In Heaven Now or Later?

Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 11:36-40 NIV

Most Believers know that Hebrews 11 defines what faith is, and records those who were faithful unto death, but how many of us have read beyond “the faith” of others to see where they are and where others may be?

Many preachers, pastors, families of the deceased comfort themselves with thinking that when people die, they immediately go to heaven or the other place. According to this passage of scripture and in other passages, we see that none are in place yet! When we die, according to God’s Word spoken to Solomon–our spirits go back to God, our bodies return to the dust and souls await judgment. However, judgment won’t occur until Jesus has returned and we are standing before The Throne to hear our fate, together with all who have gone ahead of us.

Now as harsh as that may sound–especially for those who want to believe their loved ones are already in heaven–we must all teach truth and accept truth. None of our loved ones are in heaven, yet! Telling people that loved ones have gone on to heaven is about as foolish as people going to a cemetery talking to the dead. “The dead know nothing” so they cannot hear or feel anything.

I do understand that people are ritualistic by nature and feel they must do something, but to what end? The greatest use of our time–whatever time we have left would be better used in promoting the Gospel to those who are yet breathing, for once we stop breathing, there’s no time left.

I have also come to conclusion that funerals are a waste of time as well. Now, I know there are those who believe this is a final opportunity to tell someone good-bye, but those who are dead won’t know who’s there and if we really want to be a comfort to the remaining family, we should be available to them when they need someone to listen to them or just to encourage them to keep living for The Lord.

There is an industry out there that capitalizes on grief and we spend millions of dollars a year holding onto traditions that most can’t afford. What better use could we find for that money? Have a memorial service and give the money to charities who are trying to help people live or to those who are sincerely spreading the Gospel to a dying world.

It’s time–no way past time for many of us to learn to say good-bye to people while they can hear us and to show them how much we love them, while they are alive and can enjoy our sentiments. When they’re dead–it’s too late–and we need to learn how to let it go–for we can do absolutely nothing to bring them back and all we end up doing is making ourselves feel worse.

Why Healing Is Delayed!

Why Healing Is Delayed!

Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten. Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun. Ecclesiastes 9:4-6 NIV

Being fully acquainted with having loved ones in my life die, I understand the hurt–the grief that accompanies that occurrence–especially when a life is taken through a meaningless, spiteful act. I know only too well what that feels like.

However, I also understand that we are born to die. Before we are ever conceived, our days have been numbered and even though we don’t like to think about it–it is a reality of life. Perhaps, just perhaps, if we approached life with the realistic expectation of knowing we’re not here to stay, we’d live better lives. And perhaps, if we understood that death is a part of living, we would be able to accept the inevitable and move on, without reopening wounds of grief–never allowing them to heal–with constant reminders to self and others that someone we loved, has died.

Before anyone thinks that I am totally dispassionate about the loss of loved ones, let me assure you that I am not. Every year, whether I am consciously thinking about family members or not or friends who have died, I remember them on their birthdays. When they died is not a special memory to me since I’d like to forget that, but I always remember their birth and the role they played in my life. That’s my choice of course as it is with everyone else, but what I discovered is that with each passing year, when I don’t agonize over their deaths, healing becomes more complete.

I know there are people agonizing over the deaths of someone they loved and they want others–who didn’t even know them–to agonize with them. How do I know? They are constantly reminding everyone they can on social media about when someone died. And every time they openly agonize with their posts and tweets–they reopen wounds and delay healing. At what point in the lives of the living will the stench of death seep into their lives and accelerate their own death?

Open wounds stink and if not treated, they become infected and spread poison through our bodies. Constant grieving and mourning leads to depression and other health issues that can be alleviated if we understood how to remember those who died without opening wounds–the hurt and agony.

Instead of remembering their deaths with constant notifications to others and the RIP’s, we should instead remember their living–how they caused us to laugh or the lessons we learned from them. That is a celebration of their lives–not a continuing mourning–remembering the good and the bad, but thankful for the opportunity to have had them in our lives.

Since we are reminded in God’s Word through Solomon that the dead know nothing, why are we spending time at grave sites talking to them? They cannot hear us and if they could, I’d like to imagine they would say–“Go and live your life before your time comes.”

When my youngest brother died from a gunshot wound inflicted upon him by my mother, I refused to go to the grave site for the burial. But then one day, I decided I had to have one last conversation with him and walked five miles to the cemetery. After finding his spot, I talked, laughed and cried, and left and never returned. It took me a while to realize, he was not there–just the remains–a skeleton of who he was, but I would always have the memories of his living within me.

We have the memories of their living–whether good or bad–lingering with us and hopefully those memories will help us to live our lives to the fullest–allowing healing to take place and not delaying it.

This is the day The Lord has made so let’s rejoice and live it to His Glory!

 

Before I Die, I’d Like To See…

“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:27,28 NIV)

People have bucket lists of things they want to do before they reach their appointed time, and though I joyously await the return of my Savior, there are things that I would like “to see” before I die.

I’d like to see every person walking the earth, blinded to color, biases and hatred.

I’d like to see every parent become the parent that God wants them to be.

I’d like to see government returned to the hands of the people and those in charge, incorruptible, just and true.

I’d like to see children be respectful of every adult they meet and greet.

I’d like to see an end to foolish violence and endless deaths for no reason.

I’d like to see peace in every nation, where every child can live without fear.

I’d like to see every person who ever went to school or will go to school take education seriously, especially in the United States.

I’d like to see teachers given total autonomy to teach what they know and be treated like the professionals they are.

I’d like to see preachers preach The Word of God and not their opinions or their biases.

I’d like to see all of my family and friends saved before Jesus returns.

I’d like to see an end of poverty, hunger and illness.

I’d like to see people–caring about all human beings–ready to assist without hesitation.

I’d like to see an end to the need for planned parenthood and hidden agendas by all.

I’d like to see politicians who are honest and conduct themselves with integrity in all matters.

I’d like to see every person who desires to succeed have the means to do so.

I’d like to see an end to wars that do nothing but devastate families and countries alike.

I’d like to see purpose-driven people move mountains by faith in the One True God.

I’d like to see–clearly–senior citizens have an opportunity to live life until their end, without financial concerns, and respected for all they have done for most of their lives.

I’d like to see children be children and then raise their children, with knowledge and understanding of how God wants all to live.

I’d like to see our nation return--to the foundations the founding fathers laid–with firm beliefs and convictions–learned from The Word of God.

I’d like to see--all manner of wrongs righted and people given opportunities to get the wrongs, right–just as God gives us chance after chance.

I’d like to see what heaven will be like, right here on earth, before I depart.

I’d like to see so many things, that time will not allow me to tell, but before I die, I want everyone to know, whether I know you in the natural or not, I pray you’ll receive the benefit of the work on the Cross and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, and know Love as I know Love and am able to love you, unconditionally.

The Path of Life!

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11 NIV)

Only God can set our feet

Upon the path to His victory

Planned before our birth

Determined success upon the earth

For all who believe and obey

Every Word God spoke

To hearts He provoked

To write and proclaim

His goodness, praise His name!

The path of life that God has determined for all who love and obey, may have obstacles and challenges, but if we stay on the path, He has already determined how we shall overcome any obstacle that appears in our lives. We just have to believe and keep our feet on the path, never straying or led astray by fleshly desires to deceiving us, delighting in our failures and demise, when to listen to Satan’s lies.

We shall reap the bountiful rewards God has planned for us when we keep our focus on Him, and accomplish all that He has put on hearts to do, to His glory.

Leaning on His every Word, determined to make it to the end as He has planned, trusting and obeying, loving and moving in victory in spite of every snare set before us, crossing the finish line victorious in all things–this is the path of life!

Thinking–Beyond Now!

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2,3 NKJV).

Preparation time is never wasted time, but it is time that few people ever use appropriately because they lack initiative to think beyond the moment.

Look at what Jesus said to His disciples–“I go to prepare a place for you…” How long ago was that? Whether we count the time as two thousand years or two days, we have to see the plan–for us whenever we leave.

Lack of preparation and planning are the main reasons why many people never taste success at anything. We cannot succeed if we do not plan and prepare. Preparing for eventualities means we have to consider all the possible outcomes and plan for them.

Taking a trip requires preparation–determining the cost, the method of conveyance, appropriate clothing, checking weather conditions, having sufficient income to cover emergencies.

With Jesus’ preparations He determined the cost was His life; He’s conveying us to heaven by supernatural means; we’ll be clothed with white robes, the weather will be glorious every day, and there are no emergencies to consider (no more sickness, no more dying, no hunger). Hallelujah! Praising Him for His preparations!

What are we doing? Have we considered our behavior and how it impacts the lives of others beyond this moment?

Retirement–(I’ve recently learned the hard way) takes consideration of all possible events and saving as much income as one possibly save–in order to make sure one can live (and not just exist) when they retire.

Death insurance–(commonly called life insurance)–is needed so there won’t be a burden on those left behind to put us into the ground. There are enormous costs associated with dying and many people don’t prepare for that eventuality. Unless Jesus returns before we die, we will die–and remain asleep until He comes.

Obesity--(a pet peeve)–causes a number of problems for people other than the one who has overeaten. Has any consideration been made for the possibility of someone else having to lift or carry them? Have they considered the possibility of their being harmed if they cannot move fast enough to get out of a burning house or car? Have they considered the negative impact that obesity usually has on their body? No one enjoys food more than I do, but I must also consider what would happen if I fell or needed assistance and no one being available to help me because of my weight. We need to think beyond the moment that food is in front of us and prepare for the future.

Care–for children and elderly–if parents are no longer able to care for children or elderly no longer able to care for themselves–who is going to do it? What preparations have been made for that possibility? Someone needs to prepare–in writing–if necessary plans for this possibility.

No one succeeds at anything without preparation–not athletes, not actors, not musicians, or singers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, parents, students–no one. If we really need a lesson in preparation–we can look to The Word and look around us at the squirrels and other animals that prepare for the winter and other seasons.  We can “watch the ants” and learn from them.

Learn to think beyond the moment and prepare for all those moments beyond the here and now!

 

We Lack No Good Thing!

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the LORD, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing.The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing” (Psalm 34:8-10 NIV).

Before we can usually determine whether appetizing food is good or not, we must taste–savor it–and make a decision. Sometimes, even when a dish “looks good” we end up spitting it out (delicately) because the taste does not agree with our taste buds. And sometimes, when something does not look that great, it turns out to be absolutely delicious. But we won’t know for certain until we taste it.

This is the attitude we should have with Jesus. Even though there are some who would say our time in serving God or communicating with Him is wasted, we must determine that for ourselves, by getting to know Him and trusting Him for ourselves. If we have a testimony–about God’s goodness and people can “see” how our relationship with Him has changed our lives, they are more likely to “taste” Him for themselves.

If our lives are shabby (we’re living any way we want to live without God’s guidance) and yet try to convince someone else that God is good–we’re laughable. Unfortunately, this is the reason many will not come to Jesus to try Him for themselves–the people who are trying to convince others, are not true representatives of Him.  They are full of hate, critical of others without facts, turn up their noses at others when they see they are distressed, and would not lift a finger to help someone else unless there was something in it for them. This does not provide an appeal for anyone to trust in The Lord or seek Him.

But those who have insight and wisdom into the deeper things of God (beyond surface level) understand the need to be the best representative of who He is to all people at all times. We can create a desire in others to seek God for themselves when our lives speak volumes of His goodness.

We must trust, fear (hold God in reverence, not be afraid of Him), and seek Him at all times and He has promised that we would lack no good thing. If we are lacking any good thing, perhaps it is because we are not trusting Him, holding Him in reverence or seeking Him for direction about everything.

O Taste and see how good God is and how He loves us. Seek understanding for why He was willing to die for us and now offers us power–through Holy Spirit–to accomplish all things to His glory!

Have A Great Day!

Instead of worrying about all those things you cannot control,

Live–enjoy life to the fullest every waking moment.

Smile–at others and watch their response to you.

Laugh–a hearty belly laugh is good for the soul and lifts heavy spirits.

Skip–with a joyful heart as you navigate this day.

Dance–to your own song ringing down in your soul–don’t think about what others will think.

Give–of yourself, your talents, your excess resources–so others will know just how blessed they are to know you.

Pray–always communicate with the One who makes it all possible and worthwhile.

Praise–God for His goodness and for all He has done, is doing, and will do in your life.

Witness–tell someone else about the love of Jesus–not in words, but in deeds–let them see your light shine in what you do.

Rest–at the end of the day rest your body–take care of what it needs so you can get up tomorrow and do it all over again.

Reflect–before closing your eyes after the events of the day–think about everything you did and how you can do it better–tomorrow!

Have a Great Day!

Can You Hear The Crying?

Can you hear the crying

From those who were not born

Their bodies sucked out and torn

Flesh disposed of, never to be worn?

Can you hear the crying

From war bombed countries in Pakistan

Iraq, Syria, and in Afghanistan, or the shores of Africa

Now here, now there—bombs falling everywhere,

Blowing apart countries and hearts of those left behind?

Can you hear the crying

Of those who are starving, poor, and homeless

Wandering the streets, being used and abused

To get a crumb of food to survive, just to do it again?

Can you hear the crying,

Of those whose bodies are shredded by gunfire

From illegal weapons on the streets in every city,

Where the NRA has imposed its goals—weapons for sale

To all—mentally unstable, criminal and more, but don’t check

Their backgrounds, you infringe upon their constitutional rights,

And politicians are blinded by green and don’t see the right of those

Who choose to live without fear of bullets flying with no name attached?

Can you hear the crying

Of mothers and fathers lost and depressed

Unemployment and poverty has no redress

Republicans who have forgotten The Word

They profess to live by, but don’t,

“Defend the rights of the poor and the needy”

Their creed, just legislate laws that are meant for the greedy?

Can you hear the crying

Of children ignored, but not ignorant

Education denied them when poverty reigns

And Republican politicians have often disdained

By cutting funding that could cure the ills

Of society, crime galore for which all complain?

Can you hear the crying

Of seniors who have paid their dues

And worked all their lives and now

Have to choose medication over food,

Just to survive another day of humiliation?

Can you hear the crying,

Of those who have died

And the families who cried

Because healthcare was not available, nor affordable

And politicians, Republicans mostly, denied

Them the right to medical care?

Can YOU hear the crying?

Can you HEAR the crying?

Can you hear the CRYING?

Then do something about it

Or you may be next, crying in vain!

It’s Time!

There comes a time in everyone’s life when we must face the realities of living. If we are blessed long enough to see and understand each milestone of life, we certainly can appreciate God’s love and humor.

The milestones:

1st birthday

5th birthday

10th birthday

13th birthday

16th birthday

18th birthday

21st birthday

30th birthday

40th birthday

50th birthday

60th birthday

70th birthday

80th birthday (promised life)

90th birthday (long life)

100th birthday (special long life)

We come into the world dependent upon others and if we live long enough, we are often dependent upon others at the ends of our lives. Isn’t it about time we show our appreciation for everyone in our life that makes our lives special and worth living? We never know when the end will be, but we can make the most of every moment in time we have–right now! It’s Time to care about how we live and what we do at each milestone in our lives!