“But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.“
(2 Thessalonians 2:13-14)
Do you remember the old schoolyard ritual of choosing teams? Remember how the two oldest or biggest would appoint themselves captains then pick their teams. They would always start by choosing the biggest or strongest or the ones with the most talent. One by one they would choose while the ones who were not so big or strong or talented would stand looking at their toes hoping and praying that this time, they would not be the last one picked.
And there was always the one, “maybe it was you” that was not really chosen at all. The captain who was cursed with the LAST pick would look at you and say, I guess I will have to take you. Then you would play right field and bat last.
I have some good news for you. The biggest Captain of all time has chosen His team and guess what, He chose you, and He picked you first. The Bible tells you in Ephesians 1:4 that; He chose you — before the foundation of the world, that you should be holy and without blame before Him in love,” (Ephesians 1:4)
Now for the life of me I cannot understand how God does it! He has chosen all of us and we are all His first pick. But I don’t have to understand it. I just trust Him and know that it is true. He looked at me and named me as His V.I.P. I don’t stand around looking at my toes anymore because God chose me.
In the history of the Kings of Judah, Hezekiah was one of the best. He led His nation well and did many great things. However toward the end of his reign he did something stupid. (read this story in 2 Kings Ch.20) This thing that he did was a product of him doing what was right in his own eyes and the result was death and destruction for his children, grandchildren and nation.
Honestly, when I read his story I feel sorry for Hezekiah. After all he was a good man, who made one very bad decision. Afterwards the prophet Isaiah came to him with this message; “the king of Babylon will invade your nation.Your descendants will become slaves and eunuchs and your people will be scattered.”
Hezekiah responds by saying; “ well, at least there will be peace in my lifetime”. Whenever I read his response I am horrified. I wonder, how could anyone be so cold and callous about the future suffering of their children and grandchildren?
It is true, at some time in our lives all of us have done stupid things. Thankfully for most of us the result of our bad choices will not be as bad it was for Hezekiah. However you must know that every thing you do, small or great will have some impact on your and your children’s future. That is why it is important never to do anything simply because it looks good in your own eyes.
One more thing! What is your grandchildren’s future worth to you? Will you speak out while others stay silent ? Will you rise up for the battle while others stay home ? Will you stand up against evil, even when people call you a fool? Or will you be like Hezekiah and say, “ just let me have peace in my lifetime ?”
He is most well known for being the son of Abraham and the father of Jacob. Some commentators have referred to him as a mediocre son of a great father and a mediocre father of a great son. I think this is unfair to Isaac. I believe he admirably fulfilled his place in history. He was not born to be an Abraham nor was he born to be a Jacob. He was just Isaac.
Every where you go you will find men with the spirit of Isaac. Most people unfairly consider them to be just mediocre. For instance, you might see a man at the little league game in grimy clothes. His clothes are dirty because he came straight from work to watch his child or grandchild play. You might also see him in those grimy clothes at church on Wednesday night. He wants to be an example for his children and grandchildren so he also came there straight from work. He will probably never be great in the world’s eyes, but he loves his family, does his job and worships Jesus. He will never be seen as a V.I.P. But neither was Isaac.
On Sunday a bivocational pastor will step into the pulpit to preach a message that God has given him. Many nights he has been up past midnight praying and laboring over the sermon. He pays the bills by working all day. He then rushes home, cleans up, and spends the evening visiting his small congregation. The members of his little church love him but the denominational leaders don’t know him. Although his sermons are better than most of the big shot preachers, he will never be asked to preach to large crowds. He is just a simple man doing what God called him to do. Just like Isaac.
Throughout history a handful of great men have done great things for God, and we all know their names. However the Bible teaches that in Heaven the first shall be last and the last shall be first. By far the men who have done the most for the Kingdom of Heaven are the simple men whose names are not known. On earth they never hear the applause of men, but in Heaven a great cloud of witnesses will greet them with a standing ovation. With dirty hands and calloused knees they are simple but faithful servants who do their jobs well. Just like Isaac.
Towels, washcloths, Kleenex, baby wipes, dish towels, and aprons. I believe that these things could be seen as emblems of motherhood because mamas are always wiping something. They wipe stinky bottoms, snotty noses, skinned knees and they have been known to wash a dirty face with spit and a Kleenex. Their time seems to be filled with wiping down kitchen counters, bathroom floors and the tears of broken hearted children. There is one thing for sure, mamas are always wiping something.
In the book of Judges there is woman named Deborah who served as a Judge and leader in the nation of Israel. She was a genuine hero in the history of God’s people and yet when she referred to herself in Judges 5:7, she spoke of herself simply as a “mother in Israel”. She was a poet, a prophetess, a judge and a heroic leader but her greatest source of pride and joy was in the fact that she was a mother. I believe that she knew that there is no higher calling on earth than motherhood.
The fact is while mamas might think that all they do is dry tears and wipe noses and bottoms in reality what Mama is doing is molding young lives and shaping the future. For this reason, we should all rise up and call our mothers and wives blessed. Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a mother who fears the Lord and loves her family should be praised.
On this Mother’s Day, I want to honor the memories of my two grandmothers and my mother-in-law. I also want to give honor to my Mama and my Wife, their worth is far above rubies or any other earthly treasure. To all mothers, on this day and every day you are highly favored and greatly blessed. Thank you for always wiping up our mess.
Children, loud and boisterous, running and jumping, they laugh loudly and giggle uncontrollably. Somebody needs to tell them to be quiet they are getting on my nerves. They are marking up the walls and scratching the floor and one of them just spilled his juice on the pew cushion.
And yet the best clue we have as to what kind of worship style Jesus prefers is found in Mark 10:13–16; “Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13–16)
We are sending the children out of the room and telling them to be quiet because we are trying to worship, but Jesus is saying, “Hey leave them alone”! Do you want to know what worship in heaven is like? Then watch the little children. They crawl all over Jesus. They laugh, they giggle and Jesus tickles them so they will laugh some more. When they get tired, they sit in his lap and cuddle with Him.
Maybe, just maybe, we can get it through our thick heads that worship is not for our sake. Worship is for God’s pleasure. That is what He tells us in Psalms 149:2-4, “Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp. For the Lord takes pleasure in His people.”
Let’s learn to worship with joy, laughter and even dancing. Then when we get tired we can climb up unto His lap, lean back and rest in our Savior’s arms.