Fair-thee-well Until we Meet Again

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OUR FLAG – image from pixabay.com

I hope you took the time to remember

our fallen heros and

had observed Memorial Day with respect.

Cemetery – image from pixabay.com

We All Appreciate Being Able to Say Goodbye to a LOVED ONE or friend but . . .

. . . Christians Know that they Will see Each Other Again One Day.

A Woman Mourns – image from pixabay.com

Losing loved ones and friends under any circumstance is a sad affair indeed but, this is very much a part of life – no escaping that without intervention by GOD.  Some humans may be spared this inevitable fact of life explained in prophetic scripture ( I may write about that in another post sometime). Since the time of the first Believers up until the present, all Christians can expect to see their friends and family who are, Christians who have “fallen asleep”, in Heaven.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14  ESV 

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

If you have any doubt that you will see those loved ones and friends again after they, and you, have passed away: accept Christ.

Funeral Procession – image from pixabay.com
Heaven’s Gate – image from pixabay.com

Matthew 5:4 ESV

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Jesus Teaches – Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. “Full-page miniature of the Sermon on the Mount. Elaborate full border with human figures.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 25, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-e645-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99Losing someone thus brings both sadness and joy for Christians, because we know what to expect though we are yet part of this world.

We Christians say, “We are Saved for eternity by the work of Jesus Christ.” That is what we mean when we say “we are saved” but, there is much more to it than that: We can expect to see departed fellow Christians, be in the presence of GOD, recieve a number of blessings and much more.  More about how we will be, and where we will be, can be found within The Word of God: The Holy Bible. The New Testament has a great deal to teach about this subject but, accepting Jesus and receiving The Holy Spirit enables us to conquer our own unbelief and the misinformation hurled at us by the enemies of GOD.

We repeat this verse, from 2 Corinthians 5:8 “. . . absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” King James Bible . Yes we shed tears here on Earth and even Jesus did that when told His friend Lazarus had died: John 11:35 ESV  Jesus wept. 

Wake – Music Division, The New York Public Library. “Pat Malone forgot that he was dead” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 25, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47de-162d-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Farewell – The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “The Funeral of Chrysostum” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 25, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/128a8520-db8e-0130-4c77-58d385a7b928

 

 

Ultimately this world will end, there will be judgement and rewards and a new Heaven and Earth for believers will be created:

Revelation 21:1 ESV

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

You can be assured as a Christian that death is by no means the end but, just the beginning.

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Why Did I Survive

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Military Cemetery – image from pixabay.com

Special Memorial Day message

Why did we survive . . . . ?

For me Memorial Day’s Meaning has Increased with Time.

Sacrifice comes in many forms and the men and women who have served our Nation have many stories to tell.  Today we take time to especially keep alive the the memory of the fallen; express our gratefulness to all who have served and are serving; carry on the life to the fullest they swore to protect and to those who died to preserve all of what is good for us. 

As a Christian I have relied on GOD’s Word to make sense of the ways of this world especially the things that are beyond my understanding.
Bible Study – image from pixabay.com

Romans 5:1 ESV

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

KIA – image from pixabay.com

The men in my family all served in the armed forces of The United States of America from World War I up and through The Vietnam War.  My military job was with weapons not found in the Vietnam Theater of War but, many of my contemporaries did serve there and one childhood friend died there in 1968.  Setting aside politics I am convinced that war seems to be a necessary evil that must be waged from time to time (or even continue at a low-level seemingly all the time). Sadly this human activity seems needed in order to preserve what good there is in this world.  Since I served for just under four years on active duty and never fired a shot in anger I have felt guilty on occasion.

Homeless-veteran – image from pixabay.com

The Comrades I have met as well as my family veterans all have told me not to allow this destructive guilt to diminish my life.

Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen all Comrades – image from pixabay.com

Hebrews 13:6 ESV 

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

I am told all who have served honorably have contributed; men women, all.  Like some surrealistic movie I see my childhood friend’s face as we huddled in a football game and he told us what the play was.  Why did he die? He was so much better than I. He was more courageous than I. My favorite uncle who passed away last fall at 92 years old was a medic and served under General Patton,  was in the Battle of the Bulge and liberated at least one Nazi Concentration Camp; he never said much though he was the only post WWII medic from his class to survive (the other one out of a class of 32 came home only to get hit by a car and die).  My uncle did not talk much but did have medals and many restless nights.

Thank You – image from pixabay.com

GOD has a Purpose for us; when you accept Christ and study GOD’s Word you can discover why you were spared and what you are meant to do in this life.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

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Icebergs Help a Great Deal

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Iceberg – image from pixabay.com

The Structure of an Iceberg is often used to illustrate statistical date, natural distribution or even Human Behavior

Most of us know how it goes: we are in a ship traveling in northern waters and there off the starboard side (right side for you land lovers) and there in the distance towering above the sea is an iceberg.  The captain and crew know how to avoid the danger it threatens because they know most of the iceberg (about 90%) is below the surface of the water.  If you were not aware of that you would not get the whole picture.

Hiding – image from pixabay.com

Elijah ran and hid in a cave fearing Jezebel will kill him as she had done to the other prophets but the Lord came to him and questioned him.

1 Kings 19:14 ESV

14 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”

Yet Elijah was incorrect The Lord revealed there were many who were faithful.

1 Kings 19:18 ESV

18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

So many perceptions about the things we encounter in life is like the iceberg metaphor.

How many would be voters are there for a particular candidate; we see the affluent and middle class  people but where are the poor; Where (or with whom) is the most wealth concentrated; how many Christians are actually out there.  I am not merely pointing out that perhaps only 10% of any group is active and productive but, I am drawing you attention to the possibility that some people claim to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior yet lack evidence for their claim.

Deceiver – image from pixabay.com

 

Matthew 7:21,23 ESV / 

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. . . . . . .  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

Erase a Mistake – image from pixabay.com

We humans are imperfect:

James 4:17 ESV 

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

 We humans often lack courage Remember (ST) Apostle Peter?

Luke 22:34 ESV 

Cock Crows – George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library. “If you are a hen then lay eggs; if a cock, then crow.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 12, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e2-2620-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”

                     We Humans can rely on GOD

Cosmos – image from pixabay.com

 

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Who Will Listen to You

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Happy Mother’s Day 

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Who Will Listen to You?

Just so Alone – image from pixabay.com

Are you feeling alone? Do you doubt anyone cares about you? Does it seem no one listens to you?

You are never alone, there is someone listening and ready at all times to fulfill your deepest yearnings. GOD.  I know you have heard that before (perhaps many times) but, though it is not an easy concept to grasp rest assure GOD is there waiting for you to reach out and begin a spiritual relationship. Yes, a “relationship”.  

Friends – image from pixabay.com

“Religion” may be perfectly fine and needed for fellowship, encouragement and learning, but it is a device of humans and subject to human variables; the goal? A “relationship” with GOD.  The Bible, or The Word of GOD provides us with information but, how we interpret and apply that information can be based on our subjectivity.  In this blog I do my best to put forth as an objective a message about what GOD wants as revealed in The Bible for us as humanly possible; with prayer and the help of “The Holy Spirit” I have the faith that this is true for the most part – I am still human after all.

If you feel abandoned, alone and that no one cares about you or, even hears you, by faith I believe GOD is there just waiting for you to reach out.

 

 Acts 2:38-39 ESV

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Jesus and Disciples – image from pixabay.com

Just like a relationship with another human goes through phases, so does your relationship with GOD.

From Left to Right: L Music Division, The New York Public Library. “All for the love of a girl” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 11, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-fc0a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
C Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. “Isadora Duncan and Edward Gordon Craig. “In Berlin about Xmas time when we had taken shelter with Elise de Brouckère.”” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 11, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/8782bb4f-64ae-dda2-e040-e00a1806496c
R Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. “Old slave couple , Mercer county.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 11, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-9f8b-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

You meet.  You become acquainted.  You share your life.  You provide each other something each of you needs. GOD desires your acknowledgement , your respect, your gratitude, your praise and your worship. GOD has already provided for you even as you ignored, shunned or said, “GOD is dead”: eternity through Christ Jesus, provisions,  . . . many good things.  Even though we live in this world where Christians can be persecuted you can be granted the strength to endure.  With your sights set on eternity with GOD the temporal trials of this world can fade from your sight.

James 4:8 ESV 

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

GOD’s Touch – image from pixabay.com

GOD wants your acknowledgement, your worship and you to do what is right.  GOD offers: eternal life through Jesus, The Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance, and The Word for teaching, edification and equipping you for good works.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Of course there is much more to this story.  Fellowship with GOD and believers. Prayer. Guidance in many Earthly situations.  It takes time to learn and experience them.  I am confident GOD will provide you with what you need as a need arises. One step at a time; one day at a time.

John 3:16 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

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Even the Strong can Fall

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Rome Conquered the Carthaginians: Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library. “Carthaginis Celeberrimi Sinus Typus.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 4, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e4-667d-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Yet sometimes a large celebrated army or warrior succumbs to a smaller more capable one or, a nation directed by an especially adept leader.

Human example: The American Revolution is a good example of the “underdog” becoming victorious – perhaps this is why many Americans like stories where an “underdog’ wins. Follow the link below artwork to read why the British should have won the Revolutionary War.

Surrender of Cornwallis: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, at Yorktown, Va. October 19th, 1781.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 4, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-fb9c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Three Reasons the British Should Have Won the Revolutionary War (and Three Reasons the Patriots Did Win)

 

Biblical example: David and Goliath; a mere shepherd boy with a stone throwing sling defeats the giant warrior – one of the best known and loved stories from the Bible.

1 Samuel 17:49 ESV

And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

David and Goliath: Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. “Miniature of David and Goliath. Initials, border, placemarkers.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 4, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-e4d3-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

Then Some Strong Kingdoms or Empires that were not conquered from without were defeated from within.

Rome: The great empire we study in world history and still refer to many of its contributions to Western Civilization declined and, of that there is no debate. The reasons for the decline?  A cursory scan of its history lists a number of reasons (or possible reasons) and you may just assume nearly all, or most, of them together did Rome in.  I however lean heavily on the theories supporting its moral decline. The books of Daniel and Revelation have prophecies for this if you choose to read them. So when I scan the Greco-Roman architecture in many of the buildings in our land (especially in Washington, D.C.)  I sometimes wonder if the one negative factor of our society and culture is eroding our Nation from within: Increasing Immorality.

 

Old Testament Israel: Through my life I have had a positive outlook for our Nation’s future but, now in the latter years of my life my optimism is being challenged by experience, examples of humans embracing evil and the Word of God.  I now realize that if the Hebrew people who left Egypt, faced many challenges and experienced the blessings of GOD (many first hand), could fragment into different nations and turn away from GOD, what can be expected from the people of our contemporary times; we must keep our Faith without direct action by GOD on the scale and vivid nature experienced by the Hebrews?

 

Whether or not you believe The USA is vulnerable to attack, and being conquered from without or not, one thing a lesson from history has revealed to me: We, can, self-destruct.

Lessons from the rise and fall of nations (especially the Hebrews) alerts me to the importance of a morally strong culture observant of justice and law and order. In this is the secret to remaining viable and with a strong unity.  The task that establishes this foundation is the family unit. The family unit is where this strength is taught and nurtured. It seems too late to teach children respect and a working knowledge of right and wrong when parents wait until it is time for their children to attend elementary school. It seems if they do wait they leave this important task to the teachers that their children will have. The teachers by that time who must teach this foundation are most often confronted with correcting disrespect and unruly behavior in classroom environments. The energy that must be expended in correcting negative behavior diminishes the real task teachers have: teaching language skills, math and subjects useful to individuals who must contribute in a positive way to our society.

 

The minimum requirements for a good member of our society? Civil, law abiding, responsible and capable of holding a job and raising a family.

 

 

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About Impurities and Imperfection

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The Color of Gems come from Impurities – image from pixabay.com

It is the flaws in this world that set things apart; often these flaws are used for good purposes.

Colored Jewels, intense survival stories, victory despite odds against it , eternal salvation from sin’s self destruction are just highlights of the drama that plays out here on Earth.  It is these flaws that give meaning and character to the story of humanity since had GOD created all things. Strange as it may seem all of the positive that has come from the flaws here on Earth point to the ultimate victory of GOD’s Son Jesus Christ who demonstrated power over defects and evil, did not succumb to temptation and took upon Himself the penalty for sin, for all humanity for all time, by submitting to death and His resurrection.  The worldly hints of the challenge and the victory abound.

Even the Children’s story The Ugly Duckling Illustrates the phenomena of this era.
APPEARANCES: Colored Jewels . . .

. . . gain beautiful colors from small quantities of other elements within a crystal structure.

Secular: Amethyst geode
Geode – image from pixabay.com

Ugly on the outside; beautiful on the inside! .

Biblical: Flawed Apostle Paul was a Successful Evangelist

1 Timothy 1:15 ESV

Apostle Paul – image from pixabay.com

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I (Paul) am the foremost.

intense survival stories

Secular: This story seems Impossible at First*
Deadly Grenade – image from pixabay.com

“30 year old Lance Corporal Mathew Croucher, from Solihull, West Midlands, accidentally triggered a trip wire while in Hemland Province, Afghanistan in 2008. He dropped to the ground immediately, lay across the grenade and got blown into the air as the grenade went off. He got the George Cross award, which is the highest decorations awarded due to acts of gallantry, for saving his comrades. He is among 20 living recipients who have received this award.  All I could do at the moment was shout ‘grenade’ before diving on top of it,” he said.

  • *SEE: https://www.unbelievable-facts.com/2014/11/People-Who-Survived-Against-All-Odds.html
Biblical: Jonah
Giant Fish – image from pixabay.com

Jonah tried to flee from God because did not want to go to Nineveh and See Lost People so Evil Saved

(thanks Pastor for your teaching)

Jonah 1:3 ESV

But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.

Jonah 1:17 ESV

Jonah and the Fish: Spencer Collection, The New York Public Library. “Yûnus (Jonah) disgorged by a giant fish is offered clothing by an angel.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 27, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/5e66b3e8-9088-d471-e040-e00a180654d

17 [a] And the Lord appointed[b] a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

victory despite odds against it

The Battle of Britain – image from pixabay.com
Secular: The Battle of Britain

After the Germans conquered much of the continent of Europe during World War II it appeared all but certain they would surely pound Great Britain with bombs and then invade.  A valiant effort of determination, defiance, dogged survival  and endurance caused the Germans to reconsider and no evasion was attempted

Biblical: Gideon

Judges 6:15 ESV

Gideon: Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Gideon overhearing the Midianites’ dream.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 27, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e4-5d84-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

And he (Gideon) said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

GOD’s power enabled him to be victorious and a hero of the people.

Judges 8:22 ESV 

Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.”

ACCEPTING jESUS AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR ENABLES YOU TO BE VICTORIOUS OVER SIN AND WORLDLY IMPERFECTION SINCE, IT IS BY THE POWER OF god THAT YOU ARE SAVED ALONE

eternal salvation from sin’s price

Secular:  Works Do Not Save Souls

Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Biblical:  Jesus is the Only Way

John 14:6 ESV

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

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