Dying Precedes Living

Sillouette Cross

My husband and I have been blessed by reading The Desire of Ages together and are at the time in Jesus’ life that parallels this time of year – Christ’s death and resurrection.

The story has taken on new meaning for me. I fear we become somewhat relaxed about the significance of the cross and the big picture of what happened there. If we talk about it more maybe we can reverse this situation. What about Christ’s inner circle, the twelve disciples? You could say even they were misguided in their Master’s plan. Did any of them see the ‘end’ coming? When their Master surrendered to the mob, showing them to be wrong, they left Him, rather disappointed and confused, right?

What brought Jesus through this trying experience? I believe it must have been His supreme desire to maintain His relationship with His Father. He did not take that relationship for granted. It was in answer to His prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane that God sent a special angel to strengthen and encourage Him to keep surrendering to the plan to be the sacrifice for sin. The angel assured Jesus that He was loved and many would be saved by Him giving His life. What a beautiful gift Jesus was. Yes, He knew chose to believe this. And all night, with a tired and broken body, He kept believing…

They treated Him so shamefully, too. He had to be focused on the higher good and take the insults and abuse. In every scene of that experience though, following His decision to drink the bitter cup, he had a serenity about Him! Clearly the opposite of what His tormentors expected. He knew Whose He was and He depended on His Father! It’s incredible that just knowing Whose we are (sons and daughters of God) can equip us and transform us. That’s powerful!

The lessons from this story are many. My take-away is that it’s absolutely crucial that we have the correct heart identity (see our neediness as children of the Father) which keeps us ‘tight’ with the Father and thus empowered to handle the trials and burdens that come with earthly life. His dying preceded the beginning of everlasting life for those who believe.

You Can Survive

Recently I needed some words of encouragement. A certain book entitled “You Can Survive” was sitting on my bookshelf and I happened to choose it. What follows in an excerpt, shared by the author’s permission. I would enthusiastically encourage everyone to get the complete book, available online at YouCanSurvive.org! I’m was so happy to read this beautifully written, life-changing account. I pray it blesses each one and continues to provide encouragement where most needed!

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Rev. 21:4

There is a majestic mountain valley not far from our home in northern British Columbia where one can step back a hundred years in time; where a grand herd of pack horses know only friendly hands, where water is drawn by a rope and bucket from the clear river, and a fresh pot of water simmers at the back of the old wood cook stove in a quaint log cabin. It is a place where the Canadian geese announce the seasons and a forest of stately spruce trees embrace a picturesque natural meadow. Through this pristine beauty the sands of time slow their rapid flight to the quiet flow of the Wolverine River. This is the home of John Terry, whom his trapper friends called Johnny Sundown after he tacked the ten commandments on his cabin door. But I should go back to the beginning.

We visited the J Bar W in 1975 when John was bringing in his hay with a big team of perfectly matched black Percherons hitched to a hay wagon. My wife and I, and the friends we’d brought with us, quickly ate our picnic lunch and helped him bring in his hay. A few days after our visit to the Wolverine, John made an uncustomary visit outside his valley, and knocked at the door of our cabin at Sanctuary Ranch. After a cup of wild mint tea, John began unfolding a story that had started nearly twenty years before. We sat, spellbound, as we listened to his amazing tale.

“I recognized you right away as my ‘Happy People,’” he said, shyly caressing his ancient brown cowboy hat. “I saw you in a dream almost 20 years ago, when I had a vision of heaven.”

Here, in his own words, is John’s vision of heaven which came to him one night in the late 1950s. “My guide said, ‘I have come to take you on a trip.’ But he told me I should stop smoking so that I could travel with him. He took my arms and seemed to pump all the tobacco out of my system and for the next two days I had no desire to smoke! Then he took my hand and we floated away. He took me close to the moon and said, ‘Man will soon be on the moon, and you will know what it looks like.’ The surface of the moon looked kind of like a pancake ready to be turned.

“We traveled past the moon, through the stars and arrived at a Light; a light so beautiful it is beyond explanation. I saw heaven. I felt like a little bee coming down through the huge trees. I saw a beautiful city full of happy people, waving to each other and singing as they floated around. Ever after this I called them my ‘Happy People.’

“Before my dream ended, I asked my guide if I could tell anyone. ‘You can if you wish,’ he said, ‘But they won’t believe you. You will know the time.’”

As John finished relating his dream to us, he looked at Linda and I and said, “So now you know what I mean when I say, ‘You are my “Happy People.” I’ve seen you before—in a dream—a long time ago.

“My guide told me during my dream, ‘You will know the truth when you find the church that believes each day stands for a year.’ Jere, over the last 17 years, I have inquired of many churches about this, and the people either laugh at me, accuse me of drinkin’ too much, or else they just look blank. I think you can tell me what it means, can’t you?”

“Yes, Sir!” I replied. We showed him Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6 where we are told that in Biblical prophecy a day stands for a year. He was noticeably relieved as I promised to give him Bible studies over the next few months during which time he decided to lay his cigarettes aside (he had smoked for over 50 years) and asked to be baptized.

When John finished his story, I was reminded of Ellen White’s vision, so I reached for a little red book on the shelf behind me and read to him:

“I saw another field full of all kinds of flowers, and as I plucked them, I cried out, ‘They will never fade.’ Next I saw a field of tall grass, most glorious to behold; it was living green and had a reflection of silver and gold, as it waved proudly to the glory of King Jesus. Then we entered a field full of all kinds of beasts—the lion, the lamb, the leopard, and the wolf, all together in perfect union. We passed through the midst of them, and they followed on peaceably after. Then we entered a wood, not like the dark woods we have here; no, no: but light, and all over glorious; the branches of the trees moved to and fro and we all cried out, ‘We will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.’”  (Early Writings 18)

When I finished reading, John looked at me and, with tears in his eyes, said “That’s what I saw! I’ve been there, Jere. That’s where I want to be.” I knew this tough mountain man who sat before me had never seen the book from which I read. Neither had I ever been part of someone’s dream! It was a foretaste of heaven to those of us gathered in our cabin.

Source: You Can Survive, Jere Franklin, pp. 407-409

Acts 2:17 says, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:”

Praise God for allowing us time to prepare. Books sold at http://www.YouCanSurvive.org. Call (509) 369-2671 for a bulk order (10 or more books) discount.

Headaches Demystified

Do you get headaches and if so, why?

When I have headache pain I try to understand what caused it so I can avoid future ‘repeats’. But sometimes they just seem to come from nowhere. These days we tend to have so much on our plates at one time that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and those stress headaches get all too common. A numbing Tylenol or Advil later, for some, and they’re good. I like to get relief naturally, if possible, and hopefully find a way to avoid a re-occurrence of the thing that ‘got’ me.

Headache pain should be taken seriously. Is it a misalignment of the spine? Then that should be corrected. Maybe the vision is deteriorating. Sometimes it’s due to a food sensitivity.

My thoughts usually go in this direction, do yours? I found help at The National Headache Foundation’s website. Check out their handy chart conveying foods known to trigger headaches. If the font is too small to read, look at the top of the linked page for the + and –  icons for font size adjustment.