Death

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July4/5/weekend

Sunday, July 7th, 2019

I started writing this July 4th in the evening but failed to finish when my brother-in-law came in and started talking. So I finished it this morning. Used it for a Communion Thought, then decided to record it here. I am back from Sandusky for about 2-3 weeks until I have to return to drive a moving van back. Jo will be heading up there for a few days each of the next three weeks to hopefully pack things away and get financial stuff squared away.  Your prayers for her safety would be much appreciated.  Here’s the devotion:

My title for this devotion is Freedom that costs nothing vs Freedom that costs something or everything.

Today is Independence Day. A day we, as Americans, have one of two responses to: indifference or patriotism.

The indifference I don’t understand. {Enter Bob, Jo’s brother. The rest is written today, July 7th} In spite of its difficulties, we still live in the greatest country on the planet. I lived during the ’60s and experienced Kent State, the protests and all the other garbage that went on. I didn’t approve of it then; I don’t approve of it now.

Jo had the news on last night and they had a story of a 21 year old Marine whose life was forever changed on 9/11. He told him mom then that he would catch whoever did that. Bin Laden is long dead (Hooray!) but he kept his promise to fight the evil and joined the Marines after his high school graduation. He lost his life at the age of 21 in Afghanistan. She was not kind to Colin Kapernick in her speech.

Indifference to the cost paid by others for our freedom is unconscionable. That mother certainly wasn’t indifferent.

So it is with Jesus. Freedom isn’t really free. It costs something. Sometimes everything. It cost the lives of men and women since 1776. Over 2000 years ago it cost the life of our Savior so we might be free. Our freedom cost His life.  So our freedom from sin wasn’t free. Indifference for us is not an option.

“Father, may I never grow jaded and indifferent to your love and sacrifice for me. You have said, ‘You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.‘  Help me to know true freedom which comes from you.”

April 19/Weekend

Friday, April 19th, 2019

My title is All Access vs No Access.

Several months ago I had the great privilege of opening the Indiana House of Representatives session with prayer. Getting there was interesting. I had to go through a locked gate, tell them who I was and what I was there for and wait for the arm to go up. Fine…if someone is at the gate. I eventually had to back out (I had a number of cars behind me), make a call and get instructions.  Otherwise, no access. To top it off I had to go through other checkpoints (which I understand why) to get where I needed to go.

Today is “Good Friday.” A day that reminds me of access. Isaiah 25:9 says, “Behold, this is our God; we have watched for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

On this day the cross made salvation possible. On this day Jesus died for that salvation to be possible. On this day the sky grew pitch black even though it was noon. On this day the veil was torn from top to bottom giving us full and complete access to the presence of God. A new way is now open to God. No longer is the blood of bulls and goats required. No longer do we need a priest to offer a sacrifice for our sins. No longer does a priest give forgiveness. Full and complete access is now ours.

PRAISE THE LAMB!

January 28

Monday, January 28th, 2019

I bury a friend today. I haven’t known him long. Little over a year and a half but the past year found me taking multiple hour long trips to the hospital to visit and multiple trips to his house as he fought a brave fight against an ugly form of cancer. He lived 18 months longer past the original 18 months they gave him to live. The power of prayer. The power of medicine. The power of the will to live and not give up.

How God-like it is then to read this morning from G. Campbell Morgan’s book in a chapter called When a Loved One Dies. Here are some of his thoughts:

Death is the wounder of hearts. It is the assailant of faith; it is the challenger of hope. (p.44)

We need to remind ourselves that nothing that happens today has its full explanation in here and now. Some day we will see things in perfect Light, and then we will understand…I believe that whereas the gap will always remain and the sense of loss abide, as it does with me…you will be lead into a place of quiet assurance that God is too wise to make any mistake, and too good to ever be unkind.” (pp.44-45)

“Our tears he never rebukes.” (p.45)

There are some things I will never understand. A godly woman (my mother) taken before her 72nd birthday by cancer while a man who had no regard for God that I knew of lived to be 90. I don’t understand why I’ve stood at the graveside of a child or a young person or a young mother/father. I don’t understand why a man of 47 with a new grandson is taken. I’m not meant to understand everything. Someday I will but until then I need to, no I must, trust the One who is the Giver of life. It’s simply not for me to know now.

I just know I have to trust the One who said, “I am the resurrection and the life”; the One who conquered death, hell and the grave; the One who said He is preparing a home for His people; the One who welcomed Billy into his arms of grace last Thursday afternoon. I will not say “Goodbye” but “See you later” to Billy- a friend of God and a friend of man.

“Father, I rejoice Billy was your child to the very end. And while Becky and the family and friends mourn (me included) I rejoice Billy has no more excruciating pain and now rests in his heavenly home. Be with me as I speak today. Let me be a giver of hope and life because of Your promise.”