Thursday, July 30, 2015

ACE #391: Will You Leave a Godly Heritage?

Our daughter is very curious when it comes to our spiritual life.  She lives in a household with two parents who are both licensed in ministry.  We have no doubt that she will also be in formal ministry, but at her age we want her to focus on being her best self for Christ. The reality is that we have to lead by example. The various conversations that we have with her lead me to ask the question, "What heritage will we leave her when we are gone?"

A heritage is defined as what you leave as an inheritance, legacy, or tradition after you have gone.  Most people only view it in terms of possessions - either monetary or tangibles.  Very few people would consider this in the spiritual manner - something intangible yet far more valuable.  (Even fewer people would consider the negative things people leave behind too - like debt and not having a will).  It is our desire to be able to leave her both tangibles and intangibles. We have recognized that it is our godly heritage that will matter most as she navigates through life - with or without us.

In considering a godly heritage, I always think about how Jacob, as he was dying,  blessed each of his sons with a heritage, which resulted in the 12 tribes of Israel.  But when it came to Joseph, he did something different.  He blessed both of Joseph's sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.  In other words, he gave Joseph a double portion of blessings through his sons (Genesis 48).  Joseph got double for his trouble.  Jacob was mindful of the trials that Joseph had endured after his brothers sold him into slavery!  Jacob left a heritage for his children and his grandchildren.

As I pondered this topic, I believe there are three main things that are very important for us to leave behind for our children as part of their godly heritage.

1.  We leave a godly heritage by teaching our children the importance of spiritual covering and discipleship.  It is imperative that we teach our children that praying for other people, ministering to others through the Word of God, and showing spiritual concern for the lost is discipleship at its best.  That is what we are called to do. After all, it was Jesus' charge to His disciples in the Great Commission.  In the words of Jesus himself, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

2. We leave a godly heritage by sharing our testimonies about how God has remained true to His promises, shown us His grace and mercy, and sacrificed His son for us.  It is important for our children to know that God gave His own son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Also, God's promises never return void and His mercies are new every morning.  Our children need to know that there will never be a time that God will turn His back on us, even in a lowly state.  In the words of gospel singer J. Moss, "You loved me through my good. You loved me through my bad. You didn't erase my future because of my past.  You loved me through my good and my bad."

3.  We leave a godly heritage by teaching our children how to love others as Jesus taught His disciples.  It is one thing to love our neighbors as ourselves, but it is on another level to love others as Jesus has loved us. In the words of Lionel Richie and the Commodores, "Jesus is love."

I watched an interview between Steve Harvey and Bishop T.D. Jakes.  Steve said that he was not going to leave much of his possessions and money behind for his kids, they would need to work to earn their living.  Bishop Jakes responded, "It's not what you leave to them; it's what you leave in them that matters most."   

So, I leave you with this question to ponder, "Will you leave a godly heritage?"

Genesis 48
15 And he blessed Joseph, and said:
“God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has fed me all my life long to this day,
16 The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil,
Bless the lads;
Let my name be named upon them,
And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”

A good man leaves an inheritance [of moral stability and goodness] to his children’s children. (Proverbs 13:22 AMP)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

ACE #390: It's Only Two Dollars

I think I should tell myself, "Welcome back!"  I know it has been a while since we blogged, but life happens.

Yesterday, I was sitting in the parking lot of Kroger.  A young lady came up to my car and told me she only had 83 cents and needed some gas to get on the other side of town.  I told her I would give her whatever money I had in my change purse; I had $2.  I handed it to her and she said "thank you" and walked to a car parked behind where I was parked.  The gas station was in front of me.  When I got out of the car, another lady told me she knew who the girl was because she was usually at another store on the other side of town doing the same thing.  She had already told the girl that she recognized her and was going to get a police officer to come over where they were standing.  So, the girl and her boyfriend rushed away.  Another women said that she told them if they needed food, then she would buy them food, but she would not give them money.  Both women said that I was a "good one" for giving them anything.  

I responded, "Well, it's only two dollars."
The younger of the two women said, "Doesn't that just make you mad?  We go out here everyday and work for our money and they just beg and bum off of people."
The older of the two women said, "Well, the good Lord will bless you."
I said, "He already has.  I just found five dollars that I didn't even know I had."

The reality is that I had no idea if they girl was going to use the money for something legitimate or not.  But it did not really matter to me because it was the spirit in which I gave her the money.  I gave it to her because I thought I was being helpful.  The two women even viewed the act in very different ways.  To be honest, I was grateful that it wasn't me that was in the situation where I felt like I had to beg someone else for the money.  Sometimes you just have to be thankful for having "only two dollars" to give. Some people have nothing at all.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Cheerful Giver

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully[a] will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

ACE #389: Thank You, Abbie

Yesterday morning, I had to go into another building to take care of some business. I didn't do anything different. I dressed like I normally do. I had a smile on may face like I normally do. I was just moving about like I always do.

When I reached the building, I saw a co-worker. I was greeted with a hello and a polite gesture as he opened the door for me. Upon entering, I noticed he had his beautiful children with him. As I cordially greeted each of them, I continued toward my destination. As I was departing, the co-worker asked if I would stop by his office when I had completed my mission.

After I finished taking care of my business, I made my way to his office. Before we got down to business, he said to me,

"I told my daughter that you were a preacher and she said, 'I can tell."'

Wow! It amazes me how God dresses you up so that even a beautiful child can recognize your gift. As I said, I thought I looked normal. But God shows otherwise. Thank you, Abbie, for noticing the gift in me when I couldn't see it in myself.

1 Corinthians 12
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 
There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 
There are different kinds of working, 
but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

ACE #388: Step Up Your Game

When I was in middle school, I played on the basketball team. I was one of the starting five.  There was a young lady who was considered to be "the sixth (wo)man" - that was until she got my starting spot.  I remember that game so well.  My coach tried to break it to me gently that I would not start this particular game.  I was bummed.  I was actually a little angry.  Within about five minutes, I was put in the game as a substitute.  All I knew was that I had to get my starting spot back, but how would I do it?  I made up my mind I would use what I had - my strengths - to get my spot back. 

I have always known that I was small, but really fast.  This game, I used it to my advantage.  I ended up with the most steals and the most rebounds in that game.  My quickness was activated.  And guess what?  The other coach never looked at her again for the starting position.  I used what I had and earned my spot back.  In other words, I stepped up my game so that I could claim my rightful position.  I did not have to betray anyone, gossip behind anyone's back, or even discuss how I would get my spot back.  I just stepped up my game. 

Samuel anointed David as king well before David took the throne.  And when he did it, "the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward."  David served in Saul's service before he was able to claim his rightful position as king. He was Saul's armor bearer because he had found favor in Saul's eyes.  The Word said that "Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him" because of David and his musical ability to play the harp.  Eventually, David had to step up his game and became a well known warrior, particularly after he killed Goliath the Philistine.  He even killed 200 more Philistines for Michal, Saul's daughter, to become his wife.  The word says that David's name "was highly esteemed."

There will come a time when the rubber will meet the road.  You will have to prove what you are made of in order to go to that next level.  The thing about David is that every time he went higher, the Lord showed him great favor.  Saul tried to kill David many times, but David was always protected by God's favor.  When David had the chance to kill Saul, he refused to do it.  That is how Saul knew that David was surely going to be king. 

If God has anointed you with special gifts, then you do not have to do anything against or say anything bad about someone else to get your rightful spot.  All you have to do is trust God, use your gifts, and step up your game.