In an instant!

Whereas ye know not what [shall be] on the morrow. For what [is] your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.   James 4:14

 

I learned today that the Pastor’s nephew passed away very unexpectedly yesterday. He was almost 10 years younger than me and I have known the family most of my life and I am filled with sorrow for them as they go through such a shocking loss of a family member. The parents are dealing with something horrible to deal with, the loss of a child. I cannot even begin to imagine, nor do I want to imagine losing a child. Even the thought of the possibility hurts terribly. His wife and children, his sisters and brothers. The rest of the family mourning a loss on Easter Sunday. My deepest sympathies go out to his family and my most heartfelt prayers go to God that they seek comfort in Christ for He is the only one that can truly give the comfort that they need.

While the family mourns the loss of this man on earth, they are also rejoicing because they know he is now living with Christ and I know that helps give them comfort and cause to rejoice for him.

The thought of how suddenly something can happen and we or someone we know will pass away with no chance to prepare. This tragedy shows us that we must always be ready to meet God. In an instant we are of the earth and without warning can be standing awaiting judgement for our lives.

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.  Matthew 24:44

No one knows when his time will come to an end on Earth and not being ready every moment risks losing life eternal with God and Jesus but instead spending eternity in Hell. Instead of rejoicing with our Heavenly Father those not ready will instead be tortured until the end of time.

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.  Luke 21:36

Thankfully, this man was saved and served God faithfully and is even now enjoying the rewards God has for Him.

Those who do not know Christ need to seriously reevaluate their lives and go to Him and beg forgiveness of their sins. Confess their sins to Jesus and believe in Him as the Son of God and they can know they are ready for their time to face eternal judgement.

While we can be facing God in an instant and if not serving Him before death, face eternal suffering and pain; we can also, in an instant, know the deliverance from sin and death by reaching out to Christ for salvation.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9

If you are not living the life you should, not living in a manner that is pleasing to God or a life that helps you live maximally for Jesus then you need to seek Him and ask Him to show you how to live a life of the type that glorifies Jesus. He will lead your walk if you let Him. He will put you on the path He plans for you if you give God control.

I have, at many times, not lived a life pleasing to Christ. I have lived a life that even while serving Him I still was not able to serve Him as He wishes me to serve God. I am asking Him for His hand in my life and heart that He help me have the heart and mind of Jesus and that He guide my steps to get onto the path so I can be where He wants me to be the best servant possibly be for Him.

 

For this man’s family, my most heartfelt condolences and I remind them of what they know, despite the pain they feel, there is greater cause for rejoicing as he now sits on High with the Lord. But, also that as they mourn, Christ will comfort them.

Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.         Matthew 5:4

 

Heavenly Father, I praise Your Holy Name and thank You for the sacrifice Jesus made that we may all, one day, experience Your Glory if we are saved. I thank You for my deliverance and salvation through Christ’s death and His defeat of death when He was resurrected.

I pray for comfort for this man’s family, that You wrap Your loving arms around them and calm the hurt they feel in their hearts. Help them rejoice in their loved one’s salvation and that he now is rejoicing in Heaven. Be their Rock and Fortress as they deal with the loss. Fill their hearts with love, joy and peace.

Lord, I pray also that anyone who is not saved come to know you. That any who know You but are not walking in the path You wish for them would see clearly what You plan. For those with no apparent way out of whatever difficult situation they are in, that You unlock and open doors to make it simple for them to follow Your lead. I pray Lord, that You work in me that I know better the heart and mind of Christ and be a light for Him in this dark world that I may reflect His Glory.

In Jesus Name.

Amen.

 

Thank you all for you time today. I hope all are blessed, and are able to be a blessing to others as well.

The Thief!

burglar

While working at the parents house, today and in past, I have come across a lot of things that aren’t really valuable but have sentimental value or that trigger memories. I came across a strawberry shortcake thermos today that did not sell. It made me think about one night that the family was my parents when I got off work. I went there to get them and we ended up staying for dinner. Then, a Strawberry Shortcake Christmas show was coming on and our oldest, at the time only, daughter loved Strawberry Shortcake and wanted to stay and watch it, so we did that and another Christmas cartoon after that, then we finally headed home. But, when we got there we noticed the living room was a mess and realized that it was cold in there but could hear the furnace running. Then, we realized that someone had been in there, but the door had been locked. We looked, and found that someone had broken a window in the back of the house and come in that way. Apparently going out the same way or locking the door behind them when they let. We started looking and found that 2 rifles, my good 35mm camera and a shotgun had been stolen. None of the gifts had been taken. Now, we were not really financially stable at that time so any loss was significant. But the biggest loss of all was the shotgun, a bolt action .410 that had been my grandfather’s. It wasn’t a valuable shotgun by any means, other than the sentimental value made it irreplaceable. Thankfully we had good homeowner’s insurance and everything was replaced and because it was theft, there was no deductible. But, that still did not replace the actual shotgun, first, I could not find one like it, and second, a replacement would not have been Pop’s shotgun. Due to that, I was still pretty upset about it being stolen.

Thou shalt not steal. Exodus 20:15

Well, 3 or 4 years later, one of my wife’s brothers admitted that he knew who had broken into our place and stolen my things, it was one of the other brothers. Even worse was I found out that he knew it the very next day but said nothing. I was betrayed by two family members. Now, the fact that one knew, but said nothing was shocking and hurtful, but what was truly hurtful was the one that had stolen the things. There are a lot of things that one can do to another that are wrong but stealing involves several things at the same time: stealing obviously, but also involves a lot of other sins against someone else: lying and deceit, greed, assault (mental,) jealousy, destruction of one’s property. And, even worse was that I also eventually learned that he traded everything for about $50 worth of drugs. There were multiple family functions over the time between when that happened and when I learned about it and both the brother that stole from me and the one that concealed the facts never acted like they had done me wrong. No sign whatsoever that they had done me so wrong. Both had been present that Christmas, probably 2 weeks after the robbery, and another brother asked if the sheriff had found out anything and asked a bit about things and I mentioned that the one thing that bothered me most was Pop’s shotgun. The two guilty brothers offered sympathy and said things like: “I can’t believe how some people are.” and the one that had stolen my things said, “That kind of person is the lowest of the low.” Looking back, I am stunned that one could do someone that wrong and act so innocent. Stealing from me something of a value that no one could replace and pretending to be concerned and that they were innocent of any wrong doing.

Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.  Leviticus 19:11

As I said, it was bad enough just having it happen, but then later to discover that not one, but two, family members were in one manner or another involved. I had a hard time forgiving either of them, I have now, but it took me a very long time. I still struggle to understand how one person can intentionally wrong a family member, steal from them and then pretend to be innocent of any wrong doing. While not my siblings, I had been married to their sister for over 6 years at the time and considered them as close to me as my own brother and they pretended the same towards me. If they actually did have any consideration of family ties, it is obvious that they have no loyalty to family. To steal from, lie to, cheat, deceive and intentionally hurt a relative totally shocks me beyond words. Any person that would try to steal from family is far worse than a stranger stealing from a person in my mind.

Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.  Proverbs 10:2

Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.  Mark 10:19

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.  John 10:10

 

I harbored hard feelings against all those that were aware and complicit in the theft of my things, much more so than had they had been strangers. I felt betrayed in addition to the personal affront of being stolen from since it was family that had done so. It took me a long time to forgive. Oh, I shan’t forget what they did and I do not think I will ever trust them again, but I do forgive them.

Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.  Colossians 3:13

If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 1 John 4:20

 

Lord,  I thank You for teaching me to forgive, despite the wrong treatment by others. Showing me how Christ would have me respond. I thank You for the mercy and grace that You show me, despite my unworthiness. I thank Jesus for the sacrifice He made on the cross to redeem me. I pray for those who have done me, and others, wrong and that they be shown the error of their ways. Show them Your truths. Somehow Lord, lead them to You. Draw us all closer to You and show us that riches from sin are never going to be enjoyed. I pray that all loved ones learn to honor You and come to You asking for Your forgiveness. Help me see any manner in which I have sinned against others, help them be able to forgive me and help me to not sin against others or You again.

Amen

 

I appreciate those who find their way to my blog. I hope that you all have a blessed day, and that you are able to be a blessing to someone else as well.

Memorial Day!

cemetery

I just wanted to take a minute and think about my brothers and sisters in arms, regardless of war or branch of service that were they who gave their lives.

For many people Memorial Day is a long weekend, the start of summer, barbecues and such. Many will visit the cemeteries to visit the graves of family members who have died. Others will be sure to thank veterans and the military. Today is a day for those who died in the service of the country. I don’t object to the other things, and for many years, that was my Memorial Day.  But, for those of us who serve or served in the military at war, it develops a different holiday. Those of us in that group have more than likely lost friends, some many, some only a few, but regardless of when or where, ANY who died in the service of our nation are brothers and sisters. I lost friends, acquaintances and saw others die as I tried to help them. Some, many I never learned their names but those I counted as friends, their names are forever seared into my mind. Some I can tell you about when and how, others, I can talk about that and what was done to try to help them to no avail. It matters not to me, they are all FAMILY! A family that has bonds that others cannot understand. I have spoken with veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam and other conflicts, when the conversation moves towards anything combat related there is a subtle, knowing look exchanged. No words required. We see and feel each others pain and sorrow from those things.

It is Thursday as I write this, I had lunch with a friend of mine from our time together in Iraq. We went through some pretty significant events together. But, the conversation is rarely, if ever about that, we know, we needn’t speak of such. Rather, we talk about other guys that were there, funny moments, well, compared to the rest of the time. Today, conversation of Iraq was the mud that you encounter there in the winter and other minor details that help us remember the less bad times there.

But, as you prepare your celebrations, PLEASE, take a moment to remember those who were lost. And, pray for those in harms way now that God keep them all safe.

 

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

 

Lord, I pray to you in the name of Jesus that You keep all the military members safe from harm and bring them home to their families. Be with those whose family members died, give them the peace and comfort only YOU can provide. I pray that You work in the hearts and minds of those people, the families and the military that You draw them to You and lead them all to salvation.

 

Amen

 

 

 

Sometimes, they grow up

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Where I am staying for the next couple weeks, I don’t have access to a washer and needed to do some laundry. My nephew lives about 15 minutes away, so I texted to see if I could use his to do a load of clothes. He said yes, and I went up to do the laundry and visit with him some. Well, he was not a great kid as a teen and even young adult, he actually commented on that himself. He, like all made mistakes, some worse than others, but not as bad as a lot either. But, he’s married, has a child of his own and that is probably part of things, but he has grown up a lot in the last couple years. Oh, he still has his issues, like all of us, but he has a decent job, has kept it for a few years (something he wouldn’t do before) and from all I could see, really is doing okay now. I was glad to see it, I had significant concerns for him for a while.

As we sat and talked about one thing and another, he commented, “You know, you seem different anymore, I don’t know why, but more relaxed and at ease than before. You used to always seem to be on edge.” He also commented on my vocabulary, my verbiage is not coarse as it was in the past. Made a few other comments as well. I told him I had come back to Jesus and was changed. He asked, “really?” Not surprised, not sure how to read his response, but he commented he could tell that I was different. I spoke a little on Christ, that I was in a bad place and He is making things better for me. I asked him about church to see his response. He is one that a person can’t be pushy or he shuts you out. He said he wants to go, but hadn’t been able to find one he liked. I suggested he try a few more that it would be good for the whole family, especially his child. He seemed receptive to that thought and I figure maybe planting the seed will be a good start, then in the future, maybe more opportunities to share Jesus with him. He was raised in church, so he knows what he should be doing. Same as it was with me, I knew, but was refusing to do the right thing. I hope so, he, his wife and child could all use Jesus in their lives, we all need Jesus in our lives.

But, at least some improvement, hoping I can help get him pointed on the right path. Gentle nudges at times until he is ready. But, still good to see him developing maturity, that gives me hope for him and his family.

Just nice to see it, and that he saw a difference in me and to at least be able to share a little about Christ with him.