Across the Generations

IMG_4579This morning I went to brunch at a friends house and on my way I stopped to buy her some flowers. As I was getting back into my car a strange thought occurred to me, “Did I remember to teach my children to always bring a gift to their hostess?” My mother taught me this and other valuable pieces of information that was meant for me to pass on to my children.

Interestingly, our brunch conversation turned to the different generations; how each generation has so much to offer and how do we bridge the unintentional gap between the generations of women in our faith family? Which would further equip us to take love into our community.

Today I came across Jeremiah 44:17:

 We will certainly do everything we said we would: We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our fathers, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the street of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm.

‘The queen of heaven.’ My first thought was, “And how did that work out for you?” Then I realized here was an entire generation of God’s chosen children who did not know the God of their ancestors or at the very least didn’t know Him in the way their forefathers had. Here was a generation that defied God by worshipping, as some speculate, Venus or another goddess, because somewhere through their ancestral history there was a disconnect, whether intentional or not, between generations.

The account of King Josiah in 2 Chronicles 34:14, 19, 21 confirms this for us:

v.14 While they were bringing out the money that had been taken into the temple of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of  the LORD that had been given through Moses.

v. 19 When the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his robes.

v. 21 Go and inquire of the LORD for me and for the remnant in Israel and Judah about what is written in this book that has been found.

The same Israelites that were burning incense to the queen of heaven in Jeremiah 44:17 were apart of the generation of King Josiah that didn’t know about what was written in the Book of the Law because their fathers before them hadn’t passed along the teachings. These were people living in the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon and Naphtali – four of the patriarchal lands of the twelve tribes of Israel!

Precious One just as it is my responsibility to teach my children to bring their hostess a gift, it is our responsibility as the Body of Christ to teach one another the written word of God, share our experiences, teach lost arts in a modern world and learn about the modern world to the best of our ability so we don’t one day inquire of one another, “What is written in this book that has been found?” We are now that remnant and God chooses to work through us for the glory of His kingdom in the Name of his Son, Jesus Christ and for the sake of all generations.

Shalom!

 

Memories of Junior High Camp

 

 

Scan 2

 

ScanYears ago, I was an adult leader with our Jr. High Youth group. Every year we would go to summer camp, and, every year there was one night we played hide and go seek. The adult leaders would take their Jr. Higher’s and hide and it was the job of the Pastors to find each group. We would all wear the darkest clothing we had. I still have my hoodie that I bought at camp just for this night and it is still one of my favorite sweatshirts! Now, I use to be very competitive, okay, I still am, but just a tiny bit especially when it comes to board games. I was determined this night that my girls and I would not be found.

Scan 5We hid down by a stream that had a huge fallen tree across it that one could walk over instead of the path we took. We positioned ourselves in a straight line in the shadow of the tree. It was completely dark except for the light of the moon. It was also very quiet except for the shouts and calls of the Youth Pastors attempting to draw everyone out. We sat and whispered to one another and giggled as one by one we could hear the other groups suffering the defeat of being discovered. There were a few close calls as we heard Pastors coming our way and turning around after finding ‘nothing’. Finally, after what seemed like a million years, the game was over and we were never found! We won! We won! We won! Did I mention I use to be competitive? My heart is racing recalling this memory! The funny thing is we were actually hiding in plain sight. Had anyone come from the other direction they would have been facing toward us and even though we were all wearing dark clothing the Pastors all had one advantage, they had flashlights!

Scan 3In Acts 17 we find Paul walking around Athens and he is greatly distressed to find the city full of idols. He even found an altar that had an inscription to an unknown God. This gave Paul the perfect opportunity to share the gospel message and Christ Jesus as the unknown God.

God had revealed Himself to the Athenians, who had been worshipping Him without knowing, well before Paul arrived. God the Father was there the entire time in plain sight! Oh, how the Father loves his creation, so much so, he will stop at no means to show his desire to be in a redeemed relationship with all his creation through his beloved Son, Jesus!

Scan 1Precious One, God is not a hidden God, He is right in front of you. He is in plain sight.

Shalom!

check out http://www.icr.org/article/genesis-chinese-pictographs/                                   for another amazing story of God in plain sight!

 

 

Power in Weakness

Dark stormy clouds over corn field at summer

 

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9b

Have you ever been in a situation that just seemed hopeless? Where you were doing what God had asked of you and the darkness of the storm was all you could see even in the brightness of daylight? I’ve experienced these storms, as I am sure that you have also. And, while we are not promised a storm free life we can be sure that God doesn’t give us these storms to punish us, rather he allows them to grow us. But more importantly He uses them to benefit others.

Paul and Silas found themselves attacked, stripped, severely flogged and put in stocks in prison for commanding a demon out of a slave girl that could predict the future, because of the demon, and made her owners a lot of money. They were doing what God had sent them to do.

As the story goes along we find Paul and Silas, who must have been in a great deal of pain from the flogging, which is usually done with a leather whip that has metal balls or pieces of sharp sheep bone alternating on each strap of leather that dig in and rip away skin, praying and singing hymns to God, while the other prisoners were listening!

There is a crazy earthquake and the doors of the prison flew open and all the chains of all the prisoner’s came loose. When the jailer in charge saw what had happened he was about to fall on his sword because he thought all the prisoners had escaped and he would have been held accountable and most likely killed because of this.

Paul, in his love and grace for others, tells him to stop, ensuring the jailer that everyone was accounted for. As a result the jailer asks how he can be saved. Paul and Silas tell him “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” Not only were the jailer and his household saved they were baptized.

Here’s the thing. Paul and Silas were Roman citizen’s and had they told their attackers as much they never would have endured the torture that they did because publicly beating a Roman citizen was illegal, especially without a trial, which Paul and Silas were not given.

Would the jailer, his family and his entire household been saved that night if Paul and Silas would have announced their Roman citizenship during the attack on them? Only God knows. And, how many of the other prisoners who witnessed these things also became believers that night because Silas and Paul were living their life for God?

Precious One, those storms in life sometimes seem like they are raging out of control. One thing is sure, God will always be in control and that storm may serve a deeper and greater purpose. That none should perish but all come to the knowledge of the saving grace of Christ Jesus. When you are weak He is strong.

Shalom!

 

Do You Have a Need?

help-text-on-sand_Qysj5WThis morning I was reading in Acts 11. Throughout this passage I continually see God’s grace and faithfulness that the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone! I see Peter gently teaching the others and us, through his vision on Simon’s rooftop, (Acts 10:9-16), that we are no longer bound by the law but covered by grace. The Jewish believers in Jerusalem criticized Peter for going into the house of Gentiles and eating with them, which previously had been forbidden by the Law.

I see God mobilizing his children, through the initial scattering of them, to spread the good news so that none should perish but ALL come to the knowledge of the saving grace of Christ.

But, but, my favorite verses in this entire passage are the very last two. Verses 29 and 30.

The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea.  This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul. Acts 11:29,30.

The reason the disciples were sending whatever help they could was because the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophet Agabus about a severe famine that would overtake the entire Roman world. Not only did the disciples want to help other believers in the Body of Christ, they believed the prophet! Hmm, they believed the prophet, this is not a novel idea, but it is research for another blog on another day.

The mission statement for our faith family is extending true life to our community, which requires each of us to take a personal inventory of our heart and motives of how we will use what God has blessed us with and trust him to provide. Vv. 29 and 30 above is a picture of extending true life within the Body of Christ. No one needed to fundraise to go on a mission trip and no one needed to come home on furlough only to arrange numerous speaking engagements in the hope of raising money to go back and continue to spread the good news of the gospel to their host country. The Body knew of a need and simply filled it because they trusted God.

Precious One, what would it look like if the Body of Christ began to operate more closely to how the Body did in the book of Acts?!

Shalom!