All very nice but something is missing. The songs says that heaven is a place on earth and although in the beginning that was true now it is far from that. As soon as sin entered the world heaven was lost. Sin keeps us out of God’s presence and would do so forever unless something could be done about it. The problem is we can’t do anything ourselves but there is One who did. There is One who paid the price on our behalf and has taken away our sin and if we believe on His name and put our whole faith in Him Heaven will be our destiny. He is Jesus Christ. The Saviour of mankind. So if you are looking for heaven on earth you may find glimpses of it around you but the real place is found in Christ Jesus.
Things Above (Colossians 3:1–2)
Do you look forward to heaven? Explain.
Give an example of how a person might set their mind on earthly things. Give an example of how a person might set their mind on heavenly things.
Before a person becomes a Christian, it’s natural for them to have an earthly outlook. We can’t really blame someone for pursuing wealth, fame, popularity, fun and everything else this world has to offer. After all, from their perspective, what else is there? Life is short, so grab everything you can while you can.
When a person makes a decision for Christ, though, the perspective changes. We shift our eyes away from this earth and toward heaven. We see things with an eternal view. We shift our priorities to reflect what’s really important. We recognize the things of this world for what they can be: distractions, wastes of time, empty pleasures.
We turn our attention to heaven. We consider the possibilities. If heaven is where God is, and God is the source of all joy and happiness, what does that say about our eternal life there? What kind of place has Jesus prepared for us (see John 14:3)? What will it be like not to have to worry about pain, sickness, sorrow or death? We may not know a lot about heaven, but we know enough to get our curiosity going.
Dear God, thank you for giving us an unimaginable future beyond this life. Help us keep our minds focused on heavenly things, not earthly things. Fill us with an excitement for heaven. Amen.
Many a time I have been told by people not believing in God that The Bible is a fairy story, a book filled with nonsensical thoughts and ideals, a man-made text. God they say was made up, invented by men to keep people under control, someone they could be fearful of if they didn’t tow the line. Well naturally they would say that from their standpoint of unbelief and their uneducated minds. Who can possibly make comment on something they know little about or refuse to look into? The evidence for God is all around us, there isn’t a real excuse for not believing. Many approach the subject with closed minds or preconceived ideas and simply stubbornly refuse that the idea they are wrong is possible. Maybe they have experienced troubles in their lives, hardships and poor health. There are many reasons for them not to put their faith in God, in their minds that is. What they don’t know or are willing to accept is that God, apart from Him being real, loves them dearly. ‘If God loves me so then why do I suffer? Why is there such hatred in the world? Why doesn’t He step in and change things? Why does He withhold nice things for me?’ is often asked. Well the truth is this, if God didn’t love you He would give in to your requests. Sounds a stupid answer at first glance but if God didn’t allow suffering how would we benefit in understanding what suffering was? When we understand that God doesn’t always answer in the way we expect then we understand just how much He loves us. We learn from suffering, we learn from being refused, we learn from discipline. What father doesn’t teach us in the same way? He loves us this way so that we know that when we receive from Him it will only be for our good. Why did He allow Jesus Christ to suffer for our sins? He did it to show just how much He really loves us. In this life we are here to learn and to love our Creator. He died that we may be set free. He left us not alone but gave us His Spirit to guide and teach us, to help and support us and He gave us His Story in the written word, The Bible. Everything we need to know about life and how to live it is in there. Everything we need to know about our Creator is in there, Father, Son and Holy Spirit…..
How Do We Know the Bible Is True? (Hebrews 4:12)
According to the Bible, all Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16). Peter confirmed this when he said that those who wrote the Bible were not speaking on their own but spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet 1:21). Many parts of Scripture are directly attributed to God through use of phrases like This is what the Lord says (e.g., Ex 4:22). Finally, Jesus often quoted from the Old Testament and affirmed it as being God’s Word.
Prophecies that were later fulfilled are corroboration of the accuracy of the Bible’s claim to be God’s Word. For example, the vision recorded in Daniel 7 correctly predicted the rise of the Medo¬Persian Empire, the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great, and the Roman Empire.
Archaeological discoveries are also important evidence of the Bible’s accuracy. For example, for many years King David was believed by some to be a fictional character. But recently a composition from a king of Syria referring to the “house of David” was discovered at Tel Dan. This writing provides tangible evidence that ancient rulers indeed recognized the dynasty of David in Judah.
Another reason for confidence in the Bible’s authenticity is its internal consistency. The Bible is actually a compilation of 66 books written over a period of 2,000 years by more than 40 different authors, and yet there is a unified message and a striking theological coherence—something that clearly speaks of God’s guidance throughout the process of writing, transmit¬ting and assembling the Biblical texts.
It is important to remember that the original Biblical documents no longer exist. We are dependent on copies, and copyists can make mistakes. However, scholars have carefully tracked the accuracy of ancient manuscripts from different centuries, and their consistency gives us good reason to be confident in the Bibles we read today. Furthermore, rigorous standards were applied to determine the canon—both by the Jews, who determined the collection of books that make up the Old Testament Scriptures, and by the early church, which decided the books to be included in the New Testament.
Taken from NIV Quest Study Bible
Throughout our lives we may find ourselves caught up in situations outside our control. Though we may struggle to see a way out or a solution to problems we are facing we often cling on to a hope that things will change for the better. We hang on for as long as we are able or until the situation is resolved. We may not be happy with the result but we’ve done our best. How often have we heard others lending their support in encouragement by saying hang on in there? The length of time we are able to resist giving in and throwing in the towel depends on our inner strength, our faith and our determination. Sometimes we are thrown off-course by things out of our control and simply have to accept it. Earlier in the year I noticed our apple trees did not produce the fruit we had expected, in fact one tree had no fruit whilst the other had produced only four apples…
A later photograph of the same tree…..
And later still this picture taken on 25 November…….
Still hanging on through thick and thin. At the time I wrote this post and took the picture I wanted to pluck them from the tree before they fell of their own accord or were blown off in a high wind but E insisted I leave them until December just to see if they would remain hanging on. Life is like that. Sometimes we just don’t know if we should remain hanging on or give in to the pressure to let go. As a Christian I am encouraged to hang on in faith in order to overcome those things which can threaten to bring me down or to simply wait for answered prayer. We should all be encouraged to hang on in there just like the four little apples on my tree.
My thoughts are fixed, my mind is set, I walk along the path with you.
My eyes are open, yet I cannot see, I feel your presence
Standing there right next to me.
I call your name, no answer comes, well nothing I can hear
I wait impatiently for you to whisper something sweet into my ear.
Why Lord do you not speak? Why Lord do you not say to me you care?
What can I do when all my thoughts are fixed on you?
I should know better, yes I know I should
For you don’t answer me in ways I thought you would.
But you are always there……….
Shirley Anne 23 Feb 2017
Sometimes I get the feeling or rather forget my Lord is with me throughout the days. When everything seems to be going wrong, when nothing seems to be going right, I forget Lord that you are standing by my side throughout it all. You see my weaknesses, my strengths, my heart’s wishes and the way I deal with them. You notice everything and so I have to be careful in my ways that I don’t offend you. Many times I fail Lord, you know it. You know all my faults and indiscretions yet still you love me and are ready to forgive. What a wonderful God you are. You love me so much that you gave your only begotten Son who paid the penalty for all my sins, my wrongdoing, the penalty I should be paying. You set me free and all you want is for me to love you back. I try my best Lord but know I fall short. By your mercy, grace and love I am saved. Thank you Lord. I stay the course because of our mutual love. My heart is fixed upon you……
Now that Christmas is over and things in your life get back to normal once again think what it was all about. What did you really benefit from the holiday? Yes, you will say that you were able to spend time with family and friends and have a good time together but why wait until Christmas each year to do that? Surely you love your family and they you that you can spend time with them more often? The truth is for many that they never see their family other than at this time of year so for them it is special. People say Christmas is for children and it is a time for celebrations and good-will to all men (mankind), so why when the holiday is over does that good-will disappear? People are blind to the message of hope and reconciliation that Christ offers to those who will place that hope in him. The world is under the control of an evil force which seeks only to destroy God‘s creation, and we are God’s creation. We are blinded from the truth and it is done in a subtle way. We choose to ignore it at our peril and then it is too late. Wake up people and understand the times…………………….
Seek the Lord your God before it is too late. Make this coming year something really special for your life, come to Jesus Christ whilst you still have the time…………
Have you faith? Do you have faith in anything or anyone? Maybe you have trusted in that faith and have been let down? Now you have become wary of trusting in anything as a result perhaps? How can you trust in anything anymore? You can live in the hope that things will work out but you can never be sure, or can you? Is there anything in which you can place your faith and have your hopes fulfilled?
Hebrews 11 (New International Version – UK)
Faith in action
11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.
3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (read more…)
If you have continued to read you will see that faith in action and the results that followed. In God we are promised eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ but only if we have the faith to believe it. The first requirement is to be open to the possibility that God actually exists and then reach out to Him. If we are sincere and have that faith He will respond. Of course we must also repent of our sins and place our trust in Jesus having that faith……….
7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Put your faith in something that will reap the best reward you could ever receive……….eternal salvation through Jesus Christ.
I got up quite early on Saturday, had a shower, got dressed and had eaten breakfast by 7.15. Before I went downstairs though after getting dressed I decided my bedroom windows needed cleaning. The early morning sunshine really shows up the dirt on the windows that normally would only seem a little dusky. As we can open the windows inward cleaning them isn’t difficult. The day was promising to be very warm and sunny and although I had ideas of working in the garden I thought the better of it and decided not to. I would get very little done in the heat of the day and what I had in mind to do can be done any time. So I sat outside on the patio with a cup of coffee and a magazine to read. Every quarter I receive a copy, in fact two copies of ‘Prophetic Vision’. It is produced by the ministry of David Hathaway a well-known evangelist in Christian circles who spreads the word of God throughout Europe, Russia, Israel and other places. In his latest publication he talks about the responsibility of every Christian to spread the Gospel message of hope and eternal salvation through the only means possible, through Jesus Christ. It is a subject dear to my heart and has been ever since I became ‘born again’. Although we have this responsibility we have to rely on The Holy Spirit to work through us, we cannot do it in our own strength but we can expect much rejection of the message too.
It isn’t about saving people or pointing out their sins either, that is God’s responsibility. Our responsibility is to deliver the message, it is a question of giving people the choice, the opportunity to hear and respond. It says in Scripture, how can people hear the message unless someone tells them (paraphrased)? It is an obligation and a duty I take seriously so I pray for opportunities to be involved. I wasn’t going to talk about this subject in this post today but as reading the message in the magazine was a part of my day I included it. It was around ten o’clock when I decided to go for a walk, stopping off in the village to make a bank deposit first of all and then continuing as my feet directed me. On arriving in the village I found the main road over the level crossing had been temporarily closed there and also a couple of hundred metres beyond to allow a local open street market to set up for the day. This is the first time I have seen this happen specifically in our village but we often have such things in the town centre. I wasn’t there to browse the stalls and in any case most were still under construction at that hour. After leaving the bank I took the back streets into town stopping along the way to look at the parking facilities near to a job I was to do very early on Monday morning. I learned later when I phoned the person I would be working for that she had seen me there and wondered who it was. She couldn’t call out to me for she was engaged on the phone. I slowly continued on my way into the busiest part of town but I wanted to bypass the area and head down to the beach. There were many people in town, too many for me, I like things to be a little quieter and I get that on the part of the beach I generally visit, which is nearer to home. I ended up sitting on top of the sand dunes eating wild blackberries and looking out to sea. The tide was out as is often the case in Southport and when it is out the sea can be well over a mile away. Still it is peaceful down there. I sat there for more than an hour before returning home around one o’clock. E was still at home but soon was to eat lunch and then go out for the rest of the day. She had been baking some sausage rolls to take to a party of sorts at her mom’s house for it was her mom’s birthday on Saturday. It would have been my mom’s birthday today, the eleventh as you read this, sadly she died back in 1997. I didn’t see E again until the evening. I prepared my own lunch later in the afternoon as I hadn’t been hungry earlier. I then spent more time out in the garden disrupting the activity of the thousands of ants emerging from their nests to fly off and invade new places, probably in my own garden too! I hate the little blighters. Come next season I shall be ready with the poison and I’ll need lots of it. When I returned indoors later, I did spend time relaxing on the patio by the way, I noticed a lone wood-pigeon eating its evening meal on the lawn. Ants were on the menu it seemed.
While this was once a question pondered by philosophers and religious groups, scientists are now seriously considering the possibility that consciousness can continue after a person has been clinically diagnosed as dead.
A large-scale study involving 2,060 patients from 15 hospitals in the UK, USA and Austria has found that patients experience real events for up to a three-minute period after their heart has stopped beating.
The Awareness during Resuscitation (Aware) study, sponsored by the University of Southampton, used objective markers to establish whether the experiences were real or hallucinatory.
The results showed that 39% of patients who survived cardiac arrest described a perception of awareness but did not have explicit recall.
A total of 46% experienced a broad range of mental recollections, 9% had experiences compatible with NDEs and 2% exhibited full awareness compatible with OBEs with explicit recall of “seeing” and “hearing” events.
One man in particular, a 57-year-old social worker from Southampton, was reported to have given a “very credible” account of what was happening in the room during the three minutes that he was “clinically dead”.
The man could describe the movements of the doctors and nurses in the room with uncanny accuracy. He told the researchers he felt he was standing in the corner of the room, observing the medical staff resuscitate him.
Dr Parnia said: “This is significant, since it has often been assumed that experiences in relation to death are likely hallucinations or illusions, occurring either before the heart stops or after the heart has been successfully restarted, but not an experience corresponding with ‘real’ events when the heart isn’t beating.
“In this case, consciousness and awareness appeared to occur during a three-minute period when there was no heartbeat.
“This is paradoxical, since the brain typically ceases functioning within 20-30 seconds of the heart stopping and doesn’t resume again until the heart has been restarted.
“Furthermore, the detailed recollections of visual awareness in this case were consistent with verified events.
“Thus, while it was not possible to absolutely prove the reality or meaning of patients’ experiences and claims of awareness, (due to the very low incidence – 2% – of explicit recall of visual awareness or so-called OBEs), it was impossible to disclaim them either and more work is needed in this area.
“Clearly, the recalled experience surrounding death now merits further genuine investigation without prejudice.”
Research psychologist at Nottingham Trent University Dr David Wilde, is currently gathering data on out-of-body experiences in an attempt to discover a pattern.
Speaking to The Telegraph, he said: “Most studies look retrospectively, 10 or 20 years ago, but the researchers went out looking for examples and used a really large sample size, so this gives the work a lot of validity.
“There is some very good evidence here that these experiences are actually happening after people have medically died.
“We just don’t know what is going on. We are still very much in the dark about what happens when you die and hopefully this study will help shine a scientific lens onto that.”
The problem I find with this argument is that it speaks about the conscious mind and nothing is said about the spirit which is the essence of the being. Conscience and spirit are two separate things. Conscience is linked to the physical whilst spirit is not. There can be no definitive proof of life after death unless somebody rises from death to live again as Jesus did and was visible proof to thousands who saw him after he had arisen. Anything connected with the brain dies when the brain dies but the spirit within the body, the person, rises for it cannot be destroyed by physical death. Only one person can destroy the spirit and that is He who made it, our heavenly Father. I firmly believe this to be true and was discussing this very thing with someone recently. My argument is this, if I am wrong I have lost nothing but if I am right I have gained more than I can imagine. However if someone doesn’t agree that I am right they too have lost nothing if I am wrong but have lost their soul, their spirit and are condemned for eternity if they discover that I was right. Some choice isn’t it? Some choice it may be but certainly one that should be seriously considered whilst the opportunity to do so is still possible.
From the moment we become aware of the life we have we seek to be accepted and loved by those around us. We learn however that not everyone is accepting or loving and as a result we tread tentatively and carefully when reaching out to others. For some reaching out is easy but for others it can be difficult. The problem with our fellow human beings is that they are not all the same, not all constant, not all ready to draw close as we might hope. Some are out to see what they can take from us but thankfully not all are like that. We are all different, some good, some bad, some even downright evil! Why this should be so has been debated for centuries. There is no definitive answer, or is there? Why do people act the way they do? Because we are all different and think differently it would be hard to pinpoint an individual reason for the way we behave. For those who believe in God it might be suggested that we can be so influenced by the forces of evil if we turn away from Him but is that really true? As a Christian myself I have to believe in that possibility but I also accept that because we have free choice we can just as easily turn to evil as we can to good. God has given us all that choice but points out the consequences of choosing evil and turning our backs to Him. One thing I can say is that in God I am totally loved and accepted because He is faithful. I lay no claim to being a perfect human being by any means though I strive to be good in every way. It is only because Jesus took my place in the punishment queue. He took all my wrongdoing (sins) upon himself so that I would be free of punishment, so that I could be saved. My fellow human beings can and will let me down but Jesus will never do that, he is the love of my life, my thoughts and my actions are centred around him. He determines how I act toward others and react to them. I am so unworthy of this love I know for I have not earned it and I never will. It is by grace that I receive such love and forgiveness.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
I haven’t earned it, I don’t deserve it but the gift is mine because I believe it in faith. I know there are areas of my life that need attention and I make every effort to deal with that. The amazing thing is that I came to believe in God and the Lord Jesus after 43 years of ardent unbelief! What caused that change in me? God moves in mysterious ways and I believe He reaches out to each of us in different ways. It is recognising that it is Him reaching out. For me it was a yearning to know more after I had read a verse from Matthews Gospel, 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’.
If you hear God calling you, if you receive a sign, if your heart is touched by The Holy Spirit………..respond.
01 May 2014
‘Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him…’ LUKE 24:31
He was a militant non-believer, who summed up his worldview with a verse from Lucretius: ‘Had God designed the world, it would not be a world so frail and faulty as we see.’ So Jack turned his attention to academia, excelling in each field he studied. Soon the dons of Oxford took him in as a respected peer and he began to write and teach. Yet, far beneath the surface, his doubts were taking their toll. He described his mental state with words like ‘misery and hopelessness’. He said, ‘I maintained God did not exist. I was also angry with God for not existing.’ Then two friends, also Oxford dons, J R R Tolkien and H V V Dyson, both devout followers of Christ, urged him to do something he’d surprisingly never done: read the Bible. So he did. Jack began to wrestle with the claims Christ made, concluding that He was either deluded, deceptive, or the very One He claimed to be, the Son of God. On the evening of September 19, 1931, Jack and his two friends took a long walk through the Oxford campus. They talked late into the night. And Jack, C S ‘Jack’ Lewis, would later recall a rush of wind that caused the first leaf to fall-a sudden breeze, which possibly came to symbolise for him the Holy Spirit. Soon after that night, Lewis became a believer. The change revolutionised his world and consequently the worlds of millions of readers. Could it be this simple? Could the chasm between doubt and faith be spanned with Scripture and Christian fellowship? Why don’t you come to Christ and find out for yourself?
Written by forty different authors spanning several centuries yet all contributions knit together like a jigsaw puzzle and have a thread within them which links them together. The Bible. Many have sought its destruction and have failed, many have tried to disprove its content and also have failed. The collection of books we know collectively as The Bible cover many subjects but overall it is a history book and a book of prophesy. It is a book about life and the purpose and future of mankind. It is a manual for living and the words it contains are alive. Many have no understanding of its purpose and meaning often preferring to dismiss it without prior study, often preferring to believe in something else yet not being able to justify it. One of the main characters and contributors in the New Testament, Paul, was vehemently against the followers of Christ to the point of seeking them out and persecuting them until one day as he made his way to Damascus to pursue his passion of hate he was confronted by God. That experience led him to repent and become a driving force in the early Church. My own experience followed a similar vein. The Bible has been called a fairy tale by those who oppose the faith, some even going out of their way to bring it to disrepute. Often this is because they do not want to have their way of life challenged in any way and that is probably because The Bible speaks out against the practices of some. Religion has been blamed as the cause of friction and the many wars that mankind has endured over the millennia but in fact it has been proven not to be true, in fact most wars have been caused by other things not related to religion. This argument is a non-starter for an excuse not to believe in God. There will be scoffers, there will be unbelievers, there will be those who reject the truth, there will be those who are immoral, who slander, who cheat and lie, who think there will be no punishment or judgement, even those things are prophesied in The Bible. I say to those people read the book and gain an understanding, ask God that He open your heart to the truth of the matter. If you are sincere and persistent, He WILL answer and that’s a fact.
Many people, probably the majority of those today who observe Christmas have no idea what it is all about or what the celebration is all about. They assume that by observing the season of goodwill to all men and by that I mean their so-called holiday season and having a good time with family and friends is enough but it isn’t. They readily forget the rest of the year and the way they treat others. They forget their selfish attitude, they forget those who are in need and most of all they forget they have a need for a Saviour. They don’t believe in God and such things so their celebrations are a sham and are totally meaningless. For the Christian Christmas, if celebrated, for it isn’t a requirement, is done so in the knowledge that what it stands for is an year-round thing. A Christian knows the importance of the reasons why Jesus Christ was born, died and rose again to eternal life and why without him there is no salvation, no heaven but the prospect of eternal damnation. I wrote this brief comment on Lucy’s blog recently in response to what she was writing about, the sending of Christmas cards and who to send them to.
Christmas isn’t about sending cards. It isn’t about self-indulgence. It
isn’t about partying. It isn’t about ‘having a great time’. It isn’t
about cheer and goodwill for the season. It isn’t about magic. It isn’t
about giving and receiving presents. It is about the one present and
only present worth receiving, the birth of your Saviour without whom
eternity will be something you do not want to be a part of. The whole
Christmas festival is a man-made meaningless affair that is now totally
driven by money, consumerism and the ‘must have’ attitude of many. It has become a
sentimental thing that we teach our children and has nothing to do with
life itself. Christmas is for believers in Jesus Christ but the
celebration has been hi-jacked by those who have no belief in God or
Jesus Christ or have a distorted view. It is such a shame that people
miss the point and why Christ was born into the world. It is such a
shame that they feel the need to comply with the watered-down secular
version of what should be a real celebration. Christmas should start on
1st January and end on 31st December………Christianity is a lifestyle
as well as a belief.
I no longer partake of a celebration that has
departed so far away from its initial intention so I do not have to
worry about sending cards to people I hardly ever see or to those who
are not part of my life. I give no presents and I receive none. I
celebrate Christmas in a different way and I celebrate it all
year-round. God demands that I do.
1 But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings – what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Footnotes:
(2 Timothy 3:17 Or that you, a man of God,)
Do you see yourself in this list? It may not all apply but is there something that has a ring of truth about it when you consider your own life?
The Bible tells us that as Christians who follow Jesus, who believe in the truth as given in Scripture, who wish to live to please God we will face persecution and isn’t that true today? If we make a stand for righteousness, holiness and the things of God we face condemnation by the secular and unbelieving world. Other faiths and religions come against us too. We stand because we know the truth, we have experienced the touch of God upon our lives, we have heard the good news and have turned to the light, to the giver of life and nothing will turn our hearts from believing in these things for we know that through endurance we will win in the end. We have an eternal promise which is far better than anything we have now apart from the knowledge that is in and through our Saviour Jesus Christ. Unbelievers don’t have such a promise, their lives centre around the things of this earth, their lives are empty without Jesus but they don’t realize it. They are not filled with the Spirit of God nor can they be until their hearts change and they reach out to Him. Finding a diamond is a fine thing and once found, treasured. If you want something better than a diamond, come to Jesus.
As a child, I had frequent respiratory and airway infections.
One cool Fall day, I awakened with a fever and sore throat, accompanied by a cough. Mom, a nurse, checked me over and kept me home from school. When the pediatricians office opened, she called and made an appointment for later that same day. I could not eat, and my mom was worried it might be Strep throat. At the time of the appointment, we drove downtown where the pediatrician’s office was located and took the elevator to his floor.
As a young man, it was such a treat to go up the elevator, where an attendant controlled it by a hand-wheel.
We checked in at the desk. Curious, I sat down to look at the large aquarium they had in the office, marveling at the graceful fish and their beautiful colors. Soon after, we were called back to the office by Gail, the nurse. Time to once again sit on the crunchy paper while my temperature was taken with an old glass thermometer.
Gail popped it out of my mouth, ogling it as she said, very matter-of-factly, “I thought you felt hot, kiddo. Your temperature is 101.6.”
I coughed a little bit as Gail notified us the doctor would be in shortly.
I kept going back and forth from hot, to cold, when the doctor finally made his way in. A friendly man, he said hello and came right over, removing one of the tongue depressors from the drawer beneath the exam table. I opened up wide, as most kids do at the doctor’s office, and said, “AAAAHHH!” I felt the tongue depressor slide back, holding my tongue down, and tasted the familiar flavor of the wooden blade.
“Well, its not Strep this time, but you have a good sinus infection, and its turning into bronchitis.” He moved over to the cabinet in the room and removed a bottle, pouring the liquid into a small measuring cup. It tasted nasty, so I chugged it down fast.
Afterward, the doctor pulled out the prescription pad and began his usual writing routine. He told me that it was Penicillin. Shocked, mom stood up, explaining that I was allergic to penicillin. He said it was probably not a true allergy; rather, a sensitivity to one of the ingredients.
She remarked, “Well, the last time Doug took it, sheets of skin were peeling off his back.”
It was too late, because he’d already given me one dose of it. But, he doubted it was going to cause a problem, reminding her to call him if I complained of itching or feeling nauseous.
He then discarded the prescription he had written and prescribed a different antibiotic.
He smiled his usual bright smile that always reassured me, “You’ll feel beetter in a couple of days,” as he patted me on the back.
Just a little bit later, mom asked if I wanted to stop by Rike’s, which was the department store right next to the office building. I loved the store, the nicely dressed staff, the beautiful clothes and all the wonderful smells. I told my mom yes, because I was feeling okay at the time.
We walked slowly over to the store and mom quickly picked up the item she came to buy. Afterward, we stopped by the candy counter with all the wonderful candies in the glass cases.
Mom bought me the usual special treat: meltaway mints in pastel colors. I asked for two since I could hardly swallow. Happy, and with our business completed, we headed toward the exit near Main street.
As if something hit me, I immediately stopped, my mints tumbling to the floor. Mom looked at me and asked what happened. I mumbled, “I feel really funny..” as my voice trailed off. It was like the floor had opened up and I was falling…falling off a precipice into nothingness.
My next awareness was mom yelling for help, but she sounded strange. I looked, but could not see her. It was then I became aware that I was above her looking down. I was up by the ceiling, quickly taking glances back and forth. For some strange reason, I wasn’t afraid of heights like I normally was, although I was at least 12 feet in the air! In fact, I felt more well than I had in some time. My sore throat was gone.
Without warning, I saw my body lying on the floor, but it was not moving, and I sure looked pale.
Strangely, mom was holding my wrist, moving her fingers to the edge of my neck. I called out, but it was apparent she couldn’t hear me. It was when I called again that I witnessed her blood curdling scream for help. Folks began to crowd around us. I was horrified, not knowing what happened…. until I heard a sound, and felt a presence–a very wonderful sense of peace and wholeness in the presence of this new person.
I glanced up at the nice man and said, “I want to stay here in this wonderful place.” But he had a different idea.
His smile could have lit an entire room, as he said, “I have made arrangements for you. You will be allowed to come back, but it won’t be for a long time.”
I peeked behind the man, noting many people looking at us. He seemed to read my thoughts, “There are many people here, Doug. Someday, when the time is right you will be allowed to meet them. But now is not your time,” he paused. He drew my attention to my mother. Pointing at her, he said, “You must go back.”
She was pulling up my shirt, pressing on my chest. I remember feeling a pull at my body and felt myself being drawn back in. The man was fading as I said goodbye, and I was aware of the movement growing quicker. In a flash, I remember opening my eyes and seeing my mother.
Tears plummeted to the floor as she cried, “Breathe! Breathe, Doug! Oh, please just breathe!” Her voice broken with desperation.
I was gasping as I found myself back down on the floor beneath my mother’s tears. She was still crying, exclaiming that she thought she had lost me. I told her I was safe with the nice man from the ceiling. She did not hear me, instead, she just grabbed me and pulled me close to her.
In a few minutes, the emergency medical staff came and lifted me up to the stretcher. They took me to the ambulance, parked right outside the door.
Something was different that day. I had peace unlike any other, and I knew that one day, I could go back to that special place where I was known. Not only was peace, but a love that I still cannot convey in word or action. I don’t think my parents ever understood what I told them about that experience, so I soon put it in the back of my mind and got on with my young life.
Only when I read a book about out-of-body experiences, and read one such account, did a light bulb of understanding go off in my mind. The experience described was very similar to what I experienced that day. I did not know the man was Jesus at the time, but that is the reality of what I believe now. One day I will return to experience what that man told me so long ago, but this time I will not have to leave.
On whom do you call in times of trouble? When faced with danger do you cry out for help? From where does that help come? People will often call out to God when things are going wrong or they find themselves in sticky situations but fail to believe in the One they are calling out to! Calling on God’s name is done without thought, it has become automatic and totally without meaning or faith. I am not sure what they expect will happen but they will probably say it makes them feel better but that is a false security for without God we have nothing. Next time you call upon the name of The Lord make sure He knows who is calling out to Him. If you don’t have a relationship with Him He may not respond. Call out to Him for mercy with a repentant heart, not as one who is a stranger but one who loves Him as you ought….
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
3 May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
4 May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
5 May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.
6 Now this I know:
the Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
9 Lord, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!