Surgery #1: Dr. Wise, Orthopedic Guy

Chelsea has been delivered to Centerpoint. When we first arrived a male nurse came up to us and said Chelsea had no orders to be admitted today. Chelsea assured him that Dr. James had told her she could be admitted today and that she wasn’t going back home. Chuck and I agreed that her nurse, Frank, had told us to be back on Sunday because it would be less busy than Monday morning.

The nurse said he would have to talk to Dr. James. He came back twenty minutes or so later and said they were just waiting for a room recently vacated to be cleaned so that she could be moved up there.

Chuck and I took her up to her room when it was ready, kissed her goodbye and headed home. Then I called her to make sure her room phone was working with the number I assumed it would be. She said that Dr. James had popped in for a short visit when her cell phone started ringing in her purse. He apologized for the mix-up and told her with Christmas and the busyness of the hospital things got a little crazy.

Anyway, she’s there, safe and sound, and relieved that she doesn’t have to be lifted out of her chair and the car anymore. Dr. James told her he was going to order up some physical therapy so she could get her strength back.

Tomorrow is surgery day. Dr. Wise will be her surgeon. Contrary to what one of the doctors had told Chelsea, it will be an orthopedic surgeon performing the operation and not a neurosurgeon. Dr. James told her not to worry; they would not be operating anywhere close to her spine. It will just be her tailbone. Prayers, please, for a successful surgery and quick recovery.

Christmas 2013

It has been a wonderful Christmas Eve! The Visiting Nurse Association was here this evening to teach Chelsea how to do her Central Power Line. She said it was okay if we decided to go to Branson. Chelsea needs her antibiotics once every 24 hours. We’re leaving it up to Chelsea whether we go or not. Right now her legs are weak from being in bed for a week. She’s a little worried all the transferring to the car will be too much for Chuck to help with, and then, of course, she doesn’t want to fall.

She has some undesirable side effects, too, due to the antibiotics she’s on, that would make this venture less than idyllic. We’ll just have to weigh everything out tomorrow night and see where we stand. It’s a day trip and one overnight stay, nothing too extreme; maybe we can do this.

Chuck tried to order our tickets for “The Miracle of Christmas,” but it’s Christmas Eve and no one was answering the phone. He also can’t find the web site for the Festival of Lights. I suppose we’ll just have to get up early Thursday and get our tickets once we get to Branson.

I restrung lights on our small tabletop tree, and Chelsea decorated it while I made deviled eggs for tomorrow’s dinner and made a new favorite holiday treat (recipe courtesy of a friend).

We got last-minute wrapping finished. I put some stuff off because–well, I was pretty sure we would have more time since, in all likelihood, we would be postponing the opening of the gifts, and, with Chelsea in the hospital, I haven’t devoted as much time to my project as I needed to. Now it turns out that I will be crocheting into the night, just to have enough finished for a good presentation tomorrow morning (and then I’ll finish it in the next few days).

With Cameron working the graveyard shift, we don’t have to worry about his waking up at the crack of dawn to open gifts, anymore. We can all sleep in! I can get up about seven to start the noodles and rolls, and Cameron should be home around eight.

Anyway, for now I’m grabbing my hook and burning some midnight oil. Merry Christmas, everyone (seventeen minutes early)! May we all take the time to reflect tomorrow on the Light that came into the world so that everyone who puts their trust in Him might repent of their sins and be named among the redeemed. He was born, He died, and He lives forevermore to intercede for those who bear His name. Hallelujah! What a King! What006 a Savior!

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Coming Home for Christmas!

Dear friends, I want to thank each of you personally for this amazing onslaught of prayer! Good news: our daughter is coming home for Christmas! Dr. James came in and said, “We’re sending you home.” Even the kidney doctors said she should be fine. She just needs to stay away from potassium and take it easy on the mashed potatoes, noodles, etc.

We are completely surprised, actually more like blown away. We didn’t know this was even possible after talking with the nephrologist yesterday.

Dr. James, the general doctor involved with her case, told her that after her surgery she would probably be in the hospital for ten days. He asked, “Do you really want to be here for the next six days and then ten more days after your surgery?”

Chelsea said, “No!”

He said, “I didn’t think so.”

Branson is out. They’re getting her set up with home-health and Walgreen’s (for her Central Power Line medicine), and she has to have blood drawn on Friday morning to have reported back to the hospital, BUT she is coming HOME!!!!

First she has to get her blood infusion, and that should take another five or six hours. But she is coming home for Christmas! We will have to take her back to the hospital on Sunday so that she can have her surgery on Monday. We are so happy right now. Cameron will be, too. He’s already asleep from having to work all night, but I can’t wait to tell him when he gets up!

Thanks again, friends, for all the prayers! Praise God for this wonderful answer to prayer! It has made all the difference. When she called to tell us, the difference in her mood was like the difference between night and day. She sounded so pitiful and sad earlier, and now she is perky and jubilant. And I know she will feel even better after she gets blood. Oh, our baby girl is coming home for Christmas! Hallelujah!

A Close Call

Thankful, thankful, thankful to be home. We narrowly missed being dead. We headed off early this morning to visit Chelsea in the hospital before the roads turned bad.

We needed a few things at Super Center and did a little shopping before getting Burger King for lunch.

Deciding to eat on the way home so that we could get home while the roads were still decent, we were on our way back to Higginsville, with Chuck driving about sixty miles an hour.

I was just finishing the last bite of my sandwich on the other side of Odessa, on eastbound I-70, when all of a sudden a royal blue hatchback-looking car spun almost 180 degrees in the lane next to us and darted back into our lane, crossing in the direct path of our Taurus.

It happened in an instant, and we had no opportunity to do anything but think, “This is how we die.” I will never forget the look of sheer terror on the woman’s face in the passenger seat immediately before we hit them in the passenger side of their car. They continued off the road, flipping their car and rolling into the grass between I-70 and the outer road.

We were both praising the Lord that we were still alive, though a long way from being safe, as other cars started going off the road all around us. We got out of our car to speak to the highway patrolman (after he finally arrived; my hands were shaking so badly I had a hard time dialing star fifty-five on my cell phone). He told us the people were alive and then said the safest place for us to be was back in our vehicle.

Eventually he came up to ask us to drive to the next on-ramp so that we would be as far away from the highway as possible. Meanwhile Chuck was frantically searching our owner’s manual to find out where in the world our hazard-light switch was. It was no where to be found on our steering column. The manual told us it was above our radio.

The state patrolman eventually caught up with us at the on ramp and told us the investigating trooper would be with us shortly to get our information. He said, “Cars are going off the road right and left, and I have other places to go.”

I still can’t believe we’re alive. Additionally, our car received only minimal damage. The last we heard both occupants of the other car were going to the hospital. One had a gash on their head, and both were in bad shape mentally. That’s understandable. It took me a while to stop shaking, and I wasn’t upside down in the median! It could have been so much worse. Every one of those semis that whizzed by us going at least seventy miles an hour should have received a citation. Even though we were spared sudden death when we hit that car, each semi that roared past us put our hearts up in our throats. We don’t know how we managed to keep from leaving the roadway ourselves or how the whole ordeal didn’t turn into a seventeen-car pileup. I’m not kidding; those cars and semis were driving way too fast for the road conditions.

Update on Chelsea: she’s still not being cleared to come home. Her nephrologist (kidney doctor) came in this morning while we were there and said her kidney numbers are still not where they need to be. He said she came into the hospital with normally functioning kidneys, but the triple whammy of having the bone infection, the strong antibiotics and the Tylenol/Advil to control her fever did a pretty bad number on her kidneys. Her urine output is pretty good, but the toxin levels in her blood are still concerning.

She is in no pain, but she has had a pretty stressful few days. Now she has a PICC line instead of an IV. She can’t move her head because of the tape on her neck, but she said she’s really not suffering any discomfort other than that.

While the nurses came in to clean her up after the orthopedic team came in to examine her tailbone, Chuck and I took that opportunity to run a few errands in Independence.

I was feeling horrible that our daughter was in a sterile, plain hospital room when she should be home basking in the glow of Christmas lights. We brought her back a soft teddy bear with a red snowflake scarf and hat. I told her whenever she feels stressed just to hug her bear and know how much we love her and that we are praying for her.

I told Chuck I wanted to order a poinsettia or something for her room to make it seem more like Christmas in there, but we just got the bear. Who knows, we may be spending Christmas in her hospital room.

Branson may be out of the question this year. That’s okay: we’re all still alive, and even if we have to spend Christmas in a hospital room at least we can all be together.

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(December 22, 2013) As far as we can tell this is the only damage our car sustained yesterday in our near brush with death. Truly we are blessed and amazed.

In just one fleeting moment, with no warning whatsoever, at least four people’s lives could have had devastating consequences to a chance encounter on a freeway (that’s just the four people in our cars; that’s not even taking into consideration our children and other family members).

In that one fleeting moment, I was fairly confident there was no way of escaping death. How much does it hurt to die? Would we be killed instantly? Would we die five minutes later while waiting for the ambulance?

Chuck said afterward he was pretty sure that image was going to be replayed over and over again in his mind. Ditto.

I will never forget the absolute horror on the face of that poor woman who was on her way to being flipped upside down in her car at the side of I-70. I know she and I were sharing the same thoughts at that moment: “This is it.” Well, MAYBE we were sharing the same thoughts. I mean, people look at death differently sometimes. I was thinking about the pain of dying. She may have been thinking of her destination in the afterlife. I would have been with the Lord. I don’t know where she would have been.

Whenever someone dies, whether a celebrity or just a regular person that we read about in the newspaper, my son’s first question is always, “Was he a Christian?” That determines everything, doesn’t it? That’s the only thing that’s important. It doesn’t matter how old the person is or how he died. Those elements are secondary and, in essence, they certainly pale in comparison.

I usually tell him, “I don’t know.” Sometimes I add, “I think so.” But sometimes I have to add, “I’ve not seen evidence of any kind of saving faith in his life, and I’ve not ever read where he talked about being in a relationship with Jesus at all, so based on that, probably not.”

Can you truly know the Lord and go on drinking and joking coarsely and using the Lord’s name as a curse word?

Anybody can be baptized. Baptism does not equal salvation. Anybody can go to church every single Sunday (or, as in some people’s case, lots of hit-and-miss Sundays). But you will see a difference in the life of a person who really knows the Lord. He will have a different way of talking, a different way of thinking, a different way of being entertained; he will seem different than others you know. In fact, if you are familiar with the believer (if he is a friend or a family member) one thing you will not have to ask is “Was he a Christian?” His life will speak volumes.

I think yesterday’s episode has ruined Chuck even more for chancing road conditions. It was almost a year ago to the very date when Chuck had a similar scare on icy roads, and on that day it was he who received a gash in his head. (It was on that day that we also lost Chuck’s dad. It was an awful day that will haunt our memory for a very long time. I shudder when I think that Chuck’s mom could have very easily lost both her husband and her firstborn son on the same day. How horrific that would have been.)

The fact is, we can be excellent drivers in snow and ice, but what about everyone else we encounter on the road? Chuck had reduced his speed by ten miles an hour and was driving responsibly; as far as we could tell the roads were wet, but not necessarily slick. The next thing we knew we were being passed by someone in a bigger hurry (or less responsible) than Chuck, and it almost ended in catastrophe.

Actually, it was semi-catastrophic for the other couple. They ended up in the hospital and were pretty badly shaken, but it could have been much, much worse; yesterday could have been the day they met their Maker, and only they know if they were ready to do that. This may have been God’s way of showing them their need for a Savior. He gave them a second chance. Not everyone gets one of those.

 

Dad’s Birthday

October 9. My dad would have turned 77 today, were he on earth instead of in heaven. I used to carry a picture in my purse of Dad with Chelsea in his lap. She was wearing a little blue polka dot dress with a red bow and a white lacy collar, and he was wearing the biggest smile you’ve ever seen. He wasn’t looking at the camera; he was looking at his granddaughter, and his eyes were gleaming.

One day I was showing the picture to a friend, and she commented on his smile, saying, “Can you count the back ones, too?”

He was the most loving dad a girl could ever ask for and the proudest grandpa. Oh, how he loved us. And how we loved him.

As a girl I remember making popcorn balls with him in the kitchen and homemade donuts.

So many times I long to go over for another Monday-night visit.

I wish I could just pick up the phone and call him whenever I wanted.

He was a kind and gentle soul, and there will never be another like him, the greatest dad in all the earth and I was proud to call him mine.

People say your view of God often depends on the kind of earthly father you have (had). That explains why I think God would be kind, loving, good, and fair–only more so, because I know that my heavenly father would not be any less than my earthly father.

Every time I hear someone present a theological concept that maligns the character of God (and this is what I tell my kids, too) I know it can’t possibly be true because I know, if my earthly dad could never be like that or do something like that, it would be something a hundred times removed from my heavenly father who is so much more than any earthly father could ever be.

I’m thankful to have had a dad who gave me such a clear picture of all God must be.

A Nightmare of a Blessing (Old Post from 2009)

The day started out normally, posting on others’ Facebook pages, going to church, stopping by Piggly Wiggly after church for groceries, blah, blah, blah.
And then we arrived home to hear the chirp of my cell phone on the ottoman in the family room. It was my sister. When I answered she was crying hysterically, “Something’s wrong with Dad! The ambulance is here! They’re doing CPR!”
Even though my dad is 72 years old now and I knew a day would possibly come when I would receive such a phone call, I wasn’t ready to receive one today.  As I listened to her sobbing into the phone, instantly I fell apart. I wasn’t ready to let go of my dad. Not now. Not yet.
I heard the ambulance blaring in the background, and suddenly I didn’t even remember how to use my own phone. “We’ll be right there, okay? Okay? We’re coming! Chantel? Okay?”
I hit what must have been the speaker phone because things got louder before suddenly she was gone.
Chuck was saying, “What? What’s wrong? WHAT??!!”I could barely talk but finally got out the words, “My DAD!!!!!! Something’s wrong with my dad!!! We gotta go. We have to go NOW!!!”
We pulled out of the driveway while I was frantically trying to dial our pastor’s number for prayer. Then Chuck did almost a U-turn and said, “We have to put away the groceries!!!” So we put everything in the fridge that needed to be kept cold and left everything else in bags on the table.

Chelsea and Cameron were eating lunch at McDonald’s, so Chuck called to tell them we were leaving and that something was wrong with Grandpa. Chelsea and Cameron immediately wanted to come up, too, but Chuck told them to stay put for now. The kids were upset and knew even less than we did. Finally as other people started showing up at the hospital, Chelsea called again and asked if they could come up. After I gave them brief directions on how to get to the hospital and after Cameron cancelled his basketball plans for later, they were on their way.

The hospital staff decided to airlift Dad to Centerpoint where his cardiologist was so I called Chelsea back and told her to have Cameron turn around and go back home. The helicopter was supposed to be there in seventeen minutes and then we would pick them up on our way to Independence. It took longer than we thought it would, though, and it was probably closer to half an hour or forty-five minutes by the time we were able to leave.

As we were walking down the halls of Ray County Memorial, out to the parking lot, Pastor Jeremy called and said he was already at Centerpoint. He was there to meet us when we arrived and already knew where Dad’s room was so he walked us up.

Dad looked awful, but slightly better than he had at Ray County where he had vomited a few times. They had him hooked up to a heart monitor and he was having severe chest pains still. He said he was very hot, and the nurse said he would try to get Dad a fan. We didn’t have a power of attorney paper with us (actually we had none at all–even though it was stated in Dad’s will). The nurse tried to get Dad to sign consent forms, but my brother had put Dad’s glasses in one of Dad’s shoes and Geoff hadn’t even made it to the hospital, yet. The nurse took off his reading glasses and put them on Dad, but Dad was having more and more trouble and, by this time, couldn’t even hold a pen in his hand. The doctor told us Dad appeared to be having another heart attack and they were going to have to wheel him out so they could correct the problem.

All the way to the hospital and then in the hall as I watched the erratic lines of the heart monitor I didn’t know how to pray. I just kept pleading over and over, “Please, God. Please, God. Please, God, take care of my dad. Please, God, I’m not ready to let him go. Please, God.”

I know my dad is a believer. I know my dad will be in heaven when he dies. But I guess I’m selfish. I would miss all my heart-to-heart talks with my dad, and I’m not ready to see them end. If something happens to my dad, what would I do? What? And then I started thinking of all the people he prays for, and I started wondering who would stand in the gap for all those family members. Could I pray as faithfully as my Dad does everyday? Would I get all his prayer list covered? In addition to my own? He couldn’t die, yet. Lots of people still need his prayers.

Today was a nightmare, really and truly, but, in hind sight, I can see God’s hand all the way through it. Today was, in fact, a blessing:

#1 If Chantel and Danny’s bathroom hadn’t been under renovation, they would not have been staying with my dad, and he would have been alone when this happened. There had been no warning. No words were even spoken. He started breathing heavily, his lips turned blue, his bottom teeth fell out, and his eyes got red. When she saw that Dad was unresponsive, Chantel yelled at Danny, “Something’s wrong with Dad!” Danny called 911 and began CPR. Chantel took her two little boys outside to flag down the ambulance and to call the rest of us. (The ambulance was there in under five minutes.)

#2 Danny has had, I think, nine CPR classes because of his position with the last company for which he worked. Had anyone else BUT Danny been there, Dad probably would not have survived. In fact, one of the paramedics said Danny’s actions may have saved his life.

#3 The heart attack happened at exactly the right moment. Chantel and Danny had been talking about heading home to work on the bathroom for fifteen minutes or so when Dad’s breathing became labored. In fact, Chantel was looking at her shoes and thinking of putting them on so they could leave. If Dad had had his heart attack ten minutes later, Chantel and Danny may have already been on their way home.

#4 I called our church before we even pulled out of the driveway, and not everyone was gone,yet. The ones who were still there began praying immediately.

#5 One of the paramedics on the ambulance with Dad (who said he also served as a chaplain for the firefighters) came by to pray with us shortly after we arrived at Ray County. He had a T-shirt on that said “Evangelists for Sports” or something like that. He recognized Chuck and Chuck recognized him, but neither knew from where.

One of the paramedics was actually one of my brother’s best friends in high school, and he didn’t even realize it was Dad until he saw our senior pictures all lined up on Dad’s living room wall. Dad went into full cardiac arrest. They had to use the defibrillators. Karl said it was the only case he had ever been on when they had to use the paddles that they were able to bring the person back.

We were shaken for quite a while today. When we arrived at Ray County, Chantel and I held each other for a long time and just sobbed together. A little later she told us that she had dreamed last night that Dad had a heart attack.

As I had sobbed and prayed in the car on the way to Ray County Memorial, Chuck had turned to me and said, “It’ll be okay. You’ll see.” And it was. I was sure my dad would be gone by the time we got there, but God preserved him. Even now, I almost can’t believe he’s still alive.

And as much as I have prayed that my sister and brother-in-law would start taking their little boys to church, today I am truly thankful that they were not in church, but instead they were at Dad’s. I will always be grateful to God for all Danny did for Dad today. I’m thankful for his skill and for his cool head. When my sister (and my dad!!) needed him, he was there, and he did what none of the rest of us would have been able to do.

Dad had two stents put in today (did I already say that?), and he may have to have more surgery. But I’m even thankful for this heart attack–because if it hadn’t happened, and if the disease in his heart had gone unchecked for longer, his first heart attack may have killed him. There may have been no coming back.

Thank You, God, for my dad. Thank You for preserving him, for guiding the doctors, for the chaplain who came in to pray for my dad and to check on his status, for Pastor Jeremy coming to the hospital to pray with us, for all our church family who prayed, for Aunt Belle’s prayers and Uncle Bob and Aunt Wanda’s prayers, for the rest of our family who prayed, for Danny and all he did. Thank you for keeping us all safe on the highway today as we drove to the hospital in our emotional state. Thank You for loving us and for hearing us when we pray. Even when we don’t know how. Thank you, God, for letting me keep my dad for a little while longer.

Sometimes God Sends a Big Fish (Old post from 2009)

You may remember the biblical account of Jonah, the man who set his jaw and decided not to do what God had asked him. Instead of preaching repentance to those wretched Ninevites, Jonah hopped aboard the next boat to Tarshish, trying to escape the presence of the LORD. But the Bible says you can’t hide from God (Psalm 139:7-12).

The Bible says, “the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.” The mariners traveling with Jonah were terrified. What in the world was going on? Jonah confessed that he was the cause of the storm.

“Cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you,” Jonah said (Jonah 1:12.)

That ended his shipmates’ problems, but Jonah plummeted to the depths of the sea, facing certain death. God was there to catch him when he fell. The Bible says, “the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”

Was it happenstance that strong winds rocked the ship bound for Tarshish and nearly destroyed it? No. God sent that storm. Was it mere fate that caused a huge fish to happen along to catch Jonah when he fell? No. God sent that fish. The lesson wasn’t wasted on Jonah, either. He knew exactly what was going on. God had a plan for Jonah’s life, and God’s plans can’t be thwarted.

There was a time when I wasn’t walking with the Lord. I received Christ when I was eleven, but my parents stopped taking us to church not long after that. I didn’t have the love and support of encouraging youth group leaders, and I wasn’t sitting under the teaching of a good Bible-believing pastor. I was just kind of out twisting in the wind. But the wind was in God’s hand, and so was I. I wasn’t hidden from His sight. One day He sent a big fish. The fish’s name was spina bifida. When my first child was born with this birth defect, it caused me to get my priorities straight in a big hurry, to return to the God who loves me and died for me. I wanted to rear my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, as the Bible tells us to do.

I want our family in church. I don’t want my children out twisting in the wind because they have no direction. I don’t want them to make the same mistakes I made. I want them to walk with God always and never turn away from His will for their lives.

We have to understand that God loves us and cares for us. We may get lost in the storms of life, but sometimes those storms are our own doing—as in Jonah’s case. Praise be to God, on the wings of the storm sometimes God sends a big fish. While it’s no fun to be trapped in the belly of a big fish, sometimes that fish turns out to be our deliverance from an even greater catastrophe: sudden death, or, worse yet, imminent eternal death.

Jonah cried out to God and God had His ear bent toward Jonah to receive his pleas for mercy and forgiveness. Had it not been for the great fish God sent, Jonah would have perished in the depths of the sea. God spared Jonah and supernaturally kept him alive—in a fish’s belly. Then, after three days, the fish vomited Jonah up on dry ground (Jonah 2:10). For the sake of all the people in Nineveh who were headed for hell and needed to hear about God’s love and mercy, Jonah needed an attitude adjustment.

Maybe you’ve been through something horrible. Maybe you’re going through something horrible right now. You know, God has His ear bent toward you, too. Are you ready to receive God’s mercy and forgiveness? He sent His Son that you might have it. The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Sincerely trust in the Lord Jesus, and He can and will deliver you from your bondage of sin.

Bats in the House (old post from 2009)

When we lived on 13th Street and had very tall oak trees on all four corners of our house, we had a bat drop in for a visit one summer. Let me tell you, it’s very freaky to have a BAT in your house! It took a day or two to get him out because, of course, he only came out at night, and it was a frightening experience all around, with all his swooping down at our heads while we screamed and chased him around with bed sheets, trying to shoo him out the front door.

The first night no one saw it but me. Chelsea was in her room and Chuck and Cameron were at a Royals game. I told them all about it, and they believed me. All day the next day Cameron walked through the house with his hand shadowing his eyes, lest he catch sight of the horrid winged creature. He did this, even though he had never seen the bat for himself. I had told him that I saw it, though, and he believed me.

After this episode I started thinking about how easily we can apply this experience to the historical account of the beginning of Christianity. I often think of the disciples and wonder how anyone can doubt the truth of the Christian faith, based on their testimonies and the lengths to which they went in spreading that truth, even choosing to die for it rather than recant.

When I think of the type of men Jesus chose for His disciples and apostles, I see that He chose some very credible men. Luke and Paul, for example, were both educated men, certainly no fools. Luke was not only a physician by trade but also a noted historian as well. Paul was educated in matters of the law, an intelligent man. Their lives, and the lives of their brothers in Christ, were spent, poured out for the cause of the Gospel. They poured out their lives for what they—not just believed—but knew to be true.

1 Corinthians 15:3: For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1Co:15:4: And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
1Co:15:5: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
1Co:15:6: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
1Co:15:7: After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
1Co:15:8: And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
1Co:15:9: For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

Take a look at that last verse. I believe that Paul was an even more credible witness for Christ because of his background. He, in essence, had to admit that he was wrong, that his convictions had been misplaced.

How credible a witness are we? How do we live our lives? Do we live like we actually believe what we preach? Do we live like the Gospel is just something to which we mouth allegiance on Sundays or is it the very essence of our life?

A final Scripture that kind of ties into this is Philippians 4:8: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

As Christians, truth should always be on our lips. Never should we be caught in a lie, a white lie, a half truth, an unfulfilled (or forgotten) promise. If we tell someone we are going to do something, we better make sure that is the thing we do. I think it’s best not to promise anything in the absolute because as the Bible says we should not boast of tomorrow since we don’t know what tomorrow holds. I think we should pepper our speech with “As far as I know I will be able to do such and such” or “I will try my best to do such and such…”

The only time we can deal in absolutes is when we are dealing with the Gospel of Christ, and then we can be absolutely certain that it is the absolute truth. The disciples died for what they knew to be true. They knew it was true because they were there and they saw the risen Lord firsthand. The people they told believed them then, and I believe them now.

Do Good People Go to Heaven?

When my son was very small, he had somehow picked up (probably from Hollywood) that good people go to heaven and bad guys go to hell. I had to explain to him that the matter of heaven and hell is not a good guy/bad guy scenario. No one is good enough to go to heaven. Compared to our Holy God, we’re all “bad guys.”

The fact is that we all have sinned against God (Romans 3:23). Ultimately, it’s not the good we have done or the bad we have done that affects where we spend eternity; the only question that matters is, have we received forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus Christ? What have we done with the gift of God’s only begotten Son? He who trusts in Jesus is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned (John 3:16-18).

The Bible says that our own righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). The only righteousness we are able to claim is the imputed righteousness of the sinless and blameless Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Our faith is credited to us as righteousness, not our works (Hebrews, chapter 11).

Except for the favor we have found with God for believing on the name of His only begotten Son for the forgiveness of our sins, not a single one of us would or could make it to heaven. And we can’t even take credit for our faith because the Bible says in Romans 12:3: For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Even our very faith is a gift from our heavenly Father. God has enabled us to believe. He has also enabled us to reject Him by giving us free will. Matthew 23:37 gives us an illustration of this point: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

God has given each person a free will and a measure of faith. It is not that the most hardened atheist can’t believe; it’s that he won’t. The Bible says that man will be without excuse (Romans 1:20). No one will be able to stand before the Father and say, “Well, I just didn’t know.” The evidence is there: in creation, in our own consciences, throughout God’s Word and in the prompting of the Holy Spirit who convicts us of our sin and testifies of the Son.

The Bible makes it clear that no one can get to the Father except through the Son.

The words of an old hymn say it all: “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Revelation 1:5 records for us: “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood…”

We are cleansed from our sins by the blood of Jesus, not by any work we can accomplish on our own behalf (Romans 3:25, Romans 5:9, Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). He couldn’t have made it any clearer.

Since salvation comes through the blood of Christ alone, we can be confident that no one is so bad that God’s grace can’t save him, and no one is so good that he doesn’t need to be saved.

Trust solely in Christ today for your salvation and you will secure a home in heaven for eternity. Jesus can wipe your slate clean, and you can start a brand new life today. Won’t you turn to Him now?