Special Gifts for Dads

Happy-Fathers-Day

Fathers love gifts…as long as they’re practical, of course.

One Dad suggested that the family get him a gift that the whole family could get something out of. So they did. They bought Dad a new wallet.

But to decide on what gift is actually practical may depend on the Dad and the gift. One wouldn’t think of buying Dad a coffee mug if he doesn’t drink coffee. Or, a ticket to a ball game if he’d prefer to go the opera. Dads who love the outdoors—hunting, fishing, hiking, and the like—would probably not want puzzles to put together, mystery novels to read, or dominoes to play.

Some Dads enjoy sports; others don’t. Some Dads are attracted to clothes that are hip, fashionable; others only wear duds that are as common as an old shoe (And he probably owns only one pair, at that!). In essence, gifts vary in accordance to a Dad’s interests—or, as a philosoper might say, “To each Dad according to his own preference.”

By the way, speaking of preferences…you’ve heard the old “Not another tie!” lament. But, personally, as a guy who doesn’t mind ties and has a lot of them myself, you wouldn’t hear me complain…too much. (lol)

If one knows not what one’s Dad would really like, all one has to do is go on the Internet and enter words like, “Father’s Day gifts” or “Gifts for Dads.” There you will see oodles of items that you can pick for finding just the right gift for your Dad. Depending on the source of your information, you can pick anything from the ordinary (clothes, dinners, tools) to the bizarre (parachute diving, giant face cushion, registering a star in his name). But, again, it’s according to your Dad’s likes and dislikes. 

The aim of any son or daughter is to get a special Father’s Day gift—that one gift your Dad will appreciate and use for his good pleasure. We want to please our Dads and get them something that will bring a smile to their face. Sometimes finding just the right gift comes easy. Other times, however, it might be difficult. You might find one right away. But some gifts may take a little more effort to find and that takes more time.

Whatever gift you give to your Dad, there’s one you can add that will make it MORE special. This includes the honor you give him—showing him your love, respect, and gratitude in special ways. In fact, these are gifts themselves—gifts that will please your Dad. And they will last much longer than whatever material gift that you present to him.

This might sound too difficult for sons and daughters who have serious differences with their fathers. And granted, some fathers may not seem worthy of these special gifts due, perhaps, to their own mistakes in the past. But in a Christian world, that’s where these special gifts are definitely needed in order for that kind of situation to change for the betterment of the family. Only through an honest effort of genuine forgiveness and reconciliation can conditions change for the best (Mark 11:25; Ephesians 4:32; 1 Peter 3:8-12)and what better time than Father’s Day to begin that change?

Special gifts are special because they are based on a commitment—a commitment of loyalty to the virtues God our Father has laid forth through his one and only Son, Jesus Christ. It’s all a part of God’s command to honor your father as well as your mother as Jesus, himself, affirmed (Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:4). The result? “…that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord gives you.” (See also Ephesians 6:1-3; Deuteronomy 5:16).

Happy Father’s Day to all Dads!
And Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael

P.S. This song is dedicated as a special gift to all Dads—heroes in the sight of their children, https://youtu.be/hM4gOls0R48

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The Hope of All Hope

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The S S Hope was a hospital ship. Having voyaged from 1960 until 1974, it was the first peacetime vessel in the world.

And it lived up to its name.

The ship was equipped with typical facilities found in a typical hospital. Its mission was to provide medical and surgical care to the sick and disabled to countries around the world. The goal was to provided health and opportunity for people everywhere.

The S S Hope was originally a US Navy hospital ship, the USS Consolation. Interestingly, Consolation was turned to Hope when it was donated to Project HOPE in 1958. HOPE is an acronym for Help Opportunities for People Everywhere.

Project HOPE continues as an international health care organization found in the United States. Ever since the S S Hope ship was retired, Project HOPE has changed to land-based operations in Germany and the United Kingdom as well as the US.

While we can appreciate the efforts put forth by Project HOPE and the years the S S Hope brought hope to many people in distant lands, the Bible talks about an even greater hope for all the world. Titus 2:11 through 15 reads,

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds,” (New American Standard Bible, NASB).

You will notice the phrase I’ve put in bold type, “the blessed hope”. It’s the hope of all hope because it’s about something more than wishful thinking. It doesn’t come from any human theory or philosophy or fantasy of some kind. Rather, it’s the hope that comes from the inspiration of God’s own Word which teaches something far greater and better than anything we could ever imagine or wish for.

In his book, Systematic Theology, the late Dr. Alva G. Huffer gave a fitting description of this hope. He wrote,

“Hope equals desire plus expectation. Desire minus expectation equals a mere wish. Expectation minus desire equals dread. Hope must include both desire (Proverbs 13:12) and expectation (Prov. 10:28). He who hopes for something to happen wants that event to occur and expects it to happen.”

Titus 2:13 places that “blessed hope” in anticipation of a future time—namely, at the “glorious appearing” of Jesus Christ. The fact that the blessed hope of Christ and his next coming occupies one out of every 25 verses from the Gospel of Matthew to the Book of Revelation shows the importance of hope for the church.

Dr. Huffer went on to say,

“Christians have many hopes for the future. The one hope which supersedes all other hopes, however, is the return of Christ, because it will make all other hopes possible. The blessed hope, our Lord’s return, is the open door to God’s Tomorrow.
The believer’s hope is centered not in a thing, but in a person, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Since God’s beloved Son is the person in whom we put our hope (Colossians 1:27), we know we can put our trust and faith in it. Jesus is the One who brings hope alive when all other hope falls short of making our dreams and desires come true. Through Christ, we are sure without a shadow of doubt that the blessed hope will be fulfilled. And this gives us the incentive to live for him—to let him transform our lives so that we’ll be prepared for his return.

The desire and expectation of believers is to “…be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time,” (1 Peter 1:3-5).

In this present age, our hope of all hope is being reserved in heaven where Jesus is interceding as Mediator between God and humankind (1 Timothy 2:5). When Jesus returns, he will fulfill that hope and bring with him the reward of eternal life for all believers (Revelation 22:12). This is the inheritance that will never fade away— immortality (1 Corinthians 15:50-58)—and which includes the new earth, restored (Acts 3:19-21); co-rulership with Jesus (Romans 8:17) when he reigns over the nations (Rev. 17:14; 19:16) bringing true justice for all (Psalm 72:1-7) with Paradise conditions (Rev. 21:4; 22:12) covering all the earth (Daniel 7:14, 27; Isaiah 11:9).

Now that’s what I call the hope of all hope! And it’s available for people everywhere!

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael

P.S. Here’s Bible Truth Music presenting, “I’m Looking for That Blessed Hope,” http://youtu.be/6s1XKt0m8oY

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Fearing Fear

fear_home alone

On March 4, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented his inaugural address during one of the darkest times of the nation’s history. The United States was in the grip of what would be called The Great Depression. The nation desperately needed hope and encouragement as the newly elected president began his first term of office. So, in his opening remarks, he used ten words (I’ve put in bold type) that has become famous for all time. He starts out,

I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance….

Not only Americans, but all humans have fear of one kind or another and at one time or another. No matter one’s age, gender, race, or creed, human fear like the kind the 32nd president of the United States described —nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance— needs to be addressed lest we fall into the kind of depression that paralyzes and destroys our lives.

There are countless kinds of fears that would take volumes to write about. And, indeed, volumes have already been written and reported about it. But at the crux of any fear is fear itself—an observation not only made by FDR but other notable persons:

  • The thing I fear most is fear. —Michel Eyquem De Montaigne, 1580
  • Nothing is terrible except fear itself.—Sir Francis Bacon, 1623
  • The only thing I am afraid of is fear.—Duke of Wellington, 1831
  • Nothing is so much to be feared as fear.—Henry David Thoreau, 1841

You might like to know that the medical jargon for the fear of fear is phobophobia. It comes from the Greek word, “phobos” which includes an extreme fear. It’s the kind of fear that brings on feelings of horror and terror which causes people to think and act irrationally.

When we see or hear people making statements that seem to make no sense at all, yet stirring up strife, insecurity, and danger among others, then we wonder about their underlying fears. How can we trust what these fearmongers are saying? They could be anyone from your closest friend to your most admired Hollywood entertainer, to your favorite politician to your most trusted media. Like a life-threatening cancer, they spread their phobic fear to infect fear in others, and maybe in you as well, whether they do it consciously or unconsciously; intentionally or unintentionally. Regardless the situation, panic soon follows.

Fearing fear is a fearful experience that we prefer not to fear because we know its fateful results. According to experts, those most vulnerable to phobophobia are those who are afraid of disclosing their fears for fear of being exposed. This, in itself, sparks anxiety and panic disorders of many kinds due to unreasonable fears.

As Christians, we understand that there is a way to resist the fear of fear and prevent the dire results. Although some might think it sounds contradictive to propose this, but the best way to deal with our fear is having the fear of God. In fact, if there’s anything that we SHOULD be afraid of, it’s if we DO NOT fear God. 

It’s been anonymously said, “When you fear God, you having nothing else to fear.”

Such a statement about fearing God is not without Biblical backup. In, The Faith That Satisfies, William Anderson is cited,

This phrase fear of the Lord” occurs over and over and over. I was really surprised to find more than three hundred references in the Old Testament that speak of the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is reverential trust and hatred of evil, and there you have the whole thing.

Point well-taken. It says in Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding,” (New American Standard Bible, NASB). It’s a good thing to fear God because it helps us to deal wisely with our own fears. We do not need to fear fear because the fear of the LORD provides the antidote to the underlying fears that plague us.

Distinguished pastor and author, A.W. Tozer once wrote that the fear of God is essentially, “astonished reverence.” He went on to assert,

I believe that the reverential fear of God mixed with love and fascination and astonishment and admiration and devotion is the most enjoyable state and the most satisfying emotion the human soul can know. (as cited from, Whatever Happened to Worship).

When our fear of God grows, phobophobia shrinks. Knowing that God is watching us while watching over us moves us to live by faith and not by unreasonable fear. Striving to live and serve him in the contentment of his holiness, love, and truth, relieves us of having to deal with our fears no matter how deep or shallow they may appear.

So, if you’re afraid to face your fears, remember that fearing the LORD will bring you good health and a better life: “Trust the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body, and refreshment to your bones,” (Prov. 3:5-8, NASB).

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael

P.S. When we place our fear at the disposal of our fear of God, we discover an amazing thing: the love of God swelling in our hearts. The One who makes this possible is God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who personifies God’s holiness, love, and truth. Jesus generates the “perfect love that casts out fear” (1 John 4:18) including the kind of fear that keeps us from accepting him as the Lord and Savior of our lives. Here’s Zach Williams presenting the official lyric video, “Fear Is a Liar,” http://youtu.be/sQTnREEtuNk

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Memorials of Reverence

Memorial Day_Remember and Honor

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, commemorates those heroes who’ve died in service of the United States of America. This solemn occasion is rooted in honor of those who gave their lives during the Civil War (1861 to 1865). Ever since U.S. General John Logan, Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, proclaimed the 30th of May as the official date in 1868, honor has been given to those who gave their lives defending their country.

On May 5, 1868, General Logan gave General Order No. 11 which proclaimed,

“The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

Today, Americans continue carrying out the proclamation. Graves are still decorated with markers, flowers, and flags in cemeteries all around the country in memory of these brave, dedicated soldiers. The solemn occasion also features speeches, services, parades and even old war movies to express appreciation for our heroes. All of these traditions mark Memorial Day as a time to pay reverence to those who sacrificed their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to preserve our precious freedom.

Speaking of Memorial Day, I am reminded of the memorial stones that were laid during the time of Joshua in the Bible. Just as we mark our holiday with decorations and events that show reverence to our heroes, God commanded Joshua to incorporate a very sacred occasion with memorials. But, unlike using these memorial stones to remember fallen soldiers, they were used to remind future generations that a new leader in Joshua has been chosen. And now he is bringing them to a new land promised to them for all time under God’s providence and power.

So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe; and Joshua said to them, “Cross again to the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel. Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever. (Joshua 4:4-7, New American Standard Bible, NASB.)

The crossing of the Jordan River was a momentous event. Israel’s great leader and lawgiver, Moses, who delivered the people from Egyptian bondage and led them through 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, had died. They were just about to enter the land promised to them from the time of Abraham. It was now time for Joshua, Moses’ successor, to lead the people across the Jordan River to establish them in the land given to them by God.

Two sets of memorials in the form of stone monuments commemorating the crossing of the Jordan River on dry ground were erected. One set of 12 memorial stones (one for each tribe representative who carried a stone) were placed in the bed of the river. The other set of 12 memorial stones were placed at Gilgal, the site of their first encampment after their crossing. Gilgal means “a circle of stones.” These were to serve as sacred memorials reminding generations to come of the power of the Lord in their quest to occupy the land he gave them long before (Josh. 4:19-24).

These memorial stones signifying the crossing of the Jordan reminded the people of all that God had done to save Israel and carry out his plans for the nation. It has been compared to salvation —from a dry, barren wilderness to a new land of prosperity and beauty; from an old life of sin to a new life of grace; from leaving a life of wandering to a life of purpose and meaning.

In a way, the memorial stones set up by Joshua are not unlike the objects we use to show our reverence on Memorial Day. The memorials then and now get us to think about the past and remember what it took to get where we are. Both memorials help each generation to appreciate the efforts put forth by those before us who gave for a greater cause. And they also serve to remind us that a better and brighter day for those in Christ is coming— when we cross over from wandering day to day in this present mortal existence to the new day when we put on immortality and possess the Promised Land in God’s glorious Kingdom.

Let us praise God with memorials of reverence in appreciation for our blessings and all that we enjoy because of those we remember on Memorial Day.

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael

P.S. Here is a Memorial Day Tribute to heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom: http://youtu.be/_P-HpmohQZM

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A ‘Strange’ Inheritance

inheritance

Fox Business Network has a reality show called, Strange Inheritance, which is about “bizarre artifacts” and “outrageous stories” suitable to the title. The host, Jamie Colby, presents fascinating stories such as the family that inherited gang member, Ma Barker’s house; the Houston man who inherited Houston Astrodome’s railcar; a woman who inherits 67,000 pieces of a hand-carved miniature circus; and the like.

What adds to the oddity of what’s inherited is that someone may be named unexpectedly in the will. Anyone other than the surviving members or friends of the deceased can, indeed, attract attention—for example, the Portuguese aristocrat who left his fortune to 70 total strangers randomly chosen from a phone directory; the waitress who inherited half-a-million dollars from a customer; and the teenager who inherited an Island with a buried treasure. Eyebrows are also raised if the inheritance goes to one’s pet—like the Terrier named Trouble who inherited a $12 million fortune. (oddee.com)

Sometimes those who don’t deserve to inherit anything, get exactly what’s coming to them. That reminds me of this joke:

A lawyer was reading out the will of a rich man to the people mentioned in the will:

“To you, my loving wife Rose, who stood by me in rough times, as well as good, I leave her the house and $2 million.”

The lawyer continued, “To my daughter Jessica, who looked after me in sickness and kept the business going, I leave her the yacht, the business and $1 million.”

The lawyer concluded, “And, to my cousin Dan, who hated me, argued with me, and thought that I would never mention him in my will—well you are wrong. Hi, Dan!” (selected)

Many might be surprised to know that the Bible talks about a “strange” inheritance. Let me qualify that by saying those who are NOT believers through Christ might find it “strange.” Due to lack of faith on their part, they might look at the believer’s inheritance as something that is full of fantasy and fiction. They are the skeptics who mock and belittle those who claim that someday believers will inherit a great fortune worth more than anything that can be imagined in this mortal life (for example, 2 Peter 3:3-4).

The Bible speaks of this “strange” inheritance in terms of property, power, and position. It is connected with the second coming of Christ and the establishment of his Kingdom when he rules and reigns as King over all nations of the earth (Psalm 2:8; Daniel 7:13-14; Matthew 25:31; Revelation 19:11-16). He will reign in the restored and exalted Jerusalem on the throne of his forefather, David (Micah 4:1-4; Luke 1:31-33).

The property is the entire planet and its contents perfectly restored and renewed in pure beauty, harmony, and peace for eternity:

Jesus declared, “Blessed are the meek [humble] for they shall inherit the earth,” (Matt. 5:5). Jesus is talking about real land, not heaven or some other place. He has in mind, the Promised Land referred to in the Old Testament, a place of prosperity and blessings of joy. (See Psa. 25:13; 37:9, 11; Isaiah 29:19).

Inheritance of the land or earth goes back to the promises made to faithful Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3. 7; 13:14-17; 15:5-7, 18; 17:1-8; 22:16-18), and passed along to his sons, Isaac (Gen. 26:2-5), and Jacob renamed Israel (Gen. 28:13-15; 35:10-12), who passed it on to his twelve sons (Exodus 2:23-25) which constituted the nation of Israel (1 Chronicles 16:13-19).

The inheritance is confirmed through David, “a man after God’s own heart,” (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22-23). In Psalm 16:5 and 6, David said, “The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; Thou dost support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritance is beautiful to me.” The portion or share of inheritance not only includes the land and the royal heritage promised through the line of David, but the LORD God, himself.  For God has given his Word and his Word is as good as the inheritance he has promised (2 Samuel 7:12-16; 1 Chronicles 17:7-14; Jeremiah 23:5-6; 33:15-26). Verses 10 and 11 are a prophecy of the Messiah fulfilled in Jesus when he arose from death (Acts 2:24-28), the One who will fulfill the portion of that inheritance claimed by David when Jesus rules on his throne (Psa. 89:3-4, 27-37; Isa. 11:1-12). 

The property also includes a perfect environment: All the nations of the whole world will permanently be at peace (Isa. 2:4; 9:7; Micah 4:2-3). There will be no more injustice or unfairness for all wrongs will be corrected with righteous and perfect judgment (Psa. 72:1-7; Isa. 11:3-5; Rev. 19:11). There will be no more sickness (Isa. 35:5-6; Rev. 21:4). Animals will be made harmless (Isa. 11:6-9; 65:25). The earth will be restored to its original beauty and fertility as it was before Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden (Isa. 35:1-7; 55:12-13; Ezekiel 36:33-35; Acts 3:20-21; Rev. 22:3). And the entire world will be filled with God’s glory and knowledge (Isa. 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14).

The power is what believers (the church) will receive at the first resurrection when Jesus returns to earth. All the faithful throughout the ages in Christ who have died will be raised from death to receive immortality (Job 14:14; Psa. 17:15; Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12:2-3, 13; Hosea 13:14). After that, those in Christ who are living at the time Jesus comes will be instantly changed from mortal to immortal, and from corruption to incorruption (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58; Acts 24:15; Rev. 20:6).

Those in the Old Testament, including Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who served God in faith, believing in the promises of his Kingdom, will be resurrected and rewarded with eternal life in Christ’s Kingdom, as well (Hebrews 11:13-16; 39, 40; Matt. 8:11).

The resurrection power that all believers will inherit at Christ’s coming is based on the hope that we have through him. The Apostle Paul testified, “…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead,” (Philippians 3:10-11, New American Standard Bible, NASB). Our hope is to inherit the glorious power of our resurrected Lord and Savior at his coming (Titus 2:13; Phil. 3:21; Colossians 3:4). Believers strive to be found faithful and ready when Jesus comes so as not to be judged to receive the final sentence of eternal death (Matt. 25:24-30; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Rev. 20:5, 11-15; 21:8).

Another part of the believer’s inheritance is position. Along with the power of eternal life is the power of rulership alongside the rulership of Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Believers (a.k.a., the church) are called, “joint-heirs,” “fellow-heirs,” or “co-rulers” with Christ in his Kingdom (Rom. 8:17; Galatians 3:29). They will be made “kings and priests” of God and of Christ and reign with him on the earth (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6).

Jesus alludes in the Parable of the Talents that those who’ve been faithful, and used the gifts given to them in this life, will be rewarded accordingly in his Kingdom when he returns (Matt. 25:14-23). We want to be found serving him loyally and not hiding our “talent” at the time of his coming. Our aim is to hear the words of the Master, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been found faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your Master,” (Matt. 25:23; See also, Matt. 26:31-46).

Those who’ve accepted Christ as Savior and Lord through faith (Rom. 10:19; Galatians 6:26; Ephesians 2:8), repentance (Acts 2:38-39; 3:19), and baptism (Rom. 6:1-11; Gal. 6:27-29; Colossians 2:12) have the hope of inheriting these three “p’s”— property, power, and position in the coming Kingdom.

And to all of this we could add another “p”—prosperity. For as we anticipate the many blessings that believers will inherit, we do indeed look forward to the prosperity that we’ll enjoy in that wonderful Kingdom to come. To some, this might sound strange; to us, it sounds glorious! (2 Peter 1:10-11).

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael

P.S. Those who look to inherit the Kingdom must first ask Jesus to enter into their lives. Here’s Hillsong Worship in “Jesus, I Need You,” http://youtu.be/qz_oad9XZ0o

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Blueprint Moms

mother

Christian minister and author, Dr. Lowell D. Streiker, said the greatest Mother’s Day tribute he heard came from a very successful businessman. He said, “Yes, I am a self-made man—but the blueprints came from my mother.” (An Encyclopedia of Humor).

This is not only a great tribute to one’s mother, it is a fitting description of what it takes to be a godly mother. For godly mothers are like the blueprints of a building—they portray the plans for building the lives of their children upon the principles of God’s Word. Thus, when their children grow up to lead their own lives, they will be able to enjoy the benefits of the things they learned from their blueprint moms.

Ever since Adam and Eve, motherhood is a blessing that comes from God. “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; The fruit of the womb is a reward,” (Psalm 127:3). Blueprint moms recognize that since children are their reward from God, they do their best to train and teach their children the ways of the LORD as they develop and grow.

Moms who are devoted to Christ provide the blueprints of godliness in the home. Such a mom is fully aware that her primary function as a woman is to bear and rear children. First Timothy 2:15 says, But women shall be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint,” (New American Standard Bible, NASB).

Blueprint moms strive to model “faith, love, and sanctity” as a good pattern for their children to follow. In turn, as moms pass along their faith to their children, they will be able to know the LORD and be saved.

This is precisely the way young Timothy came to know Christ and serve him in ministry. The Apostle Paul commended Timothy for his faith which was handed down to him from his grandmother to his mother. “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and you mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well,” (2 Timothy 1:5). We can safely say that Timothy’s grandmother, Lois, and mother, Eunice, were blueprint moms that had quite an influence on his life for serving the Lord.

And there are many other blueprint moms in the Bible we could point to. Some who come to mind are Sarah (Gen. 21:6); Jochebed (Exodus 2:1-3; 6:20; Heb. 11:23); Hannah (1 Samuel 1:22); Elizabeth (Luke 1:41); and Mary, the mother of our Lord (Luke 1:46). Though all of these women had faults of their own, their faith was such that their children were tremendously influenced to serve the Lord in wonderful ways, having a great impact on the lives of many even to this day.

We cannot emphasize enough how important it is for moms to do their share in training and nurturing children in the Lord. Through setting a good example and providing sound Biblical teaching, blueprint moms can leave an indelible impression upon the lives of their children that will bring many blessings.

Proverbs 31:27-31 says,

She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates
.

Interestingly, these and the other words written in Proverbs 31, were inspired by King Lemuel’s own mother (v. 1).

And, yet, while there are many blessings in this life for having blueprint moms, there are even more to come.

The greatest reward for blueprint moms lies in the one that will be received when Jesus returns to set up God’s everlasting Kingdom on the earth. What a glorious Day it will be when faithful moms and their saved sons and daughters will receive the reward of eternal life—when families of all the ages will be joined together again to reign with the Lord. This should be the goal of all those who truly aspire to be blueprint moms.

Good News to YOU!
And Happy Mothers Day to all mothers!
Pastor Michael

P.S. A mother’s love through Christ is the hallmark of a blueprint mom. Here is “This Amazing Love (Mother’s Day Song)” in honor of our mothers, https://youtu.be/xll5tDJOoI0

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Accuracy is the Best Policy

bible_truth

The joke is told of six-year-old Angie who came home from school with a blue ribbon. She excitedly reported to her mother that she won it for knowing an answer in natural history. “I said a giraffe has three legs.”

Her mother responded, “But a giraffe has four legs.”

Angie agreed. “I suppose so, but I was the closest of anybody in the class.”

One thing’s for sure: Angie learned that you don’t have to be accurate to get a blue ribbon. But was this a good lesson for this young, impressionable girl? Imagine her growing up thinking that all she has to do is just get close enough to the truth and she’ll be rewarded for it. But this seems to be the worldview nowadays.

Imagine Angie grows up to be a reporter for a syndicated newspaper outfit. She’s reporting about a scandal in the White House. She doesn’t quite get the information right but as long as it gets more publicity than everyone else’s report, she gets a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize. It might make her name and the newspaper rich and famous, but it doesn’t represent truthful and accurate reporting, does it?

Being half right, or even 99.9% right, and looking for a rich reward, leaves a true stain on accuracy. We shouldn’t expect doctors, lawyers, teachers, judges, police officers, soldiers, engineers, politicians and other professionals to be almost right and then be hailed as great heroes, should we? Accuracy is required if the truth is to be known and accepted. For anything short of it is guaranteed to lead to some kind of disaster.

The same idea applies to theologians, preachers, priests, and other religious leaders. When teaching and proclaiming the Scriptures, it’s imperative to strive for accuracy, not lean on hearsay, theories, or church dogma without any evidence to back it up. It’s my opinion that men and women honored with high degrees in religion ought to be examined to see if their teachings are completely accurate or not.

I’ve observed that all too often, the ordinary Christian is too quick to accept what a priest, preacher or teacher advocates without closely studying the Bible, first, to check on the accuracy of their assertions. I remember when I was in high school I brought my Bible to my classes. Wanting to know what my friends believed about certain Bible subjects, I asked them questions about the Bible. Instead of being able to back up their opinions by showing me a verse or two, their usual response was, “First, I’ll have to talk to my pastor,” or “I’ll need to ask my Sunday School teacher then get back to you.”

A Christian might be told about something in the Bible because that’s what the minister said. After all, isn’t that minister supposed to be trained and ordained at a seminary or some other place of higher education? But has the Christian ever taken the time to study the Scriptures for him or herself to see if the minister is accurate or not? That minister might be close to the truth when making assertions, but it is really, entirely correct? Answers to these questions depends on how important you think the truth is for your own Christian growth and salvation.

The Bible gives us some good guidelines for checking on the accuracy of what others assert. One of the first ones that come to my mind is Second Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth,” (New American Standard Bible, NASB).

The Apostle Paul believed that accuracy was essential when it comes to understanding and applying the truth of God’s Word. There were many false teachers in his day. And he was alerting his young associate, Timothy, to the seriousness of the issue. He added, “But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene,” (v. 16-17a). Yes, just being a little off can spread like cancer to the Body of Christ.

The accuracy of Scriptures is so important that even when one thinks he or she is being accurate, it would do well to reconsider that assumption. There was an incident in the early church where a certain newly converted Jew named Apollos, a learned man, needed to learn more. Though he “was mighty in the Scriptures,” something else was lacking. 

Luke records, “This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue…” (Acts 18:24-26a). Apollos was accurate concerning his conviction but only to a certain extent. He hadn’t quite fully attained to the teachings since he only knew of John’s baptism to repentance. Though his knowledge of Scriptures was spot on, Apollos hadn’t yet arrived at all of the truth.

“But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately,” (v. 26b). When Paul’s good Christian friends, Aquila and his wife, Priscilla, took Apollos aside and taught him the way of God more accurately, he was even more motivated than before. And he proved to be of great benefit to the Lord’s work among the believers ( vss. 27-28).

If accuracy wasn’t essential for salvation, it wouldn’t matter what you believe. When you say you believe in God and Jesus and the teachings of Scripture, how close are you to the truth? Do you “examine the Scriptures daily” as the New Testament Bereans? The believers in Berea did not take the words of their preachers and teachers as the Gospel Truth, and they were commended for it. It says, “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so,” (Acts 17:11).

Accuracy is the best policy for wanting to learn and grow in Christ. And it also keeps us guarded against those who would lead us astray with their own misguided notions. “No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,” as it says in Second Peter 1:20. We let God’s Word speak for itself since “men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God,” (v. 21).

Accuracy affects true hope. According to the Apostle Peter, you must be ready, willing, and able to “give an account for the hope” that you have (1 Peter 3:15). But is that hope based on accuracy of the truth or is it based on what someone else may have inaccurately told you? Don’t expect God to hand out blue ribbons to those who don’t have the correct answer.

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael

P.S. When we let God’s Word speak to us, we will be blessed abundantly. Here’s       MercyMe in, “Word of God Speak,” http://youtu.be/4JK_6osCH74

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