Building A Heritage Of Character

Through Faith… What Does The Bible Say?

Sunday---What-Does-The-Bible-Say-GraceEphesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” 

These were two of the first verses I memorized as a young Christian.  I was eager to share my faith and the truth that we cannot save ourselves through good works was a critical part of the message.  Most of us are familiar with these verses.  And they get thrown around a lot in theological discussions. 

“It’s not by works!  Salvation isn’t by works and sanctification isn’t by works either!  Its’ all grace-it’s not by your works!”

And that’s true, as far as it goes.  But the discussion is often left very incomplete because the very next verse in Ephesians 2 is left out of the passage.  Verse 10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

So we are emphatically not saved BY good works.  But while we’re pontificating on that great truth, let’s not forget another one:  though we’re not saved BY good works, we are most definitely saved FOR good works.

Theologians will argue forever over the part good works play or don’t play in our spiritual growth.  But the undeniable fact is that we are saved for the purpose of doing good works in Christ’s name. 

Take whatever theological stand seems right to you, but at the same time—get to work.

 

 

 

He Was No Side Show ~ Saturday Stories

Saturday-Stories-BullSitting Bull was a famous fighting Indian chief, a great leader of the Sioux nation.

But after many years of warring against the American government, Sitting Bull was finally compelled to yield to superior numbers and surrender. A few years after his people gave up the warpath, he was befriended by Buffalo Bill Cody. Cody had been an army scout and had done his share of fighting against the Indians. But he held no malice toward the red man, and wanted to see him treated with fairness by the government and his rights respected.

A born showman, Cody put together Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, a sort of circus that included mock battles between real Indians and Bluecoat soldiers, stage coach robberies, buffalo hunts and gunfights. Wish I could have been there.

Buffalo Bill prevailed upon the old chief Sitting Bull to be a part of this show, rightly figuring that the famous chief would be a huge attraction for the crowd of Eastern show-goers who delighted in seeing a real live piece of the Wild West. Bill and Bull often traveled together from city to city between shows.

Whenever the train pulled into another town to take on passengers, fuel or water, Cody and the chief would step out onto the platform, address the crowd and shake hands in an attempt to generate interest in their show. Sitting Bull was indeed a huge attraction. People nearly trampled each other to crowd close for a look at the famous fighter. They shouted out offers of large amounts of money for a lock of his hair.

The Chief had experienced enough threats to his scalp to have grown very attached to it, so he politely declined such offers. However, he graciously offered a button off his coat for $5.00. This was a considerable amount of money in those days, but there was no shortage of takers. The Chief sold every button at one stop. As the train pulled away, people who had been disappointed in not having obtained one of the prized souvenirs would gang around the successful buyers and offer them far more than the $5 they had spent for a button. But some miles down the line, another town and another crowd was waiting. These people would want souvenirs too, and they wouldn’t be disappointed.

Because old Chief Sitting Bull was still just as cagey as he had ever been on the warpath.

As the train pulled out of town, he reached into his pocket for several more buttons and began to patiently sew them on his coat for the next crowd.

 

 

Teaching Preschoolers With Older Kids ~ Preschool Thursday with Marilyn Boyer

Reading to the kidsWhen teaching preschoolers with older kids, I spent 10 minutes with my preschoolers while the older kids were picking up clutter and getting ready to begin school.

Halfway through the morning, the older kids had snack time and again I would spend 10 minutes with my preschoolers. When the morning was over, the older kids would assemble sandwiches for lunch and I again spent 10 minutes with my preschoolers.

Knowing they would have these 3 times during the morning of my undivided attention, made it easier for them to do other activities while I spent time teaching the older ones school.

#Preschool #MarilynBoyer

Hey Little Buddies ~ Where Did The Beach Go?

Its-Unlce-Rick-beachHey, little buddies!

Our family just got back from a vacation at the beach. Fun!  But this year there wasn’t as much beach to play on as in previous years.  The waves had washed away a lot of the sand and dragged it out into the ocean.  At high tide, there was only a strip of sand a few yards wide for us to play on!  Oh, it was still lots of fun, but not nearly as much room to run around on as last year.

There was a lesson in that!  Matthew 7:24-27 says,   “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.  Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

That’s Jesus speaking.  He says that wise men build their houses on rock. Foolish men build their houses on sand.  And people who don’t obey His words are like the foolish man who built his house on sand.

Let me tell you, if anybody had built his house on that beach last year, he wouldn’t have had any house left this year!

What a great lesson in the sand. Let’s be sure we not only listen to the words of Jesus, but obey them.

Let’s build our lives on the rock, not on the sand.

 

#CharacterConcepts #UncleRick

Hey Little Buddies ~ Cats And Crawfish

Its-Unlce-Rick-CatWhen I was a boy, I loved to visit my grandparents on their farm in the summer. They lived almost three hundred miles from us, so we only got to see Granny and Granddad once a year. Granddad still plowed with a horse. They still had a cistern for water, too. They had no plumbing in the old house.

One of my favorite things about the farm was fishing in the pond. My big brother, Dean and I would walk barefoot down through the pasture with our cane poles over our shoulders and a vegetable can full of worms for a time of fun catching catfish out of the muddy pond water.

One afternoon we came back to the house with a few catfish. We thought about cleaning them and getting them ready to cook right away. Granny would roll them in corn meal and fry them for us to eat. But we thought it would be all right to leave them until morning. We just didn’t feel like going to the trouble to clean them at the moment. Maybe there was something more fun that we wanted to do just then. So we put the fish in a big dishpan full of water from the cistern and left it out in the yard. We’d get back to the job in the morning.

But when morning came our fish were gone! I asked my Dad what had happened to them. He said, “I expect the barn cats got them.” I asked him how they could have gotten our fish out of a pan of water. Cats don’t like water.

Sad said, “They just reach down in there with that big paw and hook ‘em with their claws. Out they come.”

Dean and I lost our fish because we weren’t diligent enough to clean them as soon as we got back to the house.

It reminds me now of Proverbs 12:27—“The lazy don’t roast their prey, but hard workers receive precious riches.”

No, we hadn’t roasted our prey. And we hadn’t received any precious riches. We had been lazy, and only the barn cats were happy about it.

Helping Your Children Hide God’s Word In Their Hearts~Part 3

Reading the BibleCreate projects to help your kids apply what they’re learning. Instead of just teaching them information, walk them through life situations and show them how to put into practice what they are learning. Here a few suggestions of things we did with our kids that really worked. Read More…