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Enlightening

A Time To Grieve

I stood at the side of the hospital bed when a man who was a member of my church lay dying from a long-suffering illness. I was holding hands with his wife and daughter. We watched as he struggled at times to breathe. The doctor had placed him on morphine to help him deal with the pain. Once the pain become so unbearable, he increased the dosage. With the increase in dosage, he slipped into a comatose state and became almost completely motionless. We watched as each breath seemed to take longer to exhale and wondering if he would inhale again.

Not all patients die the same way, as I have stood at the side of many patients as they drew their last breath. I’ve held the patient’s hand and prayed with the siblings or children as life slipped out of this world and into the hands of the Father in heaven. Yes, it hurts to watch a person lying there as their life on earth comes to an end. When we hurt deep down inside our soul, we often cry. When Jesus came to Mary, the sister of Lazarus, she was weeping along with the Jews who were with her. In John 11:35 it says “Jesus wept.” So it’s ok to cry. Cry all you need to. Jesus cried because He was hurt and because He was Lazarus’ friend. It’s ok to hurt and it’s ok to cry.

We grieve several times when a loved one is dying. But most importantly we cry before and after a loved one dies. Grieving is the natural process of life. We never want to see a loved one suffer so we grieve. We never want to lose a loved one, but when they die, we grieve. We grieve because they’re gone from this life. We will never again see them in this life. However, Jesus said in John 14:2-3, “. . . I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” Those are the most encouraging words a Christian wants to hear.

We’ve heard it said by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:8, “. . . to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” Although this is without some controversy, let me say that it is of my opinion, that when we die, our soul is disembodied from this body and exists in a separate state; not in a state of inactivity or sleep, for that would be undesirable, but of happiness and glory, enjoying the presence of God, and praising Him, believing and waiting for the resurrection body, when both will be united together and no longer absent. I don’t believe God would leave us in a state of in between. Hallelujah!

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My Gratitude!

I am so blessed to have so many great friends. Every year, on this day, I receive so many cards and letters wishing me a Happy Birthday! Facebook has made it so easy for friends and relatives alike to render birthday wishes, and this year is no different. And like many folks, I am deeply grateful for them.

The Apostle Paul reminds me in 2 Timothy 1:3, “I thank God, who I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day.” Seriously, I do make it a practice to thank God daily for all those friends whom He has placed in my path over the many years He has allowed me to live on this earth.

Indeed, God has brought me in contact with so many people of all races and nationalities it is impossible to mention them all by name. Regardless of whether you are friend or family, I will take this one opportunity to express my gratitude to God for you. Many of you have prayed for me when I entered ministry. That, in itself, means more to me than you will ever know. As many of you know, ministry is a calling and I accepted that calling with heart-felt thanks to God.

Ministry has given me the opportunity to meet some of the most wonderful people, including Dr. Charles Stanley, Dr. Bailey Stone, Dr. D. L. Lowrie and Dr. Jerry Sutton, just  to name a few. These men have inspired me more than I’ll ever be able to express. Oh, I’ve also had many pastors who have supported me and prayed for me as I entered the ministry and proceeded to go to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for a much needed education. I mostly want to thank my dearest friend in the ministry, Rev. Ken Flowers, who encouraged me through my time at seminary and then in my pastorates. So you see, I am most grateful to all my friends.

Lastly, I will forever be grateful to my wife Deanna, for the love and companionship and support she has given to me during our nearly 48 years of marriage. Not only did she give me her moral support but she sacrificed her life to me so that I could follow my calling. And to my mother-in-law, Dean Ogden, who quietly and reverently prayed for me up until her death.

Gratitude sometimes just doesn’t seem like enough. That being said, I am so very grateful to have had so many wonderful people in my life. Thank you Lord Jesus!

A Child’s Dream

I DREAMED you were living, not with the dead,
For you came and knelt by my trundle bed.
I have needed you, Mother, oh so much;
I have missed your loving, caressing touch.

I don’t know what I am going to do,
Because my sky has lost its blue.
Dreams help me a lot for I find you there.
With me in your arms, in our rocking chair.

I want God to know, O Mother of Mine,
That you have made heaven much more divine.
If all the mothers were just like you,
Earth would be heaven—God’s work would be through.

– By Everett Wentworth Hill

Christian Stewardship

I remember reading, in one of the old books in my personal library, that stewardship is the practice of the Christian religion. It is not man’s plan for raising money, but for rearing God’s children.

Where did this conception of stewardship come from and what does it mean?

In New Testament times a steward held a position of honor and dignity. The word itself comes from two words meaning “House Manager.” It was a position of responsibility and trust. Wealthy people found it advantageous and necessary to employ staff to manage their estates and their servants. A lot of responsibility was given to the steward and the owner looked to the him for results.

The steward was not the owner and any profit accrued from the operation of the estate belonged to the owner, not the steward.

The steward also was not a tenant, who paid a certain portion as rental of the property leaving him with the balance of the receipts. Jesus never spoke of tenancy as the idea in a Christian’s relation to  God, but always as stewardship, where all property belongs to God. Man is entrusted with the administration of the things God has committed to him for his use.

We are workmen in God’s vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16), under His command. We are never able enough to put God under obligation to us. Whatever God does for us is by His grace. Nothing can take the place of obedience to God’s commands.

The early Christians in their gratitude to God set an example in stewardship which has been the inspiration of all Christians since that day.

The generosity of the Christians under the compulsion of love far surpassed anything known among the Jews under the compulsion of law. They not only gave the tithe but many times more. This boundless and open-handed generosity attracted the attention of the pagan world and was influential in winning of converts.

  • God owns everything. We do not have any absolute rights to ownership of anything, but we hold possessions “in trust” for God. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.”
  • After giving God His rightful part–a tithe from our “first fruits”–we are to give in proportion to how God has blessed us, no matter what our income is. This refers to spiritual as well as material blessings.
  • We give generously to those in need. This giving will be a testimony to others who will glorify God.
  • From the early days in the Old Testament, God’s people have come to worship bringing gifts. So giving is a form of worship. Do not come to church empty-handed, but bring your gift to God.

I generated this site so that I may be a good steward of my time left on this earth.