“The Reminder of a New Morning”

 Lamentations 3:22-23

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

Morning 3 Morning 2 Morning 1

I took some pictures one morning last week from my backyard early in the morning. The sun was just coming up. It made me think about how gracious God is to us with each new day He gives.

Realize today is a new day. Someone once said, “Your yesterday does not have to determine your tomorrow.” ( source unknown ). How true it is! Today is a gift from God so  don’t let the worries of this world rob you of the joy we have in Jesus today.

God bless,

Bro. Bryan

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“Oh No! What Happened?”

Galatians 5:7 “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?”

hindered runner

( Further reading Galatians 5:1-13 )

             In Galatians 5:7 Paul asks one of the biggest questions of this letter when talking to the church at Galatia. Paul said, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?”. The heart of this question comes right back to me and you. Let us ask the question, “who did hinder you”.

This verse causes me to reflect back just a few years ago in my life. In fact, I look back at the end of 2009 to be exact. Rachel, the kids, and I got back from our first family trip to Florida. After getting back Rachel and I decided to do what we had been putting off for some time. We both wanted to get into shape. Yes, that meant getting into shape physically so we would look better, feel better and actually be healthier. It started out with the fact that we both wanted to look better if we were going back to the beach the following year. Who wouldn’t want to look better?

We immediately joined our local gym in Somerville, TN and began our ritual of weights and cardio three to four nights every week. Soon, our desire to look better was overshadowed by the fact that we ACTUALLY felt better physically and mentally. The fact that we felt better became enough motivation to keep on keeping on. In fact, looking better was just a bonus. Some may argue that they lacked seeing that part of my transformation anyway. LOL!

We continued steadfastly on our journey for approximately the next year and a half or so. In fact, when we on our next Florida vacation in 2010 I felt better than I had in years. I had lost a decent amount of weight, and the pounds I still had were in better shape than in years earlier. In short, I felt great and loved being in shape. I was running up to five and six miles at a time. Working out and running had become a PART of our lives. Being in shape was not something we were working towards; instead, it was something we were maintaining, continuing and getting better at.

Our routine continued through the biggest part of 2011. However, it was in September of 2011 that our working out gradually came to a halt. I was nearing the end of my masters program in counseling. At the end of the program I had to start my clinicals which meant after working all day at the office I would then have to go work another job to get my counseling hours in for my masters program. This started at the end of September 2011. My clinicals would last until February of 2012.

Once my clinicals in counseling started we had little time for family-time, and much less time to go and work out at the gym. Something had to give, and the first thing was our workouts. Rachel didn’t want to go without me. That was when we both learned how much we were motivation to one another. Our priorities changed because we firmly believe in God being first, family second, ministry third, and so on. Workouts got pushed further back on the list because we could not neglect the most important things in our lives. ( God, family & ministry )

I finished my clinicals, graduated, and pretty much went right into counseling along with my day job, and my ministry still going strong. ALL GLORY  TO GOD FOR THAT! Please understand when I say that it is by God’s grace that the ministry He has allowed me to be a part of has gone well. It is fully God, and I am but a tool in His tool chest to be used as the Master Crafter wants to use me. Praise Jesus! In other words, being busy got busier for me and certainly for our family.

Ok, so things got busy, but what does this have to do with workouts and being healthy? The fact is we had it in our minds and our schedule to start back working out once I got finished with my counseling clinicals and graduated. Busyness got busier and for the past two years workouts have been pushed aside. We have had BRIEF periods where we have tried to get back on track, but with little success. We have been HINDERED in our pursuit to get healthy and back in shape again. We were RUNNING WELL, but there was something that HINDERED us. It does not really matter what it was that HINDERED us. The fact is we are not at the level we once were in our physical condition.

Paul here in Galatians 5:7 addresses the problem of being hindered, but with a much greater issue in the lives of the church of Galatia. The Christians at the church of Galatia had originally heard the Gospel message and responded in a right manner. They received Christ by faith and placed their trust in Him as Savior and Lord. They were working, ministering and relying upon God to lead them according to His good pleasure.

However, at some point they got of course. First, Paul acknowledged that there was a time they were in good spiritual shape. He says to them, “Ye did run well”. Paul is saying to them there was a time you were obeying the truth of the Gospel message, and the leading of God. Then, he asks them the question that I believe had to prick their heart in a very convicting way. Paul says, “Ye did run well, who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?”. I think it must have been at that time where the reality of their behavior had to hit them like a bolt of lightening when he asked the question, “who did hinder you?”. They had been hindered from obeying the truth of God as reflected in this chapter of Galatians.

If we back up to the first part of Galatians 5 and look at verses 1-6 we see that Paul told these Christians (v1) “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” He instructs them that Jesus Christ was the Source and the Avenue to which they had been set free. Paul wanted them to know that the former things ( sin and it’s entanglements ) did not have to have ANY power over their lives any more because Jesus had made it so that they could be free from sins power.

Paul goes on in verses 2-5 to discuss the practice of circumcision with these believers. He rounds out his discussion on the practice in verse 6 by saying, “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love.”. The huge HINDRANCE that these believers had at this time were the judiazing teachers that were around them. These believers started well when they first put their trust in Christ for salvation, but the judiazing teachers of that time came trying to preach a false gospel. These teachers were trying to teach that one needed to follow in circumcision, the laws of Moses, or having a mix of works and faith in Christ to obtain justification and salvation. The judiazing teachers were the one’s Paul was referring to when he asked the question, “who did hinder you”.

Paul says in verse that circumcision or uncircumcision does not matter. He is not saying the process of circumcision is a bad thing. He is saying that if we put our trust in any good work, anything, or anyone other than Jesus Christ then it does us NO good. Jesus Christ is the ONLY one that man can find salvation through.

So let me ask you, “What is it in your life today that is HINDERING you from being all that Jesus wants you to be?”. The hindrance for the believers here in Galatia were the false teachings by the judiazing teachers of that time. The believers were knocked off course from “obeying the truth of God”. We all have different things in our lives that are competing for our time, our attention, and our resources. School, work, finances, pain, hurt, suffering, bitterness, busy schedules, lifestyles, vacations, friends, video games, television, sports and so forth.. Many of the things that hinder us are not necessarily bad things in themselves, but when they HINDER ( get in the way ) of allowing us to be obedient to God they become bad things in our lives.

So what are we to do to guard against these HINDRANCES? I think Paul gives us great instruction here. Verse 1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free”. Compare this with Galatians 5:13, “For, bretheren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”. If you are in Christ, you have been set free. You have been made free from the power of sin in your life. A person still has the ability to sin, but God has made you free in such a way that we don’t have to let sin have power and authority in our lives any longer. Responsibility comes with this freedom. Stand firm in “obeying the truth” so that you use this freedom and liberty to serve one another in love, and not as an excuse to sin.

In closing, if you are a child of God I urge you to examine your life today. See if there is anything hindering you from obeying God in any part of your life. Ask God to help you see any hindrances that you don’t see yourself. Once you realize something that is hindering you from being who God wants you to be, ask Him to forgive you, turn away from it, and trust God to help you along the way!

Sincerely,

Bro. Bryan

“What kind of friend are you?”

Garden friends

“What kind of friend are you?” Matthew 26:36-46

36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

             What kind of friend are you? What kind of friends do you have? This is a great question we should ask ourselves. Most of us have a lot of people in our lives that we simply call our friends. However, we should ask the question, “Who are our real / true friends in this life?”.

I remember about six years ago Rachel, Hunter, Bailey and myself were moving back to Fayette County, TN. We had to make the transition very quickly because I had to be at work the very next week. It was literally one of those things where I found out I had to be at training on the next Tuesday, and it was already almost the weekend right before that J. At that moment, I began to make a few phone calls to family and a few friends to help with the move. If you want to know who your REAL friends are, just say the words, “I’m moving and need your help.”. The people who gather are your friends, and the people who scatter, well I will let you decide J. I must be honest, if someone can’t help you move it doesn’t automatically mean they are not your friend, but you certainly get a much deeper appreciation for those who are able to help in the move you are making.

As I made phone calls, some of the people made calls to mutual friends that we had. I didn’t know about this until the day we were getting ready to move. I was overwhelmed by the gracious effort that each one made to help our family make this quick move. It was a two-day effort to get everything moved, and then to unpack in the rental house. There was great sacrifice made by all of these who helped us move. One person even had to endure a slight speeding ticket by the wonderful police department in Whiteville, TN.  I believe we bought some gas and Kentucky Fried Chicken for those who helped, but there was no great reward for their great service to us. The fact is, these people ( friends and family ) were there because they loved us and cared about us. Our needs were shared as their needs.

Jesus gives us a great example of what friendship really is like in Matthew 26:36-46. Many times we look at these verses as we think about the pain and sorrow He went through before going to the cross to be crucified. All of that is true, but I would like you to see what He shows us about being a friend to others, and the friends that we have.

First of all we see that Jesus had those who were closest to Him in His life and ministry on this earth with Him. He had the disciples with Him as He went to Gethsemane. Then He told them to wait there and He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee further into the garden. A preacher of the gospel who has been gone from this earth for a while called these friends of Jesus’ “garden friends.” ( Dave Busby ). These were the guys that Jesus took deeper into the garden, and to a more intimate place with Him while He prayed to His Father in Heaven. He left the disciples with an important task to be praying as He went further. In short, Jesus wanted those REAL friends with Him while He was experiencing some of the most trying times of His life.

Second, these were friends that He was able to share some of the deepest parts of His life with. He shares with Peter and the two sons of Zebedee that ,”His soul was exceedingly sorrowful”. He even continues to tell them how heavy that His soul was and He describes it as being so heavy, “even unto death”. His soul was in this manner, and the heaviness came because of the fact that Jesus knew what He was about to experience. Jesus was about to be taken captive, put on the cross, and hang for the sins of the world. Even though He was willing to do this, it does not mean that the task did not come void of pain, sorrow, hurt, and despair. All of these things and more the Son of God would take on for the human race. He was vexed in Himself and He was sharing that with these close friends in the garden.

Third, Jesus showed us how He involved His closest friends into His life, His work, and His ministry. He didn’t just bring these guys to Gethsemane because they were traveling with Him. He brought them there to partake in prayer time with Him. They were on duty to “watch and pray” with Him as He went and talked with His Father about His sorrowful, heavy heart and the burden He was getting ready to take on. He did not just show His friends about ministry, but He got them involved with Him in ministry.

Fourth, Jesus showed great patience with His friends. Three times He asked them to stay, watch and pray with Him as went to talk with His Father in Heaven. All three times His friends failed Him. Wow! These guys failed in their work for Jesus, but wait, let us examine ourselves. How many times do I, or we, fail Jesus every day? Go ahead and join with me as we work to take the plank out of our own eye before we come down so hard on these guys with Jesus. Jesus, didn’t stop loving them. Jesus didn’t stop caring for them. Jesus even shared with them to be careful that they enter not into temptation. He said, “the spirit is willing indeed, but the flesh is weak.”. He was kind, patient, and showed genuine forgiveness to these guys even in the face of their failure.  In fact, Jesus told them after all that to go ahead and rest up. He knew it wouldn’t be long before He would be arrested, tried, and nailed to the cross. At the end of our Scripture today we see that He told the guys with Him to rise up so that they could all go ahead and climb the mountain that was ahead of them. This mountain was the road He was about to travel as He would be betrayed by Judas, and put to death for you, me and the sins of the WHOLE world.

I hope today you are able to say you have some garden friends in your life. You may have many that you call friend, but who is the one who will be there with you NO MATTER WHAT? Who is the one you can call at 3:00am because you are in great despair? Who are those that you can share details of your life with and not have to worry about their genuine love for you because they are your garden friend. You will find that not everyone you call friend is a garden friend. That’s ok, because not every friend has to be a garden friend. Remember though, even your closest friend ( garden friend ) will sometimes fail you just like those guys did by falling asleep and failing to do what Jesus told them to do. Be patient and kind with forgiveness. These friends are to be cherished, for they will be the ones that will be there when you need them most. Even greater than that, remember, Jesus is the best friend one could ever have in this whole entire world. John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”.  May the Lord challenge you today to examine what kind of friend you are, what kind of friends you have, and what do those friendships look like in light of what Jesus shows us  about true authentic friendship.

Sincerely,

Bro. Bryan

“The Wise Investment”

Money and plant.

Investing in Your Life and Into Others! – Philippians 2:14-16

14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

The word, “investment” is a term we hear thrown around a lot in today’s world.  Webster defines the noun form of the word as, “Process of exchanging income for an asset that is expected to produce earnings at a later time.”. Webster Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/investment.  Webster also defines the word, “invest” as a verb meaning, “to make use of for future benefits” or “to involve or engage.”. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/investment. Usually when we think about these terms “invest” and “investment” we are thinking about money, the money market, stocks and 401K’s.

Paul, in our verses this week is talking about an investment that is worth far more than silver or gold. He begins by addressing his letter to the saints at Philippi in the first part of chapter 1. This is important, because again it shows us that he is addressing the body of Christ and the ministers of the body of Christ.

In chapter 2 verses 14-16 we see Paul talking about his investment and our investment. We see that in verse 14 Paul tells us that we have A WAY THAT WE SHOULD CONDUCT OURSELVES. We, who are in Christ, should conduct ourselves in a manner that brings glory, and not shame to God. “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.”. This means that our conversations, our actions, and our reactions should be the type of behavior that would represent Jesus in a wonderful, God glorifying manner. Our norm should not be complaining, arguing, backbiting, and stirring up trouble. Instead, we should be producing the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. These are the things that should be characteristic of our behavior.

In verse 15, Paul tells us some of the reasons we should be careful in the way we conduct ourselves and live our lives. “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke” is one major point that he draws out. The word “blameless” shows us that we should live lives above reproach. We know that we will struggle and not live perfectly, but the main overtone of our life should be a desire to live as much above reproach as possible. In other words, we ought to strive to do everything we can to represent Jesus by living faithful to Him. The word “harmless” is also used. It should be the desire of the child of God to not want to make anyone else stumble in this life. I should want to live in a way that would cause other people to want to know Jesus. So many times we as Christians live in a way that is not harmless and we become a stumbling block to those who don’t know Christ. We should be blameless and harmless! Paul also puts in that verse, “the sons of God, without rebuke.” This shows us that we, as God’s children can live as His children with good testimonies above reproach. When the child of the living God lives their life above reproach he/she lives in a manner that is “without rebuke”.  Therefore, Paul give us THE REASON WE SHOULD CONDUCT OURSELVES THIS WAY. The reason is because we who know Jesus as Savior, we are, “the sons of God”. When one becomes a child of God he/she has the ability to respond correctly to bad situations, act loving when others are not loving, and to be kind when no one else is. The reason is because of Christ living within us.

Next, in verse 15 we see the PURPOSE FOR OUR GOOD CONDUCT. “In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; “ is our purpose for having a conduct and behavior that reflects Christ. In John 1 we see that Jesus “is the Light of the world.” In fact, the Bible clearly says that, “He is the Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John 1:9. We are His agents of light until He ( Jesus ) comes again. We too are called to be the salt and light of the world. Here, Paul tells us we are to shine as lights in a dark world that is crooked and perverse. If you don’t believe the world is that way just watch the news tonight, read the paper, or go to the mall. It should not take you long to see this truth!

Now, we come to verse 16 where Paul gets down to the knitty gritty about the word investment where we started. Paul has been sharing with the church members and ministers at Philippi about their conduct because he spent a great deal investing into their lives, the church, his ministry as they too reciprocated a helping hand towards him. He says in verse 16 that there is a way for them to ensure they live in the manner in which he has instructed them in verses 14 and 15. He instructs them to HOLD ON TO THE GOSPEL. “The word of life” here simply means the Gospel. The Gospel is called the “word of life” because it reveals eternal life and immortality to us. It is the duty of every Christian to not only hold onto, but to hold forth “the word of life”. We are to hold it forth like a candle in a dark room. We are to carry it forth so that the Light might spread throughout the whole dark place.

Paul’s life had been dramatically changed when he met God on the road to Damascus. He knelt the knees of his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ and became fully changed. From then on, he spent his time ministering and holding forth the word of life. He invested his life in the gospel ministry because God invested His life and His time, and His resources into Paul. Guess what? God has invested His life, His time, His resources for YOU too my dear friend.  That is wonderful news. Paul shared with these believers that by these believers obeying the gospel ( the word of life ) they too were investing into others and so fulfilling God’s will. It was an investment that would be worth their time and resources. At the end of Paul’s ministry he would be able to say the investment was well worth his time and resources, and because of their investment his work had multiplied.

I gave my heart and life to Jesus Christ in August of 1995. Jesus changed my life completely. I am not perfect in my flesh, but I am made new by the blood of Christ. Soon after I got saved a seminary student by the name of Bill Cleminson came along side me and discipled me for a long time. He invested into my life. He took what Jesus had done in his own life and multiplied it into my life. God planted, God watered, and God grew both of us at the same time. All glory to God. The BIG question for you today is this – What are you investing in? Let me even ask you a better question. Who are you investing in?  Our behavior should be the type of behavior that will DRAW PEOPLE TO JESUS. Next, it should BRING GLORY TO JESUS, and then it should move others to be INVESTED IN JESUS. We waste a lot of money on things that will not matter down the road. I don’t know about you, but I want to make my investment of time, money and resources count. The best way to do this is to invest in the lives of people with the purpose of seeing Jesus change people’s lives. In doing so, you will be making an eternal investment where the dividends will be seen throughout all eternity to the glory of God. Then, you and I, when we come to the end of this life on earth can say with Paul, “that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” The best thing the child of God can hear when he or she steps over into glory will be, “Well done my child.”. We can’t take our silver, gold, cars, jewelry, 401k’s, cd’s, stocks and business with us to Heaven, but what we can take is people. Be wise, and make the right investment!

Sincerely,

Bro. Bryan

“From Hurt to Hope” Revelation 7:17

hurt to hope picture1      Revelation 7:17

“17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

             Our verse this week, Revelation 7:17 is a huge encouragement and shot in the arm of hope for those who are in Christ. Look at the last part of this verse friend and be encouraged, “and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”. In Revelation chapter 7 we get a glimpse of what Heaven will be like. There is a whole lot that can be said concerning Revelation chapter 7, but to get to the point for our devotion today we see that this chapter is discussing children of God in Heaven. We also see a promise that God gives to us in His word about dealing with grief.

             Have you ever grieved? I’m sure you have, but let me ask it this way. Have you ever grieved over someone that has passed, someone that is dying, or maybe it is over someones behavior or actions? You are probably answering, “Yes.” to at least one of these categories. It would be most difficult to be human and not experience grief.

             I remember meeting someone who was my best friend for almost 9 years of my life. His name was Ronald Dewayne Grant. We met in the sixth grade. Both of us had the same interests and hobbies. It did not take long for us to become best friends. Dewayne and I lived about 45 minutes away from each other. He lived in West Memphis, Ar. and we lived in Memphis, TN at the time. Obviously, we went to different schools and lived in different towns. However, that didn’t keep us from getting our parents to run us back and forth across the bridge to each others house time and time again. We were on the phone all the time. In fact, there was not a day to go by that I believe we went without talking. To be honest, Dewayne ( in my mind ) was just like my very own brother. To my parents, he became like another child of theirs. J I know his mother felt the same way about me too.

             After knowing Dewayne for a very brief time he reveled to my that he had a disease called CF or Cystic Fibrosis. This is a terminal disease which usually manifest itself with the hardening of mucus in the lungs. It can very hard to live with. Dewayne had to deal with taking a lot of medication, and receiving respiratory therapy daily throughout his life. This didn’t matter to me. He was my bud!

             As time went on Dewayne and I grew closer as friends and became like brothers that neither of our parents had. We got into high school. We both started driving, and our friendship continued to grow. After high school we both started out at the same college. That was cool because we were able to schedule classes where we could get together with all our friends. Life was great!

             In August of 1995 through a series of events I gave my heart and life over to Jesus Christ. I immediately shared with Dewayne about what Jesus had done in my life. He was excited for me, but there was obvious hesitation for the same change in his life. I continued to share and share with Dewayne in the most gentle manner that I knew how without watering down the truth of God’s word. Still, I seemed to get nowhere, but dedicated myself to praying for him. During this time I was being discipled by a leader in our college department at church.

             One afternoon I got a call from Dewayne saying he was in the hospital, and wanted me to come when I could. I had spent many nights in the hospital with my friend through the years by this time. It had become routine. I shared with Dewayne I would be coming, but I didn’t tell him I was bringing another friend. That night when my friend Bill and I finished with my discipleship meeting he came with me to the hospital. I introduced him to Dewayne. I stepped into the hospital room restroom and began praying for Dewayne. That night Dewayne admitted that he had been angry with God for his struggle with Cystic Fibrosis. However, that night God broke Dewayne’s heart, and Dewayne bowed the knees of his heart, and prayed for Jesus to come into his life and save him. Do you know, Dewayne was never the  same after that! I still remember Dewayne asking me to go with him to the Christian Book Store to buy a Bible. Mr. Curtis, the manager of the book store was so excited for Dewayne that he told him to pick out the Bible he wanted and it was on the house. J I was so thankful for that time.

             About six months down the road, my dad and I were out of town camping. I received a call that Dewayne had made it to the number one spot on the lung transplant list, and the hospital had a set of lungs being flown in for him. I got to the hospital, but I was too late to get to see him before he went into surgery. A local pastor was so excited when I got there to share with me what happened before I arrived. He said that before Dewayne went into surgery he had tried to share the Gospel with Dewayne, but Dewayne kindly told him that he was already saved. He shared his testimony of how God had saved him in the hospital room that night about six months earlier. He shared with him how he knew he would be ok. Even though I knew that had already taken place I was still excited to hear how he shared his testimony.

             Dewayne came through the transplant well. For the next year, he had the best time of his life. We were out one Friday night, and I noticed Dewayne did not look so well. I told him we had better get him home. It was a cooler night in the mid to late fall. Dewayne did not want to scare his mother, but I shared with him if he didn’t tell her what was going on I would call her. He did share with her, and within the next week or two he was back in the hospital. His body began rejecting his new lungs. Dewayne turned 23 years old on December 27th and just three days later on December 30th, 1997 his spirit left his body and went home to be with Jesus in Heaven.

             At that moment in my life it seemed like time stood still. My best friend on this earth was gone. I really did not know what to do, or how to handle it. The next months coming up would be some of the toughest times I had faced in my life up to that point. I battled with anger, depression, frustration, lonlienss, sadness and just plain HURT! Nothing anyone could say to me would make things feel better. There was nothing anyone could do that would take the hurt away. I can remember just being in my room and out of nowhere I would just start crying. Looking back, the best thing was when my dad would just come up, put his arms around me, and say nothing. I knew he was hurting with me as I hurt. My dad may not even remember that, but I sure do.

             I still get sad some days when I think about what life might be like if I had my buddy Dewayne still here on this earth. I never hear about a death any more without thinking about the loss of my best friend from childhood. It’s just one of those things that never leaves you.

             I am encouraged however for many reasons. First of all, I am thankful Dewayne came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. He repented of his sin, and received Jesus by faith into his life before he left this earth. This comforts me because, as a child of God, I know I will see him again. Second, I know Dewayne is in a much better place than even I am right now. I am encouraged because one day, I too will be there in a much better place. Third, God’s word says in Revelation 7:17, “and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” No matter what, this Scripture is a picture ( a mere glimpse ) of how glorious Heaven will be. There will be no tears in the eyes of God’s children. There will also be no hunger. There will be no thirst. No more burdens and heavy loads ( 7:16 ). Why? Simply put in verse 17 it says that the Lamb ( Jesus ) will be in the midst of the throne in Heaven and He will do all of this for us ( God’s children ). 

             The point is this. Even as God’s children we are going to face grief, pain and hardship. Becoming a child of God does not make you exempt from these things. However, as God’s children you have an abundant advantage over those who do not know God. We have REAL hope. Our hope is in knowing that one day God will wipe every tear away. There will be no sadness or grief. Read Revelation chapter 7 and get a glimpse of how wonderful Heaven will be for the child of God. For the mother who worries about her children, for the dad who toils to provide for his family, as the child who faces peer pressure and social struggles, as the homeless have no where to lay their head, as the hungry deal with groanings for something to eat, and as the thirsty need to be quenched, all of these things will be wiped away as we are ushered into the presence of Jesus before His thrown to give Him the praises He is due!

             I want to say to you today who may be grieving for any reason. The love of Jesus and the extension of time will help you. Words from loved one’s may bring comfort after a period of time, but I want to exhort you to lean on the Savior today. God bless you.

Sincerely,

Bro. Bryan