Monday, December 10, 2018

Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 34

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Scratching the Surface of the Psalms


“Larger than Life”

Everyone around my age agrees, “Life begins at 50 and then it’s patch, patch, patch.”

Unless you’ve got Jesus in your head, heart, and gut, the piling up of prescriptions, pills, and referrals that range from preventive to critical to padding another MD’s bank account when winding down can be so overwhelming, disconcerting, unsettling, and depressing that the overrated twilight years seem like a death watch.

Yes, the inevitable is, uh, inevitable and nobody escapes the last breath in time.

I’ll get back to that and how Jesus changes that horror show into calming, certain, courageous, confident, and triumphantly living anticipation of His best life after this life when He, again, is in your head, heart, and gut.

Pero, for now, let me share what’s coming for those of you who are under 50 as you see the nods and hear the affirming yet agonizing groans of those who are over 50.

Ever hear of a colonoscopy?

That’s a thrill.

Just ask someone about the 24 hours before they stick that big hose with snippers up…

I’ll never forget my first one that comes as a birthday present when you reach 50.  Just before we got going, I asked, “Do yu’uns wash those things between patients?”

Yeah, like you, more snickers than laughs.

Well, I got through that one at 50…and 60…and I’ve got another one coming in around 4 years.

In the meantime, because I had one fainting spell back in the fall of 2018 and told my wife and primary care physician about it, I got to do a mini-version of a colonoscopy called cologuard.
Another thrill.

They send you a kit and you, uh, poop in a can and hope there’s a local UPS store to ship it off in 24 hours to some laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin so you can wait to find out if there’s been more padding of someone’s pocket or you’re about to cash in.

And then…


Get the picture?

If you’re under 50, you don’t; but just ask anyone over 50 and they’ll scare the hell out of you which is good because you’re going to have to have heaven in your soul when the patching commences.

Mike comes to mind.

Many months before he went home to Jesus, we met at Starbucks and discussed then prayed about a very bad doctor’s report.

“I’m going to beat this,” he said.

I responded, “Yes, you are, Mike.  One way or the other, you are going to beat it.”

Then we began many months of trips to the table of Holy Communion and conversations about what Jesus is ultimately all about.

Just as a reminder, Jesus is ultimately all about eternal life after this life that is so much better than the best that this life can offer that Jesus describes it as paradise.

That’s why all believers are larger than life.

So many of our conversations reminded me of Psalm 34.

While commentators are convinced 1 Samuel 21 is the historical background for this psalm – you can read it sometime – it doesn’t really matter because the meaning of the psalm transcends any particular historical moment to the blessed assurance of knowing for certain that we are eternal and heaven-bound for paradise after the last breath in time.

Believers like Mike and you and me join David to praise and thank God because He helps us to endure and overcome the meanness, madness, misery, and miscreance of life in our world: “I praise God every chance I get!  His love for me is always on the tip of my tongue!  Whenever I think things aren’t going well or there’s a daunting challenge, I remember He has always delivered me from tight spots.  He did it before and He’ll do it again.”

Then David provides the key to unlocking this safety and security and salvation in the meantime: “Worship God if you want His best.  Worship opens the door to all His goodness.”


That’s not occasional, irregular, sometimes, only if you don’t have something “better” to do, irresponsible, disrespectful, ungrateful, trifling with God worship.

That’s worship as the first priority of your life.

That’s worship because you’re so thankful that He helps you to overcome the meantime as preface to the best time that lasts forever in heaven.

Again, David sings out with gusto, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.  How happy are people who take refuge in Him.”

David concludes with a warning to unbelievers and promise to believers.

To the unbelievers: “The wicked commit slow suicide.  God won’t put up with rebels.”

To the believers: “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous.  The righteous cry out to God and He hears them and delivers them from all their troubles.  No one who runs to God loses out sooner or later, usually sooner than later, and definitely in the end.”

Getting back to Mike, he beat cancer because cancer has no eternal hold on a believer.

God has an eternal hold on believers.

Believers are larger than life.

Let’s be more specific about what comes the first nano-second after the last breath.

Surely, I shared the good news with Mike as I’ve always shared the good news with anyone who needs good news and is willing to hear it.

Jesus, of course, put it/Him best: “God loved the world so much that He came in the flesh in the Messiah; so that whoever believes in Him will not vanish from reality but have eternal life in the pure and perfect place of personal peace where there is no more crying or pain or tears or anything negative.  Paradise!”

Yet after over four decades of repeating that good news, Mike was the first to ask, “What will I see first?”

“Well, Mike,” I said, “I don’t know.  I haven’t been there yet.  But from what I’ve read in the Bible and know from faith and anyone who has ever witnessed to what comes after the last breath, it sounds pretty good…I can’t wrap my head around that, but it sounds pretty good.”

I added during another of our sacred moments together: “Mike, I’ve been thinking more about your question – “What will I see first?” – and while I’m sure you’re going to see mom and dad and…the apostle says you’re going to see face to face and know completely what you only knew in part before.  That sounds pretty good to me.  I can’t wrap my head around paradise and knowing completely what we only knew in part before, but it sounds good to me.”

“Me too,” he said.

Well, we had one more discussion about his question in the last clear conversation that we had before he went home to Jesus.

It was sparked by a dream that I had that I know was inspired by his question.

“Mike,” I began, “I asked God to be more specific about what you will see.  I had a dream and was blessed with a taste of heaven.  I don’t know if anybody else but you can understand this dream because it’s about the refreshment and restoration and forgiveness and healing and harmony and perfecting of all renewed and reborn and restored relationships in heaven.”

Then I shared the dream: “I was in a large barracks with bunks side by side.  Separated from me by one bunk was a woman who loved me a lot long before I met my wife.  I didn’t love her back and ended the relationship.  We weren’t meant for each other. “

I went on, “Well, she reached out to me from my bunk; but I did not reach back.  For some reason, I got up and went into a room filled with the whitest white light that I’ve ever experienced; upset with myself for not reaching out to someone who loved me in time but who I, well, uh, did not love back to her satisfaction.”

“All of a sudden,” I continued, “the door to the room burst open, she runs in, embraces me in a hug that transcends any human definition and, though my face is pointing one way and hers is pointing another way, I can see her face filled with peace, calm, total joy and forgiveness, healing, and every other emotion and thought and longing and…that cannot be articulated.”

It was heavenly.

A taste.

No more wouldas or couldas or shouldas.

No more wasted time.

It was total final forever reconciliation…refreshingly regained time.

I asked Mike if he understood the dream.

“Yes,” he said.

“That’s what you are going to see first, my brother, and I won’t be too far behind you…That’s our taste…Enjoy the full course, amigo!”

Then Mike and I shared a final strong, manly, confident, certain, and calm fist pump.

As I walked out of his room, I said, “I’ll see you later.”

He said, “I know.”

“I’m gonna beat this,” he said months before that moment.

He did!

He did because believers are larger than life!

The apostle put it/Him this way: “I consider any suffering in time not worth comparing to the glory that comes in heaven by grace through faith in Jesus.”

David knew it.
Mike knew it.

If Jesus is in our heads and hearts and guts, we know it.

Believers are larger than life.

Life begins and never ends as soon as Jesus is invited into the head, heart, and gut as Lord and Savior.


Blessings and Love!


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

Shatter the sound of silence!

Salt! Shine! Leavenate!





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