Lost and Found

Lost and Found

My first car was an old clunker. It was a light blue Chrysler and I’m not sure of the year (late 1950’s or early 1960’s) but it was definitely old. It had what I would describe as “wings” on each side at the rear of the car, and a convenient hole in the driver’s side floorboard where I could empty my soft drinks and coffee. Ha!

Strangely, it had an automatic transmission but no “P” for park; I had to put it in “N” for neutral and pull the parking brake. This would have been fine, except for the fact that the parking brake was broke. So, I had to open my door and throw a wood block under the front tire to chalk it in place. The real problem came when I’d miss the tire and have to hurry out of the car, get the block from wherever it landed, and wedge it under the tire before the car rolled too far. Good times! Ha!

Hey, I was 16 years old, it was 1970, and I was happy just to have my own car, even though it was a clunker.

It basically got me from point A to point B, and it had an AM radio, which was always tuned-in to either pop or rock music. 🎶

June 1971, in my light blue Chrysler.

The problem was my sense of direction; it wasn’t very good. I was always getting lost. I remember crying on more than one occasion because I was lost. This was the point when I first began thinking how cool it would be if my radio could please just tell me where I was, and how to get to where I was going. I was on the edge of brilliance (😂) but somehow fell short of inventing GPS navigation.

Then,

In 1972, I got a major upgrade; a brand new 1972 Camaro Rally Sport in Mojave Gold, complete with rear spoiler, an AM/FM stereo radio 🎶 (woo-hoo!), an 8-Track Tape player, lots of pop and rock 8-Track Tapes, and I graduated from high school, all in that order.

Me and my Camaro, May 1972. (My dad gave me $1000 for the down payment, and I worked full-time my senior year of high school, paid my monthly payments weekly and got it paid it off within a year.)

Fast forward to today, I drive a 2019 Jeep Grande Cherokee. It has a beautiful Pearl Red exterior color, and my favorite interior feature: Car Play with access to my iPhone apps, media, contacts, maps, and more.

October 2017, at the Texas State Fair in the Car Pavilion. I told Harold I loved the color of this 2018 Jeep. He surprised me a little over a year later at Christmas time with a brand new Pearl Red 2019 Jeep Grande Cherokee!

Lots of changes.

Much for the good.

But,

Of all of these changes over the past 50 years I’d have to say that the greatest change has not been in my cars,

but in my heart,

and in that which I choose to feed it.

The change in my heart came in the mid 1980’s when I repented of my sins and surrendered my heart to Jesus. The choice of what to feed it followed in the days after, up to and including today.

“Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.” Psalm 25:4

So these days,

My favorite thing to listen to while driving is Christian talk radio. My favorite station is AFR, a Christian Talk Radio Station based in Tupelo, MS. That station, combined with my favorite iPhone apps, Truth for Life with Alistair Begg, One Passion with Steven Lawson, and Grace to You with John MacArthur; and some of my favorite Christian Podcasters, like Allie Beth Stuckey of Relatable, and Jan Markle of Understanding the Times, have been a godsend in my life. There are many more great pastors, teachers, and Christian leaders I like to listen to, but way too many to mention them all. Suffice it to say that I’m thankful 🙌🏻 for each one of them. They, along with Bible study and prayer, help me keep more “in tune” with God and less “in tune” with the world.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8

So, how cool is it, that my getting lost when I first started driving, and my desperate hope that the radio would tell me where I was and how to get to where I needed to go, has actually come true in my life,

And,

in more ways than one:

Thanks to my Car Play maps and navigation system, I no longer get lost.

Thanks to Christian Talk Radio and my favorite iPhone apps that guide me in my walk with the Lord.

Cooler still,

Thanks to the Lord,

“I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.” #JohnNewton

By the grace of God,

I know who I am, (a sinner saved by grace).

Where I am, (in Christ Jesus)

and,

Where I’m going. (In the world but not of the world; on my way to heaven one day in God’s perfect timing.)

“Pray that the LORD your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.” Jeremiah 42:3

And enjoy the ride along the way.

#Heaven

One of my favorite pastimes is shopping at thrift and resale stores. I really don’t have to buy anything; I just like seeing old and unusual things. It’s a fun way to bring back memories!

One day while at a resale shop I glanced over at the books and noticed a worn out copy of “Heaven is for Real.” They made a movie about it a few years ago and I remembered lot of people talked about seeing it or at least wanting to go see it. I never got around to it. Actually, I purposely didn’t go see this movie when it came out (or buy the used book at the resale shop) because it’s just not biblical.

No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. John 3:13

The book was a bestseller and the movie was a box office success. For those who don’t remember the book or the movie, it was about a young boy, the 4 year-old son of a pastor, who had an operation and claimed he went to heaven and back during his operation; an out-of-body experience. He describes his visit to heaven with the vivid imagination of a young child. Interesting.

Interesting to me because when I was young, maybe 11 or 12, I had, what I would call, a kind of out-of-body experience myself. I was sick with a fever and headache and I was lying on the living room couch. I think I was home alone. I remember crying and drifting off to sleep. I woke up in a sweat and kept thinking about just being outside of my body and floating all around the house. I was floating from room to room, all while hovering near the top of the ceiling for what seemed to be several minutes. I don’t really remember much else except being back on the couch and my mom giving me water and cold rags to bring my fever down. I didn’t go to the doctor and I didn’t mentioned the floating experience to anyone because it was all too weird. At the time it seemed frighteningly real to me, but in retrospect I’m sure it was the fever that caused me to dream or hallucinate it.

So as sincere and well meaning as this 4 year old boy and his father may have been, I simply don’t believe it. He may have had a dream or some sort of hallucination due to the anesthesia but I don’t believe for one second that he died and went to heaven and back.

Why would people even begin to believe a story like this?! What God has revealed to us in His Word is truly the only legitimate source we have about heaven. There may be a lot about heaven that is yet to be revealed to us but I believe the Bible tells us all we need to know.

But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,”What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:7-9

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. John 14:2

Actually, much more important than knowing about heaven, is knowing Jesus. All of the “knowledge” in the world about heaven will not get you there. You need Jesus first and foremost.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

So herein lies both the question and the answer:

Jesus, do you know Him?