Tag Archive | eternity

To the Breathing: Choose Life!

Sudden Deaths.  Three people I knew have died suddenly this year.  Two were 51 years old, one was only 28.  One day they were alive and well, the next day, gone.  As just 1 person in a big world, my experience is reflected a 1000 times over around the globe.  People meeting death and their Creator in the blink of an eye.

None of us can make sense of death, except that it’s something we all, ultimately, must face.  But we usually think we’ll have some preparation for it, time to contemplate our beliefs, settle our affairs, say some last meaningful words to our loved ones…  Yet, that’s not really what plays out for everyone.

So, in the face of our frail brevity, I encourage the breathing, my dear friends and family, to take Today seriously.  Today is all we have.

Love one another.  Be kind, compassionate, forgive, show mercy, share your blessings with the poor.

And most importantly, please don’t neglect what Christ has done for you.  Believe and receive His gift of Grace.  “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 3”16

Reflect and turn to “God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.”  I Timothy 2:4-6

If I had but one day, this is the most important thing I could pass on. This life is brief, and, eternity is, well…forever 🙂

So, today, choose your eternity, by choosing Christ.

Today, choose life.

Because I love all of you…

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My Hope

“My Hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”

Hope is….to cherish a desire with anticipation.  That defines My Hope…Jesus.

“Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life!”  Titus 3:7

In memory of Todd’s recent passing from death to eternal life, I needed a reminder of  hope and encouragement, since I find myself on this side of eternity, seeing a bit darkly, and walking, sometimes hobbling, by faith.

C. H. Spurgeon writes:

‘The voice of weeping shall be no more heard.’  (Isaiah 65:19)   The glorified weep no more, for all outward causes of grief are gone.  There are no broken friendships, or blighted prospects in heaven.  Poverty, famine, peril, persecution and slander are unknown there.  No pain distresses, no thought of death or bereavement saddens.

  They weep no more, for they are perfectly sanctified.  They are without fault before His throne and are fully conformed to His image.  Well may they cease to mourn who have ceased to sin. 

They weep no more, because all fear of change is past.  They know that they are eternally secure.  Sin is shut out, and they are shut in. They live in a city that will never be stormed..bask in a sun that will never set…drink from a river that will never run dry…and pick fruit from a tree that will never wither.

They weep no more because every desire is fulfilled.  They cannot wish for anything that they do not already have in their possession.  Eye and ear, heart and hand, judgment, imagination, hope, desire, will, and all the faculties are completely satisfied.

The joy of Christ, which is an infinite fullness of delight, is in them…and that same joyful rest remains for us.  It may not be far distant.  ‘Wherefore, comfort one another with these words!’ (I Thess. 4:18) 

John Newton wrote this hymn about a loved one’s death:

In vain, my fancy strives to paint
The moment after death,
The glories that surround the saint,
Then yielding up his breath.

One gentle sigh the fetter breaks:
We scarce can say,”They’re gone!”
Before the willing spirit takes
Her mansion near the throne.

Faith strives, but all its efforts fail,
To trace her in the flight;
No eye can pierce within the veil
Which hides that world of light.

Thus much (and this is all) we know,
They are completely blest:
Have done with sin, and care, and woe,
And with their Saviour rest!

Before our Lord, they praise His name,
His face they always view;
Then let us followers be of them,
That we may praise Him too.

 

This is an encouraging quote from Bunyan’s Pilgrim:

There also you shall serve Him continually with praise, shouting, and thanksgiving, Him whom you desired to serve in the world, though with much difficulty, because of the infirmity of your flesh. There your eyes shall be delighted with seeing, and your ears with hearing the pleasant voice of the mighty One.

 

And from Jesus:

“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.”  John 11:25

“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hell.” Revelation 1:17, 18 

“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”  Revelation 22:17

 

What is your Hope? 

 

Rejoice in This

It all started when I stepped onto the pier after enjoying a blissful sailboat cruise with our daughter, Joy.  The edge of the night sky was still pink from an enduring sunset.  The air was cool, but not chilly, at some unknown, yet perfect temperature.  My husband was in his glory, snapping photos of the all that is life around us.  And Joy looked more beautiful and content than ever, hand in hand with her adoring husband, and wonderfully pregnant. 

I breathed a near-audible prayer of deep thankfulness to the Lord.   “Lord, thank you for this wonderful time with my family. Thank you for Joy’s happiness.  Thank you for this glorious evening!”

And nearly as audible, the Lord spoke quickly to my heart, “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this…but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”  (Luke 10:20)

Oh!

Much of my thankfulness and rejoicing has been for God’s provision in this life.  That’s okay.  It’s His will to be thankful for these things.  But His word pierced my heart as I realized that my gratefulness should go well beyond the here and now, to His love and all He has accomplished to secure eternity for me and countless others!  

I came upon this little-known hymn in Spurgeon’s hymnbook [1], and attempted to update the language a bit, so it could speak to you as it did to me, of the “IN WHAT” we should rejoice:  

 Grace in Love

We love You, Lord, because when we had err’d and gone astray,
You recalled our wandering souls into the heavenward way.

When helpless, hopeless, we were lost in sin and sorrow’s night,
You sent forth a guiding ray of Your kind and tender light.

Because when we forsook Your ways nor kept Your holy will,
You were not the avenging Judge, but gracious Father still!

Because we have forgotten You, Lord, but You have not forgot,
Because we have forsaken You, but You forsake not;

Because, O Lord, You love us with an everlasting love,
Because You sent Your Son to die that we might live above;

Because when we were heirs of wrath, You gave us hope of heaven;
We love because we much have sinned, and much have been forgiven!

Julia Anne Elliott, 1835

 

God’s word is replete with reasons to give thanks and/or rejoice, and oddly enough, most have nothing to do with our personal provisions.   The next few posts will delve into these further:  Rejoicing in Him, Rejoicing in suffering, and Rejoicing in His appearing!   

“Rejoice in the Lord, always, and again I say, Rejoice!!”

 

       [1]  C.H. Spurgeon (compilation, 1866), Our Own Hymn-Book, Pilgrim Publications. Pasadena (2002). 2nd Ed.  Hymn 248.

Mary Barrett is with the Lord

 

Mary with her husband, Joe

Mary with her husband, Joe

Mary Barrett quietly and peacefully left this world and was welcomed into the arms of Jesus late evening on November 10th.  She was in a hospice facility for the last couple of days, as her cancer and pain worsened.  Now, she resides where there is no sickness, pain or suffering! 

Continue to remember and pray for those closest to her loss, especially her husband, Joe, as he grieves for his bride of many years.  Pray also for Mary’s mom, and her church family and friends at Calvary Chapel Merritt Island, who are left behind to deal with the absence of her beautiful spirit, lovely smile and worshipful voice.

Information regarding a memorial service is pending at this time.  However, if you live in the Merritt Island region of Florida, check out this CC Merritt Island link for more information, or for details about a motorcycle memorial ride in her honour:

Though I only met Mary once, her gracious spirit, laugh, and love for Jesus left an impression on me that I’ll never shake.  Her music was the fruit of the deep, abiding relationship with the Lord.  May her legacy of worship bring you peace in this world, greater hope for the next, and a closeness to her (and our) Saviour, Jesus, as you listen to her music.

Check out the blue Music Box to the right to listen to some of Mary’s singing.  If you want to hear more online, let me know or find her CDs at:

marybarrett.com

Footstep Records

Amazon.com

Loss of a Friend

Weizen aka Bob

Bob is no longer with us.   He’s been part of our family for over 11 years.  His real name is Weizen, which our daughter, Grace gave him when she first saw his soft white-wheat coat and golden eyelashes.  Weizen was her 16th birthday present…and a lot more to our whole family:  best friend, companion, counselor, listener, and spiritual teacher.   Those closest to us may have also recognized Bob as John’s alter ego, his reason to get home, and often, his reason to wake up each day.

Some of John’s thoughts prior and upon this difficult time:

August 20th:

Today, I called the animal clinic concerning putting Bob to sleep.  It is really difficult for me emotionally, but as Bob’s primary caretaker, I need to make this decision based upon his needs.  Thank you Lord, for letting me care for this beautiful animal.  He has a wonderful spirit and I will miss him more than I can let myself admit today.  Bob has represented the sovereign will of God in our lives.  Many places would I have gone but did not, because of Bob, yet many other places we went or lived would not have been, except for our consideration of Bob’s needs and place in our lives.
As with our faith in God, many people questioned me about why I didnt put Weizen aside so we could travel.  My answer is, I am an emotional being and I could not be ME and do that.  Help me, Lord Jesus, to have the strength to do what is right!

Bob will be fondly remembered through pictures and memories, as the true soul mate he was to all of us.  Life is spiritual, life is eternal, and the physical is momentary–I know when we are in God’s Kingdom, Weizen will run up to greet us once again!

I doubt that I’ll be able to write tomorrow, or for a while as I am such an emotional creation.

The Holy Spirit encouraged me from Hebrews 4:13-16, to let me know that He will be with me and Bob when the time comes:

“Before Him, no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the One to Whom we must render an account. Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore approach the throne of Grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find Grace to help in our time of need.”

August 22nd:

Yesterday, our beloved friend and companion went home to be with the angels. This experience is among the most painful moments in my life.  Bob fell asleep after being sedated and we said goodbye… This was my first morning without Bob’s presence, and yet I sense him even more!  Thank you Lord, for giving us hope!  The Lord offered some comfort for me through Romans 8:18-39, a beautiful portion of His word concerning death, life, and God’s love in Christ towards us:

Vs. 20:  Creation (Bob) was subjected to futility (sin), not of his (Bob’s) own will or fault, but by the will of the One who subjected creation (Bob) that is God, in hope that the creation (Bob) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning [including animals, in my opinion], with labour pains until now; and not only creation, but we [humans] ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoptions, the redemption of our bodies.”

Bob has been “set free”! 

I like verse 26….“likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.”  I am weak, and we read in Hebrews, Jesus is able to help us in our times of weakness.  Thank you, Lord.

Verses 24 and 25 also give me hope:
For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope.  For who hopes for what is seen?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

To paraphrase another verse (Proverbs 13:12) on hope:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick.  But when hope is fulfilled, it brings forth new life!

O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” 

1 Corinthians 15:55-57