Wednesday evening we learned that Abraham, the Father of our faith, had God appear to him and told him to leave everything and go to Canaan. This was the first appearance of God to someone since Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden. However, although Abram had clear direction, he disobeyed God on several counts. The question remains, what should God do with someone like Abram who had received this word but disobeyed. Kill him? Recruit someone else?
God’s decision was to show him grace, unmerited favor for no reason. This is comfort to all of us who make mistakes.
Come next Wednesday and we’ll see what else we can learn about of father of our faith.
“Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ ‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked. ‘Come and see,’ said Philip” (John 1:44-46).
Philip was all excited because he had found the Messiah. He was convinced in his heart that Jesus was the One they were anticipating. When he reported this to Nathanael, he immediately judged Jesus based on His hometown. We don’t know why Nazareth was a second-rate community, but Nathanael was very critical of the place.
Observe that Philip refused to get pulled into that petty argument. He simply replied “Come and see“. When it comes to opinions, we can rarely win someone over to our opinion. So Philip didn’t try. Let Jesus fend for Himself. Just invite someone to come and see.
There is a strange passage recorded in Acts 16:1-2: “Then came Paul to Derbe and Lystra: and behold, a certain disciple there, named Timothy, the son of a certain woman, who was a Jew, and believed; but his father was a Greek: Who was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.”
What a strange background for a disciple. His mother was Jewish but his father was a Greek. His mother was declared as a believer, but not his father. Apparently romance has no religion. His mother and father apparently agreed to disagree on the faith question. However, Timothy’s mother’s faith apparently won him over.
It would seem that no one would have respect for a half-breed. Yet the scripture clearly says “he was well reported of” by the brothers. It was his faith in Jesus Christ that made the difference in Timothy. It really shouldn’t be our upbringing or our parents that set the level of esteem we each have, but our walk with Christ. What are people saying about you? Why?
One thing absolutely baffles me. I do not understand how parents can expect their kids to grow up with a healthy relationship with God while their parents model unfaithfulness to God. Children will follow the example their parents give them. If Mom and Dad play hookey from church whenever they have an excuse, that is a rail set that their children will follow with their children.
In a world that sacrifices faith on the altar of self, I’m praying that God will grab the hearts of parents while they still have an opportunity to influence their children’s lives. If parents aren’t passionate about their faith, neither will their children be. Let’s arise to the challenge the world offers our kids. There is an alternative. How do you want your grandchildren raised? Set an example of righteous holiness and God will bless your life.
Memorial Day used to be so much more patriotic than it is today. My childhood memories of Memorial Day were either marching to the Butler Cemetery with the Boy Scouts in the annual parade, or sitting by the curb and watching my Dad carry the flag by with the American Legion. The long-winded preachers or politicians speaking at the cemetery service didn’t inspire a little boy. But the snappy uniforms and polished rifles sure did. Those parades inspired pride and patriotism in me.
Something went sour in America during the Vietnam War. For the first time ever, military uniforms were disrespected. When I entered the US Army in 1967 soldiers in uniform received a discount when traveling on Greyhound buses. When I came home on a bus in 1970, the first item of business was to wear civilian clothes so we were not identified. We were all marked as baby-killers from a few atrocities in Vietnam.
Subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have returned much of that luster to American servicemen, but the casual, non-patriotic attitude of America at large has never returned. If you see a veteran today say, “Thank you for serving”. And remember those who didn’t come back.
“He also told them this parable: ‘Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit’?” (Luke 7:39).
The purpose of sight is to keep us from falling into pits. One blind man can not see any better than another. If the first blind man tries to lead the second, they both fall in. He was referring to Pharisees who were trying to lead others toward God when they couldn’t find the way themselves. Someone spiritually blind, as well, can only lead others into spiritual blindness. They will both be lost.
If I am deceived regarding the truth of God’s Word, I will lead others into the same deception, and I’ll do it with conviction and passion. But my conviction and passion doesn’t make it right. Taking the whole Word as truth, not just my favorite verses, is what brings truth from the Word of God.
Don’t be led by blind folks. And when you ‘see the light’, share it with others.
School is about to close for summer break. What will the kids do with all their time?
I remember the first day of summer break when a was a child. My Dad led me out to the family garden with a hoe in one hand. He explained the difference between a vegetable and a weed and demonstrated how to uproot weeds without uprooting the veggies. Then he put the hoe in my hand and defined what he expected me to get done by evening. Then he left. No supervision, just responsibility.
I could get that job done in half an hour today, but I believe that task took me all day. And I stalled until the heat of the day for most of it. Instead of setting my mind on the task at hand, I set my mind on all the things I’d rather be doing. And friends passing by on their bicycles didn’t help, either.
I did not like that first day of summer break, but it established a work ethic in me that has continued all my life. What will your kids be doing the first day of summer break?