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Category Archives: Holy Living

“Sometimes I do mean things.”

For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5).

Children speak from the honesty of their hearts, even when it reflects their sinful nature.

Julia 1While finishing eating our cupcakes for Julia’s 4th birthday, Julia surprised me with these words, “Nana, sometimes I do mean things.” Prior to our little party, Julia had been in our backyard running water from the hose, making a puddle to jump in with her sparkly new shoes. Her mom caught her and gave her a little talking to about her misbehavior. No spanking though, since it was her birthday. I later gave her four affectionate old-fashioned birthday spankings and a pinch to grow on…fondly recalling my childhood memories.

Now back to Julia’s concern over her naughtiness. I asked her, “Why do you think you do mean things?” She quietly answered, “I don’t know, I just do.” Okay, got it! Julia’s sinful nature is becoming evident to her and to others. Because Julia has received the primary teaching of sin from her parents, and by the faithful conviction of God’s Holy Spirit, Julia is clearly beginning to recognize the reality of her inherited bent toward sin.

With her pretty blue eyes focused upon mine, I responded to Julia this way. “I know that you really don’t want to do mean things, but the only way that you will be able to stop doing them, is to ask Jesus to help you.” As she seemed to experience a small sense of relief, I told her I would be praying for Jesus to help her.

My prayer for Julia is the same one that I pray for all my grandchildren: That they will come to know Jesus at a young age, to love Him fully, to obey His Word, and to serve Him faithfully all the days of their lives.

I believe that teaching children who God and Jesus are comes more naturally for most parents/grandparents, than it does to teach them about the third person in the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.

While recently watching the made for T.V. miniseries, A.D. The Bible Continues, my spirit was revitalized by the dramatization of the Acts of the Apostles being infilled with the power of the Holy Spirit.

This same Holy Spirit (God’s Spirit) that was poured out upon those early believers is the same Holy Spirit who desires to infill every Christ-follower today.

We need to teach our children the only way to work out the “meanness” in our lives, is to receive Jesus as our personal Savior…to repent of our sins, and allow the Holy Spirit to begin His cleansing work in our lives.

Somewhere along their spiritual journey, new believers sense an internal struggle–the “desire” to sin. This desire comes from the original sin nature, (inherited sin of Adam). The only remedy for the sinful nature is heart cleansing by the infilling (or baptism) of the Holy Spirit.

Teaching our children to understand the difference between original sin (nature) and personal acts of sin is a vital part of training in Christian holiness (perfect love).

Pray for your children to be sanctified (or set apart for God’s holy purpose). See Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonica Church:

1 Thessalonians 5:22-24 (NIV)

22 reject every kind of evil.

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

It is true, God is faithful to cleanse (purify) the heart from original sin as we consecrate or surrender ourselves fully to Him. He promises to replace the inbred “desire to sin” with an abiding holy-heart desire to please our Heavenly Father above all other. Of course, we will continue to be tempted to sin, but with a cleansed heart, have the power NOT to sin.

The greatest joy of Christian parents is realizing the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of their children. Sanctification empowers every believer to serve Christ with a joyful heart.

The proof of spiritual maturity is not how “pure” you are but awareness of your impurity. That very awareness opens the door to grace. —Philip Yancey  

When David sinned against God, he acknowledged that he was “born a sinner.” And when David repented of his personal sin against God, he sought to be fully cleansed, or purified.

Psalm 51:  A psalm of David, regarding the time Nathan the prophet came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt.  Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.[a] For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb,[b] teaching me wisdom even there.

Purify me from my sins,[c] and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me— now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins.  Remove the stain of my guilt. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Renew a loyal spirit within me. 11 Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit[d] from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. 13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you. 14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness. 15 Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you.

16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.  You do not want a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. 18 Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings. Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.

Living in the Light (1 John 1:5-7)

This is the message we heard from Jesus[c] and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

Resources for teaching children the basic beliefs of Christianity and the doctrines of the Church of the Nazarene.

My Faith: A Nazarene Catechism for Kids is a concise introduction to the basic beliefs of Christianity and of the Church of the Nazarene. It is designed to give 6th graders a solid theological foundation for their lives. My Faith is available as an 8 week course and a 12 week course. http://www.nph.com/nphweb/html/waol/innerpage.jsp?c=WAOL&cs=CHILD&sc=MYFAI&ss=NA

  • Beliefs About the Triune God, Part 1: The Father

  • Beliefs About the Triune God, Part 2: Jesus Christ

  • Beliefs About the Triune God, Part 3: The Holy Spirit

  • Beliefs About the Bible, God s Holy Word

  • Beliefs About the Human Race and Sin

  • Beliefs About Salvation, Part 1

  • Beliefs About Salvation, Part 2

  • Beliefs About Entire Sanctification

  • Beliefs About the Church

  • Beliefs About the Christian Life

  • Beliefs About the Sacraments and Divine Healing

  • Beliefs About Things to Come

Important Need to Knows

  • The Apostle’s Creed

  • The Nicene Creed

  • The Ten Commandments

  • The Beatitudes

  • The Lords Prayer

  • Agreed Statement of Belief

  • Articles of Faith

  • The Church

  • The Covenant of Christian Character

  • My Faith: Certificate of Completion

A.D.BE SURE TO TUNE IN TO WATCH A.D. THE BIBLE CONTINUES ON SUNDAY NIGHTS, NBC, 8 PM CENTRAL TIME.  DISCLAIMER: DUE TO THE VIOLENCE DEPICTED IN SOME OF THE EPISODES, PARENTS ARE ENCOURAGED TO USE DISCRETION WITH YOUNGER CHILDREN.  HOWEVER, I PERSONALLY ENCOURAGE PARENTS TO WATCH WITH OLDER CHILDREN AND TEENS.  FOR BIBLE STUDY AND OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES TO ENHANCE YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF A.D. THE BIBLE CONTINUES, THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, GO TO DR. DAVID JEREMIAH’S WEBSITE: http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/therevolution/home.aspx

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2015 12: 05 pm - in Faith at Home, Holy Living

 

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God is the Lover of our Souls!

While reading my Bible this morning, I was reminded of how much God loves me. Interestingly enough, this early Valentine’s message came through a very unlikely passage of Scripture: Numbers 25 and 31 New International Version (NIV). The swiftness of God’s punishment came upon some of the Israelite men and the Midianites for their sexual immorality and idolatry. As I read the chronological events of this difficult portion of Scripture, the Holy Spirit helped me to correlate God’s divine love for His children with the severe penalty of sin. I concluded it is because of God’s amazing love, that He protects us from that which has the potential to not only rob us from our present blessings, but even worse, prevent us from entering the “Promised Land,” the eternal home God has prepared for those who love Him.

When the Israelites were preparing to enter the Promised Land, they were seduced by the Moabite and Midianite women to participate in idolatrous practices (Numbers 25:1-18); thereby provoking a jealous God to anger, and resulting in the death of thousands because of their sin.  Just like those who posed a threat to the Israelites’ entrance into Canaan, sin poses a threat to us and must be dealt with—to secure our entrance into Heaven.

I am thankful God takes every precaution to keep me from spending eternity apart from Him. He does this by demonstrating His amazing love and grace…daily in my life, and at times warns me of danger, and on occasion, delivers just discipline for my sin.

Because I want my children and grandchildren to enter the Promised Land (Heaven), I want them to know the love of God that is always demonstrated through His mercy and grace; and I also want them to understand the Holiness of God, which is often upheld through His protective and corrective hand of justice. God is the lover of our souls!

When teaching our children and grandchildren of God’s love and the beautiful plan of salvation, these verses come to mind. Help your children memorize them and take time to help them understand their meaning. Pray that God will prepare their hearts to receive Jesus as their Savior if they haven’t already done so.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:6-7).

“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23).

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Children enjoy making Valentine’s cards for their family and friends. Go to the Bible Parent website to print Valentine’s Cards based on 1 Corinthians 13: http://www.bibleparent.com/valentines.asp

Valentine’s Day is a great time to tell our children and grandchildren how much we love them, and it’s also a great time to tell them that Jesus loves them even more. And that’s a lot!

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“For great is [God’s] love, higher than the heavens; [His] faithfulness reaches to the skies” (Psalm 108:4).

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2015 8: 49 pm - in Holy Living

 

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Are we training our children to keep or break the Ten Commandments?

Faith @ Home Moment:

Our precious three-year old granddaughter spent the night with us Friday evening. During breakfast, she randomly posed this question. “Why did Jesus have to die?” I’m not sure what prompted her to ask this question since we hadn’t been talking about Jesus at this time. My heart welled up, realizing once again, God has placed eternity in the hearts of all people, including Julia Ann.  (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

The Ten Commandments – – Exodus 20:1-17 (NIV) 

10Commandments

 

20 And God spoke all these words:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

It dawned on me after becoming a grandmother for the first time, that I had not taught my children the Ten Commandments. As a young parent, and a young Christian, I suppose I assumed our three children would learn them at church. And as I recall, they did.

I was personally convicted to memorize the Ten Commandments, and soon after, displayed a Ten Commandments tapestry in our home. Looking closely at the Ten Commandments during this time in my life, I admitted to God, with a sorrowful spirit, that I had broken most of His laws. Within the next several years, I was led by the Holy Spirit to teach the children at our church the Ten Commandments, which included our first granddaughter.

Teaching the Ten Commandments is one thing, living them out in obedience to God in our daily lives is really where the ‘rubber meets the road’.  Idiom Definitions for ‘Where the rubber meets the road’

Where the rubber meets the road is the most important point for something, the moment of truth. An athlete can train all day, but the race is where the rubber meets the road and they’ll know how good they really are.

Back to my original question: Are we training our children to keep or break the Ten Commandments?

I was tempted to make a list of questions to serve as a personal check list, but instead, I’d like to challenge every parent to read/study God’s commandments and then take their own personal inventory.

Okay, I can’t do it! Here are just a few questions that come to mind.

 – Am I putting my personal pleasures/preferences/activities ahead of God? Do I encourage my kids to do the same? Does God get left-overs?

– Do my kids see me faithfully worshipping God with my time, talents, and treasures?

– Do I treat the Sabbath casually, like any other day? Do I allow my kids to miss our Sabbath worship observances to participate in sports or perform in their dance recitals?

– How’s my relationship with my parents and in-laws? Do my children see me treating them with love and respect, in word and deed?

I pray that the Holy Spirit will give parents/grandparents clear understanding of God’s commandments, and give them the desire and power to teach them diligently to their children/grandchildren; and with the power of the Holy Spirit, live them out in obedience in their daily lives.

The law cannot save us. The law cannot grant us salvation. The law does define sin and can condemn us, since we all are lawbreakers. (For all have sinned…Romans 3:23) God knew that no one could keep the law. God’s law does point us to Christ. The law cannot give us salvation, but it can help us see our need for salvation, and realize that righteousness must be a gift, not something we earn. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…” (Ephesians 2:8).

Scripture also tells us that when we do sin, we have a loving and gracious Father who will forgive us.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Projects

Memory Cards:  Write the Ten Commandments on index cards and laminate. Punch holes into the corners of each card and attach the cards to a key ring.

Ten Commandments Plaque:  Purchase or make an unfinished wood plaque. Have child paint or stain the plaque (I used a light gray paint). Print each of the Ten Commandments on the plaque and then use Mod Podge clear sealer. You can also use Krylon Metallic Textured spray paint that will give it a stone-textured look.

Favorite Quote:  The following quote from Dr. Woodie J. Stevens (Global Director for Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International, Church of the Nazarene) “Don’t lie. Don’t steal. Don’t murder. Be true to your mate. It’s the only way to a civilized society.”

Resources

I Have No Greater Joy Website:

http://ihavenogreaterjoy.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/10-commandments-5-minutes-and-prep-for-sundays/

Bible Story Printables Website: http://www.biblestoryprintables.com/BiblePrintablesTenCommandments.html#.VElVpWd0yUk

Ten Commandments Jewelry: http://www.thefind.com/jewelry/info-ten-commandments-bracelet

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2014 11: 59 am - in Building a Legacy of Faith, Faith at Home, Holy Living

 

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Time Flies…Don’t Waste Your Life

In the beginning God 2

God always shows up on time. I noticed a fellow blogger’s email in my inbox a few days ago. I try to limit who I follow, to those who have a genuine heart after God, and who share this passion through their unique writing styles. On occasion, for the sake of time or lack of interest in a blog title, I’ll either delete it or simply skip over it until I have time to read it. Oh, am I glad that I took the time to read this one! Not so much for the content of the blogger’s entry (although very insightful of a father child relationship), but rather, the reference to a video of Dr. Ravi Zacharias, author and Christian apologist.

After watching, please take time to evaluate the life you are spending while here on Earth. Then pray and seek God’s wisdom in helping you to live a life that will make an eternal difference for generations to come.

PLEASE TAKE TIME (ABOUT AN HOUR AND A HALF) TO WATCH/LISTEN TO THIS POWERFUL AND TIMELY MESSAGE. (Note: Skip over the introductory part of the video to 5:27)

Dr. Zacharias speaks on “Life’s Toughest Questions” at Highlands Church in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Recorded live 2011)

(Watch the video HERE, scrub to 5:27)

 

 

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How could I sin…

just hours after hearing a beautiful message of holiness, on Pentecost Sunday?

Initially, I tried to ignore the soft, yet undeniable promptings of the Holy Spirit. “Be truthful. Don’t lie! Be an example to your family.”

 A little more bait dangled before me. “It’s not that big a deal. After all, you are hard-pressed to make this work out.”

Six hours later, my mind flashed back to the day before. I spent a leisurely afternoon walking around a community festival with my husband. Returning to our car, I observed a young couple walking on the sidewalk, along with their two small children. Within minutes, the little boy veered off the sidewalk and began to take a short-cut through a clearly marked “No Trespassing” grassy area.  Immediately, the mother gently redirected her son’s steps back onto the sidewalk. Their conversation went something like this.

No Trespassing“Johnny, didn’t you see the No Trespassing sign?” He shrugged his shoulders and answered, “Yes, mom, but no one was looking.” Without skipping a beat, the mom then said, “So, this makes it okay to do something we know to be wrong, just because we don’t think we will be caught?” Her son quickly replied, “No, mom, we shouldn’t.”

 The Holy Spirit had been preparing me for a simple test of heart purity through this timely faith talk between a mother and son. God is faithful and will always provide a way out when we are tempted to sin. (1 Corinthians 10:13)  The choice is ours (mine).

The following quote from Dr. Woodie J. Stevens (Global Director for Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International, Church of the Nazarene), also crept into my mind.

“Don’t lie. Don’t steal. Don’t murder. Be true to your mate. It’s the only way to a civilized society.”*

This Thursday, I will begin leading a women’s neighborhood Bible study, titled Becoming a Woman of Excellence. Yes, God has been preparing my heart.

In preparation for our Bible study, I came across some of the following thoughts from an additional resource.

Resource from: Mark # 11: The Pursuit of Excellence from the series: Marks of Maturity: Biblical Characteristics of a Christian Leader, by author J. Hampton Keathley, III.

The pursuit of excellence is the matter of the heart, of the inner person. By itself, the heart is not a safe haven. It needs guarding or protection from invasion by the world  system around us and from the sinful nature that dwells within us.

The biblical view of the pursuit of excellence refers to pursuing and doing the best we can with the gifts and abilities God gives, giving our best to the glory of God.

 “ May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5-6).

“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:12).

Praise be to God, for the infilling and renewing power of His Holy Spirit, who cleanses us from all unrighteousness.  (1 John 1:9)

I thank God for His grace, which truly leads to confession of sin, and repentance.

walking along the road

 Faith at Home Lessons: 

  • The young mother clearly demonstrated the importance of living out Deuteronomy 6 – to teach her children God’s truth while walking along the roadside of life.

  • The Holy Spirit helps us recognize our own weaknesses, which can lead to sin.

  • Christ, through His power, will help us resist the desires of the flesh; and He instructs us to flee from the Evil One.

  • Guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus is a daily commitment.

I believe that being transparent with our children/grandchildren as they begin to formulate their own spiritual beliefs will help our kids develop a viable realistic faith. Let them know that you struggle with temptations from time to time, and on occasion, sin. Yes, it’s okay to use the word sin! (It seems to me that some church leaders have gotten away from using the word sin, and have replaced it with words like mistake, error in judgment, or wrong choice.)

Teach children the biblical truths about: sin and the sinful nature, repentance that leads to forgiveness, and teach our children who the Holy Spirit is and the work He does in a believer’s yielded heart (the sanctifying and cleansing power of the Holy Spirit).

I am thankful for the Church of the Nazarene, for upholding the doctrine of entire sanctification (heart holiness, Christian love, or whatever you choose to call living a life that pleases God).

 Resource Recommendations (From Nazarene Publishing House)

 The Young Believer’s Discipleship Series (WordAction Publishing)

http://www.nph.com/nphweb/html/waol/series.jsp?series=Young%20Believer’s%20Discipleship%20Series

Raising Kids To Extraordinary Faith – by Debbie Salter Goodwin

http://www.nph.com/nphweb/html/nph/search.jsp?q=Raising+Kids+To+Extraordinary+faith

*Pursuing the Mission – Booklet written by Dr. Woodie J. Stevens

http://www.nph.com/nphweb/html/nph/search.jsp?q=Pursuing+the+Mission

 

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If it’s the Lord’s will…

New Cov Logo 41113

Take a moment to reflect upon this phrase:  If it’s the Lord’s will…

Now ask yourself, when was the last time you included God in your decision-making, or plans?

Are we, as parents and grandparents, setting the example of praying for and discerning God’s will in our daily lives? If not, why not?

Teaching our children to diligently seek God’s will in their lives will take more than casually adding the phrase, “if it’s the Lord’s will” to our prayers.

Many of us (me included) can run around aimlessly if we are not intentional in seeking God’s will. Instead of saying: we are going to do this, or buy that, or go there, etc., we need to be sure that we are prayerfully asking God for His wisdom, His leadership, and His direction in our lives. This doesn’t come naturally, especially for those of us who are extremely independent and like to do things our own way, and in our timing.

Eight months ago we listed our house for sale by owner. Now, in my finite way of thinking, I certainly can’t understand why our house hasn’t sold, yet. After all, I prayed for it to sell. And it makes perfect sense to me for this to happen (yesterday!). And in my prayers, I did include “if it’s your will, Lord…,” but did I really mean it?

I know in my heart that God truly knows what’s best for us and I also know that His timing is often not the same as ours. God is all-knowing and all-loving.

When praying for God’s will to be done, we need to remind ourselves and our children that the outcome of our personal desires and prayers is always for His glory and for our good, no matter what the outcome.

Amazingly, I read the following Scripture this morning during my devotional time.

“In him we were made heirs, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory”(Ephesians 1:11-13).

We rarely know God’s will ahead of time, nor fully understand it later.  However, I’m so thankful that God does give us some absolute principles in His Word, which express His perfect will. Here are just a few (to share with your kids/grandkids).

God’s will is…

…for none to perish, but for all who believe in His one and only Son, to receive eternal life (John 3:16)

…to be set apart for His glory, by living a life that pleases Him

Living to Please God

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.  For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8).

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).

…to confess and repent

 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

…to forgive as we have been forgiven

“Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation’”(Luke 11:4).

…to serve

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

 This is just a starting point for knowing God’s will for our lives. Dig into Scripture with your kids/grandkids—to know and live out God’s will. This summer set a goal as a family, to read through the entire New Testament.  Take time to discuss the many ways Jesus and His disciples sought after and lived out God’s will in their lives. The Bible mini series is also available to watch through Netflix.

Living an intentional life that pleases God is what we desire. Jeff and I offer a faith-at-home ministry called Covenant Heirs to churches and their families. The ministry’s goal is to encourage and help equip parents and grandparents to intentionally pass down their faith in Christ to their children and grandchildren.


 

 

 

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Posted by on May 29, 2014 12: 36 pm - in Building a Legacy of Faith, Faith at Home, Holy Living

 

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Avoid Distractions–Just Drive!

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

Expect DelaysWhile driving to work the other morning, I became a little frustrated with the cars that were creeping along, potentially causing delays or even fender benders. My mind immediately raced to these typical thoughts, “Must be an accident, or someone got pulled over by a police officer.” Then I looked up and read the electronic highway sign that simply stated: Avoid Distractions—Just Drive. Now this struck me as rather funny! Yes, curiosity got the best of me as I looked around for the distraction that I should avoid. The only thing I saw was an old blown-out tire lying on the side of the road. Not much of a distraction, but sure enough, the cars all slowed down to look at a useless piece of rubber.

It dawned on me after my slight delay, that from time to time, this is what happens to me in my faith journey. All too often useless distractions keep me from moving along at a steady pace, and delay me from reaching the spiritual goals God in Christ Jesus prepared for me in advance. (Ephesians 2:10)    

See if you can relate to any of these so-called distractions in life.

  • Overlooked for a promotion at work

  • Financial setback

  • Cross words spoken in the “heat of the moment”

  • Much-needed vacation plans fall through

  • “Untimely” illness

  • Relocation due to “unforeseen” circumstances

  • Breach of confidentiality

  • Death of a loved one

  • Over committed lifestyle (busyness)

  • Divorce

My intent is definitely not meant to minimize the genuine hurt, pain, and frustration that these real life distractions can cause. Rather, my aim is to remind myself and others who may share the same goal: To leave a legacy of sincere faith in Christ to the next generation, we must “JUST DRIVE!”

This earth is NOT our forever home. Distractions happen in our fallen/sinful world all the time. We’ve been warned of this by God, so why do we always seem so surprised when we come across distractions in our lives? One of the most obvious reasons to me is that our present culture sets us up for failure (distractions intended to delay or even stop our faith journey into wholeness (holy living).

Present Weakness and Resurrection Life (2 Corinthians 4:1-18) (NIV)

4 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Conclusion: I know that we can’t always avoid the deep sorrows of life or even overlook a “useless” piece of rubber lying in our peripheral vision, but I do believe that when the distractions of life come (and they will), God’s strong desire for us is to….“JUST DRIVE!”

  • Remain faithful to God’s Word

  • Pray daily

  • Surrender our will to the Lord’s will

  • Keep our eyes on Christ, not on our distractions (This takes the Holy Spirit’s power.)

  • Don’t compromise our safety (salvation) by willfully disobeying God’s laws

  • Keep our destination (heaven) in clear view

Challenge to Parents/Grandparents: When the trials or distractions of life come your way, remember, we have a responsibility to our children/grandchildren to keep driving, and to finish the race of faith strong!

In 2 Timothy Paul joyfully recalls Timothy’s upbringing:

“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).

Later in Chapter 4, Paul realizes that his earthly ministry is quickly coming to a close and exhorts Timothy to follow in his footsteps, by faithfully proclaiming the good news of Christ.

Paul then concludes: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

At the end of the day, it is my hope and prayer, that our family will all be able to echo the same words as Paul.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2014 3: 32 pm - in Building a Legacy of Faith, Faith at Home, Holy Living

 

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