Posted in Spiritual/Religious

Heavenly Thinking, Eternal Living

gods-love

In my childhood, there were lots of conversations about heaven. There were discussions about heaven as a city with streets paved in gold. There were discussions about heaven as a country with trees, shrubs, waterfalls, fountains, and flowers. There were discussions about the location of the third heaven: above the atmospheric heaven (the sky), and above the celestial heaven (home of the sun, the moon, the stars, the planets, and the galaxies). There were discussions with some who believed that the more a person suffered in their earthly life, the more they would be rewarded in their eternal (heavenly) life. There was a song that stated I don’t need a mansion; I just need a little cabin in the corner of glory land, which inferred that there were different sized rewards in heaven thus creating competition between some of the church members. “I’ll be happy with just a cabin.” “Oh no, with all you do, you’ll surely get a mansion.” “Oh no, no, but you’ll surely get a mansion.” And so it went.

As an adult, I’ve had other discussions. One believes (as does the author cited below) that when you take your last earthly breath, you’ll also take your first eternal breath. This seems to go along with a Henry Van Dyke poem from years ago:

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone”

Gone where?
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”
And that is dying…

Another discussion is we are already eternal beings. When the earthly body gives out, the spiritual being goes on. There is no delay, no waiting. There is a quote that states, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,” which goes along with the quote when Jesus said to one of the thieves on the cross, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” There is also a quote that God lives within us and that we are the temple of God. So if God lives within us, aren’t we already present with Him?

And if we are already present with Him, aren’t we already eternal beings? And more importantly, if we are already eternal beings with God living in us, then aren’t our daily actions already our eternal actions? And if our daily actions are already eternal actions, how are we doing? How are our actions stacking up? Are they eternal worthy? Are they heaven worthy? If not, should they be?

 

Cite: A Better Country: Preparing for Heaven by Dan Schaefer

Cite: https://allpoetry.com/I-Am-Standing-Upon-The-Seashore

Posted in Blog, Self Improvement, Spiritual/Religious

Here I Am

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Hope: Where do you go to find hope? Can you be hopeful and doubt? Can you be hopeful in times of change? How? Say, here I am. Here I am. I am here. While here, I will hope and will not doubt. Here I am. I am here and will stay despite the change. Here I am. It doesn’t matter what I’m going through, it matters what I’m becoming.

Strength: How strong are you feeling right now? How is your mental toughness? Your inner resolve? Your confidence? Your peace? Adversity happens to everyone. No one escapes it. Everyone gets weary and discouraged. Adversity is not to be avoided. It is to go through. How? Say, here I am. Here I am. When I’m weary and feel I cannot go another step, here I am. When I feel crushed by life, here I am. With all my inner strength, all my toughness, all my confidence, here I am.

Courage:  Courage is the quality of mind and spirit that enables a person to face danger, difficulty, and pain without fear. Courage is the motivation to do what needs to be done, whether it’s overcoming adversity or taking on a challenging task. Success is the outcome of courage. How? Say, here I am. Here I am. In the middle of financial crisis, in medical crisis, in relationship crisis, here I am. I may be troubled, but here I am. Here I am without fear. Here I am despite the pain.

Integrity: Integrity is the inner quality of your heart. Integrity shapes your character. Integrity is having your actions match up with your promises. A breach of integrity in one area of your life soon spills over into other areas of your life. Integrity is wholeness of spirit. Integrity is complete honesty, being honest in all the areas of your life. A person of integrity is an unbroken person. How to become this person? Say, here I am. Here I am. I am here. I am whole. I am honest in all my actions and words. I will not ‘fudge’. I will not give false witness, false impressions, or alternate facts. Here I am.

Perseverance:  Winston Churchill reminded us all in 1941 – Never Give In. Perseverance is enduring to overcome. Perseverance is continuing when you are weary, and when you cannot see the finish line. Perseverance is pushing toward the goal. Perseverance is endurance with confidence. Perseverance is believing what you are looking for to happen will happen. Perseverance is the heart of hope. How? Say, I will not complain or blame. Say, here I am. Here I am. I am here.

Cite: Hope: Comfort and Encouragement by Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz

 

Posted in Self Improvement, Spiritual/Religious

Labels Are Lazy


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We are a country divided. There is no doubt about it. However, we do not have to be a hateful country.

After the election, I tried to post issues, mostly about bills that were being submitted to the U. S. Congress. Silly me, I really thought my Facebook family and friends and I could have a discussion of issues. I knew that some of us disagreed about some of the issues, but I know these people personally. I know them to be intelligent people. Still, within two comments of any posting, the labels began. Once the labels were tossed down like gauntlets, there was no turning back to thoughtful discussions. I tried this for a couple of weeks and then I gave up. I accepted the loss, that people I thought of as friends and I could not have a civil conversation about the issues coming out of Washington, D.C. and around our country.

I am saddened by the labels because how can I understand people who think and vote differently from me if we cannot talk together about why I think the way I do and why others think the way they do? What is it that makes us throw labels around at people instead of saying…wait…why does this upset you? What other options do you see? Why do we so easily go to the basest of our natures instead of being the adults we are?

Throughout the decades it has been proven that labeling, also known as name calling, is no way to get along with others or to reach understanding. Ns, Js, Cs, Ms, Os,  Ps, … none of these labels got us closer to unifying ourselves and our country. When I use a label, I make you less than human. Thus, I can discount you and be above you. Why then, are intelligent people tossing out labels so easily again now? Why are we being lazy? Why are we allowing the rebel-rousers to poke at us and get reactions so easily?

We have fundamental differences in this country. And I believe we are at a true point to decide how our country will go. While it is true we are on different sides of the arguments, and our opinions are 180 degrees apart, we must decide how we go forward. Are we going to try to win at all costs, meaning that our friends, family members, and neighbors are losers? Are we going to take a flame thrower to everything, or are we going to put the labels aside and learn how to talk to each other?  The choice is yours. Choose wisely.

Posted in Prayer, Spiritual/Religious

God’s Love at a Bus Stop

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Over the years, I’ve watched a lot of evangelism attempts – the overeager youths who are so excited with the story that they turn off people with their excitement, the ‘choose Jesus or burn in eternal fire you horrible sinner’ approach, and a lot of others in between. Today I had a lovely conversation with a man whom I believe has a great approach. Read our conversation below and let me know what you think.

Me: Waiting at the bus stop after work, a bus pulled up, not mine; a smiling man rolled out on a scooter. I smiled and made room for him to exit.

Him: He stopped in front of me, looked at me for a moment, and asked, “Do you have anything that needs prayer today?”

Me: I thought about for a moment, smiled brightly, and said, “No, but thank you so much for asking me, you made my day.”

Him: “Do you have a relationship with the Lord?”

Me:  “Yes, since I was 7.”

Him: Reached into his messenger bag and gave me a booklet, “Good, here is a book you can pass along then.”

Me: Smiled and put the book in my backpack, “Thank you, I will.”

And that was it; simple. No hesitation, no drama, no discomfort, just sharing God’s love in a simple, Christ-like manner. Why did I like this so much? I think because he offered to do something for me first, then shared his message. He didn’t jump right in with bible verses or the 4-point plan of salvation. He asked me what I needed. I don’t think I’ve seen that before. However, I think it’s an excellent way to share the message of God’s love.