August 31, 2017 “Family”


Before there was church, there was family. 
Before there was a synagogue, a temple, or a tabernacle, there was the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  For generations the God’s chosen people were called the Children of Israel instead of the nation of Israel.  Family is the foundation of human existence.

The family today is like a track meet.
Each one runs his/her own race during the week, each on his/her own track with the chalk lines clearly drawn.  The starting gun sounds each morning and the finish line tape snaps each evening.  The runner huffs and puffs, rests for the night, and runs again tomorrow.  On Saturday, there is a great temptation to run a more recreational race, perhaps at a more leisurely pace and not in such demanding straight lines, but still an individual race, pursuing individual pleasures.

In addition to morning and evening conclaves at the breakfast and dinner tables, there is a greater chance on a Saturday for the runners to find time to be together, at least as individual pursuits will allow.

Wisdom from Antiquity
It is hard to imagine the pace of life for the Children of Israel as they emerged from Egypt and from slavery.  Surely life was lived at a slower pace.  It doesn’t really matter now, but a bit of wisdom from that time is all the more relevant in our technology-driven, super-sized lives today.  That ancient family of God was instructed to let the Word of God permeate family life.

Deut 6:4-9
…These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home … Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

Our homes and our families should be saturated with the Word of God.

  • We must respect each other and treat one another by biblical principles.
  • There must be absolutely no difference between the public posture of worship and witness and the private practice of the same.

The truth children learn at home and in the House of God is the only antidote for the poisonous lies that saturate modern life.  The home must be a haven of truth, of rest, of safety, of peace—and not just any peace—the peace of God.

The last verses in the Old Testament predict a New Covenant that flows from a godly love in each family.

Malachi 4:5-6
… He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

We see the predicted curse all around us as modern life continues to erode family ties.  The Christian home must deliberately strengthen those ties that bind.

In quiet moments today, look for ways to openly love and affirm those most precious of all people—your family.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Malachi 4:5-6
“See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
Colossians 3:15-21
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Lord Jesus, sensitize my heart! Help me love my family the way they should be loved. Help me be all that is needed. Let me be an encouragement to them. I want to be kind and true, dependable and faithful. Lord, show me how to fill the home with Your Word and show us how to honor You with our schedules. You are the Solid Rock, the Sure Foundation upon which our home stands. As storms rage and winds assail our home—You will keep us safe. Bind us together with cords that cannot be broken, the beautiful binding power of the Holy Spirit! Let us rest easy with our hope and faith in You. Amen and Amen.

Bind Us Together
Words and Music by Bob Gillman

Bind us together Lord
Bind us together with cords
That cannot be broken
Bind us together Lord
Bind us together Lord
Bind us together with love

1. There is only one God
There is only one King
There is only one body
That is why we can sing

2. Made for the glory of God
Purchased by His precious Son
Born with the right to be clean
For Jesus the vict’ry has won

3. You are the fam’ly of God
You are the promise divine
You are God’s chosen desire
You are the glorious new wine


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

March 14, 2017



The Inevitable Effects of Time
The passage of time is, for individuals, a slow and certain devastation. For creation the passage of time is a constant renewal. What makes the difference?


Each of us walks the earth for a brief time and then we are gone. We leave footprints and finger prints in the form of the works we have done and the people we have touched. This second generation of prints will also fade and be replaced by those of the next generation. In this way, we live our lives and the world is replenished.

Two Life Spirals
This is the plan of God—a productive spiral of sowing and reaping: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.”

But we also see the fall of man—the entrance and effect of sin and rebellion. These evil things corrupt the system, creating a downward spiral: “…when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

It is imperative that we think generationally. No governments of kingdoms or empires have written any laws to countermand the laws of the spirals.

  • The Covenant with God produces life extending to all generations. The righteous ones continue for they are the overcomers in every generation—the Upward Spiral.
  • The Covenant with death produces corruption and violence to the third and fourth generations. These generational iniquities overlap and multiply—the Downward Spiral.
  • The Downward Spiral continues of its own momentum until something stops it.
  • The Upward Spiral is a matter of our obedience to God’s Word and His faithfulness to His Covenant.

The most important things must be hand delivered.
In this technological world we must realize that some things must be hand delivered from one generation to the next. These are the personal things, the real treasures of life—spirituality, creativity, craftsmanship, morality, faith, hope, and love.

We must worship together, pray together, serve together—BE together! The culture calls upon us to divide in order to transfer our faith. To divide is the first step toward being conquered.

Let us connect across generational lines. Let us allow our mutual love for Jesus bind us together with cords that cannot be broken.

The Upward Spiral is there waiting for us.

Exodus 20:5-6
For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
James 1: 15; 17-18 NKJV
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
“…when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
2 Peter 1:5-9 NKJV
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 3:12,14 NKJV
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on…I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Lord Jesus, you know all the generations of life that have brought me to this day. Thank you for forgiving and redeeming my forebears of their sins. Thank you for grandparents whom I have yet to meet who served you sacrificially from their hearts. Their prayers still resonate around Your throne. Their deeds of mercy are recorded in Your book. Thank you for parents whom you rescued from destruction. You healed them and made them strong in Your goodness. Their prayers and deeds are likewise recorded above. These are the generations that produced me. Thank you for those who follow after me. Help me to be faithful in prayer and in good works so the upward spiral of godly living may continue in the generations to come. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Higher Ground
Words: Johnson Oatman, JR; Music Charles H. Gabrie

1. I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Lord, lift me up, and let me stand
By faith on Canaan’s tableland;
A higher plane than I have found,
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

2. My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where these abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.


3. I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.


4. I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till rest I’ve found,
“Lord, lead me on to higher ground.”


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved