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A Forever Learner of the Greatness of God – By Pastor Paul Linzmeier

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School season is upon us. There is an initial excitement of new routines, the smell of fresh books (although old books have a good smell too), the feel of a newly sharpened pencil in hand, and a clean sheet of paper to begin your first assignment. As a child I remember that at the start of the new school year I would think, “This year I’m going to do it all right. I’ll get my assignments done, work hard, listen closely, and all will go well!”…right? Well, no year ever really went the way I had hoped at the beginning. There was inevitably the brick walls I would run into (some literal but mostly figurative), the difficult assignments that I would have to wrestle with, the annoying peers I would have to work with, the confusing teachers I would need to learn from, the subjects that really challenged my brain’s capacity. UGH! Not again.  I thought that if I would just do everything right and listen to all that I was told, somehow I would avoid the unforeseen challenges along the way. Listening to parents and teachers did keep a young fella from a lot of foolishness, and that was good, but what I needed to see is that learning, by nature, IS the challenging of and exercising of the mind and the difficulty is not bad but good. Making observations, pondering ideas, practicing instruction, submitting to testing, and repeating is hard work.  It’s hard work for the learner and hard work for the teacher, but it’s the way God knit man. As a finite creature in relationship to an infinite Creator, we are to be forever learners. And all throughout life we never reach an age where we quit being a learner. We grow into a teacher, but even the teacher is still a learner. I told my children that even Jay Swisher (as old as he is) still works hard to learn. They were speechless!

Why is learning so hard? Our sinful flesh corrupted the joy and pleasure of learning about God in all His goodness and all of His Glory through all of His world from the day when Adam and Eve traded the truth for a lie. From then on learning and life would be difficult, toilsome, and frustrating. I write this as I hear the grumblings of the classroom noise taking place in my own home. Hard, yes, but through Christ learning becomes a joy again, for everything is seen, known,  delighted in, and understood through the One for whom and though whom all things were made. Learning is a joy again though a relationship with the Redeemer Jesus Christ.

I jibber-jabbered a lot about learning, but I hope to encourage parents, teachers, students and everyone in between that if you’re frustrated that learning is hard, you’re missing who you’re ultimately getting to learn about!

Certainly, learning math is important (I’m thankful for the math the engineers used to build my car), science also, for “the heavens declare the Glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork,” and   I suppose english & grammerr to; i thnk/.  But most important is bringing every subject and every lesson back to Jesus Christ and His Glory.  What lacked in my younger years was any connection of the knowledge I was gaining with the fear of the Lord God who created all things.  With the Lord’s help I seek to teach my own children with this in mind: the fear of the Lord and glory of God.

I recently was digging into Psalm 48 which spurred my thinking as parent/ teacher. What do I what my children to ultimately learn? Here is a simple breakdown of what I saw.

It starts with, “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God!”

Verses 2 and 3 tell of God’s kingdom in its grandeur. It is awesome, beautiful, and established forever. It is a joy to those who fear God and (verses 4-7) a terror to the wicked for its imposing doom to all the glory of man.

Verses 8-10 instruct us to think on what we have seen and heard, namely the steadfast love of the Lord (upon the Gospel of Christ). For as His renown goes forth, so too praise to His name will extend to the ends of the earth because of His righteousness and His judgments.

Verses 11-14 Therefore let the church be glad and rejoice. Take many trips around the city, observe its structure and beauty, learn God’s character and the benefits of His Gospel seen as He grows His church. Study and learn so that you may tell the next generation. Don’t lose heart, “He will guide us forever”.

At the end of the day what do I want my children to know through all their hard work and study of the day? Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. He will end the kingdoms of the glory of man but His kingdom will never end. It is good to think upon His steadfast love, to humbly submit to His Word, to learn of His character, to respond in praise to His name, that they too may rejoice in their learning of Him and tell others about Him. The goal of learning is worship, the gaining of knowledge to praise Him who is worthy, that, “you may tell the next generation that this is our God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.” Vs 13b-14.

Parents, don’t grow tired of pointing your children to the Lord. Students, don’t tire to see the connection of your studies to learning of Christ in all His work. None of us should grow too old thinking we’ve learned enough. Let us never grow weary in learning, diligently searching the Scriptures, wrestling in prayer through all the challenges of life, for we are made to be forever learners of the greatness of our God.

Pastor Paul


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