The family is the first school, church, and state. It is a holy institution created by God to imbue blessing, happiness, love, education, and life eternal into her members. The Scriptures are abounding in the importance of faithful marriages, parental instruction, and obedient children. RCA is committed to the success of your homelife. It is our prayer that we can support and encourage all of our families as you grow in the “grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
All families are unique. We recognize that even in our small community that there is a diversity of family make-ups with single mothers or fathers, blended families and intergenerational homes. We all come from different backgrounds but have the same central requisites as human beings. The psychologist Abraham Maslow described these needs in his famed hierarchy of needs beginning with the physiological, psychological and self-actualization. Many of these hierarchies have spiritual implications and connotations.
Strong marriages are the foundation to the home. Children are blessed by the union of a mother and father unconditionally committed to one another. Jesus speaks of the inviolability of marriage and ushers into humanity the highest view of matrimony ever known (Matthew 19:1-9, Mark 10:6-9, Matthew 5:32). One of the greatest things we can do for our children is to love our spouse and provide a stable environment for flourishment.
Homes are the location where children learn authority. Parental authority is the testing ground for school and society. The Apostle Paul reminds us of the Ten Commandments by commanding, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.” We also learn in the family emotional intelligence and the rules to relationships. Someone once humorously said, “that family members know how to push our buttons because they are the ones who installed them.”
We are offering a new program through RCA Family Services to enable, equip, and enrich our families spiritually through educational resources for parents. Please sign up for our new program, “The Heart of Parenting” in the month of October. We look forward to offering more support and programming through our partners in ministry and community.
Home and family can be the sweetest place on earth and all of us yearn for a beautiful homelife. The poet Maya Angelou said, “I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” We hope RCA can be that home for all of our families as we work together.
The biggest question of the night, “Is it going to rain?” The dark clouds had amassed in the sky over the sounds of the bluegrass band performing the classic John Hartford song, “Gentle on My Mind.” The grill was smoking, ice cream machine idling, and people smiling and chatting. A bolt of lightning picked up the tempo of the band and drops began to fall. The drops turned quickly into a gully-washer, deluge. Everyone made for cover. And….. Just like that and all my planning was as soggy as my shoes and head.
The weather, like many other occasions, did not cooperate with the plans of man. It is a grand metaphor for all the things beyond our control. It forces our choices into another place or domain of emotion and thinking. So, the question comes to each of us, How is your inner weather? There is a place so remote from the rain that the sunshine can live on. It resides in our attitudes and responses to even the things beyond our control.
The great psychologist Carl Jung would tell the story of an old dried-up, Chinese rainmaker; who came to a town during a drought and made it snow!
“The only thing he asked for was a quiet little house somewhere, and there he locked himself in for three days. On the fourth day clouds gathered and there was a great snowstorm at the time of the year when no snow was expected, an unusual amount, and the town was so full of rumors about the wonderful rainmaker that Wilhelm went to him to ask the man how he did it. In true European fashion he said: “They call you the rainmaker, will you tell me how you made the snow?” And the little Chinese man said: “I did not make the snow, I am not responsible.” “But what have you done these three days?” “Oh, I can explain that. I come from another country where things are in order. Here they are out of order, they are not as they should be by the ordinance of heaven. Therefore, the whole country is not in Tao, and I am also not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered country. So I had to wait three days until I was back in Tao, and then naturally the rain came.”
The little story illustrates that our power lies in adjusting our inner weather and the interrelatedness to life. We might not be able to control the rain but our responses do have power in ourselves and others! The Scriptures speak of the ability to spiritually transcend our circumstances. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”
We also know the rainmaker! (James 5:17,18) “Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.” The good Lord will always change the weather through prayer. It’s just sometimes, He wants to change us more than the crops!
“Yes sir or ma'am'' is a recurrent phrase that has strongly entered my daughter’s vocabulary since enrolling at Riverside Christian Academy. She has always been very polite, but we see the difference the school is making every day. This tradition of greeting goes all the way back to the 1200’s originating in the titles of sire and madam. It is a sign of respect and acknowledgement of those who are senior to you. It is so very nice to see that the mascot of knights is not the only thing chivalrous about the school.
The Bible says, “give honor to whom honor is due.” The Scriptures also provide us instruction to give veneration to our elders. (Leviticus 19:32) “Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.” The Torah is very clear on the connection of respecting elders and revering God. It is a sign of reverence to God, when we respect our elders. Our culture seems obsessed with youth to the exclusion of our older generations. We do so at our own peril.
Our elders are a living history. They are an indispensable link to our past that is so easily forgotten. The philosopher George Santayana said,“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It seems that we continue to make the mistake of Rehoboam, “But he rejected the counsel which the elders gave him, and consulted the young men” (I Kings 12:8) The elders had a firm understanding of history and what the moment called for whereas the young men were woefully ignorant. The Apostle Peter writes, “In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” ( I Peter 5:5).
I had the pleasure of hearing a senior minister speak on his 80th birthday in recent weeks. He recalled the story of Barzillai, who like him was eighty years old when he came before King David. Barzilla showed great courage and humility in desiring to serve the king in his old age and asked, “How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem?” Barzilla went on to request that he go “a little way across Jordan” but then allowed to return to his own city that he may be buried with his father and mother. King David honored his request and blessed him, and he returned ( II Samuel 19:31-39). King David honored the elder Barzillai and said, “Yes sir.”
A Detroit mortician unzipped the body bag to begin the embalming process and found Timesha Beauchamp eyes open and breathing!! The twenty-year old was pronounced dead by a doctor in the emergency room after paramedics tried reviving her for 30 minutes in her home. This alarming story was published by the Associated Press this past week. Can you imagine the simultaneous relief and horror when loved ones were notified? We, also, are pronounced dead by the guilt of our sinfulness. Paul characterizes our spiritual condition as, “dead in trespasses and sins.”
Our great physician did not make the pronouncement of our death remotely but rather stepped into our flesh and sinfulness to be the very cure in our malady. Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick, I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17). One of the greatest distinguishing features to Christianity is the extent to which God goes Himself to save humanity. In Contrast, the world religions offer a “works based salvation.” It is fraught with man’s inability to attain the transcendent and moral perfection. The story of Jesus is God reaching down to man. “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”
Jesus came to give us spiritual life through His righteousness. The life of Jesus is without parallel or equivalence. Jesus not only lived a perfectly moral life but one which fulfilled all the requirements of the law (Matthew 5:17,18; John 5:39-47). The haunting words of Jesus from the cross, “It is finished” is a summary of His atoning life work completed on Calvary in His death. The Gospel is the “righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” Jesus came to give us eternal life through His resurrection. (I Peter 1:3) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.
Our response to the righteousness and resurrection of Jesus Christ is repentance. Repentance is a turning away from our sinfulness to His light and life. Peter proclaimed, “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” On Pentecost, “Repent and be baptized.” (Acts. 3:18; Acts 2:38). The great Physician doesn’t pronounce death but breathes life into us through the Holy Spirit (Genesis 2:7, John 20:22, Romans 8:11).
Receive His care today!