Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What one generation NEGLECTS the next one REJECTS

Judges 2:10  After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.
One generation died, and the next did not follow God. Judges. 2:10-3:7 is a brief preview of the cycle of sin, judgment, and repentance that Israel experienced again and again. Each generation failed to teach the next generation to love and follow God. Yet this was at the very center of God's law (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). 

It is tempting to leave the job of teaching the Christian faith to the church or Christian school. Yet God says that the responsibility for this task belongs primarily to the family. Because children learn so much by our example, the home offers the most effective place to pass on the faith to the next generation.


When Joshua's generation died out, the next generation lacked that personal knowledge of God which is the heart of biblical faith and quickly forgot all that He had done for their nation. This is a "generation gap" of the most profound and challenging kind, and, as usual, both sides were to blame. There is always a parental responsibility to pass on a living testimony of the reality of God's grace and power to our children. They have the right not only to be taught the truth but to see it embodied in godly leadership and example, both within the family and the church. 

Please read again what God told His people in the following verses:
Deuteronomy 6:4-9  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  (5)  Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  (6)  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  (7)  Impress them on 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.  (8)  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  (9)  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

God was letting His people know the importance of teaching their children about WHO God is, and WHAT He had done for them.  Somehow, some way, the children of Israel failed in this miserably.  

Our verse for today is one of the most challenging in the Bible for me.  Another generation GREW UP not knowing God, nor His works.  What have my kids grown up seeing?  Do they see the importance of Jesus in my life?  For you see, what one generation neglects, the next one quite possibly will reject.  So the challenge for me today is, in my relationship with God, what am I neglecting, that may cause my kids and grandkids to reject?  
If attending church is only a possibility for me, I shouldn't be surprised when it isn't a priority for my children when they are grown.  When I sometimes serve the Lord, I shouldn't be shocked when my kids have nothing to do with Him in later  years.  Again, what one generation neglects, the next one very likely rejects.  

On the other hand, if I neglect allowing this world to conform me, then I believe my kids will reject that pull as well.  The bottom line is, I am a major influence in my kids and grandkids life, how am I using that influence to prepare them for life?  It is something to meditate on.


"Lord, what a troubling verse today.  A generation grew up, and didn't know who You were, nor what You had done in the lives of Your children.  It is hard to imagine that parents didn't pass down Your faithfulness to their kids.  Before I give the Israelites too hard of a  time, I need to look at my own life.  I want to make sure I am daily talking about WHO You are and WHAT You have done in my life.  It is my parental obligation and joy to do so.  I want to be salt and light to my children so they will not have a tough time remembering who You are and what you can do when they face difficult times when I am no longer around.  In Jesus' name, amen!"

Monday, June 25, 2012

Do you believe this?

John 11:25-27  Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,  (26)  and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?"  (27)  She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world."
The common belief of Judaism in this period was that the dead would be raised bodily at the end; indeed, Pharisees considered those who denied this doctrine (specifically Sadducees) to be damned for doing so.

The time and consolation of an important religious teacher who had come a long distance would be especially meaningful, though local students and teachers of the law joined in funeral processions when it was possible for them to do so. Greek and Roman philosophers emphasized sobriety and remaining calm and untroubled by bereavement; Jesus prefers the traditional Jewish form of expressing grief.
Jesus tells Martha,  "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

Martha answers, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world." 

Jesus is telling Martha that He can raise the dead miraculously, right now.  And asks Martha if she believed this.  Martha assured Jesus that she believed He was the Son of God, the Messiah.  She didn't mention whether she believed specifically whether Jesus could do the miraculous for her brother.  

As I contemptlated this, I begin to think of reasons that she stopped just short of saying, "Yes Lord, I believe You can miraculously raise the dead, particularly my brother!"

Maybe the problem seemed too big.  Maybe she couldn't get past the offense of Jesus not coming sooner.  Or maybe it was because she had never seen the dead raised before.  Whatever the case may have been, we know she believed in Jesus, she just wasn't sure that He could do what He said He could do.

Too often we are like that.  We believe Jesus for salvation, forgivness for our sins, but stop just short of believing that He can work the miraculous in our life.  Maybe you are addicted to drugs, alcohol, pornography, or you believe Jesus can miraculously deliver you?

What about the disease in your body?  Do you believe He can heal you? Fear?  Worry?  Depression?  Broken family? Finances?  

Jesus is truly the same yesterday, today and forever.  He is still in the miracle working business.  Do you believe?  "Yes Lord I believe, help me in my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24)
"Lord, I am trying to believe, I really am.  But there are times the situation seems so great, that I can't help but struggle with unbelief. Like the father of Mark 9:24 I declare 'Lord I believe, but help my unbelief!' I know the struggle.  I have often been in the midst of it.  I understand Martha stopping just short of complete belief in Your ability to perform the supernatural.  I want to believe...I really do, but at times I struggle with unbelief.  I thank You that You are still working on me! I believe Lord! Help my unbelief today.  In Jesus' name, amen!"