Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Roots of Faith

“These commandments that I give to you to day are to
be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children.”

Deuteronomy 6: 6-8

"God, God, a God of mercy and grace, endlessly
patient—so much love, so deeply true—loyal in love for
a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. Still, he doesn't ignore sin. He holds sons and grandsons responsible for a father's sins to the third and even fourth generation."

Exodus 34:4

The other day as I was combing my hair and I was gazing into the mirror, I realized that my hair color needed to be touched up; my roots were showing. I have been coloring my hair for a while now to combat the gray. This task is something that must be done repeatedly, if not then I live with the effect that I noted in the mirror; the roots of my natural color peeking through at the scalp. This need for ‘touch-up’ was making me look old, worn and tired.

I relate my hair needing a touch-up to my need to keep myself spiritually glowing and renewed. To do this I must stay in touch with Jesus through reading the word and through frequent prayer.

I, like all sinners, have a great need to cover my less-than-desirable behavior with the love of Jesus. However, for this cover-up to take effect and hold, I cannot just spend a few minutes once every six or eight weeks reading His Word. Rather, learning to glow for Him requires that I spend quality time in His presence every day.

Remember when Moses spent time on Mt. Sinai with God? When he returned to camp his face glowed. This glow came not because of anything Moses had done, but simply from being in the presence of God. That is a most humbling thought.

As I thought more about my roots I realized a parallel between the roots of my hair and the deep faith that comes from being blessed to have an extended family of Christ followers.

I was raised with a built in support system that was ready and willing to keep me focused on following God. This support system came from an extended family of prayer warriors, teachers, encouragers, and ministers. Each one of these people, Uncle’s, Aunt’s, Mother, Father, brothers, sisters, cousins, etc., have held me up and have supported me along my faith journey. I realized what a rare honor it is to have such a rich history godly family members.

When I look around today I see so much dysfunction in families. Children are living in broken homes and are missing out on the blessings that can come from being a part of large Christian family.

One of the members of my extended family was my Uncle Locke. Uncle Locke was a minister who loved the Lord and served Him all the days of his life. It was he who introduced me to the Lord on April 13, 1974.

My Uncle Edgar was also a minister. I cannot name one of my Aunt’s or Uncle’s who did not know the Lord and each one strived to serve Him all the days of their lives. Some were vocalists and sang in their church choir, others were Sunday school teachers, and others worked in the private sector yet lived their lives in such a manner that God was given praise, honor and glory.

My mother and father were Christians who lived life using principles developed through their personal relationship with the Lord. My dad was a deacon and served in our church for most of my life. My mom served on many committees and was always practicing hospitality. It was a rare occasion when we did not have an extra mouth or two around the table for Sunday dinner.

Growing up I could spend time in the home of any one of my extended family members and my parents were assured that I would be flooded with wise counsel that is only developed through a deeply intimate relationship with the Lord.

Unfortunately having this rich and wonderful family of faith could not keep me focused and bound to the Lord. For many years I walked away from the faith. I lived a life characterized by sin. I had allowed earthly challenges, hurts, anger, and disappointment to cloud my vision. The evil one was all over any negative circumstances that came into my life. I began to listen to his lies rather than reaching deep into the foundation of my faith and turning toward God and the big roots of my faith. I began to think that the only way I could survive was on my own.

For many years I believed that God had forgotten about me. I believed that my profession of faith in Jesus had not been enough. I could see no other reason why I had been subjected to the pain and devastation that I secretly lived with. I could not understand how a God of love would allow so many hurtful attacks to come upon one life and rather than face my pain I chose to burry it under more bad decisions and sinful practices.

As I look back across the years and pages of my life, to those many years where I was not living out a life characterized by the love of the Lord, it was then, when I was the most venerable that He was carrying me.

Now with a life fully dedicated to service of My King, I can honestly thank God for the blessings of family life. As I attempt to show my boys what a godly mother looks like I draw from the rich well of memories that those who have gone before have left behind.

It is my greatest desire in life to live each and every day expectantly waiting for my God to show me where I am to be at work for Him. That my witness will leave a lasting imprint on the ones I love and that one day they too will look back and praise God for deep roots of family faith.


Thoughts to Ponder:

How did your family impact your life?
If there are Christians among them do they know how their witness affected you?
What legacy are you leaving for the next generation?

2 comments:

ruby houldson said...

Jonie,

Thought you might enjoy this video:

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=46646566


Ruby Houldson

Spring Fricks said...

Oh I can relate to this. My Dad was a pastor for many years and yet I still had to walk my own line before selling out to God. Thank you Lord for not giving up on me.

BTW, I received the necklace and I love it. Thank you so much.

I haven't decided about shespeaks yet. I want to go. I just keep forgetting to talk to my husband about it. Are you going?