Tag Archives: children

Father of Fathers

Today’s message summary of June 18, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

As a 31-year old, I can’t tell you very much about my biological father.  I have only met him three different times.  I don’t know much about him or his family.  On my mother’s side, I can only speak about her and my grandmother, and that is how much I know about my family history.

With that said, the genealogy in the bible has a purpose to identify lineages.

In Genesis, there are genealogies listed that start with Adam and his lineage, and those that follow lead to the promise made to David about the coming Messiah.

Matthew 1:1-17

The historical record of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

This passage is a good one to examine for Father’s Day as it shows how fathers were preparing other fathers over time.

The point of this message is that your heavenly Father loves you more than your earthly father.  He will never fail you—in spite of your own disobedience to Him.  He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as an example to all of us.

There is not information within these passages to explain the behaviors of some of these fathers. We don’t know if they were living in righteousness or holiness.

The Scriptures do identify that each of these persons does lead to Jesus Christ.  Some of these individuals we do know of, such as Abraham, Boaz and David.

2 Chronicles 20:7

Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?

Abraham, in the Christian faith, is recognized as the Father of Faith…but was he a good father?

If you look at his life closely, you would see that he lied often and even committed adultery (with Hagar).  He was far from perfect.  Abraham, at the behest of Sarah, abandoned Hagar and Ishmael.

Genesis 21:8-13

And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. So she said to Abraham, Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac. And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.

If it was not for God’s instruction to send his son off, he would have kept him there.  Out of faith and obedience to God, he listened.

Hebrews 11:8-10

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

We are reminded that faith and obedience were most important in the relationship between God and Abraham in spite of Abraham’s sinful behavior.

Of the women who were involved within these genealogies, many of them were outsiders.  In Matthew 11:3, Tamar is referenced.  She disguised herself as a prostitute in order to seduce her father-in-law.  Judah, the father-in-law, was hardly an innocent victim.  It was contrary to the law of God.  We also see Rahab’s name in the genealogy.  She was a prostitute, yet she was praised as a woman of faith who turned out to be David’s grandmother.  Another person, Ruth, is listed.  She was a person of honor, but she was also a Gentile, a Moabite, an outsider.  Moabites are descendants of Lot.

Genesis 19:30-38

Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters. And the firstborn said to the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father. So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father. He did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

The next day, the firstborn said to the younger, Behold, I lay last night with my father. Let us make him drink wine tonight also. Then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father. So they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day. The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day.

You see how God moved past the sins of his people and brings different people into the lineage of Christ.

Matthew also wanted us to remember about David and Bathsheba through their adulterous union that led to Solomon.  Uriah, who was a godly man and a friend of David, was one of his most trusted men.  There is great irony in how David, because of his adultery, would have Uriah murdered and try to cover up the relationship.  Remember, God said that David was “a man after His own heart.”  Bathsheba is not mentioned within the genealogy in Matthew, and it was more a point of shame with David.  Nathan’s words of prophecy held true with the turmoil that followed David throughout the rest of his life.  While David failed miserably as a father, he still loved his children.  He still loved his son Absalom, even though Absalom was trying to kill him.

2 Samuel 18:31-33

And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, Good news for my lord the king! For the Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you. The king said to the Cushite, Is it well with the young man Absalom? And the Cushite answered, May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man. And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!

Despite David’s sin, he loved his children.  He was willing to trade his life for them.

Solomon, featured in the genealogy, had many, many, many, many wives.  God had declared, of course, that man should have only one wife.

Here is a prophetic verse in Deuteronomy that actually refers to Solomon and his choices:

Deuteronomy 17:14-17

When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me, you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, You shall never return that way again. And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.

Solomon’s heart turned from God because of the women he allowed in his life.

Solomon’s wisdom was evident and apparent to everyone, but he was flawed in his fleshliness.

Of the genealogy leading to Jesus Christ, the greatest thing that emerges is God’s grace.  Grace upon grace upon grace.  The fathers listed here were both good and evil; however, God’s grace was present throughout the lives of each of these people.

It was all part of God’s sovereign plan.

Note that Mary, listed in this genealogy, was a descendant of David.  Jesus was still the heir to the throne of David, and Joseph was His earthly father, who was willing to be obedient to God and take on the responsibility to raise Him.

Single mothers:  Are you helping the child in filling the void in his life by ministering to him and help him recognize Christ as the Lord of his life?

Fathers:  You will fail your children and even disappoint them, but it is an opportunity to display the gospel before them.  For all have sinned and fall short of His glory.  Your humble approach will show them that you are a father that unconditionally loves the children and lives according to the commands of God.

Proverbs 6:20-23

My son, keep your father’s commandment,

    and forsake not your mother’s teaching.

Bind them on your heart always;

    tie them around your neck.

When you walk, they will lead you;


Mom’s Role in the Family (A Virtuous Woman)

Today’s message summary of May 14, 2017 from Elaine Brown:

Women are beautiful, unique and loving.  They have a very important role within the family, and God has appointed them to a role within it.

The design of the family is a male (man), female (woman–helper), and sons and daughters, who are brought up and mentored by their parents.

The man is the head administrator (CEO) of the family, while the woman is the COO of the household.

In contrast, society today has redefined family to different definitions that include a single mother or father, or even two fathers, two mothers, or a blended family.  When did this all start to happen?  It was a generational shift that began in the days of Woodstock.  The mantra of the day was “do your own thing.”  The misuse of alcohol and drugs, and protests became more prevalent.  Each of these things was a part of what became a moral decline as a society, and a gradual breakdown of today’s family.

Here is a startling statistic:  1,415,955 children were born out of wedlock in 2003.  It is hard to know if there are men involved with these children or not, but it is hard to ignore the generational impact of what happened a short time ago. In today’s census (2016), there are 10 million single mothers that are heading their families.  Daycare is now much more prevalent because of the need for mothers to work to earn a living, but the children, who are outside of the home for up to eleven hours a day, are faced with less time within a family unit.

The breakdown of the family has a profound effect on the emotional well-being of the parent and the child.  The need for a strong figure in the family, a mother, is extremely important, and God speaks of this woman in Proverbs 31:10-31:

Proverbs 31:10-31 NLT

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?

    She is more precious than rubies.

Her husband can trust her,

    and she will greatly enrich his life.

She brings him good, not harm,

    all the days of her life.

She finds wool and flax

    and busily spins it.

She is like a merchants ship,

    bringing her food from afar.

She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household

    and plan the days work for her servant girls.

She goes to inspect a field and buys it;

    with her earnings she plants a vineyard.

She is energetic and strong,

    a hard worker.

She makes sure her dealings are profitable;

    her lamp burns late into the night.

Her hands are busy spinning thread,

    her fingers twisting fiber.

She extends a helping hand to the poor

    and opens her arms to the needy.

She has no fear of winter for her household,

    for everyone has warm clothes.

She makes her own bedspreads.

    She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.

Her husband is well known at the city gates,

    where he sits with the other civic leaders.

She makes belted linen garments

    and sashes to sell to the merchants.

She is clothed with strength and dignity,

    and she laughs without fear of the future.

When she speaks, her words are wise,

    and she gives instructions with kindness.

She carefully watches everything in her household

    and suffers nothing from laziness.

Her children stand and bless her.

    Her husband praises her:

There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,

    but you surpass them all!

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;

    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

Reward her for all she has done.

    Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

 

This woman is one who fears (has reverence of) the Lord.  You may not have any children, but women are natural nurturers.  A woman with strong character is well-respected, and has the desire to please God.

The appearance of the woman is not mentioned.  It is much less important than her outlook on life and how she remains obedient to God.  You are a virtuous woman as you seek to please God.  God provides you with the strength and wisdom to accomplish many things.

Fearing God is having a heart to really know Him.  It’s more than just your feelings–it really is about learning more about Him and making Him the priority in your life.  It is about asking Him where He wants you to be, and leaning upon Him for strength, wisdom and encouragement.

If you are seeking God with all of your heart, you are a virtuous woman.  In order to break these generational issues, there has to be a teaching of the youth as to how to live in this manner:

Deuteronomy 6:1-11

This is the commandthe statutes and ordinancesthe Lord your God has instructed me to teach you, so that you may follow them in the land you are about to enter and possess.  Do this so that you may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life by keeping all His statutes and commands I am giving you, your son, and your grandson, and so that you may have a long life.  Listen, Israel, and be careful to follow them, so that you may prosper and multiply greatly, because Yahweh, the God of your fathers, has promised you a land flowing with milk and honey. 

Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart.  Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

When the Lord your God brings you into the land He swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would give youa land with large and beautiful cities that you did not build, houses full of every good thing that you did not fill them with, wells dug that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves that you did not plantand when you eat and are satisfied.

Needless to say, if there is no teaching, there is a lack of knowledge that is being passed on.  God provides the wisdom and knowledge to you in order to be successful, and that information needs to be passed on to the children.

The key to this teaching is a constant exposure to God’s Word–day and night–with prayer, family devotion time, and reflection upon what He is saying to you.

Mothers also teach their children by their words and their actions.  Children look to mothers for guidance and will follow it.

Even within a single-parent household, God can bring along others who will help within the relational development of the children and the family.

The virtuous woman referenced in Proverbs 31 had a number of duties (!).  She accomplished a great deal and worked inside and outside the household.  She had to be a very good planner, well organized, and be very diligent in running her household.  Her family was a priority of the day, and the additional things that she had to accomplish were done after hours, and she used good judgment.  These are godly character traits of a virtuous women.

Philippians 4:13

I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

A woman who fears the Lord is worthy of praise.

If you fix your heart to please the Lord, you are a virtuous woman.


Prayer: What Difference Does it Make? (Part 6 of a Series)

Today’s message summary of March 19, 2017 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

1 Samuel 1:1-8

There was a man from Ramathaim-zophim in the hill country of Ephraim. His name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives, the first named Hannah and the second Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah was childless. This man would go up from his town every year to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of Hosts at Shiloh, where Elis two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were the Lords priests.

Whenever Elkanah offered a sacrifice, he always gave portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to each of her sons and daughters. But he gave a double portion to Hannah, for he loved her even though the Lord had kept her from conceiving. Her rival would taunt her severely just to provoke her, because the Lord had kept Hannah from conceiving. Whenever she went up to the Lords house, her rival taunted her in this way every year. Hannah wept and would not eat. Hannah, why are you crying? her husband Elkanah asked. Why wont you eat? Why are you troubled? Am I not better to you than 10 sons?

In verse 10, it is noted that Hannah was depressed about her inability to conceive.  She was very upset and was praying to God that she would be remembered in her difficulty.

1 Samuel 1:9-11

Hannah got up after they ate and drank at Shiloh. Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Lords tabernacle. Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept with many tears. Making a vow, she pleaded, Lord of Hosts, if You will take notice of Your servants affliction, remember and not forget me, and give Your servant a son, I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and his hair will never be cut.

She was weeping in such a way as a woman who had lost her only child.  Her condition was one of deep despair.

The reality of infertility makes a woman feel inadequate or incomplete.  A woman’s desire is to bear children.  In Hannah’s time, women who remained barren felt worthless, and they typically would not receive an inheritance that would allow for care for themselves and family members.  A woman’s prestige was based upon her ability to produce offspring.

It should be noted that Hannah’s inability to bear children was allowed by God, and perhaps for the sole purpose that He wanted Hannah to draw closer to Him and to not dwell on her circumstances.

2 Corinthians 12:6-10

For if I want to boast, I will not be a fool, because I will be telling the truth. But I will spare you, so that no one can credit me with something beyond what he sees in me or hears from me, especially because of the extraordinary revelations. Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger[a] of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. But He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christs power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Hannah found her self-worth in God.  This is also a lesson for each of us.  We believe that the things that we do defines who we are.  All joy that we experience comes from Him, and it should remind us that we are to seek Him in everything.

When we pray to God, we are to pray with the understanding that our desires are to be rooted within a relationship with Him.  He wants us to grow more and more with Him.

In her prayer to God, we will focus on these three things:

  • Hannah’s vow to the Lord
  • Hannah asked for recognition
  • Hannah’s offering

Hannah made a vow with God not only with herself but also with her future child.  When she made this promise, it affected the course of her child’s life.  The vow was a Nazarite vow, where the person would separate and consecrate himself for service to God in the temple.  We find that Samuel would be serving the Lord diligently for his entire life.

Making a vow is not to be taken lightly, and is not recommended (Judges 11:29-40).

So, (Akron Alliance Fellowship) Church, when you are praying:

Matthew 5:37

But let your word yes be yes, and your no be no.[a] Anything more than this is from the evil one.

When Samuel was born, we know that Hannah followed her vow by keeping her commitment.  Her only child was committed to service.  Her desire to be a mother was fulfilled, but she released Samuel to serve the Lord.  This is the type of prayer that we are to focus on when it comes to our own service to Jesus Christ.

Hannah prayed to the Lord to be remembered by God as her servant (1 Samuel 1:11).  In Hannah, whose name means “grace,” you can understand her sincerity of prayer before the Lord.  Note that God heard her affliction, and we see that Hannah bore Samuel and many more children afterward (three sons and two daughters).

The lesson here is remaining prayerful.  God, in His sovereignty, does recognize your prayers, and it make take some time before He answers them.

Hannah’s offering was giving her son back to the Lord.  She offered her son as a way of serving the Lord in her desire to please God. Samuel was faithful in service and became a judge over Israel.

There is a parallel to her actions to Jesus’ prayer in John 17:

John 17:9-11

I pray for them.

I am not praying for the world

but for those You have given Me,

because they are Yours.

Everything I have is Yours,

and everything You have is Mine,

and I have been glorified in them.

I am no longer in the world,

but they are in the world,

and I am coming to You.

Holy Father,

protect them by Your name

that You have given Me,

so that they may be one as We are one.

 

Jesus asked God to keep and protect His servants.  The persons that Jesus would die on the cross for belonged to the Father.


A Fathers’ Day Message

Today’s message summary of June 19, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

The task of being a father can sometimes seem to be unending. When will the kids leave? When will they take care of themselves? Upon reflection, it goes by very, very quickly.

Today, there have been fathers that have run from the responsibility because it is a heavy load to be a father; furthermore, a lot of fathers are not prepared to be a father. Fathers did not raise a lot of them.

The bible teaches how to be a father, but it is important for us to look at successful fathers and learn to live the way that they do. Our heavenly Father is an excellent example of that. He loves His children and cares for them.

We need to see more examples of fathers who know their Father.

The definition of a father should go beyond mere financial support. The courts are only concerned about this, but children need so much more…they need emotional support.

Children without fathers will grow up and experience emotional problems, and often they result in behavioral problems.

God has a plan for fathers. The question is whether or not fathers will work according to the plan that God has laid out for them.

Using the word FATHER as an acronym:

F – Father. The fathers are to know the Father. There should be a strong relationship between the two.

Deuteronomy 6:5

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Impress upon your children that the heavenly Father will guide them even when you are not present. They are to be obedient to God, and they should see your obedience and reverence of God, as well.

Psalm 127:4

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth. Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them. Such men will never be put to shame when they speak with their enemies at the city gate.

A – Advice. The child of a skilled father will follow his direction, take his advice and live in a capable manner.

Proverbs 4:1-2

Listen, my sons, to a father’s discipline, and pay attention so that you may gain understanding, for I am giving you good instruction. Don’t abandon my teaching.

If a father fails to teach his child, someone else will be teaching him something.

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

A father affirms his children. He gives them recognition by simply saying, “you are mine.”

A child values a father’s affirmation. We value when God affirms us with His love and compassion for us. He does not measure us by how successful we are. We still are His.

Three things that are very important for a father to give to a child:

  1. Recognition.
  2. Acknowledgment (Acknowledge them in their accomplishments).
  3. Accepting him for who he is.

T – Teacher. Fathers are the teachers. They educate their children and impart knowledge and skills for life.

H – Hero. A father is the hero of his child. Every child needs a hero. He is a person who is highly revered (respected) for their courage (heart). A fathers is the reliable helper in the life of his child. He ministers to him and guides him, and helps him do what is right.

E – Encourager. A fathers is to be an encourager. He imparts strength and confidence to his child and gives him valuable support.

R – Readiness. A father brings about a state of readiness for his child. When this occurs, the child is ready to perform, and perform well.

A child is prepared by his father to be ready to perform in life, and this is important because life never asks if you are ready–it just comes at you. (People who are ill prepared and not ready tend to run away from life.) A father readies his child for life no matter what may come along.

Proverbs 22:6

Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Fathers are the caretakers of their children. Let’s be the best caretakers that we can be.


The Power of Mothers

A message summary of May 8, 2016 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Mothers sacrifice their own life, their own happiness, and sometimes their own well being for their children. Children sometimes don’t understand or appreciate the sacrifice, but over time, the child when they grow up, begins to appreciate everything that was done to help them through the years, and even how their mother protected them from the enemy. Mother in laws do this, as well. A woman, such as a foster parent, a grandmother, an aunt, or any person who steps into the care of a child’s life, is acting as a mother.

Being a mother is not an easy task. It is a 24-hour job, for sure. It may even involve a stepmother, for example, who steps in to assume the responsibility of caring and nurturing children.

Mothers don’t get a manual to learn how to raise their children. A lot of it is trial-and-error, and there are times when a mother gets advice even from her own mother on how to handle a difficult situation.

Mothers are the people who plant the impossible dreams in our lives. They give the children the ability to imagine, hope, anticipate, expect, and to dream big. One of the things that a mother wants to remove from their child’s life is a prevailing mindset of the words, “I can’t do it.” Mothers are to build in the reassurance that God is the One who will be the strength and provision that fulfills those dreams.

Moms create the climate in which faith and hope can take root and grow. Hope shapes the direction of out lives. A child with a vision becomes a bold reason for living. It becomes a badge of purpose that the bearer wears proudly and courageously.

Two examples of a mother–one is biological and the other is not:

Eunice and Naomi: two different women in two different situations.

Timothy’s father was Greek. Being a Gentile in a Jewish world was not all that pleasant. Timothy may not have been highly thought of. His mother was Jewish. Even with this, Timothy’s name means, “honoring God.” He was also well respected. Why?

Acts 16:1-5

Then he went on to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman, but his father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him. Paul wanted Timothy to go with him, so he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, since they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they traveled through the towns, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem for them to observe. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in number daily.

Timothy was the child of a Greek man, but his mother is the one who taught her son the Scriptures. She wanted her child to know wisdom and salvation. She also entrusted her child to those who were looking after him, and was agreeable to have Timothy circumcised in order that he could be a positive testimony before others in his ministry.

2 Timothy 3:14-15

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Raising Timothy was a team effort.

2 Timothy 1:3-5

I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day. Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy, clearly recalling your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois, then in your mother Eunice, and that I am convinced is in you also.

  • Have a team help you to raise your children.
  • Find a good teacher for your child.
  • Find a person who wants to help develop your child.
  • Find a person who knows that while your child is not their own, the person still accepts your child as their own.

1 Corinthians 4:17

This is why I have sent Timothy to you. He is my dearly loved and faithful son in the Lord. He will remind you about my ways in Christ Jesus, just as I teach everywhere in every church.

2 Timothy 1:1-2

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, for the promise of life in Christ Jesus: To Timothy, my dearly loved son. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Naomi

Why would anyone want to stay with Naomi? She had nothing. Her husband and sons had all died.

Ruth 1:19-20

“Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara, she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has pronounced judgment on me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

The name Naomi means “pleasant.” Mara means “bitter.”

Why did Ruth decide to stay with Naomi?

Ruth 1:6-7

She and her daughters-in-law prepared to leave the land of Moab, because she had heard in Moab that the Lord had paid attention to His people’s need by providing them food. She left the place where she had been living, accompanied by her two daughters-in-law, and traveled along the road leading back to the land of Judah.

Ruth 1:16

But Ruth replied: Do not persuade me to leave you or go back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May Yahweh punish me, and do so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.

The name Ruth means “friend.” She was willing to forsake everything to be with Naomi.

Ruth determined that she wanted to be with Naomi through thick and thin. Naomi was indeed bitter, but it never was carried out on the remaining daughters-in-law. She was able to still provide wisdom and godly counsel.

Ruth 2:19-22

Then her mother-in-law said to her, Where did you gather barley today, and where did you work? May the Lord bless the man who noticed you.

Ruth told her mother-in-law about the men she had worked with and said, The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz. Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, May he be blessed by the Lord, who has not forsaken his[a] kindness to the living or the dead. Naomi continued, The man is a close relative. He is one of our family redeemers. Ruth the Moabitess said, He also told me, Stay with my young men until they have finished all of my harvest.’” So Naomi said to her daughter-in-law Ruth, My daughter, it is good for you to work[b] with his female servants, so that nothing will happen to you in another field.

Ruth 3:1-4

Ruths mother-in-law Naomi said to her, My daughter, shouldnt I find security for you, so that you will be taken care of? Now isnt Boaz our relative? Havent you been working with his female servants? This evening he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Wash, put on perfumed oil, and wear your best clothes. Go down to the threshing floor, but dont let the man know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, notice the place where hes lying, go in and uncover his feet, and lie down. Then he will explain to you what you should do.

Naomi provided good advice to Ruth with ongoing communication in the way that a mother would give her own child, and Ruth willingly accepted it. That trusting relationship was built throughout their lifetime together.

It takes love, knowledge and wisdom from God to raise a child. The child will know and understand that he or she is the heart of a mother’s life.


The Parable of the Sower

A message summary of June 21, 2015 from Asst. Pastor Travis Jackson:

Crystal (my wife) and I attended a church that was not far from where we live.  It was a relatively large congregation.  I was curious as to the type of church it was that I was attending, so I leaned over and asked Pastor Gus what type of fruits were present at the church we were visiting, and he responded “good music and entertainment.”

It made me wonder exactly what Fruits of the Spirit were being presented at this church service.

We will discuss today the Parable of the Sower.  If another group of titles could be chosen for this parable, we could easily phrase the title the Parable of the Seed, the Parable of the Fruit or even the Parable of the Patient Heart.

Luke 8:4-15 NIV

While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”  When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,

“‘though seeing, they may not see;
    though hearing, they may not understand.

“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.  Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

 

We will examine the parable with emphasis to our different selected titles to analyze the sowers, the seed, the thorns and the patient hearts.  From here, we can determine if the fruits being presented are of value in edifying Jesus Christ.

 

I. Sowers

Jesus was speaking to His disciples, whom He projected as the sowers of the Word—the ones who would be proclaiming His gospel to the nations.

Today’s sowers are any pastors, teachers and evangelists.  They are Christians.  They are also the parents, who are charged with passing on the Good News to their children.

The sower is crucial as to the type of seed that he sows to others.  Not all pastors, for example, exercise the appropriate leadership if they are not sowing the proper seeds.

Since today is Father’s Day, there is a challenge for men, who are fathers, to be sowers of the seeds that influence their boys to become excellent young men.

What are you sowing into your children?  Are you offering guidance and correction when it is necessary?

Provide for your children godly truths in order that they can learn more about developing their relationship with God.

As a church community, we are to share the gospel to others in the community.  I know that we are living in a modern day age, and this is far from first, second and third century Christendom, but are you prepared to live and die for the gospel of Jesus Christ?

That is what the sower of The Word is to do and be willing to do.

 

II. Seed

The seed is the Word of God.

Hebrews 4:12 NIV

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

 

The understanding of God’s Word requires the help of the Holy Spirit to enlighten the hearer.  God’s grace must open the eyes and ears.  Without God’s grace, there would not be any faith.

Matthew 13:14 NIV

In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.

 

The seed that fell on the rock could not develop because it had no moisture.  A commentary I read said that short-lived faith is not really faith at all.  Faith is not exercised by mimicking others who appear to be offering praise to God.

 

III. Thorns

The thorns in the parable represent a choking off of one’s faith.  It is a reflection of one’s true priorities.  Is it obedience to God and following His will, or is it embracing the world and its priorities?  Your priority should always be that of Jesus Christ.

1 John 2:15-17 NIV

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

 

There are not quick, easy steps. It takes time to improve upon this practice to produce the godly fruits that God would have you to show to others.

Psalm 1:1-3 NIV

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither

whatever they do prospers.

 

What are the fruits of The Spirit that Christ produces from within you?

Galatians 5:22-24 NIV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

 

2 Peter 1:3-11 NIV

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

IV. Patient Hearts

Matthew 13:14-17 NIV

In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people
’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.

But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

 

All of these things, the sower, the seed, the fruit and the patient hearts require time and effort.  The pastors and teachers within the church have to continue to cultivate the hearts of the people.  It is a slow process.  It will require patience.  Within your own heart, you may see something different than what I might see; either way, we must have patient hearts.

The Lord knows the heart of every believer, and He will judge us according to our hearts.

People can preach the Word over and over, but it is the hearts of the people who are receptive that will recognize Jesus as Lord.  Those that do not will reject Him.

If you hear the Holy Spirit speaking to you, I implore you not to harden your hearts.

Matthew 13:8 NIV

Still other seed fell on good soul, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

 

Just as crop production requires patience for results, the cultivation of God’s Word will produce many to accept the gospel of Christ.  The evidence is in the fruits that you produce.

What is being cultivated in your life?  What are you praying for as a believer?  Are you praying for Jesus Christ to cultivate your heart and the hearts of those who do not know Him?


Mothering Through the Storms of Life

Today’s message summary of May 10, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

What is a mother to do when the dinner is burned, the children are fighting, and the fathers are sitting and watching television?

Mothers have a huge responsibility. Their duties are numerous, and it is work.

For some reason, some of us may think that once mothers get older, the job is done. Hardly. To be a mother is to be a nurturer all throughout life. A mother pours her life out to others for their benefit. Mothers are outstanding. A mother leads and cultivates young lives. Mothers teach. Mothers listen.  Mothers are sensitive to the cries of their children and are attentive to them.

Mothers and grandmothers weather the storms of life. It requires being at the top of your game. There will be occasions where a mother can be overwhelmed. We all need help. While mothers are capable of raising children, there will be times when they need help.

Exodus 2:7-10

Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go and call a woman from the Hebrews to nurse the boy for you?” “Go,” Pharaoh’s daughter told her. So the girl went and called the boy’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse him for me, and I will pay your wages.” So the woman took the boy and nursed him. When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoah’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

 

Imagine the emotions that are taking place here. The natural mother of Moses nurses and nurtures him only to one day release him in order for him to survive. She held her son knowing that she could not be the mother that she wanted to be. While she could not keep him, she did the right thing in order for him to live.

Mothers, this can be a struggle at times–doing the right thing for your child order that he or she can live.

Hannah worshiped the Lord with her husband, Elkanah. They were prayerful to God for a child, for she was barren, and God remembered their prayer:

1 Samuel 1:20

After some time, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, because she said, “I requested him from the Lord.”

 

She kept her promise once she had her son. She dedicated him to the Lord.

1 Samuel 1:27

I (Hannah) prayed for this boy, and since the Lord gave me what I asked Him for, I now give the boy to the Lord. For as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.” Then he (Eli) bowed in worship to the Lord there.

 

She gave her son to the Lord in order for him to come under His care.

How many of you have submitted your child under God’s control–under His will, his pleasures? Mothers, you have to pray a child all the way through to the point where he comes under God’s care.

Mothers, remember to fight for your son’s rights.

Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon, intervened to speak with David about his vow to make Solomon the king:

1 Kings 1:17

She (Bathsheba) replied, “My lord, you swore to your servant by the Lord your God, ‘Your son Solomon is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne.’

 

1 Kings 1:24

“My lord the king,” Nathan said, “did you say, ‘Adonijah is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne’?

 

1 Kings 1:28-30

King David responded by saying, “Call in Bathsheba for me.” So she came into the king’s presence and stood before him. The king swore an oath and said, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from every difficulty, just as I swore to you by the Lord God of Israel: Your son Solomon is to become king after me, and he is the one who is to sit on my throne in my place, that is exactly what I will do this very day.”

 

Mothers, learn to accept help from godly people in raising your child.

Acts 16:1-3

Then he (Paul) went on to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman, but his father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him. Paul wanted Timothy to go with him, so he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, since they all knew that his father was a Greek.

 

Paul was entrusted by Timothy’s mother to travel with him. It was important in Timothy’s effort to learn and grow in the ministry. Paul had taken part in helping to raise Timothy. He was taught in the faith with the Jewish Scriptures, but it was important for him to be circumcised in order to be accepted in the faith by the Jews.

Sometimes you will need to do what seems to be unnecessary in order to do what is necessary. It is about looking at the bigger picture. Mothers, remember to teach your child those things that will be a real help as he or she gets older.

Mothers, you have an awesome task in teaching your child how to walk with God, but note that you cannot teach what you do not know.