Changing Your Legacy

Russia has a long legacy of overextending itself in military aggression: Crimea (1852-1856), World War I (1914-1918) and Afghanistan (1979-1989). That legacy is repeating itself today in Ukraine. In 1852, Russian Czar Nicolas I occupied Crimea, the same territory President Vladimir Putin overtook when he invaded Ukraine in 2014.

The 1856 defeat of Russia in the Crimean War marked a new chapter in “the evil empire’s” legacy. It weakened their army, collapsed its economy and ruined her reputation in the world. It would take many years for Russia to recover, albeit temporarily. Russia will never learn from its own history. Read about its future in the prophetic references to Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38-39 and Revelation 20:8-9.

During that 19th century Crimean War, the Russian Army was dealt arms by the Swedish family of Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) which lived and worked as manufacturers of munitions in St. Petersburg, at the time. When Alfred was 34, he gained fame for his invention of dynamite. He made a fortune from its sale. He was building a legacy as a war profiteer.

When his brother passed away in 1888, a French newspaper mistakenly wrote that Alfred Nobel had died. The false report stated: “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” The newspaper tagged Nobel as “The Merchant of Death”.

Having read his own obituary, Alfred Nobel set out to change his legacy. One year before his death, the 62-year-old Nobel changed his will, giving 94% of his fortune – worth around $270 million, today – as prizes for the best work in the promotion of peace. They were called the Nobel Peace Prizes.

Nearing the end of his life, Nobel suffered from the chest pains of angina. He wrote, “Isn’t it the irony of fate that I have been prescribed nitroglycerin to be taken internally!” Paradoxically, 92 years after Nobel’s death, the 1988 Nobel Peace Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded in part for the discovery of the therapeutic benefit of nitroglycerin to the agreement of countless heart patients.

If you could read your own obituary, what would it say? Would you be filled with regret or with gratitude for how God used you to bless other people? It is never too late to change your legacy. Unfortunately, some, like Russia, never will. Yet others, like a senior citizen named Alfred Nobel, will do so. If he could do it, you, through Christ’s transforming power, can also. Why not start today?

In Christ’s love,

Jimmy Patterson



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