Legacy of Faithfulness

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?

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 forever” (Psalm 12:6-7). Now if we can just figure out who gets my collection of ball caps when I’m gone.

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Are You Ashamed?

When I Am Ashamed—My Belly Is My God

There is a marked contrast between Paul’s attitude when he said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (Rom. 1:16), and the attitude so many have today. Tragically, there were those in the first century who were ashamed of the gospel, and the same attitude is found in our day.

Do you feel ashamed?  Why?

Do you feel ashamed? Why?

Some are ashamed of brethren who boldly speak the truth. When David, the young shepherd, visited his brothers and heard the challenge of Goliath, he could not be silent. Every word he said that day was true. He asked, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God” (1 Sam. 17:26)? His own brothers were ashamed of him and did all they could to silence him. They were not truly servants of God. They put themselves above truth.

Some are ashamed of brothers who have done wrong and then change and do right. An illustration is the attitude of the older brother of the penitent prodigal son (Luke 15). Look as his heart. He was quite content to ignore his brother’s behavior in the foreign land. But when the prodigal returned, his self-centered heart became obvious. Tragically some in the church can so easily ignore brethren who have gone astray, and deep in their hearts hope they do not have to deal with them if they return. They are truly self-centered!

Some are ashamed of the teaching of the Bible and change what they teach to avoid criticism. We live in a land where the attitude which demands political correctness has entered the hearts of some Christians. This attitude seeks to avoid all confrontation with error. (The blessing of church problems is clearly shown in 1 Cor. 11:19). There are those who want peace whatever the cost.

In the first century, there were those who sought to compromise the truth about religious circumcision. They were fearful that the consequence of the apostles’ teaching would create more opposition and hardship from the Jews. They wanted peace above everything and changed their teachings (Gal. 6:12).

How does the Bible describe those who will not stand for truth? There is a remarkable phrase used by God which graphically depicts them. When men take God off of the throne and replace Him with their self-centered desires, God is no longer God. David’s brothers removed God from His place and put their own needs first. The older brother rejected the heart of his father and replaced his father’s wishes with his own desires. Those who changed God’s teaching about circumcision no longer had the God of truth on the throne. What is that phrase God used to describe them? Their god is their own belly (Phil. 3:19). Wow! Think about it!

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Prayer life?

How’s Our Prayer Life?

It is my sincere hope that all of us pray to our Father in heaven, and pray often.  The Bible says to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17), and we should remember that this verse is a command from God that he expects us to obey.  Prayer is not an optional thing if we want to be saved; since Christ is “the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him” (Heb. 5:9), we must obey the commands to pray often if we want to see Heaven.

Have you talked with your Father in Prayer today?

Have you talked with your Father in Prayer today?

We should also want the Lord to be pleased with our prayers and to answer them.  Have we ever stopped to consider what exactly it is that we pray for?  Have we ever thought about for whose benefit it is that we are praying for?  We should.  Consider the example of Solomon’s prayer and God’s response to it (1 Kings 3:5-14).  He did not ask that God give him a long life, or a lot of money.  He did not ask that God do something bad to his enemies.  Instead, he asked for wisdom and understanding to make the right judgment calls in life.  God was so impressed with this that he not only gave Solomon wisdom, but also granted to him all the things that he didn’t ask for.

We can pray to our heavenly Father about our jobs, our health, our school work, and our finances.  We have the example of a man God called honorable who prayed for these types of things (1 Chr. 4:9-10).  These aren’t bad things to pray about, and praying about such things is certainly better than not praying at all.  However, how many of these things will be with us a century from now?  None!

Let’s remember to pray also for the spiritual, the things that we can keep forever such as love, mercy, humility, understanding, meekness, patience, and honesty.  These are qualities of the heart that truly matter to God and will truly help us reach heaven.  They, rather than our successes in this world, are what matter in the long run.  Remember also that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), so we should pray for the spiritual and physical well-being of others more than for ourselves.
We should all want to get to heaven as our top priority, so let’s make sure we are aiming at the right target by asking for the best things to help us and everyone else get there.  Let’s seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness before all other things, and He will provide the rest (Matt. 6:33).

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Jonas El Profeta

EL PROFETA QUE RETÓ A DIOS – JONAS

La Biografía del Profeta Jonás Podemos encontrar el libro entero es decir cuatro capítulos enteros en los cuales se describen la vida y obra de este personaje Bíblico. Jonás vivió cerca del año 700-780  y el era hijo de Amitaí. En el libro de 2Reyes 14:25 encontramos la misma referencia de Jonás 1:1 en referencia a el origen del profeta, también su ciudad de Gathefer, la cual obviamente es Galilea. Cuando los fariseos hacían acusaciones de Jesús la afirmación que hicieron en Juan 7:52 “escudriña y ve que en Galilea nunca se ha levantado profeta”,  fue nada más y nada menos que una vil mentira, porque Jonás era de Galilea y fue profeta. En la época de Jonás, Asiria era el imperio más poderoso del este. La capital del Imperio Asirio había sido la antigua Nínive, cuyo constructor había sido Nimrod, quien también construyó Rehobot, Resen y Cala (Cala es la única ciudad que en las Escrituras se la llama “ciudad grande”). Es probable que la expresión “aquella gran ciudad” de Jonás 1:2 tenga la misma connotación.

Jonás era un profeta de Dios , sin embargo, mucho más.

Jonás era un profeta de Dios , sin embargo, mucho más.

Jonás había recibido de parte de Dios la comisión de anunciar su un mensaje a aquella gran ciudad, ciudad pagana corrompida y destinada a la condenación eterna, pero Jonás en lo más intimo de su ser no estaba de acuerdo con los planes de Dios de salvar a la nación pecadora. Por esa razón optó por huir a Tarsis, nunca antes un profeta de Dios había tratado de huir al mensaje de Dios. El huye a Tarsis en una nave, la intención del profeta era evidentemente huir de Dios mismo, los marineros le echaron al mar y finalmente Dios prepara un gran pez para tragar a Jonás. Las horas que se mantuvo en el vientre del pez pudieron haber sido las horas más amargas y tristes que un ser humano pudiera atravesar, la desesperación que debió haber sentido no podría describirse con palabras. Luego Jonás ora a Dios y él lo saca del fondo del gran pez, el profeta podría ser descrito como una persona impaciente lo cual lo llevó al punto de retar a Dios con sus acciones. Después de que le aconteció  todo esto, Jonás finalmente estuvo preparado para cumplir con la orden de Dios de predicarle a Nínive: “De aquí a cuarenta días Nínive será destruida” (3:4). Pero después de que el pueblo de Nínive obedeciera  al escuchar las palabras que Jonás traía de parte de Dios, y después de que  Dios cancelara el castigo que tenía preparado para aquella nación, vemos otra vez a Jonás comportándose de una manera arrogante, negativa y pésima ante Dios.Era todo un orgulloso judío, muy disgustado porque  Dios había decidido  obrar a favor de Nínive. Jonás todavía necesitaba aprender que él mismo debía estar feliz por las innumerables ocasiones y pruebas de bondad que Dios había tenido para con él satisfaciendo todas sus necesidades, y debía aprender también que ni siquiera había sido capaz de comprender el deseo que Dios tenía de mostrar su misericordia a favor de las almas de aquel pueblo hundido en el pecado y la condenación. Los cuatro capítulos de este libro muestran en cada uno de ellos un aspecto diferente de la vida del profeta que retó a Dios. En cuanto a su vida personal, no tenemos ningún record si él fue cazado o tuvo hijos, su vida al parecer estaba girando de continuo en Dios, el libro mismo termina de una manera diferente, termina como una historia inconclusa, no hay tampoco record de su muerte o el lugar de su sepultura; pero podemos saber que no fue una historieta nada más, cuando el Señor Jesús hace mención a Jonás en Mateo 16:4 indica claramente que había algo que aprender de él. El profeta que retó a Dios pero de una u otra manera Dios a lo largo del libro se comporto de una manera muy misericordiosa con él, las oportunidades dadas a Jonás y los diálogos con Dios indican que probablemente había algo bueno en el que Dios miraba con amor y por tal motivo lo fue construyendo como el alfarero construye en el barro, la vida y obra de Jonás el profeta que retó a Dios no está lejos de la nuestra.

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Preachers in the Rotation

Preachers in the Rotation

Preachers have qualifications.

Preachers have qualifications.

Elders have their qualifications. Deacons have their qualifications. Preachers have qualifications? Seriously?? Yes seriously. Let’s put things into perspective here. The Bible teaches that a preacher not only has a specific function in the local church, he also has specific qualifications and what this means is that not all the men in the church are qualified to be preachers. Was not the apostles Paul ordained (1 Timothy 2:7)? This means that he was appointed. Appointed by whom? The Bible says, “He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,” (Ephesians 4:10-12).We can see here that “evangelists” were among those given by the Lord in the local church with an important function to perform just like the pastors (shepherds) have an important function (Acts 20:28).

So, what are the qualifications of a preacher? Well, evangelists may be young men (1 Timothy 4:12). They do not have to be married (1 Corinthians 9:5) despite the “package deals.” Another qualification is that while preachers do not have any legislative authority like elders do, preachers must speak the word of God with “all authority” (Titus 2:15). Preachers speak the message boldly showing no respect of persons, including elders (1 Timothy 5:19-21). But, why brings up qualifications for preachers? It is because just as there can be “unqualified” elders in the church there can also be “unqualified” preachers and teachers in the church. The pulpit is not designed for a “weekend warrior” nor should elders make the statement, “We have plenty of people who can “fill” the pulpit while we search for a new minister and in fact, we can go many months without a located preacher.” Sadly, I have seen pulpits empty for as long as 8 years. Still, evangelist have a specific work to perform, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5). What weekend preacher is going to do this? If anyone is unwilling or unable to perform this work, he should not be a preacher because preaching is not easy. It is not a motivational talk about current events nor is it about fluff. It is about endurance and affliction and that is because a minister has seriously invested his life in service to God and the church. The gospel preacher, no matter how loving and kind he tries to be will find opposition from those, both within and outside the church who do not want to submit themselves to the message of Christ.

So, before becoming the weekend warrior, consider the work of the evangelist. God said, “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4). This shows us that if the preacher is to preach all the word of God then he needs to know the word. He also needs to have some “thick skin” to be able to endure sound doctrine. See, when you preach, the word of God becomes offensive to some both in and out of the church (1 Peter 2:8; 2 Timothy 4). Most Christians have little idea how much pressure a minister is under. As a result of preaching, ministers quit and a lot of them quit because of the constant nagging and complaining from brethren.

Now, let’s consider speaking rotations. Many today believe that the pulpit should be rotated by all the men in the church, in the same way as they would be rotated to lead in prayer or assist in the Lord’s Supper. Men will even say things like, “see, we have lots of talent here. Anyone can preach.” Others believe that the pulpit is where one can work on themselves. Some believe that you do not have to be trained or be a professional to present God’s Word. True. But, a novice should not be in the pulpit anymore than a novice be in the eldership. The pulpit is also not a place to “wing it” nor is it a place to show diversity to diverse people. Sadly, I have heard far too many stories in the pulpit even after the Bible states, “what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:5).You see, preachers are more than just a body behind some wood. Also, preacher are not just God-fearing, Christ-centered people who love souls. Looking at the Bible, preachers are charged that “they teach no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3). Preachers are taught to “teach faithful men to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2). Preachers are to “…set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city” which requires a great deal of work (Titus 1:5). A “weekend warrior” cannot do these things because he is not invested in the work.

Local churches should seek to appoint an evangelist who is courageous in preaching the truth. They should give him time to study (2 Timothy 2:15), and freedom to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:26).Only those appointed to the position and who have the qualifications should serve as pulpit evangelists. The pulpit is not something that men should be just encouraged to “have a go at.”The destiny of souls, and the motivation of the church is far too vital for this. And, might I add some additional thoughts: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (James 3:1). On top of that, preachers must be an example, “… in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

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