Monday, September 23, 2013

The Glory of Godly Fathers

I haven't written a post about fathers, so, no time like the present! :)
Holiday's in honor of parents have been customary since ancient times, but in the Western world they have only become official in the 20th Century. In this country, Mother's Day was first established by an act of Congress in 1914. It took quite a while longer (1972) for fathers to receive their own holiday after acceptance slowly grew from initial observances in the early 1900's.
It is surely fitting to have special days to express love and gratitude for our parents. After all, the fifth of God's Ten commandments begins, "Honor thy father and thy mother". (Exodus 20:12) This was later affirmed and even reinforced through the apostle Paul when he further promised, "It may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth" (Ephesians 6:3)
But what exactly does it take to be truly worthy of such honor? Biblically speaking, it starts when parents have children; they are then exhorted to "train up" their children "in the way [they] should go". (Proverbs 22:6) However, godly, instruction is primarily the responsibility of the Christian father, applied with a gentle and girm hand to raise his children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord". (Ephesians 6:4) And such an environment naturally begins with the father's own commitment to godly living and godly leadership.
Perhaps the greatest incentive for godly living is the example fathers set for their own children. From king Solomon we know that "children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers." (Proverbs 17:6) Children do indeed "glory" in their father when his example is good and godly, and they will likely desire to follow his moral and spiritual model throughout their own lives.
One of the many joys of fatherhood is not only to have children, but, Lord willing, to see grandchildren as well. Honor-able men work hard to be able to leave an inheritance to their children, and, through them, to their grandchildren. For a "good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children." (Proverbs 13:22)
Obviously, circumstances may not make it possible for fathers or grandfathers to leave a  material estate to their descendants. Therefore, promise such as these must ultimately be understood in the spiritual sense. Even a poor man can leave a good inheritance of love, counsel, and a godly life. Of course, the greatest of all gifts to pass on to your children is to have led them to saving faith in our Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. This most precious heirloom will last forever.
In this sense, even men who are biologically childless can have spiritual children as they bring others to Christ. Paul, for example, could call Timothy "my dearly beloved son" (2nd Timothy 1:2) and reminded the believers at Corinth that "in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." (1st Corinthians 4:15) Then what a joy it is when someone we have led to Christ begins to lead others to Him! In the great family of God, these spiritual grandchildren are our "children's children" and constitute a beautiful and everlasting "Crown" of fatherhood.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Heart of Serving

This past week, I went to help out during a conference at our pastors house. I would help cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner for approx. 70 men/boys; refill all the drinks, (coffee/tea/water/lemonade) and do the dishes, and answer any questions or help in any way I could.
While I was there Monday-Wednesday, I was thinking over and over again about Matthew 20:28,"...The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve..."

A friend of mine and I were talking a couple weeks ago, and both her and I agreed that it's so much easier to help and serve other people, but when it comes to our own home, we're reluctant to do our own chores that need to be done. 
Why is that?
Why do we find it easier to serve other people with a joyful heart, and then, when it comes to doing our own duty and serving our parents/siblings/family, that we become complacent?

On one of the morning when us "kitchen girls" did our devotions together, we read Isaiah 40:28-31, "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to Him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."

In what ways do you serve that you become tired and/or wearisome? Why?
I've come to realize that as each day goes by Christ gives us the amount of strength and grace we need to complete each day until His will.
We are bondservants of Christ... to have a complete and utter devotion to God, His word,
and His will.
So, the next time you serve, don't think of it as a chore or task, but think of it more as helping and assisting; and remember, that Christ came to serve.
This, is the Heart of Service.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Live in the moment

This past week, I was in the kitchen cooking our dinner, when I heard my 5 year old brother say, "I wish I was older!" When I asked him why, he said, "Because then I could go hunting with daddy, and be good at drawing!"
When he said this, it made me realize how, all too often, I've said the same thing. "When I'm older...." How often do we take life for granted?!
When I was 15, I kept thinking to myself, "I'm going to be married and have kids by the age of 20!" I wanted so badly to be 20...Well, here I am 21, now, and I've come to realize that in some ways, we feel dis-contented by the life we live sometimes. We never live the "here and now"! (myself included)
My dad always says, "The past is history, the future's a mystery, but today is a gift, that's why they call it the present."

Live in the moment... it'll be history before you know it.
I was reminded of this again, when my little sister asked me a couple days ago, "Can you read me a book?" I was somewhat stunned... my 11 year old sister, asking if I can read her a book. I told her yes, but realized after I said that, that it wasn't from the heart. I had to force myself to remember that I won't always have these little moments with my sister.
Have you ever had a moment when you've thought, "I don't want this to ever end!"? I have, many times! So, live in the moment. Don't waste your life waiting and wishing! Enjoy each moment you have... whether it's with your friends or family.
“Forgive and give as if it were your last opportunity. Love like there's no tomorrow, and if tomorrow comes, love again.” 
― Max LucadoEvery Day Deserves a Chance: Wake Up to the Gift of 24 Hours

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Gift of Labor

“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” (Genesis 2:15)
When God first created man, He gave him work to do. Although “the LORD God planted a garden” for man (Genesis 2:8), it was up to man to take care of it if he would continue to eat its fruits. Thus, having to labor for one’s living is not a divine punishment for man’s sin as people sometimes interpret it, but rather a divine benefit for man’s good.
Similarly, even in the new earth, when sin and suffering will be gone forever, there will still be work to do. “There shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him” (Revelation 22:3).
We don’t know yet what our assignments will be there, but they will somehow be commensurate with our faithfulness in serving the Lord here. “My reward is with me,” says the Lord Jesus, “to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12).
It is, therefore, a God-given privilege to be able to do useful work, whether that work consists of preaching God’s Word or improving God’s world. “Whatever your hand finds to do” (whether being paid for it or not), “do it with all your might; for there is no work . . . in Sheol, where you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). As Jesus said, “night is coming when no one can work
John 9:4). 

No matter what the job may be that has been provided for us to do, it is important to remember and obey the admonition: “ Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. (Colossians 3:23-24) and “your labor is not in vain in the Lord”
1 Corinthians 15:58).