death · eternal · Heaven

Lessons in a Hospice Room

Doc hayaBeing in the presence of a man who is dying and yet is still rejoicing in his spirit is worthy of mental note-taking.  

Just last week my husband and I had the blessing of visiting the founder of The Wilds Christian Camp, Dr. Ken Hay, known to most as “Doc.”  He was in hospice care after all had been done to help him, yet his body continued to decline. Continue reading “Lessons in a Hospice Room”

death · eternal

Thinking About Dying

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Death. I’ve been thinking about it a good bit in the last week or so.  It isn’t something most of us like to talk about or dwell on, but because we live, we have to face that fact that unless Christ comes first (and we’re all praying He will!), we will all die.

Ecclesiastes 9:5

For the living know that they shall die:

In recent days, I’ve heard about or witnessed the death of acquaintances.  Their departures, like their lives, were totally different.  Both were believers and had   Continue reading “Thinking About Dying”

eternal · Goals · Priorities

Two Questions To Shape the New Year

2019, Here We Come!!

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There are a ton of questions we could ask ourselves as we approach a new year.  Some of the old standard questions are still excellent ones, but I’ve been pondering just two in the last couple of weeks.  Ready?

  1. What do I wish I had done more of in 2018?
  2. What do I wish I had done less of in 2018?

I think those two simple questions will really encompass all those other goals, needs, and relationships we want to make better this coming year.  It covers the priorities and the people we love,  as well as the habits and idols we need to rid from our lives.

When I asked myself those two questions, here’s what pierced my heart ~

What do I wish I had done more of in 2018?

  • Prayer
  • Scripture memory
  • Reading of books
  • Writing of my own book
  • Exercise
  • Connection with family
  • Discipling

What do I wish I had done less of in 2018?

  • Worry – The prayer could have taken care of that!
  • Screen time – Phones are needed and a blessing, but some days it feels like an appendage.  This is hard because I blog and do videos for You Tube, but it’s something I really want to get a handle on this year!

Both lists have other bullets, but these are the crucial ones, ones I’m taking to the Lord in prayer as I begin a new year.  One prayer I repeat over and over is,

Lord, I want my life to count for You.

I believe if I do more of what’s right and less of what’s keeping me idle, my life can count for Christ.

Oh that I may say like Paul, For me to live is Christ… Philippians 1:21

So, how would you answer those two questions?  Perhaps they can guide you as you ponder how the Lord would want you to live this next year as He grants us the breath to do so.  James 4:15

Refresh yourself in this new year!

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death · eternal · Fear · Fear of death

The Beauty of Death

Hi friends!  I’m back! To you perhaps I was only gone yesterday, but I’ve been away for a week and a half.  We had family vacation that was such a precious time, and I might also add, very needed.  We tend to go at break-neck speed, so getting out of town to rest and refresh is truly critical for ministry families (and I’m sure every other family!!).  We got to spend those days at the ocean.  Here’s a totally unedited picture of the sunrise on our last day there…

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That was well worth getting up early to see!

I was amazed that there were a few people walking away from the sunrise that morning instead of towards it!  Why  would you turn your back on something so beautiful?  I couldn’t understand that one!

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We got home from vacation on Sunday and while we were unpacking the car, we learned that a dear man in our church had been taken to the hospital.  We dropped everything and went to spend the evening with him and his daughter.  He’s a precious member of our church and truly like family to us.  We went to the hospital, not watching the clock, but his face, and also his chest rising slowly with each deliberate breath.  This event changed everything his week would have looked like.  Instead of being in the comfort of his home, he was being poked and probed, and was now confined to a small room with beeping machines and IV drips that allowed him to sleep.  It seems that his day to leave this world is imminent. Scripture tells us…

It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this, the judgment. Hebrews 9:27

I visited him in his hospital room again yesterday.  As I drove home later in the day, I thought about all the people passing by me in their cars, scurrying here and there, sure they’re going to have tomorrow, making plans as though they’ll live forever.  Some are ignoring God and His call to trust Christ for salvation.  They assume that this thing of dying is far off.  They are like the people on the beach who were walking away from the sunrise, ignoring the fact and the beauty that was just behind them.

These moments are appointed to each of us.  If Christ doesn’t return first, we will each die. We will each have a change in the plans we were making for that day.  Do you understand that death can be, not just a fact, but a beautiful thing? Oh the process can be ugly and hard, but the end result of death is seen in this verse as being precious…

Psalm 115:16 – Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.

Psalm 23 reminds us that death is only a shadow, and a shadow cannot hurt you.  For our dear friend, when he takes his last breath here, he will open His eyes in heaven.

Absent from the body present with the Lord!  II Corinthians 5:6

He has this assurance because He received Christ as His Savior for His sins.  He trusted in what Christ did for him on the cross and those truths make dying beautiful.  Our friend’s death, whenever it happens, has reminded me that death is like that sunrise – it will happen, and I can look forward to it and see the beauty in it.

Are you turning your back on the reality of death?  If you’re afraid, is it because you don’t have an assurance of eternity with the Lord?  Trust Him today to save you and receive the joy of walking with Him here, and having the comfort of a beautiful meeting in heaven One Day!

Denise

 

Easter · eternal · salvation

Our Best Efforts

Yesterday was a challenging day in my 4’9″ world!  When I ran into the grocery to buy a container of sour cream, it was inside a cooler refrigerator on the TOP shelf…and the front of the box was empty!  That meant I had to R-E-A-C-H on my tip toes, pull the box forward and hope that a sour cream container in the back would slide into my hand.

It worked!

Then on to look at some fresh flowers.  On the TOP shelf was a pot of greenery I was interested in.  Using my resourceful short-person-skills, I got as tall as I could, pulled the green stem towards me and then the rest of the pot followed behind.  Mission accomplished.

I left the store and moved on to do some decorating at church.  When I got up to the storage place where our spring wreaths were hung, they were hanging as high as they could be, dangling from nails like a loose  tooth in a kindergartner’s mouth. No amount of stretching was going to get those wreaths down!  I looked around me for something long, and found a piece of metal  that I knew would do the trick.  I slid the metal under the top part of the wreath, lifted it and then lowered it into my waiting hands.

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As I thought back to each of those scenarios, I remembered that I had been offered help in each of those situations, but it came at the wrong time.  This short lady had already made her move and gotten the job taken care of!

All these efforts reminded me of a truth connected to Good Friday.  This is a day that reminds us of the death of Christ on the cross.  He died to take our place, paying in full the payment due our sins.  Before He died he uttered,

It is finished.

You see, He did everything necessary for us to be forgiven and to give to us eternal life.  Nothing is left for us to complete in order to gain salvation.  It was all done on the cross by the Lord Jesus.

Just as I refused the help from those who offered to assist me, people often ignore Christ’s perfect solution to their sin problem.  Many ignore His plea to take care of their sin debt, and reach up on tip toes for their best efforts – good works, humanitarian deeds or kind acts, thinking that will allow them to reach up to God’s high standard.  But their efforts are far less fruitful than a short person’s attempts to grasp out-of-reach items.  They will never attain God’s standard because it is holiness.  Only Christ was without sin.  He alone could reach what is necessary for us to be forgiven.  And when He steps in, He is always on time.

If you’ve never accepted His sacrifice for your sin, stop trying to step in with your best efforts, and realize that He’s done it all.  Your salvation is complete.  All you have to do is receive what has been accomplished on your behalf by acknowledging your sinfulness, and your need for Christ. Then turn your back on your sin and receive Him. 

Because of Him salvation is at hand!

Rejoicing in Good Friday and Easter morning,

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Christian Life · eternal · Heaven

He’s Coming! How Will He Find Us?

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When my husband and I were dating, we lived several hours apart and the loneliness for him was prevalent every day!  But then an occasional weekend would come up that would allow him to be able to travel home to visit with me for a day and half, and my heart would literally be in my throat as I waited and watched for his Chevy Impala to come barreling down the lane to my home!

I kept my eyes peeled out the window, but only after I had prepared myself to greet him.  I made sure I was cleaned up  and ready for his arrival.  I also straightened up the living room for his visit.  I knew he was on his way, and I had to have everything ready!

Because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I have a promise that Christ is coming again to take His children to heaven.  Christ made the promise the He would return again.  We’re waiting for the shout, the voice and the trump of God.  We also know that no one knows when He will return.  He is coming like a thief in the night.  So what does that mean for us as His followers?  It means we must be ready.  We won’t have time when He comes to go get ourselves clean and fit to meet Him.

I heard a story this week that I’ll share not word for word, but you’ll get the point.  There was a family who learned that their son was coming home.  He’d been gone a long time and the family was anxiously expecting his return.  But on the day of his arrival, the family was found squabbling and fighting.  It seems that they were having a disagreement about how the son was coming – one said by plane, another by train, and someone else said he was bringing others with him.  When he returned, he found them in this quarreling state.  Is that how we want the Lord to find us when He comes?  Will all our trivialities really matter on that Day?  I hardly think so.

So, how will He find us if He were to come in fifteen minutes?

  • Will we have clean hearts?
  • Will we be doing His work at that moment?
  • Will we have others that are going to heaven with us because we shared the Gospel with them?
  • Will we be happy to see Him?

Or

  • Will we be squabbling over the things that others are doing that we don’t like?
  • Will we have bitter spirits?
  • Will we hang our heads because we got busy doing Satan’s work instead of Christ’s?

I John 3:2,3 says,

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Just like I got cleaned up when I knew my boyfriend was going to be coming, if we have the assurance of salvation, God’s Word says we’ll be making sure we’re clean.  Not because we’re afraid we won’t go to heaven, but because we ARE His child and we know He’s on His way!  We don’t want to be ashamed at His coming.

Friend, are you indeed God’s child?  Have you taken Christ as your Savior because you realize you are a sinner separated from a holy God?  All you need to do is receive the gift of eternal life through the person of Christ.  Tell Him you know you’re a sinner and that  you want to receive His gift of salvation that He purchased through His death, on the cross.

Are you looking for Christ to return today?  He could come…oh I pray He will come today!

Will I be ready and clean?  Will you?

Lovingly,

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Christian Life · Encouragement · eternal · trials

Change Your View

wp-1516731367120-1058527903.jpgBecause my husband had a birthday this week, we took a couple of days to go on a trip to Hot Springs, Virginia to celebrate!  Oh, the blessing this change of view has given our busy lives! We loved the gorgeous setting of the Homestead Resort, sitting in sun-filled lobbies, window seats, and also the love seat in our own room.  The change of view has been a blessing.

There are times that our spiritual eyes need a change of view, too.  Discouragements come to all of us.  It’s part of living in a sinful world with sinful words, responses and actions.  Sometimes those all belong to our own heart; sometimes they come from others.  I’m never surprised at my own wrong actions/reactions, but though I shouldn’t be surprised when it comes from others (because others are sinners, just like me), it does come as a blow.

Have you been there?

Someone does or says something that you just weren’t expectitng and it’s a hard pill to swallow.  But as a believer of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are reminded that we don’t wrestle with flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world.  My enemy is deeper than the person from whom the blow came. Ephesians 6 reminds of this truth. It’s no surprise to me that after having recently hearing my husband preach on these verses, and after having taught this passage afterwards in my Adult Bible Fellowship, that soon after the battle became very apparent.  Then, oh, the wrestling in my own heart through the night!  The “Why?”  “How could they” thoughts pierced my sleep, leaving me to toss and turn in the darkness of the room and also in my mind.

But when morning came, I went to that very passage in Ephesians 6 and repeated the armor that I wear –

  • The Belt of Truth – What Truth would I meditate on today?
  • The Breastplate of Righteousness – How would I respond towards this that would show a righteous heart?
  • Feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace – Would I be ready today to share the Gospel, or will I dwell on the war around me instead?
  • The Shield of Faith – What promises of God’s Word could I claim today?
  • The Helmet of Salvation – Will I remember all I am in Christ because I’m His child?  How will this change the way I respond?
  • The Sword of the Spirit – What verses will I meditate on to remind myself (and my enemy, Satan) of the victory Christ has won for me? 

Choosing to meditate on that passage gave me a whole different view!  It was like the sunshine that was pouring into the library in which I was blessed to sit! It refreshed me in the battle because I was dressed properly to fight it!

If discouragement is your view today, do yourself the blessing of changing your view to all that is yours if you are a child of God.  It will give you an eternal perspective that will equip you to live in victory today!

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