If tolling bell I ask the cause.
“A soul has gone to God”,
Is answered in a lonesome tone;
Is heaven then so sad?
That bells should joyful ring to tell
A soul had gone to heaven,
Would seem to me the proper way
Good news should be given.
~Emily Dickinson

I'm thinking I agree with this.
I have some half-thoughts swirling about my head so I figured I would put them into words.
When one is awash in Christ’s all-atoning blood; death becomes a good thing. Why? How can something so hideous be called "good"? "O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is in the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1cor 15)
What is death for the believer? It is seeing your Savior face to face. It's not an end--it's a beginning. It's not an accident—it was carefully planned by One who planned every detail of the life before and after. It is reunion with friends who left before. It is the realization of hope and freedom. It is finding that promises you believed in by faith are tangible and the deepest reality. It is falling on your face before He who snatched you from flames...Death for the beloved of God is the doorway into the greatest adventure, the one for which your life on earth was preparation.
Of course, not everything continues. There are things that end. Sin is not allowed to follow you. Temptations, spiritual warfare, pain, sorrow, brokenness, tears, hatred, agony, bitterness, struggle, fear, doubt, disappointment, strife, anger, chains, sickness, conflict… you must bid them and their friends goodbye.
Yet, even for lovers of God, there is some bitterness in death for those left behind. Do we mourn that our friend is free from misery and woe? Are we sorry he is tasting victory? Surely not! We rejoice for him, we praise God for His undeserved mercy. We are amazed at the gospel. But we are left in the battle. We will miss our comrade. We are not so selfish to wish him back, but we may wish he had tarried a moment longer. Therein lies the bitterness. We rejoice, but we also mourn. There is laughter in our tears, joy in our sorrow, peace in our heartbreak. We are delighted for him, we are jealous of his release. We are comforted that someday it will be our turn. We will see our dear friend again. Even more wonderous, we will see our King, the One who makes all of the hope and joy possible.
(so i guess I had alot of thoughts...i think i'm influenced by clive staples lewis in this area. i could be wrong in some ways, but i'm confident that heaven will blow pre-conceived notions out of the water and that it will be all about our Lord and His awesome glory. i'm excited.)


we're not superheroes.

"In popular usage, the word “saint” has been debased to describe extraordinary, individual spiritual achievements. But in the Bible—the way God views sainthood—the word describes ordinary people who belong to a most extraordinary Savior and Lord. Our Redeemer achieves all the extraordinary things. At our best (and too often we are at our worst, or bumping around somewhere in the middle!), “we have done only that which we ought to have done” (Luke 17:10 NASB) God calls you “saint” to remind you who owns you, not to honor you for going above or beyond the call of duty. It’s not the Medal of Honor; it’s your enlistment papers and dog tag..." David Powlison
taken from chapter 7 of "Suffering and the Soveriegnty of God".



I pulled out Elizabeth Elliot's "Keep a Quiet Heart" to look up a specific passage last night and came across this one as well. It's classic. I found myself guilty of #1 this morning--I was whining about cares to God first thing before I even opened my Bible and not even asking for the grace to handle them! (He is indeed gracious!)

Several Ways to Make Yourself Miserable
1. Count your troubles, name them one by one--at the breakfast table, if anybody will listen, or as soon as possible thereafter.
2.Worry every day about something. Don't let yourself get out of practice. It won't add a cubit to your stature, but it might burn a few calories.
3.Pity yourself. If you do enough of this, nobody else will have to do it for you.
4.Devise clever but decent ways to serve God and mammon. After all, a man's gotta live.
5.Make it your business to find out what the Joneses are buying this year and where they're going. Try to do them at least one better even if you have to take out another loan to do it.
6.Stay away from absolutes. It's what's right for you that matters. Be your own person and don't allow yourself to get hung up on what others expect of you.
7.Make sure you get your rights. Never mind other people's. You have your life to live, they have theirs.
8.Don't fall into any compassion traps--the sort of situation where people can walk all over you. If you get too involved in other people's troubles, you may neglect your own.
9.Don't let Bible reading and prayer get in the way of what's really relevant--things like TV and newspapers. Invisible things are eternal. you want to stick with the visible ones--they're where it's at now.



Recenty I've been reading poetry and trying to like it. Mostly it's a failure. But occasionally I find a brilliant one that I enjoy. Here is the first stanza of one by Emily Dickenson.

"Through the straight pass of suffering
The martyrs stately trod,
Thier feet upon tempation,
Thier faces upon God. "

I'd like to be like that someday.