Today, Crawford Loritts, pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, GA, and author of the book For a Time We Cannot See, tells how service and obedience are the necessary traits of a valuable leader.
Today, Crawford Loritts, pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, GA, and author of the book For a Time We Cannot See, tells how service and obedience are the necessary traits of a valuable leader.
Bob: As a parent, it's important for all of us to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit every day. But as Dr. Crawford Loritts reminds us, there is a reason that the Bible refers to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of truth.
Crawford: You can't have some microwave filling of the Spirit of God. You can't have a content-less filling of the Spirit of God. You see, there cannot be a consistent filling of God's Spirit unless a life is committed to truth not as a stabilizing factor in your life. What's going to cause you to flourish?
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, January 26th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. The person who wants to be filled with God's Spirit needs to start with God's Word. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. It's been a good week. We have been hearing a message that I think is reminding all of us, as parents, of what our priorities need to be as parents.
Dennis: You know, Bob, we're going to get into one of the great psalms in the Old Testament, Psalm, chapter 1 today, as we listen to Dr. Crawford Loritts talk about the power of a godly parent, and we see what the benefits are to being a godly parent.
I want our listeners to know that as you make the right choices in being a godly parent and pointing your kids to God and to Christ, you are going to reap the benefits as well. Not only them and the legacy you leave, but you are going to experience the blessing of God, and I want to read you and remind you what is more true than the newspaper that you read this morning before you started your day. It's Proverbs, chapter 24, verse 3 and 4 – "By wisdom a house is built and by understanding it is established, and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches."
Who doesn't want precious and pleasant riches? It's the picture of peace, harmony, people getting along, and it doesn't mean it's perfect. We had squabbles this morning before we left for school. I had to resolve a couple of issues, but the thing the Bible calls us back to is the standard that we are to forgive one another, we are to bless one another, and as a parent, as a mom, as a dad, a single parent, a grandparent, gets into the Scriptures, and as we meditate in it, and as we draw our life from it, we, then, are blessed. We will benefit as parents, as men, as women. Our homes will be filled with precious and pleasant riches.
Now, I'm not talking about materialistic things. I'm talking about things that money can't buy. I'm talking about meaningful relationships connected heart-to-heart with a teenager, and that's the benefit of having a godly family.
Bob: Well, and you will see that legacy continue as you live it out in your own family, and that's what Crawford Loritts talks about in Part 3 of this message, where he is talking about parenting priorities.
Dennis: Crawford and his wife, Karen, live in Atlanta, Georgia. They have four children; speak at FamilyLife marriage conferences all over the country. Crawford has also spoken to Promise Keepers, and it's a privilege to have him on the broadcast a third day, as he spoke at a gathering of our staff here in Little Rock, and just challenged us to be faithful – to stick and stay in the Word of God and to experience the benefits of being a man who draws his life from the Scripture.
Bob: Let's listen together – here is Dr. Crawford Loritts.
Crawford: (From audiotape.) The very first psalm deals with a profile of godliness. He talks about the godly person's resolve, he talks about the godly person's resource and, thirdly, he talks about the godly person's result, or what it looks like.
What will happen? "And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither, and whatever he does is profit." And I want to make several observations here. "You will be like a tree firmly planted." What will take place when we make the right resolve, and we stay in the resources that we will have stability. He will be like a tree. It's a simile – he will be like a tree planted by rivers of water. The tree could be planted anywhere. It could be out in the middle of the desert, but it will still flourish.
You see, it's not the environment or the circumstances that gives you stability, it's not the work environment, it's not where you are, it's not where you live, it's not having what you want. What gives you stability is the Word of God. It's truth. That is the stabilizing factor in your life. What's going to cause you to flourish.
It's not just understanding your gift, now, don't get me wrong, that is important. I'm not putting any of that down, but the core of your soul is this (taps Bible). He will be like a tree firmly planted.
Now, watch this – in this verse is a picture of a threefold ministry of the Spirit of God and the life of a believer. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water. An alternative rendering of that text is "canals." Canals – canals are used to redirect water, to redirect it, or to carry a ship or boat to a destiny. It is a picture of a ministry of the Spirit of God in our lives. Whenever you see the results of being filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5, and you overlay that in Colossians, chapter 3, with letting the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, they are the same results.
You see, there cannot be a consistent filling of God's Spirit unless a life is committed to truth. Once you live in a surrendered way under truth, the Spirit of God fills in your life. You can't have some microwave filling of the Spirit of God. There's no such thing consistently of being filled with the Spirit of God without there being godly discipline. You can't have it.
There's always been the relationship of truth and power. Remember what Jesus said in the Upper Room Discourse? He said "part of the ministry of the Comforter is to lead us into all truth." The assumption is that we will take time to look at the truth, and that truth that we know, He will lead us to apply."
There is a filling of the Spirit. But, secondly, right here in the text, there is the fruit of the Spirit, "and he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit" – now notice the prepositional phrase "in its season." Oh, man, now, in my church this is shoutin' grounds. "In its season" – do you see that? Not only do you have the stability, you've got an ongoing source – that stream of water. It just keeps moving.
And then He takes Galatians, chapter 5, the nine character qualities there – we talk about it in the conferences – the nine character qualities. He says you will produce the appropriate fruit to match your set of circumstances.
There's a filling of the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit, but then, thirdly, there's the favor of the Spirit, and "whatever he does, he prospers." That word "favor" is what the old sages call – some call "unction." I like the word "anointing," it's the same thing.
I personally believe – now, some will disagree with me on this, and that's fine, but it is my personal view of the ministry of the Spirit of God that there is something special, there is a special – anointing simply means a "special touch" for a particular task. It has to do with the favor of God. You want favor in your household? Every day of my life I pray for my children – "Oh, God, keep me in a place of blessing. Don't let me do anything to cause You to take Your hand off my children." That's the legacy.
My mother never went to any conference or anything like that, but my mother – I'd come by her room. That woman would be on her knees praying. I mean, that woman would call out her children by name to God. I tell you what, when your children see you depending upon God, you see, our kids don't become – and I say this at a few of the parenting conferences – our kids don't become what we say, they become who we are. The tragedy, the tragedy of most of the leaders of the three great spiritual awakenings, the tragedy of all of them were that their homes – excuse the expression – were like hell.
John Wesley, we try to sanitize his family situation, but he had some weird views about marriage – screwed up. George Whitfield married a woman and didn't live with her but only about a year and a half or two. And you can go on and on, and you see – and I think God is giving us another chance. The only exception was Edwards.
Edwards was the only exception – Jonathan Edwards. Well, and [unintelligible] Meddleton, too, who is an obscure name but he was a powerful man of God, but he was never married. Perhaps God has us for such a time as this – the vision, the future, we need a movement of God because we've got to give our kids a sacred stewardship. Will they be able to handle it? Can we handle it? Can we handle it?
I'll close with this little story. Next week I have to go see my mom. Pray for her, she's not doing very well. She and Papa, as you know, they've been married for 53 years, and Mom's just not doing well at all, and a few months ago I was up there taking care of some of her affairs, and she's getting very forgetful. She's depressed, and although Pop went home to be with the Lord in 1995, Mom's just not – things are not – she's just not doing well at all.
And you've heard me talk about my dad a great deal, but I'll never forget this day – I was straightening out some mess at the various accounts at the bank for her and other things, and she wanted to go to the cemetery. And we get to the cemetery, and she's shaking, and she starts to cry, because she's flustered, and she can't remember. She'd been there – I don't know how many times. My sister takes her up every – she couldn't remember where Pop was buried.
And I said, "Mama, don't worry about it. It will be all right," and so she's standing – I knew where it was. I'd gotten a little turned around, because we came another way, but I remembered where it was, and I said, "I'll just take the flowers up there, don't worry, Mom."
So there is my mother shaking and crying and there I am at my dad's gravesite, and the picture of this. The man of strength and stability, he'd gone on. The flashing across my mind was the fact that he always took care of business and, as in a child, that little book of mine, he never walked away, and he invested in my life.
And I just said there, "Pop, as long as I've got breath, and as long as she's alive, I'll take care of her." On a different level, there is a spiritual stewardship. I don't know if you've sensed it as I have these few hours that I've been here, especially today. There is a stewardship that's floating down on this ministry. God says, "Are you going to step up and do what it takes to make a difference? Are you going to complete the task?"
Your kids, if they decide to go left, that's their business. They are prodigals. My view of things is that, oh, our kids may know, there ain't no guarantees, but, before God, you ought to be able to say, "I walked and lived in such a way that they made a knowledgeable choice to do evil." We are the legacy. We extend it to them by our spiritual integrity. The resolve that we make, drawing upon the resource, and letting the results be demonstrated through our lives.
Bob: Well, we've been listening to Day 3 of a message from Dr. Crawford Loritts reminding us of the importance of the legacy we will leave, and that always causes us, Dennis, to look backwards to the heritage we've inherited as Crawford talked about today.
And there are a lot of folks who look backward, and there is pain, and there is challenge, and there is confusion, and there is hurt, but they're purposing that they're going to leave a different legacy to their own children.
Dennis: Yeah, in fact, some of our listeners, as I read one of the most startling Proverbs that I know of in all of Scripture are going to be able to speak of what this Proverb speaks about. They've had a legacy left to them of trouble and evil and difficulty and a lack of peace and a lack of harmony and certainly not a godly legacy at all.
Proverbs, chapter 11, verse 29 is a phenomenal warning to any man, any woman, who is giving leadership to a family. It reads, "He who troubles his own house will inherit wind, and the foolish will be servant to the wise-hearted."
That passage challenges me, as a dad, to make sure that I don't bring trouble upon my home. And, you know, there's a lot of ways that we can bring trouble into our house. We can be trouble, we can fail to protect our home against trouble and, therefore, allow it to gain entrance through our passivity, through our laziness, through our lack of diligence, through our lack of protection.
Trouble is waiting at the doorstep of all of our homes, and our assignment as moms and dads, single parents, grandparents, is to prayerfully protect and strive against evil, against the world, against the flesh, and not give up. There are so many things taking place in this culture that just wants us to drop our guard just for a few moments, and I'm going to tell you, there are some dire warnings in Scripture about letting go of the Scripture and letting your life become foolish even for a few moments. A few moments can change your legacy.
Bob: That's right.
Dennis: It can have an impact for generations to come. If we could interview Moses right here, if we had him in the studio, he could tell you that a foolish choice he made at a point in time kept him out of the promised land.
Bob: The same is true of King David or others in the Bible.
Dennis: That's right, and I think the challenge for all of us is to be men and women who just don't quit. In spite of our mistakes, we have a God of grace, a God of forgiveness, a God who is there to pick us up when we make those errors and continue on. But to be careful about dropping our guard, and there may be a mom or a dad right now who is thinking about quitting their marriage. There may be a single parent who is just at the end of themselves and is about to rush off into a relationship that that single parent knows is wrong – just trying to get their needs met with another person. Don't do it unless God's in it. Don't do it unless the Scripture approves of it.
What Crawford has been talking about on the broadcast today are the benefits to a man or a woman who walk in the ways of God, who seek the counsel of godly men and women and, Bob, there are no regrets there.
Barbara and I look back over our lives, and I can tell you, as we look back, we certainly have our share of mistakes but, overall, we have fought the good fight, and we continue to do so even today. And that's when I want to just cheer those moms and dads on to do – don't quit, hang in there, keep standing strong on behalf of your kids and don't allow your house to inherit wind.
Bob: You can see, as you look at Crawford's own life, how the integrity of his father paved the way for a legacy of integrity in Crawford and in his four children. And to reflect back on a dad who said, "Here is how our family is going to live. Here is what we're going to stand for and what we're going to believe in." Well, he didn't inherit wind, but he inherited substance, he inherited godliness and a legacy that will transcend him and last for generations.
Dennis: Yeah, and another Proverb, Proverbs 13:22 speaks of that inheritance. It says, "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children." Now, that specifically is speaking about an inheritance of wealth, but I think by application it speaks of the life of one generation impacting a couple of other generations into the future.
In fact, outside this verse, Bob, you can see what I have written – "My dad." Because my dad left me an inheritance, and it wasn't mere money, it was the life of integrity of a man who loved one woman for a lifetime; who was faithful to her, and who was a man who was impeccable in his integrity and his model.
And, you know, that same thing happened in Crawford Loritts's life, and he wrote about it in a book. The book is really the story of how his dad parented him and, certainly, all of us, as parents, can learn from how a man raised a boy in Newark, New Jersey, in the midst of what couldn't be considered ideal circumstances by any stretch of the imagination, and yet Crawford Loritts has turned out to be a pretty strong man and a great man of God and a spokesman for God today.
Bob: And the things that he inherited from his father, he is sharing the wealth with us not only in the message we've been hearing today but also in the book he's written, which is called "Never Walk Away, Lessons on Integrity from a Father Who Lived It," which we have in our FamilyLife Resource Center.
I want to encourage our listeners to get a copy of this book. Go to our website, FamilyLife.com. You can click a red button in the middle of the screen that says "Go," and that will take you right to a page where you'll get more information about this book from Crawford Loritts, other resources that are available from us here at FamilyLife.
In fact, if you'd like a CD that has Crawford's message on it, we'd be happy to send that along to you at no additional cost. When you get a copy of Crawford's book and a copy of the book that you've written, Dennis, called "One Home at a Time," which helps all of us as husbands and wives and moms and dads to implement God's plan for marriage and family in our own home.
Again, there is more information about these resources on our website at FamilyLife.com. Click the red button that says "Go," and that will take you right to the page where you can get the information. Or call us at 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.
When you stop by our website, you may see information there about being a Legacy Partner. These are folks who, each month, help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation of any amount. During the month of January, we are hoping that more of our listeners will consider becoming Legacy Partners. In each of the cities where FamilyLife Today is heard, there is a small group of folks who have said, "We believe enough in what you're doing that we want to support this ministry on a monthly basis," and this is a group of folks that we called Legacy Partners and each month we try and communicate with you about what's happening here at the ministry, resources that are available from us here at FamilyLife. We offer a sneak peak on some of what's happening behind the scenes.
There is more information about being a Legacy Partner on our website at FamilyLife.com, and we're hoping that some of you will consider joining that group and becoming a Legacy Partner. Again, there is more information on our website at FamilyLife.com, or give us a call at 1-800-FLTODAY. We appreciate you listening, and we hope you will consider joining with us and becoming a Legacy Partner.
Well, I hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can be back with us on Monday when we're going to hear from a Texas pastor who has spent a lot of time teaching on the Song of Solomon. In fact, he's taught on this subject all across the country, and he has some thoughts about love and romance and marriage and how it all fits together in God's plan. Tommy Nelson joins us Monday. I hope you will join us as well.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back on Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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