August 2017 Newsletter
Symbols are important in the Bible and, as a result, in the Christian church. A rainbow, a stack of stones, the cross, bread and wine, all bring stories and scripture to mind. With those come truths and promises that point to Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer. Throughout the Old Testament God encourages and admonishes the Israelites to remember—to remember his faithfulness, his goodness, his love, and his mercy among other things. One of our goals at Created for a Purpose is to teach the girls God’s truth so that they will remember. Head knowledge that is forgotten is rather useless. Knowledge that comes from God’s word that moves from the head to the heart by the power of the Holy Spirit transforms us. God’s word is alive, and God uses his word to conform us to the image of his Son. I often pray as we begin the time set aside for teaching that the girls would listen with their ears but also with their hearts, that God would open their hearts to hear his word and his truth.
I do not learn or understand simply through reading or hearing. I am envious of people who can hear or read something and understand it. I need to see it, touch it, and experience it. When I try to understand the concept of God’s word transforming me, there is a gap. It sounds good, but what does that look like? For me it looks like a circle. The information—God’s word, scripture, truth, and the mercies of God—are things that I can hear. They are concepts that make sense, and I can add that knowledge to what I already have catalogued in my brain. However, simply taking the information in will not transform me. I can take in the fact that the United States was founded in 1776, that information does not transform me. I need the Holy Spirit to take God’s truths and move them from head to my heart. Once those truths are written on my heart I see them, touch them, and experience them. That knowledge doesn’t stop there. As I mentioned above it looks like a circle. Now this information that I began processing by hearing in my mind has passed through my heart and has become a part of who I am. Now it goes back to my mind not just as information but as my life blood. God’s word becomes part of how I think; how I react, relate, and respond; how I initiate, engage, and live. It is often said that knowing about God or his word is not the same as knowing God. We long for these girls to know God. We long for the information that enters their mind to make it’s way from their head to their hearts and back to their heads so that they live as image bearers of the one true God.
I had the privilege of visiting Israel almost 20 years ago. I remember standing on the hillside that is historically associated with where the Sermon on the Mount was preached. It is a humbling experience to think that the ground I was standing on was where the crowds gathered to actually hear Jesus teach. Matthew 6:25-34 is a passage that specifically addresses our anxiety about our life: what we will eat or what we will put on. Those are two common sources of uncertainty in our lives and in the lives of girls. In our experience it is not so much if there is something to eat or if there is something to wear. Even though most every child has looked in the refrigerator or pantry and bemoaned that “there is nothing to eat” and every girl between the ages of 8 and 80 has looked in her closet and stated emphatically, “I have nothing to wear”. Our experience is more along the lines of “what am I in the mood for?” when it is time to eat and “what is clean and fits?” when it is time to get dressed.
Jesus specifically addresses those two sources of anxiety with symbols. Verse 26 says, “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Verse 27-30 continues, “And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Birds and flowers remind us of God’s provision for us. Created for a Purpose uses birds and flowers in our logo, in our printed materials, and in our merchandise as symbols that help us remember. We pray that the truths that the girls are taught while participating in Created for a Purpose do not simply end up as useless information in their minds. We pray that the Holy Spirit will take these truths and write them on the hearts of the girls, transforming them and moving in a full circle back to their minds. Truths that we have heard and processed in our hearts and minds become truths we live as we are conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. We are image bearers, reflecting God’s goodness and mercy to others. God puts his Spirit in us causing us to walk in his statutes and obey his rules.
My prayer is that birds and flowers are not simply pretty images of things God has created but symbols that remind each of us of God’s provision and care in our lives. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
We appreciate your continued support of our ministry. This summer over 1,200 girls participated in Created for a Purpose camps. More than 150 of those girls participated because of generous giving. If you are interested in supporting Created for a Purpose with a monthly or one-time gift please donate here.
Director, Created for a Purpose