Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘build legacies’

Living Legacies!

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
to search out a matter is the glory of kings.
Proverbs 25:2

Typically, the beautiful treasures of this life are found only through deep searching. Sometimes, though, the amazing grace of God reveals Truth in moments of mercy. Such glorious truths are never meant for one heart alone. In fact, the light God gives that we do not share becomes darkness. But that’s another topic. Today, I want to share a glimpse of God’s purposeful work across generations. It encouraged me, and I offer it with a prayer that it will energize you as well.

Our family moved hundreds of miles from our ‘roots’ in rural New York State a few years ago. Each year we go ‘home’ to visit those who share history with us. In every life, legacies are worked out…good inheritances and bad. Within all of it, God works! When we receive that work, His good purposes come to fruition.

This year we were invited to attend church with a loved one. The invitation itself was evidence of the work of God in her life. Delighted to celebrate this new connection to the Body, we went with little expectation of anything more than ‘church’ and the joy of being with our loved one. The church was one I had intermittent connection with over the years. And it was a great church service—good fellowship with old friends who were there, an excellent Biblical message, a church that was thriving. It was much more than that, though.

That particular church was part of my uncle’s life legacy. He had been one of the founding members and part of the building team. As I sat in that building, I suddenly realized it was more a part of my legacy than I knew—and more than the church—or its members–could have known. Interactions with that church—and people in it—dotted my memory. In the times those connections happened, they did not feel impactful—and sometimes not even positive. But God was at working His plan in and through those who were faithfully—but imperfectly following Him.
Along with that awareness, there was much more of the weaving God there. The music came from a church one of my South Carolina friends attends…a friend who attends Bible Study in our home. Other worshippers at the service were from a church that had greatly influenced our marriage and family decades before. Every connection I recognized throbbed with the purpose of God and the imperfection of the earthly—and God was in it all.

He was there in my own rebellion and insecurity, in my grief and in my lostness. He was there in the church split that brought new folks to this church. He was there in the message. He is present in the controversies that surround the church that produced the music. God knows and uses it all because His purposes will not be thwarted. God weaves our strengths and weaknesses for our good and His glory. He is never put off by our inadequacy because His strength is perfect in our weakness.

Feeling the presence of God link my past to my present

fills me with enthusiasm for the future!

As I began processing all that I realized that is how God works. We don’t always see what He is doing, but the Great I AM is always present; His plans always underway. And as I thought about that, the complexity of legacies gave me fresh awe for God. My Grandma’s passion for Bible Reading sowed seeds that produced a harvest in my uncle’s life. He, too, fed on the Word daily. Perhaps other legacies being eradicated kept those seeds from rooting in my dad’s life…but they flourish in mine. In the fullness of time the beautiful work of God will overcome the destructive legacies as Light is spread by faithful servants.

That transforming light is SO needed. Because in every life, there are ugly realities inherited as well. Suicides, alcoholism, divorce, broken relationships, and strong-willed independence are part of my inheritance too. The work of the enemy is what Jesus came to destroy. As we seek Him, we produce a legacy of seeds that can do just that. We can’t do it for another…but passionately seeking Jesus individually produces a “Taste and See” life that God will use. He is faithful to His promises. Even when we cannot see it, He is at work.

I’d love to hear how you see God at work in your heart and life.  I pray those of you connected to this piece because of our shared lives will see God at work in your lives in fresh new ways.  He is good and worthy of praise.  Rejoice in Him. Live in Him.

 

Chosen Parents

This is actually a piece I did some years ago for another venue.  Sharing today because parenting has been the topic in a number of interactions.  And sharing with thankfulness that God chose us to be the parents of our precious kids.  Sorry, guys…but trust God has a plan :)!  We love you!

You are the parent God chose for your child. Isn’t that a puzzling, sometimes overwhelming concept? As we begin walking the labyrinth of parenting, the paths ahead are blessedly shrouded. The parenting journey includes delights beyond imagination and thorny passages which instill fear and frustration. God’s Word tells us the Creator Himself shepherds those with young and guides them on the paths; yet, it doesn’t always feel that way. At times the complexities of parenthood give the illusion that God stepped off the throne as challenges were assigned or that perhaps He confused us with a wiser, more loving and experienced parent. The reality is more incredible than we can begin to grasp. In His infinite love and wisdom, God chose each parent and each child as unique, perfect gifts for one another. The blessings are mutual; the plan perfect.

God uses the tool of parenthood to craft His family likeness into earthly moms and dads. He longs for His glory to be revealed in the parenting privilege. Nearly a decade and a half 12657360_10207170306008051_3018063976232311083_oago, we brought our baby home from the N-ICU with overwhelming joy, awe, fear and a numbing sense of inadequacy. The ability of a five-pound baby to bring a prideful heart to its knees is powerful! God continues to use the University of Motherhood to draw me unto Himself, to unveil the reality that His strength is revealed in my weaknesses and what a superb reality!

My pride had rejoiced in meeting the challenges of life head-on. The magnitude of the responsibility for nurturing this precious life shattered every competency I had ever relied upon. Parenthood has taught me I do not need to be in control and managing every detail perfectly. It has taught me that struggling is okay! It is not a sign of defeat to be engaged in a battle. Struggles simply strip away the deceits which have hidden the doorway to God’s strength. The inequities and burdens of life create opportunities for God to transform parents and to begin drawing our beloved children to Him. Struggles are to help us embrace His presence in our lives with confident hopewith certaintythat His plans and purposes are perfect. As we hold fast to that hope, the very image of God begins to shine forth in our liveschanging us, lighting our children’s paths and touching all those around us!

Beyond the challenges of parenthood lie mountains which dot the landscape of our children’s future–mountains woven into the design of our children’s lives by their loving, heavenly Father. His love for our children is greater and more perfect than ours. 12657229_10207170304128004_2826006339242221287_oGod would never allow a mountain for which He has not provided provisions for conquering. Parents are a key part of those provisions. The parent God chooses for a child has the strengths and the weaknesses to guide their children to the Shepherd Himself. God longs to take the hands of our children and guide them in life. Leading our children to the One who provides abundantly is the key task of our parenting assignment. Treasure the challenges on your parenting journey as the doorways to Christ. There is a splendor possible through embracing God’s presence in the trials of life which will produce faith that perseveres and moves mountains aside.

Extra Insights
Being chosen as a parent is a life-transforming gift from a loving God. We have been chosen to receive another precious gift from God:  eternal life. God longs for each of us to embrace His plan for us to become His child–to be made perfect through faith in His son, Jesus Christ. Becoming His child is the key to becoming the parent your child needs. If you do not have a loving relationship with the heavenly Father, choose to change that today!
SCRIPTURES: Psalm 127:3; Jeremiah 29:11-14; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Hebrews 10:35; 2 Corinthians 3:18; James 1; Matthew 17:28

 

Originally written for Handivangelism, Heart-to-Heart Magazine

Making Room for ABUNDANT LIFE

There is a classic object lesson that many of us have seen.  I have watched and used this concept for years–but I can do it better.  I bet you can as well!

Stephen Covey offers masterful truths in his “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”  We all have the same amount of time.  Jesus came to live in this world, and even He experienced the constraints of time.  The will of the Father governed all Jesus did…and when we live that way, we enjoy what Jesus came to provide:

The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.  John 10:10

Learning to use our time to well allows us to use this precious gift of life–given by God–in the abundance that Jesus intends.  May this bless you and yours abundantly.

Glory Glimpse: Misjudging Jesus, the Nazarene

James Emery

James Emery

Jesus of Nazareth, the Nazarene, is our focal point today.  Though the Old Testament does not mention the village of Nazareth, Matthew declares that Jesus dwelt in Nazareth “that the words of the prophets might be fulfilled.”  Jesus referred to Himself as ‘of Nazareth, demons used the title and the cross of our Lord bore the reference.  That Jesus was of Nazareth—was a Nazarene—has tremendous significance for us.

Nazareth was a small village in Galilee near the border of Samaria.  Passing by the village was a well-traveled trade route that would have brought the ‘world’ into view for residents.  In the eyes of those passer-bys, Nazareth was a community of backward, uncultured people.  Devout Jewish people looked down upon this village almost as much as they despised Samaritans.  In the eyes of the religious, Nazareth was a community of pagans.  Very few saw the truth of Nazareth from God’s view.  Even the people of Nazareth failed to recognize Truth—for they would reject the One who came from them.  The disciple Nathanel conveyed the sentiments of the day toward Nazareth with his question, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

Indeed, we know great good came from this despised village!  As the Crusaders of the 12th century inscribed on a church erected in Nazareth, “Here the Word was made flesh.”  For centuries, the prophets proclaimed the coming Messiah.  Some prophesies revealed His Kingly nature—some His Suffering Servant role.  Our human tendency is to hear and see that which promises pleasure:  preferring power to persecution is human self-preservation.  It is comfortable for us to be blind to Truth when it does not fit our plans and pre-conceived ideas.  Our Jesus, the Nazarene, calls us to seek the Father’s perspective and His acceptance above all else.  Jesus of Nazareth reminds us that God’s ways our not our ways.

Just as man erroneously judged the village of Nazareth, so, too, man mis-judges Jesus.  As Isaiah prophesied of the coming Messiah, Jesus was ‘despised and rejected of men’.  The plans of man have no room for suffering.  Yet, God chose Nazareth as the hometown of the Savior because rejection of the world is the path to acceptance of God.  Embracing the Nazarene, the One the world rejects, is the only way of acceptance for each one of us.  Only in Him–the Beloved–can God accept us.  This world, though created, loved and redeemed by Him, received Him not.  The world prefers the darkness of its own plans above the Truth and Light of the Father’s plans.    Love of the world cuts us off from the love of the Father.  May our hearts rejoice that Jesus, our Savior, accepted the path of rejection that acceptance would be ours.

Would you like a free PDF of Names of God?  Fill out the form below and you will be on your way to receiving it!

Soul Training in the Barn

We become ‘new creatures in Christ’ when we accept Jesus as Lord…but we have some habits ingrained in our soul that need some work on our part.  This mini-book, Soul Training in the BarnSoul Training cover, aims at training the soul with Godly habits.

Christian living is not passive.  This is a short, Scripture packed, Spirit-soaked mini-guide to walking out the new life we receive.  It contains a Bible Study that focuses on three main concepts:

  • Willingness
  • Respect
  • Obedience

The supplemental pages focus on “Being a Disciple” through personal discipline.  Relationships with others, Bible Study, Serving and Prayer are different in God’s view than the world view.  The closing pages are practical tips to get you moving in your new life.

Finding Your God-Given Design

GIFTS FROM THE FATHER – Romans 12

DESIGN
SIN TO BATTLE
VICTORY TO WIN
SCRIPTURAL EXAMPLES
NAME OF GOD TO MEDITATE ON
Idol of control
Fullness of Relationships!
John the Baptist, Miriam, Naomi
Jehovah Jireh
Idol of peace
Finding value in God’s eyes!
Joseph (father of Jesus), Barnabas, Timothy
Jehovah Rophe
Idol of being right
Live Truth not just know it!
Luke, Isaiah, Samuel
Jehovah Nissi
Idol of comfortable
Embracing hard times for joy set before you!
Paul, Jeremiah, Moses
Jehovah Shalom
Idol of materialism
Excellent stewardship of God’s resources!
Matthew, Abraham, Job
Jehovah Rohi
Idol of me
Leadership that blesses masses!
Joseph (coat of many colors), Nehemiah, Noah
Jehovah Tsidkenu
Idol of my way
Intimacy with God that delivers holiness!
John (son of Thunder), Ruth, David
Jehovah Shammah
JESUS FULLY PORTRAYED EVERY ASPECT OF THESE DESIGNS. WE ARE DESIGNED TO GROW INTO HIS IMAGE…TO GROW INTO ALL OF THESE AREAS, BUT WE HAVE A DEFAULT DESIGN THAT GOD GAVE US.

This is only a portion of the gifts from the Father, Son and Spirit.  Visit Discipleship-Coaching for further information.

Finding Your Design: Teacher

In Romans 12, we find the Father giving gifts to people.  Contemplating those ‘gifts’ as individual design can be eye-opening!  For further information, visit the Discipleship Coaching – Design page.

Are you a Teacher?

Ezra, Luke, Mary and Isaiah are among the teacher types in Scripture. You may be a teacher if you are a research-oriented person who likes to write. Teachers hate conflict but have a quick wit and humor. They are not likely to receive new truth quickly–or reject ideas out of hand. The teacher tends not to be judgmental which makes them safe for others and not intimidating.

Even though the tendency is not to be judgmental, immature teachers have an equally challenging negative: keeping studies in the head and not melding in the heart. Teachers prefer to have the path laid out before they start and often feel unworthy of leading. Self-centered religiosity keeps the teacher from reaching their designed heights.

Teachers must learn to live out what their heads know. When they do, they blend teaching and discipline to the Body that cleanses!

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