Honor Your Father and Mother

“Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Matthew 19:19 (NKJV)

I grew up in the state of Arkansas.  My dad was a farmer turned factory worker. He worked for a garment factory in their warehouse where they picked and shipped the product.

My dad commuted 70 miles (one way) every day and still raised a large garden and I had to help even though my interest was on the ranch that lay behind our house. I did everything from hauling hay to rounding up the cattle for the annual shots and branding.

I guess I blamed the differencing in farming and ranching for my inability to get along with my parents. We fought like cats and dogs. Every time my dad and mom tried to get me to do something for the community or for a family, I rebelled. It wasn’t because I didn’t like the people in the community, it was because I was forced by circumstance to do things I didn’t want to do.

I guess you could say that I never respected or honored my family, although I really didn’t know what respect and honor at that age. All I wanted to do was to work the cattle and ride my horse while doing it.

It was a catch 22. I was trying to live a life I couldn’t have, and I needed to live a life that I didn’t want.

Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So, the woman took the child and nursed him. And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So, she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

Exodus 2:9-10 (NKJV)

Moses had a decision to make the same as I did. His was a bit more difficult, because he was deciding whether he wanted to be royalty or lead a people who didn’t consider him worth the time it would take to kill him.

These people were in bondage and needed to get to a land that God had promised their ancestor. They needed to get to the promised land. God had chosen Moses to lead them to their new home, their salvation.

Just as I wanted to do my work from the back of a horse, I’m sure Moses would have rather stayed in Egypt and lived his life as the grandson of the Pharaoh. However, God had other plans for Moses.

When I look at my life, I realize that God also had other plans for me as well. I have heard many other ministers say the same thing. It’s not that being a minister is hard work or pays nothing; it’s that the life God wanted me to live was not what I wanted.

I look back now at my mom and dad and I wonder what they thought. There is one thing I have never doubted. I have never doubted their love for their family. Even though I was hard on them, yelled at them, told them I wanted more than they could offer, and many other things I should be ashamed of; I know they still loved me.

Even though I was unkind and dishonorable toward my parents, I know they were still proud of my accomplishments and were never ashamed of my actions.

I guess you could say that my life is proof positive that God knows more than we do. How many people have been saved and how many people have been helped, because I followed the path God laid out for me and not the one I wanted.

You Shall Love Your Neighbor

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”

Matthew 5:43-46 (NKJV)

Ned Seivers was a corporate banker and he and his family enjoyed many of the comforts of life.

One morning as Ned was on his way to work, He came upon an auto accident. It seemed to be minor at first, but in reality, it was pretty bad. The cars weren’t damaged that much, however, there were injuries in both cars.

The young lady who was driving the older car was injured badly. The young lady suffered a compound fracture in her right arm. As she was loaded into the ambulance, she kept telling them she had no insurance.

Ned followed the ambulance to the emergency room and went into the hospital. Once inside, Ned saw a doctor friend of his and asked him to take care of the young lady. After he had talked to the doctor, he turned to the young lady and gave her his business card. He informed the young lady that his friend would care for her and make sure everything was healed properly.

About a month later, Ned ran into his doctor friend and asked him about the young lady. She had made a good recovery and was released to the Salvation Army because she had no other place to go.

When Ned checked with the Salvation Army, he found that she was only allowed to stay for one week and was released.

Ned continued to look for her but had no luck. It was like she had just vanished into the night.

About a year later, there was a radical group who began a lawsuit against Ned’s bank. About a month into the suit, Ned was sent to court to testify.

While he was waiting, He sat in on some other testimony, and one of the people testifying was the young girl from the accident.

The night of the accident, as it turns out, the girl was transporting all she owned to a storage locker. She was really tired and was not paying complete attention to her driving.

What was the whole story behind the young girl losing everything at one time?

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34-35 (NKJV)

When Ned asked the banks counsel to see him, the lawyer replied that it would hurt the case if they talked at the present time. Ned told the lawyer to see him now and they would deal with the consequences.

What Ned had found was that all the young ladies had been fired for missing too much time because their children had been sick. Why?

No one from the banks corporate office had bothered to look at the case from the community standpoint. The lawyers were looking only at the money they could save if they won this case.

Unfortunately to save a few thousand now and win the case would cost them three times as much in future revenue.

Ned decided to talk to the corporate office and impress upon them the damage it would do to the bank to win this case.

Beside all the revenue lost, they would have to spend money to train new people to take the place of those that were fired.

Instead of pursuing this case further, Ned decided to concede the court case and rehire all the ladies and give them a raise. Ned also promoted the young lady from the auto accident and retrain her to oversee the interest of the bank in all future lawsuits. Over the next 5 years, this young lady could save the bank millions of dollars.

What we sometimes overlook as humans is that God knows all and sees all. As humans, we see what is in front of us, what makes us famous and the money we can make.

God also sees the hurt endured by those involved in these legal and domestic situations.

God knows what is best for us as well as all others involved. In this instance it turned out that it would have benefited all parties to have just done what the bible told us to do.

Oh, and the doctors were able to figure out that the children were getting sick because of sone mold in the nursery walls. By removing the mold, they were able to make the nursery a safer place for the children and they saved millions in future law suits.

Listen to God. You will save money and be happier doing it.

And to Walk Humbly with Your God

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

A few weeks ago, I told you about the doubt our friends had when my wife and I got married. The thought because we met at school in the military, our marriage couldn’t possibly last more than 2 years. They were wrong. We have been happily married for 44 years.

It occurs to me that I neglected to tell you why it lasted. It lasted for several reasons.

  1. We didn’t allow a piece of paper to dictate our feelings and trust for each other. Our marriage wasn’t the next logical step toward a married life. Our marriage was based on getting to know one another by talking daily and telling each other honestly how we felt. By talking instead of partying, we were able to come to an honest understanding of how each of us wanted our marriage to be. In other words, we had to have faith in each other just as we must have faith in God that He will love us more than we love Him.
  2. Our love for each other must be loyal. Marriage is a two-way street. The Husband and Wife can’t both be the same way. Each person must have their own personality and they must use that personality to help guide the marriage in the way it should go. If both parties have the same exact personality, marriage would be boring. You would be doing the same things all the time and that would get old. By being different, there is enough diversity to make the marriage interesting and fun.
  3. The same is true with our relationship to God. We don’t have a ritualistic relationship with God where we go to church on Sunday and put money in an offering plate to impress someone. We don’t run to the alter every time there is an alter call. After I surrendered my life to God, everything after that is between, he and I. I don’t need to put on a show so others can see that I have faith in God. If I humbly walk in the manner described in the bible for me to walk, people can see Christ in me.
  4. One of the hardest things for me to learn over the years was modesty in our marriage. I keep trying to impress my wife and show her that I can run things and keep our marriage running smooth. My wife has a subtlety about her that very gently smacks me back in my place when it is needed. One person can’t run a marriage, it takes a combined effort. Both sides of the couple must use all modesty in their dealings with each other; just as we must use modesty in our dealings with God.

To sum up what I have just said. To have a happy marriage you must both have faith in each other, you must both learn to act justly toward each other and help each other always. You must both have a “loyal love” toward each other just as Micah instructed the Children of Israel that they must do toward God. That is a love that will recognize the mercy that your spouse is showing you and learn to appreciate it. And finally, you must walk humbly with your spouse and allow your spouse to be a great influence in your life.

If we can learn to live together the way we should live with God, we will always have a long and happy marriage.

Proclaim and Announce the Freewill Offerings

My apologies for the lateness of this post. My wife, who sets the posts up, was in the hospital unexpectedly. Thankfully she is back home again, and doing well.

Offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, Proclaim and announce the freewill offerings; For this you love, You children of Israel!” Says the Lord GOD

Amos 4:5 (NKJV

Amos was announcing for the Lord, what the Israelites themselves thought about instead of what they should proclaim. Sometimes God’s Love can bring forth judgement and rebuke as well as love and honor.

God’s love is something we need to cultivate in our hearts. It’s not a one size fits all thing. Once we receive God’s love, our hearts must be honed and shaped until it fits perfectly. God’s love is honed and shaped in different ways.

  1. First, we must know God’s word and how it applies to us.
  2. Then we must listen to the word, apply the word to our hearts.
  3. Then we must follow the word by doing the commandments.
  4. Now we must receive God’s love in the form of the Holy Spirit.
  5. Now that we have the Holy Spirit living in us, we must listen to all it has to say.
  6. We must now be ready for others to look at our lives and see them as examples

Many today think that by giving some money to the church they have given the sacrifice required to be a Christian. No! The sacrifice required to be a Christian cannot be given by an unworthy human like us. That sacrifice was given by Christ on the Cross of Calvary.

The blood of Christ was required to cleanse us and make us whole again. Pure love like that given by God requires a pure sacrifice.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Genesis 1:26 (NKJV)

Of all the hundreds of thousands of things that God created, only one of these was given free will. What is freewill? It is the right to do what you want to do, even if it is wrong.

I can choose to worship God every Sunday and be a church goer, or I can choose to look like God by doing what is right and good.

Going to church and listening to the preacher is not Christianity. Going out in the community and giving of my time and money to the poor and homeless will not make me look like God or Christ. Only when we live our lives in a manner that will cause people to see Christ in us will we earn the right to be called Christians.

A Christian is supposed to “look like Christ.” Only when we listen to the Holy Spirit that lives in us, just as it lived in Christ (Matt. 3:16-17), do we look like God. God has given us His Son to die for our sins, in our place. God gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us as it also guided Jesus. God has given us His word to live by and finally, God gave us His love to come home to. What more could we possibly ask of God?

%d bloggers like this: