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JOE’S NOTEBOOK: What “Doing Your Best” Does Not Mean

Friendly Reminder: “Doing Your Best” does not mean working yourself to the point of a mental breakdown.

Scars in Heaven

Picking up where we were yesterday —

That same real life friend and colleague, The Rev. Dr. Gayle Hubbard Arnold, texted me this and has given me permission to share it with you: “I’m really feeling like the foot on the side of eternity is more real than the chaos of this life.”

As an accompaniment, she pointed to these lyrics —

If I had only known the last time would be the last time
I would've put off all the things I had to do
I would've stayed a little longer, held on a little tighter
Now what I'd give for one more day with you
'Cause there's a wound here in my heart where something's missing
And they tell me that it's gonna heal with time
But I know you're in a place where all your wounds have been erased
And knowing yours are healed is healing mine

The only scars in heaven, they won't belong to me and you
There'll be no such thing as broken and all the old will be made new
And the thought that makes me smile now even as the tears fall down
Is that the only scars in heaven are on the hands that hold you now

I know the road you walked was anything but easy
You picked up your share of scars along the way
Oh, but now you're standing in the sun, you've fought your fight and your race is run
The pain is all a million miles away

The only scars in heaven, they won't belong to me and you
There'll be no such thing as broken and all the old will be made new
And the thought that makes me smile now even as the tears fall down
Is that the only scars in heaven are on the hands that hold you now

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, for the hands that hold you now

There's not a day goes by that I don't see you
You live on in all the better parts of me
Until I'm standing with you in the sun, I'll fight this fight and this race I'll run
Until I finally see what you can see, oh-oh

The only scars in heaven, they won't belong to me and you
There'll be no such thing as broken and all the old will be made new
And the thought that makes me smile now even as the tears fall down
Is that the only scars in heaven are on the hands that hold you now




— That’s from a June 6th, 2021 release by Casting Crowns, written by Matthew Joseph West and Mark Hall, and…wow.

Yeah.

Double wow.

And mercy.

JOE’S NOTEBOOK: Noticed Any Miracles?

Life is a series of tiny little miracles. Notice them.

Visiting Family & Friends, or Their Graves?

“I sometimes feel as if I passed the point when there are more loved ones who need flowers on their graves than those who remain behind.”

The Rev. Dr. Gayle Hubbard Arnold, real life friend and colleague from both college and seminary days, wrote that in a message on August 10. It’s with her expressed gracious permission that I share it with you here.

For decades, I’ve been known to put on my Captain Obvious Hat and say that the windshield is larger than the rear view mirror for a reason.

Anybody else sometimes notice yourself spending more time looking back?

Anybody else have an experience of “one last time” with certain people or events?

Maybe this sounds or feels familiar: To live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.

Yet what shall I choose?

I do not know!

I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Philippians 1:21-24

Hold on.

Wanna see you back here tomorrow.

Covered in That Ash

“I am — we all are — covered forever with a bit of the ash from those towers.”

JOE’S NOTEBOOK: Every Step

When you dance your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way. — Wayne Dyer

Sin & Pleasure

One of my heroes was the late and very great Bill Mallard. He enjoyed this ironic, sarcastic, and tragically absurd line, which though unspoken lies beneath so much of what’s wrong with our Christian Living and Witness —

When I do it, it’s a pleasure,

but when you do it, it’s a sin.

— So. Many. Directions. To. Go.

But I’m turning to Christ Jesus, who said, Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment.

That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.

It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own.

Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt?

It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part.

Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.Matthew 7:1-5

JOE’S NOTEBOOK: A Key to So Much

You don’t have to be extreme, just consistent.

The Best, The Beautiful and….

“Find the good and praise it.” — Alex Haley

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

“Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized.

“Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” — Philippians 4:8,9 in the Message Version

“What are we waiting for?” — yours truly

JOE’S NOTEBOOK: Note to Self

Dear Self,

Stop searching for reasons to be upset.

Remind yourself of your blessings.

Love,

Change Your Perspective

PS: I love you.