Friday, May 28, 2010

The Card File

Someone sent this to me in an email today, and I thought it was so good that I wanted to share it here.

17-year-old Brian Moore had only a short time to write something for a class. The subject was what Heaven was like. "I wowed 'em," he later told his father, Bruce. "It's a killer. It's the bomb. It's the best thing I ever wrote." It also was the last.

Brian's parents had forgotten about the essay when a cousin found it while cleaning out the teenager's locker at Teays Valley High School in Pickaway County.

Brian had been dead only hours, but his parents desperately wanted every piece of his life near them, notes from classmates and teachers, and his homework. Only two months before, he had hand-written the essay about encountering Jesus in a file room full of cards detailing every moment of the teen's life. But it was only after Brian's death that Beth and Bruce Moore realized that their son had described his view of heaven.

It makes such an impact that people want to share it. "You feel like you are there," Mr. Moore said.. Brian Moore died May 27, 1997, the day after Memorial Day. He was driving home from a friend's house when his car went off Bulen-Pierce Road in Pickaway County and struck a utility pole. He emerged from the wreck unharmed but stepped on a downed power line and was electrocuted.

The Moore 's framed a copy of Brian's essay and hung it among the family portraits in the living room. "I think God used him to make a point. I think we were meant to find it and make something out of it," Mrs. Moore said of the essay. She and her husband want to share their son's vision of life after death. "I'm happy for Brian. I know he's in heaven. I know I'll see him.

Here is Brian's essay entitled:

" The Room.."

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings.

As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I have liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.
A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I have betrayed." The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed at."

Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've yelled at my brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger", "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents Often there were many more cards than expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived.

Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to fill each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.

When I pulled out the file marked "TV Shows I have watched," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast time I knew that file represented.

When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me.

One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards... But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh.

And then I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt. They started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes.. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him.

No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes.

Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me.

Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. "No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him.. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, and so alive.

The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took the card back He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."

I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Is Jesus' name written over the cards in your card file? If it is not, won't you take the time now to ask Him to be your savior? His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He came to give you life more abudantly and more joyous than you can even imagine, and He has promised that if you believe in your heart that He came to die for your sins that you could be forgiven of your sins by God and confess it with your mouth, he is faithful to cleanse you for all unrighteousness and to forgive all your sin.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Father Who Knows Us On a Cellular Level

My daughter tells me I don't concentrate enough on the positive, inspirational stories about God and that I focus too much on the negative, scary side of God.

So, I have been thinking, praying actually, that the Father will give me THE word of encouragement that she needs today.

The book of Proverbs tells us that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom". It is a good thing to be in awe of God. He is, after all, the one who has the power to destroy not just your body, but to send your soul to everlasting torment. It is not until we begin to look at God with a healthy respect that we can truly begin to appreciate who He really is.

He's the creator of everything. Psalms 147:4 (KJV) says: He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by [their] names; or He counts the stars and calls them by name (NLT). Imagine that -- He knows exactly how many stars there are, and He has named each and every one of them.

I remember thinking one day just how enormous the world, the planet, the universe and the heavens really are. If you're like me, your brain can't really even conceive how large God's dominion is. That makes it easy to think that He doesn't really have the time or the ability to be concerned about little ol' you. But Luke 12:7 tells us: But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows, and Psalms 139:13 declares: You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. He knows us inside and out; He knows our every thought and deed.

Amazingly, though, He still loves us--especially since the Word also tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that our hearts are desperately wicked and who can know how truly wicked it is? He showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8) and how many people do you know who would die for wicked people? Someone might die for someone who is good, but I can't say as I know too many people who would die for every person who lived after you - especially the ones who rejected you, mocked you and tried to turn people against you (like Jesus did). Romans 5:7.

But, here's what is so wonderful about God. If any person anywhere, at anytime prior to drawing their last breath, calls upon the name of Jesus Christ, confesses his/her sin, and strives (yes, strives (because the Word says that we "work out" our salvation with fear and trembling"; with the help of the Holy Spirit) to live as set forth in the Word of God; strives to grow in the knowledge of God and to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and strives to love their neighbor as him or herself, God is faithful and just to forgive them from ALL sins and cleanse them from ALL of their unrighteousness. John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Picture that if you can. Jesus Christ is not sitting in heaven waiting to condemn anyone. He doesn't have to do that. God gave His laws for living to Moses up on Mount Sinai, and because man does not have it within himself to abide by the law, we are condemned at birth, before we even know what sin is all about.

I would like to encourage you to listen to this sermon about the Ten Commandments which was very eye opening for me.

No, Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to give everyone an opportunity to acknowledge that without Him they can't do it; they have no righteousness without Him. May God be praised! There wasn't anyone else who could do it but God, himself, by taking on a human form and being obedient to the point of being the scapegoat for our sins and suffering death on a cross.

So, see, there IS hope! God, who knows every thing about us, down to the smallest cell in our bodies and how many hairs are on our heads, loves us so much that he is just waiting to hear us call out to him, "Abba, father", and just like the father of the prodigal son, He comes running to meet us, throws His arms arounds us, and says, "welcome home, my child, let's celebrate!!" What a wonderful story, what a wonderful God!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pondering the Return of Christ

2 Peter is (I believe) Peter's last letter prior to his death. It is said that Peter was crucified and that he asked to be crucified upside down because he did not think he was worthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord, Jesus Christ.

Peter says in chapter three of this letter that he was writing it to remind "them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" of what the prophets of old had said and that in the last days there would be scoffers who would shrug off warnings that Jesus is coming again. He goes on to say that these same scoffers are willingly ignorant of what the Bible says and that they "twist" the Word to make it say what they want it to say.

My son and I were driving along the other day, and he looked at me and said, "Mom, you're the only person I know who thinks that the world is going to end soon", and my reply was, "Honey, you're hanging around the wrong people". My son then said to me, "Mom, I don't want the world to end yet". I told him that believe or not, that I had felt that exact same way when I was his age. Actually, the first time I remember thinking about the end of the world, I was only a measly six year old. I had come home from school that day, and just like every other day, watched the news with my parents that evening. The world was in an uproar because of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I remember my mom saying that she thought the end of world would soon be happening, and I cried and hung on to her as though she were my lifeline, saying, "Mommy, I don't want the world to end; I want to grow up, get married and have babies". Funny, huh, how our priorities have changed in the past 45-50 years?

You don't have to look hard or far to find someone saying something about living in the end of times. From people who believe the prophecy about 2012 by the Mayans, to followers of Nostradamus, to proponents of Islam, to professing Christians...all believe that something profound is coming to the earth. One only has to peruse news headlines, watch a little TV, see a movie or watch a music video to see that life on planet earth is out of control with sin, perversion and a total disrespect for God and humankind.

A while back, I began asking God to help me love what He loves, hate what He hates and mourn about the things He mourns over, and I can honestly say that He has honored that request. Every day to a greater degree, I see things through eyes that are like His, and it's a very disturbing picture.

There have been lots of things in the news this week that have caused me to stop in my tracks and look up and ask Him "how much longer will you be patient". Here's a sampling of them:

Incestuous Grandmother/Grandson Plan for Children

Junior High Students Having Sex in the Classroom

Baby Aborted and Lived for 48 Hours

Gray Whale Off the Coast of Israel

The Mark of the Beast Coming Soon?

The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
and there were many more. I actually heard someone say that in the last five months, the earth has sustained three earth disasters in the Haiti, Chile' and Mexico earthquakes; three air disasters in the Volcano eruption, the tornadoes in the south, and the tornadoes in the midwest; and three water disasters in the Tennessee flooding, the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico and Boston's contaminated water last week. It is also being said by many that God is lifting His hand of protection off of America because of her unrepented sinfulness, pervertedness and general disregard and distaste for God.

As I said earlier, it certainly seems like something is shifting in the atmostphere, so maybe that's what it is. Maybe God's creation is instinctively sensing His return. The Bible also says that satan knows his time and reign on earth is short, so he and his minions are stirring the pot; invoking chaos, so to speak, to do as much damage as possible in these last days, and it will only get worse. The Bible says it will be so. If you haven't read about it, I encourage you to do so by reading the book of Revelation.

Jesus said that he was going to prepare a place for His people but that He would return someday to take His followers back with Him. I, for one, want to be one of those that go to the place prepared for me by my Creator. I'm sure it will be perfect.

For those scoffers...,never before in time has there been a greater possibility for things to happen which were prophesied in the Bible, for example, information overload, the ability to buy/sell by reason of a mark on your person, "running to an fro" the ability to travel easily and at will, and the ability for people to see things world wide in real time. So when those scoffers say "where is He" and "oh, people have always said stuff like that about Him coming back" and "things have always been like that since our ancestors died", ask them if they've ever seen children so disobedient, disrespectful and sinfully proficient as our children today, ask them if our forebearers had the computer capability that we have now, ask them if there was satellite television which enabled people to see anything that was happening around the world at a given moment, and ask them if there had ever been such a move towards a unified global government, community and economy. There's your answer. We have never had a time like this, one which presents the perfect opportunity for the things prophesied in the Bible to occur.

So, like Peter, I'm writing this to remind you of what Jesus said. He's coming back again, soon; and this time it will not be to save the world, but to judge the world. Are you ready for that? Are you grounded in His Word in order to know what He wants of you or are you twisting His Word so that it fits your lifestyle? Don't be ignorant and put yourself in jeopardy of eternal separation from God. It's not worth it.

May I recommend a couple of places to start in your quest to know about God's love for you and what His word really says?

David Wilkerson's Daily Devotionals

Francis Chan Podcasts

Joseph Herrin's Weblog