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NO MATTER WHAT…

 Over the years I’ve come to realize that some of the bad
things that have happened in my life, for apparently no
reason, did indeed serve a purpose; even though I couldn’t
see it at the time.
      The biggest one lately, of course, was the diagnosis
of end-stage uterine cancer I received back in October of
2012.    I was living here in Charlotte, married to the man
of my dreams, a mother and grandmother and great-grand-
mother who stayed busy being a disciple of Jesus, main-
taining my Front Porch website, crocheting for my Hats
for the Homeless project, painting Witness Wear T-shirts,
going weekly into the city jails bringing my stories and the
Gospel to the inmates, doing my little Thought for the Day
emails….you name it?   I had a hand in it somewhere!!
       Then, out of nowhere, I have this doctor informing me
that this type of cancer is always terminal and that I’m going
to die.    I looked him right in the eye and said the first thing
that popped into my head, “So are you, Doc!   We’re ALL
gonna die.   I’ll die when God says it’s time and not one
minute sooner or later.”    My second thought was WOO-
HOO!  I’M GOING TO HEAVEN!!!
       My husband and I are devout Christians so neither one of
us came completely unglued, but I did have a few questions
for the Lord later on that night…..”OK Lord….now what? 
What’s the plan?”    In order to make a long story short,
which I’m usually NOT good at, suffice it to say that God had a
mission for me.    
We’re living in the End Times, which means we’re
running out of time to complete the Great Commission that
Christ gave the disciples before He went back up to heaven all
those years ago.    All He wanted was for His followers, His
children, (that’s you and me, folks…) to tell the world about Him
and make sure everyone had the chance to be baptized, receive
salvation and partake of eternal life with He and His Father in
Heaven.    So, as Christians, we should be working as hard as we
can to win souls for Jesus.
       Unfortunately, the world in general doesn’t read the Bible…..
it does, however, read Christians.   And if what we SAY is totally
different from what we DO, well, that’s not exactly kingdom
building material, is it?     We run around telling anyone who’ll
listen about how wonderful our God is and how magnificent a
place Heaven is…..but then, when one of us is actually preparing
to GO there?   We fuss and carry on as if it’s the worst tragedy to
strike in years!!!    When we do that the rest of the world can
conclude only one of two things….,,either we’re all hypocrites or
idiots…..neither one of which is going to persuade Unbelievers to
pop on over to our side of the fence!    
       What God wants me to do is show the world what it should look  
like when a strong Christian experiences this whole death and dying
thing.
       I’d never given much thought before about the fact that I have
a good-size following on the Internet in general, due to my website,
daily thought, speaking engagements, etc.     Now however, it made
perfect sense.     God’s the one who helped me build the Front Porch
and get into all the other stuff that resulted in people all over the
world knowing who I was….and now I get it!!    He saw this cancer
thing coming down the pipeline and He must have figured out that
with my in-your-face, tell everybody everything personality, that He
could use me, since folks would be watching anyway, to get the message
across about how we Christians should feel about finally going home!
        So for the past two years….my life’s been a whirlwind of medical
adventures (surgery, chemotherapy, having a port installed in my chest,
stents inserted into my ureters, (don’t ask!), and now catheters, etc plus
meeting dozens of people in hospital waiting rooms, nurses, patients,
relatives of patients, etc…who all, for whatever reason, needed to hear
what I had to say.!
       The conversations come about because when folks learn that I’m
dying…they can’t figure out how I’m able to maintain such a
downright sunny disposition about the whole thing!    They want  to
know the ‘secret’ !!      Which of course is a secret I’m more than willing
to share with anyone who’ll listen!!
      So here I sit, cuddled up on my couch….connected to the world via
my little laptop, praying hard and scribbling as fast as I can in an attempt
to reach as many as I can with the wonderful message of the salvation
that Jesus made available to all of us with His amazing sacrifice!!
       Every day that I wake up  breathing, I just assume that God isn’t
done with me yet and I get busy….working the porch, answering emails,
writing blogs (yes, like this one!), sending out articles, etc…..whatever
I can do until He calls me home!    Someone said the other day that
since I work so hard it’s a shame I don’t draw a paycheck…..I just told
her, that it’s true….working for Jesus here on earth may not pay much
but His retirement package is OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!!!  LOL!!
       So the next time you find yourself baffled as to why God has
allowed a calamity or misfortune to find it’s way into your life, 
remember this:    Just because God hasn’t shared His purpose with
you does not mean He doesn’t have one!!
       His job is to plan and direct your life…….your job is simply to
cooperate and trust Him no matter what!  
Be Blessed !!

STRESSED?

Someone asked me the other day how I handle stress.   It made

me stop and think because I’m hardly ever under any stress.  I

think it’s because most stress is caused by worry and I know for

sure that I never worry, so for me stress is more of a non-issue!

       And, naturally, that makes folks want to know how on earth

I can go through life without worrying!   It’s simple …. I just pray

instead!

       An old preacher friend of mine told me a long time ago that

anyone who claims to know and trust Jesus should be ashamed

to worry about anything!   When you think about it, that’s very

true!    Break it down….

       What are we taught to believe as Christians?

          a) Jesus loves us unconditionally

          b) He promises to be with us always — every minute of

               every day even to the end of the age!

          c) God has a plan & a purpose for everything that happens

               in our lives and He will make sure that good comes from

               even the bad things.

    &   d) Jesus always protects those who trust Him and He will

               never let the righteous fall.

       Now before you see that word “righteous” and hit the panic

button, remember THIS:   Righteous does not mean perfect!

Righteous means that you are doing the best you can, every day,

to keep your focus on Christ,  to learn and obey the command-

ments He gave us and you try to share His name & His Gospel

with as many people as we can.

       Nowhere in the bible or anywhere else does it say that we

have to be perfect in order to claim His promises!    If that were

the case, Heaven would be so empty it would echo!   Because

no one is perfect.    We were all born sinners and even though

we’ve committed our lives and our hearts to Jesus, we’ll continue

to sin as long as we’re in these earthly bodies!     Jesus knew this;

that’s why He came to earth, suffered so much agony on the cross

and ultimately gave His life — to pay the price for every sin we

had and would commit.    He knew we’d need blanket protection

….that’s why perfection is not a requirement for salvation.    All

you need is what He’s already given you…..faith!

       That’s why I don’t have any stress in my life.    Even when

bad things happen I know God is right here with me.   And I know

that there is no panic in Heaven — God has no problems; only

plans!

       I don’t need to know every detail of every solution He’s got

up His sleeve either (which is good because He’s never developed

the habit of letting me know what He’s going to do ahead of time!)

and I know from experience that when the crisis has ended and I

look back I will be amazed and able to see clearly what He did 

and why!

       When that happens over and over again in your life, it gets

easier and easier to “let go and let God!”    When His children

display that kind of trust and dependence in Him, I believe God

is truly delighted!    He loves it when our faith in Him runs so

deep that we’re willing and able to turn control of our lives over

to Him.      It does take practice though!   It won’t happen over-

night….just keep reminding yourself that it’s difficult for God to

direct your life if you’re constantly fighting Him for the wheel!

       Giving up control doesn’t  come easily for most of us.   We’re

so used to being in control that handing over the reins to anyone

else can be downright scary!     But God isn’t just anybody! 
He’s GOD!   The safest place in the world for you to be is under

His care!     So no matter what’s going on in your world, just re-

member God is in control;  of everything and everyone, all the

time!    Once you get that truth engraved on your heart,  you

won’t have to deal with stress either.

       Now,  does that mean that from now on you’ll skip through

life under blue skies and rainbows picking daisies as you go?

Afraid not…..troubles, pain and problems are part of everyone’s

life….what it does mean is that you’ll never face any of it alone!

You’re going through life sheltered by the hand of the living God

and there is simply no safer place you could possibly be!

        So when others are stressed?  You can be at peace.   When

others are terrified?   You can be grateful.   When others are

worrying?  You can be praying!    And always keep in mind that

the word stressed is just desserts spelled backwards!!

WHY PRAY?

 I think lots of Christians are confused by the whole concept
of prayer,.   For many, it’s simply talking to or at God.   A
worthwhile pasttime no doubt, but one that overlooks the
basic reason for prayer.   For others, prayer is the spiritual
equivalent of rubbing a genie’s lamp or writing a letter to
Santa.     But relegating prayer to the status of “wishlist”
is not only wasting time, (yours AND God’s) but missing
out on the most amazing benefit of one of God’s greatest
gifts to mankind!
       Stop for a moment and consider this:   Almighty God,
the Creator of this entire universe and everything in it, has
bestowed upon you both the right and the ability to approach
Him at any time, for any reason.   He wants to communicate
with you on an intimate, personal level.
       He wants you to come to Him with all your feelings,
problems, questions, doubts, joys, fears, and yes, your
requests.   God the Father takes great delight when His
children demonstrate the kind of love and trust that sends
them rumming to Him for help when they’re overwhelmed,
hurting or confused.  He wants to be the FIRST One you run
to for help —- not a last-ditch after-thought you pull out
when everything and everyone else has failed.
       God promises over and over again, in His Holy Bible
that His love for us is unconditional…..He loves us with a
love that cannot be changed or stopped by any force on
earth.        Once you believe that down deep in your heart,
you’ll realize that you have the best support system in the
world backing you up; 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
He’s never out-of-the-office, or on another line and not once
in over 50 years have I ever gotten a busy signal or been
re-routed to His voicemail!
            One thing it did take me years to figure out is that
prayer is a two-way street…..or at least it should be.   It’s
easy to develop the habit of talking “to” God, but it’s a bit
more difficult learning to “listen” to God.    Psalm 46:10
tells us to “be still and know that I am God”.    Much easier
said than done for most of us, I know.
      Start out by just sitting somewhere, alone, in comfortable
silence, with a cup of coffee or tea, and some paper (in case
He says something to inspire you.,…) and spend 20 or 30
minutes or so just thinking about Jesus.    Who He is, what
He’s done for you, how He’s blessed you, how much He loves
you, etc.
       When you make spending time with Jesus like this a daily
priority Jesus will definitely take advantage of the opportunity!
Who knows how long He’s been waiting for you to visit?  
       WHAT you do during your ‘Jesus’ time isn’t as important
as making sure that you schedule it EVERY day!   Read your
bible, sing worship songs, just meditate, ask for help, say
thank-you for blessings already bestowed…..just devote this
time to Him and watch what happens in your life!
       We find time for all sorts of things in our lives…..trips to
the gym, logging onto Facebook, watching our favorite TV
shows, etc.      Certainly we should be able to carve out 30
minutes or an hour for the Savior who suffered so much and
died to guarantee you eternal life in Heaven!       Once you
start and time with Jesus becomes a habit I promise your life
will never be the same again!
       Jesus will change you from the inside out in ways you’ll
never expected and you’ll start to see things in and about other
people that you never noticed before!    Opportunities to help
and encourage others will appear, chances will open up for you
to talk about Jesus with others…..and people will start to notice
something different about you that leaves them both curious
and fascinated with whatever “IT” is.   They sense the difference
and want it for themselves!   That’s your invitation to tell them
about Jesus and, if necessary, make the introductions!
Tell them what He’s done in your life and how He wants to do
the same for them!    
       Sharing this information with people that Jesus puts in your
path is literally the most important thing you can do in your life
on this side of heaven!    Not only will Jesus be thrilled, but He’ll
be there to help you every step of the way, giving you the grace
and the strength you need to handle whatever comes your way.
I’m living proof!
       And prayer is the key to it all!   Time spent with Christ.
Gradually, living with and working for Jesus will become a way
of life and you’ll wonder how on earth you ever lived any other
way!   I sure did!

NO FEAR?

Whenever people ask me why I’m not afraid to
die my answer is always the same.    “Because I trust God completely.”
       My faith is in the same almighty God who created the
entire universe, the same God who loved us so much that Hesacrificed His only Son to die a horrible death in order to pay the price for our sins and create a bridge between Himself and those of us who believe in Him.
       In His word, the Holy Bible, God promises us over & over again that He has only our best interests at heart and that He loves us unconditionally, beyond measure, and He has prepared  a wonderful place called Heaven where we will spend all eternity with He and His Son Jesus.
       Once you believe this truth deep in your heart you’ll have notrouble trusting that whatever happens in your life, whatever problems arise, whatever situation you find yourself in —-God is there, too.    He’s there with you every minute with a plan and a reason for everything.  
       In my case, God has been there for me so many times, answered so many prayers and bailed me out of so many
catastrophes that I have n choice left BUT to believe.   There’s just no other way to explain all the rescues, miracles and turn-arounds that dot the landscape of my life over the last 50 or so years!
       When something happens that’s just so phenomenal that you can’t explain it any other way I call that a ‘Godwink”;  kinda like the Father looking down on you from Heaven with a wink, saying, “I got this — no worries!!”  And I believe Him!!
     That’s why I have no problem answering the question about why death doesn’t frighten me.   For a real Christian?  Death is not the end of anything….it’s only the beginning of an eternity that’s going to be more wonderful than anything I could imagine!
So either I stick around and have extra time to introduce more people to Jesus OR I get to retire and head for heaven and paradise right now!   Either way?  It’s a win-win situation!   
That’s basically it —- if I woke up this morning, then God isn’t through with me yet.    I still have work to do…just what or where or with whom I don’t know yet….but I leave that up to Jesus;   He knows and that’s the most important thing!    It matters to me that He knows how much I love Him and that I’m available for whatever He wants me to do today!    Today being the important word!!   The Lord’s prayer says, “Give us this day our DAILY bread….doesn’t mention weekly or monthly installments!  NOW is what counts!  
       Jesus literally went through hell on earth to pay for our
sins and guarantee us eternal life.    And all He asks for in
return is that we spread His Gospel and share His Name!
In other words?    Know Him and make Him known!!
Isn’t that the very LEAST we can do?

The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a Christian
was something I’d put off for most of my adult life.
which was forgiveness.
A few blogs ago I described the three kinds of
Christians from my perspective:
               Stone-cold,  Luke-warm and On-fire!!
Unfortunately, I’d spent most of my life as the luke-
warm variety.  Then one beautiful autumn afternoon
I guess Jesus just flat-out got tired of waiting for me to
come around on my own, so He arranged a little perso-
nal epiphany for me.   Sort of an “aha” moment, you
could say.
Hubby says the only way he can explain it, is that I
walked upstairs to my office as one person and came
down 30 minutes later as someone totally different.  I
went from being a luke-warm Christian to a sizzling-for
-Christ believer almot overnight!
So what made the difference?   For me, it was forgiveness.
There was someone in my life that I had to forgive for
something pretty awful.    It had happened years ago and
we had been estranged for years.   Forgiveness wasn’t an
option on my end or in my heart because I simply didn’t
believe that this person deserved to be forgiven,   So I
never sincerely made an effort. 
Then, one afternoon, in a heart-to-heart talk with my pastor’s
wife, it was made clear to me, that forgiveness wasn’t about
what someone else deserved —- it was something I needed
to do.  For myself!   
I called myself a Christian, which is supposed to mean
‘Christ-like’, but was I?  Not hardly.    Forgetting is NOT
forgiving and ignoring something doesn’t mean it isn’t there
or that whatever it is will go away.    What it will do is fester,
grow and weigh you down as long as you allow it to.
I listened politely, knowing in my heart that she was right
and then explained that I had tried many times over the years
to forgive with no success at all.   “I simply can’t do it!” I
told her.   To which she replied, “Have you ever asked Jesus to
help you?”    That brought me up short.    I just assumed that
Jesus was waiting for me to get it done.    It never once
occurred to me that I should ask Him to help me do it!  
Well, to make a long story short ( which I’m NOT good at ) I did
ask Him, and then, almost immediately, He did! 
That’s when everything changed!   It was almost as if something
had flipped a switch and a flood of blessings came gushing out
filling my entire soul!   Everything I do now for Jesus started
right then, that minute, that afternoon! 
  *  I started building and launched Dustys Front Porch website —
  *  I joined the prison minisitry bringing story verse to inmates
  *  Began sending out my little thought for the Day emails which
             now go all over the world every weekday morning.
   * Started a yearly crocheting project called Hats for the
              Homeless.
   *  Painting Witness-Wear T-shirts and so much more!
Before that day, I believed in God, went to church, said grace
before meals, prayed at bedtime, etc.   But to actually go out and
speak to people about God?   Go out into the world and work to
bring people closer to Christ?    Share His Gospel?   This chick?
No way!   But now I can’t stop!  
And old pastor friend of mine named Clayton explained it this way:
“Girl, God blessed you from birth with many wonderful gifts!  You’re
a poet, a storyteller, a singer and an Irish colleen with a gift of gab
that won’t wait!    But He was unable to let you use those gifts on His
behalf because you weren’t 100% committed to Him.    Your inability
or unwillingness to forgive was like a wall keeping Him from using
you and your talents the way He wanted to!    He was waiting for
you to give Him what you never had — your whole heart and soul.”
Once I knocked that wall down — it was on — all if a sudden I
couldn’t do enough, fast enough and I haven’t slowed down or looked
back since!   Who would have thought that a single thing like
forgiveness could make such a difference?    But it did!
Look at it this way:     We don’t forgive because someone deserves
be forgiven.    We forgive others because Jesus forgave us!  
Completely, thoroughly and instantly.    
We should be spending our lives here on earth learning to love like He
loved, live like He lived, and becoming as much like Him as we possibly
can.    It’s why we’re here!
Others should see Christ when they look at us!   His love and His light
should pour out of us in such a way that those who don’t know Him
yet, simply can’t wait to figure out what it is we have that they’re
missing out on!
It’s called the Great Commission!   It’s what Jesus commanded His
disciples to do just before He ascended up to Heaven.   Go and tell
the whole world who He is and what He taught us and baptize them
in His name!    He even gave us the Holy Spirit to teach and guide
us.  He even promised that He’d always be with us and never leave us.
If there’s anything in your life that’s preventing you from giving
yourself 100% to Jesus?   Get rid of it today. Whether its forgiveness, 
unconfessed sin, a bad habit, a wrong attitude, whatever
it is, ask Jesus to help you eliminate it.  Tell Him you want to be completely
His and that you want to work for Him.   Accept Him as your Lord
and Savior, then hang on and watch what happens!   He’s been
waiting who knows how long for you to ask……you won’t wait long
for an answer!
Your life will change in ways you never thought possible and you’ll
never regret a single moment!   It won’t be easy, but it will be wonder-
ful as you watch the difference you can make for Jesus!

FAITH vs FEAR

 Two main factors that I’m pretty sure confront every

 Christian at some point in their lives are Faith and Fear. 

Or perhaps I should say Faith versus Fear.  

       God has granted each of us a certain measure of

faith,  we know this because the Bible tells us so.   

And fear?  Fear is an undeniable fact of life for all of us!

Fear of different things, of varying degrees and at certain

times in our lives.   There’s no escaping it   It’s unavoidable

and attacks everyone, believer and non-believer alike.   It

can take many forms; stress, doubt, tension, uncertainty,

et,.  but it’s an issue we’ll all have to address at some point.

    Even Jesus acknowledged it when He told us that we

would face trouble and suffering here on earth.    He also

said that we should not give in to fear because with His

amazing sacrifice at Calvary on the cross, He had already

overcome the world and all the problems in it!

      The Bible says it and faith is what allows us to believe

it’s true.   Being afraid is nothing to be ashamed of.   It’s

part of being human and Jesus knows this.  That’s proba-

bly why there are over 365 “fear nots” in the Bible!

        But we can experience fear and acknowledge it with-

out letting it beat us over the head!   We are overcomers in

Christ.   Period.   The best way to overcome fear is to not

let it get the upper hand.   Start out by considering the

source.   Know what fear stands for?

                 F.alse  E.vidence A.ppearing R.eal

In other words?  A lie.   And we all know who’s the king

and father of all lies.   The devil.    And the only power

that old pest has is what we choose to give him.   So even

when you don’t understand the reason for  problem, ill-

ness or trial – all you have to do is trust God.   Just be-

cause He hasn’t explained why something is happening

doesn’t mean He doesn’t know!   But when you’re left

temporarily without answers that’s when the devil turns

up the volume in a fierce attempt to convince you that

you’re all alone, that God doesn’t care or that God can’t

bail you out of this one.    Please don’t buy into that hype!

Just grab Romans 8:28 and beat the devil over the head

with that particular scripture!! 

       The devil’s lies are just empty words and rhetoric

unless you give them power.  Trust Jesus and you’ll be

able to laugh off whatever the devil tries to throw at you!

             I’ve had lots of practice with this maneuver since

the whole cancer thing reared it’s ugly head 2 years ago.

I’m facing this diagnosis of terminal cancer that is sup-

posedly going to kill me.   Now dying isn’t what frightens

me — I know what’s out there beyond my final breath!

Heaven here I come!   What’s terrifying to me is the inte-

rim — the whole sickness, needles, doctors, needles, pain,

medicine, did I say needles?   I’m not a big fan of people

sticking me with tiny sharp things so the prospect of lots

of that in my upcoming timeline didn’t exactly tickle my

funny bone.
But day by day, shot by shot, chemo by chemo, test

after test, Jesus held me hand and walked me through

it all moment by moment.    Looking back now over the

past 2 years it’s easy to see how Jesus managed to get me

through it AND used what was happening to me to

strengthen the faith of so many people that I came in con-

tact with at the same time!

      So now, when some new symptom or test or procedure

pops up, I don’t panic because I know Jesus is going to

handle it and me just like He has all those times before.   I

don’t have the words all the time or the details or the

answers and I don’t need them.   All I need to know is that

Jesus loves me and will always do what’s best for me.

‘Nuff said.

The same is true for you whatever you’re afraid of.   If

you’re a Christian then Jesus is standing in the gap between

you and whatever it is that you’re afraid of!   Don’t let the

devil succeed at convincing you otherwise becaue when it

comes to reinforcements?   You have MAJOR back-up!

Always remember too, especially if you’re wading through

a public test or trial that others can see, (try keeping cancer

a secret!) then the world is watching to see if your faith is

something you only preach about or something you LIVE!

The way you handle difficulties says volumes to others

about how powerful it is to trust in Jesus and have Him in

charge of your life!   They will be able to see what you have,

(FAITH), witness how you use it, (TRUST), and see the re-

sults, (PEACE).   And sooner or later, they’re going to want

that for themselves!

Nothing makes Jesus happier than being audaciously trusted

by His children and He will move heaven and earth to reward

that kind of trust with His presence, His peace and His power!

Believe me,  been there –seen that!!

   It doesn’t matter what the trial, whether its finance, disease,

stress or relational, whatever, our challenges may be different

but our Savior is the same.   Jesus has overcome the world and

anything it can dream up to toss our way….There simply isn’t

anything He cannot handle.  

Talk with Him daily and ask Him to walk with you through

whatever’s ahead.   Whatever’s coming it will be SO much

easier when Jesus is holding your hand.   So when it comes to

fear?  Faith is stronger every time!

PERSPECTIVE

  The Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “perspective”
as a vista or a view. It refers to the depth of how we see
things.
Perspective can help us recognize that there are dimensions
even in our relationships. And “perspective” also assists us
with the subjective evaluation we place on people as well as
 events. Thus, the longer we each live, the greater and more
 informed our perspective becomes. {from the January
issueof Transformation Gardens newsletter}
I think it would be easier for today’s Christians to take the
whole issue of God, spirituality and Heaven more seriously
if we could adjust our perspective of mortal life versus
eternal life.
We tend to think of life here on earth in terms of what’s
‘real’.   Jobs, marriages, finances, relationships, etc….these
are concrete, real issues that we can see, elements that we
deal with, hands-on, every day.
In contrast, Heaven, eternal life, sin, grace…..these are also
real, but they’re items we deal with in the abstract.   It’s
difficult to put them in the same category as the pink slip or
divorce papers we hold in our hands today.   It’s hard, even
for believers, who are otherwise good Christians, to attach
as much gravity to God’s promise of an eternal someday to
the terminal diagnosis we got from the oncologist this after-
noon.
The only way we get to a place where God’s perspective is
as real to us as our own is brought about by a quality called
‘faith’.   Faith, simply put, is the ability, granted to us by
 God, that enables us to believe what we can’t see.   To
invest in what we have no physical evidence of.   Why?  
Because an all-powerful, loving Father who has never once
lied to us about anything, at any time, tells us so.    In our
hearts and in His word.
He has never once, in recorded history, told us anything but
the truth, xo it’s a bit ludicrous to think that He would begin
lying now and about such an important topic that will
eventually affect every one of us!
Jesus is certainly upfront in telling the disciples that life here
on earth is going to be hard.   He doesn’t sugarcoat anything.
But He also told us that it would be worth it and that He’d
never leave us on our own.   He reassured us that He would
be here to help us every step of the way.
He tells us over and over again that life here is only the firt
chapter of our existence and that death is merely a transition
between this life and the next one….the eternal one!   An
eternal existence in paradise with He and His Father that will
be more wonderful than anything we have ever imagined.
That is the destiny that awaits us once we accept the miracu-
lous gift of forgiveness and salvation that He earned for us by
by dying that horrible death on the cross.   The wages for
sin was and is death.   That penalty had to be paid before we
were eligible to be with God.   Now stop for a moment and
consider this:   Jesus loved s so much, that He chose to face
that awful agoey and death rather than live without us!!
And face it He did!    Is there any conceivable reason for Him
to have put Himself through any of that if Heaven was no
more than a fairy tale?   If none of it were true?   Of course
not!!
What we perceive of as an ending here on earth —- what we
call death is not an ending at all!  Its the glorious beginning
of a wonderful exciting forever with God that will never end.
So as we go through the troubles and heartaches and pain
that make up this life here on earth, we have the hope of
Heaven to hold onto.   Each and every one of God’s promises
to us that we can depend on, to carry us through.
The paradise that awaits us in the future as Christians is
every bit as real and concrete as the suffering we endure while
we’re here on earth.   And the bible promises, the pain encoun-
tered here will fade away and be as nothing compared to the
joy that’s coming!  
Keeping all these things in mind will make it easier to adjust
our perspective about whatever we have to deal with in this
life.
None of this means of course that the things we go through in
our lives are trivial.   They’re not.   But they’re also, in many
cases, not worth the time, attention and frantic amount of
worry that we devote to them either.    Something we should
always remember is that if God allows a trial to touch our
lives, then #1 He has a reason for it and
                  #2 He will provide us with the grace and strength 
                       we need to cope with or overcome it
Even if we can’t understand what possible motive the Lord
might have for what happens, we have to trust in His unfail-
ing love for us.   When we can’t see His hand, we must trust
Hisheart!!  
God is always in control.   Of everything, everywhere at all
times.   If we believe that with all our hearts, not only do we
please Him, but it becomes much easier for us not to panic
when sudden, unforeseen problems pop up in our day-to-day
lives.
One example from my own life that comes to mind is my 
diagnosis and ongoing battle with cancer that started back
in 2012.   To say my family was mystified is an understatement!
My sister pitched the proverbial ‘hissy fit’!!  “why you?” she
wailed.    “No one works harder for Jesus than you!  WHY
would He let this happen to you?”
Back then, I had no answer for her….but looking back over the
last 2 years and seeing what God has done with my illness I can
say exactly “Why me?”     God wanted to give Christians a
message about dying and how we should approach it!
Who better to broadcast that message than a loud-mouthed,
Irish poet/storyteller who already had a fairly large world-wide
following  thanks to a website and the Internet?     I’ve spoken
to groups and individuals, bible classes, senior groups, church
seminars etc about what a Christian’s response to death should
be and why.    My illness has put me in situations where I’ve
been available to speak to and with people who needed to hear
this message.    The poems and stories I publish and post go
all over the world and I know that more weight is given to what
I say simply because I’m facing death myself and everyone wants
to understand my “I’m not afraid to die” attitude.    Coming
from me it’s not just rhetoric because I’ve been there —done that!
God knew that my experience would make my statements even
more effective.    But back on that winter afternoon in 2012, when
I sat holding hands with my hubby in the doctors office as he told
us that my uterine cancer had metastasized (can anyone spell that
word??) into my bones and that it was terminal, I truly had no
answer to my sister’s question.    But even then, I didn’t need an
answer because I knew God had His reasons and that eventually
He’d let me know what they were.    God loved me, He was in
charge and that was enough for me.
I could tell dozens of other stories from my life about how one
seemingly unexplainable thing was used in a totally unexpected
way by God to further His purpose here on earth.
Once you get faith in God’s purpose and motivation settled in
 your heart, you’ll find evidence of it everywhere in your life.  
Looking back you’ll realize that what you had written off as
merely a coincidence was anything but!   A coincidence is simply
God choosing to remain anonymous.    Realizing that you play a
part in God’s overall scheme of things;  in His plan for His people,
it becomes much easier to adjust your perspective to fit His.
Your world will expand to include much more than just your
immediate surroundings.    And when you wake to the fact that
you have been chosen by Almighty God to further His agenda for
mankind?  That He considers your faith strong enough to carry
out His wishes?   Let me tell you — as a Christian?   It simply
doesn’t get any better than that!!