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In Christ

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Could I Please Be in that Club?

Last night we, Glenn and I, flew into Boston. It was around midnight when we landed and there had been only one half-hour delay. Glenn commented as we were headed to the rental car desk, “Well, that all went fairly smoothly. Good flights…and paid for with frequent flyer miles, so this is all good.” 

He did not know that the “fairly smoothly” was about to turn into a “middle-of-the-nightmare” that would finally land us in our bed in Wakefield, MA at around 3:30 a.m. There was no car, though payment had already been made. Options were to take Uber and then come back the 27 miles tomorrow via Uber to get our car, or call Delta and try and get them to switch to a different car company since we had booked through Delta, or just wait—maybe an hour-and-a-half or so— till the car company had someone else to return a car. 

We picked the call Delta option; only we got an answering service that said the phone wait time would be, minimally, an hour. So, next, we picked the wait for a car option. I sat there in the giant lobby of a deserted car rental terminal while Glenn went away somewhere, disappearing down an escalator. Since my phone was dead, I was not sure where he was going. I later found out he was going out into the thirty-degree weather, sans coat of any kind, to stand in a long line of people who, like us, were waiting for someone to bring back a car. People were saying, “Oh, it doesn’t matter at this point that I rented that Mustang convertible. I’ll take whatever that is driving up. A Kia compact?….Fine!”  And that’s exactly how Glenn felt, too. After all, even that little Hyundai that we finally drove away had a heater.

And then there was the thirty-minute wait at the drive-off window while the people tried to figure out how to honor the voucher Glenn had been given because they didn’t have the car. When they found out that the desk, back in Iceland, had failed to give Glenn the required rental switcheroo paperwork, they were not going to let us drive away. The GPS ETA  to our hotel clicked on to well past 2:30 a.m. Then, once we were on the freeway, there was the night time construction work. The more we drove, it seemed the later the ETA. Parking places were at a premium at the hotel at 3:00 am, but, thankfully luggage carts were a-dime-a-dozen.

As I lay there in that warm bed, one little insignificant scene kept playing through my mind. The tall man with the grey mustache in the long khaki trench coat. He came bustling through the terminal, brief case in hand, saying to his friend, “I’ll get the car. It’s a Hertz…and I’ll meet you at the curb.”

They were only a few feet from me, so I thought maybe I could save him the trouble. I said, “But Hertz doesn’t have any cars.”

“Oh, they’ll have mine,” he said. “I’m in the President’s Club. It’ll be there.”

Never in my life have I wanted to be in the President’s Club so badly. I wondered how much it costs to be in that club. Can people borrow membership in that club from other people? Can you get a membership on the spot?

I looked to see if my phone had charged enough to text my husband. I texted “A man came through and he said they do have cars for people in the President’s Club.”

Glenn shot back “He was right.” 

So I’m thinking now about the most rewarding “in group”…the “in Christ” group. There’s a  very small percentage of the world’s population that has met every requirement to have the ultimate reservation ( I Peter 1:4); the reservation that’s absolutely certain to provide. It’s foolproof. This “in group” can be confident, just like the man in the long trench coat. There’s no exclusivity based on externals or wealth. It’s simply exclusive of those who failed to accept the benefits of the blood of Jesus, for without the blood there can be no remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22).  The benefits include all spiritual blessings, and redemption and forgiveness of sins (Ephesians1). They include the waiver of due condemnation (Romans 8:1) and the opportunity for eternity with God in heaven. Membership gives the ability to say, with confidence, “Oh, mine will be there. I’m in Christ. I’m in the church that has a full assurance about the reservation.” I’d love to help you be in this church. Romans 6:3,4 says we contact the blood, the requirement for entrance, in baptism. Are you a candidate for membership? I’d love to talk with you about the benefits…straight from and in the very words of the Holy Spirit.  You will, like me in that airport, (times a billion and more) wish you were in this group when the time comes to redeem all of the ultimate reservations. I love being in the sure group. It’s not a haughty thing to be sure. It’s a trusting thing. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sheer Opulence

biltmore-estate-christmas-scheduleEarlier this week, Glenn and I had the chance to tour the Biltmore mansion in Asheville, North Carolina with a dear brother and sister in the Lord. It was a great time and I got my wish for snow! For today’s post, I want to share three lessons I pondered as I walked though sheer opulence.

First. Glenn walked around a corner and said these words (They need no commentary.):  “If man can make a mansion like this, what must heaven be like?”  I just like to think and think and think some more about that.

Second, material wealth is so relative. I think I know some pretty rich people….until I walk through the Biltmore. Then the people that have a lot of money, according to my standards, seem to have a paltry sum. But the wealth in Jesus is infinite to every believer. I love the level spiritual “playing field.” As it has been said many times, the ground is level at the foot of the cross. I am rich beyond imagination and so are you, if you are in Christ.

Third, I loved imagining the servants who lived in the simple quarters in the basement. I loved hearing, on my headset, about their lives in that mansion. They were paid New York wages in the early 20th century in North Carolina, a circumstance unheard of anywhere else in the southeast United States. They had plenty to eat and it was cooked by a real chef. They had heated quarters and they were provided beds and linens and then they were free to decorate their little rooms as they pleased. They even had access to an indoor bath just down the hall. Mrs. Vanderbilt made sure all of the servants and their children had a Christmas surprise each year.

Now, my grandmothers were raising their children during that same era. One of my grandmothers was a sharecropper’s wife and neither of my grandmothers had indoor plumbing until quite late in their lives. My father, a lad in the twenties, was very happy over a stick of candy or an orange at Christmas time. One of my uncles, a tiny boy, proudly brought in a rotten potato found on the sidewalk during the worst time of poverty in his little life and handed it to his mother saying “Praise the Lord…put it there.” There were some pretty hard times for many families during the early part of the twentieth century in this country. I’m sure my grandmothers would have basked in the servant’s quarters at the Biltmore had they had an opportunity. The servants at the Biltmore were never hungry, cold or destitute.

I think of the spiritual condition of servants in My father’s house. In His house, even in the basement, in the quarters of the servants, there is plenty.  Many people I know are spiritually cold and hungry and destitute and they don’t even know it. Perhaps they need to come to themselves like that boy in the far away country and say, “How many servants in my father’s house have bread enough and to spare and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father” (Luke 16:17,18).