Friday, June 30, 2017

Surround Them

Our passage from yesterday continues and becomes even more pointed and specific.

"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them upon your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates." Deut 6:5-9

The people did inherit the land, but there were more words written emphasizing the obedience needed and the commands to heed. They were not only to take God's words to their own hearts but to surround their offspring with God's commandments.

I have to wonder if some of God's people back then were like me. God knows that I am often so scattered and busy that I need to be surrounded by His Word to be reminded of what is important and priority. Verses from the Bible that seem to speak to me in my situation are posted on cards on a small magnetic board beside me at my desk. I have tried to make it a habit to always start any work I do at my desk with Bible reading and study.

I believe that the Deuteronomy passage above was God being very specific. He wanted the Israelites and us to take this responsibility seriously and to make plans on how to pass along His instructions. Notice this transmission says nothing about taking our family to church and letting them learn everything in Sunday school. No, these actions are done in our own homes.

Though I believe that church attendance is a must, this isn't the primary place where our children will gain this Godly legacy. We have to understand that it is our responsibility to teach of God and His ways. And this should become as natural as talking about Godly things wherever we find ourselves.

So in the car on the way home from school we ask, "Where did you see God today?" In the morning we pray with our family, and we end the evening at bedtime in the say way. We post Bible verses on the bathroom mirror and challenge everyone to memorize it.

This passage of Deuteronomy is so specific because I think God was saying that He and His Word should be naturally mixed into our lives.

How do you surround yourself with the commands of God?

Do you discuss the things of God often?

Think of how you might incorporate God and His Word into your life and with your family.

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

God is Intentional

God Himself was intentional in communicating the heritage He desired for His people. In Deuteronomy He spoke through his leader, Moses.

"These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you. Hear, O Israel: The Lord your God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deut. 6:1-5)

Moses relays God's message to the people. And notice that first verse above. This message is not just for those of the generation listening but for the children and the children after them. God reminds them that He was the God of their ancestors, and He wants to continue to be their one and only God. Then He wants them to make sure that their children and grandchildren understand this.

This section of the scripture tends to focus upon how the individual will keep God at the center. There are instructions to keep the commands and obey what the Lord has instructed. Also it is reiterated that God is the only God. And in knowing this they should love the Lord with all of their being.

Promises appear here between the lines. God tells them if they will follow His commands and love Him, keeping only Him as their God, He will grant a long life and enjoyment in a fertile land of His providing.

Though this passage is taken from the Old Testament and is directed to the nation of Israel, I believe God still holds to this philosophy. He still desires that we obey Him and worship only Him. And He still wants us to instruct our children and their children in His ways. We should love Him with everything we are and show the next generation how to do the same.

Tomorrow we'll finish this passage in which God gives specific ways to transmit this important spiritual heritage to the next generations.

Did anything stand out to you? Please share.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

God's View on Legacy

Throughout the Bible, God encouraged leaving a legacy based upon Him and His commands. This was to ensure that future generations would know of Him, honor Him, and obey Him.

As early as Genesis we see this handing down of the birthright.

"So Issac called for Jacob and blessed him and commanded him: 'Do not marry a Canaanite woman. Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother's father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother's brother. May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now live as an alien, the land God gave to Abraham.'" Genesis 28:1-4

Do you have instruction and blessing to pass on to your descendants or only material possessions?

In some of Issac's last words, he passes on to his descendant, Jacob, instruction and blessing. He instructs his son as to what God would want in regards to whom he should marry. He also blesses him through tangible, as well as intangible means. The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words explains that within the old covenant, the blessing did include the possession and enjoyment of the land. However, this spiritual blessing also included "the joy of being in an intimate, personal relationship of favor with one's God." Issac desired to pass on a Godly legacy to his heir; he wanted to be assured that his family would continue to follow and obey God. Thus, he specifically communicated this to Jacob.

These specifically communicated instructions were intentional. Issac called for his son Jacob and verbally gave him specifics about how he wanted his son to carry on.

How do you pass on the Godly instructions and blessings to the next generation?

God Himself will give some suggestions on this in our next two posts.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Who is this Godly legacy for?

Unfortunately, we have an enemy who would like nothing better than for us to become lazy about this legacy transmission. Satan doesn't want us to pass along our Christian legacy to the next generation.

One of this enemy's greatest weapons is apathy or a feeling of we're all right. We may feel we do enough for our children to catch this legacy. If we take our children to church, that should be enough. We may even feel that much of this spiritual legacy transmission is the responsibility of the pastor or the children's minister or Sunday school teacher.

Our enemy will even go so far as to give us the false notion that we can let our children make their own way, find their own religion, or choose God if they decide to.

But as I have contemplated this and studied God's Word, I realize I can't leave the fate of my children or anyone else to chance or to our enemy. This sounds heavy and very serious. However, that is exactly the way this topic should make me feel. When I speak of a Godly legacy, I'm speaking of eternity.

Don't we want to be assured that our loved ones not only know Christ but have a relationship with Him? It's not enough just to know about Christ and be able to answer the Sunday school questions about Him. Jesus said that He is the Way, Truth, Life and that no one can come to the Father (to heaven) except through Him.

This legacy is much too important to just fingers-crossed hope that our loved ones will invest in it. When speaking of our eternal destination, I want to do everything I can to make sure my loved ones are there in heaven with me. To achieve this I have to be very intentional.

So who is it that I want to pass this legacy along to? I definitely want to make sure my daughter knows about Christ and eternity gained through Him. But I can't leave out those in my extended family. But wait, what about those friends I love? Oh, and those around me that God says I should witness to?

Everyone I come into contact with has the right and the need to know about this spiritual legacy for I don't want anyone left behind.

Make a list of those you want to pass this Christian legacy to.

As your list grows like mine has, you'll see the need for intentional legacy transmission. We truly are looking at ensuring a Godly legacy to the next generation.

Tomorrow we're going to dive into some scripture in which God is showing His view of this legacy transmission.

Please comment with anything that came to mind while reading this today.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Intentional for the Next Generation

On Friday we defined intentional and discussed the need to be intentional about the passing on of a spiritual legacy. But why must we be this intentional?

Today, our children are being distracted and even pulled away from all that supports our Godly heritage. It is not uncommon for sports practice or games or recitals and competitions to occur on Sundays and Wednesdays, taking the place of assembling for worship.

What activities have threatened to pull you and your family away from attending church?

I remember once when my daughter was elementary age, a friend at church asked her to attend a birthday party. But the party would be during the Wednesday night service. That confused me. I wondered why those parents would schedule this to conflict with church attendance. Her father and I said no.

Now many would think that we turned down the birthday party because my husband is a pastor. But that wasn't the reason. We explained to our daughter that by attending church at the regularly scheduled times, we were honoring God.

My daughter might not have realized it at the time, but we were showing her what took precedence in our lives. We were showing priority.

Why do you think many children are rebelling and abandoning their faith?

Honestly, I believe that our children don't see the relevance of our faith in our lives. We allow other priorities and activities to distract us from God.

Now I know one argument I've had with others is that attending church doesn't equal a relationship with God. I'm fully aware that I can worship God anywhere. However, what are we teaching our children when every other activity is more important than meeting with God's people and worshiping God?

We as Christians are to influence the world, but often it has more of an influence on us. And we must face the fact that what we hold dear is what our kids will hold dear.

If we want to raise the next generation of Christians, we must be intentional about transmitting our Christian legacy. This intentional transmission involves proving our priorities are based in God and our relationship with Him, refusing that anything else would seem to be above this goal.

Tomorrow we're going to zero in on who we want to transmit this spiritual legacy to. Subsequent days this week we will look at God's view on legacy transmission through Biblical passages.

We're off to a good start. Are there things that have come to your mind that you might share in the comments. Please share.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Why do we need to be intentional?

Intention means a determination to act in a certain way or what one intends to do or bring about. Such words like purpose or aim would be synonyms.

Thus, intentional means done by intention or design. Words like deliberate or purposeful would be synonyms here.

Let's face it. Our faith must be characterized by intention. We purposely and deliberately accept Christ as Savior and Lord for our lives. Our next aim or commission is to pass on this faith to those around us.

I feel my mother was intentional about passing on her faith to me. I remember when I was eleven years old, and our church had a revival. Not some one day kind like you see today. No, we had those revivals that started on Sunday night and went all the way through the week. Every night we gathered to listen to the visiting evangelist.

One of those nights, I felt something. When I got in the car with my mom on the drive home, I asked her some questions. She eagerly answered them. To be honest, I didn't have many questions because my parents and grandparents had always modeled this faith and been clear about it, as well as had me in a Bible teaching church.

The next night, I went forward to give my heart to Christ. I tell people that I understood it wasn't a family deal. I had to make the decision for myself. I couldn't ride into heaven on my mom's coat tails.

But back when I was growing up, it was the cool thing to go to church and be involved in the groups there. I hung out with my youth group and did things with them regularly. We often talked about what was going on at church while we were in school and openly invited others to join us.

So when I say that I feel my parents didn't have to be as intentional about passing on this Godly legacy, I don't mean they didn't encourage it.They definitely made sure I knew the Lord and His ways. I just mean that there weren't outside influences pulling against this transmission process.

Would you consider your parents to have been intentional in passing along a Godly legacy to you?

This is the point I feel it becomes more difficult for the current generation, thus requiring a more intentional effort to ensure a Godly legacy.

Monday, we'll explore this topic a bit more, looking at our current situation and our next generation.

What your feeling on how intentional one should be in ensuring a Godly legacy?

Can't wait to delve more into this topic on Monday.

Let me encourage you to find yourself in worship this weekend. If you don't have a place of worship to hear good solid Biblical preaching, tune in to my church service. We live stream on the link below. (And yes, that's me signing away for our deaf members) Join us at 10:15 EST.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Godly Legacies Left

As I stated yesterday, there were possessions passed on to me, but the things that had the real impact were the Christian principles and modeling.

My maternal grandparents had their pew at church. You know what I mean. They sat about halfway back in the middle section. Why would I consider this part of their spiritual legacy? Because it showed the priority they placed upon attending church, being there for worship. This was a huge deal for my mamaw. Her arthritis left her dragging a leg that had dropped six inches. She used a cane and then switched to a walker to literally drag herself into the sanctuary.

Sometimes I would spend the night with Mamaw and Pap. I slept with Mamaw. When she went to bed, she turned on her stack of records (dating myself here) which were of the southern gospel sort. Each record would play and drop down in succession, playing the Gaithers and every other gospel group she could get. She would prop on her elbows in bed and read her well-worn Bible. This showed a little girl that her faith wasn't just a Sunday thing; this was her lifestyle.

Honestly, when I was growing up, passing on a Christian legacy didn't seem as difficult as today. Church attendance took precedence. My parents were never faced with having to decide if I would attend an extracurricular activity instead of a church function. There were no conflicts in schedule. It was a given that Sunday and Wednesday evenings were for church and other activities worked around that. I can even remember teachers not giving homework on Wednesday because everyone was going to church that evening. For this reason, I don't feel my parents had to be as intentional about passing on a Godly legacy. Our very environment supported this transmission.

How about you? What can you remember about the transmission of your Christian legacy? Were there distractions and struggles for your parents and grandparents?

Is there something that stands out about how you "caught" your spiritual legacy? Or maybe a specific person?

Please share.

Tomorrow we will look at what is meant by intentional and why we should be that way about this transmission.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Legacies Left

As mentioned in the previous post, legacies can be possessions or in the way one has lived or has contributed. Here's some examples of secular legacies.

The King of Rock 'n Roll

Who was that? Yep, Elvis Presley.

The King of Pop

Who was that? You got it, Michael Jackson.

Not hard to think about these legacy leavers and what they contributed.

When my paternal grandmother died, I got her rings, sewing basket, and two pieces of furniture. But I more so remember her sweet, humble manner. She was such a servant.

There was more gained from my maternal grandmother, because I was around her more often. Her joints were wracked with painful arthritis, but she taught perseverance through that ailment. In fact, she modeled it once when I watched her put on panty hose. Oh my! The trick she had to perform just to have on that proper accessory for her Sunday dress. Makes me think when I start to whine I can't do something.

We can gain meaningful morals and values from those around us.

What kind of things pop into your head? Did you gain some kind of precious possession from a relative? Have you gained some kind of moral or value from someone in your life?

Tomorrow we will zoom in on Christian legacy leaving. But until then, share some of your answers to the above questions. Please, join the discussion.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What is a Legacy?

Now that we've shuffled through some memories, let's define what is meant by legacy.

Legacy can be defined as money or property left to one by a will. It can also mean something handed down from one generation to another. If you consult the thesaurus, you would find synonyms such as heritage, tradition, vestige, transmission, and birthright.

A heritage is valuable or important traditions handed down from generation to generation.

Vestige implies a trace, remnant, records, or moments.

A person's legacy is often based upon the material possessions or money gained which is passed on to a descendant upon death. Just as the word vestige indicates, these things are remnants, what a person left behind.

Legacy, however, can imply much more than material possessions. The synonym tradition can include beliefs, values, morals, or even occasions and practices that a person might leave to heirs.

Jim Rohn says: "I truly believe that part of what makes us good and honorable people is to have a foundational part of our lives based on the goal of leaving a legacy."

To me this quote from Rohn implies that we not only live for today without the future in mind. Part of what makes us respectable people is that we think about those who will come behind us and leave them with something that will live beyond us.

As a Christian, I would desire to leave a legacy based on my faith in Jesus Christ.

How would you define Christian legacy?

A Christian legacy to me would include the traditions, morals, values, and truths outlined in God's Word. This is a Godly heritage as opposed to just passing on things that have no eternal value. This transmission is to ensure that those who come after us know and serve the God we've come to know.

What are your thoughts on leaving a Christian legacy? What would you add to the definition? Please let me know in the comments.

Tomorrow we'll get more specific, looking at examples of legacies.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Let's Get Started

The best way to start our journey to a Godly legacy is to answer some questions about our own legacy. Hopefully, this will stir our minds and hearts so as we study together, we can be poised to apply what God teaches us into our own heritage-passage.

Now I will admit up front that I am a spiral notebook toting woman. Please grab whatever you prefer and be ready to answer this quick survey. I will be providing the questions and then at the end of the post I will share with you my answers.

So let's get started.

Were your grandparents Christians?

Did they attend church?

Were or are your parents Christians?

Do or did they attend church?

As a child, were you taken to church?

Were you involved in church activities?

Did you play sports or were you involved in some extracurricular activity?

Was there prayer in school when you attended?

Were there secular things that interfered with church attendance (ex: sports practice or recitals)?

What kind of Christian legacy did your parents leave?

How did they leave it?

Do you have children? Grandchildren?

Are they involved in extracurricular activities?

Have these activities interfered with church attendance?

What do you do to ensure a Christian legacy in your family?

Please feel free to add any explanation you wish to these answers.

Here's mine:

Were your grandparents Christians?
Did they attend church?
Yes. They continued to attend until my grandmother could literally not walk any more.
Were or are your parents Christians?
Yes, my parents are Christians.
Do or did they attend church?
They both teach and serve in the church I grew up in.
As a child, were you taken to church?
Yes, often.
Were you involved in church activities?
Yes. All the way through my childhood and into my youth, the church activities were what I was involved in.
Did you play sports or were you involved in some extracurricular activity? 
I wasn't into sports. All of my activity was centered around the church.
Was there prayer in school when you attended? 
There was prayer that morphed into the moment of silence.
Were there secular things that interfered with church attendance (ex: sports practice or recitals)?
No. I can remember that we didn't get homework on Wednesday nights because there was church.
What kind of Christian legacy did your parents leave?
A strong one in which I knew that God was priority.
How did they leave it?
We regularly attended church. You didn't miss unless you had a limb severed or you were throwing up. LOL Can I get a witness? I saw my mom study her Bible for her Sunday school class. I heard my dad talk about following Christian principles in his secular job. They modeled it. Their talk matched their walk.
Do you have children? Grandchildren?
I have one daughter.
Are they involved in extracurricular activities? 
When she was young, she was involved in ballet. But the ballet company was a Christian one, so I knew they wouldn't go against our standards.
Have these activities interfered with church attendance? 
Ballet didn't interfere but there were Christian friends who would ask her to do things during regularly scheduled church times. We didn't allow it.
What do you do to ensure a Christian legacy in your family?
I have always stood my ground in making church time a priority and making sure my family knows why. We don't attend church for attending's sake. We do this in obedience and to show God He is number one. I have also tried to "get caught" reading my Bible. What I mean by that is this, I try to practice the disciplines of reading my Bible and prayer so that I am modeling it more than demanding it.

So, did that little survey stir up any memories about your Godly legacy? I hope it might have whetted your appetite to dive into this study. Now more than ever I feel an urgency to make sure those I have influence over know about God and His plan of salvation and also the way in which God would have us to live.

I'm so glad you're joining me on this journey.

If something stirred in you about your legacy, please share in the comments. I love to hear from you.

Until tomorrow ... keep shining His light!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Godly Legacy - Am I Leaving One?

Anyone who has followed me for very long knows that one topic I often gravitate towards is that of a Godly legacy.

I want my family and those I have influence over to carry on the Christian heritage that began long ago in my lineage. But this task can't be accomplished through casual and unfocused transmission. This legacy is too important to just hope others will catch on to it.

No, passing on a Godly legacy takes concentration and being intentional. I don't want to risk feeling nonchalant about such an important task. This legacy involves life and death and eternity. Heavy, I know. But true.

Because I have spent many years studying scripture, focusing upon this topic, I feel the need to share with you what God has taught me, as well as deepen my knowledge.

Soon I will begin a series here entitled: 40 Days to Intentional: Ensuring a Godly Legacy.

I pray you might take this journey with me through scripture study and self analysis to discover how we might be more intentional about guaranteeing that our Christian heritage continues long after us.

I'm hoping to begin on Monday, June 19th.

Please join me and get ready to share in the comments about your legacy. I'm excited to take this journey with you!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Reminder

Hey, Readers, I've had quite a year. Can you relate? I'm sure many of you can.

My part time job in the school system was taxing because the teacher I was working with had some family issues. She ended up retiring at Christmas. Ugh. Now who would they get to replace her?


Then the publisher I worked with as an acquiring editor announced the doors would have to close.

Additional stress.

My mother was facing back surgery coming in January.


Something I didn't know - stress can cause some illnesses. I was awakened one night with a sudden pain in my left ear. It felt like someone had stabbed it with an ice pick. I had some swelling on that side and knew I better get to the doctor. I must have let it go too long and I had a bad infection. My doctor shook her head and announced: You have shingles.

What? No time for that.

As I stuffed in the strong meds for shingles, I started crying out to God - What are You doing? What is this?

I'm happy to report that the replacement teacher turned out to be a great fit. Another larger publisher acquired the imprints and editors from the closed publisher. The new publisher even turned out to be the one that published my first book. My mother did great with her surgery. She's tough. And I got through the shingles outbreak.

Recently I heard a song that perfectly expresses this time in  my life and what I learned. Please take a moment to listen and let the lyrics sink in. I'm sure there's someone else that might need to hear this message and hold on because this is gonna make you stronger. Let God use everything. There's nothing He can't use to make you stronger and teach you things.

Click here to listen to Mandisa's song, Stronger

Can you relate to the message in this song? Share in the comments.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Check out a new book from Delia Latham!

Please help me welcome Delia to my blog by taking the time to check out her newest release.

Dream on!
Let’s talk about dreams.
Let’s talk about prophetic dreams.
God used dreams to speak to folks, from prophets to kings to the average ‘blue-collar’ worker in the Bible. Joseph was a carpenter whose dreams led him to take an unwed mother as his wife. Later, a dream allowed them to escape from the evil Herod, who wanted to kill baby Jesus. Later still, Joseph was made aware—yes, in a dream—that Herod was dead and it was safe to return home.
Another Joseph—he of the coat of many colors—was also a dreamer of many dreams. Some  symbolic, some prophetic. But he dreamed…oh, yes, indeed he did! So did his father. Jacob’s dream of angels ascending and descending a ladder to Heaven is famous even today. Daniel dreamed. Nebuchadnezzar dreamed. Abraham. Samuel. Solomon.
It is my firm belief that the Book which relates all these dreams—The Holy Bible—can be trusted above all others.
So I’ll say it again: Let’s talk about prophetic dreams. Dreams that—
·        foretell a future event;
·        seem to provide warning or guidance for something yet to come;
·        come true.
Scientists dismiss the idea (along with Divine Creation, Jesus healing the sick and raising the dead, etc.). They say the dreamer self-edits her dream after the events happen. Dream recall is, in fact, often inaccurate, which makes for a strong argument. Science suggests that recall changes along with unfolding events. By the time a crucial occurrence takes place, the dreamer believes he dreamed the exact incident.
Also, we know that our subconscious works all the time—awake and asleep. Therefore, the sleeping mind is able to piece together current events and their possible outcome more quickly than the conscious mind. Therefore (says science) a dream that, in retrospect, might seem prophetic, most likely is a result of the dreaming mind having pieced together information you already had and producing a plausible outcome.
All excellent arguments…but I still believe in prophetic dreams.
No, they don’t happen as often as they did in Bible times, probably because we now have the Bible itself, which (based on 2 Timothy 3:17) fully equips us, revealing all we need to know as Christians. But God still speaks into the minds of men and women today, when doing so fits His purpose. If that means making them aware of future events through a dream, well…He is God. He can and will do as He pleases, with or without our belief or approval.
Just such a dream happens on a recurring basis at the beginning of Summer Dreams, Book 2 in my Paradise Pines Series. God uses that dream not only to save the life of the heroine, but to bring her together with the hero.
I loved writing the dream scene in this book…and the rescue scene—oh, I admit it, I enjoyed the “making of” this entire story. As readers, I hope you’ll be willing to suspend your disbelief (if you happen to not believe in prophetic dreams) long enough to enjoy reading it. You may find more than one blessing tucked into the pages of this seaside romance.
Yes, I said ‘blessing.’ And unlike dreams—which can be good, bad, or totally awful—blessings are always wonderful. Undeserved, unmerited, freely given gifts with no price tag and no payback date.
Let’s talk about blessings…

About Summer Dreams:
Summer Callahan isn’t in Cambria for the beach or the ocean or the pine-scented air around Paradise Pines Lodge. She’s there as a companion to her flighty cousin, Deah—with the understanding that they will have separate agendas the entire time. Summer just wants to be left alone to dream up the romance novels she writes under a pseudonym.
But never in Summer's wildest writer's imagination does she dream of being caught in an undertow and almost drowning, only to be rescued by a wealthy artist. And when Logan Bullard proves hard to shake, Summer fears for her heart—especially when Deah sets her sights on Logan.
But at Paradise Pines Lodge, what's meant to be has a way of the best time and in the best way. Miss Angelina Love—who may or may not own the place—has an "in" with Heaven's own "department of romance." And she's determined to see Summer and Logan together.
Amazon            Pelican Book Group            Barnes & Noble
Want a peek inside first?
Check out the Rafflecopter giveaway. It runs through June 21st, with a winner each week, and a grand prize winner at the end.

About the Author:
Writing Heaven’s touch into earthly tales, Delia Latham puts her characters through the fire of earthly trials to bring them out victorious by the hand of God, His heavenly messengers, and good, old-fashioned love. You’ll always find a touch of the divine in her tales of sweet romance.

Sounds intriguing! How about it readers? Another book to add to your summer reading list? 

Thanks for sharing about your new book, Delia!