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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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Sincere Faith

May 7th, 2016

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

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

My thoughts and comments today are about, “sincere faith.”

Everyone has influence. The impact of some is beneficial; the effect of others is less so. Nowhere is there the greater opportunity for enduring influence than in the home. Since this weekend is Mother’s Day, let me share some thoughts about moms. 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, and an exceptional pianist. 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. His personal conversion resulted from my grandmother’s miraculous healing, when he was a teen. My Dad, a young Bible School graduate from Buffalo, New York, held a revival in southern Illinois and discovered this 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 a young man, just 44 years old. My Mom died about 15 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 have a Godly heritage that could not have been earned or learned in a lifetime without them. Read 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 highly value the faith entrusted to you.

Christian Communications 2016

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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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Conscience and Curiosity

April 22nd, 2015

“Be filled with love from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5 NLT.

Better to obey your conscience than explore your curiosity.

My thoughts and comments today are about “conscience and curiosity.”

When you quietly hear an inner voice of question and caution, that’s your conscience. God created your conscience to instinctively know right from wrong. There probably have been times when you wished your conscience would be silent. Instead, listen to your conscience; you will spare yourself many mistakes and resulting heartaches.

The Bible offers wise advice and dire warning when the voice of conscience is ignored. “Always keep your conscience clear. For some have deliberately violated their conscience; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.” 1 Timothy 1:19 NLT. Shipwrecked! Could Paul’s warning of needless tragedy and loss be any clearer? Usually, a shipwreck results when a ship is in waters not safe to sail, doing what it was not designed to do. In unmistakable description, a contemporary paraphrase reads, “Some . . have made a thorough mess of their faith.” 1 Timothy 1:19 MSG.

Ignoring the voice of God in your heart is always a mistake and results in hurt and loss for yourself and others. Adam and Eve lost so much for themselves, as well as all of us, just by listening to the wrong voice and ignoring the voice of God. “If many died by the trespass of one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of one Man, Jesus Christ, overflow to many.” See Romans 5:12-17 NIV.

(1) Better to obey your conscience than explore your curiosity. Incorrectly, the world reasons, “If it feels right, how can it be wrong?” What dangerously defective reasoning. Here’s the reality; most things that “feel right” to your natural inclinations and appetites are anything but right. One and all, we struggle with a sin nature. Don’t be lured and deceived by curiosity and desires. Eve was curious and unleashed a world of trouble for us all.

(2) Avoid unholy influences. Secular culture and wrong associations assault your spirit with impure signals that can and will confuse you. “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.” Titus 1:15 NIV. Choose wisely and carefully to whom or what you listen. Conflicting voices attempt to stifle the voice of the Holy Spirit God has placed within you.

(3) Strengthen your conscience with the Word of God. “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Read Psalm 119:9-16 NIV. In your heart, you know before you do wrong, but still indulge your appetite and ignore your conscience, to your own harm. Allow God’s Word to guide and govern your conscience. “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand, whenever you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21. There is no substitute for filling your mind and thoughts with God’s Word. Read Psalm 1:1-3. Obey God’s Word however pressing the temptation to do otherwise.

”Our rejoicing is this: the testimony of our conscience that by the grace of God . . in simplicity and Godly sincerity . . that is how we have lived our lives toward everyone.” 2 Corinthians 1:12 KJV. Paul, a wise, life-seasoned saint, wrote to young Timothy, “The purpose of my instruction is that all Christians would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5 NLT. The love of God best flows into a pure heart, through a clear conscience, and from a sincere faith.

Today, my prayer for you is that your heart will be a home for God’s love at all times.

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Sincere Faith

June 18th, 2013

“Your faith has made you whole.” Luke 17:19 NKJV.

Faith in God changes what now is and shapes what will be.

My thoughts and comments today are about “sincere faith.”

Faith is not complicated until you make it so. Life requires faith. Faith is simply the capacity to believe in something that you have not yet seen and may not yet understand or be able to explain.“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 NKJV. You evidence a measure of faith in the most natural way every day.

I am typing on a wireless keyboard but have faith that when I do so it will accurately convey my typed thoughts expressed in words to the screen in front of me, storing them in memory by processes I neither understand nor could explain. When finished, I will copy these comments into a mailing program that will send it to readers in varying locations nationally and internationally, in just a matter of seconds. I fully expect that to happen. That is faith.

You have faith in people, even though you are occasionally disappointed by some. I would rather have faith and be disappointed occasionally than not to have faith in anyone any time. You have faith in a person you have never met when you give your credit card numbers for a purchase over the phone or Internet. You have faith every time you sit in a chair, never considering if it will safely support you, faith every time you mail an insurance check that the financially safety you paid for will be provided as mutually agreed.

Faith for some people seems to become mysterious and questionable only when God asks you to have faith in Him. Yet, faith is essential. Jesus said, “According to your faith, let it be to you . . [who] does not doubt in his heart . . without faith it is impossible to please God.” Matthew 9:29/Mark 11:23/Hebrews 11:6.

Jesus encountered ten lepers; all were healed; one was pronounced whole. Read Luke 17:12-19 NKJV. It could be that all were healed by Jesus’ power, but to the one who returned to give thanks Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole.” Luke 17:19 NKJV. I would suggest that as wonderful as it is, healing is less than it could be until it results in wholeness and somehow, by a process I cannot explain, the wholeness he experienced was born out of the genuineness of his faith.

Faith is not something you think. Faith is something you do. A leper had to appear before a priest to be pronounced clean of this dreaded and destructive disease. The Bible says, “As they went [to show themselves to the priest], they were cleansed.” Real faith has to be “walked out.” You don’t think it; you do it! Walk steadfastly in your faith, grounded in the established Word of God and your assurance of His character. You never know which step of faith ultimately releases the victory already given in Heaven into the very real, practical arena of your everyday life.

Keep walking in faith and watching for victory. Faith in God is powerful, changing what now is and shaping what will be. Make sure that thanksgiving and praise accompany your walk of faith.

My prayer for you today is that your faith be simple and sincere.

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