January 07, 2004

Encouragement for Today

Tell the Next Generation

Glynnis Whitwer

Key Verse:

Walk around Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end. Psalm 48:12-14.

Devotion:

How quickly I can forget.

I tried to blame it first on pregnancy, and then childbirth, child-raising and now it's that children live in my house. I'm convinced the information-escape holes in my brain are somehow connected with children!

The fact of the matter is that I forgot things before I had kids and unless Jesus comes quickly, I will forget things once my children are grown.

I don't go to the store without lists, because I might walk in for milk and walk out with eggs. I'm careful to have paper and pens near every phone because I can forget a message from one room to another. And, I'm the classic example of someone stopping in the middle of the stairs and then wondering if they were going up or down!

But, one thing I don't want to forget is all that God has done for me. I want to remember the times He has been faithful, extended grace, blessed me abundantly, comforted me and brought me hope. I need to see and remember all the aspects of God's character so that I can tell the next generation.

I love Psalm 48 verses 12 through 14: "Walk around Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end."

The New International Version of the Bible says that "The strength of Zion's 'towers,' 'ramparts' and 'citadels' is the presence of God." Zion (Jerusalem) wasn't just a place. It represented the dwelling place, or the presence of God. These verses call us to examine God's presence in our lives and share that with the next generation.

The reality of the presence of God is what the next generation needs to know for God to be real to them. God needs to be taken out of a storybook, out of a building and out of our imaginations and become real. And this can happen when we tell of the real things that God has done in our lives.

God corrected the Israelites in this issue of forgetting to tell of His goodness and faithfulness. In Deuteronomy 4:9 Moses warned the people of God, "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them."

The Lord has offered Himself to us. We are adopted into His family and heirs of the Kingdom. And He's asked us to watch carefully so that we don't forget all He has done.

My bad memory is often a blessing, because I easily forget little offenses. However, I can also forget the good things. I relate to the imagery of something "slipping from my heart" because I don't mean to forget.

My challenge for this year is to keep a faithfulness journal. In it I will record the presence of the Lord in my life and in the life of my family. Together my family will walk around Zion, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, and view her citadels. Then we will write them down so that we are careful to remember. And then my children can tell their children, and their children can tell their children - and we will not forget!

My prayer for today:

Lord, help me to see Your hand in my life. Help me to examine your presence in all that surrounds me. I ask for confidence to speak of your reality to others. I pray that Your faithfulness and love will be real to the next generation.

Application Steps:

Before we can tell of God's goodness to the next generation, we must be aware of it in our own life. Begin a faithfulness journal to record the reality of the presence of God in your life. Write down the things that God has done for each member of your family. Involve your children in identifying God's hand in your lives.

Reflection points:

What has God done in your life recently? List some specific ways you have seen His hand.

What has God done in the life of a loved one? List specific examples.

How can you be more careful to see the reality of God in your life?

What tools can you use to remember God's faithfulness?

Why would it be important for us to tell the next generation about the presence of God in our lives?

 Power Verses:

Psalm 48: 9 Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. (NIV)

Deuteronomy 6:10-12 Then it shall come about when the LORD your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (NAS)

Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; His is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep His commands. (NIV)

I Thessalonians 5:23-24 May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it. (NIV)

Additional Resources:

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/radical.html

Seven Life Principles for Every Woman Set (Hardcover Book and Bible Study) by Sharon Jaynes and Lysa TerKeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/sevenlife.html  

P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/p31woman.html