Search

Changed By Glory

"And we all… beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another." II Cor. 3:18

Tag

Scripture

5 Lessons My Dad Taught Me

Over the past couple of months I have had the amazing opportunity to work side by side with my Dad on a couple of construction projects for my small business. I am always super less stressed when he works with me, simply because his life experience makes navigating how to get a job done much easier. The process of “figuring it out” goes much smoother when he helps! It is also just a plain privilege to get to spend time with him and it causes me to reflect on the many years of working alongside him growing up and I am reminded of how much of an impression he has left on me. 

My dad and I are a lot alike, we are both very imperfect, we both view the world in a very “black and white” manner. But many of our similarities have to do with the lessons that my dad has taught me over the years. And by that, I don’t mean he set me down and gave things to me as lessons, but I mean those things he taught by example, by emphasis and by discipline – things that have stuck with me and shaped me, both what I am and what I one day aspire to be. And as I reflected today on the lessons he taught me, there were five that stood out as fundamental and formative in my life.

 

  • Scripture is the highest authority – While my dad and I disagree on some points of theology, we disagree precisely because he taught me all throughout my life that the Bible is the final determiner of reality. He never said those exact words and he didn’t sit me down and give me a class on the doctrine of revelation, but the way he handled Scripture, spoke Scripture, and approached Scripture throughout my life spoke loud and clear “This has the ultimate authority in our lives.” His reverence for the word of God was the greatest gift he gave me, it is a grace from God which gave me “wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15)

 

  • “You do what you gotta do” – Another way of saying this could be “do your duty”. Again, my dad never said those words, but his pattern of life and approach to work and caring for his family always said, no matter how hard things got “you do what you gotta”. For most of my life, my dad had no hobbies, he didn’t spend money on himself, he didn’t feel a need to be constantly entertained. This doesn’t mean he didn’t have things he enjoyed, things that made him smile, but his life was marked by doing what needed to be done and without a whine or a complaint. He is the hardest worker I have ever met, a hard worker who then feels no need to unwind in some frivolous way. We had times of great want and times of great plenty over the years, but through it all, without a gripe, my dad would simply get out there and do what needed to be done. And he does so to this day. 

 

  • Don’t live for the approval of man – One of the disappointments of being in ministry was seeing so many holy men that I admired bogged down in the opinions of others. I have found myself in this place too often! But my dad communicated through his life that what God thinks of us is what really matters. The thought of my dad trying to strut and preen for the applause of his fellow man is almost laughable. Now I am not naive enough to think that my dad has no human or prideful influence on his performance in life, but it is remarkable to me how little of that is there and how simple that has made many aspects of life for him. My dad communicated to us a fear of the Lord and a concern for eternity that bred an awareness that the Eye that sees all is the one that counts and this was huge for me when I came to Christ and it has echoed down to today. The fear of God that I was taught led to an awe that the God who knows my every thought loved me and sent his Son to suffer to bring me to himself. 

 

  • Don’t whine about hard work -or- hard work is a good, noble thing – This is almost the same as my second point, but it bears repeating with an emphasis on work. My dad is in his sixties and he still can work harder than most men a third of his age. He will put in the hours, he will strain the muscles, he will wear himself down – not to get rich, not to earn man’s approval, but to simply do his duty in providing for his family. Beyond his wage he does not ask to be applauded, he does not ask to be pampered, he just works, showing through it that work – hard work – is a good and noble thing. 

 

  • Love is best shown through a life of sacrificial service – My dad has not been perfect. At times he could be rigid and harsh over the years. He has not been one for “sappy” language. But. None of us children in his home ever had the slightest doubt regarding the intensity and steadfastness of his love for us and the reality of it has only strengthened as we look back. And his love has been always expressed through sacrificial service. Doing the things mentioned above, working so hard, not seeking to be pampered or to make a name, but year after year showing love by doing the hard, and the messy, and the mundane with little thanks and little reward, over and over and over again simply because he was devoted to us. I have come to believe that this is the best and loftiest kind of love. It is a love that has echoes of the gospel in it, or one further, pictures of the gospel. So many of his shortcomings are shuttered by the depth of conviction that I have of his love for me which he has shown over a lifetime of sacrificially living to love his family in the deepest way possible – doing his duty no matter how hard it got. I see men who are affectionate, kissy, always joking and saying the right words – but they are lazy, worldly, immature, petty, selfish. The love my dad has always shown us is real love, because the grit behind it, because it has substance. 

Much of who I am, the good and the bad, are traces of my dad. Like him I am a sinner. Like him I am saved by Christ. And it is my hope that one day my children will be able to look back and say that like him I loved them by sacrificially doing what needed to be done day after day, working hard without man-pleasing to the honor of my Savior and Lord revealed in the Scriptures. 

God bless, Jay Jennings. For I have been blessed through him. 

 

Knowing God’s Will for Your Life

 I promised last week that I would address the topic of how to know what God’s will is and I would like to briefly give an answer. There are many layers to this subject, but I want to just touch on a foundational principle that I hope will bring freedom and motivation to live a life devoted to God’s revealed will.

    I have many times heard people in exasperation declare “I just want to know God’s will for my life.” Other sit still, claiming that they will just do nothing until God tells them what to do. Many are waiting for a calling and then grow frustrated when that calling they receive doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Did they hear God right?

  What these people, and I have been included among them, fail to realize is that God has already told them what to do. Every believer has sufficient information from God to know his will. II Timothy 3:16-17 says “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” This verse teaches that the Word of God is sufficient for the man or woman of God to be complete. Now that is not to say that you will ever in this life be complete, but we can be confident that in this life we will never reach the end of our sanctification as there is always room to go deeper in the Scriptures. But this does give us a clear message from God that his Word is enough.

   The problem with seeking a subjective calling or extra-biblical inspiration, is that it is not Scripture, which according to this verse is what we need if we desire to be complete. The Bible is full of things that are God’s will for you, but the problem with us is that we often want God to be like a fortune teller who will make decisions in life easier for you by telling you where to live, what to major in, who to marry, etc. Doubtless the Bible speaks into all of these things, but God does not give us many specifics regarding every-day life. Does this make what He has revealed insufficient? We of course can say no!

   Much more could be said about this, but let’s get to nuts and bolts. How then do I know God’s will for me in where I should live, whom I should marry, and so forth? A sufficient answer can be found in the Word. We want God to tell us what to do because he knows the future and we don’t, in fact he has ordained our days and where we will live (Acts 17:26). Yet he does not tell us the details of how he brings these things about or what things we should do in detail in most cases. But he does tell us what we need to know.  “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.“(Deuteronomy 29:29)What does this all mean to this point? It means that is each situation that arises we can make decisions in keeping with God’s revealed will (the Scriptures) and have confidence that in and through those decisions he is bringing about His secret will leading to the good of His children and the glory of His name.

   Here is a great example that is not my own, but is helpful: If a girl is being pursued romantically by two men and she thinks they are both great, how can she know what God’s will is? Who should she say yes to? What does God want her to do? Biblically speaking if both men a clearly born-again, growing in Christ and submitting to His Lordship, then she is free to marry either. Therefore, as crude as this may seem, if one guy is tall and the other is short, and she likes tall guys, then she should marry to tall guy. It’s not rocket science, it is about submitting to what God has revealed about His will in the Scriptures and not becoming petrified by your inability to know what God’s secret will is!

   Now what this does not negate is seeking wisdom which God freely gives to those who ask (James 1:5). God is able to give you wisdom and insight through the Word, through other people in your life, to give you the ability to be discerning of situations, and numerous other ways in which the exercise of wisdom can help illumine the path before you. To go against wisdom may lead to some head-aches and even trials, but as long as it is not disobedience to God’s revealed will for you in his Word, then it is not sin per se. Avoid ruinous decisions then by taking what God has told you as far as it goes in the decision process, confident in its sufficiency, and then pray for wisdom and move forward. The girl in the example above may have decided to employ wisdom over preference and when considering her desire to eventually be a missionary she realized that tall guy had a desire to take over the family business and that short guy shared her desire. Thus she allowed shorty to pursue her instead. (Crude and cheesy but it works).

 However, if she held the view that many people do on walking in God’s will as a mystical exercise, what would have happened if she married tall man? She probably would eventually become disillusioned and would question if being married to Tall Man was really “God’s will”. But if she instead came to realize that she married Tall Man in keeping with the revealed will of God, she could then be free to pursue her evangelistic desires wherever she is. Perhaps soon she would be meeting with a group of refugee ladies in her small American town, sharing the love of Jesus with them; doing the will of God as revealed in Scripture.

My desire for this post is that many people would come to have a greater appreciation for the Bible –God’s Word. And that many would experience freedom to walk in obedience to what God has revealed his will to be, wherever they are. If you want to know God’s will for your life, then spend a lot of time in the Word. Recognize His sovereignty over your situations and then pray each day for wisdom. Just as God was faithful to lead his people in the wilderness with a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, so now God holds before us in this land of our sojourning the pillar of Scripture so that we may with confidence walk in the path before us. 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑