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A Sobering Truth

January 28th, 2015

“So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12 NIV.

Never exchange the permanence of eternity for the transience of a lifetime.

My thoughts and comments today are about “a sobering truth.”

There are times when life finds you unprepared. Sometimes you don’t know how or when to be prepared. Sometimes you know when you should, but just fail to prepare. The latter can result in lost opportunities, rude awakenings, or maybe costly oversights.

In college, I learned a valuable lesson about being prepared and personal accountability. After consecutive absences, I deigned to attend class only to discover that a major exam impacting my semester grade would occur that morning. My negligence and too frequent absences had left me unaware and unprepared. In spite of my surprising performance on the exam, my semester grade was reduced to “Incomplete” because of excessive absences. My professor held me accountable for my choices and decisions, in spite of my sincere pleading and abject apology.

There is accountability in life. Every choice has consequence – for benefit or loss. Reproof is a fact of life and faith. “There will be trouble and distress for every person who does evil . . but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good.” Read Romans 2:6-11 NIV. See Galatians 6:7-10. Jesus said, “Whatever is covered up will be uncovered . . whatever you have whispered in private will be shouted from the housetops.” Matthew 10:2-3 TEV.

There will be accountability in eternity. Daniel Webster, a respected Senator of the early 19th century, was asked, “What is the most sobering thought a man could have?” Mr. Webster answered, “His accountability to God.” Reflect on his answer for a moment. Paul cautioned the Christians in the Imperial capital of the Roman Empire, “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ . . So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:10 NKJV/12 NIV. On that day, no exception will be granted, no extension given, no excuse accepted.

BOOKMy friend, Rick, wrote a significant book I recommend to you, The Judgment Seat of Christ, which has impacted my life. The Bible says, “If any man builds on this foundation [of Jesus Christ] using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss.” 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 NIV.

There is a day of ultimate accountability when your values, choices, and expenditures of time, talents, and treasures will be assessed by God. Your lifetime will be evaluated according to your eternal investment to the purposes of the Kingdom of God, in your life and the lives of others. What is noble and sacrificial will eternally endure; what is incidental and of self-interest will be consumed, with only ashes remaining, “. . the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.”

My thoughts today were prompted by awakening Sunday with the poignant melody of an old hymn: “Remember; only what you do for Christ will last. Only what you do for Him, will be counted at the end. Remember; only what you do for Christ will last.” (Raymond Rasberry © 1963, Pronto Music and Simco Music Co.) Long after my life is spent, I want what I have said and done to be of enduring value. Read Hebrews 4:12-16 NIV. Never exchange the permanence of eternity for the transience of a lifetime.

Today, my prayer for you is to live each day aware of the unparalleled importance of eternity.

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My Dad’s Influence

June 18th, 2010

“These words I command you . . impress them on your children.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NIV

“The reach of your life should extend far beyond the extent of your lifetime.”

My thoughts today are about “my Dad’s influence.”

Father’s day is this weekend, and that brings my thoughts to my Dad. When I speak of my regard and respect for him and for the things he taught me about God, I find myself referring to him as Father. When I talk about our relationship and the practical things he taught me about life and people, I hear myself calling him Dad. My Dad was Joseph Raymond Randolph, Ray to his friends and J.R. professionally. Born in Tarboro, North Carolina, my Dad grew up in Buffalo, New York.

He was converted at 17, never before having been in a church, when my grandmother was miraculously healed of terminal cancer at a prayer meeting. Soon after, he attended college in Springfield, Missouri, and became a college graduate, the only one from his family of six, in a generation when college was not common. He and Mom were pastors in Granite City, Illinois, until his death in a highway accident outside of Sikeston, Missouri, in August 1963, at the too young age of 44 years.

I was 21, married just three weeks, and preparing for my senior year of college when I lost the greatest influence in my life. Two weeks after his death, I was introduced as the young pastor of the church where he had served for the majority of my lifetime. As a father he was exemplary, a man of integrity and ministry, a loyal friend of many, a shepherd to people who still today speak fondly and kindly of his influence. As a Dad he was caring and kind, fun when appropriate and most serious about things that truly mattered. See 1 Corinthians 4:15-16 NKJV.

Along all these years, I have been surprised at how many times my words begin with, “My Dad taught me . . “ My Dad still shapes the man, husband, father, friend, and pastor that I am becoming. Dad’s words still guide my choices and guard my behavior; his words still shape my beliefs and convictions; his love for God and devotion to God’s Word are a foundation for my years of ministry and teaching. My Dad’s example and expectations of only giving your best still motivate my quest for excellence in what I do and teach. Read 1 Thessalonians 2:11 NIV.

The reach of his life extends far beyond the extent of his lifetime. I now understand that today’s verse explains how he lived his life and how his life impacts mine yet today. “These words I command you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them at home and when you walk along the road . . tie them as symbols . . write them on your houses and gates.” Deuteronomy 6:5-9 NIV. Only what touches your heart has the power to change a life.

Truth is born in a heart with a singular love for God, but that alone is not enough to touch the next generation. The transfer of truth and love of God must be the central task and devotion of a father’s lifetime – in everything he is, all that he believes, whatever he says, in everything he does, and wherever he goes. Consistency of character, personal conduct, training and teaching, exemplary manner of life, and spiritual leadership is the essential calling of a Dad. I am a blessed son to have had parents like that; I hope I am a blessing as a Dad and Granddad. See 3 John 4 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that you hold fast to truth that is timeless and eternal.

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