Monday, January 21, 2008

To Young Believers

In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market! John 2:14-16
Righteous anger. I saw it this week in a young man. Banging his fist, pleading with his brother to flee from the snare of Sin. I remember when I was young, it was so easy to question whether I made the right choice or not, wondering whether I should have clung so strongly to those convictions. I am so pleased to see how God is working and the Holy Spirit is convicting even the youngest of His children. The strength in conviction, the sorrow in seeing sin cover another's heart, and the passion and resolution to take ownership, to care enough for a spiritual sibling to do something about it.

My encouragement to young believers: Do not lose heart! Your words and your enthusiasm for the Gospel is an encouragement to your young friends but also to older believers. We relish moments to catch young brothers and sisters fighting the fight with us. We are thrilled to work alongside you, young sister, young brother.

A word from 1 Timothy for young believers.
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come...Command and teach these things. Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. Excepts from 1 Timothy 4
To my younger siblings, I am thankful for you and what God is doing in you, drawing you and the people in your circle closer to Him! God's grace be with you.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

As Rich as Dirt

Today, stewardship is on the mind. John Piper was a catalyst for this in a sermon on marriage. These two topics of marriage and money in relation to stewardship may not make much sense as I pound it out here. I am still chewing on this.
God's ultimate provision.

Today John Piper preached profoundly on the purpose of marriage. He stated that the purpose of marriage was Children. Some may agree or disagree, but scripture is clear on this. Piper stated that marriage's goal is not just the procreation of children in general, but the procreation of believers, whether it be biological children or not. The purpose of marriage is a united people using their gifts and abilities to grow followers of Jesus Christ. This is profound in that we rarely consider the neighbor kids across the street to be called our "children" or even in my Sunday School class, I rarely consider the children that I teach the gospel to weekly, to be children of my lineage. But they are, when I covenant with God to grow and bring them to the truth of the Gospel, they grow under my spiritual lineage, which is Christ's, David's, Abraham's.

Another fantastic point that Piper made was that if we are single or not, we should still show hospitality to fellow believers. Regardless of our resources (an apartment that is "too small" or a "limited personality") we should steward the gifts and resources that God has given us to practice hospitality with fellow believers. I wonder what other resources we are not using or stewarding to God and his people. Our money is so often a point of contention for so many believers. We work hard so that we can earn money and provide for our family to be "obedient" believers. Scripture has never encouraged believers to obtain money. Scripture has only encouraged us to work because we are required to labor, to steward God's resources.

Being a mother of two very young children, it is very difficult to get to the movie theatres. There is one movie, however, that I was able to see about 15 minutes of which speaks to the issue of money and stewardship. Water World. I believe that all I know about the film is that the currency in this world of water is dirt or land because there is just so little of it. The characters fought over land and just a small amount of dirt was a great amount of wealth for a man. I just wonder, "Who decided Gold was the standard currency today?" Who determined that gold would be what people desired and traded and stole and killed for? If we used dust as currency, our family would be doing quite well. It just points out to me how easy and foolish idolatry is. Nothing is greater than God.

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

Try to imagine what God thinks when he watches us toil and worry over money, over being able to make ends meet and thrive. I imagine he feels like he is watching Water World. It's such a twisted thing for God's people to still worry about providing money "a mortal concept" to care for their family, while these same people believe and worship The God who is creator of all things, giver of all things, provider of all things. God provided bread falling from the sky to care for his children. Before this, manna had never been seen or heard of. God, in his ultimate creativity, will find ways to provide for His children who love Him. Money is something this world has created to worship and we should avoid the worship of, the worry over, money. I am deeply convicted by this and pray that God will provide more depth of insight and practice on how to love God more than worldly things.

Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart. Ecclesiastes 5:18-20