Posts Tagged ‘heaven’

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I have a friend who by earthly standards is incredibly successful. In fact, when I look at his “Midas touch” in business, I find myself amazed at what he has done and continues to do. I won’t go into all of his business statistics because frankly, they are mind-boggling but suffice it to say, my friend is very gifted with a business mind. That being said, along with wealth comes all the “stuff” right? Cars, houses, vacations etc. everything on this earth that I wouldn’t mind having myself and it’s very easy to look at his life and all of his stuff and do what the Bible called…covet. Coveting is wanting what someone else has and throughout the Bible we are presented with scenarios that show that coveting never turns out well for the coveter. In fact, coveting is one of the 10 commandments…that is how much God didn’t want us to look at our neighbor and lust for their stuff.

Now, I know that I am not telling any one anything you don’t already know. This is a very old lesson and many of us are humbled each time we find ourselves going down the coveting path. My only purpose in talking today is taking a look at this idea of what he has, versus what I have. You see, when I mentioned my friend before, I was careful to say “by earthly standards” is he rich. One thing I have learned over time is everything I see around me is temporary…EVERYTHING. It will all go away at some point with the biggest being ME. I am not going to live forever nor do I want to…at least, here.

(Side note: I do believe I will live forever in another place that is being prepared for me and there, coveting and comparisons to other people all go away.)

My point is when I compare what I have accomplished to what he has accomplished, it is very easy to think something went wrong however, I am very quick to point out to all of you that is EXACTLY what Satan wants you to think. He wants you to think you are a failure and you aren’t worth anything.

WRONG…

The Bible tells us:

Jeremiah 29:11-14 (ESV) 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord..

The Bible also tells us this:

Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV) 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

So as I continue to ponder the “why” of my of my supposed earthly “predicament” as to why I am not rich, I am reminded of the lesson God wanted me to understand in the first place;

Each day of my life, I am depositing my future wealth into a far better place than this temporary one called earth.

Please remember this guys-

I hope that statement above will give you hope as it does me. Frankly, if I believe it faithfully, it will allow me to spend less time wondering why, and more time enjoying the life God has blessed me with right now.

Would that make a difference for you too?

 

Until next time guys…

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A few years ago, I posted a blog about brothers that has been one of my all time best posts ever. I can tell you that every time I read it, I think of my own brother and thank God that he is around because of the dangerous deployments he has had in the last 28 years of his military service. But I also think that’s really the point, because this post is about Brothers…whether they are your blood or not, and I encourage you to read this and remember your brother even if he lives in heaven, or give him a call if he lives somewhere else. Either way, be thankful for your time with him and enjoy this short read…

5 important things you NEED to tell your brother:

The definition of a real brother can be more than just a blood sibling; He can be the guy you have spent your entire life with since you were just a little man, or it can be someone else who through the journey of life’s ups and downs, has become as close as a brother. In either case, a true brother in your life is the one who is there for you when you need him, no matter what the circumstances.

It’s always painful for me when I hear someone tell me they haven’t spoken to their Brother in many years because of something that was said along time ago and they can’t get over it. In the meantime, everyone in the family loses out on that connection families receive from spending time together.

My bottom line is this, when your parents inevitably pass from this earth, you will have your brother(s) and that strong brotherly bond should be forever because frankly, brothers should look out for each other throughout life’s journey. That’s the way God planned brotherhood…you have each other’s back, no matter what the circumstances.

I know for me, I wasn’t as close to my brother when I was younger but now I appreciate the man he grew to be and respect the father and husband he is today. My only wish would be to get to live closer to him so we could spend more time together.

I ran across this list of important things to tell your brother and I thought it very appropriate for this blog because we are all about Iron Sharpening Iron (Proverbs 27:17), which means, brothers strengthening brothers.

Next time you see your bro, blood relation or not, give him a bear hug and let him know you’re thankful he’s around…and whatever you do, don’t live your life with regret that you didn’t take the time to mend fences. You know what I mean…

Remember these words:

There’s no other love like the love for a brother.  

There’s no other love like the love from a brother.  

 

Terri Guillemets

5 important things you NEED to tell your brother:

  1. Hey Brother, Be the kind of man that when your feet hit the floor each morning, the devil says, “Oh Crap, He’s up!”
  1. Hey Brother, life is too short to wake up with regrets, so love the people who treat you right and forgive the ones who don’t. Not because you should, but because you can.
  1. Hey Brother, believe everything that happens to you, happens for a reason. If God gives you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If that second chance changes your life, let it.
  1. Hey Brother, Always take a few minutes to think before you act when you’re angry. Forgive quickly. God never told us life would be easy, He just promised it would be worth it.

 

  1. Remember this my Brother; A real Brother walks with you when the rest of the world walks on you.

 

In 2016 we say “Brother, I have your six.”

I end this post with a great quote from one of my favorite Baseball players of all time from the past, Harmon Killebrew who said:

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard.  Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass.”  “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply.  “We’re raising boys.”

Do me a favor my friends, call your brother today…

 

Until next time guys…

 

 

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32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.

34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.

36 If he comes suddenly do not let him find you sleeping.

37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch’!   (Mark 13:32-37 NIV)

As you may or may not know, Christ is coming back for his people and the scriptures are full of references to that very fact. But the reality is that NO ONE knows when…not even Christ himself as told to us in the verses above in the book of Mark. So what does that mean for you and me?

We must wait faithfully for His return.

In my last blog post, I told you there were three things that God requests us to do while we are waiting and today, I am going to focus on the first one on the list.

Christ revealed this to His disciples in the form of a parable and in fact, Jesus gave all 3 of them as parables in order to help the disciples better understand and apply them to their lives. Here is the first one:

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?

46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.

48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’

49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.

50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.

51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.   (Matthew 24:45-51 NIV)

Jesus paints this picture using words of 2 extremes; 1 servant who was faithful and carried out what his master had asked him to do, and the other servant who saw the masters absence as a chance to enjoy himself to the fullest and just party.

The Faithful Servant

Because this servant was faithful the entire time the master was away, he was rewarded beyond any expectation imaginable. He is promoted and given privileges that are almost to the level of the master himself.

Guys, this is a peak inside to the eternal rewards that all faithful Christians will be able to share in.

The Evil Servant

This servant represents a self-deceived doubter who simply pretends to be serving his master. The truth be told, he doesn’t love the master or even look forward to his return and I think he actually believes he isn’t coming back and therefore he can do anything he wants. Moreover, he convinces himself of this idea and seemingly justifies it to himself and then continues down his evil path.

When the master does return, the evil servant is uncovered and punished to the other complete negative extreme, as the faithful servant reward was positive. He is sent to a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth…which represents hell.

So this is not a very difficult parable to understand or how it applies to all of us. Christ represents the master and has left for a while but He expects us, his faithful servants, to watch for Him because He is coming back…

So which servant are you?

This is not a difficult question to answer if you’re honest with yourself. But as a simple friendly reminder, you need to figure this question out sooner rather than later and begin to live your life accordingly because Christ’s return is imminent.

 

For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.”

And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” (Hebrews 10:37-38 NIV)

 

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.   (Matthew 24:42 NIV)

Guys, if you haven’t figured it out already, the first thing God requests of us is to watch. I encourage you to be the faithful servant Christ spoke about in His parable rather than the evil one who thought he could outsmart his master. Fundamentally, he paid the ultimate price by going to a horrific place and I don’t want that to be you…

So please…keep a close watch…

Until next time guys…

 

 

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Very near 3 years ago, I wrote this post based upon what I sensed and felt going on in the world at that time; sadness and destruction. As I listen and watch the world news over the last few days, with all of the horrific death and destruction in France, Belgium and the Middle East, I once again seek God for the very same thing…hope.

I cannot provide anyone with the reasons why all of this is happening other than simply the Bible talking about “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4, John 12:31, 1 John 5:19) prowling around seeking to devour (1 Peter 5:8) those who don’t resist him. Believe me my friends, NOW IS THE TIME TO RESIST HIM. Don’t give up but rather look to Him for your hope.

God’s word is clear…”I will never leave you or forsake (forget) you” (Joshua 1:5)

So here again, are my 5 reasons we can have HOPE right now…

By its very nature, the word hope concerns the future, our future. However, I am not referring to a simple hope such as, “I wish I had a nicer car or bigger house”, but rather I am talking about Biblical hope, which is very different. Biblical hope consists of an assurance inside your heart or better yet, a firm confidence about future things because of Gods promises and His revelation to us. Guys, real Biblical hope in Christ Jesus is something that is never failing when you place your trust in Him. In fact Paul tells us in Romans 15:13;

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In other words, Biblical hope is inseparably linked with a firm faith in Him. They go hand-in-hand with one another. As a result, what is yielded is a confident trust in God that is unshakable when the adversity of life hits you like a wave….(Like right now).

So with all of the chaos our world is throwing at you every single day, I wanted to give you some actual reasons why you can still have faith and HOPE that things are going to still be alright…So here are my 5 reasons for all of us to have HOPE right now…

  1. God is still on the throne – He hasn’t gone anywhere. He is still alive and at work in our world. I know it is very easy to look at what happens in this world and say God is dead or may he is just sleeping because I have heard that before. But I assure you He is alive and well and knows exactly what is happening on this earth.
  2. With man, things are impossible…but with God, ALL things are possible (Mark 10:27) It is so very easy to just give up and give in to all of the adversity that is constantly thrown in our direction because we simply forget Gods promises. Bottom line, God has NO limitations. His ways are NOT our ways and therefore he will not react or think as we do…our response needs to be to simply ask, to trust, and to hope in Him.
  3. You Are Not Alone – As we are told in Joshua 1:5, He will never leave us nor forsake us and I’ve come to realize that me trying to understand the why’s of this world is NOT my job. My job is to completely trust in Him…even though I don’t understand. LET GOD DO THE HEAVY LIFTING. Do you remember the story of Peter when he got out of the boat and started walking on the water to meet Jesus? (Matthew 14:29-30) He was actually walking on water until he took his eyes off of Christ and then what happened? He started sinking fast…and what was his reaction? He cried, “Lord save me!” which is exactly what we are supposed to do…
  4. All of what you are going through right now is only temporary – Weeping may last for the night…but joy comes in the morning (Psalms 30:5). It is easy to “get caught up” with what we SEE. But I am here to remind you that Jesus has prepared a place for all of us IN HEAVEN (John 14:2) and this place we see around us, will all pass away. It is only temporary. Heaven is eternal.
  5. I know how this story ends – All of the difficulty and adversity we face every day sometimes can be overwhelming. In fact, it may seem like the bad guy in this world may be winning. But let me assure you with an overwhelming confidence. Have you ever read Revelation? Because I know who wins in the end. You and I will be victorius.

But you MUST STAY THE COURSE. Don’t give up. Have faith and put your trust in Him and He will give you reason to HOPE…

 

Until next time guys…

WTBtower-of-babel2Some of you may have read the Old Testament before and remember the story of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11). To help you recall, this story comes right after the epic saga of Noah in Biblical sequence. What I have always found to be sad in this story is how in so few years after the flood, where we saw God destroy everyone and every thing because of evil everywhere on the earth (Genesis 6:5)… that here we see once again, the people of the earth essentially following the same path. When will they learn?

God had already promised to not destroy the earth again (Genesis 8:21) but when He comes down and sees what the people are doing and saying, I can only imagine what He was thinking, something like, “here we go again”. Possibly? But I would like to give you another perspective on this issue that I heard shared recently that I found enlightening.

All my life I just took this story at face value; In other words, God came down, saw these people full of themselves to the point that they decided to build a tower to Heaven. In their minds, they were working every day on this project and as it grew taller and taller, they hoped they would somehow meet God in the air? From our vantage point now, that idea seems extremely crazy but let’s go with it for a minute; In the meantime, God comes down, sees what they are doing and instead of wiping them out…again…He confuses them by changing their languages. In other words, one minute you can communicate with the guy next to you and the next minute he is speaking French. Very quickly after that happened, the people collected together in their language groups and then went off and settled elsewhere leaving the tower project unfinished.

I would like to submit the idea to you that on that day, when God confused them with different languages, He saved them from sure destruction. Think of this scenario this way:

  • These people were doing what THEY wanted to do and NOT what God wanted them to do…
  • By pursuing what they wanted to do, they excluded God.
  • Because their pursuit was for their own glory and NOT Gods, this is a quick ticket to a very bad place.

Guys, I share this with you because I know it is easy to get sidetracked along the way in our lives. The pursuit of what we want to do is a very powerful thing and can or will overwhelm us to the point of complete exclusion from God. That is exactly what these people from the tower began to say:

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:4

I am telling you that God saved mankind that day by confusing them with different languages. They were on their way to sure destruction with the intent inside their hearts…

I am telling you the very same thing today. If your existence is to make a name for yourself at the exclusion of God, you too are on the wrong road and I caution you right now to recognize this and refocus back on Christ.

Let me leave you with this verse in Proverbs:

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

An easier way to look at this verse is simply this:

Commit your plans to God FIRST…and they will succeed…

 

Until next time Guys…

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I recently spent some time with an old work friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a long time. At one point, we had worked together and saw each other every day for two years but once I left that company, not so much anymore. However I had the opportunity where we could have some dinner so I took advantage of the chance to get back together with him. As you can imagine, we talked about the usual work stuff and family stuff but somehow the topic bent toward winning the lottery of all things. To be clear, in my mind that topic is just wasted mental energy because the chances of winning are not worth spending the time thinking about what you would do with all that money. But as I sat there and listened to my friend talk, I realized he had taken this lottery-planning topic to a whole new level. Honestly, the amount of detail he had already planned out was utterly amazing. He knew where he would invest, who he would give money to, and how much. He knew what upgrades he would make to his home, where he would take his first vacation, how he would quit his job, and the list went on and on. He even worked out a plan to help his son pay off his student loans, buy his parents, brother and nephews new homes…and guys, I could keep going. I finally interrupted him and asked him why? Why would you invest so much of your time and brainpower on a topic that will never happen? He replied simply, “ah, but it could, and I want to be prepared”

“Prepared”, I thought. “Interesting concept.”

From your perspective, what does it take to be prepared for anything? Investing time, thought and effort towards something helps one be prepared…However Christ told us to prepare by storing up for ourselves, treasures in Heaven…in other words, preparation for eternity…not preparation for a fictitious event, or for that matter, anything else here on earth.

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust can consume, and where thieves can neither break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt. 6:20-21

So what is a treasure in heaven? How can I have any connection with heaven while I am still here and living on this earth? Here is how I look at this; my friend was investing huge amounts of his time thinking about a fantasy event rather than thinking about how to make a difference now while he is here on earth. For example, how about spending more time with his kids, or his wife or both? What about focusing on or engaging with a particular subject that might make him better or even the people around him better? In my mind, all of these suggestions are treasures that are being stored in heaven for him. It’s like making a deposit in a bank or maybe better yet, it’s an investment in your eternal future.

Jesus said, “How will they know me? By how YOU love one another”

Pretty simple actually. If we take the time to be kind to someone, anyone…when you aren’t required to do so…YES… it helps them, but believe it or not, that is a treasure YOU have stored in heaven. What you do here on earth matters for your eternal future.

You see…everything we store up in heaven is safe…forever. There are not any malware or viruses that can wipe out your deposits in Heaven. Christ said this in the verse above, where neither moth nor rust can consume, and where thieves can neither break through nor steal.

NOTHING can destroy what you have stored there…It is safe for all eternity

My simple advice:

Lets just try to get out of our own way, focus on each other for a change, and watch what happens…

What I think you will find is a far happier group of family and friends because you aren’t 100% solely focused on you…or like my friend in the beginning of this post, who spent too much time planning for a fictitious event.

So as you begin to look and plan for this next year, 2015…my recommendation is to start making heavenly deposits sooner rather than later…

Honestly, your future depends on it…

 

Until next time Guys…

kyliekitty

Today, June 21st, marks the anniversary of 10 years since you became a citizen of Heaven and yet there still isn’t one single day that goes by that I don’t think about you and who you would be today. I could tell you I miss you, but words can’t describe the gut wrenching feeling even now that I still feel. It still hurts so deep down inside me but yet I am resolved to this feeling because I know I cannot change the past, only the future, and I can tell you that your Dad is a very different person now since you are gone. But I will not digress in this letter to you…I will stay the course and promise to hold fast to God because I know that in Him and through Him, I will see you again.

Kylie, I wanted to tell you that we finally moved from the home you grew up in and became the person we remember the most. Your mother and I agreed that it was finally time. Your older brother Jarrett, has moved out and become successful on his own now and although I don’t see him as much as I would like, I am thankful for the time I do have. But without him in that big house, it just felt different and frankly it was time to move on. But through that process of packing boxes and unpacking them in our new home, all those feelings of missing you came back again, many of which I had packed away, not planning on “feeling” them anymore….but they came in a giant wave and there you were, right back in the center of our lives again with your Mom and I trying desperately to control them and keep it together.

You see we found your pictures; your voice in video, your artwork, your backpack, your clothes…we found “You”, exactly the way “you” had left your things. I probably should say, “shame on us” for not moving your things out of your room sooner but in your case, we just never seemed to find the time or the energy to take that challenge on…but when it’s time to move, well, it forced us to take that issue head on. I can tell you that it was not easy, but through the strength of family and friends, we overcame and I can see now that we are better because we worked hard not to wear that burden anymore.

Kylie, you would be very proud of both of your brothers. Your 12 years here truly impacted both of them positively. Jarrett has gone on to be a successful producer in a local prominent television studio. He is working to ultimately be the sports guy and if I know him, he will make it. When I see your little brother Kendrick, he reminds me of you. He has a crazy personality and enjoys being silly with all of us. He plays baseball and the piano just like you, and is very good at both. Sometimes he asks questions about you when he sees pictures of you holding him and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy talking about you to him. It makes BOTH of us happy, even still…

You would be amazed at your Mom and what she has done since you left. She is a part of Umbrella Ministries that has been instrumental in helping other mothers who have lost children in dealing with the grief and pain of child loss. In other words, she has taken her pain and worked it into a positive for someone else in the same circumstance…doesn’t that sound like something your mom would do? By the way, if you’ve ever wondered why your heavenly father comes to you every single evening and gives you hugs and kisses, it because every night, your mom signs off every family prayer with that request of Him…

Sometimes I think about how you’re not being here changed the overall course of our lives. In other words, what decisions did your Mom and I make while in our state of grief that caused our life’s direction to change? Your mother and I look back and see very clearly now that we were not the same people after we lost you and logic says that when you make decisions in a different state of mind…well…you are going to get a different outcome…Only God knows how our lives would have gone with you still here but that wasn’t Gods plan. His plan was to take you and although I am not angry with Him, I will never understand the “why”…

Kylie, I never would have thought that I would ever be a Dad writing a letter to any deceased child, let alone my own…but here I am 10 years past your death, still trying to get a grip on you not being here. To help clarify, I miss who you would have been and the chances I would have had to be your Daddy…even now when you would have been a grown woman. Being a father of a girl, well it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Being the father of you, well, frankly, was indescribable…it just ended far to soon. Because of that statement, I can easily say that I do not take time spent with family and friends for granted as I did. Now, I just soak it all in…

Kylie, it’s been 10 years since you left and my observations are we are all very different but yet, we are all still that same in some ways as our memories drift back to our time spent with you. I have said this all along and will continue to feel this way until I’m gone…

 I am better person having been your Daddy and although I still miss you desperately, my faith in God tells me I will see you again.

I will always love you Kylie…

Your Daddy