Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bless the Boys

Jacob was old, and frail, and nearly blind, and was nearing the end of his days. Joseph came to visit him, and he "summoned his strength" and sat up in bed. He purposely put his right hand on Ephraim's head (the younger brother) and his left hand on Manasseh's head (the older brother). This was not the way it SHOULD have been done...normal practice would have been that the right hand would be placed on the older brother's head, and that the older brother would have a greater portion of the blessing.

This is what Jacob (Israel) prayed:

Exodus 48:15 And he blessed Joseph and said,

“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day,
16 the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys;
and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”

Notice some lessons I learn from this:

1. Jacob loved his grandchildren. "Bless the boys." He knew that they would be the ones to carry on his name, and the name of his own father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham. He called them "the boys" - a familiar, comfortable, loving term.

2. He knew that his greatest legacy was his progeny - his children and his grandchildren. The promise God made to his grandfather Abraham echoed in his mind - through you all the nations will be blessed.

3. He understood that the Lord was his shepherd. He wanted his children and grandchildren to understand that, too. He knew that only because of God was his life redeemed from evil.

4. He hoped and prayed for a multitude of progeny. I want at least 60 grandchildren, but if God gives me more, I will rejoice. My prayer is that they all will be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and that they will acknowledge that He is their Redeemer and Shepherd.

5. His blessing of Joseph's children was a blessing to Joseph, too. Any encouragement that I can be to one of my grandchildren is a blessing to my kids. They love to see their children prosper. They delight in their learning and growing and their creativity and skills. Just as my grandmother invested in my kids' lives (by paying for piano lessons), I can invest in my grandkids' lives (by teaching them French, by loving and praying for them, etc.). When I bless my grandbabies this way, I bless my kids, too. The blessings multiply.

So I pray, with Jacob, "Bless the boys, Oh Lord. And bless the girls, too!"

Monday, October 12, 2009

Promoted to Glory!

Chris Klicka - with the Lord!

His wife Tracy shared the following poem today:

"No longer cloaked in frail humanity,
His spirit soars to gain Celestial joys,
Unimpeded by death's dark night
And free from the weight of sin's alloys.

My beloved sings! The object of his song
Is the One who bled and died for him,
No sweeter name did e'er he speak
Or treasure in his inner man."

Remember to pray for the family in the days and weeks ahead.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Believe it!

Lord, I believe! Help thou mine unbelief!

I was reading the first chapter of Luke this morning. Mary believed the angel when he told her that she would conceive and bear a son, even though she had never known a man in the Biblical sense. Zechariah did not believe the angel who appeared to him to tell him that his wife Elizabeth would conceive and bear a son. Mary was blessed by her belief. Zechariah suffered being mute because of his unbelief.

Luke 1:18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.”

Luke 1:41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of w my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Mary was blessed by her belief.

But Zechariah was blessed, too, in spite of his unbelief. He was able to watch his beloved wife Elizabeth grow "great with child". He saw the joy in her face as her reproach was removed from among the members of the community. He didn't believe, right then, when the angel spoke...but God blessed him anyway.

It is a blessing to me to realize that even when Christians don't always agree when there are decisions to make regarding ministry, God still will bless us. Even when some believe that we should move forward, and some insist that it would not be wise, God will work the whole thing out for His own glory, and for the good of His people!

Mary believed. Zechariah did not. And God blessed both of them.

I also was reading the last chapter of 2 Corinthians. It occurred to me that if Paul's leadership was questioned, it ought not to surprise the elders and leaders of churches if their leadership is questioned. Don't be discouraged if some of the flock don't jump for joy as you announce some changes. Keep on believing that God is working; He is building His church.

Those of us with eyes of faith can see the Lord working! He will build His church...not the way WE want, maybe, but the way He has planned. Can the clay say to the Potter, where are the handles? God has given us strengths - in teaching, in missions... and He has purposely brought the exact people to each church that can be used for the greater good. He will use us for His glory! We'll be able to see, some day, why He designed it this way.

Have faith. Believe. And where your faith is weak, trust your Father anyway. He will help you. He will bless you. He will prove Himself trustworthy.

Do you believe that?