I Will Dwell

I went to a funeral today.

As I sat in the church listening to the pastor speak about my elderly friend, the words landed on my heart in agreement with what I already knew.

This man had lived his life for God and in service to the people around him.

A constant flow of care from God to him and from him to others, was evident.

Always encouraging, he spoke to me personally many times in appreciation of my efforts.

Speaking regularly in front of the congregation on Sundays, he would inspire those in the pews before him to gather together to help feed the needy in the community.

He gave of his own resources to equip other people as they heard God’s call to service.

As a loving husband, he cared for his ailing wife at home.

Listening to the pastor speak this morning, I learned that even as he was very ill and in the hospital, he was still showing paramount concern for other people.

The tone of the hour was reflective and loving as each person remembered their own experiences with this Christ-like gentleman.

There were tears and, at times, laughter, as his humor was recalled.

A sense of peace and joy could be felt as we sang the lyrics to “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art.”

Psalm 23 was printed in the order of service for everyone to read.

Our dear friend had lived his life in a close relationship with God.

That relationship did not end with his death; it simply continued on in a seamless passage from this earth to Heaven, where His Savior was waiting.

Knowing this brings great comfort when it is time to say goodbye…

 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

–Psalm 23:6

 

surely goodness

 

 

I Have Overcome

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

The afternoon breeze had the slightest chill as I sat in my lawn chair, hoping to get a photograph of a bird in a nearby nest.

Venturing out into the country, away from loud noises and constant distractions, it was nice just to think quietly and breathe in the fresh air.

After awhile, a woman came along, aware of the nest, high in the trees.

We talked briefly about birds and the weather…

Then, a man driving a truck with a horse trailer hitched on the back came driving up the dirt road.

Getting out, he explained that he was looking for a cemetery for a graveside service.

He was bringing the horse to the ceremony.

The woman I had just met was from the area and able to tell him where to go.

He told us the funeral was for a child—only three years old.

I didn’t ask why he was taking a horse there.

Was the horse the family’s animal?

Did the child love horses?

I hurt for the family, knowing their pain and grief surely must be great.

As the man left quickly, I simply said, “God bless you.”

There was nothing I could do to ease the sorrow of the moment.

Only God could meet that family in the deep places of their hearts with comfort, understanding and love.

As I left to go home, I photographed the road and the field beyond.

It was peaceful and quiet—serene.

Jesus said,

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

—John 16:33

*

Click image to enlarge.
overcome

He Was Commended

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

 

Every time I think about it, I become quiet and sad.

I was out of town last night.

Wondering what the weather was going to be like for the evening, I picked up my cell phone to check the forecast.

When I did, I also read something posted on a network site I use.

A friend of mine from my teenaged years had just days before been killed in a car accident.

I thought of memories of him when we were both young.

He was funny.

He was talented.

Since I had moved several hundred miles away from our home town, I had not talked to him in several years.

Feeling earnestly saddened by the news, I chose to read from a Bible app on my cell phone.

It had been awhile since I had last read from it.

Opening it, I found the scripture that I had most recently viewed.

The book of Hebrews, chapter 11, verses 4 and 5 were there.

 

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

 

When I found out about the accident, I looked at an online obituary and read comments there made by his friends and co-workers.

The part of the scripture that read, “And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead,” really stood out to me.

When someone truly serves God with a faithful heart, doesn’t their example live on as a testimony, even though they are dead?

Another part of the passage that was meaningful to me was, “For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.”

Wouldn’t you want that to be said about you?

Wouldn’t you want that to be the truth about your life?

That you were one who pleased God?

I believe the passage from Hebrews was left on my phone for a reason.

God knew that I would find out about my friend and begin reading from His word.

These two verses spoke to me at a time when I was contemplating the end of life’s journey here.

God is like that, you know.

He never leaves us, and when we need comfort or guidance, He can bring it to us in His perfect timing and in His way.

 

 

 

Click image to enlarge

commended