Tick, Tick, Tick

I decided the drawers in my desk needed sorting out; things to keep, things to throw away, things to put somewhere else.  As I was taking items out I saw a familiar plastic bag with three special things inside.  There was my Dad’s billfold, a set of Scripture memory cards he always had in his shirt pocket, and his wristwatch.  He had these items on his person the morning he left earth for heaven.  My mother had taken them and put them away for safe keeping; a keepsake memory.  Upon her move to live with me here in the UK, this plastic bag came, too, ending up in my desk drawer.

I took the things from the bag to look at them.  There were a few photos of his grandchildren in the billfold.  The Scripture memory cards were worn from much use.  His wristwatch?  What a surprise!  The second hand was still ticking by and I saw the minute hand move.  Nearly eight years later and the watch is still working.  I could hardly believe it.  I held the watch, my eyes steady on the second hand — tick, tick, tick, still going.

Time is eternal.  My father’s earthly life came to an end, but spiritually, he lives on and on and will continue living for eternity. The clock of eternity will never stop.  The question for each person is:  where will each one spend eternity where time never ends? It’s a choice for each one of us to make.  God will honor the choice.  Once we exhale our last breath on earth, there is no changing of minds as to where eternity will be spent.  Look at what Jesus said to His listeners in John 6:50-51: “This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.  I am the Living Bread that came down from heaven.  If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever.”  The prospect of not living with Him is dismal: darkness and torment — for eternity.

We all choose.  I hope each one reading will choose light and peace.  Jesus also said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No man comes to the Father except through me.”

The seconds are ticking.  Just ask Him in.  He will come.  He will forgive.  He will make new.  It will be for eternity.

A Very Quick Flight

I’ve had the joy and excitement of traveling on so many airplanes that I truly can no longer give an accurate count of the number of flights taken.  Each one has its own story.  There have been times when flights were delayed, twice when an air pocket was hit and the plane dropped several hundred feet in a matter of seconds.  That put our stomachs in our throats.  There have been bumpy landings and smooth ones.  I’ve had friendly seat parters and others that were grumpy.  I’ve had no-stop talking seat partners and those that pretended they didn’t hear me, or anyone else, when they spoke.  Food has never been the best on any flight but some much better than others.  On some flights the weather was clear and I could see for miles across the landscape when coming in to land.  At other times it has been cloudy with very low visibility.  Flights vary but every flight that takes off without incident and lands safely is a great flight.

I took another flight this week.  As the plane taxied down the runway and lifted its nose off the ground, I could feel the force of gravity push my body into the seat.  Then the plane leveled and all felt normal and smooth again.  Yet another airplane ride reminded me of one flight I have yet to take.  I’m looking forward to it.  In fact, the older I get, observing world events, I realise with keen and glad awareness that there is a flight I may take which will literally be out of this world.  Christians refer to it as “The Rapture.”

The Bible promises that one day Jesus will come again; it will be His second coming.  At that time He will set up a new kingdom that will last for a 1000 years.  Then comes the time of Judgement, but that’s not what I’m referring to at this time.  I’m thinking of the greatest flight to be taken ever, and it could happen at any moment!  The Rapture!  Read I Corinthians 15:52-53: “It will happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown.  For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever.  And we who are living will also be transformed.  For our dying bodies must  be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.”  Now read I Thessalonians 4:16-18: “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God.  First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  Then we will be with the Lord forevermore.  So encourage each other with these words.”

Can you imagine that flight?  The sad thing is that not everyone will be on board.  I hope everyone reading this has their flight reserved.  It’s easy to get a ticket.  It’s John 3:16.

 

A Promised Reunion

This week I attended the funeral of a very dear friend.  When I was much younger I dreaded the very thought of a funeral.  It seemed a scary thing to me.  Now, my understanding has deepened.  I have come to understand that for the one who personally knows Jesus, a funeral is not merely an acknowledgement of death; it is a celebration of life lifted to a new height.  The spirit has left earth to see the face of Jesus.

What a promise to everyone who knows Him.  Just think, the moment we exhale our last breath on earth, we inhale our first breath in sheer paradise.  Sickness is suddenly vanished.  Tears are no more.  Pain is gone, never to return.  Grief, despair, tiredness have all ceased to exist.  Loneliness can never be known again.  Feelings of low self esteem and rejection will never touch us.

When we try our best to imagine this reality, the very thought sends, what I call, joy bumps all over.  Someone we love may have passed on to their new life and we are saddened not to see them for awhile; but indeed, it is only for awhile.  Parting is not forever for those who are counted as God’s own children; it’s just a temporary separation.  It’s a time not to dwell on the departure, but to look forward to the reunion.

That must be why Paul could say in II Corinthians 5:8, “Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.”  Our earthly homes are just a part of our pilgrimage as we pass through life on earth, en route to our final destination, which is to behold the face of the One who made the only way for us to have eternal life with Him.

As the old hymn says, “What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see, and I look upon His face, the One who saved me by His grace.”

No One Can Be Unborn

The other day someone came to me with a question: “Is eternal life really eternal?  What if I do something really bad?  Won’t I lose my salvation?”  Many Christians grapple with the thought that perhaps their particular sin will cancel their entrance into heaven.  They live in fear and dread wondering if they need to get saved over and over again.  Is there a clear answer?  I’m happy to say — yes.  Let’s take a quick peek into the matter.

Sometimes, doubts of the guarantee of eternal life come as a result of misunderstandings of the Old Testament in relation to the New Testament (testament means covenant). Before Jesus came, we see in the Old Testament that there was a probationary life and a conditional life.  Adam and Eve lived a probationary life, meaning that life as they lived it in perfection, was theirs as long as they obeyed God’s command of not eating the forbidden fruit.  They failed to keep that command; thereby, ushering in God’s plan of redemption to save man from his own sin that separated him from a Holy God.  The Israelites lived a conditional life, meaning that their possession of The Promised Land was contingent upon keeping themselves away from idolatry.  They failed to keep that command; thereby, pointing yet again to the need of man for a Savior.

Enter Jesus.  From the moment Jesus took our place on the cross, offering forgiveness of our sin, the probationary life and the conditional life ceased to be.  Now there was only eternal life offered to mankind.  When we ask God’s forgiveness of our sin, He declares us forgiven eternally, washed clean in His sight because of the blood of Jesus.  There is a verse in Romans 11:29 that tells us, “God’s gifts and His call can never be withdrawn.”   Therefore, if God’s gift of eternal life can never be “withdrawn,” then it is a contradiction of terms to say it can come to an end.  Isn’t that the most wonderful news!

So, the question may come to you, “why do I feel so bad when some sin overtakes me?” Feelings of remorse come, not because you’ve lost your salvation, but because you have grieved the Holy Spirit. We are told in Ephesians 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit by the way you live.  Remember, He has identified you as His own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.”   What is meant by grieving the Holy Spirit?  It means that sin makes Him sorrowful.  God loves us with absolute pure love.  That love causes Him to desire the very best for each of us.  He doesn’t want sin to damage our faithfulness, to make dull our joy, to eradicate our peace.  Sin does all of those things; therefore, the Holy Spirit is terribly saddened when we allow sin to come into our lives and to stay there.

Sin destroys our joy and peace. Living in the ways of God builds up our joy and peace; it makes strong our faith in Him to bring us through any situation we find ourselves in.  Nothing is too hard for God.  His joy keeps us remembering that, while sin dulls our senses, bringing fear and dismay,  we don’t have to live that way.  Whenever we sin, we need not wallow in the darkness of it; we can confess, rejoice in His eternal forgiveness, and move on with resolved determination to walk in His ways.

We don’t have to live weakened, fearful lives.  We don’t have to live in uncertainty of eternal life when we sin.  We can always live in the wonder of His love and forgiveness.  Always take care upon what you focus.  Satan will lie and whisper that your sin has forfeited your entrance into heaven.  God promises in Colossians 1:13 that He has “rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son.”  

You and I break our promises.  Satan lies.  Our loving Heavenly Father does neither.  So, do not fear — ever!  Instead, rejoice — always!  When you receive His gift of salvation, you are born anew.  No one can be unborn.