2009 at 3:57 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
What does undivided devotion look like in real life? How do you put legs on it and walk it out? For starters, you should become a theologian!
Bruce Milne explains:
“[As] a matter of plain fact every Christian is a theologian!… By virtue of being born again we have all begun to know God and therefore have a certain understanding of his nature and actions. That is, we all have a theology of sorts, whether or not we have ever sat down and pieced it together. So properly understood, theology is not for a few religious eggheads with a flair for abstract debate—it is everybody’s business. Once we have grasped this, our duty is to become the best theologians we can to the glory of God, as our understanding of God and his ways is clarified and deepened through studying the book he has given for that very purpose, the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16)…[G]etting doctrine right is the key to getting everything else right…[A]t every point right living begins with right thinking.”
Did you catch that? Getting doctrine right is the key to getting everything else right. If you want to live rightly in the single years—and I know you do!—then you must think rightly about God. And in order to think rightly about God you must study His Word.
Can I encourage you—no, can I strongly urge you—to seize your single years and become the best theologian you can to the glory of God?
After receiving this video from three different people I knew it was a must for Friday Funnies.
Until Monday, Janelle for Mom, Nicole and Kristin
UPDATE: Today we received the following email from an observant Noël Piper:
Too funny! HOWEVER, you can’t prove some of them are women. In fact, the next to last one of the minivan running onto the rising bollards (great British phrase), is definitely a man. Look, and you’ll see the steering wheel is on the opposite side. Besides, that “I’m going to make it!” attitude is definitely more masculine. And can’t you just hear his wife? “I told you this is a bus-only lane! What are we going to do now? How are we going to get out of here. NOOOOOOOOOO!
The most hilarious scene is the purse being handed out first from the upside down van.
I guess that proves men and women are equally funny in the can’t-drive dept.
2009 at 4:52 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
For many, Valentine’s Day can be a painful reminder of singleness. One woman wrote us this week to express gratefulness for our series, but slight consternation at our timing:
“Ladies, I had to laugh at your latest post entitled “The Single Season.” So close to Valentine’s Day and you reminded a group of your readers that we are single. We had forgotten for half a second.”
I have to confess that we girltalkers have a hard time remembering Valentine’s Day. We know many people who have wonderful traditions surrounding this holiday—with spouses, children, friends, or parents; but it was never one of the “major” holidays in our family. So, to all our single readers, please know it was a total accident that our series on singleness collided with the love holiday.
“If Valentine’s Day is hard because we think everyone else is out celebrating their romances (which isn’t as common among married couples as we’d like to speculate), then we can turn our gaze inward and start pondering that gray blob of self-pity. We translate singleness into loneliness.
When those temptations come, those are grace moments. That’s when we need to literally, out loud, ask for God’s grace to respond differently….Our Father is ready and willing to give us all we need to step out. His outpouring of grace is not dependent on our requests, but it’s a wonderful exercise to ask Him.
To encounter loneliness through the eyes of faith is to see opportunities to minister love. Grace translates singleness into outreach. There are plenty of people on Valentine’s Day or other holidays, parties or weddings — single and married — who need someone to carry God’s love to them.”
If you’re struggling with your single status this weekend, may God give you eyes of faith to see opportunities all around you to minister love to others. May grace translate your singleness into outreach.
2009 at 12:55 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Now that we’ve considered what not to spend our time on in the single season (“the present form of the world”) we come to the first great deal of the single season. You probably noticed it in 1 Corinthians 7:34-35:
“And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord” (emphasis mine).
Free from the anxieties attendant upon marriage and family, you have the opportunity to live for the things of the Lord, to pursue undivided devotion to Him.
You have “a unique calling and a unique responsibility” insists pastor John Piper:
“It is not a calling to extend irresponsible adolescence into your thirties. It is a calling to do what only single men and women in Christ can do in this world, namely, to display by the Christ-exalting devotion of your singleness the truths about Christ and his kingdom that shine more clearly through singleness than through marriage.”
What does my singleness say about Christ and His kingdom?
Is my life one of Christ exalting devotion?
Am I anxious about the things of the Lord or the things of this world?
Is holiness in body and spirit my highest aim?
Undivided devotion is cultivated through reading God’s Word and prayer (Ps 86:11), and it comes with the promise: “The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17). Undivided devotion to Christ is, by far, the best deal of the single season.
2009 at 3:30 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
The verse we considered yesterday, 1 Corinthians 7, serves as a kind of “financial advisor” for the single season. This passage informs you of quality deals and advises you against bad investments. In the context of answering this question about singleness and marriage, Paul gets to his real point:
“This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away” (vv. 29-31)
How do you avoid wasteful spending of your time? Don’t invest it all in “the present form of this world.” ‘Cause it ain’t gonna last.
“Form” here carries the idea of “fickleness [or] the changing fashion. There is nothing solid and lasting in this world’s system. It is its nature to pass away” (Gordon Fee).
Here’s a metaphor we women can understand: fashion. The world’s bargains are as fickle, as fleeting as this year’s “in” style. And they won’t come back again in twenty years.
“Believe me, there is nothing here that is worthy of your pursuit,” warns pastor Charles Spurgeon:
“If you give your soul up to anything earthly, whether it be the wealth, or the honours, or the pleasures of this world, you might as well hunt after the mirage of the desert or try to collect the mists of the morning, or to store up for yourself the clouds of the sky, for all these things are passing away.”
While we must live in this world and “deal” with it, we must not set our heart on it or put our hope in it or give up our soul to it’s offerings.
So what are the good deals of this season? More shopping for time advice from 1 Corinthians 7 tomorrow.
2009 at 4:31 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16
If you are a single woman, how do you make the best use of your time? What are the best deals of your season?
Maybe, as you look around, you don’t see a lot of great deals in your season. Maybe you’d rather be in a different season. Maybe you’d rather be married.
You might be asking another question: is singleness really the best season?
Paul tackles this question in 1 Corinthians 7, responding to church members in Corinth who were quarreling (among other things!) about whether singleness was more holy than marriage.
Me? I prefer singleness, says Paul, “I wish that all were as I myself am” (v. 7). But he is clear: “I have no command from the Lord” on this issue (v. 25).
“This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short…For the present form of this world is passing away. I want you to be free from anxieties…And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your own undivided devotion to the Lord” (v. 29-35).
Paul’s point? Whether marriage or singleness is better—that’s not the point! What ultimately matters is that time is short; that the days are evil. The real question is: how do we as Christians live in light of eternity?
“Marriage and singleness both present us with unique trials and unique opportunities for our sanctification” explains John Piper. “There will be unique rewards for each, and which is greater will not depend on whether you were married or single, but on how you responded to each.”
If you are single, you face unique trials. But your season also holds unique opportunities. And best of all there are unique rewards—rewards no less glorious or desirable as for those who are married.
How can you seize upon these great opportunities and their corresponding rewards? Let’s take a closer look at this verse and see what bargains we can discover.
Nancy Guthrie has served us big-time once again! First, she provided a compilation of Advent readings in Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus which fed my soul each day in December as I meditated on the glorious truths of the Incarnation. And just a week ago, my husband handed me her most recent book, Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross, which will help me to “experience the passion and power of Easter.”
Her book arrived in perfect time for me. I just finished memorizing the prose version from A Gospel Primer for Christians a way to grow in applying the truths of the gospel to my daily life. Now this collection of twenty-five readings will help me continue to consider the cross:
“Oh, what we miss out on when we rush past the cross of Christ. Oh, the richness and reward when we stop to linger before it, when we take the time to ‘consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself’ (Heb. 12:3)”
Let’s not “rush past the cross of Christ” but linger before it each day.
The teenage years are a time to learn. You have more discretionary time than you will probably every have again. I know you might feel busy—especially when finals roll around—but once you enter the workforce or begin caring for a family, your time will be sucked away by a myriad of responsibilities.
Of course we should never stop learning and growing. But right now, while you are still provided for by your parents, you have a unique opportunity to develop skills and acquire knowledge—skills that glorify
God and knowledge about who God is.
You also have access to a variety of teachers: parents, pastors, and educators who are eager to pass on what they know to a new generation.
And there are countless books to teach you more about who God is—His character, His ways, and the world He has created.
Sometimes as teenagers we think we know it all—at least all that matters. We think we know better than the adults around us. But if we realize our ignorance before it is too late, we’ll be eager, even desperate, to learn all we can from those older and wiser.
Consider these questions:
-Which do your parents hear more: complaints about schoolwork or gratefulness for your education? -Are you diligently working to improve the skills God has given you for His glory? -What gifts has God blessed you with and how can you develop them for use in the local church? -How much time do you spend reading? Do you read books that teach you about God and His creation? -Most importantly, are you daily studying the Bible to learn all you can about God’s character and how to walk in His way?
The seeds of learning, when sowed in the springtime of your existence, will sprout blessing and opportunity throughout your life.