Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘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.

 

Celebrating Heartsong’s Sir Barnabas

12011203_10206373999700891_2684319076143043947_nSir Barnabas of Chester is ONE year old!  He is an ‘abundant life’ dog for sure.  Named in honor of Barnabas in Scripture, his destiny is to become an encourager.  His first year of life has been one of expressing himself and learning to be part of a family.

And in doing that, he encourages all around him to do the same!  That’s a pretty good start in legacy building.  Join us in celebrating and may each reader BE ENCOURAGED!906112_10206577955119649_1065774115508889853_o

Barnabas came to Chester as a gift of love and appreciation.  Craig faithfully provides our family with love and care…and has done so for nearly a quarter of a century.  The kids and I wanted him to have joy in loving…in the form of a squirming, wrinkled bully.  Barnabas wiggled into that role perfectly.

0219160922Although he didn’t realize it (and sometimes still doesn’t), Barney didn’t come to rule his own kingdom.  He came into a home with two doggy siblings…and a myriad of DSC07193 (2)other critters.  He had to find his way to harmony, and it hasn’t always been easy.

Sometimes you have to surrender to be a part of the pack!  But sometimes you can just charge on with pack and have a good time, too. As Barney found his place in his new ‘kingdom’ everyone else learned a bit more about themselves too!

Sir Barnabas knows who he is created to be and he lives out the design with a strong will and determination.  Sometimes his rambunctious pursuit of what he wants aggravates others–and gets him in trouble.   That doesn’t really slow him down; he just loves with equal passion.  This first year, Barney has spent encouraging his house mates to live and love!  We celebrate that and anticipate the expansion of his legacy in year two.

flip barney

 

Happy Birthday, Heartsong’s Sir Barnabas!

 

Free from the Past!

‘Don’t cry over spilled milk,’ says the old adage.  ‘What’s done is done,’ we say.  Is it true?  Is there no hope in the past?  I believe Scripture tells us differently.

The lens of faith transforms the darkest images.

In Joel chapter 2, verse 21 we read “the LORD will do great things.”  Joel continues in verse 25 with:

“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten,

the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.”

There is nothing in our past that God has not allowed.  It may not have been what He longed for us to have…sin and its consequences are never His desire…but He allows anything that can draw us closer to Him.  The call of God is always “Where are you?” because the desire of God is always that we will choose to be where He is!  Time does not confine God.  He was, is and always will be.  Taking the time to find Him in the hurts of the past brings healing to the present.

Nothing that happens—past, present or future—is devoid of the presence of God.  When we purpose to look for Him in the difficult things of our lives, we find healing!  Fear traps us in the traumas of life…faith frees us.  God promises we are never alone.  He is always faithful to His promises.

Living in the hurts of the past effectively nullifies the work of the Cross in today.

When we allow Jesus to walk in the depths of our pain, He touches us with love that brings peace.  Many of us learn to isolate emotions, to pack them away because they terrify us; it feels as if the pain is a tidal wave that will drown us.  Jesus walks on water…He quiets storms.  Let him into those reservoirs of fear and He will transform them to rivers of living water for others.

In the Old Testament we read that curses last for three or four generations.  We see generational curses all around us:  legacies of shame, rebellion and violence.  Every individual has opportunity to take the inheritances of yuck and let Jesus transform them into generational blessings.  The curses are short-lived in comparison:  blessings pass on to thousands of generations.  Take the hard stuff you have endured to Jesus; let Him speak life into you that blessings might flow forth from you.

 “Joy in the Journey” – Tools for Spiritual Growth helps those who wish to unpack the treasures God deposited in those tough times.  To be sure you hear about other new tools, sign up for Glory Glimpses, the newsletter for this site!

 

Writing Your Story

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The biggest step in writing your story is the first one!  Simply getting started will set the wheels in motion.  A simple genealogy chart will help you begin to think about family.  Many free printable charts exist on the web; this is a charming one that will get your thoughts rolling.

Then let’s start with some simple questions to get the ink flowing.

  • What town(s) did you grow up in?  Were you born there?
  • Did you have one family home or many?
  • What was the atmosphere at home?  Were both parents in the home?  Was there a sweet spirit or a lot of bickering?
  • How about your siblings?  Did you get along?  Did you share a bedroom…hobbies…chores?
  • Speaking of chores, what kind of responsibilities did you have as a child?
  • Were there family gatherings, traditions or celebrations that remain strong in your mind?
  • Did your grandparents have much influence in your home?

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Writing is a process that can easily bog you down.  For now, simply begin jotting stories.  Do not worry about a ‘publishable’ piece…simply put in writing the memories that are part of who you are as an adult.

WARNING:   Not every memory will be a sweet one.  There is no need to sugar-coat the past, but the past need not influence the present either.  If you find memories swamping you with negative feelings, set that aside for a time.  You may want to address those areas in another way so the negative influences of the past are ‘cut off.’  Should such a challenge come your way, the Legacy Builder:  Healing the Past article may be of help. 

 If you would like to dig further into your story, Joy in the Journey may be the book for you!

Chosen Parents

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 mutualthe 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 ago, we brought our baby home from the N-ICU with overwhelming joy, awe, fear and a numbing sense of inadequacy. Thchild parent hande 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 weaknessesand 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. God 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 strengthsand the weaknessesto 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.

Do you have a Glimpse of Glory in your family life?  I’d love to hear it.  Or maybe you are in the midst of a battle that has you baffled.  Check out turning Battles into Blessings.

For Further Study
Being chosen as a parent is a life-transforming gift from a loving God. We have been chosen to receive another precious gift from Godeternal life. God longs for each of us to embrace His plan for us to become His childto 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

This piece was originally written for and published by Handivangelism, PIP Ministry.

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