Tag Archives: life

The Lord is Coming

weekly theme #1 The Lord Is Coming*    

the first Sunday of Advent

Sometimes I wish I had been with Jesus while he was on earth, but I know I’m in a better spot now.  I am privileged to have written accounts of his arrival, life, and departure.  Most importantly, I have the Holy Spirit with me constantly to comfort, convict, and guide.  Then I would have just been with Jesus, but now the Lord is in me.

Paul says that Jesus the Christ has made peace between God and all creation through his willingness to sacrifice himself.  (Colossians 3)  His coming was a response of God’s love for his creation.  Even now God comes to me because of his love – not my works, virtue, or sacrifice.  He comes to me, not because of my beauty or value but because of his.

Jesus entry as a babe had a purpose of grand and eternal significance.  He came to complete his work, to be the Lord and the Truth.  My work is not nearly so grand.  In fact, I may be here only to exemplify love and faithfulness to others.  Perhaps I can be the Jesus they see in an ordinary situation that, unknown to me, has eternal results.

In the times of the Old Testament, priests offered blood sacrifices for sins, and only at certain times could a certain Priest enter the Holy of Holies – the presence of God.  Jesus changed everything.  His sacrifice erases sins forever, so no further blood sacrifices are needed.  Additionally, Jesus, as High Priest, has opened the Holy of Holies to me so I may enter God’s presence.  Jesus continues to change everything.  He is the change.  All the things I think change the world are actually tools he may use for change: education, prayer, generosity, humility, military power, science, creativity, religious organizations, and more.  The Lord changes everything.

*A Guide To Prayer For Ministers And Other Servants by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections.  I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used.  It truly lives up to its title.

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Partakers Of Eternal Life

weekly theme #23*

week containing the second Sunday of Easter

When Barnabas arrived in Antioch (Acts 11:23) he showed not a smidgen of self-focus.  He rejoiced in what others had done and encouraged them.  Then he went to get an expert for these kinds of situations – Saul (Paul).  Verse 24 of Acts 11 is a wonderful testimony of him.  “Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith.”  In a sense, God used Barnabas to resurrect Paul.  Paul was going through a personal, inner crucifixion – the death of his heart’s desire.  Because of Saul’s zeal for Jesus, the apostles had sent him to Tarsus for his own safety, and they seemingly had forgotten him.

Waiting can be a painful, suffering time.  Nevertheless, when my heart’s desire dies, it allows God’s desire to grow within me, and I am resurrected to his service.  I am also given the promise of life everlasting where all things are new – earth, heaven, my body, even my way of living.  I am unable grasp what everlasting life will be like, but I can believe in the concept of it. “That is why we live by believing and not by seeing.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)  Sometimes belief in the next life sustains me during this life.

I cannot expect a “good” life now, at least not if I’m a warrior in the battle between good and evil.  If I am on the sidelines, caring mostly for my own affairs, then I tend to expect a “good” life.   However, the fourth chapter of 2 Corinthians describes a life of spiritual war with terms like: pressed by troubles, perplexed, hunted down, knocked down, and suffering.  Yes, I can experience all these things even if I’m not in the war, but if I’m not in the war I will not share in the rewards of victory available to me now and in the future.  “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather we look forward to what we have not yet seen.  For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.”  (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Sacrifices and suffering seem less intense, even ignorable, when they are for someone I love.  Moreover, love can move my fear out of mind.  (1 John 4:18)  If a loved one is in a burning building, I can look past the source of fear to the one I love.  It is love that propels me.  It is not fleeing from where I am, but running to my love.  The way through my crucifixion is not by more willpower or courage but by greater love for what is on the other side of what I fear.

*A Guide To Prayer by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections.  I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used.  It truly lives up to its title.

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Christ Lives

weekly theme #22*

week containing Easter Sunday

Jesus’ resurrection was not possible without his death.  Nor can I have a new life without the death of my old life.  This death of my old life will involve pain and suffering, and I avoid those whenever possible.  That avoidance prevents the death of my old life.

Jesus said, “The time has come for me, the Son of Man, to enter into my glory, and God will receive glory because of all that happens to me.”  (John 13:31)  He made that statement just before Judas betrayed him.  It seems to me that Jesus was looking beyond his pain and suffering to what awaited him, a new reality, starting with the resurrection.  He wasn’t blind to the pain and suffering in this reality. “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.” (Mark 14:34)  He lived in the tension of both realities.  I tend to focus on worldly reality, and that can lead to a lack of spiritual power and endurance.

I just read chapters 18 and 19 of John’s Gospel.  Jesus was taken through torturous hours that tested him in ways I do not even know, and he endured.  Yet he did more than endure – he taught, challenged, modeled, protected, and refrained from saving himself.  He remained true to his call.  How can I not be inspired?

I go to my Gethsemane to plead for an exception and to hide.  I do not willing surrender myself, but I resist, complain, and feel sorry for myself.  I have great zeal to protect myself from the crucifixion I so desperately need.  I’m seeing how my life, my carnal life, has repeating crucifixions on the road to holiness.  On this road, my mind must not be focused on the crucifixion’s pain and suffering but on the resurrection’s hope and glory.  Basically it amounts to this, as long as I crave the life on this side of crucifixion more than the life on the other side of crucifixion, I am my own opponent to reaching a new, resurrected life.

“Let heaven fill your thoughts.  Do not think only about things down here on earth.  For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”  (Colossians 3:2-3)

*A Guide To Prayer by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections.  I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used.  It truly lives up to its title.

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Dad’s Obituary

Phipps, Willard Este, age 99, of Friendship Village, Trotwood passed away on Saturday, December 22, 2012. He was preceded in death by his parents George and Alice Lenora (Little) Harvey, beloved wife Alice Electa (Harshbarger) Phipps, granddaughter Joy Beth (Martindale) Jackson, five brothers, one half-brother, and three sisters. He is survived by his loving family, daughter and son-in-law Wilda and Robert Martindale-Greenville, sons and daughter-in-law Gary and June Phipps-Washington Court House, David Phipps-Englewood, grandchildren Christine and Dan Null, Jennifer Phipps, Greg and Heidi Phipps, Michael Martindale, great-grandchildren, Faith and Hope Jackson, Grace Null, Garret Phipps and several nieces and nephews. Willard spent most of his childhood in his birthplace, Menifee County, Kentucky. Moving into Darke County as a teen, he graduated from Franklin HS(now Franklin Monroe) in 1933. He wed Alice Harshbarger in August of 1940, they settled on a farm near Pleasant Hill in 1944. Besides farming, Willard sold DeKalb seed corn. In addition to raising three children, he and Alice mentored troubled youth from Dayton. He was an active member of the Potsdam Missionary Church serving in various positions of leadership. In 1998 he and Alice moved to Friendship Village Retirement Community where he continued to serve and encourage others.Willard will be greatly missed by the many people whose lives he touched. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 A.M. on Friday, December 28, 2012 at the Jackson-Sarver Family Funeral Home, 1 South Main Street, Pleasant Hill, with burial to follow at Pleasant Hill Cemetery. Friends may call on Thursday from 5:00-7:00 P.M. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: VITAS Innovative Hospice Care of Dayton, 3055 Kettering Blvd. #320, Dayton, Ohio 45439.

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My Dad’s Death

As you may have known, my Dad has been declining in health.  In the past two weeks he has fallen twice, both times resulting in head injury.  Hospice has been providing 24-hour care.

This morning the nurse told me that signs seem to indicate that “death has started”.  I contacted my brother and sister, and we all gathered in his room for some scripture reading, prayers, and singing some old hymns.  Dad may not have sung aloud, but his lips followed the hymns word-for-word.  We left his room to let him rest at 4pm tonight, Saturday 22 December 2012.

We each went home at different times, but we all expected to return for a visit tomorrow.  That was not to be.  Dad died at 6:25pm tonight.

We, his children, are sad at his death, but thankful for his life.  We’re so grateful for the final time of worship we had together.  And we’re so glad his last days had little suffering and many kind friends.

I will post his obituary and funeral arrangements on both Facebook and my blog as soon they are complete.  I just wanted to let you know as soon as possible about Dad’s entrance into glory.

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