Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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A Prayer for the New Retiree

Heavenly Father, I thank you for a good night of sleep so that I can live this new day that you have created with energy, joy and enthusiasm. As the Psalmist wrote:

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Thank you for blessing me with a wonderful career at a good organization. I loved my job and the many people over the years that I was blessed to work with. I am convinced that I was doing the work that you had intended for me. Continue reading

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I’m Retired….Now What?


I was never one who counted down the years to retirement. Until the day I left the organization I worked at for nearly 38 years I loved my job and the people I worked with. So, how should Christians think about living for God in retirement? Is it all about taking it easy, sleeping in, traveling and playing golf? Or perhaps taking a part-time job and doing some volunteer work?
John Piper has been helpful in shaping my thoughts on retirement. He writes that the Bible doesn’t explicitly talk about retirement. We don’t, for example, read about Moses or the Apostle Paul retiring at age 65. Piper writes: “Finishing life to the glory of Christ means resolutely resisting the typical American dream of retirement.” He charges us to: “Live dangerously for the one who loved you and died for you in his thirties.” I know this may be unpopular with some, and some may object to this concept, feeling that they deserve to take it easy after working in jobs for perhaps fifty years. But I believe that type of thinking may be culturally based and ultimately unbiblical. Continue reading


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A Prayer for Spring


Our Father in Heaven, here in the Midwest it has been a long, and oftentimes bleak and brutal winter. Since early January we seem to have continually been on a loop of snow to freezing rain and ice, to some incredibly cold temperatures, aided by the winds. I’ve seen some of the coldest temperatures and strongest winds of my life this winter. The weather has made travel to some scheduled events difficult and stressful, and at other times has resulted in the cancellation of some travel plans. Even though I have lived in Illinois my entire life, it does seem that the older I get, the less tolerant of the cold I become. Even now, as I write this, the temperature is a near record -2 in March. But recently, I have noticed buds on the trees in our yard, and bulbs poking up out of the soil in our garden. That again reminds me of your faithfulness as you sovereignly control the changing of the seasons. You have made the moon to mark the seasons and the sun knows exactly it’s time for setting. (Psalm 104:19).
Your word tells us that for everything there is a season…. a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted. (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2). It won’t be long now before we begin to see the farmers in their fields planting their crops, and soon after we will see the corn and bean plants breaking through the soil forming perfect rows in the fields. We’ll enjoy watching bulbs come up in our garden and anxiously wait to see which perennials made it through the winter and which did not. Then, we’ll be visiting our favorite garden shops to replenish our gardens, and watch the plants bloom as they display your glory.
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Luke 12:27)
Great is your faithfulness, Father. We are so thankful that morning by morning your new mercies we see. All that we have needed, your hand has provided.
So even though Spring is not quite here yet, you are showing us signs of its coming, giving us hope. Thank you for your faithfulness.
In Jesus’ precious name we pray,
Amen


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Leaders Who Fall: And What Can We Do to Prevent Falling Ourselves


Recently, another high-profile pastor has fallen, causing much harm to the church, the body and bride of Christ. Over the past few years we have heard about a number of pastors falling, and I’m sure that there have been many more that we have not heard about. Some of these falls have been a result of sexual infidelity, such as Tullian Tchividjian, a pastor in the denomination I belong to. But others have tended to be pastors who founded their churches, such as Mark Driscoll, Bill Hybels and more recently James MacDonald. Their falls are a result of what I would call an ego problem. These pastors started their churches which later grew in size and influence. Each man then became what is referred to as a “celebrity pastor”, writing best-selling books and speaking at conferences. It’s not hard to see how someone in that situation could end up with an ego problem. But let’s face it, this problem is not limited to pastors, but can afflict a leader in any sphere. Continue reading


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THIS & THAT: A Weekly Roundup of Favorite Articles, Cartoons & Quotes

  • Is Eternal Punishment in Hell Fair? Watch this short video clip from Ligonier Ministries’ 2016 National Conference in which R.C.Sproul explains that God is infinitely perfect, so even one sin is a heinous crime against Him.
  • Is It OK to Be Angry with God over Difficult Things? Randy Alcorn writes “Sometimes we legitimize being mad at God, and we need to start by correcting that. There’s a difference between being profoundly disappointed, discouraged, or even depressed by a bad situation, and being mad at God about it. Being mad is blaming God, and saying, “It’s your fault.” And blaming God is a dead-end street, because in doing so we turn away from our greatest source of comfort.”
  • My Girlfriend Affirms Homosexual Love – Is This a Deal-Breaker? On this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, a listener states that his girlfriend, who he wishes to marry, has told him on several occasions she doesn’t believe homosexuality is a sin. He asks if this is a deal-breaker for their relationship.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links
  • Great cartoons
  • Favorite Quotes of the Week

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4 Recommended Books on Calling

During a message I gave last year on living on mission for God, some in attendance indicated that they were not familiar with the subject of calling. That doesn’t surprise me. We don’t often hear terms such as calling and vocation used today. If we were to admit it, many of those we work with, and perhaps some of us, view work as a necessary evil. Most don’t look at their work as a vocation, a calling, or even a career. No, it’s just a job. They embrace Loverboy’s “Working for the Weekend” philosophy, celebrate reaching “Hump Day”, ask “Is it Friday yet?” and get the “Sunday Night Blues” as they think about going to work on Monday morning.

The dictionary has two definitions of calling that are relevant here:

  • A strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence.
  • The vocation or profession in which one customarily engages.

In The Call, the most helpful book I’ve read on our calling as believers, author Os Guinness tells us that our calling is deeper than our jobs, our career, and all of our benchmarks of success.  We should not let our jobs define us and give us our identities. However, we spend so much of our waking time doing our work, this can certainly happen. Think of when you meet someone. You ask them what they “do”. We can become what we do. Guinness tells us that calling reverses such thinking, and a sense of calling should precede a choice of job and career. The main way to discover our calling is along the line of what we are each created and gifted to be. So, instead of thinking that you are what you do, calling says to do what you are. Continue reading