Passing on the Story of God


He established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children;  that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and rise up and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their ancestors, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God. – Psalms 78:5-8 (NRSV)

Information is almost too available to us.  Stories are made, ingested and forgotten like cheap candy.  TV shows come and go and few stand the test of time.  Books are written with a movie in mind and movies are made with product sales in mind and somewhere in there a good story died.  We are slowly losing the rich and powerful gift of storytelling.

Asaph was concerned about this same issue in his own day.  He saw a weakness in mankind that we are quick to forget what we do not hear repeated again and again.  His exhortation to tell the story of God and His people is the cure for hereditary disobedience.  If we are tied to the rich heritage of all that God has done through history, we are more likely to remember His promises walking through a broken world.

Today we have a lot of distractions to take our eyes and minds of the story we are living with God.  Our children are growing up in an instant information world with technology specifically designed to occupy their time with crushing candy or flinging birds at pigs.  It is easy to live life on short term memory and forget the heritage that ties us all together from Adam’s first breath to the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We need to tell our children the story of God; stories of His love and grace and mercy and power and compassion.  Stories of his people overcoming the brokenness of the world with the wholeness of His Spirit within us. Stories of His unending patience with our unending stubbornness.  Stories of His everlasting love for a world gone astray.  These are stories to tell again and again and again so they will recognize when they are living the story themselves.

Lord, help me to share your story with my children so that they might follow you all the days of their lives. Amen.

A Father’s Resume


LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?  He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken. – Psalms 15:1-5 (NIV)

I have turned in my resume for different jobs several times over the last two decades.  It has changed because my experiences, skills and technical knowledge have changed.  The resume reflected what I had already lived up to and it was my hope that those hiring would have like what they read.  Father’s have a different kind of resume.

Our children are the living resumes for the world to see. The way they live their lives will reflect how well we are living up to God’s commands.  The psalm above is a description of who we are to be as men, and therefore, fathers.  I have to ask myself if my children’s lives are beginning to reflect the characteristics listed.  Am I striving daily to live up to that kind of standard, or am I satisfied with just getting by?  Do I live a life that cannot be shaken?

My children need a father who seeks God above all else; a father who abides in the sanctuary of His love and righteousness.  They don’t need a best friend or a cool dad. They need someone who will lead them to that sanctuary of God’s love and righteousness.  I have to have more than me in mind in the choices I make, the actions I take and the words that I speak.  They need a Godly man.

Lord, help me be more and more like you every day.  May I be an example of integrity to my children.  Let me lead them to the sanctuary of Your love, grace and righteousness. Amen.

What is Your Legacy?


When David’s time to die drew near, he charged his son Solomon, saying:  “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, be courageous, and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn.  Then the LORD will establish his word that he spoke concerning me: ‘If your heirs take heed to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a successor on the throne of Israel.’ – 1 Kings 2:1-4 (NRSV)

The interesting about last words is that they are rarely the first words.  Last words are often a summation of many words that have come before, and that is very much the case with David’s speech above.  This is certainly not the first time that David has exhorted his son to be strong, courageous and obey God.  This was not the only time the King of Israel espoused adherence to the laws and commands of God and reminded his audience of God’s promise to him concerning his heirs.  David had visited these words before with his family and friends and subjects – they were the summation of his legacy.

A legacy cannot be calculated or quantified.  It is not something deposited or invested or inherited.  A legacy is the life that is lived with others; a product of our actions and words over the course of time.  It is not the summation of our life, but life itself.  The question for us is, what will our legacy look like to our children when we are gone?  If today was the day you went to be with the Lord, would your life say, “Be strong, be courageous and keep the charge of the LORD your God” or not?

Every day is an opportunity for us to add to our legacy for our children.  We are given chances to be the people God called us to be and it is our privilege and responsibility to meet Him in those moments with humility and obedience.  This is the legacy I want to leave for my children: a life worth emulating.

Lord, help me to live a life that will be a worthy legacy for my children.  Keep me mindful of the call You have put on my life so I do not stray to the right or to the left.  Give me reminders each day to be strong, be courageous and keep the charge you have placed on my life. Amen.

The House of God


Now when the king was settled in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the LORD is with you.”

But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the LORD: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? – 2 Samuel 7:1-5 (NRSV)

Having a place to dwell is critical to so many other things in society.  To be homeless is to be disconnected, unprotected and powerless.  This is not the case with God.  When He makes His home among the people it is so they can connect with Him, be protected by Him and be empowered by Him.  He changes the neighborhood.

David did not get the privilege of building a house for God, but we do get that privilege.  God, through His Son has made our hearts His home.  He asks each of us, “Are you the one to build me a house to live in?” and we say, “With Christ, all things are possible.”  Preparing our children for this mystery is an incredible burden, for the world is hell bent on condemning the house, making it unlivable for a holy God.

To raise a child who believes in the triune God is to prepare Him another home to dwell.  We have the amazing honor of being homebuilders for the living God, contractors for the Creator.  The construction site is changing and growing and needs to be cleaned often.  The tools have been provided by the Master Builder and the instructions are in His holy book.  Let us build good homes for a good God.

Lord, help me be a builder of good homes for Your spirit to dwell.  Help me to be disciplined in this work and help me protect what is built from the corruption of the world. Amen.

A Child of Your Servant


As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine’s head.

“Whose son are you, young man?” Saul asked him. David said, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.” – 1 Samuel 17:57-58 (NIV)

I love the way David answers Saul.  There is a feeling that David expects Saul to know who Jesse of Bethlehem is, and maybe Saul did know of him, but pride in who David’s father is still comes through.  David’s heritage is part of his identity and he is not afraid to share it, even with the king.  This is another theme that runs through scripture, the individual identifying himself as one in a continuing chain.  While the people we read about in scripture are distinct individuals, they invariably are identified as sons and daughters of mothers and fathers.

This connectivity is falling apart in our society today.  We have so elevated individuality that the bonds of fidelity and family have eroded.  Children are becoming more and more egocentric and society is supporting this shift.  Everything is personalized, customized and individualized.  It is no longer the me generation, it is the ME GENERATION.  This is where we have to step in as followers of Christ and overcome society.

I can’t honestly say that if someone asked my daughters who their daddy was that they would answer, “I am the daughter of Chris Yeager of Redding” and think that was enough.  However, I also don’t think they have any qualms about identifying themselves as my daughters and I hope I never give them reason to.  I hope that I live in such a way that my children can introduce themselves as my children and feel good about it.  I hope that I am getting across how valuable they are to me and that they are very much part of who I am.  I hope they know I love to introduce myself as their father.  And most of all I hope that they will grow to have the same relationship with God.

Lord, help me be the kind of father that my children will respect and honor.  Bind us together with your love and grace.  Let us love one another with greater capacity every day.  Help families find wholeness and strength in one another through your mercy and truth. Amen.

A Spiritual Lineage


Then the elders and all those at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house ofIsrael. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous inBethlehem. Through the offspring the LORD gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore toJudah.” – Ruth 4:11-12 (NIV)

God certainly answered the prayers of the elders that day since Ruth became the ancestor of King David and Jesus.  A woman of foreign birth became part of a lineage more important than genetics.  Ruth was part of a spiritual lineage; a lineage defined by God’s promises and not by man’s limitations.  This spiritual lineage is not restrained by nationality or race.  It is not bounded by man’s weaknesses or flaws.  It began in the Garden and will end when God so desires.

This lineage is entered into through faith, honored by grace and extended through love.  It respects the past, embraces the present and presses on to the future.  This lineage is a single thread of God’s truth tying men and women together into the Kingdom of God.  It is God’s life at work in us to become like His only begotten Son. It is the lineage I want to pass on to my daughters.

Regardless of what may happen in their lives, I want my daughters to have learned from me that their life with God is more important than anything.  I want them to know the difference between being a Christian as the world defines it and being a follower of Christ as the Word defines it.  They will face challenges in this life where a respect for the past will help them embrace the present and prepare for the future.  They need a spiritual lineage and I hope that I can help them tie into it over the coming years.

Lord, help me to show my daughters the spiritual lineage that is available to them.  Give me the words and opportunity to speak into their hearts and minds, the truths of God’s Word.  May they never be defined by genetics, but by the work of Your Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Content


LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. – Psalms 16:5-6 (NIV)

If there is one thing that I hope to instill in my girls while they are young, it is the discipline of being content.  More than that, I want them to seal in their hearts a satisfaction with who God made them to be and to pursue it with vigor.  God has assigned each of us our portion and we need to live with wholehearted intent to explore all that entails. This is not a task for the lighthearted.

First, we must be pursuing that same thing ourselves with wholehearted intent.  We must lead for them to follow.  Every day presents its challenges to this leadership – self-interest, temptations and the devil himself – that will not let up just because we would like it to be so.  We lead because what we are leading our children to is far more important than any challenge we face on the way.

Second, as much as we try to protect our children from the world, someday they will need to live in it, but not of it.  Our culture has become too influenced by manufactured discontent. We are told we need the newest, brightest, fastest car or computer or phone so we can be relevant.  Our children are right in the midst of this and we will need to reinforce that their worth comes from who they belong to and not what belongs to them.

God has made each one of us to fill a space and time a certain way.  He has assigned us our portions.  We will never be happier anywhere else.   Helping our children walk into the time and space that God has designed them for is a privilege and a challenge.  Developing the character in them to occupy that time and space with all their mind, soul, strength and heart is demanding but rewarding.  We have to go first.  We have to occupy our space and time with everything we are for them to model.

Lord, help me be occupied with Your will and design for my life.  Give me encouragement through Your Holy Spirit to live a life fully vested in being what You want me to be, where You want me to be, how You want me to be.  Let me lead my children in that same way with gentleness and grace. Amen.