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New Horizons

January, 2000: Aging

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Death: The Last Great Enemy

It was one of the founding fathers of America, Benjamin Franklin, who is reputed to have coined the saying, "The only things certain in life are death and taxes." These days we hear plenty about taxes, especially as election times draw near. Every person and every politician has an opinion about taxes. But people are much less inclined to speak of the other certainty—death. We prefer to block it out of our minds as much as possible, perhaps hoping it will go away and somehow pass us by.

Thankfully, the Bible, the Word of God, does not shrink from the subject. According to the Scriptures, death is the enemy. Death is not the natural end of all living beings, as deluded romantic notions would have it. Rather, death is a great evil, an unnatural force that finally, inevitably, unstoppably defeats all men and women. In the face of this enemy, the Bible says that all mankind groans in slavish fear and dread. Our own experience, and indeed history itself, graphically confirms the plain affirmations of God's Word. Death, therefore, is the last great enemy for each of us. Read more

A Masterpiece in Progress

When Jeff Steinberg was born, his father ordered that the mother be told nothing about the little boy's condition. Jeff had no arms, and his legs were so malformed that they could not support him. His boyhood was spent in hospitals and homes, including one period in a foster home and a short, unsatisfactory stay with his own parents.

At this writing, forty years later, Jeff is four feet tall. He hobbles around on legs that he dons every morning. Using his hook arm, he does everything, including driving his car and painting. In fact, he painted the design for the shirt I'm wearing. He owns his own home, has been married and divorced, and has a grown son. Much of his time is spent speaking to such groups as the Maine Right-to-Life Convention, where I met him. He has a powerful and beautiful voice and sings along with his message. Read more

God's Word Going Forth

Springtime in Ohio is unpredictable! Sometimes there is cold rain, and at other times blistering heat. Thankfully, weather was no factor for the first annual Open Air Outreach of Grace OPC in Columbus, Ohio, during the last week of April 1999. In fact, such unusually good weather was God's answer to our prayers.

Four months earlier, pastors Larry Wilson and Steve Igo led a team of young singles to Key West, Florida, for a week-long evangelism project with Keys Evangelistic Ministries. During that week, these two pastors caught the vision for open-air preaching from Pastor Bill Welzien. So the question was asked, "Bill, would you fly up to Columbus, Ohio, to train us in open-air preaching? Read more

The Responsibility of Growing Old

It is a blessed thing to grow old. That is an incredible thought, but it is a true one. It is truly blessed to grow old, because it is a sign of God's covenant goodness. It also gives some experience to the praise of God that the older saint has to offer. Finally, it is blessed to grow old because it means continued growth in Christ and usefulness.

But we must not minimize the difficulties that come with the package. The body and the mind are sometimes affected by the onset of later years. Some people are more affected by this than others, and that makes it a challenge. Remaining sin still affects us in various ways. Read more

Doctrine 101: Election

The biblical teaching of election is part of the larger subject of God's predestination. Our Confession warns, "The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care. And when thus handled, "so shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God; and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to man (3.8).

Contrary to popular opinion, there is no better place for this doctrine to be taught than in a worship service. Why? It is here that we bow. In deep humility, we sense our weakness and confess our sins. In this place, no man stands out—only God does. We are all beggars who equally depend on his grace. All hearts lie open and naked before One so much greater and purer than we, that a sense of awe fills us just to have access to him. Read more

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