Tag Archives: legacy

1 Samuel 24; 1 Corinthians 5; Ezekiel 3; Psalm 39

There is something bigger at stake than removing a threat.

After Saul returned from fighting the Philistines, he was told that David had gone into the wilderness of En-gedi. So Saul chose 3,000 elite troops from all Israel and went to search for David and his men near the rocks of the wild goats. (1 Samuel 24:1, NLT)

Saul leaves one fight to pursue another. Could his heart ever be satisfied? Would the threats ever stop tormenting him? Is he the hunter or the hunted?

David’s in a cave with a force behind him. They encourage him–a deliverance of a sort that could be settled in that instant. I watch David from the shadows and hold my breath as he reaches forward and cuts a piece of Saul’s robe. David’s conscience speaks to him–because there is something bigger at stake than removing a threat.

War and gore weren’t new to these men; they were both fighters and leaders–whether for better or worse. What was it fueling Saul? What was it holding David back? While this story reads like a suspense, today, I look past opposing forces and see the heart.

***

A garden untended in a summer gone too fast, and weeds are up to my waist in some places. I climb over the rocky bases and grasp and pull at thorny mile-a-minute, weak-rooted Japanese stiltgrass, and other varieties I know by familiarity than by name–ones that reach, embed, choke out nearby azalea and lilac. This year, I get half through and don’t finish. I think about emotions in a grieving process. I look at the weeds and how quickly they’ve taken over a space. Some being light, but persistent. Others, painful to touch. Some, likely poisonous and tormenting. It is work to remove them. I know the longer I neglect the process, the worse it will become.

I said to myself, “I will watch what I do
    and not sin in what I say.
I will hold my tongue
    when the ungodly are around me.”
But as I stood there in silence—
    not even speaking of good things—
    the turmoil within me grew worse.
The more I thought about it,
    the hotter I got,
    igniting a fire of words:
Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
    Remind me that my days are numbered—
    how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
    My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
    at best, each of us is but a breath.” (Psalm 39:1-5, NLT)

At best, a breath.

I got the proof for my parents’ grave marker yesterday–names and dates.

We are merely moving shadows,
    and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth,
    not knowing who will spend it.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
    My only hope is in you. (Psalm 39:6-7, NLT)

My only hope is in you.

***

The voice said to me, “Son of man, eat what I am giving you—eat this scroll! Then go and give its message to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he fed me the scroll. “Fill your stomach with this,” he said. And when I ate it, it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. (Ezekiel 3:1-3, NLT)

Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7b-8, NLT)

Lord, I turn to your word. It fills me and instructs me. It is a feast, and I celebrate the new bread of sincerity and truth.

Courtney (66books365)

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Joshua 24, Jeremiah 13, Matthew 27, Acts 4

In my Bible next to the passage in Joshua 24 is a handwritten note that says, “Christianity is just one generation away from extinction.” I have never understood that more than when I became a parent. The weight of carrying on a legacy of faith in our family is heavy on my heart. It requires thought, commitment, time, action. Joshua knew his life was coming to an end. He had lead God’s people for decades after Moses died. He followed the Lord’s commands and listened for His voice for direction. Now, he was questioning the people of God to see if they had caught on to his teaching and leading.

After reminding the Israelites of God’s mighty power and protection that they had received as a nation for hundreds of years, Joshua asks the people, not once, not twice, but THREE times whom they will serve.  Joshua said:

 

“Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord, the God of Israel.”  And the people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and his voice we will obey.” Joshua 24:23-24.

Service requires commitment and action. We are called to put away (idols) and put on (Christ). We are to look different and act different than the world around us. Often, I find it difficult to hear the Lord because of all that goes on around me. Passing on the legacy of faith is not easy in any day and age but with the buzz of technology that distracts our hearts and minds, I find it increasingly difficult to teach my children to walk with the Lord. Idols are everywhere. They look shiny, they may even appear as service to the Lord.

As a parent, I look to God’s word to help guide me in teaching my children. Joshua was intentional. Not only in his personal walk with the Lord but in teaching it to the people he was leading. He did not take the job lightly. He lead by example and at the end of his life he challenged the people one last time and the people “caught” it:

Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel.” Joshua 24:31

My greatest desire as a mom, is for my children to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and to follow him all the days of their life. That to me is success! Reading further on in God’s word, the nation’s faith declines because they stopped following God’s commands and instead followed the idols of their time. It reminds us as parents and believers that we have must be intentional in passing on God’s word. Jeremiah reminds the people that we must walk closely with the Lord:

For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.” Jeremiah 13:11

Dear Lord, my greatest desire in life is that I do not keep my faith as my own but pass it on to others so that your name would be lifted high. Drown out the distractions of this world and help me to be intentional in my daily walk, clinging only to you. Amen.

Kate

 

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Isaiah 17-19; Psalm 62; 1 Corinthians 1

In that day man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands, and he will not look on what his own fingers made. In that day their strong cities will be like the deserted places of the wooded heights and the hilltops…For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge.” Isaiah 17:7-10 ESV

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” I Corinthians 1:26-31 ESV

After hearing about the football legend Frank Gifford’s passing, I watched his wife, Kathy Lee Gifford give a tribute to his life. She spoke about how his life was changed after the two of them visited the Holy Land and saw stones like the ones that David threw at Goliath. They brought home stones as a way to remember how that trip deeply impacted their lives and brought Frank closer to His Savior. When someone would come into their house to see Frank’s trophies, he would show them the stone. She said that each of their kids got a stone for their graduation as a symbol of where they would throw their stone into the world. Kathy Lee asked the question, “Where will you throw your stone?” Her words made me think deeply about my life and legacy. How fleeting this life is. Especially as my kids start a new school year, to keep my perspective on whats important. Maybe it is not them being chosen first or winning trophies for excellence. While I want them to try their best. My prayer is that they stay close to Jesus.

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken…for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.” Psalm 62:1-7 ESV

Dear Father, please forgive me when I let the cares of this world cloud out my view of You. I pray that I would reach out to others with the love You have shown me. Help me to stay humble while being a shining light for You. Because my pursuit of You is what is most important. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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2 Kings 15-16; Matthew 21

I recently read of a high school teacher’s death in the comments section under a photo in Facebook. He was a music teacher, and I knew of him even though I never played an instrument. I wondered about him and looked up his name online. I found a small paragraph about him from the funeral home’s website. His life was all about music, and whether or not he was a believer, I have no doubt God put that beautiful desire and skill in his heart. This teacher continued his own studies after kids he taught had graduated. He even played on stage with famous names.

Reading about his life made me think long on legacy and influence.

2 Kings 15-16 chronicles leaders.

Uzziah son of Amaziah began to rule over Judah in the twenty-seventh year of the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel. He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem.

He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. But he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. The Lord struck the king with leprosy, which lasted until the day he died. He lived in isolation in a separate house. The king’s son Jotham was put in charge of the royal palace, and he governed the people of the land. 2 Kings 15:1-5, NLT.

Or this:

13 Shallum son of Jabesh began to rule over Israel in the thirty-ninth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. Shallum reigned in Samaria only one month. 14 Then Menahem son of Gadi went to Samaria from Tirzah and assassinated him, and he became the next king.

16 At that time Menahem destroyed the town of Tappuah and all the surrounding countryside as far as Tirzah, because its citizens refused to surrender the town. He killed the entire population and ripped open the pregnant women.

17 Menahem son of Gadi began to rule over Israel in the thirty-ninth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria ten years. 18 But Menahem did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. During his entire reign, he refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. 2 Kings 15:13-18, NLT.

How humbling that lifetimes and legacy can be summarized in a few lines.

18 In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, 19 and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up. Matthew 21:18-19, NLT.

The fig tree gave the impression of health and fullness, but it produced no fruit.

Lord, help me to prepare my thoughts and heart for the tasks ahead of me. I need you every minute of the day. You have wired me to do certain things–and I pray that I do them wholeheartedly for you.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Chronicles 22-25; Psalm 78; Romans 5

It seemed like a selection. David’s hands wouldn’t be the ones to build the temple, too much blood. His son would succeed him.

Then David sent for his son Solomon and instructed him to build a Temple for the Lord, the God of Israel. “My son, I wanted to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God,” David told him. “But the Lord said to me, ‘You have killed many men in the battles you have fought. And since you have shed so much blood in my sight, you will not be the one to build a Temple to honor my name. But you will have a son who will be a man of peace. I will give him peace with his enemies in all the surrounding lands. His name will be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel during his reign. 10 He is the one who will build a Temple to honor my name.'” 1 Chronicles 22:6-10a, NLT.

God called Solomon son. (I love that part.)

“‘He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will secure the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’” 1 Chronicles 22:10b, NLT.

These scriptures talk about appointment, leadership, service, obedience (and disobedience). Through generations, families prepared and trained in their trade or talent–maybe at times they didn’t imagine a bigger purpose aside from their now, but generations later that work would build the house of the Lord.

Adam’s story was part of a bigger story.

18 Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. 19 Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. Romans 5:18-19, NLT.

Through Christ’s work, death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit can now live in me. And I can also be called a child of God. (I love that part!)

For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:5b, NLT.

I think about what it is God has prepared for me to do. A lot of it just looks like my now, but God knows how any of that will endure.

Lord, you are my heart’s delight. I know there are times when I’m forgetful of what you’ve done or said, and I’m thankful for people in my life who speak truth to me. Thank you for calling me daughter and loving me dearly. I love you too.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Judges 1-3; Psalm 16; Luke 20

A time came after the death of Joshua when the People of Israel asked God, “Who will take the lead in going up against the Canaanites to fight them?” And God said, “Judah will go. I’ve given the land to him..God was certainly with Judah in that they took over the hill country…God’s angel went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you out of Egypt; I led you to the land that I promised to your fathers; and I said, I’ll never break my covenant with you-never! Eventually that entire generation died and was buried.” Judges 1&2 MSG

The people didn’t believe God after Joshua died…it seemed like their faith died too. They had no one to look up to and spur them on. They forgot who gave Joshua his strength and let their weakness defeat them.Then another generation grew up that didn’t know anything of God or the work he had done for Israel.”Judges 3 MSG

I pray that my kids would seek Jesus and know that He is the only way to real life. I want to show them through lessons learned, more often than not, the hard way, that God’s promises really are true… He can bind up a broken heart, He provides, He does answer prayers, He is always with them. My desire is that they would“Set the Lord always before them; that they would know because He is at their right hand, they will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8 ESV.

Thank you Father for your death on the cross for my sins. That You have set me free and given me victory over death. I praise You for who You are. I am so grateful for what You have done in my life. I want to live my days being focused on the life I have in You.

Even Moses exclaimed about resurrection at the burning bush, saying, ‘God: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob!’God isn’t the God of dead men, but of the living. To him all are alive.” Luke 20:34-38 MSG

Amy(amyctanner)

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1 Chronicles 26-27; John 11:18-46

In 1 Chronicles, there’s an account of gatekeepers, treasurers, commanders and leaders. It’s the extra information that stands out to me.

The sons of Obed-edom, also gatekeepers, were Shemaiah (the oldest), Jehozabad (the second), Joah (the third), Sacar (the fourth), Nethanel (the fifth), Ammiel (the sixth), Issachar (the seventh), and Peullethai (the eighth). God had richly blessed Obed-edom.

Obed-edom’s son Shemaiah had sons with great ability who earned positions of great authority in the clan. Their names were Othni, Rephael, Obed, and Elzabad. Their relatives, Elihu and Semakiah, were also very capable men. 1 Chronicles 26:4-7, NLT.

In lists of names and jobs throughout scripture, I always slow when a little extra information is given about an individual. This is the stuff that made the cut, that has been copied and translated through the millennia. It’s all I have to flesh out an impression of that person.

These things make me think on legacy. Very little may be passed down about each of us, and yet, influence can reach vertically within a family line for generations, as well as horizontally to those around us (and whether our names are attached to actions or not, those actions can still ripple out).

I worked with some teenagers from Christian families last school year. I wonder how far back that love for Christ travels. Who was the first in their families to believe and pass that love down? Who was an outside influence that affected change in a life? In my family, my husband and I are believers who raise our kids with knowledge and love for the Lord. Will that continue four generations from now? I can’t know.
When I am tempted to think on things lost and the weight of sin through generations, its destruction of dreams and crushing of lives, I am reminded to stand in front of the tomb.

38 Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. 39 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.

But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”

40 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” 41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” John 11:38-42, NLT.

Jesus can take what’s lost, what’s broken, what’s dead, and through it we can see God’s glory.

Lord, there are broken relationships in my life, places where grudge or unforgiveness have pushed out love. When I am tempted to bury hope behind stones of preservation, help me to roll them aside so that you can do your work.
Courtney (66books365)

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