Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lent 4: God of our parents

Every generation wants to reinvent life and meaning. As an adult, it’s been fun to look for generational patterns in the families of my husband and myself. Worthwhile things don’t necessarily need reinvention; they need contextualization in current life.

My husband's family can trace preachers back to the Renaissance (1400-1500s) on his dad’s side, while his mom’s father was a church leader in Poland. His great-uncles planted many immigrant churches in Canada after WWII, and his parents pastored several churches before retirement. My mother-in-law is a source of Christian friendship and inspiration for many.

My maternal grandmother came to faith in Christ when she was 43. Her father was a “religious” Christian who taught her hymns and prayers as a child. Grandma sought out a personal relationship with God throughout life, and in middle age made a choice to commit her life to God through Jesus. Her life changed dramatically. Her conversion shaped every interaction thereafter. My mom decided to follow Christ as a young teen, about the same time Grandma did. In my teens, my mom would occasionally say, “I don’t want to be like my mother.” Yet, in her 70s, she admits being like her mom in many ways. For one thing, she prays a lot, like my grandmother did.

My dad’s father became a Christian as a young adult. His mom's family included itinerant German preachers in Russia. My dad served on various boards and volunteer posts over the years. Both our families were active on committees, in music, and as Sunday School teachers. We kids naturally began volunteering at church from a young age.

We’re watching our children, young adults with a history of Christian devotion, prayer, and service on ancestral tongue. Hoping they and their families follow the example of those who loved God. We’re praying they understand fully how their heritage centers on giving back the life that God has given us… and that they continue to live the story.

If you're the first believer in your generation, you can change the course of your family's His-story, too.

God's peace to you today!
*[Solomon] prayed, “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven and earth. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion. You have kept your promise to your servant David, my father. You made that promise with your own mouth, and with your own hands you have fulfilled it today.

And now, O LORD, God of Israel, carry out the additional promise you made to your servant David, my father. For you said to him, "If your descendants guard their behavior and faithfully follow my Law as you have done, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel." Now, O LORD, God of Israel, fulfill this promise to your servant David. … May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive." 2 Chronicles 6:14–17, 21 NLT

*The LORD was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father's early years and did not worship the images of Baal. He sought his father's God and obeyed his commands instead of following the evil practices of the kingdom of Israel. So the LORD established Jehoshaphat's control over the kingdom of Judah. All the people of Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so he became very wealthy and highly esteemed. He was deeply committed to the ways of the LORD. He removed the pagan shrines and Asherah poles from Judah.

In the third year of his reign Jehoshaphat sent his officials to teach in all the towns of Judah. … They took copies of the Book of the Law of the LORD and traveled around through all the towns of Judah, teaching the people.

Then the fear of the LORD fell over all the surrounding kingdoms so that none of them wanted to declare war on Jehoshaphat. …So Jehoshaphat became more and more powerful and built fortresses and storage cities throughout Judah. 2 Chronicles 17:3–7a, 9–10, 12

*Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal, John 6:27 NIV

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