Remember the Children!

Four beautiful little girls, curly hair bouncing in the sunlight upon the plain: They are the daughters of a wealthy man, a righteous man, a man of high standing, a man who knows God.  They are Lot’s daughters, descendants of the chosen and blessed son of Noah: Seth. Born in the tents of Abraham among family and beloved servants, their childhood was protected and promising. In Genesis eleven, Lot leaves Ur of the Chaldees, and heads out with his grandfather, Terah and his uncle, Abram, to another place: Haran, in the land north of Canaan.  In the next chapter, he heads south with Abram, taking all their wealth with them.  God had prospered their way.   But by chapter thirteen, there is strife between the herdmen.(v. 8)

And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.(Genesis 13:10)  A decision was made, Abram said they needed to part, not wanting to be a poor testimony to the people around them; and Lot made a agriculturally strategic move.  Certainly, God would continue to bless his way—he was the nephew of Abram, and God was with Abram! He wouldn’t be in the wicked cities, but in the plain.  Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. (Genesis 13:12)

It wouldn’t matter that the men of Sodom were wicked: He was a righteous man—he knew the ways of God and had taught them to his little girls… pitched his tent toward Sodom. How long was it until Lot sat in the gate of Sodom? (Genesis 19:1) Little by little, Lot’s family was influenced by their surroundings.  The girls made friends with the children, his wife swapped stories with the other women of Sodom at the community well. Lot was well respected and rose in affluence among the men of the city.  Were the men of Sodom any less wicked when Lot arrived than when the angels arrived?  Probably not; however, even wicked men can put their “best foot forward” and be civil.

Did Lot choose to overlook their wickedness and be tolerant of their lifestyle?  Did he preach to them?  Did he himself embrace the ways of the true God, or had he been more of a spectator?  The Bible calls him “just” (2 Peter 2:7) which would mean that he had a true understand of God and His righteous ways; however, something went desperately wrong… pitched his tent toward Sodom.

His beautiful daughters are now married to ungodly men who mock Lot when he warns them of God’s judgment.  Did his tolerance translate into hypocrisy in their eyes?  Whatever the case, it cost him the lives of his children.  His daughters died along with the wicked under the fierce judgment of God, whether they knew better or not.  All the influences of a righteous uncle during their childhood could not save them from the destruction brought on by their lifestyle choices and acquaintances. .. and he pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Even Lot’s wife did not believe that the God of Abraham would truly judge her.  God’s command was simple, delivered directly by messengers from heaven!  She did not read about it in a letter from God: She heard the words spoken while standing in the very presence of heavenly citizens!  And yet, she turned.  Such a simple act, just a small thing… and pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Now, alone in a cave, the worst is yet to come for Lot.  His wife is gone, his married daughters and their husbands, possibly grandchildren are gone.  Was there an heir for him that was left in the city of Sodom?  We don’t know. .. and he pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Where did his younger daughters learn about drunkenness?  Where did they learn about incest?  How did they come to such a wicked solution? If they had kept on the path of righteousness, it is very possible that one of their children would have been Isaac’s wife and an heir to all of God’s promises. After all, Abraham married his half-sister, and Rebekah was Nahor’s granddaughter, making Isaac her second cousin. The relationship would have been similar for Lot’s children!   …but he pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Abraham lived for one hundred, seventy-five years.  As far as we know, Lot lived for one hundred years.  He became the patriarch of two nations who were the enemies of God’s people, but even hundreds of years later, when God’s prophecies concerning Abraham’s descendants would finally become a reality, God remembered Lot…

And the LORD said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession. ..And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession. Deuteronomy 2:9, 19

What a life!  What a tragic story!  How bazaar!  Even though entire cities and plains are destroyed by fire and brimstone which rained down from heaven—the evidence still seen in that area today—God spared one man, his wife, and two daughters.  And even though the wife was destroyed and the daughters were immoral, God still remembered His promises!

The lessons for us today are many:

  1. Where have you pitched your tent?  This world and the god of this world are after our children, ready to devour them at every turn! Focus on God!  Make Him real in your life and show that reality to your children. Is there not a cause?  (1Samuel 17:29)
  2. Be careful of your tolerance. Choose carefully when you need to be a Daniel, standing alone FOR CHRIST.  That’s a difficult thing.  We just watched a student production of “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson.  It’s a satire about a town which holds a lottery every year where one person is chosen to be stoned.  The point is that we need to be careful that we are holding on to God’s Word, not man’s traditions.  Sometimes, the two may be difficult to discern; however, there is a God in heaven Who will ALWAYS lead you aright if you ASK Him to!  It is possible to be intolerant and still show the love of Christ!
  3. Believe! We serve an Awesome, Almighty, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Prayer-answering God of the Universe!  Is any thing too hard for the LORD? (Genesis 18:14)  He is the same God of Genesis!  He is still in charge!  He is still leading and directing even the lives of wicked men so that He may be glorified, and He wants to pour out His blessings on your life.  He is holy, and He requires the same of His children!
  4. Don’t believe a lie.  How often I’ve heard a parent of a grown, wayward child make excuses for their compromising example. They shake their heads and wonder where they went wrong, when the answer is often as plain as the nose on their faces!  They just refuse to see it and change….and he pitched his tent towards Sodom.

This is quite the harsh article, but I pray that it will stir a heart—maybe just one—who will take a second look at life and turn the tent!

Only one live, twill soon be past.

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

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Just a Little Talk About Jesus

wwjdWWJD—What would Jesus do?  What a wonderful mantra. (By the way, that word ‘mantra’ means: in Hindu and Buddhist religious practice, a sacred word, chant, or sound that is repeated during meditation to facilitate spiritual power and transformation of consciousness.  Somehow, it doesn’t seem fitting to use it in reference to Jesus Christ!) HOWEVER, the idea is a good one: WWJD—repeat it before every move we make!

But at times it’s hard to translate out movements into that little four word phrase.  What exactly would Jesus do in this or that twenty-first century situation, and life becomes complicated.  I suppose that is why Luke 8 was so refreshing to me during my devotions the other day:

And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, Luke 8:1

What DID Jesus do:

  1. He went throughout every city and village

He walked from village to village—he went everywhere.  For me, that means I need to get out of my house, off the mountain and be out there!  In our world of technology, we can hide behind a computer screen or other electronic devise and never say a word to anyone! We fill the gas tank and never speak to a human. We check ourselves out at the store. We use the MAC machine!

  1. He SHOWED the “glad tidings of the kingdom of God

I love this phrase!  We have such Good News to tell!  Jesus died for our sins! We can live this life free of guilt and shame and worry!  Heaven is our future home and I live this life in the shadow of His wing, leaning on the Everlasting Arms of Jesus, only by His grace! What glad tidings!

And notice that He preached and showed the Good News or Gospel.  We are all “preaching.”  Like the children’s song says: Do you know, Oh Christian, You’re a Sermon in Shoes?  Our words preach. Our actions and reactions preach!  Our walk preaches much more than our talk preaches!  But, our words become the icing on the cake.  Proverbs 25:11 says:

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

What a beautiful picture; and although his description is a little wordy, Adam Clarke describes it best:

Is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Is like the refreshing orange or beautiful citron, served up in open work or filigree baskets, made of silver. The Asiatics excel in filigree silver work. I have seen much of it, and it is exquisitely beautiful. The silver wire by which it is done they form into the appearance of numerous flowers; and though these wires are soldered everywhere at their junctions with each other, yet this is done with such delicacy and skill as to be scarcely perceptible. I have seen animals formed on this filigree work, with all their limbs, and every joint in its natural play. Fruit-baskets are made also in this way, and are exquisitely fine. The wise man seems to have this kind of work particularly in view; and the contrast of the golden yellow fruit in the exquisitely wrought silver basket, which may be all termed picture work, has a fine and pleasing effect upon the eye, as the contained fruit has upon the palate at an entertainment in a sultry climate. So the word spoken judiciously and opportunely is as much in its place, as the golden apples in the silver baskets.

What better words to give than a reference to our Savior.  You may not be used to saying such things.  Start small: Just a “Praise the Lord” or “Thank God” will get you into the habit of referencing your Savior in the market place or work place or even among friends and family.  Then a testimony of what God has done for you lately is another step leading to an opportunity to share how He saved your soul.

If you’re like me, it seems as though every topic under the sun is easier to talk about than our relationship with Christ.  Not so in the New Testament church. When Peter and John were taken before the Jewish council and commanded not to speak of Jesus they said: For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. (Acts 4:20) This literally means that they were “bubbling over” with the Gospel, like a pot on the stove—it was the natural thing to do!  That’s what I want!

Can you imagine the change that we would see in America if we started to “bubble over” with the Good News of God’s kingdom?  Speaking that word of witness is the most rewarding thing your can do for your soul!  If brings such joy!  It refreshes the spirit and strengthens the soul AND it really makes Old Scratch nervous.  Don’t you think he’s had enough victories in the lives of Christians?  If nothing else, at times the thought of defeating Satan is enough to drive me to speak or hand out a Gospel tract!  Sweet victory in Jesus!

Rosie the Riveter

Move over Rosie the Riveter!!  You may ask, “Wanda, what are you doing?”  Well, since I’m a failure at gardening, I thought I’d go into carpentry!  Not really.  I am placing screws every eight inches, as suggested, into the hardie board that will then be covered with tile.  Notice the beautiful sequential pattern!  Notice the pillow for my knees and the gloved hand!  Ah, the lessons abound!

The beautiful sequential pattern as made possible by the grid lines on the hardie board.  What a blessing!  No measuring and marking, just count off eight little squares and BINGO: beautiful sequential pattern (for the most part – don’t look too close)

Aren’t you thankful that God gives us a pattern to live by?  “… precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” Isaiah 28:10 Some of God’s patterns are simple to follow, some are not; and it varies from person to person.  You may find it easy to be faithful to your local church while that is the law or pattern that trips up the next person.  Perhaps you just can’t seem to keep your thoughts clean and pure, but for someone else it’s just been a habit from early on.  No matter how easy or how difficult, following God’s pattern according to His Word makes our lives beautiful!

I keep trying to tell everyone that I’m too old for these sorts of activities: jugbie with the teens, building bathrooms… I don’t want to be old before my time, but I am definitely creakier after I do these things, and I don’t move as fast as I used to!  But sometimes we just need to make some alterations: my knees were killing me after ten screws!

Do we make excuses for not doing right?  Are we shortening the Hand of God by our unreasonable demands?  Maybe it is a stretch, maybe I am out of my comfort zone, but God will reward us for going the extra mile.  Maybe you just need to pace yourself; but if there’s a job that needs done, check your willingness and don’t allow excuses get in the way of your service.

The gloved hand protected me from those nasty little metal slivers off of the screws.  I worked for a while without the gloves and within two minutes I had to stop and remove a sliver!

Why do we think that our way is better than God’s way?  Have you ever noticed that shortcuts do not work on the path to holiness?  A transformed life takes time and effort, and skipping part of the lesson because we think we know better won’t cut it!  We’ll end up taking longer because we’ll have to stop and fix the messes we’ve made!

Well, I hope that wasn’t too ouchy!  Keep your eye on the goal.  Physically, the goal for me is  a new bathroom.  I’d like to quit.  It’s work!  But when I look at the new vanity sitting in the spare bedroom, I push on!

Our focus as a Christian is multifaceted.  The overall focus for me is to hear, “Well, done.”  But the short term goal is to present a life to others that shines for Jesus and points them to Him.

(PS – You know the more I do this job, the better I am AND the easier it is?  Know there’ a lesson there too!)

(PSS – The electric was off for a while.  How much harder it is to saw manually than to use the circular saw!  That’s certainly another lesson too, but I think you can figure that one out! 🙂 )