My Musings – The above picture was taken three years ago today. We had gotten dad into DeKalb County rehab for what we thought would be a short stint to get his strength back. His heart condition had been worsening, but we had no idea how near the end was. He looked pretty good that day, but my dad died from heart failure on September 15th, less than three weeks later. The man who used to carry me on his shoulders, was carried away by the Angels to his reward.
In My Life
There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed.
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain.
All these places had their moments
With [family] and friends I still can recall.
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all.
But of all these friends and [family]
There [are few who] compares with you.
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new.
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before.
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you [still].
Songwriters: John Lennon, Paul McCartney
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
For non-commercial use only.
One of my favorite Beatles’ songs. The lyrics move me. “In my life” I can recall many male roles models that have helped shape my life. But Dad, there is no male role model that “compares with you.” We often “stop and think about” you. The void left by your passing can never be filled. Gone, but never forgotten, and we’ll “never lose affection.”
Time has allowed the grief to dull a bit, but not completely. But we do not “grieve like the rest of men who have no hope.” For “according to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15–18, NIV 1984).
My Advice – We are encouraged by these words. My wish for you is that you share the same hope. If so, be encouraged. If not, you can share in this blessed hope by believing and receiving Jesus Christ as you personal Savior. My series of musings on “The Born Again Experience” (see archives) can show you how.
For an inspiring version of the above song, google “In My Life” by Selah. It will give you chills.
My Musings – Last Friday, I was provided the opportunity of having a photo op with, and getting to shake the hands of, the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush (he’s the one on the left). It was quite an honor for a small town “boy” (the one on the right), who in the grand scheme of things is fairly insignificant, to stand next to the man who at one time was arguably the most powerful man in the world. I got to hear him interviewed for about an hour, and I have to say (whether you agreed with his politics or not), that he is a most gracious and humble man. Very funny too (on purpose).
All that said, his days of power are over. He is still to be honored as an ex-President, but he is no longer the mover of the wheels of history that he once was. Of course we all know that there are the “hands” of One behind scenes that is the “unmoved mover.” He causes kings (presidents) and kingdoms (republics) to rise and fall. Who at times removes His hands and permits things to occur in this fallen world that we do not always understand. At other times, He stretches forth His hands to prevent things that go beyond His permissive will. And at still other times He moves to cause things to happen that are simply amazing (like His amazing grace).
In the end, when facing the Almighty, Presidents (current and ex) and kings, have no special privileges that small town “boys” do not have. The significant persons of history are no more (or less) important than the insignificant. For in the “grand scheme of things” we are all quite insignificant in comparison to Him. Yet, He considered us significant enough to allow His Son to die on the cross to bear the penalty for all of our sins, significant and insignificant.
I’ve said it before in my blogs that there is no sin so small that Jesus did not have to die for it, and no sin too great that He could not die for it. A corollary of this is: there is no person so insignificant that He would not dare to die for, and no person so significant that He did not need to die for.
Still, as insignificant as both George and I are, I was still glad I got to meet Him. I will remember it for a long time, although I am pretty sure George has already forgotten.
My Advice – Some day, with my own eyes, I will behold the King of kings and Lord of lords. My meeting this past week, which seems so huge now, will seem so trivial then. Wouldn’t you like to behold Him too? You will. In fact every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess, that Jesus is Lord. Some in adoration and relief. Others in fear and grief. Which will it be for you? It doesn’t have to be in fear and grief.
1 Timothy 2:5-7 – For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles. (NIV 1984)
My Musings – In a 2016 Gallup survey of Americans, when asked whether or not they believe in God, 89% answered yes, 10% answered no, and 1% had no opinion. In a separate Gallup survey that same year, when given a third option to yes or no (unsure), 79% answered yes, 10% were unsure and 11% answered no.
In a 2008 Pew Research survey, 52% of all American Christians believe that some non-Christian faiths can lead to eternal life, while only 49% of evangelical Christians believe theirs is the one true faith.
Of course surveys only reveal what people believe to be true, they do not determine what is in fact true. The same is true with respect to various religions – they define people’s beliefs, which may or may not be truth. I can only speak for myself and why I believe that Christianity is the truth.
One God – For Christians and Jews (perhaps Muslims?), this is the God of the Old Testament. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4, NIV 1984). Logic tells us that there can only be one “supreme” (superior to all others) being.
One Mediator between God and men – The Christian faith, and as far as I know none other, believes that the “one” (exclusive) mediator is Jesus Christ. Why must Christians (despite what the polls might say) believe this. Because Jesus said it Himself. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.‘” (John 14:6, NIV 1984). He was either telling the truth, lying or deranged. If He was not telling the truth, He cannot be a path to God. But His resurrection testifies that He was telling the truth.
One true faith – Is the Christian faith the one true (exclusive) religion? If you believe the Gospels, then yes it is. “[Jesus] fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.‘” (Matthew 26:39, NIV 1984). If Jesus was indeed the “only begotten Son of God,” then you would have to believe that if there was another way (another path – one or many), God would not have allowed His only Son to be crucified. But Jesus was crucified. There was, and is, no other way or path.
My Advice – Only we can choose what to believe. But what we choose to believe cannot change the truth. The stakes are high, so we must consider carefully what the truth is. One cannot blame Christians for asserting that Jesus is the only path to God. because Jesus claimed it Himself. And God ratified it by allowing His death and raising Him from the dead. In this sense, yes, Christianity is exclusive – it is the only path to God. But in another sense, Christianity is all-inclusive. “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12, NIV 1984). It is a path that is open to all. The choice is ours. Only we can make sure we “earn” our wings by believing and receiving.
In Memory Of Dad
This is a re-post from September 15, 2017, the one year anniversary of my dad’s death. Today, he would have celebrated his 87th birthday.
Proverbs 23:22 – Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. (NIV 1984)
My Musing – Each weekday, I’ve been focusing on some devotions and advice that I gave my son Joel upon his college graduation. Today I am going to switch it up a bit, as today is the first anniversary of my Dad’s death. Today, my devotional musing goes out in memory of my Dad.
Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, the greatest impact on my spiritual development has been my Dad and Mom. To these I owe whatever spiritual legacy I have.
Over the past year, I often found myself thinking, “What would Dad have thought about it?” Today, one year after his passing, I find myself thinking, “I wish I could talk it over with Dad one more time.”
Below is a video that my brothers and I collaborated on and that my son Joel produced. It is a tribute to my Dad’s life. If you watch until the very end you’ll hear a recording of my Dad saying, “I love you guys very, very much.” Well Dad, we all miss you very, very much!
My Advice – Joel, as you read from “A Father’s Devotions,” remember the example of your Grandfather.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1,2 (NIV)
Not exactly numbered among the traditional texts that have become so familiar to us in our celebrations of Christmas over the years. Yet over the years Christmas traditions have slowly eroded, the victims of commercialism, cynicism and political correctness. Not that the Christmas story has lost its relevance or is no longer significant. Or that its meaning is no longer needed or has gone out of style. On the contrary, the need has never been greater or more urgent.
Proverbs 23:19, 22 – Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. Listen to your father, who gave you life. (NIV 1978)
My Musing – Today marks the second anniversary of my dad’s passing, a constant in my life for 61 years, and who (along with my mother) was largely responsible for molding my beliefs and character, at least the positive ones. Today, I simply refer you to my September 15, 2017 and February 7, 2018 musings.
My Advice – Never forget.