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Raising Passionate Believers

It is that special season that brings tailgate parties, grilling, and gatherings of people.  Most of the country refers to this time of year as, “Fall”, but in Alabama, this is “Football Season.”  Even our outfit selections change to make sure our favorite team is represented by a logo, a color, or a pattern.  Let’s be honest, there is nothing natural about football season in the South.  Our allegiances, rivalries and dress codes are something that is taught to us from the start.  There is no lack of pictures on team-spirit Fridays from our Heritage babies! 

I mention this because a prayer of mine for our Heritage children is that the godly teaching they hear at home, church, and school is something that sticks more than our team allegiance.  Can you imagine what would begin to happen in the world around us if the next generation of Christians was as passionate for Christ, prayer, and the Bible as the state of Alabama is about football?  There would be needs being met, lives being changed, and souls being saved.  I pray for the Spirit of God to fill up our hearts, our homes, and the halls of our schools, so that our children will be more passionate for Him than anything else.

This week, our Heritage children will be learning about having a Teachable Spirit.  They will learn the importance of listening to others, because none of us knows everything.  I want to challenge us as parents to make our homes a Deuteronomy 6 home this week, and every week.  That we would model what it means to live a life that loves God with all of ourselves, and that we would speak about God at every opportunity.  God, help us to be a light in our homes, and help us to raise up bright-light children for you.  Amen.

Persevering By Faith

The old saying goes: Life is a marathon, not a sprint.  This saying is often used to encourage someone who is beginning or in the middle of a tough season of life.  The problem is, it is rarely encouraging because very few of us even like the idea of running a marathon!  Perseverance is a quality we all admire and need, but similar to patience, is something that is painful to develop.

In Romans 5, we learn that perseverance leads to something immeasurably valuable: hope.  Paul writes, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”  Going back to the marathon vs. sprint analogy, anyone can run hard for a short distance, but to go a great distance takes time, training, and a determined heart and mind.  When weariness hits, the urge we must fight is to stop moving.  The more you run, the longer you can go, and longer you can go, the further you will travel, and the further you travel, the more hope you have of reaching the end of the race.  Similar to an actual marathon, our spiritual life needs perseverance when times get hard.  Some seasons of life will be harder, heavier, and longer than others, but we must keep our faith In Christ through it all.  He did not go to the cross on our behalf to allow us to be crushed by hardships.  Remember His love and grace, and let it strengthen you to persevere.

This week, our Heritage children will be learning the importance of perseverance from hearing more of the story of Abraham.  Abraham had to keep faith when traveling through a new land, while waiting on a promised son, and while enduring family hardships and conflicts.  Abraham had moving stress, marriage problems, and was even faced with a test of having to sacrifice his only son.  Abraham’s faith strengthened him to persevere, and so will ours.  Lean on God this week, and may He carry you through it all.

Blessed Are Those Who Hunger & Thirst

Bible Reading: Matthew 25:14-30

Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

Jesus’ parable of the talents is a familiar and popular one. Three servants receive different numbers of talents to put to work, and two of them work diligently to double their number of talents, whereas the third servant feared losing his master’s talent and hid it away. As I was reading through this parable recently, God gave me pause, and told me to rethink this parable. I have come to know the story so well, that I do not listen for Jesus teaching through it anymore. I assume I have the complete answer, and then I move on reading. I believe God would rather us pause and sit to learn from Him rather than assume we have mastered portions of His Word. God still has so much He wants to teach us, but we must be willing to humble ourselves to listen and learn.

When I reread the parable (a few times), I began to think about the efforts of those two servants who doubled their talents. They were willing to risk what their master had given them by putting the talents to work. We do not know what work they did, but it must have been something they put themselves fully into in order to double their original amount. They were dedicated and diligent workers for their lord, and they were greatly rewarded for it.

The first two servants can be described as courageous, devoted, and hard-working. The third servant, however, could be described as fearful, lazy, unambitious and unloving. He feared his master more than he loved him, which is seen in the words he speaks to his master. We are left to think about these three servants and determine what kind of servants we want to be for our Lord. Whether He gives one, two or five “talents” to work with, our response and devotion will determine the work of our lives. 

Application: As I began to think about them, my heart began to burn with the desire to be one of the servants who worked diligently and doubled the talents. In order to do that for my Lord, Jesus Christ, I would have to be willing to throw myself fully into the work He has called me to. I would have to be dedicated and diligent to “double” what He has entrusted to me. The most important thing I took away, though, was that this would be hard work, but it would be worth it. Those who desire righteousness will seek to honor Christ with their life. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for Christ Himself will fill them up.