When Folks In Your Family Tree Are A Little Crooked

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Today’s Scripture Focus: Nehemiah 9:34-38

sin recovery planWe are focusing on sin recovery principle number four of 12: “We are submitting to an honest self-inventory as the Holy Spirit makes us more aware.”

I know from experience what it’s like to suffer internal struggles due to heredity. Every person who was born of a woman, whether you know her or not, has to face the reality of your ancestors. This reality is that they struggled with pride, rage, hatred, pessimism, over-ambitiousness, promiscuity, alcoholism, drug abuse, greed, envy, doubt, etc. The sooner you admit that to yourself, and that this accounts for half of your struggles, the other half being habits you have cultivated yourself, is the sooner you will be in a position to experience victory.

If your dad was an angry man, acknowledge that his anger may have had a negative impact on you. If your mother was a crack addict, acknowledge that her addiction had some negative impact on you. If your grandmother was a woman of the night and could not see a handsome man go by without soliciting him, acknowledge that this may have had some negative impact on your life. If your grandfather abandoned his family, accept the fact that this had a negative impact on your life. I say all this not to give you a way to make excuses for maladaptive or sinful behaviors. I say this so you can take an honest self-inventory and perhaps identify some of what makes you tick. Yes, there are great qualities we also inherit from our foreparents, but obviously, we do not need to overcome those.

What do you do once you recognize the impact of your ancestors on your life? Do you wallow in it? Do you blame someone else for your poor choices? Do you throw up your hands in despair because you feel like you got the short end of the stick in this thing called life? Let me share an idea with you. You should talk to God about it. Ask God to show you what negative impact the decisions and habits of your foreparents are still affecting your lifestyle choices today. Ask him to nullify the effects of heredity to the extent that it drives you to do evil. Ask God to manifest His love in your life some much that you learn to make right choices as a matter of consistent habit so you can bring Him glory. Ask God to adopt you into His family and give you a fresh, godly bloodline through Christ. Ask God how to be of service to the next generation.

Your Beginning and End

An evening with the Author and Finisher of your faith.

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Thursday, January 29, 2015
Based Upon John 21

Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Throughout His public ministry, we can see this fact illustrated. An interesting illustration of this can be mined from our theme chapter. Though the details are sitting right on the surface, we must look deeper for application.

The Bible says that the third time following His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and was standing on the shore of the Tiberias Sea one day. He called out to them to enquire whether they had caught any fish, but they answered, “No!” not realizing it was Christ who had called out to them. He told them to cast their nets from the opposite side of their boat, and miraculously, so many fish were netted that it seemed the boat almost capsized. It was at that point, having been amazed, that they realized it was Christ who spoke to them.

What can we learn from this simple lesson? We could say that when Jesus tells us to do something, we must do it to eventually see the heavenly outcome. We could say that our God will supply all of our needs. We could say that all of nature obeys the voice of the Master. Yet there is another lesson to which I would direct your attention: You may recall that just over three years prior, Jesus gave a similar command to these fishermen. And when they had toiled without catching even one fish, upon His command, they launched out into the deep, and almost burst the nets for the incredible volume of their catch. They were also amazed then.

Remember, at the beginning I said that Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. At the beginning of His encounters of these men, He demonstrated that He would make them fishers of men. They would perform many wonders of evangelism in His name. And, at the end after He had already won the victory on the cross, He reaffirmed the fact that in His strength, they would evangelize the world. Interestingly, this lesson was taught right before He gave Peter his close encounter with self-inventory. He probed Peter with questions regarding his love for the Master. When he was finally overwhelmed by Jesus’ line of questionings, Jesus commanded him to feed His people. As all of this was going on, Jesus was preparing a meal for His friends.

How do we tie this all together? Here it is: When we submit to Christ through close encounters with Him, He will give us faith with which to lay hold of His power, continue to keep us along the way, and seal our faith in the end. The same One who initially called and equipped you, will preserve that calling and equipping until the end. He will never leave us, nor forsake us. Don’t miss the fact that Jesus kindly provided a meal. The Scriptures say that if we answer the continual knocking of Jesus upon our heart’s door, He will come in to our homes and sup with us. When Jesus eats with us, who provides the food? The original language suggests that Jesus would not simply come in and have a meal with us, but just as the with the Last Supper and this seaside feast, He was the One who provided it.

When we begin our journey with Christ, He gives us faith and power. When we continue our journey with Him, He provides faith and power, when Jesus returns, if we continue in Him, we will eat from the blessed Tree of Life that He had prepared for us from eternity past. He longs to eat with us, friends. Will you make the commitment, with me, to be at that lovely welcome table when He comes?