I praise God for my several loved ones and dear relatives!

Let My Praises Be Heard!


I PRAISE GOD FOR MY SEVERAL LOVED ONES AND DEAR RELATIVES!

Lack of knowledge prevents me from giving detailed profiles of my loved ones, beyond my own immediate family. Nevertheless, it is proper and significant that I should at least recognize some of my loved ones, for the great persons that they are or were. I have enjoyed each one of those persons to one degree or another, and at one time or another, throughout my long life of presently nearly 70 years. I have geographically lived near a few of them. And I am close in age to some of them, and some of them are older or younger than I am. That, of course, is the nature of a ‘family clan’.

I will only mention some of those relatives by name, and attempt to note only very briefly, what they do or what they did in the case of a few of my deceased loved ones.

First, I will start with my nephews and nieces. Starting with the oldest, Bob Gilliland, who built many houses; Rod, was involved in home financing and a broker. Doug, is a land developer and financial investor. They are my sister Margaret sons.

Debbie Farrington, an elementary school teacher; Diana Sobotka, also an elementary school teacher; Mark Lancaster, worked for an airline company; Brian Lancaster works for an insurance company. Those are my sister Bobbie’s children. My sister Bobbie passed away about 3 year ago.

My brother Jerry lost his 15 year old daughter Sharla, as a result of a seizure which happened while riding on a roller coaster in Denver in 1981. Jerry also has a son Greg, who is very much at ease on computers that he has used for many years. Jerry’s daughter Marsha, has for 10 years done lots of record keeping for a company who specializes in expensive registered horses.

Then there are my 2 daughters Darlene and Rhonda. Darlene, who is my eldest, enjoys her oldest son, Lucas, who is talented in the use of modern technology, smart phones, computer knowledge, etc., and he has recently discovered that God has gifted him with amazing writing skills. Darlene’s daughter Megan loves pets, and she has inherited some of her mother’s artistic skills.

My youngest daughter, Rhonda, has a son and a daughter. Madeleine, who can talk fast and can think quickly, similar to her mother, and she makes good grades, and she loves to read. Rhonda’s son William can assemble ‘Legos’ better than anyone that I know. His mechanical skills, since his young childhood, have amazed me! Among his skills, is his skill as a competitive swimmer and excellent diver.

In very brief summary is the above listing of the names of all my nephews and nieces, with a short description of some of their interest and skills, – plus a noting of my two daughters and my four grandchildren.

I wish briefly to note that God gave me, in addition to my wonderful wife, my wife’s two wonderful sisters and respective husbands. Venita’s elder sister of 10 years, is Jean, and she has a degree in music and she has taught piano lessons to many children for several years. Her husband Kay, was a long-time school counsellor in Seattle. They devotedly loved two adopted children, Marianne and Donald, both of whom enjoy living in dwelling places, near Seattle. Venita’s other sister, Myrt, 7 years older than Venita, lived with her husband Bob in Bellevue, Nebraska, nearly all of their married life. Both of them taught elementary children for more than three decades. Because they were not blessed with any children, Bob and Myrt reached out in love to countless children and teenagers, all of their lives. Even though they lived many miles apart from our two daughters, they, nevertheless, kept in close contact by mail with our daughters. They, without fail, attended all of the important events in which our daughters had involvement, such as several graduations, weddings, and even birthdays. Bob and Myrt lavished our daughters with various kinds of gifts. Their letters, especially Bob’s letters, were long and descriptive and most affirming. Bob and Myrt, the closest ones to Darlene and Rhonda, were almost like ‘second parents’ to our daughters. Our daughters spent lots of time talking, listening, and writing to their favorite aunt and uncle.

It is ‘strange’, though not important, to note that Bob Bailey and Kay (my two brother-in-laws) each died when they were the same age – 69 years old! Four years after Bob died, Bob’s widow (Myrt) was united in holy matrimony to a special man (a widower who had lost his wife a year before) – Sam Hamblen, a resident of Fort Collins for about 50 years, and a successful builder and contractor. Sam and Myrt are presently very happily married.

Only God knows the heart of each person, whom I have listed, but from my limited perspective I believe that every one of the above listed persons is a Christian believer! Each one is precious to God, and each one of these above-listed persons has, to one extent or another, been a blessing and encouragement to me! I have not listed the names of the spouses of my nephews and nieces, but I could easily speak very highly of them as well.

Ron G. Christian web-design-group


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I praise God for many soul-winning opportunities!

Let My Praises Be Heard!


I PRAISE GOD FOR MANY SOUL-WINNING OPPORTUINITIES!

One of the most important ‘cross-road’ events of my life occurred when I was a very young pastor. I met a pastor/evangelist, who successfully pastored a sizeable Church in the state of Washington. Arrangements were made by my conference superintendent, Glenn Williamson, for this well-known, seasoned pastor, Rev. George Delamarter, to spend a couple of days with me in Fort Collins, Colorado, where I was the new pastor of a struggling, small Free Methodist Church.

Spending those two days with this ‘towering soul-winner’ (well-known throughout our entire denomination), literally changed the direction of my entire pastoral life, activities, and priorities. This aggressive, ‘in your face’ man, a man with multiple talents, including music, but whose primary focus was personal evangelism – rather intimidated me, but he also attracted me! Even though his personality and my personality were considerably different, I found myself wishing that I, too, could become an outgoing soul-winner! Because he had (along with his other remarkable talents) the talent of art. George Delamarter prepared a most impressive, colorful ‘flip chart’, which greatly enhanced his presentation of the plan of salvation, which he often gave in the homes of unbelievers, homes of receptive persons, and many of whom had visited his church service.

To make a ‘long story shorter’, after George Delamarter, this fruitful and creative soul-winner, left my home, I (as a young pastor) decided that – by God’s grace and enabling strength – I would make myself available to the ‘Lord of the harvest’ to be a ‘harvester’ for souls! I wanted to ‘reach out in love’ to lost and dying souls. I wanted to find courage and zeal from God to take initiative to make ‘appointments’ in the homes of sinners, to go to those homes and present the ‘plan of salvation’ and to invite couples to accept Christ as Savior. A simple, direct, deliberate and intentional plan to win a few, (or maybe even many) souls, to Christ.

With no experience (of course), I decided to follow the ‘example’ of the very mature soul-winner, namely, the famous George Delamarter! I knew I could never be him or do everything in the exact way he did ‘things’. But, I believed that God could use even me, with my limited gifts, talents, my more quiet personality. I ordered the ‘flip chart’, which I would find to be a helpful ‘aid’ in my presentation of the ‘plan of salvation’.

Admittedly, it took a lot of courage and determination (on my part) to contact unbelievers by phone or in person, and to explain to them that I would count it a privilege to come to their homes and to present a simple Bible study, a study that helps to explain the meaning of life, and a study which helps people to ‘deepen’ their assurance of eternal life. Of course, my wording was slightly different each time I gave an ‘explanation’ for my coming to their home, according to the specific needs and personality of each person. Even though I sought to be ‘honest’ in my appeal to each person, wisdom and discernment dictated that I not forthrightly tell the ‘sinner contact’ that I wanted to come to their house to share with them that they were ‘terrible sinners’, lost and undone.

Sometimes it was rather ‘easy’ for me to make appointments with homes (unsaved homes), but usually I found that it took me considerable determination, and prayer, to get on the phone and to seek another ‘appointment’. But during the approximately 20 years, that I carried on this outreach of personal evangelism ministry, there were hundreds of adults, teens, and children, (about 300 to 350 persons) who accepted Christ as Savior, and who prayed the ‘sinner’s prayer’.

During those 20 years of outreach to lost persons (during which time I spent many nights around the living room tables of seeing souls), I seldom was able to enjoy the warm comforts of my home, with my dear wife and our two growing daughters. My wife tried to explain to our young daughters why I was not at home with them, night after night. Just as fathers who sell insurance policies, and have to be gone at night, so their father was out in homes sharing Jesus to those who don’t know Jesus. They understood, I believe! Venita was most understanding. She waited for me to return home with abounding joy, to report that the angels were rejoicing because another soul is now in the ‘Kingdom’!

These ‘Salvation By Appointments’, the name given by Delamarter, preoccupied much of my thinking, although obviously, I had to be involved in a large number of other programs, within the overall dimension of my pastoral work. I however, kept evangelism outreach, and specifically soul-winning, as a priority ‘high on my list’. Slowly, but persistently, I continued to ‘make appointments’ in the homes of the unsaved persons, and I found abounding joy when I witnessed sinner after sinner, couple after couple, hold hands with me, and pray the ‘Sinner’s Prayer’.

Immediately after the couples, or persons, prayed to receive Christ, we all rejoiced, of course. Then I shared with the new converts, usually couples, the need and opportunity for a three months ‘follow-up’, learning the ‘basics’ of living the Christian life. They, of course, were excited to have another couple, a ‘Timothy Couple’, come to their home once a week for 13 weeks, to share the ‘basic how tos’ of the Christian life.

The follow-up program was vitally important, as a means of encouraging new believers in the ‘new-found walk’ with Christ. Understandably, the ‘bonding’ between the new Christian couple and the ‘Timothy couple’ became rather strong, after sharing was experienced over the 3 month period. It is easy to understand that long-time friendship was enjoyed with new believers and the Timothy couple, long after the 3 month period of ‘follow-up’ was completed. There were several lay couples in my church who gladly accepted the ‘Timothy’ ministry as their primary ‘calling’.

For obvious reasons, it would not have been ‘wise’ for me, as their pastor, to serve as a ‘Timothy’ teacher. The Lay couples did that Job’ very well, very effectively. It was very important for new believers to become ‘bonded’ with ‘fellow lay persons’. There was much about the pastoral ministry that I greatly enjoyed, but the joy I experienced, time and time again over about 20 years, when I witnessed sinners finding Jesus as their Savior, was an unsurpassed joy. The greatest privilege in the entire world is the privilege of being a soul-winner!


Table of contents: Let my praises be heard!


“Thousands of steps to deliver thousands of devotional booklets”

Let My Praises Be Heard!


“THOUSANDS OF STEPS TO DELIVER THOUSANDS OF DEVOTIONAL BOOKLETS”

In December 1995 (just seven months after Christian Living Ministries began), I began to do what nearly anyone could do. A very simple ministry of systematic distribution of Christian devotional literature – a ministry that nearly anyone could choose to do, but nevertheless, a ministry that entailed a lot of discipline and a lot of physical energy. I remember that my local church (under the leadership of a ‘key’ layman-conscientious and dedicated and organized), distributed thousands of the little daily devotional booklets (Our Daily Bread) – every quarter for several years.

When I was the pastor of that local Free Methodist Church, I expressed many times to that ‘key’ lay person, my deep appreciation for the ‘quiet and consistent’ work that he did. I was grateful for the fact that he had recruited dozens of ‘helpers’ to make that ministry possible. Thousands of homes were ‘touched’, as a result of those devotional booklets being placed in the door or screen of those many houses.

With the memory of that simple but effective, ministry of ‘literature distribution’ through the ‘channels’ of my former church, I decided that the same ‘ministry’ could (and should) be carried out, in my own neighborhood. Why couldn’t I do the ‘foot work’? Just like the lay persons did, some years before, while I was their pastor? So, without much thought as to what it would mean for me to be the ‘footman’, each quarter (year after year), ordered several; boxes of the devotional booklet.

For about 55 quarters I passed out the devotional booklet (Our Daily Bread). That means for 14 years (with missing only one quarter), because of inclement weather, I went up and down thousands of steps, to reach the front door of hundreds of homes, to deposit the ‘truth of God’ (in the form of a little God-centered booklet).

There were many persons who expressed thanks to me, for my efforts, and for the great help (spiritually) that they received from reading the ‘Christ-honoring’ booklet. Occasionally (but very seldom) did I receive a ‘negative response’ from persons to whom I gave the booklet. On one occasion, after I had gone to the next door my fast walking in a neighborhood, a young man found the booklet on his front door, and he took the booklet and he slung the booklet across his yard, where it landed in a curb in front of his house. He, of course, yelled at me, and I gently responded with loving words.

God surely must have a ‘sense of humor’, for the next thing that happened, brought a sense of shame to the young man. The young man’s medium-sized dog got loose from the young man, and guess where his dog ended up? Yes, right at my feet! The young man who had just yelled at me (and who had tossed the devotional book), came over to the next yard to get his dog that was (as I said) right at my feet!

The young man was very ‘ashamed’ for the way he had acted towards me, and he apologized to me. He said that he was ‘fed up’ with the various ‘political brochures’ that were at this door and admitted that his negative action towards me was ‘wrong’. Of course, I accepted his apology; but (wisely) I did not go back to his door to give him another devotional booklet, and I certainly did not (unwisely) try to retrieve the devotional booklet that he had tossed into the curb in front of his house!

On one other (rare) occasion, after I had left a devotional booklet in the door of a certain house, and as I was crossing the street in front of this house, to walk my well-used ‘route’ to continue my ‘mission’, a lady came out of her house, trotting across the street where I was walking, and she yelled at me ‘from the top of her lungs’, letting me know ‘in no uncertain terms’ that she did not want that ‘booklet’!

Frankly, this unexpected invasion into my quiet thoughts that particular morning, as I was ‘going about my worthy mission’, frightened me (almost scared me!). She looked like a ‘wild woman’ dashing across the street (close to where I was walking). Maybe she was that type of woman. I don’t know, but (as the Lord taught us), I did not ‘yell back’- even though I might have wanted to, as a result of my sometimes ‘unsanctified emotions’!

Lest I develop a ‘martyr complex’, or become, ‘self-righteous’ in my attitude when I think about this ‘yelling woman’ (this woman who hated the emotional booklet so badly that she was bold enough to follow me onto the street), I must humbly and I must shamefully acknowledge that (according to my wife’s evaluation) I have sometimes raised my voice (apparently ‘yelled’) far too much in my life’s ventures, when I am discussing ‘controversial subjects’ (of many kinds). Venita (unfortunately) has had sometimes to ‘calm me’ and she has had to tell me to ‘lower my voice’ during ‘heated’ discussions! She has (unfortunately) had to remind me that ‘there are neighbors’ nearby who don’t need to hear me yelling’! I, of course, generally defend myself, and I tell her that I have emotions that going to ‘show’ when am talking about a ‘subject that is near to my heart’ (like abortion or humanism in our public schools, or ‘sheep stealing’ among local churches, and a dozen other hot topics).

Since I am a ‘yeller’ at times, I guess I had better not ‘criticize’ a woman who found it necessary (because of her own ‘set of beliefs’) to come after me and to ‘act like a crazy woman’. My experience of being ‘yelled’ at on a pleasant, sunny morning is ‘nothing’ compared to the experiences of the ‘persecuted church’ in other lands! Nevertheless, I must admit that, in the quietness of that morning, I was a ‘little unnerved’ by her aggressive actions and by her ‘harsh yelling!’

This (rare) experience gave me an appreciation for the ‘redeeming Gospel’ which this desperate lady needed. I prayed that someone somewhere would ‘get through to this needy soul’! During the 14 years (about 55 quarters) that I carried on this literature distribution ministry, I was told countless times how much the devotional booklet meant to the recipients.

Once, while I was quite a distance from the house where I had just left the booklet, a lady came to her front porch, and she shouted in a loud voice from across the street, “I love the devotional book. It is wonderful!”(I guess that affirmation makes up for the yelling by the ‘crazy lady’). I, of course, don’t remember any sequence to the various occasions when I received either positive or negative responses, I do know, for certain, that the number of positive responses far, far outweighs the negative responses.

It took me lots of hours to accomplish my ‘mission’ (of door-to-door distribution), each quarter, but, even though I grew tired, it was ‘worth it’. I planned to continue the ‘mission’ beyond the 14 years but, frankly, I was ready to ‘call it quits’ after this number of years.

One practical reason for discontinuing this literature ministry, was that I noticed (as I, obviously. Was getting older- about 65 at the time), I say, I noticed that my ‘knees’ were developing ‘aches’ and ‘pains’ (I think as a result of my ascending and descending thousands of front steps of hundreds of homes). Even though I believed that, because I had been a ‘steady runner’, I was rather strong in my legs, I did not ‘want to take the chance’ of developing additional knee problems.

After delivering this little devotional booklet (“Our Daily Bread”) door-to- door in my neighborhood for 14 years (approximately 55 quarters), I decided (rather decisively) that it was time for me to discontinue this meaningful ministry. All ‘good things’ (even ministries) must eventually come to an ‘end’.

It had long been my desire to ‘saturate’ my immediate community (about 400 homes) with the ‘Gospel of Christ’ (the message of God’s love)! As a result of my consistent distribution of this excellent booklet, I believed that my long- time ministry to these neighborhood homes was accomplished.

One day, after I had gone to a lot of homes, I decided to take a brief rest in my car. While I was resting, a lady came up to the window of my car. She rather startled me but I was quite sure that she was an ‘ally’ and not an ‘adversary’ to my cause. She quickly asked me, “Are you the one who is bringing these devotional booklets to the houses?” When I simply answered in the ‘affirmative’ her straight or worldly said to me, you’re an angel! (I replied, I know that I am! Just kidding) I said, “Thank you! I am glad that you like the devotional booklets. I have been doing this for quite some time.” She mentioned that the booklet had blessed her so, much!


Table of contents: Let my praises be heard!


Extensive writings translated into numerous books by a diligent lady!

Let My Praises Be Heard!


EXTENSIVE WRITINGS TRANSLATED INTO NUMEROUS BOOKS BY A DILIGENT LADY!

Of course, following my retirement from the pastorate, I was no longer involved in the exacting ‘practice’ of sermon preparation (which involved so much of my time for about 25 years). I believe that, a few months after I left my church, God initiated an idea in my mind, namely, to found a new non-profit organization, the main purpose to be to distribute Christian literature (primarily, the Christian literature that I myself had written over a long period of time). I had been actively writing ever since I became a pastor, when I was still in my early 20’s.

A friend of mine (a dedicated Christian lady) had taken a special interest in my writings, and, as a result, many of my sermons had been bound together, to form devotional books. I envisioned this newly-formed organization (called ‘Christian Living Ministries’) to be the ‘vehicle’ for the distribution of my several books.

A Christian lawyer did all the legal work, and soon this new (small) organization was in ‘operation’. I asked three different men (including the lawyer) to compose the ‘board’ for ‘Christian Living Ministries’, and, as a result of my appeal for ‘supporting donors’, I received positive response from a ‘handful’ of ‘glad financial supporters’.

During the next 15 years (during which time this small organization existed), l distributed- free of cost to everyone – several hundreds of my books, to friends and family members and fellow pastors and associates! Several of these recipients sent me ‘notes of appreciation’ for my books. I trust that, in some way, God was able to use these carefully written books (my sermons and other writings), for the benefit of spiritual growth and personal inspiration.

After I left the pastorate, in 1994 (nearly 20 years ago, at the time of this writing), I found myself involved in additional writing, beyond the writing of sermons which I did during my time when I was active in the pastorate. In fact, to date (2013), I presently have several dozen books and booklets (that I have either authored or compiled) available for anyone who wishes to enjoy them, and most of these books and booklets are presently available (for viewing or for downloading) on my Web site (CLMBOOKS.ORG).

None of these books and booklets (freely available) would be available, without the unusual dedication of an unusual lady, Shirley Ruiz. This lady, many years ago, volunteered (without any pay) to type all my material, to design the pages very attractively, and to neatly present all these pages (perhaps 10,000 pages!!) to the printer for ‘production’.

Words, of course, are inadequate to express my appreciation to Shirley Ruiz, for her ‘labors of love’ and her untiring dedication to my ‘writing projects’. Obviously (as I have told her several times), the widespread distribution of these many books (including the distribution on the Web), would never have been possible without her faithful and persistent dedication, during the last 30 years. if it were not for her, my writings (as helpful as they might be) would be ‘gathering dust’ in some ‘box’ somewhere in my ‘garage’!

I owe whatever ‘success’ I have had, in the distribution of the ‘Good News’ of Jesus, through the medium of ‘Christian Books’, entirely to this godly and gracious and tenacious lady! She has tirelessly and faithfully and most cheerfully performed this ‘service’ of ‘transferring’ my (sometimes) almost illegible writing, into a beautiful document (that wall become a handsome- looking book)!

During the 30 years that I have worked, so ‘comfortably’ with her, she had not manifested any spirit, other than the ‘spirit of enthusiasm’ and ‘gladness’ and ‘excitement’. She has offered many ‘good suggestions’ regarding ‘format’ and ‘design’ and ‘approach to better appeal in terms of layout’, and those suggestions (most times) are ‘excellent’ and readily accepted by me!

During the last several years, Shirley has received some monthly financial compensation for her faithful work. However, it is not likely that I will ever be able to ‘repay her’ (financially or otherwise) for her unusual devotion to this work. I have thanked her on many occasions for her loving devotion to God and for her faithful partnership with me.

She has never been calculating in the work that she does for me. In fact, she has asked for more and more work (typing and designing) to do. When she has completed the typing (designing) of one book, she asks for another book to type! It seems that she cannot get enough work to do! The volume of work that she has done (the thousands of pages she has typed) is mind-boggling! The spirit of enthusiasm and zeal that she manifests in this work is most amazing and most rare!

When I think that I have given this lady (who just had her 80th birthday) ‘too much work’, she actually requests that I give her more ‘books to type’! She has told me, many times, that this work that she does, gives her a lot of ‘Joy’, that the material that she types ‘blesses her’ and gives her ‘insights’! certainly, without ‘question’, this lady is ‘one in a million’. I have never worked with anyone who has been more faithful ‘in the Lord’s work’, than this lady.

She has been an example and an inspiration to me- her joyful spirit, her persistence in labor (about 30 years in this ‘work’ of helping to produce many books), her cooperative ‘spirit’ of ‘teamwork’, and, most importantly, her deep love for her Master (for whom she has primarily work, all of these decades). I have told her (several times): ‘Shirley, I thank you for what you have done for me, for so very long, but I know that you are really working for your Savior, whom you love so very much.’

“Shirley, I am in great ‘debt’ to you, and I know that many other persons are in ‘debt’ to you! I know that many persons on this earth are being blessed through these books, and all because of your labors of love. I know that you will have to wait until you get to heaven, before you will get your ‘true reward’ for everything you have done on earth. I know that you are primarily working of course, for Christ, and only secondarily for me. I can’t imagine how you could type (10,000 pages approximately), but God has given you unusual hands and fingers! I am amazed by your talents and especially by your remarkable spirit! Thank you!

Thank you Shirley!”

The ministry, just briefly described began in April 1995, just a few weeks before Venita received her ‘open door’ communication regarding the founding of her elderly care businesses. A few months, after I believed that God wanted me to form a new non-profit organization (Christian Living Ministries), I had another ‘moving of the Spirit’!

I sensed that I should be involved in a further ‘trust’ in getting the Word of God distributed in my community. This new (informal) endeavor could be seen as a further extension of the ministry of ‘Christian Living Ministries’ (a literature distribution ministry).


Table of contents: Let my praises be heard!


I thank God for the development of a God-given ‘spiritual gift’!

Let My Praises Be Heard!


I THANK GOD FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF A GOD-GIVEN ‘SPIRITUAL GIFT’!

After my ‘forced retirement’ from my pastorate (as a result of my longterm depression), God allowed me (once again) to be ‘healthy’ -that is, to think rationally, to feel much more ‘settled’ in my emotions, to worship more meaningfully and fervently, and also to begin writing again (my writing ‘talent’ had become dormant during my time of depression). As mentioned earlier, the return of my ‘health’ was also demonstrated (wonderfully) by my joyful return to my daily ‘running’!


Table of contents: Let my praises be heard!


I praise God for the hope of eternal life in heaven someday!

Let My Praises Be Heard!


I PRAISE GOD FOR THE HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN SOMEDAY!

Heaven- described as a glorious city, a place that is likened to pure gold and clear glass- Heaven God’s dwelling place which is prepared for those earthlings who love and who serve the living Christ. Heaven- a place whose environment is filled with God’s holiness, and God’s beauty, and God’s unity, and God’s perfection, and God’s unspeakable joy!

Heaven a place where there are no tears of sorrow or grief, a place where there is no sickness or pain or death. No funerals in heaven! And no aging and no growing old and decrepit! A place where there is no sun and no moon, for Christ Himself is the source of all light! In heaven, there is no night!

There are no arguments between family members ‘up there’ in ‘glory land’! No separations from those we love. No marriage, it is true, but the love relationship enjoyed between spouses on earth will be greatly enhanced in heaven! Heaven – a place where the focus of all will be on Christ alone! Heaven is a place where there is no competition and no comparisons between jealous-ridden persons.

Heaven is a place where all serve each other with holy love and with gladness. Heaven is a place of perfect harmony and unity, where ‘all is for each, and each is for all.’ Serving each other without the physical imitations of a human body.

Heaven a place of joyful singing and happy serving and constant learning. A place where all the saints will learn from one another, and all will learn forever from the ‘Master Teacher’ Himself- the Lord Jesus Christ. Heaven – a place where each will become more like God forever – without, of course, ever actually becoming gods.

The excitement of eternal growth in knowledge and in holy wisdom and understanding! No longer seeing reality as if peering through a hazy glass, but, instead, seeing reality with our spiritual eyes as a result of being given a ‘spiritual body’, Heaven- a place where we will no longer walk by faith, but a place where we shall behold Christ, face to face in all His glory!

Death for the believer is like going from the basement of the house to the top story of the house. When a person is ‘saved’, he receives (according to scripture) ‘eternal life’ -the very moment when Christ comes into his heart. Therefore, death does not introduce a believer to any other type of life, than the life which the believer is already enjoying on this ‘earthly plain’!

Death simply introduces a believer to a closer relationship with Christ, to the same type of life that the believer has been enjoying, from the very moment the believer (the repentant sinner) accepted Christ into his life.

Christ within the believer is nothing less than ‘eternal life’ within the heart of a believer! When a believer is ‘ushered into the presence of Christ in heaven’ (when he dies), a believer enjoys a closer and a more intimate relationship with Christ!

When he leaves this ‘earthly temple’, and when he enters the ‘portals of heaven’, the believer continues (on a ‘higher level’) to enjoy the same quality of life that he had been enjoying, all along on earth.

He simply goes from the lower floor of the house (the earthly level, which has a high quality of life) to the top floor of the house (where that earthly life with Christ is continued and is enjoyed to a much greater degree in heaven)!

Death allows the Christian to reach his destination! Death for the Christian is like crossing the ‘finish line’ after a long marathon run. Death signals the end to all of the tests and trials and temptations that accompanied the long and hard ‘race of life’!

Death signals the end of all the stresses and hardships of life, and is the gateway to peace and rest and health! “When I have gone the last mile of the way, I will rest at the end of the day. And I know there are joys that await me, when I have gone the last mile of the way!”

Death is not a loss for the believer; death, instead, is the way into eternal life in heaven. Paul wrote, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain!” Christians are only pilgrims on this planet. Dying allows the believer to ‘go home’!

Jesus promised to give a beautiful home to His followers, when they die! “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 l am, there ye may be also.”

When you place your faith in the Deathless One- Jesus Christ- you shall never die! Of course, your earthly body will die, your corruptible body will return to dust! But, the ‘real you’ – your spirit – will never die!

Jesus said, “If a man keeps my saying he shall never see death.” (John 8:5) “Whosoever liveth and believeth on Me shall never die.” John 11:16) Notes J.B. Phillips, “It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the meaning that Christ intended to convey was that death was a completely negligible experience to the man who had already begun to live life of the eternal quality.”

When we believe in Jesus – truly believe – our sorrows are soothed, our broken hearts are mended, and our void of loneliness is filled. Throughout our long spiritual pilgrimage on earth, God is preparing us for the last mile of our way, when our journey will finally be completed!

The imperfections (from our earthly pilgrimage) that remain with us, when we go through the ‘Gates of Heaven’, these imperfections will all be eliminated in heaven (perhaps through a ‘purging process’, sometime in heaven, and probably accomplished by the kindly administration of our merciful Heaven Father).

Relationships that were broken on earth will likely (and even necessarily) be mended and be reconciled in that heavenly dwelling place. Perfect peace and genuine understanding and wholehearted love these are the ‘natural ingredients’ of Christ’s heavenly home! Anything that is contrary to these qualities (in the character of a believer) must be rectified (reconciled) some time, if not on earth before the believer’s death, then in heaven!

The Bible says that in heaven, ‘all tears will be wiped away from our eyes’! Truly! But, contrary to the belief that many have, I think that there is reason to believe that the tears in the eyes of some believers will only be wiped away ‘in’ heaven, only after the needed reconciliation with other (discordant) believers takes place!

What can be said about the alienation that some believers have, with their fellow believers (on this earth) an alienation that was not resolved before the time of the believer’s death? Will this same alienation automatically be ‘removed’ (resolved) at the moment of an alienated believer’s physical, death – or, on the other hand, will the unresolved differences between believers need to be resolved (after they die) in the heavenly home?

The process of reconciliation (by the nature of the concept) means that the two persons who are ‘at odds’ with one another, must humbly confess their sins to one another, must humbly ask for forgiveness, and must humbly seek understanding with the opposing party.

If the process of reconciliation is not entered into by the alienated (opposing) persons, on this earth, where else can that process of reconciliation take place, other than in heaven?

God shall wipe away all tears from the eyes of all heavenly citizens, but does God do this ‘wiping away’ at the point of the believer’s death, or at the point when alienated believers (alienated because of misunderstandings on earth), are hugging each other in heaven, as a result of their finally reconciling differences which were never resolved on earth!

Whatever the ‘correct’ answer is to the above thought-provoking discussion (regarding the location for the resolution of differences between believers), the scriptures do indicate that heaven will be so wonderful that no human can describe its full splendor! “Eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has it entered into the mind of man, what God has prepared for those who love Him!”

Heaven is a place where we feel ‘at home’, never alone, and never lonely! When we are in heaven, it will be awesome, most glorious, but, even though we will be ‘awestruck’ with amazement because of the beauty of heaven, we, nevertheless, will not feel like a ‘stranger’ there.

We will never feel ‘out of place’. Rather, though we feel unworthy, we will feel that we are where we are supposed to be, were we truly ‘belong’! We will not ‘feel ill at ease’. We will feel ‘comfortable’; feel like we are in a place where ‘we belong!’

Even though we will sense that we are not ‘worthy’ to be in this indescribably beautiful place, and even though we will be ‘lost in wonder, love, and praise’, we, nevertheless, will feel ‘right at home’.

Even though we will recognize that there are ‘giants of the faith’ (famous saints of the ages) in this dwelling place (and sometimes those saints may walk rather close to us), we, nevertheless, will not be intimidated by these ‘giant Christians’!

In fact, we will desire to meet these unusual servants of Christ, and we will desire to thank these great leaders of the ‘faith’, for their amazing contributions to the cause of Christ, while they ministered so effectively on planet earth. We will likely wish some time to sit at the feet of these ‘giant saints’, to learn spiritual truths from their lips, truths that will help us in our continuing growth in our heavenly dwelling place.

Heaven is a place where there will be growth and more growth. Eternal growth! Progressively and joyously, we will become more and more like the One whom all heaven adores and magnifies- the Lord Jesus Christ!

Perhaps Christ (the Master Teacher) will assign a large number of teachers to us- to teach us, a little at a time, regarding the abundance of ‘truths’! The greatest truths of all will be the truths (mysteries) regarding the Holy Trinity! Truth about the character of our triune God will occupy our thoughts for all eternity!

There are mansions in heaven, especially suited to each of us. There is no lack in heaven. Our every need will be supplied, our every desire will be fulfilled, and our every capacity will be developed. There is no overcrowding in heaven, and there is a special room that God has ready for each of the earth’s inhabitants.

There is neither positioning nor deprivation in heaven! There will be perfect enjoyment of each other, and no one will get on another’s person’s ‘nerves’. We will never get tired of each other! We will spend some of our ‘time’ exploring the mysteries and the wonders of each other’s personality, and each other’s amazing gifts and talents and abilities!

No jealousy as we are absorbed in learning about each other! Total dignity and no shame in the feelings that we have of ourselves and of one another. No class consciousness and no racial discrimination. “All for each and each for all!

Absolutely no self-absorption and no self-centeredness, but total self giving and others-orientation. Humility without humiliation, and dignity without pride! Total fellowship and total communion and total preoccupation with the worship of the King of kings- the Lord Jesus Christ! Singing with the holy angels the chorus of eternal praise to the Lamb of God, whose blood was shed for the redemption of the fallen world!

All heavenly citizens will well know that they are not worthy of the least of God’s favor! That they are in heaven, only because of the ‘finished work of Christ!’ None will feel worthy of Christ’s favor, but all will glory in the wonder of Christ’s favor!

None will ever be able to praise Christ adequately for His willingness to shed His blood for the redemption of mankind! There is strong evidence that the five wounds of Christ (which He received on the cross) will be visible on Christ’s heavenly (resurrected) body!

The eyes of all the saints in heaven will be fixed on those wounds- the wounds that speak of Christ’s sacrificial love for every human being! “Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven to earth come down!” Love that went to the cross, to die for a race of lost and unworthy sinners!

Holy Scripture (John 14) seems to teach that heaven is a localized place, a place where all persons will be known and recognized, a place of sweet and conscious fellowship, a place where redeemed spirits are embodied with a new and resurrected body, like as to the body of their resurrected Lord!

A place also where there is unspeakable joy, restful relaxation from all of earth’s labors and stresses, total deliverance from all of earth’s illnesses (total health), and (surprising to some) a place where the heavenly saints will enjoy delightful laughter!

We must remember that Jesus (while He was a man on earth) had a joyful ‘sense of humor’ (as recognized in some of His parables)! Since we are created in the divine image, why wouldn’t we (as redeemed persons) express, at times, humor and laughter in heaven? As god-like creatures, we too, like Jesus, will surely hang back our heads and open our mouths and resound with hearty laughter – in heaven!

Laugh because Jesus won the victory (over Satan) when Jesus died and when Jesus arose from the dead! Laugh because you (along with the multitude of saints around you) made the right decision when (on earth) you repented of your sins and when you believed that Jesus was the Savior of the world, and, consequently, you got your name written in the ‘book of life’!

Laugh because you are in a place where you will enjoy both ‘eternal rest’ and ‘eternal labors’ – all ‘in the name of Jesus’ and all for the ‘glory of God’! There are many reasons why you should ‘laugh’ when you find yourself in the most glorious place that can be found in the entire universe!

Even the angels in heaven (the angels who have never known the meaning of redemption) will ‘envy’ your position in God’s vast universe! Why wouldn’t you ‘laugh’ with a ‘holy laugh’ when you arrive (by grace) in a place that cannot be invaded by any type of ‘evil’, in a place from which no one can ‘kidnap’ you, in a place where you will love others and where you will be loved by others for ever, in a place without competition and without comparisons and without jealousies and without boredom and without weariness.

Total worship of the King, total involvement of your creative service to everyone around you, total confidence and wholesome self-esteem with no selfish pride and with no self-absorption, total self– acceptance with no self-consciousness and no self-advancement, total teachableness and progressive growth in learning about the glorious mystery of God’s holy trinity!

In heaven, the redeemed saints will have spiritual, localized, and recognizable (concrete) bodies – bodies that are similar, if not identical, to the body of the resurrected Lord! Heaven has a local habitation. Heaven is an actual place in the great universe of God, not a mere ‘state of the mind’!

The spiritual (resurrected) body in heaven will surely be more ‘real’ than the body that exists on earth! How? Of course, we must wait to ‘find out when we enjoy our new body in that ‘fair and wonderful dwelling place’!

After Jesus arose from the dead (and when He spent 40 days on this earth, before His ascension), Jesus appeared to be like He was, before He died! It is true that Jesus could go from one physical location to another location, without the normal necessity of walking. He could suddenly appear at one location, and then suddenly be at another location! Jesus’ ‘resurrected body’ obviously had a marvelous ‘power’ (capacity) that His mere physical body did not have.

On the other hand, the resurrected Jesus told ‘doubting Thomas’ (when He appeared to Thomas after the resurrection) to touch the wounds in His body. If Jesus was some kind of ethereal (hazy and undetermined) essence, rather than a ‘concrete body’, Thomas would not have been able to ‘touch’ Jesus! It seemed that Jesus’ body, though concrete in essence (touchable and seeable), was, nevertheless, of a spiritual essence (beyond the physical ‘material’ of a lowly, confined earthly body).

Jesus died once (for mankind’s redemption), and, as the resurrected Lord, He shall never die again. Humans, embodied in a corruptible body, will – if they are redeemed by Christ- die only once, and, like their resurrected Lord, they will never die again!

Like the Lord whom they serve, they will live forever! Just as Jesus, in heaven, has a ‘glorified human body’ (with the five wounds from His crucifixion visibly apparent), the redeemed souls of earth will appear in heaven with their glorified (human) bodies. As we were identified by our unique ‘features’ in our human body on earth, so we will (in some way) be readily identified by our unique ‘features’ in heaven!

If God loved ‘uniqueness’ (variety) when He created the earth, don’t you think that God will love (enjoy) great variety in the unique ‘features’ of His heavenly creatures (citizens) in heaven?

Obviously, ho one can clearly define what ‘form’ uniqueness will ‘take’ in heaven, but we can be assured that God’s varied ‘assignments’ in heaven (to every heavenly citizen) will be one manifestation of ‘heaven’s variety'(uniqueness).

How will you and I be quickly ‘identified’ in heaven? Will there be an immediate communication spirit to spirit- between the heavenly citizens? Will the same physical marks (that set us apart from one another on earth) be immediately recognized, when we dwell with each other, in that vast heavenly City?

If I die (as a bald-headed man, as I will), will I continue to be a baldheaded man in heaven? Surely, on one hand, the blemishes and the imperfections of my earthly body will be removed, when I receive my ‘perfect, resurrected body’, but, on the other hand, surely the distinguishing ‘characteristics’ of my human body will ‘remain’ as the ‘characteristics’ of my new and glorified body!

Whatever are the actual circumstances in that heavenly dwelling place, we can be sure of one thing, namely, “we shall know and we shall be known”! We shall spend eternity (in heaven) coming to know all the heavenly citizens, and, in turn, all the heavenly citizens will progressively come to know us!

The joy of knowing others (with all the excitement of what that ‘discovery’ of persons entails), and the joy of knowing ourselves without any shame and without any embarrassment- will be a joy, indeed, that will be unspeakable and full of glory!

The glorious ‘uncovering’ of the true and the mysterious identity of other heavenly citizens, will bring joy and awe and wonderment to both the discovering one (yourself), and to the discovered one (yourself)!

The greatest of all wonderment will be the wonderment of gradually discovering (throughout eternity) the ‘mystery of the holy trinity’! The gradual unfolding of this ‘mystery’ will be the greatest excitement of every heavenly citizen!

Sharing new knowledge with each other- with full openness to the truth and with all the ‘barriers’ to learning destroyed! The joy of discovering new knowledge, which, in turn, leads heavenly citizens to the discovery of more and more new knowledge- and forever learning and learning!

The joy of becoming more and more like God, without, of course, ever becoming ‘little gods’. Of course, we shall forever (in heaven) remain ‘redeemed humans’ (clothed with a new, resurrected body), but, as redeemed humans, we are, nevertheless, in a ‘glorified’ (permanent) ‘state’! Eternal fellowship and eternal happiness!

And the great truth is this: In heaven, all the happy dwellers know that they forever will serve a great God: A God who loves all and who wills to ‘save’ all, the Jesus who died for all, a God whose human creatures (sinners) are savable (capable of being ‘saved’), a God who has sent the Holy Spirit to all persons to call all persons to repentance and to new life, a God who has prepared a place in heaven for every human being, and a God who is not willing that anyone should perish, but that all persons should come to repentance, and, thus, at death, be ‘ushered into heaven’!

God loves the human race, including the ‘least’, the ‘last’, the overlooked, the ‘most unworthy’. God loves the high and the low, the most gifted and the least gifted, the wealthy and the poor, the beautiful and the ugly! God loves the powerful ones and the weak ones, the high profile ones and he obscure ones, the highly educated ones and the most illiterate ones.

God loves the positioned ones and the most overlooked ones, the very beautiful ones and the out rightly repulsive ones! God love the young adults and He also loves the decrepit (aging) ones, the up-and-out moralistic sinners and the down-and-out sinners (the immoral and ‘raw’ sinners)!

If God would have His own wily, there would not be a single person who would die in his/her unrepentant sin! If God had His way (that is, if God’s ‘perfect will’ were carried out) there would be universal, spiritual health, as the result of the forgiveness of every sin of every person!

Christ died so that all persons could be forgiven of his/her sins, and the Spirit calls all persons to repentance, and a place is prepared for every person in heaven – therefore, there is no reason why any human being should be without hope and without salvation!

What more can God do, other than what He has done to make it possible for everyone to enjoy the glories of heaven forever! If God- the loving and merciful and forgiving God- had His way in the affairs of men, and regarding the destiny of men – every soul would be forgiven on earth, and every soul would have his/her name written in the ‘Lamb’s Book of Life’ (assuring him/her a place in the eternal kingdom)!

Hell was prepared for the devil and for his fallen angels (demons) – NOT for human beings! God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance! God is doing everything in His power (short of coercion) to keep every soul out of hell, and to take every human being to heaven! But, God cannot (will not) take any human being to heaven, against his/her own ‘will’ and ‘desire’!

One’s eternal destiny depends upon one thing and one thing only- the kind of ‘heart response’ that a person gives to God’s revelation of the Light that God gives to a person (even if that ‘Light’ comes in a diminished form of ‘General Revelation’ and not ‘Special Revelation’).

Those only will be in heaven who have, honestly and positively, responded in their heart to God’s revelation of “light” (whether it is response to the “Concealed Christ” or response to the “Known Christ”)!

It is encouraging for us members of a “fallen Race’ to know that God did not abandon us when, through our Race’s Representative (Adam), the entire human race miserably ‘fell into sin!’ Through a rather long and complex plan (over a period of many centuries), God finally brought His Son into the world to accomplish His plan for ‘world redemption’.

No human can fully understand the ‘mystery of iniquity’ (sin), or the ‘mystery of divinely-accomplished redemption through the cross and resurrection’, or the ‘mystery of the human free will’ – but, great as these mysteries are, God, nevertheless, mightily ‘works his miracles’ of human transformation!

There are millions of persons today, throughout the world in probably every country, who are ‘openly acknowledging and serving Christ’, and, doubtless, (because of the universal ‘work of the Holy Spirit’) there are, doubtless, also many more persons throughout the entire world whose hearts are presently turned toward the Living God! These latter (many) persons are presently seeking the ‘concealed’ Christ, as best as they know, with their very limited knowledge and with their narrow opportunities, spiritually- speaking!

AII persons will be in heaven who on earth ‘walked in the light of truth’ as God gave them ‘light’! Some persons will enter heaven, possessing so much more knowledge of Jesus than other persons other (less fortunate) persons who received so much less light on earth, persons who possessed little knowledge regarding the true identity of Jesus.

What God will judge, in the end of human existence, is not the accuracy of one’s mental knowledge about God, and about Man, and about Sin, and about Jesus Christ, and about the complexities of the plan of salvation (atonement, justification, regeneration, sanctification).

Instead of the mental knowledge of Christian Doctrine, it will be the response of the human heart to the revealed truth of God, given in abundant measure to some persons, and given in very small measure to some other person.

God will judge the ‘condition of one’s heart’, not the fullness of one’s mental comprehension of Christian Doctrines! It will be the condition of the human heart (i.e., the receptivity to the Holy Spirit’s multiple works of enlightenment, conviction, offer of forgiveness and new life, etc.) that will determine the final outcome of one’s eternal destiny!

If a person’s heart is right with God (and only God can fully and accurately determine this), then that person will be welcomed into God’s eternal kingdom- to enjoy the glories of heaven, along with the saints who early in their life responded to the ‘revealed Christ’ of ‘special revelation’!

Both the ‘privileged ones’, and the ‘much less privileged ones’, will be together in holy fellowship in heaven- those who responded to the lesser ‘light’ of general revelation, and those who responded to the greater ‘light’ of special revelation!

According to the famous passage in Matthew 25, is seems quite apparent that Jesus, as the Judge of all men, at the End of human existence, will applaud each person’s HEART RESPONSE to the needs of one’s fellow men, even if some of the compassionate-oriented persons do not have a so-called ‘evangelical conversion’! Jesus said of the compassionate person (who does all kinds of good deeds) that ‘inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’

All they know is that they desire to help people, to alleviate their terrible sufferings, to befriend the lonely, to give a listening ear to the troubled words of persons, to give a generous portion of their money to help to poor, to visit those who are grief-stricken, to share their presence with those in prison, to give away their talents to bless the troubled ones, and so much more.

You may respond to these compassion-oriented persons that they could not do all these ‘acts of charity’ unless they are ‘born-again Christians. ‘Precisely! These ‘fruits of godliness’ come not from mere ‘sentimental inclinations’.

The one who is humbly compassionate is the same one who is a ‘child of God- truly ‘born again’. Such a person has surrendered his heart and his will to others – to serve, to care, to empathize, and to be an instrument of healing to others.

Such a person (and there are multitudes of these kinds of persons, among all classes and all races and all religious affiliations throughout the world), I say, such a person whose life is largely defined by voluntary works of charity, would be dumbfounded if you asked him if he had been ‘born again’.

Because such persons cannot ‘pinpoint’ a time of personal conversion, and because they cannot intelligently describe the meaning of ‘repentance’, ‘awakening’, ‘confession’, ‘justification’, and ‘regeneration’ and all the other difficult theological (salvation) terms, does NOT mean that these persons are unconverted (or that they are not in God’s family).

Based upon the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 25, I think that it is likely that there will be a multitude of persons in heaven who, while they lived on earth, did not profess a deep and a personal relationship with Christ, but who will, nevertheless, be in heaven (apparently to their own surprise, according to the kind of response that these certain people will give to Jesus, in eternity)!

These citizens of heaven (who are surprised at the wonderful outcome of their compassionate life surprised that the Master gave them ‘entrance’ into heaven), I say, these surprised citizens of heaven ‘walked in all the light of truth’ that they received on earth, namely, the ‘LIGHT OF TRUE COMPASSION’ towards their fellow men on earth.

They did not realized, while they carried on their active life of compassion on earth, that the very origin (fountainhead) of their compassion was nothing less than the very compassionate heart of Jesus Himself!

Such persons responded to the ‘saving grace’ of Jesus rather ignorantly, at the very time that they sincerely committed (surrendered) their entire life and energies and talents and skills and training and motivations to the caring for the imprisoned and the starving and the weak and the oppressed and the widow and the poor and the injured persons around them!

They manifested the ‘fruits of Christlikeness’, so, indeed, they surely possessed the very person of Christ! Even though, today, these compassionate persons are unaware of it, while they are gladly and joyously and sacrificially caring out their ‘works of charity’, the motivation for their labors of compassion being the indwelling Holy Spirit!

There is a multitude of medical doctors, throughout the world, who are ‘doing the work of Christ’ and some of them do not even realize that their works are motivated by Christ’s Spirit! Their compassionate works have the ‘smile of God’s approval’ resting upon them!

It would be much better if all (unenlightened) doctors (ignorant of the motivation for their genuine works of medical intervention), would have their ‘eyes opened’ to the reality of the Christ who stands beside them while they perform delicate surgeries, and while they are bringing comfort to their dying patients.

Whether or not these physicians are aware of the divinely-imparted strength within them, to enable them to perform their medical procedures, it is, nevertheless, true that it is the ‘unseen Christ’ who is the ‘Author’ of all healing. No doctor, of course, can heal a human body, but Christ (the Healer) has chosen (in most situations) to ‘use’ human ‘instruments’ (like surgeons and psychiatrists) to ‘achieve’ the healing of the human body.

The point is simple: Some medical doctors are serving the ‘concealed Christ’ (unknown to the doctor, but, nevertheless the Christ who is intervening in any work of compassion, including the work of ‘spiritually-blinded’ physicians)!

Some other medical doctors (committed believer) are serving the ‘openly revealed Christ’ (the Christ, who is openly confessed by the doctor, and the doctor who humbly and constantly depends upon the Spirit for His enablement for every medical procedure and the doctor who unashamedly gives God the glory for all medical ‘success’).

The doctor who is sincerely ‘walking in the lesser light’ of truth is serving the ‘concealed Christ’, and such a doctor is a ‘servant of God’, even though this doctor has not (yet) discovered the ‘fuller light’ of Jesus Christ (revealed in the Gospels).

Many persons in this world (including many ‘non-Christian’ doctors, as in India and other countries), are ‘walking in all the light of truth’ that they know (and such compassionate persons- doctors, for instance have not yet received the ‘fuller light’, centered in the incarnate Christ)!

As long as these doctors are sincerely walking in the light of truth, that has been given to them, even if the ‘light’ is a ‘lesser light’, such compassionate persons- doctors, for instance, with limited knowledge of ‘truth’ -will, nevertheless, be accepted by our Lord!

“Jesus, thou art all compassion, pure unbounded love thou art! Jesus, those persons who manifest your type of compassion, must they not surely belong to you? Compassion, motivated by unselfish love, is the practical and the ‘visible’ manifestation of ‘God’s love on the earth!’

“Jesus, if compassion is the concrete expression of divine-like love, then surely all persons who have compassion in their heart will gain a glorious entrance into the ‘Heaven of Love’! With or without much ‘knowledge’ of you on earth, will all persons whose heart is moved by compassion, be welcomed someday into your eternal kingdom?

“Jesus, if your heart is the heart of overflowing compassion, won’t those who possess your kind of compassion (on earth) be eventually ‘gathered into your arms of compassion’, after they have lived their earthly life? Won’t the ‘worker of compassion’ be someday gathered into the merciful arms of the ‘Master and Motivator of compassion’?

“Jesus, won’t those who are most compassionate on earth, feel most at ‘home’ in a place that is ‘full of compassionate saints’? Jesus, my head and my heart both accept your ‘answer’ to my important questions! My head and my heart agree that the answer surely must be YES! Jesus thanks you for your heart of compassion!”


Table of contents: Let my praises be heard!


I praise God for the amazing changes that humans can experience!

Let My Praises Be Heard!


I PRAISE GOD FOR THE AMAZING CHANGES THAT HUMANS CAN EXPERIENCE!

Someone said that the greatest evidence of the validity of Christianity is that Christianity can make a ‘bad’ man ‘good’. The transformation of a human character is the greatest evidence- practically speaking -that Christianity has a power beyond any human power. Christianity, based on a relationship with the Living Christ, teaches that any human being can change ‘for the better’!

Christianity teaches that, because of the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit, ‘old things’ can pass away- sin- and ‘new things’ can become a reality- right and holy living! The New Testament is ‘packed’ with the teaching that describes, in one way or another, divinely-wrought ‘transformation’ of human character. Based on God’s grace, not based on human effort, the New Testament teaches that there is no sin that cannot be forgiven, and no sinner that cannot be made into a beautiful and loving believer!

There are many teachers and ministers and evangelists (both past and present) who could give a hearty ‘Amen’ to the above-stated affirmations! Some of the above-mentioned Christian leaders have been the personal ‘witness’ to the conversion of literally thousands of sinners! I am personally thankful that God allowed me, a pastor of a small church, over a period of about 20 years, to witness the conversion of many scores of sinners (almost all of these conversions, around the dining room table of their home)!

I was privileged to be God’s ‘tool’ (channel or ‘mouthpiece’), when I presented the ‘plan of salvation’ to many precious folks! After these persons sincerely met the ‘conditions’ for salvation, they began to grow dynamically in their newfound ‘faith’. After I led them to Christ, I, of course, sought to help these new believers to develop and to progress in the ‘fleshing out’ of their newfound faith (in many different ways). I stood back in observation of the life of these new believers, and I was thrilled and I was amazed at their growth!

As is true of all of us (believers), these new Christians had a lot to learn. They, like all of us, experienced some ‘advances’ and some ‘retreats’ in the living of the Christian life, but the majority of these precious new believers became responsible and loving servants of our God! Some, eventually, even assumed leadership positions within the local church!

Today, many years since their conversion, there are those one-time-baby Christians who are now strong and stalwart leaders in the work of God (including the local church)! God is a transforming God- a God who loves to change every one of us, a God who wants us to be strong in the things of God, a God who wants us to reach out in love to everyone around us!

There are many and varied ways in which God’s change in the heart and life of a person can be described. One of the most meaningful ways to describe divinely-wrought ‘change’ in the human life is to make ‘contrasts’, This is what I was ‘before’ I was converted (or before I made a fuller surrender of my life to God), and (in contrast) this is what I have become since I yielded my life to the transforming God! Even though the contrasting list is rather detailed, I encourage you too thoughtfully to envision what the miracle-performing God truly accomplishes!

God has power to turn a ‘stumbling block’ into a ‘stepping stone’, to turn a mess into a message, to turn a hard adversity into a tender empathy, to turn a hope into a reality, to turn a tear-stained face into a radiant face, to turn a tragedy into a triumph, to turn a sorrow into a comfort, to turn a broken heart into a healed heart, to turn confusion into understanding, to turn loneliness into companionship, to turn a loss into a gain, to turn humiliation into dignity.

God has the power to turn failure into success, to turn retreat into advancement, to turn depravity into purity, to turn a life of transgression into a life of obedience, to turn moral weakness into moral strength, to turn an evil habit into a righteous habit, to turn moral chaos into moral order, to turn a slave of sin into a slave of righteousness, to turn an irrational mind into a rational mind, to deliver one from a false religion and introduce him to the true religion, to turn one from self-centeredness to a life of Christ-centeredness!

God has power to truly transform any and all human beings! The mission of Christ is to turn each of us around- to make a 180 degree turn in the life of each and every one of us! The call of God is the ‘call of repentance’- the call to leave our ‘old way of life’ and to embrace the ‘new way of life’- the life of righteousness, the life of integrity, the life of justice, the life of holiness, the life of peace, the life of holy love! Our call is the call to become a ‘new creature’- a person who is ‘centered in Christ’s person’, rather than a person who is centered in himself.

God has power to change every one of us- to change us initially at the time of ‘conversion’, and to change us progressively through God’s call to pursue and to realize (imperfectly) the holy life, patterned after the holiness of Christ Himself.

Of course, we (believers) are not totally ‘changed’ (morally and spiritually and intellectually and socially) during the time that we are alive on this terrestrial ball! The Christian life is a life of ‘constant growth’, becoming more and more like the Christ of the Ages, but, of course, never attaining the ‘full stature’ of Christ.

We (as sincere, growing) believers know that often we ‘come short’ of being the persons we could be and that we ought to be (in terms of developing Christ like character), but, nevertheless, we (believers) keep trying (in spite of our moral failures), and we (believers) keep praying (sometimes intensely and sometime sparsely), and we (believers) keep reading our Bible (sometimes intently and sometime lazily)!

We (believers) keep attending our local church services (sometimes we listen attentively and sometimes we fall asleep when the preacher is fervently declaring the ‘truth’ (from the Bible), and we (believers) keep giving money to the church and to charities (sometimes enthusiastically and sometimes reluctantly), and we (believers) keep resisting the devil (sometimes zealously and sometimes negligently)!

We (believers) keep trying to witness to non-believers (sometimes boldly and sometimes timidly), and we (believers) know that we are to return good for evil to those who despitefully use us (and sometimes we have the strength wholeheartedly to forgive our enemies, and sometimes we forgive our enemies very slowly and sometimes very reluctantly)!

We (believers) are called ‘believers’ because we honestly believe that Jesus is the Son of God, we honestly believe that Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life the only One through whom our sins are forgiven, and the only One by whom we can gain ‘entrance’ into heaven, after we die!

We want to be the ‘true blue’- the authentic person, the true follower of Christ, the One to whom we give our sole allegiance and loyalty. It is our desire, amidst the hardships we experience and the temptations that befall us, to be ‘true and faithful’ to Christ, throughout our life, until we breathe our very last breath!

We honestly desire that God’s progressive sanctification (the impartation of divine love in our hearts, through the Holy Spirit’s empowerment)- that this progressive perfecting of our lives will continually be at ‘work’ in the heart and in the mind of each one of us! But, as briefly described above, we (believers) must admit that sometimes we come ‘short’ of God’s expectations for us believers!

We (believers) are becoming aware (in light of our many shortcomings) that ‘repentance’ is not a once- and-for-all experience, which takes place at the time of our conversion! We (believers) now acknowledge that ‘repentance’ is an ongoing ‘attitude’ that must endure throughout our entire ‘faith walk’ (till death releases us from our human body)!

Every day we (believers) need to ‘confess’ our failures and our shortcomings and our ‘sins'(even the unintentional ‘sins) to a loving and a forgiving God! We (believers) recognize that, as wonderful as the initial ‘change’ is at the time of our conversion (John 3), all of the Christian life is subject to ongoing and greatly needed ‘changes’!

We (believers) humbly acknowledge that, if we are serious about following a ‘Transforming God’, we must be subject to the ‘transformations'(changes) which God desires to bring about in our life (as believers)!

Think further of the wonderful changes which God is able to bring in the life of a human being!

God is able to turn revengeful bitterness into loving forgiveness, to turn overly-sensitive reactions into properly-sensitive responses, to turn introspective grief into socially-building projects!

God is able to turn cold isolation into warm fellowship, to turn hurtful deprivation into healthful prosperity, to turn negative criticism into positive affirmation, to turn dark depression into joyous health, to turn boredom into engrossing work, to turn religious dogmatism into tolerant acceptance!

God is able to turn a worldly-minded person into a biblically-minded person, to turn a foolish person into a wise person, to turn a disappointed person into a gladsome person, to turn a duplicitous person into a transparent person, to change a deceptive person into guileless person, to change a slanderous person into a charitable person!

God is able to change a double-minded person into a single-minded person, to change a lazy person into an industrious person, to change a half-hearted person into a whole-hearted person, to change a dishonest person into an honest person, to change a trouble-maker into a peacemaker, to change a drunk person into a sober person, to change a selfcentered person into an others-oriented person, to change a self-pitying person into a self-giving person!

Transformation! That is what Christianity is all about God is able to take a ‘bad man’ and turn him into a ‘good man’! “I once was lost, but now I am found. I once was blind, but now I can see!”

Change, change, wonderful change! The power of the cross and the power of the resurrection- the wonder working means by which God alone can change a sinner into a saint!

The kind of change which is demonstrated in the amazing creation of the beautiful butterfly! From an ugly cocoon (the ugliness of the sinful life) to the emergence of the exquisite butterfly (the wonder of divine transformation).

Divine transformation, not mere human reformation! Human reformation cannot transform the human heart (that is, human reformation cannot change the inner ‘carnal nature’)! Only God, through His unlimited power, can change a person from the ‘inside out’.

Change originates in the human heart! It is the human heart (inner motivations) that God ‘changes’ (transforms), and when that miracle takes place, then the outward behavior changes (suddenly or gradually)!

If any person be in Christ Jesus, that person is a new creation! Old things are passed away, and, behold, all things (goals and motivations and projects) are become new!

That change, which begins at the point of conversion, continues daily, for the rest of one’s life. If a believer yields (obediently) to the Holy Spirit, he/she can expect to experience some kind of ‘change’ to happen regularly (sometimes even ‘daily’)!

The ‘joy of becoming’ is the greatest joy that there is! Becoming (little by little, and more and more) like the Person whom we (as believers) worship!

We (believers), in our honest thoughts, know that we are not everything that we desire to be! We admit that there is always a ‘gap’ (small or large) between what we ‘profess’ and what we ‘possess'(in terms of practical, every day, living of the Christian life)!

We try, with God’s help, to be the kind of person (privately and in public) that God desires us to be. But, we often fail to live the kind of life that we desire to live, and that God desires us to live. So, what do we do, as we face this dilemma?

We exercise more personal discipline (in terms of the development of ‘holy habits’), we pray more honestly and diligently, we make ourselves subject to the counsel of other believers, we make deeper surrenders of our heart to the Holy Spirit, we saturate our minds with biblical truths, and we wait in silence daily for the Spirit to work in our surrendered heart and will. We confess any known sin in our life, and we refuse to go on a guilt trip because of our failures. We learn to accept God’s forgiveness, and we learn to forgive our self of our failures.

We keep on keeping on, in our forward movement for God. We learn anew the meaning of God’s grace. We affirm the glorious fact that God loves us unconditionally! We are not ‘easy’ on our self, when we fail, but, on the other hand, we accept God’s forgiveness! We recognize that it is vitally important that we keep our self away from the obvious traps of temptation! We march forward in joy and in peace!

We know that in time and in eternity, Christ will be the perfect ‘standard’ by which we will measure our personal progress in our spiritual life. We (believers), in spite of our desires and our earnest efforts, know that when we come to the ‘end of the road’ on this earth, we will have to confess that the development of our character (towards the standard of Christlikeness), is still incomplete.

But, we will take comfort (as we are dying) that we are saved by grace, not by our own (worthy) moral and spiritual accomplishments. We will further take comfort in the fact, that, where we ‘left off’ ( in terms of our personal development) when we die we will continue with that same spiritual development when we enter the portals of heaven!

Because there is so much to learn in heaven (that we never learned when we lived on earth), it is almost certain that there will be eternal growth (development in character) in that place where expansion of our personality is limitless!


Table of contents: Let my praises be heard!