Quiet

 

girl gesturing silence saying shh using her hand - concept vectoI grew up listening to music and like most teenagers, I liked it loud. I wanted to hear the “ping” of the cymbal or the acoustic guitar amid the electric. I subscribed to the notion, “if the music was too loud, you were too old”!  Yes, it has affected my hearing a bit so that now the reason I like music loud is so that I can hear it! LOL!

The Psalmist whose words I read this morning, speaks of quiet. I have learned that I do like to get up early while my house and my world is quiet. I like to hear from the Lord.  I like to hear from Him before the noise of my life begins. It’s not that He can’t speak through the noise of my life (because He does), but I don’t often hear through the noise. I like to start my day with Him speaking into my heart. Check this out…

My heart is not proud, Lord,
    my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
    or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quietened myself,
    I am like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child I am content.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord
    both now and for evermore. (Psalm 131:1-3 NIV)

I want to hear what the Lord says, because what I want to say is not nearly as important. He is God of Creation, King of Kings & Lord of Lords – I would be wise to trust Him. I would be wise to hear Him. I would be wise to follow His instructions. I would be wise to put my hope in Him. I am ok to sit quietly with Him. He speaks volumes to me heart in the quiet moments where I can listen intently. He handles my life. He will take charge of the smallest detail to the largest, monumental decision. He gives me wisdom and strength in the quiet moments. He prepares me for the noise of my day in the quiet moments of the morning. I’m thankful that I have Him and that I know Him.

Today is a different day for me. I’m attending a funeral later this morning of a dear family friend who was killed suddenly in an auto accident. Her family is hurting deeply.  Later this afternoon, I get to be part of a beautiful, outdoor country wedding with my nephew and his sweet bride to be. In the quietness of this morning, the Lord makes both these events somehow beautiful and meaningful. My life – this life is all about bringing glory to God with my life. He loves it when I point to Him. My quiet time in the morning helps me map out my day and how I can get that accomplished.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Bad Ending

Devastated
I have watched movies or TV shows that didn’t end well according to me. I like happy endings. I like it when a marriage is saved or a relationship with family restored. I like it when the guy and the girl finally see in each other what we the audience had seen all along. I like the good guy to win and the bad guy to loose. That really isn’t reality though. A movie or TV show is more about entertainment than realty for sure. I still want life to be good. I don’t want there to be disease and death. I really need to stop dreaming and come back to the real world.

At the end of the day I’m not really in control of the end of my life story. Oh sure, people can actually take their life and end it how they think they want. That is very abrupt and causes loved ones left behind a lot of pain and struggle for sure because it’s really a very self-centered action. There are things I can do to help the ending of my life to be positive and powerful.

King Jehoram was a king who did not finish well. He killed his brothers and he turned his back on God. He made the enemies of Judah angry and they invaded Jerusalem. He was a failure as a king and quite frankly as a person. Check this out…

20 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away, to no one’s regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings. (2 Chronicles 21:20 NIV)

I think it would be sad to be at a funeral service where no one was sad to see the guy die. He had used and abused so many people. He was perceived as a dishonest and evil king. I’ll summarize the old adage: “I’m actually preaching my funeral in my day to day life today.” I believe that how I treat people in ordinary circumstances can translate into many other relationships. If I’m kind, honest and honorable to the people I meet – they are usually someone’s family and the word can spread. Obviously the reverse of that is true.

It’s crazy to think that how I live today can translate into how I’m thought of when I die. I don’t think it’s just one act of kindness or honor, but it could be. I have many choices available to me today. I want to choose to put others before myself. I want to be generous toward others. I want to do all of this just so people say nice things at my funeral. I want to honor God in all I do – I really want to please Him above any other and there will still be people who miss me. To have a good ending to my life, I need to decide to honor God and walk humbly before Him today and every day as long as I live.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Proper Respect In Death

 

Child Holding a Parent's Folded American FlagI’ve seen death fairly close up. I’ve been to a lot of funerals over the years. The bodies I’ve seen have all been dressed nice and have make-up. I’ve been to funerals where the casket was closed for obvious reasons. I think I would have a hard time seeing a body that had been ravaged by war or even hurt in a car accident. I can hardly imagine the world of an EMT or Fireman who see death quite often and see bodies that were once alive and vibrant, now lifeless.

There will be a time coming when all bodies die. It sounds kind of depressing and it probably would be if I didn’t have hope of life after death. I was reading again this morning, the story of King Saul’s death. It is a story of defeat in battle. The Philistines wounded him and he had no hope of surviving in his mind, so he fell on his sword and died. Check this out…

8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 They stripped him and took his head and his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news among their idols and their people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of their gods and hung up his head in the temple of Dagon.

11 When all the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their valiant men went and took the bodies of Saul and his sons and brought them to Jabesh. Then they buried their bones under the great tree in Jabesh, and they fasted seven days. (1 Chronicles 10:8-12 NIV)

These men were very brave to risk their lives to give Saul and his sons the proper respect. I think the reason I believe in respect for the dead is because I know I will be there someday and I’d like to think my body will be treated with respect. I also can’t help but think that there was a healthy respect for Saul and his sons for the position he had held as king. He was there in battle fighting for the rights of the people he was leading.

I was reminded of a true story of a man in North Georgia who ran a cremation service. Instead of properly cremating the bodies entrusted to him, he put them on his land and they were in all stages of decomposition. It was a horrible story, especially for those who had loved ones that they thought had been handled properly. There were 339 bodies discovered that were not cremated properly. The owner of the crematory pled guilty and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was released just last month. The story is on Wikipedia found here.

Death is very much a part of life here on earth. I think we should show respect even in death. For the most part death is an unwelcomed visitor. Because of my faith in God, I believe that there is life beyond this life. I don’t believe that when I die, everything is over. I believe when I die, it’s a doorway to eternity. I have hope in God. I believe His promises are true. I believe that the Creator of Life has the power to provide eternal life. Until I die, I plan to show proper respect to the people who’ve gone on before and their bodies remain here. I have respect for people who properly handle the bodies after death. When I reflected on this story of Saul and his sons dying in battle together, I was thankful for the men who retrieved their bodies for proper respect and burial. It seems to me to be the right thing to do.

Pressing On!

Dwayne