PASSING ON A LEGACY OF FAITH

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening (1 Peter 3:1-6).

It is never too early to start thinking about your legacy.

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What do you want to leave your children and the people who know you? I don’t mean physical things. I mean the things that count. The life and death things. As Christian women, we need to leave our children a legacy of faith.

Genesis 12 through 23 reveals how Sarah lived out her faith and how that translated in a legacy of faith for Isaac.

The Holy Spirit is very gracious in showing this incredible woman’s failings and lapses of faith as well as her successes, so that we don’t think, “Sarah was a superwoman! I can never be like her.” Sarah wasn’t a perfect woman, but her God was.

We all have our lapses of faith. But, like God was gracious to Abraham and Sarah, so he is to us. I think Sarah must have had many quiet repentant moments inside her tent that were wholly between her and God and not recorded for us. But what is recorded leaves us a picture of a faithful, holy woman. That is what Peter called her in 1 Peter 3:5.

Isaac, her son, must have heard the story of God speaking to Abraham and telling him to leave everything, pack up and hit the trail with God as his GPS. He heard how Sarah had downsized and followed his father. How she had gone from a well-supplied home to living in tents.

Isaac must have heard over and over again about her long wait for him. How God had promised and how He had delivered.

He saw her obedience to Abraham and perhaps heard how Abraham had asked her to say she was his sister when he felt threatened and how Sarah had obeyed at great risk to herself. Remember, Isaac did the same in Genesis 26.

She must have lived a fearless life before him knowing that God was able. Isaac was, besides Abraham, closes to his mother and knew her heart; that when the trials and afflictions of life came Sarah demonstrated the “incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4).

Isaac must have been able to see God’s blessings upon his mother because her behavior was precious in the sight of God. And most of all he must have sat at her feet and heard her speak of God and her faith.

A good first step in leaving a faithful legacy would be to pattern ourselves after Sarah.

Peter said we are her daughters “if you do good and are not afraid with any terror” (1 Peter 3:6).

She shows us how to pass on a legacy of faith to our children and our family. Some of you have already raised your children and didn’t pass on a legacy of faith either because you didn’t know Jesus or because you just failed to do so.

It is not too late.

Study 1 Peter 3:1-5. See the different attributes of a “holy woman”. Ask God to create these in you. People will notice. Your children will notice.

So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come. (Psalm 71:18).

WHAT? MY NAME IS SARAH?

God reveals between Genesis 12 and 23 an amazing relationship. Abraham and Sarah are heroic figures in the Bible and as all Bible heroes God shows their faithfulness amidst their flaws and brokenness.

Sarah is listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11:11 and she is held up to us as an example in 1 Peter 3:6. But, Sarah had some rough bumps in her life. Her faith was tried, tested, and stretched numerous times. She is known for some bad decisions and like Eve the consequences of her decisions were disastrous.

But one thing she understood was that Isaac was the child of promise. When Abraham told her about the Covenant God made with him that he would be the father of many nations, I’m sure she was overwhelmed, but when he quoted what God said about her in Genesis 17:15-16, it must have seemed unbelievable.

“Sarah!”

“Abram? Why are you calling me that? Have you forgotten my name?”

“No, no!” Abraham laughed out loud. “But, you have a new name, Sarah, and so do I!”

“What are you talking about?” She looked suspiciously at him. “Have you been talking to God again?”

“Yes,” he shouted. “Yes, I have and he changed my name to Abraham. I will be the father of a multitude. And he changed your name to Sarah. Listen, this is what he said:

“As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her” (Genesis 17:15-16).

“It was you all along Sarah! You will bear a son to me and from him will come nations and kings!”

Sarah slowly sank to a cushion. “Abram, oh, I mean Abraham, can it be? How can it be? I am 99. I have always been barren and now I am way past giving birth time. God of Abraham, how can it be?”

“Well, Sarah, that is what I thought. God, can you see how old we are? So, I suggested Ishmael. Don’t look at me like that. Anyway, God said no. He said Sarah will bear you a son and you shall call his name Isaac.”

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“Isaac? Yes, if a son is born to me, I will certainly laugh, Abraham. I will laugh and cry and laugh some more! And all will rejoice with me because it will be a huge miracle!”

Sarah, for the first time, is included in the promise. She is the one to bear the son from whom nations and kings will come. There would be no doubt that Isaac was a special child, a child born not by the will of man, but of the will of God.

According to Hebrew 11:11, Sarah considered God faithful who had promised. If God had promised, he would do it.

The greatest promise God made was Jesus Christ his Son. In him, all of the promises in the old Testament are “Yes, and Amen!”

Do we believe God when all looks bleak and impossible? Do we think impossible answers were only for times past? God doesn’t work that way anymore?

Look to Jesus and pray for faith and more faith and more faith. Hebrews 11 says it was by faith that Sarah received power to conceive. Sarah may have made a lot of bad decisions along the way, (haven’t we all?), but through it all Sarah’s faith grew along with Abraham’s.

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Pray for growing faith.

God is still in the miracle business.

Dear Sister, be a Sarah.

HOME — HERE, BUT NOT YET

HOME

Defined: (1) A house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household. (2) The place in which one’s domestic affections are centered.

“There’s no place like home.”
“Home is where the heart is.”
“Home for Christmas.”
“A home away from home.”
“A house is not a home.”
“Charity begins at home.”
“Hearth and home.”
“Home is where you hang your hat.”
“Home sweet home.”
“Keep the home fires burning.”

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Home is a special place.

We all long to belong.

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us (Acts 17: 26-27).

We seek to belong in our allotted periods and the boundaries of our dwelling places. God put that into us that we might seek Him. He is the ultimate answer for our seeking to belong.

Children are born with that longing and it is developed in the home: either for good or for bad.

We long to belong.

That longing drives kids to join gangs, adults to join clubs, and Christians to join churches. Most of all, I think we all long to belong to a home where according to the second definition of home our domestic affections are centered.

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In other words, where those we love are. Where we find acceptance, peace, warmth, safety, rest, forgiveness, redemption, restoration, and humor. In other words, where there is a Jesus atmosphere.

Some of us have had that and some of us have not. No home on this planet has all the above all the time. Our homes are imperfect, as we are. Dear Christian Sister, we should long for our homes to foreshadow the city and home our maker has prepared for us.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God (Hebrews 11: 8-10).

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland (Hebrews 11:13-14).

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city (Hebrews 11:16).

I have lived in many different homes in my life time, too many to number! In the last thirty years, I have tried to create a Jesus atmosphere in each of them, but … I get restless.

Dear Sister, there should always be a restlessness in our souls. We dare not become too comfortable in this temporal world. Yes, I love my carpet and my patio and I love when my children come to visit and find rest there, but this is not my home. It is not yours.

Don’t get too comfortable. God doesn’t favor complacency. (Isaiah 32:9, 11).

Home is where we, through the Holy Spirit, create a Jesus atmosphere, which means as we snuggle into the sofa with a good cup of coffee and a fascinating book or a spine-tingling thriller on TV — inside we feel the stirring of restlessness. We know the Kingdom is here now in our hearts and is coming in its fullness and when it does the Jesus atmosphere we love will burst forth in such glory, power, and majesty, and in such wrath, justice, and mercy, and in such affection, compassion, and love that all our earthly trappings will fall absolutely away and we will be with Jesus. Forever and ever! Amen!

And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:2-5).

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God (Revelation 21:10).

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb (Revelation 21:22-23).

So, like Abraham and Sarah, direct your longing toward the new heavens and new earth while spreading a Jesus atmosphere here.

“For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind (Isaiah 65:17).

For Jesus said,

“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:2-3).

Jesus is preparing the perfect home for us.

If you don’t know Jesus, but long for a perfect home call on him. At the end of Revelation there is a beautiful invitation to belong.

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. (Revelation 22:17).

Come to Jesus. Belong.

You are loved!

MAMA’S MISSION

Hey Mama! Boy! Do I admire you! Compared to you I raised my kids in a quiet time in history. Of course, now, it is their kids causing most of the trouble. Let me clarify that. Not my grandkids, but other peoples’ grandkids.

Where the adult is made or lost is in the home — as a child. I know. I know. The perfect parents can raise a bad apple, and the worst of parents can raise a saint. I believe that has more to do with God than parenting skills.

God created us to be in families. Children need their mother and father. Nothing can take the place of a nurturing home life.

Mama, you already know this, but children are sponges and parrots. They hear and absorb everything their parents say and they mimic what their parents do.

Wow! Do you feel that weight of responsibility? You are a shaper, former, teacher, and the most important thing you will teach your child is the Gospel.

“It is at home where living in light of the gospel counts the most, but for too many this is where it matters the least.” – Pastor Juan Sanchaz

Alas, from the state of the Union and Church today, I am afraid, Pastor Juan is right. If you are the mama of a small child today you are probably raising Gen Z or if they are under 5 they haven’t been named yet.

You have a big job ahead of you. I want to encourage you, dear Christian Mama, God has placed you exactly where you are and given you the skills needed to raise that little rug-rat, or as Jonathan Edward called children, vipers. Vipers was a term of endearment. After all, he had eleven children. But, he was also describing their born into fallen state.

So, God has given you babies to raise into adulthood. Babies born sinners and in need of a Savior. Your job, dear Mama, is to raise them in the light of the Gospel of grace and leave the rest to God.

Here is the greatest encouragement I can leave you with, you can be absolutely sure you are not alone in this. Jesus said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. He knows exactly what you are going through and will go through.

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Jesus knows the path your little viper will follow to get to the foot of the cross.

Pray, model, preach (yes, preach) the Gospel to them and yourself, bestow grace, discipline, and love, love, love, them.

And lastly find a community of like-minded mothers. There is power in shared faith.

Heaven is looking on. Jesus is on the move.

You are loved!

LEGACY

Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines legacy as “a bequest; a particular thing, or certain sum of money given by last will or testament.”

However, a Christian legacy is passing on our faith. It is not something that is passed on or revealed at our death … it is seen and shared with others while we are alive. So, when we do go to be with the Lord, those left behind will remember how we lived, what we believed, and who we loved – the Lord Jesus Christ. Our legacy will be how we lived and how we died … for the glory of God.

Perseverance in the faith is the best legacy a parent can leave to their child.

MY PURPOSE: CREATED FOR GOD’S GLORY

Why do we need to leave a legacy? Who am I? Why was I put here? What legacy do I leave? What’s it all about? (Sound like the 60’s?) We turn to Psalm 90 for answers. Moses prayed about a legacy for Israel.

Let Your work appear to Your servants, and Your glory to their children (Psalm 90:16).

It is thought Moses wrote this lament for the children of Israel as they were about to cross the Jordan river. This was important for the generation that would conqueror the Promised Land.

Your work, meaning God’s work.

It doesn’t say our work. Moses asks God to show Israel His work. Moses has been asking for mercy. Now he asks the Lord to let them see Him working among them. The greatest mercy would be to see God’s chief work and His providential works among them. Moses prays God will reveal Himself to Israel through His works.

Moses asks for God’s glorious power to be shown to their children. He wanted the future generation to know His love for them by seeing the accumulating powerful deeds and favor He showed Israel.

Here was Moses’ heart, as should be ours: May our children know and see your manifested glory. May they see Your works of mercy among us.

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! (Psalm 90:17).

Favor encompasses the qualities of kindness, beauty, delight.

So, Moses has asked in verse 16 and the first part of 17 that God’s grace and mercy and all His acts to them, in every detail, be made known to not only the current generation, but generations to follow, and then he asks God to show them favor in what they are about to do. Moses is asking for favor in establishing the works they were about to undertake: the work of taking the Promised Land in the name of Yahweh. Moses wants God to glorify Himself through the Israelites. How the future played out would reflect upon the glory of Israel and her God.

We are created for God’s glory.

I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made (Isaiah 43:6-7).

God works among us and through us and we give Him all the glory. When He is merciful to us, it reflects His glory. When we are faithful to our calling and rely and trust Him to establish the work of our hands, it brings Him glory. People are not to look at us and think how great we are. No, they are to think how great our God is. We are to be God’s glory reflectors.

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But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it “(John 11:4).

He providentially works all things for His glory and our good.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake (Psalm 79:9)!

If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you (1 Peter 4:14).

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

We are His workmanship – to reflect His glory.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

Moses knew anything done must be done by the Lord, so he cried out:

And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands (Psalm 90:17)

If we are to be successful at anything it must be the Holy Spirit leading, guiding, directing or all is vain. And we are promised that God will not forget our work on His behalf … if it is a labor of love.

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end (Hebrews 6:10-11).

The writer of Hebrews urges us to work with diligence in the full confidence of our God to the end. In this way you will leave a legacy of faith to not only your children, or nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, friends, but to their children and their children’s children.

May they see us living out our faith in Jesus Christ, but may it be impacting so that when we go Home, they will say, “Oh how she loved Jesus!”

That’s the legacy I want. I pray for. I work for.

How about you?

You are loved