Preaching at someone's funeral is one of the most difficult aspects of pastoral ministry. It is all the more difficult when it is the funeral service of a loved one or a beloved member of the church. However, the most challenging of all is preaching the funeral of someone who was almost certainly an unbeliever.
Those who serve us in ministry bear a heavy responsibility for the care of our souls. Their work of ministry is hard and stressful and wears on both church leaders and their families. God has called us to pray for them. May we pray for them always, entrusting them to the care of our great and sovereign God.
Engaging with the living God in prayer and personal worship is just as unnerving as a race, even at times more so. What hidden sins will prayerful reflection on God’s word uncover? How will seeing the risen Christ in the Scriptures leave us stunned? What new opportunities to walk in obedience will the Holy Spirit prompt? With these kinds of possibilities facing us every time we come to God in personal devotion (and corporate worship, for that matter) we have the opportunity to develop spiritual, pre-race rituals to prepare us for the blocks of the devotional life.
Proverbs is, at one level, a simple book to understand, and, at another level, a book that equires a great deal of spiritual discernment and wisdom. To get wisdom, we must read wisdom and we must pray for wisdom. As James tell us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
The beginning of a new year marks a time in which we might make resolutions, chart out goals, or plan special events. But in the midst of all of our resolutions, goals, and plans, God's Word calls us to acknowledge His sovereignty and providence in our lives. The Westminster Shorter Catechism reminds us that “God's works of providence are, his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions” (WSC #11). God governs all things, including time. His sovereignty extends over every event, even eternity.
The Alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars, and churchmen who hold the historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today's Church.