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Peace Within Reach booklet on PDF         

A while back, I mentioned First Corinthians 5:1 of the Bible — “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” The Apostle Paul, the writer of this Bible passage, was writing to fellow believers, that is, to people who had a personal relationship with God. Basically, believers are people who sincerely believe that God the Son, Jesus, died on the cross for their sins; he took their punishment. Because of that, God the Father has forgiven them and is in a personal relationship with them. God the Holy Spirit is now walking with them step by step in life until they finally die and then they will live on in heaven. John 3:16 is probably the most well-known Bible verse — “For God so loved the world that He sent His only son, that whoever believes in him will not die, but have eternal/everlasting life.”

            Like Stan whom I mentioned a while back, so my Uncle Jim could appreciate First Corinthians 5:1 for himself. In fact, I used this passage at Uncle Jim’s funeral service. For 50 years, Uncle Jim struggled with paranoid schizophrenia. He couldn’t think straight and he couldn’t live in relationship with others very well. Uncle Jim could say with the Apostle Paul, and with me, and with Stan, “Ah, finally I have inherited a “building” – a clear mind — from God which won’t ever torment me again.”  Like Stan, Uncle Jim, me, the Apostle Paul, and many others, do you know that of yourself?  Do you have that hope-filled perspective?  We can talk about it, if you want. 

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Peace Within Reach booklet on PDF

My friend Lynn (age 40) is doing a life sentence in a prison in South Dakota. Lynn doesn’t have the perspective on life that God is the creator of the world, that he can be in a personal relationship with God, and that he can go to heaven when he dies.

            Lynn has an evolutionistic, “godless” understanding of the world.  Basically he sees every living thing, including us humans, as if we were leaves in a forest.  The leaves live and grow on trees, until Autumn. Then, they die and fall off the trees, joining other fallen leaves. Over time they rot away and are buried by falling leaves of the next year, and the next. The leaf, a human life, lived during its season and now its life is over; it falls to the ground, likely to be forgotten in this impersonal, cold, “world-machine” that somehow started a long time ago. It’s over. Make room for the next. My friend Lynn has lived the last ten years in a maximum security prison. He will likely live the next 25+ years there. He often feels like a nameless, meaningless product living in a big human warehouse. If I had Lynn’s perspective on life I would feel that way too. It’s a hope-less, peace-less, meaningless existence. No wonder he talks matter-of-factly about sometime just ending it — committing suicide — in one last gesture to say, “ In your face state of South Dakota.” While prison is a tough place to be, a much more hope-filled perspective is held by some, which allows them to thrive. The Apostle Paul, a writer of much of the Bible, while in chains and soon to be executed by beheading, was able to write, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Ah, heaven.

Peace Within Reach booklet on PDF

peacewithinreach3.jpgYesterday my friend, Stan, came from the Indian reservation by ambulance. Stan is 55 and this was the third time Stan was hospitalized in serious condition in the last 6 months. He has heart problems so he received a pace maker. As his kidneys are failing, Stan is on dialysis three times a week. He seems often prone to infections which get him very sick because of his poor physical condition. Stan said in a weak voice, “I’m falling apart.”

            At the same time, Stan clearly realizes that two of his brothers already died from heart problems — one in his 40’s and the other in his 50’s.

            Stan and I talked about these things and it’s Stan’s perspective that encourages me. I believe Stan’s true, hope-filled perspective gives him a peaceful outlook even in his poor physical condition. It comes from I Corinthians 5 of the Bible.  “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” Just too many storms of illness and injury have hit Stan’s tent, his body. Like each of us, it will finally fall down — he will die. Ah, then it will be heaven for Stan — a beautiful, solid, eternal place without “storms”!  In the next few days, I’ll talk more about this perspective, versus other, what I believe are, incorrect, hopeless perspectives.

            Even though I believe they are incorrect perspectives, I respect those who hold them.