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Reflections

This past weekend was my Mom’s birthday; the day she came into this world. However, she had a greater birthday, the day she was born into the Kingdom of God – her spiritual birth. I don’t know when that day was. I don’t think I ever heard her say. Maybe she didn’t even know it. She grew up in church. Her father was a minister of the Word so she grew up knowing about Jesus. But there has to be one day when we all put our faith and trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior and commit to Him only. I don’t know that day for her, but I know she was committed in her relationship with Him. I know that on her birthday this past weekend, she was celebrating in heaven with Jesus – not because of her birthday but because of Jesus.

In the last days of Mom’s life, she spent them in a hospital room surrounded by her family. There were a few times when I found myself alone with her. Those times were precious. We had good conversations. But there is one conversation I wish I had with her. When she went into the hospital, she was in an emergency situation. We could see she was drifting towards heaven. The doctor would remind her to stay with us, and she would come back. The doctor told us she would be leaving soon to call everyone in that needed to be there. So we did. However, God gave us more time with her.

After she was admitted to the hospital, the next day I was alone with her for a couple of hours. I told her what a close call she had. At that moment she started thanking Jesus. I had never heard her say the things I heard her say in those moments. She was praising Jesus for something but I don’t really know why. I always assumed she was thanking Him for letting her stay here – that she was afraid to die. But I will never know because I didn’t ask her what she meant by her thanks. I never had that conversation.

We asked her pastor to have the conversation with her about her readiness for heaven to make sure she was okay before God called her home. After that conversation, the pastor reassured us that Mom knew her Savior and Lord and had trusted Him for her salvation. She was ready. My Mom’s sister told us later that Mom told the pastor that God gave her a glimpse of heaven when she was drifting in and out that first day in the hospital. I don’t know if this is true or not, but maybe that’s what she was praising Jesus for. Again, I’ll never know because I didn’t have the conversation with her.

During Mom’s life, she tried to instill in her daughters love – she showed us love in different ways. She modeled Jesus for us. She was not perfect. But she gave us an understanding of what God’s love looked like in human form – because she loved us deeply. I don’t think I returned as much love as she gave out. I asked her during one of those last conversations, if she knew how much I loved her and she said yes. So somehow in my fumbling attempts to love, she knew it. She also wanted to know if I would go back to my old way of life when she was gone (you’ll have to read my story in my book Mirror, Mirror to get the full context of my old life). The answer was no. I told her my faith and my life was in Jesus. There was no going back for me.

When Mom left us in the end, she was at peace. All the conversations were done. We gave her the release to go. And with one final breath, she was gone; at least from this present life. We know where she is right now. And for that fact, we rejoice and celebrate the coming reunion that one day we will have with her and the rest of our loved ones who know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Jesus said the way is narrow and not everyone will find it. He alone is the only way to find the door to heaven. He is the gate. He is the light. He is the truth. Only Jesus’ death and resurrection, gives us the key to heaven. We are told that when we believe this and receive that key, we will have entry into heaven. One day, every knee will bow to Jesus. Jesus said though, only the ones who know Him as Lord and Savior will be allowed in. That seems a bit narrow, doesn’t it? People scoff at that narrow-mindedness. But the only way to know you are secure in your relationship with God is through Jesus.

My prayer is that you will not wait for your final moments to know if you are secure. Get right today. Know Jesus today as Lord and Savior. Walk with the assurance that Jesus is your Lord and Savior and find peace today. My Mom’s life was a good reflection, and I hope mine will be for someone else to see Jesus in me. That’s the purpose for all of us – to honor and glorify Him every day of our lives. Let it be said of me – and you. Thank you, Jesus! I praise Your Holy Name today! Amen.

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” John 3:16-18 (MSG)

Perfect Reflection

I am very grateful for my Dad. Yesterday, he had his eighty-eighth birthday. Last month was my parent’s the sixty-fourth wedding anniversary. My Mom is already in her heavenly home, but my Dad is still here with us. Dad didn’t remember their day, but I did. I still like to remember how special my parents were together. My sisters and I are a result of their union. My sister has four boys of her own. They in turn have their children. Three generations, so far, have come from my parents union. I am grateful for my Dad because he is a good Dad. I don’t really have any daddy issues that I can pinpoint. I had a good upbringing. So when I think of God as Father, I am okay with that. Dad did a good job reflecting (as best as he was able) the picture of God as a good Father. But my Dad was still an imperfect Dad. He did much that was right and a few things that could have been better.

In a perfect world (as the world began), God put the perfect reflection on earth in a family setting. However, sin entered the world and everything changed. And we have been suffering the consequences of sin ever since. The perfect reflection became imperfect. There are many in this world do not have such a good image of a father. To them, the idea of God as Father is a poor reflection of who He really is. A father is one who is supposed to support us; to be in our corner cheering us on. He is supposed to love us without conditions. He is supposed to catch us when we fall. He is supposed to hold us close when our hearts are broken. That of course was supposed to be the perfect reflection of a good Father. Jesus gives us access to the only good and perfect Father that we will ever have. We are adopted as God’s son and daughter when we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. We become God’s children!

God is not a reflection of our earth father. He is the perfect image of a perfect Father. We don’t have to be afraid of the Father who loves us unconditionally. We don’t have to assume that we are going to be condemned for doing something wrong. He tells us that we don’t have to earn His love. And believe it or not, He also likes us. He made us in His image! What’s not to like? When we receive the truth of that in our hearts, it may give us a new perspective of ourselves and we could actually love (and like) ourselves too. Our earthly fathers may have done a poor job in being a good Dad, but we can change our perceptions of who God is to us when we identify with Jesus as son and daughter of the heavenly Father. When we read that Jesus is the reflection of God – He spoke what God told Him to speak; He did the work that God wanted Him to do while He was here – we will see a new image of God as Father. Jesus was the perfect reflection on earth of our heavenly Father.

We have already inherited a glorious future that we really didn’t deserve, but He gave it to us anyway. The Gospel of Jesus Christ death and resurrection gives us the access we need to become who God meant for us to be – His beloved children. God asked us to obey and honor our earthly parents. It was a commandment that we were supposed to obey, and the only one with a promise. When we do that, we are told it will go well with us (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:3). The promise wasn’t that it would be better for our parents, but better for us as children. It’s not easy to obey and honor when our parents are not the best people in the world, but when we have the power of the Gospel message living in us – all things are possible. When the world sees the power of the Gospel message living out in us, they see the reflection of Jesus in us that will draw more to Him. We are image bearers. And we have a higher standard to live by. We live it by the power that lives in us. I may look like my earthly Dad, but I want the true reflection of my heavenly Father living out through me.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:1-2

Message by Louie Giglio – May 3, 2015 – A God to call Father

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