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A Faithful Helper

As a young boy, my father had to deliver slop to hungry pigs on the farm where he grew up. He hated this job because the hogs would knock him over when he entered their pen. This task might have been impossible except for a faithful helper who accompanied my dad—a German shepherd named Sugarbear. She would maneuver herself between my father and the pigs and hold them back until my dad finished his chore.

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Pink Sheep

While traveling on a road from Glasgow to Edinburgh, Scotland, I was enjoying the beautiful, pastoral countryside when a rather humorous sight captured my attention. There, on a small hilltop, was a rather large flock of pink sheep.

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Disposable Culture

More than ever, we live in a disposable culture. Think for a minute about some of the things that are made to be thrown away—razors, water bottles, lighters, paper plates, plastic eating utensils. Products are used, tossed, and then replaced.

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Filtered Light

The painting A Trail of Light by Colorado Springs artist Bob Simpich shows a grove of aspen trees with golden leaves lit by the autumn sun. The topmost leaves are brilliantly illuminated while the ground beneath the trees is a mixture of sunlight and shadows. The painter said of this contrast, “I can’t resist the light filtered through to the forest floor. It weaves a special magic.”

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In The Storm

A storm was brewing—not just on the horizon but also in a friend’s home. “When I was in Hong Kong,” she shared, “the local meteorological service announced that there was a superstorm approaching. But more than the storm that was looming outside my window, there was a storm brewing at home. While my dad was in the hospital, family members were trying to balance their home and work responsibilities while also traveling to and from the hospital. They were so tired that patience was wearing thin, and the situation at home was tense.”

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The Power Of Ritual

When I was growing up, one of the rules in our house was that we weren’t allowed to go to bed angry (Eph. 4:26). All our fights and disagreements had to be resolved. The companion to that rule was this bedtime ritual: Mom and Dad would say to my brother and me, “Good night. I love you.” And we would respond, “Good night. I love you too.”

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A Fresh Start

In many countries, health laws prohibit reselling or reusing old mattresses. Only landfills will take them. Tim Keenan tackled the problem and today his business employs a dozen people to extract the individual components of metal, fabric, and foam in old mattresses for recycling. But that’s only part of the story. Journalist Bill Vogrin wrote, “Of all the items Keenan recycles . . . it’s the people that may be his biggest success” (The Gazette, Colorado Springs). Keenan hires men from halfway houses and homeless shelters, giving them a job and a second chance. He says, “We take guys nobody else wants.”

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Amazing Grace

Pressed into service in the Royal Navy, John Newton was dismissed for insubordination and turned to a career trafficking in slaves. Notorious for cursing and blasphemy, Newton served on a slave ship during the cruelest days of trans-Atlantic slavery, finally working his way up to captain.

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Every Hardship

Like many towns, Enterprise, Alabama, has a prominent monument. But the monument in Enterprise is unlike any other. The statue doesn’t recognize a leading citizen; it celebrates the work of a beetle. In the early 1900s, this boll weevil made its way from Mexico to the southern US. Within a few years it had destroyed entire crops of cotton, the primary source of revenue. In desperation, farmers started growing another crop—peanuts. Realizing they had been dependent on one crop for too long, they credited the beetle with forcing them to diversify, which led to increased prosperity.

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The Ultimate Reunion

I’ll never forget the vigil of sitting by my dad’s bed as he spent his last few days with us before slipping into eternity. To this day the moment of his passing continues to have a profound effect on me. My dad was always there for me. I could call him whenever I needed counsel. I have great memories of our days fishing together; we would talk about God and the Bible, and I would prompt him to tell those fun stories from his youth on the farm.

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43 thoughts on “The Ultimate Reunion

  1. ssgphebert8003 says:

    I really enjoyed this devotional. I can feel how the writer felt about his Dad. I to was able to be with my Dad’s final days. I flew to Maine from California 6 days before he slipped away. Because of the cancer, at times, the pain would cause him unable to talk. When he could talk he would say he is glad to be seeing Jesus soon, happy to have a family and married to my Mom for over 50 years. His only regret for him was not to be able to witness Christ’s return. Two days before he past he slipped into a coma. Even though it was very sad to see him slip away I am glad to have had the to been there for my Dad and Mom. I know I will see him and Jesus when my time comes, and the praise the Lord for saving me. Everyday I do miss him, but today’s reading and scripture reading gave me assurance and gladness. He wasn’t a perfect Dad, but I am glad he was my Dad. Love and miss you Dad. You are now pain free and with the Lord.

  2. socraftastic7 says:

    Beautiful!

  3. csergeo says:

    It is timely that we are reading and studying about the end of time in ODB today. Folks, the end is so close that it is vital for us to understand things of the Bible like the rapture as evidenced in today’s scripture reading. It is absolutely true that the Bible does not specifically use the word “rapture,” or even the word “Trinity.” These are terms coined by Christians from years past, and has become a principle. Whether we agree with these terms or not, the principles ring so true.
    A time is coming when believers alive and dead will be reunited with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Oh what a sight that will be!! This is when we’ll receive new glorious bodies and we’ll be with the Lord forever and ever.
    Some people do not believe in this phenomenon, but if we profess to be Bible believers, then 1 Thess. 4:13-18, shouldn’t be an exception. As to when this will happen, no one knows; whether before a pre or post tribulation, i think the most important thing for us to do is to be right with God in all our ways; genuinely repented and fully living a godly life. That, I believe is what Christians are to be doing, and of course, living out the great commission entrusted to us by Jesus Christ.
    Yes, as ODB says, it will be an Ultimate Reunion; a reunion of only believers, therefore, it’s quite expedient for us to have a burden for lost souls that we can reach out to. We have work to do before that commanding shout with the voice of the archangel sounds.
    May the Lord open our eyes to see, and to be a witness for Him! Amen!

  4. bondserve says:

    Reading these comments, it is evident how God’s purpose, that Jesus’ church be united in Christ, is so vital. As we share our common hurts, memories and such, we comfort and strengthen each other. In Christ, we are all one big family—the family of God.

    Praise God for His Spirit working in you and me, and for knitting us together in His love. We don’t always get it right, but isn’t that what grace is for? Hallelujah!

  5. vbear says:

    To marjoriecjones1 & others
    Prior to Jesus’ resurrection, souls went to a divided holding place known as Sheol(the Catholic church calls it purgatory). In Luke 6:20 – 25 we can see that one side was considered Hell and the other Heaven . These souls are the ones who will be called up first (the dead), then the living afterward. As an aside, in Matt 27:52-53, we see that many of these souls were resurrected when Jesus died probably as evidence to the Jews that resurrection was real so that the Jews couldn’t deny that Jesus had come back to life even though they tried. After Jesus left the earth to return to Heaven things changed. Now when a believer dies his spirit goes directly to be with the Lord.

    1. hera says:

      To Vbear,
      May I ask what is the verse saying (explicitly?) that all spirits of believers go directly to be with the Lord?
      Thankyou.

      1. hsnpoor says:

        Hera,

        The scripture that is generally used to support this contention is 2 Cor. 5:8, which is often misquoted with confidence that when we are “absent from the body, we are present with The Lord”. However, what the apostle Paul actually says is that “we are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with The Lord.-NKJV.

        1. teachermom says:

          Hi again! I don’t believe this is a misquote. We can infer Paul is speaking a truth. Don’t we do the same with Phil 1:6 “…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ”?

          Maybe a more compelling verse that supports being with Christ when we die, is found in Phil 1:21-23:For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
          I really think “our last breath on earth, is our first breath in Heaven”.

          1. teachermom says:

            Being with Christ is far better!

  6. TEbie says:

    I so enjoy reading the devotions, thanks Joe Stowell for today’s for I meditated greatly on it. The comments help usher in things to ponder as well, thanks all. I just wanted to share a few of my own thoughts, I believe we will see and recognize loved ones, etc., but in a different way. Our earthly bodies and make-up was part of God’s plan here, but a higher plan(old things pass away, all things made new). The love will be great and perfected and we will understand that which we did not comprehend fully. Our faith and trust(in Christ) should not wavier(here on earth), because of this or that which we don’t completely understand at this moment, but be of good cheer, the day draws closer. To God be the glory! God Bless! Have a good day!

  7. bubbles says:

    Whatever Heaven is or like, we know it will be perfect because God made it and He’s perfect. The best part is we will see Jesus in person! Imagine looking into His eyes and being able to thank Him in person! And we won’t have any more sin. . . no more pain. . . no more stress. . . we won’t need to sleep. . . we won’t get sick. . . we won’t get tired. . .

  8. eternallyhis says:

    Has anyone noticed Rahab the harlot and her family in Joshua chapters 2 and 6? Because Rahab found favor in God’s sight by helping His people, her whole household was saved, even all of her relatives (Joshua 6:23).
    Now maybe I’m wrong, but I see this as a reason for hope concerning our loved ones. One thing I do know I am right about, is that it is GOOD TO HOPE for the best, in fact we should be REJOICING in hope (Romans 12:12).
    My question is, how can we rejoice in hope, or in anything, if we think even one of our loved ones are going to spend eternity in the great lake of fire?
    God wants us to be alive and joyful in Him, shining examples of His Love and saving power. Jesus came to give us the exceedingly joyful abundant life (John 10:10; 1Peter 4:13; Galatians 5:22 and more).
    Let’s follow the example of Christ and stand in the gap for our loved ones, interceding for them and praising God for being able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20,21). To Him be the glory, Amen

    1. eternallyhis says:

      p.s.
      Stand firm on His promises, which are all YEA and AMEN in Him (2Corinthians 1:20)and all the promises of God are for us, because we are Abraham’s seed through faith in Christ (Galatians 328,29) and we are JOINT-HEIRS with JESUS (Romans 8:17). Therefore, we can claim ALL the promises of God for our children, grandchildren and for all of our people that God gives us in life, standing in the gap for them. Check out John 17 and see how Jesus stood in the gap for us, while He was still here in this world in a body of flesh. Verse 20 shows He was praying for us, as well as for His followers at that particular time, because we are the ones who believed on Him through their word. Praise God for the written Word, as well as the spoken.

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