Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Importance of Preparation

By the end of this week I will have conducted my 103rd and 104th funeral services in the nine years I have been pastor here at Westmoreland Baptist Church. These serve as another couple of reminders to what the Bible reminds us about death. It’s certain. We may not know when. We may not know where. We may not know how, but it’s coming for each of us. It is important for us to remember that this is an appointment that we all must keep (Hebrews 9:27).

Fortunately the two dear ladies whom we have lost were prepared for their appointments. We can certainly take comfort in the fact that when they fell asleep here, they awakened in the presence of their Lord, Jesus Christ. Each of them had made those preparations years ago, when they came to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord.

The Word of God goes to great length to urge us to be prepared – for the likelihood of our own deaths, or for His coming to take His children home. Jesus, himself, used parables and lessons to teach of the importance of preparation.

I am thankful to know that in a world of uncertainty, preparation is possible. God has revealed His plan to us through His Word which explains that we can be prepared for death through the cleansing of our sins in the precious blood of Jesus.

Neglected preparation is sad, indeed. He tells us it is “Not His will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”. (2 Peter 3:9) John 3:16 tells us the scope of God’s love, for everyone. The fact that any would leave this life without a relationship with Him is truly tragic, and totally unnecessary.

Thank God, however, that preparation has glorious results. Death is a blessed event to the one who knows Christ. It is certainly not a happy experience for those who have said farewell to their loved one, but it is a precious event to the Lord (1 Peter 3:4). One can only imagine the beautiful scenes that await us in Glory. We can rejoice in knowing that earthly pain and suffering are not even a memory to those who rest in the presence of Christ. It is a realm of endless bliss, perfect peace and rest, and fullness of joy for the believer.

I hope that you have made your preparation, because the time for each of us is coming!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Love This Old Poem

Years ago, my friend, Carl Taylor, would quote this poem from memory around Christmas time.
I have looked for it for years, and fortunately, this morning I have finally found it. We boys who grew up in the 50’s (and probably those from the 40’s too) can really relate to this poem. It’s a month late for Christmas, but I think it’s appropriate anytime.
Hope it brings a chuckle to you today.

Jest 'Fore Christmas
By Eugene Field

Father calls me William, sister calls me Will,

Mother calls me Willie, but the fellers call me Bill!

Mighty glad I ain’t a girl—ruther be a boy,

Without them sashes, curls, an’ things that’s worn by Fauntleroy!

Love to chawnk green apples an’ go swimmin’ in the lake—

Hate to take the castor-ile they give for bellyache!‘

Most all the time, the whole year round, there ain’t no flies on me,

But jest ‘fore Christmas I’m as good as I kin be!

Got a yeller dog named Sport, sick him on the cat;

First thing she knows she doesn’t know where she is at!

Got a clipper sled, an’ when us kids goes out to slide,

‘Long comes the grocery cart, an’ we all hook a ride!

But sometimes when the grocery man is worrited an’ cross,

He reaches at us with his whip, an’ larrups up his hoss,

An’ then I laff an’ holler, “Oh, ye never teched me!”

But jest ‘fore Christmas I’m as good as I kin be!

Gran’ma says she hopes that when I git to be a man,

I’ll be a missionarer like her oldest brother, Dan,

As was et up by the cannibuls that lives in Ceylon’s Isle,

Where every prospeck pleases, an’ only man is vile!

But gran’ma she has never been to see a Wild West show,

Nor read the Life of Daniel Boone, or else I guess she’d know

That Buff’lo Bill an’ cow-boys is good enough for me!

Excep’ jest ‘fore Christmas, when I’m good as I kin be!

And then old Sport he hangs around, so solemn-like an’ still,

His eyes they seem a-sayin’: “What’s the matter, little Bill?”

The old cat sneaks down off her perch an’ wonders what’s become

Of them two enemies of hern that used to make things hum!

But I am so perlite an’ ‘tend so earnestly to biz,

That mother says to father: “How improved our Willie is!”

But father, havin’ been a boy hisself, suspicions me

When, jest ‘fore Christmas, I’m as good as I kin be!

For Christmas, with its lots an’ lots of candies, cakes, an’ toys,

Was made, they say, for proper kids an’ not for naughty boys;

So wash yer face an’ bresh yer hair, an’ mind yer p’s and q’s,

An’ don’t bust out yer pantaloons, and don’t wear out yer shoes;

Say “Yessum” to the ladies, an’ “Yessur” to the men,

An’ when they’s company, don’t pass yer plate for pie again;

But, thinkin’ of the things yer’d like to see upon that tree,

Jest ‘fore Christmas be as good as yer kin be!