Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Transitory vs. Eternal

Moses wrote to us about the transitory nature of our lives on this earth versus the eternal nature of God in Psalm 90.  He says, “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Ps 90:2). As we drove from Missouri to California this week, we crossed mountains, and these words came to mind. Before any of these mountains ever existed, God was God. God was always there, and he will always be. We, on the other hand, are transitory, “Return to dust, O sons of men” (Ps 90:3).  Moses reminds us that we are on a journey, and these bodies that are wearing out will return to the very dust from which we all came. It happens very fast, “You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning—though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered” (Ps 90:5-6).

When we see people we haven’t seen in a while, we notice how much they have changed, and we have also changed for them. It is all just a reminder of our transitory nature. There is no denying it, and we all know it, but it is incredible how many people refuse to talk about and prepare for their death. As a pastor, I have seen scores of times over the years when a family refuses to talk about the possible end of a loved one who is close to death. It is common to all humankind to fear death, but God helps overcome that fear of death. When we realize that our life is in God’s hands and that Jesus has conquered death for us, we have nothing to fear. In fact, we have everything to look forward to one day. Once we are with Jesus in heaven, we too will gain the eternal nature like God that we so long for now.

Knowing that we are temporary on this earth frees us from our fears and allows us to live our life with no illusions. We can love our families and share our experiences with them knowing our time is short on this earth. What a joy to pour your life into your family knowing that you have a limited time to be here, so why not make the most of it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


Diligence is a steady effort of perseverance at a focused task. The scriptures define that first concentrated task of life as beginning with “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov 9:10). When God is the focus of our lives, it will have purpose and meaning. The Message says it like this, “A life frittered away disgusts God; he loves those who run straight for the finish line” (Prov 15:9).

David was a man of character who indeed followed God’s own heart, but unfortunately, he wasn’t able to teach that essential role to his family. Passing character on to the next generation is a work of diligence. David was a great man of God, but his weakest link was dealing with problems in his family.  He seemed to be able to slay the giants that opposed the army, but he couldn’t face the giants that threatened his family. The need today in families is for fathers and mothers to be present in their children’s lives. What a difference it makes when a dad and a mom become part of the everyday problem-solving dilemmas that face their sons and daughters.

Absalom and Amnon were David’s sons, and they both searched for significance in life, but both ended their search in tragedy. Understanding our relevance is directly related to how soon we know our purpose in life. It is impossible to underestimate the impact of our interaction with our family on our adult life. When parents model good decision making and good behavior, there will be a significant difference in those children as they become adults. Part of being good parents is teaching our children how to manage their emotions and establish their identities, all the while showing them how to get along with people. In all this interaction, the children see their parents living out their faith.

In Northern California, there is a town that bears the name of Sutter’s Creek.  During the gold rush days of the Sierra Mountains, Sutter sold supplies and made his living from his mill.  A respectable way to make a living but boring, when all around you or so it seems everyone is striking it rich.  Sutter eventually gave into his yearning to get rich and sold his property and set out to find the gold he knew was waiting for him.  He never did find that gold, but later, gold was discovered on the very property he sold. What an analogy of what parents are doing today.  Being a good parent is tough.  It takes a lot of time and hard work to teach our kids our values, but our families are worth it, and anything that takes you away from your family is only fool’s gold.  No sacrifice is too high to preserve and maintain your family.

When we talk out problems with our children, we are not wasting time. The issues may seem overwhelming, and the temptation to ignore the situation may be very appealing—but don’t give in. Talk it through, no matter how long it takes, and if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Going to your pastor, a good friend, or a good counselor is wisdom when your family is at stake. It doesn’t matter that things haven’t worked out the way you planned.  Maybe you haven’t made all the right choices, but remember this, today is the first day of the rest of your life.  It’s never too late to start doing right. 

Parents must teach their children the value of the simplicity of life. In doing so, we offer our children the significance of people over things. Our children are surrounded by a materialistic society that soon molds them to be greedy and selfish. It is possible to grow up in one of the most covetous and egotistical eras and still lead a simple but meaningful life. It happens when our children find significance beginning with the fear of God and the value of life.