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Previous Message From Virtual Church

The Perfect Way

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul,
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou anoinest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23

Life is difficult.

Even for people who seem to have it all together.

Life has pain, strife, grief, and difficulties.

However, in our pain and strife we need to try to remember what faith is supposed to be about.

Our faith is about Jesus, who he was, what he did, and what he said to us about going through deep water. In Jesus our Lord and savior, we find peace, comfort, and consolation in life’s dark moments.

JOHN 3:16
"For God so loved the world that he gave his ONLY begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

This verse of scripture is the most often quoted scripture in the New Testament. Every Christian believer believes, with all their heart, that life does not end. We believe that instead of ending it goes on, and on, forever and ever. This verse tells us that although the body we live in stops working, the person we are never dies if we trust and believe in Jesus Christ.

As tough as life is or can get, our faith causes us to see over the horizon. We can see a new life where there is no pain, difficulty, and suffering. The idea of inheriting immortality takes away the pain, sorrow, and difficulty we feel when things get tough. We know just by common sense that we are not truly at home in this old body but our real home is in paradise, in heaven, for ever and ever. Our real home is with Jesus.

In places where it rains, and the grass grows the dew disappears from the rose when the sun comes out.

We know that the next day the dew will reappear.

Because we have faith, we know that there is a heaven that awaits us. That some day we will be living and alive in Jesus’ arms.

Just as the caterpillar is transformed into a beautiful butterfly, we know that we will be transformed into a new and wondrous life.

Just as the barren trees of winter, burst forth in green splendor in the spring, we know that our new life in heaven will burst forth in splendor before God.

For those of us that are alive on this earth, Life is never easy. At this time, we are separated from our heavenly home. Yet, the people in heaven and us here on earth, are all alive in Christ. Both they and we have reasons to rejoice. Both they and we can see beauty. We can rejoice because we have a new mansion waiting for us in heaven. We can look forward to walking on streets of gold. For our Christian faith tells us that there is truly an everlasting life. We know our life after this one is spent in heaven with Jesus, with the angels, and with God. For eye hath not seen, and ear hath not heard the beauty and wonder of heaven. Many people believe that at the end of this life, there is an end. However, in Jesus there is no end, there is only a beginning. As Christians, we can look forward to a new life in heaven.
A life of no more suffering...
A life where there are not diseases...
A life where we can see Jesus and all the marvelous wonders of God's love...
We will work and never grow weary.
We will run and never grow tired.

For in Jesus we have a hope that goes beyond hope.
In Jesus, we have a security that goes beyond anything in this life.

We know, in our heart, in our mind, and in our spirit, that at the end of this earthly life we will not die. We know that we will be transformed into a new life.
Our faith can carry us over the mountains of this life,
At the end of our days on earth, our faith will end up transforming us, and we will inherit a new body…
A body that will never be sick again,
A body that will never feel pain,
A body that will be forever young.

For we know that we will always be Jesus arms.
More alive in heaven than we could ever be on earth.
In heaven, we will be more joyous than on earth.
In heaven, we will be happier than on earth.
In heaven, we will walk about doing God’s work.
In heaven, we will see beauty beyond any words we have in any language.
In heaven we will sing and hear the music of God.
In heaven, there are no nursing homes,
No doctors,
No hospitals.
No infirmity of any kind.
Only joy and happiness beyond our most vivid imaginations.

In our faith, we can find peace in knowing that after our purpose on this Earth and in this life has been fulfilled, that we will be rewarded for our faith here on Earth. In our pain, suffering, and worries of this life, we can find sweet peace in knowing that our new life in heaven will take us on an incredibly wonderful journey.

In our faith, we believe we will meet all those that have gone before us in the most magnificent of reunions. On that great day, there will be such a banquet spread out before us, in such a wonderful garden, we cannot conceive of its beauty.

On that glorious day, we will all be free of care and woe.
We will not be in pain.
We will not suffer ever again.
We have a glorious future regardless of our present circumstances.

In the scripture, there are words that have a lot to do with our life at this time.
The words are "He is not here, He is risen."
These words have a lot to do with our future because we know we have a future in heaven.
To inherit this future we are called upon to accept Christ as our savior and to show this acceptance we are to love and care for each other.
We are to put our own selfish desires aside, and keep the love of God in our hearts. We are to realize and know without a doubt that God loves us. He loves us in so many ways we cannot count them all.
Today, we can, in some ways, experience the same peace and contentment we will experience when we are transformed.

Today, God desires that we rejoice because today and every day hereafter we get closer and closer to the greatest day of our lives. If we were going to write a story about a person’s life and we wanted a perfect ending…there would be no ending. There would be no death, no passing away, no end. Instead of death or an end to a person’s life story, there would be instead of an end, be a new beginning. In the perfect ending of the story about a person’s life, there would be a transformation of the person. In a story with a perfect ending, the person would keep what they call themselves, but they would be able to cast off their old human body for a new body. They would have a new body that would never grow old, or weak, or sick, or infirm. In our story, the person would get a transformed body.
A body which is imperishable…
A body which is forever young...
A body which cannot be hurt or injured…
A body that stays perfect forever and ever…
Moreover, in our story with a perfect ending we would have the transformed person live in a beautiful place. And our story would have every particle of the person’s new life immersed in love, and caring, and compassion. We would have opportunities for creativity and ideas. There would be challenges of every kind but never any pain or sorrow. There would be excitement and drama but never any worry, doubt, or fear. There would be eternal life, with no shadow of what we call death or dying. There would be peace and joy unspeakable. Some people might believe we are writing a fairy tale or a tale of fiction. It certainly sounds like a tale of fiction if we look around at our present world. But what we are writing is not fiction, but reality. It can be your future.

What better way for you to finish the journey of this life than to cross over into a new world where you are instantly transformed. A world where there is not just the absence of pain, but instead of pain, there is joy. Instead of worry and doubt, there is peace. There are beautiful realms and heavenly places we cannot go in this life. Perhaps that is why we are told about them in the scripture. People sometimes get glimpses of these beautiful heavenly places while still on this earth. However, we can only imagine what heaven is like. Our minds cannot conceive of the beauty, and wonder, and love, and peace of our future home. You see, our future home to so wonderful, we cannot imagine it.

We say people die.
We say people have passed away.
We say people have met their end.
We say someone is gone.
We are only half-right.

Our bodies do quit working.
It does seem that we go to sleep.
On the surface, it appears that whatever life is, that life has left the person or the person’s body.
On the surface, that is…

However, there are things we cannot see. There are places that are to us…invisible. And the thing that life is, does not stop, and will not stop if we accept Christ. When someone dies, people say they have passed away. It is true our body may stop working but we do not. The person who laughs and cries does not die. The person who has memories does not just disappear. The person who has hopes and dreams stays alive. The perfect ending to your life is that you should live happily ever after. And as a Christian, that is the reality of your future.

When someone dies, we say people are gone because we cannot see them. But the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is that just because we cannot see someone does not mean they are gone from existence. Our faith tells us that someday we will be living in heaven. Very much alive, even more alive, and happier than any of us could ever believe.

And before we make judgment’s about who will be going to heaven and who won’t be, we need to remember that none of us walk in another person’s shoes. We know very little about the life of the people we are closest to. We know very little about what they pray about or even if they pray unless they tell us. Even if the people we are closest to tell us about their faith, and what they believe, and about their religious life, we still could not begin to imagine all that they hold inside of themselves. Many people are very private about their faith. Therefore, we must not make judgments. It is for God to judge, not us.

What is important now is that you understand what God wants now for you. God wants you to have a perfect ending to this life.
God wants you to not only have a perfect ending to this life but He wants you to get a glimpse of where you are going, God wants you to have in this life, peace in the midst of the storms.
God wants you to be able to cast your worries on Christ and let Him carry them for you.
God wants you to know that He loves you and cares about you.
God wants you to know that He loves you and cares about you more than you could possibly know.

We think of heaven as some far away place up in the sky. Since we have traveled into outer space and have telescopes that can read the content of our universe from millions of light years away, Heaven we are certain is not in the sky in a physical sense. Heaven is probably just an inch away. Maybe less than an inch away. Heaven is another dimension of our life, not necessarily a physical place. We are certain that God lives in heaven. From many statements in the Bible, we know that God lives there. However, we also know that God inhabits our Earth, and that He inhabits our own lives and bodies and thoughts if we are willing to seek Him out and let Him in.

You can be sure that heaven is not far away, that God is not far away, and that if you look inside yourself, that Christ is alive and speaking to you this moment.

  

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018