“I’ll See You Soon!”

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Saying good-bye is never easy – if it’s for a few months, a few years or for eternity.

The hardest is the eternal good-bye!

I look today at grief and loss of a loved one, not in a morbid depressed way but with eternal eyes.

Having lost many family members and currently grieving the loss of my brother I think – today – not of my loss but of their gain. As we shed this tent, this earthly body we receive an immortal, imperishable one that when received allows entry into a place where “no pain” exists, where freedom of earthly limitations reigns, where we can eternally walk in peace – no burdens to think of or carry; an eternal place where the presence of Jesus is our very breathe.

My heart is heavy and tears overwhelm me – but I know that to be absent here means to be present with the Lord. My faith in Christ is my solid foundation – I know that neither life nor death will separate us from the love of God.

So with a thankful heart I remember that the three most important heartfelt words “I Love You!” were spoken between us. These three words are the most enduring truth that we can hope for in this life.

There is a time we all must say good-bye, a time when our eternal assignment here is complete, a time when these bodies wear out, a time when “It is finished” must be spoken.

If we can approach death – its grief and loss – its eternal good-bye similar to when we see a loved one off on an extended trip; with farewell words – I’ll see you soon; then with anticipation of that reunion we can overcome despondency – knowing this good-bye is only temporary and eternity awaits.

So to you my brother – “I’ll See You Soon”.

 

Romans 8:38   II Corinthians 5:1-8  (ESV)

Experiencing His Fire – Open the Door!

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I stand outside – the howling wind and the cold drizzle of rain a constant discomfort. The flickering glow, the desire for warmth, the obvious peace that waits, draws me to the window like a “peeping tom”; looking through the glass that separates me from what I desire.

I am acutely aware that warmth, dryness and contentment are available if I chose to open the door.

Making the choice and opening the door allows a new adventure to materialize before me. What could be seen from the outside does not compare to the experience of hearing the fire crackle and the sizzle of wood in the hearth that begins igniting new senses; the smell never experienced before now swirls as smoke and wood meld together with bone deep warmth in this new atmosphere.

What I thought I understood about this experience – this presence of fire – its warmth, light and peace – are nothing like its reality; an outside looking in experience is like experiencing a mountaintop through a photograph. This new experience of the very presence of God has exploded into a new inexpressible encounter at the feet of Jesus.

Have you chosen to open that door?

In church, never churched, or anywhere in between; you may find yourself still looking through the window, thinking you understand all that is inside but never partaking of all that is available to you free of charge.

Don’t wait outside, cold and wet, wishing for something more; yield to his call to open the door and walk into His presence. Come join him in front of the glowing fireplace that is filled with a roaring crackling fire – just waiting for you to experience and enjoy with Him.

 

Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you;seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.(ESV)
(Revised excerpt from Fall’s Yield – J.K. Sanchez “Yield to the Call and Open the Door” 2015)
Photo courtesy of Geerati@Freedigitalphotos.net

“But Why Mommy?”

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The question, “But why mommy?” erupts from little lips almost as soon as language skills appear, parents bombarded hundreds – if not thousands of times as the child grows. Often, the question, repeatedly asked, eventually evokes a firm response from us as parents: “Because, I said so”! This answer to the child’s mind is seemingly an appropriate answer, our little ones accepts that we know the answer, there is a reason and that we have it under control. Acceptance and belief relieve the concern and off they run to play.

As adults our need for answers continues in our lives as we turn those “But why mommy” questions into “But why God” questions; we still need answers, assurance and understanding of “everything is going to be ok”.

We often cry and shout out those questions to God because of the hurts, disappointments and fears that riddle our lives. Assurance and belief dissolved, anger and frustration our seemingly permanent state of being, a need to understand and hear “everything is going to be ok”, holding on to our rights and control, we find NO relief in our chaos. These needs outweigh the simple faith that we had as a child, the answer is still the same: “Because I said so” which now is heard in our heavenly fathers voice.

There will still be the things that don’t make sense: those that furrow your brow, cause your heart to pause, your head to shake, the difference; like a child, you can let it go because “daddy” said so, and run off to play again assured of the answer.

Doubt and questioning fills the bible, it’s not something new to our time in history. Believing has always been a choice that man has had to make. Jesus assured Jairus, even having just witnessed a miraculous healing, “Do not fear, only believe”. We hear a father’s response to the need for Jesus’ deliverance for his son with quacking words “I believe, help my unbelief” and of course, the story of Thomas who needed to see in order to believe. We have that choice to make also – lay down our “why’s”, “how’s”, “what if’s” and ONLY BELIEVE!

There are no platitudes or canned answers to help the tough often horrific life situations we or our loved ones must suffer, but when I walk through these times my only peace, comfort and strength have come from a solid belief: My God is a good God, He loves me and I can accept his loving response of “Because I said so”.

Return with simple child-like faith, lay down the “why” questions, believe that Jesus loves you, you are safe and that He has it all under control.

Make that choice to ONLY BELIEVE!

(Mark 5:21-43; Mark 9:14-29 & John 20:27-29)

Tangled Chains

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Today my jewelry box got some much-needed attention – bracelets popping open the lid, necklaces spewing from the drawers, the obvious answer – time consuming sorting.

A bundle of tangled chains required the most attention, sitting for an extended time, picking patiently, unable to tug them apart for fear of breaking the delicate links, Oh what a tangled mess.

One by one they slowly released, the first one – a heart with Jesus written on it, getting my attention as the spirit began speaking, while the second, a silver heart unraveled in my hand, one by one they now untangled, ending with a silver pearl.

We are just like those tangled chains!

Our lives filled with tangled messes, costume and precious jewels all mixed together, allowing our tangled thinking, feelings and life’s activities to ensnare us, causing the precious to become ineffective, often forever lost.

When Jesus is our number one focus, He begins the unraveling process – He gets our heart, the costume falls off and the pearl remains.

Cloud By Day – Fire By Night

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As Israel was led into the wilderness the very presence of God was visually present to direct their way. A cloud by day to lead them and fire by night to give them light, both leading them into the purposes of God, being a people who belonged to a living God.

The Holy Spirit presents as a type of internal ‘cloud by day and fire by night’. Now dwelling within us, a gift given, a helper introduced, a comforter placed within, that small still whisper, a light leading us into the purposes of God, our true purpose being found as a child of the living God.

That voice, my internal ‘cloud by day and fire by night’ has been present in my life for decades, bringing me comfort in the midst of loss, direction in the center of chaos, peace and joy through this life’s journey. His presence is a source of continual strength, that whispered warning, that voice of instruction and encouragement, a presence that leads me daily into the purposes planned for my life before I was born.

As you hear a whisper beginning to stir, silently pulling your mind to its presence, the still small voice of the Spirit of God is drawing your attention. He is present to bring you direction – both to lead and to warn, a constant presence of a loving God.

That voice, the voice within, the voice of the Holy Spirit, dwells in each of us and becomes louder as we listen. His presence can shape, correct, and lead our lives as we step into a place of believing, receiving, and anticipating His whispered voice.

Today I walk as one who desires to follow that ‘cloud by day and fire by night’, whose presence now resides within me, whose voice I lean into daily, whose warnings I take seriously, whose instructions I endeavor to follow spontaneously, living as one who belongs to my savior, Jesus Christ – a true and living God.

Exodus 13: 21-22 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people. (ESV)
John 15:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (ESV)

(Artwork courtesy of D.L. Sanchez)