Avalon Chronicles #81: "Eternity Ticket"
By Allen Clark firstname.lastname@example.org
For several reasons I was deeply emotional in my church service this day. Yesterday Linda and I attended our Memorial Day picnic with my fellow members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. When I began attending these functions twenty years ago, it was mostly World War II veterans who were active members. My fellow Vietnam veterans were pursuing careers and raising kids. Yesterday it was only my fellow Vietnam veterans and one younger veteran from the current conflicts. I remembered all my dear World War II friends who have died. There was wonderful friendship with many of them. I recall those who survived the Pearl Harbor attack, those who served on faraway Pacific Islands, those who survived the Bataan Death March, those who stormed the beaches of Normandy, and those who flew bomber missions from England to German targets. This weekend especially their faces travel across the memories of my mind. Their families will perform their annual pilgrimages to their gravesites tomorrow at our cemeteries across the country and there will be ceremonies at our overseas gardens of stone in countries where our valiant young men and women fell to ensure freedom from the forces of evil.
The world today faces an insidious force of evil that does not fight in uniforms on defined fields of fight, but rather their uniforms are black and under clothing hiding suicide vests, Just in the past few days we have witnessed attacks in Indonesia, Egypt, the Philippines, and England. This Memorial Day there are grieving families and loved ones remembering the dead across Africa, Asia, and Europe. Our own first line of defense protectors are constantly on the alert for attacks in our own beloved America.
Deaths on past battlefields, a bus, a concert, and on Pacific islands. Deaths each day. I faced death on a battlefield fifty years ago in Vietnam, but I was spared. At my age of almost 75 I have friends dying often. When I began my prayers in church today I teared for those deaths from terrorists these past few days and watched my fellow church-goers on their knees in reverence in the house of God, where people of faith have been in synagogues and churches for millenia. We are blessed to worship in freedom in our native land.
For several of the past few days I have planned on publishing a Chronicle on something I received from a dear gentleman who was born in 1920 and still vital, alert, and relevant! He has been a spiritual mentor to me and one of the finest examples of a Christian gentleman it has ever been my privilege to know. Herein is copied his "Eternity Ticket." He is Jim Ash and his web site is www.jimash3.com.
"The Bible states, 'that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.'" (Romans 10: 9,10).
I have prayed this prayer below and I know and believe what it reflects. Upon my death my body will be in a casket at Arlington Cemetery, but my soul will not perish, it will be for eternity in Heaven with my Lord God, Creator, and Savior, Jesus the Christ. My family will have all my mementos, papers, books, very few assets, and hopefully mostly good memories, but I will have my "Eternity Ticket" punched and will have reached my final destination.
This is the most important prayer you will ever pray! "To receive Jesus as your personal Savior, pray this prayer from your heart: Dear Jesus: I believe you died for me and that You rose again on the third day. I confess to You that I am a sinner and that I need your love and forgiveness. Come into my life, forgive my sins and give me eternal life. I confess You now as my Lord. Thank You for saving me. Amen"
"Next, confess to someone, 'I am a Christian,' for Jesus said, 'Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, Him I will also deny before My father who is in Heaven.'" (Matthew 10: 32,33).
We should not pray this out of fear of what will happen if we do not pray it, but out of love for God and the peace and joy a life with him on earth and in Heaven will bequeath us.
Several months ago I spoke before a group of prisoners at the Dallas County jail. When I finished one of them shouted out, "When are you coming back?" I said, "I have nothing else to say." He said, "We have turnover." When your life experiences the final "turnover," where will you be?
After five years of Avalon Chronicles, I HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO SAY. I AM FINISHED!