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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Lights of Glory

How sweet to hold a newborn baby

And feel the pride and the joy he gives

But greater still the calm assurance

This child can face uncertain days because He Lives.

As we sang these words last night at our service of praise, I just had a huge “catch” in my heart and voice. Realizing the depth  of the uncertainty that lies in our tolerant, morally unfettered world, I know that the newborn I will prayerfully hold this week, will face uncertain days. I immediately thought about how that my sweet father, who left this uncertain world last December, would have loved to have held the firstborn child of his firstborn grandson. (That’s my dad in the picture with Caleb all those years ago.) Their lives on this earth almost intersected. In truth, the lives did intersect. For a few days at the end of Dad’s life, both the brand new heart and the 95-year-old one were beating. Dad just never got to know about this intersection of life. Singing those words—any words, really—about the great hope we share with most of you who are reading, just arrests my emotions, of late. I had to stop singing and cry for a moment.

But then, there’s this last empowering verse and chorus. It’s the chorus that dries tears, replaces fears, and lets me sing again: 

And then one day, I’ll cross that river

I’ll fight life’s final war with pain

And then, as death gives way to vict’ry

I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He reigns.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow

Because He lives, all fear is gone

Because I know He holds the future

And life is worth the living

Just because He lives.

The truth is, by faith, I already know He reigns. Because He has made death His last enemy (I Cor. 15:25,26)…because the angel announced truthfully “He is not here, but He is risen,” (Matthew 28:6)…little Maggie can face uncertain days. She will face them with a fearless devotion to the One who has the last word over every enemy. 

Because He lives, the verses of life that bring sorrow are followed by verses that bring courage and anticipation. Of course, the last verse is the best. After the days in an uncertain world, where persecution surely could be a part of the landscape for Christians, there will be a day when pain and death give way to victory. We will see the lights of glory and fear will be a thing of the past. 

There are actually a couple of families, to whom I am very closely connected in Him, that are almost sure to be holding newborn babies by the end of this week. We will count their fingers and toes and marvel at the softness of newborn skin and try to catch the gaze of eyes that can’t yet focus. Proud fathers and grandfathers will be amazed by features that are most certainly inherited from “our side of the family.” But the real marvel will be the unseen feature housed in those tiny little bodies; little souls entrusted to the care of determined parents, who by faith can already catch a glimmer of the lights of glory…just because He lives!

There’s nothing new in the power of those three words “because He lives.” But sometimes, when I think about the decisive eternal victory that happened when that stone was rolled away and linen grave clothes were folded and left behind, I wonder how people, who have not looked into the empty tomb, can make it through the uncertain days. How can they overcome days of hopelessness when there is no light at the end of the tunnel? How can they bury loved ones and then “get on with things”, when the reality of death, for them, holds such finality? How can they ever “come back” from reeling reversals in health or finances, when they see no larger purpose than remaining healthy and wealthy? How can they suffer through the woes of bad moral choices, when there is, for them, no system of redemption? 

I guess they just function out of “expected normalcy” and take temporary joy from the blessings that our God generously rains down on both the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). But I’m so glad there’s a whole different shower of blessings for obedient believers. I love standing in that rain!

One day, when we’ve been there ten thousand years (if time could even be measured there), the little intersections of life on this planet will seem so momentary. Our lives on earth will be the tiniest dot in an eternal sphere.  But the choices in this brief moment we call life—our reaction to His empty tomb— make the dot remarkable. That makes the week (on the dot) in front of you and me significant. May the transactions, blessings, meetings, gifts, jobs, accomplishments, friendships and family that fill our planners this week be appropriate reactions to the victory He heralded when he walked away from that borrowed tomb.  Some events of the week will seem more significant than others. But life matters, this week, for all of us. Because He lives.

(Because He Lives, lyrics by Bill Gaither, Songs of Faith and Praise)

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guest Writer: Terica Turner–So Glad!

I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. The apostle Peter believed it also (Matthew 16:16) And Jesus affirmed that Him being the Christ is a rock on which we all can stand (Matt. 16:18). It’s on that rock – the truth that Jesus is Christ – that He built His church. 

I’m so glad that Jesus is Lord, for when all else fails, when all other hope is lost, hope that is anchored in Him does not return empty (Hebrews 6:19). I’m also glad to be a member of His church – the one that He purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28). I’m so humbled and blessed to call Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Because He is Lord, I have hope – and you can, too.

Life at many times can get difficult and sometimes may seem unbearable. We need an assurance, a steady foundation to see us through the trials that we face. Those who follow Christ are aware of this. “We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4: 8-9). 

“Therefore we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4: 16)..

You can have the same blessings, be a member of that same church, and have that same blessed hope that anchors the soul. Jesus can be your Lord and Savior. If you believe that He is the Christ, confess Him before men. Jesus said that whoever confesses Him before men, He will also confess before the Father in heaven, and whoever denies Him before men, He will also deny before the Father (Matthew 10:32- 33). You must also repent for the forgiveness of your sins (Luke 13:3, Acts 2:38), “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Then, you must be baptized in a watery grave and rise to newness of life in Christ (Romans 6:3, 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 2:38). Once you have believed and laid hold on that one faith, obeyed that one baptism, and confessed the One Lord, then Christ will add you to that one church for which he died, which is His body (Ephesians 4:5 – 6, Acts 2:47). Don’t you want that hope – the hope of an eternal home of the soul with Jesus Christ the Lord? Let’s get to heaven.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Fair and Just Election Results

Unknown-7Next week, America offers her citizens the most direct influence they have on her government. Voting for governmental leaders is a privilege not enjoyed by all peoples. It’s a right that came at great expense to many men and their families when our independence as a nation was won. It’s an honor that’s been defended in several wars since that first revolution against Britain. America is still a young nation and the security of the freedoms we enjoy has not been proved. There are impending threats to the liberty that our Constitution was intended to guard. The rejection of its original intent, the mighty arms of terrorists, those who would usurp intended power from the states, and self-serving interests of elected officials are but some of the foes that daily attack our foundational freedoms in America today.I love this country. I pray regularly for her. I pray that she can return to principles of morality that are clearly the basis upon which she was founded. I pray for her leaders and for changes in government and culture that can result in an awakening to the truth of God’s Word in her homes and communities. Much has already been lost, and so I pray that my children and grandchildren could be blessed to enjoy at least a vestige of the great nation into which I was born.

But I constantly remind my kids that, no matter what happens in or to America, we will be okay. God has granted us citizenship in His nation (Phil. 3:20). We are a royal priesthood and a holy nation (I Peter 2:9) that is headquartered outside the arena of evil influence or danger. Our sovereign Governor is not vulnerable to terror, the usurpation of His power or the twisting of His laws.

At the conclusion of the contest (which may be several days after November 8th), we will have some new legislators in the U.S.  We will have a new president. The well-worn mantra of “change” will be heralded once more. I hope it will be change for the better. No doubt there will be some mistakes or unfortunate inevitabilities in the process. Some people will mistakenly mark their ballots—that is, they will vote for a person accidentally. Some computer glitches may occur and might even influence an election one way or another. Some person might have an accident or a flat tire or an ER run on the way to the polling place and be unable to cast the intended vote. Some politician might be able to convince a constituency that he stands for some proposition for which he has no intention of actually voting and thereby gain votes by dishonesty. (It could happen, you know!) A villainous political opponent could put out a bit of last-minute slander to gain votes, leaving an opponent no time to prove the slanderous allegations false. Lots of things can occur to upset the political apple cart and cause the electorate to have to suffer through a term of politics that should never have happened. As my mother used to tell us when some inevitable occurrence predicated our disappointment: “Sorry, but circumstances alter cases.”

God has elected some folks, too. There are those living today who’ve been elected to eternal salvation (II Tim. 2:10). It was a very costly election (exacting the blood of Jesus) and there were some very specific qualifications to be met by the candidates for salvation (I Peter 1:2). But, at the end of the day, there will be no recounts, mistakes, mitigating circumstances, or computer errors. The calling and election will be certain, once the day of decision is over. The God of Justice never gets it wrong. Because of the holiness of the Election Official, Christians can, just like those candidates on CNN, say “We are confident of the victory.” But, unlike them, we really ARE confident (I John 2:28).

…with God is terrible majesty.
Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.
Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart (Job 37:22-24)