It has been a week since my father’s memorial and our celebrating his 74 years of life and seven weeks since he met Jesus face to face. All the hard work and planning paid off, and it was a memorable time together with family and friends. There was relief upon its conclusion and satisfaction from a collaborative effort of people who knew him well. There was comfort in grieving communally and in the midst of people who also missed him. We shed our tears and shared our memories.
After the service, several people approached us about how beautiful it was and how much they had learned about Paul. We agreed because it was only in his passing that we gained a fuller picture of who he was. We had settled for the familiar and wanted an opportunity to interact with him about all we had learned, but that’s not possible right now.
Six years ago, when his health struggles intensified and we nearly lost him the first of many times, he prayed to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior. One of my prayer partners, whom Dad had never met, felt led to visit him in the hospital and share the gospel with him. He responded to her invitation and prayed, and I had to repent from my unbelief.
Dad read the devotionals we gave him but wasn’t much for sharing his thoughts and feelings. Hindsight is 20/20, and there were subtle changes I missed, like his developing conservative views on life and being moved to tears while sharing a touching story. He was becoming engaged in life in a way not possible before, but I missed it. Instead, I focused on his stubbornness and held on to my minimal understanding.
Please understand that I am not condemning myself or living in regret, but I want to learn from this experience. I want to be more discerning of Holy Spirit and how He is working in and around me. I don’t want to miss Him, and I need His help to be more engaged and not blinded by the familiar. There is an invitation to shake off the former ways of doing life and wholeheartedly embrace the fullness of the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
I have much to learn, but Holy Spirit is the best teacher and counselor, so I know I am in good hands, and you will be too.
Let’s reexamine what Jesus said and invited us to do.
[Jesus] and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15 NKJV
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33
31 Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, Matthew 5:43-44
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. John 17:18
These are not ‘feel good’ verses. How about the following?
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8
19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. 1 John 5:19
12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:12
36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: Hebrews 10:36
There are many more, but these challenge me with the cost of following Jesus. I give Jesus a fresh ‘yes’ every moment of my life by knowing what my ‘yes’ means. It declares over and over that He alone is worthy of any and all suffering as my King. He purchased my life, and I willingly live to love, honor, and serve Him.
Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday!
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