Monday, March 18, 2013

What do you thirst for?

Our pastor (Thank you Pastor Tuuri!) preached a message titled "Spiritual Gifts and the Renewed Heart" yesterday.  I need this message every day!  I heartily encourage you to listen to it and to let it soak into your bones. 

Oh how we need Jesus!  His sermon made me think of a section from a book by John Piper (God is the Gospel)...on pages 15-16, it prompts us to question: "Would you be happy in heaven if Christ were not there? The critical question for our generation - and for every generation - is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there? And the question for Christian leaders [and I would add parents] is: Do we preach and teach and lead in such a way that people are prepared to hear that question and answer with a resounding NO?  How do we understand the gospel and the love of God?...Can we really say that our people are being prepared for heaven where Christ himself, not his gifts, will be the supreme pleasure?...May the church of Jesus Christ say with increasing intensity, 'The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup' (Psalm 16:5). 'As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God' (Psalm 42:1)."

1 Cor 13:1-3 says: "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing."

I don't want to be like sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  Jesus, please be my all satisfying Treasure today and forever.  Unite my heart to fear Your name. Please grow me in the knowledge of the heights and depths of Your great love.  And please make Your love to flow through me to everyone You allow me to interact with. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

love when?

But God 
His own love toward us
in that while we were still sinners
Christ died for us.
~ Rom 5:8

"But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.  To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.  And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.  But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.  Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful." ~ Luke 6:27-36

"Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. Therefore 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." ~ Romans 12:17-21

"Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 'Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth'; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls." ~ 1 Peter 2:18-25

Friday, March 1, 2013

What do you let your children read? watch? listen to?

This is a question that has come up a number of times in my life in the last few years.  And just about every discussion has had valid things to consider.  We know that what they read, what they see, and what they listen to will influence them, and because we love them we want the influence to be favorable.  We also know that there are many worldviews competing for their attention and loyalty...there is One True God and many false ones that do not announce themselves as deceitful, though they are.  When our children are little, unable to read to themselves, this arena is not so hard...we simply choose what we read to them.  We pick the movies they watch.  We select the music being played in the house.  But as our children grow older, we cannot preview everything they read, see and listen to...we are finite and time does not allow for it. 

This picture found circulating on Facebook captures our aim pretty well:

What do you do to monitor what your children read?  Or watch?  Or listen to? What limits do you set, if any?  What kind of discussions do you have with your children about what they are interacting with, be it via movies, books, or music?  How do you help them know God and His story so well that they can discern truth from lie in our society?  I would love to hear from you in the comment area below.