A lasting legacy is that which is given at great cost and effort, for the good of others. This Memorial Day, we need to remember those who have given so much at great cost and effort, that we might be free!! It is still costing a lot and my question is, 'Are you worth dying for?'
I know that Jesus feels that you are, but His Lasting Legacy for us, cost Him His all.
Dare we give less in the light of Jesus' sacrifice and the others' in wars? Freedom truly has it's blessings, but also has it's burdens. Freedom is not free! We were missionaries to Korea, arriving 7 years after the War. South Korea was 85% destroyed, but the people were free and today, over 30% are Christians and thousands of churches are open for worship.
However in North Korea, no churches are open and you must worship in secret (or underground). What a pity!
That in life which we gain at great sacrifice produces a more lasting and appreciated legacy....or at least it should!
On this Memorial Day and often, remember to remember!
My older brother served 4 years in WW II when over 400,000 died and tens of thousands were wounded. He died 4 years ago, but all of these have left us a legacy of freedom...and we enjoy it! But we must BE and DO what it takes, so that when our time comes, we leave behind a legacy of freedom and a better world. Also, not only military, but family and friends are to be appreciated, to help us live a worthy legacy to leave behind.
Today, allow me time to share the 'Things That Last' from I Corinthians 13.
"And now abideth Faith, Hope and Love."
1) OUR FIRST LEGACY TO LEAVE IS A LIFE OF FAITH.
Faith will last forever and the older we get, the more it MUST last. After vocal chord cancer and subsequent 32 radiation treatments, I retired at age 64 from the active pastorate. Retiring demands a lot of Faith or you will live in fear. God as always has been sufficient, but supply preaching and interim pastorates have come slowly.
One night when I was unable to sleep, I looked out and it had snowed enough to cover everything and the moon was shining and the snow glistened. Thus, the Creator-Savior calmed my fears and has supplied every need since then, as He always has!
(God uses faith....satan uses fear)
a) Find your faith by making sure that Jesus is the object of your faith. Faith lasts if the object of your faith, lasts.....and Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever! (Hebrews 13:5-8) The greatest lasting legacy we will ever leave, is our faith in Christ. Passing it on, does not work by osmosis, but by being INTENTIONAL about the legacy we leave.
b) Faith your faith by actually using your faith. Faith is a gift, but like a gift....it must be opened, thanking the giver, and used wisely. We are saved and secured by faith because the object is Jesus Who love will never fail.
Paul said, 'We are His workers' .......
and James said, 'The faith that believes will work.'
c) Feed your faith! Next to Christ as the object of our faith, this is the greatest need for us Christians. Romans 10:17 says:
"Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." Feed your faith on the Word of God and doubt will starve to death and you can be victorious!
d) Finish with Faith! Paul said to young Timothy,
"I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith, I have finished the course."
2) OUR SECOND LEGACY TO LEAVE IS HOPE.
Hope CAN last forever. Christian Hope is the conviction we live in friendly universe, that God is Love and that life is going somewhere....and not 'nowhere'. Our world is asking, 'Is there any hope?' The writer of Hebrews 6:19 presents Hope as a 'sure and steadfast anchor of the soul'.
Missionary friend, Sam Moffett of Korea wrote, "The real trouble with the world, is not that it is running out of physical resources, but that it is running out of Hope and it is running out of Hope because it puts it's Hope in the wrong thing.....physical resources for example."
Emil Brunner in 'Eternal Hope' said, "What oxygen is for the lungs, such is Hope for the meaning of human life. Take oxygen away and death occurs, take Hope away and humanity dies."
I love that song, 'My Hope is Built on Nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.' The Apostle Paul wrote in I Cor. 15:19f "If in this life only we have Hope in Christ, we are of all people most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead!"
Faith and Hope are living above SEE level. Seeing is believing....no! Believing and Hope is seeing! We walk by Faith and Hope, not sight!
I wrote during cancer treatment, "Hope is the light not only at the end of the tunnel, but while in the tunnel. It's the sheep with the Shepherd in the valley, the rainbow after the storm, the silver lining with every cloud, and a Friend sticking closer than a brother." Present and future hope come because there was THE resurrection after the crucifixion.
3) THE THIRD LEGACY FOR US TO LEAVE IS LOVE.
I Corinthians 13 says, "Love never fails." It needs to permeate all that we say and do. (See also my website of 12-11-04 entitled, 'It's Love or Nothing')
Allow me to share a few thoughts from that website:
a) Love is something you do.....it is a commitment.
b) Love is a 5 letter word.....CROSS. It has no limit to it's endurance, no end to it's trust and no fading of it's hope. It can outlast anything!
c) Love is the fruit of the spirit from which all other 8 fruits come. (Galatians 5:22-23)
d) Love is to be the only motive for service and ministry. (II Cor. 5:14)
e) Perfect Love (Christ-like love) can cast out all fear (I John 4:18)
f) Two great commandments on the vertical and horizontal dimensions of Love, are found in Mark 12:28-31.
g) I Corinthians 13: 1-3 gives the value of love and verses 4-7 give the virtues of love and 8-13 give the victory of love. You cannot have the victories in life without the virtues.
Erma Bombeck said that she never wanted a TV set or a tote bag to remember her parents, because their true legacy to her, was the way that they lived, not what they left behind.
One man said, "I've concluded that I would like my kids to feel that their Dad helped them learn 'where' to go during the storms of life."
In one of TV's few good programs, 'Touched By An Angel', the statement was made, "Funny thing about fear. It gets in your face and that's all you can see. You cannot (or will not) see there is another choice...now and down the road. A handicapped son was born out of wedlock and the father said, 'This is punishment for sin.' No! Someone took 'truth' and twisted it into shame and you accepted it....instead of God's love."
I like what Pope Benedict XVI said in a meeting with Bishops from Rwanda, trying to avert genocide like 1994 when the majority Hutus killed a half million Tutsis.
"Remain firm in Faith, persevere in Hope, and let the Gospel of Love penetrate and permiate the country."
My favorite motto for living is:
Love to live and live to love! And we can, by and through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, 'Who ever lives to make intercession for us'. (Hebrews 7:25)
Living for the Lord with Faith, Hope and Love leaves a lasting legacy.
A good legacy is not automatic, but very possible.
What kind of legacy are YOU leaving?
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