Jul 29, 2019
Join us as we explore God’s ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern lives. His word is as current and relevant today as it was when he inspired its authors more than two and a half millennia ago. The websites where you can reach us are alittlewalkwithgod.com, richardagee.com, or saf.church.
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Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
I read the headlines and was appalled. A mother drowns her kids. Another reads, “Father kills mother while children watch, then shoots three children. And another, “Parents cage two children for three years before discovered.”
How does this happen? What kind of people can perform these atrocities to innocent children?
This morning I read the lectionary readings that will be associated with this week’s podcast and heard Jesus’ words regarding prayer. His disciples asked him to teach them to pray. Luke recorded a version of that now famous prayer that many rattle off their tongues without even thinking about it. We often refer to it as the Lord’s prayer, but it is really the disciples’ prayer. It’s the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray.
But after that prayer, Jesus told about the necessity to maintain our vigilance in prayer. When we want something from God, we need to continue to ask. Be persistent, he says. In Luke chapter 11, verses 9 and 10, he says, “So listen: Keep on asking, and you will receive. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened for you. All who keep asking will receive, all who keep seeking will find, and doors will open to those who keep knocking.”
That tells me we should not give up on our prayers. God’s word gives us plenty of examples of godly men and women who prayed for long periods of time before they received answers to their requests. Abraham’s peers were great-grandfathers before he had his promised son. Joseph languished in prison before he became the second highest authority in Egypt. Paul prayed for an unknown thorn in his flesh to be removed, something we’re not sure what that thorn was, and God never removed it, but only told him after long supplication that he would receive grace to bear it.
Keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking.
There is another point of wisdom in these words that wanes in our society today. We give up on almost everything. My grandkids really excel in many areas. I have to brag on them. But once in a while, they will grab a new project, struggle with it a while and want to quit because it’s hard. Fortunately, they have a mom and dad that won’t let them quit something just because it’s hard.
If it’s something that is well beyond their capability, that is different. If it’s dangerous or could cause significant damage, that’s different. But often, they will just give a tiny bit of guidance and let their kids learn how to handle hard things. Sometimes they fail the first few times at a task. But they get better through those early failures and learn to become very good through the tutelage of their parents and other adults. It might be hard, but they grow because of it.
When we stop because it’s hard or it didn’t happen the first time, we miss great opportunities. We lose because we fail to recognize the success in learning from mistakes. It’s the problem many young people face when “helicopter” parent bail kids out of every failure and make everything right regardless of the circumstances. Sometimes, it’s good for us to feel the consequences of our failure. We learn from those instances. We figure out how to succeed when we must endure the pain and suffering that comes from our mistakes.
You’ve probably heard the quote from Thomas Edison’s interview about his first failures in creating his electric lightbulb. He said, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”
I also find his observation, “We often miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
How much could we accomplish if we just got at it and didn’t give up? What could we do if we just stuck to it and continued to try until we did something. Instead we get tired, feel bad about ourselves for not becoming the next Rockafeller at the age of 20, and just sit on the couch playing video games instead. I sometimes wonder how we became known as the land of opportunity unless it’s now because we give up on everything and anyone who joins us has the opportunity to do all the things we give up trying.
Life is hard. Life is filled with failure and disappointment. We cannot nor should not win every time. Everyone should not get a trophy. We don’t learn as much through winning as we do through losing. In failing is really where we build our character.
We learn grace. We learn how to pick ourselves back up and how to start over. We learn that not being at the top is okay. We learn we can survive, begin again, lean on a friend. We learn we are not alone because no one wins every time.
Jesus says don’t stop. Don’t quit. Keep at it. Don’t give up. It’s a lesson we need to learn today.
He goes on to indict us as a society in what I mentioned as I began this podcast. Do you remember those headlines? In the next verses, Jesus asks what should have been some rhetorical questions. In verses 11 through 13 he says, “Some of you are fathers, so ask yourselves this: if your son comes up to you and asks for a fish for dinner, will you give him a snake instead? If your boy wants an egg to eat, will you give him a scorpion? Look, all of you are flawed in so many ways, yet in spite of all your faults, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to all who ask!”
Today, however, too many of our children grow up in fatherless homes. They don’t know what a father should be. They don’t have any idea how a loving father acts. Our kids are abandoned physically or emotionally as fathers relinquish their responsibilities as the head of the house and act like kids themselves without thought of what they do to the next generation. And the problem in the United States is that this has now gone on for two or three generations, so often, kids can’t find role models from grandfathers or even great-grandfathers in their families.
What are we to do to fix the problem? How are we to help this newest generation understand what it means to be a loving father or mother? How do we demonstrate solid family relationships when almost every family across the country feels the pain of broken homes? The only source for a solid role model is God. Our heavenly Father is the only perfect father. Scripture uses our earthly father as a model to help describe him, but the tables have turned.
I think for us to now understand who we should be as fathers and mothers, we must look to scripture and examine the life of Jesus and how he describes his Father in heaven to understand how we should build our relationships within our families and with those around us. We have so warped our roles as parents through neglecting what parenthood should be through generations of misguided relationships, that we no longer know what it means to be families.
It’s time we look to the source of relationships and marriage and families to find what these institutions should look like. We need to go to God who created us and the foundation of the family by putting Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden with the command to populate the world, instituting what we know as a marriage relationship.
It’s time we look at the good and bad fathers and mothers in scripture. We should see the consequences of the bad behavior and try our best to avoid repeating those mistakes. We should learn from the good behavior and try our best to emulate it.
God will help us learn what we should know as good fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, if we will listen to him. He will also help us recover from our failures if we will not give up, but will pick ourselves up, ask forgiveness for our failures and our sins, and try again. He will help us through those rough places. He will give us the strength to endure.
God can and will give us the courage to journey through this life as the people he would have us be. But we must put our trust in him if we hope to succeed. That doesn’t mean we will be wealthy. It does mean we will be rich. Our riches will come from the legacy of peace he promised as we follow his commands, do his will, learn his ways, and keep them.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the ene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.