Thursday, August 1, 2013

"Beneficiaries of Blessing"

(We rarely send out two messages in one day, but the timing of this seems right.  Thanks, Glen).

    I'll shortly be heading to the local retirement community where we conduct three services a week.  I'm reminded of a prayer list I came upon last night while looking through old files.  "Jim... Mrs. Crawford... Mrs. Duvall... Donald... Mr. Schnars... Bonnie... Mrs. Williams..." - I don't have space here to list them all.  There are literally hundreds, and perhaps even thousands for whom to give thanks.  So many names of people who have long since gone on to be with our Lord appeared before my eyes, dear ones who no longer need our prayers.  I smiled as faces flashed through my mind, and moments remembered with some very special friends also brought tears tomy eyes.

When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holy day" (Psalm 42:4).

    Frances and I often say to each other that we certainly hope we have ministered and been a blessing to the people we have known in this ministry.  We know, however, the blessing we have received from them.  It so often works that way in life, that is, the ones who seem to be helping and supporting actually find themselves to be the chief beneficiaries of blessing.  I cannot imagine having missed the spiritual enrichment of witnessing so many brothers and sisters in Christ as they trusted Him in difficult circumstances and conditions near the end of their earthly lifetime.  As 10year old Jim Kelly responded whenever we asked how he was doing, "Glen, this is the best day of my life!"  And he meant it.  Yes, our dear brother well knew that true joy and peace depend not on place, situation, and condition, but on the living and realized presence of the Lord Jesus.  So many other have borne the same testimony, and even today I will be in the presence of people who have certainly lost much.  They have not, however, lost the true Life of their lives, and Joy of their joys.  "In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11).

    It is pure bliss to know that I will see my brother and sisteragain in that blessed Place where no wheelchairs or hospital beds are needed.  Most of all, to see them in the direct presence of the Lord Jesus will indeed be "fullness of joy" and "pleasures forevermore."  What a journey it has been, with people who have taught us lessons we could have learned nowhere else, and who most of all, have been shining reflections to us of the One who gave them "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding," and "joy unspeakable, and full of glory" (Philippians 4:7; I Peter 1:8).

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you."
(Philippians 1:3)

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