Devotion

To care for you, provide for you,

              And help you through the day.

 

To lift you up and give you peace

In the storms of your life.

 

To grow your faith, renew your strength

And to meet your needs.

 

To protect you from your fears

And bless you as you bless others.

 

To love and forgive

As you love and forgive others

 

To comfort you when you fall

And bring joy back to your life.

 

In tough time and good times,

God works for your good. 

 

He always has and always will. 

You can count on his faithfulness to you. 

 

Can he count on your faithfulness to him?

 

Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.  Jeremiah 4:31

 

The Importance of Leaving a Legacy of Faithfulness

Walk through any cemetery and glance at the dates that surround you. Many tombstones speak of an individual who lived before computers, cars, or indoor plumbing existed. In my hometown of Franklin, Tennessee, we have a cemetery in which many soldiers from the Civil War are buried. Many of these soldiers have been dead for close to 150 years. Consider for a moment that aside from these pieces of granite or marble, there are relatively few “material” possessions from these soldiers still in existence.

What is the legacy you will leave behind?

So what did these men of previous generations leave behind? Simply put, every single one of them left behind some type of legacy. Americans spend an enormous amount of time amassing “material” things—so we certainly don’t like to think about the very real fact that one day, all of it will be gone. Our cars will rust and probably be recycled into future material. Our homes will decay and one day be replaced. Our stocks, clothes, and electronics will be things of the past. The only thing that will be passed into the future will be our legacy. While we draft up wills in consideration of where our earthly possessions will go, we don’t give much thought about passing along a living legacy.

Here’s what I intend to teach my children on their legacy.

When I die, each one of you will receive some of my physical possessions. While I hope those goods help you in your future walks of life, my prayer is that you will treasure the spiritual training that your mom and I passed on even more than the material things. I have shared with each of you that my greatest desire is to see you in Heaven—for you to marry strong Christians and rear future generations of Christians. For you see, this will be my legacy.

This is what I will be passing down to generations I will never live to see. Consider how it would feel if you knew someone back in 1912 was working diligently to make sure you remained faithful to God. That is a unique feeling and one you may struggle to truly grasp. My prayer is that you will look into the future and consider what you can do to ensure future generations of Harrubs will be faithful. The reality is in 100 years people will not care what your career was—and more than likely you will be forgotten. But your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will still be affecting the world. Start thinking now about what your legacy will be. Maybe for you it will be 100 years of no unfaithfulness to God in your lineage. Or maybe your legacy will be 100 years without divorce or alcoholic beverages. The point is you need to consider what your legacy will be, and then start working diligently, with passion and perseverance, toward that goal (Proverbs 16:3).

One of the greatest blessings in the Bible was given to a family that held to a family legacy of no alcoholic beverages. In Jeremiah 35 we learn about the Rechabites. The Rechabites were the descendants of Rechab through Jonadab (or Jehonadab). This special family belonged to the Kenites who accompanied the children of Israel into the Promised Land and dwelt among them. We know for instance Moses married a Kenite wife (Judges 1:16).

In Jeremiah 35 the descendants of Jonadab are offered wine. We find their response in verse 6: “But they said, ‘We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, “You shall drink no wine, you nor your sons, forever.’” Because of their obedience, this family receives one of the strongest blessings in the Bible. And Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Because you have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts and done according to all that he commanded you,’ therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me forever’ ” (Jeremiah 35:18-19, emp. added).

My children, this is a legacy! This blessing is worth far more than any material possession I can pass along to you. The reality is we will all leave behind a legacy. I pray that your legacy will be seen through future generations of faithful Christians. Always remember Judges 2:10, “When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.” Hopefully your children will grow to be future elders, preachers, and Christian homemakers.

Consider the words of the inspired psalmist: “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. You shall keep them, O Lord, You shall preserve them from this generation. 

That Other Good Man

It is remarkable that only two men in the Bible are described as “good men.” Most are not surprised that Barnabas is called good, but they are amazed when they learn who that other good man is. His actions are so important that they are mentioned in all four of the gospels. He is Joseph of Arimathea, the man who “loaned” his tomb to Jesus.

Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin, the council which governed Jerusalem. The King James describes him as an honorable council member, but the New King James more clearly described him. He was its prominent council member. His goodness brought him respect from his peers.

Joseph was a rich man, who used his blessings to glorify God. Sometimes we tend to immediately assume that rich men cannot be godly, but such is not true. Riches dominate the lives of every person, except the lives of those who do not love riches. Joseph used his wealth to purchase the linen garment in which Jesus was buried. It was used to obtain one of the choicest burial sites, a tomb just outside Jerusalem surrounded by a garden. He was a rich man who gave his best to the Lord.

Joseph was a man who did so much for the Lord when all others stood and watched. He went before Pilate and claimed the body of Jesus at a time when being Jesus’ friend even caused His disciples to flee. It was Joseph who took His body from the cross. It was Joseph who purchased the burial shroud. It was Joseph who wrapped that body in the linen cloth. It was Joseph who had hewn his own tomb out of the rock in that garden. It was Joseph who gave that tomb to Jesus who had no place to lay His head. It was Joseph, who with Nicodemus, used a hundred pounds of precious spices for His burial. It was Joseph who rolled the stone to close the grave that heaven would open.

Joseph was a bold man of faith when it really mattered. Joseph was described as a secret disciple, for others did not realize his devotion. Yet he alone stepped to the front at the crucial time in the life of Jesus. Mark said that Joseph went in boldly before Pilate and asked for the body. The Greek indicates more than just asking; he demanded the body!

Joseph was waiting for the coming kingdom. He knew about the King and His promise of the kingdom. When others thought the kingdom would never happen, Joseph’s faith did not waver. The Lord taught that men should put the kingdom first, and Joseph honored His teaching.

Where would we be without Joseph? The story of Jesus could have been so different without him! Think about it. Someday another body will be raised from that same tomb!

The Attribute of Meekness

Meekness is an important quality in Christianity. Please consider this subject for further study.

Moses demonstrated meekness.

First, notice meekness defined. Thayer defines this concept as “gentleness, mildness.” Meekness is one of the attributes of “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22 23). It is also one of the attitudes that Jesus mentioned necessary in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:5). Paul tells the young preacher Timothy to ensue such (1 Tim. 6:11). It is one of the attributes Christians are encouraged to apply as a part of our new life (Col. 3:12). It is a part of the worthy vocation (Eph. 4:2). The psalmist describes it this way: “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way…But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace…The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground” (Ps. 25:9; 37:11; 147:6).

Next, notice meekness exemplified. The Bible mentions two specific people who were meek. The first one was Moses. A parenthetical statement in Numbers 12:3 reads: “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” The statement is profound considering the context in which the book of Numbers records it. His own family (Aaron and Miriam) were complaining against him. Considering all of the troubles and trials that he faced in leading such a large nation from Egypt to Canaan for several decades, meekness must be an important trait for leaders—the ability to handle rejection and com plaints with gentleness. The other example—one that is perfect—is our Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah prophesied concerning such in Isaiah 11:14. He Himself invited humanity with such when He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:2830). We find His meekness pictured in His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, not riding a great, white stallion, but a lowly donkey: “Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass” (Matt. 21:5). Even the apostle Paul appealed to “the meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:1).

Now, notice meekness applied. We are to use meekness in restoring our wayward brethren (Gal. 6:1) and our brethren who leave the truth (2 Tim. 2:2426). Paul asked, “Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?” (1 Cor. 4:21). It is a characteristic of elders (Titus 3:2). Spouses who are married to non-Christians especially need such in their relationship (cf. 1 Pet. 3:4). All Christians need such as a part of our faith—“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Pet. 3:15).

May all of us realize the importance of this attribute and seek to perfect it in our lives.

When People Mistreat You

I could quote the verse long before I really felt the impact God intended for it to have in my life. It was several years ago, when we lived in Birmingham, that one of my children’s Bible classes was memorizing short phrases from the Bible. The teacher asked for my help and I readily responded. Decades have passed, but I distinctly remember those six words of Paul and the impact they had on me. What were those words? “Be ye kind one to another” (Eph. 4:32).

Remember kindness!

The Bible demands kindness. We are told to be kindly affectionate to each other (Rom. 12:21); to be kind and forgiving (Eph. 4:32); to put on kindness (Col. 3:12) and to give all diligence in adding kindness to our faith (2 Pet. 1:5-7).

The Bible illustrates kindness. The lives of those saints of old show what kindness is, and we are amazed as we read about them. Joseph was kind to his brothers who sold him as a slave (Gen. 50:21); Moses was kind to the seven daughters of Reuel who were mistreated by the evil shepherds; David was kind to the crippled grandson of evil King Saul (2 Sam. 9); and the good Samaritan was kind to that stranger, beaten and bleeding, whom he saw beside the road. As we read these stories, we are amazed at how differently these saints reacted from the way we would have reacted!

It is so easy to be kind to some people. When people show kindness to us we readily respond kindly to them. Jesus described it in these words, “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matt. 5:46). The measure of our kindness is not determined by how we treat those who are kind to us.

It is so hard to be kind to some people. Those words of Jesus follow His words about how we should deal with our enemies, with those who curse us, with those who hate us and those who despise us, with those who out of spite take advantage of us and persecute us. We are to love them, bless them, do good to them and pray for them. Here is the measure of true kindness. It is manifested in how we treat people who are rude to us in the market place, to co-workers who mistreat us, to family members who aggravate us and to all those whose agenda seems to be to hurt us with words and deeds. Here is the measure of true kindness.

Kindness is not what we do, it is what we are. The reality is that if we wait until the moment of conflict with unkind people to decide what to do, we will likely respond unkindly. Kindness is a trait of heart, not an artificial action. Kind people do not have to decide to act kindly. This is their automatic response! It is who they are.

God help us to be kind one to another!

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