Thursday, June 29, 2017

Great Liberty Demands a Great Price

Having grown up with so many privileges in this great country, I often fail to see what others don't have because I carry the incorrect thought that everyone has the same blessings that I have.  I truly know that this is not the case.  I along with so many others fail to acknowledge, honor, and give thanks for those who have gone on before us and have walked with a firm conviction that our freedom was worth sacrificing and dying for.  It has been 241 years since our country was founded and today, despite our weaknesses, we still remain the most  influential country in the world.  Their fighting, tears, and deaths were not in vain.  Though some would disagree, God was placed at the center of most of life during those founding years.  I personally feel that many blessings that we have reaped today have been a direct result of our nation's faithfulness to God.  The tide has been shifting for many years as our country has dethroned God from the courtroom down to the classroom.  Shamefully, many churches even strive to be politically correct and they dethrone God from the one place where God and Truth should never be questioned or removed--His church!

Spiritually, due to the sacrifice and death of Christ, we have been set free from the bondage and slavery of sin.  Our spiritual freedom demanded a horrific sacrifice--the death of the Son of God on our behalf.  Once again, this blessing is taken for granted by many of us as we have gotten used to that freedom.  Since we are so far removed from the initial sacrifice we often forget what was necessary for our freedom.  As Christians, we should wave the banner of Christ high in the sky and recognize that we have every reason to be spiritually patriotic towards Christ.  We certainly have no reason to hide the fact that we are citizens of Heaven purchased by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.  We are blessed with American citizenship and a Heavenly citizenship all at the same time.  Both come as blessings from God and both should be prized and valued.

Don't be ashamed to say to whom you belong.  Our identity is found first and foremost in Jesus Christ.  I would also like to suggest that Christians should be the most appreciative and patriotic citizens of all--knowing that it is God alone who is the giver of all blessings and freedom.

Colossians 1:13-14, "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." ~~Praise God!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Framing Our Words with Truth

Sometimes we are very good at framing questions or comments  as not to offend another person.  Our intent of asking or stating something might be very different from the words we choose to represent those thoughts.  In other words we can mask our true motives by choosing words that may not represent what we are truly trying to say.  This can be a form of deceit and yet God knows our motives.  Nothing is truly hid from Him.  We can strive to not allow others to see the real us but God always knows what is taking place deep within our hearts.  Sometimes we can use our words in such a way to assure others that we really didn't mean what they thought they heard us say.  The words we choose, the way we say things, and the attitude in which we say things says a lot about our relationship with Christ.

Scripture says in Ephesians 4:25, "Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body."  We are also told in Hebrews 4:13, "And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account."

We can attempt to make light of our comments but God truly knows the intent  of our hearts and we have to live knowing that.   Christ says that we will give an account for every idle word that we speak.  He also tells that out of the abundance of our hearts our mouths speak.  We can try to frame our words so that they always looks sweet and accepting to others.  However, the frame around our words may not truly reflect what is being said or taking place in our hearts.  It is the strong Christian who walks with a genuine heart and is able to speak the truth in Christian love.  This is a life long practice and discipline for all of us.  May Jesus Christ be seen at the center of all of our conversations.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fathers Forever

For many of us our child rearing days have passed.  Some of our most exhausting days have been being a father or mother.  Answering the questions of why or why not seemed to have no end--yikes.  Discipline issues with the children were more challenging than going to work for hours and swinging a hammer or working behind a computer--at least they did not talk back to you.

Both mothers and fathers are extremely important in raising God-fearing children that love the Lord and serve Him for a lifetime.  As a father, I'm aware of the temptation to allow our wives to maintain order with the children.  Too often, we as men remain passive in our responsibilities and fail to understand the crucial role that God has given us when it comes to bringing up little boys and girls.  After all, they long to have our attention and love.

Fathers serve a large role and do a job that only a father is equipped to do.  By choosing not to step up to our calling as a father we forfeit that privilege and responsibility to someone else.  It may be to our wives, grandparents, or a child's friend.  Many men have great intentions of stepping up but due to failure to make the time, the job of fathering is forfeited.  Young boys never truly learn what it means to grow into a man because dad never took the time to show them.  Young girls fail to understand what it means to be treated like a lady because dad never took the time to show them. 

Many of us call ourselves fathers; however, I wonder if a better term is to say that we are dads.  A father takes the time to nurture, discipline, shape, correct, and train our children even at the most inopportune times.  He lives out his life as an example to his children, even during the most difficult times in life.  He understands that his calling is a gift from God.  Perhaps this Father's Day we could recommit our own lives to be better fathers to our children--regardless of their age.  Approach your children, seek their forgiveness for lost days and opportunities.   Make the most of the days and moments that God gifts you with, to be a godly example to them and keep investing into them.

Being a father is a never ending job--as long as you are alive.  Why not consider trying to be a father to another young person who may not have the privelege of having a father in his or her life.