Could this be the new wave of child care?
One of my favorite things to do is watch people. Especially the elderly. I find many of the things that the elderly do are humerous. (I want to make it clear that I am in no way making fun of the elderly. In fact I have a great respect and honor for many of the elderly that I have spent time with.) Some of the things that I love to watch older people do are how older couples relate to each other, how they enjoy life, what is funny to them and what they value in life. Today I want to focus on one amazing elderly woman who God chose to use while she was in her 80’s. Check out this scripture:
There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:36-38
Many of us have read about the prophetess Anna in scripture, though we don’t know much about her, we do know that she was a devout Jew. We also know that her father was named Phanuel who was from the Tribe of Asher. She was married for seven years and then her husband passed away.
What is simply amazing to me is the devotion that Anna had to God. She wasn’t just a Sunday attender, she was devoted to worship. Night and day she could be found praying and fasting. I want us to stop and take note that she was recognized as a devout Jew because she was caught seeking after God. When people seen her, she was regularly seeking after God. I believe it was due to her devotion to God, that God could trust her to use her as a prophetees. When we place a value on prayer we hear God’s voice more clearly and God is able to use us more regularly.
Some of the keys for God to use us are:
1. Can God
trust us with the information that He reveals to us?
Will we know what to do once God reveals truth to us?
must not look to recieve the glory, God must be the focal point of our worship.
I know most people in today’s culture don’t give attenetion to the elderly as past generations did, but we can find rich understanding and insight when we choose to watch and learn how past generations were used by God. Then if we apply these timeless truths to our life, we too could be the people that are written about in todays culture due to the amazing work of God and Savior – Jesus Christ.
For many of us our grandparents play a big role in our lives. We remember the special times that they had spent with us throughout the years, the hugs, and of course for those special grandparents – their faith. I know I have had the honor to have great grandparents of faith in my family. They have been a source of encouragement and inspiration to my life and to those who have come in contact with them throughout the years.
Timothy also had a grandparent of faith, her name was Lois. We see in scripture that Paul was reminded of her sincere faith through the life of Timothy. Paul said, “that the same faith that was in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, I see in you.” (2 Timothy 1:5) What a commemoration to Timothy’s grandmother. Her life so inspired Paul that he took note of her sincere faith. The best way to describe this sincere faith is to say that it was genuine – without hypocrisy. It is an individual who relentlessly follows after Christ no matter the circumstances, pain or loss. She is one that other believers would look to for spiritual insight and hope in the mist of their challenges in life. Now Paul tells Timothy, “I see her in you!” What a great honor those words must have been to young Timothy. To say that this woman of faith has lived a life that has transfered to his mother and now to Timothy. This must have been a tremendous source of courage to keep pressing forward. I’m sure that is why Paul continues by saying, “fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 timothy 1:6) Keep going, your grandmother had it, your mom had it and you have it too! Keep going! Pursue everything that God has for you.
Lois lived a life that kept living and now Timothy continued to live out his sincere faith and service just like his grandmother did.
I’d like to say thank you to all of the grandparents of faith. You have inspired and left a legacy of faith that the Timothy’s of our day long to continue.
I was looking at the Urban Dictionary and found a great word that communicates what many young people are experiencing. Many people in today’s culture have long distance friendships through the internet. The word that is being used for this is “dotcomrade.” It means to have an acquaintance or someone that you chat with but have never actually met. Basically digital friendships! So who’s your dotcomrade?
I remember when I was growing up in the 80’s watching the television show – Heman! He was the most powerful man in the universe that battled the evil forces of Skeletor! Though Heman was a fictional character on TV, the boy in me wanted to believe that there was such a man with powers to fight the forces of evil. As I have been going through the book of 1 Kings I found another Heman who has great strength in wisdom and in leadership. Check out what scripture says:
Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. 31He was wiser than any other man, including Ethan the Ezrahite—wiser than Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. 1 Kings 4:30-31
The musicians, the descendants of Asaph, were in the places prescribed by David, Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun the king’s seer. The gatekeepers at each gate did not need to leave their posts, because their fellow Levites made the preparations for them. 1 Chronicles 35:15
As we see in scripture Heman was full of wisdom. He was the grandson of Samuel and son of Joel. We also see that King David and King Solomon used Heman’s wisdom in making decisions about organizing events. We don’t know in detail everything he did, but we do know that he was a great leader. I’m sure there were many who looked up to Heman in his day and would aspire to be like Him.
We also see in 1 Chronicles 16: 41-43 that Heman had a background in music. We see that Solomon had him along with others, oversee the sounding of the trumpet, cymbals and other instruments. I’m not sure about you, but I’m not going to appoint a person who has no idea about music over the orchestra. That would be disastrous! You would never know what kind of sounds would come from them! I would want someone who has shown he has the ability to lead my orchestra.
Heman isn’t recorded as the strongest man battling the powers of darkness, but we do see that he is a leader, full of wisdom -He was ranked just below Solomon, and a worshiper! This guy was making a difference by embracing the gifts that God had given him and used them to impact a nation and a people as he served the kings of Israel.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend a business motivational conference at the RBC Center here in Raleigh, NC. They had a couple of speakers that had some good leadership thoughts that I wanted to pass your way.
“Persistence prevails when all else fails.”
“You can’t control the wind, but you can adjust the sails.”
“Great opportunity comes from those who take advantage of small ones.”
“Nothing great is achieved without enthusiasm.”
“The speed of a Thoroughbred can be measured by a watch, but the speed of the race measures the heart.”
“Everyone has the will to win, champions are those who prepare.”
“A winner makes commitment, a loser makes promises.”
” A man must live with himself, he must see that he is in good company.”
“It’s amazing how much can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit.”
“Do not condemn your neighbor unless you have walked in his moccasins for two full moons.”
“Good teams have good players, great teams have great teammates.”
“He who climbs the highest is those who helps others up.”
“We don’t have to be alike to be together, but we must be together to be affective.”
“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”
“Success is a journey not a destination.”
“One of life’s great pleasures is doing what others tell you, you cannot do.”
“Focus, sacrifice, work together”
“Play together, work hard, plat smart, recruit”
The second person that had some great leadership thoughts is Gen. Colin Powell.
1. Set clear goals for those serving with you. Have a clear mission and strategy.
2. Take care of those who work for you.
– Help them to be more skillful
– Equip them
– Recognize and reward hard work and accomplishments
3. Find the weak part of the organization.
– The key to a strong organization is strong leaders. If you cannot develop those who are working with you then you must release them and find the best leaders for that area.
– Build a solid bond of trust within the organization. I believe this is built by being consistent in your leadership, honest in your dealings, showing care by equipping and listening. This element of trust is not built overnight, it takes leaders handling hard situations with care and handling them with integrity. I have worked with those who have not handled situations well and I have lost trust and respect for their leadership.
4. Face reality don’t ignore it!
– Change things that aren’t working well.
Well that is all I’m going to highlight on for today. Hope some of these great thoughts and insights inspire you to be a better leader and follower.
As we read through the Epistles we see that Paul’s ministry went far beyond a Sunday morning service. He took personal interest in his followers. One of his followers that is newly converted he calls his son. Being a son goes beyond taking personal interest in a person, it says you are part of my family. It communicates to us that Paul was willing to give part of his life to invest in his son and even help provide for his needs. Some might read this and think it to be an exaggeration, but scripture reveals that Paul did give this kind of care to his new son, Onesimus.
Onesimus was a fugitive slave that ran away from his master Philemon, who lived in Colosse. He probably stole things from his master to use for trade for his well being as he fled to Rome. When he arrives in Rome he came in contact with the apostle Paul and became a convert of Jesus Christ. Paul then sent Onesimus back to his master Philemon with a letter…this is a must read:
yet I appeal to you on the basis of love. I then, as Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced. Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good— no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask. – Philemon 1:9-21
As we read the letter to Philemon we read the heart of a father to a son. Paul shares that Onesimus is dear to his heart and that he is sending him back not as a slave but as a brother to Philemon. Paul doesn’t stop by just sending Onesimus back to Philemon, Paul says, “If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.” This mentality really is hard for many of us to picture. As many of us have never experience an individual that has placed such a high value on us. To welcome us with open arms and to walk us through such a difficult situation.
I see two things in this snapshot of Onesimus’ life. The first thing that I recognize is the importance for all of us to give personal attention to those who are serving with us in our ministries. Ministry is more than a Sunday service or a Bible lesson, it is giving our lives away to fellow believers, supporting and encouraging the body of Christ to be the church. It is also a beautiful picture of God’s love for us as His children, to cancel our debt and mark us as sons and daughters.
Paul had an amazing family working with him in his ministry. Serving with him and holding him up in prayer. The mother of the family took personal time to serve Paul and was like a mother to him. Though the whole family is amazing, I want to focus on one of the son’s of the family – Rufus. To give you a little background, Rufus’ father is Simon from Cyrene who carried the cross for Christ. Though we don’t know much more about this family, we do know that God used this family to support and encourage Paul in his ministry. Here is what scripture says about Rufus.
A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. – Matthew 15:21
Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too. – Romans 16:13
The only phrase that we see mentioned in scripture about Rufus is that he is “chosen in the Lord.” We all know that we are God’s chosen, but Paul must have seen something special in Rufus’ life that set him apart from other believers. If he took after both of his parents it would be easy to say that he had a deep love for God and maybe even nurturing like his mother.
I believe the most important phrase for all of us to hear is that “we are God’s chosen,” marked by God’s character. We, like Rufus, should carry God’s character to all men. If you think about it Rufus’ father carried the cross of Christ, but Rufus choose to carry the character of God to support the ministry of Paul and probably to reach people with the gospel message. May it be our prayer today that our lives be a blessing to those we come in contact with and to further the message of Christ to the world.
Many of us have read the passage of scripture that says to “take up our cross and follow Christ,” but one man that we read about in scripture literally took and carried the cross of Christ. His name is Simon of Cyrene. I can’t imagine the emotion and thoughts that must of raced through Simon’s mind. Scripture tells us
Luke 23:26-27: that As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.
Matthew 27:32-33: As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull).
Simon was coming in from the country expecting to get to his destination, but on his way he was seized and made to carry Jesus’ cross. The act of carrying Jesus’ cross must have been life altering, to be forced to aid in the execution of the son of God must have weighed heavily upon Simon. The shock of being forced to carry the cross is emotional enough, but to think that Simon had the opportunity to serve our Savior at the hour of his greatest pain must have taken this brutal crucifixion and transformed it into a life changing act of worship.
To carry our cross is more then a pain ridden path to death. To carry our cross daily reveals a surrendered heart of love for the one who bore our sin, shame and our greatest pain – even death on a cross! How will you choose to carry your cross? In shame and regret or in surrenderence as an act of worship?