Finishing Well

Finishing Well

legacy-enterlinedesign-gen-48aGenesis 48 “Consider the Legacy You Leave Behind”

Jacob has not always been faithful to God throughout his life. He has schemed and lived a life that was less than honorable but in the end, he realizes this truth: even “If we are unfaithful, he (God) remains faithful, since he cannot deny himself.” And so Jacob rehearses before Joseph, and perhaps his other sons, the faithfulness of God. In essence, he has taken the time to reveal his life to them and show them how the hand of God has been upon him. He now wants to share that with those he leaves behind. Jacob is a man who wants to finish well and that should be our goal as well.

What do you do when you realize you are about to die?  You get right with God, you spend time with loved ones and you share your faith with others. The parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16 reveals this in spades. Lazarus apparently lived a righteous life and dying he was found to be in paradise with Abraham. In contrast, the rich man did not and found himself in torments. He called to Abraham to send him help and barring that to send someone back to tell his brothers what he wished he had told them when he was alive. May we learn from him to not waste the moments we have today.

Keith Krell notes “Begin to pass on your faith to those you love most.”

Psalm 119: 1-8 “The Deadly D of Distraction; The Cure: Focus”

psalm 119 blesseda

Dead men do not sin; Living Men Embrace Grace. [Romans 6 and 7]. As parents, we know the joy of our children’s obedience and the sadness when they step across the line into disobedience. It is not just our children but we too struggle. The psalmist reminds us that we are only truly happy when we obey and follow. Perhaps that is why he prayed “if only” I was focused on the eternal perspective. The psalmist said these are the ones who are blameless choosing to die to the Law and be alive “in” Christ.

That choice begins when we hunger and thirst for God and in return God blesses us with his marvelous gift of salvation and justification. And why does God choose to do this? It is so that He may get the glory. It is all about Him and not about us.  The blessed observe His rules, and like a child wanting to mirror their father, step into his footsteps and follow Him. God has one demand: obey and keep my precepts; my mandates ordained in eternity past as my standard that I may bless you.

All of this comes with a price! The price was paid on Calvary while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. But, the psalmist reflected that he faced this dragon called the deadly d of distraction. As he did, so we lament “if I were only focused.” It is a choice to focus on His commands, statutes, precepts so that one day we will hear well done, thou good and faithful servant.

“Believe in “a” God or Believe God?”

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In chapter 3 Paul reminded the Jew that no one is saved apart from the grace and mercy of God. Yet they and the world would have it otherwise and heap rewards and boastings upon those who seek to earn God’s favor through works. The prophet Isaiah said our works are as filthy rags; later Paul would say they are dung. Their foundation lies in the life of Abraham and therefore they conclude as his children they are justified by works. Paul, as a righteous Jew, sought to put this argument to rest.

Workers of the Law can boast having done not only what was expected but what is required. But if you don’t work the works of the Law but believe in what merely God says you receive grace and eternal life. You cannot take credit for a gift that is of God alone. That is what salvation is all about; a free gift undeserved. The key is this: Abraham did not believe “IN” God but he believed God. The world says I believe in a God, but Paul says you must not just believe “IN” but believe God.

So now the world asks, what about the works as James says. Both Paul and James affirm that works reveal the grace that we have received. They demonstrate our gratitude for the gift of God’s blessed forgiveness of our lawless deeds.

Are you depending upon your works heritage to get into heaven? If so, turn around and go the other way for you are on the wrong path.

Photo: Unsplash/Jordan Whitefield

The Voice and the Echo

Hebrews 13 voice and echo2God’s Word is true and timely. A reader asked for help in trusting and knowing God was with them. As we finish Hebrews the answer is before us: timely, for today as we finish Hebrews,
our answer is before us.

Vs 5: [God] has said, “I will never leave you and I will never abandon you …therefore: we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can people do to me?

Again Ps 27 “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” and Psalm 56:4 “in God I have put my trust, I will not fear what flesh can do to me” Continuing on to vs 11 “in God have I put my trust, I will not be afraid what man can do to me.” This concept is repeated again in Psalm 118:6 and Romans 8:31-39 and again in 2Tim 1:7. In John 14 Jesus promised to send them another comfort. Because we know that God’s Word is true and amen we can echo as the Hebrews author what “he hath said.” God told Joshua “as I was with Moses, I will be with you, I will not abandon you or leave you alone.”

We must not doubt or become faithless for God is true to His Word. When He says “I will,” He means it. We must then echo “I will trust and obey.” How simple is that?