Sunday, May 27, 2012

You make all things new

A few weeks ago, we noticed some stains showing up on our clothes and could not figure out where they were coming from. After a little research, we discovered that this was a sign that our washing machine was going out. Sure enough, we realized that our washing machine outlasted its life-expectancy by two years. The solution was not to work on the broken machine or unplug it and plug it back in (which is how I usually fix my computer.) The solution was to get a new washing machine. So that’s what we did.

Our lives and this world have been hopelessly broken by sin. There’s nothing that we can do to fix this problem. Our only hope is to be made new. And that’s exactly what God offers in Christ.

I’m not looking back
I’m moving ahead
I’m here to declare to you
My past is over
In You, all things are made new
Surrender my life to Christ
I’m moving, moving forward

God makes things new. It’s what He does. It’s something only He can do. He doesn’t just fix old things or improve on the former models. He makes things new. What sin has broken in this fallen world, He makes new. This truth is found all throughout Scripture.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. (Psalm 40:3)

The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow. (Isaiah 62:2)

His compassions never fail. They are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)

Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:4)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a newcreation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. (2 Peter 3:13)

God is in the business of making things new. What is it that you need today? Do you need a new song of praise? Do you need a new start? Do you need new mercy for today? Ultimately, do you need a new life? The answer to all of the above is found in Christ!

You make all things new.
Yes, You make all things new.
I will follow You forward!

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Two pictures

Shelley recently saw some coverage of the aftermath from the earthquakes in Haiti on CNN. While attempting to show the devastation of the new tent cities that have been formed because many of the buildings and homes have been destroyed, they caught something very unexpected. A little girl reading her Bible. When asked if she was afraid, she said no. "This gives me hope." Her world had literally been shaken to the core, and yet God's Word gives her hope and removes her fear.

Last week I went to see a friend I met in a nursing home. Bro. Friday. I have known he was a great man of faith just by the way others speak of him and treat him. When I heard he wasn't doing very well in the hospital, I was compelled to go and visit him. In our conversation, he began to retell some of the physical problems he has as a 93 year-old man. But there wasn't an ounce of complaining in him! More matter-of-factly. He spoke of what a blessing the retirement lodge had been to him. "I brought my Bible with me and hoped to read it through one more time." Then he got noticeably sadder. Tears welled up in his eyes. "I only made it to Jeremiah." His eyesight won't allow him to read anymore.

Two incredible examples to me.

Now I look at myself. Wat kind of example am I setting for Jacey and soon-to-be-here Caleb? By their own observations, what will they say my attitude toward God's Word was? More than that, what will their attitudes be? This largely depends on me. Is this attitude caught or taught? ...Yes. But it's more caught. That's the real problem with "today's kids" -- whatever generation they may be. They end up being just like their parents.

My desperate prayer for Jacey and Caleb is that they love God's Word, commit to handle it accurately, and develop a heart to obey it whatever the cost. God help me to be proud of the legacy of faith I pass on to my children.

"Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word." Psalm 119:37

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Daddys don't spank."

No, this isn't a quote I read in a parenting book or a piece of wisdom I gleaned from another more experienced parent. This was a matter-of-fact statement made by my daughter not too long ago. "Daddys don't spank. Just mamas." That was one of those wake-up moments in life.

Why would Jacey make this observation? One possible reason is because Shelley is with her more, and therefore has the opportunity to bring correction when needed. I'm just simply not around as much. But I'm afraid that's not the whole story. The truth is I don't like for my child to hurt or be disappointed. That dumb statement "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you" really is true. Much of the time I want to cry right along with Jacey when she is being punished. So naturally, I wish I could just give her the benefit of the doubt and let things slide. I'm not a push-over...just a loving father, right?

Insert quote from THE loving Father here...

"My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in." Proverbs 3:11-12

Oh, man. We discipline our children, in whom we delight, BECAUSE we love them...just as God loves us. Not providing appropriate discipline to Jacey is not only un-scriptural, it's also selfish and unloving. Needless to say, the very next opportunity that presented itself, Jacey got a spanking from Daddy. As a three year old, Jacey is learning that boundaries are necessary and good and obedience is mandatory. Not because we want her to grow up to be a good girl that won't embarrass us, but because by learning to obey us, she will learn to obey God.

Father, thank you that You love me enough to discipline me. You know I need it. It brings me closer to You. Help me to love my children the same way.

WARNING: There is a balance! Discipline is only effective when given in a warm, loving relationship. Otherwise, it will only lead to resentment and rebellion. We must discipline out of love, not anger or control.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Who put that there?

I stumbled upon something in the Bible that I have never seen before. And in a very familiar place. Near what is one of the most popular, if not THE most popular verses on the importance of God's Word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17..."All Scripture is God-breathed..." In fact, I would guess that I have personally used these verses around 100 times, but I've never noticed the amazing statement in the previous verse.

Moms and dads, do we believe in the importance of the Bible? Do we believe that it really is God's Word? Do we want to pass down this belief to our children? Then we need to pay attention to what Paul is about to say is true about Timothy. In 2 Timothy 3:14-15 Paul tells Timothy, "Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."

So when do you start intentionally teaching your children God's Word? From infancy. Seriously? Jewish boys would begin their formal education in the Old Testament at age 5, but Timothy had been taught at home from the time he was a baby! Jacey is three years old now. Her infancy is already in her past. I am constantly amazed at her ability to learn, understand, and memorize. One of the greatest joys I have had as a parent is to hear my little three year old girl quote Scripture. I must be honest and and say that she is more limited by my commitment to work with her than by her own ability. God has designed us in amazing ways, and little children have an uncanny ability to learn.

Lord, if these verses are going to be said of Jacey one day, then it is my responsibilty to teach her. Help me to understand my responsibility and fulfill my role in her life. I depend on Your Holy Spirit to use me.


The time to intentionally teach your child the Holy Scriptures is NOW. Lesson from these verses: it's never too early. And it's never too late!!! The most powerful lesson you may be able to teach your older children is in your repentance and new commitment to God's Word. In a survey given to the students at North Highlands Baptist Church this summer, I asked the following question: If your parent(s) asked you to read the Bible with them, would you be excited about it? The response...100% of our students said "yes." It's never too late.

Who taught Timothy God's Word from infancy? 2 Timothy 1:5 tells us it was MeMaw Lois and Mama Eunice. This should be encouraging for any single moms or mothers whose husbands are not spiritual leaders in your family, as was the case in Timothy's life. (Acts 16:1.) Though it is God's plan for the father to be the spiritual leader of the household, there is special grace given for mom (or even grandparents) to step in.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Puzzle Pieces

Being a parent is hard. I've never heard anyone who has any children say it's easy. So is putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Dump out the box with all it's pieces and it can seem pretty overwhelming. But it's worth it. How do you put together a puzzle? One piece at a time. Here's a good strategy that even my three-year-old girl Jacey knows. (She's really good at puzzles, by the way.) First, find the edges. As soon as we dump the pieces out, we always put aside the pieces with the straight edges because they will provide the framework for the rest of the puzzle.

In my opinion, the edges for the parent puzzle are found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

" 4 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 upon 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."

This is one of the many authoritative passages in Scripture that makes it clear that parents are primarily responsible for the spiritual leadership of their children. For too long, many of us have dropped the kids off at church to leave this up to the "professionals." This does not work because it's not God's plan. I am Jacey's pastor, not because I work at a church, but because I am her dad.

Sounds good. But how do I make it work? Look to God's Word for how it's supposed to look and put the pieces together! Last night I put down another piece of the puzzle. Vs. 7: "Talk about [these commandments]...when you lie down." Jacey loves stories at bed time. Partially because she gets undivided attention from Daddy. Mainly because she gets to stay up a little later. We have several Preschool Bibles and Bible story books that make it into the rotation. Last night I came onto a preschool devotion book that I used to read her every night when she was a baby. It contains a Bible verse, a practical application for preschoolers, a couple of questions, and a prayer. This is the book she chose last night. But last night was different. When I asked the question this time, she answered it. Then we were able to talk about the verse and thank God that we can always come to Him and ask Him things because He loves us. So last night, we added a new piece to the puzzle and decided that every night we would read a page in our devotional together...and then read another story. (It's all about compromise!)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

It's Father's Day 2009 and I've spent it all alone. My dad's in Pigeon Forge and my daughter's in Oklahoma. Just me and some time alone and a couple of movies. So I figured this would be the perfect day to start something that's been on my heart for a while.

Purpose of this blog: More than anything, I want to be he husband and the father that God wants me to be. This blog is part of my journey. Feel free to eavesdrop on us if you want. Your encouragement, accountability, and ideas are appreciated. I also pray that our family may encourage you as you seek to follow Christ and pass on your faith. I understand and accept that this is not the church's responsibility. It's mine! By His grace, I know that God has and will equip me to be the leader I need to be.

Happy Father's Day! Men, it's time for us to step up to the plate!