Tuesday, January 21, 2014

“Return From Tomorrow”

I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. (2 Corinthians 12:2-4 KJV)

In December, 1943, an Army medical technician found Private George G. Ritchie without a pulse. Having been in the hospital for quite a few days with influenza, pneumonia had become a serious complication and several other soldiers had succumbed that winter. A doctor was called in to the room, double checked for pulse and listened for heartbeat, which he did not find. He pulled the sheet over the body, straightening the arms and returned to his other patients.

What happened just before that – and for years afterward – makes this book one of the best I’ve read in a while. No more than Paul, I cannot tell: God knoweth about the author’s experience. I do know that he believes God is love.

The author wrote:
Much of the misery originated in me.
The misery was a part of him that was loved by Jesus. A love the author described:
I knew that this Man loved me … A love beyond my wildest imagining. This love knew every unlovable thing about me … and accepted and loved me just the same.
What I liked best, though, was his recognizing that same love in others:
It was Christ who all this time had been looking at me out of Jack Helm’s eyes.
I have been in congregations that are described as “friendly”, “welcoming” and people are comfortable coming back, visiting again and again – joining as members when the situation warrants. I believe that’s what is truly seen – Christ looking through the eyes of those who love Him.

It takes one to know one, to be able to describe the love that knows no bounds, but is not understood unless Christ provides the answer.

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8 KJV)

The love of God was described by Jesus:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)

Jesus also told us how to show our love for Him:

If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15 KJV)

And, He tells describes those commandments:

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40 KJV)

So – why do we not love the unlovable, just as He loves us? “Return From Tomorrow” doesn’t answer that question for each one of us – but it will hold our lives in front of us with questions to be answered.

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