Joshua

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Inheritance for Generations

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Letting go… & Letting God

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Joshua

Kind of weird to talk about yourself in a blog post, but recently I heard someone say, “You should always be be ready with your three minute testimony.”  Three minute testimony?!?  What is that?  The idea is you should be able to provide a very basic recounting of your life before God, how you met God, and your life after God.  Short and sweet.  Short is good because I don’t want to bore someone to tears, and because I’ve always been a little (irrationally) frightened about anything that looks like proselytizing. Apart from the fact that Christians are commanded to share the good news, my love for my fellow man should be sufficient incentive to overcome any “shyness” about sharing how my life, and eternity, has been changed by knowing the Creator of the Universe.

So, some folks have amazing testimonies that involves being saved from a life of desperation and hopelessness.  Not me.  I have attended church as long as my memory can see, heard about God and Jesus and all that.  Didn’t really disagree with any of it, but I wouldn’t say that I knew God yet.  My story starts out in a little A-Frame House out in the country.  Pretty sweet situation, really.  Had some small farm animals, some nice acreage to explore, a little brother to boss around, not much more a boy could ask for.  Well… Almost.  My parents split up when I was quite little, and at this point in my life, I was particularly preoccupied with the fact my dad didn’t live with me.  I got to see him on Tuesdays for a while, and later when I was older would spend summers with him.  Even with all the trees to climb, snakes to hunt, and animals to tend too around that A-Frame… I was sad.  I missed my dad.  I felt alone.  Sometimes a little angry, but mostly alone.

I remember many a night, lying in bed crying.  I’ve heard many people try to describe how they have heard the Lord. There is some variation, but there is some consistency as well.  For me, it wasn’t the audible booming voice that filled the room, or even a quiet but audible whisper.  For me, God’s voice has always come in an overwhelming of my heart, accompanied by a truth that I cannot contest.  It was lying in my room, as a young boy (must have been about 4-5 years of age), when I heard God tell me that I am HIS son.  That He is with me, and He called me friend.  God called me friend. This initial meeting was brought to a fuller understanding at Awanas, where an older boy walked me through a prayer of salvation.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

This changed everything.  I still missed my Dad, but I knew I wasn’t alone.  I got a little comfortable with this notion over time, and as I went to school, made friends, assimilated into a new family, I think I had forgotten that my Friend was there.  I made choices that I’m not proud of, and lived in a way that didn’t really reflect that the Creator of the Universe is my personal friend, my father, or really anything to me.  I struggled with depression, at first for no good reason, but later fueled by the guilt over my choices and the selfishness that had possessed me.   I tried to read the bible periodically, still attended church, tried to live rightly, but always managed to come up short.

One day, while reading the bible, seeking to hear from my old friend, something was revealed to me.  Another truth that I could not contest.  I had been working to be a good Christian.  To always turn the other cheek, to forgive others, to be selfless, like Christ showed us.  I stumbled across the verse:

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 6:14-15

My Friend spoke to me again, and made it very clear that I had NO RIGHT to hold so tightly onto my guilt.  I had tried so hard to be a good Christian and always forgive others, but refused to forgive myself. Was the God of the Universe, the one that sent his only son to suffer on the cross, to pay the ultimate sacrifice so that I, Joshua, could be forgiven of my sins and re-united with my Father in heaven, good enough to forgive everyone’s sins, but not mine?  I had been worshipping my guilt!  My guilt had become my god, and replaced that Friend that walked with me so faithfully for so long.  He still wanted to walk with me, but expected me to let him.

My life has been radically changed since God spoke to me on that day.  This book…  Had reduced me to something undeserving, unrighteous and just plain not good enough, but that is ok, because He has made me deserving, righteous, and way better than I could ever hope to be.  I still struggle to “do the right thing” as a grown Christian man, but the thing that I learned is that I want to do the right thing, to honor, love and be faithful to the Friend that has been so faithful to me.  Not because I could ever “do the right thing” enough to really make a difference on my own, because I can’t.

Do you know my faithful Friend?  If you don’t, but would like to, please tell someone today.  You can tell me, a friend you know is a Christian, find your way to a local church, but please speak to someone immediately.  This world is too dark and lonely to go through it alone.

Do you already know my faithful Friend?  Then obey the laws…  Not because you can be “good enough”, but do it out of love and because of the promises we find in the bible.  That verse I told you at the beginning, Joshua 1:9?  Ya, as with so many things in the bible, context is everything.  Take a look at the previous verse, verse 8:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:8-9

For it will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  Friend, that has been 100% my experience.  I want to know this book inside and out, and obey every bit of wisdom it offers, not out of some moral piety, but out of love and because I have enjoyed the prospering success each nugget of wisdom has provided to me.  Because it has protected me from harm and ruin, and been a playbook for success.

My Father loves me.  He loves you too.

Inheritance for Generations

Just recently I had a friend ask Ty “If you were to die today what would you want written on your tombstone.” As I waited for his answer I felt my heart hammering in my chest. What does my son think of himself? What would he want people to remember him for? Does he know who he is? Or where he is going in life.  Ty simply said “I don’t know.” I have been wrestling in prayer with this question/answer for a week and I just now have found some peace.

Reputation is what men say about you on your tombstone;  Your reputation is what men think you are….  Character is what angels say about you before the throne of God.  Your character is what God knows you to be.

So how do we teach our sons/daughters to strive to have a reputation that shows their true character. How do we impact the lives of our children in a way that when they stand before the throne of God he says to them….  Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased… Mark 1:11

My Great Grandfather just passed away this last month. He had a life verse that has been running through my head… MY WHOLE LIFE! Really it has been entering my mind with out ceasing. Every time I think about my kids this is what pops into my head.

A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children… Proverbs 13:22

I am sure just like with my Great Grandpa  that when you read this money is the first thing to enter your mind. But let me share with you what enters my mind when I read this verse.

Legacy is defined in the dictionary as:

leg·a·cy [ léggəssee ]   1.bequest made in will: money or property that is left to somebody in a will 2.something from past: something that is handed down or remains from a previous generation or time 3. outdated or discontinued: associated with something that is outdated or discontinued

As parents our goal should be to leave a lasting legacy of godliness for those who come behind us. My Great Grandfather did this, his intention when sharing this verse with us kids for our whole life was to assure us that he was working to leave “an inheritance”. What he did not realize is he was showing us the whole time what Godliness looked like, and how to hand it down from generation to generation.

Solomon knew a lot about wealth. He was one of the most wealthiest men of all time. He also had a lot of wisdom.  If you  know Solomon you will remember that he came to the conclusion that there are some things which are much more valuable than silver, gold, and things. He shares with us in Ecc 12:13 what they are…: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Each day our children are inheriting things from us. Awesome right! I don’t know about you but it makes me want to throw up!  The things that we are passing along to them, passing down to them is creating who they are going to be. What reputation they are going to find and what character they are going to meet Jesus with.

What are our children, and YES are soon to be grandchildren inheriting from us ? Our kids will inherit our principles. Even if they walk away from them for a while the basic principle of life will be stitched into the fiber of who they are.

Deut 6:6-9 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates !

The greatest  thing my Great Grandfather did was he taught us how to have a relationship with Christ. He left a grand inheritance beyond anyone’s wildest  imagination to his children’s children… a Love for the Lord. He gave us the foundation to properly, and adequately teach our children about the Lord, and his word….the words must first  be in our own hearts !  Because of his love for the Lord we get to teach our kids how to love Jesus. And I promise the best way to teach them is to show them.

So how do we teach our kids to grow up with a reputation that shows their true character? We must “‘Love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength and with all our mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Luke 10:27

My Great Grandpa Loved God with all his heart, soul, strength and mind. He Loved each of us as himself. Indeed he has left a lasting inheritance that will be carried on for generation after generation.

Letting go… & Letting God

I am going to cling to this promise. But in order to do so I am going to have to let go of some things. Let me explain, I am mad at God. Yes, I totally just said that… I don’t want to be… I need to let go of this rage. The thing is I feel like he has abandoned  my daughter. If it was me if I was the one in constant pain, I would be able to accept “God’s Plan”. What my spirit is having a really hard time with is accepting the fact that His plan could include Minnie enduring pain for the rest of her life.  I hate the thought, I wish I could take her pain away, I want a miracle.

My heart keeps going back to Mary, Jesus’s mom. I wonder if she was at the feet of the cross wondering if God had “forgotten” her child. I wonder if she felt abandoned?  Mary had to sit and watch her child endure pain, and die. She could not fix it. I can image that just like all of us moms she would of  taken his place in a heart beat. But that was not God’s plan.  God’s plan for Jesus was incredible, but in the moments of torturous pain did Mary understand? We all know the rest of the story… but at the time Jesus’s mom did not. A miracle, I can see the relief on Mary’s face when Jesus arose from the dead.  I can see her praising the Lord.

So how do I let go of my hurt, anger, sorrow?  It should be simple I have to have Faith that God is going to do above anything I could ever think or hope. I have to trust that the Lord is going to give more abundantly to my child than I could ever ask.  Can I do it? Can I let go and let God?  I am going to try… I am going to place Minnie’s pain in his hands… at his feet, and rest in Him.

My Mommy friends with children that are enduring life, please walk with me, try to trust that our Lord has a plan for our children.  Choose Faith today, and lets see the amazing things God is going to do through the suffering of our children. Just look at the amazing things that happened through the suffering of His Child.

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