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Time and Eternity

To everything, there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, And a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to harvest; Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

I was married five days before my twentieth birthday and ordained about three weeks later. So I guess I’ve been an official husband about twenty days longer than I’ve been an official minister.

Looking back I realize that I barely knew God at the time and what I learned during my brief stint at Bible college was that I didn’t think like many of the people I’d been thrown in with.

Most of what I knew about God I learned from my mother when none of the family went to church and my clearest memories are of mom standing over a steamy iron, working through endless baskets of wrinkled shirts, dutifully pressing every piece, hanging them from makeshift clotheslines in the living room for people I didn’t know. She would iron for hours watching her stories and singing gospel hymns in a sweet country twang that reminded you of Tammy Wynette. When she sat down to rest with a glass of iced tea, wiping the sweat from her forehead with a dishtowel and humming What a Friend We Have in Jesus, she’d close her eyes and smile and you could see Jesus all over her.

I knew early on that God was real, His love dripped from my mother like rain from a slicker.

The first few days of the year move some of us to think about time. Time and eternity. And memories like these keep bubbling to the surface. I’m sure they do for you as well as you consider your life. My mother went to Jesus thirty years ago, just after mine and MaryAnn’s tenth anniversary. Time flies. Her big sister, my Aunt Lois, our eldest relative, went to be with Jesus and mom this past week. She was in her mid-nineties. It seemed like she would live forever. A little secret – she will…

The simplest, yet most profound truth in the Bible is this, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

When someone believes in Jesus and experiences His love, they become like Him, loving others simply and deeply. We all know people like this. Mom and Aunt Lois were like this.

For you and me, as the new year rises before us, let’s return to the simplicity of John 3:16, the simplicity of Christ. To the truth that God loves you, He loves your best friend and your worst enemy, and He wants them to live forever and know His love for them. Don’t judge them, pray for them. Time passes and we all need a friend in Jesus.


Photo – My parents Charles Edward and Willie Fern