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

Forge Your Role in Life

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one: the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap, and being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”

George Bernard Shaw, quoted in Courage: You Can Stand Strong in the Face of Fear, Jon Johnston, 1990, SP Publications, p. 171.

I love this quote. As a Christian I want to go into eternity sliding around home base, not sitting in a rocking chair. I don’t know about you, but I want to be a force of nature instead of …

8 0n 8

Lesson 1

Preface

In 1998 and 2005 two women were executed in the state of Texas for murder.

Condemned. No reprieve. Guilty as charged. No mercy. None deserved.
Justice was served.

When you commit a crime and you stand before the Judge who speaks words of death into your life, and there is nothing you can do but spend years appealing for retesting, retrials, and finally commutation and mercy, and nothing works, can you imagine the helpless feeling? The regret? The sorrow? The pain? The fear? The rage?

Why am I starting this study talking about two death row inmates who according to the State of Texas received justice? I am trying to give us a sense of what it is like to receive such final, irrevocable condemnation in this life, because our justice system is but a shadow of the reality of what will happen when Jesus returns one day and every person born on planet earth will stand before the Judge of all the world and be found guilty. It won’t matter what they have done, or not done, said or not said, whether they did good deeds or were pickaxe murderers; they are guilty. They are condemned.

Condemned. No reprieve. No retrial.

At the end, all that is left for them is justified punishment. Jesus said, “Whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Both women, according to the State of Texas, took the life of another human being in cold blood. They were guilty and rightly condemned to death. Both professed Christianity while in prison, during those long years of waiting on death row. So, believing their professions that they were truly regenerated and received repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, what will happen when they stand in the Higher Court before the Righteous Judge?

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

Not even for our two executed murders in Texas?

Not even for them if they are children of God.

We read about another murderer in the New Testament, the author of Romans, the Apostle Paul. I know this is a lot of reading, but it’s worth it to be better acquainted with the author of Romans.

Read: Acts 7:58; Acts 9:1-19; 22:1-5; 26:4-20; Gal. 1:13-14; Phil. 3:2-6; 1Tim. 1:12-15; 1Cor 15:9

We first hear of Paul, called Saul before his conversion, at the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7. The witnesses trusted him with their clothes. He was part of the mob stoning a powerful and important witness for Christ. God used Stephen’s stoning to scatter His church out of Jerusalem and into Judea and Samaria and from there to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

Acts 8 starts with a blaring statement of Saul’s heart, “And Saul approved of his execution”.
Luke is giving us an historical glimpse of the pre-Christ man who God used to establish Christianity in the world through writing most of the New Testament, doing ground-breaking missions work, and church planting. Luke knows Acts 9 is coming and the great persecutor of Christians will become one of the most radically important Christians in history.

Paul sets out for Damascus as a fire-breathing dragon, but arrives as a sheep to be slaughtered (Romans 8:36). I am sure I can safely say your conversion wasn’t as dramatic as Paul’s, but it was nevertheless the same miracle. When God meets us on the road to death, He changes our hearts, opens our eyes and ears to hear and see Jesus as the treasure He is, breathes life into us, and grants us repentance and faith. That is what happened to Paul and that is what happened to you and me, if indeed the Spirit of Christ lives in us.

At the time Paul (Saul) set off for Damascus, he probably had a pretty good life. He was about 30 and most likely already a member of the Sanhedrin. He was on a career fast-track. Marriage, family, and a comfortable life persecuting religious cults were on his horizon. But, then God showed up. Sometime later Paul said he counted all that rubbish for the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:7-11).

So, Paul is redeemed by the Savior and given his mission. He uses his testimony, as you have read in the above verses, as a powerful means of evangelism. He tells it to “Brothers and fathers” in Acts22:1, the mob trying to kill him. In Acts 26, he tells it to King Agrippa and his wife Bernice, military tribunes, and the prominent men of Caesarea. He wrote it to the Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, and to Timothy. He edits it, shortening or lengthening according to the circumstances and audience. And so should we. Our testimony of our meeting King Jesus is the most powerful story we have to tell. Tell it often. Tell it with joy and thanksgiving.

In summary, as you read the dazzling graced filled truths of Romans 8, remember the author’s story. If anyone wrestled with not feeling condemned it must have been Paul. He called himself the foremost of sinners (1Tim. 1:15). During the times that we are overwhelmed with the grace God has showered on us, our sins seem all the more sinful and we can succumb to the lie of the enemy that we are to sinful to be God’s child.

Not true!

Recite to yourself Romans 8:1, “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Now that we know something about the author of Romans 8, next time we dig into verse 1.

You are loved

8 on 8

I am starting an eight part series on Romans 8.

I am way out of my depth here, but will you wade into the deep waters of this most wonderful chapter in the wonderful book of Romans with me?

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If you have been in church for any time at all, you have heard sermons on this doctrinally filled chapter. It is full of God’s sovereignty, goodness, grace, and mercy.

Let’s just skim through the chapter and list all the truths Paul hurls at us.

-No condemnation
-I have been set free from the law of sin and death
-I am in the Spirit
-He will give life to my mortal body by the Spirit
-I am an adopted heir
-The Spirit intercedes in prayer for me
-I have confidence and security in Christ
-Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ

These are freedom-generating truths! These are deep theological foundational truths. And I know you would agree with me, but some of you don’t really buy into it. You don’t see what difference it will make to you when your boss threatens you job, or your child is sick, or your dryer dries its last load, or your car won’t start in the morning, or your husband leaves you, or … surely, one of these hit home.

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God speaks to us in His Word. He has things to say to us. Do I access this vital resource only on Sunday or when I have an extreme crisis? Or, do I daily turn to His word to see the wisdom that awaits me there? Theology is practical. It speaks to the issues of daily life. It impacts every part of my life.

Are you worn out by trying to obey all the commands you find in Scripture? Worn out by the dos and don’ts? Worn out by trying to be good enough? Wise enough? Bold enough? Worn out by trying to be enough, enough, enough! Stop! Let God’s word set you free!

As I was writing this a song lyric kept buzzing unwelcomed through my mind: “I gotta be free. I gotta be me.” I couldn’t remember who sang it or what song it was from, and it kept bugging me. So, I googled the words.

I was surprised at how many different songs over the years have a title that talks about wanting freedom. There are scads of them. I found my song. It was sung by Sammy Davis Jr in 1968.

Why are there so many songs written about freedom? What is it that we seek? What is this freedom that human beings seek after, write songs about, and in some cases die for?

What freedom were the patriots of early America seeking? The Declaration of Independence gives us an answer.

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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The dictionary’s meaning for freedom is:
(1) The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.
(2) The power or scope to act as one pleases

Isn’t this what two year olds are after?

Yes, from our beginning we are seeking to be free. This is why the teenager runs away from home. This is why the drug addict does it again, the alcoholic takes another drink. Why the unhappy woman divorces for the third time.

And we call it the pursuit of happiness. But that is not what Thomas Jefferson meant by it.

What did Jefferson mean by “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”?

He meant we make choices everyday. We were made to by our Creator to make choses. But, not all choices are good. Some, made on impulsive behavior, turn out not for our happiness, but for our determent. But, if I say no to drugs, alcohol, or that creamy chocolate eclair because I know it will be bad for my health, I have made a choice for my long-term good. That is the pursuit of happiness Jefferson had in mind. Not the “if it feels good do it” pursuit of happiness that came out of the sixties and still flourishes.

So, why do we all seek the freedom to be happy?

We want to be happy.

But, the problem lies in that on our own we do not know what will make us happy. Even when we have done everything within our power to put ourselves in a happy bubble, in the darkness of night when we are awake and alone we will wonder is this all there is? We may not speak it aloud. We may not dwell on the thought. But it is there brushing through our minds, unasked for, unwanted.

Have you been there? I have. I’ve sung those songs. I want to be free. Gotta be me. Then, God gave me a new song.

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see.

This is the freedom Romans 8 is talking about, our freedom in Christ. And we are going to see it echoed throughout the chapter. Jesus said it Himself, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

So get ready! Paul is going to share with us truths so astounding, so unbelievable, and so glorious that I hope we will be overwhelmed with awe and so be set free in Christ.

Until next time

You are loved

FREE

John 8:31-32

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

My aim in this four part series is that we, dear Christian sister, not be swept away by the cultural deception that there is no absolute truth

Free is the last word in these powerful two verses that we want to dig into. We have already seen that abiding disciples know the truth and it is a liberating truth that sets us free.

Today, we will ask the question: free from what?

A few verses later in John 8 Jesus says:

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36).

I don’t know about you, but this is what I want: to be free indeed.


So, once again we ask what does Jesus intend to set us free from?

As we go further into the passage we see Jesus is talking about the power of sin to control us and the power of the devil to deceive us.

Let’s look at some verses that confirm these two crippling powers have no place in the life of a Jesus follower.

Let’s start at what happened at the cross.

Colossians 2:13-15

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

We are the sinners Christ died for (Romans 5:8). God caused us to be born again (1 Peter 1:3) and forgave us all our sins. How? By nailing our record of debt, a debt of sin we could never repay, to his cross, thereby paying for it himself in our place.

When he did this, look what happened to Satan and his cohorts! He disarmed them and shamed them!

The power of sin in our lives is done for because all of our sins past, present, and future have been paid for.

So, because of this, Paul tells us:

Romans 6:11-14

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

We are free from the dominance of sin in our lives.

Christ came to destroy Satan and his works so we could be free of him. 

Hebrews 2:14 

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.

His hold on us is gone so James tells us:

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).

Remember who you are in Christ.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2).

When the devil tries to pile condemnation on you say, “I am a forgiven child of God. You’ll have to take that condemnation up with Jesus.”

Watch him flee!

As a side-bar, we see in John 8 that people rarely want to hear the truth and it will not make you popular. Jesus caused a riot when he told the Jews the truth about their spiritual condition.

Perhaps you have experienced something similar when you have tried to tell someone about Jesus and how He is their only hope to overcome sin in their lives. Expect it.

Matthew 10:24

A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.

If they rejected Jesus, they will reject you. But, fear not. All authority has been given to Jesus and we stand in His authority (Matt 28).

But, we are not finished. Jesus freed us from the wrath of God.

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God (Romans 5:9).

.Relax, dear Christian sister, eternity with Jesus is yours.

Read Ephesians 2:1-10 often and rejoice!

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

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