Death…A Wonderful Way to Explain It

Photo by Laura Stanley from Pexels

We will all experience death someday. Many people wonder what it will be like “on the other side.” While it is true that nobody knows for sure, I recently came across the following little story that I think will give you a glimpse of what you may expect.

A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what’s on the other side,” Very quietly, the doctor sais, “I don’t know…”

“You don’t know? You’re a Christian Man, and don’t know what’s on the other side?”

The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness and love.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing…I know my Master is there and that is enough.”

Free Tickets!!

andy-li-A_dJOYpxEVU-unsplash

andy-li-A_dJOYpxEVU-unsplash

Free tickets!! Who wouldn’t want free tickets to a sporting event? An amusement park? A Concert? The following is great “food for thought” for all of us. It was written by a fellow coach.

Super Bowl 39 featured a classic first half defensive battle, followed by a second half offensive shootout between the explosive New England Patriots and the gritty Philadelphia Eagles. New England claimed the Super Bowl title by only 3 points, 24-21. The game lived up to its expectation as the two divisional champs clashed for the title. Two Tickets to the Super Bowl cost between $3,000 and $10,000. With that in mind, if someone offered you two free tickets to the Super Bowl would you take them?

There was an interesting story several years ago about a guy named Greg Laurie who tried to give away an extra ticket on his way into the Magic Kingdom . As his family went into the park, he told his family, “Hold on while I find someone to take this free ticket. This shouldn’t take long!” But time after time he would approach people at the front gate only to be turned down. He was astounded! No one would take his free ticket.

Think about that…isn’t it hard to believe? Who would turn down free tickets to the Magic Kingdom? Well, shortly after moving to Orlando I got a job at the Magic Kingdom, and along with it an employee pass that could sign in 3 people per day to the theme parks for free.

One time a friend visited me and we went to go into EPCOT. As we were about to go in I said, “Wait… let’s see if we can grab two people to come into the EPCOT for free with us!” I approached several couples who looked like they hadn’t purchased tickets yet. I asked them if they’d like to come into EPCOT for free. I was shocked when time after time they would turn me down, often to walk right up to the ticket counter to buy tickets. Can you believe it? It was just like what Greg Laurie described. I was amazed. People just could not accept what seemed like was too good to be true.

It’s the same thing with the Kingdom of Heaven. The Bible says that the Lord has prepared a special place in His Kingdom just for you. All it takes is a “free ticket” to get into the gates. But most people can’t accept that anything that good would be so easy to get. Most people try to get into the Kingdom by being good, or acting a certain way or by living a “good life”. But it’s much easier than that:

To claim your ticket into God’s Kingdom you only have to do two things: 1) Admit that you have sinned in your life and need to be forgiven, and 2) to pray and ask the Lord to forgive your sins and to bring you into His Kingdom. It is just that easy and there is no catch.

Once you have your ticket into the Kingdom, all of your sins past, present and future are washed away and you have a guaranteed spot in a celebration infinitely better than the Super Bowl.

Consider these words from the Bible:

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” – 1 Corinthians 2:9

Your tickets to the Kingdom of Heaven are waiting for you. All you have to do is pick them up. Will you pick up your tickets today?

Church is Hard

photo of sacred heart cathedral in bendigo australia

Photo by Robert Stokoe on Pexels.com

Church is hard for the person walking through the doors, afraid of judgment.

Church is hard for the pastor’s family, under the microscope of an entire body.

Church is hard for the prodigal soul returning home, broken and battered by the world.

Church is hard for the girl who looks like she has it all together but doesn’t.

Church is hard for the couple who fought the entire ride to service.

Church is hard for the single mom, surrounded by couples holding hands, and seemingly perfect families.

Church is hard for the widow and widower with no invitation to lunch after service.

Church is hard for the deacon with an estranged child.

Church is hard for the person singing worship songs, overwhelmed by the weight of the lyrics.

Church is hard for the man who is insecure in his role as a leader.

Church is hard for the wife who longs to be led by a righteous man.

Church is hard for the nursery volunteer who desperately longs for a baby to love.

Church is hard for the single woman and single man, praying God brings them a mate.

Church is hard for the teenage girl, wearing a scarlet letter, ashamed of her mistakes.

Church is hard for the sinners.

Church is hard for me.

It’s hard because on the outside it all looks shiny and perfect. Sunday best in behavior and dress.

However, underneath those layers, you find a body of imperfect people, carnal souls, selfish motives.

But, here is the beauty of church—

Church isn’t a building, mentality, or expectation.

Church is a body.

Church is a group of sinners, saved by grace, living in fellowship as saints.

Church is a body of believers bound as brothers and sisters by eternal love.

Church is a holy ground where sinners stand as equals before the Throne of Grace.

Church is a refuge for broken hearts and a training ground for mighty warriors.

Church is a converging of confrontation and invitation. Where sin is confronted and hearts are invited to seek restoration.

Church is a lesson in faith and trust.

Church is a bearer of burdens and a giver of hope.

Church is a family. A family coming together, setting aside differences, forgetting past mistakes, rejoicing in the smallest of victories.

Church, the body, and the circle of sinners-turned-saints are where He resides, and if we ask, He is faithful to come.

So even on the hard days at church—

The days when I am at odds with a friend when I’ve fought with my husband because we’re late once again. When I’ve walked in bearing burdens heavier than my heart can handle, yet masking the pain with a smile on my face. When I’ve worn a scarlet letter, under the microscope. When I’ve longed for a baby to hold, or fought tears as the lyrics were sung. When I’ve walked back in, afraid and broken, after walking away.

I’ll remember, He has never failed to meet me there.

When to Keep Your Mouth Shut

close up photo of woman s face

Photo by Ivandrei Pretorius on Pexels.com

There are times throughout our lives when we are faced with situations that make us angry, upset or annoyed with other people. We might then begin to spread yell, argue, gossip, spread rumors, tear down the individuals that we may disagree with…the list can go on and on. The sad reality is, that many times, we are the ones that look foolish and end up “eating our words.”

Today’s post is a great reminder of what we should do when these circumstances come our way.  The following is a list is a compilation of helpful advice…I have included a Scripture verse (that you can click on) with each point.

DON’T OPEN YOUR MOUTH:

  1. In the heat of anger – Proverbs 14:17
  2. When you don’t have all the facts – Proverbs 18:13
  3. When you haven’t verified the story – Deuteronomy 17:6
  4. If your words will offend a weaker brother – 1 Corinthians 8:11
  5. If your words will be a poor reflection of the Lord or your friends and family – 1 Peter 2:21-23
  6. When you are tempted to joke about sin – Proverbs 14:9
  7. When you would be ashamed of your words later – Proverbs 8:5
  8. When you’re tempted to make light of Holy things – Ecclesiastes 5:2
  9. If your words convey a wrong impression – Proverbs 17:27
  10. If the issue is none of your business – Proverbs 14:10
  11. When you are tempted to tell an outright lie – Proverbs 4:24
  12. If your words will damage someone’s reputation – Proverbs 16:27
  13. If your words will destroy a friendship – Proverbs 25:28
  14. When you are feeling critical – James 3:9
  15. If you cannot speak without yelling – Proverbs 25:28
  16. When it is time to listen – Proverbs 13:1
  17. If you have to eat your words later – Proverbs 18:21
  18. When you are tempted to flatter a wicked person – Proverbs 24:24
  19. If you have already said it more than one time (then it becomes nagging) – Proverbs 19:13
  20. When you are supposed to be working instead – Proverbs 14:23

 

“Whosoever keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from trouble.”

Why Would God Really Want Me?

backlit beach clouds dark

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Have you ever felt like a loser? Worthless? Have you ever felt like you are simply “spinning your wheels” and getting nowhere in your life? Have you ever asked yourself something like, What is the purpose of my life?”, or “What can’t I use the gifts and skills that I have?”

Maybe you say to yourself things like, “I’m not perfect.” “I have all kinds of problems.” “I have no ability.” “I have no gifts.” “I’m just not worthy. Why would God want me?”

Well, here are some interesting facts about many of the people that were mentioned in the Bible that God used in mighty ways DESPITE their shortcomings and weaknesses.

Did you know that?…..

Moses stuttered.
David’s armor didn’t fit.
John Mark deserted Paul.
Timothy had ulcers.
Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.
Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich.
Jesus was too poor.
Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Peter was afraid of death.
Lazarus was dead.
John was self-righteous.
Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a persecutor of the church.
Moses was a murderer.
Jonah ran from God’s will.
Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burned out.
John the Baptist was a loudmouth.
Martha was a worry-wart.
Noah got drunk.
Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
So did Peter, Paul – well, lots of folks did.

But God doesn’t require a job interview for salvation. He’s our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t look at financial gain or loss. He’s not prejudiced or partial, not judging, grudging, sassy, or brassy, not deaf to our cry, not blind to our need. He knows who we are and what we are and loves us in spite of ourselves

SATAN SAYS, “YOU’RE NOT WORTHY.”
JESUS SAYS, “SO WHAT? I AM.”
SATAN LOOKS BACK AND SEES OUR MISTAKES.
GOD LOOKS BACK AND SEES THE CROSS.

He doesn’t calculate how you failed in in the past. It’s not even on the record.

Sure, there are lots of reasons why God shouldn’t call us. But if we are in love with Him, if we hunger for Him, He’ll use us in spite of who we are, where we’ve been, what we have done, or the fact that we are not perfect!

—————

Source: http://gatewaytojesus.com/

It Makes You Think…What If?

 

Marina del Castell

Photo Credit: Marina del Castell via CC Flickr

Millions of people around the world believe in a greater, powerful being. For the individuals that don’t share that belief, then, unfortunately, today’s poem is not for you…or is it? There are many things that we don’t know about God but we do believe that He takes care and loves us unconditionally. The following poem is meant to give you something to think about and well as be thankful for the blessings that have.


What if, GOD couldn’t take the time to bless us today because
we couldn’t take the time to thank Him yesterday?

What if, GOD decided to stop leading us tomorrow because
we didn’t follow Him today?

What if, we never saw another flower bloom because
we grumbled when GOD sent the rain.

What if, GOD didn’t walk with us today because
we failed to recognize it as His day?

What if, GOD took away the Bible tomorrow because
we would not read it today?

What if, GOD took away His message because
we failed to listen to the messenger?

What if, GOD didn’t send His only begotten Son because
He wanted us to be prepared to pay the price for sin.

What if, the door of the church was closed because
we did not open the door of our heart?

What if, GOD stopped loving and caring for us because
we failed to love and care for others?

What if, GOD would not hear us today because
we would not listen to Him yesterday?

What if, GOD answered our prayers
the way we answer His call to service?

What if, GOD met our needs
the way we give Him our lives???


It makes you think doesn’t it?

Why Would God Want Me?

creative ignition

Photo Credit: Creative Ignition via CC Flickr

I’m not perfect. I have all kinds of problems. I have no ability. I have no gifts. I’m just not worthy. Why would God want me?

Well, did you know that?…..

Moses stuttered.
David’s armor didn’t fit.
John Mark deserted Paul.
Timothy had ulcers.
Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.
Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich.
Jesus was too poor.
Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Peter was afraid of death.
Lazarus was dead.
John was self-righteous.
Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a persecutor of the church.
Moses was a murderer.
Jonah ran from God’s will.
Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burned out.
John the Baptist was a loudmouth.
Martha was a worry-wart.
Noah got drunk.
Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
So did Peter, Paul – well, lots of folks did.

But God doesn’t require a job interview for salvation. He’s our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t look at financial gain or loss. He’s not prejudiced or partial, not judging, grudging, sassy, or brassy, not deaf to our cry, not blind to our need. He know who we are and what we are and loves us in spite of ourselves

SATAN SAYS, “YOU’RE NOT WORTHY.”
JESUS SAYS, “SO WHAT? I AM.”
SATAN LOOKS BACK AND SEES OUR MISTAKES.
GOD LOOKS BACK AND SEES THE CROSS.

He doesn’t calculate how you failed in ’99. It’s not even on the record.

Sure, there are lots of reasons why God shouldn’t call us. But if we are in love with Him, if we hunger for Him, He’ll use us in spite of who we are, where we’ve been, what we have done, or the fact that we are not perfect!

—————

Source: http://gatewaytojesus.com/

The Beauty Inside You

Ben Seidelman

Photo Credit: Ben Seidelman via CC FLickr

The Holidays are here! Millions upon millions of people rush around looking for gifts to buy, decorate their homes, spend time with their family and friends and enjoy welcoming in the New Year with their loved ones.

Unfortunately, there is a flip side to this time of year…a dark side you might say. The holiday season is also the pinnacle of year in which an untold amount of individuals suffer depression, loneliness, and despair. It is during this point of time that the suicide rate around the world, is at its highest.

It is for this reason that I decided to share this video with you. Watch it to the very end. It is my hope and prayer that it will encourage and uplift you but most importantly, help you to realize that there is a simple beauty inside each one of us!

 

 

Having Lunch With God

Phil Roeder

Photo Credit: Phil Roeder via CC Flickr

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

One day, a little boy wanted to meet God. He packed his suitcase, brought a bag of some drink and cookies then started his journey. He walked a long, long way until he began to get hungry and tired.

He soon came to a park and decided to sit down and rest. He opened his bag, took out his food and began to eat. As he was eating, he noticed an old woman sitting on the bench next to him would not only looked very sad but hungry as well. Looking at the cookie that he was eating, he decided to offer her a piece of his tasty morsel.

She gratefully accepted it with a wide look of thankfulness and gratitude then smiled at him. Her smile was so beautiful that the boy longed to see it again. After some time, he offered her another piece of his cookie. Again, she accepted it and smiled at him.

The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

As it grew dark, the boy became frightened, so the boy decided to leave and go home. As he up got to leave he had gone only a few steps, when suddenly, he turned around, ran back, and gave the poor lady a hug. She hugged him back, gave him a kiss on the cheek then once again, flashed the nicest smile that he had ever seen.

After a long while, the little boy finally returned home.When the boy opened the door, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you look so happy?”

He replied,” I had lunch with God.”

Before, his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? She’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen in my life!”

Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and asked, “Mom, what did you do today that made you so happy?

“She replied, “I ate cookies in the park with God.” Before his son could respond, she added, “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”

———————————-

Remember, nobody knows what God will look like. People come into our lives for a reason, for a season, or for a lifetime. Accept all of them equally!

AND LET THEM SEE GOD IN YOU!!!!!

A Second Chance at Life

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Have you ever thought to yourself how “good” your life REALLY is? What if the direction of your life suddenly changed and you found yourself in a situation that you had never thought that you would be in? One minute you think your life is great, you are healthy and everything is “smooth sailing?” then you find out that something in your body or mind wasn’t as good as you thought and that you were “very close” to experiencing a life-changing event?

Such was the case with me…

I have always enjoyed my life: talking with other people, spending time with my family and friends, enjoying the taste of delicious food, taking in the pleasures of seeing the beautiful things in the world, generally speaking, loving the life that I have been given.

But a little over a week ago, my life drastically took an unexpected turn. What was supposed to be a simple two hour screening procedure turned into a four day stay in the hospital.

It was during those four days that I discovered that my heart had been beating at an outstanding rate (150 beats per minute) and because of that high tempo, my heart had weakened to a dangerous level. Unbeknownst to me, I had had this condition for the past couple of years!

After leaving the hospital and meeting with the doctor the next day, I was told that the doctor was surprised that I hadn’t had either a stroke or a heart attack. YIKES!! What a shocking, wake up piece of news. I had NEVER KNOWN that my heart was 1) beating at such a high rate, and 2) that my heart had weakened to such a bad state.

So, imagine my thoughts today, when the doctor told me that despite the condition of my heart, everything would be ok. The doctors found out what was causing my elevated heart rate, the proper medicine to take to control my heart rate, and that my condition was totally correctable and curable!

The doctor simply said, “look at it this way…you have a second chance at life.

Needless to say, I am ecstatic for a couple of reasons…1) I feel great. I feel like I did 10-20 years ago, 2) I feel excited that now that I know that the doctors diagnosed the problem, everything will be OK, and 3) I have a new lease on life and I am going to take full advantage of it and take care of myself and love life even more than I did before.

Just thinking of “what could have happened” has left me feeling very humble and aware of my mortality more than it ever was. And it has taught me a lesson. It has taught me to live my life to its fullest. I shouldn’t be afraid to fail because, many times, it is when we fail that we grow and learn lessons that will benefit us in our lives.

It has made me value and love my friends, loved ones and family more so now than ever. I has allowed me to REALLY appreciate the things around me that I have taken for granted every day. But more importantly, it has strengthened my faith and assurance that my Lord and God never once abandoned or left me. He has always been there by my side throughout my life when things were going well and He was guiding the doctors and comforting me during my stay in the hospital.

You see, that’s the beauty of true FAITH. Faith is that knowledge of believing in someone or something when you cannot see it but you KNOW it is there. When you sit on a chair, do you bend down and test it first to make sure that it will hold you? Or do you simply just sit on the chair without closely inspecting its durability and strength?  Having faith in the Lord is exactly the same thing. I KNOW that He will take care of me and I KNOW that He is there to hold me up and to strengthen me. I don’t have to question or test anything that He does for me..My life is in His hands and if my time on earth is done, He will hold me close to himself and take me home. I have total peace and total fulfillment in my life knowing that He is always there with me.

So, how has your life treated you? How much do you appreciate the ways that you have been blessed? How well do you REALLY love and appreciate your loved ones? How strong is your faith? How secure are you if things were to suddenly go in a negative direction in your life?

Take the time everyday to truly be thankful for the good things in life. Find the moments in your daily routine to be grateful for your family and friends and show them how you feel. Discover the paths that you can follow and explore to give yourself a second chance in life.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  ~ Colossians 3:17