Scripture: Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.
Because the Lord is my shepherd
I have everything I need.
He lets me rest in the meadow's grass
He leads me beside the quiet streams
He restores my failing health
And He helps me to do what honors Him the most.
That's why I'm safe
That's why I'm safe
That's why I'm safe
Safe in His arms.
I don't consider myself a sports fanatic, during my lifespan, I can say that I have watched my share of basketball, baseball, and football. I enjoyed playing volley ball, soccer, hockey, and bad mitten, just to name a few. If I had kept up with some type of sport, I probably would be in much better physical shape than I am right now.
Last night while I began to worship God I played William McDowell's song entitled: "Wrap Me In Your Arms." I began to thank God, and tell him over and over again, "You are Faithful." I just kept saying the words, "Faithful." What a loving, faithful, merciful God we serve. And then, as I reflected upon the days event, the words SAFE came to my mind. Yesterday one of my dear friends had surgery. Yesterday, a life long friend of my parishioners died. Yesterday, we celebrated Sabrina's birthday. Yesterday a great nephew was born on her birthday. Yesterday and really throughout the week, I began to reflect on how significantly my life has changed in the last five years. Yesterday, the world lost one of its iconic genius, PRINCE. Yesterday was a mixed bag of events.
I played another song during my worship, that song is called: "Father Me," by Shekinah Glory. I love that song. Just as little girls long or desire to climb up into their daddy's lap, us grown up big girls desire the same. My earthly daddy has gone to be with the Lord, and so, I cry out numerous times, when the load gets so heavy, for my heavenly Daddy to "Father" me.
I guess that is why the word, "SAFE" came to my mind. It reminded me of a word used by a referee in the game of baseball! In the game of sports there are many words called out during a game. Different sports have terms that are germane only to their sport. Some of those terms are: penalty, fouls, walks, hits, goals, touchdown, score, steal, strike out, home run, love, match, just to name a few. The players must be guided by the words that are spoken, screamed out, flashed using hand signals, by the umpire, coach, referee, or whoever is the keeper of scores and player decorum.
In baseball, the words used by the referee are: runs, single, double, triple, foul, slide, steal, strike, safe, out, sacrifice fly bunt, just to name a few. But the word I thought so much about yesterday was, SAFE. With all that is happening in this word today, I thank God that I am SAFE. and the reason I am safe, is because I am SAVED. I am saved because of the Savior, Jesus Christ. He saved me and now I am safe from the wrath to come. Sin must be punished, because we serve a righteous God He will and must punish sin. God is a God of justice and must punish sin. But Jesus is the one sent to offer us His Matchless, Undeserving, Grace, Mercy and Favor.
While we were still in our sins and transgressing, God sent Jesus to be the sacrifice for our sins. And for that I tell Him, Thank you. I don't have to wonder where I will spend eternity. I don't have to live my life down here powerless! The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He will supply all my needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus. When I am lonely He comes to see about me. When I am in despair, He reminds me that, I am more than a conqueror. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13.
I was sinking deep in sin far from the peaceful shore. very deeply stained within. Sinking to rise no more. But the Master of the sea, heard my despairing cry. From the waters lifted me, now "SAFE" am I. It was LOVE, God's unmerited Favor that Lifted Me. When nothing else could Help!!! LOVE LIFTED ME. And Now I AM SAFE.
As a pastor, when someone dies and we are asked to do the eulogy for the dearly departed, it becomes a difficult job when there are questions about someones salvation, church attendance, membership, service, devotion to God etc. Just because someone goes to church doesn't mean that they are saved and have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Conversely, just because someone does not regularly attend church does not mean they do not have a relationship with Christ. Basically, we have no heaven or hell to put anyone into. But it becomes an easier task, if family, friends, members of the church, and the pastor of the local assembly can vouch to the best of their ability with some evidence, through the persons own testimony, that they have accepted and received the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior. And even then, we cannot speak with 100% certainty, that an individual will make heaven their home. There are a lot of impostors that go to church!!!
Sometimes the best we can do at the funeral is talk about the distinctive qualities and character an individual shared with their family, friends, church and community. Sometimes all we as clergy can do is speak positively about the relationship, joy, delight and positive blessings the person shared with all concerned. We cannot put people in heaven if their life testifies to character or qualities that are contrary to the life of one whose life is submitted and hidden in Christ.
With that said, there have been many well known persons who have died that leave our hearts heavy. My only prayer for Prince, Michael Jackson, Luther, and so many others, is that they got to know the man, Christ Jesus!!! The one who died to reconcile a hostile, rebellious, wretched people to our Father. For the only way to receive salvation is through His Son, Jesus Christ. If you don't know Him, today is a mighty fine time to get to know Him. Just confess your sins to Him and ask Him to come into your heart, save you by faith, and help you to live for Him the rest of your life. Being saved is about having a personal relationship with a God who is very personal, and wants to call you friend. After you ask Jesus into your heart, share you testimony, your decision with someone who is a a believer, and then seek out a local assembly, a Bible believing church in the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm praying for you.
God bless and; "Don't Forget To Say Your Prayers."