I Wish I Had or I’m Glad I Did

I wish I had….  How many times have we all started a sentence with those four little words?  I wish I had gone to see her.  Perhaps, I wish I had said or even had not said that.  The list of “I wish” is endless unfortunately.

A few days ago a friend died.  It was unexpected for most everyone.  I listened to mourners and read tributes from so many people.  The majority of people started theirs with “I wish”.  “I wish I had called him instead of texted that morning.”  “I wish I had told him I loved him the last time I saw him.”  “I wish I had taken more time to talk when he called.”

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Cliche as it might sound, maybe it is time to give up the wishes and regrets.  It is time to live life doing those things.  There is a song that talks about “Live Like You are Dying”.  What if we lived like our family and friends were instead?  Would we treat them differently?  Yes, I certainly would.

My words would be much more thoughtful and kind.  I would definitely consider others’ feelings and needs.  All of the things I wanted to say would get said.  There are things I have learned thatI would share.   It would be a priority to discuss Jesus and salvation.   How will I know if I don’t ask?

Do they know that in times of sorrow, Jesus is my comfort.  He is my strength.  In Psalm 46:1, the Bible tells us “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  This is so true.  I cannot make it a day without Him.  He shelters and strengthens me.  I draw my peace from Him.

John 14:27 gives us Jesus’ assurance that “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  This is the “peace that passes understanding” that we sang about in Sunday school.  A pure peace is given to us by Jesus when things are in chaos.

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Scripture says  “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  That is my goal.  To make certain my family and friends have one of those mansions.  It has already been bought and paid for by Jesus.  All I can do is give them the good news and pray they accept the keys.

No more wishing for me.  It is time for action.  Live each day purposefully.  Say the “I love you” and “thank you”.  Make the phone call.  Take the time.  Go to lunch.  Share the love.  Talk about Jesus.  Say goodbye to “I wish I had” and hello to “I’m glad I did.”

What are your I wish sentences that turn into regrets instead of sweet memories?  How about doing something now instead being disappointed later?

 

Vacations are Nice, but I Yearn for Home

Have you been on vacation this year?  Most people take an annual vacation and often more than one.  Some people have a favorite spot to visit each year while others enjoy seeing new places. Me, I like both.  Seeing new places is great.  The sights, experiences, and tastes of somewhere I have never before been is an exciting adventure.  A new treasure could be awaiting me there.

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My favorite getaway is a cabin high in the Smokey Mountains with my family for the week.  I could handle that vacation at least once a year and probably more.  The majesty of God’s beautiful mountains take my breath away each time we drive to Gatlinburg.  Like a child I become excited when I see a chipmunk, raccoon, or bear off of the cabin’s deck while having coffee in the morning.

After vacation, there’s no place like home

Vacation, an extended period of recreation spent away from home or in traveling, is nice for a time, but after it is over it is nice to be home.  Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz emotionally repeats “there’s no place like home” and I agree.  No matter how good vacation has been, we are always happy to be home when it is over.

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My maternal grandmother often would tell me “you know, this old world is not our home.”  That was confusing to a child, but the older I got the more she explained.  Finally I understood.  Mammaw was talking about Heaven.  She would tell me her soul longed for “home” and to be with loved ones there.  When she spoke of Heaven it was beautiful and biblical.

“In Heaven there will be no sickness or pain, no tears, and affliction.  We will be whole with perfect bodies.”  She would laugh when I asked what we would do all day for eternity.  “Probably the same things we do now only better” she would brightly say and break out in song “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.  My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue….”

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What about you?  Do you ever feel like you are waiting to go home?  This world, like a vacation, is nice for a while, but your heart is yearning for someplace better.  It is homesick.  I know I am.  Vacations are wonderful.  This world is a nice place, too, but Heaven is our home.  Our Father is there.  Jesus is there.  Our family should be, too.  We have a home there.

Gather your treasures and pack for your trip home.  What will you take?  There aren’t a lot of things allowed.  The main thing on your list should be loved ones.  Make sure you have shared Jesus and His salvation with your family and friends.  You will want to see them after your vacation or theirs.

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“For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” Hebrews 13:14

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  John 14:2-3

 

That’s a Sure Bet! Is it Really? Absolutely!

Living close to Louisville Kentucky makes life interesting around the first Saturday in May.  The racetrack, Churchill Downs is open and so are festivities in preparation for the Kentucky Derby.  It is a two minute horse race.  There are fireworks, hot air balloons, a steamboat race, parade, style shoes, vendor booths at a “Chow Wagon”, Thurby (the Thursday before), Oaks Day (the day before), and more than I even know.  D2412375-5B81-4566-80F6-0D56C813565C

On Oaks Day there is a  Survivors Parade around the racetrack of Breast and Ovarian Cancer Survivors.  That is touching to see.  A sea of pink with beautiful hats and smiling faces.  On the local news everything is Oaks and Derby.  They discuss the horses and if one looks like a favorite, sometimes going as far as saying it is a sure bet the horse will either win, place, or show.

Do you go to the horse races and bet on horses?  Some people study racing forms like a student before finals.  Others use the color method of choosing the prettiest silks or their favorite color.  Even the way a horse looks and acts play a part in betting.  7603B979-4416-494D-B92B-5668C32459B1Names came play a large part in it as can the jockey riding the thoroughbred.  Even asking people that work there or “know someone” for a tip is another way of deciding how to place a bet.
After placing a bet, it is off to watch the race.  Sounds like fun doesn’t it?  It is only if you win or haven’t bet.  If you have gambled some of your hard earned money on the horse you might not be smiling if it comes sashaying across the finish line.  Sometimes a horse wins by a wide margin while other times you aren’t sure if it’s still on the same track. 83369005-6FC6-46AD-924D-CEB84B0455B1 On television there are pictures of many clinched fists, gritted teeth, and frowns among a few smiling faces.  None of the ways people use provide a sure bet or 100% winner every time.  History shows very few people bring home the big buck instead leaving some of their own instead.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a 100% guaranteed sure bet on something?  It would wouldn’t it? Everyone loves to get something they didn’t earn.  Don’t you?  Come on now, we all do.  Well, I have some great news for you today. 0CB794E2-8222-45F8-816B-3201356F5748 Yes, I do.  I have a sure bet.  You do not need to invest any money and you will receive the greatest treasure.
Do you have any idea where this is going.  Jesus.  He is a sure bet.  You can bet your eternity on Him and win every time.  Do you know where you will spend eternity?  Are you certain?  Jesus wants you and me to spend it with Him.  He loves us fiercely and died to prove it.  I can almost see heads nodding.  That love is beyond imagination.  He carries us when we are too weak.  If we are lonely He reminds us that He is always there.  He gives us what we need when we need it.  He is our way to the Father.  Do you know Him?  If not, don’t wait because it is a sure bet He already loves you.
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