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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

When We All Get To Heaven

How much does our Father in Heaven love us? On earth, love has some deficiencies, but not in Heaven.  The Word of God proclaims – God IS Love!  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. I John 4:8.  
         What is this great place called Heaven? Why will it be so glorious that generations have trusted Heaven exists, and it is so much more than Earth? 
         That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. I Corinthians 2:9-10.
         Does God know us?  Is He aware of us each day?  You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
 They cannot be numbered! Psalm 139:16-17. 
         God gives us His love composed of trust, hope, protection, forgiveness and more through Jesus Christ.  No one else has the power and the heart to love us so.  Earthly love has weaknesses that God’s love does not. Earthly love is self-centered, inconsistent, one-sided, often painful, and our hearts can be broken in pain.
         Our Father in Heaven is always with us. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to be a sacrifice for our sins and we are forgiven in Him.  The blood-road to God and His Constant Presence and Care is always with us and He gives us Hope for each moment of our days and long nights.
         No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began.   But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord.  That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” I Corinthians 2:7-9.
         One of the older hymns often sung was the joyous, “When We All Get to Heaven.”  Through the years of living this joy grows deeper. We consider how Jesus loves us with great passion each day. Even under bondage, God’s message through Jeremiah rings true. (Jeremiah 24:7) - I will give them hearts that recognize me as the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly.
         When we all get to heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be, When we all see Jesus, We'll sing and shout the victory,” is the chorus of this hymn, When We All Get to Heaven.  Who could be the author of such words?  Someone famous, wealthy, and in the prime of life?  No, Eliza E Hewitt was a public-school teacher, who suffered from an injury placing her helplessly in bed for a lengthy period of time. 
         Eliza had hope and courage to endure the pain from such scriptures as this: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. - 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. 
         Fanny Crosby and Eliza Hewitt were friends. Eliza was born in June of 1851, and she died in 1920.  During her lifetime she wrote Sunshine in my Soul, and also, Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown and other hymns.
         Eliza Hewitt may have wondered what purpose she had on this earth.  She could have been embittered, and yet she had a heart for our Lord, and looked beyond sorrow, illness, separations and knew God’s Presence.  As she began to heal, God guided to her teach Sunday School and work as a Superintendent for Friendless Children. God works in our lives, and gifts us with abilities and works to do for Him in this world.  We may not understand everything that happens around us.  Yet, we are to listen to Him. Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10.
         Eliza listened. When I read the lyrics of this hymn, I know Eliza’s faith in God made her heart sing in the first verse showing faith and trust - Sing the wondrous love of Jesus, Sing his mercy and his grace, In the mansions bright and blessed, He'll prepare for us a place.
         Eliza taught children and wanted them to understand clearly the truths of the gospel. When We All Get to Heaven, published in 1898, was dedicated to her own Sunday school class in Philadelphia. Eliza longed for Heaven and shared her joy of Jesus with others…living a life of preparation for her final destiny with Jesus.
         We can only imagine a wondrous home where Jesus is, and we will know all the words of Praise songs to sing to Him, who made the way to see Him, face-to-face. A home with truth, love, just being His, and learning more of our Lord God.     
John 14:1-3 - Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?  When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.

         I John 3:1-3 - See how very much, our Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know Him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but He has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like Him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as He is pure.



Comments? eacombs@att.net

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

I Know Whom I Have Believed!

Recently, this hymn came alive in my heart from a memory.  It was June, 1979 and my Dad had died. Of all the hymns, this is the one Dad loved the most. Mother insisted we walk down the aisle of the church toward the casket that held my Dad. We would walk as a family, singing this hymn.
         How could I sing without being interrupted by tears? The short aisle lengthened to an endless walk in my mind. Do you have a hymn that marks an important moment in your life? Sometimes the message of the hymn takes a lifetime to grasp the meaning.
         I remember the Doxology and it reminds me of Mom’s constant Praise to God for the little things happening each day!  Jesus Loves Me reminds me that no matter what happens in life, Jesus truly loves me, and you.  He is constantly present in my heart and mind.
         Living with Jesus in my heart is my heart’s one desire. What do I remember about this one hymn we sang for Dad? Although Dad was always a bit off key as he sang, his enthusiasm could not be dampened. The essence and the meaning of each hymn left an indelible mark on my Dad’s heart and this hymn was no exception.
         I Know Whom I Have Believed came from the scripture, 2 Timothy 1:12b - for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return. 
         For I know Whom I have Believed,
         And am persuaded that He is able
         To keep that which I’ve committed
         Unto Him against that Day.
         Now I understand Dad’s last testimony to all who were a part of the walk down the aisle and those who witnessed, of his deep faith in Christ Jesus.  Now the words bring me the understanding ‘to keep that which I’ve committed’. This scripture permeates my thoughts, my words and actions to be Christ-like.
         Unto Him against that day’. As I near the ‘setting sun of life’, I understand more fully the essence and commitment of what faith in Jesus means.
         There is so much I don’t know of how the intricacies of the Holy Spirit brings me to this point, but I know the Holy Spirit continues to teach me every moment. I don’t know what good or bad things will happen in my life, yet, I know if I believe in Jesus, He holds my life in His Hands.
         I don’t know when Jesus will come or what the direction my ‘exit lane’ from life will take. The last stanza of the hymn is this: I know not when my Lord may come, At night or noonday fair, Nor if I walk the vale with Him, Or meet Him in the air.
         I learned about the composer of these lyrics, Major D. W. Whittle, a Civil War Veteran wrote these words. Why did he begin each stanza with “I know not…?”   From several histories of this hymn, I learned that Major Daniel Whittle enlisted in the 72nd Illinois infantry during the Civil War and headed into the bloodiest conflict. He was wounded in the Battle of Vicksburg and taken prisoner.  In one of the battles, his arm had been amputated above the elbow.  As he began healing, he wanted something to read. He searched his haversack and found the New Testament his mother had placed there as she said goodbye with many tears. He began reading in Matthew and continued to Revelation.  He was surprised he could understand God’s Word so easily. When he finished Revelation, he began reading through the New Testament again, and again, without having any intention of becoming a Christian. 
         One midnight a nurse awakened Major Whittle to pray for one of his men. The young soldier had begged the nurse to pray for him, but she could not and would not. Since the nurse had seen Major Whittle reading the New Testament, it would follow, Major Whittle could pray. His answer?  I can’t pray, I never prayed in my life and I am just as wicked as you are!!!
         Major Whittle went with the nurse to the bed of the young soldier as he lay dying.  He listened to the young soldier, pleading for prayer. He heard the Holy Spirit saying, “You know the way of salvation. Get right down on your knees, accept Christ, and pray for this boy.” 
         He knelt, confessed his sins, and became Christ’s child, and continued in earnest prayer for the young soldier. When a look of peace and a quietness came over the young soldier’s countenance, Major Whittle knew the young soldier had died.  He realized in this moment, God used the young soldier to bring him to the Savior.
         I know not how this saving faith – To me He did impart,
         Nor how believing in his Word – Wrought peace within my heart.
         John 5:24-25 - …for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return. And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live.
         I Timothy 1:5-6 - The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions.
         John 1:11-13 - He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.




Comments? eacombs@att.net