Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Strange, Isn’t it?

John 14:3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
Luke 23:43  And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

Heaven or Paradise
The Israelites look forward to completely possessing the promised land again.  The land had ups and downs, that is, it had hills and valleys.  It had the presence of the Lord as long as the children of Israel worshiped Jehovah and Him alone.  It was a place of great blessing. The Christian today looks forward to being with the Lord in a place that the Lord has prepared for them.  In John 14 this place is called the Father’s house.  For the thief on the cross who had turned to the Lord for mercy in the eleventh hour, that place was called paradise.  But whether paradise and heaven are the same thing or not, they are both blessings.  The unrepentant thief must have kicked himself around the block when he realized he was condemned eternally and his fellow thief had been saved to be with the Lord in paradise.  He must have wondered why he allowed his pride to condemn him when the means of his salvation had been dying beside him on the middle cross.  ALL he had to do was to trust Him.

Heaven on Earth
Now the USA in 2015 is not heaven on earth.  It is not the kingdom of God.  It is not heaven nor is it the promised land.  But it comes fairly close.  When we listen to all of the politicians telling us about the problems of the US and how they would cure them, we get the impression that the US is like a broken marriage that can’t be repaired.  One would think that we should all be forsaking the country and finding shelter in other countries.  But for some reason the others come to us and except for retirees looking for a warm cheap place to retire, other countries do not build walls to keep US citizens out.  Strange, isn’t it?

Maybe we Really should Count our Blessings
If I could have chosen the country and the period in time in which to be born, could I have chosen a better country at a better time in history than the last seventy-two years?  My answer is no.  Society was violent after Adam and Eve were forced to leave the Garden of Eden.  Cain killed his  brother Abel.   By Noah’s time, the imagination of man’s heart was evil from his youth.  I suspect there were gangs, drug use, robbers, murderers, wars, exploitation and immorality on a magnitude that was greater than what we experience today.  I wouldn’t have wanted to live then.  From Noah’s day until the Lord’s day, there may have been peaceful periods, but they didn’t have flush toilets, hot showers (or maybe some did), automobiles, airplanes, or space travel.  They didn’t have television, and they didn’t have smart phones.  They did have disease and wars.   In the dark ages, the peasants were kept in bondage to those who had money.  Most people could not read or write.   I wouldn’t have wanted to live in any one of those periods.

The Blessing of our Current Day and of our Current Country
I was born as World War 11 was coming to a close.  I have seen gang warfare and ethnic violence.  But I have not seen a war fought on our soil unless a person considers the terrorism of 911 to be a war.  We have not had brother fighting brother in a civil war.  Our politicians may leave something to be desired, but so far they have not fought duels like Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr where Hamilton was killed.  Thank God, the Lord didn’t see fit to have me live in those days.

I have seen the eradication of many diseases that were once feared.  My sister died of whooping cough.  My friends were crippled with polio.  But most childhood diseases have been controlled.  I have never gone hungry.  I have enjoyed running water and flush toilets and automobiles.  I haven’t had to milk a cow but I have plenty of milk in the frig.  I can call my wife from my car when I am on the road.  Through the internet, I have “friends” all over the US and Canada and in Europe and Africa and SE Asia and India.  My children have all gotten good educations even though I am not wealthy.  They have good jobs.  They have lived in a land of opportunity and plenty.  I have a faithful good-looking spiritual wife. 

People complain about social programs but one social program saved my life.  When I turned 65, I went in for the preventative medical exams that medicare encouraged us to get.  They found that the “widow-maker” artery in my heart was 90 percent blocked.  I had no symptoms.  But apart from medicare, I likely wouldn’t be writing this today.  I don’t complain about the cost of medicare premiums which keep going up and up, instead I thank God for the program.

It is time to Give Thanks
I personally believe that there is a lot that is right in this country.  It still allows me to preach the Gospel.  It allowed the Gospel to be preached to me.  It allows me to worship in a Biblical way.  And of course if I want to turn my back on God, I am allowed to do that as well.   Instead of being all upset about what we don’t have in this country, I would like to suggest that we start thanking the Lord for what we do have.  Maybe if we were thankful for our blessings maybe, just maybe, the Lord would see fit to preserve them for us.  I would like to continue to live in the best country at the best time that this world has ever experienced.

Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of October 25, 2015

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