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Life and Legacy

January 25th, 2019

Satisfaction is in God alone.
“Guard your heart above all else.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT.
My thoughts and comments today are about, “Life and Legacy.”

 

 

Life can get upside down and sometimes backwards. One of those ways that can happen when you believe the world’s model of greatness. It is assumed that the one who appears to exceed others’ abilities and achievements must be smarter, stronger, tougher, and more widely regarded. Inaccurately we reason, maybe somehow, they have more importance than others. In the world’s system that might be so.

But in the Kingdom of God, greatness is described as joyfully and generously serving others. Jesus taught that a satisfying life is about serving God and others, not placing yourself above and before others. Jesus warned, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Read Mark 9:33-37 NIV. Paul was clear, “For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.” Romans 14:18.

Worldly-wise people can do spiritually foolish things. Solomon was the wisest of men, but his excess eventually overcame the wisdom with which he had begun, and to which he would return. He was given exceeding wealth, privilege, and prominence that provided everything he could desire. Yet his unbridled restraint provided unwise opportunity to explore anything his heart desired.

But Solomon finally recognized it all as vanity that created nothing more than futility and emptiness. More stuff just can’t satisfy. Never has. Never will. Because things alone are unsatisfying, they seem to leave an emptiness that the human heart tries to fill with lesser things.

That emptiness happens too easily, almost without notice at first. Without Godly wisdom, a person can become confused by things that seem important but are inconsequential. Solomon discovered, “This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction . . during the few days of life God has given them.” Ecclesiastes 5:18 NIV. Satisfaction is found in God alone.

God’s Word is clear about what demands attention and what deserves your attention. People are always God’s priority – before things, even the best of things. Above all else that clamors for your attention and affections, God and family always merit your first and best.

Life is not about the external matters of, “what you do.” Goodness is internal, “why you do what you do.” Goodness is all about who you are. It begins in your heart. Jesus said, “A good person produces good deeds from a good heart. Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.” Read Luke 6:43-45 NLT.

Solomon advised, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT. And being who you can be has everything to do with your willingness and invitation to place Christ first and foremost in your heart. When Jesus has His rightful place, life is right side up and in spiritual order. Could that be why they describe good people as, “upright and upstanding?”

Your life can be your greatest legacy, and an abiding Godly example for your family and friends to follow. There is no inheritance you will leave behind that would exceed the heritage of your Godly instruction and personal example. Today, I pray for you to keep eternal values preeminent in your life.

Christian Communications 2019
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A Family Legacy

June 18th, 2016

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the Truth.” 3 John 4.

A father’s delight rests in his heart

throughout his lifetime, as well as yours.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “a family legacy.”

Some time ago, I came across a yellowed note my Mom had written years earlier. As I read her words, I was unprepared for my emotional response. Her words leaped from the page into my heart, “Your Dad would be so proud of you, as I am.” You see my Dad died in a highway accident when I was just 21, newly married, and a senior in college, and yet now in my early seventies my eyes become moist as I read those words. Somehow even now, those words of his pride stir something deep within my heart.

I was not prepared for how such a simple statement of my Dad’s and Mom’s feelings about me, written on a piece of yellowed stationary, would still mean so much to me after all of these years since his death and more recently hers. Solomon wisely observed, “The father of the righteous has great joy; he who has a wise child delights in them.” Proverbs 23:24 NIV. I am not sure I always live up to Solomon’s words, but I am grateful that my Dad felt I did. That I could give my parents delight after all they had given me was and is my greatest joy.

I was struck by the realization that a father’s delight rests in his heart throughout his lifetime, and continues throughout yours. Being reminded of my Dad’s love and pride means as much at this stage of my life as it did when he was alive and I was young. But I am sure that though he would commend whatever accomplishments with which God has graced my life, he would be most proud that our family continues his legacy of faith that I learned at his knee and from his pulpit. He was my pastor, as well as my Dad.

Imagine how Jesus felt at the Jordan River when the voice of God was heard from Heaven, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17 NKJV. Reading those words, you can feel the Father’s pride – His bursting joy and delight – and know the moral and spiritual strengthening that Jesus experienced as He set out to do the Father’s will. It would yet be three and a half years before Jesus would say, “I have finished the work that You gave Me to do,” and before He would hang on a cross and confidently declare to the Father, “It is finished.“ On that cross, yours and my Redeemer died for the forgiveness of our sins.

Now as a Dad, grandfather, and great grandfather, I know what delight feels like. When I see the good and Godly man, husband, and dad our son has become, and the Godly woman, wife, and mom our daughter has become, and adult grandchildren who love and live for Jesus, Gayle and I are grateful for God’s grace to the Randolph family. Joy and delight hardly describe the satisfaction that Gayle and I find in knowing our children and their spouses, as well as our grandchildren, are committed to walking in righteousness and Godly wisdom.

John’s words would be mine as well, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the Truth.” 3 John 4 NKJV. Whatever you achieve in life is secondary to the knowledge that you have embraced faith, and your Godly legacy abides in your family.

Today, I pray for you to live wisely that the Father may delight in you.

Family picture Nov 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Communications 2016-6199

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A Spiritual Heritage

April 16th, 2016

Your work produced by faith, labor prompted by love, and endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV.

A meaningless life while you live is meaningless after you live.

My comments today urge you to value, “a spiritual heritage.”

Is death the end of everything? Really? Some people believe that it is, but even they wish they didn’t believe that. Such a belief certainly offers no consolation when facing death. The Bible is clear that death is inevitable, and a very real appointment with God awaits afterward. “Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God.” Hebrews 9:27 TEV. That seems simple enough. As a follower of Christ, I believe there is an afterlife, an eternal life after death. If this life were all there is, that would not be enough.

There is an enduring hope for all who place faith in Christ as Savior that is asserted true by His own death, resurrection, and ascension to Father God. I cannot imagine everyday life without such an everyday faith; I certainly would not try living without that very real relationship and substantial hope. “We who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary, where Jesus, Who went before us, has entered on our behalf.” Hebrews 6:18-20 NIV.

Max Lucado, a local pastor and popular author, wrote a book with the intriguing title, “Outlive your Life.” Many are happy just to live their life, with little thought or regard to outliving those brief years. God meant for your life to “outlive” you. How? By an enduring impact on others’ lives that will extend beyond yours. Everyone will have a history; for some unfortunately, that will be all they have. They will leave little or nothing that will last after they are gone; nothing they are or do will outlive them. A meaningless life while you live will remain meaningless after you live.

I love the beauty, architecture, and history of our nation’s capital, Washington DC, a city filled with monuments and memorials like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery that commemorate heroic, exemplary lives that have inspired generations who never knew them but still know of them. They call us back to what we’ve been to empower us to become what we should be. My personal goal is to leave a spiritual legacy for family and friends that lingers after my history has been written.

May it be said of you and me, “We continually remember . . your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV. My Dad died too young. He didn’t leave much of worldly goods, but he left me an invaluable Godly heritage by his faith and example. I live so as to leave more than memories or inheritance; I purpose to leave a loving, Godly heritage. After life, what then? What will you leave that is lasting? Jesus said to His disciples, “I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last.” John 15:16 NLT. Fruit that will last. That’s how you, “outlive your life.” Leave an inspiring legacy of eternal worth.

Today, I pray for you to live and leave a Godly heritage for family and friends.

Christian Communications 2016

Dad and son with Bible

 

 

 

 

 

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A Personal and Family Legacy

January 15th, 2016

“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 NIV.

Your history need not determine your destiny.

My thoughts and comments are about “a personal and family legacy.”

When my Dad died in a highway accident at a young age of forty-four years, he did not leave many material things – a small house worth only what was owed on it, and an insurance policy for four thousand dollars. Invaluable to me, my Dad left something that still shapes much of who I am and what I believe. As was said of a young, Judean king, Josiah, I would describe my Dad in those same words, “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” 2 Kings 22:2 NIV. I realize how often his words and personal example deposited practical, Godly wisdom that still guides my actions and decisions, long after his life ended.

My Dad’s life still challenges me to be better than I would have been without his example and instruction. I hope I will have continued that legacy for our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and through them to the generations that will follow. In a previous devotional this week, I commented on another verse that motivates me, “Therefore God was not ashamed to be called their God.” Hebrews 11:16 NIV. I want that to be true of my life. (If you have not yet read EDL “Unashamed,” from January 13, I encourage you to do so. Just click on the title.) And I want God and others to also say of me, “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.”

My dearest of friends, Campbell, was twenty-six years my senior and thirty-three years my friend. He still is in my heart; his life not his death occupies my thoughts of him. Like my Dad, Campbell left a legacy of righteousness to me – and many others – by his exemplary character and spiritual integrity. He held little concern that I be like him but modeled a holy passion that I be more like Jesus. Paul gave practical advice, “Since you are God’s dear children, you must try to be like Him.” Ephesians 5:1 TEV. I am a better man, husband, father, pastor, and friend through the influence of his friendship.

“He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord . . not turning aside to the right or the left,” was written about Josiah, King of Judah, who reigned for thirty-one years beginning at the age of eight. His father, Amon, and grandfather, Manasseh, were notorious. Their record was despicable not enviable, a shameful history of idolatry and evil, committing wrongs against men and sins against God. Your history need not determine your destiny. Instead of his parentage, Josiah chose a Godly example to follow. “Josiah . . walked in all the ways of David.” 2 Kings 22:2 NIV. Josiah chose a different path, a path in which he did what was right.

You did not choose your history, but you must choose your destiny. Josiah found and followed God’s Word. Read 2 Kings 22:8-23:25 NIV. Of Josiah, the Bible says, “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did – with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength.” 2 Kings 23:25 NIV. Jesus said the first commandment is, “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” Mark 12:30 NKJV.

Choose the path you take. Choose a Godly heritage for your family. “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 NIV. You have a choice in your destiny; you have a voice to a next generation. Right is not always the popular way nor least costly, but doing what is right is always the right thing to do. Your legacy to the next generation depends upon your Godly example today.

Today, I pray for you to seize every opportunity to choose what is right and live pleasing to God.

Family Legacy

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Communications

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A Family Legacy

May 12th, 2015

EDL pix legacy“Your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother and mother.”    2 Timothy 1:5 NIV.

A family legacy is intentional, never coincidental.

My thoughts and comments today are about “a family legacy.”

The recent weekend prompted my reflections about legacy. “Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation.” Ronald Reagan. Imagine the costly waste of social, financial, educational, intellectual, and spiritual capital if every generation were left to learn the necessary life lessons without benefit of the knowledge and experience of previous generations.

Sincere faith ignites spiritual life in others. Paul wrote of young Timothy, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother, and in your mother, and I am persuaded now lives in you also.” Read 2 Timothy 1:4-7 NIV. The faith that captured young Timothy’s heart was practical and personal. Timothy benefited from a multi-generational, family heritage of incomparable worth. A family legacy is never coincidental; a spiritual legacy is produced by clear and Godly intentionality.

The transmission of your personal faith and Biblical convictions must not be left to chance. Lessons of life and vital faith practices should be faithfully handed from generation to generation. Amid growing secularism and misapplied political correctness about religious pluralism, Christian families must guard a vital faith that is a transferable experience while its application is contemporary and individual.

Few understand the extent of a family’s impression on what you believe about yourself, who you become, or with what attitude you embrace life. You may not recognize the subtlety of how or when the imprint of parenting is happening nor the significance of how parents impact the deepest part of your personality throughout your lifetime. Godly parents’ example and influence always remains with you.

Together, my parents gave the best of their time and talent to family and ministry, so growing up my life had a dual center – home and church, each inseparable from the other. By example, I was taught the joy and privilege of the integration of our family and lives into the calling of ministry. Church was the heart of our home and family and the unique calling that made us what we were. I credit my parents for keeping church and home in balance.

Gratefully, I am the product of my Dad’s sermons and my Mom’s songs. My Dad taught me to love God with a whole heart, and to serve God faithfully with creativity and excellence. My Mom taught me appreciation for order and cleanliness, and for beauty and style. Together, they taught me to be gracious and generous, to appreciate people for the special person God made them to become, and to be confident in who God made me to be.

I am grateful for the Godly legacy that marks my path and shapes our lives and the lives of our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and every generation until Jesus returns. With a family legacy comes a sacred responsibility to keep faith with generations who will follow you.

Today, I pray for you that your goal is clear and your determination steadfast.

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