Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Note to Readers

Dear Reader,

First of all, thank you for reading A Man in a Box. You are a special person [literally, you're probably one of four who read this :-) ].I have found this blog to be very helpful in organizing my thoughts and I hope that you have profited some small amount from listening to my random musings. Now, however, I have two small favors to ask of you. (1) Comment! It may sound vain, but I'd like to know how many people read my blog, and I'd also like to have more meaningful debate over my posts. If you love a post, say so. If you think I've gone completely crazy, tell me so. "Rate it even if you hate it." (2) If you wouldn't mind, please inform me when you find a typo. Nothing distracts me as much from a blog post as finding a typo. If it does the same to you, you can join forces with me in my typo-sweeping endeavours and eradicate typos in this end of the blogosphere. Once again, thanks for reading and may God bless you!

Colin Moore

Our First Duty

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior. . . -- 1 Timothy 2:1-3 (ESV--italics added)

First and Second Timothy are personal letters from an older mentor (Paul) to a young pastor (Timothy). Just before our text above, Paul has called on Timothy to "wage the good warfare" (1 Tim. 1:18). How is Timothy to do this? Paul says very clearly the most important thing Timothy can do is pray. Look at Paul's language: "first of all." Out of all of Timothy's duties, prayer is the priority. Paul puts prayer even before preaching.

Paul does not desire just a Lord's Prayer tossed up to heaven before bedtime--Paul urges Timothy to thank God and pray "for all people." This is an intense duty. In fact, this is "warfare." This is the most important thing you as a Christian can do to further God's kingdom. If Paul's (God-breathed) urging is not enough to make you pray, look at the result of prayer. If I went to all Christians in the world and offered them "a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way" in exchange for money; every one would jump at the chance. But God does not desire money, he makes this the result of prayer. Let us not ignore the opportunity God is giving us in prayer. As James puts it so bluntly, "You do not have, because you do not ask" (James 4:2).

This, however, is not easy to apply. How can we pray and thank God for all people? That would take all our time, right? Exactly. I've often struggled with the command to "pray without ceasing" because I simply don't have that many things to pray about. But there are always people in need of prayer around us. Here's my plan for applying this text to my life: pray for the people who I am with. At work each day, I interact with hundreds of people--most of whom are most likely not saved. They need God's salvation or they will suffer God's judgment. They need conversion more than they need air. And, in Jesus, I have God's ear (so to speak). I can pray for each one of my coworkers and customers as I interact with them and after I see them. Outside of work, I see many other people, all for whom I should thank God and intercede. This is just my way to apply this; take it or leave it, but by all means, follow Paul's urging and and "first of all" pray.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Double Life-Debts, Already Paid

"The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it,
the world and all who live in it." -- Psalm 24:1 (NIV)

"You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." -- 1 Cor. 6:19b-20 (ESV)

Who owns you? The Bible puts it simply: God owns you. If you're breathing right now, it is only because God is giving you breath (Daniel 5:23). He made each one of us individually (Psalm 139). Because He made us and sustains us, we owe Him everything: every thought, every moment, every word, every action.

But. But we rebelled. But we sinned and devoted ourselves to false gods and, worse, to ourselves. We were breaking our clear moral obligation, but God in His great mercy did not immediately condemn us to Hell. Instead, He sent His Son to take His wrath for our sin and to give us a new power to love Him.

So now "we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh" (Romans 8:12). We, if we are Christians, owe God doubly for our lives. We have, in effect, two infinite life debts to pay. We have been and are and always will be the recipients of amazing grace from the Lord. We are morally required to praise Him.

Yet we cannot praise Him enough: what are we to do? We must remember the Gospel: that God has not bypassed moral requirements but has instead satisfied them in Christ. We owe God and we should continue to live our whole lives in praise to Him. But we may do this secure in the knowledge that God's grace not only makes us morally responsible, but also satisfies the responsibility. Praise be to the Lord!