God’s Grandchildren?

grands
My grandfathers were both men of faith, very different in personality but equally faithful to the Lord. Grandpa Scott, a Danish immigrant, came to faith as an adult, in a revival meeting in a tiny Iowa town. His heavily accented English as he led our church in prayer still echoes in my mind, though it’s been 55 years since I heard it. Grandpa Baker was a lay preacher. Back then the Pentecostal worship depended heavily on the ‘song leader.’  He stood before the 40 or 50 people in that building and – full of the Spirit – raised his voice in the Gospel songs that are etched into my memories … “There’s a new name written down in glory … when we all get to Heaven …” and so many more.  We all followed his lead, young and old, accompanied only by an upright piano to one side of the room. Oh my, did they worship – loudly, emotionally, and fervently!  And, they passed the faith to my father and mother, who, in turn, passed it to me.

I am grateful for that legacy but I know that their faith will not sustain me.
Each generation must have their own experience of the Spirit for God has no grandchildren.

In my readings in the early books of the Old Testament I came to the passage quoted by Jews of old and to this day . The “Shema Y’Israel,” which is literally translated, “Hear, O Israel,” is a declaration of the existence of One True God. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”   The text continues with this directive – “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-8, NIV)

It is the God-given task of every generation to lay the foundation of the knowledge of God for the next, but we cannot save our children from their sins. Only God can transform a human heart! We present the Truth and if we are wise we also live it well! Kids have a wonderful hypocrisy detector that can sense the old ‘do what I say, not what I do’ nonsense at a very early age!  If there is a large gap between what we say we believe and how we actually live, the next generation is almost certain to decide that faith in God is unnecessary baggage, tradition to be discarded as empty rhetoric.  Disciple, our standard is not perfection. If that were true, the faith would have died long ago. We pray and act authentically, living faith, showing repentance, admitting doubt, and wrestling honestly to see growing holiness of heart and mind.

Know this! Even the best and godliest of parents, cannot replace the Savior for their children. God deals with each generation. We individually know the Spirit and we must respond to Him, to receive the regenerative life of the Spirit for ourselves. Now a grandfather, I pray for my grandchildren, my heart’s desire that each one will come to know Christ Jesus, finding in Him the joy and purpose of life in the Spirit.

Do you pray for the Spirit to take hold of the heart and mind of your child, drawing her to the Cross and into a soul-transforming experience of the Spirit? A common misunderstanding among the churched is the belief that a good youth group or a solid Sunday School can replace consistent parental example and prayer! A good community of faith is an important part of the spiritual development of any person – young or old. However, when it comes to passing the faith to the next generation nothing can replace the examples of the fear of the Lord.

Are you passing the faith along, laying the foundation of the knowledge of God, living a life that invites the next generation to join the community of the people of God?

Here is a word from the Word. May it stir us to be people who invite the next generation to faith. “Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9, The Message)

________

Great Is Thy Faithfulness  (it’s true! Worship at this link)

Great is Thy faithfulness
O God my Father
There is no shadow
Of turning with Thee
Thou changest not
Thy compassions they fail not
As Thou hast been
Thou forever wilt be

 Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning
New mercies I see
All I have needed
Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me

Summer and winter
And springtime and harvest
Sun moon and stars
In their courses above
Join with all nature
In manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness
Mercy and love

 Pardon for sin
And a peace that endureth
Thy own dear presence
To cheer and to guide
Strength for today
And bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine
With ten thousand beside

Thomas Obediah Chisholm | William Marion Runyan

© Words: Public Domain

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