A long, long time ago, I read about Bach's habit of placing the letter J J before a composition and S D G after. The J J stands for "Jesus help me" and the S D J at the conclusion means, "to the glory of God alone."
John 14 : 1-4, 12-14
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.
And you know the way to the place where I am going.”
Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts together, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. AMEN
The mail doesn't always bring good news. But sometimes it brings excellent news.
This goes the same for email.
This week I received some VERY wonderful email news.
Last month I learned that someone with the initials I.K., on Clare Street in Glenshaw, PA was already authorized to win $1,000,000! So I knew that was already coming, but this extra fifty grand was just icing on the cake.
After receiving this great news I was so relieved that it didn’t go to the spam folder! I decided to check it, just in case.
You wouldn’t believe it! It was incredible! Dr. Bill Nagler had sent me a great opportunity, one that he only sent to a few selected people!
How to lose 10 pounds in 10 days! And keep it off! I couldn’t believe it! Here it has taken me since January 2 to lose 82.3 pounds! By now, with Dr. Nagler, I could have lost 263 pounds! I would almost be at goal!
So now, just by checking my email and the SPAM folder, by the end of October, I am going to be a millionaire, plus 50 grand and I will have lost an additional forty pounds! All by October 31st!
Since my lucky was changing so rapidly I scrolled on through my email and found what will make my life complete. eHarmony. Did you know that, using their bold, scientific approach to matching means more quality dates with deeply compatible men that will TRULY understand me!
Who knew all of these great opportunities were out there?!
Because we can all trust Publishers Clearing House!
And I am sure that Dr. Bill Nagle can be trusted! I have never heard of him, but he has Dr. in front of his name, like Dr. Seuss and Dr. Pepper and Dr. Kildare and Dr. Zhivago, so he has to be trustworthy!
And the promises of Dr. Neil Clark Warren, founder AND president of eHarmony! A doctor! A founder! A president! Well, his promises surely are worth more than gold.
They say that sarcasm is the lowest form of comedy. But hey, I am not doing stand-up now, right?
Not that sarcasm in a Sunday morning message is more prudent, but think about it.
How many promises do you hear every day?
How many promises in a week?
In a month?
And how many are kept?
But before we start pointing fingers and condemning those who have broken promises to us, take a minute to think about the promises we have made and those we have forsaken.
Thing is, promises made to you: I will paint the house this weekend. I will clean up my room after school. I will stop drinking. I will love you forever.
And promises you may have made to others: I will be on time. I won’t criticize you anymore. I will keep your secret.
If we have experience with any of those promises, we must remember they are made by human beings; fragile and afraid and often weak and always fallible.
Human beings. We hurt ourselves, we hurt one another. We break our promises, whether we intend to, or not. Whether as a result of action or neglect.
Truth is, there was only one Man who walked this earth, who kept every promise He ever made. He was God’s Son. Jesus, the Christ.
Listen again, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.”
That’s not a luxury vacation deal offered from WonderTravel.
That’s not a house flip scam.
Not a fraudulent mortgage loan.
Jesus makes a statement. He stands by it.
Kids say, “A promise is a promise.”
But what we all might want to change that to is, “A promise from Jesus, is a promise.”
On Friday evening, Pennie and Ed’s nieces, who were baptized at the end of August, partook of communion for the first time. And as the girls, Alexa and Addison shared in the Lord’s Supper for the first time, their grandfather, Pennie’s father, James Harding, symbolically drank of Christ’s Blood and ate of His flesh for the last time.
The last time on THIS earth.
The last time in THIS world.
The last time on THIS side of the Jordan.
Remember the words, the promises of Jesus, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.”
James Harding, your grandmother, your father, your sister, your mother, your grandfather, those whom you have loved, and have gone from THIS world.
But they are in His House now. Partaking from a Heavenly banquet.
And we’ll be there, as well.
A friend sent me a poem yesterday from the scholar and poet Margaret Mead:
To the living, I am gone.
To the sorrowful, I will never return.
To the angry, I was cheated,
But to the happy, I am at peace,
And to the faithful, I have never left.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So as you stand upon a shore, gazing at a beautiful sea - remember me.
As you look in awe at a mighty forest and its grand majesty - remember me.
As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity - remember me.
Remember me in your heart, your thoughts, your memories of the times we loved,
the times we cried, the times we fought, the times we laughed.
For if you always think of me, I will never be gone.
As I was preparing this morning’s message, one particular line stood out to me, so boldly, “And to the faithful, I have never left.”
And we, as the faithful of Jesus Christ, we can know then, with certainty, that those who have gone before us, have not just disappeared. Their light has not been put out. They have been resurrected. Soul and body and now, they dwell in the House that the Lord has prepared.
When someone we know loses a pet, a grandfather, a mother, a father, a child, we often say to friends,
“I don’t know what to say.”
“I don’t know how to comfort her.”
“I don’t know how to help.”
But see, there is another promise that Christ made us, it’s here in passage we heard this morning, “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”
Whoever believes in Me, will also do the works that I do, and, in fact, will do EVEN GREATER WORKS than these!
Another promise from Jesus. That won’t be broken.
So we CAN be that shoulder upon which the hurting can lean. We CAN do great things, with Jesus. It is a promise.
You have probably heard the little story about the little boy who was frightened one night during a big thunderstorm. He called out to his father from his bedroom and said, "Daddy, I'm scared. Come in here."
His dad, was settled down with a good book in the living room and he wanted to keep reading and so he told the little boy, "Son, it's all right. God is with you in that room right now. You're OK."
There was a moment of silence. Then the little boy replied, "That’s cool, Dad, but right now I need someone with skin on."
Jesus was the God with skin on when He walked here on earth. Now we are called to be His hands and feet in this world.
And as it has been ascribed to Mother Teresa, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called!”
He has. He has promised us a room in His Father’s House. We will be living there.
He has equipped us with what is necessary to heal the brokenhearted, to do great things for one another, while we are on this side of the Jordan.
We can take those promises to the bank.
Let us pray:
O God of eternal promises,
We celebrate this morning all those who have gone to Your House before us. We await in grateful anticipating for the day we will join them, and You.
While we are waiting, Lord, help us to remember Your promises, and to use that which You have given to us, to serve Your children.