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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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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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Spiritual Legacy

May 10th, 2013

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

Example works better than empty exhortation.

My thoughts and comments today are about “spiritual legacy.”

A lifetime is just not long enough for the investment poured into any individual or single generation. I have benefited vastly from the example and encouragement of family and friends. Because others freely shared their lives and examples of faith with me, I am a better man, husband, father, and friend than I would have been. “Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation.” Ronald Reagan. On whose shoulders are you standing? 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 experience and knowledge of previous generations.

Allow me to narrow the focus. 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 and churches must be vigilant to guard a vital practice of faith that is a transferable experience while its application is contemporary, personal, and individual.

I see a dynamic, spiritual principle in the letter of Paul to his young protégé, Timothy, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother, Lois, and in your mother, Eunice, and I am persuaded now lives in you also.” Read 2 Timothy 1:4-7 NIV. Timothy was the beneficiary of a multi-generational, spiritual heritage of incomparable value. A Godly legacy is never coincidental; spiritual legacy is produced by clear and Godly intentionality. The transmission of your personal faith and Biblical convictions must not be left to chance.

The origin of EveryDay Life and the required discipline of its writing were an attempt to faithfully transfer to our children and grandchildren a proper understanding and practical application of the Bible’s wisdom, real faith, clear convictions, eternal values, and vital, spiritual practices entrusted to us from Gayle’s and my parents, grandparents, pastors, mentors, and Godly friends. Your life serves God’s purpose and your faith fulfills its promise when the lives of family, friends, and others embrace your faith and know your God. Be assured; it is never too late for that to be possible.

The faith was personal and practical that captured young Timothy’s heart; “. . a sincere faith which first lived in your grandmother and mother. Sincere faith alive in one’s heart ignites spiritual life in others. Here’s how they accomplished such a transfer of faith; “. . from infancy, you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus . . thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17 NIV. God’s Word works in real life. It is never too early to teach the truth of God’s Word. Be sure you model its truth.

Example works better than empty exhortation. “You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord . . and so you became a model to all the believers . . your faith in God has become known everywhere.” 1 Thessalonians 1:5-8 NIV. See Jude 3 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you will cherish the heritage of faith others labored to preserve.

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A Godly Legacy

September 7th, 2012

“Some parents brought their children to Jesus.” Mark 10:13 NLT

Godly priorities and practices train a child’s spirit for both a blessed life and blissful eternity.

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

This Sunday will be quite an important occasion for our family. Kaylee Grace, our first great-grandchild, will be presented to the Lord for dedication by our eldest granddaughter and her husband, and both of their parents. (This granddaughter is the one for whom EveryDay Life began in 2006 as a daily email devotional when she began her university studies.) There will be a spiritual legacy of five Godly generations standing at an altar together in gratitude and consecration of this new life. What a thrill it will be to hold that precious little girl in my arms, speaking blessing over her, and her parents, in dedication to the Lord Jesus as we have with all of our children and grandchildren.

Children are no casual matter with God. “[The Lord] commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds but would keep His commands.” Read Psalm 78:1-7 NIV. I count five Godly generations in that Bible verse. Admittedly, there is more to that command than a single Sunday morning of consecration, much more. But it’s a place to begin.

Godly priorities and practices train a child’s spirit for both a blessed life and blissful eternity. Of interest to me is the Bible verse today, “Some parents brought their children to Jesus so He could touch them and bless them.” Mark 10:13 NLT. Those parents understood the thing that is of vital and eternal importance. Music and dance lessons are beneficial. Educational studies equip children for life. Play and social interaction prepare children for healthy relationships. Competitive sports develop strength, skills and model fair play. But don’t ignore what is eternally essential. Whatever their age, do you daily “bring your children to Jesus so He can touch and bless them?”

A spiritual legacy begins with Godly parents who understand their highest calling and purpose is “to bring their children to Jesus.” I have heard adults naively suggest that spiritual matters should be left “until they are old enough to make their own decisions.” How foolish! If parents were to follow that philosophy, their children would never have an education, and would have horrendous health and hygiene habits – and there certainly would not be any violinists!

The Bible’s instruction is too clear to be misunderstood, “Parents . . raise [your children] with Christian discipline and instruction.” Ephesians 6:4 TEV. An older translation says that effective parents’ effective provide, “nurture and admonition” – the essential practices of example and encouragement. I have heard it said, “Your actions speak so loudly, others cannot hear a word you are saying.” Lead your family by your personal example and consistent affirmation. The most effective words are those that are true expressions of your own life.

A spiritual legacy begins in your heart and becomes the center of your home. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength . . these words shall be in your heart . . you shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house . .” Read Deuteronomy 6:5-9 NKJV. In that, you find your greatest joy. See 3 John 4 NIV.

How did Jesus respond to those parents? “Let the little children come to Me . . and He took the children in His arms, put His hands upon them and blessed them.” Mark 10:16 NIV. Notice the means of spiritual impartation: surrounding arms, loving touch, and spoken blessing. In those, there is divine power to touch a child’s heart and change their life forever. Father God yearns for Godly generations to bless, “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever!” Deuteronomy 5:29 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you consecrate yourself and family to be fully His.

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Godly Generations

May 11th, 2012

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

The Godly impact of one’s life touches generations and reaches eternity.

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 waits. For a few brief steps they run alongside each other until the baton is safely passed and then one drops back, his race completed, while the other must continue on.

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 1:3-7 NIV. The Apostle Paul seemed to love the metaphor of the runner. “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV.

And parenting is like that also. This weekend holds a special day when more phone calls 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 a recent family event. Our family welcomed our first Great Granddaughter, Kaylee Grace. That struggle of birth and the gift of life are fresh in my mind as I write. I marvel as I watch our granddaughter with that helplessly dependent infant. Her joyful sacrifice of self in the time and care given might even surprise her. Yet she counts it privilege not sacrifice.

The Bible says you are, “Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord.” Read Psalm 78:1-7 NKJV. 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. A mother’s influence is immense, far greater than she may presume during the busy years of mothering, and such influence is not limited to her lifetime. The Godly impact of a mother’s life touches generations and reaches eternity – in the lives of those who watch her life, who know her love, and ultimately, those who learn her faith.

My Mom will not be in the midst of her family this weekend, but she will always be in the hearts of her family, and in mine. Before, 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 wisdom of her words and treasure the values she taught me.

Moms are people who are always with us even after they are gone, with us for a season to impart values and example – life experience, character, convictions, priorities, values, hopes, and faith – knowing others must run further than she can and yearning for us to do so with less pain and more pleasure than hers, 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 Godly influence that is consequential and eternal. Man or woman, young or old, if you will be God’s love wrapped in a human heart, the Godly influence of your life will stretch well beyond your lifetime, even beyond the lifetimes of those whose lives you touch.

My prayer for you today is that you provide a Godly heritage to those who follow.

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