The Worst and Best Day!

bestdayeverlogoHow can the same event be the very worst day for one and the very best day for another?  I don’t like to be negative so I will elaborate on the BEST part instead of the worst.  Please bear with me. This story ends well!

The day my best friend/husband left for Heaven was the worst day of my life,  but remembering some facts from God’s Word that day helped me tremendously.

  • He was immediately in Heaven with Jesus. (We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8)
  • He was no longer in pain. (And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4)
  • I would see him again. (King David said this about his baby that died. I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. 2 Samuel 12:23)

It has been 18 months since David left for Heaven. For the first several months as each “month anniversary” rolled around, I would get really sad reliving the events of that horrible day.

But at some point, instead of dwelling on MY feelings, I began thinking about what that day was like for David, as a Christ follower.

That’s when my whole perspective changed! The best I can understand from reading the Bible, I think these are some things that happened on that first day in Heaven for David.

  • I think David heard Jesus say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21)
  • That was the day he was able to see his Savior, the lover of his soul,  face to face!
  • That’s the day all his problems ended…..forever!
  • That’s the day he felt pain for the last time!
  • That’s the last day he felt tired!
  • That’s the last day he needed a clock!
  • That’s the day he was able to look into Jesus’ eyes, fall at His feet, and thank Him for dying for him!
  • That’s the day he got to hug Jesus!
  • That’s the day he saw his father and friends that he had been missing for so long!
  • That’s the day he REALLY worshiped God uninhibited by his sinful nature or the distractions of this world!
  • That’s the day he entered a place that will never know darkness because Jesus Christ is the light!
  • That’s the day he walked on streets of gold and toured his mansion!
  • That’s the day his faith became sight!
  • That’s the day he sang with the angels and other saints! (As a song leader at church he often talked about how wonderful it would be to sing in heaven.)
  • That’s the day he got all his questions answered! (He was an engineer always wondering about something and searching for answers.)
  • That’s the day he become fully satisfied! (I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. Psalm 17:15)
  • That’s the day he quit reading the Word (Bible) because he was with The Word (Jesus)! (In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1)
  • That day was precious to God. (Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints. Psalm 116:15)
  • That’s the day he entered his eternal home…the place he was made to dwell forever with God!

If you have had a loved one leave this world and he/she was a new creature in Christ because they had repented of their sins, trusted in Jesus for their salvation, and publically confessed Jesus as Lord of their life, you can be encouraged by this!

Our loved ones leaving this life can be the worst day for us who are left behind, but the very best for them as they are entering Heaven.  It’s not that our loved ones wanted to leave us, but God called them home.  As we think of what they are now enjoying, it eases our pain of missing them. And we can look forward to a wonderfully, exciting, endless day with them if we have trusted Christ as our Savior!

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

Keep looking up!

Gaye Hughes

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Birthdays in Heaven?

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Celebrating David’s 50th birthday October 20, 2013

Have you ever wondered if there are birthdays in heaven? I have always enjoyed celebrating birthdays. It is a special time to let people know how much I love them. It is a happy time to celebrate life.

On my children’s birthdays I usually think back to the day they were born and how special it was to finally meet them in person. After many months of anticipation, I was able to hold them for the first time and be in awe of one of God’s greatest blessings in my life.

Today is David’s first birthday in heaven.  Could it be that God had similar feelings about David… His child, entering heaven, as we do when our children enter this world?  I realize we don’t think like God does, but we are made in His image so it could be possible.

I wonder if they are celebrating his birthday in heaven.  But would  it not be more appropriate to celebrate the first day he entered heaven (the place he was created for) on March 11, 2015? After all, the work of David’s life had just been completed! He had fought a good fight and finished the race.  The battle had been won thanks to Jesus and His work on the cross.  David’s faith had become sight!

And because David had put his faith and trust in Jesus, I think he heard Jesus say,
Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

2 Peter 3:8 says,
that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

So I wonder if there is just one long day of rejoicing and celebrating because of who God is and what Jesus has done and who we will be when we finally enter heaven….a saint of God, clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, complete, and without sin.

Had Jesus been anticipating David’s arrival in heaven since his birth 51 years ago?  Was Jesus just as excited to welcome David into heaven as David was to be there? Many times David said he couldn’t wait to feel Jesus’ arms around him, hugging him tight. I believe David is enjoying lots of good hugs now.

We are so happy here when a baby is born.  And we are sad when our loved ones move to their real home in heaven…and rightly so because we miss them.  But God doesn’t see it as we do.

When we enter this world by birth, we enter a place of unrest, trouble, and pain. But when we enter the next world (heaven) by death, we enter a place of perfect peace, where all is well. God understands this much better than we do.

Psalm 116:15 says,
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

Ecclesiastes 7:1 says,
A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.

Job 5:7 says,
…man is born unto trouble,

In Philippians 1:21, Paul said,
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Paul would live for Christ while he was on this earth, but he said it would be even better when he died and was with Jesus.

My great grandfather lived within a few days of turning 101 years old.  But I’ll bet if we had asked him if he felt like he had lived a long time, he probably would have said life had gone by pretty quickly.  Even if we live 100 years, our time on earth is not very long compared to eternity.

Psalm 90:10 says,
The days of our years are threescore years and ten (70 years); and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, (80) yet in their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

Sometimes life seems to go by slowly for us here, but James 4:14 says,

For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

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David Hughes October 20, 2013

I hope this blog isn’t discouraging.  Many people don’t like to think about this life being short or the fact that death is imminent.  It is easier and  happier to think about the good things in this world, especially if you’re not sure where you stand with God.

But the Bible has a lot to say about what happens after this life.  Whether we like to think about it or believe it or not, the facts remain the same.  Jesus spent a lot of time urging people to prepare for life after this world.

Personally, I love thinking about seeing Jesus for the first time and seeing David again.  It fills me with hope and helps me get through the tough days here. Jesus said,

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to  prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. I (Jesus) am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14: 1-4, 6)

If I had spent years preparing a gift for someone I loved, I would be beside myself with excitement to finally be able to present it to them and see their reaction! Jesus has worked on heaven for at least a couple thousand years.  We cannot even imagine what God has in store for those of us who have made Jesus Lord of our lives. I Corinthians 2:9 says,

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.

So even though my heart aches at David’s absence, I’m thankful the Lord gave us 25 years together here and that we will have all eternity together.  I will miss baking his favorite chocolate cake  and singing “Happy Birthday” to him today, but  I know he is having a grand time right now and living like he never has before.

Happy Birthday David,

Gaye Hughes

P.S.  David and I had a 25 year running discussion on what a chocolate cake was.  He said his favorite cake was a chocolate one, but it was actually a yellow cake with chocolate icing. My argument was that a chocolate cake was brown and had chocolate in it and the cake is  named according to its flavor, not the frosting. Neither of us ever convinced the other. I guess we can continue this debate in heaven.  🙂

 

I did what?

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The other day my friend was telling me how touching it was to hear someone remind her of a thoughtful thing she had done nine years ago. She had given a Bible to a friend in trouble. His response at the time was that he didn’t care and didn’t want it. She urged him to just take it anyway…that it wouldn’t hurt to just have it. She didn’t even remember this happening. He had taken it and eventually picked it up and started reading it. It changed his life. Romans 12:10 says,

Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love; in honor giving preference to one another.

My friend does random acts of kindness on a regular basis. I’m not surprised she didn’t remember doing this because it has become second nature for her to be thoughtful and helpful to others.

In Matthew 25, Jesus was telling his disciples that there would be a time when He would welcome people into heaven and tell them when He had been hungry they had fed Him. When He had been thirsty, they had given Him something to drink. They had taken Him in when He was a stranger, clothed Him, visited Him when He was sick, and visited Him in prison. These people, not remembering this, will ask when they did these things.

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40)

I wonder if I’ll be one of those people. Will my life be so full of helping others that there will be lots of deeds I’m reminded of that I have forgotten about? I sure hope so. This thought motivates me to take every opportunity I can to help ease the suffering in this world. It doesn’t even have to cost me financially or even “put me out” in a big way. It can be as simple as not thinking about myself long enough to reach out to another person. In Matthew 10:42 Jesus says,

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

The day after my friend told me this, I saw a young homeless girl at a stop sign. At first I wondered if I gave her money if she would spend it on drugs and only make matters worse for herself. But then I thought about the verse above and decided to take the risk. I gave her some money with some Bible verses about Jesus’ love for her.

As I drove away, I thought about how the Lord had blessed me with a home and plenty of food to eat. I wished I could have taken her with me. I would tell her about Jesus, make her a hot meal, let her take a hot shower, and give her a bed to sleep in. And maybe I should have.

It’s hard trying to use discernment about to what extent do we help without putting ourselves in danger. But then I wonder if I’m most concerned about my safety or just too selfish to bother with someone else and their problems. It’s almost always easier to throw money at people than it is to “put myself out” for them. I wonder if the Good Samaritan in the Bible thought about this as he helped the beaten victim on the side of the road in Luke 10:30-37.

One thing is for sure…Jesus said every kind, selfless deed we do will be rewarded by Him if we do it with the right motive. Our deeds will be judged one day and those done because of our love for God and others are promised to be rewarded. (I Corinthians 3:13-15)

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall test every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work endures which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire.

May we all be sensitive to the needs of others and be willing to reach out and extent the same love of Jesus that has so graciously been given to us.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.                 (Psalm 139:23, 24)

Keep looking us,

Gaye Hughes

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Bethany, Nathan, and I after running the Mayberry 10k in Mt. Airy, NC. November 11, 2013