For birthdays at our home, we try to let the birthday person know how much they mean to us. We give gifts, but our favorite thing to do is write letters. When D asked Alyssa what she wanted for her birthday this year. She said, “another long letter.” Some times the letters are funny but they are usually encouraging the birthday person to follow harder after the LORD the coming year.
(I promised not to post any tearful pictures but I promise there are lots of tender moments filled with tears on birthdays at our home.)
Many times I have thought about posting the letters because they are so encouraging but also very personal. Recently D wrote a birthday letter to one of his good friends, so I asked permission to post it.
Here is a little encouragement for you on your birthday. You have been a great blessing to me and your walk with the Lord is an encouragement to me. The Lord has grown you mightily in the last couple of years and He will continue to grow you. I look forward to what the Lord has in store for our friendship. Short of Dillon, you and your brother are the closest friends that I have. I thank you for being a true friend to me. You have not been afraid to tell me when I am wrong and to correct me in the Lord and for that I am grateful. That is a true friend. You are like a brother to me. I am grateful to the Lord for bringing our families together, (even though I may not have been on the first day that we met!) The Lord has been so good to me. I want to encourage you to fight the good fight. It is a tough world out there and it is not getting any better. This world needs young men like you and me to grow in the Lord and in the power of His might. To walk in the ways of the Lord and to shine His light to this dark and dying world. The Lord has put us on this Earth for a reason and the chief end of that is to glorify Him, it is how He wants us to glorify Him that we must figure out and then do. Christ tells us that if we love Him, then we will keep His commandments. He commands us to go and spread the Gospel to all nations and make disciples. We must take this role seriously and do what we can to fulfill the Great Commission. I would be the first to say that I have a long way to go on improving in this area. My charge to you is to stand strong for Christ. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh unto you.
My next thing is in the area of our spheres of influence. I want to encourage you to live Godly in Christ Jesus and set the example for the next generation. Not only do we need to set the example for the next generation of what a Godly man is, we need to propel them further. We must not be content with how far our parents have gone in the Christian walk, we must endeavor, by the grace of God, to go farther. There are many people out there who are looking to you as the example of what a Godly young man looks like and they are not defined by age. Older and younger alike look at you and the example that you set. Many people see you and your walk with Christ and they want it. Right, wrong, or indifferent, we do not have a choice about how others look at us. Our ultimate focus must be on Christ, but we all look at other people and think that they have it all together. It is part of our sin nature. The key is to realize that people do that about us. We must do what we can to set the example for the next generation. Also, not only do other young men look at you as the example of what a Godly young man looks like, but many young ladies do as well. I know that you probably don’t want to think about this, but it is true. We must take this fact into consideration when living the life that the Lord has given to us. This fact hit me very hard when one of our elders told me. I had never thought about it before. We are showing them what a Godly young man looks like in our day and age. Are we truly representing Christ? Do we treat our sisters in Christ with the honor and respect that they deserve? Are we endeavoring to keep them pure and not cause them to stumble by our actions, words, or attitudes even if this means that we do or don’t do certain things? These and others are questions that we should always be asking ourselves. The biggest thing to remember is that we should not live life for ourselves. First, we must live our lives for the Lord and accomplish the will of God, whatever that may be. Second, we must live life for the next generation and truly realize that life is not about us. Here is what I mean by that, we cannot live life right now and think that the decisions that we make right now will only affect us. The decisions that we make today, can and will affect the next generation and many generations thereafter. They will also affect the people that we are around today. We must bear this in mind as we live our lives in the service of our King.
The Lord has given us many people that we can minister to and speak into their lives for His glory, including our siblings and others within the Church. We must take these opportunities and use them to advance the Kingdom of Christ. Maturity does not come with age. We must draw closer to Christ, and He promises that He will draw near to us. The Lord does not say that we need to be a certain age before He can use us. He can and will use at whatever time and age He wants to. The older you get the more wisdom you will have, but the Lord can use young people as well. We must remember this as it is easy for some to fall into the trap of saying that the Lord can’t use them because they have not learned this or that or because they are too young and the older men know best. I think that as young men we need to mature up and grow in Christ and become men of God. If we see an area that we are lacking in, we need to do what we can to fix it by the grace of God. We must not sit by in idleness. Christ has called us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. Our works are a byproduct of our faith but they are a necessary part of it. I am not saying in any way that a young man knows everything or that he should in anyway disrespect those who are older in some way because he knows better. Older men are wiser and deserve our respect and honor whether or not they are right, but especially if they are right.
I feel that the Lord has laid on my heart to try to encourage other young men to stand up for Christ and quit cowering under the influence of the world. I see so many young men out there who are throwing away their lives for mere pleasure here on earth. There is so much more to life than our pleasure. We must take pleasure in Christ and then the things that bring Him pleasure, will bring us pleasure and the things that He hates, we will hate. I see so many young men who are so downcast all the time and have not the joy of the Lord in their lives and yet they are growing up in Christian homes. We must do what we can to change this. I am seeing so many people in my generation fall away from Christ and destroy their lives and if I want my children to live a life with the same liberties that I have, I must do something about it. Where are the young men who are willing to stand up for Christ? He has called us as young men to stand up and stand strong for Him. That is an order, not a suggestion and yet so many people treat it as a suggestion. We are called to lead our families in a God honoring way. We are called to raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The Lord has given me a passion to try to help the next generation and by “next generation”, I mean young men and women around your age and my age. We will endure persecution for standing up for Christ, but what better thing to be persecuted for? Christ is our all in all. He is all that I need. He will protect us. I was just reading in Proverbs where Christ says that no evil thing shall happen to the righteous. Everything that happens the Lord either allows or causes to happen. It is all for His glory and for our good. It does not matter what happens to me, He has got me in His hand and none can take me out, that is enough for me. That is all that I want to be assured of. We must look at everything as a character building opportunity. Christ is conforming us to His image and what a wonderful thing that is. He is preparing us to be His spotless bride. We are spotted right now and must become spotless and there is only one way to change, and that is to be purged of our sin. We must remember to be humble in all of this. We are doing what we are doing for the glory of God and not ourselves. He is our ultimate goal.
Well, I have said enough. I hope that some of this is a blessing for you. There is so much that I could talk to you about and try to encourage you with, but this is what the Lord has laid on my heart. I pray that the Lord blesses you and gives you the courage to continue to stand up for Him. He has great plans for us all, but we must be willing to be used and prepare our hearts for His work. He will do a mighty work in and through each and every one of us if we will let Him. I am thankful to the Lord for the friends that He has given me. You are a big blessing in my life and I praise the Lord for you.
Blessings to you and Happy Birthday!
Looking to Christ,
That got me to thinking about the children’s friends as I know that is a common concern of homeschooling. Our goal is for the children to be each others best friend first, but of course they have lots of friends. I think of Grandma Duggar who says, “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” So we encourage our children to choose their friends wisely, knowing that they are either influencing someone or being influenced.
Here’s a few pictures I came across from this year. A tribute to friends……
I was going through the year posting pictures and my computer locked up. Too many pictures! We are so grateful for all our sweet friends!
All for Him, Cynthia (for the Flock)