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Manual WINGS: A Journey in Faith from the Earthly to the Heavenly - A One Year Workbook in Christian Living

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In the Gospels Jesus asks deep questions, and some of them make people feel uncomfortable. We come to church to get answers to our own questions. What if we were to take a survey of people and ask them: "What do people say that the church is? Some would say that the church is a place where you can go to sit with your friends.

But you can sit with your friends at a football game or at a party. Others would say that the church is a place to sing songs and to get a good feeling. But you can go to a movie to get a good feeling, and you can sing any songs you want in the shower. What does the church have to offer that you can't find anywhere else? The church is the place where the realms of the earthly and the divine come together. We have been given the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Christ has promised to build the church on people like us, despite the forces of death all around us.

The church has its ups and downs, but ultimately, the church is indestructible. But in the church, where the heavenly comes into contact with the earthly, we learn that death is not the end. That's the point that Jesus makes when he says, "I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. It refers to death. What Jesus is saying is that He is going to build his church, and even death will not defeat it.

It is estimated that about one out of every two hundred Christians worldwide will one day be put to death because of their commitment to Jesus. But again, in the church, because of Jesus, we believe that there is a joining together of the earthly and the heavenly. Death appears to be the end of life— but only if you look at it from an earthly point of view.

To people who are truly willing to die for their beliefs, death is almost nothing at all. The job of a Christian congregation is to tell the world that the day is coming when death and darkness will come to an end. He grew up in the early nineteenth century, and spent a lot more time indoors than most children did, because he was frequently sick.

He spent hours in bed, looking out of windows. The boy was looking out his bedroom window one evening, watching a man walk up and down the street, lighting the gas street lamps along the sidewalks. When his nurse came in to check on young Stevenson, she asked him what he was doing. He said, "I'm watching a man poke holes in the darkness.

That's what Christians are called to do: to poke holes in the darkness. We can do it because our church is a gift from God. Between our faith and our actions, we build the church, together. Sunday worship is the time where the earthly and the heavenly meet. The authority that Christ gave to Peter is ours now. God chose us to show the world that the light of Jesus shines upon us. With Him we can make the darkness disappear. So many thingsour love for our family and friends, our commitment to high moral standards, our gestures of forgiveness, and our acts of kindness—declare our faith in Jesus Christ as our Redeemer.

Let us pray. Lord, you are the answer to so many questions. Thank you for choosing us to lead your church through the darkness. May we proclaim our faith in every decision that confronts us, and in every relationship with which we are blessed. Craig S. Eugene Boring and Fred B.

What were you doing last Tuesday at one-fifty p. Did your kitchen table vibrate? Did pictures fall off your living room wall? Did you call your loved ones after you found out what had happened? Last Tuesday was a defining moment for families in the Lehigh Valley—even though its effects turned out to be underwhelming. This weekend, Hurricane Irene has been making time stand still for people on the East Coast.

There are a few moments in our lives that are a big deal. People even mumble that the world might be coming to an end. You can remember where you were, and who you were with, at those moments—if you were more than two or three years old then. We have unforgettable moments of joy, too. Do you remember the first time a newborn baby was placed in your arms?

That moment defined you as mother or father. A big defining day for me was a Saturday morning in March, forty-two years ago, when John and I became husband and wife. A birth, a graduation, a wedding—all of those are moments when time stands still. We felt connected to our ancestors and to future generations, and to our Savior, Jesus Christ, at those times.

The church keeps records of defining moments in your life. We have the dates when you were baptized and confirmed—if those defining moments happened here. We can see who the pastor and witnesses were, if you were married here. Our Session takes time to vote on each addition or deletion of a name from the church rolls.


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The joyful times in Christian lives are that important to us. Finding out who we are and who God calls us to be —those discoveries are part of a process of transformation. What will others understand about Christianity, from the way you live your life? Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit. Serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Just like ours! He writes about love in this passage—love, as it should be lived out by Christians in defining moments of their lives. Paul had a lot of defining moments in his life. He went blind on the road to Damascus. He got arrested and was in shipwrecks. For Paul, love is expressed in doing, not just feeling. Is he setting an impossible standard? How can we live Christ-like lives today? How can we love one another? How can we care for suffering people in need? How can we overcome evil with good?

I feel powerless a lot of the time. But I do know this…what I can do, I will do. I will serve my Lord. My love will be real. The defining moments in our lives are not always easy. My baptism was probably easy, but the milestones that came later in my life were more challenging! Defining moments can be joyful or life-shattering. I know the ultimate defining moment for me will be when I stand before my God and Maker. Give drink to the thirsty? Did you care for the poor and the homeless? Did you love them the way I love you? God of the Universe, we thank you for all that you have made.

We thank you for being with us always. Help us to live in harmony in a changing world. Remember I have fought some hard battles and won, ere the close of the day. Then forget to grieve for my going, I would not have you sad for a day, but in summer just gather some flowers and remember the place where I lay. Come in the shade of evening when the sun paints the sky in the west.

Stand for a few moments beside me and remember only my best. When I must leave you for a little while, please do not grieve and shed wild tears and hug your sorrow to you through the years.

First Presbyterian Church of Hokendauqua

But start out bravely with a gallant smile; and for my sake and in my name live on and do things the same. And never, never be afraid to die, for I am waiting for you in the sky! No breaking heart is here, no sad and chilling pain; no wasted cheeks where the frequent tear rolls down and leaves it stain. Dear Friends of mortal years, the trusted and the true, you are watching still in the valley of tears, but I wait to welcome you.

You are not forgotten, loved one nor will you ever be, as long as life and memory last we will remember thee. Leaf after leaf flower after flower some in the dawn of day some in the after hour. Alive they lourish, and alive the fall and the earth that sustained them receives them all. The best things are the nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, Flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, The path of right just before you. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. A time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to gather stones together, a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: For thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands, and a pure heart; Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully.

He shall receive blessing from the Lord, And righteousness from the God of his salvation. I will lift up my eyes to the hills — From whence comes my help. My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.

The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in. From this time forth, and even forevermore. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.

So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness. Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to keep. People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.


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  • When Jesus saw this, he was indigant. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. When God calls little children to dwell with Him above, we mortals sometime question the wisdom of His love. For no heartache compares with the death of one small child who does so much to make our world seem wonderful and mild. God knows how much we need them, and so He takes but few to make the land of Heaven more beautiful to view. So when a little child departs, we who are left behind must realize God loves children, angels are hard to find.

    What kind of place would heaven be, with all its streets of gold, if all the souls that dwell up there like yours and mine were old? The children that God sends to us are only just a loan, He knows we need their sunshine to make the house a home. Sometimes it takes them years to do the work for which they come. Sometimes in just a month or two, our Father calls them home. I like to think some souls up there bear not one sinful scar. I love to think of heaven as a place where children are. How very softly you tiptoed into our world, almost silently, only a moment you stayed.

    I put your name in the sand, but the waves washed it away. I put your name in my hand, but I washed it away the next day. I put your name on paper, but accidentally threw it away. I put your name in my heart and forever it will stay. I am standing upon the seashore A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.

    Gone from my sight — that is all.

    In the beginning God created heaven and earth - Noah and the flood - Genesis - Chapter 1

    God looked around His garden and found an empty place. He then looked down upon the earth, and saw your tired face. He put His arms around you and lifted you to rest. It broke our hearts to lose you But you did not go alone, For part of us went with you The day God called you home. Download Worksheet. Autumn Rain Do not stand at my grave and weep. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die. And may there be no sadness of farewell when I embark; For though from out our borne of time and place the flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face when I have crossed the bar.

    From Desiderata The Eternal Goodness I know not what the future hath of marvel or surprise; assured alone that life and death His mercy underlies. Feelings We feel sad, for what we have lost. Final Harvest He was bound to the land from the day of his birth. Help me embrace a little child before it is too late; or save an older person from the horror of that fate. I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me, to guard my every neighbor and protect his property. And if, according to my fate, I am to lose my life; please bless with your protecting hand my children and my wife.

    Footprints in the Sand One night a man had a dream. God broke our hearts to prove to us, He only takes the Best! God hath not promised sun without rain, Joy without sorrow, peace without pain. But God hath promised strength for the day, Rest for the labor, light for the way. Grace for the trials, help from above, Unfailing sympathy and undying love. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there. I did not die.

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    In Memory When I must leave for a little while please do not grieve and shed wild tears and hug your sorrow to you through the years. An Irish Blessing May the road rise with you. A Little Step Away To close the eye, to fall asleep, to draw a labored breath. Hanson The Legacy When I die give what is left of me to the children. We thank You for all the good things You gave our loved one while here on earth. May Your servant praise You forever in the joy of Your presence.

    We ask this through Christ, our resurrected Lord. O My Father O my Father, thou that dwellest in the high and glorious place, When shall I regain thy presence, and again behold thy face? Pass Through I shall pass through this world but once. Poem for the Living When I am dead, cry for me a little, think of me sometimes, but not too much. And please, Lord, through it all, be at my side.

    Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. Prayer of Serenity God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The Resurrection Prayer Most merciful Father, we commend our departed into your hands. Robert Frost Some Day Some day all doubt and mystery will be made clear; the threatened clouds which now we see will disappear.

    The Sheaf of Wheat Wheat is a symbol of the maturity of life and that harvest time has been reached. Soul Takes Flight Lord, When my soul takes flight, may it rise swiftly to live forever in your love and care. Success To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

    Taps Day is done, Gone the sun, From the hills, From the sky. But if we trust God, as we should, all must work out for good. He knows the reason. The Time Has Come The time has come for me to leave this life. The Weaver My life is but a weaving between my Lord and me. What God Has Promised God has not promised skies always blue, flower-strewn pathways, all our lives through. God has not promised sun without rain, joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

    When I Must Leave You When I must leave you for a little while, please do not grieve and shed wild tears and hug your sorrow to you through the years. Feed not your loneliness on empty days, but fill each waking hour in useful ways. Where I Am No breaking heart is here, no sad and chilling pain; no wasted cheeks where the frequent tear rolls down and leaves it stain. You Are Not Forgotten You are not forgotten, loved one nor will you ever be, as long as life and memory last we will remember thee.

    We miss you now, our hearts are sore. Your loving smile, your gentle face no one can fill your vacant place. The path of sorrow, and that path alone, leads to the land where sorrow is unknown. Hail Mary Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Isaiah Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.

    I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day. When I am gone, release me, let me go, I have so many things to see and do. I gave you my love, you can only guess how much you gave me in happiness. So grieve a while for if grieve you must then let your grief be comforted by trust. She always leaned to watch for us, anxious if we were late. In winter by the window, in summer by the gate. And though we mocked her tenderly; who had such foolish care, The long way home would seem more safe because she waited there.

    Her thoughts were all so full of us; she never could forget! And so I think that where she is she must be waiting yet. It broke our hearts to lose you, But you did not go alone, A part of us went with you, The day God called you home. A million times we needed you, A million times we cried, If love could have only saved you, You never would have died. My life is but a weaving between my Lord and me. I cannot choose the colors He worketh steadily. Oft times He weaveth sorrow and I, in foolish pride, forget He sees the upper and I, the underside.

    He knows, He loves, He cares, nothing this truth can dim, He gives His very best to those who leave the choice with Him. But God has promised strength for the day, rest for the labor, light for the way, grace for the trials, help from above, unfailing sympathy, undying love. When I come to the end of my journey and I travel my last weary mile, just forget if you can, that I ever frowned and remember only the smile. Forget unkind words I have spoken; remember some good I have done.

    Remember I have fought some hard battles and won, ere the close of the day. Then forget to grieve for my going, I would not have you sad for a day, but in summer just gather some flowers and remember the place where I lay.

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    Come in the shade of evening when the sun paints the sky in the west. Stand for a few moments beside me and remember only my best. When I must leave you for a little while, please do not grieve and shed wild tears and hug your sorrow to you through the years. But start out bravely with a gallant smile; and for my sake and in my name live on and do things the same.

    And never, never be afraid to die, for I am waiting for you in the sky! No breaking heart is here, no sad and chilling pain; no wasted cheeks where the frequent tear rolls down and leaves it stain. Dear Friends of mortal years, the trusted and the true, you are watching still in the valley of tears, but I wait to welcome you. You are not forgotten, loved one nor will you ever be, as long as life and memory last we will remember thee.

    Leaf after leaf flower after flower some in the dawn of day some in the after hour. Alive they lourish, and alive the fall and the earth that sustained them receives them all. The best things are the nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, Flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, The path of right just before you. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

    Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

    Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. A time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to gather stones together, a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

    The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.

    Transferable Concept 11: How to Study the Bible Effectively

    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: For thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?

    Or who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands, and a pure heart; Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, And righteousness from the God of his salvation. I will lift up my eyes to the hills — From whence comes my help. My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

    He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in.

    From this time forth, and even forevermore. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness. Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to keep.

    People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indigant. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. When God calls little children to dwell with Him above, we mortals sometime question the wisdom of His love. For no heartache compares with the death of one small child who does so much to make our world seem wonderful and mild.

    God knows how much we need them, and so He takes but few to make the land of Heaven more beautiful to view. So when a little child departs, we who are left behind must realize God loves children, angels are hard to find. What kind of place would heaven be, with all its streets of gold, if all the souls that dwell up there like yours and mine were old? The children that God sends to us are only just a loan, He knows we need their sunshine to make the house a home. Sometimes it takes them years to do the work for which they come. Sometimes in just a month or two, our Father calls them home.

    I like to think some souls up there bear not one sinful scar. I love to think of heaven as a place where children are. How very softly you tiptoed into our world, almost silently, only a moment you stayed. I put your name in the sand, but the waves washed it away. I put your name in my hand, but I washed it away the next day. I put your name on paper, but accidentally threw it away. I put your name in my heart and forever it will stay. I am standing upon the seashore A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.

    She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Gone from my sight — that is all. God looked around His garden and found an empty place. He then looked down upon the earth, and saw your tired face. He put His arms around you and lifted you to rest. It broke our hearts to lose you But you did not go alone, For part of us went with you The day God called you home. Download Worksheet. Autumn Rain Do not stand at my grave and weep. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die.

    And may there be no sadness of farewell when I embark; For though from out our borne of time and place the flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face when I have crossed the bar. From Desiderata The Eternal Goodness I know not what the future hath of marvel or surprise; assured alone that life and death His mercy underlies.

    Feelings We feel sad, for what we have lost. Final Harvest He was bound to the land from the day of his birth. Help me embrace a little child before it is too late; or save an older person from the horror of that fate. I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me, to guard my every neighbor and protect his property. And if, according to my fate, I am to lose my life; please bless with your protecting hand my children and my wife.

    Footprints in the Sand One night a man had a dream. God broke our hearts to prove to us, He only takes the Best! God hath not promised sun without rain, Joy without sorrow, peace without pain. But God hath promised strength for the day, Rest for the labor, light for the way. Grace for the trials, help from above, Unfailing sympathy and undying love. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there. I did not die. In Memory When I must leave for a little while please do not grieve and shed wild tears and hug your sorrow to you through the years. An Irish Blessing May the road rise with you.

    A Little Step Away To close the eye, to fall asleep, to draw a labored breath. Hanson The Legacy When I die give what is left of me to the children. We thank You for all the good things You gave our loved one while here on earth. May Your servant praise You forever in the joy of Your presence. We ask this through Christ, our resurrected Lord.

    O My Father O my Father, thou that dwellest in the high and glorious place, When shall I regain thy presence, and again behold thy face? Pass Through I shall pass through this world but once. Poem for the Living When I am dead, cry for me a little, think of me sometimes, but not too much. And please, Lord, through it all, be at my side. Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.

    Prayer of Serenity God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The Resurrection Prayer Most merciful Father, we commend our departed into your hands. Robert Frost Some Day Some day all doubt and mystery will be made clear; the threatened clouds which now we see will disappear.