Please read: Isaiah 46:3-4 (NLT/Amplified Bible) and use the following as devotional or study guide!
R – E – S – P – E – C – T – when read as individual letters, doesn’t it make you want to break out singing Aretha Franklin’s 1967 hit song?
Respect – it is defined as a deep admiration for someone or a feeling elicited by their abilities, qualities and/or achievements. It means to to honor; to esteem; to value. One of the IPHC’s Core Values is that we “prayerfully value (respect) all generations”. We declare the foundation to our growth is the understanding that all generations are respected and are redeemable.
First, we deeply respect, esteem and value God. His Word declares we are to “fear”, respect, and reverence Him (Psalms 34:9, Proverbs 1:7, Ecclesiastes 12:13). Out of that sense of “awe”, we value and obey His commandments. The first four instruct us to value: His Person, not to pervert His image, to preserve the power of His name, and not to pollute His day. Since we respect God, we value “all generations” – those created in His image. The remaining six commands instruct us to value all individuals regardless of their age, gender, race, or social/economic status. We respect their: Personhood (do not murder), Possessions (no stealing), Privacy (no adultery), and Purity (no lies). This respect begins at home, for we value our Parents. Though we now live in a generation that devalues certain groups – the very young (unborn) and the very old – God’s Word ordains and orders that we value every generation.
We are to value:
1. The Unborn: Isaiah 46:3-4, Psalms 139:13-15, Jeremiah 1:5
2. Children: Pslams 127: 3-5, 128:3; Proverbs 17:6, Matthew 19:14, Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21
3. Youth: Proverbs 20:29, Ecclesiastes 11:9, 12:1; I Timothy 4:12
4. Adults/Parents: Deuteronomy 5:16, Ephesians 6:2-3, Colossians 3: 18-20
5. Elderly: Leviticus. 19:32, Acts 6:1, I Tim. 5:1-16
God values all generations, and as we honor and reverence Him, we do as well. Also, we value all “Godly generations” – those who have brought us into and helped sustain us in our faith. We realize that God saves, spirit fills, gifts and sets individuals in His Body in every generation that proclaim the faith and preserve it for the benefit of others. John describes this in I John 1:12-14. There he recognizes each generation that has joined and assisted others in the faith: children (newcomers/babes in Christ), young men (maturing Christians) and fathers (veteran, mature followers). Paul recognizes and respects the generations that influenced his son in the faith, Timothy (II Timothy 1:5) by reminding him of the faith that was in his grandmother and mother and now resides in him.
We value the different generations of “Elders” – spiritual leaders in our church because of:
1. Their Past sacrificial service (Hebrews 11)
2. Their Present service (Psalms 105:15, I Thessalonians. 5:12-13, I Timothy 5:17-18, Hebrews 13:7, 17)
3. Their Potential service. Though children and young people are certainly part of the “now” church, they have future unlimited possibilities to take the increased technological advances of their generations and expand His Kingdom exponentially.
The history of the IPHC is centered in generations of Spirit filled leaders sharing their faith with succeeding generations. I can personally list families like the Mannings, the Mayos, the Carpenters, etc, that passed the torch of the faith from grandfather, to father, to sons and daughters, to grandchildren. You can list your own examples of generations of servant leaders who served your church and impacted your faith. As we value all generations, we realize that they are all redeemable. Regardless of age, gender, etc, they are all included in God’s love, His grace, His mercy and His ultimate purpose – that all may be saved and come to the knowledge of God through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The prophetic proclamation to our church is simple: as we strengthen the stakes of our beliefs/core values, we can lengthen the lines of our evangelistic outreach and expand the tent of our habitation to welcome all into His Kingdom. Then, we become a Fellowship of Believers where every generation is valued as “People of Promise” and are welcomed to this “Place of Hope”.
Written By: Rev. Bob Ely