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Friday, March 28, 2008

Jackson Hole Wyoming (photo by Howard J. Blichfeldt)
Jackson Hole Wyoming
(photo by Howard J. Blichfeldt)

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"Building A Godly Heritage"

"For you have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name" (Psalm 61:5).  "That I might live for God" (Galatians 2:19).

Richard and Ruth LehmanIn a meeting yesterday Brooksyne and I met Kendall, a young man whose vibrant walk with the Lord was immediately evident.  He is a school teacher who shared the Easter message in his church last Sunday. Our conversation was engaging and thoughtful. He told us, "You knew my grandpa.  In fact you referred to a tribute I made at his memorial service last year in your Daily Encouragement message." 

I met Kendall’s grandparents, Ruth and Richard Lehman, about five years ago at a National Day of Prayer event.  We have corresponded with them mostly through our daily encouragement email since that time. Brooksyne and I attended Richard's memorial service in October of last year and we stay in contact with his grandmother through email. After Kendall refreshed our memory we did indeed remember his touching words of tribute concerning his grandfather. It was obvious that Richard had passed his spiritual legacy on to his grandchild.

One brick at a timeIn my premarital counseling when I share faith and perspective with young couples preparing for marriage I make a vitally important point.  We establish the foundations for leaving a godly heritage early in life and this heritage incrementally builds all through life, one brick at a time. It’s not as though we just wake up one morning and decide to leave a legacy!

Many years ago I was at the funeral of a young person who had died in an accident. The room was full of many young people still stunned with the suddenness of his death.  It was a grim reminder of the unpredictability of life dispelling the youthful illusion of their invincibility.  An older minister made an interesting point regarding his generation's heritage: "We've given you so much to live with, but we haven't given you very much to live for." *

Flat screen hd TVThere's a lot of truth to that statement isn't there?  Without a doubt we have a lot to live with, particularly here in America.  We take our incredible national prosperity for granted and some take it to an even more troubling level feeling that they're entitled to it and whining about what they don't have.  But the very nature of seeking to find fulfillment in anything but God's plan is that it's never really satisfying over time. Something new and promising is always around the corner like a bigger, newer model TV, a faster computer, a more feature-laden cell phone and on and on. 

What are we passing on to our children and those we influence in the generations to follow? I purposefully chose the last part of a Bible verse to highlight a simple statement made by the apostle Paul, "That I might live for God."  Paul surely had very little, particularly by our standards, to live with, but so much to live for.  He went on to write: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

Let us consider today our spiritual heritage.  The Psalmist proclaimed, "You have given me the heritage of those who fear your name." Fundamentally this heritage is the truths we transmit and the life we live that gets passed on to those in our own generation and generations to follow. Those who fear His Name are transmitting the truth of this heritage while they live and even after they pass on. If Ruth could have been in the Easter service where Kendall preached last Sunday most likely there’d be points he would make, inflections in his voice, and Scriptural truths that he shared that would make her say to herself, “He’s just like his grandfather.”

Ask yourself today:  What am I living for and more importantly who am I living it for?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Father, we desire to pass on a godly heritage to our children and our children’s children.  In doing so we must set our hearts on things above far more than earthly things below.  We want to let Your Holy Word flourish in our lives as we teach, encourage, and admonish one another with all spiritual wisdom.  May all that we do and say be for Your glory and in honor of Christ in whose name we pray.  Amen.

* "We've given you so much to live with, but we haven't given you very much to live for."  While acknowledging the overall value of this statement and the importance of passing on a godly heritage, each individual and every generation ultimately stands on the basis of his or her own faith and obedience to God.  I could see some using this sentiment as an excuse and blaming the previous generation for their problems.  There are also those who've had the benefit of a godly heritage but choose to walk away from God and righteous living. And there are those who've have had little benefit of a Christian background who turn to God and make a serious commitment to live for Him, thus establishing the foundation for a godly heritage. He is an eternal Redeemer!

Here is the Daily Encouragement message we wrote last October following Kendall's grandfather's Memorial Service.

Father/Son Heritage Building
Amish father and son
Yesterday we stopped by and visited with our Amish friends Jesse and Anna Ruth in their dairy barn as they were finishing their late afternoon milking. Long-time readers know that Jesse and Anna Ruth were our neighbors here in Mount Joy for several years before moving back to the home farm in Strasbug, PA last year. Milking time is a full family affair with both Jesse and Anna Ruth working hard and the children helping out as they are able. Yesterday I even helped out a bit! (Brooksyne's note:  "A tiny bit!")

Some readers who know of my interest in photography may wonder why they never see photos of Jesse and Anna. The Amish (most anyway) are opposed to having their photos taken in a way that might be recognized and of course I honor that.  With their permission I have taken photos of their children but they have asked that I not share these photos on the internet. At the birth of their third child last year they specifically asked me to come over and take a photo of their new baby with his older brother and sister and since they are expecting their fourth child in a couple of months I imagine I will have another photo shoot of the kids!

I do have permission to use the above photo of Jesse and their oldest son, Moses, during a break time when Jesse ran a masonry business. At this time Moses was beginning to talk prolifically and asking a lot of questions.  His Dad patiently answered him and began early on to pass on the heritage.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Take My Life And Let It Be"  Audio

"Find Us Faithful"  Audio
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful,
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave, lead them to believe,
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful.

"This Is My Desire"  Audio

"Lord You Have My Heart"  Audio

Today's top photo is by Howard J. Blichfeldt and is used with his permission. His website is here and here is the original page for this photo. Howard has given me permission to place a Scripture verse, hymn portion or part of a quote on his work (as I did today).  These work great as desktop background photos to reinforce your faith and encourage others. To make this (or any photo) a desktop background merely right click and select "set as background."

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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