Day Two – October 29, 2018

A Blessed Generation

Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed?

Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."

John 20:27

Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is

to see what you believe.

Saint Augustine

 

Some years ago, British historian Gordon Rupp was asked how it was possible that Christianity survived the years of suffocating oppression in Russia. “It is largely due to grandparents,” he replied. He went on to explain that the ruling class dismissed the church. After all, it was primarily filled with older people. Surely, they posed no threat. The church would die a quiet death along with its aging members.[1]

The officials could not have been more wrong. These believing grandparents (with few resources) intentionally taught the Christian faith to their grandchildren despite repression and persecution. Rupp asserted that the faithfulness of these Christian grandparents is the reason the church, while still existing on the margins of the atheistic Russian society, continued to grow.

As believing grandparents, what could we want more than for our grandchildren to believe and be blessed in that believing? What could be more thrilling than their faith becoming a building block in the future of the church? “I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in truth.” 3 John 1:4

As challenges to Christianity increase, sharing our faith with family becomes not only more difficult but clearly more important.

Skepticism and doubts, fed by a society turning its back on God, construct almost insurmountable roadblocks for grandchildren struggling to accept the truth of the Gospel.

For many, seeing is believing. They require physical proof that we can never provide.

Thomas (known as Doubting Thomas) demanded physical proof to believe. He had heard with his own ears Jesus’ teaching about His imminent death and resurrection. Thomas also heard the testimony of his fellow disciples who had seen the Risen Lord. Obviously, this wasn’t enough. Despite this compelling evidence, he refused to believe.

Jesus loved Thomas and quelled his doubts. “Reach here with your finger and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving but believing.” John 20:27 (NASB)
Then, the soon to ascend Jesus told Thomas how belief would work in the future. It would not be based on “seeing” at all. “Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” John 20:28 (NASB)

The Church was entering the age of the Word of God, the testimony of believers and the work of the Holy Spirit as the path to faith. And, those who embraced the teaching from these three places would be blessed – as blessed as those who had seen, loved and listened to Jesus during His days walking the dusty streets of Galilee.

Do you ever look for proof of the reality of Jesus to share with your grandchildren? Do you wish you could give them physical evidence that they could see and touch?

You already have all you need to share your faith with them. Like the Russian grandparents as well as grandparents throughout church history, you have the Word of God. You have the testimony of what Christ has done in your life. And, you can be sure the Holy Spirit is at work in their hearts.

We do not need to see to believe. Neither do they.

Let us pray that our grandchildren will be among those who believe and are blessed even though they have never seen Him. May our grandchildren’s generation be blessed by unwavering faith.

We walk by faith and not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5:7

Let’s Pray that….

·      We will walk by faith and not by sight and provide an example. 2 Corinthians 5:7

·      Our grandchildren will accept God’s Word not as human words but as coming directly from God to encourage faith. I Thessalonians 2:13, John 20:31

·      Our grandchildren will have faith that pleases God.  Hebrews 11:6

·      Our grandchildren will have the opportunity to hear the Word of God with other believers and have their faith encouraged.  Romans 15:13

·      Our grandchildren will stand firm in the faith, courageous and strong. I Corinthians 16:13

Think and Do

1.     The Russian Christians facing resistance had to walk by faith and not by sight. Pray for grandparents around the world facing opposition. Pray for grandparents in our inner cities. Pray that they will have great faith and courage.

2.     During his early years of preaching, some of Billy Graham’s friends struggled with the truth of Scripture. They wanted proof that eluded them. Seeds of doubt planted in Billy’s mind, he felt the painful conflict of what the Word of God taught with the  struggles of his friends. Eventually, Billy made a choice. He chose to believe the Word of God. He turned to the  testimony of godly people who had loved Scripture all their lives. His choice made all the difference in his future ministry. How do you feel about this statement? “Sometimes, faith is a choice.”

3.     Who had the greatest spiritual impact on your life? How did they communicate the Gospel to you? Did they provide physical proof? What can you learn from their example?

4.     Where is it difficult for you to walk by faith? In matters of faith? Your forgiveness? Your marriage? Your finances? Spend time in prayer about these issues and recommit to walking by faith. We cannot share what we do not have.

5.     Surrender your need to provide proof. Rejoice in the plan of Jesus to use His Words and our testimonies to spread the truth. Matthew 28: 19,20

6.     Are you looking for a children’s book that will open conversations about God? The Boy and the Ocean by Max Lucado will warm the heart of grandparent and grandchild. Even though he cannot see the end of the ocean, the little boy believes it is there.

7.     The faith of adolescents and young adults can be encouraged as they meet with other believers. You may want to support organizations that provide on-campus Bible Studies.

 

Heavenly Father,

You know we struggle to believe. We confess our unbelief and our desire for proof. But, we realize that physical proof would not develop true faith. Lord, we choose to believe You through the ways you reveal Yourself in Creation. We choose to believe Your Word and the testimony of those that have gone before. Send your Holy Spirit to confirm the truth of Your Word in the hearts of our grandchildren. Draw them to yourself. Open their eyes to the wonder of who You are. Help them to believe. Bless those who work with young people and encourage their faith. May the next generation be a generation blessed by steadfast belief and may their faith in You change the world.

[1] https://sermons.faithlife.com/sermons/125308-thank-god-for-grandparents

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Day One - October 26, 2018

Acknowledging God

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3: 5 – 7

Invisible.

Suddenly, I had become invisible. Women attending the small conference laughed and chatted in happy clusters. Not one glanced my way or acknowledged my presence as I entered the room.

Settling into my seat, I leaned toward a woman sitting nearby. I hoped to connect. Obviously, she preferred to sit alone. Perhaps, she was a fellow introvert. When the speaker concluded her message, I gathered my notes and purse to leave. Huddled in small groups, the attendees resumed their laughter and conversation.

I slipped out quietly. No one noticed.

As an introvert, anonymity and privacy are my friends.  Yet, as I grow older and perhaps more invisible, I hope to take advantage of the opportunities I have to acknowledge others. When we acknowledge a person’s presence, it sends the message that they are not only welcome but valued.

According to Merriam Webster, to acknowledge means to recognize a person’s rights, authority or status. It also can be defined as recognizing something or someone as genuine or valid.

Culture does not acknowledge God. Not His Authority. Not His Goodness. Not His Love.  Neither does it see as valid His call on our lives to love, obey and serve Him. He does not even receive a tip of the hat when He gently tiptoes into our lives making himself visible with the beauty of a sunset, the joy of friendship, the delight of a favorite meal, the orange glow of the harvest moon, the daily provision of our needs, the comfort of His Word.

How important is acknowledging God to daily life?

According to Proverbs 3: 7 acknowledging God is the only way to travel a straight path in this twisted world.

Acknowledging God requires confessing His Sovereignty, His Wisdom, His ability to Guide, His Mercy, His Goodness and His Love above all. One who acknowledges God lives for His Kingdom and not for their own. Anyone who refuses to acknowledge Him as lovingly Sovereign over their life often walk an uncertain and  bumpy path.

To acknowledge God is to recognize and celebrate Him as present and Sovereign in every area of life. We do not run from His authority. We run to it. We find comfort in it.

Our decisions are not based upon our desires, current trends or our own limited wisdom. We willingly surrender control of our lives to Him. As we do He guides each step.

 No area is off limits. We acknowledge Him as All-Wise in relationships, sexuality, finances, marriage, parenting, career choices, conversations, reactions, health, ethics, generosity and how we care for others. And, because we accept His authority in these areas, we try to obey.

To acknowledge God is a matter of the heart. Moment by moment, we bow before Him in all things. We own Him as Lord.

I pray today that I will grow in my understanding of how to daily acknowledge and cherish  God as the ultimate authority. I also pray that my children and grandchildren will own Him as the Sovereign Lord over every area of life. May they continually take notice of His Loving Presence and walk a straight path in life.

Whoever acknowledges me before others,

I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.

Matthew 10:32

Let’s Pray that….

·       Our grandchildren will bow before the Sovereign Lord in every area of life. Psalm 95:6

·       Our grandchildren will seek God first and trust Him for all their needs. Matthew 6:33

·       Our grandchildren will commit themselves to doing God’s will and living for His Kingdom. Matthew 6: 9-13

·       Our grandchildren will realize that everything they do is for the Lord and not for themselves. Colossians 3:17

·       Our grandchildren will own Jesus as Lord. I Peter 3: 15a

Think and Do

1.     Are you acknowledging God in every area of life? Finances? Marriage? Work? Sexuality? Relationships? Is the Lord speaking to you of an area where you need to bow before Him?

2.  In John 6:38, Jesus said He had come down from heaven not to do His own will but the will of the one who had sent Him. What was true for Jesus is certainly true for us. Doing God’s will is the most  important thing of all.  Without preaching, how can you communicate this truth through your life?

3.     Acknowledging others is a sweet discipline. This week make an extra effort to show value to others by acknowledging their presence.

4.     What would happen if you acknowledged the good you see in your grandchildren – to your grandchildren?

5.     A thank you note is an acknowledgment of an act of kindness done on our behalf.  Write a thank you note to the Lord acknowledging the ways the Invisible God makes Himself visible to you each day.

From Genesis to Revelation, here's the central message: God Almighty, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God, the Triune God is in control of all things, period. 
Charles Stanley, from God is in Control 

Copyright 2018 Kay Swatkowski

Please do not use without permission

Next Devotional on Monday, October 29th

Check out A Grandmother’s Prayers: 60 Days of Devotions and Prayers

www.dhp.org/grandma