more those who were faithful with little (Matthew 25:21). “I’ve been as faithful as I know how to be. Couldn’t you give a just a tad more for us to be faithful with?” But it was during those years that our expository preaching pastor came to a passage on stewardship. He challenged us to see what God would do if we gave more than the usually assumed “tithe.” Though we were already pinching pennies to get by, we did and God was more than faithful.1    

The prophet Malachi wrote, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need” (3:10). 

God has proven to me He cannot be out given. And I am glad that God delayed his abundance for me until late—for he knew that I needed to learn the lesson that the greatest satisfaction comes not from accumulating things which only beget emptiness and yearning for more. Real joy and blessings come in relationships with others and sharing God’s abundance with them, especially with those in need here and abroad. 

If you visit my little cottage, you will notice a wooden packing crate that has served various furniture functions in our home(s) throughout the years.  I keep it as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and how he has abundantly supplied my needs, inside and out, from His glorious riches that are mine through Christ Jesus, my Lord (Phil 4:19). 

Margi Hawks is a widowed octogenarian, a graduate of a Christian University with a degree in Art Ed and a great lover of  History. She is blessed to have been a stay-at-home wife and mom with a career of serving the Lord in whatever way He has directed in the various places she has lived in this wonderful country.  

See also: Pastor Tim’s May 20th sermon on 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 titled, “The Collection,” which you can listen to on Sermon Audio here. In the sermon, Pastor Tim discusses giving in general and makes a few specific points about the tithe as an Old Testament function in contrast with freewill offerings modeled in the New Testament.

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Security Team: FCC Code of Conduct

Recently, a “code of conduct” was established for those attending services and other activities at FCC.  We believe this code is a commonsense and logical approach to assist in ensuring quiet and respectful behavior associated with Christian worship.  The code is as follows:

Faith Community Church (hereinafter FCC) welcomes all members to its facilities for worship and other functions. Guests of members and other visitors or attendees are expected to behave in an appropriate manner and respect and observe the rights of other members, guests and visitors.codeofconduct

Behavior in the Facility

FCC’s facilities are intended to be used for Christian worship, quiet meditation, reading, studying, attending programs, attending meetings and other reverent (quiet and respectful) activities associated with Christian worship. Attendees are expected to conduct themselves in a reverent manner that makes these activities possible. Attendees will respect the rights of others to benefit from their attendance with the least amount of interference or disruption.

The following types of disruptive behavior are NOT allowed in or on FCC property:

  1. Behavior that endangers the safety of another person.
  2. Vandalism or deliberate destruction of FCC property.
  3. Theft of FCC materials or the personal property of others.
  4. Violation of any local, state, or federal law.
  5. Possession, consuming, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  6. Running, yelling or screaming or disruptive behavior.
  7. Selling goods or services or soliciting money without approval of FCC leadership.
  8. Smoking in the facility.
  9. Physical abuse or other unwanted touching of any other person.
  10. Threats of physical harm.
  11. Abusive, profane, vulgar or obscene actions, language or gestures.
  12. Acts of protest or demonstration.
  13. Any other disruptive or outrageous behavior that offends the spirit of reverent Christian fellowship or behavior.

To further the security level here at FCC, we plan to invite the Homeland Security Section of the KCPD to conduct a Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources inventory.  This will involve taking pictures of our facility, obtaining floor plans, hours of operation, critical contact persons etc. Once gathered, this information is then downloaded into a computer database that is shared with KCPD police officers, and KCFD firemen.  Then, if they are ever called to our facility, the officers and/or firemen can bring this information up on their computer laptops before arriving on the scene.

1 Peter 5:8 – Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

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FCC Security: Child Abductions

“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones.  For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” Mt 18:10

Child abductions can happen anywhere at any time.  Each day 2100 missing child reports are filed in the United States.  The majority of kids reported missing have run away from home or there was a miscommunication between child and parent about where they were supposed to be.  The majority of abducted children are abducted by a family member or acquaintance, and approximately 25% by strangers. Nearly two thirds of all children abducted are girls and almost all abductors are men.

It is important to equip our children with the tools they need to stay safe without instilling them with high anxiety.  You should consider the following kidnapping prevention strategies:

  • Teach your children not to accept candy or gifts from strangers and never to get in a stranger’s car.
  • Teach your children to never go anywhere with someone they don’t know and/or with someone who tries to lure them away such as, “Can you help me look for my lost dog?” or, “Do you want to see the cute kittens I have in my car?”
  • Tell him/her to run and scream if a stranger tries to take them somewhere.
  • Tell your children it is okay to say no to a stranger who wants to do something that makes him/her uncomfortable or that they know is wrong.
  • Ensure your children know their name, address, phone number, an emergency contact number, and 911.
  • Teach them to tell you about places or people that make them feel unsafe.
  • Teach them that if a stranger grabs them to shout, “I don’t know you” and to fight back and make as much noise as they can so someone will know they are in trouble.
  • Teach them never to tell a stranger their name or address.
  • Avoid dressing your child in clothes with their name on it as children are more likely to trust adults who know their name.

Hopefully, these give you some ideas and reminders about how to keep our children safe.

And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.  But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Mt. 18:5-6

Originally appeared in the April 2010 newsletter.

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Child Safety

Train a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not turn from it.  (Proverbs 22:6)

Safety and security is everyone’s responsibility. The safety and security of our children is one area of utmost importance. While our children are truly a blessing from the Lord, it can pose challenges to protect them. The following are a few examples and reminders of what we as adults and parents should keep in mind:

  • A child running in the hall. This can be hazardous to the child as well as adults who may be tripped or fall in trying to avoid them.  If you’ve ever heard an usher sternly warning kids not to run, this is the reason. Typically, ushers do not speak to a parent of the child but this may be necessary if a warning is not enough.
  • Kids playing on the playground during the service will be asked to return inside and attend the service. Playing on the playground during or after the service without adult supervision can be dangerous as well, with smaller and older children swinging, sliding, etc., and due to darkness during the winter season that can hide someone lurking in the shadows. Actually, whether winter or any other season, this remains a viable threat.  If you have children playing outside, we ask that you please ensure they are supervised.
  • Small children leaving service alone and going to the bathroom, getting a drink etc. While ushers try to keep an eye on such situations, there are times when their attention may be needed elsewhere.  If you have small children who have a need to leave during the service, please ensure they are supervised.
  • Children playing on stacked chairs. Children have been observed climbing on and up stacked chairs (which they undoubtedly consider to be a convenient mountain climbing experience). While exercising these skills is not a bad thing, they need to be accomplished in a much more controlled and safe environment. If you see kids doing this, please ask them to stop. If they are your kids, please provide them the necessary guidance.

Please note that this article is not intended as undue criticism of any parenting skills.  We know kids will be kids and that it is nearly impossible to watch them every second of the day. We do hope that such reminders will help all of us protect the young lives entrusted to us. After all, children are our legacy, our footprint on the world, and pleasing to our heavenly Father.  Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.  (Psalm 127:3)

One final thought, a quote from Robert Fulghum, “Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”

Originally posted in the March 2010 Newsletter

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