Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7 ESV
Worrying over our grandchildren’s relationship with Jesus has been a recurring theme for me lately. Now I can hardly believe that I first wrote that opening line two years ago. Things with our grandchildren have gotten easier with some and harder with others. Some days it feels as if our hearts are being pulling in opposite directions, and I need that peace that is waaaaay beyond anything I can understand sometimes! When they were small, everything seemed pretty simple. We took them to church; prayed with them and made sure they had plenty of cookies. But now they are older, some days it feels as if I am slogging through a mud bog trying to communicate even the basics of what it means to be a Christian. As I tossed and turned through another middle of the night worry the Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me that I was not alone. I was forgetting that ultimately that job is His and that He loves them way more than I do. It is hard to trust God with people who are the closest to us. Yielding control over our spouse, a child a grandchild or a friend means letting God take over. Back in 2005 Carrie Underwood recorded a song called, “Jesus Take the Wheel!” and its message was exactly what we need in our most anxious moments. We need to let go of our grip so that God can steer. Jesus won’t just rip the steering wheel away. He will allow us as many nights as we wish to toss and turn. But when we are worn out with worry and fed up with fear God is waiting and even longing for us to trust that He knows how to fix things better than we do. Only He has the strength to carry our worries and has promised a peace that stretches from our anxious hour all the way to heaven!
When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer! - Corrie Ten Boom
Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.Proverbs 17:6 ESV
The fading photograph of he and my grandmother sits on our bookshelf, and the shadow of his hat covering his eyes makes me wonder what color they were. Though our youngest son is named after him, the life he once lived is as mysterious to me as the lost continent of Atlantis. All I know is that at the ripe old age of 16, he boarded a steamer in Naples and arrived in New York to begin a new life with the help of three brothers who had come before.
All that remains behind is a 100-year-old barber kit that sits on the dresser in our guest bedroom and an antique barber chair that a local shop bought from my cousin. I never heard his voice or knew what his favorite food was. He never took me for ice-cream or walked with me to a park. But my grampa missed these things, not because he was a bad guy, rather as a result of my parent’s less than amicable divorce and his passing away just two years after I was born.
This morning as I was thinking about all I missed from never knowing my grandparents, I remembered our grandchildren. The Bible says that God has given them to us as a crown. and a crown should be on our head, just as grandchildren should always on our mind. When we give them our time, watching a movie together or playing with them in the back yard, we are giving them the memory of the sound of our laugh, the touch of our hand and the color of our eyes. As we share in every little moment – yes, even the hard ones, they will want to know why we pray with them as we put them to bed. They will remember the songs we sing as they sit by us in church and every hug when we can no longer be there to hold them. Though we may not leave them trust accounts brimming with cash, if they receive our faith then they have received our greatest treasure. Grandchildren are given us as a crown, so while we have breath let’s not be the grandparents they never knew. Instead, may our lives remind them, when they are in the middle of their own storms, to trust in Jesus and find that He is the one who has known them and loved them from the beginning of time!
Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord teach us to pray as John as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1 ESV
Notice in today’s verse that learning to pray, was more the hallmark of being a disciple than learning to preach. Of course, we all know by heart the Lord’s prayer, which Jesus used to give us a pattern for our prayers. But if we could back up the bus just a bit, we would see that Jesus’ primary method of teaching prayer was by His example. Remember, that when Jesus went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the Mount of Transfiguration Jesus took His closest disciples with Him. He didn’t need them to help Him pray. He needed them to be with Him so that they could learn to pray. When I look at my grandchildren today and think of what heritage I will leave behind, I hope it will be that they remember I prayed for them. One of our grandsons is far away from God right now, but when we saw him last week, we put our arms around him and told him that we love him and are praying for him every day. Do I think he listened? Maybe not – but I do know that when God answers our prayers that he will remember. We must never give up praying for our children and grandchildren. We must not give up praying for our neighborhoods, our communities and our nation. If we leave nothing else behind let’s leave behind prayers so big that will be answered after we are with Jesus. This week’s video includes two of my favorite hymns on prayer – In the Garden and Sweet Hour of Prayer. Have a blessed weekend everybody!