By Gillis Killam –
While traveling with a friend, on a rural road we saw an abandoned house where someone had once lived. It was now weather beaten with broken windows and unmown grass. Looking at the house my friend said, “Gil, if those old walls could talk they would tell quite a story!”
I have reflected on that statement many times since, and thought how fleeting is life, and then recall the Psalmist’s words, “Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—they are like the new grass of the morning: 6 In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered” (Psalm 90:5-6 NIV).
And also “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10 NIV).
Stuart Hamblen composed this song, looking forward to leaving this house:
“This old house once knew my children This old house once knew my wife This old house was home and shelter as we fought the storms of life This old house once rang with laughter This old house heard many shouts Now she trembles in the darkness when the lightnin’ walks about.”
He concludes with the chorus:
“Ain’t gonna need this house no longer I’m getting ready to meet the saints.” (Stuart Hamblen)
We don’t know what went on in the house mentioned above. It could have housed a family where joy and laughter reigned, or there could have been many heartaches and disappointments. God knows, and this Psalm makes it clear that this life is temporary, and we should be ready to meet the Lord.
Jesus came to bring life not death. He didn’t deny the sorrow that it brings now, but He said what no other person could say, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25 NIV). It is a pain that remains now, but He says that we may die physically, but if we believe in Jesus we will live forever in the resurrection of the righteous.
Prayer: Help me O Lord, to focus on that glorious day when the last enemy of mankind is vanquished, because you have conquered death, hell, and the grave. AMEN
By Nina Medrano –
I was praying for a loved one who is trapped in a cycle of temptation, asking the Lord to deliver her as he delivered me, to protect her against temptation as he protected me; to tip the balance from living a lie to living in truth, as he did for me. I began to see a picture of a chase, a hunt, for her life. I saw words, like, SELF-DESTRUCTION, DEATH, VIOLENCE and HARM, seeking her out. A sense of urgency for her safety stirred my heart to pray. I asked the Lord to “hide her in the shadow of his wings” (Ps. 17:8), to “hide her in the cleft of his rock” (Ex.33:22), to “house her in the secret place of his most high” (Ps. 91:1). I prayed that these spiritual assassins would not find her and that they stop seeking her out.
As the picture of this spiritual chase played out in my mind, the Holy Spirit re-played the words I spoke to my loved one just a day prior. Sharply, I said to her, “You could be hurt or lying dead somewhere! What if something happens to you, I won’t know what to tell the police?” I was so afraid for her well-being that I didn’t stop to consult the Lord for wisdom. I just spewed out words from a place filled with fear and worry.
I have heard many messages, read scripture, and studied books that teach on the power of our words. But, this is the first time to visually see how my words are currencyin the spirit-realm with which I hire agents to carry out death or life assignments.
Humbled by his Spirit, my posture falls to the floor. It grieves me when the Spirit of God has to discipline me. Yet, his loving hand of correction re-aligns me to God’s word and I find myself thanking him again for the conviction. I sought forgiveness from my loved one, the Lord and from myself—and found it.
I feel a new sense of accountability to steward my words; to be more effectually in the spirit-realm by hiring godly agents to carry out life assignments!
Deuteronomy 30:19 New Living Translation (NLT) “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!
By Peter Lundell –
I got a message that a long-ago church member had died a month previously. After a protracted battle with cancer, he finally gave out. I hadn’t seen him for six years, and I had talked with him perhaps three years earlier. His name and phone number were still on my cell phone contact list, just as I had once called it.
It seemed so strange to have a contact number and an email address for someone who was no longer on earth.
If I called his number, who would answer? So I called: Three screechy tones, then, “We’re sorry. You have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service. If you feel you have reached this recording in error, please check the area code and the number and try your call again.” Beep, beep, beep, beep . . .
I wondered what it would be like if the phone company had a message like, “We’re sorry. The person at this number has left the rat race on earth and entered eternity. We hope you can make contact when you go there too.” I doubt I’ll ever hear that.
Anyone with a cell phone has added and deleted names and numbers from the contact list. But when I went to do it this time, I stopped and could only stare at the name. Erasing his name seemed like something only God should do.
When I finally erased it, I did so with reverence—and sadness that a life had slipped away in obscurity. Others who had known him well hadn’t heard about his death either.
But God knew him—and I’m sure welcomed him as he checked into heaven. No matter how obscure we are, whether in life or in death, the important thing is being known by God.
“Father, You know my name. You know who I am. I’m not very well known on earth, but I don’t need to be. You know me. I am Yours and You are mine. And I am in the palm of Your hand….”
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. Truly I am your servant, Lord; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains” (Psalm 116:15-16 NIV).
By Hally Franz –
As a veteran 4-H parent and leader, I am a member of our county’s 4-H council, which meets about six times each year. We discuss the activities of the dozen or so 4-H clubs around the rural county in which I live, the annual county fair, the distribution of available 4-H funds, and other local 4-H matters.
At our last meeting, an issue came up for a vote. When the council president asked for those in favor to say “aye,” everyone in the group did just that – everyone, except me. The issue in question was of a financial nature, and I suppose I lean in favor of prudence and fairness. I considered the proposed expenditure to be something that would be a slippery slope for future spending, and, at the same time, one that we would be unable to honor in coming years.
So, when our leader asked if there were any “nays,” I made no sound but sheepishly raised my hand in opposition. Of course, I knew I was outvoted, but the almost-unfailingly honest side of me was compelled to express my solo vote.
There were at most fifty people in attendance at this meeting. I am acquainted with or friends with about one third of them, and there were less than five complete strangers in the group. I knew I wouldn’t be lynched, tarred and feathered, or kicked out. And yet, I was a little nervous about being the only one with a dissenting point of view.
So, I have to wonder… How would I handle a question about my faith in a group of atheists? Further, would I have the strength to stand up for my Lord and Savior even when doing so could be dangerous? And, would I have the courage to express my loyalty to Jesus Christ when it might mean my life? It’s a question many of us have pondered.
I pray that my honesty would be greater and my “vote” in favor of my Heavenly Father bolder than what I demonstrated at the recent council meeting. And, I find comfort in the words Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew. Though my confidence in myself may be shaky, my confidence in His promises is not!
PRAYER: Most Righteous Heavenly Father, help me to always stand up for You, whether I am surrounded by Christian brothers and sisters, or alone in a crowd.
“When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour” (Matthew 10:19 ESV).
By Gillis Killam –
Just think of it! We could be having a coffee with someone and make a decision that will change our lives forever. It could alter our direction and have a drastic affect on the future of our family.
When we have a bad feeling in our spirit about something, it is usually a sign to pay attention. It may be about some relationship that might seem like an insignificant decision, or it could be a decision about marriage to someone, but we don’t have real peace in our hearts about it. It is better to stop and listen. This is one choice that will have far-reaching effects on every other relationship in our lives.
It does matter when we refuse to heed warnings in our lives. Mike DeWine writes, “On every journey you take, you are met with options. At every fork in the road, you make a choice. These are the decisions that shape your life.”
The most important decisions have to do with listening to God. We all come to forks in the road of life where we make decisions about our spiritual life, and what God has said. The writer to the Hebrews gives a stern warning about not heeding God’s warnings.
“We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away” (Hebrew 2:1 NIV). Note the word “drift”. It is not always that we all of a sudden leave what we know is right, but gradually lose our way by not heeding the warning signs from past experiences and teaching.
Jesus used the example of building a house on the solid foundation, or building on the sand (Luke 6:47-49). He said to take heed because when the storms come your house (life) will be tested. If we build on the word of God we can withstand the storms of life; if we don’t our house (life) will crumble and fall.
It may be about attending church—fellowship with God’s people—about forgiving people who have wronged us, about gossiping, holding a grudge or our uncontrolled anger. Listen to what God says about these things.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for reminding us of those little things that we do, or forget to do that affect our relationship with you and others. AMEN