Three weeks ago, as part of the “25 Days of Thankfulness” series I shared about my experience seeing Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens in the ★ Day 18 – Reason for the Season – Jesus Is _____ ★ post. and promised no spoilers at that time. Well…The Force Awakens’s current box office totals worldwide have reached $1.73 billion (at the time of this post,) placing it third on the all-time list so I feel like it is safe to share a major SPOILER, especially since #HanSoloDies was a trending topic the weekend the Hollywood blockbuster opened up. Yes it’s true, a major anchor to the Star Wars Universe has been killed off in one of the worst ways imaginable…by his own son, Patricide is not a new phenomenon by any stretch, throughout history and in the Bible records of this heinous act, but I think there is a powerful lesson played out from Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and it’s sequel that is now breaking box office history.
In the climax of the 1983 trilogy film (Return of the Jedi,) Luke Skywalker helps his father take off his mask so that he can look on his son with his own eyes. In a beautiful moment of redemption, Anakin Skywalker ceases to be the Evil Darth Vader and finds peace in the sacrificial act of saving Luke from being killed by the Emperor. Fast forward 32 years…The Force Awakens shows a powerful scene of Kylo Ren speaking to the charred remains of Darth Vaders infamous mask while donning one of his own. Unlike his Uncle Luke, there is not a battle raging within pulling him to the Dark Side, but rather to the Light Side. In the moment that Kylo Ren (aka Ben Solo), kills his father Han Solo, the last emotional tie is severed ushering him to fully join the Dark Side. To me this was great depiction of the warning between God and Moses when the second set of the Ten Commandments was completed. Exodus 34:6-7 (ESV) records,
The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
Luke may have escaped of his father’s iniquity or sin but the generational curse continued to his grandson Kylo Ren who embraced the Dark Side and followed in his grandfather’s footsteps.
Last year we kicked off the year with this ★ Thought for the Day – Unstoppable Determination for God’s Holiness ★, which was all about stripping away the unnecessary junk in our lives and pursuing God in every area including reading His Word, the Bible. This year, God has been speaking this into my Spirit about “living out a lasting legacy.” I read this a long time ago and it has always remained with me…
“You didn’t bring anything into this world and you won’t bring anything out. What will you leave?”
Legacy is not a new concept to me…it has always been part of my DNA markup, but this year I felt the nudge from the Holy Spirit to devote myself even more to it. If you have been following this blog, you may recall that 2 part series that we posted called ★ Thought for the Day – Stay the Course ★ about learning from King Solomon’s failure to overcome temptations and ★ Thought for the Day – Stay the Course…Part 2 ★ about handling money God’s way. If you are starting this year out like most people, making resolutions, whether it is going back to the gym to lose weight or committing to living on a budget, both these “Thoughts” can be an encouragement to motivate you to that end. Today’s “Thought for the Day” however is going in a different direction. I want to delve into the opposite of generational curses…to focus on how we can have a positive impact on others…If you will indulge me for one more Star Wars parallel…how to avoid Kylo Ren’s downward spiral to the Dark Site and embrace the Light Side as Luke Skywalker did.
As a husband and father of two daughters, I can tell you that “providing” for my family is a top priority in my life. We have been blessed that my wife has been able to be a stay-at-home mom, (…which I might add is a much tougher job then mine…) but that obviously has resulted in sacrifices that we have made being a single income family. There is also another force that comes against us, (Star Wars pun intended,) which is the continual comparison or pressure to “Keep up with the Joneses.” I would be lying if I said that it did not bite us every now and then. The spirit of “Mammon” or devotion to wealth building pervades our culture and no matter how content we are with what God has provided it does not make us immune to the effect the Spirit of Mammon can have on us all. People spend so much time working hard to climb the corporate ladder, to live in the right neighborhood, to drive a nice car, to be a success…but should that be our focus? Robert Morris spoke about this in the sermon called “Breaking the Spirit of Mammon“…
“Jesus said, ‘You can’t serve God and mammon!’ What is mammon? It’s the prideful, arrogant spirit that rests on money that hasn’t been submitted to God; but money that is submitted to and serves God is blessed by God!”
If you want to delve deeper into how to handle your finances God’s way, check out the posts we have group together called “Building Your Money Muscle.”
Regardless of your age or gender, we all have the same amount of time in a day to set our priorities and decide how it will be spent…Will it be spent on self-centered activities whether it be on social media, gaming or working 60-70 hours a week to get that promotion…OR will it be spent on things that really matter? The people in our life should be or focus. I read this quote the other morning and thought it was not only great insight on what legacy is but also a great visual!
Having proper time management is key! It reminds of this great 1998 country song from Billy Ray Cyrus called “Busy Man,” which had this powerful hook in the song…
“Have you ever seen a headstone with these words
If only I had spent more time at work”
This is something that I wrestle with all the time! Balancing the demands of work and making sure that my family does not pay the price. I shared this quote in the ★ Thought for the Day – What Does Your Schedule Look? ★ from Bill Hybels that really brings it home for me…
“My schedule is far less about what I need to get done and more about what I want to become.”
I could not agree with that more! We all have to decide for ourselves, what will our schedule look like, because in the end what you choose to allow to dominate your schedule will affect everything and everyone in your life whether you are teenager, married or an empty nester. The time you take, your example and character can forever change a life and your family’s legacy forever!
“Your legacy is the influence you leave behind. Will you be missed? Don’t waste your life, invest it!” Jack Graham
That is so powerful…“Your legacy is the influence you leave behind.” I also love what Andy Stanley had to say on the subject…
“Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.”
My constant prayer is to be an Ephesians 5:25 husband, a Deuteronomy 11:18-19 father and a Colossians 3:12 servant to all! I want to love my wife better…love my children better…and love others better. Until I am on the other side of heaven there will never be a point that I am not working on becoming a better man. I fully believe what Mark Batterson said in his Draw the Circle devotional…
“The greatest legacy a person can leave is a complete surrender of their life to the lordship of Jesus Christ. If we don’t hold out on God, God won’t hold out on us. Take God at His promises as expressed by the psalmist: “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” [Psalm 84:11] And these good things will pass from generation to generation and become great things.”
As we kick off this new year, just 13 days in, I want to encourage you to put God first and foremost! Then your family next and after that all the people in your life…friends, co-workers, acquaintances…”Be present” and involved in their lives and I promise you will leave the lasting legacy that really matters! No this is not “popular,” or “normal” in our culture or in the workplace, but press on nonetheless and you will never be disappointed! Psalms 39:4-7 (NLT) has some great insight of setting the right priorities!!
“LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath. We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.”
My hope and prayer is that I am making the most out of my “brief time on earth,” that I will make an impact on the future generation, not just for my children but my children’s children! I want to be a “real man” in God’s eyes rather than the world’s eyes! I will close with this thought from John Maxwell…
“We can choose today what we want people to say about us tomorrow at our funeral…If you want to really visualize your legacy tomorrow, value it today…Do the things today that you want them to say about you tomorrow because today determines that. What’s wonderful about your legacy is that… You can start working on it this very moment.”
What Will Your Legacy Be? What has God been speaking into your spirit?
Here is my prayer for you…
“[I] pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:9b-10 (ESV)
As a supplement to today’s “Thought for the Day”…here is another great song that I just heard again called “Live Like That” from Sidewalk Prophets has such a profound message!
Am I proof
That You are who you say You are
That grace can really change our heart
Do I live like Your love is true
And even if they don’t know my name
Is there evidence that I’ve been changed
When they see me, do they see You
I want to live like that
And give it all I have
So that everything I say and do
Points to You
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