Conventions, Family, Coming Close to God, Great Deal on Curriculum
Conventions, Family, Coming Close to God, Great Deal on Curriculum
Encouraging Convention Report
The past three weeks I have had the privilege of addressing groups of parent educators in Texas, Arizona, and Florida. Three times, I asked the audience how many were attending an event like this for the first time, and the response was 40-50%. Be encouraged, brothers and sisters; the devil may be getting a lot of publicity, but quietly and effectively, Aslan is on the move. God is turning the hearts of fathers to their children and vice versa. Praise God!
God Created the Family
When God blessed Sandi and I with four sons, I felt called and commissioned to teach and train these precious boys to love and serve God. I was focused on loving my wife and children. I was convinced that my priorities were God first and family second. To that end, I sought to follow Biblical principles to effectively build our family on the Word of God.
It is only in the past ten years that I have learned that having a family was also designed to turn my own heart to God. God’s Word clearly teaches that before I can teach my children diligently and talk of His commands when I sit in my house, walk by the way, lie down, and rise up (Deuteronomy 6:7), I first have to love God with all my heart and have His Word on my heart (Deuteronomy 6:5-6)!!
In fact, I am more convinced than ever that my vertical relationship with God impacts all of my relationships with my family and the family of God. I cannot love well until I have been loved well. Jesus was a beloved Savior because He was first a beloved Son. Looking back, I realize that being invested in my family drew me nearer to God.
When one of our sons was quite young, he would stand in the middle of the house and call out, “Mama, are you?” My dear wife would come and ask him why he was calling for her. He earnestly responded, “I just want to be near you, Mama.”
In my daily Bible reading, I am in 1 Corinthians. In chapter 10, I noticed the word “participation,” which attracted my attention. It is used twice in verse 16: “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” I decided to go deeper. I opened BibleHub.com to research this word and discovered it was “koinonia.”
In its feminine form, it can also be translated: fellowship, sharing, and communion. Perhaps this is why the Lord’s Supper is referred to as Communion. I had always assumed it was communion being shared with believers. However, now I believe it also includes participation, or sharing and connecting with God.
Koinonia is found 19 times in the New Testament. As I read through these verses, one passage jumped out – 2 Corinthians 13:14. The Amplified Version incorporates all the elements of the Greek word “koinonia”: “The grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the presence and fellowship (the communion and sharing together, and participation) in the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
Later that day, during my regular walk with God, I was ruminating on these discoveries from His Word. I was telling God that I enjoyed being near Him. I even thought of the first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever.”
As I was praying, God gently posed this query, “What do you enjoy about Me?” It was a quiet but penetrating question, and I had to stop and reflect. I searched my heart and realized I simply like being near Him. I love God and the blessed koinonia we share. I told Him that I enjoyed His companionship, His presence, and His fellowship.
As I responded to Him, the Spirit immediately impressed tow truths on my heart and mind. I use the word “impressed” because each word came with such power. It was as if they were all in caps with periods between them.The first one was I.AM.WITH.YOU.ALWAYS. My heart was moved as the strength of these five words impacted my spirit. He is with me. Right now. He is eternally present. Every minute of every day. Always.
The second truth was NOTHING.CAN.SEPARATE.ME.FROM.HIS.LOVE. Paul goes to great lengths to make this point in Romans 8, and you can almost sense Paul’s inability to convey in words what his heart has grasped – that not one thing in all creation can separate us from God’s love and affection. It is no wonder that I like being close to my Dad. For He has committed to being with me and loving me forever.
As I pondered the potency of these Biblical concepts, I thought of how Job must have felt when He encountered the Living God: “I had only heard about You before, but now I have seen You with my own eyes.” (Job 42:5 NLT) Except in my case, the experience was very positive. I have known these verses for decades, but in just a few moments they had just become so rich, and real, and meaningful.
God is wonderful and so near. I love being in His presence. I can sincerely echo the words of my young son, “I just want to be near You, Papa.” Close to the One Whose love is dependable and Whose presence is constant.
My blessed koinonia with my adopted Father is essential to my relationships with my family and friends. The more rooted and grounded I am in the love of God, the better equipped I am to love my wife as Christ loved His bride, and to be kind and gracious to my sons as God the Father is to His beloved Son.
Another unexpected and yet blessed fruit of coming close to God is that the more I seek to emulate my heavenly Bridegroom and my heavenly Father, the more I love and appreciate God. I am reminded that this is the first and great command. In retrospect I see that following God’s commands for the family has contributed to my loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.
Special Deal for the Parents of Teens
My Stewardship curriculum, which is effectively two credits in one course – one credit for Bible and the other for Personal Finance – is one of our best-kept secrets. It is designed to help students understand how to apply Biblical principles in earning money and then how to be an effective steward in using it to extend the kingdom of God.
Watch this short video to understand more about it: stewardshipmath.com. From now till September 6th, we are offering this resource for 20% off*. For those of you who have not completed this course (Smiley face winking), that is $60.00 instead of $75.00.
*To get your 20% off, enter the code STEW-20 during checkout on the Demme Learning store. The code expires on 9/7/21.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all,