Wednesday, January 17, 2018

So How's That New Year's Resolution Doing?

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)

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So How’s That New Year’s Resolution Doing?

          Lots of folks have already given up on resolutions for the new year for obvious reasons.

          Goals set were rarely met; and if we stop setting goals, we don’t have to worry about meeting ‘em.

          I think of the fellah who kept setting a goal that he never met and deadpanned, “I’ve resolved to quit smoking; and I know I can do it because I’ve quit a thousand times.”

          Then there’s the realistic person who confessed, “I’m making a new year’s resolution to stop smoking.  I decided this would be the only one that I could ever be sure to keep since I don’t smoke.”

          Mark Twain had a whimsical way of understanding this annual frustration: “Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual resolutions.  Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

          So how’s your new year’s resolution doing?

          How long has it been?

          Whoa.

          If you’re like me and wanted to lose an inch or ten off the waistline, it’s been tough.

          I mean, really, how are we supposed to drop pounds with all of those cookies around?

          Yet, candidly, my guess is it wouldn’t matter if we changed the day for making resolutions from January 1 to August 1. 

          It’s tough to improve.

          Of course, lots of resolutions are selfish: “I’m going to lose weight…use less credit and more cash…stay away from…”

          You know what I mean; and there’s nothing wrong with that because, as the psalmist and apostle noted, our bodies housing our souls are wonderfully made and worthy of our best stewardship.

          Taking care of our bodies honors God.

          I remember Paul Roberts, the proverbial father of the Confessing Church Movement in our denomination, chastising me about getting into better shape because pastors who are not in better shape are bad role models for people.

          Ouch.

          Yet, while I can see his point and agree with David and Paul on taking care of the temples of our souls, it’s still kinda selfish in that we should want to take care of ourselves if we have respect for ourselves not to mention even if we should mention how it’s the Godly thing to do.

          Or something like that.

          While I may be wrong, I know God wants us to be good stewards of our bodies yet believe He’s more concerned about our relationship with Him as reflected in our relationships with others.

          I think of how He said, “Love each other just as much as I have loved you…As you love others, you’re loving Me…Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself…”

          Knowing the soul lasts longer than the body – like, uh, forever by grace through faith in Jesus – it makes sense to take care of the body and spend even more time and effort in taking care of the soul.

          Have we resolved for our souls to be increasingly right with God?

          Again, I’m not putting down those resolutions to getting our bodies in shape.  I’m only saying it makes sense to spend more time and effort on our souls that outlive our bodies.

          Yes, let’s lose some pounds and watch our wallets and stay away from bad people and substances; yet let’s also or moreover or more than less or more than before pray and labor and try to be more Christian with Christlike qualities such as mercy, grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation radiating/reflecting/revealing our love for Him; or as Paul wrote, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

          Too often, too many people who say they’re Christians like you and me haven’t been resolved obviously to radiate/reflect/reveal those basic character traits of Christianity; prompting Mark Twain to lament, “The church is always trying to get other people to reform.  It might not be a bad idea to reform itself a little by way of example.”

          We’re not gonna change the world for the better if we don’t change for the better first.

          Resolving to change ourselves for the better comes before resolving to change the world for the better; for when we change for the better, so does our part of the world.

          Apart from saying everybody needs Jesus as personal Lord and Savior by grace through faith to experience confident living in the assurance of eternal life, I would never presume to say how I’m praying and laboring and trying and resolving to improve my relationship with Him that always improves my relationships with others works for everybody, it never hurts to share what works for us because it may work for others like us.

          Let me put it another way.

          How’s your new year’s resolution doing?

          Not that I’m doing that much better than anybody else; but, truly, I am doing a little better because I’ve been resolving the same thing for the past decade or so; and while I’m just scratching the surface of my relationship with Jesus by resolving over and over and over again to get closer to Him, I am scratching and getting closer to Him.

          I’ve got a long way to go; but I’m going.

          My decade-old now resolution is two Bible verses.

          First, Galatians 2:20: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Jesus living in/through me.”

          I think of it/Him more like this: “As I get closer to Jesus, He dominates more and more and more of my head, heart, and gut.  The more intimate that I become with Him, the more He incarnates in what I say and do and even how I appear.  The more I invite Him into my head, heart, and gut, the more of His goodness pushes out the badness in me.  In short, it is no longer I who live, but it is Jesus living in me.”

          I have resolved to make more and more and more room for Jesus in my head, heart, and gut so that I can love Him better by loving others better by loving more and more and more like Him.

          Second, Galatians 5:22: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, fidelity, humility, and self-control.”

          The miracle of being increasingly intimate with Jesus is we will enflesh those qualities because they are the supernatural enfleshments of intimacy with Jesus.

          Those Christlike characteristics prove intimacy with Jesus; for, again, the closer we get to Jesus, the more that He fills our heads and hearts and guts and the more His goodness will push our badness out of us so that we can say increasingly, “It is not longer I who live, but it is Jesus living in/through me.”

          Two of my favorite authors get it/Him and understand how this resolution works.

          Tony Evans: “Let me make this bold statement to every local church.  The fuller of the Spirit you are, the fewer ‘programs’ you need.  Because no program on earth can match the filling from heaven.  Counseling would be cut short if more people who are being counseled were instead being filled.”

          Rhonda Hughey: “If we aren’t longing for Jesus, our ministry activities will be routine and hollow.  There is certainly no shortage of ideas, plans, methods, books, teachings, programs, and activities in the church.  What we are suffering from is a drought of desperation for God!  Desperation is the underlying fuel that ignites our hearts for unity, prayer, worship, and repentance.”

          So how’s that new year’s resolution doing?

          If it’s going well, I praise the Lord with you!

          If not, why not join me for another year or two or decade or however long it takes to become much, much, much better?

          One more word.

          It’s already been several weeks since January 1.

          Stop waiting!

          Do it now!

          I think of Theophane the Monk: “I had just one desire – to give myself completely to God…An old monk asked me, ‘What is it you want?’
I said, ‘I just want to give myself to God.’  I expected him to be gentle…but he shouted at me, ‘Now!’  I was stunned.  He shouted again, ‘Now!  Now!  Now!’”

          Now is the time to resolve greater intimacy with Jesus.

          It’s the most important resolution of all.

          It lasts forever; and it takes care of all those other resolutions along the way.


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Blessings and Love!

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Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Annual Report - 2017

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


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Amigas/Amigos,

As I’ve been saying/writing/salting for a dozen years or so, trees fall and forests vanish for the very few who actually read church annual reports.

Annual reports, especially by clergy and other politicians, usually fall into four categories with a nod to my redundancy:

  • See how great we are!

  • Send lawyers, guns, and money in a Warren Zevon kinda way!

  • Everything’s horrible because of you/me/us/them!

  • Though we’re getting better and not as bad as most in the neighborhood and we’d rather the toothy guy in Texas who says nothing eloquently to anesthetize us to Jesus by the book than the guy who’s still hangin’ in with us because he loves us to death, we’ve got to be careful of people looking for a champion, paramour, errand boy for wandering desires, BFF, or someone who will agree with the last person that he’s talked to like a bad sentence ending in a preposition, our next Pastor Search Committee will say everything’s gonna be really great until we start treating the next one like we did the last one!


Sorry.


Not really.

Got this thing about salt, light, and leaven; and will keep on keepin’ on with what I believe to be His salt, light, and leaven until proven otherwise by Jesus, Holy Scripture, and common sense.

That’s authentically true love.

Posing love is telling people what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear according to Jesus by the book; or as Frederick Buechner wrote, “The preacher pulls the little cord that turns on the lectern light and deals out his note cards like a riverboat gambler.  The stakes have never been higher…A prophet’s quarrel with the world is deep-down a lover’s quarrel.  If they didn’t love the world, they probably wouldn’t bother to tell it that it’s going to hell.  They’d just let it go.”

Though exponentially more sinfully inclined than Paul not to mention Jesus because He, unlike us or anyone else, is pure and perfect in every way, I’m kinda like them when it comes to the past and annual reports (viz., Matthew 5:25-34; 9:15-17; Philippians 3:10-14).

Simply, while thanking God for last year(s) and the privilege to build upon the best of the past for a more faith-filled future, we look forward to new opportunities than back at our, uh, behinds.

So here are few inspirations/indigestions – You decide! – about what’s ahead:

We must model Someone better!  That means following
His pattern in Jesus and prescriptions in the Bible with
grace, mercy, forgiveness, and agape to restore
relationships in an increasingly segregating, discriminating,
demeaning, and degrading world, country, and wherever
two or three are not always gathered in His name.

Longing for the way things never were or maybe were but are
no more is unfaithful yet seductively delusional.  With no
apologies to dispensationalists, the “church age” is over.
Churches will never be what they were in America.  Finances
are shrinking with millennials, Gen Xers, and most Baby
Boomers seeing “Church” as discretionary not obligatory.
In other words, we will be expected to do more with less.

Denominations have decreasing appeal for true believers.
While those of us who were saved and nurtured in them
continue to herald their efficacies, we are a decreasing
minority.  I see parochial partnerships becoming less and
less and less attractive/viable as they are replaced by
ecumenical networks of common ideology and sometimes
theology.

While I’ll never be as astute as Don Norek when it comes to
eschatology, I believe we are in the last days in a Matthew 24,
Mark 13, and Luke 21 kinda way without too much reference
to John’s apocalypse that Calvin and Luther couldn’t figure
out either.  Moretheless, the particulars are not as important
as the ultimate victory of Jesus that inspires us to live
triumphantly amid the meanness, madness, misery, and
miscreance of these days.  Living in the assurance of
eternal paradise by grace through faith in Jesus enables
our strong calm sanity to press on with confidence,
courage, and contagion.


Within the undershepherding context of Matthew 10:16, MLK, Jr. still speaks for women and men praying and laboring to be His in hostile cultures: “Well, I don’t know what will happen now.  We’ve got some difficult days ahead.  But it doesn’t matter with me now.  Because I’ve been to the mountaintop.  And I don’t mind.  Like anybody, I would like to live a long life…But I’m not concerned about that now.  I just want to do God’s will.  And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain.  And I’ve looked over.  And I’ve seen the promised land.  I may not get there with you.  But I want you to know…I’m not worried about anything.  I’m not fearing any man.  Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

As King would say, we have increasing “strength to love” each other and others as loving Him because of increasing intimacy with Him (see Philippians 4:8-13).

Knowing the end of the story compels our confidence, courage, and contagion in the meantime.

Blessings and Love,

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Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Jeff Borgerson

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)

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Jeff Borgerson, a covenant brother and recently retired pastor, had a routine-unless-it's-happening-to-you medical procedure on Monday.

As we pray for our Lord's miracles of modern medicine in Jeff's recovery and continuing/evolving ministry, I have been somewhat overwhelmed by the doctor's precisely prohibitive prognosticating prescriptions for his existential welfare.

While I have often told our parish nurse that I'm not into living two more years under Rx's orders because the last two from what I've seen most often aren't worth living that much anyway, I'm also reminded of Helmut Thielicke's The Doctor As Judge of Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die where he urges us to trust God more than our white-robed priests whose arrogance is only matched by our black-robed ones.

Besides, friends, isn't Christianity more about eternal life than anything/anyone else?

As I was talking to a 24-year-old on Saturday who's grieving the "passing" of a friend of the same age, I quoted David Redding: "Anyone who feels sorry for a dead Christian as though the poor chap were missing something has missed the transfiguring promotion involved."

Really.

Do we or do we not believe the best thing about our faith is the confident living inspired by the assurance of "paradise" immediately after the last breath?

If not, we need to get out of the business.

Heaven, I wouldn't continue to be paid to be abused/holy if I didn't relish and rejoice in the privilege of quoting stuff like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15.

To me, and I may be wrong only if corrected by Jesus and Holy Scripture and common sense, I am saddened by folks who don't live life to the fullest because they don't really believe they are eternal by grace through faith in Jesus.

They shuffle through life with a hot water bottle on the side mentality/spirituality.

That's not to say Jeff is going home anytime soon.

Don't know.

He doesn't either.

Neither do you.

That's God's business.

But I do know God declared this life as "good" at genesis (small or capital g depending upon your prejudice) if we don't mess it up and promised the "best" after life in an eternity best summed up, again, by Jesus in one word: paradise.

While I can't wrap my head around that, it sounds a lot better than what's going on here and now.

So I'm hoping and praying for Jeff's recovery as I caution him about Rxers who are a lot like preachers and other politicians who like to control us by assuming they know what's best for us.

Idolatries persist.

Which is why I look forward to sharing a forbidden fuma with Jeff in the future with thanks to an observation by George Burns who smoked up to 15 a day: "Happiness?  A good cigar, a good meal, another good cigar and a good woman...or a bad woman...depending on how much happiness you can handle...If I'd taken my doctor's advice and quit smoking when he advised me to, I wouldn't have lived to go to his funeral."

George Burns hit three figures.

Mes amis, it's more about providence than prescriptions.

No, change that.

Jesus is the antidote for all ills...and fears.

Jeff will be fine sooner than later, probably sooner than later, and definitely in the end.

Besides, he's preaching on the corner of Lincoln and Main for presbytery and other saints on February 13.

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Blessings and Love!

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Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

Really Making America Great Again

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)

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We’ve Got to Be Better As Things Get Worse

or

Really Making America Great Again

          Thanks to Marilyn Hanson, an elder at Belvidere, Illinois’ First Presbyterian Church who prayed and cared for me during the early years of our life and ministry together on the corner of Lincoln and Main as we labored to build upon the best of the past for a better future focused on and filtered through Jesus by the book, I’ve become a regular reader of The Week: The Best of U.S. and International Media since she surprised me with a gift subscription after a few years of me pestering her for her copy after she introduced me to it.

          Unlike talk radio, the alphabet soup of network and cable news programs, and most newspapers, it’s really fair and balanced; providing, as they claim, the best of journalism from left, right, up, down, and all around.  The Week takes an issue, puts conflicting commentaries side by side, and lets readers sort it out for themselves.

          Editor-in-chief William Falk captured my attention with a cautionary column about this moment in American history: “This is the 16th time since The Week launched in 2001 that I’ve used this little space to try to make some sense of the world at year’s end.  Through this exercise, I’ve been surprised to discover I’m an optimist, despite my veneer of journalistic cynicism…bred to believe that tomorrow will be better than today, that human ingenuity can surmount all obstacles, that goodness wins out over evil in the end” (December 22-29, 2017).

          Then reversing direction, he lamented, “But after one of the strangest, most tumultuous, and most disorienting years in our history, I must confess to moments of doubt and fear.”

          Sounding like a Biblical eschatologist who knows our world’s meanness, madness, misery, and miscreance will increase in frequency and intensity as the end approaches, he continued, “Never in my lifetime, even in the 1960s, has the country felt so fractured – so close to a civil war.  Our one nation, allegedly indivisible, has cracked open along fault lines of culture, class, religion, and partisan identity, creating chasms of mutual incomprehension and disdain.  Politics has devolved into a winner-take-all blood sport.  Virtually everything is politicized, from football to wedding cakes.”

          After citing a particular illustrative challenge of his general concern, he concluded, “Our democracy will be sorely tested; in the crucible, we will discover whether character, decency, truth, and the rule of law still matter.  I’d like to think we will pass the test.  Happy New Year, friends.”

          Every historian knows every empire has risen, peaked, and then virtually disappeared throughout history.

          While our national arrogance would assume our exception to that rule, the signs of decline are unmistakable at a seemingly exponential pace; provoking a pessimism that our best days are behind us.

          Simply, can we turn America around?

          Twisting a little phrase that may seem tired by now, “Can we make America great again?”

          Absolutely!

          Why and how move from interrogative to declarative for us just as it did when God sent an angel to a young woman who would carry irresistible and undefeatable hope into the world through virgin birth to encourage hope that America and the rest of the world can be great: “Nothing is impossible with God!”

          Of course, that’s the kicker.

          Nothing is impossible with God; betraying the corollary that nothing important/beneficial/positive/enduring/eternal is possible without God.

          Questions are begging to be asked in America.

          How’s it been going since abortion on demand has been legalized?

          How’s it been going since Biblically Christocentric behaviors have been undermined, contradicted, convoluted, defied, and rejected?

          How’s it been going since God’s been thrown out of classrooms, colleges, courtrooms, council chambers, commerce, and Congress?

          How’s your life and family been going since worship became infrequent, rare, optional, discretionary, or not at all?

          How’s your church been going with a pastor who chokes on the name of Jesus and quotes Oprah, Joy, and Dr. Phil more than Holy Scripture?

          How’s your denomination been going since it’s moved farther and farther and farther away from Jesus by the book?

          How’s America been going since it’s forgotten or felt embarrassed by the faith of our founding mothers and fathers?

          How’s it been going without God?

          If it’s not been going that well without God, wouldn’t it make sense to start going with God?

          Has anyone ever defined insanity for you?

          That was rhetorical.

          Alexis de Tocqueville, the 19th century French diplomat best known for Democracy in America, observed and predicted, “America is great because she is good.  If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

          His observation and prediction were clear.

          The roots of America’s greatness are in God as revealed in Old and New Testaments; and if America ever backs off or away from those relational roots, America, like every other empire, will decline immediately and then disappear from history’s pages.

          Benjamin Franklin said, “There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.”

          Today, I see it this way: “The difference between coal and diamonds is pressure.”

          America is under pressure by dark conspiracies orchestrated by evil and its master to decline and die without God according to the lie from the pit of hell that we can make it on our own.

          America will either crack under the pressure or return to Him and become the gem amid the fiberglass and show the way to a greatness restored by a reborn relationship with God.

          Mark Twain put it this way: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

          Obviously, everyone was born; but not everyone lives.

          It’s like my friend Tony says, “Stop praying, ‘If I should die before I wake.’  You need to start praying, ‘if I should wake before I die.’”

          Do you have a raison d’etre – a purpose to live and go on?

          Or is your life a cameo in AMC’s The Walking Dead?

          The 17th century Westminster Divines were right when they confessed, “Our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

          As C.S. Lewis wrote in The Great Divorce, “It is still ‘either-or.’  If we insist on keeping Hell, we shall not see Heaven.  If we accept Heaven, we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.”

          Here’s the bottom line for America.

          Are we going to move into the future with or without God?

          That’s the question.

          Here’s the answer.

          America has no future without God.

          God will bless America if we go into the future with Him.

          It’s that simple.

          America has a decision to make: “See, today, I have set before you life and prosperity, death and adversity…Choose life so that you and your descendents may live, love the Lord your God, obey Him, and remain faithful to Him.  For He is your life, and He will prolong your life!”

          With God or without God?

          That’s America’s choice.


          One way is heavenly while the other leads straight to…

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Blessings and Love!

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Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!

@#$%



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Monday, January 1, 2018

The Best Thing About Jesus

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)

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“When the Worst Thing Becomes the Best Thing”

or

“The Best Thing About Christianity”



            Do you remember Chariots of Fire?

            Upsetting Warren Beatty’s Reds, it won the Oscar as Best Picture at the 54th Academy Awards in 1982.

            It’s the story of two great British Olympians: Harold Abrahams who ran to overcome prejudice and Eric Liddell who ran for the glory of God.

            Both won gold medals in the Paris games of 1924.

            I think it’s among the most inspiring films of all time; and there are three scenes with Liddell that always stir my spirit to greater fidelity and provoke tears of joyful anticipation.

            You’ll just have to watch the scene when Liddell overcomes fatigue and frustration to win the 400 meters.  There is no way for me to explain it to you.  It’s just like Paul described those moments of prayer in Romans 8 when no words can capture what we’re feeling and we’re left with groans and sighs and inarticulate delights as well as longings.

            Liddell’s sense of irrepressible Beruf against the protests of his sister Jennie who did not understand how sports can be a devotional instrument for faith-sharing encourage us when folks don’t understand what the heaven we’re doing: “I believe that God made me for a purpose.  But He also made me fast; and when I run, I feel His pleasure.”

            Pero, for me, especially in times looking back to the future, I understand Liddell’s total trust in God’s providence when asked if he had any regrets: “Regrets? Yes.  Doubts? No!”

            I was reminded of one of my greatest regrets while looking at some old Christmas cards around Thanksgiving and came across one that stopped me cold, brought tears to my eyes, drove me to my knees, and compelled confession coupled with cognizance that
some things are not fixed with/in time. 

            Time does not heal all wounds.

            It was a handmade Christmas card from my youngest Matthew.

            My guess is he was six or seven or eight or…

            The cover has a tree with a star on top.
            The message on the inside in his young yearning handwriting was almost unbearable to read even as I was overwhelmed by a love that I will never take for granted: “Merry Christmas Dad, Mom, and Dan.  For Christmas, I would like to have family time at the house. Love BM Matt.”

            It reminded me of sledding with Daniel when he was about that age; and how he kept yelling out as we went up and down and up and down and up and down, ‘I never want to stop doing this!”

            Me too.

            Family time.

            “I never want to stop doing this!”

            For some of us, the time left ain’t nearly as long as the time spent.

            Hoping you’re not like me, I regret terribly the time that I have squandered, wasted, forfeited, overlooked, and lost with my family.

            I regret not being with my mom, dad, sister, wife, sons, family, and friends more often than not.

            No rationalizations work for me.

            Talk of wouldas and couldas and shouldas wrench my gut.

            While I find myself treasuring, savoring, and even coveting more time with family as the days of opportunity shorten, I also find myself praising and thanking God more and more and more that we are not limited by time in any of our relationships by grace through faith in Jesus.

            Because of Jesus, we know we have forever to catch up and hug up and love up and be with each other.

            As Jesus promised, no more wouldas or couldas or shouldas or pain or tears or crying any more.

            Paradise.

            That’s what He says comes to us by His grace and mercy immediately after the last breath in time.

            Then we have forever to love like we never loved before.

            Then all relationships are restored and everyone and everything about us become heavenly.

            That’s why Simeon exclaimed upon seeing the Christ child and knowing all that He means forever, “Now I’m ready to die!  I have seen Jesus!  I have seen the Messiah!  I have a Savior!  There’s more!  There’s infinitely more!  Praise God!  There’s heaven!  We don’t end in time!  We live forever and ever and ever with the whole family of God in paradise!”

            That’s why Paul laughed and mocked death in time: “Death is swallowed up by the victory of Jesus!  Who gets the last word?  Not you, death!  Nobody’s afraid of you, death, anymore!  Thanks be to God who gives us the victory by grace through faith in Jesus!”

            That’s why David Redding wrote in Getting Through the Night: The Book of Hope, “Anyone who feels sorry for a dead Christian, as though the poor chap were missing something, is himself missing the transfiguring promotion involved.  This is what we mean by the good news.  The place to be, the perfect place to build and settle down, is on the rise there following the last breath.”

            Here’s the best thing about Christianity!

            The worst thing that can happen to us in time is the best thing that can happen to us forever!

            Death to time in/through Jesus is the key that unlocks paradise that lasts a heaven of a lot longer than, as David reminded us, the 70 or 80 years or more or less that we get on earth.

            The worst thing (death in time) is followed by the best thing (eternal paradise in heaven) by grace through faith in Jesus.

            Even the best experiences of the “good” entrusted to us in time at genesis are exceeded by His incalculably better than the best ever known in time after time in heaven.

            That’s the best thing about Christianity!

            Jesus has not limited us to time to experience all of His best for us that includes loves lost in time that are restored forever.

            Father John Pisarcik explained how people who get that/Him are calmed in time as they anticipate what happens after time by grace through faith in Jesus in Ramblings of an Old Man: “Many years ago, I was chaplain to a religious order of women.  One of the sisters in the congregation was 103 years old when she died.  She was in perfect health, still sneaking in walks…pitch-black hair…not a gray hair to be seen.  She was beautiful…spiritually and physically.”

            Dr. Piscarcik continued, “A year before, she had been ill and the doctor told her superior that all she really needed to do was eat, and she would regain her strength.  As a community, we had gathered in her room to pray…[We]…told her what the doctor had said…[She]…said no, she was ready to die, and she did not want to eat…Then I reminded her that even Jesus had a last meal with his apostles…She looked at her superior and only said, in a firm, clear voice for all to hear, ‘No Jello.’”

            My old friend concluded, “She was ready to go home…I saw her reaching out into the air, as so, so many do before death comes.  So I asked her what she was reaching for or who she saw.  Immediately, she told me her favorite uncle just entered the room and how happy she was to see him…her mother and father were both there…”

            His final thought on her graduation and reunion: “We would not try and stop her, but rather pray for her and give thanks to God for allowing us to share her life and journey.  A few hours later, peacefully and without a sound, she stopped breathing, and her spirit left us and joined that of those who came to bring her home to the Kingdom of God.”

            Later in the book, he quoted J.I. Packer: “Christian hope expresses knowledge that every day of life, and every moment beyond it, the believer can say with truth on the basis of God’s own commitment, that the best is yet to come.”

            All of us have regrets.
            It’s only human.

            By grace through faith in Jesus, we have no doubts.

            There are no sad eternities in His story.

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Blessings and Love!

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Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!

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