Precious memories, unseen angels, Sent from somewhere to my soul. How they linger, ever near me, And the sacred past unfold. chorus Precious memories, how they linger. How they ever flood my soul. In the stillness of the mid-night, Precious memories, sacred scenes unfold. Precious father, loving mother Fly across the lonely years. And old home scenes of my childhood In fond memory appear. In the stillness of the midnight Echoes from the past I hear Old-time singing, gladness bringing From that lovely land somewhere As I travel on life's pathway Know not what the years may hold As I ponder, hope grows fonder Precious memories flood my soul.
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth.
In Proverbs 10, we learn that a wise son makes a father proud. And in Exodus 20:12 you tell us to honor your father. We pray that today we honor and make glad my father. Amen.
I come to the garden alone While the dew is still on the roses And the voice I hear, Falling on my ear, The Son of God discloses chorus And He walks with me, and He talks with me And He tells me I am His own And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has every known He speaks, and the sound of His voice Is so sweet the birds hush their singing And the melody that He gave to me Within my heart is ringing. I'd stay in the garden with Him Tho' the night around me be falling But He bids me go Thro the voice of woe His voice to me is calling.
The physical death of any loved one should have a way of sobering us to the realities of this life. Perhaps some of us are here in shock and grief, brokenhearted, speechless, and helpless. We are tempted to cry out in the silence of the cemetery to anyone willing to listen, "Hey, I didn't ask to be born, and I didn't ask to die. What is going on, anyway?"
Today, I hope together we can look at some answers.
It has been suggested that people judge others on their actions and themselves on their intent. Perhaps this explains the moral person and the religious person.
...the Scriptures tell us, "No one is acceptable to God! Not one of them understands or even searches for God. They have all turned away and are worthless. There isn't one person who does right. Their words are like an open pit, and their tongues are good only for telling lies. Each word is as deadly as the fangs of a snake, and they say nothing but bitter curses. These people quickly become violent. Wherever they go, they leave ruin and destruction. They don't know how to live in peace. They don't even fear God."There are three points to look at here:
It is very hard to hear this and agree with it totally without wanting to raise an objection: "Wait a minute, no, that can't possibly be. Don't say no one. I mean some people do good things once in awhile. I do good things on numerous occasions." We immediately desire to bring up our good works and efforts: "I seek God, I care about him, I read the Bible, and I'm brokenhearted when people get hurt. I volunteer at schools and Habitat for Humanity. I know I do things that aren't right but I have a good side too." Or, we say, "Yes, I am an absolutely miserable wretch, but it's not my fault. A lot of people treat me badly and that's why I am the way I am." We may compare ourselves favorably with others as if God grades us on a curve. The truth is that He does not.
The purpose of these indictments is stop us from rationalizing and making excuses for ourselves.
What is left for us to brag about? Not a thing! Is it because we obeyed some law? No! It is because of faith.I will come back to this faith point in a few minutes.
"Jesus abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."Obviously Paul does not mean that Jesus Christ eliminated death, If that were true, we would not all be here right now. But Paul did mean something by "he abolished death". It is probably explained best in a passage in Hebrews 2:15.
But He [Jesus] also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying.The cause of our fear of death is the uncertainty of what is to follow. We know not what, or where. And it is this unknown factor that makes us fearful. In Romans 6:23 we read
Sin pays off with death.In other translations that would be:
The wages of sin is death.Our fear of death produces life-long bondage that it is demonstrated in our lives.
Then, fear of death makes us worry. Death threatens us on every side. It is what makes us install safety devices in our homes and cars. It creates concern over what we eat. It is what makes us check out our pains and aches with our doctor. It sends us to get frequent checkups. Also, this fear haunts us. Suddenly it impedes on our thoughts when we least expect it. It frightens us in our dreams, and makes us restless. We are afraid to be alone. We don't like silence, but must have a radio or television drumming away in our ears. We constantly demand something to occupy our attention. All this is testimony to an unspoken and unacknowledged fear of death.
God solved our problem of fear of judgment by forgiveness of sin in the cross of Christ. He laid our sins upon him. I don't know how it happened. I don't fully understand it and I don't know anyone who does fully understands it. It is one of those great mysteries which God declares and which the mind of man cannot fathom or follow. But God has done it, and in Christ men are forgiven.
The good news for all who are willing to listen is this:
Listen to these words from the apostle Paul:
"...If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved...for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'" (Romans 10:9-13.)
As we come to pay respect to my earthly father and face death on earth, we can find joy and comfort in knowing what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:55-56 when talking about our "new bodies":
"'Death has been swallowed up in victory.' 'Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?'
Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:3,
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...."Because Jesus has been raised from the dead, all who place their faith in him as Lord and Savior shall also be raised from the dead. That is our living hope.
"...what good is it to say you have faith, when you don't do anything to show that you really do have faith?"How many people here believe that I have faith in this chair holding me? If I proclaim to everyone that I do indeed have faith that chair will hold me, how may believe that I have that faith?
[Randy sits in the chair]
Now that I acted out in my faith and sat in the chair, hopefully everyone believes that I do indeed have faith in this chair. But you cannot know for sure until you see me demonstrated my faith by acting out on that faith.
James is pointing out that faith without any good works is worthless in bearing witness to your faith among your fellow man. How is one to know that you really do have faith unless they can see you act upon that faith?
Paul throughout the book of Romans makes if very clear that faith and faith only is the saving grace for man before God. It is God's grace and mercy that anyone is saved. There should be no pride in the saved for they did nothing to accomplish it.
As regards the first feeling, today means the end of all suffering and all earthly sorrow for me. "God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes." What consolation, what marvelous strength emanates from faith in Christ who has preceded us in death. Everything that till now I have done, struggled for, and accomplished, has at bottom been directed to this one goal, whose barrier I shall penetrate today. "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for them that love him."
For me, believing will become seeing; hope will become possession, and I shall forever share in Him who is love. Should I not, then, be filled with anticipation? What is it all going to be like? The things that up to this time I have been permitted to preach about, I shall now see. There will be no more secrets nor tormenting puzzles. Today is the great day on which I return to the home of my Father. How could I fail to be excited and full of anticipation? Then I shall see once more all those who have been near and dear to me here on earth.
And so, until we meet again above, in the presence of the Father of light, your joyful Herman.
I think Dad understood this. He knew he did not have a lot of time here on earth and he was found in a peaceful position at his death.
We lift up the soul of Kenneth B. Williams. We draw courage and strength knowing that you will "wipe away every tear". Our prayer is that one day we shall all see each other again in Heaven. Lord, I pray that you heal our sorrow, help us to remember the best of Ken, to forget what could have been. We give you Lord - Kenneth B. Williams, my father.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see. When we've been there ten thousand years Bright shining as the sun, We've no less days to sing God's praise Than when we've first begun.