A Child like view of death

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Child

Death surrounds us in this world as do the seemingly unlimited group of grass roots philosophers. You may have seen the signs or bumper stickers that say things like: “You’re born, you get stuff and then you die, Live with it!” or “He who dies with the most stuff wins!”

Is there more to life than just “Stuff,” just being born, living for a while and then dying. Each of us who are Christians wear that name because we believe that there is more to it than that. The problem we face is that Satan is continually trying to get us to forget that faith, to forget the promises we have from God of a life that goes on after death.

John writes in John 14:2-3, “In my Father’s house there are many resting-places. Were it otherwise, I would have told you; for I am going to make ready a place for you. And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me, that where I am you also may be.” This is just one of the many passages that tell us of a better life to come after this one is ended. The problem is that we read the words and even understand the meaning, but forget to put it into our heart, our faith and live like we really believe it.

I’m reminded of an incident that happened about 20 years ago. My sister Janet’s pet dog Levi died. She was dreading telling her grandchildren about this loss of part of their small world. When the grandkids came for a visit and she sat them down and explained it to them and got an unexpected response. Xavier who was about 2 years old at the time ran outside, looked up to the sky and yelled, “Hey God, how do you like your new dog?

Wow! It gives me goose bumps just thinking about what it means to have “a childlike faith” like that. I know that the scripture doesn’t tell us dogs go to heaven, but the point is that this little fellow didn’t waste anytime sorrowing, crying or worrying. He just accepted that God takes care of us after death and then went on with his normal happy routine of life.

I don’t know about you, but the next time I face death, I’m praying for the faith that will allow me to say, “Hey God, how do you like your new child being with you?” Whether it’s a husband, wife, child, father, mother, sister or brother if we are Christians then we are all children of God.

Have a great day in the Lord!

 

 

 

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Dad’s Memory Box

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Dad’s box of memories

 

Recently my mother was going through my fathers things and found a small cardboard box about 2 inches by 3 inches. She gave it to me and said she thought I might like to have it.

It contained a mix of small items and left me wondering why he had kept them. It contains and old paper covered 12 gauge shotgun shell, five 22 caliber cartridges, an old square cut nail, two sets of cufflinks, a 1-1/2 inch high oriental carving, two car key ID tags from the 50’s, a tire valve stem removing tool, a button in the shape of a small dog, a lapel pin with the word “Sunbeam” on it and a hat pin. It caused me to wonder why a nearly 80 year old man would have these things in a box in a drawer in his bedroom.

Of course I didn’t have to wonder for long as I thought about my own life and realize I have a little box similar to his in a drawer in my bedroom. I’ve had it since I was a youngster and it too contains a variety of items I collected in my youth for one reason or another. But now in my 70’s why do I still have them… these pieces of useless junk. I think it is because it somehow connects me to my youth. It contains dreams and memories and in some ways even hopes I had in my youth.

Perhaps you have a box of your own and can understand. Our life is partially sustained and motivated by our hopes and dreams isn’t it? Those dreams of our youth, our vision for the future if you will, for the most part direct our decisions and the direction of our lives.

Isn’t that what God has done for mankind? He has kept us, loved us; saved us, even though we at times are pretty much useless, even when most of the world would have thrown us away.

Why would he do that when so often it seems in our minds that we fail him and others in our lives? Notice what he tells the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 29:11-13 about his plans for Israel. God Says: “I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will answer you. You will seek me, and you will find me because you will seek me with all your heart.”

So, what’s in your memory box? What is it that you treasure? Hopefully it is those things that will cause you to seek God with all of your heart.

 

Stories to touch the Heart

 

More stories to touch the heart

 

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Memorial day – There is a difference

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Memorial Day

Someone posted this following explanation online and I love how they made it so simple to understand.

OUR HOLIDAYS

Armed Forces Day (3rd Saturday of May):  To remember those who currently wear the uniform.

Veterans Day (November 11th): To remember those who used to wear the uniform.

Memorial Day (Last Monday of May): To remember those who never made it out of uniform.

I know that we often confuse these days that are special to our Nation. They are special and should touch our hearts as we remember those who were willing to give so much that we might live in this great nation of ours. We honor those to whom honor is due and hopefully really understand what each of these special days mean. It is more than just a Vacation day off from work or a great time spent with family and friends eating great food. They are truly days of remembrance and I pray that each of us take a moment (at the least), and remember those who sacrificed and are still sacrificing for us.

Remember the Lord’s Day

And of course there is the most special day, The Lord’s Day, (Celebrated The first day of each week): To remember the one who gave it all that you might live eternally. People often forget the true meaning of that sacrifice, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Yet it is at the very core of our belief and relationship with God. The apostle Paul had to remind folks of this in 1 Corinthians 15:14. People had forgotten and some were denying that it had actually happened. Paul says: “and if Christ has not been raised from death, then we have nothing to preach and you have nothing to believe.”

 

The truth of that fact is perhaps more important that we think. Paul also said in 1Corinthians 15:17-18: “And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is a delusion and you are still lost in your sins. It would also mean that the believers in Christ who have died are lost.

Death, burial and resurrection

 

The death burial and resurrection of Jesus is intimately tied to our own. I know that some folks forget that this is true, but it really is. The Lord’s Day is not just a day we gather to have a good time together, it is a time of remembering the most important truth of all. That Jesus of Nazareth came to this earth and lived, died, was buried and raised again so that we might live with him eternally. I’d say that is worth remembering… wouldn’t you?

Have you ever wondered why 

  Stories To Touch The Heart

Other books by Russ Lawson

 

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For what will you be rememberer…

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Blue Hair

 

Our grand daughter Allison decided to make a fashion statement this week… She had the lower half of her hair died bright blue. This morning when I picked her up for school I told her I had a song I wanted to sing for her. I sang (to the tune of Blue skies and rainbows)…. “Blue hair and rainbows the beauty that surrounds her are what I can see when my grand daughter is riding with me.” To be honest she didn’t seem impressed, but I told her that now she would think of me anytime she heard the song….

rainbow

I believe that all of us have a desire to be remembered or at least thought of in a good light. Perhaps that desire strengthens as we age and realize that we will not always be here to interact with people’s lives. Psalm 90:10 gives this general comment on men’s lives. “The measure of our life is seventy years; and if through strength it may be eighty years, its pride is only trouble and sorrow, for it comes to an end and we are quickly gone.

Kevin R. came up with this list of things to do in your life if you want to be remembered. 7 Ways To Be Remembered After Death: Give Generously, Have Time for Others, Be Helpful, Respect Everyone, Develop an Open, Loving Attitude, Be Genuine, and Show Compassion.

Scripture

Those seem like pretty good suggestions and they go along with scripture also. The first things that popped into my head was 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is never tired of waiting; love is kind; love has no envy; love has no high opinion of itself, love has no pride; Love’s ways are ever fair, it takes no thought for itself; it is not quickly made angry, it takes no account of evil; It takes no pleasure in wrongdoing, but has joy in what is true; Love has the power of undergoing all things, having faith in all things, hoping all things.

If you want to be remembered long after you have died, try living as the scripture instructs us.

May you live long and prosper in this life!

Vulcan Salute

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God Knows Your Name

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God knows your name…

Book of Names

 

You may have noticed that I haven’t been writing lately. That is mostly because of the unexpected event with my heart a few weeks ago. I am on the mend and very slowly regaining my strength and hope to be writing more once again.

Heart Attack

I recently ran across a saying that spoke to me and hopefully it will to you also. It goes like this: “The devil knows your name but calls you by your sin… God knows your sin, but calls you by your name.”

There is so much truth to that saying isn’t there? Everywhere we look and in everything we hear Satan is calling us isn’t he? Even in the smallest things can be a temptation can’t they?

Wedding Band

This week I went to the Dollar Store and as I was walking up to the store, just in front of the curb I spotted something shining and round. I picked it up and it was a gold wedding band small enough to fit onto my little finger. I thought to myself, “As doubtful as it is I’ll find the manager and give it to them and maybe someone will come to claim it.” I did my shopping and had the thought,  (the devil whispered in my ear…) “it is most likely that no one will claim it anyway, maybe I should just take it home and give it to Melody.”  However, when I got to the checkout, I presented it to the cashier, an older lady. She took one look at it, looked down at her finger and cried out, “Oh my, it’s mine, I didn’t know I had lost it.” With tears in her eyes she told me she had been married for 43 years and it meant so much to her.” It made me feel good about myself and my decision, but what if I had listened to the devil’s whispers?

 

Father of Lies

John 8:44 has this to say about the devil: … because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yes, he truly calls us by the sin that will most entice us at that moment in time, he tells us it is a good decision… but he lies. He lies, because he wants us to come to him, to serve him to eventually live with him.

Yet, our most holy God calls us by our name as one of his children. He loves and will never tells us a lie, never mislead us, will always set us on the path that leads to the right things. Isaiah 43:1 tells us:But now, says the Lord your Maker, O Jacob, and your life-giver, O Israel: have no fear, for I have taken up your cause; naming you by your name, I have made you mine.” (BBE) That is what I want! I want a relationship with my God who knows me by name.

In John 10:14 Jesus says: “I am the good shepherd; and I know mine own, and mine own know me,” (ASV) I want to know God in that way and to realize I am truly know by him.

God knows us, he has always known us. God said this to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5  “Before you were formed in the body of your mother I had knowledge of you, and before your birth I made you holy…”

Who do you want to serve? Who do you want a relationship with? The choice is yours, either the devil or our most holy God who calls you by your name?

 

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Celebrating Easter

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Cross at Sunrise

Recently we were watching some of the old 8mm movies my parents filmed while we were growing up. I noticed something while watching them, that was they were almost all special occasions. Things like Christmas, birthdays and many years recorded of us celebrating Easter. You could always tell it was Easter because my parents would line us kids up to show off our “Easter cloths,” (at least while we were little kids). My sister Janet would be dressed up in a frilly dress, usually with a hat and my little brother and I would be wearing ties and jackets. We would pile into the car and head for church and have our regular worship assembly. Normally we would gather with extended family for a carry in lunch meal at my grandparent’s home. Of course the traditional ham and potato salad, etc. and I even remember my aunt Lorene making a cake one year in the shape of a lamb with fuzzy coconut in the icing. That was how we celebrated Easter.

Now what does that have to do with the traditional Easter the world celebrates? Just that we see it differently than much of the world. Melody has shared that when she came into our family that was one of the things that surprised her, that is: “Why we don’t have special Easter services in our church.” Of course it didn’t take her long to figure it out as key to our beliefs is at remembrance of the death, burial and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.  The difference of course is that we celebrate this every week rather than just once a year. That is really what the Lord’s Supper is all about, isn’t it?

Paul reminds us in with these words in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26: “For I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, This is my body, which is for you: this do in remembrance of me. In like manner also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord’s death till he come.” (ASV)

Did you notice the phrase, “as often as ye”? That seems to indicate that it is more than a once a year event. Acts 20:7 shares this understand, “And upon the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread.” The purpose of them coming together each week was to “break bread” or “partake in the Lord’s Supper” with each other. While 1 Corinthians 16:2 indicates that the first Christians met “every first day of the week”.

So, is it wrong to “celebrate Easter”? No, it’s never wrong to remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However remember His Word, the Bible, tells us to do it each and every week. I hope you still enjoy dressing up special and the special family meals, I do!

Living The Dream: Our Life and Adventures in Africa (Traveling and Adventures in Kenya Book 1) by [Lawson, Russ]  A book full of the love of God and the adventure of living a Christ filled life… Follow along with the authors adventure as missionaries in Africa and understand what it means to trust fully in God. 

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Angry Wife….

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ANGRY WIFE

Angry Wife

A husband and wife returned from shopping and were not pleased with their experience. In one of the shops they were disappointed with both the product and the service. The wife said, “You should complain to the management!” The husband said, OK, he would.

Dutifully the husband went to the company website and filled out their customer satisfaction survey detailing the problems they had encountered. When he finished he told his wife, “Be prepared if that company contacts you.” “Why” she said. Because I filled out the information and signed it “Angry Wife”. “Why in the world did you do that, I don’t want to talk to them”, she replied angrily. “Well,” he said, “You were much angrier than I was.”

Now the husband truly knows what it is to deal with an “angry wife”. (By the way the guy that told me this story, notice I did not give her name, so Gail will never know!)

Should we Confront Wrong?

OK, in all seriousness now, why is it so hard for us to confront wrong in this world. Not all confrontation is bad! The question is  however, whether is it a shopping experience or a moral issue in our world why is it hard to stand for what is right? Our world is under attack by Satan and his minions, they are seeking to destroy every blessing God has given us… what are we willing to do about it?

God Said to Confront Wrong

I was reminded of a passage of scripture that kind of speaks to us about this problem. This is the same problem that was encountered several thousand years ago in Israel in Ezekiel 22:29-31.

“The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery; yea, they have vexed the poor and needy, and have oppressed the sojourner wrongfully. And I sought for a man among them, that should build up the wall, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I brought upon their heads, saith the Lord Jehovah.” (ASV)

I kind of like the way this paraphrase put it too: “Your preachers cover up for the politicians by pretending to have received visions and special revelations. They say, “This is what GOD, the Master, says . . .” when GOD hasn’t said so much as one word. Extortion is rife, robbery is epidemic, the poor and needy are abused, outsiders are kicked around at will, with no access to justice.’ “I looked for someone to stand up for me against all this, to repair the defenses of the city, to take a stand for me and stand in the gap to protect this land so I wouldn’t have to destroy it. I couldn’t find anyone. Not one.” (MSG)

The Final Decision Is Ours

Don’t look at the other guy, what about you? Are you ready to take a stand wherever you see Satan trying to destroy our world and take away our freedoms?

Penetrating the Darkness: Discovering the Power of the Cross Against Unseen Evil by [Hayford, Jack]          

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Happiness

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True Happiness   

Children Laughing

The other day our 11 year old granddaughter Allison was with us. She was watching a video and giggling and laughing as only a little girl can do. She was a picture of happiness! A scene from the movie Annie popped into my mind where the evil Miss Hanigan heard her wards laughing and singing and said, “Do I hear happiness in here?” To which they would reply, “No, Miss Hanigan.” So, in my best authoritative grandfather voice I said, “Do I here unauthorized happiness in here?” Of course having learned my ways, she promptly ignored my inquiry and kept on giggling.

Satan is against true happiness  

Father of lies

Doesn’t it seem that many times Satan, through his use of the world, tries to squash our happiness?  We are having a good day and some says, “How are you doing?” You say, “Great!” and they respond with a negative, “What’s so great about it?” I saw a skit one time where a little boy had a balloon and was enjoying it immensely. A grumpy old man came along and saw what was going on, pulled out a pin and popped the balloon. Of course the child started to cry and the man smiled and walked away. That’s how Satan creeps around like a lion seeking those he can devour. He steals their happiness and causing them to lose faith, (1 Peter 5:8).

Satan tries to control our world  

Roaring Lion

It’s sad to say, but that’s the way it seems to be with many folks in our world. If they can’t be happy, they don’t want anyone else to be happy. I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many positive Christian friends, but especially by my wife. She often reminds me to smile when I’m having a tough time. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that don’t we, because no matter what happens in our lives God is still on the throne.

God encourages happiness   

God wants you to be happy

As some know, one of my favorite verses is Hebrews 3:13 where we are reminded, “But give comfort (encourage) to one another every day as long as it is still Today; so that no one among you may be made hard by the deceit of sin.” Honestly, I don’t do enough of this in my life. Sure, I do some, but not as much as I would like to do. I am determined to do better at first being happy and second encouraging others to do the same thing. How about joining me in this challenge? A note, a call, a visit, or a kind word means more than you will ever know those who are being circled by Satan.

Happiness sometimes has to be learned  

I am content

Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11, “…I have learned to be content in whatever state I am.” I’m still working on having that attitude, but with the help of you, whoever you may be, I’ll succeed and I’ll try my best to help you get there too.

The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to Be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World by [Murray, David]https://amzn.to/2sSG6Mg  James: Guidelines for a Happy Christian Life (MacArthur Bible Studies) by [MacArthur, John F.]

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Winter Snow Storm Advisory

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Winter Snow Storm Advisory

snow emergency

This weekend we have been under a Winter Snow Storm Advisory. The headlines proclaim “Winter Emergency, 6-12 inches of snow possible.” For days, people have been glued to their televisions and radios listing for the latest update and warning. The power company is even warning people to expect power outages. People swarmed the grocery stores stocking up on food and other essentials, but this is pretty normal for us I guess.

The possible or positive…

What amazes me is that all of the things said by the weather gurus they use words like “it is possible” or “It is probable we may receive” or even “we won’t know until the event actually hits”. Yet people change their whole lives, (at least temporarily), because of these words of warning.

Be Prepared!

emergency Checklist

I’ll admit that at our house we checked all of the batteries in the flashlights, electronic candles, etc. We made sure we have fuel for the kerosene lamp, dug out the space heater, etc. We are set, we are prepared, and we have done our best to get ready for the worst possible weather.

Isn’t it amazing the extremes to which we will go to get ready for a catastrophe that is only temporary and yet we often fail to prepare for the destruction which will be eternal?

Because God Said It!

God’s Word

Peter reminds us in 2 Peter 3:8-11:But do not forget one thing, my dear friends! There is no difference in the Lord’s sight between one day and a thousand years; to him the two are the same. The Lord is not slow to do what he has promised, as some think. Instead, he is patient with you, because he does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants all to turn away from their sins. But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that Day the heavens will disappear with a shrill noise, the heavenly bodies will burn up and be destroyed, and the earth with everything in it will vanish. Since all these things will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people should you be? Your lives should be holy and dedicated to God,

thus sayest the Lord

Did you especially catch the sentence that said: “Since all these things will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people should you be?” Did you notice that the words, “possibly” or “probably” or “it may happen” never appear! It is dead certain that this will happen we just don’t know when.

The decision is yours to make…

So, what kind of person will you be, A God fearing, bible believing, righteous living Christian or something else? We still have time to prepare, but how many of us actually will?

 

Is God mad at me?: Why is bad stuff happening to me? Did I do something to make God mad? Am I really a bad person? Why do bad things happen to godly people? by [Lawson, Russ]

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We must be broken before we can shine

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A shared story about broken glow sticks…  (author anonymous)

Glow Sticks

The Story…

The solid truth about live is that we often must be broken before we can shine before the world.

“I was in Dollar Tree last night, and there was a lady and two kids behind me in the LONG line. One was a big kid, and the other one was a toddler. The bigger one had a pack of glow sticks, and the toddler was screaming for them.

Crying Child

The Mom opened the pack and gave him one which stopped his tears. He walked around with it smiling; but then the bigger boy took it, and the toddler started screaming again. Just as the Mom was about to fuss, the older child bent the glow stick and handed it back to the toddler. As we walked outside at the same time, the toddler noticed that the stick was now glowing; and his brother said, “I had to break it so that you could get the full effect from it.”

How do we react…..

I almost ran, because l could hear God saying to me, “I had to break you to show you why I created you. You had to go through it so you could fulfill your purpose.” That precious child was happy just swinging that “unbroken” glow stick around in the air, because he didn’t understand what it was created to do – which was “glow”. There are some people who will be content just “being,” but some of us that God has chosen… we have to be “broken.”

Broken People

We have to get sick. 
We have to lose a job. 
We go through a divorce.

We have to bury our spouse, parents, best friend, or our child…

Do you glow???

In those moments of desperation, God is breaking us. But… when the breaking is done, then we will be able to see the reason for which we were created. So when you see us glowing, just know that we have been broken but healed by His Grace and Mercy!!” (Anonymous)

Shining

I wish I had written this story, but I didn’t, but I couldn’t help but be touch by the message. My prayer is that you will understand that sometime the light will shine through you because you have been broken.

Shine for God

Russ Lawson

   

 

Is God mad at me?: Why is bad stuff happening to me? Did I do something to make God mad? Am I really a bad person? Why do bad things happen to godly people? by [Lawson, Russ]

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