Legacy

Psalm 78:1-7

My people, hear my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth with a parable;
I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
things we have heard and known,
things our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their descendants;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
his power, and the wonders he has done.
He decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands.

God is interested in Legacy. He was interested in his own legacy, in his son’s legacy and he is interested in your legacy. We see Jesus as the reflection of God; he was a visible, tangible portrayal of the Father’s love and mercy and was devoted to living out the Father’s legacy. He believed the way of the Father should be his way. And he became the Way. His legacy rolls on over generations, in the most widely published book on earth, through the most powerful movement ever known to man.
The early disciples believed in the Legacy so much they carried it on. And how they lived their lives, chronicled in the Scriptures, became worthy of following. Their legacy is carried on even today. They were sold out to God and His purposes; so much that they left everything secure to be a part of the movement.
We also are leaving a legacy. Whether intentionally or not, we’re writing a story with our lives to be read by generations to come. We are setting an example and a tone for the next generation to follow.

What will your legacy be?

Will it be one marked by bad decisions and unfaithfulness, by besetting and addictive sin patterns? Or will it be one characterized by humility, contrition, boldness and change. Will you be known by your stubborn resistance or by how you sold out to God and his purposes? God’s desire is for you to leave a positive legacy; one that points this generation and those to come back to Him.

Today we all get to choose the legacy we’ll leave.

You Are Handpicked

A devotional thought for the week…

John 6:70-71

Jesus responded, “Haven’t I handpicked you, the Twelve? Still, one of you is a devil!” He was referring to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. This man—one from the Twelve!—was even then getting ready to betray him.

Judas was handpicked by Jesus to be a follower. We don’t know when he made the fateful decision to betray his friend and leader. All we know is that he did, and became a glaring example of how to blow up our lives. So often the Scriptures about Judas are the proof text for betrayal, for deceit and for back-stabbing. But within the story is also an incredible example of mercy and grace. Think about it; Jesus knew Judas would betray him, BUT HE HANDPICKED HIM ANYWAY!

Jesus called him a “devil” in this passage; the original, Greek meaning of the word was ‘to oppose the cause of God’.

So let’s get this straight; Jesus knew Judas would betray him and that he was opposed to the cause of God the Father. Yet Jesus intentionally chose into a relationship with Judas.

If Jesus had mercy on and a relationship with the guy who would ultimately get him killed, don’t you think he could have mercy on us?

You need to know that you’ve been handpicked. You’ve been selected based on no merit of your own. Loved in spite of your bad behavior. Graced in spite of some future sin. Jesus knows our past, present and future, the Father forgives it, and we are free to live in light of Grace.

We are handpicked to be in a relationship with Him!

 

One Day at a Time

It’s that time again: New Year’s resolutions. For many men, this is the time when they decide (yet again) to stop their sexual acting out. Quit porn. End the affairs. Stop going to strip clubs. Finally, no more personal ads.  These are all good and noble causes that we should aim for.  Much like eating right, hitting the gym or abiding by a budget the streak usually ends within a few weeks.  Then the same guilt, shame and (sometimes) excuses set in. When this happens with regards to sexual integrity issues, it can feel so defeating. That’s why I’d like to suggest a better way.

The Bible tells us it’s not about the streak. It’s not about how many consecutive days we can string together without committing a particular sin. In fact, that can easily slip into idolatry. Instead of grace-based faith, it becomes performance-oriented self-salvation.  That takes the Savior out of the equation. Instead, our focus should be on His continual provision.

When the Israelites were wandering the desert they had God’s provision. He was committed to their sustenance every day. To that end, His commission to the people was to only take enough for that particular day. To stockpile manna was to hijack God’s glory.  Think about the morning prayer of the average Israelite wanderer when he woke up in the middle of nowhere: “God… I’d like to eat today. I don’t know where that food is going to come from. There isn’t much to hunt out here, and I’m short on ammo anyway. Would you mind showing up today?” The stage is set for God to come through, to provide and prove Himself faithful.

It robs God of the opportunity to prove His faithfulness when we begin counting the days of sobriety.  We run the risk of shortchanging God of the glory He deserves.

What if a better way is to focus on daily sanctification and a deeper relationship with God rather than not breaking the rules?

That would mean we begin asking ourselves different questions and measuring movement by a different ruler.

Instead of asking ourselves if we did or didn’t commit some sin today, let’s ask if we were faithful to God’s call on our lives today. Instead of asking if we lusted, perhaps we should ask if we dwelt on things lovely, pure, excellent, praiseworthy and noble. Rather than aim to end the day without having a “slip”, let’s aim to end the day having triple-jumped towards what we know God is calling us to.  Wouldn’t you rather hit the sack tonight knowing you were faithful to what God is trying to teach you as opposed to just being glad you didn’t act out? How sweet to be in a deeper relationship with God, to be more in awe of Him, after experiencing Him consistently sustaining you.

And suppose you did act out. Suppose you did look at porn again. Could there peace in knowing you are a step closer to who God is developing you to be, rather than on the chaotic hamster wheel of simply resetting the clock? Could there be hope to rest in God’s faithfulness tomorrow rather than gritting your teeth and psyching yourself up to white-knuckle your way through another day?

I’m not saying we should toss our resolutions out the window. Nor should we engage the struggle for sexual integrity in a casual, passive or lackadaisical way. I’m simply suggesting that perhaps God desires to teach us more about ourselves and Himself, rather than just helping us stop some bad behavior. Maybe God wants to show us His faithfulness, providence and sovereignty and our sexual struggles are the stage on which He’ll be glorified.