How Grown Children Can Show Honor to Their Parents

[NOTE: This week’s guest post comes to us from Weylan Deaver. To learn more about Weylan, check out his bio information at the end of this week’s article.]

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Echoing the Fifth Commandment (Exod. 20:12), Paul writes, “Honor your father and mother” (Eph. 6:2, ESV). The precept applies across covenants, since it is in both Old and New Testaments. It is a basic moral law for mankind. Paul’s instruction is that children obey their parents (v. 1) and honor their parents (v. 2), which results in the children’s well-being, including “that you may live long in the land” (v. 3). Considering that last clause, and with no evidence to the contrary, the principle of honoring one’s parents applies without expiration. Whether we are children at home or adults on our own, we are to honor parents.

The verb, “honor,” translates the Greek timao, which Thayer’s lexicon defines as “to estimate, to fix the value…to revere” (p. 624). To “honor” parents is to make an accurate appraisal which produces required respect, realizing the debt owed them. Now, if that is the definition, what is the application?

The only obligation in the context associated with honoring parents is to “obey your parents.” We generally take that as applying to children living under their parents’ roof, and with good reason. For example, in marriage both spouses are to leave their parents in establishing a new home (Eph. 5:31). A man’s role does not include governing his grown children who have homes and families of their own. If so, it would imply that a wife is obligated to submit to both her husband and her father, with no solution for when the two differ. Instead of such an unworkable arrangement, God says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). So, while obeying is part of honoring parents while children still live at home, children who have moved out and make their own decisions are still obligated to honor their parents.

But, how? Here, inspiration leaves much to our judgment and imagination, revealing the wisdom of God since there are a thousand ways in which the principle can find expression. Having said that, here are just a few considerations.

First, if your parents raised you to be a Christian, be one. There is no better way to honor their legacy of faithfulness. If they failed to teach you the gospel, then learn it and be a Christian anyway, as the noblest thing you can do (even if they don’t immediately recognize it) is to live a godly example in front of parents (and everyone else). Not to mention, your soul depends on it.

Second, keep in touch with your parents. Surely, you cannot honor parents by having little to no contact. If they live far away, technology makes interactive options easier than ever via phone call, email, text, etc. How simple it is, with a smartphone, to take a picture and send it to Mom or Dad. Those little points of contact keep others “in the loop,” and mean more than the small effort it takes to make them happen. Though it seems technology dominates communication, don’t underestimate the impact of a handwritten letter.

Third, ask and value parental advice. The Bible places a premium on older age; it comes by life experience, supplemented with wisdom. “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man” (Lev. 19:32). Rather than be put out to pasture, the previous generation is to be respected. They are a resource who can help us out of a difficulty, or help us avoid it in the first place. The idea that brainpower peaks in our youth is not biblical. The older ought to know more than the younger, especially if they have logged many a year in the Lord’s service. “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation” (Psalm 71:18). To ignore a godly parent’s wisdom is often proof of a child’s foolishness.

Fourth, see to their care. It is, after all, the duty of children to take care of their parents when the time comes. Whatever assistance the government might provide, it is still the case that responsibility rests with grown children to care for aging parents. “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8; study also vv. 3-16). This is part of what it means to “honor your father and mother.” And, just as God’s “commandments are not burdensome” if we love him (1 John 5:3), it is an honor to help our parents if we love them. Perhaps it is the least we can do for those without whom we would not even exist.

Fifth, when your parents are gone, honor them by telling future generations about their lives, especially if they were faithful to the Lord. Memories of righteous ancestors can be a powerful motivator to help keep us walking in the light. God intends we do all we can in order to bring about multi-generational faithfulness, meaning our children are taught to be Christians, so that their children become Christians, on and on. If our parents or great-grandparents are waiting in Paradise, we want our children to know who they are, and to anticipate meeting them there some day.

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Weylan Deaver is a graduate of the Southwest School of Bible Studies, Freed-Hardeman University, and the Bear Valley Bible Institute. He preaches for the Sherman Drive church of Christ in Denton, Texas and serves on the faculty for the online program of Tennessee Bible College. He and his wife, Cheri, have four homeschooled children. His hobbies include hunting and songwriting. Follow on Twitter @wdeaver.

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3 Marriage Books to Read This Summer

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We love reading. Whenever we get extra money, it is tempting to just go on a spending spree of nothing but books. Some we read for entertainment; others for information.

There are some books, though, that just add value to some area of your life. Today, I want to share three books that, if you have not read them, will add value to your home; specifically, your marriage.

 

TO READ TOGETHER: His Needs, Her Needs

his needs her needsA classic book, Willard Harley’s book discusses what each gender in a marriage needs the most. It also discusses how husbands and wives can detract from each other’s “love tank” even without knowing it, simply because they are not perceiving their spouse’s true needs.

This is a great book to read together, aloud, and discuss. Get a copy here.

TO READ AND DISCUSS: The 5 Love Languages

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I recommend spouses read a chapter each, then sit down and discuss it. Another classic, Gary Chapman’s book is simple and straightforward, but lends itself well to further discussion. If you will read with an open mind, you will find yourself learning a great deal more about your spouse. Get a copy here.

TO GET THINGS IN ORDER: The Total Money Makeover

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Dave Ramsey’s best-selling book is still a must-read, but it is also a must do. I see couples regularly who are struggling with finances, and it is tearing apart more than just their bank accounts. It is pulling at the seams of their marriage. This simple book provides the basic blueprint for couples to get this part of their marriage on track. This is a wonderful volume to read on vacation, or just over a free weekend. Get a copy here.

And, if I may add one non-marriage book, the summer is a great time to dig into the Psalms, so why not check out my new book, Hymns of the Heart! Here’s where you can get a copy.

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

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The Hypocritical Blanket

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Almost every night, I say a prayer with my son and tell him goodnight. Though sometimes, admittedly, I rush through these last few moments before he goes to sleep, they are some of my favorite minutes of the day.

Some nights we read a story, every night we pray. He says a prayer, then I say one. I tell him “good night” and “I love you,” then his lights go out. It’s a routine I hope does not end anytime soon.

The other night, though, another step had to be taken. I was pulling up his blanket over him when I noticed I didn’t have hold of the sheet underneath. So, I reached way down to nearly the foot of his bed and grabbed the sheet, which was all wadded up down there.

As I pulled it up, I just looked at my 8-year-old son with a face that basically said, “Please explain this.” After his usual “What?” he said, “It looks made up that way.”

He was right. The blanket is thick enough that it covered up the sheet that had never been properly made up. It looked fine, but the sheet was now all wrinkled and creased.

As I heard him say that (with a sly little grin on his face that had me just a tad worried), my mind went to my own life. Are there times when I cover up a thought or an action with enough Christian stuff that I sure look like I’m all made up for the Lord?

You see, too often, we put on a good front, but our insides are all wrinkled and creased by sin. Anyone can put on a nice dress or a shirt and tie and smile for an hour at church. Anyone can shake hands and say the ever-popular “fine” when asked how they are doing.

We all look made up.

Inside, though, are we a wrinkled mess of secret sin?

That’s my lesson from a blanket (that was made up properly last night. I checked!).

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

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Healthy Boundaries

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The last few weeks have been exhausting to say the least. Events and decisions in America have been so polarizing lately. Sometimes it is hard to even want to hear another word about all of the controversy. But we must remember that important subjects are going to cause opinionated discussions. We are not just talking about freedoms and rights in America. We are dealing with issues that are going to determine where people are going to spend eternity.

I don’t know about you, but lately I have been considering the level of my association with some people who in the past I have considered friends. Many people I am acquainted with have been very vocal in their support of things that the Bible clearly condemns. What am I supposed to do about that?

The biggest problem is that I cannot have an open and intelligent discussion with some of them about what God’s word says because they will not accept it as authority. They would rather cower to social pressure and the political agenda, and they refuse to call what is right, right and what is wrong, wrong. It makes it very hard to move forward in any kind of relationship with anyone who has their mind made up and refuses to be shaped by the holy word of God.

Jesus told his disciples, “Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!” (Matthew 10:11-15).

It is purely ironic that as per the present hour in our world certain cities are mentioned here. But what is Jesus saying? He is reminding His followers that there are going to be times when we cannot get through to people with the truth. If we have made an honest effort and the truth is not received, we need to move on. I must first love people enough to have tough discussions which may bring about some soul searching and needed changes. Once that talk has taken place, if people fail to respect the authority of the written word of God, I need to travel along and let them go.

Christians are to be separate from the world. They have, by the grace of God, been set upon a rock. Christ did not die on a cross so that our faith would waver every time a political or spiritual controversy comes along. When struggles do arise we need to be engaged in profitable conversations. And if need be, we must choose to walk away from any relationship that would weaken our faith or cause us to be entangled in the cares of this life.

Setting proper boundaries in our relationships with others will promote health for us spiritually and keep us on the narrow path that leads to heaven. We need help and guidance from our God to make those necessary and wise decisions. It is my prayer that He will help us to know when to stay in the house one more night, and when to shake the dust off our feet and move on.

“And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” 2 Cor. 6:15

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Excited for A While

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A few years ago, I decided to put into practice the concept of beginning my day by hearing the Bible. I thought that might be helpful; especially in light of Romans 10:17: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (ESV).

I found an app on my phone that allows me to listen through the entire Bible each year. In fact, it has a number of different reading plans and a number of different translations.

I have tried for the past few years to not listen to the same translation every year. This practice has given me some interesting insights on various passages. 

Let me stress something. The fact I choose a particular translation as my “translation of the year” does, in no way, necessarily mean that I am endorsing that translation for anybody else to use. I decided on this practice for purposes of comparison only

That is definitely the case with the translation I am listening to this year. Although I do not even own a print copy of The New Living Translation, that is what I’ve been listening to. 

On some occasions, listening to that translation has caused me to shake my head in disbelief. I wonder how the people who worked on it could have come up with what they put in the text. 

There are also times when I have what I sometimes call a “hmmm moment.” I’ll hear something and think, “Hmmm; I never heard it put that way. I need to see how close that is to the original meaning of the text.”

That was the case recently as my daily passage included John 5:35. As you may recall, our Lord was defending His authority to some who were already seeking to kill Him (cf. John 5:18). In the course of this discussion, Jesus mentioned John; the one who was to prepare the way for Jesus.

Here are different translations of what Jesus said in verse 35:

  • King James Version: “He was a burning and shining light, and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.”
  • American Standard Version: “He was the lamp that burneth and shineth, and ye were willing to rejoice for a season in his light.”
  • English Standard Version: “He was a burning shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.”
  • New American Standard Bible: “He was a lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.”

It is interesting to notice that all of these translations speak of an interest and a time that was temporary. The argument could be made that those to whom Jesus was speaking lost interest in the message of John. It could also be thought that the Lord was speaking of the temporary nature of John’s ministry. 

It seems to me that both of these ideas come together as one remembers the purpose of John and of his ministry. While the Jews might have been interested in hearing a message about the Messiah (at least for a while), they did not accept the fact that John was pointing them to Jesus as that Messiah. They would have none of that.

As I listened to how this verse reads in the NLT, I realized that there are people living today who match the description found there. These people and their reaction have very little to do with their opinion of John. Their reaction is to the Lord, Himself. 

Please notice the words we find in the last part of John 5:35 in the NLT:

“..and you were excited for a while about his message”

How often does this happen with regard to the message of Jesus? How often does a person get caught up by an emotional appeal and the excitement of a particular moment and use that as the primary reason to follow Him? 

Do you know of anybody who, at one time, made a genuine commitment to the Lord and followed the example of the Ethiopian eunuch who “…went on his way rejoicing” after his baptism (Acts 8:39)? Do you know of any of those people who, in the words of Jesus, “…are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy.  But these have no root; they believe it for a little while, and in time of testing fall away” (Luke 8:13, ESV)?

The question of whether or not we will spend eternity in heaven is not a matter of being excited for a while. It is a matter of being committed for life.

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4 Ways to Make Every Weekend Memorable for Your Family

[NOTE: This week’s guest post comes to us from David Dixon. To learn more about David, check out his bio after today’s post.]

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In 1981, the band Loverboy released a song entitled “Working for the Weekend.” It’s a catchy little ditty, but the sentiment of the song is a worldly concept that should not apply to Christians. In reference to early Christians who had given certain days of the year greater significance of holiness than other days, Paul gave the instruction that every individual should be “fully persuaded in his own mind” (Rom. 14:5 KJV). That is, we are permitted to assign a holiness value to individual days, but we had better be completely confident in the righteousness of our evaluations because “he who doubts is condemned” (Rom. 14:23 NKJV).

In our world today, it seems that most people have given the period from Friday afternoon at 5 pm to Sunday night around midnight a different value in their lives than the rest of the week. Many people today truly are working for the weekend. One of Paul’s points in Romans 14 is that every Christian has opportunities to live and share the Gospel every day of the week. Our behavior as Christians should not change from day to day, even Sundays! And yet, the way our economy is structured, weekends are generally our “free time.” We spend more quality time with our families on the weekends than we are able to spend during the “work week.” So here are four suggestions for maximizing those precious moments when the whole family unit is together.

1. Plan everything around Sundays.

Our children need to see that in our lives nothing is more important than serving God. No matter if we are going out of town for a couple of days, or if we plan to spend a quiet weekend at home, our activities must be scheduled around worship. Not because we act, think, or speak differently on Sunday than any other day, but because we live and work Monday through Saturday looking forward to with great anticipation the day that we get to assemble with other saints for the purpose of praising God. Teach your children to enjoy worship!

2. Keep it clean.

We live in Florida, and Florida residents get a discount to some of the vacation destinations in Orlando. We were given season passes to Sea World as a gift, and we can make the trip and return home in a single day. Our kids love the whales and dolphins and penguins. Obviously, not everyone who visits Sea World professes to be a Christian. The majority of the people there do not wear enough clothes. As a preacher, I consider myself somewhat of an amateur sociologist; I observe people any time we are in a public place. At Sea World, it is instantly recognizable when someone is trying to be modest. Knee length shorts, full-length pants or skirts, and shirts that cover the shoulder are the exception at Sea World, and when a family is wearing that type of clothing, their behavior is notable. Sure, they are hot and sweaty, but they are modest! Whether we are working in the yard as a family or headed to the lake for some fishing, we can be modest and still have fun! I remember my parents emphasizing modesty any time we went for a family outing to a public place, and I sincerely appreciate it now. I don’t think those trips would have been any more fun or memorable if we had been dressed like everyone else.

3. Memorable does not have to mean expensive.

Week long vacations are expensive. That is why people usually only take one or two a year. I recently heard of a financial institution offering “vacation loans.” Folks, if we have to take out a loan to pay for a vacation, maybe we need to reconsider the intensity of our desire to be entertained. My family has not taken a full week-long vacation since before our children were born (unless you include “church camp,” which is the best use of vacation time, in my opinion), but we have had some very memorable weekend trips. Last year, we bought a four-man tent, and we scheduled one trip a month to different state parks around the state of Georgia. We experienced cold, heat, rain, shine, bugs, coyotes, and crickets. My kids weren’t always comfortable, but the experience was always memorable. And it was relatively inexpensive. Since moving to Florida and having a pregnant wife in the summer, we have not picked this tradition back up, but we will. Planning a trip or big event every weekend is taxing and draining, both physically and financially. One outing a month creates a repeatability your children can look forward to and prepare for, and it also allows for some downtime in which your kids can develop their own interests. Local community events, hiking or biking trails, or amateur sporting events can be wonderful inexpensive opportunities to make lifelong memories.

4. Insist on participation.

My son does not love camping, but my three-year-old daughter does. My daughter cannot operate a video game controller yet, but we spend family time playing Rock Band on occasion because her brother loves video games. As children become teens, they may have a tendency to try to distance themselves from the family unit. Parents are no longer cool. Regardless of how much they may resist, insist on the whole family participating in events that may not interest every member. As they reach adulthood the lesson will sink in: serving others can bring the greatest satisfaction that life can offer.

Our time with our children races away from us. Weekends are the times when we can embrace one another with all our quirks, and embrace God with all His qualities. Whatever you do, and wherever you go, let God be the Pilot and Navigator. When faithfulness and righteousness are our desires, every weekend can be memorable!

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David Dixon is the preacher for the Wesconnett Church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. He is married to Rachel and they have two children, Micah and Sarah, with Asher expected to arrive by September.

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Stay Off the Roof

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Our Sunday morning Bible class has been studying the book of Daniel. As we studied chapter 4, I realized an unusual link between the great Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar and Israel’s greatest leader, King David. It was not in their leadership styles or military prowess. It was definitely not – at that point – their shared faith in God. What struck me about both of these great leaders was they both got in trouble wandering around on their roof!

In the well-known account of 2 Samuel 11, King David strays from his normal mode of operation and sends his army out in the spring of the year without him at the head. A closer look at the early chapters of 2 Samuel reveals another change David made: he did not consult the Lord before making this decision. He should have known better. Relaxing at home in the palace, David is walking around the roof one afternoon and spies Bathsheba in a private moment. What results is a series of sins that, while forgiven, produce consequences that change the course of a man, a family, and a nation.

Similarly, in Daniel 4, we find Nebuchadnezzar ignoring previous incidents which should have made him pay heed to the words Daniel spoke to him in verse 27: “Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.” He should have known better. Instead, as we continue reading we find Nebuchadnezzar strolling on his own palace rooftop. His sin was not one of lust or greed, but of pride and self-praise instead of praise for the Almighty. His consequences were immediate and amazing, changing him from a powerful world leader to a crazy man living as a beast of the field.

While both men went on to learn from their mistakes (Psalm 51; Daniel 4:34-37), I couldn’t help but think, “What if they hadn’t been on the roof?”

But then … What if I hadn’t downloaded that book? What if I hadn’t watched that movie? What if I hadn’t opened that website? What if I hadn’t … After all, I should have known better!

One of the lessons we can learn from these 2 great kings in the Old Testament is to avoid temptation in the first place. Don’t set ourselves up to fail. Don’t get into compromising situations. Seek to gain the blessing found in Psalm 1:1: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers…”

In a sense, stay off the roof!

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The Power of Surrender

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We see these signs all over town. They are triangular in shape and red and white in color. When we approach we know that our job is to wait and see if there is other traffic before we proceed. These signs say, “Yield.” In context, to yield means, “to give up possession of one’s claim or demand; to surrender or relinquish physical control; to surrender or submit (oneself) to another.” We know it is not only the law that demands that we yield, but it is in our best interest and safety to do so. Sometimes patience pays off. Sometimes we are delivered by our willingness to surrender.

Years ago in Babylon there were three young Jewish men who also recognized the power of surrender. Their names were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. King Nebuchadnezzar assigned them Babylonian names by which they are better known: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. These young men were unwilling to worship the idol the king had set up. They would only worship the one true and living God, Jehovah. After being interviewed by the king and threatened under penalty of death they still resolved not to bow to the golden statue. They were cast into the furnace of fire and delivered without incident by the power of God.

As the three young men walked out of the fire unsinged, Nebuchadnezzar offered this corresponding statement: “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!” (Dan. 3:28).

Notice the phrase, “yielded their bodies.” An enormous amount of power exists in such a thought. The idea is that they fully surrendered themselves to the flames. Such is almost hard to fathom. The king recognized that their ability to yield was connected to the level of their trust and faith in Jehovah. The more we trust something the more we can surrender. People don’t jump out of planes if they don’t trust the soundness of the parachute. People don’t commit in relationships who don’t trust the one to whom they are committed. People will not yield to a god in whom they don’t truly believe. Our surrender and the degree to which we can yield our bodies to God will always be in direct proportion to our level of faith and trust in Him.

Which brings us to the final question: Can we fully yield to Jehovah? Talk is cheap. Real-life furnaces have a way of proving the extent of our actual commitment. But the deeper our faith, and the greater our trust, the more we will be able to surrender. Only flame-proof faith can discover the power of genuine deliverance. Only full surrender can experience the reality that there is nothing too hard for the Lord.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” – Isaiah 43:2-3a

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Racism is Heresy

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The recent shootings in Charleston, South Carolina have only brought into stronger relief the need to discuss an ugly issue: race relations. Each time there is a crime where race plays a role, it not only reopens the conversation, but it tragically opens old wounds, too.

Racism is sin. We know that, but I want to use an even stronger word today. Racism is heresy.

I choose that word very carefully. I do not throw around the word “heresy” lightly. It is, admittedly, a loaded term. To describe something as heresy is basically to say that there is such a chasm between this issue and what is Biblically correct that there is no middle ground. This is, to put it another way, a salvation issue.

Why would I choose such a loaded word as “heresy” and put racism in that category? Often, the term heresy is used to describe things like “Jesus did not actually die on the cross.” That statement, to anyone who trusts in the Bible as the Word of God, is heresy. There is no possible middle ground in that statement. Either the Lord Jesus did die on the cross or He did not. There is no way to compromise such an issue.

Racism is in that same category.

The reason is simple: the Bible emphatically states that God created mankind and that Christ died for all people.

Period.

There is no way around that. In the great resurrection chapter, Paul made one statement that is very powerful, though it is brief. He wrote, “For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish” (emphasis added, 1 Corinthians 15:39). The inspired writer did not talk about there being many kinds of human flesh, but one.

We are all children of Adam and Eve, though our skin color may vary widely. We are all humans, created in the image of God to His glory. In fact, the variety of skin colors found around the world speaks to the majesty of God. Consider the variation in things like flowers and the colors of fruits. We see that variety and glorify God for His design. The same is true of the variety we see in the spectrum of skin colors found throughout the world.

And we need to always keep in mind that Christ died for people of every race and nationality. He did not die only for people who look like me. He died for all.

To say, or even to imply, that another race is “lesser” is to undermine the very glory of God’s creation and the power of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Such is nothing short of heresy.

Each time there is a crime that grows from hatred, calls are made to figure out the motive. People put forward countless solutions; everything from government initiatives to gun control to indicting violent movies, and beyond. In reality, all of these may have their place, and the conversation is certainly healthy, whether you agree or disagree with a particular position.

But the solution is deeper than that. It is more simply stated, but it is harder to measure. That’s because it is knowing that racism is, at its core, not an issue that a government can fix. It is, instead, a heart issue. The solution is this: every person seeing every other person as a fellow soul, created by God to His glory, and one for whom Jesus died.

When we get that right, racism will end. Until we get it right, the heresy of racism will only continue.

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

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A Biblical Legacy of Faith

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Since yesterday was Fathers Day, I decided to preach on what I consider to be a biblical legacy of faith.  I thought I’d share some (but not all) of the things I talked about here.

I chose Abraham as my example of such a legacy. I thought that was a good choice since Abraham is included in “Faith’s Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11. 

Specifically, I chose the events recorded in Genesis 22 as an example of his “legacy of faith.” In the interest of full disclosure, I need to point out that some of the thoughts that served as the basis for this lesson came from brother Neal Pollard and a lesson I heard him present at Polishing the Pulpit last year. What follows is not necessarily his lesson, but what follows would not be written had I not heard him.

As you probably know, Genesis 22 contains information about Abraham being called by God to do something that most of us could never imagine. He was ordered by God to sacrifice his son. As we know, the sacrifice was not carried out; at least with his son. There was a ram that was sacrificed instead. I also recognize that, because of Abraham’s willingness to carry out the will of God that Isaac was “…as good as dead…” (Heb. 11:12). 

I recognize that there are some major theological implications in this passage. I also believe that there are some real practical points to be made for those of us who are fathers and/or those who, in any way, desire to leave a legacy of faith.

I will present the points I discussed as “bullet points” and some information. I am hoping that they may be building blocks for your own consideration.

It is my observation that a legacy of faith involves:

Love. I was not aware of this fact until brother Pollard pointed it out in his lesson, but the first time that the word “love” is used in at least most translations of the Bible is in Gen. 22:2, where God is speaking to Abraham and refers to Isaac as “…your only son Isaac, whom you love” (emphasis added). 

It seems to me that Abraham’s love for his son was seen in the simple word “we.”

This indicates to me time spent together. If is wonderful for dads and others to spend time with children in recreational and other quality time activities. It is even better when “we” can be used to refer to times of worship. 

Parents, especially dads, need to ask ourselves, “when was the last time I told my family that I love them?”

A very good friend of mine and wonderful Christian man passed from this life recently after a long bout with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). His widow told me that a day never passed as her husband was lying in a hospital bed without their college-age son kissing his father on the forehead and saying, “I’m so glad you’re my daddy.” Those were the last words my friend heard from his son before leaving this life. The last words the son heard head from the father were, “I’m so proud you’re my son.”

Submission. Isaac was able to watch his father follow without hesitation God’s commands to “take,” “go, and “offer” (v. 2). Maybe that’s why he was willing to lie down on the altar without any struggle. It needs to be remembered that Isaac was probably far from being a toddler when the command was given to his father. 

It could be easily assumed that, when he figured out what was going on, he could have easily overpowered his elderly father, but he did not. He submitted to his father’s instruction, just as his father had submitted to God’s instruction.

Hope. We read this in Romans 4:17 about Abraham:  “…in hope he believed against hope…” Do those around us, including our children and grandchildren, hear and see demonstrated before them pessimism, negativity, “gloom and doom,” or do they see and/or hear the firm conviction that “…the Lord will provide…” (Gen. 22:14)?

Growth. We will not take a great deal of space to develop this point. We will merely make one suggestion. We will suggest that the Abraham who questioned how he and Sarah could have children was not the same Abraham about which we read in Genesis 22. To be sure, he was the same man, but he did not have the same faith. I wonder if those close to me see a faith that continues to grow as I go through the various stages of my life; including old age.

I promise that I do not borrow all of my ideas from my brethren, but I am indebted to something I read in brother Steve Higginbotham’s MercEmail a few days ago. He told how one of William Shakespeare’s daughters had to make her mark when she got married. The reason for that was that she was illiterate. 

I did a little research of my own and discovered that the man whom many consider to be a writer who has no peers had more than one child who was illiterate. I cannot comprehend how a man of Shakespeare’s ability would not do all that he could to educate his own children.

It is also difficult for me to comprehend how anybody who wears the name of Christ would fail to do everything possible to leave a legacy of faith.

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