3/18/14

From Jim McGuiggan... Close the Church shop? (2)


Close the Church shop? (2)

If the Church of God in the world offers nothing but more advice on how to live right, if it offers nothing more than a call to treat one another right, if it offers little or nothing more than ways to make our groups and congregations bigger and more attractive, if it offers nothing more than seminars on interpersonal relationship skills and how to make our marriages and families better—if that's it, we ought to close up the church shop. We ought to close it up and quit pretending that we're offering something distinctive, something that can't be got anywhere else! We ought to close it up because on those terms we'd only be offering what every other socially useful group is offering [we're using their materials, for pity's sake] while they deny the Gospel of God in and as Jesus Christ!

And what's more, the churches aren't any more successful in producing sustained uprightness than the host of non-church and secular movements and there are people whose lives are every bit as morally fine as the church-going folk. The business of the People of God is not to compete with others in a pursuit of moral excellence—it's business as the Body of the Lord Jesus is to be the bearer of GOD'S Story !  

The business of the Church of Jesus Christ is not to help societies and nations to live up to some generalized moral code that we would all be better off if we clung to and that we would be more prosperous and peaceful if we kept to. The master-stories that get all the attention, whether they are "The war in Iraq" or "The war against terrorism" or "Global warming" or "The AIDS epidemic" or "Let's abolish Poverty" or whatever—these are the stories around which nations structure their lives and respond to. And however morally appealing or urgent we think them (or elements in them) to be, they are not the stories on which the Church is built!

When God called Abraham out of one of the centers of world-power, literacy and social success and established a covenant with him he spoke his mind on all "non-church" efforts of making the world better. It is nonsense to think that God chose Israel because everyone else in the world was corrupt! Whatever moral goodness there was in the world the fundamental need of humanity wasn't supplied in or by places like Ur! THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD ARE NOT THE KINGDOM OF GOD!

In choosing Israel God was not dumping the rest of humanity as if he didn't care for them (that notion is moral lunacy and it is moral lunacy because it is biblical lunacy!) but he did covenant with Israel as with no other nation. The master-stories of other nations, whether they were based on their gods, their military might, their economic shrewdness and social wisdom and obvious "success" or a combination of all those and more, were not Israel's story! And Israel was not to buy into them and this, in part, explains God's blunt insistence that Israel was not to enter into covenants with the nations around them.

This does not mean that no one outside of Israel loved their families or practiced social righteousness or possessed (God given) wisdom. It does mean that in Israel alone God was making himself known in a peculiar and definitive way not only as the sovereign Lord of all but—if anyone was to be redeemed—the Redeemer of all!

In choosing Abraham and his descendants God was creating a new thing in the world (see Isaiah 40-66 and how often we're told that God "created" and "made" and "formed" Israel). There was decency in Egypt, there was love of family and honesty in business but there was nothing like Israel in Egypt—there was nothing like her in all the world! She was God's people by his creation and covenant choice and he insisted that his creative acts, by which he brought Israel into existence, were to be remembered and proclaimed before the entire world. Israel was not only God's rejection of the world's attempts to reject him and build a counter-world without him (compare the tower of Babel affair in Genesis 11:1-9); Israel was God's offer of hope to the world and it was Israel's business to point the human family to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (who is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Redeemer of the entire human family).

Israel wasn't chosen because it was especially righteous nor was it chosen because God knew that after a while it would become righteous—the contrary was true (see Deuteronomy 5:23-29 and 9:4).

As soon as Israel in their minds wandered from God—either in suffering or in prosperity, and more especially in prosperity (Deuteronomy 32:15-18)—they sidelined their Story and substituted for it all manner of lesser and injurious stories, making covenants with other nations, buying into their agendas, forgetting their business in the world and even becoming more and more religious. And when the prophets came thundering, calling them to repentance, they constantly called Israel back to the Exodus, the Wilderness, the Passover and the God who was their God "since Egypt" (see Hosea 12:9, for example). They called them to moral righteousness, of course, but that was always and unceasingly connected with their relationship to Yahweh, their redeemer, and never as a call to obey some generalised moral code. Everything was relational! The Torah and the commandments issued in it are saturated with truths embedded in God's own action in his redeeming work (see here). The prophets preached the meaning of these events and called Israel to live out the meaning of them as they bore witness to the historical reality of them.

In the Bible we're watching prophets and people make war against the establishment and we're seeing a refusal to accommodate to the stories of Assyria, Egypt or Babylon or Persia or Greece. In calling Israel to faithfulness to Yahweh the prophets ceaselessly call Israel back to its origins. This wasn't only a word of assurance (which it was!) that God could overcome present enemies as surely as he had overcome past enemies; it was a reminder of Israel's origin and destiny, of God's commitment to her and her commitment to him as against all gods and stories of gods. It was God through the prophets telling Israel he would not allow her to bury herself in the nations (see Ezekiel 20:33-36) because it was vitally important for the salvation of the nations that Israel remain separate from even while living among the nations.

They were not to forget, much less deny the Exodus! They were not to ignore the Passover or forget the Wilderness for to forget all that was to forget who and what they were. And that is why they were to rehearse their national faith, that was why their ordinances were of critical importance and that was why they sang and prayed and studied and taught their Story.

The life of righteousness they were to pursue was not an attempt to live up to a moral code shared equally by the entire human family—it was life in the image of God, life bearing witness to God. Their business was not to claim moral superiority over all the non-elect—God expressly denied that they were superior! Their business was not to claim that the non-elect were utterly destitute of truth or moral uprightness; God was at work in other nations also (compare Romans 2:12-15). Israel's message, that was to be embodied in their corporate and individual life by ordinances, liturgy and daily living, was not first about them, but about God; the God who in holy grace created them to be his witnesses (see Isaiah 43:9-13)!

Christians are not to deny their Exodus in Jesus. They are not to forget their baptism. They are to eat the Supper as Israel ate their Passover. It doesn't matter that the world jeers and that they have no political clout. They are God's chosen people who live out in Jesus-imitating righteousness their witness to the living Christ and refusing to be swallowed up in a sea of "niceness"!

The NT Church is the creation of God and in and through it (for all its many flaws) the witness of the Spirit of his Son (Galatians 4:6) is held before the face of all nations. They are not to accommodate and sink themselves so that they become another nice moral group, inviting people, "Come join us and your marriage will be better, your family will be more secure, you will find prosperity in life and happiness in our assemblies!" Even if all that was experienced on coming to Jesus in the new covenant Community—that isn't the Message that has been entrusted to the NT elect!

It is too easy for the People of God to drift into a generalised message: "Let's all be happy by being kind and good." It's too easy for the Church of God to listen to the world's felt needs (real needs!) and try to supply them by getting them to become members of our group. Read up on all the books about social and group dynamics, scour the materials about interpersonal relationship skills, dive into psychology and sociology and come up with new ways to "draw them in". Who can fault our attempts to understand and make use of truths that God has blessed the human family with? No one—unless. unless. unless in the process we're swallowed up in becoming curers of the world's ills with the world's wisdom while the creative work of God in and through the saving work of Jesus is sidelined.

The gatherings of the Church must not become exercises in social dynamics! Any joy and happiness and hope that is distinctively Christian rests on the Gospel of God and the NT Church like the OT Church (Israel) is in dire peril when that is forgotten. And not only will the Church suffer the loss of identity and purpose—the world will suffer loss because of it.
The Church of Jesus is a new creation that rests on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It didn't only originate in that way, it continues to be sustained in the same way. Its ordinances, liturgy, prayers, scriptures, faith and living (a Christ-imitating righteousness) are to centre in nothing and no one other than God and his faithfulness to his eternal creative purposes. [This is one reason why it is pitiable nonsense to belittle baptism or dispense with it altogether. Along with the Lord's Supper, baptism proclaims the new creation work of God, its meaning and historical reality.]

Bible study for Christians is not about getting more information or merely understanding what an ancient writer said; it's about being shaped and sustained in our identity as "the body of Jesus Christ". It is to strengthen us so that we won't be swallowed up by the drifts and cultures of the world. It is to teach us to speak in the presence of the entire human family God's gospel of judgment and salvation. (underlining from Gary)

From Mark Copeland... A Warning Against Willful Sin (Hebrews 10:26-39)

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

                A Warning Against Willful Sin (10:26-39)

INTRODUCTION

1. Immediately following a gracious exhortation to draw near to God and
   hold fast the confession of our hope, we find an ominous warning...
   a. It is a warning against "willful sin" - He 10:26-39
   b. It speaks of reaching a terrible state in which:
      1) "there longer remains a sacrifice for sins"
      2) There is "a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery
         indignation"

2. Is this a warning for Christians?  Some would say no...
   a. They believe in the doctrine "once saved, always saved"
   b. Who hold that true Christians:
      1) Cannot so sin to point of being eternally lost
      2) If they begin to sin to the point where they might be lost,
         God will intervene and take their life to prevent it from
         happening

3. Does the Bible teach "once saved, always saved"?
   a. It teaches "the security of the believer" (i.e., those who remain
      faithful are secure)
   b. But it also teaches that a "believer" can become an "unbeliever",
      at which point a person has every reason to fear for his or her
      salvation! - cf. He 3:12-14

4. The possibility of apostasy is taught in the Bible, especially in
   "The Epistle To Hebrews"...
   a. We have already seen several warnings implying this possibility:
      1) A warning against drifting - He 2:1-4
      2) A warning against departing - He 3:12-14
      3) A warning against disobedience - He 4:11
      4) A warning against dullness, leading to apostasy - He 5:11-6:6
   b. But perhaps now, with "A Warning Against Willful Sin", we learn
      the real danger of losing our salvation if we despise what we
      have received! - He 10:26-39

[To see if that is really what the Bible teaches, let's begin by
considering...]

I. WHAT IT MEANS TO "SIN WILLFULLY" (26)

   A. COMPARE OTHER TRANSLATIONS...
      1. "If we deliberately keep on sinning..." (NIV)
      2. "For if we willfully persist in sin..." (NRSV)
      3. "For if we go on sinning willfully..." (NASB)

   B. THE SENSE OF THE GREEK IS ONE OF REPEATED ACTION...
      1. Implying not an "act" of sin, but a "state" of sin
         a. All Christians have moments of weakness, or ignorantly sin
            - 1Jn 1:8-10
         b. It is not "inadvertent" sin, but "deliberate" sin that is
            under consideration
      2. A "state" in which one...
         a. Knows the truth - cf. He 10:26b
         b. Yet chooses to deliberately and continuously persist in
            sin!

   C. CAN A TRUE CHRISTIAN EVER REACH THIS POINT?  YES...
      1. Note the pronoun "we" (the author includes himself in the
         warning) - He 10:26a
      2. He later describes one who was sanctified by "the blood of the
         covenant" - He 10:29
      -- This warning is directed to those who have been sanctified by
         the blood of Jesus!

[When one persists in sin with "a high hand" (i.e., presumptuously, cf.
Num 15:30-31), they are in grave danger. This is especially true when
one is a Christian!  What sort of danger?  Consider...]

II. THE CONSEQUENCES OF "WILLFUL SIN" (26-27)

   A. THERE NO LONGER REMAINS A SACRIFICE FOR SIN...
      1. What sacrifice is under consideration here?  Christ's
         sacrifice!
      2. What sacrifice no longer remains?  Christ's sacrifice!
      -- The blood of Christ is no longer available for one who
         persists in "willful sin"!

   B. THAT WHICH DOES REMAIN...
      1. "a certain fearful expectation of judgment" - He 10:27a
         a. One can expect a judgment that is "certain"! - cf. He 9:27;
            Ac 17:30-31
         b. One can expect a judgment that is "fearful"!
            1) For we must answer to Christ Himself - cf. 2Co 5:10-11
            2) And we will be in the hands of the living God! - He 10:
               30-31
      2. A "fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries" - He 10:27b
         a. A judgment involving "fire" (figurative, but torment just
            the same) - cf. Re 21:8
         b. A judgment involving "indignation" (the wrath of God)
            - cf. Ro 2:5-11
         c. Such a judgment will "devour" (not annihilate, but destroy)
            - Mt 10:28

[Such are the consequences of "willful sin", and the warning is
directed to Christians!

Is God just to bring such a punishment upon His children who have been
redeemed by the blood of His Son?  Evidently so...]

III. THE JUSTIFICATION FOR PUNISHING "WILLFUL SIN" (28-31)

   A. WHAT WAS REQUIRED UNDER THE OLD COVENANT...
      1. Death without mercy! - He 10:28
      2. Such was the punishment for a particular kind of sin:
         a. Sin that was "deliberate"
            1) In which one "rejected Moses' law" (NKJV)
            2) In which one "despised Moses' law" (KJV)
         b. Sin that was "open"
            1) It had to be seen by two or more
            2) For death was not rendered unless there were "two or
               three witnesses"
         -- Again, it is sin with "a high hand" that is under
            discussion
      3. While there was mercy for sins of weakness or ignorance, there
         was none for open and deliberate sin under the Old Covenant!

   B. WHAT IS REQUIRED UNDER THE NEW COVENANT...
      1. One is worthy of "much worse punishment"! - He 10:29
         a. What could be worse than physical death?
         b. Only "fiery indignation"! (i.e., hell)
      2. Why?  Because a Christian who "sins willfully" has...
         a. "trampled the Son of God underfoot"
            1) The word "trampled" comes from katapateo
               {kat-ap-at-eh'-o}
            2) It "denotes contempt of the most flagrant kind" (MOFFAT)
            -- Such a person treats Jesus who died for him like dirt!
         b. "counted the blood of the covenant by which he was
            sanctified a common thing"
            1) The "blood of the covenant" clearly refers to Jesus'
               blood - He 9:14-22; 13:20
            2) It is by this blood one is "sanctified" (i.e., made a
               Christian)
            -- Such a person consider Jesus' blood a "common thing"!
         c. "insulted the Spirit of grace"
            1) Perhaps a reference to the Holy Spirit
               a) Through Whom the message of salvation was given - Jn 16:13-14
               b) Through Whom our sanctification takes place - 1Co 6:11; Tit 3:5-7
            2) Or perhaps referring to the spirit (disposition) of
               God's unmerited favor
            -- Whichever, a person who openly and deliberately sins
               "insults" God's grace!
      3. This passage clearly teaches two things:
         a. That a Christian can so sin as to reach this point of open
            rebellion against Jesus!
         b. That the punishment reserved for such is "worse than
            death"!

   C. THIS IS CONSISTENT WITH GOD'S NATURE...
      1. Isn't God a God of love?  Of course! - cf. 1Jn 4:8
      2. But He is also a God of justice, One who judges His people
         - He 10:30
         a. To who much is given, much is required - Lk 12:47-48
         b. Those who despise His love, set themselves up to be
            recipients of His wrath - Ro 2:4-6
      3. Therefore it truly is "a fearful thing to fall into the hands
         of the living God" - He 10:31; cf. He 12:28,29

[What can we do to ensure that we do not become guilty of "willful
sin"?  In the remaining verses of chapter ten, I believe we find the
answer...]

IV. THE SOLUTION TO AVOIDING "WILLFUL SIN" (32-39)

   A. REMEMBER YOUR EARLY CONFIDENCE...
      1. The writer reminds his readers of their "former days"...
         a. Those days after they were "illuminated" (enlightened)
            - He 10:32
            1) I.e., shortly after their conversion
            2) In the days of Justin (ca. 167 A.D.), this term was a
               synonym for baptism
         b. Those days in which they were "made a spectacle" - He 10:
            32-34
            1) By their own sufferings
            2) And by sharing in the sufferings of others, including
               those of the author
               a) In whom they had compassion in his chains
               b) In which they "joyfully accepted the plundering of
                  your goods"
            -- Knowing that they had "a better and enduring possession"
               in heaven!
      2. It is such confidence they must be careful not to "cast away"
         - He 10:35
         a. To "cast away" is the opposite of "hold fast"
         b. Only in "holding fast" our confidence is there "great
            reward" - cf. He 3:6,14
      -- Likewise, we need to rekindle the fire of that newfound faith
         we had when we first responded to the gospel! - cf. Re 2:4-5

   B. ENDURE TO THE END...
      1. Endurance is needed to receive the promise - He 10:36
         a. For the Lord is coming - He 10:37
         b. And the just lives by faith - He 10:38
         -- If we draw back (become unfaithful), the Lord will not be
            pleased! ("My soul has no pleasure in him.")
      2. The author speaks of his own confidence - He 10:39
         a. He is not of those "who draw back to perdition" (who cast
            away their faith)
         b. But of those "who believe to saving of the soul" (who
            remain faithful to the end)
      -- We too need to "believe to the saving of the soul", or to put
         it in the words of Jesus, "be faithful unto death" - Re 2:10

CONCLUSION

1. We can look forward with great anticipation to the "saving of the
   soul", if we...
   a. Remember (and rekindle) that confidence early in our conversion
   b. Endure to the end with the faith that saves

2. But with "A Warning Against Willful Sin", we must never forget that
   one can...
   a. Fall from grace!
   b. Fall into the hands of the living God!
   -- Which is a terrifying thing!

3. How much better, though, to be "upheld" by the hand of God, as the
   Psalmist wrote:

   "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights
   in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
   For the LORD upholds him with His hand." - Ps 37:23,24

Such is the case of those who remain strong in their faith and trust in
the Lord.  Are we believing to the saving of the soul...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading March 18






Bible Reading  

March 18

The World English Bible



Mar. 18
Exodus 30, 31

Exo 30:1 "You shall make an altar to burn incense on. You shall make it of acacia wood.
Exo 30:2 Its length shall be a cubit, and its breadth a cubit. It shall be square, and its height shall be two cubits. Its horns shall be of one piece with it.
Exo 30:3 You shall overlay it with pure gold, its top, its sides around it, and its horns; and you shall make a gold molding around it.
Exo 30:4 You shall make two golden rings for it under its molding; on its two ribs, on its two sides you shall make them; and they shall be for places for poles with which to bear it.
Exo 30:5 You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold.
Exo 30:6 You shall put it before the veil that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with you.
Exo 30:7 Aaron shall burn incense of sweet spices on it every morning. When he tends the lamps, he shall burn it.
Exo 30:8 When Aaron lights the lamps at evening, he shall burn it, a perpetual incense before Yahweh throughout your generations.
Exo 30:9 You shall offer no strange incense on it, nor burnt offering, nor meal offering; and you shall pour no drink offering on it.
Exo 30:10 Aaron shall make atonement on its horns once in the year; with the blood of the sin offering of atonement once in the year he shall make atonement for it throughout your generations. It is most holy to Yahweh."
Exo 30:11 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Exo 30:12 "When you take a census of the children of Israel, according to those who are numbered among them, then each man shall give a ransom for his soul to Yahweh, when you number them; that there be no plague among them when you number them.
Exo 30:13 They shall give this, everyone who passes over to those who are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary; (the shekel is twenty gerahs;) half a shekel for an offering to Yahweh.
Exo 30:14 Everyone who passes over to those who are numbered, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the offering to Yahweh.
Exo 30:15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when they give the offering of Yahweh, to make atonement for your souls.
Exo 30:16 You shall take the atonement money from the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the Tent of Meeting; that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before Yahweh, to make atonement for your souls."
Exo 30:17 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Exo 30:18 "You shall also make a basin of brass, and its base of brass, in which to wash. You shall put it between the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it.
Exo 30:19 Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in it.
Exo 30:20 When they go into the Tent of Meeting, they shall wash with water, that they not die; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to Yahweh.
Exo 30:21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they not die: and it shall be a statute forever to them, even to him and to his descendants throughout their generations."
Exo 30:22 Moreover Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Exo 30:23 "Also take fine spices: of liquid myrrh, five hundred shekels; and of fragrant cinnamon half as much, even two hundred and fifty; and of fragrant cane, two hundred and fifty;
Exo 30:24 and of cassia five hundred, after the shekel of the sanctuary; and a hin of olive oil.
Exo 30:25 You shall make it a holy anointing oil, a perfume compounded after the art of the perfumer: it shall be a holy anointing oil.
Exo 30:26 You shall use it to anoint the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the testimony,
Exo 30:27 the table and all its articles, the lampstand and its accessories, the altar of incense,
Exo 30:28 the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin with its base.
Exo 30:29 You shall sanctify them, that they may be most holy. Whatever touches them shall be holy.
Exo 30:30 You shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and sanctify them, that they may minister to me in the priest's office.
Exo 30:31 You shall speak to the children of Israel, saying, 'This shall be a holy anointing oil to me throughout your generations.
Exo 30:32 It shall not be poured on man's flesh, neither shall you make any like it, according to its composition: it is holy. It shall be holy to you.
Exo 30:33 Whoever compounds any like it, or whoever puts any of it on a stranger, he shall be cut off from his people.' "
Exo 30:34 Yahweh said to Moses, "Take to yourself sweet spices, gum resin, and onycha, and galbanum; sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be an equal weight;
Exo 30:35 and you shall make incense of it, a perfume after the art of the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy:
Exo 30:36 and you shall beat some of it very small, and put some of it before the testimony in the Tent of Meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be to you most holy.
Exo 30:37 The incense which you shall make, according to its composition you shall not make for yourselves: it shall be to you holy for Yahweh.
Exo 30:38 Whoever shall make any like that, to smell of it, he shall be cut off from his people."
Exo 31:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Exo 31:2 "Behold, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:
Exo 31:3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
Exo 31:4 to devise skillful works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
Exo 31:5 and in cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all manner of workmanship.
Exo 31:6 I, behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the heart of all who are wise-hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded you:
Exo 31:7 the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the testimony, the mercy seat that is on it, all the furniture of the Tent,
Exo 31:8 the table and its vessels, the pure lampstand with all its vessels, the altar of incense,
Exo 31:9 the altar of burnt offering with all its vessels, the basin and its base,
Exo 31:10 the finely worked garments--the holy garments for Aaron the priest--the garments of his sons to minister in the priest's office,
Exo 31:11 the anointing oil, and the incense of sweet spices for the holy place: according to all that I have commanded you they shall do."
Exo 31:12 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Exo 31:13 "Speak also to the children of Israel, saying, 'Most certainly you shall keep my Sabbaths: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am Yahweh who sanctifies you.
Exo 31:14 You shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
Exo 31:15 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to Yahweh. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall surely be put to death.
Exo 31:16 Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
Exo 31:17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.' "
Exo 31:18 He gave to Moses, when he finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, stone tablets, written with God's finger.

From Gary... NOW!


Life is fleeting!!!  It seems like just yesterday that I was a boy growing up on the farm. For the first ten years of my life, it was my father, mother, maternal grandmother and fraternal grandfather that grew up with my younger brother David and I. Of this group, only David and I remain. A paraphrase of this picture's message would be: Tell those you care about how you feel about them, time is fleeting!!! But, accept life for what it is; don't worry about things, just move on. Somehow, the following passage came to mind and I encourage you to read it again and again and one more time as well....

Matthew, Chapter 6
  24  “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon.   25  Therefore I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing?   26  See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they? 

  27  “Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan?   28  Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin,   29  yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these.   30  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t he much more clothe you, you of little faith? 

  31  Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed?’   32  For the Gentiles seek after all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.   33  But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.   34  Therefore don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day’s own evil is sufficient.

If you choose God, you make a decision to be like HIM. God proclaims his love through his word 24-7 and we should take a clue from this and let our loved ones know that we care about them. The Irish day is over, you have TODAY (the NOW of LIFE) to choose to be like God- So, if you care about someone, please, just tell them (you might not get another chance).