Set Apart For Destiny

Grandmother claimed she was a quarter Cherokee, but her family was not on the Indian Dawes rolls of 1894-1914. Grandmother Hightower looked like an Indian—black hair, brown  eyes, high cheekbones, but we were her little blond white grandchildren.

We have been working on our family tree since 1973, athought our uncle worked on the maternal line before that. While Grandmother was still alive,  Daddy and we questioned her at length and began the search, which continues to this day. One of my sisters has been “into” genealogy all these years, with my other sister and me taking it in spells. Right now we are all three “into” it.

I am so thankful that I was born into a Christian home. Thank God, I had parents and grandparents on both sides who were faithful Christians. However there came a day when I had to put my faith in Christ Jesus as my own personal Lord and Savior. I could not inherit eternal salvation.

Frequently the question comes up about what Paul wrote about genealogy. In I Timothy 1:4, Paul said, “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith. . .” Does Paul say not to research genealogies? No, the ‘endless genealogies’ spoken of by Paul were the Jews’ claim to salvation. You were nobody in that society if you could not trace your family tree back to Abraham.

The Jews as a matter of great pride pointed to their family tree to show that they were descendants of Abraham, God’s chosen people. Their genealogy represented salvation to them, because as Jesus said to the woman at the well, “Salvation is of the Jews.” John 4:22.

The Jews depended on their genealogy and keeping the law for their salvation rather than depending on faith alone, as their father Abraham did, according to Romans chapter 4. However the Jews’ genealogy gave them an identity among the heathen as a special people set apart by God for a purpose.

Romans 5:1 “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  

Your genealogy gives you an identity.  Who you are in this natural life and who you are in Christ Jesus sets you apart for your destiny.

Just a Shell

  

here is a June bug in case you don't know what it is
here is a cicada, what we used to call locust when I was a kid

 

My 8-year-old grandson and I found empty cicada shells on the patio, split down the back, with the feet still attached to the columns.

“Oh, the poor bug is dead,” he said.

“No, he is still alive,” I told him. “He grew a new shell and slipped out of his old one and left it behind as he flew off on a new adventure.”

I picked the shell off the post and laid it down on the patio table for a lesson on insects.

“See this split on his back? That is where he escaped the old shell.”

“Why did he do that?”

“His old shell was wearing out and getting too tight, like the way you outgrow your clothes, so he grew a new shell while he was still inside the old one. When it was ready, he took off his old shell, like taking off a coat, and left it hanging here on the patio post.”

This explanation seemed to satisfy his curiosity and we went on to other things, but I couldn’t get that shell out of my mind.

Some day my old shell will be worn out and too tight, just like the June bug. When the time has come, my spirit—the real me inside—will step out of my physical body.

Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “So also is the resurrection of the dead….. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. ….As we have borne the image of the man of dust, [meaning Adam] we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man [meaning Jesus Christ.] So when ……..this mortal [body] has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’” I Corinthians 15: 42-54 NKJV.  (Inserts added by Lavon for clarity. Read it all for yourself.)

When you see my unoccupied body lying there, you will know it is only my shell. It isn’t me; I am off to a new adventure in my new body.

No Need For A Battery

 

My 8-year-old grandson spent the night last night. While we were clearing off the studio couch where he sleeps, we had to move some stuffed animals. One stuffed bear wore nightclothes and a nightcap and, as we cuddled him, I remembered that he used to have a heart.  I dug it out of the dresser drawer and went to find a 9-volt battery to make it work.

I inserted the red heart complete with battery into the hole in his side, and when my grandson hugged him close to him, the bear’s heart started beating. He came to life with a beating heart; at least, alive as much as a stuffed animal can be.

The soldiers pierced Jesus’ heart, and the blood flowed out of his body, when He hung on the cross at Golgotha. His heart stopped beating until three days later at the precise moment that the Holy Spirit of God brought the power from heaven to resurrect Jesus Christ from the dead.

Romans 8:11 KJV says “If the same Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

If I have received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, then the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead does indeed dwell in me. He will quicken or make alive my mortal body, the one made out of flesh and blood. His life flows in my veins renewing my blood, going into each little cell to keep me alive until that day that I receive my new immortal body that will live forever.

I know this old body will completely wear out one day, but until then I’m claiming the promise that the Spirit of God will renew my physical body. I depend on God to give me strength to breathe and move and live every day of my life.

Because I belong to God, one day He will give me an immortal body that will never die, with a heart that will beat forever.

No need for a battery.

Hanging Around Sodom

 

Are some of your relatives still hanging around Sodom?

 Abraham’s nephew, Lot, was. The Lord came to Abraham’s tent one day to visit and while Abraham entertained Him and two angels, the Lord told him that Sarah would have a son. Then as Abraham was seeing them on their way, the Lord said to the angels, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am going to do to Sodom and Gomorrah?” With that the angels departed for Sodom and Gomorrah, but the Lord stayed to talk with Abraham.

 Abraham pleaded for the lives of the righteous people living there, and the Lord agreed He would spare the cities if He could find even ten righteous people. But sadly he could only find four—Lot, his wife, and his two daughters.

Lot met the angels at the city gate and begged them to come to his home and spend the night. They asked Lot to get his family, daughters and sons–in–laws (the daughters were engaged), and bring them out of the city. Lot lingered all night. When morning came, the two angels urged Lot to hurry, but while he lingered, they grabbed him, his wife, and two daughters and dragged them out of the city. When they got outside, the angels said, “Run for your lives and don’t look back.” Of course, you remember the part about Lot’s wife looking back and she became a pillar of salt.

But think of this, Lot and his family were really only saved because Abraham prayed for their lives. In fact, even when they didn’t seem to want to leave, the angels forced them out of the path of destruction. Genesis 19:29 says that “God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow.”

God will deliver your relatives when you pray; He may even drag them out when they really don’t want to go.

The Real Thing

I am a connoisseur of good corn. Last night we had peaches-and-cream variety, sweet as sugar. I usually use real butter, but hubby sprayed his with butter-flavored spray.

I say, if you are going to spend your calories on real corn-on-the-cob one season a year, you might as well have real butter. After I have eaten all the kernels off the cob, I always go back and eat the little seeds left on the cob. Then I suck out the juice of the cob and make sure I didn’t miss any kernels.

When I was a kid, Mom used to say that I ate more ears of corn than the old mules on the farm. If I had corn, I didn’t care if I had anything else to eat. And back then I didn’t care if anyone else got corn or not, but now I share my corn with my hubby and daughter. They laugh when I ask if anyone wants the last ear. “No, go ahead and eat it. You know you want it.”

I like canned corn and frozen corn but not frozen corn on the cob. I just don’t buy it. If I can’t have fresh corn on the cob, I’ll do without.

Okay, so I am spoiled. A half-century of eating the real thing will spoil you, keep you from settling for a poor substitute.

If you have ever sat under the teaching of the real Word of God from the pulpit, it ruins you for anything else. A social gospel just doesn’t hold up against the teaching of the Bible. Sharing a joke, a devotion, or an opinion won’t change our lives like what God has to say.

II Timothy 3:16, 4:1 The Living Bible, “The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. And so I solemnly urge you before God and before Christ Jesus…….to preach the Word of God urgently at all times……in season and out.”

Don’t settle for a substitute when you can have the real fresh in-season Word of God, smeared with real butter.

Tom’s Peanut Jar

 

Tom's Peanut Jar I received, now full of tea bags
Tom's Peanut Jar I received, now full of tea bags

Years ago, I bought a Tom’s Peanuts glass gallon jar at a garage sale for fifty cents.

I loved that jar. I used it in the kitchen of my mobile home to store stuff in, mainly the crackers, ketchup and salt you get with your hamburger. Coupons went into the jar, as well as rubber bands, bobby pins, and garden seeds. It sat on top of a plant grow light I had over my African violets.

One evening, Grandmother was visiting and as she walked down the hallway, she rested her hand on the grow light fixture for balance. When she did, it slipped to one side and my favorite jar, the Toms Nuts jar, crashed to the floor, breaking into a million pieces.

For one instant, I wanted to scream and cry and yell at her. If it had been one of the kids, I probably would have done just that. But it was Grandmother and she didn’t mean to do it. How can you yell at your dear 83-year-old Grandmother?

So I made a split-second decision and instantly forgave.  I decided that I loved Grandmother more than I loved that jar.  I swept up the pieces and we went on with the evening as though nothing had ever happened. To anyone else, it would have appeared that I didn’t care whether that jar got broken or not, but that wasn’t the truth.

I made an interesting discovery that night, a spiritual truth that I have never forgotten. On the surface it is so simple, but in practice it is a hard truth to live by. If you put this truth into practice in your everyday life, you will never be the same.

Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…….but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…..For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

People are more important than things.

By the way, after this devotional was printed the first time, I received a package in the mail, from my best friend from high school days, containing a Tom’s Nuts jar.