build on the right foundationJune 25–July 1
One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. Psalm 145:4 (ESV)
The flame in the Marathon Tower in each Olympic stadium is the most recognized symbol of the Olympics, dating back to the Games of ancient Greece, when athletes competed in a relay race, passing a torch from one to another until the last runner, in a long procession of runners, would sprint to the top of the stadium and light the flame to signal the beginning of the competition among the greatest athletes in the world for the Gold Medal.
The flame carries a message as it passes through each town, city and village. It announces that the games are about to begin; it embodies and spreads the ideals of the Olympics and speaks of the union and peace amongst the people, the allegiance, the courage, the fraternity and solidarity of all of the competitors.
God has handed to each of us a torch to bear for him. That torch is the light of the Gospel, the knowledge of God and His ways, and the Word of God. It is put into our hands and our hearts by the Holy Ghost and the fire is ignited so that we may burn as lights in a sin darkened world. Each of us is to let our light shine and to pass it onto the next generation so that we will not forget God.
Someone has said, “We should so live and work in our lifetime so that what came to us as seed might go to the next generation as a blossom, and what came to us as blossom might go to the next generation as fruit.” Think of specific examples of gospel seeds you have sown into the next generation.
Praise God for the generation before you that passed the gospel on to your generation. Ask God to show you what you can do to spread the gospel to the next generation.
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (ESV)
Multigenerational Faithfulness Begins with Family
One night at a pizza parlor, we decided to use the minutes waiting for our food as a teaching time. We passed out an index card and pencil to each child and had them write down a new memory verse: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (Col. 3:23). Then we said, “Let’s watch this waitress and see what kind of worker she is. Do you think she is working with all her heart?”
The kids never took their eyes off her. Their half whispered comments continued in a steady stream. “She was sure nice about bringing extra napkins.” “She has to stand up all the time, and she’s not crabby.” The waitress never knew she was being scrutinized. By the end of the meal, the children not only had the Scripture nailed down, but also had done an on-site study of its meaning. (Dean and Grace Merrill in “Together at Home”)
God’s plan for teaching the truth begins with families teaching their children biblical principles. The spirit of Deuteronomy 6 is that families would teach children how to apply those truths when you sit, walk, lay down, and rise. That’s another way of saying to teach them as you do everyday life. God wants us to practically apply God’s Word in the context of our families.
Do you remember the frustration of learning things in school that you believed you would never apply to real life? God wants you to help children apply the Bible to real life. What did your family do well and what did they do poorly when it came to applying the Bible to everyday life?
Thank God for making His Word so practical and giving you what you need in this life. Ask God to help you apply and model the biblical truths you are learning.
Wednesday, June 29
5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:5-7 (ESV)
Multigenerational Faithfulness Continues with the Church
Wilbur E. Nelson told the story of his father who was the senior elder in his church for many years. He said: “When I was a boy, eleven years of age, an evangelist held a series of meetings in our church. One night he asked every Christian to come forward and also asked those who desired to confess Christ to come with them. My father, of course, went up, and, as I felt the call of God, I followed after him. Just as he reached the front he turned around, and seeing me, said, “Johnnie, you go back; you are too young.”
I obeyed him, as I had been taught to do, and at thirty-three I came again… lost (was) twenty-two years of service, while I lost twenty-two years of growth because my own father, an officer in the church, had said, “Go back.” (Wilbur E. Nelson, Go Back! You’re Too Young).
In 2 Timothy 1:5-7, the Apostle Paul commends the faith of Timothy’s grandmother and mother. Paul believed they had passed their faith on to Timothy. Now it’s time for Timothy to use the gifts that were passed on to him through the church. God’s plan for passing on the faith begins at home but continues with the church family.
What are some things we are doing well at Second to share the gospel with the next generation? What are some areas we could improve in spreading the gospel to the next generation?
Praise God for the things you listed that our Second family is doing well to reach the next generation. Ask God to provide in the areas where we can improve our efforts in reaching the next generation.
Titus 2:3-5 (ESV)
Multigenerational Faithfulness of Older Women
WHAT MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME:
My mother taught me RELIGION: When I spilled grape juice on the carpet, she instructed, “You better pray the stain will come out of the carpet.”
My mother taught me LOGIC: From her decisive words, “Because I said so, that’s why.”
My mother taught me FORESIGHT: “Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”
My mother taught me IRONY: “Keep laughing, and I’ll give you something to cry about.”
My mother taught me about STAMINA: “You’ll sit there until all that spinach is finished.”
My mother taught me about WEATHER: “It looks as if a tornado swept through your room.”
My mother taught me THE CIRCLE OF LIFE: “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”
My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION: “Stop acting like your father!”
My mother taught me about ENVY: “There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have a wonderful Mom like you do!” (Unknown)
When Paul used the term “older women,” in Titus 2:3, he was referring to any woman who was older or more spiritually mature than another. Paul wanted women to understand they had a unique role in shaping the next generation of godly women. Women are to be in a mentoring or discipling relationship and the primary lessons on womanhood are not to come from the pulpit but from the peers.
Are you in a mentoring relationship? Are you concerned about pouring yourself into the next generation?
Thank God for the older women in your life who have modeled what it looks like to follow Christ. Ask God to show you who he wants you in a mentoring relationship with.
35 Once for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David.
36 His offspring shall endure forever, his throne as long as the sun before me.
37 Like the moon it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies.” Selah
Ps. 89:35-37 (ESV)
Multigenerational Faithfulness Concludes with the Kingdom
In describing the nature of a Christ-Centered covenant, Bruce Shelley in Christian Theology in Plain Language, writes: In modern times we define a host of relations by contracts. These are usually for goods or services and for hard cash. The contract, formal or informal, helps to specify failure in these relationships. Contracts are broken when one of the parties fails to keep his promise. If, let us say, a patient fails to keep an appointment with a doctor, the doctor is not obligated to call the house and inquire, “Where were you? Why didn’t you show up for your appointment?” He simply goes on to his next patient and has his appointment-secretary take note of the patient who failed to keep the appointment.
The Lord did not establish a contract with Israel or with the church. In Psalm 89, we are reminded He created a covenant. The Bible indicates the covenant is more like the ties of a parent to her child than it is a doctor’s appointment. If a child fails to show up for dinner, the parent’s obligation, unlike the doctor’s, isn’t canceled. The parent finds out where the child is and makes sure he’s cared for. One member’s failure does not destroy the relationship. A covenant puts no conditions on faithfulness. It is the unconditional commitment to love and serve.
In Isaiah 49:15, the Lord asks: ““Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” How does it make you feel knowing God has promised to establish His Kingdom forever and as His child you are promised heaven?
Praise God as the ultimate promise and covenant keeper. Thank God for the grace that allows you to be a part of His Kingdom. Ask Him to lead you to others who still need to be invited into this covenant relationship.