What Is Eternal Life?

Many people have come up with ideas of what Eternal Life is. Many believe it is the “living happily ever after” that comes one day when we get beamed up to a place called Heaven.

But the real Truth is you are living The Eternal Life right now.

Jesus defined it plainly, as He was talking to His Father God.

“Now this is eternal life: that they know You, The Only True God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent.”
John 17:3

The more we know The One, the more of Heaven on earth we will see … Eternal Life revealed!

Have I Fallen Too Far?

Our daughter once had a pet hamster. When she put it on the table, it would run every which way. As it came near to the edge of the table, she would put her hand in front and it would run another way.

Pretty soon, she was guiding its path around the table by putting her hands in various places.

As my life sometimes seems a series of learning from mistakes or encountering obstacles, I wonder how much of it is not random at all, but instead is God’s Guiding Hand.

I believe God allows us free choice, but He also gives us plenty of opportunities to go the right way.

So don’t worry. He is watching over you and He will keep you safe!

“You will keep in Perfect Peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.”
Isaiah 26:3

The Touch Of Love

I dread having blood drawn.  My veins instinctively know to roll out of the way when there is something sharp headed their way.

If punctured, they batten down the hatches and squeeze hard to keep the doors closed.  They seem to scream, “There will be no blood lost on our watch!”

It’s actually very touching that they so fervently protect me in this way.  However, lab techs do not share the appreciation.

Some get a gleam in their eye and I can almost sense they are saying, “Game on!”

They attack with equal determination to find a “good vein.”  Poking, prodding, and worst of all, taking their needle and going exploring.

I’ve had more than one squeal with delight as they say, “I’ve got it!”  Then within seconds, they say, “It blew.” 

Yep, once invaded, my ever creative circulatory system knows when to relinquish a mini-inch to save further robbery of its blood supply.

And so more determined invaders simply sigh deeply, reach for another weapon and say, “Let me look at your other arm.”

I do have a limit.  Three attempts and they are out.  I start considering just how much I need to sacrifice for any assessment of what is in my blood.

But once when I had blood drawn, I did not feel anything other than a warm hand on my arm.  

A nice lady named Kari talked to me.  She looked at me, not just my arm.  She connected with me as a person, not just a task to check off in her day.

Her touch was gentle.  In spite of all the previous bad experiences, I trusted her.  We connected.  Apparently my veins decided she was trustworthy too.  They willingly relinquished some of their precious stores of blood.

When I asked her how she did it, she smiled and said, “I do it with love.”

As I thought about that precious gift of that day, I had a rush of memories of all the ways I have been touched in my life.

Not all were pleasant.

I have been hit in anger.  

I have been touched in lust.  

I have been handled as a part of invasive procedures.  

I have been touched by health care workers, for whom I was just a task.

But I have also been touched in love.  When I reflect, those memories are much stronger than the negative ones.

I remember my parents’ loving touch.  

I think of the many loving touches my husband and I have shared.  

I think of the joy of my baby’s first touch and how I enjoy the hugs of the young woman she has become.

I think of the touch of our grandson and how he explores my face in wonder.

I think of the hand holding and hugs of friends and family.

I think of the nuzzling touches of pets.

And I think of the touch of Jesus, The One Who reached out and healed with a touch, The One Who let others touch Him.  He always touched in Love.

He still does.  

Once He touched me through a woman named Kari.  That night there was not even a physical sign on my skin.  But I knew the spot where she touched me in love.  She touched my heart.

The world would be a better place if we all strove to touch each other in The Love of Jesus.  

And in this time, it may or may not be a physical touch.  But there are always ways to touch in The Spirit.  

Take a few moments and remember the times you have been touched in love.  Thank God.  Ask Him Who He would like you to touch in His Love.

Final Exam Question

What if at the end of our physical life on earth, there was only a one question final exam?

What if God reviewed our life and asked “How well did you love My Creations?”

This is what Jesus said in answer to a questioning student.

“Teacher,” he asked, “which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and the most important commandment.

The second most important commandment is like it: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Matthew 22:36-39

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:43-45

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

John 13:34-35

What’s Out There?

I have always been a planner, an organizer, a structured person who limited any risk taking ventures.

I have fretted my way through unsettling times by considering all the possible outcomes and how I would handle any one of them.

And yet I find that the most joyous times have been the unplanned, spontaneous moments when I was swept off my feet by Life. Times when I was overtaken with delight. Times when the world around me burst into singing and I was carried along in its harmony.

And then there have been the times of Joy after the pain, certainty after the doubt, restoration after the disaster.

Sometimes we are brave and choose to put one toe in the waves to try it out. But sometimes God provides circumstances that force us to leave our comfort zone.

The baby is pushed out into the world. The chick escapes the egg. The caterpillar emerges from the cocoon as a butterfly. Leaving the place that once was a comfort zone brings new life.

Jesus told His Disciples to cast out into the deep. I wonder what’s out there …

Who Do You See In The Mirror?

We have lots of mirrors in our house. We put mirrors every place I thought there should be a window.

Being a bit claustrophobic, I never miss an opportunity to catch the reflection of the outside world.

This interesting feature of our house is unnerving to some, because they look not at the outside world, but at their own reflection.

It is amusing to see our guests straightening their clothes or pushing hair back into place.

Our 15 month old grandson, Gideon, loves the mirrors. Today I watched, as he ran back and forth on the sofa, looking at himself in three different mirrors.

He was absolutely delighted to find three other boys, who welcomed him, smiled at him, laughed with him, and even talked back to him.

Gideon does not yet know the boy in the mirror is him. Babies do not make this connection until 18 months or after.

So he is not focused on himself. He simply wants to connect with the “other” boy.

At one point today, he slipped on the couch and fell. He was not hurt. It just scared him momentarily. I hastened to comfort him.

He got back up, looked in the mirror and saw the boy crying. He stopped crying and reached out to the boy. The “other” little boy, of course, reached back.

Gideon then noticed the “other” little boy was also being comforted by someone. He may not have identified that person as his grandmother, but he did process that both he and the “other” little boy were safe.

“They” went back to playing. He again enjoyed the companionship of three boys. And grandma had a wonderful time watching.

Too often we look at the world around us and we see only ourselves. We focus on how to “fix” ourselves or how to make everything look good, to our specifications.

We miss the reflection of God’s Creation, even though it is right there in plain view.

Moreover, we miss seeing everyone else as Creations of God, waiting to be welcomed with a smile or pleasant greeting.

And we often miss God, standing right there, enjoying being with us and ready to catch us when we fall and comfort us until we are ready to join the world again.

Who do you see in God’s Mirror of His World? Look again and see His Glory revealed!

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror The Glory of The Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from The Lord, The Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:3

More Than A Dream!

Today many will be remembering Dr. Martin Luther King.  We remember his stirring last speech, where he shared his dream of unity.

While many advances have been made since the time of Dr. King’s speech, there is still much division in our world today.

There was One long before Martin Luther King Who also had a dream.  But for that One — Jesus — it was more than just a dream.  It was a reality He saw for those who would come after Him.

Jesus united in full unity with His Father and The Holy Spirit to pray for us.  He prayed for us to be united with Them and with each other.

Here are The Words of Jesus for us.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You.

“May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.  

“I have given them The Glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are One — I in them and You in Me — so that they may be brought to complete unity. 

“Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.

“Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, and to see My Glory, The Glory You have given Me because You  loved Me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know You, and they know that You have sent Me.  

“I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the Love You have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them.”

John 17: 20-26

A Good Word

There is so much going on in the world right now. The news is coming to us from all sides.

Commentators are no longer limited to communications networks. People who once used social media to post funnies, recipes, encouragement or family pictures are now sparring with each other over various topics.

Stuck in a world of prolonged social isolation, ongoing media updates and way too much time to think, people are being drawn into other ways to ventilate.

Regretfully some have given up social media all together. I miss them. Some who were friends have unfriended each other after expressing different opinions. And some are still at it, commenting in ever increasing hostile tones.

What should we do? Well, here I am, commenting. So I believe we should continue our connections.

I believe we can have radically different views and still be friends. When someone expresses a different opinion to mine, after my initial reaction (sometimes disgust or horror), I try to step back, and try to understand where they are coming from.

I pray that God will wipe the slate clean of bias and show me what He has to say about the issue.

Sometimes God adjusts my thinking, and I come around to the other side.

Sometimes He shows me that some of what was spoken was truth and some was not. He helps me separate out the sheep from the wolves.

And sometimes He affirms that what I believed initially was true, and I need to stand firm in my beliefs.

If we are led to comment, we should use the same principles Jesus used. We should only speak what God tells us to speak when He tells us to speak it.

Here are Jesus’ Words. We should make them our own guidelines.

“Do you not believe that I am in The Father and The Father is in Me? The words I say to you, I do not speak on My Own. Instead, it is The Father dwelling in Me, performing His Works.”
John 14:10

“I do exactly what The Father has commanded Me, so that the world may know that I love The Father.”
John 14:31

“For I have never spoken on My own initiative or authority, but The Father Himself Who sent Me has given Me a commandment regarding what to say and what to speak.”
John 12:49

If we do this, we will find joy for ourselves and give joy to others.

“A person finds joy in giving an apt reply– and how good is a timely word!”
Proverbs 15:23

The God’s Honest Truth

Pilate asked one of the most pivotal questions in The Bible.

“What is Truth?”
John 18:48

In today’s world, everyone seems to have their own answer to that question.

Some believe the media.

Some believe in what their groups believe.

Some take what they have come to believe and strengthen their belief by finding others who believe the same way.

Many vocally assert their truth is the truth.

As we listen to all the different voices asserting their truth, we might be like Pilate, asking “What is Truth?”

Jesus answered that question.

Jesus answered, “I am the Way and The Truth and The Life.”
John 14:6

Jesus does not just tell the truth. He is The Truth!

We can believe everything He says.

We can put anything anyone else says next to Jesus’ Words and see if they line up.

If they do not, it is not truth.

But be careful about using Jesus’ Words to try to make your words fit. Satan can quote scripture, which he did when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness.

But Jesus knew what satan was doing and He quickly countered with the real Truth.

When you know Jesus, you will know whether the words you hear line up with Who He is.

Jesus said, “Then you will know The Truth and The Truth will set you free.”
John 8:32

What should we do when we know The Real Truth?

John said it well when he said,
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in Truth.”
1 John 3:18

Timothy said, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles The Word of Truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15

Paul said, “Speaking The Truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him Who is The Head, that is, Christ.”
Ephesians 4:15

In this challenging time, may we all seek to listen closely to Jesus, Who is The Truth.

May we guard our mouth, our pens, our keyboards, and every form of communication so that we only say what He wants us to say when He wants us to say it.

May we join David in his prayer.
“Teach me Your Ways, O Lord, that I may live according to Your Truth. Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.”
Psalm 86:11

I invite you to take a few moments and let Jesus raise you up above all the noise and tell you The Truth. Here is the link to a song to begin your journey upward!

Anticipating Forever!

After reading the rather dry and stilted obituaries of some of my friends, I felt sad.

The short recording of their statistics did not capture the essence of their colorful lives.

I wondered if they had written their own obituaries, what they would have said.  I remembered being in a hospice workshop once where the leader gave us the assignment of writing our obituaries.

At first we were shocked.  But soon we discovered the purpose.  We could not hope to help others face their death if we were not willing to face our own.

And in writing what we would hope others remembered about us, we discovered not death, but life.  If we had found the life we hoped for, we could find satisfaction in the memories.

If we had not arrived at where we wanted to be, we hoped we would have more time to make course corrections.

Today I was brave.  I wrote my obituary.  I reflected on what I would want people to know.  And I reflected on the glorious next steps in what I believe will be an ever expanding Eternal Life.

I sent it to my husband with the notation “If you ever need it.”  If I go first, perhaps he will share it.  But to give you a little preview, this is the first paragraph.

“Carolyn Priester Jones has a new body!  Having completed the work God appointed her to do on earth, she has begun the next phase of Life.”

And here is the ending, which, for me, will be a new beginning.

“Carolyn’s truest desire was to share The Love of God wherever she went and to encourage others to know God.

Her life was filled with Love and Joy.  She would want the same for everyone still on earth!

You will show me The Path of Life.  In Your Presence is Fullness of Joy!

Psalm 16:11”