Children’s Children…

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But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.  Psalm 103:17-18

God keeps covenant.  Period.  Plain and simple.

What is a covenant you might ask?  The simple answer from the Catechism: it is an agreement between two or more people.

I’ve been in Arizona for work but stayed a few extra days to visit my mother and father.  I came to see that the covenant promises of God have been very true for me and more importantly I play a role in fulfilling those for the future.

These are generational promises or a multi-generational vision for the family as Voddie Baucham has written in his book What He Must Be.

Where am I going with this?

I’m a Christian.  My Mother and Father are Christians.  My Grandmother was a Christian and my great Grandfather was, guess what?  Yes, he was a Christian.

Well, of course, anyone can “claim” to be a Christian.  I meet them all the time when engaging in evangelism, but what makes me believe this?  A life well lived, through a life that emulates Christian living.  It’s not a perfect gauge of a truly regenerate person, but it sure does give us good indications.

While looking through his closet my Dad came across an old Bible from his Grandfather.  It was loaded with notes and studies of the Scriptures that made me think, Wow…

My Dad said to me, “yeah, Grandpa studied the bible all the time.  He was always reading it.”  As I spent time gazing upon words that were written in the 1940s and earlier, I stood in awe of the God that keeps covenant.

Exodus 20:6
but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

The role I play now is to teach this to my children, that they will teach to their children because they are not born Christians, nor are those born into Christian families always Christians.  It requires repentance and faith to come to Christ.  It requires the new birth, but if I may say, the odds are better.  Better simply because if your children hear the gospel in the home, or have the Bible read and see a Christian life, without hypocrisy, lived out, then it has an impact.

Today is a new day.  It’s a day to either continue or to start a multi-generational vision.  God is faithful.  Pray for His grace and mercy, and plead for the souls of your children.

Kevin

Train ’em

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“What if we train them and they don’t stay? What if they stay and we don’t train them?”

This little statement I learned a lifetime ago while at a training conference for the business in which I was working.

20 years later and a completely different business reminded me of the importance of this little adage.  How can we possibly think that “good” customer service or professionalism can be accomplished without a thorough training process?

This is behind everything in life.  The military has something called basic training after all, seriously, can you imagine sending men to a battle without training?

How much more should this be in Christian life?  In the training of our children?  How about the training of the nations?

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…  Matthew 28:19

or look at how King James says it, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations… 

Let’s teach them, let’s teach our children, let’s teach our friends, let’s teach our neighbors and let’s teach all those that will listen.

Why?  Is it because we are concerned about our customers?  Well, yes, perhaps…  We are certainly concerned about lost souls and we need to have a concern that others must know the way of truth and the path which leads to it.

And teaching not only begins with others, but it also concerns ourselves.   We are taught by God and that teaching results in teaching others.

Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Psalm 27:11

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.  Psalm 51:13

Oh, the benefits of instruction are for us all and especially for our own souls.  Let us not forget that learning, teaching, and training should never end.   It should never end for us, for our children, for the church and for those around us.

Kevin

Whole-ness to Holiness

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Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14

Without holiness NO ONE will see the Lord…  this is a frightening thought for a Christian.  If a true believer is truly in Christ they will desire to see Christ and obey Christ.

I want to see Christ.  I trust you want to see Christ.  And the pursuit of holiness in Christian life should never be a doubt.  The concept of antinomian living (without law) should never be a consideration.  After all, Paul wrote Romans 6.  He made it clear.

If a professing Christian pursues sinful desires and has no conviction there is a problem.

The question really becomes how does a Christian strive for and pursue holiness?   It can easily become imbalanced.  In an effort to swing the pendulum away from antinomianism guess where it ends up landing?

It becomes legalism.

It’s important to understand, as Sinclair Ferguson wrote in his book The Whole Christ, that antinomianism and legalism are not opposites but they are twins.  Neither position is right. Mankind has a natural proclivity to run toward either position and this is a grievous mistake.

Lawlessness might feel good for the one that says since I have grace I can do what I want and not worry about it, but the legalist feels accomplishment in his rule following.

If the goal is to stay as far away from the line as possible it ends up pushing you in the other direction.  Notice the speed limit sign.  The speed limit is 70.  But hello McFly, there is also a lower limit of 40.  If you stay as far away from the sin of breaking the law by going 71 that sends you toward 39 and you are still in sin.

Now what?  Do you reach a happy medium and drive 55?  Sammy Hagar couldn’t do it, why do you think you can?  Is that the right answer?  No, and a thousand times no…

The ditches on both sides are steep and difficult.  An antinomian life is no better than a legal life.  They are both slaveries.

Are you exhausted?  I am.  But there is great hope.

His name is Jesus.

He accomplished on the cross the legal demands of the law.  He crushed sin and death and He has given us sweet freedom in Him.  In fact, and this is a BIG deal.  He is the source of our holiness.  Will we strive, but not in your own efforts because you can’t, you won’t, and it will be defeating and debilitating.  It will crush your hope and destroy your spirit of joy.

If you lack joy and hope in the Christian life perhaps you are burdened with the thought of your own sin and your lack of ability to move forward in holiness.  If that is where you live, then stop trying to be holy, and approach the throne of grace, where Christ promises to be your great high priest.  He will intercede for you.  He will be your hope.

Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.  1 Thessalonians 3:11-13

Kevin

 

 

 

No Regerts

no regerts

I love that commercial, have you seen it?  This big biker looking guy is getting a tattoo and it says “No Regerts”  Oops…  What are your big regerts in life?  Oh, we all have them, don’t we?

I have more than I dare say, but one that is front and center to me is some of the things I’ve written on this here little blog of mine.  Yep…  I’ve made a lot of mistakes here.  In fact, I’ve removed some of my mistakes, but like that tattoo, they are still lingering in my mind, like a tattoo removal that you can still see ink.

Oh, let me count the ways…

But there is a really cool doctrine about God called immutability.  What does that mean?  It simply means God never changes.  Why is this so significant?  Because, He is our measuring stick, our plumb line, our due north.  Everything else is askew without Him.

So when I grow, or I mature I can now see where I hadn’t yet grown, or where I was… dare I say…  “Immature”.  Oh yes, friends, we are all so immature at times but the point is that we need to move on.  To not stay there, but to recognize our mistakes and attempt to fix them or move past them.  It’s never easy.  I look back with a grimace and sheepish smile.

“Oh what a foolish thing I did, I said, or acted out.”  Yikes, Lord forgive me.  I really didn’t know what I was doing.

For godly grief produces repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.  2 Corinthians 7:10

The Apostle Paul is highlighting different types of regrets.   We all have regrets but what do we do with them, or how do we handle things moving forward.  Godly regret produces a change.  It causes us to turn from the sins, hate the sins and live differently in the power of the Holy Spirit.  You can try hard on your own but you won’t get it done by yourself.  And while I’m really tempted to talk about holiness, that is a future post.  Hopefully coming soon.

Suffice to say that even God is the root cause of our holiness.  Man-Made, manufactured holiness just circles right back to the worldly grief that never produces true repentance.

Let’s move on from our regrets in this world, giving them to the Lord, that He might grow us in true love producing no regret in us.

Kevin

Practice Makes Perfect?

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“I just wish I made progress faster …and wish I had started earlier.”

I heard the voice of my daughter, coming from the kitchen, as she said this to my wife.  My daughter was heartbroken, she was frustrated, and was expressing her regrets.

Don’t we all have them?  If we could look back on our lives, despite what most say, wouldn’t we all change things?  Oh boy… I sure would.  Big time.  But we can’t.  So we take what we have been given, appreciate it for what it is and push forward.

My daughter walked past me and I said, “hey, come here…”  I hugged her and said, “remember when we went to San Francisco and saw those huge trees?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you think they grew fast?”

“No.”

“Well the fast-growing trees are weak, the slow-growing trees grow strong and tall.”

“Keep at it, slow, steady progress. No shortcuts, this is the path to success in everything.”

My daughter plays the harp beautifully and she is very talented.  I have no doubt she will be at a very high level, well actually, I think she already is at a very high level, but there is always a higher level to achieve.

I regret my own personal level of achievement.  “Lord, why didn’t you save me earlier in life?”  I want to be a theologian, a godly man growing in the grace of the Lord at a faster pace, to achieve the highest level…  I’d love to have more time to study…  I’d love to this or I’d love to that…

But guess what?  He didn’t, He chose the time and the place.

Why should I regret that?  Why should my complaining spirit come through, my lack of contentment reign supreme?  That’s an easy question to answer.  But I really don’t like what it says about me at the core.

It really is a contentment issue after all, isn’t it?  “Oh, this wicked heart of mine, how I hate it.  Sometimes.  Ugh…”

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.  – Philippians 4:11-13

Wow, Paul had to learn.  I have to learn.  You have to learn and my daughter has to learn, how to be content.  And what is the secret?  Christ.  He is the source of strength.

Press on brothers and sisters, you have a source that others don’t have.

Kevin