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Your Living Legacy

defaul17Our lives are ordered by the Lord, and He does this through people and circumstances which He sends our way. This week has been a flurry of activity in a kaleidoscope of directions, which is probably true for most of us; however, dealing with death does not drop into the schedule every week.

A dear friend from our church died yesterday. Her life was a constant challenge to me. She was diagnosed with MS shortly after her marriage, and her husband left her. She has been in a wheel chair for years in a little apartment filled to the brim with penguins—she loved penguins! Whenever we would visit her, we came away with a smile. Dannah had a mission to make everyone smile.

While sorting through her things last Saturday, my heart was heavy. Life would soon be over for Dannah. In many ways, that was a relief. For the past six months, she’s been in and out of hospitals and on deaths door often, constantly in pain.

Is it by accident that I’m reading through Ecclesiaties right now? I think not! Chapter one says, One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. (4) Chapter two has these words of wisdom: For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, Since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool! (16 NKJV) These verses capture the sense of Solomon’s struggle. Is there anything new under the sun? What is the meaning of life? By chapter three, he’s changed his direction of thinking: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: And by the end of the book, he’s gained the right perspective: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (12:13)

But as I sit here today, looking back over my activities of the week, I have to wonder, or ponder, or think through that big question: What is the meaning of life? Does it lose meaning when it seems to be all drudgery, monotonous, or mundane?
I have found that it helps to think about my grandparents. They were farmers and gardeners, carpenters and housewives. They never traveled much or were “movers and shakers” in their communities. They lived, worked, raised kids and corn and cows, and died. That doesn’t sound very complimentary, but believe me, I’m glad they did live and raise kids, or I wouldn’t be here!

Life is good, even in the worst of circumstances. God is good, and ALWAYS does what is right. I just finished reading Job, and certainly don’t want to be a “miserable comforter,” but sometimes we just need to “stop it!” (You need to watch this little clip of Bob Newhart, and you’ll understand!

God sends us through the valleys and then gives us the strength to reach the mountain tops! Then we rejoice and enjoy the view…and slide back down! (Or Satan pushes us!) But that’s okay, because we are alive! We are living, and life is for the living! Enjoy it, make the most of it! Spend time with people, especially those under your roof! And know that quality time may look like a waste of time to you, like sitting and chatting with your two year old while he eats his lunch!

Make your living legacy count, so that when you’re at death’s door, you can look back down over the trail you’ve forged, and you can rest in the arms of Jesus with no regrets! Wow! That’s a tall order! How do you do that? …one step at a time!

This poem was written by Dannah in 1995.  She still had twenty more years of living to do!  Please, take the time to read it.  It’s long, but it’s a great perspective builder!

At The Road’s End

At the road’s end, there lies a peaceful rest:

A rest that is eternal and better than Earth’s best,

A place that’s sheltered and protected from unrest of any kind,

A place where pain and suffering you will never find,

A place that is cradled in the hollow of His hand,

A place where you can always hear the celestial angelic band.

A place where a medicine chest, upon the shelf so full,

Will never again cause havoc and treat the body so cruel.

Twisted, withered, and missing body parts will be restored,

And never again will I need my shiny transfer board.

The wheelchair that supports me and speeds me along the way,

Will no longer be part of me when I reach that happy day.

That place is surrounded by beauty and quietness,

where naked eyes and open ears will experience the bliss.

No crutches, nor braces, nor aids of any kind.

No surgery, no chemo, or such as the likes you’ll find.

There will be no death or loss of life,

There will be no stress or strife.

A place where true peace will reign among all men,

A place where prejudice and hate will n’er be round again,

A placed where the landscape is covered by pure white,

I can hardly wait to see it, t’will be an awesome sight.

A place that will be illuminated completely from within,

A place that will not be corrupted by death and sin,

A place that is both an ending and a beginning,

A place so perfect in all respects, it sets my mine to spinning.

A place where every race, gender, and nation

Will be reunited with each and every predeceased relation—

Oh, what a joyous celebration will be spread

Without a single worry, fear, or dread.

No need to look backwards over your shoulder,

No need to fret the morrow, for you shall never wax older.

Finally set free, no more irons, no more fetters,

No more hassles with bills, no more vile and hurtful letters.

Never another lonely tear from the corner of my eye shall fall,

As I open wide my eyes to see those dear ones, one and all.

As they approach me, surround me, and welcome me with glee,

I gaze into those loving eyes of the One who died for me,

And suddenly, and awesomely, I finally understand

Just why my grief and suffering was just a part of the Master’s plan:

For every teardrop, hurt, and sorry was tailored for that eternal gain.

And so as I travel those final few feet,

I draw my last breath as my Savior I meet.

Don’t be distraught, you’ll miss me I know.

Don’t be discouraged, instead let your faith show.

Be happy for me, I’m whole once more,

No wheelchair, no tethers, not one little sore,

Please excuse me, I much to explore!!!

Just wait till you get here, you’ll adore it I’m sure.

If you are wondering just where your prayers and thoughts to send,

I have forever established my residence in that place—AT THE ROAD’S END.

1/95 Dannah L Kegler

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The top of the “Spirit-chain”

ID-10058017“What a nice group of people.”  The comment was made several times, and I had to agree.  Of course, they were all my relatives!  Two aunts, three cousins and spouses, my dear mother (in whose honor the hot dog roast was organized), my sister and her husband, two of our children and their families, and my dear husband.  So, what makes us so nice? :)

My husband wasn’t a pastor for very long before I realized that my extended family was not “normal.” My childhood was filled with memories of family get-togethers which included my no-nonsense grandmother and her children: five girls and one boy.  My mother was the youngest of the tribe.  We were always a close-knit family, but there were a few missing elements to these gatherings.  There was never any raucous music, alcohol, or pornography. We were God-fearing people.  All of my cousins grew up in the church.  Most were married in the church.  We learned our lessons and were fairly faithful.

Sad to say, that isn’t the case anymore; however, something stuck.  The principles which my grandparents taught to their children were passed on to the next generation—it was just what you did, and there is still the aura of Biblical truth whether we all attend church or not.  However…

What about the following generations?  How many of them attend church or even believe in God?  And what about my generation?  How many of us still hold to the truths we were taught as children?  I’m afraid that in some homes, something is missing?

Even though I’m so thankful for the heritage I have been given, I am even more thankful for the mercy of God upon my life!  Romans 9:15 says, For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. God had mercy on me!  He tugged at my heart as a child, and when I was hell-bent on ruining my life as a teen, He reached down and saved my soul!  And to top it all off, He led me to a young man whose life was also changed by the same true spirit of God.

Where are you in your walk with God?  Is He tugging at your heart or, perhaps like Paul, sending “pricks” which you are having a hard time kicking against? Maybe it’s that uncle who keeps mentioning God, a lot of times without ever saying a word! Or perhaps its that neighbor who keeps inviting you to church, or the blogger who keeps bringing up the subject of salvation; and every time you read or hear or watch, God touches your heart.  Why don’t you give it up and surrender to Him?

Maybe you are in the “ruining your life” stage.  That’s an awful place to be!  It starts out fun, but as the consequences of sin begin to pile up, the burden can be unbearable.  God meant it to be that way.  He wants you to give up and look up to Him!  Just take the plunge and drop dead!  Paul writes in Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Or perhaps you’ve made it: You have surrendered your life to Jesus, asked Him to forgive your sins, and you are trusting Him to take you to heaven when you die.  Do you know what that means?  You are His child and you are on the top of the spirit-chain. You have the awesome privilege to live your life for Him!  You have the opportunity to be the spiritual spouse, parent, or grandparent.  You get the opportunity to live for Christ and pass the baton on to the generations which will follow you!

I know I quote it often, but one of my favorite verses is 3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. I have that privilege and opportunity to pass the baton!  Oh, the joy of gathering with my children and grandchildren and seeing the love of the Lord in their lives—to watch as my sons train up their children in the Lord, and my daughters lead my grandchildren to know the Lord!  We all get along and love being together; in fact, next year, we hope to take a week and vacation together.  Our time will be sweet, and it will be centered around the Lord, not this world!  Praise God for what He can do, if we will just yield to His way!  Try it—the benefits are out of this world!

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts:
and let him return unto the LORD,
and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither,
but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud,
that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:
it shall not return unto me void,
but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Isaiah 55:6-11

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Enoch Walked with God (Can we?)

If you are looking for a daily devotional that really digs into the Word and is full of Biblical truths, you may want to look at FEATURE – A Daily Bible Study Guide. This little booklet is packed with the Good News of Jesus Christ! Today’s reading starts a ten day series on Hebrews eleven.  (I thought I was reading the one for today, but this is actually Saturdays!) It was just too good to keep to myself!  Enjoy!

The patriarch Enoch pleased the Lord by his godly walk in the midst of rampant ungodliness (Gen. 5:21-6:6). The Bible does not say that Enoch had the encouragement of others who were of like mind or that he was in some way insulated from the wickedness that completely permeated his society.  No, the Scriptures only state that he “walked with God” (Gen 5:22). Enoch knew what conduct was pleasing to his Lord, and he had faith to believe that no personal sacrifice was too great to strive for that circumspect walk. [Emphasis added] Without doubt, conflict and suffering resulted from such a forthright testimony, but just imagine the blessedness of walking in fellowship day by day, step by step, with the Almighty God!  How much better is the hallowed friendship of the divine “Friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24) than the fleeting favor of anyone else.  Yes, the Lord rewarded Enoch for his walk of faith, for God translated him up to glory so that he did not have to experience death (v.5).

What does his example mean for us today?  Can we walk in this present evil world and still please our heavenly Father at the same time?  By faith, we certainly can!  We see from the Scriptures that God still desires to reward believers who are willing to step out in faith and live for Him in an age that reminds us of the time in which Enoch lived.  Christian, one day we will stand before our Lord either to receive reward or to be ashamed for our actions (1 Cor. 3:8-15, 1 John 2:28).  Is our walk worthy of reward?  Does the world or the Word determine our course? [Emphasis added] Do we “diligently seek” (v.6) to walk by faith—as Enoch did?  If so, our Lord is pleased, and our reward is sure.

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death;

and was not found, because God had translated him:

for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

But without faith it is impossible to please him:

for he that cometh to God must believe that he is,

and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:3,4

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Wait Till You Ride the Phoenix

Last week I spent a wonderful day with my daughter, daughter-by-choice, five grandchildren and an “adopted” granddaughter. The children’s ages ranged from four years old down to ten weeks!  What fun!  Blessings upon blessings.  The Lord granted us a gorgeous PA day with low temps and no humidity.  The amusement park wasn’t crowded and we had a blast.

But as I watched the excitement in my grandchildren’s eyes while riding the Helicopters, especially noticing Connor (4) as he discovered that by moving the bar, the thing would go up and down, I thought, “Wait until you can ride the Phoenix.”

The Bible is custom-made to meet our needs no matter where we are in our Christian walk.  It’s full of hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered.  I remember dreading the book of Job until I was going through a difficult time, then Job became my favorite!  John has always been a blessing, but when I really wanted to concentrate on being a better witness, looking at John and learning from Jesus’ example changed my perspective.  Acts came alive as I studied it to teach to our Children’s Bible Club a few years back.  Joseph became my hero when I did a character study of his life.

If you would chose to study one book of the Bible every year, it would take you sixty-six years to do it!  Duh!  I know that’s a pretty dumb statement, but that’s a long time, and our time is limited.

Each decade of our lives contains different challenges. Generally speaking, in our twenties we’re finding a mate, having children and establishing our homes.  Making time for Bible devotions can be difficult as we deal with newlywed drama and diapers. New mom’s need to snatch a quick tidbit of the Word whenever possible, much like the snippets of sleep she needs steal just to keep functioning.  The thirties bring toddlers and elementary age children, and the schedule starts getting packed with appointments, ball games, and trips to the park.  If a habit of daily Bible reading has been lost, now’s a good time to pick it up and plan it into your schedule.  The forties, we find ourselves parenting teens, attending sports games and music programs and graduations, and then they’re off to college.  WARNING!  If you are not spending time in the Bible, then your spiritual tank is empty; and there is no time in your life when you will need to be drawing strength and wisdom from God, as much as when you are raising teens! And by the fifties, our nest is empty. What happens when you’ve made your children the center of your life (ooo!  Sounds like a god to me), and now they’re gone?  Oh, find that Friend that will never leave you!  He’s in the Book!  My point? There’s always an excuse NOT to take the time to learn about God, and there’s never a better time to study God’s Word than now!

This summer we’re having a “Five Minute Team” for the children at church.  I’m challenging them to spend five minutes a day reading the Bible, using Patch the Pirate material.

Five minutes out of the one thousand four hundred forty minutes that God gives us every day!

That’s pretty puny! I often tell the children that I didn’t become faithful to my devotions until I took the challenge not to eat until I read my Bible. That worked!

So take the challenge, somewhere within the pages of God’s Book there may be a Phoenix just waiting to be discovered by YOU–a story or a thought or a phrase that you’ve never seen before. And once you “ride” it, you’ll never be the same!

 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! Romans 11:33

 

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Spiritual Food Pyrimad

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We’re probably all familiar with the food pyramid and its benefits,  helping us to understand which foods we should eat. But could we use it to see what benefits the Word of God supplies for our spirits?  We find some interesting parallels between eating food and feasting on the Word.

Starting at the bottom of the pyramid, we see that we are to drink eight glasses of water a day. How many of us do that? That’s a LOT of water. If we consider a sixteen hour waking day, then we need to drink a glass of water every two hours! What if we applied the same strategy to the Word of God? Imagine reading or at least thinking about God’s Word every two hours—what an affect that would have on our walk with Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith!

Next comes the breads and pastas—six servings! Those are the building blocks upon which all the other foods rest. Spiritually, these would be called doctrine. That word may have a negative connotation t you, but it’s simply the teachings of the Bible: fundamental truths like, the Deity of Christ, God the Creator, and the Resurrection. Knowing what we believe is absolutely necessary, especially in this day when our core beliefs are being challenged. Do you KNOW what you believe, and are those beliefs grounded in the Word of God?

Next are the much needed fruits and vegetables, combined to equal five to eight servings. These foods are full of vitamins and minerals which help our bodies to fight against diseases and sickness—a defense against the enemy! And how do we fight off our spiritual enemy? Is it not the fruit of the spirit that really make Satan run?! Love, joy, peace, longsuffering or patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Be as full of spiritual fruit as you can, and Satan won’t be able to stay in your presence for very long! And have you ever noticed that many “diets” allow as many of these as we want to eat? Same thing, spiritually! Galatians 5:22 ends the listing of spiritual fruits with these words: against such there is no law. In other words, go for it!

Ah, the meat, poultry, fish, etc.– two to three servings. Protein builds our muscles and powers our brain. Brain food! Are you brainwashed with the Word of God?

And dairy—three servings. 1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. Calcium, we all know, builds strong bones. Strong bones are the framework on which everything else is hinged! Do you love God’s Word? Do you desire it like a newborn? I was having babies back in the 80s, right between the non-nursing era and before nursing really caught on. I can still see Jennifer, straining her head to nurse, because at that time, the nurses would hold off bringing the babies back to mommy as long as they could, trying to hit the goal of four hours. And, they would give the babies sugar water! Poor little thing!  By the time she came to me, she was desperate for food! Oh, to be that desperate for God’s soul-nourishing Word!

And then the tippy top of the pyramid, the little triangle which tastes SO good and makes all the other foods taste a whole lot better! After all, what’s an ear of corn without butter, or a salad without the dressing? There’s no servings listed, just the word “occasionally.” This is the place for all our favorites—the things we’re constantly trying to limit because of fat and calorie intake. These foods pack on the pounds without adding much nutritional value at all. BEWARE! I hate to say this, but these are the blog posts, and the books, and the radio programs, and the podcasts. They are so good, and I’m not saying they aren’t beneficial, but be careful that they don’t replace reading the Bible. Even notes in our Bibles can make us “fat” and lazy, not taking the time to meditate and think for ourselves.

Eat well! Stay “fed up.” Drink often from the fountain of living water! Your spiritual life is depending on it!

Psalm 19:7-11

 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul:

the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart:

the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever:

the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold:

sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them

there is great reward.

BookCoverPreview Thy Kingdom Come

Self-inflicted Deadline!

I have several posts started but have not finished them because I’m trying to get Thy Kingdom Come up and running by the end of the month.  I’m SO close, that I when I am at my computer, I want to proof, not write!

If you haven’t taken a look at the Strong Delusion Trilogy, let me take just a moment to encourage you to do so.  I will admit that these books are not for everyone; however, I keep hearing comments like:

“I fell in love with your characters!  I hated to see…” (Well, I can’t tell you what they said, or I’d give away the ending of Angel of Light! :)

“After reading Angel of Light,  I wanted to know more about the End Times and started reading my Bible and other resources.”

“I have to admit, these books hit too close to home, but I needed to read them!”

“After starting A Moment in Time, I ordered one for each of my granddaughters.”

I also heard other comments, like “I want my daughter to read these, but not until she’s older.” So please beware that the content is for older teens and adults.

Someone else BookCoverPreview Thy Kingdom Comechallenged me to write about what I had experienced: like the life of a country pastor’s wife. As I considered this, I realized that I was writing about what I had experienced.  I didn’t get saved until I was seventeen.  I went to a secular college, saved but certainly not sanctified.  I didn’t experience all that Carrie Spangler does, but much of it was right across the hallway!

Thy Kingdom Come … Do we really want His kingdom to come?  How much do we know about the details of His second coming?  Will He really reign for a thousand years here on earth and will we, born-again believers, be here with Him? :)  How will people survive the Great Tribulation? Time for me to get busy! (This is my try at the cover, my daughter is finessing it!)

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I HATE WEEDS!

IMG_7554 I hate weeds!  Do you mind if I say that a little louder?  I HATE WEEDS!!!! We have had a bunch of rain, so much that I couldn’t even get into my garden without sinking into the mud!  Finally, today was the day to weed; however, by now, the ground was still wet and hard! It was A LOT of work just digging up the ground!  And then there are the weeds!  IHATE WEEDS!  Why do there have to be weeds?  Why do I even do this to myself?  Why plant a garden?  Those are the questions I asked my dear husband who was kneeling at the raised bed and weeding it for me.

So now the job is done, and when I look out the window and see those beautiful rows of various shades of green, AND NO WEEDS, I love it!IMG_7555

Weeds. They have taught me so many lessons that I really should be thankful for them!  Today’s lesson is this:

Do I hate my sin as much as I hate those weeds?  If I could come up with a way NOT to have any weeds, I be so happy (and rich: who wants weeds?)  I know they make herbicides, but I really don’t want to fill my garden with chemicals.

Is there a way to keep sin out of my life? No—this side of heaven, we will ALWAYS struggle with sin.  Both weeds and sin are part of the curse.  However, I have learned that if I hoe hoe hoe my garden once a week, it nearly eliminates the backbreaking task of pulling weeds.

Read your Bible, pray every day, and you’ll grow, grow, grow!  AND it will keep sin at bay!

Who could love weeds?  Who would love sin? ME!  Ugh!  Do you have a “pet” sin that you just don’t want to part with? Wouldn’t it be ridiculous to have a “pet” weed in your garden?  And then there’s that “besetting” sin – the one that keeps coming back!  That would be the mint in my garden!  What an annoyance!

There are so many “kinds” of sins: sneaky sins that catch you by surprise; little sins (in our eyes) that we are tempted to ignore; secret sins that really aren’t that secret because God knows everything!  I shudder to think how the garden of my heart looks to God at times!

IMG_7556Praise the Lord for 1 John 1: 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Confessing sin, keeping our hearts right is an even more beautiful sight than a weed-free garden!