The Letters

Legacy

February 2017 – Legacy

The other night my daughter was excited by the news of the 7 exoplanets that were found (and incredulous that I hadn’t heard the news…) Maybe we will discover life on one of the three that could have liquid water!  The star is only 40 light years away.  At first she told me 40,000 light years and I when I asked about that distance, she looked it up and corrected herself.  “Wow, only 40.  That’s a reasonable number,”  I said, “It is the unit that is a problem – at least for now.”  Even 0.0000001 light years is farther than man’s longest trip in history. (round trip to the moon is ~500,000 miles , 10E-7 light years is 587,862 miles)

All we have to do is figure out how to travel at light speed…  Her quick math told her that, in 40+ years, I would be a very old man and even she would be approaching “old.”  It was the resulting age that gave her discouragement – not the daunting task of figuring out how to bend the time/space continuum, or whatever else would need to be done to make interstellar travel possible.  “ah, never mind.”she said. “Not worth it.”  What?!!?  You’re just gonna give up like that?  “what’s the point?” she asked.  And then we started talking about Legacy.

And then I started thinking about Legacy.  Who cares, really? Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…Everything under the sun is vanity,chasing after the wind…  And that is true if you are considering the things we do here with respect to God’s eternal plan.  I have a friend who, years before I met him, lost his arm in a drunken motorcycle accident. When I met him, he was a drunken, sour man who hated most of the world. Somehow, I found friendship in him… But that’s a different story.  He would say – very frequently, almost as a mantra of his life – “In a hundred years, none of this will matter.”  After 25 years or so, I am still friends with him and he is still pretty sour, but thankfully, he does not drink anymore.

If my daughter discovered time warp manipulation or light speed travel, her name would be recorded in history and science books for maybe MORE than a hundred years and her legacy would far outlive her physical body.  I could donate tons of money to a local hospital and they might name a wing after me and my name would outlast me.  There are lots of ways to create a legacy so that your name carries on, but “so what?” as my daughter said. Who cares? Once I’m dead, I don’t care anymore.

I feel smarter than that.  I have been convinced that the legacy that I need to be working on is my children.  That is how my contribution will live on beyond me. As most of you know, I have taken my job as a dad very seriously and made it a priority in my life.  I am -sometimes to a fault – always considering my actions as a father and how they will affect the long term condition of my kids.  I suffer over decisions I have made that were not the best decisions.  I deliberate over decisions before making them to ensure that they are sound.  I sacrifice a lot of my will for my kids.  Pretty Noble, huh? And, I am convinced that, even with all of the regrets and fears I have, even with all the bad decisions and mistakes I’ve made, they are awesome kids and they will turn out fine. Oh, and I almost forgot – thanks be to God for that – not me…  So,what?  Do I pat myself on the back?  Good job, dad… “He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? (Luke17:9)

So, I recognize that my job as a dad is very important and I am not taking anything away from that responsibility. But, I think there is a higher calling when considering one’s legacy.  I am reminded of the Rope of Hope.  Any legacy I build in this life – Discovering time travel,curing  cancer, etc. yes, even raising awesome kids who might discover time travel – doesn’t really matter.  As my  one armed, sober, but sour friend might say, “in a thousand years, none of this will matter.”  What happens after the thousand years?  What did the man do to earn the comment: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  In Mat25, the two servants who invested the talents were given this praise – and then Jesus goes on to tell of the inheritance to be given to those who were righteous.  That inheritance is eternal life.  Eternal – that is where a legacy will last.  In a thousand years, it WILL matter!  Luke 12:33 tells us to make treasures in heaven that will last for eternity. In fact, all of Luke12 gives us these guidelines.

So, how are YOU building YOUR Legacy?  Just consider, what are you making a priority in life?  I have so many times found my stomach churning while driving my car, my focus distant when sitting with my family at the dinner table,  my mind racing at 1 am when I should be sleeping, etc. etc… All because I am suffering about some aspect of life that really doesn’t matter.  Maybe, if I miss a deadline at work, I will be reprimanded or criticized.  Guess what. In a hundred years, it won’t matter.  Choose what is everlasting.  Let the rust and moths have all of that which is perishable.

I trust that God is blessing you all and if not, I pray that you claim His promises.  He set before you Life and Death and He wants you to choose Life.

Peace – Chazak!

www.paraklesis.net

old and boring armor

I have boots, a belt, breastplate, helmet, a shield and a sword… I even added gloves of sanctification and goggles of purity.  But, my armor did not seem to be doing me any good.  I was feeling empty, lost, uninspired, discouraged, mundane…  I felt alone in my struggles.  I felt like the people around me were not on the same page as me, not committed to the same things, not interested in what I thought was important.  In fact, I still do feel that way.  It is not a happy feeling.  But my story is not all sad.  I do have One who is always on my side.  I brought my discouragement to Him and, in effect, told Him what I have told you. I prayed and asked Him for His spirit of love, light, peace, patience, joy and encouragement.

He gave me His sword.

That day, every scripture I turned to gave me strength and hope and reminded me of the details of the Fight:

Identify the enemy

My role in the battle

Who my allies are

What resources I have

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12 )

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:26-27)

“Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. (Joshua 1:7)

Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world…” (Philippians 2:14-15)

Are we not Kings?  Read Psalm 21.  Here is the middle verse – the best part:  “For the king trusts in the LORD, And through the lovingkindness of the Most High he will not be shaken.” (Psalms 21:7)

I hope you are well. No news is good news?

My love to you all…

www.paraklesis.net

Fight

The other evening, I found myself alone with the three kids (7b,11b,13g) and “nothing to do.”  Ana Sophia said (half jokingly) “Let’s enjoy some quality family television.”  Yes, I laughed – that never happens, but, I thought, maybe there’s a soccer game on…  :^)  Well, we ended up flipping around and, among a couple of other interesting things, we found a UFC match.  Do you know what UFC stands for?  Ultimate Fighting Championship.  I learn something new every day.  No, I don’t live under a rock, but I do tend to shelter myself from these things.  So, I was intrigued to see that this was not boxing…  These men were something to behold – fit like I wanna be.  Fit like some special g-sauce thing.  Phit with phat pipes. Anyway, we watched a 4 minute fight and through the din of my daughter pleading to change back to “Project Runway,” my boys were cheering and mimicking the moves of the fighters.  They loved it and talked about it afterward, and even their goodnight hug to each other somewhat resembled a headlock.

The next day while driving, I was reflecting on this and the many, many scriptures that talk of “the mighty men of valor, able to wield a sword,” and “the valiant men who went out to battle,” etc.  In “those” days, the enemy was evident and physical.  The weapons were evident and physical.  The risks were evident and physical.  These days, things SEEM to be different – and they are in some respects.  We are generally soft in our living and certainly not capable of wielding a (physical) sword.  We are called to “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Rom12 – and it tells us that also in Heb 12 and many other places.  But we’re not instructed to beat our swords into plowshares – yet.  We are still at battle and need to be valiant men wielding a sword.  We need to be trained and lean and adept and deft and shrewd and skillful and strong and healthy and courageous…etc.  And both our sword and our enemy look different, too.

To those of us (myself included) who choose this cushy life of physical leisure and luxury and laziness, we need to commit to constant, hardcore spiritual training.  Are you adept wielding the sword of the Lord?  Are you arrayed for battle?

God put in us men this liking for violence.  Ana Sophia wanted nothing of watching sweaty men trying to hurt each other, while the (3) generally peaceful and loving boys in the room were fully engaged.  There is some sort of primal attraction to strength and power and skill and the ability to defend our loved ones against an enemy that I think drew us in to enjoying that fight the other night.  I think that inherent tendency has not gone away with the new covenant for a reason. Sorry, I am being facetious here – by “the new covenant,” I am sort of mocking the viewpoint of some that I have heard that says God used to be a god of anger and now He’s a god of love…  We know He doesn’t change.  We NEED this tendency toward aggression and the desire to fight and defend – not toward some angry dude in a chain link cage – nor toward some Muslim couple armed with the notion to kill innocent people.  We need to correctly identify the enemy and direct our aggression toward the enemy and exercise our courage and valor and skill toward victory.  Our enemy is the adversary.  The adversary is Satan and, I think, also our fleshly desires, our old man… that old captain of the ship whom we have decided through our baptism, repentance and acceptance of Jesus as our savior, to bind up in chains.  We are told to crucify him, to consider him dead.  But, in my life, and likely yours, he seems to only be bound and not killed.  Being bound, he still yells out orders that we sometimes continue to follow, but he is our enemy.  Identify him and attack.

God, Himself, the creator of the universe said: “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7)

My love and blessings and a wish for a terrific day of rest to all of you.

www.paraklesis.net