Passing It On…

“One generation shall tell of Your works to another and shall declare Your mighty works.”  Psalm 145:4

” They shall tell of the Lord to the next generation.  They shall come and declare His righteousness to a people yet to be born that He has done it.”  Psalm 22:30

” Then, we your people, the sheep of Your pasture will give thanks forever, we will show forth and publish Your praise from generation to generation.”  Psalm 79:13

” The older women are to teach the younger women…” Titus 2:4

     I think we have made this command much more difficult than it really is! God says we must pass Him and His works and His Word on to those who come after us.  Of course, we first must know Him, for we can not pass on what we do not know.  We must  know His wonderful work of salvation and God’s on- going sanctification in our lives.  We must also truly believe in the power and life of His Word.  But we are to obey this command!

     To whom do we pass it on?  Well, first of all, if you are a parent, you must pass it on to your own children.  First and foremost, God wants us to teach of Him to those with whom He has entrusted us.  Friends of your children that hang out at your home will catch this teaching also. As grandparents, you too  have a role, though not primary, to teach God to your grandchildren.  Then we must pass on God’s Truth to those who have not heard; whose own families did not teach God and His ways and word.  We must be spiritual moms to those.  If you do not have children, ask God for those spiritual children, who need you to share your life with them.

     So now you may say, I am not qualified to do this.  I will leave it to the church, the teachers and pastors, the Christian school to pass it on.  All of these are secondary to what God has called us to do first…especially with our own children. What qualifies us?

Do you have the Holy Spirit living with you?

Are you a mother?

Are you an older woman, not as much in age, but you are just a little further along               in your Christian walk than another?

Have you learned lessons from life experiences, both the successes and the failures?

Do you have a heart to pass on God’s Word and His mighty works in your own life?              Why not?

    None of us have it all together.  We all need Jesus each and every day.  We each have our own path, but we can encourage others along the way and point them to the Author and Finisher of their faith.  (Hebrews 12:2)

    What are the rewards of passing it on?

Nothing blesses me more than seeing my children teach their children in the ways                  and words of God.

Nothing refreshes me more than to see God’s Word received by a new believer with               great enthusiasm.

Nothing is more important than  sharing in that which is eternal; the Word and                     Love of God.

Nothing is more satisfying than knowing I have obeyed my Father.

      It only takes one generation to drop the ball and not pass it on.  I do not want to be the one who fumbles and fails to pass on the Truth of God.

      It is a great privilege to come alongside others and teach them how to live life, nurturing them to godliness.

      And more than even all of this; I think it makes my Father God smile…

The Heart of Hospitality

     Plunged into the middle of Paul’s exhortation of how we Christians should be living in Romans 12 are these words in verse 13, “pursue hospitality”.  It is as much of a definite command as ; be constant in prayer in verse 12, love one another in verse 10, or bless those who persecute you in verse 14.

     Why does practicing hospitality get relegated to the bottom of the list of God things to do?  As I looked at this recently, I was challenged in new and deeper ways and here is why…

      Hospitality must be a discipline that is theologically driven.  Our practice of hospitality should be drawn from the very heart of God.  Think of the amazing hospitality of God.  How, as recorded in Genesis 1, God  went about preparing a place in creation in order to welcome His honored guest—man.  God, in His very nature is fundamentally hospitable.

       Think our Lord Jesus, as He moved among earth people, again and again practiced hospitality.   While preaching to the multitude, He said, ” We must feed them”.  He gave invitation after invitation, (and still does today) saying, “Come unto Me”.  He tells the story of the father welcoming his wayward son home with the party of all parties.  He said to Zacchaeus, “I am going to your house today”.  He knocks at the door of our heart because He wants to sit down with us and spend time together.

     As welcome is fundamentally in the nature of God so it should be in us.  As He is so very hospitable to us, so we should be to others.  Isn’t grace really the unearned hospitality of a loving God?  Isn’t it the outstretched arms of our Savior?  How can we not be hospitable?  As we invite others into our homes, we reenact the divine love we have received  And our practice of hospitality will grow us into the likeness and desire of our Lord Jesus.

     What blessings we miss when we fail to obey this command! So fling open the door, cook the fatted calf (or the chicken), prepare your part of creation, and welcome with the open arms of Jesus those who come inside.  After all,one day we will gather around the Table of all tables and feast upon the very presence of our Lord…. so why don’t we practice some now?

 

And the Two Shall Become One

image   Like a Lock and Key….

 

” A man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh.”  This verse is spoken by God in Genesis 2:24, by the Son in Matthew 19:5 and by the Holy Spirit through Paul in Ephesians 5:31. Do you think it could be important?  I think so…. The truth stated in this verse is of utmost importance as it is applied to the marriage relationship.  The lessons in leaving and cleaving will be looked at another time, but I want us to focus on the goal that God wants us to work toward in our marriages….. to become one….Oneness.

  In  our world of individualism, isolation and independence, the concept of two becoming one is often foreign to our experience.  But it is in our coming together in oneness that we most reflect the image of God. A husband and wife each bring a plethora of differences to the marriage; different personalities, backgrounds, not to mention the totally different outlooks just because of being male and female. Our Father God wants to somehow knit these different colored threads together into one masterpiece that brings glory to HIM and causes each marriage partner to grow and become better. So why is pursuing oneness so difficult?  Why do we compete rather than complete each other?  Why do we thrash out in our differences rather than embrace them?  Why do I want to change my husband to be more like me? Who made me judge?  After all. two identical people make for a boring, uninteresting relationship. If we are just alike, then one of us is unnecessary…

   So I encourage you to celebrate the differences rather than destroy and bury them.  A lock and a key are totally different shapes, having different functions but when each yields to the other and  fulfills the purpose for which it is made… doors are unlocked, new horizons open before you and new adventures begin.  These totally different implements are meant to work together and come together in a oneness that not only gets the job done, but does it smoothly and effortlessly. As we each embrace our beautiful differences, our ebb and flow, our highs and lows , our quirks and giggles, it can be a holy adventure in becoming one that reflects His image in a greater way than we could have done singly.

A Gift For Your Husband

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             My husband never seems to want any gifts and if he does, it will certainly be something very practical.  I love to give gifts so this can be frustrating at times.  So what is it that I may give him that shows my love and would also be happily received by him?  I think Ephesians 5:33b  informs me of a precious gift which costs no money, but would be priceless to my husband.  That gift is RESPECT… This is what it says:

“let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband (that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.)”     Ephesians 5:33b Amp.

       Wow… that verse in the amplified version says much!!!  God knows what my husband needs, so He gives me as his wife this command to respect him.  Notice that there are no adjectives describing what kind of husband to respect.  I am to respect him in his God given role in our marriage, whether he is always fulfilling that role or not.  I often share with young women to marry a respectable man because it makes it much easier for her to obey this scripture. I believe that your husband will grow and blossom as you share with him daily this biblical gift of respect!

         So whether it is Valentine’s Day or just each ordinary day remember to respect your husband in the way that Ephesians 5:33b describes. This may help you or you could write your own reminder.

R–Rightfully honor your husband

E–Esteem him above all others

S–Shine when you are with him

P–Praise him often, preferring him

E–Eyes looking at him when he speaks

C–Calling his name out in prayer daily

T–Treating him with love and kindness

        If a  little respect goes a long way,imagine what a lot of respect does?  So wrap up RESPECT for your husband and let him receive it each day.  You both will be glad you did!

 

Teach Your Children to Give this Season


What do you want for Christmas?  What is Santa bringing you?  What am I getting?  These are all questions young children are asked by others or they are asking themselves.  Christmas is a wonderful time and it is good to give and receive gifts.  (Look at the wonderful Gift God gave us.)
How do we keep our focus on Christ and not only the celebration of His birth, but of His entire Story.  How do we lead our children to find more joy in giving than in receiving?  As parents, I encourage you to seek out ways that are age appropriate to keep Christ in Christmas, to celebrate Him as His redeemed ones, and to teach your children in the process.
Here are a few suggestions, some of which we did with our children.  God will give you other ideas.
1.  Celebrate Advent with devotions and a simple wreath with candles.  We or the kids read Scriptures prophesying the coming of Christ and culminating in the birth of Christ. There are advent books that you may use so see what fits your family. (Blowing out the candles was a fun part.)
2.  Encourage giving within your family.  At the first of December we would all draw names.  Each person would plan to make or buy a gift for that person, but he also had to perform secret acts of kindness for that person throughout December.  The reveal was on Christmas Day of who had been so kind to you during the month.
3.  Find a child or a family to adopt for Christmas and let your child pick out gifts to give them.  They could possibly receive fewer gifts themselves so these without could receive something for Christmas.
4.  Bake cookies and take to an elderly neighbor or to one in the nursing home.
5.  Wrap presents containing words that express the gifts Jesus gives us; like SALVATION, PEACE,  MERCY,  LOVE,  GRACE, and STRENGTH.  As you open these gifts discuss these words and open the last gift on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  This gift would be JESUS, the greatest gift ever.
These are just a few suggestions.  There can be many others.  Just remember to encourage your children to focus on the Christ of Christmas and giving rather than just receiving.  God will show you and God will bless……

 

In Everything

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         During the Thanksgiving season, our thoughts are drawn to count our blessings; to be reminded of God’s great goodness to us daily; to ponder His great extravagant gift to us in His Son, Jesus Christ.  We recount His grace, His provision, and His sufficiency to us and are truly grateful.
But, in the back corner of our minds; in that small closet in the recesses of our hearts, there may lie that one thing for which we are not thankful.  We have not been able to thank Him for that hard place, that difficult situation or person in our lives. Maybe it is that pain that plagues us or that thorn that besets us.  We each know what that thing is.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we are told to thank God in all things, in all circumstances; in everything; no matter what the circumstances, and no matter what happens. How in the world do we really do this?  It is easy to thank Him for the blessings, the things we see as “good”.  The scripture goes on to say, “for this is the will of God for you (who are) in Christ Jesus.”  To be in His will, to be obedient to our Lord, is to thank Him for that thing.
So, as we examine ourselves, as we recognize that thing we have not thanked Him for, let’s bring it before Him.  May we bring it out from the place where it is hiding and into God’s Light and make a will choice to thank Him for it.  May we simply obey and say those words.  Our emotions probably will not join us in this decision, not at first anyway.  However, this will be an act that will open up the gates of His abundant grace for that thing.  This choice will make way for  His strength so we may persevere  and release the joy in the midst of it.
This Thanksgiving, let us give thanks in everything…..