DISAPPOINTED WITH HEAVEN

clipart-of-ornate-gold-front-gates-of-heaven-z6GY3U-clipart

© 2017 Bill Murphy

This is NOT some great revelation, hardly. And I’m not attempting to rock your doctrine. I’m just relaying the thought which bounced around in my brain/spirit this morning.

It all began as I was mulling over the idea of a story of someone who suddenly ‘wakes up’ to find themselves in Heaven. Then my spirit immediately went in this direction:

We think of Heaven as a destination, a place somewhere (above) in a location that God alone knows. We also think, at least most of us, of Heaven as being a place like – well – HEAVEN! We think of it as place which brings us untold joy and happiness and pleasure. I remember that as a young boy, thinking of it as a place where I could build amazing model airplane for all of eternity, each would be perfect, and all would fly like angels – WITH the angels! You get my point.

Now my ‘big boy’ understanding is that Heaven is where God dwells. “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” Matthew 6:9

I also understand that Jesus has prepared a place for us in Heaven, where we are to dwell with Him forever. “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2-3

But – has the average/general understanding of Heaven become so carnal that we think Heaven is to be ‘OUR’ home? Do we think of Heaven as some fantastic Eternal Resort where our ‘eternal reward’ is to be pampered forever? Hollywood certainly would have us believe this!

Those who believe Hollywood’s vision of Heaven are in for a huge shock!

Remember, Heaven is ‘God’s Place,’ His home, His Kingdom, where He lives.

Yes, Jesus has prepared a place for us there – a place there in God’s place of abode.

Heaven belongs to God. He wants us there with Him – but it’s still His Place.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21

Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

So what does this mean for you and for me?

I hardly think I’ll be building model airplanes in Heaven! And I hardly think that I’ll be the center of attention. Yes, I know I will be oh so thankful, thrilled, over-joyed, etc. to be there – but I also understand that Heaven will not be ‘about me.’

I can’t believe that Heaven will be about self. Self must be left at the gate, like a pair of muddy boots left at the back door.

Heaven will be about HIM – the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We won’t be bringing anything to the table – except for praise and thanksgiving to and for Him – and – our will.  He will present the feast – just as He has always been the giver of all things good and wonderful.

Heaven is reserved for those who have humbled themselves and freely given their hope, heart, and lives to Him. Heaven is for those who have willingly sold out to Him – lock, stock and barrel. We sing, ‘I surrender all.’ But we must also mean it, and do it!

This is possible.

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke 23:43

 

~~~

BC, AD, and BAC

Fanning copy

©2017 Bill Murphy

We’re familiar with the terms BC and AD. From the Julian calendar: BC (Before Christ) and AD, (anno Domini, in the year of our Lord.) For the purpose of this post, I suggest a 3rd – BAC. BEFORE AIR CONDITIONING.

The past is nothing more than HISTORY, and because I lived it, I believe I can speak FOR it. Heaven knows my grandchildren are baffled by it! In spinning these yarns about the good ole days, I consider myself simply ADDING to their education!

That said, I well remember BAC. The first A/C school that I attended was COLLEGE! Our old home on Evergreen had no A/C. And we really didn’t think we needed it.

The windows in our house were made in two sections, upper and lower. The lower section was RAISED 12” to 18” upward, and the upper section LOWERED by this same amount. Because warm RISES, warm air near the ceiling was allowed to flow OUT of the upper opened section and cooler (outside) air could flow INSIDE through the opened lower section to replace the hot air. On days when it was not HOT, we didn’t need the attic fan. Adjusting the windows to the above configuration sufficed. The windows in George Elementary School, Enochs Jr, Hi and Central Hi all worked this way. But on days when the house got HOT inside, we had our large attic fan.

This 36″ fan was located in the attic over the small hallway in the front of the house. It lay HORIZONTALLY, blowing UPWARD into the attic. When turned on, all the INSIDE hot air was sucked up into the attic and expelled through vents to the outside. Outside air was sucked INTO the house, to replace the air expelled OUTSIDE. Hey, it WORKED! Or at least we thought it did. (It also sucked in dust and pollen!) But honestly, I can’t remember being miserable.

Yes I do. I remember that 2 or 3 times, CHS was dismissed around Noon or 1 PM because of excessive heat. But we survived. My great-grand-kids cannot relate to living through that.

A/C came to merchants long before it came to Evergreen. And those businesses who ‘bit the bullet’ and paid for that huge ‘extra’ expense was duly proud of their outlay – and flaunted it! Plastered across the front entrances they proudly proclaimed, “We Have Air Conditioning,” written in blue lettering with snow on top of each letter and icicles hanging below! Dad’s old store, Jitney No. 2 on Gallatin didn’t have A/C, but when Jitney No. 19 was built in Mart 51, it did.

We never had central air on Evergreen. Later we had window units.

And my first personal window unit (during college) was not a true A/C. It had no compressor, and no coils, and of course, no REFRIGERANT. It was basically a metal rectangular box, with a deep ‘pan‘ at the bottom. It had a fan which pulled air through a thick screen of something resembling MOSS. A garden hose was attached at the top (outside) and water was allowed to ‘trickle‘ through this moss as air was sucked through it and blown into the room. A pump brought water up from the pan and back down through the moss. The garden hose was to re-supply water that evaporated. Yes, it did cool – slightly. But the air it expelled was also very HUMID!

Our last vehicle without A/C was a ’55 Chrysler, which we took across country to Vancouver and San Francisco. Dad purchased a new-fangled automobile ‘window unit’ just for that trip. It was nothing more than a 9″ metal cylinder about 18″ long, with a trap door on top. It attached to the window, and held in place when the window was raised. When filled with ICE, air entered the front air scoop, over the ice, and out through a vent that opened to the inside the car. It was rendered useless by the deserts out west.

I believe it was ’67 before I lived in a house with CENTRAL A/C. And yes, I really do appreciate the BLESSING of A/C. When you’ve lived WITHOUT something of value like A/C, you don’t take it for granted.

I suppose that’s my ‘lesson‘ in the post.

 

~~~~

Ole Bill Writes A Country Song

Guitar

OUR SECOND TIME AROUND ©2017 Bill Murphy

 

She got herself a lawyer, And I got me one too.

We divided up the furniture, And a memory or two.

Then she gathered up our children, And hit the dusty trail.

Her final words in parting was… “Sweetheart, You can go to-

Well – she actually was leaving, Oh the bitter fruits of sin,

Oh how could a love so wonderful, Come to such a shameful end?

Now God looked down from heaven, And it grieved Him to the bone,

To see the mess that we had made, Of our once, happy home.

Those precious little children, Need a mommy and a dad,

So I think I’ll work a miracle, And give ‘em back the love they had.

He knew our love still lived somewhere, For can love really die?

Only fools will lose a treasure, But the fools can’t tell you why.

God found our star of love still bright, Out in the Milky Way.

That one star in the billions… Was the love we’d thrown away.

Our story is a miracle, Our lost love has been found,

With God’s help we’ll do better, This second time around.

 

Hee Haw!  

 

~~~

IF I COULD GO BACK TO ANY AGE

Bill Plane

© 2017 Bill Murphy

This was the subject/topic of a writing assignment for my Little Egypt Writer’s Society.

 

That’s easy for me. I choose any time from early 1944 thru the end of August of 1947. Why those dates? Because I’d be old enough to appreciate what was going on in early ’44. And August of 47 was my last month as a pre-schooler. I realize that times were hellish in the Pacific and in Europe, but for me, on the blissful safety of Evergreen Street in South Jackson, those were wonderful times!

At first I considered that June 10, 1960 would be a good date in which to return. It would give me the opportunity to say “I don’t” instead of “I do.” That first marriage should not have happened anyway. Or should it?

You see, our relationships with others, no matter how subtle of insignificant, how good or how bad, how fleeting or lengthy, are quite meaningful in the grand scheme of things. And, even if we could, we really don’t want to change the past. We’d mess up the world if we did. Changing history would throw EVERYTHING off – off for good in some cases, off for bad in others.

Imaging this – Monday morning and you’re rushing off to work, and discover that you’ve misplaced your car keys. That 3 minute search throws you even later, so you drive just a tad faster that unusual. Across town, a woman is also late, due to a slow driver ahead. She cuts onto an unfamiliar side street, doesn’t notice a stop sign, and barrels through – right in front of you. It’s her fault, yet still she’s killed in the crash. Now she’ll not produce the child, who would someday become a research scientist, who would make that long sought breakthrough which eradicates cancer forever.

Maybe.

So instead, 30 years from the date you misplaced your car keys, we would still have cancer killing folks who would not have died if you hadn’t misplaced your car keys! Chilling thought!

But, you’re saying, if I could go back and avoid that accident – it would be a huge benefit to mankind! Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps the other child this woman was not to have – would have been instrumental in starting WWIII!

If I had said, “I don’t” and walked away in 1960, I would have had 10 YEARS of some other life, giving me ample opportunity to miss meeting Helen Carol Ringer and saying, “I do” to her in 1970.

So you see, that street in June 1960 eventually crossed the one in May of 1970.

That said, I’d still enjoy returning to 1944-47 – but NOT ‘knowing what I know now.’ I wouldn’t want to return as a ‘visitor.’ No. I’d want to return and live it all over again as if I were living it for the first time, blissfully unaware of what was to happen next. If I did know then what I know now, I’d probably mess things up royally for the years ahead, both for me, and maybe for you also!

I certainly don’t want to mess up the world.

 

~~~

It Ain’t A Rabbit

Rabbit

©2017 Bill Murphy

Pardon my misuse of the English language, but it really ain’t a rabbit that died on a cross and rose again on Easter morning – to save your soul and mine. It was a man, the Son of God. And He didn’t wear a crown of colored eggs and bleed pink dye. Nor did the people of Jerusalem people buy new clothes especially for the occasion and parade around the cross. Nope. He died practically alone.

So where did all the ducks, bunnies, eggs and fresh-off-the-shelf finery come from? Basically, from the same place as the jolly old man in the red suit who arrives in town in late December.

Now, now, you say. The eggs and elves, bunnies and reindeer are just harmless kiddie stuff. How dare we hide behind our babies? Easter Rabbits and Christmas Santas were NOT created by tiny tots, but by adults like us, wearing our big boy and girl clothes – while never considering what we were doing.

So what’s the big fuss you ask. Please refer to scripture, or try to see from Heaven’s viewpoint.

Only hours before Jesus was nailed to the cross, and 3 days before that first Easter, He officiated over what we refer to as The Last Supper. There he presented bread and wine to his disciples, saying, “Do this often, in remembrance of Me.” Bread and wine, not boiled eggs and gaily wrapped gifts.

Years ago you saw the acronym WWJD everywhere. What would Jesus do. I suggest a new one this holiday season, WWJT – what would Jesus think? I venture to believe that it saddens Him to be supplanted by a rabbit.

So what am I suggesting? Honesty – just simply honesty – honesty with ourselves, with our children, and especially with God.

Just before Jesus began His earthly ministry, He spent 40 days in the wilderness fasting and praying, preparing for His mission ahead. At the end of this lengthy fast, and while His body was at a low point, Satan came to Him… The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, (to Jesus) “if you will bow down and worship me.” Matthew 8:9 NIV

Military leaders know that if you take out the top brass, you throw that army into chaos. Just as satan is our enemy, Jesus (our ‘Top Brass’) is satan’s number 1 target. Satan lost that round in the wilderness, but he’s still in there fighting. What he can’t accomplish with fear and terror – he has unbelievable success in detracting us from our Lord and Savior!

Go ahead and dye and hunt eggs! That would only ADD to a 4th of July celebration. But do we realize how much it SUBTRACTS from the Easter celebration of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

Here’s a test: On YOUR next birthday, tell everyone to bring gifts to each other – and NONE to you! Have them sing “Happy Birthday” to one another, and not to you. And let them enjoy the cake and ice cream while you sit with an empty plate. If it’s good for the goose (Jesus) it’s good for the gander (you!) WWJT.

I wonder if instead of bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus, the wise men would have instead PLANTED TREES in His honor. We’d probably not have room today for houses and highways – in heavily wooded America!

You get my point.

This year, please make JESUS THE FOCUS OF IT ALL!

 

~~~

An Old Man

Arm 1

©2017 Bill Murphy

As Sgt. Joe Friday said on Dragnet, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

And the facts are that Ole Bill has ‘suddenly’ become Old Bill.

My birth certificate and today’s calendar hanging on or frig verify that I’m chronologically 76 years plus a few weeks old. The clock on the wall downstairs appears to agree with this much earlier each night, as does the radio/alarm beside the bed each morning. They’re conspiring against me.

No – ‘against me’ is far from the correct term! The alternative would be, well, you know.

Two things happened within the past 12 hours to bring me to the staggering conclusion that I’m aging. And both shed some fresh light as to why.

Last night was reclined of the sofa downstairs watching The Voice with Carol. I happened to raise my right arm and noticed how ‘loose’ the skin had become, especially on the inner area near the elbow. It was as loose and wrinkled as I remember my grandfather’s arms had been.

Then it hit me – I AM a grandfather. Correction: I am a GREAT-grandfather. Ergo: I have grand-father, great-grand-father skin. When did this happen?

Then this morning Carol was enjoying her usual early morning phone chat with her sister Mary Ellen. Carol was relaying her unusual dream of last night, and how vivid and detailed it was. That got the two sister’s talking about dreams.

I interjected that I dream EVERY NIGHT – and that most of those dreams are busy, active, work-filled dreams of past high-pressure jobs and projects – like ad deadlines at Jitney Jungle and whole notebooks of things to do for Lanny Wolfe’s Music Ministry Conferences. Mary Ellen then replied that I was actually LIVING TWO LIVES, one by day, the other by night!

So THAT too explains my aging process, and the visual effects thereof. I’m not 76 – I’m 76 x 2. I’m actually 152! No wonder I’m looking and acting old.

I feel much better about it now, for in truth, I’m not doing bad at all for a man of 152!

 

““`

Death At An Early Age

Grim Reaper 2

©2017 Bill Murphy

Death presented itself early in my life.

The first death of which I was aware effected me in a profound way. It was the sudden and unexpected death of my uncle in Bogalusa, LA, on October 1, 1946. I was 5 at the time.

Uncle Fred was the husband of my mother’s older sister, Lily Padget. To family and friends, she was known simply as ‘Sister.’ After Uncle Fred’s death Sister moved to Jackson (MS) to live with her parents (my grandparents), who lived next door to my family on Evergreen. Sister was always dear to me, but living next door, she became someone very dear to my heart. Sister and I were always close – even more so after Uncle Fred’s death. I treasure my many years with Sister.

The second death came 2 years later, March 4, 1948. I was in the first grade.

It was the death of my beloved grandfather, Patrick Henry Fairchild, Mom’s father. I was old enough by this time to realize what had happened, and experienced the heavy loss his death dealt to me. He had been my ‘best buddy‘ for 7 years.

My parents were very ‘protective’ of my sister and me. We were kept away from the funeral home and grave service. But I keenly remember the day he died. He’d been taken downtown to Jackson Infirmary, located on the corner of North President and Amite. My sister and I were required to sit outside in the car as the adults went inside. In that era, hospitals didn’t allow small children as visitors. An older cousin sat with us. We sensed that something ominous was happening. The profound grief expressed my my mother told it all.

My next experience with death came only a few years later. I can’t recall the exact year. I was in the 4th or 5th grade. What’s ‘amazing’ about this is that I know I was YOUNG – 9 or 10 at most.

A younger lad from our church was tragically killed in an auto accident – and 5 other boys of around my age were enlisted as pallbearers. (We had adult men at the head and foot as assistance.) I supposed by this time Mom and Dad had lifted some of their protective blanket.

Most folks have never heard of children serving as pallbearers for other children. That experience is etched in my mind. I recall those halting steps to the grave side as if it were only yesterday. Perhaps the reason why memory remains so vivid is because of my fear of tripping that day, and not of death.

I had an unusual friend in the 6th grade, Eldridge Hawkins. He and I were polar opposites.

I came from a solidly stable, loving family. From what I heard from him, his family was a bit different from ours. He was older than the other kids, maybe having failed a few years. He was quite rough around the edges, and due to his age, larger than most of us. But I became good friends with this boy from what some called ‘across the tracks’. My mother didn’t approve. We never hung out together away from school, but were usually together on the playground.

Again, I’m not sure of the date. I have the newspaper clipping which Mom pasted into my grade school photo album. She didn’t included the dateline.

But Eldridge and a boy who live down the street from us on Evergreen – hung a long rope off a railroad trestle spanning a large creek and were swinging from it. Eldridge slipped and fell into the creek – and drowned.

Earlier in the school year, for show and tell I had taken to class an 8 x 10 photo of my Grandfather Fairchild standing in front of the locomotive he engineered. When passed by Eldridge, he signed his name on the back! That photo now has two tangible remembrances attached to it – that of my beloved grandfather, and of my friend, Eldridge Hawkins.

Many of my classmates at George Elementary School followed me to Enochs Junior High, and on to Central High. Death came back to visit us with a vengeance at Central. Over the course of those 3 years, death claimed 7 of our classmates, the last one on graduation night.

At least one died of cancer. Several had sudden, fatal heart attacks. One of those deaths came to a classmate in ROTC. He was buried in his Army ROTC uniform. His was a military-style funeral. Although I enjoyed every minute – well, to be honest, most minutes of ROTC, I didn’t want to ‘spend eternity’ in uniform! I made my parents promise that if something should happen to me – I wanted CIVILIAN clothing – or else I’d come back to haunt them!

No doubt, we’ve all come close to death in our lifetimes and never known it. But once I was told just how close I’d actually come.

I’d had a persistent cough for several weeks, treating it myself with off the shelf remedies. But finally, very late one afternoon, my cough morphed into fever and pain. I could not stand erect. I should have gone straight to the emergency room, but didn’t. The next morning it was worse – so we went straight to my doctor’s office – only blocks from Baptist Hospital. After examining me, he FOLLOWED us to the hospital, where he orchestrated my immediate admission. Within minutes, he inserted a long metal rod into my side, between my ribs, and into my lung – all without sedation! Afterwards, he explained to my wife (Carol) that he’d never removed that much fluid from a person who survived! He said that should I have delayed treatment longer, within hours I would have been gone. What a sobering thought. And – oh what a fool I’d been for my delay in seeking treatment.

I wrote this essay on death neither because I’m fascinated with the subject, nor that I fear it. Truthfully, death is simply a part of life. It may be the end of mortal life as we experience it in the here and now – but it’s far from the end of life as we know it to be. I’ve been blessed to walk in many amazing, historic, astounding and truly breathtaking places. I’ve walked where kings and queens have walked – where presidents, dignitaries and famous military, science, entertainment and sports celebrities trod.

But I’ve never walked on gold.

It’s funny how we mortals view golden streets as the very pinnacle of paving materials – after all, we pave streets with common materials, asphalt, concrete, sea shells, rocks and stones. But then, God does this also! In heaven, gold is an everyday, common commodity – only fit to walk on!

I hope to see you there!


Illustration from clipartfest at https://clipartfest.com