Monday, July 31, 2017

Stay Firm and Consistent

Do you struggle with consistency?

I've always heard that parents must remain firm and consistent in disciplining their children. When we aren't firm and consistent, our children can become confused about what is acceptable behavior or what is truly right or wrong.

This idea of being firm and consistent transfers into passing along a Godly legacy. In this I must remain consistent.

When my daughter was a teenager, her father and I were fairly restrictive on what she watched on television and the movies she saw. One day she approached me rather upset because some of her peers had teased her because she hadn't watched a particular TV show. She went on to explain that her friend told her this was a good show and she should try it some time. Because these friends were from the youth group at church, I decided that we would watch an episode together. We lasted about two minutes before I abruptly turned it off. The language and morals portrayed were not appropriate for a Christian of any age.

I have been labeled overly-protective, old-fashioned, and strict by people in my own family, but I cannot allow the world to creep in and desensitize us to God's will. When we watch what the world watches or listen to what the world listens to, we are conforming to the world. The more we engage in what the world offers, the more the lines of Godly discernment blur.

Do you find that others label you strict because you desire to follow God's commands consistently?

Friday, July 28, 2017

More on Teachable Moments

What kinds of lessons concerning the things of God could become teachable moments?

Since I homeschooled my daughter, I had the opportunity to see her growth in many areas. None was more pleasing than in her spiritual maturity.

Prayer time became a teachable moment. Her father and I tried to make sure we modeled prayer for her. And we instructed her. When she would pray, we would encourage her to make it a conversation, not just rote recitations.

Although difficult sometimes to do, one teachable moment to take advantage of is when I would make a mistake or lose my temper. I modeled asking for forgiveness and even discussed with my daughter how I might avoid that situation in the future.

There are teachable moments that occur when we are with other persons as well. When facing trying times, we teach through our attitudes, words, and actions.

When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, she taught others through her faith. She emphasized prayer to bring her through, which instructed others in the importance of prayer. She also displayed an attitude of trust in God, knowing He was in control. Her motto was that of Paul: "To live is Christ, to die is gain." She won either way.

We can learn many lessons through teachable moments, those moments when the instruction is the most meaningful and timely.

To pass on a Godly heritage, we should take advantage of our teachable moments and focus on the meaningful instructions of God.

What have you taught through a teachable moment?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Teachable Moments

Often as parents and teachers we are encouraged to take advantage of teachable moments. Of course we have all taught different concepts in the classroom or when they come to mind. But instruction can be more meaningful in context.

Let me give you an example. When my daughter began learning about money and the concept of making change, we would do the workbook pages or use play money. But the more meaningful way was to learn in context. She would accompany me to the grocery store, and I would ask her to calculate the change I would receive. Or I might ask her to tell me which brand of a food was a better buy and by how much. We would also do this when we went to a restaurant. She learned to make change and learn about money in a real situation.

But I didn't restrict these teachable moments to academics and life skills only. As a Christian parent I saw the need to use teachable moments to instruct about faith and the things of God. There was also an aspect of studying my daughter's bent and discovering her gifts and abilities, so I could encourage those.

Have you used teachable moments? Is there a particular one that comes to mind you might share?

Do you find teachable moments an effective way to instruct?

Tomorrow we will continue to consider this topic about teachable moments more pointedly in regards to our Christian legacy.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sunday is for Worship at Church Pt 2

In our house, we have decided that nothing comes before church attendance. My daughter was to be in a ballet recital. The dress rehearsal was scheduled for Wednesday evening at exactly the same time as our church's midweek service. I kindly informed the ballet mistress that my daughter wouldn't be in attendance. To compromise would mean that I believe if something else comes up, it's okay to do that instead of attending church.

I feel that by not allowing other activities to interfere with our church attendance, I am teaching my daughter the proper place for honoring God in our priorities.

When my daughter attends worship and Sunday school, her knowledge of the things of God increases and are reinforced. I thank God for those Sunday school teachers and youth leaders who help instill God's Word into children and youth each week.

Even if our schedule is busy, time for corporate worship must take priority. If we allow sports practice or other activities to take precedence over our church attendance, our children won't believe we truly honor God and put Him first.

People other than our children will also notice our worship attendance or lack thereof. We influence others in our family, neighbors, co-workers, and friends as well. They are watching to see what priority we place upon worshiping the God we serve.

To ensure a Christian legacy, we must "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy."

How do you combat an interference with church attendance or activity?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sunday is for Worship at Church

The first strategy I have personally employed to follow God's instructions and pass along a Christian heritage is to obey the fourth commandment.

God commanded us to "remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy." God "blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." Exodus 20:8-11

God set this day apart for rest and focus upon Him. In another verse in the Bible we are told not to "forsake the gathering of the saints." Hebrews 10:25

Today the way we honor this commandment is by setting aside specific times to attend church. These are times we worship corporately as well as times we receive instruction and encouragement for living our Christian lives.

Our time is in such demand. We are so busy with our lives that we must schedule the activities we want to accomplish. In doing so, our priorities become evident; that which we value most gets our time.

I know some people argue that they can worship any place. And I know that is true. I can certainly worship God while out in His creation. But God specifically made the Sabbath holy. That means it is set apart and different than other days. For me this implies that I have to make sure I am keeping it holy - set aside and different than my other days.

Let's continue our discussion of the Sabbath tomorrow.

In the meantime, do you attend church regularly? How do you keep the Sabbath holy?

Monday, July 24, 2017

How to Convey Non-Negotiable Truths

Now I study my list and brainstorm ways to convey these truths.

Here's my list of non-negotiable truths:

I want others to know there is one God, Who sent His Son, Jesus, to die for every person who believes and accepts.

I want others to come to salvation through Christ.

I want others to accept and stand on the Bible as truth and God's words and instruction.

I want others to realize God has a plan for them and has gifted them.

I want others to understand that they are filled with the Spirit, Who guides and teaches them through the Word.

How can I convey these truths to those around me?

Church attendance
Take advantage of teachable moments
Stay firm and consistent
Be an example - Model it
Celebrate God "things"

Start to brainstorm your list.

Tomorrow I will take each practical action and discuss it for a couple of days, matching the actions up with my truths.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Non-Negotiable Truths

Yesterday, I shared with you my non-negotiable truths.

Now it is your turn.

Think about what it is in your spiritual legacy you want to pass along. What are those big ideas, those big truths, that you must ensure that the next generation understands?

Start by just listing whatever comes to mind.

Now, read over your list. Do you have some repeated truths?

Hone your list until you feel it shows the most important truths you are compelled to pass along.

Hold onto your list. On Monday, we'll start to work on finding the practical ways to convey these truths.

Did your non-negotiable truths come easy? Did you struggle to think about what truths you want to pass along? Please share in the comments.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

How Do I Make It Practical?

This is the question I asked myself. I understand the need to pass along a Godly legacy, but I need practical ways to accomplish it.

I asked myself: Where do I start? I realized that I needed to know what it was that I wanted to pass along. What are my non-negotiable truths?

Here's what I came up with:

I want others to know there is one God, Who sent His Son, Jesus, to die for every person who believes and accepts.

I want others to come to salvation through Christ.

I want others to accept and stand on the Bible as truth and God's words and instruction.

I want others to realize God has a plan for them and has gifted them.

I want others to understand that they are filled with the Spirit, Who guides and teaches them through the Word.

By knowing these non-negotiable truths, I can now come up with practical ways to pass this along.

Have you ever considered the truths you want to pass along to your children and those you have influence over? Consider this and return tomorrow, ready to list your non-negotiable truths.

Y in Legacy is Yoke

Again I find myself posting for yesterday and today. But we laid a dear saint to rest yesterday and that took precedence.

The Y in Legacy stands for yoke with Christ. There is no way to go alone, but God is willing to yoke with us to help us leave His legacy.

"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Oftentimes I can let my guard down and feel comfortable, not remaining active in leaving this Christian heritage. Let's face it. When those around me make professions of faith, I can become lax. But this command stands all the days I'm still alive on this earth.

And honestly, friends, sometimes I just become weary. My pastor/hubby says that the pull downward is easier to allow than the pull upward. It's easy to think we are okay. We have enough of Jesus and we've done enough. But we should never let our enemy trick us into believing this lie.

The only way to remain faithful in leaving this legacy is to yoke with God. Just as the verse says above, He is the One to encourage and strengthen us for the task. I can't be satisfied because there are always those who need to know about Jesus and then learn to pass along their faith, so we never find ourselves in a place like the generation after Joshua who didn't know God or His ways.

I stay yoked by reading God's Word, praying, and attending Bible study at my church.

Remember, a yoke was used to harness two or more animals together. In this way, the animals could pull together, making them stronger than if they were alone. Now think of yourself yoked to God. Wow, the power and strength to be found in that!

How do you stay yoked to God?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

C is for Consistency

Consistency - this can be a challenge. To stay firm and not to waiver might just be one of the hardest things to do in passing along this Godly legacy.

Let's get some motivation from God's Word.

"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel." Philippians 1:27

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." Ephesians 6:10-11

Our enemy wants nothing more than for us to become tired and weak in this endeavor. But we have to stand strong and contend for our Christian heritage until the end.

How do you remain strong and consistent in passing on your legacy?

Monday, July 17, 2017

A is for Abstain

Just as there are things we should actively do, there are things we should steer away from from.

"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:14-15, 22-24

Here we are warned to abstain from what does not measure up to Godliness.

At the beginning of this passage there is a warning to not be tricked into listening to those who are teaching falsely or what doesn't quite measure up to what God's Word says. Don't accept the teaching and preaching you hear at face value as being "gospel." Test it with what you read in the Word with the help of the Holy Spirit as your Guide. This is something that must be modeled to those we are passing our heritage down to. We must all be able to discern what is sound doctrine and what is not.

We remember that when we accepted Christ, we became new in the attitude of our minds and made to be like God, holy and righteous. We continue to grow into this, becoming like Christ, which may mean that be abstain or stay away from things we might have been involved in before. Now we live as a new person.

For me, this abstaining is further proof of how important and precious this Godly legacy is to me, and thus critical for me to pass on.

Have you encountered teachings that go against God's Word? Have you had to use Scripture to show someone else that a teaching was untrue?

Take a moment, as I often do, and analyze whether your old self has crept back into your life. Make a point to put it off and renew your mind in accordance with God's Word.

The G in Legacy

Today you get a double whammy. One should never assume when she is away teaching at a conference that the internet will work, allowing her to post to her blog. Sorry about that.

So this is the post you should have received on Friday.

The G in Legacy is for get actively involved.

"Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16

Here's where I think we're encouraged to be intentional and active in passing along a Christian heritage.

These two little verses pack a punch. There's a warning about how we live out this testimony. Also notice the implication of choosing the wise way to live. Wisdom comes from God, and He will lead you in the right way to live out your legacy. Then you encounter the push to get active in this - make the most of every opportunity.

I can't help but be reminded of the verses from the Old Testament we have already studied about keeping God and His ways in front of our children. He encouraged them to keep Him in front of their children upon every opportunity.

For me to be actively involved in passing along this Godly legacy, I had to make it a matter of habitual thought. If I am to take advantage of every opportunity to impress God and His commands on those I have influence upon, I have to train myself in His wisdom and look for every teachable moment or modeling I can do.

How do you get actively involved in passing along your Christian heritage? Are you taking advantage of all opportunities?

Notice that last part of the verse: "because the days are evil." I would prefer for my children and those around me to follow a Godly path instead of the very easy and attractive way of evil. But this is what we're fighting against every day.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The L in Legacy

Yesterday we studied the fact that to be able to pass on a Godly legacy, we have to have one to pass on.

Now we jump back to the L in legacy which stands for lead.

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you received." Ephesians 4:1

This verse encourages us to live a life that is worthy to follow. Whoa! Does anyone else feel a load of responsibility?

Honestly, for me personally, this means I have to lead a life that proves my legacy is worth following. If I constantly stray from God's path for me, how can I encourage someone else that they should follow God's way? Makes me think of the adage: Don't just talk the talk but walk the walk.

Am I leading others to God by my life? If others follow me, will I lead them to Christ?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Can't Give What You Don't Have

Let's use the word, Legacy, as an acrostic. But I must warn you that I have to start with the letter, E. You'll understand why shortly.

The letter E stands for experience God.

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. ... For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light ..." Ephesians 2:1-2, 8

Before you can pass along a Godly legacy, you have to have it for yourself. You have to claim His salvation and relationship then live it out in your everyday life.

Friend, if you have never made Jesus the Savior, Lord, Leader, and Boss of your life, this is your first step toward a Christian heritage.

I accepted Christ when I was eleven years old during a revival service at my home church. I have continued to learn what it means to not only make Him Savior but also Lord. This means He is in control of my life. I look to Him for guidance and try my best to obey what He calls me to do. My relationship with God through Jesus now compels me to share with those around me, so they might also have a relationship and future.

As I began to think about passing along this Christian heritage, I first analyzed myself. Have I had this salvation experience with God? Have I accepted the salvation He offers to me through His Son? Am I continuing to work on this relationship through studying God's Word and following its instructions?

I can't give what I don't have.

I suggest to you that you might consider the questions above. Can you answer yes to the questions?

We'll consider the L in Legacy tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

God's Word is for Passing On

We have seen several passages from the Old and New Testaments about transmitting a Godly legacy. But ultimately the whole Bible is instruction for us to pass on.

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:14-17

These verses show a transmission of a Godly legacy. The encouragement is to continue in what has been taught. The implication is that Scripture has been used since being just a young infant.

Then the verses emphasize the benefits of Scripture. First, God inspired the Word. And these words are exactly what is needed to be learned and to correct our lives.

Do you study God's Word?

How do you encourage others to read God's Word? This is a part of passing on a Christian heritage.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Timothy is Proof

"I have been 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

Paul is writing to Timothy, his prodigy. Obviously either Paul had met Timothy's mother and grandmother or he had heard of their faithful training to Timothy. At any rate, Paul recognized this legacy of faith that had been purposefully transmitted.

Because his grandmother and mother valued their faith, they wanted to transfer this to Timothy. This letter from Paul served as proof to their successful transmission of faith. Their Godly heritage lived on in Timothy.

When I return to the church where I grew up, I often have members come up to me and speak of my grandparents and what good people they were. My parents still attend that church, and I'm sure they are reminded of this Christian heritage that started with my grandparents.

When I see people out and about, they often ask about my parents and will proceed to speak highly of them.

Has anyone ever commented about your legacy of faith?

Who did they mention passed this legacy on to you and why?

I can't help but think of a song that expresses what I hope will happen with my Christian legacy.

I pray that all who come behind me find me faithful.

Click here to listen to the song, Find Us Faithful

Friday, July 7, 2017

Example and Integrity

God's instruction isn't just for our offspring as we saw yesterday. The next two verses in the passage from yesterday encourages us more in this Christian heritage passing.

"In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us." Titus 2:7-8

We are to set an example. Let's face it. People pay attention to what we say but they also pay closer attention to see if our words match our actions. Are we living this Christian life that we teach about?

Our teaching should show integrity. Integrity refers to being one of character and honesty, being upright and righteous. Again we can't expect someone to listen to our teaching if we aren't of good character and possess the right morals.

Notice the last part of the verses above imply that we be so full of integrity that those who oppose us would be ashamed because they can't find a bad thing to say against us.

I believe this is speaking directly to me as I'm trying to pass along this Godly legacy. I can teach all I want but its effectiveness is related to the type of person I am. Whew. That's heavy with responsibility. This passage begs to have me examine myself to make sure my integrity is intact and then to remain way above reproach for those around me.

What comes to your mind as you read these two verses?

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Not Only For Our Children

"You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled." Titus 2:1-6

Instructing in the ways of God is not only for our children. Look at the command here in the above scripture. The older generation is to instruct the younger generation. Then the verses get into specifics.

The first statement clearly states that it is our responsibility has Christians to teach what aligns with the Word of God and His commands. Some of the areas to instruct upon are in being self-controlled, pure, and loving those around us in the right way.

In my life this teaching was gained from those faithful Sunday school and training union teachers in my church as well as vacation Bible school experiences each summer. This education continued through my youth and into adulthood with the teaching of good Bible teachers and preachers. I've enjoyed and benefited from women in my church who have shared through church classes or studies.

So I'm not just responsible for transmitting this Christian legacy to my children but also to younger women coming behind me.

In what ways are you passing on your Godly legacy to the next generation other than your children? Please share. I know people could get ideas from your comments on ways they can instruct and mentor others in the ways of God.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

For Our Children

The Old Testament isn't the only place we see God encouraging the continuation of His heritage. In the New Testament book of Ephesians parents and children are given specific instruction.

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother - which is the first commandment with a promise - that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy a long life on the earth. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:1-4

Notice that the tradition hasn't changed. Children are still to obey to ensure a long life.It is stated here that this is the first commandment with a promise attached.

However, this obedience to parents is given with the warning to the parents to bring them up in the Lord. In other words, it is the parents' responsibility to pass on this Godly heritage. And this isn't the use of whatever culture says is the "in" thing or psychology right now.

The only way that I can bring up children in the Lord is to study His training and instructions in His Word. Then I can make sure that my instruction and correction aligns with what God teaches.

How do you specifically bring up your children in the Lord?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

One Generation Away

"After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel." Judges 2:10

I have shared this verse before and how it cuts me to the core. The whole generation spoken of here is the generation of Joshua. Yes, the same guy who spoke about his house serving the Lord, even if the people didn't.

This is what it looks like when a generation isn't intentional about passing on a Godly legacy.

At this time they were surely still going through the motions of going to the temple with their sacrifices. But obviously there was no teaching about what this meant and Who they were to honor.

The next verse in Judges says that they did evil in the sight of the Lord. Here begins a struggle against the outside influences that God said to stay away from. The people would turn to the gods of nations around them.

Unfortunately, I do see this today. Just because I attend church and bring my family along doesn't mean we're truly understanding and worshiping the one and only God. And there's so much in the world to distract and become those little "g" gods to us.

God knew how difficult this total devotion would be and that He had to help these people understand that leading in His ways and only worshiping Him was the only way to go. In the verses we have already studied we see God giving them and us ways to keep this Godly legacy alive. There's a reason He encouraged them and us to talk about it often and wear reminders on our bodies.

As I read and study verses like this one, I realize the responsibility lies with me. I can't control anyone else, not even those I'm trying to have influence over. However, I can determine like Joshua did to serve the Lord and Him only and be intentional about teaching those around me about why they must do the same.

When I find myself becoming lazy or flippant about this Christian heritage, I return to a verse like this and consider the consequences - always just one generation away.

What thoughts cross your mind as you read Judges 2:10? Please share.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Visual Object Lesson

In the book of Joshua, God instructs the people to build a memorial for the precise purpose of reflecting on what He had done for them. This would provide a visual object lesson for their children.

"When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 'Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight. serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, "What do these stones mean?" tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.'" Joshua 4:1-3, 6-7

These stones would not only serve as a memorial but as a prompt for the children to inquire about. When the children asked, can't you just imagine the older generation's eyes widening and lighting up? I can just hear them say, "Now that's a story. Sit down right here and let me tell you about it."

I've seen that glint in my grandparent's eyes as well as my parents'. I've heard that excitement in their tones as they related something God had done in their lives or through them.

Now we don't tend to erect stones or monuments to milestones in our faith journey. Maybe we should because we should be prompted to tell the next generation about the things God has done in our lives.

This scripture tends to conjure a question in my mind - Do people around me see enough evidence of God to inquire about it? Am I shining His light? Am I that salt Jesus spoke of, creating a thirst for the things of God?

Please comment what comes to your mind when reading this scripture. How does it apply to us today?