How important is it to live a life that makes it better for those who follow? Have American’s become selfish people with little concern for their children and grandchildren? It is estimated that those forty-five and younger spend very little time planning on what they wish to leave for future generations. It is estimated that most individuals heading into prison care little for what they leave behind. It is all about self.

When the Declaration of Independence was adopted, the signers took an oath: “We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” As a result a new nation was formed with the Bible as its guide. Had it not been for our founding fathers’ desire to leave a nation with individual freedom, America’s legacy would be little different from other countries.

Many of us know the story of twin brothers Esau and Jacob. Esau was the older son, which in a Jewish culture made him eligible to receive the “birthright.” The firstborn son’s birthright was a special honor. It gave him twice as much as any other sibling’s inheritance. Upon death of the father, the one who possessed the birthright became the family leader and judge of any disputes within the family. It gave him a different relationship to God than the others. The oldest son could sell or give away his birthright. Of course, if he did he would lose the material benefit and give up his leadership position. (Gen. 25:30–34).

By giving up his birthright, Esau also gave up the spiritual blessing that came with it. He traded it for an immediate pleasure, without considering the long-range consequences. Instead of Esau, Jacob is counted among the Jewish nation’s fathers. Had Esau not sold his birthright for a bowl of stew, the Jewish nation’s fathers would be Abraham, Isaac, and Esau. Anyone who reads this account of the twin brothers thinks Esau was foolish for what he did; yet how many times have we made decisions with little or no thought about how it could change the lives of our descendants?

We can fall into the same trap as Esau. When we see something that we really want, what are we willing to do to get it? Our first impulse may be to do whatever it takes. That could mean using the credit card unwisely, engaging in an illicit affair or being dishonest to gain materially. What is it that tempts us? What is our bowl of stew? What future blessing are we willing to give up to satisfy an immediate, though fleeting, craving or lust?

Esau exaggerated his hunger. I doubt that he would have died if he didn’t immediately get the stew. Yet, don’t we think similar thoughts? “No one will know.” “It won’t hurt anyone.” “Just this once.” The pressure of the moment clouds our perspective, making the decision seem urgent. We can figure ways to justify almost any decision we make.

Consider how Esau’s decision changed his future, his family’s future, and the world’s future. If you have read the Bible, almost everything from that time on is about Jacob and his heirs. Follow Esau’s history and there is very little good that came of it. He and his brother became bitter enemies. Many of Esau’s descendants are Muslims and for centuries have been adversaries with Jacob’s heritage. We have all experienced the pressure that comes from temptations. The Devil knows what is our bowl of stew. Therefore, it is important always to be maturing spiritually and living in such a way as to please God. We must never do things we know will displease God. That is sin! Stop and think—consider the consequence! Ask yourself: Will the decision I make today displease God and change the lives of my children, grandchildren, and on down my family tree? Don’t make the mistake Esau did, whose bad decision resulted in the negative effect on so many.

“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (Gal. 5:17).

Watch TV and read the newspapers. What do you think your third and fourth generation from now will be like? What kind of a society will they be living in? Will any place be safe? How many might have a personal relationship with Christ? What decisions can you make now that will positively affect them? “The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation” (Num. 14:18).

If every child today had Christian parents, future societies would be different from what they are today. Christians, can you see the importance of evangelizing the world? Let us each consider what will our legacy be. Let’s live our lives so that others benefit from how we lived, rather than living selfish lives that leave the world in worse condition.

Moses sent out twelve Israelite spies to determine if the Hebrews could take the land God had promised them. Ten came back with a bad report. “So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it—these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord” (Num. 14:36–37). Because the people believed the men’s bad report rather than believing God, all Israelite men aged twenty and older died in the wilderness and it was forty years before the others were victorious and entered the Promised Land. We are wise to consider how we live, our attitudes, and what we say. What we do today affects the generations that follow. It is alarming what we are doing to the next generation. I was born to parents who lived through the Great Depression of the 1930’s. They never had the conveniences that we take for granted and enjoy today. Most people then did not have radios, telephones, TVs, or dependable cars. A few still used horses as a means of transportation. Living during that time, many people depended on God and realized the importance of being loyal and honest. Generally, people were dependable, hardworking, and willing to help one another when a need occurred.

What I see in society today is nothing like it was seventy years or more ago. Principles and values have deteriorated. When I was a young man, it was a rarity to hear about gang activity. What people do and say today was not even thought about years ago. A teenager to have a child out of wedlock was a disgrace. Today 50 percent of all children born in America are born to unmarried women. Not too many years ago, if a teen became pregnant, the baby’s father was expected to marry her. The girl’s dad showed up at his door with a shotgun to make sure he did the honorable thing—hence, the term shotgun wedding. Sometimes it was the boy’s father who carried the shotgun pointed at his son.

There was a time in history when people became so animalistic, cruel, immoral, and inhumane in their treatment of others that God decided to start over again. He sent a flood during Noah’s time, from 5000 years ago or longer. Today negative news attracts TV viewers and newspaper readers more than positive news. However, I can’t pick up the newspaper or listen to local news and not hear about robberies, murders, rapes, cover-ups, and corruption. It appears that we are reverting to an immoral society.

I did some research and learned that much of our problems come from homes without fathers:
● 63 percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes—five times the average (U.S. Dept. of Health/Census)
● 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes—thirty two times the average.
● 85 percent of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes—twenty times the average (Centers for Disease Control)
● 80 percent of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes—fourteen times the average (Justice & Behavior, Vol. 14, p. 403–26)
● 71 percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes—nine times the average (National Principals Association Report)
The father factor in education: Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.

Children with fathers who are involved in their lives are:
● 40 percent less likely to repeat a grade in school
● 70 percent less likely to drop out of school
● more likely to get As in school
● more likely to enjoy school and engage in extracurricular activities
The father factor in drug and alcohol abuse: Researchers at Columbia University found that children living in two-parent household with a poor relationship with their fathers are 68 percent more likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs compared with all teens in two-parent households. Teens in single-mother households are at a 30 percent higher risk than those in two-parent households.
● 70 percent of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes—nine times the average (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988)
● 85 percent of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes—twenty times the average (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction)

The father factor in incarceration: Even after accounting for income, youths in father-absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds. A 2002 Department of Justice survey of 7,000 inmates revealed that 39 percent of jail inmates lived in mother-only households. Approximately 46 percent of jail inmates in 2002 had a previously incarcerated family member. One-fifth experienced a father in prison or jail.

I could give you additional statistics that demonstrate that if the sin nature is not redeemed by Christ, our society will continue its downward spiral into increasing immorality. But what I’ve provided should be enough to convince you or confirm what you already believe about the downhill slide of our society. We no longer can teach children in our schools that there is a God, because the controlling powers want to teach evolution, and to teach evolution God must be expelled. Our children are not learning respect, responsibility, or being held accountable for their actions.

This has not happened by chance. We have people in power who have deliberately planned this to occur. Don’t ever forget there are millions of evil spirits that are continually influencing the decisions of the masses. And they seem to be winning over God’s people and the message of the gospel. When our country fails, we have only ourselves to blame.

What kind of a legacy are Americans leaving for future generations? What kind of legacy are you leaving your future generations?

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