On God’s Time Clock

Col 3 23 (1)

Yesterday I went to the funeral of a dear man of God.  Don Kizer, husband to one – for 70 years (WOW!), father to 3 – plus 2, grandpa to 7, great-grandpa to 15 – he was so proud of all his babies of all ages.  And, most importantly – servant of God.  He gave and he gave and he gave.  Never begrudgingly.

No one ever asked Don for anything – they didn’t have to – he beat them to it.  My father-in-law, Don’s pastor for many years, tells of a time when he told the church board he would need to take a week of vacation time to re-roof his house.  Early Monday morning, Don pulled up in front of his pastor’s house with his tools.  He was ready to work.  And work he did.  This retired workhorse came back every day until the job was done – drove an hour home and was back the next morning – all week long.  Not because he had been asked to help – only because he wanted to.

His granddaughter similarly tells of a time she was painting in the basement when she was scared by footsteps in her supposedly empty house.  Armed with a baseball bat, relief flooded over her when Grandpa rounded the corner.  He explained, “You said you were going to be painting, right?”

When we bought our first house it had some work to be done – including adding a shower to the bathroom.  Don to the rescue, again.

Don showed up for others – always serving, always giving, always working.  The church yard received his loving care for years and years.  He was even more dedicated to the people in his life – 70 years with his lovely wife Norma.  Life was not always easy for them.  But they remained dedicated to each other and the God they served.

The verses that come to mind when I think of Don are from Colossians 3.  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (3:23,24).  Don didn’t need to check with his pastor about roofing his house, or with his granddaughter about painting, or any of the other people he just showed up for.  He was on God’s time clock, and he showed up for work, again and again.

Don is done working now.  He is awaiting his inheritance from the Lord which he will receive when the dead are raised and the Lord’s New Kingdom will begin (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

You might not be a roofer, or painter, or plumber, or lawn care specialist, or able to fix anything and everything with some wire and duct tape.   But, you ARE gifted by God to serve.  So, get out there and get to work.  Work as if you were working for the Lord (because you are when you serve others).  Work as if you were working alongside Don.  Keep at it!  Your reward may be closer than you know, or you may be given 89 (or more) years to serve.  Either way, do it with all your heart.

Thank you, God, for the gift of knowing Don.  May I work as he worked – on your time clock.

-Marcia Railton

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What Rings Out from You?

1 Thess 1 8

I Thessalonians 1-3

Apprentice: Learning from the Master was the theme for Family Camp 2015.  Our son suggested the theme while coming home from Family Camp the previous year.   And it stuck.  “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ” I Corinthians 11:1.  We have a responsibility to be following our Master Jesus (who was following God’s will and direction every step of the way) – not only for our benefit – but to lead and guide and instruct others how to also follow Christ and become more and more like Jesus.

I see Apprentice all over these first three chapters of I Thessalonians.   When Paul was blinded on the road to Damascus he entered training to be an Apprentice of the Lord Jesus Christ.  But he didn’t hide away with his new-found life – taking it out every Sunday to display at church.  It was his life and breath and joy and struggle – to be lived and fought for every day – to take people to Jesus that they might become apprentices as well – learning and teaching the craft of loving, serving, following, obeying Christ and His Father.  Listen again to some of these phrases:
“You became imitators of us and of our Lord: in spite of severe suffering” (1:6)
“And so you became a model to all the believers” (1:7)
“The Lord’s message rang out from you” (1:8)
“For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes?  Is it not you?  Indeed, you are our glory and joy.” (2:19,20)
“For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.” (3:8)

Do you want to be a better Apprentice?

First – check your walk – are you living what you’ve learned from Jesus the Master? Do you do the work that Jesus did?  How can you follow Jesus better?  More consistently?  Does the Lord’s message ring out from you?  Do you imitate the world or do you imitate Christ and Christian role-models?
How can you reach out to others as Jesus did?  And as Paul did?  Who do you pray earnestly for night and day – that their faith will be strong?
Who will be your hope, your joy or your crown in which you will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes?

“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.  May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.”  (3:12-13).

Marcia Railton

More and More

2 thess 1 3

I love Paul’s prayers!  They are some of my favorite parts of his letters.  You don’t find him praying about the weather (you know, those ‘no rain so we have a nice picnic’ prayers) and not too often about health needs – but always about spiritual growth and Godly matters.   One example of Paul praying for the church is found in 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12.  He starts out thanking God that the Thessalonian’s faith is growing MORE AND MORE.  How could your pastor or a church member be able to gauge the growth of your faith – is yours growing or shrinking?  How can you tell?  How can others tell?  Next he thanks God that their love for one another is growing.  Can you say the same for your love for your brothers and sisters in Christ?  How can you tell?  How can others tell?

How many of you have heard people complain that God is not just – if he was He wouldn’t allow evil and trouble.  I love Paul’s answer.  “God IS just:  He will pay back…and give relief…This WILL HAPPEN when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven.”  (1:6,7) No need to question God’s justice.  His clock is better than ours anyways.  God IS Just.

In 1st Thessalonians Paul tells us to encourage one another with the message that Jesus is coming to earth again!  2nd Thessalonians reminds us to not be deceived, for the Man of Lawlessness – the Anti-God – will be coming too, and will deceive many who have refused to love the truth.  In order to stand firm for Jesus’s return – we must be loving the truth and prepared for evil and lawlessness and deception.  “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you.” (2:15)  Learn those teachings well – and cling to them – and pass them on to others.

Thank you God for your words through your servants.  Help me to hear, learn, live and pass along your words and your way.
Marcia Railton

Apprentice – Pass it On!

2 Tim 2 2 (1)

When Paul writes II Timothy he is in Rome.  In Prison.  Piecing together his life from Acts and his letters, it is believed that during his first trip to Rome he was under house arrest – and then released and able to take his final missionary journey.  But, back to Rome he goes, and this time he ends up in prison.  Real prison.  In chains.  And, he is now writing about having “fought the good fight and finished the race.”  (4:7).   The end is in sight.  And Paul has no regrets.  In fact, he still has hope for the future – “a crown of righteousness” (4:8).

I was blessed by the opportunity to go to Rome with Jason several years ago while he was on a business trip.  While he worked, I walked.  It was incredible to walk through the ruins and roads where Paul very well may have walked before his chains.  Courthouses, palaces, the temples of foreign gods, and in their midst, the Mamertine prison which according to tradition housed the apostle Paul, as well as Peter, before they each died for their faith.   Perhaps it was a different prison, hard to be certain.  But I do know that there was a real prison with real chains.  Real places.  Real people.  And a very real God who was at work then (and long before) and is still at work now – and for all eternity.

A God worthy of serving with our life and if necessary our death.  A God who does not give a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7) – and I sure need that!  A God who breathed out the Scriptures for us so we would have his wisdom and words – so useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.  (2 Timothy 3:16)  Without them we can not be thoroughly equipped for the work he has for us to do.  (2 Timothy 3:17).

A few years ago our theme at Family Camp was Apprentice.  How to pass along a craft – an art – from one master artisan to the next generation.   Paul said, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”  (2 Timothy 2:2)  How are you contributing to the cycle?

Paul has many powerful words to Timothy about his duties as a young preacher, and what he is to pass on to others.  And they become even more powerful when you pause to remember that they are being written by Paul, the mighty apostle and missionary, now chained and in prison, near the end of his life.  According to tradition, soon to be beheaded for his faith.  He writes, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”  (2 Timothy 2:15)  Are you doing your best?  What can you do to improve how you present yourself to God?  Is it evident you are a workman for God?  Any areas of shame that need to be addressed?  How are you handling the word of truth?

I think it would be fascinating to see documented how the Word of God was passed down from Jesus to Paul, and on to Timothy and then to Timothy’s church, etc …. Through the ages … across the oceans … from generation to generation . . . to you.  Your spiritual genealogy.  What will you do with it?  How will you pass it on?  “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved.”

In Christ,
Marcia

Happy Grandparents Day!

Leviticus 19 32

 

It doesn’t get the hype of Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, but here it is, every September – Grandparents Day – a day to remember to honor and respect and heap love upon the grandparents amongst us – they don’t even have to be your own grandparents – but extra bonus if they are.

 

We live in a culture that places a high value on youthfulness, beauty and athleticism.  Wrinkles and gray hair are seen as a curse to be fixed at any cost.  However, in his wisdom, Solomon saw great value in old age which would bring with it wrinkles and gray hair.  Proverbs 16:31 says, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.”  One who lived long enough for gray hair could revel in their beautiful silver crown – and be honored and respected by others.  And years before Solomon, God told Moses to instruct the people to, “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God.  I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:32).

 

This week – watch for ways you can show honor and respect to the silver crowned people in your life – as well as those in the grocery store.

 

-Marcia Railton

 

(Whoops!  This was typed and I thought I had sent it yesterday, but apparently not.  My grandma and my children’s grandma (my mom) are visiting and we’ve been having such a great time together – I wasn’t paying great attention to my email I guess.  Well – keep celebrating Grandparents Day – I think God would like it to be a daily celebration!)

We are His Tools

Ezekiel 3 17

How many of you like to watch something. The home that I’m working at this week has tons of bird feeders. The owner is constantly making sure the feeders are clean and full of food and then she sits back with binoculars and watches. I have to admit I’ve been watching too, especially the hummingbirds, and I usually don’t have time to notice. Ezekiel 3 tells us that we are a watchman for each other. The job of a watchman was to stay alert and sound the alarm to save his people. In fact our job is a matter of life and death. This may make some uncomfortable, but today in this world of live and let live or judge not least you be judged, we still have a responsibility from God.

Now let’s set some parameters: 1) The Bible is clear that we must do everything in love. I’m convinced that the care shown to the woman at the well was Jesus showing us how to be truthful and loving.  2) Jesus also instructs us to take the log out of our eye so we can see clearly to inspect someone else’s eye. 3) We need to have biblical solutions and be willing to help. If we keep these in mind, then look around and see who God has put in your line of sight. God is clear that he wants ALL to come to salvation through Jesus and we are his tools to make that happen. During the 200 years after Jesus had established his church, the Romans took note of something. Tertullian reported that they said ” Look how they love one another”. If our goal is to watch, love, and help like Ezekiel says then others will notice. Today, pray that God will purify us to be a watchman for his kingdom and to glorify the one who can save.

-Joseph Partain

How to Avoid Belly Aches

Prov 21 2

I’ve always worked around construction sites. From the age of 5, my dad would have me help where I could and talk to the workers. I remember when I was 8 I saw a brickmason with what I thought was candy and asked for a piece. What he had was a can of tobacco but as an 8 yr. old I was convinced I was right because I was 8 and knew everything. Some of us never grow out of this and religious people are no different.

The Pharisees, Saul, David, and others thought they were right. Proverbs 16:2 says, “All a person’s ways seem right to them but motives are weighed by God.” And just in case you’re like me, Solomon says something similar in 21:2. How do we, as believers, keep our motives pure. Proverbs 3:5,6 says to lean on God and not on our understanding and he will make straight paths for us. We do this by reading God’s words: Psalms 12:6 says God’s word is flawless. The Psalms and Proverbs are big on that theme. In Hebrews 4:12 we see God’s word is active and when used, judges our thoughts so that, if we aren’t stubborn, we can make Godly choices.

At 43, I can still channel my 8 yr. old self. After so many times of telling the brickmason I was right, my dad said let him have one. I swallowed that and got sick for the next 30 min, but never have tried that again. I pray that today we acknowledge God first and his word and live by the Spirit that brings life. Try his word today and avoid some of the “belly aches” that come from thinking we have the answers. God bless you.

-Joseph Partain