Bridging the Gap

March 4th, 2012

The days running up to the Services for the departed are always filled with sudden recollections. Visions of people, places and events from my life, links to people long since passed away or perhaps only recently deceased. I believe these experiences are indications from souls who do not want to be forgotten. They are linked to the services for the departed which regularly take place in my faith. One of these services was held today and signified a special day of blessing for all departed souls.

The biblical reference to Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) testifies to the significance and necessity of redemption not only for the living but more importantly for the departed. The bridging of this life and the after-life was made possible when the Lord sacrificed his own life on the cross. After he overcame death he was then able to visit all those departed souls right back to Noah’s time who were still suffering in eternal captivity. At long last they were able to receive the necessary blessing to move away from imprisonment and towards freedom.

This in turn means that stepping from this life to the next does not mean the end but only a transition to another state of being. People who have only stepped outside our path of vision but are not beyond reach or hope, and many souls totally unprepared for death, who still need our help.

Human beings are limited by their reasoning. How far does your imagination reach when you think about “eternity”.  What does that word conjure up in your mind?

The Lord often taught and spoke about eternal love and life. Physical health was of secondary importance to him – but the health of one’s soul and spirit was of the utmost importance.  Nicodemus, a Pharisee ruler, recognized the Lord’s divinity and mission and asked him what was needed in order to be with God eternally. His answer was “… unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” He then went onto say that “that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which in born of the Spirit is Spirit.  Meaning that physical life is born of the flesh and dies away but the spirit is born of the Spirit and is therefore eternal.

The souls who come to these special services are aware of this when they are invited by the living through pray to come and participate in the forgiveness of sins. This in turn gives them the key to salvation and eternal life with God.

A prerequisite for salvation for souls both living and dead, is that we must be able to close the door on the past, forgive others, accepting you have been forgiven, forget and just love.

Light after darkness; happiness after sorrow; healing after pain; crown after cross; life after death.

It’s still possible to make a difference if we can see beyond this world and into the next.

Remembered

January 24th, 2012

In memory of SL, a colleague who died suddenly on 18. January 2012.

Just as the stars disappear in the morning

Just as the stars disappear in the morning,
fading away in the light of the sun,
shall you depart from the earth and its toiling,
only remembered by what you have done.

Only remembered, only remembered,
only remembered by what you have done.
Thus you depart from the earth and its toiling,
only remembered by what you have done.

Where you in springtime have laboured and planted,
shall you as surely a harvest have won.
Quickly all trace of the sower has vanished,
only remaining that which you have done.
Only remembered, only remembered . . .

If you for God and the truth here have striven,
faithfully fought sin and evil to shun,
tho’ you’re forgotten there’s budding and blooming,
rip’ning to fruit what in love you have done.
Only remembered, only remembered . . .

Heavenly blessings; ah, who can them fathom,
shall all the faithful receive from the Son;
nothing at all is by Jesus forgotten
what in your lifetime in love you have done.
Only remembered, only remembered . . .

Dichter: Bonar, Horatius (1808-1889)

Are you a king then? – So bist du dennoch ein König?

May 5th, 2011

Who is a King?

We’ve all just seen the Royal Wedding – 2 Billion of us watched it. I thought it was well – quite romantic – but well fairytale or not this is only the reality of a priveliged few but not all. Numerous Kings and Queens throughout history have put themselves above the status of God – in their total belief that God put them on the throne – giving them the sole power to rule over others.

In the course of just one week the Lord rode into Jerusalem on a donkey where he was praised by his people, celebrated as a king, then betrayed, ridiculed, tortured and crucified.

I believe that this happened and the outcome was that He ‘was’ crucified and died on the cross – so that you could have everlasting life.

His message to Pilatus was:  “You say rightly I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice:” [ John 18:37]

Unfortunately the prerequisite to everlasting life is faith.  Doubt won’t help you here. Disciple Thomas also experienced doubt and  did not believe that the Lord had risen from the dead.  But the Lord went to him and told him to touch the wound in his side that had been made by the roman centurion’s spear. He then said to him “be not faithless – but believe“.  Only then did Thomas recognize and acknowledge.

The Lord went on to say Thomas you believe because you saw but “Blessed are they who have not seen, yet believe“!  Jo. 20 : 29

The Lord was without sin and he gave his life so that you could live. He knew his fate and he also experienced doubt in his last hours on earth. Even then he was able to forgive, and in his greatness he overcame death and the world.

Also Saul, who was at that time a persecutor of Christians, was on his way to Damascus when he saw a bright light and heard the Lord say “‘Saul Saul why do you persecute me”?  At that moment he was blinded, and the Lord told him to go to Damascus where he would meet a servant of the Lord. Meanwhile the Lord had spoken to Hananias, and told him to go to Damascus where he would meet Saul, the persecutor of Christians, who he was to help. Imagine what would have been going through Hananias’s head! The bible tells us he even pleaded with God not to send him there. So – on one side we have the persecutor of Christians, being sent to a fate he didn’t know. And on the other side, we have a dedicated Christian being sent to what must have seemed like certain trouble – and yet he still went!  Neither men followed their reason – they followed their hearts.  Through Hananias, Saul received the blessings and power of the Holy Spirit and he became Apostle Paul – one of Gods most faithful servants.

The road is broad that leads to damnation. The way is narrow and small that leads to Salvation and if we can recognise this before we die then more the better. Afterwards it gets harder, but I’ll hold that thought for a later date!

The promises and riches of this earthly kingdom will not quench the needs of your soul.  From a human point of view you could say God makes everything possible.  A non-believer though would call it luck, a Christian would call it luck too but have you ever thought that perhaps  luck can be a blessing!  Faith is everything and everything is nothing without it. There is no middle of the road in faith -  only clarity! Just as in worldly justice -  there can only ever be wrong or rightguilty or not guilty!

There are no visible attributes for having faith – But a saying states… that what is essentialis invisible to the eye!

Jesus Christ – a true King was to rise from the restraints of this life into a new day.  He doesn’t rule he serves. He prepared the way before he left and this ‘way‘ is clearly stated in the bible. “The kingdom that I speak of is not of this world.”
I am the way, the truth and the light. No-one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6

Do you really know what truth is or do you only think you know? Be like wise King Solomon – he didn’t pray for worldy riches, he followed his heart and soul and instead he prayed for spiritual wisdom and clarity to show him the right way.

I wonder if today’s Royals see it the same way?

Fear not!

April 6th, 2011

My Dad is bigger than your Dad!

“A fear-free climate” Last week I heard this statement at a company lecture in connection with an integrated hazard, risk, & vulnerability assessment which is geared towards  helping colleagues recognise and combat the  first signs of stress!  One of the main discourse points was about fear and that a company will only be ultimately successful if they can provide a constant caring & fear-free climate for employees. Unfortunately it has become common practice for bosses to exploit the workers instead for the sake of profit.

The discourse went on to explain that it is human to want to give our best and about the need to feel appreciated for our efforts.  Anxieties at the workplace are one thing but we also have another and more important life outside of the workplace.

There are many accounts of having fear in the Bible. One of the greatest and most memorable was the battle between the giant Goliath & the youngest of three sons, David.  Even if we are not religious, most of us have heard how in the face of all odds – David defeats Goliath with only a catapult  and by putting his trust in his faith and ultimately wins a great victory in the name of God.

Every day we face challenges and threats that may take the form of a type of Goliath in disguise.  These problems and worries can seem unconquerable to us and can fill us with fear and despair if we let them.  We can read on in the Bible that Goliath was killed.  Today it’s not so easy to defeat an enemy or even recognise one. The enemy doesn’t have to be human.  It can also be something deep in the pysche and personality that is not intact or healthy for us and that we need help to get to grips with.  Indeed, something that is deep within our soul that we are not consciously aware of.  We put up barriers to protect us but these barriers can also stop us from becoming receptive to the help that we need and can’t sense.

The need to feel appreciated is nothing new but when the time comes to put on the suit of armour before going to work because we are frightened of being attacked or confronted at every turn, of losing our jobs, of not being perfect, of showing that we are vulnerable, even human, or not strong enough to cope. Instead we pretend we are something we are not and adopt let’s say a ‘big mouth’, or perhaps we stand on a few toes, or put on an attitude of indifference instead. To put on an act for our co-workers just so that we can get through the next working day!  I ask you – what is that for a life?  For all our faults, God still loves us and he is above all patient and won’t let us down. You can count on him to help you, when you need it most.

It is a sad day when we forget how to be forgiving and compassionate too. How to treat the next person with respect and understanding.  How to put aside our ego for the sake of someone else’s happiness.

The Lord doesn’t give us deadly weapons in order to protect our souls.  Instead he teaches us qualities that can be learned and nurtured such as humility, honesty and relying on nobody but God to help us win those battles that we face.  These too are powerful weapons that can help stuff all those big mouths and kill all of the Goliaths whose only wish it is to dishearten, discourage and deject us.

One of my favourite psalms is The lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear. Don’t let fear keep you down or make you give up.

For WH – 31.03.2011 – I won’t forget you.

Get your hopes up!

March 20th, 2011

I thought I’d catch up a little.  So many things are changing rapidly these days and all in the name of progress they say. The national railway company are now building a subterranean railway station as opposed to the supposedly outlived terminus station which has caused an ongoing protest in the city.  I guess as a result the old sign has now gone but I was very happy to see that it has been replaced with this one here:

It’s nice to see some things don’t outlive their purpose. So why is Jesus  your only hope?  I guess you could say the message is quite clear really.  If  you’ve managed to get through the last economic crisis without losing your job or your business then well done.   Its quite easy to feel complacent about most things though if you’re not on the receiving end.  The Lord teaches us not to put our hopes into perishable commodities or futile hopes like money, power or fame because they won’t save our souls.   So does that mean we can count ourselves ‘lucky’ if we’ve escaped relatively unscathed so far?  When Jesus lived he was  aware that our health was important to us but he always made it very clear that faith was the key and the only answer to your hopes.  After he had cured people of their ailments he always said it was only their faith that had helped them, nothing more.  What he meant was it wasn’t important if you were not physically healthy, more important was that you put your trust in God and were more  spiritually aware of your soul, and therefore healthier.

You can only have real hope in something that remains constant and lasting.  In the bible it states  “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the Lord endures forever.” 1. Petr. 24-25.  So when everything perishes the only thing left is the Word and your Soul. That is why, in the long run, Jesus deine einzige Hoffnung ist, (Jesus is your only hope) and the only hope that will eventually end all the world’s suffering.

What really counts?

March 13th, 2011

For many the end of the world came two days ago with the Tsunami in Japan. For me it was 32 years ago today when my Dad was killed in a plane crash.  A few things struck me then. For the first time I realized that I was totally alone in my sorrow as everyone else around me carried on as if nothing had happened. Could they not see? I think that it was that jolt of reality that made me realize that nothing is forever. We all want security, secure homes and secure lives and we work like fools to make it happen. We build and build as though we are going to live forever and totally miss the point of living.  If you are looking for the meaning of life then it could be that you won’t find it in bricks and mortar. Materialism will never replace Christian ideals. All wealth, glory and magnificence will sooner or later be made to surrender to nature. Sorry if the future sounds bleak. It doesn’t have to. So what is my point?  Well Imagine – This place is not here. Where will you be if tomorrow doesn’t come as planned?  If tomorrow doesn’t bring you all you had hoped and wished for and fails you totally.  Imagine what is beyond now and this exact point in time of your existence.  What will be left?  It’s only you and your soul.  Because I believe that is all that you really have.

So today I remember, honour and pray for my dad and all those who had no time to prepare for their tomorrows. Today I remember where I was 32 years ago, how I felt at that exact point in time, and realizing now that the only real thing that counts is putting your trust in God and being thankful for his grace. Spiritual knowledge is far more than worldly wisdom and skill.  This isn’t about gaining knowledge to serve our worldly well-being and self-absorbed ego. All that counts before God is learning how to become in tune with reality and the time you live in so you are able to cope with tomorrow.  So what counts for you?

The Lord, Saviour of the world

March 2nd, 2009

As I looked out of the train window this morning on my usual journey to work I spotted a large green and white metal sign just to the left of a larger lettered display promoting the local brewery. The sign stood clearly above the railway boundary wall like a beacon in the mist for all to see (well for train passengers at least) on which was written – Jesus Christus Retter der Welt (Jesus Christus, Saviour of the world) - and once again I acknowledged this truth in the comfort of my own soul and was jolted back in time to last Sunday, 1st March, 2009 at our church in Horb where our District Elder Werner Schick held the Service for the Departed under the Word – John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

I understand and acknowledge this as meaning the Lord’s way and the things he taught us both in the early church and today are still valid and, therefore, true. I not only believe in God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit but also in the teachings of the Apostles as commissioned by the Lord in the early church. This I believe to be mandatory in order to be able to reach the Father. Simple eh?

As a new apostolic christian I believe that faith comes from the Word and the Word is heard at the altar and proclaimed by the Holy Spirit through the weak flesh of living apostles and other brothers in the faith. I and my fellow believers believe these teachings were, are and always will be part of God’s plan of Salvation until the Lord’s return.

He made us a promise to return and collect his Bride - will we be waiting for him when he does?  Hope is there for everyone and the offer is not limited. We (all nations) are able to become part of this wondrous event.

Often the Spirit teaches us that - to hear doesn’t mean we have understood – to understand doesn’t mean we agree – and to agree is by all intents and purposes not as yet put into practice.  Are we ready to bow and be obedient out of love to our Saviour when he comes for us? Can we forgive others, and be reconciled beyond all pain and doubt? How much more difficult is this when we leave this life and cross over into the afterlife do you think?

Oh I see, so you don’t believe in life after death?

At this point you will have to come to terms with my belief that the soul is immortal and lives on.  Death is not the end, it is the only the result of the original sin and the removal of our earthly entity. Our immortal souls, however, are then released and ‘live’ on.

Right now everyone is talking about the failing economic system and the problems of getting old or the dangers of climatic changes in the future but what do we still believe in these days or in fact even hold dear?

I thought about the departed souls when I saw the “sign” and was reminded that Salvation is not only meant for the living but also for the dead.  It is up to the living to be a good example to those who cannot yet see. Dead or alive. My belief is that the Spirit is truth and only the Spirit can reveal God’s will. Once the Lord was asked “what is truth” and he replied  ”I came into the world to bear witness unto the truth”, which to to me confirms that he is evidence of the truth.  During his lifetime the Lord continued to give evidence and proclaim the truth to those he helped and taught. The bible is evidence of those encounters.

Through the Holy Spirit, God makes his intention known to us, as he did in the early Church and indeed as he still does today through the apostle ministry.  Services for the Departed are the bridges into eternity, where the souls can cross over to receive forgiveness of sins and the baptism of water and of fire through the hands of a living Apostle, enabling them to step freely over into the divine fellowship and the promise of the eternal community with God.  I believe there is no greater goal.

The Lord has prepared the way for everyone. All we have to do is follow and he will lead us away from the darkness and through the mist, into the light. The truth is out there…  Just follow the signs to salvation….. easy eh? See you there….hopefully (if I manage to get there and if you follow)!

God Bless

Our new Rector – welcoming Matthias Wagner

March 2nd, 2009

Hello it’s me again.

Sorry have been really busy with one thing or another and I’ve already got a bad conscience about not keeping my blog up to date.  I thought the coming of a new year would help me to keep my resolutions and to be more disciplined in the future. See what happens – fallibility creeps back in.

So here we are, already into March and I haven’t even mentioned that since December last we have welcomed our new Rector into the community - Priest Matthias Wagner.  The change came about because our former rector Helmut was ordained as Shepherd and new Rector for the community of Nagold. Of course, the Lord deemed it only fair that we should receive a rector from Nagold in return ; - ) 

We feel very happy and blessed under the ever encouraging spiritual endeavours and service of our new dear brother in faith.

Of course we wish Helmut Schmid-Eilber God’s continuous blessings and strength in his new Ministry and new community.

We are one family and only that counts!

God Bless

WHO CARES?

November 18th, 2008

Revelation 20:6

Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

Santiago el Grande, Dali 1957

I had a nagging feeling all the way through the service on Sunday last. The service was about the first resurrection. Difficult to imagine really with our limited range but it does sound wonderful to the receptive soul.  In the bible it tells us that, after the Lord comes to collect his Bride (those being the worthy souls on the other side and those still living) they will experience the miracle of transformation and receive a glorified body, enabling them to return with the Lord for the marriage feast of the lamb in heaven.

All the while, I kept thinking about the misery and affliction that would be left in the wake of this sudden event and how long will this period last before the Lord returns with his bride to intervene, bind Satan and mark the beginning of the thousand years of peace. Not soon enough, I’d say….for even one godforsaken hour would be too much to bear.

You might say…
So what if I don’t take part in the first resurrection, who cares?
So what if I’m heading towards the second death, whatever that is, who cares?
So what if I don’t want to be a priest of God and of Christ with his armies on horseback. Can you imagine me being one anyway, I can’t even ride a horse!
A thousand years of peace, hah…you’ve got to be kidding….that’ll be the day.

Well the prophecies have been right so far and there’s really no reason to believe they won’t be in the future.  I don’t honestly think I can imagine or even want to imagine what life will be like after all the goodness has been sifted out of the world as we know it in an instant!  In Matthew 24; 21:22, it states…”For then there will be great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time. no, nor ever shall be.” “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved… 

It doesn’t sound pretty does it? Scaremongering you might say, not really. It’s only because I care that I feel I need to warn you. What keeps us on an even keel (in Europe at least)? Is it the goodness derived from respectability and decency, which in turn comes from a good old fashioned social and moral upbringing? For the time being most of us are able to enjoy the privilege of social freedom, order and protection and for now God has patience with us, just long enough until the great work of salvation is complete. The conclusion of God’s plan is a new creation and I think it would be really great if both you and I care about what’s coming and act sooner rather than later.

What do you think?

     

A belated Happy Easter…

March 27th, 2008

Sorry it’s a bit late to wish you all a Happy Easter but well the Chief Apostle’s Easter message on  23rd March this year, via transmission from Mannheim, wasn’t only meant for the moment or the once a year occasion… Continue reading »