Rest In ‘Peace’ [v177]

NOVEMBER 2013

Rest In ‘Peace’

Just last week, a few days before Halloween, a “very good friend” and I went to my business partner’s house in Romeo, Michigan to ‘experience’ something very special. The tree-lined street he lives on, “Tillson,” with its stately Victorian homes and neatly manicured lawns, assumes a different ‘identity’ for a couple of weeks around Halloween. Roughly three-dozen homes on the quarter-mile long street transform into haunted manors, graveyards, and other spooktacular ‘displays’.

He has lived there for some 10 years now, and the crowds have been steadily growing every year. He estimated that about 70,000 people have checked out the displays this year!

This ‘event’ has become so popular—and a tourist attraction—that they even have their own Facebook Page, and sell souvenir t-shirts!
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Halloween-on-Tillson-Street-Romeo/121198587983604 ).
[ It’s really cool that, with all the people coming now, Romeo students do a ‘food drive’ to help the local food banks ].

It’s so popular because of the variety of displays and themes—with some of them being of ‘hollywood’ quality—and that the neighbors create somewhat of a ‘show’ of it. Several use computers to choreograph skeletons, lighting, smoke and music. Some dress up in costumes and ‘become’ a part of their display. One yard has a weathered pirate ship—with a ‘skeleton crew’—that has run aground (it actually ‘rotates’ to different yards every year). Some also have ‘live’ programs in front of their houses (like the troupe that danced in front of my business partner’s house to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug9CNeb3lDc ).

[ Here’s some pics I took of the displays (both during the day and the night):
https://plus.google.com/photos/115982097083209124200/albums/5944612022015795921 ].

One thing I noticed that most of the displays had was cemetery ‘markers’ with “R.I.P.” and someone’s name on them. Well, as most everyone knows, that’s an acronym for “Rest In Peace” (Latin for “Requiescat in pace”). It is primarily found on Catholic headstones as a prayerful request for that person’s soul to find peace in the afterlife. [ Note: Some Jewish headstones, dating back to the first century BC, have the following: “For those who follow Godly paths will rest in peace when they die” ].

Unfortunately, most people believe that they won’t truly know peace until they pass away. Our world is continually in strife whether it is political, financial, physical, or relational. It seems like moments of tranquility are quickly broken up by bad circumstances or problems. With so many troubles and stresses existing in our everyday, is there any chance for peace here on earth?

So what are the most ‘popular’ things that people don’t have peace about?:

1). The future
2). Job
3). Finances
4). Family, spouse, children
5). Bills
6). Relationships
7). Health
8). Education
9). Time
10). Disappointment

Many people spend lots of time, effort, and money searching for peace in their lives—so I thought I would consult one of today’s ‘pundits’ of cultural trends—Oprah. Her web site has many articles on the subject, but in our fast-moving society, the one that is titled “Five Ways to Find Peace in Less Than Five Minutes” caught my eye. It cited the following:

1). During rush hour, pop a peppermint
2). Stop watching the news just before dinner
3). Breathe deeply; Stretch
4). Eat “trail mix” to counteract negative brain changes
5). Take a meditative break

Well those are all great suggestions, and there were other ideas on her site that talked about “peace of mind”: De-stressing; Releasing anxiety; Getting in touch with your “inner peace” or “Just being” (meditation).

All of those ideas would probably help one to address circumstances ‘after’ they occur, but I was thinking more of a ‘proactive’ way to have a more consistent, ‘deeper’ peace—all the time.

“Peace of mind” is in our thoughts, and is experienced when one is without stress, confusion, or doubt for the moment. “Peace in the heart” is deeper, and generally has to do with the past or future of things, and is usually expressed in worry or fear.

Many people think peace comes from within, but the Bible teaches that it comes from God. Psalm 29:11 says, “The LORD gives his people strength. The LORD blesses them with peace.”

The Bible says that those who trust in the “Prince of Peace” (Jesus) can have a ‘peace’ even on anxious moments, and more importantly, have a peace about what is to come. A ‘relationship’ with Jesus transforms the mind and the heart!

The peace God gives means you never have to be troubled in your mind or afraid in your heart—ever again.

In the Old Testament of the Bible, the Hebrew the word for peace, “shalom,” means completeness, and in the New Testament, the Greek word “eirene” means security, safety, harmony, and prosperity.

Jesus uses this word when He says in the 27th verse of John 14: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! My peace I give unto you isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives, so let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. This peace is not the peace that comes through conformity with the world. It is an internal rather than an external peace.”

So, what is this “gift”? Well, the verse before this tells us: “But when the Father sends the Comforter instead of me—and by the Comforter I mean the Holy Spirit—He will teach you much, as well as remind you of everything I myself have told you” [John 14:26]. [Note: Verse 28 has even more good news: “Remember what I told you—I am going away, but I will come back to you again”].<

At the exact moment when one is “born again” (or simply putting their ‘trust’ in Jesus for what He did for them on the cross—which ‘covered’ their sins so God the Father will ‘see’ them no more, and ‘accept’ them into His Heaven), the Holy Spirit comes to ‘live inside them’ and guides them to all truth. He also ‘insulates’ them against the ‘torrents’ of their minds and the uproar of ‘trials’ that surround them. I truly believe that this is a ‘supernatural’ gift—because anyone who has it, is noticeably different than those who do not—even when going thru horrendous trials.

Jesus continues to encourage us by saying: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light” [Matthew 11:28-29]. The Scriptures are pretty clear about how we can go about finding peace: focus on God in those moments and don’t get stuck in the human way of thinking—that kind of thinking leads to unrest.

I started this ‘thought’ talking about “resting in peace” as it relates to passing away, and the Bible is clear that physical death is not the ‘end’. Jesus taught that there are two options for every human being: heaven or hell, and He gave a vivid illustration of those options in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, (found in Luke 16:19-31).

In this account, Jesus demonstrated that the rich man, who had given no thought of God during his earthly life, went to hell when he died. Lazarus, who possessed nothing on earth but a pure heart, was taken to “paradise.” Hell is described as a place of torment (verse 23), not a place of rest—and according to Scripture, a person who dies without Christ is not “resting in peace” (“‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked’” [Isaiah 57:21] ).

However, death is entirely different for those who are “born again in Christ.” ( “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” [Romans 8:1] ). While it is natural to grieve for loved ones who have died, we do not need to grieve for believers in Jesus as though we will never see them again. There is hope mixed with the sorrow. The Bible often refers to the dead in Christ as “those who are asleep.” The biblical writers used sleep as a metaphor because death for a Christian is only temporary. Paul said that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” [2 Corinthians 5:8]. According to the Bible, those receive Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior are with Him in “paradise” (a place of blessing where the righteous go after death) when they die (Luke 23:43). So, “R.I.P.” or “rest in peace” means MUCH MORE to a Christian!

To help you ‘endure’ things here on earth, Jesus also encouraged His believers with: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. Therefore the world shall not overcome you if you believe in Me. It is a world that I have conquered. Because I have overcome, if you believe in Me, you shall overcome” [John 16:33].

If you don’t have this ‘kind’ of peace, you CAN HAVE IT NOW! Just ‘receive’ Jesus, and He will give you this peace! [ Just tell Jesus, in your own words, that you are truly sorry for your sinfulness, you believe that He died to ‘atone’ for those sins, and that you would like for Him/the Holy Spirt to ‘guide’ you for the rest of your life ]. Then, you can be assured that you will REALLY “rest in peace”—FOR ETERNITY!

[ Excerpts from: Andrew Drummond; S. Michael Houdmann (GotQuestions.org); SermonIllustrations.com ]

[P.S.: If you would like to investigate what the Bible says about death and getting to Heaven, visit the following link:
http://www.4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q9_d5_1of10.html ].



LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v177) for NOVEMBER 2013
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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THE “DYNAMITE KING”
It is possible to live under a delusion. You think you are kind, considerate and gracious when you are really not. You think you are building positive stuff into your children when in reality, if you could check with them twenty years later, you really didn’t. What if you could read your own obituary? How do people really see you? Here is the story of a man who did.

One morning in 1888 Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite, awoke to read his own obituary. The obituary was printed as a result of a simple journalistic error. You see, it was Alfred’s brother that had died and the reporter carelessly reported the death of the wrong brother. Any man would be disturbed under the circumstances, but to Alfred the shock was overwhelming because he saw himself as the world saw him.

The “Dynamite King,” the great industrialist who had made an immense fortune from explosives. This, as far as the general public was concerned, was the entire purpose of Alfred’s life. None of his true intentions to break down the barriers that separated men and ideas for peace were recognized or given serious consideration. He was simply a merchant of death. And for that alone he would be remembered. As he read the obituary with horror, he resolved to make clear to the world the true meaning and purpose of his life. This could be done through the final disposition of his fortune.

His last will and testament–an endowment of five annual prizes for outstanding contributions in  physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace (the sixth category of economics was added later)–would be the expression of his life’s ideals and ultimately would be why we would remember him. The result was the most valuable of prizes given to those who had done the most for the cause of world peace. It is called today, the “Nobel Peace Prize.”
[Source unknown]

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I was driving with my children to my wife’s funeral where I was to preach the sermon. As we came into one small town there strode down in front of us a truck that came to stop before a red light. It was the biggest truck I ever saw in my life, and the sun was shining on it at just the right angle that took its shadow and spread it across the snow on the field beside it. As the shadow covered that field, I said, “Look children at that truck, and look at its shadow. If you had to be run over, which would you rather be run over by? Would you rather be run over by the truck or by the shadow?” My youngest child said, “The shadow couldn’t hurt anybody.” “That’s right,” I continued, “and death is a truck, but the shadow is all that ever touches the Christian. The truck ran over the Lord Jesus. Only the shadow is gone over mother.”
[Donald Grey Barnhouse]

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In one of his books, A.M. Hunter, the New Testament scholar, relates the story of a dying man who asked his Christian doctor to tell him something about the place to which he was going. As the doctor fumbled for a reply, he heard a scratching at the door, and he had his answer. “Do you hear that?” he asked his patient. “It’s my dog. I left him downstairs, but he has grown impatient, and has come up and hears my voice. He has no notion what is inside this door, but he knows that I am here. Isn’t it the same with you? You don’t know what lies beyond the Door, but you know that your Master is there.”
[Christian Theology in Plain Language, p. 208]

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I KNOW WHO HOLDS TOMORROW
I know who holds tomorrow
I don’t know about tomorrow; I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from its sunshine, for its skies may turn to grey.
I don’t worry o’er the future, for I know what Jesus said.
And today Iíll walk beside Him, for He knows what is ahead.

Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.

I don’t know about tomorrow; it may bring me poverty.
But the one who feeds the sparrow, is the one who stands by me.
And the path that is my portion may be through the flame or flood;
But His presence goes before me and Iím covered with His blood.
[Alison Krauss]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GKNbmYOAow

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John Bacon, once a famous sculptor, left this inscription on his tomb in Westminster Abbey: “What I was as an artist seemed of some importance to me while I lived; but what I was as a believer in Jesus Christ is the only thing of importance to me now.”
[John Bacon]

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When John Owen, the great Puritan, lay on his deathbed his secretary wrote (in his name) to a friend, “I am still in the land of the living.” “Stop,” said Owen. “Change that and say, I am yet in the land of the dying, but I hope soon to be in the land of the living.”
[John M. Drescher]

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Benjamin Franklin penned his own epitaph. He didn’t profess to be a born-again Christian, but it seems that he must have been influenced by Paul’s teaching of the resurrection of the body. Here’s what he wrote: The Body of B. Franklin, Printer: Like the Cover of an old Book Its contents torn out, And stript of its Lettering and Guilding, Lies here, Food for Worms, But the Work shall not be wholy lost: For it will, as he believ’d, Appear once more In a new an more perfect Edition.
[Benjamin Franklin – Corrected and amended by the Author.]

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An evangelist asked all who wanted to go to heaven to raise their hands. Everyone in the audience did so, except one elderly man sitting near the front of the auditorium. The preacher pointed his finger at him and said, ‘Sir, do you mean to tell us that you don’t want to go to heaven?’ ‘Sure I want to go, but the way you put the question, I figured you were getting up a busload for tonight!’
[Source unknown]

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DEEP THOUGHT:
“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in a manner so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.”
[Native American Proverb]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“Jesus answered, If a person [really] loves Me, he will keep My word [obey My teaching]; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home (abode, special dwelling place) with him.

Anyone who does not [really] love Me does not observe and obey My teaching. And the teaching which you hear and heed is not Mine, but [comes] from the Father Who sent Me.

I have told you these things while I am still with you.

But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.

Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]

You heard Me tell you, I am going away and I am coming [back] to you. If you [really] loved Me, you would have been glad, because I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater and mightier than I am.

And now I have told you [this] before it occurs, so that when it does take place you may believe and have faith in and rely on Me.”
[John 14:23-29 – Amplified Version]

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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