Category Archives: Memories

A New Beginning

Bryan entered glory and went to be present with Christ on August 26, 2016. (You may read his obituary here.) The ministry of GLOW will continue, and we thank you for your on-going interest and support.
He wrote the following letter to be read at his celebration of life service. As Bryan begins his life in glory, these are the words he wants you to hear from him. ~ Marcia

Thank you all for being a part of my life.  Thank you for making it a richer experience by the way you modeled compassion, integrity, respect, and loving concern.

I am grateful for you joining in me in bringing practical love and hope of Jesus to the poorest of poor by partnering in the global missions of Go Light Our World, and for your teamwork in advancing great causes at work, changing the world for people.  You are the light of the world.

Thank you for challenging me in areas of truth and discernment, for sometimes being my teachers and role models, and for your encouragement. Thank you for sharing your joys and making me laugh.

Thank you too for sharing your sorrows and tender tears and for talking about things that really matter.  I’m thankful for when you visited me when I was sick, for doing yard work I was unable to do, and for your prayers.  Thank you for being a good friend.

I hope you will remember the purpose and passion for life we shared, and the love and respect that bound us together.  I know my life was an imperfect testimony to God’s love, but I hope you will carry with you some memory that encourages you when you’re feeling sad, something that brings a smile to your face, something that reminds you to live your life with God’s purpose and passion.  Remember how very much Jesus loves you and wants to draw you close to him.  Be gentle with each other and love one another.

To my dear friends who haven’t yet made a decision about Jesus, I respect you deeply and encourage you to give Jesus a chance to reveal himself in your life.  Read the gospel of John. Ask a Christian friend to read it with you.  Ask God how you should respond to his invitation to accept his free gift of salvation and grace.

Actually, this is my hope for all of you.  Give Jesus a chance to really transform your life into something new and powerful.  Be real with God.

I thank God for each of you and ask his great mercy to comfort, strengthen and guide you to a great life.  Thank you for being part of my life.  I look forward to seeing you again in heaven.

My confidence in going to heaven is not by the great quests pursued in work, not in my character, or faithful endurance through suffering.  It is not by gifts to the church, not by philosophy or education, nor by any means.

My confidence is in the promise of God to rescue and redeem everyone who believes in the name of his Son Jesus.  It’s by his grace alone, not by works lest we should boast.  We are saved by his amazing grace, created for his workmanship and his glory.

In the meantime, I will be eternally grateful for any kindness, compassion and encouragement you show to my beloved wife, my magnificent children and grandchildren.

Live well my friends.  Don’t waste your life.  Be happy and laugh often. Enjoy the life that God desires for you.  Enjoy him.

The land between

We’re making intentional plans these days to make room in our lives for short “memory making” trips to celebrate the time we have remaining together. One of our recent trips was to Guttenberg, Iowa where we stayed at a cabin generously loaned to us for the weekend by caring and loving friends. We enjoyed taking short walks and watching the boats navigate Lock 10, one of a “ladder” of 23 stair-stepping locks along the northern part of the mighty Mississippi River.

Whether it was a single motorboat or a 15-barge tow, we found it interesting to watch the boats navigate their way through the lock.  For each of them it was a transitional place from one part of their journey to another. And it was a time of waitin; the 15-barge tow took over 1 1/2 hours to make the passage. All were hauling cargo, whether it be the life of a single sailor or hundreds of thousands of bushels of corn and soy beans  the barges in particular sat lighter or deeper in the water according to the weight of their cargo. I found it fascinating to learn that one 15-barge tow, 1/4 mile long, could carry as much cargo as an 11 mile caravan of 870 semi-trucks, all in transition from one place to another.

Jeff Manion, author of the book, In The Land Between, uses the biblical story of the Israelites’ exodus out of Egypt and transition to the Promised Land as a metaphor for how we find ourselves in the undesired, transitional spaces of our lives.

You’ve been there. Whether it’s in a hospital waiting room, the “waiting room” while you wait for answers to desperate prayers, or the transition between houses and jobs, you know how heavy the weight of uncertainty, fear, and anxiety can feel on your shoulders; how it feels like you’re “low in the water” because of the burdens you carry

We continue to wait on the Lord regarding my health.  Will God perform a truly miraculous healing so we can pursue the desires of our heart to serve him in Bolivia – or WHEREVER he calls us? Or have these three and a half years of growing the GLOW ministries been the miracle he intended all along? If he desires me to come home now, I am ready and willing. Whatever brings him more glory. We are where you are or once have been: In between the land of what used to be and the land where we have not yet arrived.

Manion observes that the land in between is fertile ground for anxiety, fear and doubt to grow. We have a choice to accept and tolerate such unwelcome invaders or to combat them with the antidote of faith. It’s up to us to choose peace or anxiety, assurance or fear, truth or doubt. Each of these problems that interrupt and disrupt our lives are in fact an opportunity to trust God for his solution. That is the hope of our lives and the message of Go Light Our World, that the Lord Jesus is everything we desperately need.

If you’ve come to trust him with the eternal condition of your soul, can you trust him also for this very difficult transitional place in your place in “the land between?”

What we’ve experienced is a gracious and loving God who is ever-patient with us as we navigate the difficult transitional times of our own lives. Though we might think we have the capacity of a 15-barge tow to buoy the weight of our problems, nothing compares with the capacity of Jesus to carry the full weight of our heaviest burdens.

This is why we believe the truth of God’s Word that teaches me, whether I live or die, I WIN!  Cancer is a mighty foe but it doesn’t have the power to defeat who I am in Christ. I can trust the answers to prayer God has already arranged while I wait for them to be made known.

Whether I am completely healed and see the goodness of the Lord here in the land of the living, or in heaven, I rest in peace knowing I will be healed.

We all live in the land between this present life and our eternal one. Between this present problem and God’s future solution. What matters most, in fact the ONLY thing that counts, is that we live lives marked by faith that expresses itself through love.

My Pledge


When I was young, we began each school day by standing up straight with right hand over our hearts, and eyes fixed on our country’s flag, proclaiming together,

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

More than a mere ritual, this pledge has profound meaning that brings us together. It is a quick and to the point affirmation of who we are and our chosen loyalties:

“I pledge allegiance…” – I, an individual responsible for making informed choices, take a stand and make this solemn life oath.

“to the flag…” – The emblem of freedom, whose broad stripes and bright stars represent the commitment and sacrifice needed to preserve it.

“of the United States of America…” – United, not divided, separate in autonomy but bound together in common benefit of its citizens.

“and to the Republic for which it stands…” – A sovereign country which gives power to duly elected officials to represent the people according to the law which is based on the country’s constitution.

“one nation under God…” – A nation of people, if not submitted to the absolute authority of God in it’s legislation, justice, and executive oversight, would become simply and tragically, “One nation gone under.”

“indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” – Indivisible even in consideration of diverse heritages and personal preferences, where all lives matter precisely because of the overriding protection of liberty and justice for all people.

Our present version of The Pledge was passed by congress on Flag Day, June 14, 1954, and introduced to the nation by President Eisenhower who then stated,

“From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty…. In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource, in peace or in war.”

It seems the Pledge of Allegiance has fallen out of favor in recent years, challenged on many fronts by groups who want to remove the reference to God or the idea of a unified oath by such a diverse population. But as recently as last year, New Jersey Superior Court Judge David F. Bauman ruled that “…the Pledge of Allegiance does not violate the rights of those who don’t believe in God and does not have to be removed from the patriotic message.” he added, “As a matter of historical tradition, the words ‘under God’ can no more be expunged from the national consciousness than the words ‘In God We Trust’ from every coin in the land, than the words ‘so help me God’ from every presidential oath since 1789, or than the prayer that has opened every congressional session of legislative business since 1787.”

I suppose the fight to remove the focus on God from the pledge will continue, just as there will also always be a remnant who will hold faithful to it regardless of future legislation. And so likewise might our religious rights, though guaranteed by our founding fathers, come under increasing attack.

I wonder what would happen if millions of Christians would begin each day with a solemn pledge of allegiance, not just to country, but to their one and only living God. Imagine a land where we put differences aside and unite together as one to proclaim God’s greatness and goodness and sovereignty.

What would happen if just you and I not only pledge allegiance but actually surrender everything to God each morning and throughout the day, submitting even our goals and ambitions to his will, not our own? What if we stood up, committed to walked a straight path each day, with hearts and eyes and agendas fixed firmly on Jesus, the Author of our faith, anticipating his very next prompting in our lives? Can you imagine the transformation that would come from such devotion? Can you picture a day surrendered to such a pledge?

You don’t have to imagine. Today on Flag Day, you can choose to begin this day and every day with your own pledge to be wholly and holy owned by the Lord of all nations, now and forever, on earth…as it will be in heaven.


Going home

There was a time long ago, when we left our home in the USA, and set up our new home in Australia. I was offered a job to teach music grades 7-12 in a small town school located in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. They didn’t tell me until I arrived that I was the 6th music teacher in 6 years at this school. But through much perseverance I made my mark, elevating compulsory music education from being hated to being tolerated. One learns to accept what progress one can make. When six brass instruments surprisingly arrived by train from headquarters I, a woodwind guy, started a brass band. However badly we performed we could count on getting a “standing ovation” when we played “God Save the Queen.” Decades later I learned that little school band had grown in proficiency and toured Europe!

We lived in “Sherwood Cottage” in Burradoo, 3 miles from town. During school vacations we packed our Holden station wagon and hammer to keep the gear shift lever in place and we set off on grand adventures. From the tropics of Queensland to the chilly and rugged island of Tasmania; from the beaches at Botany Bay to the outback town of Broken Hill where we nursed orphaned kangaroo joeys, we experienced the “dinkum di” Aussie life. We explored opal and gold mining towns and enjoyed the diverse landscape of “the bush.” Despite the challenging work situation, we made wonderful lifelong friends and came to call the wonderful land of Oz our “home away from home.”

But at the end of my teaching contract and with our own little Aussie “Joey” in tow, we returned to our home in America. We enjoyed vacations in the Badlands and the Rockies but as much fun as we had, there was always a point where it was “time to go home.” There’s no place like home, that place where your is where your heart longs to be. It’s a place filled with celebrated love and shared burdens. When we went on mission to Bolivia, we had this strange and pervasive feeling that we had come “home to the place we’d never been before.” It’s where we belonged and where we long to return because of the people we met and how God was moving among us.

As much as we all cling to our own home sweet home, there is another place, more wonderful and exciting beyond imagination, that’s called our true home. If we think climbing volcanoes and feeding baby kangaroos is exciting, we’ll be blown away at how marvelous is this home where we’d never been before.

It’s open to all who realize how desperately they personally need God’s gift of eternal salvation and the transformational power for living right now with peace and joy and real hope. Heaven is our true home, the place of great everlasting blessing. And there’s a piece of “Heaven on earth” when we come quietly and humbly before the Lord our God and receive his blessing of grace and power for living a victorious life that rises above our darkest circumstances.

None of us know the time we have left in this earthly home. May God guide the time that remains. . . until we finally go to our forever home.

Beginning at the end

I suppose I’ve always been this way:

  • Shaking the presents to guess what’s inside.
  • Reading the last line of a comic strip to see if it’s funny enough to read the whole thing.
  • Reading the last chapter of a book first or the final concluding paragraph of an article.
  • Actually walking down the entire buffet line before I choose “buffet.”

Some of you understand. Maybe you belong to a family where you only tell the punchline and everyone laughs because they’ve heard the story so many times. Some of you are shaking your heads in disdain, saying it’s the process that counts as much as the end result. And you are right. Sometimes the ending is spoiled when we know it too soon. If you knew all along “the butler did it”, where is the mystery?

Whether it’s waiting for Christmas morning, waiting for kids to grow up, or waiting for an answer to prayer, we have this desire to skip to the end.  I’ve heard some say that whether it’s good news or bad, they just want to know so they can move on to the point they can actually do something.

Though it often escapes us, there is purpose in waiting. Waiting provides for us, protects us, and prepares us.

Waiting provides valuable lessons that can’t be learned in the instant gratification lane. Besides teaching me patience, a virtue few of us enjoy learning, waiting provides me with a renewed sense of perspective. It causes me to realize I’m not in control of everything, not even my own life. There are situations where the only control I have is how I respond to the situation. We aren’t always the captain of our own destiny. Waiting teaches us that God is God; I’m not. It provides greater blessing when I would have chosen less.

Waiting protects us. I recall a number of times when my delay was actually the hand of God protecting me from a poor choice, a bad relationship, or an unforeseen accident down the road. Sometimes we have to wait for certain doors to open because we aren’t ready for what’s on the other side. Sometimes, if we push too hard, we open a door not meant for us, revealing real dangers we hadn’t anticipated in our eagerness to pass through. Imagining the consequence of our choice helps us to wait patiently.

Waiting prepares us. Imagine trying to pass a test without studying and learning the material. Consider the consequences of being promoted too quickly to a job only to find you lacked experience to be successful. Reflect on the plight of being thrust into marriage too soon. Waiting prepares us for a future we’re unready for now. It affords the opportunity to build not only our knowledge and skills, but our character.  Just as we wait for a fruit tree to produce good fruit, so waiting produces good results in our lives.

So which is better, waiting or skipping to the end? As with most of life, the best answer may not be “either/or” but “both/and.”  As difficult as it is to wait, especially in the darkest times, it’s helpful to skip to the end of the bible and read the conclusion of the story. “God wins!” Our God who sees you and me right where we are, who knows our pain and every temptation that faces us – this same Mighty God will work good for all those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. He will lead you through the valley of the shadow of death.  He will show you the way to go because you have not been there before. The end of this chapter of my life is not evident just now. But the end of my story – and all who trust God – is clearly revealed. The power of God’s Spirit gives us peace in the middle of the storm and secures our hope, “as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19)

While you are waiting in difficult times, go ahead and skip to the end of the story and see that it is well with your soul.


Shipwrecked no more

Spring is here and thoughts of summer already upon us. My neighbor has his boat out, anticipating great times with his family at the lake. It reminds me of a time when my sister and her husband invited us for a lake outing. We were sailing in his craft when we came upon two guys in shallow water. Yelling and screaming, they frantically kept diving into the water. Trying to help, we discovered these guys were desperately trying to save their three best friends whi had fallen overboard. Only it turned out the friends’ names were Jim Beam,  Johnny Walker, and Bud Weiser.

Unable to carry on a  coherent conversation with the guys and assured they we’re as safe as they wanted to be, we went on our way. But it caused me to remember, I’ve been there before – living for the fun of it with no thought of who I was becoming or who I was meant to be.

Suppose you came across me in such a state and, at the risk of your own life, you rescued me from my shipwreck situation, saving me and resuscitating me to a new life. I would be forever indebted to you, wouldn’t I? Imagine inviting me to your home and caring for me until I was recovered. Over time we come to enjoy each other’s company more and more, sharing both the celebrations and the real challenges of life together.  Picture a scene where, instead of being the rescuer and the shipwrecked, we become full partners in the business of life. And we marvel at how a dramatic rescue effort turned into a fulfilling lifelong friendship.

An amazing piece of fiction or a true story?

Isn’t this actually the story of our lives, constantly buffeted by the waves of life, with no rudder to guide us and seemingly at mercy of the sea? Unable to save ourselves by our own efforts, we find ourselves tossed against the rocks and shipwrecked, without hope. But then a rescuer came to save us. Only instead of risking his life, he actually gave his life so we might be saved. Saved not only from being eternally shipwrecked but saved also from a life of meaningless and fruitless effort, tossed this way and that. Not only saved, yet also redeemed and restored… renewed into a vibrant and fulfilling relationship with our rescuer, who as it turned out, overcame death itself!

How do you picture yourself in this story?

Actually, there are four of us in this story. One of us feels like it’s smooth sailing and everything is under control – at least until the threatening storms come our way.  Another sees themself in the midst of a stormy life, desperately clinging to the sides of the boat, trying to weigh anchor and find a secure hold, hoping beyond hope to be rescued. Yet another has already experienced the throes of a disastrous shipwreck. Whether it be relationships, finances, business and life goals, or our own deteriorating bodies, we find ourselves tossed against the rocks. And finally, one of us finds themselves rescued from the disaster that came upon us. In fact, impossible as it seems, here we are surrounded by the broken pieces of our lives, but not alone. It would have been enough had we been rescued from the stormy seas, but our rescuer came to take us from this hopeless place to a place of restoration and forever celebration. And as we wait, we find ourself miraculously changing from a miserably lost, shipwrecked fool, to become known as friend and beloved son or daughter. Not only that, but our redeemer regards us as so valued he gives us his inheritance, even the right to become his child.

How do you see yourself in this story of life? Are you the captain of your own destiny, the lost soul in stormy waters, the hopelessly shipwrecked, or the rescued, restored and redeemed? Jesus is the one who longs to rescue us all; and not only rescue us, but bring us into a place where the broken pieces of our lives become fully restored. Reach out for his lifeline and inherit a whole new life!

Shipwrecked no more!


From the rising of the sun to its setting

Strahan Tasmania Sunset with verse

Sunset at Strahan, Tasmania 1975, (c) Bryan Thayer

We were on vacation in Tasmania decades ago. While I say “vacation,” it was actually a whirlwind road trip. On a busy day, we found ourselves rushing to the beach at Strahan in order to catch its famous sunset “just in the nick of time.” Whew. I’m glad we didn’t miss this glorious sight!

I don’t know about you, but even as a retired guy I have lots of tasks on my to-do list… every single day. I remember Marcia’s Dad sharing about his retirement: “I wake up with nothing to do and by the time I go to bed I only have half of it done.”

The fact is, we’re all busy people. From the rising sun to its setting, our days are filled often with too much to do and too little time to get it done. Maybe you’ve struggled with how to achieve the perfect “balance.” The most productive and effective people will tell you it comes down to starting the day with the most important tasks and working your way through other less-demanding tasks.

How do you prioritize your daily schedule? If I start the morning with easy tasks I prefer to do I typically find there is not enough time or energy to complete the most important ones. But when I tackle the tougher, more important projects first, I usually have time for my preferred or easier tasks.

We find this true in our devotions. Isn’t it easy for the day to be filled with all sorts of urgent but not all that essential things to do? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that leaving time with God to the end of the day is not a plan for success. How can he guide our journey if we don’t consult with him until we reach the day’s end destination?! God’s design is not to add more things to our to-do list. He simply wants us to invite him to be a part of our everyday activities and to acknowledge who he is throughout the day.

“From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised.” Psalm 113:3

When a young boy, Samuel was awakened by a voice from God and he responded saying, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”  1 Samuel 3:10  Recently, our pastor encouraged us to begin each day with this simple prayer. Before we present our long list of requests to God, consider just being still and listening to what God may speak to you in a moment of quiet. If that concept sounds foreign to you and silence makes you feel like bolting and running, be encouraged with another challenge. BEGIN the day by reading a portion from God’s Word and then let his truth and wisdom sink in while you listen to him in silence.

Don’t have time? CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the average US consumer spends 40 minutes on Facebook alone each day. And that doesn’t include other internet activity, TV, or any other sort of diversion. You might find it helpful to do a time study for a single day to find out how much of your time is spent in things you regard as important compared to things that rank lower on your list but continue to take up too much time.

Don’t know where to start? We’re using a reading plan that takes us on a tour of the whole bible in one year. Check with or google bible reading plans. You could jump in to a reading plan right now that leads you through reading the entire bible or the entire New Testament in a year, or any number of other options. Or you could commit to reading a chapter of the gospel of John each day. I find it helpful to take a single verse or passage that speaks to me and putting it on a sticky note or card where I can reflect on it throughout the day. That’s the goal, isn’t it? To step back several times throughout the day, even if just for a moment, and acknowledge who God is, what he has done, how he is working in your life this very moment, and consider what yet the Lord will do in your presence.

It’s a good habit that not only doesn’t require a lot of time but also makes better use of the time you have remaining in your day.



The one blog post I hope everyone reads


“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lordand who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.”  Psalm 1:1-3


Truth be known, I have walked in step with the wicked. I have stood in the path of sinners and sat in the company of scoffers. (What is it that makes us think that belittling and mocking others makes us better people?!)  I’ve been in these places, and likely so have you. Maybe our selfish pride continues to lead us to frequent those dark places. But there’s good news:


We don’t have to stay where we are.


Every single day we are given the opportunity to choose a new path for our lives. Less making fun of people we don’t like, more understanding and compassion. Less apathy and more concern that insists on acting itself out in some small way. Less frugalness and more generosity. Less worry and more faithful prayer. Less criticism and more encouraging words and actions. Less attacks and more embraces. Less jaded outlook and more hope. Less seeing ourselves as hopeless and more seeing ourselves as hope-filled through the grace of God. Less sorrow and more joy, even in the midst of sorrow. Less wasted time in meaningless activity and more time spent intentionally – on purpose and on mission – in keeping with our most dear life dreams. Less dreaming of a good life and more living it fully every single day. Less of nearly everything and more love.


We can bloom where we are planted but we can also plant ourselves where we can bloom. We can choose to be like that tree planted by streams of water, bearing fruit and with leaves that do not wither and always prospering even in times of drought. We do this by acting out our beliefs. You believe the bible to be true? Act on it! Consistently and persistently and relentlessly confront fear with assurance, worry and doubt with faith, anxiety with peace, bitterness with forgiveness, apathy with action, judgment with compassion, temper with grace, regret with remembered joy, my way with God’s way, and disdain with love.  If you believe it’s better to take the high road in conflict, take it. Believe and act on that belief. Demonstrate what you believe by the way you live each moment.


“The ONLY thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Galatians 5:6


Do you believe it? Be intentional; put it on your agenda. Make it your purpose to share love in your thoughts and actions today.


If life isn’t measured by the number of breaths we take but truly by the number of moments that take our breath away, what can you do today, each day, to create those special moments? They are your life legacy. As I think back on nearly fifty years with my best friend, 43+ years my bride, I think of shared adventures, silly moments, shared tears, encouraging hugs, steadfast devotion and encouragement in difficult times. I think of forgiveness and gentleness, attentiveness, and shared joys shared in a passion for life – both present and everlasting. I think of children we’ve brought into this world and loved and children across the world we’ve come to love. I think of nurtured friendships that have survived the distance of thousands of miles and passing years. I  think of quiet walks through meadows, working the gardens in our life, and quietly soaking in the beauty of nature, God’s creation and the expression of his joy.  


How about you? What will you do today to create the legacy of your life? May it be guided by your faith, expressing itself in love.


Now may the God of peace…equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21




Are you looking forward to heaven?


I remember our first trip to the Smoky Mountains. We researched get away cabins that we could share with our friends the Neudahls, and then studied about the places where we could hike, eat, and visit. But our temporary vacation home was really at the center of all our plans. It had to be large enough two accommodate two couples, remote enough to give us a sense of living in the beautiful mountains and also close enough to access other nearby attractions. The closer we got to our vacation time, the more we longed to enjoy it.


I wonder, do you long for heaven like you long for a vacation or future home move across country? I remember one distinct day when there were two ladies in the nursing unit of the care facility where I worked. One’s body was failing quickly but she was clinging to stay alive. The other was longing for heaven but her body would not surrender. Odd isn’t it, how some long for one thing and others long for another. Typically, the deeper our trials on earth, the more we long for heaven. The more comfortable and content we are with our plot in life, the likely we are to aspire to remain here.


We all seek happiness in life. Why are we not always so eager to long for the even greater happiness we will experience in heaven? And where do we get our views of heaven? Do those views bring you to fear death or look forward to it as the step into the next and greatest adventure? Do you perceive heaven as an unending and boring church service? Is it more than sitting on clouds and playing harps? Will it be a peaceful yet purposeless existence or will it be filled with great celebration and endless rejoicing?


God made us to desire both life and heaven. And we will more fully enjoy each if we look at both life here and in heaven through God’s eyes. JC Ryle said, “I pity the man who does not think (accurately) about heaven.” For inaccurate thinking leads us to fanciful conclusions that have no bearing with reality. Yet when you consider the number of books on living life and the number on heaven, you quickly see where the disparity lies. How many times do you think about heaven in your daily life, as if it were the main thing that guides your life? How much do you hear about heaven in your own church? Perhaps we don’t much long for heaven because it just isn’t on our radar screen. It seems that most Americans believe in heaven, but are willing to let what they believe about heaven to be influenced by the media. What would happen if we let scripture guide us in understanding what we might about heaven? Instead of being the last thing in our thoughts and plans, what if it were the first? If we don’t think about heaven as our permanent home, then surely by default, this earthly existence will demand all our attention and passions! Can you imagine us spending thousand of dollars renovating that temporary cabin the mountains just for a one week stay? Ridiculous, you’d say. But then why on earth do we spend so much of our resources on this temporary earthly home, instead of preparing and longing for our permanent home in heaven?


We live in a world of spiritual blindness, too often ignorant and oblivious to our spiritual and heavenly reality. Our naturalistic assumptions are symptoms of this blindness. But where as “the god of this world has blinded the minds of believers so they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God,” (2 Corinthians 4:4) God has bound the mind of the mind blinding deceiver. If only we would turn to him for the truth on this matter!


Have you been so blinded by the shiny things of earth that you’ve lost theo desire for your true heavenly home? I invite you to step out in faith and pray at least once each day for God to increase your desire to spend time with him – on earth as it will be in heaven.


Do you believe you can?


Like most kids my age, I grew up on “The Little Engine That Could” who, in face of a tough challenge,  kept repeating, “I think I can, I think I can,” until he could finally proclaim, “I thought I could, I thought I could.” Disney taught us, “When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires will come to you.”


As I grew older, I was influenced by the positive thinking mantra of Norman Vincent Peale.   Meredith Wilson brought us the delightful musical, The Music Man, which had con man Harold Hill telling his students,  “you don’t have to bother with the notes.” Instead he taught them his “Think System,” which stated all you had to do was think it and it would happen. In recent years the mantra of many motivational speakers has been, “If you believe it you can achieve it.” Over and over we’re taught that road blocks don’t have to stop you. Find a way to get over them, around them, or through them. Be positive and it will all work out.



Actually, there’s something to be said for the power of positive thinking. At least it sure beats the failure of negative thinking. But will a “think system” help you accomplish all your dreams? If you simply believe you can, will you be able to accomplish the impossible?


With God all things are possible. Going to the source of that quote we find Jesus answering a rich man’s question about how to get to heaven. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) That is, if it’s God’s will that something be done he can and will do it. Do you believe it?


Maybe you’re saying, “Yes, I have a faith that is real and strong and true, but I don’t see the power. My prayers are still unanswered.” Maybe you ask, “How do I get a bigger faith?” I’ve asked that question. But a bigger faith isn’t necessarily the answer. Jesus taught us if we have the faith of a tiny mustard seed, we could move mountains.  (Matthew 17:20) Move an actual mountain? Do you  think of yourself as the doubting, “ye of little faith” or as one with faith the size of a mustard seed, that can move the mountains in your life? In other words, do you believe what you think and say you believe or do you know that without a doubt your faith is real and powerful? That’s what Jesus said. Do you really believe it to be true in your life?


The truth is our faith can move mountains, IF moving mountains is what God wants to do. But this mountain moving faith is not in ourselves. Scrunching up our face and straining our muscles will not move the mountain anymore than the branches of a grape vine “work out” to produce grapes. Our faith produces fruit when we abide in the vine (John 15) and our faith is placed in what God desires.


And still, James tells us that faith doesn’t sit idle. It works. All throughout scripture we’re told that real faith:

Faith feeds the hungry, shelters the homeless, visits the sick and those in prison, clothes the naked, gives to others when a brother is in need, has mercy on the poor, gives drink to the thirsty, bears each others’ burdens. (Matthew 25:25-40, Isaiah 58:10, Luke 2:14-18, Luke 3:11, 1 John 3:17-18, Proverbs 31:20, 4:31, Romans 12:20, Galatians 6:2) Real faith works. Do you believe it?


In each person’s life there comes a moment of truth when we determinedly decide to act on what we believe or hide in the shadows of denial; when we choose the will to face our fears and anxieties with action, or we cower in unbelief.


With God all things are possible.


But what happens when God moves in his mysterious ways and your pain and troubles  continue unresolved? When the cancer isn’t healed? When your friend’s grief will not be abated? When your pain finds no peace? It is then that he will see you through the struggle.


It takes courage to believe and more so to act on it. Don’t hold on to your mustard seed. Plant it, nourish it, and let it grow. Keep on believing. Your journey’s not done yet. And neither is the entire plan of God for you yet completed.


Whatever mountains you face, keep on believing. Don’t worry if your faith is small. Let it be real by acting on it.