Living and Leaving a Legacy

 In Christ, we, as God’s children, have an inheritance, imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for us. (1 Peter 1:4) We learn of this inheritance in His last will and testament. In Christ, His death and resurrection, He has secured His own inheritance for us. (Hebrews 9:15) A child does not work for a parent’s blessing. It is the legacy given from one generation to the next.

Through us God gives physical life, but we cannot give the blessing of eternal life to our children; so how can we leave this legacy to them? It must be by example and sample. We can only leave the imprint of what we have learned and point them to the will that is recorded in God’s Word for all His children.

Footprints and Handprints
We leave footprints wherever we go. Children and other people see these. We can lead them to where Christ is in His Word, in His worship, in His service.   We leave handprints on what we touch, in how we touch others, holding forth the word of life; touching them with our hands and arms gently and lovingly in their times of need.

Heartprints
The greatest and most lasting impression is the heartprint. 0003KDWe may, in passing speak a word or leave a loving touch; this is but a sample. But the time spent with our children gives them assurance of who we are as God’s children, and the inheritance that we have in Christ. The example we set before them in a lifetime is proof of the work of God in our hearts. The light that is shined into our hearts shines through us revealing who God is and who we are. This is the work of God’s heart in and through ours that proves that we are His. This heartprint is left in different ways; four of which we will mention here ~ in humility, contentment, joy, endurance.

Humility
There is no pride in the legacy that is ours. We have not worked for it; nor do we deserve it. The only means of knowing and receiving this promise of inheritance in and with Christ is by His own desire; through grace, revealing and giving us a new heart through which He pours into us His own love for us. Recently in reading Charles Spurgeon’s sermon, The Meek and Lowly One, I realized that the love of God would never have been known, or available to us, except through Christ’s meekness and lowliness of heart. Others will not see the love of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, except through our humble estate in Christ. We may speak and read God’s Word to our children, but they must see it in us, alive and active through humble hearts and lives.

Contentment
We, who have this legacy, are content in all of this life, living in faith and trust, for the inheritance that is promised for the future. Children learn that true life is not in this world, nor the things of this world. With our seeking those things above where Christ is seated at the right heand of God; our affections set on things above, not on the things of the earth they see what the world cannot promise, nor be to them. They learn to look for life and contentment beyond the world and themselves.

Joy
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;”  Philippians 4:4-5

There is no true joy apart from Christ; not in ourselves, others, or anything in this world. When Christ fills our every longing; when He is all and everything to us; when He is our life there is joy beyond what the world knows. He is the joy of our legacy. We joy in what we have; and Christ is the greatest joy in heaven and earth, for us who know of our inheritance in him.

Endurance
The legacy of ours in Christ includes perseverance. Who would not endure to the end of this life, through thick and thin, that has the promise of such an inheritance waiting for us. Those who are wealthy according to the world’s standards are known by their wealth and how they spend it. Children of wealthy parents live in hope of their legacy. You know them by who they are and how they live.

Paul prayed for the early Christians that God would reveal His legacy to them, “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,” Ephesians 1:18

God’s children know the promise that Christ spoke to His disciples.

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  (Luke 12:32) There is enough of His kingdom and His glory to share with all His children. In response to His will we seek His kingdom and His righteousness.

If we are to live it we must continue in faith to know Him and the legacy that is promised. We don’t dawdle away our time and assets that He gives us here. We live it, we even fight for it; and teach our children, so that they can, in God’s timing and His way, know, and with a new heart respond in faith and repentance; and receive the promise.

 “As long as there is breath in our bodies, let us serve Christ; as long as we can think, as long as we can speak, as long as we can work, let us serve him, let us even serve him with our last gasp; and, if it be possible, let us try to set some work going that will glorify him when we are dead and gone. Let us scatter some seed that may spring up when we are sleeping beneath the hillock in the cemetery.” Charles Spurgeon

Dear Father, enable us to continue in faith and obedience to your will, to live and teach what you have promised us as your children. Let us live as children whose Father supplies all our needs according to your riches in glory, which is only a sample of what you have promised. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Finish Line

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Why is the last course the hardest?

It seems uphill the rest of the way.

 

 

~ So that you will know that nothing has been of your own strength.

It has been only by the will of the Father, the promise and calling of the Son, and the power of the Holy Spirit that you have breathed, moved and had any being in this world. (Acts 17:28)

In the whole of life endurance comes only by His working His strength in your weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)  You can continue on as you rest your weariness on Him.

When you cannot move He will carry you the remainder of the way.

 To the Israelites He said, “I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.” Exodus 19:4

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God:
I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee;
yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Isaiah 41:10 

“Are not the angels all ministering spirits  sent out in the service
of those who are to inherit salvation?”
Hebrews 1:14

Dear Father, thank you that your grace is sufficient, and that your strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.  Let us be content in our infirmities knowing that the power of Christ rests on us, as your people.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Give Your Marriage at Least Fifty-years

slide_191808_853093_largeWhat happens after the honeymoon?  Reality sets in.  The husband and wife begin to let down their guard and show their true colors.  The marriage vows were laid on a sure foundation of true love and commitment or on the sand of lust and deception.

How well do a man and woman know each other before saying “I do?”  In a way the stages of marriage can be compared to this life and preparing for the next.  As the Bride of Christ, the church is always going through difficult times, as we anticipate and contemplate the developing of this relationship and the final consummation.

For whatever reason you married ~ for love or lust ~ it can develop into a holy relationship.  By this I mean, a relationship in which God, through Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit, does a miraculous work in both hearts; bringing two people to enjoy a time together that was impossible at the beginning.

It takes commitment, from both, or at least one.  This too is His work.  We must give ourselves first to the Lord Jesus Christ, as part of His Bride.  We experience a spiritual marriage in our relationship with Him; and a physical marriage in our relationship with a husband or wife.  A wife’s submission to the husband is “as unto the Lord.”  Ephesians 5: 22-24, 33.  The husband’s love to the wife, is as “Christ loves His church.”  Ephesians 5:23, 25, 33.   This is a supernatural work.

Twenty years is a miracle for most marriages today.  We have heard of broken vows and divorce after thirty years of marriage.  The duration of fifty years is one of brokenness of hearts and spirits, for things unforeseen, for hurts and adversity; much prayer and searching for wisdom through God’s word.

All of these bring with them the needed character of patience, longsuffering, and forgiveness, with  a multitude of the Lord’s blessings.  They are used of God to turn lust into true love, as we endure with the one to whom we are united and committed.

 Jerry and I (as one) are a good example of this truth of perseverance.  Had we depended on ourselves, or just on each other, we would not still be together.  Forgetting ourselves, we had to look past our own feelings, to what God willed for us, and to the needs of the other.

There is no perfect marriage, except the one that our heavenly Father is preparing us for in heaven with Christ.  What a glorious day and eternity that will be.  In the meantime, He is revealing it to me, giving me a taste of it, in my own marriage.

 (Jerry, in case I haven’t told you today  ~  I love you.   Thank you for putting up with me all these years, for enduring all my anger, impatience, discontent and frustrations; for your forgiveness, for providing for me, for loving me. )

 Lord Jesus,  I love you.  Thank you for your patience and longsuffering,  your physical suffering and sacrifice for me, your provisions for now and eternity; your loving me now and forever.  Thank you heavenly Father for creating me to be Jerry’s, to see His needs above my own; to live for you and him.  Spread abroad your love in our hearts, by your Spirit, which you have given us; that we may love you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. Continue to fill me with your Spirit of joy, fulfilling your purpose for Jerry and me ~ for your glory and our joy.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.

Graceful Suffering

Blows that wound cleanse away evil;

strokes make clean the innermost parts.”

Proverbs 20:30 ESV

“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggles against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.  And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?”

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.

“It is for discipline that you have to endure.  God is treating you as sons.  For what son is there whom his father does not discipline. If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”  Hebrews 12: 5-14

These striking words from the writers of Proverbs and Hebrews are truths that are not easy to accept.  So I post these for my own remembrance, (how often I forget), and to share them with those who may not have undergone such trials, or understand the reasoning, the process and end result of suffering. Looking to Christ,”high and lifted up,” keeps me focused as I travel  this “path of righteousness” through the trials and tribulations of this wilderness.  It is the path that He had to take in order to return to the Father.  It was for our sake that He went this way, and now He leads us by His Spirit and His Word to follow Him—all for His glory and our joy.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith, produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and comlete, lacking in nothing.”  James 1:3-4

May you be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy.”  Colossians 1:11