Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Pilgrims of New England

We meet again, the children of the Pilgrims, to remember our fathers. The two centuries and more which interpose to hide them from our eye – centuries so brilliant with progress, so crowded with incidents, so fertile in accumulations – dissolve for the moment as a curtain of cloud, and we are once more at their side. The grand and pathetic series of their story unrolls itself about us, vivid as if with the life of yesterday. All the stages by which they were slowly formed from the general mind and character of England, the tenderness of conscience, the sense of duty, force of will, trust in God, the love of truth, and the spirit of liberty by which they were advanced from Englishmen to Pilgrims, from Pilgrims to the founders of a free church, and the fathers of a free people, in a new world, come before us.

The voyage of the “Mayflower;” the landing; the slow winter’s night of disease and famine in which so many, the god, the beautiful, the brave, sank down and died, giving place at last to the spring-dawn of health and plenty, - come before us. The meeting with the old red race on the hill beyond the brook; the treaty of peace unbroken for half a century; the organization of a Republican form of government in the “Mayflower’s” cabin; the planting of these kindred , coeval, and auxiliary institutions, without which such a government could no more live than the uprooted tree can put forth leaf and flower, - come before us. And with these come institutions to diffuse pure religion, good learning, austere morality, plain living, and high thinking; the laying deep and sure, far down on the Rock of Ages, the foundation-stone of the imperial structure whose dome now swells towards Heaven.

All these things, high, holy, and beautiful, come thronging fresh on our memories, such as we have heard them from our mother’s lips; such as we have heard them from history kings, of religion, and of liberty. They gather themselves about us, familiar, certainly, but of an interest that can never die, - an interest heightened by their relations to that eventful future into which they have expanded, and through whose light they shine.

It is their festival we have come to keep to-day. It is their tabernacle we have come to build. It is not ourselves, our present, or our future; it is not political economy, or political philosophy, of which you would have me to-day say a word. We would speak of certain valiant, good peculiar men, our fathers. We would wipe the dust from a few old, noble urns. We would recall the forms and lineaments of the honored dead, - forms and feathers which the grave has not changed; over which the grave has no power; robed in the vestments and all radiant with the hues of an assured immortality.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Where There is No Vision, Part 2

Where there is no vision, the people perish.
(Proverbs 29:18a)

The purpose of a Godly vision should be to glorify God by enjoying Him. I often hear or read about families or college students going into an enormous amount of debt to secure a degree and we call this a vision. We as a society are on a hamster wheel of education. We need this education to secure a better job so we can make enough money to provide said better education for our children and so on. When does the cycle stop? Should I instead ask, what kind of education is most able to drive us to the Godly vision He has set for us and those we love?
In the book of proverbs God’s word says true wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord. This wisdom begins with the fear of God Himself. Are we educating our children to fear God or are we educating them to fear failing to secure the worlds ideal?
My point being, are we training our children to desire the things of the world? Dare I say that we might be driving them toward the worldly pursuit of a better job, fancier car, the right house in the right neighborhood etc…? Are we helping them fill their lives so full of the stuff the world says they need to have; that we are helping them shut out what is truly important?
How do we get off the roller coaster? One way we saw to stop this cycle was to home school our children. We are able to teach our children from a Biblical worldview. Searching the Word to find what might be God’s best choice for each one. We can teach them daily that fearing the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and education is a gift that can help us grow into men and women who can use this education to bring glory to their Creator. I pray it will make them wiser than I.
Whose standards are we measuring against? Should we not be concerned with God’s standards alone? I will be held accountable for the things my children are taught. As I stumble through this life, I can only claim God’s word as my standard and thus, if He so wills, my children will do all He has taught them for the generation to follow.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Where There is No Vision, Part 1

In response to Samantha’s post:

I believe she hit the nail on the head. As Proverbs 29:18 clearly states, all of God’s people need to have vision. We always need to look to the future and strive to work to the glory of God. If our visions are Godly, He will bless them.

I do not know how many times I have heard the catch phrase “one day at a time” and have had to bite my tongue. In one sense this can be a valid statement. . On the other hand, we are not to be revolutionaries in coming up with the new and improved ways to define God’s way of doing things. Ecclesiastes is adamant that there is nothing new under the sun. However, we need to be visionaries as we take dominion of the Earth for the King of kings.
How do we become “plodding Christians” as we become visionaries for the kingdom? If I may, we need to have visions that are Godly. What do I mean by this? As we secure a vision, we must ask the Creator what His vision for us is. He will guide. That is His promise. Here is what I believe He has shown me:
The first commands to Adam in the Garden of Eden are (Gen. 1:28) be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it, have dominion over every living thing that moves on the earth.
1. Get that vision of subduing the earth, or at least our corner of it.
3. We do this by raising children to the glory of God. Having them catch the same vision, holding tightly to their heart strings and guiding them along.
4. At the end of the Old Testament the Bible says that if we as fathers do not turn our hearts toward our children and our children do not turn their hearts toward their fathers, God will strike the land with a decree of utter destruction. God’s word is clear; He wants Godly offspring to further the kingdom vision. We mustn’t strive for the worlds defining lifestyle. We must trust the Lord’s best for us is at hand. Whether it looks perfect or not…
5. I look forward to sitting at the great banquet table with my Father where we get to eat the fatted calf that was raised on the hill, the one in a thousand that I was managing for Him, and as I pass the dishes around I notice all those that I had lived with and discussed the Gospel with as I walked this proving ground. What a blessing to pass that simple vision on to my children.