The First in Our Life

We have many firsts in our life. For me I am writing my first post for the Young Calvinists blog. Starting when we are young we have our first steps and first words. As we continue to get older we may have our first day at school, first job, first time driving, first date, first hospital visit, first broken bone, or first death in the family. These first in our lives never stop. We are always greeted by something new. Many of these firsts bring us great joy, but others bring us to sadness and pain. But what do we make first in our life? What do we center our lives around, what is the first thing we think about as we wake up? Jesus tells us, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness…” (Matt. 6:33).

We are called to devote ourselves to God in our lives. With every first we achieve, or face with fear, we put God first. We must have the mindset of John the Baptist saying in our heart, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). We are to set our minds on God and devote ourselves with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

We must be active in the life of putting God first. It is against our natural inclination to put God first, and the devil uses all his tricks to try and keep us from putting God first. Many temptations besiege us, we are faced with the desire to put that great book we are reading, the television program, the game whether sport or digital, our friends, ourself, and so many other things before God.

Thankfully we are not left on our own to live this holy life of putting God first. We are given the Holy Spirit who works in our heart to hate evil and therefore love God. We are also given brethren and sisters in the Lord who admonish us and gently help to point us to the right path again. As we continue to walk in our lives and face new firsts may we always remember that God must be first. To Him alone be all the glory.

Luke Potjer

The Beauty of Music

Whether on the internet from an instrument, or from your own voice, music is all around you, and it is a great blessing. It’s a way of calming oneself, of relaxing. Music has many faces and many forms. It can move you to such deep emotions you may find yourself pouring out your soul to God. It may excite you or motivate you. It may put you to sleep. Music is something God has given his people from the beginning of time. The Israelites, when they crossed the Red Sea and escaped Pharaoh, they sang with timbrel and harp the Bible says.

Although you may not think you have any musical talent, (I believe everyone does to some extent) you can still listen to music for hours on end. Good music is one of the few truly beautiful, almost perfect things I believe God placed on this world. There is beauty aplenty for the eyes in this world, but it takes a special ear to hear beauty. Listen. Can you hear it? Can you hear nature’s music? Nature sings, the wind whistles, the trees sigh, the birds complete the melody with their gorgeous soprano. All around us God has placed music, beautiful music for us to enjoy, and to praise him with, to give thanks. Song of Solomon 2:12 says“The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, the LORD hath done great things for them.”

Thank the Lord for music, for showing us His voice through His creation for us to enjoy and treasure. In this dark and dreadful world there are few things that hold true beauty and true pure music is one of them. Thank Him for this light shining in a world of darkness, this respite from a land of woe. We should forever sing praises to Him so that one day we might sing in the ultimate choir, a host of angels, in heaven.

Jared Vandyke

Praying for All Saints

Each Sunday night we and the congregation of believers to which we belong confess with one heart the Apostles’ Creed. The ninth article of this creed reads “I believe an holy catholic church”. This is a truth we confess with sincerity and joy each Lord’s Day.

As we gather for worship tomorrow, we will probably be standing among people who look much like we do. They act, speak, and live very similarly to us. Even though this is true, we truly believe, as we confess, that God gathers His church from all nations, races, cultures, and languages.

Yet how real is this truth to us? How much thought do we give to our brothers and sisters in Christ as they are scattered throughout the world?

Ephesians 6:18 tells us what the Christian should always be doing: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

We belong to the church militant on earth, as Ephesians plainly teaches when it describes the armor of God in the verses immediately preceding verse eighteen. Prayer follows the six pieces of armor, not as a seventh piece, but as the “means by which each piece is effectively employed.”[1] For this reason, prayer is vital to any soldier’s success, for without it all other efforts, all the other pieces of armor, are in vain. What is particularly striking about this calling to pray is that we are not commanded to pray first for ourselves in our own personal battle, but for all saints, for our brothers and sisters in Christ, for our fellow soldiers. We are not fighting this battle alone, and one of our greatest assets is that we have the catholic church praying for us that we might be faithful, that we might persevere in our warfare together, as the body of Christ. So let us, tomorrow and always, pray for the catholic church, that she be gathered, that Christ may come again, and that the church militant become the church triumphant.

How amazing to think that as we worship tomorrow there are saints all over the world lifting their voices with us in worship of God! That there are saints all over the world praying for us as we also pray for them! That one day we will all gather around the throne of the holy God, singing His praises into all eternity.

Revelation 7:9,10 “And after this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”

Emily Feenstra

[1] Borgman and Ventura, Spiritual Warfare, Reformation Heritage Books, 88.