The Best is Yet to Come

Hold On to Your Fork

 As the Pastor was leaving, the lady suddenly cried out, "Wait.  There's one more little thing.  I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand."  The Pastor didn’t know what to say.  "¿So that puzzles you, does it?" the lady asked the Pastor.

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   It’s my pleasure to share these wonderful admonitions of our Savior on Old Folks Day here in the Byrneville Community. 

Mat 5:

3.  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

4.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 

5.  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 

6.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 

7.  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 

8.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 

9.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 

10. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

11. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  12. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.

The Visitation
By Frank Peretti / Thomas Nelson

The sleepy, eastern Washington wheat town of Antioch has suddenly become a gateway for the supernatural--from sightings of angels and messianic images to a weeping crucifix. Then a self-proclaimed prophet mysteriously appears with an astounding message. The national media and the curious flock to the little town--a great boon for local business, but not for Travis Jordan. The burned-out former pastor has been trying to hide his past in Antioch. Now the whole world is headed to his backyard to find the Messiah, and in the process, every spiritual assumption he has ever held will be challenged. The startling secret behind this visitation ultimately pushes one man into a supernatural confrontation that will forever alter the lives of everyone involved.

That Poster

   We have heard these beatitudes many times before; some of us have them memorized; many of us try very much to fulfill them.

   I’ve been involved in ministry to old folks for as long as I can remember.  Even since childhood, I have ministered in nursing centers, senior centers, retirement homes and the homes of elderly individuals either to speak a word of encouragement or play some music on the piano.  But mostly I went to learn things. 

   I once went to a senior center in a rural area much like this to play the piano for the old folks that attended a weekly program there.  I had a great time playing, then learned a little about quilting and fishing; listened to a lot of talking, had a great meal, kept my fork for banana pudding.  When I was about to leave, I noticed a poster up on the bulletin board.  What was written on it impressed me so much that I wrote down all the words.  Now, many years later, after receiving and invitation to share on “Old Folks Day,” I looked up the words I had written years before, entitled “The Beatitudes For Friends Of The Aged.” 

BLESSED are they who understand my faltering steps and shaking hand.

BLESSED are they who know my ears today must strain to catch the words they say.

BLESSED are they who seem to know my eyes are dim, my wits are slow.

BLESSED are they who looked away when my coffee cup spilled today.

BLESSED are they with cheery smile who stopped to chat a little while.

BLESSED are they who never say, "You've told that story twice today."

BLESSED are they who know the ways to bring back lovely yesterdays.

BLESSED are they who make it known that I am loved, not left alone.

BLESSED are they who know my loss of needed strength to bear my cross.

BLESSED are they who ease my days on my flight home so many ways.

You might want to make up a few beatitudes of your own.  Here’s one I wrote just to tack on:

BLESSED are they who always will consider Old Folks blessed still.

  Print    

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Codex Sinaiticus

New Testament:

from the famed discovery

 

The earliest, oldest New Testament text has finally been released to the public.  You may read the Codex Sinaiticus online - but only if you know Greek!  To read it inCodex Sinaiticus New Testament H T Anderson English English, you need the only English translation we know.  The H. T. Anderson English Translation of the Codex Sinaiticus, with the three extra early New Testament books and the Sonnini Manuscript of Acts 29 included, and the original absences of certain verses (put in there later by the 'church') is now available only at here.  

THIS IS NOT A CHEAP, SCANNED-IN FACSIMILE. This is a first edition of the text published in easy-to-read Georgia font with plenty of room between verses for your notes.2 points between verses, hard or soft cover.

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The Nazarene Acts
of the Apostles

Also known as
The Recognitions of Clement

Ever wonder why PAUL and not PETER received the mission to the lost tribes?  Wasn't Peter the stone upon which the "church" was to be built?  In this new translation of the Nazarene Acts, we follow Kefa (Peter) as he itinerates from Jerusalem and up the Mediterranean coast up to Tripoli, as recorded in the journals of his successor, Clement of Rome (Phi 4:3).  Every message Kefa preached, the company he kept, and the great works of faith the the Almighty accomplished through him are herein recorded.  This 300 page volume has been 'hidden' in the back of an obscure volume of the "Church Fathers" all this time.  Could it be that, in establishing the Gentile 'church' by pushing away from Judaism, this history was purposely hidden?

 

 

Blessed Still

   That word “blessed” in the original language is makarioi; nobody knows what the word means exactly, but the traditional translation is “blessed.”  Other translations of makarioi include “humble” and “happy.” The latter meaning, “happy,” might be a little closer to the original intention of the passage.  Certainly, if some old folks manage to keep the Savior’s precepts for all the years of their lives, they’ll not only be blessed, but happy, too.  And surely “humble,” which is the third definition.

   One modern Bible has it as “congratulations” – “congratulations to the pure in heart, for they will see God.”  When somebody gives you congratulations and you don’t why, you quickly realize that something good is about to happen.  That’s why I like that translation.  “Congratulations!”  For if you’re one of the old folks who have made a meal of the Savior’s beatitudes, then a splendid dessert will pass to your plate some happy day soon.

 

Keep Your Fork

   Consider the following true story about one dear woman who had followed the Savior and worshiped in the sanctuary of her church for nearly 70 years.  She’d been diagnosed with a terminal illness and given only days to live. As she was getting her things "in order," the Pastor was called to her bed to discuss her final wishes.  She told him which songs and scriptures she wanted at the service and what outfit she wanted to wear.

   As the Pastor was leaving, the lady suddenly cried out, "Wait.  There's one more little thing.  I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand."  The Pastor didn’t know what to say.  "¿So that puzzles you, does it?" the lady asked the Pastor.

   Then she explained: "In over 70 years of attending community socials and dinners, church functions and birthday parties, seems like every time some one would tell me, 'Keep your fork.'  I liked to hear that because it meant something better was coming, like chocolate cake or pickled pears or pecan pie, something sweet and wonderful.  So now I want my friends and family to remember me with a fork in my hand and I want them to ask, ‘What's with the fork?’ I want you to tell them: ‘Keep your fork, the best is yet to come.’"

   The Pastor became teary eyed as he kissed his dear friend good-bye. He realized that, though he had been trained in theological mysteries, she had a far better grasp of eternity. For though she had lived a fine, long life, she KNEW something better was yet to come.

   At the funeral, many, many people walked by the casket, for she was greatly admired in the community.  They all saw the fork. Over and over, the Pastor was asked, "Why the fork?" And over and over he only smiled and said, “The best is yet to come.”  During his message, he told what the fork had meant to her, and how he couldn’t stop thinking about it, and that now each one in the audience wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about the fork, either

   Old folks – after you have your lunch today, “Keep your fork!”  For you who are godly and well loved of the Savior and your neighbor, the best is yet to come.

 

014265 Man's Search for Meaning
By Viktor E. Frankl / Houghton-mifflin


Man's Search for Meaning has riveted generations of r eaders with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 psychiatrist Viktor Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the stories of his many patients, he argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. This edition includes a foreword by Harold S. Kushner and an afterword by William J. Winslade. Hardcover.

Grow Old Along With Me

   In the autumn of his life, the poet Robert Browning put “the fork idea” it this way:

Grow old along with me!  The best is yet to be, 
The last of life, for which the first was made:

Our times are in his hand Who saith
“A whole I planned, Youth shows but half;

trust God: see all nor be afraid!”

He’s right! 

Though some have said, “Youth is wasted on the young,” us old folks know better than that.

   Pray with me:

Dear Holy Spirit, the things of the Spirit are the only realities that age cannot weary.  And the spirit that reaches out to Spirit is, in time, set free from the flush and quiver of ambition, the fleeting joys of status and possessions, and the physical indignities of age.  Lord, as we grow older, may we be blessed with faith enough to make the journey from aging body to ageless life.  Amen.  (Frank Topping)

Old Folks Day, December 1, 2001
Jackson Snyder