Thursday, April 29, 2010

Teach the Children

I used to come down so hard on the Israelites for their fair-weather faith.  Here they are, God's chosen people, witnessing all these miracles and experiencing God's deliverance, and yet they still constantly disobeyed. I don't mean a little screw up now and then, I mean worshipping other god's kind of rebellion! Then, as I got older I started to realize that we all do the same thing. I know I have gone through many times of putting other things above God. Things like my family, my insecurities and fears, sometimes even church as strange as that sounds.

 So, that's all well and good but what I never caught before was a little verse in Judges 2 that kind of pinpoints the downfall of the new generation. Now, this is after Egypt, after the miracles God did to get them out of Egypt and on toward the promised land, after wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, after entering the promised land, after fighting all the cities there and defeating most of them, and after Joshua and all of that generation had died. So, we are in a brand new generation of people who weren't there to see the 10 plagues, or the parting of the Sea, or water come from a rock, or to witness the conquest of taking over the promised land. The first thing I noticed is Judges 2:10. It says,

 "When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel." 

 Did you catch that like I did? My first question when I read that was "Why on earth didn't they know?" I mean, I know what happened and it was thousands of years ago and I'm not Jewish, so how on earth did one generation completely miss it!? So that led me to a few verses that I have memorized and instantly came to mind and I found a few others that I want to share as well. First is Deuteronomy 6:5-9 which says,

 "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

 Deuteronomy 4:9 says "Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren."

 and again Deuteronomy 11:19-20 it says "You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

 Are you starting to get the picture? I am convinced that this next generation of Israel didn't know, because the previous generation quit telling them! How else would they have not known about God and all He did for them? Here's a few more passages for you to look up.... Proverbs 3:3, Proverbs 6:20-23, Proverbs 7:1-3, and 2 Corinthians 3:3.

 Going back to the Judges 2 passage the very next verse (vs 11) says "Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals." This is hitting me pretty hard here as I hope it is with you. It is so very important for us to pass our faith on to our children. I know we can't pass our salvation to them, they have to accept that on their own accord, but if my children grow up to be a generation who does evil in the sight of God I do not want it to be because I didn't keep God's word in front of them. These verses say to keep it in our hearts (memorize!), and in our souls, and to write it on our doorposts, teach it to our children when we sit, walk, lay down, and rise up! That's all the time! What that says to me is that God needs to be the first priority in my life so that my life reflects what I'm teaching my children. One of my biggest fears is that I will mess up in rearing my children and that they'll walk away from God because of it. I am taking this message to heart and am going to just step it up a notch in keeping God in front of my kids all the time. I don't want them to just know about God.... I want them to KNOW God. I want them to see the miracles He does in our lives every day and how He works. I want them to develop a close, personal walk with Him now so that it can never be said of them: "who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for the (Goepfrich family.)"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Flash-Back Poem

This is a flash-back post: meaning it's something I wrote or experienced in the past, i.e. flashback :) On September 22, 2005 my step-father suffered a major heart attack and passed away from this life in an instant. I never got to say goodbye which still is just so hard to deal with even 5 years later. He was one of the most important people in my life and I still struggle with grief from time to time. But just as the scripture says, I do not grieve as those who have no hope. I know that I will see him again and I wait anxiously for that day while I finish what God has called me to do here in this world. I wrote this poem shortly after he died as a way to attempt to express my grief. I have never shared it with anyone, and it's not really that good, but it is from my heart and if it encourages someone else who may be dealing with grief than it's worth sharing. :o)

You left without saying a word
It turned my life upside down
You didn’t even say goodbye
You just left me here to drown

I’m trudging through life’s agony
With a gaping hole deep within
Looking for something, anything
That can bring the slightest grin

How do I go on with my life
Now that your not here
In an instant, brief and harsh
I realized my greatest fear.

And yet, I must go on.
Life doesn’t stop for my grief.
So, I seek an answer
In the source of all relief.

Jesus is my ROCK,
His strength just won’t retreat.
He holds me when I’m weak
He doesn’t know defeat.

When emotion overwhelms me,
And I’m lost without a light,
I fall in Jesus’ loving arms
And hold on with all His might.

It’s not my strength that holds me up;
I cannot stand alone.
It’s the Peace and Hope that Jesus gives,
And I claim it for my own.

Life has ended here on Earth
For my dear father, taken from me.
But I know without a doubt
That his face again I’ll see.

We’ll walk down those golden streets
Together arm in arm
And catch up on all that’s happened
Since that fatal day of harm.

We’ll laugh and cry and make some jokes,
Just like we used to do.
Except this time it will be forever,
Beyond the bright, bright blue.

Paul A. Belmarez
2/6/60 - 9/22/05

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Last week in my Bible reading I came across some very familiar passages in Joshua, such as the battle at Jericho and the sin of Achan. Chapter 9 however held an account that I don't ever remember learning. God was leading the Israelites in conquering all these lands, and somewhere along the way the Gibeonites heard what was happening and that God was delivering all these cities into the hands of the Israelites and they were all being wiped out. So they devised this plan to make it look like they had traveled from very far away so that Israel wouldn't suspect they were in one of the nearby lands that they were supposed to attack. The people of Gibeon put on really old clothes, took moldy bread, torn and patched wineskins, and wore old worn sandals. Then, they went to the men of Israel saying they've been traveling for a very long time and asked for Israel to make a contract with them to allow them to be their servants and spare their lives.

 Verse 14 is what stands out to me the most. It shows the downfall of the choice made by the Israelites in this instance and it is something I know I'm guilty of all too often. It says, "Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord." WOW - After everything they had been through and being given the promised land and conquering all these cities, they didn't seek God's counsel!

 So what happens next? They make the contract with the Gibeonites assuming they were telling the truth!! So after 3 days goes by they find out that these were actually the people of Gibeon who were part of this land that God was having them anhialate!! So now they're stuck in this covenant with the Gibeonites and have to allow them to live among them as their servants (water carriers and woodcutters). When asked why they lied, the Gibeonites say they were afraid for their lives because they heard that God had said He would give the Israelites all the land and that they would destroy all the inhabitants of the land. I find it funny, and incredibly saddened that the Gibeonites obviously believed in the mighty power of God, yet Israel forgot to ask counsel of the Lord. I wonder how that affected God's original plan for the Israelites. I wonder what kind of future problems there were because the men of Israel didn't ask consel of the Lord or what kind of blessings they missed out on. I wonder what kind of blessings we miss out on because we simply do not ask counsel of the Lord.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Doing IS NOT Living

Do you ever feel like you're so busy "doing" the Christian life that it is becoming overwhelming?

Many times over the years I have felt this weariness, the feeling that I'm doing too much and it's dragging me down. But how can it drag me down when it's all good things and I'm doing them for the Lord? Or am I? I have recently found myself yet again feeling the weight of ministry and spiritualism. I am drowning in Bible Studies, running from one church activity to the next, trying to minister along the way to anyone God brings in my path. My heart is in the right place, in that I desperately want everyone to experience the awesome power of God in their lives. I want to make sure each person I know has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ so I pour myself into trying to reach everyone I can. The problem is that in the midst of all the busyness of doing the Christian life, I have somehow lost the personal fellowship with my Lord.

 What's the difference, you ask? The difference is all the other GOOD stuff that needs to be done, is not the same as spending one on one time with the God of the universe. It is not the same as my daily time talking to God through prayer and listening to Him through the reading of His Word. It doesn't matter how much preaching I listen to, how many Bible Studies I attend, how many people I counsel, how many lives God allows me to minister to.... none of that matters if I neglect the most important relationship in my life! Over the course of the last 6-12 months I have been on a journey to re-discover that personal one-on-one relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I have such a deep hunger for the Word and a desire to learn everything I can from the Bible. For the first time in my life I am over halfway through reading the entire scriptures! My journey is by no means over, it won't be until I reach my home in Heaven. And I won't quit all the other "stuff" that I'm doing unless God tells me to. I believe that I am involved right where He is calling me to be. However, I don't ever want to lose the fellowship with my Lord again. If that is lacking then I am doing all the other things in my own strength and not His, and I will be completely ineffective for the cause of Christ.

 I pray that God works through me when and how He see's fit in all the areas of my life. As a wife, a mother, a church leader, and whatever else God calls me to. Psalm 40:1-3 say "I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth-Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord."

 May I never forget what God has brought me out of and may I always praise Him with a new song!