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Posts Tagged ‘convictions’

Godly Generations

May 12th, 2017

The Godly impact of a life touches generations and reaches eternity

 “Telling the generation to come the praises of the Lord.” Psalm 78:4 NKJV

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Godly Generations.”

Few track and field events are any more exciting than the relay race. Four athletes give their all for their assigned portion of the race, and then pass the baton to the next runner. If the baton is not handed off properly within the allowed space, or is dropped, that team is disqualified. Each runner gives their best effort until coming to where the next runner anxiously awaits. For a few brief steps, they run alongside each other until the baton is safely transferred and then a runner moves aside while the other must continue. One’s portion of the race is completed; another’s is begun.

Your life of faith is like that. We each have our assigned portion of race to run, cheered on by those before us, and responsible to those awaiting us. Read 2 Timothy 1:3-6 NIV. The Apostle Paul often used the metaphor of a runner. “If only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24 NIV. Read 2 Tim 4:7-8 NIV.

And parenting is like that also. This weekend holds a special day when more phone calls are made, more flowers sold, more restaurants crowded, and more greeting cards purchased than any other day of the year – Mother’s Day. My thoughts today are shaped by family events in past months. Our family welcomed two Great Granddaughters, Caroline Renee and Riley Madison. That struggle of birth and the gift of life are fresh in my mind as I write. I marvel as I watched our granddaughters with their helplessly dependent infants. They have counted their joyful sacrifice of self in the time and care given as privilege, not sacrifice.

The Bible commands, “Telling the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done . . That the generation to come might know them. Read Psalm 78:1-7 NLT. A mother’s influence is immense, far greater than she may presume during the busy years of mothering. A mother’s life is not lived for herself, but with a vision for the lives of the children and families who will follow her. She does not count herself to have succeeded until her children and their children’s children have prospered. And a mother’s influence is not limited to her lifetime. Moms are always with you even after they are gone. And Moms will always be in the hearts of their family.

My Mom is no longer with us, but she is forever in my heart. When she lived, I wanted to be with her; now, I wish I were more like her. Before, I enjoyed her company; now, I remember her character. Before, I enjoyed our conversations; now, I value the clarity of her words and wisdom. Before I admired the faith and values she taught me; now, I treasure the convictions she held steadfastly.

For a season, God gives Moms and Dads to us to impart values, example, life experience, character, convictions, priorities, hopes, and faith. Moms know others must run further than she could, while yearning for us to do so with less pain and more pleasure than her own, and with fewer struggles and more victories. Godly generations, behind as well as ahead of you, depend on your doing so.

Unless you understand that your brief life is a timeless connection of influence with those generations both before and after you, you may fail to live your life with a similar, Godly influence that is consequential and eternal. Man or woman, young or old, be God’s love wrapped in a human heart, so the Godly impact of your life will stretch well beyond your lifetime, even beyond the lifetimes of those whose lives you touch, “That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.” Psalm 78:7 NKJV. Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to prize a Godly heritage and provide the same to those who follow.

Christian Communications 2017

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Nature and Nurture

August 11th, 2015

“Christ in you, the hope of Glory.” Colossians 1:27 NKJV.

Spiritual nurture is essential for effective and enduring change.

My thoughts and comments today are about “nature and nurture”

This morning, comments from my friend, Shane, prompted some reflection on the origin of behavior and development of character. It seems the debate ultimately centers on the influences of nature or nurture. Both are influential. Nature forms who you have been, expressed by what comes naturally to you for better or worse – your habitual reactions, possessive inclinations, prejudices, self-willed, or self-centered.

My friend cautioned about trusting nature over nurture, “Leave it to nature and you leave a blank canvas [for yourself and] others to paint on.” We were all conceived in sin, meaning that we were born into a fallen world, possessing a fallen nature, and separated from God and Christ. Paul accurately described life apart from Christ, “O wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Read Romans 7:18-25 NKJV.

Conversely, nurture instructs and guides your values, traits, convictions, and conduct, therefore determining who you become. Paul understood our common dilemma but also God’s gracious redemption, “You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Read Colossians 3:6-10 NIV.

In Christ, you have the hope and promise of becoming more than you are. “To all who believed Him and accepted Him, [Jesus] gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn!” John 1:12-13 NLT. Paul elaborated further on this remarkable transformation of your old nature, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV. Spiritual nurture is essential for effective and enduring change.

The Word of God nurtures Christian growth and Godly character, “[God has] given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature . .” Read 2 Peter 1:2-11 NKJV. Especially note verses 5-9.

The Holy Spirit nurtures discipleship and obedience, “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you.” Read Romans 8:1-11 NIV.

Spiritual discipline nurtures firm resolve, “Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” Read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV.

Christian Fellowship nurtures spiritual life and growth. “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, but exhorting one another.” Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV.

For me, these words sum up any debate about nature versus nurture, “Christ in you, the hope of Glory.” Colossians 1:27 NKJV. The remedy for all you have been and the potential for all you can become is found ultimately in Jesus as Lord and Savior. See 1 John 3:2-3 NLT.

Today, I pray for you that you are nurtured in your faith and an encourager to others.

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Storms

May 15th, 2015

“Who is this Man that even the winds and waves obey Him?” Mark 4:41 NLT.

Life requires that you learn to safely navigate any storms.

My thoughts and comments today are about “storms.”

Life requires that you learn to safely navigate the storms you cannot avoid. On a vacation cruise with friends, Gayle and I experienced a violent storm at sea, a major hurricane off the Pacific coast of Mexico. To avoid the storm, the Captain turned from the coastline out to sea, intending to sail safely to our next port in calmer waters.

Then it happened. The hurricane had bounced off shore right into the path of our ship. There were high winds, extremely rough seas, and frightened passengers, even a few wearing their orange life vests, just in case. For a prolonged 36 hours, what the Captain had attempted to avoid, he now had to confront. Life happens like that sometimes. Some unwanted circumstances have to be confronted.

For practical reasons, I was cautiously optimistic. I believed the Captain and crew were experienced and prepared to navigate the storm. Also, I reasoned that a ship is built for success in its element, to sail safely in good and bad weather equally. Its element was the sea, not designed to be moored safely in port. And, I knew this storm was a temporary aberration of weather not a permanent condition. Convictions of truth will comfort and encourage you.

Life can be turbulent, personally and professionally. In such times, assumptions are shaken and uncertainty abounds. Days grow uncomfortable and tomorrows feel tentative. Those proclaiming “doom and gloom,” as well as those with wishful, but empty reassurances seem to drown any voice of reason and balance. Life is a storm through which you must navigate, neither a brief inconvenience nor the end of the world.

As a ship is designed and constructed to withstand stormy weather as well as gentle winds and calm seas, your faith is made for stormy weather. The disciples found themselves in a raging storm that left them fearing for their safety. “Jesus rebuked the wind and the water. Suddenly the wind stopped and there was a great calm. Filled with awe, they said, ‘Who is this man that even the wind and waves obey Him?’” Read Mark 4:35-41 NLT. Real faith is made for times when sickness intrudes, when resources are scarce, when relationships are strained, when questions exceed answers, or when others despair. In every storm, Jesus is with you.

Similarly, Jesus warned Simon Peter of personal storms ahead, but also assured him, “I have prayed for you that your faith fail not.” Luke 22:31-32 NIV. Jesus is praying for you; you should be praying too. Prayer makes a difference in your faith, “an anchor for the soul.” Hebrews 6:17-20. It’s always time to seek God; it’s time to have faith; it’s time to trust and believe. Your faith will “weather every storm” when you pray, know and trust God’s Word, and listen for God in your heart.

Today, I pray for you to live courageously and confidently through any storm.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Family Legacy

May 12th, 2015

EDL pix legacy“Your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother and mother.”    2 Timothy 1:5 NIV.

A family legacy is intentional, never coincidental.

My thoughts and comments today are about “a family legacy.”

The recent weekend prompted my reflections about legacy. “Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation.” Ronald Reagan. Imagine the costly waste of social, financial, educational, intellectual, and spiritual capital if every generation were left to learn the necessary life lessons without benefit of the knowledge and experience of previous generations.

Sincere faith ignites spiritual life in others. Paul wrote of young Timothy, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother, and in your mother, and I am persuaded now lives in you also.” Read 2 Timothy 1:4-7 NIV. The faith that captured young Timothy’s heart was practical and personal. Timothy benefited from a multi-generational, family heritage of incomparable worth. A family legacy is never coincidental; a spiritual legacy is produced by clear and Godly intentionality.

The transmission of your personal faith and Biblical convictions must not be left to chance. Lessons of life and vital faith practices should be faithfully handed from generation to generation. Amid growing secularism and misapplied political correctness about religious pluralism, Christian families must guard a vital faith that is a transferable experience while its application is contemporary and individual.

Few understand the extent of a family’s impression on what you believe about yourself, who you become, or with what attitude you embrace life. You may not recognize the subtlety of how or when the imprint of parenting is happening nor the significance of how parents impact the deepest part of your personality throughout your lifetime. Godly parents’ example and influence always remains with you.

Together, my parents gave the best of their time and talent to family and ministry, so growing up my life had a dual center – home and church, each inseparable from the other. By example, I was taught the joy and privilege of the integration of our family and lives into the calling of ministry. Church was the heart of our home and family and the unique calling that made us what we were. I credit my parents for keeping church and home in balance.

Gratefully, I am the product of my Dad’s sermons and my Mom’s songs. My Dad taught me to love God with a whole heart, and to serve God faithfully with creativity and excellence. My Mom taught me appreciation for order and cleanliness, and for beauty and style. Together, they taught me to be gracious and generous, to appreciate people for the special person God made them to become, and to be confident in who God made me to be.

I am grateful for the Godly legacy that marks my path and shapes our lives and the lives of our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and every generation until Jesus returns. With a family legacy comes a sacred responsibility to keep faith with generations who will follow you.

Today, I pray for you that your goal is clear and your determination steadfast.

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A Godly Legacy

March 6th, 2015

“I urge you to contend for the faith that was once entrusted to the saints.” Jude 1:3 NIV.

Christianity is one generation from extinction.

Family wedding portrait cropped

My thoughts and comments today are about “a Godly legacy.”

Some people incorrectly think faith should be a private matter, not something to be discussed with others. Parents have explained to me that they were, “uncomfortable to impose any particular expression of faith on their children,” leaving spiritual life for them to decide when older. When you understand the eternal consequence of personal faith or the lack thereof, that seems neither wise nor loving.

A parent would not leave children to decide for themselves the value of good health, or personal hygiene, or nutrition, or the necessity of education, or matters of character such as honesty, modesty, and respect for authority. There are things left as personal to each individual, but everything that is personal is not required to be private. Faith is certainly one of those. Faith is personal but not an altogether private matter.

You are surrounded by an increasingly secular culture. Any public expression of faith seems to be assumed an intolerance of others and considered intrusive if not kept private. Yet there seems to be no alarm at such faulty reasoning, even an apparent resignation to such practice. Jude, an apostle, admonished believers, “About the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once entrusted to the saints.” Jude 1:3 NIV. You have an invaluable trust to keep.

Christianity is one generation from extinction. “As long as Joshua lived, the people of Israel served the Lord, and even after his death they continued to do so as long as the leaders were alive who had seen for themselves all the great things that the Lord had done for Israel . . That whole generation also died, and the next generation forgot the Lord and what he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:7/10 TEV. The greatest sadness a Godly parent could ever feel is for their children to discount or later discard their parents’ Christian convictions and values. You afford your family a Godly example or provide them a perilous exemption.

Even after their deaths, my parents and grandparents still shape my personal faith. Church and home were one and the same in our family. My faith was taught and nurtured in my Dad’s sermons at church and by my Mom’s hymns at home and, just as importantly, by their personal examples. I remember my Dad describing my grandmother’s miraculous healing from a terminal illness that resulted in his conversion as a teenager, and his dramatic healing from rheumatic fever when I was just a toddler, and of the Lord’s faithful provision at times when there was no food for our table. He refused to let my sister and I forget our spiritual heritage, a history concerning the Lord’s grace and presence in our family.

Your faith is not yours alone; faith is a Godly legacy you are responsible to establish in your family, and share within your circle of influence. Your faith must be sacredly held, sincerely lived, and successfully shared with the next generations. Make your practice and profession of faith honest, and especially consistent. Faith is no private matter; share it with others sensitively and confidently.

You may not have received a Godly heritage. A Godly legacy can begin today with you.We will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord. We will tell of His power and the mighty miracles He did . . He commanded our fathers to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them – so each generation can set its hope anew on God, remembering his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.” Psalm 78:4-7 NLT. That is the mandate of personal faith; each generation will set their hope on God and nurture that hope in the next. Make faith, and your living and sharing it faithfully, a priority in your home and everyday life.

Today, my prayer for you is to value your Godly heritage and the spiritual legacy you must leave others.

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