Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Favored Son

Our daughter Emmie often jokes that she knows she is our favorite child, although we have certainly never said that.  She also jokes that everything we own will be hers when we die and she will give whatever she doesn't want to her siblings.

I think every child secretly wants to be "favored."  But parents rarely have that type of feeling for one child over another.  I often wondered when my children were small how I would feel about them as adults.  Now I can answer that question.  My adult children impress me and grow in my favor everyday.  I wish I had been like them at their ages.

It reminds me of another parent/child relationship I pondered while reading this verse:

"And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, 
and in favour with God and man."
(Luke 2:52.)

The Lord Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, grew in favour with God and man.  Now, I can understand the Lord Jesus Christ growing in favour with man.  I would think that would be obvious.  The part of the verse that struck me was that the Lord Jesus Christ grew in favour with God.

Christ existed from eternity past in perfect unity with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.  A perfect God living in the form of humanity, how could He get any better than that?  My question is answered with one word:  obedience.

"Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience 
by the things which He suffered;" (Hebrews 5:8.)

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; 
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, 
despising the shame, and is set down 
at the right hand of the throne of God."  (Hebrews 12:2.)

The first man, Adam, was pronounced to be very good, but not perfect.  Then he succumbed to temptation to lead all men to sin.

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; 
and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Romans 5:12.)

All men except One.

"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, 
so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."  (Romans 5:19.)

The Second Man, the Lord Christ Jesus, lived in perfection, that He might secure our salvation.  He did nothing of His own earthly power or strength, but walked every moment trusting in the strength and power of His Father.  Having done so, He set the example of how we are called to live.

"Then said Jesus unto them, 'When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am He, and that I do nothing of myself; 
but as My Father hath taught me, I speak these things." (John 8:28.)

The Lord Jesus Christ is favored by the Father, and by relation, all who believe in Him are favored as well.

"Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.  
To the praise of the glory of His grace, 
wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved." 
(Ephesians 1:5,6.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Growing Up

CJ and Ashlee, happy Mom, happy son
A dear friend of mine at work has a four year old boy.  She is as proud as a mother should be with each new development and skill, but the momma part of her is saddened her "baby" is growing up. (You can read my essay on my own experience of this here.)

This was especially evident the other day when she spoke of how he holds her hand differently now.  "He used to just put his hand in mine, but now he intertwines his fingers in mine."  That simple movement spoke volumes to her of his growing up and becoming more independent each day.

Of course, growing up is the normal and desired course during our children's lifetimes.  We expect our children to grow up, but not quite so fast, please.  We expect them to become independent of us, but be slow about it, okay?  And yes, it brings some pain to us when those ones we cared for from babies now pack up and move out of the house.  But in spite of the pain, it is as we would want it to be.

When we put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are birthed into the family of God.  As do our earthly children, we begin as little babes who are capable of little.  But the Lord no more intends for us to stay that way than do we expect that of our own little bundles of joy.  In fact, the Apostle Paul admonished the Hebrew Christians for not having had more growth in their Christian lives. . .

"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God;  and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat."  (Hebrews 5:12.)

We should be able to look back along our lives and see our progress in the Christian faith.  Our knowledge of Christ should be greater with each step and our awareness of His working "in us to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13,) should be growing.  Let us be vigilant to respond to the Lord in a way that this is true of us this year, next year and every year until we join Him in heaven.

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  
To Him be glory both now and for ever.  Amen."  
2 Peter 3:18

Monday, January 15, 2018

Who is Tua?

A week ago, Glen and I and our daughters watched the 2018 College Football National Championship at our daughter Marie's house.  She is a University of Alabama alumni for both undergraduate and law school and there was no way we were going to miss that game.

We might have wanted to change our minds during the first half  as the Georgia Bulldogs led the Alabama Crimson Tide by 13-0.

Then there was a line-up change for the second half.  

Little known Tuanigamanuolepola "Tua" Tagovailoa (TAHN-go-vai-LOW-a) replaced Jalen Hurts as quarterback for Alabama.  That is when the tide turned (pun intended.)

Tua led the Tide to a 26-23 victory by throwing three touchdown passes including the game-winning 41-yard pass in overtime.  He was named the Offensive MVP of the game.

While many have remarked about his precision-like passes and his remarkable ability to see and even "feel" the lay of the defense, that is not the most remarkable thing Tua did on that field. In every post-game interview I have seen, Tua pointedly deflected any glory from himself to His Lord. In one interview he stated, "First and foremost, I'd just like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. With Him, all things are possible. That's what happened tonight." 

In another, "First and foremost I'd like to thank my Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ. . . All glory goes to God. I can't describe what He has done for me and my family. Who would've ever thought I would have been here at this moment."

Following the twitter feed after the Alabama victory, my favorite "Tua" tweet I read was short 

and sweet:

"I don't know Tua Tagovailoa, but I know his Lord and Savior is Jesus Christ."

Is there anything better to know about Tua Tagovailoa? You can quote me statistics of his high school career, his stats from the Championship game, or even show me his MVP trophy.  None of that, in fact NOTHING can compare with the testimonies he gave after the game. He boldy pronounced Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. That game averaged 28.4 million viewers, most of whom would most likely watch the interviews immediately after the game. In those few moments, Tua was able to testify of his faith in Jesus to more people than most of us will meet in a lifetime. Who knows what influence those few sentences will have on the hearts and lives of some of those 28.4 million people.

Tua may play football for the Crimson Tide, but he has personal knowledge of another, most important, "crimson tide."

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: 
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Isaiah 1:18

Grace That is Greater Than All Our Sins
by Julia Johnston

  1. Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
    Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
    Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
    There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
  2. Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
    Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
    Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
    Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
  3. Dark is the stain that we cannot hide;
    What can we do to wash it away?
    Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
    Brighter than snow you may be today.
  4. Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
    Freely bestowed on all who believe!
    You that are longing to see His face,
    Will you this moment His grace receive?

  5. Grace, grace, God’s grace,

    Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;

    Grace, grace, God’s grace,

    Grace that is greater than all our sin!