There is a fun old song that goes like this:
Those bells in hell go ding-a-ling-a-ling for some, but not for me.
Those white robed angels sing-a-ling-a-ling throughout eternity.
O death, where is thy sting-a-ling-a-ling; O grave they victory?
No sting-a-ling-a-ling, no ding-a-ling-a-ling, just sing-a-ling-a-ling for me!
Heaven is for Real. And so is Hell. I’ve made my provision to avoid the one and embrace the other. I may not be a very good singer here and now, but in my new body, I expect to be a singer in heaven’s band. Grab your song book and join me.
Here’s a Blog I posted back on December 13, 2006 (still relevant):
Anita and I were doing some Christmas shopping at Wal-Mart last week. Standing in the aisle way was an Amishman in his latter sixties. He was captivated by a row of color TVs all showing the movie ‘Cars’. He watched with an excited smile on his face to see what would happen next.
Anita and I went on about our business and came back that way about 15 minutes later. He was still standing in the very same spot, still blocking the aisle, with that same fascinated grin on his face. He was hooked!
Now, ‘Cars’ is a delightful movie. But there was an inconsistency about an Amishman who is opposed to all modern conveniences being hooked on a movie about cars on TV! So it made me reflect on possible inconsistencies in my own life. Not the kind of inconsistencies other people see, but the kind of inconsistencies God sees. Am I a man of integrity as I preach about, or does God see serious inconsistencies that limit my relationship with him? That Amishman preached a sermon to me and I need to do some soul-searching.
We keep a small vial of anointing oil on the lectern at the front of the church. Elders use it when someone comes forward for prayer. Sunday morning I was presented with a need for healing. I went to retrieve the anointing oil and it wasn’t there. We looked around in some other places it may have been misplaced, and just couldn’t find. James clearly says, “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned he will be forgiven” (James 5:14-15).
So, I had to run to my office and get anointing oil from my briefcase and bring it back to the altar, where we prayed and believed.
Who ran away with the anointing oil? What we needed was not where we thought it should be. It’s like that with God. What we think we need is not always where we think it should be. God just delays sometimes. But, everything has to pass through God’s hand to get to us, so everything (including missing anointing oil) is part of the big Plan. Perhaps its a test to see if we’re stubborn enough to go out of our way (like the woman with the issue of blood) to obey God.
Whatever God is asking you to do, go out of your way to obey, and God will bless your effort.
Anita and I attended Guy Lepley’s funeral in Hudson Friday morning. Pastor Burkholder did a great job with the message. He spoke of Guy planting a tree for each of his grandchildren and caring for the tree. He illustrated his point by pouring water from a plastic milk jug into a bucket. That was very graphic and the water sounds were picked up by his microphone and projected all through the packed auditorium. Anita looked over at me with a grimace and said, “I’ve really got to go.”
Running water sounds tend to do that to us. Is like priming a pump or yawning. A little bit precipitates even more. And I think the same thing is true of caring and encouragement. What we give out tends to come back to us.
What do you need today in life? Give that out and expect it to come back to you.
I’m not sure whoever came up with the now-famous phrase: “Thank God its Friday”, but I wonder about its meaning. Does God really have anything to do with it? Was someone actually even thinking about God when they came up with that statement? I doubt it.
Friday means the work week is almost over. Now I get to rest and play and not shoulder responsibility. Now I can do what I want to do.
I love Fridays because it signifies we’re at a time when God’s people come together and I have an opportunity to use my God-given talent to help others grow in their faith. On Saturday evening and Sunday morning, I get to fellowship with those who have been redeemed as I have. I have the privilege of worshiping with you together in God’s House. I get to present my tithe to the Lord’s ministry. I get to tell people about what Jesus can do in their lives. I get to pray for those who are hurting. I will be in a better position to encourage people in their faith-walk when we’re all together in one assembly. Thank God its Friday!
What do you really look forward to on the weekend?
“Then they asked Him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The Work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent’” (John 6:28-29).
The Mosaic law was filled with detailed requirements on how to please God. So, much impressed by Jesus’ miracles and influence with the people, they asked Him to give them new requirements. Jesus made it oh so easy. Just believe in the One God has sent. But, believing wasn’t as easy as it appears.
To believe meant to follow, and His ways are not our ways. To believe meant to take a different path, and His ways are not pleasant, but sacrificial. To believe meant to turn from our wicked ways, and those ways are deeply ingrained in our culture. To believe is so much more, and leads to even more: life more abundantly.
To believe in Jesus is to make Him Lord as well as Savior. And He will change your life.
The inner circle of disciples, Peter, James & John, were invited to join Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. But they fell asleep during the main feature: the appearance of Moses and Elijah discussing the Lord’s death with Him. They awoke to see the two Old Testament prophets and Jesus, who was glowing. Peter spoke up about building three shrines for them.
At these words a voice spoke from the cloud and said, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5). Wow! From God almighty such simple words. But only one command: “Listen to Him!”
Many better Bibles have the words of Jesus printed in red. Some have read the red print only, since they are the words of Jesus, skipping the supporting scriptures. When Mother Mary saw the wedding master at Cana was out of wine, she told the servants, “Whatever He tells you to do, do it“.
Let’s be careful to read the red with special attention. These are the words of God’s Son, in Whom He is well-pleased.