Archive

Posts Tagged ‘reflections’

Reflections on a Birthday

July 18th, 2014

“The Gospel . . is power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16 NIV.

You are not born into your family’s faith; you are born into the Kingdom of God.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “reflections on a birthday.”

Birthdays mark the journey of one’s life and are due cause for proper celebration. Today is my birthday. As many as I have had, I should be good at them by this time. I have much to celebrate in my journey – a strong beginning in a home and family that I would hope for every child, Godly parents and grandparents who loved and taught me good habits and God’s ways; a happy childhood, a healthy adolescence, a helpful education with life-long friends and wonderful memories, an incredible, creative, and loving wife and life-partner, better kids than my parenting skills ever warranted; grandkids and now great grandkids beyond anything I could have hoped. All this is wrapped in a lifetime of serving people who modeled the Gospel and lavishly opened their love and lives to us.

But let me tell you about another more important “birth-day” that really made the journey what it has been. The story originates where my new life truly began and from which it is still being written. When I was six years old, at a service with a children’s evangelist, Ray Ton, I responded to his invitation for salvation – to invite Jesus into my heart. As much as I could understand at the time, I sincerely committed my life to the Lord, and a new and eternal life began. In the simplicity and sincerity of a child’s heart, I experienced this truth, “The Gospel . . is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16 NIV.

When I was ten, on a Sunday night in my father’s church in North Venice, Illinois, a Sunday School teacher, Betty Rice, knelt at my side on the last row of that little church during an evangelist’s prayer, to invite me to the altar to pray. Imagine asking the pastor’s son! But boldly yet kindly she did, and at her invitation I knelt in the front left corner of that humble building to know Jesus in ways that I never had before. I learned that evening that you are not born into your family’s faith; you have to be individually and personally born into the Kingdom of God. “You must be born again.” See John 3:1-21 NIV. I cannot describe the inexpressible joy I experienced that night in the realization of one truth, “The Gospel . . is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”

As a teen, fifteen years old in Granite City, Illinois, when an evangelist invited the church to the altars in the former City Theater that my Dad had consecrated as a revival center, I knelt at an altar where I felt an overwhelming sense of God’s call upon my life for the vocation of ministry. I saw a world in desperate need of a Savior; I felt God’s broken heart for people lost and powerless to find their way. The call was to share one message, “The Gospel . . is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” 

When I was seventeen, newly graduated from High School and accepted for architectural studies at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, God again spoke to my heart about ministry. I had other plans for my life; so did God. I chose His plans over my own, and the rest is history – fifty-one years of the greatest privilege I could ever have dreamed, still telling a simple story, “The Gospel . . is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” And still the journey continues . .

Today, my prayer is for you to believe and know the power of His salvation.

07188

Devotionals , , , , , ,

Reflections About My Dad

June 13th, 2014

“I have no greater joy than to hear my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 4 NKJV.

 Live to leave a Godly legacy to your family and Godly generations to come.

My thoughts and comments today are, “reflections about my dad.”

The Godly influence of my father in what I believe, what I do, and who I have become is undeniable, his significance to my life continuing long after his lifetime. Some time ago, I came across a yellowed note from my Mom, written twenty years earlier. As I read her words, I was unprepared for my emotional response. She wrote about our family and ministry, but these words leaped off the page and into my heart, “Your Dad would be so proud of you, as I am.”

You see my Dad died in a highway accident when I was just 21, newly married, and just a senior in college, and still my eyes became moist as I read those words. It was not a new revelation. My Dad showed and spoke often of his sentiments in our home. Yet somehow even now, those words of his pride stir something deep within my heart. I was not prepared for how such a simple statement of my parents’ feelings on a piece of yellowed stationery would still mean so much after all of these years since his death, and more recently hers.

Solomon wrote, “The father of the righteous has great joy; he who has a wise child delights in them.” Proverbs 23:24 NIV. You have the power to bless your parents with joy. I marvel at the profound truth that a father’s joy can touch your heart throughout both their lifetime and yours. At this mature stage of my life, being reminded of my Dad’s love and pride in me meant as much if not more, as it did when I was young and he was living.

My Dad left an exemplary spiritual legacy and from him I and our family have received a Godly heritage. Every parent has an opportunity to do the same. “For you, O God, have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.” Psalm 61:5 NIV. You may not have been given a spiritual heritage, but you can live to leave a Godly legacy to your family and the generations to come. A family’s future doesn’t have to replicate its history. A Godly, family heritage can begin with a new spiritual legacy, starting today with you.

John’s words ring true, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 4 NKJV. Whatever accomplishments with which God has since graced my life, my Dad would be most proud that I carry on the faith I learned at his knee and from his pulpit. He was both my Dad and my pastor.

Imagine how Jesus felt at the Jordan River when hearing God declare, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” You can feel His Father’s joy and delight, and realize the emotional and spiritual strengthening that Jesus experienced as He purposed to do the Father’s will. The Father’s pride was more in who Jesus was, than what He would do.

Now as a Dad, grandfather, and great grandfather, I know what such delight feels like. When I see the good and Godly man, husband, and dad (and now grandfather) that our son has become, and the Godly woman, wife, and mom that our daughter has become, and young adult grandchildren who love and live for Jesus, Gayle and I are grateful to God for His kindness to the Randolph families, and anticipate future generations yet to be.

Joy and delight hardly describes the satisfaction that we find in knowing our children and their spouses along with our grandchildren are committed to walking in righteousness and Godly wisdom. Whatever any of them achieve in life will be secondary to our thankfulness that they have embraced our faith, and will give the legacy of that faith to their families. I guess I could have titled my comments, “Legacy and Heritage,” but I was really just reflecting about my Dad and the generations that follow his faith.

Today, my prayer for you is that you will live wisely and walk faithfully in God’s truth.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thoughts on a Birthday

July 18th, 2012

Reflections upon a milestone birthday

EveryDay life began in 2006 as a means of sharing our faith with our grandchildren. Last year on my birthday, I wrote the comments I share below for our children and their children, and hopefully for the sake of the family’s generation(s) that will follow after my journey is complete. To celebrate this milestone birthday as well as our 49th anniversary the first of August, Gayle and I are taking some leisure time together and I will not be writing EveryDay Life the remainder of this month. I thought this would be a good time to share with you the words I first wrote to our family, since you have become a fellow traveler on our journey and an extension of our spiritual family of faith. My comments to our family upon my birthday last year are really at the heart of why I write this daily devotional each day. I am privileged to share EveryDay Life Ministries with a widening circle of readers, and it is now translated into Bulgarian and touching lives in more than a dozen countries from which readers have made contact with us.

Today is my birthday – 70 years! I prefer to think of this day as the successful achievement of six decades of God’s favor and grace, accompanied by so many people’s gracious kindnesses. I can hardly believe that number of years. That is a long time to live, but not nearly enough yet. The customary greeting on such a day is “Happy Birthday,” and as I read greetings in cards, emails, and Facebook this morning, I reflected on what makes me truly happy. Happiness for its self can be strangely elusive. Happiness is much less than Gayle and I have sought; from God,we have expected and experienced something better – His joy and true satisfaction. I have concluded that among all that we enjoy, central to our joy and satisfaction are three things: our faith, our family, and our friends. My “birthday wish” would be that those we love and serve would share those three values sincerely.

Our faith has been central to all else, the source and  support for daily life through good and not so good times and things, making us more than we would have been without it, providing our family with a network of others who share and depend upon that faith, keeping us on track when we could have gone astray, and opening doors of opportunity for us that I would not have wanted to miss. Most of all, faith makes me know that our hearts and future are safely in God’s hands. All is well, and will be well forever. Our greatest joy is seeing that our “children walk in the truth.” Remember, faith cannot be inherited; it is a personal and individual decision that you alone can make, and you must. The earlier in life you decide that, the simpler it is to do so. It is primary, not secondary to all other decisions you will make, and is best reaffirmed every day. Don’t waste a day of life without a clear and personal faith. Do not live a single day facing eternity without that assurance of soul.

Marriage and family have brought us a greater joy than I could ever have foreseen in my youth. Had I been wiser sooner I would have invested more of myself much earlier. Family is the greatest investment I have ever made – producing far richer and more satisfying dividends than property and possessions ever could. I wish for you the joy and pleasure multiplied in your lives that we have received from you. Prize the time and times you have together. The years are too brief and pass too quickly to take them for granted because of busyness or lesser pursuits. You are the one who can make every day a joy-filled day. Our family has enjoyed privileges and blessings to the degree that faith has been central to who we are and how we choose to live our lives together.

The right friends are the greatest of God’s gifts to your life. Choose them well and wisely. Friends who share your faith and values will best shape who you become in many ways that you may not realize until later. The older I have become, the more appreciative I am of the unmistakable influence of the people God has placed in and around my life. Gayle and I are blessed. Like family, friends become invaluable with each year, through the common experiences and memories you will share. By their acceptance and example, friends have helped me become a man, husband, father, friend, and pastor far better than I would have been without them. I would counsel you to be purposeful about friendships and, most importantly, become the kind of friend that you would want others to be in your life. When you are young you have many acquaintances and associations; the years sort those and reveal the friendships that make your latter years full and satisfying, as ours have been. Lots of people around you cannot make your life full; but even a few of the right kind of friends who challenge and inspire you will make life richer than you dream.

These are the eternal, therefore important, things – faith, family, and friends – that are important to my life on this birthday, and that I pray you will prioritize and value in your life. You know, now that I think about it, this really is a happy birthday.

With love and prayers . .

Devotionals , , ,

Birthday Reflections

July 19th, 2011

First, a word of explanation: rather than the more customary devotional today, allow me to share some thoughts I wrote to our children and grandchildren on my birthday yesterday. EveryDay Life was first begun in 2007 as a daily email contact with our eldest granddaughter, Lauren, when she went to University a couple of hours from home. I began sharing the things I have observed and been taught from God’s Word and from my life experiences that I felt could be useful to her everyday life for spiritual growth and development. Others began to ask if the daily thoughts and comments could be copied to them as well, and with the help of some talented people with the needed technical skills, EveryDay Life was born and now reaches a couple thousand people in very diverse places, also being translated into Bulgarian by Pastor Lusi Arsov. My objective has always been to share God’s Word and wisdom as it touches the practical applications into everyday life. Consistent with that are my thoughts as I marked another year of God’s blessing and grace. Thank you for being one of a circle of readers that make each day meaningful with the privilege of sharing humble and simple understandings of the practical brilliance of God’s truth. That is an honor I regard as a sacred trust . .

—————————————————————————————————-

My birthday – sixty-nine years! (The years seem so much gentler when written out rather than seeing the blatant numerals.) I can hardly believe that number. That is a long time to live, yet not nearly enough yet. The customary greeting on such a day is “Happy Birthday,” and as I read greetings in emails and Facebook this morning, I reflected on what makes me truly happy. I have concluded that among all that I enjoy, central to my happiness are three things: my faith, my family, and my friends. My “birthday wish” would be that those I love most would share those three values sincerely.

My faith has been central to all else, the source of great joy and satisfaction – supporting daily life through good and not so good things and times, making me more than I would have been without it, providing me with a network of others who share and depend upon that faith, keeping me on track when I would have gone astray, and opening doors of opportunity for me I would not have wanted to miss. Most of all, faith makes me know that my heart and future are safely in God’s hands. All is well, and will be well forever. My greatest joy is seeing that “my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:2-4 NLT. Remember, faith cannot be inherited; it is a personal and individual decision that you alone can make, and must. The earlier in life you decide that, the simpler it is to do so. It is primary, not secondary to all other decisions you will make, and is best reaffirmed every day. Don’t waste a day of life without a clear and personal faith. Do not live a single day facing eternity without that.

Marriage and family have brought me a greater joy than I could ever have foreseen in my youth. Had I been wiser sooner, I would have invested more of myself much earlier. Family is the greatest investment I have ever made – producing far richer and more satisfying dividends than property and possessions ever could. I wish for you the joy and pleasure multiplied in your lives that I have received from you. Prize the time and times you have together. The years are too brief and pass too quickly to take them for granted because of busyness or lesser pursuits. You make every day a joy-filled day. Our family has enjoyed privilege and blessings to the degree that faith has been central to who we are and how we choose to live our lives together.

The right friends are the greatest of God’s gifts to one’s life. Choose them well and wisely. Friends who share your faith and values will best shape who you become in many ways that you may not realize until later. The older I become, the more appreciative I am of the unmistakable influence of the remarkable people God has placed in and around my life. I am blessed. Like family, friends become invaluable with each year, through the common experiences and memories you will share. By their acceptance and example, friends have helped me become a man, husband, father, friend, and pastor far better than I would have been without them. I would counsel you to be purposeful about friendships, and be the kind of friend that you would want others to be in your life. When you are young you have many acquaintances and associations; the years sort those and reveal the friendships that make your latter years full and satisfying, as mine have been. Lots of people around you cannot make your life full; even a few of the right kind of friends, who challenge and inspire you, will.

These are the things – faith, family, and friends – that are important to my life on this birthday, and that I pray you will prioritize in yours. You know, now that I think about it, this is really a happy day . .

With my love and prayers for you!

Devotionals , , , ,

Friends

January 12th, 2010

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly.” Proverbs 18:24 NKJV

“Friendships are often a reflection of the friend you are willing to be.”

My thoughts today are about “friends.”

My Mom and Dad modeled the high value of friendships for me. Our home was a happy place for the frequent comings and goings of their friends. As a child, I enjoyed the laughing and loving retelling of their stories of special times and places they had shared across the years. That experience established my values of where others fit into one’s life and taught me the growing richness of good friends across passing years.

Friends are important in my life. If you are wise and want your life to be rich and full across a lifetime, good friends will become important in yours as well. There are friends from my childhood and teen years that made a significant difference in my experiences and fond memories of growing up. There was a bond we enjoyed in the simplicity of life at that season. Most of those friendships centered around our small neighborhood and church life. Their acceptance and company left lasting fingerprints on who I was becoming.

Friends come and go across the path of one’s life, but the ones who come and stay are soon prized for a depth of shared life not common to everyone. Some are irreplaceable, their fingerprints more enduring, their counsel more trusted, their loyalty unquestioned, their contribution more valued. I wish for you the quality of friendships that I have been privileged to enjoy.

Be friendly to everyone and let friendships grow naturally as they will. You’ll be better for it. In years of observing people’s relationships, I have seen that those based on someone’s neediness for affirmation and assurance are the hardest to form and maintain. It is a waste of everyone’s time to hold too tightly or to pull someone closer to you who is subtly pushing away. If a relationship is not uplifting – fun for all parties – it probably will not grow into a meaningful friendship. There is an essential mutuality that is at the heart of all lasting and meaningful friendships; healthy and happy friendships are about what you provide others, not about what you need from them.

Another thing I have observed is that friendships reflect the quality of the friends themselves. The better the people with whom you share your life, the better the quality and strength of the relationships you will enjoy. Trustworthiness and similar interests and values are often foundational to true friendship. Opposites may initially attract, but similarities build lasting fellowship.

Age and life experience are elements of friendship, but not the only elements. Hold closely to friends of longstanding, but make new friends as long as you live. I enjoy friends younger, and some older, and of similar age. Younger ones keep me fresh with their enthusiasm and discoveries; older ones teach me wisdom and broader perspective; those of a similar age share a common season of life with me.  Most of all, keep your family as your dearest friends always, and include your friends into your family. Eventually, they become family!

I leave you with this question: are your friendships a reflection of the friend you are, and have you become a reflection of your friendships? I think both will be true. My friends have taught me real friendship; I am better than I would have been without them. I hope I returned that favor.

My prayer for you today is that you have a life full of the best of friends, and that they feel the same.

Devotionals , , ,