Tears in Heaven

I believe there will be weeping in heaven, even though God’s Word says this:

“And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.'” Revelation 21:3-5.

Hopefully, you haven’t branded me as a heretic already. Let me explain my reasoning by looking at the context of the passage, which clearly describes those tears as the result of sorrow and pain. Those things in this life that cause tears of anguish because of sinful acts and conditions (death of a loved one or pain from some disease) will no longer be part of our experience. But there are tears that this passage doesn’t address – tears of joy! I believe there will be tears of joy in heaven.

I’m reminded of the Christian pastor who told the story of his year in jail (can’t remember what country). He told his interviewer that he would often lay on his concrete cell floor where he had to sleep and begin to weep. The interviewer asked if he had been shedding tears thinking about his family? No, the man explained. These were tears of joy as the Lord Jesus was so real and close during those times. He could be joyful in suffering, knowing that the Savior who loved him was with him no matter what. Jesus was in his jail cell with him.

I’m reminded of visiting Dean Coleman right before he died from cancer. Suffering there on his bed, he had tears in his eyes as he talked to me. “These aren’t tears of pain,” he told me. “These are tears of joy.” Dean was rejoicing. The Lord was near. The Holy Spirit was comforting him.

The Apostle Peter tells his persecuted readers, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved through various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested with fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” I Peter 1:6-8.

I’m convinced: as there are tears of joy in this life, there will be tears of joy in the next as we ponder the great love with which God has loved us undeserving sinners.

Old Davy

Hungering and Thirsting

Fellow Traveler,

Last Lord’s Day we saw that God will create a new heaven and new earth where there will be no evil. Thinking about that is a wonderful exercise. We live our lives thinking the opposite. We live in a world that we calculate as normal. Everything we see and experience is taken as natural and ordinary, when the truth tells us that we live in a sinfully fallen world. Our lives since the original distrust of the living and loving God have been distorted because of running away from Him and then forgetting Him. We were designed to live without passwords. Yes, passwords are a result of the crime of stealing. We were designed to live without criminal laws and policing. We were designed to live without barbed wire. We were created to have nothing to fear from our fellow human beings. We were made to be disease free and live forever, not bury our loved ones in sterile graves. The list goes on. It is pretty much an incomprehensible state — to live in perfect harmony with God and everyone else. Yet, that is what the Creator promises — a new reality that fulfills the original purpose of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

We reach out in faith and take hold of this heavenly word, because He who promised is faithful and all-powerful and totally trustworthy. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6. Am I hungering and thirsting for a sinless life now and in eternity?

Old Davy

It’s All Going to Burn Up

Fellow Traveler,

“It’s all going to burn up.” Barbara has heard these words for the past 45+ years, usually while admiring some grand human creation like a fancy house at the side of the road. Her husband’s bluntness is now indelibly etched into the fabric of how she sees him – The Great Pessimist – The Great Party Pooper. I prefer to call him The Persuaded Realist – The Perpetual Perspectivist. Old Davy likes to measure the past, present and future by that true yardstick, the Word of God. And when he reads God’s words in Peter’s second letter, he has to agree: “. . . by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition [destruction] of ungodly men . . . But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless, we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:5-7, 10-13.

And as King Solomon declares in his treatise on life’s reality, “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 1:2 In the end, the accumulation of this world’s stuff, fame, fortune and all other self-aggrandizement is profitless in the end. When dust returns to dust, none of it matters. What does matter most is to personally know, love, enjoy, worship and glorify Almighty God in this life and love your neighbor as yourself. The true and lasting possession we will “take with us” is Love. In His high priestly prayer on the night He would be betrayed, Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3.

The Apostle Paul would be another party pooper for sure, saying, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those thing which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1,2. Our culture screams, “Eat, drink, be merry and shop till you drop.” Jesus says, “I’ve come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10b.

Am I living that abundant life, or am I weighed down and distracted by those things that really don’t matter in the end?

Old, Long Way to Go Davy

Culture War


Fellow Traveler,

We are all part of the great experiment called the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which says in the simplest terms that perpetual motion is impossible, and left to itself, everything physical in the universe is in a state of decay. All ordered things become disordered. The wound up clock winds down. The mountain becomes a molehill. Stars burn out. Living things get old and return to dust. 

The same is true in a cultural sense. Left to itself, without any moral foundation, a culture degenerates into hedonism and self-ism, where right and wrong are dictated by the strongest bully on the block. The Apostle Paul comments on the 1st century culture he experienced, saying, “. . . the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like . . . ” Galatians 5:19-21a. We’re told in the book of Genesis that things were so morally corrupt that God said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing, and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” Genesis 6:7. We read a few verses before this that, “. . . the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5. The worldwide flood soon followed, and the human population started again with Noah and his family.
 
God purposed to create and maintain a godly line of people who would know Him and worship Him through Abraham and the Jews. When the Lord Jesus was born, lived a perfectly sinless life, and died to redeem sinners, the whole world changed in the morality department. The disordered became ordered – not in a perfect sense, but culturally the Kingdom of God spread through the world as the good news of salvation was declared. Societies became Christian – many in name only, but there was an outwardly moral push back against the depravity of nations.
 
God used revivals throughout history to turn the tide of moral degeneracy and spiritual ‘deadness.’ Through revival God reveals Himself and brings countless people into a personal relationship with Him. In these days, when Christians see the world around them going to hell, they pray for revival. They pray that the Spirit of God would raise up those who would faithfully preach the true Gospel. They pray that there will be a great awakening in the hearts of their friends, relatives and cities. They beg God to have mercy upon a generation of lost souls. They also pray for personal repentance, realizing their own sinfulness before a holy God who loves them.
 
Are you praying? I’m the first to admit I haven’t given revival prayer top billing on my prayer list. But changing our world starts here, not at the ballot box. 

Old Davy 

Seeing the Light


Fellow Traveler,

When I’m taking pictures, there is one thing I must have – light. Without it, there would be no photography. But with it, the possibilities are endless. Add a great subject, composition and story, and you have a great photograph. Oftentimes, the difference between an ordinary snapshot and an exceptional capture is the light. A colorful sunset, a ‘contrasty’ black and white portrait, or a night scene filled with stars and the Milky Way reveal the power of light.

Why did Jesus say, “I am the light of the world?” The Apostle John introduces Him by declaring, “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:3-5. John also tells us, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” I John 1:5. And so there is this spiritual dimension of Light that expresses the glory, purity, holiness and truth of the Lord Jesus. 

On the other hand, the Bible clearly states that we are born in spiritual darkness. The Apostle Paul when he was blinded by God while on mission to round up Christians for trial, saw the Lord who said to him, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” Acts 26:15b-18. From this and many other Scriptures we learn that there is a spiritual darkness that people are in. Jesus says, “And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3:19-21. 

There is another light – the light of the Gospel. Paul tells us, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them . . . for it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-6. God reveals His light as we read His word, the Bible.

In the words of the old Hank Williams song,

I saw the light, I saw the light.
No more darkness, no more night.
Now I’m so happy, no sorrow in sight.
Praise the Lord, I saw the light.

Let us rejoice if God has opened our hearts and eyes to receive His truth and Son Jesus Christ today. Give thanks, along with all believers, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8.

Old Davy

The Folks of Warrenton, VA

116th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment
November 5, 1862
Warrenton, Virginia
My account of my gr-gr-grandfather William J. Burk, Co. C

*************************

With much respect and honor for our President, the boys and I were surprised and not a little sad to hear that Honest Abe had relieved our beloved General and Commander of the Army of the Potomac, George McClellan, of his position and given it to General Ambrose Burnside. There were rumors of the President’s dissatisfaction with a ‘do nothing’ Commander whose repeated excuse for striking first in battle was that he never had enough soldiers to match those of Army of Virginia. We had also heard about the General’s disdain for the President, but no one believed these rumors were true. Our love for Little Mac was unshakable.

We were marching to Fredericksburg and had to go through Warrenton, a small town of less than 1000 inhabitants before the war. However, when we passed through only old men, women and children were there to greet us. And what a greeting it was with vulgar cursing, hissing, insults, taunting and a devilish aerial barrage of all things portable as the women threw their ammunition from open windows and yelled “Damned Abolitionists! Kill them!” Bottles, hammers, rocks and other various instruments of destruction flew from the hands of these Confederate beauties, often hitting their mark and cutting, wounding, and angering many of us.

We had been warned of this and worse before we entered the town and would be court-martialed if we traded insult for insult or bullet for bullet. Everyone marched on, some bloodied, all humiliated, but still determined to obey orders and avoid punishment.

Welcome to Virginia, boys!

Hallmark Hallmarks

Never thinking I’d see two Hallmark movie hallmarks in the same opera, I was surprised to find the amnesiac paired with the bookstore owner whose parents had died. The guy model infatuated with the humdrum looking girl-next-door is also a hallmark, but that’s foundational to almost every plot, so it doesn’t count.

But it beats Jumanji.

Magnificent Obsession 2020

Douglas Sirk's 'Magnificent Obsession', 1954 - Starring, Jane ...

Can you imagine what this movie would be like if it were playing today? A plethora of tragedies would grace the screen in addition to the 1954 litany. In the original story, a millionaire playboy has a speed boat accident which requires the only resuscitator in the area to help. Unfortunately, it is taken from a renown doctor’s house where the doctor’s life depends on its help as well. The doctor dies before the equipment can be returned. The playboy falls in love with the widow. The widow wants nothing to do with him, but he persists, following her into a taxi, we find her struck by a car when she gets out of the cab trying to get away from him, hits her head and ends up blind. The series of mishaps just keeps multiplying throughout the movie, including her falling in love with him (he poses as someone else). Schmaltzy soap opera type stuff, with Rock Hudson delivering his worst performance ever. 

The 2020 version would include a worldwide plague, political war, hurricanes, floods, complete states on fire, looting and violence in the streets, asteroids blasting the earth, and Presidents tweeting on something called the internet.

Now that would be a movie worth watching!

 

8/23/2020

Kowean Kwaziness

Signs

Behind the whir of my laptop fan – above the neighbor’s droning mower – these nightly Korean sing-song dramas  invade my peaceful living room.  I glance up from the computer to see weak boys courting giggling girls.  I hear the mourning of the rejected.  I see the tears of the spurned. I witness the intense story line about rival chefs.  I see the transgender stove queen in action.  I wonder why my daughter and soul mate are so addicted to such close-captioned, tear-jerking, over-the-top drivel.  It must be the romance, the unreality, the gauche/misfitting background music, Korean-style humor and cute boys.

I am sad.  But at least they aren’t watching “Chainsaw Massacre” in 3-D.