Friday, March 22, 2013

Proverbs 14:26 A refuge for my family

There are so many gems in Proverbs 14 - about wisdom, the value of hard work, the folly of a quick temper. Any one of them would make a great poster for a high school classroom. But the one verse that just leaps out at me is verse 26:

In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence,

    and his children will have a refuge. (ESV)

The NIV (1984) puts it this way:

He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.

Usually when we fear something, we LACK confidence. But the fear of the LORD actually builds it! When we revere God, honor Him, recognize who He is and remember His attributes, we are filled with confidence - not in ourselves, but in our God. That’s why most teachings on prayer say to begin with worship or adoration. Even the LORD Jesus taught us this when He gave us the Lord’s Prayer, that begins with “...hallowed by Thy name.”

When we meditate on His character, we are enabled to make our requests to Him boldly, because we know He’s not only willing to listen and help, He is also able. We remind ourselves that He is sovereign over all, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, the Creator, all-sufficient, compassionate, faithful (even when we aren’t), merciful, righteous, and just. And above all, He is holy, holy, holy - which is why we are in awe (or fear) of Him.

This is a God who can handle my life. This is the God who can handle THIS day! And when I live each day in this confidence, demonstrating that my complete trust is in Him and not myself, I am providing a place of shelter or refuge for my family. When our children and grandchildren see us making decisions based on our faith in God - when they see us trust Him through hard times - when they see us lean on Him to provide for our every need - when they see in us the desire to be transformed by God - when they see us authentically and transparently walking the talk - then they, too, can live in confidence.

I knew as a younger mommy that passing the faith onto my girls was my utmost priority. When my girls married godly husbands, I kind of relaxed and said, “My job is done!” But now that I’m a grandmother, I can see that the job of continuing that with my grandchildren is just as critical. They are watching Nanny and Papa. We need to support their parents in raising them in the Lord. We need to help them see that the LORD is THEIR secure fortress, that He will be THEIR strength. They are watching us as we care for Don’s father, their great-grandpa. They are watching as we demonstrate our priorities in the use of our money and certainly in the use of our time. Do they see that Jesus is the LORD of our lives?

Yes, grandparents have the privilege of spoiling their grandchildren - and we have the pleasure of seeing the world all over again through their eyes. But we also have the responsibility of helping them see God everywhere and in everything. Several years ago I found a devotional regarding the place of grandparents passing on the faith. I love the challenge it presented:

If you do nothing else in this life but help to keep the sacredness of Christian faith alive into the next generation, you will have succeeded. Recommit yourself to that task today.


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