“What matters in the end is the legacy that you leave behind. It is neither your wealth nor your various accomplishments that are the deciding factors but the seeds of love that you sowed. People will remember you for your acts of kindness, compassion, benevolence, piety, sympathy and the thoughtfulness that you had in your heart for others.”
― Latika Teotia
I recently had my first grandchild. It makes a person think even more about the legacy you want to leave for your family. The most important of these is a deep devotion to God… piety. I want my children and grandchildren to think back when I am on the other side of eternity and remember my love for God and my love for them. I want them to remember me singing songs of praise, reading Bible stories with them and applying what we read to how we are to live our lives. I want them to know that being kind, compassionate, caring, and thoughtful aren’t just things we SHOULD do…they are things we do because God shows those same things to us. All we have to do is love God and love our neighbors no matter how hard it may be. For all God has done to redeem us, it’s the best thing we can do to show our gratitude.
God loves you and so do I,
photo courtesy of howtoadult.com
Quote courtesy of latikateotia.com
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
What is piety, really? One dictionary defines it as the quality of being religious or reverent. My Bible dictionary calls it “holy living.” Various Bible translations identify it with “the fear of the Lord” or “righteousness.” It’s not a word we use much anymore. In fact, it’s gotten a rather bad name because it’s so much easier to recognize false piety (in other words, hypocrisy) than true piety. Often we think of truly pious people as “goody-goodies,” prudes, or those who are “so heavenly minded, they’re of no earthly use.” Or maybe we regard piety as an unrealistic goal for most of us — something a few great saints might possess, but not attainable for most of us. Maybe we don’t even want to try to be pious because in our culture, it would set us apart as strange or different.
Here’s what Philip Spener, a German Lutheran theologian who has been dubbed ‘the Father of Pietism’ has to say:
“Students should unceasingly have it impressed upon them that holy life is not of less consequence than diligence and study, indeed that study without piety is worthless….whoever grows in learning and declines in morals is on the decrease rather than the increase … everything must be directed to the practice of faith and life.”
or as James, the brother of Christ puts it:
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” James 2:26
Christian study, worship and fellowship should lead to a life that is increasingly pious, or holy. Lutherans (and I’m sure lots of others) call this process sanctification, and although we’re never finished, it’s not a pie-in-the-sky goal either. Piety is what the Christian life is all about. I look forward to exploring it further with our authors and readers this month.
This is one of the beatitudes we can easily understand. Peace is a blessing and something that we all long for. However, peacemaking is not easy, as we have to renounce our own will and replace it with the will of God. We all want peace, but do we want to make peace?
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Jesus’ followers are called to peace. when Jesus called them, they found their peace. Jesus is their peace. Now they are not only to have peace, but they are to make peace. To do this they must renounce violence and strife. Those things never help the cause of Christ. Christ’s kingdom is a realm of peace, and those in Christ’s community greet each other with a greeting of peace. Jesus’ disciples maintain peace by choosing to suffer instead of causing others to suffer. They preserve community when others destroy it. They renounce self-assertion and are silent in the face of hatred and injustice. That is how they overcome evil with good. That is how they are makers of peace in a world of hatred and war. But their peace will never be greater than when they encounter evil people…
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The heavenly blessing is to be delivered from the law, sin and death; to be justified and quickened to life: to have peace with God; to have a faithful heart, a joyful conscience, a spiritual consolation; to have the knowledge of Jesus Christ; to have the gift of prophecy, and the revelation of the Scriptures; to have the gift of the Holy Ghost, and to rejoice in God.
“Traveling–seeing new sights, hearing new music, and meeting new people is exciting and exhilarating. But when we have no home to return where someone will ask us, ‘how was your trip?’ we might be less eager to go. Traveling is joyful when we travel with the eyes and ears of those who love us, who want to see our slides and hear our stories.
This is what life is about. It is being sent on a trip by a loving God, who is waiting at home for our return and is eager to watch the slides we took and hear about the friends we made. When we travel with the eyes and ears of the God who sent us, we will see wonderful sights, hear wonderful sounds and be happy to return home.”
“But to deviate from the truth for the sake of some prospect of hope of our own can never be wise, however slight that deviation may be. It is not our judgement of the situation which can show us what is wise, but only the truth of the Word of God. Here alone lies the promise of God’s faithfulness and help. It will always be true that the wisest course for the disciple is always to abide solely by the Word of God in all simplicity.”
“The church itself is a spiritual director. It tries to connect your story with God’s story. Just to be a true part of this community means you are being directed, you are being guided, you are being asked to make connection. The Bible is a spiritual director. People must read Scripture as a word for themselves personally, and ask where God speaks to them. Finally, individual Christians are also spiritual directors. A spiritual director is a Christian man or woman who practices the disciplines of the church and of the Bible and to whom you are willing to be accountable for your life in God.”
“If your Christian conversion did not reverse the direction of your life, if it did not transform it, then you are not converted at all, you are simply a victim of the “accept Jesus” heresy.
A. W. Tozer