I heard the sirens from several miles away and I knew they were coming to my house. Sirens blare every day, but when they are coming for you or a family member it is very eerie. For years I cringed when I heard sirens thinking they too were coming for my dad having another heart attack. I was only 18 at the time. 19 on the second call. I lived for another 20 years before I had the final call on dad. Since then, I’ve had to experience the sirens several more times – sometimes for myself and sometimes for my son. It’s an awful sound.
I’ve faced death more openly than some because of facing it at an early age. Actually, my journey started much earlier with my dad being a pastor. He talked often about death and dying with me. He shared about people fighting death and those who welcomed the next step. Some are at peace. Some aren’t. Some go quickly. Some take a long time. Some are expected. Some are a surprise.
Currently, I’m still recovering from my neighbor Tom dying suddenly. Tom taught a Bible study on a Sunday titled “You have two weeks to live, what will you do?” Exactly two weeks later, Tom died. He laid down on his bed to take a nap and never woke up. I found out when the sirens came down our street.
Last week our family said goodbye to our little dog, Sammie. She was 14 and we knew that she was going. We held her as she took her last breath. I buried her in the morning under a tree. Death is a part of living but it sure isn’t the fun part. We live by faith for a new life and home. None of us know the time or circumstance when we will go. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could know we had two weeks left?
What would you do? Who would you see? Where would you go? What is left on your bucket list that needs to be done? Are you ready to go? Is your house in order?
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Please read this statement:
“Now, many in Nashville are hoping the controversy will lead country music to re-evaluate. “My hope is that this genre will always be moved to act based on love and inclusion,” says Pastorek, “and although it wasn’t easy, today feels like a big step in a positive direction.”
This is a paragraph from an article (noted below) where artists and record companies forced Mike Huckabee off a charity board. Forced. Because they didn’t approve of his lifestyle and beliefs. Forced. They don’t love him. Forced. They don’t include him. Forced. They aren’t open to his thinking. Forced. They want to be based in love.
If I don’t agree with someone’s lifestyle I am a hater. Evil. Stupid. But if they don’t agree with me they are inclusive, free, loving, open, progressive.
Be careful what you are banning folks. Eat some cake.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Pick up a thriller novel or watch a thriller movie. In most, the hero and villain are developed throughout the first 300 pages and the suspense builds. Around page 300 the hero realizes who the villain is, and alas the villain takes the hero captive. This is where fiction and real life begin to separate.
In real life, the villain pulls a weapon and immediately kills the hero. In fiction the villain takes the hero hostage and develops a ‘mousetrap’ game of slow death – a good one I remember as a kid – the hero hanging upside down over a boiling pot of oil while a candle slowly burns the rope overhead. While the suspense of this is happening, the villain runs off and leaves the hero unattended to fall into the boiling vat. But… just before the last thread of the rope is burned the hero finds escape! The hero is energized by this miraculous rescue, pursues the villain and eliminates him.
The question always comes to my mind: Why? Why would a villain risk all of his plans when he had the hero at his mercy and could have walked away to destroy the earth or steal 500 billion dollars? The short answer is he wouldn’t. But if that happened there would be no book or movie.
In real life, there are no mysterious mousetraps. We are taken out or we take out. We don’t waste time and risk defeat to come up with a glorious plot to end our nemesis. There are rarely heroes that come to the rescue at the last minute. Look at a different venue, when was the last time you saw a community come to the rescue of someone accused of robbing the savings and loan as they do in “It’s a Wonderful Life”? Nice story but doubtful no matter how nice the banker is. The community would sit at home and talk about switching to another bank.
We hope for heroes. We hope for salvation. We hope for a young David to come out and kill Goliath.
The Hebrews were hoping for that with Jesus. They were hoping for a hero. They were hoping for a miraculous turn of events just as the last thread of rope was about to burn. People bet on it. Judas lost his life betting on the hero saga. Peter cut off a guards ear. Women and men cried. Their hopes were shattered. What went wrong?
I said that in real life the book or movie wouldn’t be written if the hero died. This was one case where the book (and movie) were still written even though the hero died. The Hebrews didn’t get the salvation that they wanted but a few pages after pages 300 we all learn that we received the salvation that we needed. That’s why the book was written and the movie continues. Read the book until the end and see how it all ends!
Matthew 28:5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
If an alien came to earth right now and settled in America it may think that all men are abusers, cheaters, demanders of personal rights and refusing to stand for the national anthem. What happened to the greatest generation that fought for our freedom, worked hard, paid taxes and lived a life of honor?
Understand that no person yet alone generation is perfect. I’m sure women were abused in other generations. We just didn’t hear about it. I’m also sure that citizens have criticized the government and it’s leaders as well.
But…it seems like we are missing something and I picked a person this year to remind us of those long ago values.
Ray Chavez. You probably don’t know the name. He didn’t make billions of dollars with an internet invention. He didn’t get rich in real estate and become President. He isn’t an illegal immigrant or a mass murderer. He never created a protest group to fight against unjust laws. He doesn’t play football or participate in the Olympics.
Ray was born in San Bernardino and grew up in San Diego. His parents, immigrants from Mexico, both died young. Juanita Chavez died of exhaustion, her son said, while Atilano Chavez succumbed to disease. Ray was 9 or 10 when his father passed away. In his early 20s, he married and had a daughter. Then, at 27, he joined the Navy and was assigned to the minesweeper USS Condor at Pearl Harbor base in Hawaii.
After leaving the military he became a landscaper and ran his business until he was 96 years old. He drove his car until he was 99. At 106 he credits his longevity to clean living, no alcohol, no smoking and little red meat. In the 1950’s his only daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter were killed in an auto accident. He and his wife adopted a 5-year-old daughter from an orphanage in 1957 to help ease their pain. His wife Margaret died in the mid-1980’s.
At age 101 his health began to decline and he lost weight. His daughter encouraged him to join a gym and get some training. He gained 20 pounds of muscle and began working out 3 times a week.
I skipped over the reason Ray caught my attention. He is the oldest surviving serviceman from the attack at Pearl Harbor.
At 3:45 a.m. Dec. 7, 1941, Seaman First Class Chavez’s crew was sweeping the east entrance to the harbor when they spotted the periscope of a Japanese midget submarine. Another ship blew up the sub and the rest of the morning passed uneventfully. He was asleep at home in nearby Ewa Beach when the Japanese bombing raid began at 8:10 a.m.
“I will never forget it as long as I live. It goes through my mind every day like it happened yesterday,” Chavez said. “My wife ran in and said ‘we’re being attacked’ and I said ‘who’s going to attack us? Nobody.’ But when I got outside I saw the whole harbor was up in smoke.”
Chavez ran back to his ship and spent the next nine days on continuous duty. Over the next four years, he rose to the rank of chief, serving on transport ships that delivered tanks and Marines to shore in eight Pacific battles.
Last December, he and Kathleen flew to Hawaii for events marking the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“I have no secret except I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I try to eat a balanced meal,” Chavez said. “I just keep on going.”
That’s a great motto from someone who can testify to it – just keep on going.
1 Samuel 25:6 Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good healthto you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!
Wow! Astonishing words from Isaiah that really parallel our current government. Are we upside down? Have we been told that we “have not built this?” Are our leaders honoring the Lord with their lips but not with their hearts?
It seems that our nation, colleges, leaders and society are getting more confused every day. Are we turning against each other? Has wisdom vanished?
13 The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
14 Therefore once more I will astound these people
with wonder upon wonder;
the wisdom of the wise will perish,
the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”
15 Woe to those who go to great depths
to hide their plans from the Lord,
who do their work in darkness and think,
“Who sees us? Who will know?”
16 You turn things upside down,
as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
“You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter,
“You know nothing”?
We’re all going to hell.
Muslims > Christians – hell
Christians > Muslims – hell
Catholics > Protestants – hell
Protestants > Catholics – hell
Christians > Jehovah’s Witnesses – hell
Jehovah’s Witnesses > everyone else – hell
The list goes on. You get the point. Every group thinks they are on top of the heaven bound train and everyone else is missing it. Even within denominations, there is judgment. Amish to Mennonite. Conservative Mennonite to liberal Mennonite. Liberal Mennonite to Gay Mennonite.
I was reminded of this recently when I heard of a friend that joined a very small rigid church (I would call it a cult). This group has no room to spare for anyone who doesn’t follow their exact teachings. I guess they will be in a mini-heaven of about 30 people. The rest of us are all going to hell.
Seriously, i guess it’s normal for everyone to think “I found the way”. Even those who believe that everyone can go to heaven believe that “evil” people are going to hell including the self righteous that judge.
So who is going to hell? There are very few verses in the Bible that mention hell. We could discuss it here . . . but we probably won’t agree.
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. . . . . And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
Elaine is going to hell – YouTube