What We Will Leave Behind

As Jerry and I continue to age, getting closer to the end of this life, we seem to think more of the next life than this one. We are more in preparation than ever before. This brings me to the consideration of what we will leave behind when we exit this world. As we share this list, we ask that you not be put off by the first things, but bear through until the end, as we hope you may be blessed to see what the Lord is doing in our last days.

The first things are concerned with the physical life that we now experience. There are other things not listed, but enough is enough.

Uncertainties and perplexities

Regrets

Pain ~ Choosing a below-the-knee amputation almost twelve years ago, Jerry has had continual soreness and pain in that upper leg. Other health issues have prevented seeking remedies for this pain.

Unhealed wounds and everyday change of bandages. He has been receiving treatment for a diabetic ulcer on his foot since the first of last year.

Bloody sheets and shirts, He is on three blood-thinners that cause unusual bleeding from his arms and chest at any time during the day or night.

Bills and pills

Sin and the evil of this world

Spiritual warfare

Sorrow in losing loved ones. Grandparents, parents, brothers, twenty aunts and uncles in my own family and their spouses, two nieces, and cousins on both sides have gone before us, plus friends. The most recent event was the loss of our four-week-old great granddaughter in February.

The most important things we will leave behind are things the Lord has given in the middle of the chaos. These far outweigh the first things we have listed. These we will also take with us. These are eternal. There is much more than what we list here.

God’s Word (1 Peter 1:23)
As we wrote in our last post. God’s Word is eternal. We are birthed by it spiritually, and live by it ~ it is forever in us, written on our minds and in our hearts. We grow by it. It grows in us and bears fruit now and for eternity. His Spirit, who inspired the Word to be written and preserved it for us, leads us by it. As Jesus said, “My words are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). We speak these words now, and they bear fruit for eternity. What we have spoken and written here will remain for God to use for His own glory when we are gone. It will not return to Him void but will accomplish all for which He sent it.

God’s Presence and Power (Hebrews 13;5)
God was here before we came. He will remain to continue and finish His work in all His children.

God’s Love (Ephesians 2:4-5)
The love that penetrated and permeates our heart, soul, mind and strength is being passed down to family members, members of the Lord’s family and to others. (1 John 3:1-2)

The Joy of the Lord (John 15:11)
His joy is an eternal joy. He gives it here. It spreads and never ends.

God’s Peace (John 14:27)
His peace was brought to earth through His Son, Jesus Christ and has continued by the power of His Holy Spirit in His people. This peace will be ours here and eternally, but not ours alone; we have our portion as part of the family of God which will bring us into His presence.

God’s Blessings (Ephesians 1:3)
He showers His abundant blessings upon us during the difficult times that spill over onto any who know us.

Patience and Perseverance (James 1:2-3)
All that He gives is experienced in and through all that we endure while here on earth.

Our Testimony  (1 john 5:10)
We leave behind the witness of all the goodness that we experience in the middle of the trials and adversities. (Psalm 107:8)
The Lord, as He is preparing us in this life for eternity with Him, witnesses of His grace and power in all that we encounter.
All that we endure here will pass away. Finally, with all the dross removed, the proof that we belong to Him shines forth for His glory.

Gracious Father, we thank you for the new life you have given us in the middle of this life ~ new life that enables us to focus on our goal ~ eternity with you. We praise you for the “overwhelming greatness of redeeming love” (Andrew Murray’s Humility) that captures us and keeps our hearts and minds centered in Christ, who is our life. Continue to fill up the spirit, soul and body of each of your children with the inheritance that is ours as joint-heirs with your Son, leaving an imprint on those who know us and believe the witness that you express through us. Thank you for leaving your impression on every generation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Images: Google

An Open Heart (reblog from A Dad’s Journey of Faith)

An Open Heart (reblog from A Dad’s Journey of Faith)

adoptionOn my way into work today….I had one of those interesting conversations with God.  I guess it was more like me starting to complain and Him giving me the loving reality feedback that He can give.  Many of you know that my wife and I have a huge heart for adoption.  It is a journey that our family has been on for several years now.   We have grown our family by three in this time and have a forth that is destined to join us as well.

Several weeks ago we begin to feel the call to welcome into our home another wonderful child.  If you are counting that would put our grand total at 8 children.  He is a wonderful 11-year-old boy with some significant medical/developmental needs.  Due to these needs there is not a family in the state of Oklahoma willing to take him in.  I can’t imagine being told that no one is willing to give you a home.  Such began the next leg of our journey.

Soon, the enemy being the enemy …  began to plant some negative thoughts in my head.  You all know the thoughts…the ones that if you give them room will quickly take root.  This is what led to my conversation with God this morning.  It was during this conversation that God reminded me of the past several years……

I will never forget when we first started talking about going on this journey….We had three children that were all of the age where they pretty much could take care of themselves. The youngest was seven and the oldest was sixteen.  We knew that adoption was a journey God wanted us to go on.   Our plans were that we would get a little boy around five years old and that would fit nicely into our world.  However, God sometimes has other plans.  As a result we were blessed with a wonderful little 9 month old little girl.   I remember thinking that this was a little different from what I had planned.  I reached out to God and explained that this was going to be real Uncomfortable for my family.    You see, we had reached a point of comfort in our lives and this was not in the plans.  He reminded me that when his Son came to earth…it too was uncomfortable.  He traded in the warm beauty and majesty of heaven for a cold and dirty stable…born into a frail human form.  He left the right hand of God to lead the simple life of a carpenter’s son.  He did not turn from the journey.

Soon after the placement we learned that this amazing little girl had a rare life threatening genetic illness that would require extensive medical visits with an uncertain future.  We were also told that  no one was willing to take her in and her only other option was to go to a shelter and to slowly fade away.  I said “Lord…this is going to be too Hard on my family.  This is a burden that I don’t know if we can bear”  God quietly reminded me how hard it was to send his son into a world that despised him.  The difficulty of a ministry of sharing a simple truth that would turn brother against brother in a fallen world.   No matter how hard the task..He came.

Shortly thereafter, we learned that she had two sisters (age 2 and newborn).  There was never a question that they  would join our family.  We could not imagine the impact of splitting up a sibling group.  As they joined our family it became apparent that there were issues relating to a long history of abuse.  It was painful to see the impact of true evil on these little ones.  There was the emotional impact on one little one and the physical suffering of the other.   I cried out..”Lord…This is too painful of a journey for my family to endure.”  Once again, God reminded me of Jesus in the garden.  He knew His Sons fate at the hands of the wicked.   How difficult to look down at your Son and know what was in store for Him.  That he would bear the punishment for the sins of a fallen world.   However, He stayed.

Finally, over the past months the enemy has done a masterful job of pointing out the world around me.  Look, he would say…at those that no longer walk with your family.  Look…at others your age.  They are on vacations, living a life of ease, no crying babies, long doctor appts…Why would you go on this journey.  The price is way to high to pay for this calling.   I called out to God again.  “Lord…it is too lonely on this journey.  No one understands where we are and the world we are in.”   God gently reminded me of Christ’s loneliness on the cross.  The pain of His separation from the Father at the time of his death on the cross.   The mocking laughter of those who turned their back on their savior.   However, he endured it.

God reminded me this morning that we are all orphans.  That we are all lost and lonely in a fallen world.  However,  I have been adopted into the family of God.  I have been given a new hope in a life that was dark and fallen.  What if God had said:  This is too Uncomfortable, Hard, Painful, and Lonely.  What if he had looked down and said I don’t have time for this lost soul.  Where would I be…where would you be.  No matter what the price…I can never come close to bearing what my savior did for me.  I am thankful for a God that will reveal the truth of my journey and give me the opportunity to make a difference for the kingdom.  I am thankful for a God that loves me even more than the love I feel for these beautiful little girls.  Thank you Lord!

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”   James 1:27

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