I have been so blessed in this life. I have had the privilege to grow up in Church (thanks to my parents), in Glen Rose, in Texas, and in the United States of America. I am blessed to have known my grandparents and great-grandparents and now work the land in Walnut Springs that my Great-Grandpa Baker worked. I have been blessed to learn the importance of study having earned five college degrees. I have been blessed to learn the virtue of competition through sports, having played quarterback in high school, college, and semi-pro. I have been blessed to have always worked – Tarrant Baptist Camp, Level’s Food Center, Texas Highway Department, Tarleton State University, Shell Pipeline, Zapata Gulf, SCI, Pfizer, Sanofi, Calvary Baptist Church, and now Church at the Cross.
I have been blessed to be a patented inventor as of 2020, an award–winning published author as of 2020, and a successful primary run for Congress also in 2020. I am blessed with the most amazing wife ever Lori. Though losing twin boys at birth was tough, the Lord blessed me with a daughter miraculously on March 10, 1991. I have been to all fifty states and eighteen countries. I have walked in Israel four times, the shores of Normandy once, the hallowed grounds of Auschwitz three times, spent the night on Mount Sinai in Egypt once during the scary Arab Spring, and survived two nights at the Lizzie Borden house.
Life is not all good no matter how many accomplishments we try to list. It is a struggle. It is defeating. Nearly every blessing that I have listed above came with extreme heartache, loss, and stress. Often, tenacity, endurance, and faith in the Living God are all that get us through. I retreat to my Farm nearly every week for a day to tend to my cows. This past week was no different. I have been sick with Bronchitis and have had little to no voice.
I have seen many struggles in the Church I pastor where families literally hang in the balance and some lives are on the precipice of the next. When I leave the house to go to the Farm, I feel heavy and weighted. I take this one day as my Sabbath. I don’t write. I don’t preach. I cannot take calls. When I hit Bosque County, it is like every worry just peels away. I see beautiful hills, rolling streams, growing grass, budding trees, cows grazing. I start to feel a smile of wonder come upon my spirit.
I get on my tractor and load hay. I then get on my UTV and drive down to feed the cows some range cubes. I look across my hay fields. I feel the breeze and the smell of the soil as the morning dew dissipates. My beautiful Black Angus calves with their red ear tags stare up at me wagging their long tails, glad to see me (or better yet the cubed treats I bring them). I hear the ripple of Steele Creek flowing behind them glistening with the morning light. I see where the beavers have built a huge dam. The wind moves the leaves in the trees, and I hear them rustle. This is my Father’s world. It is at this moment, that nothing else matters. I have no ambition here. Just to be still and know that He is God and to enjoy His Presence and His Handiwork. Heaven – this is Heaven on earth for me.
Heaven – I am preparing at this moment to preach a funeral. Yesterday’s experience makes me search the Scriptures for descriptions of Heaven. We read there is no night. We read there are gates, but they are never closed. We read there is a river that flows from the Throne of God. You enter it at ankle deep, then knee deep, then waist deep, and then you hit the depth for a good swim. The water is fresh. Trees grow on both sides, fruit trees. It is kind of like Sedona, Arizona where apple trees grow on both sides of Oak Creek and the smell of the apples permeates the air.
Heaven has that blown away. In Heaven, the physical land is divided, everyone there gets an equal share. A mansion is placed on that land for you. And there is great eating at an amazing family reunion. The Lord Jesus says that we will get to personally eat with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob just to name a few. And He says that He, Himself, will eat with us there. There will be no more worries, no more tears, no more pain, and no more death. We will be with God our Father and His Son Jesus forever and ever. What a blessing, life, and beauty without end. But don’t check out too early. God has you here in this time for a reason. The whole reason we don’t get more information about Heaven is because too many of us would jump off this earth to get there. Oh, by the way, you need a ticket, Jesus said no man gets there except through Him. Receive Him and His love today if you haven’t.