April 2010

It’s amazing what “advancing maturity” (getting older) does to your perspective.

Tomorrow I turn 57-years-old. Can’t believe it. 57-years-old. Seven years older than half-a-century. Unbelievable!

Yet, I don’t really feel that old. Why, some days I don’t feel a day over 56.

But, that’s okay.

It’s all relative and how you look at things. When I realize how old the towering redwood trees are and how old some rocks are according to rock-experts, I’m really not that old (from a chronological standpoint).

Yet, there’s one thing that hasn’t grown old through all these years. And, that’s my belief in Jesus’ Resurrection some 2,000 years ago.

I don’t remember when I first heard the Story of His rising up from the dead, but I’m pretty sure it was in the old country church in Kerr, Arkansas when I was only around four or five-years-old. And, I do remember I was seven-years-old when I walked forward one night in that little building during a revival service.

I still remember walking out that night telling folks I knew Jesus was there because He’d come to live within my heart. And, a few weeks later I still remember being baptized in the baptistery of Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock since our church was one of their mission points.

Yes, as they say, a lot of water has gone under bridge these last, almost 50 years since I walked that aisle. Yet, again, the reality of the Resurrection hasn’t faded or grown old.

It’s only gotten stronger and more precious to me.

Through the years there have been lots of ups-and-downs and lots of joys and sorrows. I’ve gone a lot of places and met lots of new faces, who’ve become lifelong friends. And, during those years a number of those friends and family members (including my parents) have “gone the way of all flesh.”

There’s something about standing at the gaping grave that awaits the depositing of the body of your parent or child or fellow comrade-in-arms that brings you back to reality. The cold, hard steel of the coffin. . .the casket spray and beautiful bouquets of flowers that sit nearby. . .the uncontrollable weeping of family members as they say their “goodbyes”. . .have a way of reminding you of the brevity of life and the certainty of death.

And, it’d be an almost unbearable time if it weren’t for the Reality of the Resurrection.

Without it, nothing in this life makes much sense. Without it, life here on this earth is little more than a miserable, pointless existence that ends in death. And, even those who’ve conjured up some mythical idea of the afterlife that’s dependent upon how well you do here on earth, offer little hope when you stand at the grave of your closest kin or friend.

Only Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead can do that (I Corinthians 15:12-58).

Even now, after all these years, I still get chill-bumps when I hear or sing “Low In the Grave He Lay” or “Because He Lives” or “I Serve A Risen Savior.” Even now, I love singing those old Gospel songs like “Farther Along,” “In the Sweet By and By,” “Never Grow Old,” “Sweet Beulah Land,” etc.

Yes, there’s something about Jesus’ Victory over sin, death and the grave that does help me, as the song says, “to face tomorrow and makes life worth the living—just because He lives.”

Because of His Resurrection and Presence in my life, I don’t need to fear the future or what will happen to me today. As someone once said, “I’m not getting older; I’m getting closer.” Glory!!

As someone else once wrote, “A vagabond is someone who has no home. A criminal is someone who’s running from home. A stranger is someone who’s away from home. But, a Pilgrim is someone who’s headed toward Home.”

I know where I’m headed (Hebrews 11:13-16; John 14:1-3). Do you?

Here’s hoping you do; if not, I hope today will be the day you’ll come to know for sure. It only takes childlike faith in the One Who arose from the dead and is knocking at your heart’s door even now (Revelation 3:20). Trust Him. Then begin living in Resurrection Hope.

(NOTE: If you’d like to contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” you can write him at P.O. Box 582, Coushatta, LA 71019 or e-mail him at pressingon@hotmail.com).