All posts in Investing in Heaven

Marital Bliss?

The waitress arrived at our checkerboard-sized table to take our order.

“We are celebrating a very special occasion. My husband and I have had 27 years of marital

bliss….”

“Don’t say it Pauline, it’s getting old,” Tom mumbles into his water glass.

I couldn’t help myself, “27 out of  35 ain’t bad!” Then I through my head back and laughed heartily. A few seconds passed while I regained my composure.

“You know, Pauline, you are the only one who laughs at it,” Tom added.

My daughter and her husband smiled politely. Who knew thirty-five years ago we’d be sitting in a French bistro, in Bethesda, Maryland, celebrating our anniversary with our almost thirty-year-old daughter and her husband.

“Hey Tom, Sarah and David both got the same tattoo on their wrist in honor or their first anniversary. How about we get a tattoo together tonight?”

My spouse shook his head. “Not me. I don’t want someone using a needle on my body. Although after 35 years, it’s probably safe to have PAULINE tattooed on my arm.”

I couldn’t stop laughing. In fact, as I write this, it makes me chuckle.

The thing about marriage is—it isn’t safe. You open your heart, home, and bank account to someone, with no idea what the future holds.

For us, the future held ups and downs financially, owning a business, raising teenagers, caring for aging parents, watching them die, and becoming grandparents. Recently, it included changing careers, moving to the country, starting a farm, and finding jobs that paid actual money.

It seems as if nothing we have done is safe. I’m kind of glad about that. Taking risks can make life tense, but it also makes it interesting. And challenging.

The fact is, almost anything worth doing is risky. Like having kids. Who knows how they will turn out? My daughter and her husband are buying a house—that’s risky. They could just rent an apartment their whole lives and depend on the landlord to fix anything.

How about driving on US 19 in Pinellas County, Florida? You definitely take your life in your hands when you pull out there. My children think it’s risky riding with me. Maybe they’re right.

Life is a risk and needs to be lived.

One thing I know isn’t risky. It is a sure bet—the gospel.

1 Corinthians 15: 1-5 states:

“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the
Scriptures…”

People spend billions of dollars on insurance for stuff that will get old or obsolete or rust or die. But the gospel is free and eternal and good.

The best, even.

So the gospel isn’t risky, marriage is. Tattoo’s are—but I still want one.

Maybe on our 50th.

Jesus Has a Big Front Porch

Our voices echoed across mountains and dipped into valleys. Corn and beans dotted the sides of the peaks in a zig-zag pattern since they’d been planted by hand.

Savior, You can move the mountains, my God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save,

Forever, author of salvation, He rose and conquered the grave, yes, He conquered the grave.

Tom and I sat among about 35 travelers singing to our God in the setting on Honduran mountains. We’d been there for about 3 days, traveled to isolated villages to share the message of Jesus Christ, and now we shared, “Porch Time.”

That was my favorite time of the day. The team gathered together, talked about the day, shared their testimonies, prayed, and praised God with song.

So when Tom and I moved to North Carolina–a huge front porch donned the top of our must-have house list. After the construction men finished the 60 x 10 foot structure one young man said, “You should have just built the porch and left off the house.”

“That probably would have been okay with Pauline,” Tom said.

Porches carry cherished memories for me. Memories of friendship and laughter and solace–unhurried times that often feel “realer” than the rest of my busy life.

Thoughts like that ran through my mind as I studied John 14:1-2, Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. (NASB)

I grew up on King James Version where dwelling place is translated mansion. Don’t get me wrong, a mansion sounds great, but I don’t want to live in a mansion by myself. That’s lonely.

No, I want to live in God’s mansion with Him and my Savior and my brothers and sisters in Christ. I want to sit on the porch for hours (although I don’t think we’ll have hours in heaven) and talk and laugh and sing and pray.

On earth, we know our times on the porch have to end because we have other tasks and time is important…here. Not there.

Sometimes, I picture my parents sitting on the porch in heaven with their best friends, the Shiels. Jim Shiels is teasing Dad while Mom and Nellie Shiels sit together chit-chatting about this and that.

When we vacationed with the Shiels at The Salvation Army’s Camp Lake, or Army Lake, we’d sit on the screened porch lit only with the yellow bug light and talk for hours. When we’d get ready to go back home my father would say, “Let’s all join hands and sing.”

Jim would say, “Do we have to, Ramie?” And then he’d laugh and we’d join hands, sing, and then cry. This is what we sang:

Til we meet, til we meet, til we meet at Jesus feet,

God be with us, til we meet again.

I’m sure there’s was a great reunion and frankly, I can’t wait to join them. Cause I think Jesus has the biggest, bestest, porch. Ever.

But for now, I’ll settle for mine.

Come see me, friend.

I can’t paste the YouTube in here, but I’ll past the link. It’s worth the listen…BTW, we’ll be singing this on Sunday at Christ Community Church. Join us will you? Pretend it’s a porch…

 

 

 

CBN Blog-Breakfast With My Daddy

In case you missed it, here is the link to CBN.com devotionals:

http://www1.cbn.com/devotions/breakfast-with-my-daddy

Buried Treasure

“Hand me the level, Pauline.”

We’d been installing eight foot posts around our pasture to keep animals in and predators out. “Looks good, Tom. How about we finish the posts loaded on the tractor and call it a day.”

After Tom pummeled the ground with a gigantic auger attached to our orange tractor, he had to use a manual post hole digger to position each pole. Trouble began when the ground became uncooperative.

Clink. Clink. Clink.

“That doesn’t sound like dirt,” Tom looked up and winked. “I hope it’s not a dead body.”

“Too much NCIS,” I added.

After a lot of digging we pulled out pieces of glass and metal and rags buried deep under the ground.

I wondered about the people who put the stuff there. Old car parts, colored glass, a few bottles. They may have been treasures to them. Now their posessions lay buried beneath layers of red clay.

My mind went back to the day I moved my father to a nursing home after living in my home for six years. I was so sad and nervous. At the last minute before the handicapped van came to carry us away I remembered I needed to pack his things.

I carried all that he needed in one arm.

Stuff.

One day it will all be buried, just like us.

It makes me want to invest my time here on earth.

Because death isn’t all there is. There is eternity and it could come at any time.

Something Jesus said comes to mind:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:14-15

I don’t want to waste my life, my desire is to invest it in something that lasts.

Eternity.

What about you? How are you investing your time and money? Will it rust and decay? Change your heavenly portfolio today.

 

Looking Over the Edge of the Cliff Into Hell

William Booth, the founder of The Salvation Army, once told the young people studying to be officers in his ranks that he wished he could take them to the edge of hell and let them look in.

Do you believe in hell?

I do.

Even if you do, we may have differing opinions of how we get there.

Most people think it is by doing good works or not doing bad works.

That’s not what the Bible says.

The Bible teaches a gospel of grace. God is holy, we are not. We need a Mediator, a Redeemer, a Savior. That’s why Jesus came. To pay the penalty of our sin.

We all sin. Falling short. Running our own lives when we owe our lives to the Almighty. We ignore Him, or rebel against Him, or refuse to believe in Him.

One day, we will see that God is real and His judgment is real.

Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye wrote the New York Times Best sell series titled, “Left Behind.” It describes a time when Christians disappear and a wicked man takes over promising peace–eventually he destroys everything good and sets the world at war.

Horrifying.

There is something worse.

God’s judgment.

Scripture says He will come as a thief in the night. All will be saying peace, peace, and then Christ will appear.

But there’s still time.

Here are two Scriptures I read this morning in my study written by Beth Moore:

The Lord is patient, “not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).

Romans 2:4 states, “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance.”

I was going to write a funny blog today, but thought I’d better share with you something that has eternal value.

Why? Because I love you and don’t want to look over that cliff and find you there.

There is time. God is patient. Don’t let your time run out.

How about something funny next week?

If we are still here.