Tag Archives: Stand Firm

A Weird Christmas Legacy—and a Spiritual One

16 Dec

I thought it was fake Christmas news—a hoax. It turns out, it was “false” teeth news … along with a glass eye!

Phil Luciano, a columnist for the Peoria Journal Star, wrote recently about a dead grandpa’s false teeth and glass eye—handed over to his step-grandchildren after his death—that are re-gifted by family members in a shocking, odd Christmas tradition.

Early on, they simply re-gifted Ralph Yocum’s teeth and eye. Imagine the recipient’s shock on opening such a gift!

Now family members are more creative. They have repackaging the human remains in a snow globe, placed it in soap for a unique soap-on-a rope, inserted it in a gumball machine with gumballs, attached them to wind chimes, and even stuffed them into a cosmetically-altered “Tickle Me Elmo” doll.

Though weird, the legend of the teeth and eye continues.

It’s a family legacy that keeps old Ralph’s memory alive.

My writer friend, Kathy Howard,* has odd family heirlooms too:   her great-grandfather’s dental bridge, and a jar with her mom’s gallstones from surgery in the 1970s!

My husband’s family has a strange family legacy that makes all of us laugh. We pass along an old, gold-painted “pee pot” to family members on special occasions. It evokes memories of years of vacation traveling when Bob and his siblings needed “to go,” but their dad didn’t want to stop to find a bathroom! (Hence, the “pee pot.”)

But on a more serious note, family legacies are often opportunities to pass something treasured down through the generations.

A few years ago, Kathy—who I mentioned above—wrote about ways to pass down a spiritual legacy. She encouraged people, using principles from Deuteronomy 6:1-9, to do four things.

Let me summarize her four points here:

1. Start with Yourself.

Be a living demonstration of the truth of scripture and authentic faith.

Don’t be afraid to live your faith in front of your kids!

2. Give Them God’s Word. 

Purposefully share scripture in a variety of ways and in various circumstances.

3. Tell Your Family Stories.

Share what God has done for you and your family. “Weave them into the fabric of your family history,” Kathy wrote. “Don’t let yourself or your children forget!”

4. Stand Firm in Shaky Times.

Stand firm because “an unshakable faith in shaky times is the most effective testimony you can give your children,” Kathy said.

That kind of legacy will be meaningful because it will impact the next generation. It has the potential to instill faith in Christ and keep His memory “alive” in our families and homes.

It’s a lot more powerful and life changing than a snow globe filled with grandpa’s teeth and eye!

– Dawn

* Kathy Howard wrote Unshakable Faith: 8 Traits for Rock-Solid Living, which I highly recommend! Her blog is here.






5 Jul

Back in the 70s, my boys watched Sesame Street, and we’d sing this song: “One of these things is not like the others, One of these things just doesn’t belong….” They learned early on to recognize incongruous things.SandSnowman_HoHoAloha

You’ve probably seen some incongruous things in life.

One of my favorite “incongruous” sightings is a sand snowman on the beach.  We certainly don’t expect to see a “snowman” there! Vacationers in beautiful Hawaii, Aruba and other tropical isles get creative building and decorating these sand snowmen in December.

[A side noteJenn, a dear woman who still grieves the loss of a little baby, Noah, built a happy little snowman on vacation some time later. She allowed me to adapt it for this photo.]

Some other incongruous things:

A pig wearing lipstick (made famous by Sarah Palin) … a baseball player pitching an avocado … a cake mix box in the middle of a row of cookbooks … a kitty in a lineup of Meerkats … a very loud belch at a formal dinner….

You get the idea.

Congruous means “what is suitable or proper.” It’s things that make sense together. When something is incongruous, we might say it is “not in harmony or keeping with the surroundings” or other aspects of something.

Incongruity is a key element in good humor, but it’s not such a good thing in life.

I was thinking of the word “incongruous” as I read some familiar scriptures.

Romans 6:2 says, “… How can we who died to sin still live in it?” This entire chapter reminds the believer that we no longer need to obey our passions and impulses to sin. We are to consider ourselves “dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (v. 11).

It was incongruous to Paul that a Christian should “continue in sin that grace may abound” (v. 1),  present their bodies to unrighteousness (v. 13) or live as slaves to sin (vv. 17-18).

Yes, there is an ongoing struggle with the presence of sin (Romans 7:15-23), but the power of sin over us is broken (v. 25) because Christ has redeemed us. We have life in the Spirit (Romans 8:1-11) and are heirs with Christ (8:12-17).

Our reality is, we are headed for glory with Him (8:18). We are “conquerors (overcomers) through him who loved us” (8:37) and will never be separated from God’s love in Christ (8:38-39).

I’m grieved by Christians’ light-hearted attitude toward sin today.  I grieve that I accept my own sinning so easily. I forget I’m a foot-soldier in the Lord’s army, obliged to obey His every command.

We need to remember the battle we’re in. We need to:

  1. Take Up Our Armor (put on every piece, Ephesians 6:11-13);
  2. Endure Hardship and strive to please our Commander-in-Chief, Jesus! (2 Timothy 2:3-4, 9-10; Matthew 16:24);
  3. Fight the Good Fight (1 Timothy 1:18-19; 6:12), proclaim the truth of God’s Word and living for Him – no matter how difficult;
  4. And Stand firm against the attacks of Satan (1 Peter 5:8-9; 1 Corinthians 10:12; James 4:7; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

The world needs to see Jesus’ life manifested, demonstrated, in our day-to-day circumstances. Too often, all it sees is an incongruous picture – “Sinning Saints.” This should not be.  The Holy One calls us to holiness (1 Peter 1:15-17a; Leviticus 11:44-45).

Yes, I know. We won’t be perfect until we get to heaven. But that’s no excuse to continue in disobedience. We have hundreds of opportunities to decide for God every day, and we need to stay engaged.The battle is the Lord’s, but He expects us not to slink away from the battlefield!

What could be more incongruous than a soldier sitting out the biggest battle of his life, fiddling with lesser things and failing to obey his Commander’s instructions?

You might want to ask, with me: “Father, is my life a picture of incongruous living? Where am I a hypocrite? Where am I not obeying your commands?”

Let’s recommit to taking those four steps to become victorious in Christ!

  – Dawn

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