Grace to Go!

Stretching out his hand and with tears in his eyes, he said, “Soon this hand will touch the hand of my Jesus.”

These words were spoken last Saturday by a dear man of God who has given his life to faithfully proclaim and live out the excellencies of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor Bud Parker has been diagnosed with an inoperable malignant brain tumor that is affecting his mobility and vision. As I sat by his side in his humble mountain home, the affects of cancer were readily seen, but the grace of God was much more manifest. It didn’t take long to realize I was seated in the presence of a man who is ready to go Home to Glory!

There were many more times of rejoicing than notes of sorrow as we conversed. During his lengthy stay in the hospital, the Lord enabled him to share the gospel with many, and three precious souls came to salvation by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). We talked of the ministry joys of past years, the privilege of preaching the Word of God, the joy of mentoring so many men in the ministry, as well as rejoicing in all the folks who had come by to visit.

With his precious wife, Mildred, seated across the room, he looked at me and then her and said, “I am ready to go to heaven, but I don’t want to leave my bride of 58 years. The other night, the Lord spoke to me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid. She was My bride before she became your bride. She is the apple of my eye’.”

Especially at a time like this, the Word of God is the very best comfort, assurance, and hope. While reading 1 Peter 1:1-8, Pastor Parker’s eyes would glisten and then fill with tears. Some of the passages he quoted along with me as best he could. At one point, he raised his hand to rejoice!

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

Near the end of our visit, I noticed that his wife, two of his daughters and other family members were on the front porch. I invited them to gather in the living room, and we sang a medley of songs about heaven. My, what a glorious time we had as we lifted our voices and hands in praise to our great God! Indeed, what a day it will be when our Jesus we will see!!

Watching the grace of God in its total sufficiency from my front row seat was an honor and a blessed encouragement! This dear man of God is living out the words of Tom Hayes’ song, New Grace.

All of grace is my story
All the way from earth to glory,
Since by grace He lifted me from sin and woe;
Living grace He has extended
As on Him my heart depended,
And He’ll give new grace when it’s my time to go.

CHORUS:
Grace not yet discovered,
Grace not yet uncovered,
Grace from His bountiful store;
Grace to cross the river,
And grace to face forever,
There’ll be new grace I’ve not needed before.

VERSE 2:
There’s been grace for every trial,
There’s been grace for every mile,
There’s been grace sufficient from His vast supply;
Grace to make my heart more tender,
Grace to love and pray for sinners,
But there’ll be new grace when it’s my time to die.

CHORUS:
Grace not yet discovered,
Grace not yet uncovered,
Grace from His bountiful store;
Grace to cross the river,
And grace to face forever,
There’ll be new grace I’ve not needed before.

Grace to go!!

Heavenly Sunshine!

Two years ago today at 6:30 p.m. my mother took her last earthly breath and entered into the celestial presence of her Savior and Lord!  My heart rejoices as she, my dad, my daughter and many, many other loved ones dwell in the land of heavenly, eternal sunshine!

Mom began playing the piano at the age of six.  She listened to the radio broadcast of the Old Fashioned Revival Hour and learned the style of pianist Rudy Atwood.  As a result, she played with the same gusto and passion as her unseen teacher on the radio until the last time she struck a chord in November 2012.  Many, many Sundays, Dad would open their church services with the chorus, “Heavenly Sunshine.” I can hear it now. Here’s a link of the OFRH Choir and Rudy Atwood playing the piano.   Great memories.  Great parents.  To God be the glory!!

Heavenly Sunshine

Celebrating National Coffee Day

Yesterday was a special day—National Coffee Day!!  Now’s that a sure celebration waiting to happen!!  So as I poured my first cup, I celebrated as I added my always present favorite cream peppermint mocha and took a sip!  Then I poured another cup into my UK Wildcats mug just as I had done before and celebrated once again!  This same event happened a third and fourth time as the morning moved along.

To add happiness upon happiness, I received an email from my favorite coffee source, Dunkin Donuts, inviting me to stop by their store and enjoy a free cup of the new brew of dark roast!  So, as I drove from one hospital visit to the next, a stop at DD caused another celebratory moment!  Since I love coffee so much and drink it from morning until night, I celebrate all day!!

As I prepared one of my cups yesterday morning and took a picture of it for Facebook and Instagram, the thought occurred to me, “This thing of celebrating should be an every day event for the followers of Christ!”  Yes, I really do love my coffee, and I love to celebrate, but genuine rejoicing and celebration is the grace gift of every believer in Christ!  We should celebrate all day, every day, throughout the day, . .  . just like drinking coffee!!

Why should we celebrate?

  • We have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3).
  • We have an inheritance reserved in heaven for us that is incorruptible, undefiled and will not fade away (1 Peter 1:4).
  • Our salvation is secured by the power of God forever (1 Peter 1:5).
  • We can rejoice in the midst of suffering (1 Peter 1:6-9).
  • We can rejoice that trials have a “shelf-life” (1 Peter 1:6).
  • The character of our faith in trials will one day testify of Christ (1 Peter 1:7).
  • The more we know of Christ and abide in Him, the more we have to celebrate and be joyful (1 Peter 1:8).
  • We can enjoy our salvation today (1 Peter 1:9).
  • God’s Word is eternal (1 Peter 1:25)

I have just mentioned a very few reasons to celebrate!  So, if you are a born again believer, a true follower of Jesus Christ, today is a day of celebration of all we have in Christ for time and eternity!  So, take a drink of coffee and celebrate!