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Sincere Faith and Spiritual Influence

May 13th, 2018

Faith must be sacredly held, sincerely lived, and successfully shared.

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

My thoughts and comments today are about, Sincere Faith and Spiritual Influence.”

Everyone has influence, positively or negatively. The impact of some is beneficial; the effect of others is less so. Nowhere is there a greater necessity of sincere faith, and the opportunity for spiritual influence, than in the home. Since this weekend is Mother’s Day, let me share some thoughts about moms, especially my Mom. Certainly, in the home and family they are not the only influence; but for this occasion, Moms deserve the spotlight. Knowing me, God knew I would need a Mom that was especially patient, generous to a fault, immeasurably kind, and extravagantly loving. My Mom – Mildred Florence (McGinness) Randolph – was exactly that kind of Mom, and more.

She was the eldest of thirteen children, the daughter of a pastor, an exceptional pianist, and the wife of a pastor, and best of all, my Mom. She was raised in a very modest home. My grandad always worked to support his family in addition to what the small churches of southern Illinois could provide in the 1930s and 40s. They were poor in comparison with others but rich in the things that truly matter – family, love, character, loyalty, and faith in God. They never thought of themselves as poor; they considered themselves fortunate.

My Mom was raised in a Christian home. My Dad had not even been inside a church until he was seventeen. When he was a teen, his personal conversion resulted from my grandmother’s miraculous healing. A few years later, my Dad, a young Bible School graduate from Buffalo, New York, held a revival in a small church in southern Illinois and discovered the pastor’s beautiful and talented daughter playing the piano. Soon she was his wife . . and then she was my Mom. For that, I am graced and blessed. My Dad died in 1963, a young man, just 44 years old. My Mom died about 18 years ago at the age of 80. Even long after their deaths, my parents and grandparents still influence my personal faith. My parents were both significant, spiritual influences in my life, shaping who I am as a man, husband, father, and minister.

Church and home were one and the same in our family. My Dad from his pulpit, and my Mom from her piano, taught me the inestimable worth of a personal knowledge of God and a life of faith and service. Every day of my life has been blessed by their words and personal example. Our marriage, ministry, and family of four generations now have a Godly heritage that could not have been earned or learned in a lifetime without them.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5 NAS.

My Dad taught me the rare value of faith and friendship, and the loyalty and integrity required in those. My Mom taught me a generosity and care for others that I am far from having mastered yet. My parents left me an inheritance counted in the very real currency of the lives and faith of our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. “A good man [or woman] leaves an inheritance to their children’s children.” Proverbs 13:22 NAS.

You will afford your family a Godly example or allow them a perilous exemption. Sincere 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. A Godly, family heritage that touches future generations can either continue or begin with you today.

Today, I pray for you to value highly the faith entrusted to you and pass it on.

Christian Communications 2018

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Finishing Strong

April 3rd, 2013

“Care for the flock of God entrusted to you . . willingly, not grudgingly.” 1 Peter 5:2 NLT.

A good start is important but how well you finish is essential.

My thoughts and comments today are about “finishing strong.”

A short attention span is the enemy of success. Moving on to new ventures, some people leave much unfinished – promises unfulfilled, relationships broken, plans discarded, intentions incomplete, or focus diminished. Their inevitable lack of success prompts seeking something else more immediately challenging or satisfying. When looking ahead for something better to do, you will not do well the task at hand. A good start is important but how well you finish is essential. Solomon discovered, “The end of a thing is better than its beginning.” Ecclesiastes 7:8 NKJV.

Resolve is strengthened when you see your task as God’s assignment. The Bible is clear about God’s expectations. ”Care for the flock of God entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly . .  because you are eager to serve God.” 1 Peter 5:2 NLT. Peter used the imagery of a shepherd, but the principal is simple and current – be diligent about opportunities God entrusts to you. Paul instructed young Timothy, “Men ought to regard us as servants of Christ . . entrusted with the secret things of God. It is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 NIV.

You are entrusted to serve God eagerly.If you are a student then be the best student you can be – attentive in your classes, diligent in your studies, invested in your education. If you are employed, consistently give your best effort – on time, serving happily, working diligently. If you are a friend, be loyal and trustworthy. If you are married, apply yourself wholeheartedly to your marriage – edify your spouse, demonstrate your care, evidence love consistently. If you have children, provide well for them – prioritize time and energy, provide Godly “nurture and admonition.” Ephesians 6:4 NKJV.

If you confess to be a follower of Christ, serve Him with excellence – live with integrity, speak truth, and serve God and man humbly. See Colossians 3:23-24/Ephesians 6:6-8 NKJV. Your reward will be incomparable. “And when the [Chief] Shepherd comes, your reward will be a never-ending share in his glory and honor.” 1 Peter 5:4 NLT.

Jesus is your example. The Bible concludes with Jesus’ bold words, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 22:13 NIV. In Jesus’ account of His life to His Father, He said with confidence, “I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do.” John 17:4 NIV. Jesus allowed nothing and no one – neither friends’ well-meant help nor critics’ evil intent – to dissuade Him from His singular pursuit of the will of God. Amid Jesus’ physical and spiritual anguish on the cross, He rattled Hell with His triumphant words, “It is finished!” John 19:30 NIV. No whimper of defeat was that; Hell and the grave were vanquished forever. The Seed of the woman bruised the head of the serpent as God had said. See Genesis 3:15 NIV.

Our God has not changed; He will complete the work He has begun. “Confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it . . He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 NKJV/1 Corinthians 1:8 NIV. Be patient; God is not finished with you yet. Complete, that’s what you’ll be.

My prayer for you today is that you finish strong and with joy receive His “Well done!”

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