Thursday, February 28, 2008

No More Stalling Around

I find making decisions so difficult but I have decided to discontinue my blog. This probably isn't a total surprise to anyone. I've simply lost interest in it. I took that 2-week break and just haven't been able to get back into it. I have tried but it has become this ominous thing hanging over my head everyday. It takes so much of my time, which is okay if I'm enjoying it, but if I'm dreading it (as I have been) it just ends up being wasted time. I have so many other things I should be doing -- like housework, Bible study, housework, reading, housework ... the list goes on forever. But the bottom line is it is no longer fun for me! So I have just decided to discontinue my blog after all this time. I think I started last July so that makes it almost 8 months ago. That's a lot of writing! I think it's time for me to go on to doing something I enjoy and is beneficial to me. It has just gotten to where I dread waking up in the morning because I know I have to blog and that it not what blogging is all about. If I should decide to take it up again in the future I will email everyone and let them know. But I think, as of today, I will discontinue Godlover.

I will, of course, continue reading other blogs that I have been following so you guys out there aren't going to be losing a member of your audience. I have so much fun reading other people's blogs. I really don't know how to say goodbye to those who have been reading me all this time. (I don't really think there's that many of you out there anymore!) So, I guess I'll just sign off and say "Thanks for being my audience." Of course I'm dropping out in the middle of my death and dying series and I apologize for that but I just can't continue it and still be fit to live with, ha!! I have spent all the time I needed to think about this (and then some!!!). I mean, after all, I had this idea even before I took my two-week break. I knew the fun had gone out of it and it had just become another taskmaster but I was just hoping all I needed was to take a break for awhile but the break showed me how much I need to simply walk away from my blog. Thanks again ...

I have had the time to do a lot of reading this past week and I realized how much I missed having the time to just sit and read. I'm reading the Left Behind series. Just for fun as I don't know what I believe about end times for sure. Monday I checked out the first four books of the series and then skipped to the 7th one as 5 and 6 weren't there. So far I've read the first three books already. They are a very fast read. I'm finding them very much like a Soap Opera. I just thought it would be fun to read them and so far I've enjoyed what I've read but then I have to wonder if I want to spend so much of my time reading "fluff." I only have so much free time and maybe I'd be better off studying and reading the Bible instead. So far they've been fun but I don't think I'll read any more of them. I think I'll just take them back. I've been wanting to get in and read the lesser prophets. (I can't remember right now what they are called but it's something like the lesser prophets, or the smaller prophets, or the shorter prophets. Isn't it frustrating when you know you know what something's called but you can't think of it to save your life???)

So anyway ... thanks and I'll miss you!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Who we are continues to be who we are on the other side of the curtain. When we speak of heaven we tend to comment on the differences. Yet, while there are great differences between earth and heaven, there are also similarities. Our personalitites will be the same, only better. Heaven is our earthly lives glorified and perfected. Jesus was perfect after His resurrection and so will we be perfect.

Our personal knowledge will be the same as it was when we died, only our minds and memory will be clearer than ever before. Death won't change what we already know; our personalities will just continue on with the same knowledge and information we have stored in our minds today.

Look back at your personal history: Parents, siblings, cousins, holidays, family reunions. Of course you will remember all of this and even more in heaven. Do you think we could possibly know any less? Of course not! The only difference will be that our thoughts that make us sad, won't make us feel sad any more.

Once in heaven we will see all those who preceded us in death. Some of them our own family and friends, others nameless to us but equally glorified in the life to come. We'll have so many people to get to know but that will be okay; we'll have plenty of time. Remember the Mount of Transfiguration formerly mentioned. The three of Christ's disciples met with Elijah and Moses. So far as we know there were no need for introductions, yet they knew who they were. In heaven there will be intuitive knowledge for our minds will be redeemed from the sin that used to limit them.

Our love of God will be more intense than ever. Finally, in heaven, without other things to distract us, we will be able to love God as we were intended to because faith will have given way to sight. "We shall know him as he really is." We will keep right on loving things that we loved here on earth, only we will love them apart from sin. In heaven our affections will be like they were on earth, except more so. Everything will be "better" and more so!

There is no evidence that those in heaven can see those on earth. It might be possible but we can't yet know. It is more likely that, should we wonder, we can get updates on people we left behind. I can't imagine why anyone would be refused such information! Although I must emphasize and caution that those who are already in heaven cannot communicate with us on earth. In fact, the Bible clearly forbids any attempts at trying to communicate with the dead. There are two realities or realms and only Jesus spans the two. So we must be satisfied to know that they are more knowledgeable than we are and that someday we will be with them and we'll have all the answers to our questions. God tells us all we need to know for this life and we need to entrust our loved ones into His care and keeping. But we can surmise that someone in heaven would tell us if it were possible for them to do so. We can be pretty sure they would urge us to stay faithful; that if we knew everything there is to know we'd do everything possible to draw closer to our Lord and do everything in our power to please Him above all else. Paul wrote in Romans 8:18, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us." They would tell us, I'm sure, to live our lives on earth with heaven in mind.


I woke up early this morning and decided to get my blogging done and out of the way as early as possible. Mario is of course up here helping me, sitting right beside the keyboard ready to try and crawl on into my lap if at all possible. It's so strange the way he acts. I just stopped and gave him a big hug. He likes that but it shouldn't surprise me. Cats are so much like humans. They want so much to nurture the things they love and take care of them as best they can. Every cat has his or her own personality. They are so much fun to be around. Right now we are holding hands (paws???) and he's trying to get in my lap. He just wants to be close.

Small group on Monday was really interesting. Of course, I feel like I've been a really bad leader because it's so hard to know how you're coming across. I can't help but think I've failed in the leading portion of our study. I had to resort to using a commentary this last time and will probably have to again next time. I had hoped to do this entire study without going to a commentary but I just couldn't come up with enough to say on my own. Strange, huh, me not coming up with enough to talk about! I don't usually have that problem; I'm a great talker. Oh well, I can only do what I can do. No more. No less. It's just that I'm not usually short on things to say. Whoa, Mario just jumped down and so I no longer have him draped over my arm seeking a closer relationship with me this morning. I'm sure if I type long enough he'll be back. He's like the proverbial bad penney that keeps cropping back up. Anyway we discovered that Roy isn't an animal lover (at small group). And he doesn't think we'll have animals in heaven. I can't imagine not loving animals. I thank God every day for the opportunity I have to interact with my fellow furry felines and canine too. They add so much to my otherwise boring life. I feel sorry for anyone who allows themselves to miss out on all that love the four-legged creatures give us. They are such an incredible blessing in my life. I can't imagine not having them. And I don't even want to try.

I have no plans for today except to maybe get a little more housekeeping done. I didn't get too much done yesterday but I was able to tidy things up around the house. I can remember when I used to keep my house spotless. I mean SPOTLESS!!! Of course that was another lifetime ago. Now all I hope for is to keep things down to a roar. Priorities change I guess.

I am half way through the second book in the Left Behind series. This one being the Tribulation Force. They are really quite simply written with most of the action taking place within the dialogue. Not very description oriented. (Don't know if that's right but maybe you can figure out what I'm trying to say.) It's about 98% dialogue. Well, Mario has managed to slink down into my lap, making it quite difficult to write. I should get busy anyway so I'll write more tomorrow if everything turns out as planned. Take care...

It looks like today will be another beautiful day here in paradise. The sun is bright and warm outside and ... oops! Mario's back.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Heaven Itself

Just exactly what is it that awaits us after our final hours here? Where will be go? Will we go alone? These are all questions to which many of us long to have the answers. While we can't know everything, there are many things we can know. Some of them may be in a generalized form of answer; others quite specific. One thing for certain, though ... if we spend time thinking about such as this we will become accustomed to thinking "heavenish" and when we get there we just may not feel so out of place. In the minutes immediately following our deaths, we'll obviously know we are still the very same person we were a minute before we died. We'll be aware that we have died but rather than feel grief we will feel blessedly free. We will no longer be captive to these "temporary tents" of human flesh. Any handicaps we may have had while we were on earth will be gone. We will be free to move and to think without so much as a hint of interruption. And while we're being escorted by angels to the "Promised Land" of heaven, our friends and families will be preparing for our funeral.

Steve Saint, in "Did They Have to Die" (Christianity Today, 16 September 1996, 26) tells the story of five young missionaires who were killed in the dark jungles of Ecuador. (The men who did the killings are now Christians.) One of the offenders told Steve (who was a son of one of the martyred men) that he had seen and heard what he now is convinced were angles in the sky. And a woman who was hiding in the brush also saw these beings and heard them singing in the skies over the tree tops. Although sightings of these angelic beings are rare they are nonetheless there, watching us on earth and awaiting the time they will welcome us into heaven. Ken Satterberg, of the Mosiac Project relates that people the world over, but especially in the Muslim countries are now seeing dreams and visions of heavenly beings. Some even have claimed they've see Jesus himself.

When Jesus finished His work on earth, He sat down at the right hand of God. But he obviously stood to welcome Steven into heaven (Acts 7:55). Since we are Christ's sheep, he calls us by name and we will hear Him regardless of what kind of death we have encountered. Perhaps he will stand for us too. Not matter what the circumstances we will all have a wonderful welcoming to heaven.

We will look into Christ's eyes and see compassion, love, and acceptance. Although we are unworthy to be where we now find ourselves, we will know His welcome is genine. We will see the nail prints in the hands He extends and we will show us the hole in His side, if we ask. At the sight of the risen Lord, we will fall on our faces and worship Him. We are indeed in heaven. We will be so overcome with emotions that we'll shed tears of joy!

So much will be different, yet strangely the same. We have entered heaven without so much as a blip on our rador screens. Absolutely no interruptions in our consciousnesses. Back on earth our friends and family will bury our body, but they can't bury us! Personhood survives the passing of the body. When Stephen was killed he looked up and told the Lord to receive his spirit. He didn't say anything about his body.


I'm going to let this run a little short today because I need to get busy and get my house cleaned up a little. It has gotten completely out of control. I stopped off at the church yesterday and checked out several of the books in the "Left Behind" series. Came home and almost read the entire first book which is almost 500 pages long. Obviously I didn't get anything else done on my house. So I really need to get busy.

I'm not going to be really good about writing my blog everyday. Some days I just need to devote myself to other things. Like housework. So I ask for your patience as I work this all out. I still have my doubts that this format will even work in a daily blog. Doing my old blogs, I was able to write everything and sum it all up in a daily installment. This isn't written that way so I have my doubts. I'll keep pushing myself and see how it works out. But I have the feeling that I just need to set my blog aside for awhile. It takes so much time to blog and I've let other things slide for so long now that it's gotten ridiculous. Maybe I need to quite dilly dallying around and just make a decision. I just don't know. Until next time ...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Just Struggling Today

This is going to be a totally different blog. Sorry for interrupting the series on death and dying but I really need to talk this out. I have been a Christian for 20 years now and I'm still struggling. There are times when I absolutely DO NOT want to turn my life over to my Lord. Has He ever failed me? NO. Then what's the problem? Do I not trust Him to do the right thing for me? Maybe not, I just don't know. There is so much to my story that I'm not even able to report because there just isn't enough room or time. I'll just say that before I became a Christian I was living the American Dream. We were living in the San Fransico Bay Area and both of us had high paying jobs. We lived in a very nice house in a lovely neighborhood drove nice cars and could afford to eat out several times a week or go shopping anytime I wanted. Then our lives were suddenly turned upside down. My son committed suicide in his bedroon and my world changed forever. Somehow we ended up up here in the foothills and I struggled to find my bearings. I was called by the Lord and thankfully I answered the call not knowing at all what I was letting myself in for. I'll just say that it's been 20 years of learning to let Christ lead my life and to live out the promise that he IS my life. I am not so much a Christian as I am Christ crucified. For whatever reason Christ called me to a life of poverty and I must die to self. It sounds so easy but it's the hardest thing I've ever done.

The issue we are dealing with right now is the lack of a reliable car to use. We live in a rural area and there is no public transportation of any kind. So you cannot survive up here without a car of some kind. The car we have is a 20-year-old cadillac that was given to us. It was in good shape when we got it but over the years it has begun to fall apart. It is not reliable anymore and its brakes are shot. And we have no money for car repairs. God knows we have to have a car so what is He doing?

I began to pray quite specifically about our car a few months back and rather than it becoming more reliable it has lost its brakes as I mentioned. What in the world is the Lord doing in my life??? It seems the car problems have gotten worse rather than better. It is exhausting work to let go of my car and not worry. Oh, I'm a great worrier! I am constantly turning that worry over to my Lord only to have it crop right back up. I keep telling myself that he will do something but something never happens. Then my husband ended up getting a Ford bus that is FALLING APART. Literally. If you open the passenger door it will almost fall off the bus! It's bottom hinge is completely rusted away. It is falling apart but it's got a new engine in it and it will be transportation for us if I can stand having my friends see me riding around in it. Pride. I have to turn that over to the Lord. He has faithfully provided us with another vehicle and I'm letting pride get in the way of my appreciation.

I was lamenting one day to the Lord that He wasn't listening to me. What am I to think when He won't listen to my prayers? I pray and pray for my car and He just lets things get worse and worse. Then in my deepest depression it occurred to me that maybe this bus IS God's answer to my prayers! As ratty and falling apart as it is. Maybe it's the answer to prayer. It would be so much easier if it were a new Toyota or some other car. Nice and pretty. Shining in the sun. People would turn and look and say, "My, what a nice car you have." That's the kind of answer I want to my prayers. But I must submit. Oh, why is it so hard to give the control of your life over to your own Lord who loved you enough to die for you? Why do I let worry and pride dominate my life?

Do I believe Jesus is the Lord of my life? Yes. Do I believe that He loves me and listens to me and cares for me? Yes. Then what's the problem here??? The problem is down where the rubber meets the road. And the question is, Do I trust my Lord??? Yes I do. Then I must trust that He is in the middle of our situation working out my sactification through it. Oh, but santification is sooooooo hard! I don't want to do it. It hurts!!! I mean, He lets others have nice cars and nice furniture and nice houses. Why not me? Because that is not what I have been called to. I have been called to suffer the cross of Christ. I have been called to a life of poverty and in that poverty I find my Lord. All He asks me to do is to take His hand and give all control over to Him. All control? Yes, ALL control. But can't I retain just a tiny bit of control because it feels so much better when I've got my hands in the mix too? No. I am to release everything into His hands and trust Him. I mean, has He ever let me down? Have we been homeless? Hungry? Beaten down? God is trustworthy and I am called to trust Him. I must trust Him. I must take His hand and let Him do His work in me. I must allow Him to rid me of all worry and pride and fear and self. He is my life!

Michael has gone in a borrowed car, taking the last of our money for the month to buy a new battery for the bus and I must release it all unto the Lord. The question is ever, Do I trust my Lord??? Will I let God be God in my life???

I know this blog is totally, totally different from the blogs I usually write but I needed a place to vent and I realized that God could get some glory out of my situation if I would but just share some of what's going on in my life right now. God is so busy in my life, working behind the scenes bringing all things together. I know He is. Yet, like the Israelites, I want to doubt and whine. I'm ashamed to even mention my problems when someone like Heather is going through such an incredibly tough time with the sudden death of her husband. (In another blog.) But I am selfish and self-centered. I worry. I doubt. I whine. And in all that I seek my Lord. I seek to be all that my heavenly Father desires me to be.

We are each called to a particular life. Our God is the God of the individual. He deals with us on a one-on-one basis and He's able to take the whole of our lives into His hands and fashion a life we are called to live. He knows what is best for us. Sanctification is hard work and I know it would be easier if I'd just release it all into His hands and stop digging my heel in and resisting what He's trying to accomplish in my life. But even in my resistance He blesses me. Even in my hard-headedness He continues to do what's best for me. Even in my shallowness and pettiness He remains faithful. His number one goal is to transform me into the image of His dear Son Jesus Christ. Even when I turn my back He continues to bless me. Like the Israelites, He continues to pour out His blessings in the face of my resistance. What an awesome God we have. We will make it through the month. The bus will or won't work with the new battery. And God will remain faithful, digging out the pride and the worry that I seem to think are so important to me. Pulling them out by the roots and I must relinquish it all over to Him. I must allow myself to be poured out like a drink offering and I must learn to trust my Father with every area of my life. I can't hold back even the tiniest bit. Oh, but that's so scarey!!! So was the Garden. But that's so hard. So was the cross. But that's so painful. So was Golgotha.

Well, this was TOTALLY different for my usual blog but it was something I needed to do. I won't do this often because it's exhausting. But, you know, at the same time it's freeing. Ridding ourselves of the Old Man is hard work. It is not easy to face the ugliness in our own lives. You'd think that with all that ugliness we'd eagerly accept what Christ is doing in our lives. But, no. We are hard-headed. We want to keep our hands on the steering wheel and pick the direction. But we are called to turn over everything to our Father. Tomorrow I will be back on death and dying. Today I'm busy dying to self. Today I struggle. I hope your days are good ones. See you tomorrow...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Sailing Ship

Paul speaks of death as the sailing of a ship: "I am hard pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and to be with Christ, for that is very much better" (Php 1:23). The word used for "depart" was used for the loosening of an anchor. A.T. Robertson translates it, "To weigh anchor and put out to sea."

Thanks to Christ, Paul was ready to embark on the trip that would take him heavenward. Christ had already successfully navigated the harbor and Paul was eager to try his hand at it. Yet because of his friends on this side of the curtain he said, "yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake" (v 24). Paul was in a bigger hurry than the Lord was, but a few years later he was able to say, "I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come" (2 Tim 4:6).

The writer of the book of Hebrews in the Greek Scriptures (the New Testament) picks up this imagery and says, "This hope we have as an anchor for the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us" (Heb 6:19-20). That means we seek our security neither in feelings nor experiences but solely in Christ Jesus our Lord. Our anchor is fastened to Christ, who is already within the Holy of Holies where he now lives.

Philip Mauro suggests that the picture here is that of a forerunner used in ancient times to help a vessel enter the harbor safely. He would jump from the ship, swim through the harbor, and fasten a strong rope of the ship to a solid rock along the shore and then by means of a winch, the vessel was safely brought in to dock at the shoreline.

A Permanent Home
Paul wrote that in this world we are "at home" in the body, but in the world to come we will be "at home" with the Lord (2 Cor 5:6-8). He writes, "We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord" (v 8). Paul understandably preferred the mansion to the tent. Why should we fear death if it is the path to our home where we belong? Jesus assures us that there is nothing to fear; in fact, the knowledge that we shall die gives us courage and hope to live triumphantly in this life!

Most of us are comforted when we are told that we are going to keep living; Paul was encouraged when he was told that he was dying. He repeatedly referred to death as that which is "far better." Perhaps we don't view things as Paul did with so much optimism because we tend to think of death as taking us from our home, rather than bringing us to it. To die is to go home to heaven; to live is to continue to exist in a foreign land. Someday we will understand the distinction between the two much better than we do now. But for us, the future is ours by faith.

Good Grief!
Though we may be comforted by these things I've just written about, we most often still think of death with various degrees of terror. Paul asks, "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Cor 15:55). When a bee first stings a person he loses his stinger and is unable to sting a second time. He can only threaten and frighten us. Because Christ removed death's sting, it can now only threaten and frighten us; but it can no longer make good on its threats. The same God who we allow to guide us now on earth will escort us all the way to heaven where we really belong. "With Thy counsel Thou wilt guide me, and afterward receive one to glory" (Ps 73:24).

Dying grace does not mean that we will be free from sorrow, whether it's our own death or that of someone we care about. Some Christians mistakenly think that the exhibition of grief demonstrates a lack of faith. But this is erroneous thinking because even our Lord cried over the death of His friend, Lazarus, and He cried knowing He was going to bring Lazarus back to life again! We sorrow and grieve because we are human and grief is part of our humanity. It's part of the human experience and we should not be made to feel embarrassment or be shunned when we express it.

Good grief is grief that enables us to make the passage to a new place of existence with dignity and comfort. The widow must learn to live alone; the parents must learn to live with the loss of a dearly loved child. Grief that deals honestly with the pain is part of the healing process. Sorrow and grief are to be expected. Dozens of passages in the Old and New Testaments tell us how the saints mourned the loss of friends and family. But we must not forget that there is a difference between tears of hope and tears of hopelessness. A believer has the hope of Christ Jesus so he is never consumed with hopelessness. We can be assured that death is the chariot our heavenly Father sends to bring us to Himself. Bon voyage!


We had 1/2 inch of rain last night, which is 1/2 inch more than I had expected us to get. Not too shabby. Everything is washed clean and the colors are vivid and bright outside. Looks like the sun is going away though; there are clouds moving into our area again so we may get more rain today.

I have Pretty up here helping me type this morning. Usually it's Mario. Pretty is our long-haired black cat with the most gorgous torquiose eyes. I've never seen another cat with eyes the same color as Pretty's. She wanted the top of her head scratched and also under her chin. She's in ecstacy if you use both hands and scratch both places at once.

I may start leaving my installments up for a couple days instead of only one day. That would allow people more time to read each section of my blog. I'm just kind of feeling my way around here as I go, folks. I guess you'll know if you check two days in a row and see the same installment up there on your screen. And I guess you can always go back and read what you missed so I really don't know what or how I'm going to do this. Just looked outside and I can see patches of blue sky out there so I don't think we're in for more "rain," sprinkles or a light shower maybe but probably not real rain. (Does that mean I'm inticipating the possibility of fake rain??)

Well, I have chores that need to be done and this isn't getting to them so I should get busy and not make this installment any longer than it is. See you all tomorrow or maybe the next day. You'll know when you check tomorrow. Oh, before I go ... my spell checker is still not working and I think we may be stuck without it from here on out. I always check at least once but a lot of times my mind will just skip right over a mistake and it may get through to the finished blog. I apologize. I will try to proof more carefully now that I know my checker isn't working.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Road to Glory

Well, the day has finally arrived. I'm ready to get back to blogging. I enjoyed my time off even if it did take me a few days to get used to having extra free time on my hands. This series came out of a personal quest to determine what I believe happens when a person dies. I'm not trying to say this is the only way things happen or that my way is right and everyone else's way is wrong. I'm just saying this is where I'm at spiritually on the subject at this particular time in my life. What I believe today may not at all be what I will believe a year from now. Our walk with our heavenly Father is a very fluid thing. We are constantly learning new things from Him by the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within each of us. And I'm convinced that sometimes we have to believe a certain way before we can come around later and believe in another way. It's like a process for some of us in that we grow in stages just like babies do. And sometimes we must learn to crawl before we can begin to walk. Once we start walking, we won't go back to crawling but we had to crawl before we could walk. This is a personal trip in search of the answers to questions that have remained elusive for a few years and I thought if I took out the time to write what I think I believe, eventually I would get around to knowing what I believe and knowing why I believe what I believe. Because that's really important: knowing why we believe what we believe. If you want to comment on what I write, feel free to do so. Just please, don't take off my head if you disagree with me. Simply tell me in plain English what you believe and why you believe what you believe. I know we are most often passionate in what we believe but let's not become cruel. No one learns anything from that. One of the things I will struggle with is when and where to break it up into daily portions. It may take me a little while to get to the point where I know when to break so some days may be longer than other days. And most of the time I will use the first few words in the text as the title for that day's blog. Okay ... here goes ...


When we die or have been told that we are dying (that lump wasn't benign after all) we will probably go through a wide range of emotions. Some healthy; some detrimental. But we can draw solace from the process as well. If we believe that there is no loss of consciousness there is little to fear. We may regret that our loved ones are approaching a time of grief while we are approaching the door into eternity. But we won't be beside ourselves in grief. The unknown can always be scary but we can keep fear to an absolute minimum by learning as much about the dying process as possible. Paul classified death as one of the possessions of a believer. Death doesn't have control of our destiny. But death, and only death, can give us the gift of eternity. We simply cannot get to where we're going without going through death's door. Think of how powerless death actually is! Rather than rid us of our wealth, it introduces us to eternal riches. In exchange for poor health, death gives us access to the Tree of Life ... Jesus Christ ... for "the healing of the nations" (Rev 22:2). Death might temporarily take our friends from us, or us from our friends, but it's only to introduce us to the place where there are no goodbyes ... forever! That is why Christ could say, "do not fear those who [can] kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul" (Matt 10:28).

Death and the process of dying might temporarily be the possession of cancer or heart disease, or accident, but these enemies cannot prevent our souls from going to God. When death has dealt it's worst blow to us, God will be shown to have done His best work in us. Remember that Jesus has the key of David and Revelation 3:7 says, "He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens ..." Jesus determines the ending for every single person who lives on this earth. The devil uses the fear of death to keep Christians in bondage and unable to approach that curtain with a sense of ease and tranquility borne from a strong faith solidly backed up by Scripture. He does not have the control of death, determining at what hour you die but he does use the human trait of the fear of death to keep us in bondage unable to slip peacefully beyond the veil.

Jesus spoke of His own impending death as an exodus. In Luke 9:31 at the Mount of Transfiguration Elijah appeared with Christ and spoke of the "departure" Jesus was soon to make. The Greek word used is exodus, from which we get our English word "exit." Exodus, the second book in the Old Testament (OT), is given that name because it's about God's people exiting Egypt to get to Canaan, the Promised Land. Jesus speaks of His own exodus to encourage us through our own. If we have a qualified leader, we can enjoy the journey a lot more. Jesus told Peter, "Where I go, you cannot follow me now; but you shall follow later" (John 13:36). What gives us comfort and courage is the fact that Jesus doesn't ask us to go where He Himself has not already gone. Christ went first, paying the debt we owed and His resurrection was the "proof of purchase." And exodus, or departure, need never be feared if it is championed by a better leader taking us to a better place.

Christ often spoke of death as a sleep ... the ruler of the synagogue's daughter (Luke 8:52); and Lazarus (John 11:11). Paul also used this word at 1 Corinthians 15:51. Death, then, can be spoken of as restful sleep. But we must never confuse that with the teachings of "soul sleep" for the believer put forth by Jehovah's Witnesses and others. As believers, our souls do not sleep. When we die we are instantly in the presence of God without any interruption of thought. Moses certainly was not "soul sleeping" when he appeared with Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration spoken of earlier. And Paul did not hope for a "soul sleep" when he was debating about where he wanted to be when he said, "to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better" (Php. 1:23), and "to be absent from the body [is] to be home with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8) was surely a strong conviction of his belief in his consciousness after death. Yes, Paul knew he would remain conscious and he eagerly anticipated dying and being instantly in the presence of his Lord. Believers find their deaths to be the joyful rest of fulfillment. Blessed are the dead who died in the Lord! "As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awake" (Ps 17:5).

Our Tent

"For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Cor 5:1). Our present body is like a tent, a temporary dwelling place and when our tent becomes old and tattered it is a sign that will soon be moving. Death takes us from the tent to the palace; it is changing our address from earth to heaven. Our "tent" reminds us that we are only pilgrims here on earth, enroute to our final home.

(to be continued tomorrow)


Hopefully I broke this at a good breaking point. I won't know until I actually post it. I'm hoping for a daily segment to be just a little longer than what I used to write every day. One thing you can do is comment and let me know how long you prefer a day's message to be.

We had our small group again yesterday. We are really enjoying getting together once a week in a small home gathering like that. And I succeeded in one more lesson. I am midway through the book of 2 Peter and will be relieved when I'm finished with it. Let it be someone else's turn to teach! I love to teach but I just need so much prep time. I'm so slow about getting the points to sink into my brain that I spend hours preparing what I'm sure anyone else would just put together in a matter of no more than half an hour. I'm just not as sharp as I used to be.

A low fog has taken Hogback Mountain this morning and we're supposed to have a little rain move through later this afternoon and tonight and maybe a little tomorrow too. Then we're supposed to dry up until next week when "the storm door" will open and we'll have rain every day of the week. At least that's what they said last night on the news. (Of course their forecasts change almost hourly!)

Well I'm going to let this be it for my first day back. I really enjoyed my time off and hope I don't have to do that too often but I will take breaks when I need them. Hopefully I've given you just enough for a day's reading and you will remember tomorrow where we left off. Oh yes, I wanted to remind you that my spell checker stopped working for some reason so you may find any number of errors. I apologize for your inconvenience. So, until tomorrow ...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Just Letting You Know

Well, my vacation is just about over and I wanted to let you know that I will be back on Tuesday Feb. 19th. I had originally said I would be back on Monday but I had forgotten that I have small group Monday mornings so I've just pushed it back an extra day. Sorry about that but by the time I finish small group on Mondays there's no time (and I have no energy for) blogging. I've enjoyed my time off once I got over the feeling that there was something I should have been doing. Now all I have to do is get back in the habit of blogging. I got caught up on Womanoffaith1 with her blog. She has such a fun blog. I just love checking it out everyday. She's got a great sense of humor and I've kind of adopted her and her family. You should really check her out sometime if you don't regularly do. It's if I haven't forgotten her site address. Last time I left off the "1" so this time I thought I'd try it again and I encourage you to check out her blog any time.

Okay. That's it for me. See you all Tuesday morning. Bye...

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Only Nine More Days ...

...until it's time to blog again. Hang in there. I will be back on the 18th, but for now I am enjoying some time off. We have a valentine's dinner to go to tonight and we're both looking forward to it. I can't remember what's on the menu; some type of chicken I think with cheesecake for dessert. This will be an excellent way for Michael to get to meet more people from the church. He really does need to go more often. (I'm working on it!)

Tomorrow's church and then Monday is small group again. Boy that comes around and around so quickly. I don't know what made me think I could teach Second Peter. What a rude awakening it has proven to be for me. Next time I will look at the texts a little closer. I have been in the word every single day now and it seems that every day something new comes into my head so maybe all time's not lost. I think I have done about all I can do with the first half of chapter 2 and this will be the halfway point in our study. I planned it for a 6-week event and so far that's the way it is working out. I may end up finishing a week early if I can't come up with anything in Chapter 3 to work with but I'm planning on three more lessons after Monday. You could say a little prayer for me, if you want. It would be appreciated.

Anyway, I just thought I'd stop and drop a short note to let you know I will be back and it should be on the 18th, well no, now that I think of it, the 18th is a Monday and I won't be blogging on Mondays until we finish up with 2 Peter. So I will return on the 19th!! Until then ...

Friday, February 1, 2008

Learning to Wait

What are we to think when God witholds His answer to one of our prayers? We no doubt wonder. As creatures stuck within time, we can find those seconds ticking by to be very frustrating. Seems like there's never enough time. But then sometimes it's like we've got too much time on our hands. Time is a peculiar things, don't you think? Look at our pets. They don't know time. Think about babies. They don't know time either. Time is something that applies only to us adult people. And the difficulty lies when we try to bring God down into our little lives of time that we've created. He is totally other than time. He stands outside time.

It's important for us to understand that God doesn't just see us in the here and now. He perceives the big picture all at one time ... where we've been, where we are, and where we are going. And He knows how every little decision, action, or blessing will impact our lives.

Do we think God wants to bring something into our lives that would absolutely destroy us? Of course not! He knows that what could be a tremendous blessing for us later on could completely wreck our lives right now. For this reason, though He hears our prayers, He will often pause to give us time to prepare for that blessing.

Learning to wait on God demands at least three things of us. First, we must be sensitive to Him. That is, we must nurture our rrelationship with the Father so we can hear Him when He says "Wait." Second, we must trust His judgment. Does God know more than we know? Yes, of course He does. Then we should trust Him. Third, we must be obedient to Him. If we try to make something happen on our own after God has said to wait, then we're headed toward disaster. God blesses obedience ... even obedient waiting.

God doesn't operate in a vacuum; He works within His relationship with each of us. We mustn't forget that He's actively walking with us, even when He withholds an answer to our prayers. It doesn't mean He's not there; it means He's looking out for us all the time. And the answers will come ... when they're ready.


Well, I finally got to the end of the blogs I had written ahead of time. I thought I was never going to run out of them. Of course, that was my plan when I wrote them. But now they're all gone and that means I get to take a couple weeks off and rest. Like this is such hard work! LOL. But I will take the days off and see what it feels like not to have a blog hanging over my head every morning. I will be back Feb. 18th with all new material. I have enough written ahead of time to keep me busy for quite awhile. It only works for me to write ahead of time because I'd never be able to just sit down and write. I have to have something already written so I spend entire afternoons writing blog material. I'm not sure yet how I'm going to break it up into daily segments but I'll figure that out when I get to it, I guess. And I'll be back to being stumped for what to name each blog. If worse comes to worse I'll just take the first three words of the first sentence and go with that. Not really titles, but something to differentiate between them.

We are fogged in this morning although as I write this the sun is trying to burn through the haze. We don't get many foggy days up here in the foothills, praise God. Having been raised down in the Valley, I've already had enough fog to last me a lifetime. I don't need to experience any more. We got about .87 of an inch of rain last night. A nice soaking rain. That's what brought on the fog. All that moisture in the air.

Well, I'm excited about taking a break from blogging but have no idea what I'll do with the extra time. We were going to go do our shopping today but I couldn't borrow a car until Saturday so we'll go tomorrow instead. I don't want to take my car because of the noise it is making. I'm sure it's the brakes because it only makes that grinding sound when I press on the brake peddle. Sometime next week we'll see what we can do to fix the problem. We've got a little money stuck aside and I just have to pray that it's enough for a brake job. That won't fix the problem with the front end but we can't very well drive around a car that makes all that noise. I'm afraid one of these times I will put my foot on the brake and nothing will happen. Can't have that!

So we will go do our shopping tomorrow. That's always exhausting. What really gets to me is all the stopping and starting. WalMart, Dollar Tree, Longs, Costless, Rayleys, and then home. I wish there were somewhere where we could just park the car and walk to all the different places we need to go. But these old gold rush towns were all built as strip towns. You start at one and and progress to the other end and then you can go home. Oh I hope there is cat litter at WalMart tomorrow. I need cat litter desperately. The last couple times we've gone to WalMart they've been out of the litter I like and can afford. Who would have ever guessed that litter would get so expensive? Not me!

No plans for today except to go out and get dinner when it's time. Michael said last night that he wanted to have Subway sandwiches and since we haven't splurged in months and months I decided we'd buy them for dinner. Their sandwiches are kind of hard for me to eat but I can suffer once in awhile. Or I could do like I've done sometimes and order Michael a sandwich and then go next door and order me some Chinese rice or chow mein (not too sure on that spelling). It's about the same price for either one. Just looked outside and the fog is almost all gone. I knew that sun was going to burn through rapidly once it decided to get serious. And it looks pretty serious out there now.

Sunday's going to be the big day for me. Communion Sunday at church in the morning, Super Bowl in the afternoon, and my birthday all day long! Yippee!!! What a full day we have planned for Sunday. Of course the entire nation will be celebrating Super Bowl. I guess I could say they are all celebrating my birthday but it wouldn't be the truth. Besides I don't think I have that many friends. No, I know I don't have that many friends.

Well, I guess I'll end this email and officially start my vacation. If memory serves me correctly, I've been writing blogs every morning for 7 months now. It's time for a break. I think I'm going to enjoy this. Only thing is, I'll probably be ready to come back to blogging in a matter of days. That's what happened the last time I tried to take a break. That time I think it lasted, what? two days? three? I think it was two. I think I'll do better this time. Okay, this is it. See you again on February 18th, or there abouts. I plan for the 18th but we'll need to see how things work out by then. Take care, stay close to the Lord, and I'll see you in about two, two and a half weeks. Bye!
P.S. Well, my spell checker still isn't working this morning so you'll have to over look any typos and misspellings. That's twice now that it hasn't worked. Boo!