Thought of the Day—I wonder what would happen if we tried to spend more time with God and less time spent on making more friends and likes on one of the social networking sites? As important as friends are, friends and followers WILL come and go; we can’t afford to have a nonchalant prayer life and we can’t tweet our way to Heaven…Can I get a Like and Share? (just kidding…)
Thought of the Day—It’s OK to escape to the land of make believe from time to time as long as you don’t attempt to pitch a tent there. For this life can be brutal but it’s the only one we have. So be kind and have courage; for this life is only a prep station to our true “happily ever after” with God…
Thought of the Day—When you lose someone you cherish, you can certainly water the garden of thanksgiving with your tears of grief. But even though you have to contend with the weeds of sorrow, the beautiful memories that blossom in that garden will undoubtedly sustain you for years to come…In memory of my beautiful sister, Jennifer May 23, 1955 – October 25, 2017
Thought of the Day—Birds aren’t intended to be held in captivity but to fly free and uninhibited. So it is with our souls; God doesn’t want us to get entangled by the woes of this world but rather to soar above our circumstances and to focus on the bigger picture. For we are only sojourners on a journey and this is not our home. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be involved in this world to influence positive change while we are here… just don’t be tempted to pitch a tent…
Thought of the Day—You can’t bring your hate through those beautiful pearly gates…but then again, why would you want to? Isn’t it time to put that misplaced animosity into the hands of Jesus?
When I was growing up, our family would sometimes take a Sunday drive in the afternoon, either to visit relatives or just for fun. The two older siblings would share the back seat and I, being the youngest, would sit on the floor board on either side of “the hump”. While driving around, we would pass several familiar sites including cemeteries. Invariably, one of us would smugly state, “people are just dying to get in there!” followed by an instant head turn from mom, a disapproving glare followed by a chiding comment of how we shouldn’t disrespect the dead. All the while, we siblings would respond with satisfied smiles and quiet giggles.
As I look back, that comment seemed so funny at the time but certainly less so as I get older. For in youth, a day seems like an eternity but as the stark reality of midlife adulthood creeps in, you begin to experience the sting of death as you lose loved ones and soon acknowledge that your own life is but a mere vapor in the wind. Sounds pretty morbid, huh? Well, it depends on your perspective.
You see, there are many differing views about death and if there is “life on the other side”. Some believe there is simply nothing after death, the light switch is merely set to the “off” position and you become a buffet for all sorts of creepy crawlers. If that was the case, I guess I would have an epitaph that reads, “I was serious about life but now I’m just a fungi”…Others believe that you are reincarnated as another creature or human depending on how good or bad you were in your previous life. I guess if you came back as a dung beetle, you could easily figure out why…Still others believe they will be rewarded in paradise by what they did on earth; their reward being measured by the number of virgins they receive in paradise based on how much they pleased their God. I wonder if their hell was also based on something similar but they quickly ran out of virgins and would have to support all of them for eternity…
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to make light of death as much as bring a different perspective to light. Death is part of life; “From ashes to ashes, dust to dust; we came from the earth and to return we must”. We mourn those we have lost because we miss them terribly; there is a huge gaping hole left in our heart that only God can heal. But for the followers of Christ, there is a hope that extends beyond the grave. John 3:16 (NIV) states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 14:2-3 (NIV) reflects, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” If I truly trust God’s word in its’ entirety, then there really is a concrete hope that we can hold on to, not only that we will see our loved ones again that trusted in Jesus, but we will live eternally with Christ!
And so we hold on to that very hope and truth as we go about our day to day lives; knowing that it is not about when or how we die but actually how we live and Who we live for in this life that makes an eternal difference in the next. That’s why it is so vitally important that we know the One who created us, who loves us more than we could ever imagine; being a living testimony of Christ in us until the day comes when we take our last breath. I will then be in peace and at peace, one of the grateful dead. For having lived and being loved in life, I must then await my final judgment but knowing I have an advocate with my Father.
My only hesitancy in death is leaving my loved ones in pain and grief. For as I know from pain filled experience, there is a peace to know your loved one is with the Lord but we humans have to deal with the emotional fall out of their passing and the huge void left in their place. But be comforted in the fact that we can be united once again. I Thessalonians 4:16-17 reads, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” When Christ returns, I can’t wait to be caught up with everyone else for that great reunion. I bet I won’t even have that fear of heights anymore. I’ll just be eternally grateful for the grace given to a wretch like me.
Photography and words by Stephen R Wilson
“When you gotta go, you gotta go”…how many times have you heard this phrase? It could mean anything from “I’ve got to get going” to “I have to use your facilities”. The phrase describes action; moving from one place to another. There are several verses in the New Testament that reflects Jesus telling his disciples to “go and do”. Mark 16:15 states — He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” If we are believers in Christ, we are indeed tasked to go and do, to reach out and minister to those around us.
But have we forgotten that Jesus was sent first? Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Where would we be if God had not sent His son to “seek and save” the lost? That is what the poem reflected below is all about; Christ leaving His perfect kingdom to save our condemned world…
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I Have to Go Now
Walking around my Father’s place
In heaven’s magnificent splendor,
This is the only home I have ever known
His light, love and blessings are mine forever.
But I desire to do His will
My full heart yearns to obey,
So I must leave this home I know
To save the lost in another place.
I have to go now to do my Father’s will
You see the world below is hurting and needs some saving grace,
I know it won’t be easy but these souls are well worth pain
So I will become a little child and one day take their place.
It has been over three decades that I have walked here on earth
My ministry is almost over but my very being throbs and hurts,
For there are so many needs, the sin is great and life here is very hard
Even my disciples seem to be discouraged and think our work here is cursed.
But as my Father has led me on and kept me spotless still
The love my Father has for these helpless souls will soothe my pain to come,
For I am here to teach and love, to share my Father’s promises
And now I am to lay my life as an unblemished lamb to by all means save some.
So I have to go now to do my Father’s will
To take on the sin of all, to climb Golgotha’s hill,
And as they pierce my hands and feet, and lift me to the sky
My love for you has not diminished, as I cry out “it is finished” and I die.
I open my eyes, it is cold and dark, I can’t hear my Father’s voice
But I hear the demons hiss and sneer, “you’ve done it master!” are their cries,
“I have you now” Satan screams “All humanity is mine!”
Everything seems lost in this pitch black hell but I know it’s only lies.
All at once the ground is shaking as I hear my Father’s cry
Arise, my son the time has come, now leave this grave behind,
Satan shouted “that’s not fair”, his death was the final blow
“You fool”, God stated, “through my Son is salvation to all and death has been denied”.
I have to go now to share that I’m alive
To show my disciples that I beat death’s eternal sting,
Now I go to prepare a place for all those who believe
But I will send a Comforter friend that will encourage you just like me.
I will be back someday soon to complete my Father’s plan
To collect my beautiful faultless bride, to take her lovely hand,
When my Father gives the call, I will break the eastern sky
And gather to gather the faithful, those who will never ever die.
John 20:21-23 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Revelation 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.