RURAL BRYANT, SD, PRESENTS:
"Greater Saints Among us,"
by Ron Ginther
That is not bragging, that is simply stating a fact. Two in my own family were greater: my mother who was a lifelong evangelist and missionary, and my eldest brother Darrell, who was an evangelist his whole life. They had no huge organization and thousands of donors and supporters backing them, and they evangelized on their own slender resources, no contributions from donors. All they had was their own willing hearts and obedience to the Holy Spirit leading them and empowering them, yet they led hundreds and even thousands to the Lord. I think of the many other evangelists and missionaries in the other families in our relationship, such as Cora Taylor. She passed to the Lord at age 100 with her boots on, just like her beloved husband Carl before her, whose life was taken in a tragic car accident that also took their beautiful, 19-year-ld missionary granddaughter and another missionary as they were heading to a mission conference. Over sixty years spent in Brazil on the mission field by Cora Taylor is certainly is a basis for awarding her posthumously the Congressional Medal of Freedom,
Myrtle Svanoe was a lifelong evangelist and so was her husband Bill Svanoe (I lived in their suburban Minneapolis area home and worked for them over a period of several years, so I ought to know!). As a result of the Svanoes' previous stand for Christ in a Christ-rejecting denomination, a life-transforming church ignited in their home from a Bible Study. It is still blazing strong, and is the mother church of other twenty churches and sends ministry groups abroad to Europe and Haiti and other dark, needy places. Other ministries in our relationship are equally wonderful and important, and we will not name them all at this time. We instead call your attention to the National Hall of Statuary in the U.S. Capitol Building. Billy Graham's statue, holding a Bible, will be erected there by the State of North Carolina, as a result of a 2015 bill passed by the state's General Assembly. Millions of people will see it every year. Artist and sculptor Mr. Chas Fagan will create the statute and he has sculpted many leaders and famous persons, including former President Reagan, and has painted the official White House portrait of First Lady Barbara Bush.
We are happy to announce to you that Memorial gifts have been given for this statue by Stadem Descendants in memory of Alfred Svanoe (who ministered the Gospel in song in America and Norway with his brothers in the Augsburg Male Gospel Quartet) and Cora Taylor and Helen Vansickle. and Pearl Ginther (two centenarians flanking one 95-year-old Stadem youngster). A donation was also given in honor of Lorin D. Ginther on his birthday by the Ginther family.
Now, knowing this, you will probably be even more blessed when you go and view this great statue, which is only great because it features an evangelist who preached humbly from the Bible to over 200 million people world-wide--unabashed that he preached the Gospel which scripture says is a stumbling block to the Jews and an offense to the Greek, and was 99 years of age and something over when he passed to the Lord's Hall of Evangelists! Billy Graham did some major damage to Satan's kingdom world-wide, but so did our Stadem Families, and like the Graham families, our families are still doing major damage to our Adversary, gathering in the spoils, which are lost souls, bringing them the saving Gospel with utter faithfulness and self-sacrifice.
We honor them, and count it a special privilege to honor them in this way, by supporting the Billy Graham Statue, not to exalt him or anyone else, but because he is to be depicted holding a Bible, which is the infallible Word of God. Nothing could be more glorious and fulfilling to a single human life, than to be shown to the world holding God's priceless Word! In that way he is preaching his greatest message, though his lips are carved in stone.
God's Plan For You," CBN, Virginia Beach, Virginia
One in a series of Ministry Messages from CBN
I personally have heard a pastor and his wife at the church I attended tell how dysfunctional their families had been, so that they as a couple intending to marry decided they would not follow in a vicious cycle what their parents had done, but do what was right; that decided, they married, but found it took many years to reach the marriage relationship they had envisoned. It helped that the husband had known a better home and family, and was saved at an early age and obediently followed the Lord. He knew how a husband and father should be, and so he treated his wife with patience, love, and gentleness, gently encouraging her to change and progress, which she did, and they became a most loving family and a most loving married couple. It can be done! They turn everything around, and accomplished it. But it took solid, long-term commitment, and love and obedience to Jesus first in their hearts and lives. They would have failed if they had attempted this on the basis of their own strength and their own knowledge, but with the Word of God, and love for each other, they persevered, and achieved their goals in the marriage and in the family. I knew them, and saw how they treated each other, and saw what their family was like, so I knew this was the real thing, not just what they wanted people to believe about them.--Ed.
The first thing that happens to us when we ask Jesus to come into our lives is that we become a part of the family of God. We gain the privilege of calling God our Father. "Abba, Father."2 Which is basically just a term of endearment. It's like calling God "Daddy."
In addition, Jesus becomes our brother. Jesus said that anyone who does His Father's will is His brother and sister and mother.3
Furthermore, as children of God, we become intimately related to one another.4 Fellow Christians become our brothers and sisters. In other words, we become one big happy family...or do we?
"What is a Family?"
To be quite honest, most of us simply don't know what a family is supposed to be. Oh, sure, we grew up in families. But the question still remains. Why did God ordain families as a way of life anyway? Let's discover together what God intended a family to be.
To begin with, we know that God created man, male and female, in His image.5 This means that God must have both male and female characteristics. This also shows us that the coming together of a man and woman in marriage, brings about a union--a picture, so to speak--that helps us understand the nature of God. God has fatherly characteristics.6 He gives us good gifts, as an earthly father would do. He also has motherly characteristics. He comforts us as a mother comforts her child.7
But a family consists of more than just a mother and father. There are children, too.
God's first commandment to Adam and Eve was "Be fruitful and multiply."8 Man was to share in the creative act of bringing children into the world. So the family becomes a creative unit after the likeness of our Creator, God.
The family, in other words, is there to show people what our heavenly family will be like. It should be a shadow of things to come. A family is an example to believers and unbelievers alike of the love and acceptance we have from God.
"A Family Means Love."
Despite the fall of man, God has continued to express His love toward us. He loves us "with an ever lasting love."9 Jesus died for us "while we were yet sinners."10 A family should be a place you can go, no matter what you've done wrong, and still be loved. The prodigal son left his home, squandering all his riches. Yet, when everyone else had turned away from him, his father still welcomed him home with open, loving arms.11
But love means more than acceptance. More than affection. It means discipline. The book of Hebrews tells us that God chastens, or disciplines those He loves.12 In the same way, Proverbs says that if we don't punish our children when they do wrong, what we're really telling them is that we hate them.13 So love often means "tough love."
Love is also something that needs to be expressed verbally. God often tells us in His Word that He loves us. "God so loved the world..."14 or "He first loved us."15 In the same way, we need to tell the different members of our family that we love them. Don't assume they know. If God didn't tell us He loved us, we wouldn't know.
But words alone are not enough. God also demonstrated His love by dying on the cross for us. We need to die to our own selfish desires and show our families that we love them.
Remember what it was like when you first fell in love? Gazing endlessly into one another's eyes. Holding hands under the starts. But often the romance gets lost as married bliss becomes a monotonous repetition of the humdrum of daily existence. And looking back, you can't help but wonder, "is this what love and families are all about?"
Perhaps it's a beginning. But our commitment, not the "butterflies," endures. The world likes to tell you that the wonderful feelings are most important. The media constantly bombards us with sex as being the highest expression of love. Love songs talk of broken hearts and unrequited love.
God talks of commitment. The song that Solomon wrote, and which you find in the Bible, speaks of love that is fulfilling and enduring. Not because problems didn't enter in to try to steal love away, but because a commitment had been made to make love work.16
So, what are love and families about? Commitment. Commitment to see it through the tough times together.
"Husbands, Love Your Wives..."17
The family unit begins when "a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife."18 This is a show of the man's commitment to his wife. Thus they become one flesh. How two people become one is a great mystery in life. And this mysterious union reflects the relationship between Christ and the church.19
When we are born again, wae somehow, unexplainably, become one with Christ. And marriage helps us understand this mystical oneness.
So when husbands are told to love their wives, they are told to do so in the same way that Jesus loves the church. Jesus loved us by giving his life for us.20 In the same way, the husband serves his wife by giving his life for her. This doesn't mean he becomes her servant, jumping at her every beck and call. Rather, he serves her by loving her--encouraging her to become the best woman of God she can be. He loves her more than himself. He admires her talents and abilities and "praises her."21 Not only does he tell here what a treasure she is, he tells other people what a wonderful wife he has. This creates an atmopsphere of mutual respect. And what woman can resist a man who truly loves and cherishes her?
"Love Encourages Submission."
"The head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God."22
Note first in this scripture that the head of Christ is God. Jesus, while on this earth, willingly submitted to the Father. He said that He didn't come to earth to do His own will, but rather the will of His Father.23 Now Jesus was free to do whatever He wanted to. After all, he was equal with God. But the Bible says that "although Jesus existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped."24 Jesus, therefore, chose to become a servant to man. He didn't have to. He wanted to. In turn, because Jesus willingly humbled Himself, we are told that God has highly exalted Him.25 Jesus' authority came as a result of His submission to the Father.26 In the same manner, a husband's authority comes from his submission to his head, which is Christ. And like Jesus, his authority is not always exercised with firmness. Often it is characterized by gentleness.
The husband-wife relationship is compared in scripture to the Father-Son relationship. "The head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God."27 We know that Jesus and God the Father are equal. But the woman, as Christ, willingly submits herself to her husband. Not because she is forced to, but because she chooses to, recognizing this is God's will for her life. She defers to her husband because she loves him. In turn, he lifts her up. The key is love.
"What About The Children?"
The relationship between a husband and wife sets the stage for how children will behave in a family. If the mother shows r espect for her husband, the children will respect their father. If the husaband reverences his wife, the children will honor their mother.
Example is a great teacher. And teacher is the role that God gave us with our children. "And you shall teach (the words of God) diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up."28
Today, books on child rearing emphasize spending quality time with your children. But this scripture makes it clear that you shaould not only spend quality time, but also quantity time. When you are sitting, when you are walking, at bedtime and in the morning, you are to tell your childdren about God. As the head of the family, the main responsibility for this teaching falls on the father.
The Bible says that children are a blessing from the Lord. 29 That the man who has a lot of children is a happy man." This is a wonderful testimony to a happy home. And it also points us to our Heavenly Father's desire toward us, His childrden. For the day is coming when all of God's children will finally come home. We'll all gather around our Father's throne, and He'll be surrounded by His family.
"So What Is A Family?"
A family is an earthly model of what is in store for us in heaven. It is a place where we can discover the nature of God. It is a place of refuge and comfort. Home is where we can find love and acceptance and forgiveness. And it is the place where we, as Christians, can teach the world about the Father's love for His children.
Father, we ask forgiveness for not being the family that you have wanted us to be. Please give us the wisdom and the insight to make our house a home. To teach our children right from wrong, and to lift up the name of Jesus. We commit each family member to You now, and ask for Your right hand of blessing to rest on our home. Guide us and keep us. May our family always glorify You. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
Scriptures referenced are: 1 Psalm 68:6
2 Roimans 8:15
3 Martt. 12:48-50
4 Roimans 8:16
5 Genesis 1:27
6 Luke 11:11-13
7 Isaiah 66:13
8 Genesis 1:28
9 Jeremiah 31:3
10 Romans 5:8
11 Luke 15:11-24
12 Hebrews 12:6
13 Proverb s 13:24
14 John 3:16
15 I John 4:19
16 Song of Solomon
17 Ephesians 5:25
18 Genesis 2:24
19 Ephesians 5:25
20 Ephesians 5:25
21 Proverbs 31:28
22 I Corinthians 11:3
23 John 6:38
24 Philippians 2:6
25 Philippians 2:8,9
27 I Corinthians 11:3
28 Deuteronomy 6:7
29 Psalm 127:5