The Eighth Commandment (3) Money and the Christian Life

How much should we give? Enough so that it can be described as being rich in good works, as being generous and as being ready to share. Enough so that it can be described as fleeing the love of money, and pursuing righteous, godliness, faith and love. Enough so that it consistent with godliness with contentment. Enough so that it can qualify as “storing up treasure … as a good foundation for the future, so that [we] may take hold of that which is truly life.”
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Famine, Rain and Ahab

Ahab did not care for the sheep that had been entrusted to his care. They were perishing because of his stubborn sinfulness, and Ahab was more concerned about his horses. But Jesus was and is the opposite. He leads his sheep in paths of righteousness. He gives his life for his sheep and he is committed to see to it that not one of his sheep will perish. See the great contrast between King Ahab and parched and barren land under his rule, and King Jesus and the kingdom of life and flourishing under his rule. And order your life accordingly.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Eighth Commandment (2) Property and Wealth

What that means in practice is that our use and enjoyment of our possessions will nurture our relationship with God rather than diminish our relationship with God. If we receive God’s gifts with thanksgiving it will increase our love for God and our respect for God. If we receive God’s gifts without thanksgiving it will be a barrier in our relationship with God. So there is a way that our enjoyment of our possession contributes to having God as our only God. And that is a beautiful thing. It contributes immensely to our enjoyment of our possession if that enjoyment treasures the love and generosity of God.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

A Dead Boy Brought to Life

God is revealing something of himself to us in this story and in similar stories. He does not act according to our expectations. There is much about God and his way with the world and with his people which is incomprehensible. There is much about God and his way with the world that is counter-comprehensible – it is the opposite of what seems to make sense. God’s ways with his people are often the last thing that you would expect. They often seem to be the opposite of making sense.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Eighth Commandment (1) “You shall not Steal”

Now in connection with the Eighth Commandment we see that we the sin behind the sin of stealing is greed, an excessive desire for money and things – a desire that is stronger than our desire for the worship and pleasure of God. And here we come to the place where we are all guilty of breaking the Eighth Commandment. The word greed may not resonate with our experience, but excessive desire for money and things describes all of our experience to some extent.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Widow of Zarephath

This is how the good news comes in the Bible. It comes with a summons to surrender everything to God, and to trust that he will keep his word to give all that is necessary in return. The good news that Elijah brought to this Gentile woman included a demand to offer all that she had to God and to trust that God would be true to his promise to provide all that she needed. And then we are told, “And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by Elijah.”
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Seventh Commandment (6) Flee Sexual Immorality

Again it is important to remember that self-control does not come easily. It is not that the gift of self-control makes it possible for us to exercise self-control with ease. It can be a long battle. For some people it is harder than others. People struggle for self-control in different areas. And yet here again, there is hope for progress because of the good news that Jesus died and rose again so that we might be enabled to live self-controlled lives.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Ahab’s Sin, Elijah’s Prayer, and God’s Word

For a time, God was no longer speaking to Israel. That was a greater judgment than the famine. For as we read in Deuteronomy 8:3, “[M]an does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” We cannot live without bread. But at a deeper level, we cannot live without the word of the Lord.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Resurrection, the Gospel and the Christian Life

Read: 2 Timothy 1:1-14
Text: Verses 8-14

The Christian message is surprising and counter-intuitive in many ways. There are many things about it that are difficult to take. On the one hand, it is the most glorious message possible – a message of the forgiveness of sins, of acceptance with God, of eternal life, of the satisfaction of our deepest longings. But on the other hand, it is a call to suffering and death. Jesus himself tells us to count the cost. Jesus himself tells us that following involves self-denial and taking up our cross.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Jesus’ Victory Over Death

Read: 2 Timothy 1:1-14
Text: Verse 10b

The hope of eternal life is not the natural desire that most people have to escape death. It is not more of the same of this life. It is to enter into the fullness of life which is the enjoyment of worshipping and serving God. What that means is that if there is not something of that now already, we are not partakers of the eternal life that that we celebrate when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and the defeat of death that he accomplished.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra