Pastor Joe Miller IV
I was sitting at my desk fumbling through some papers, and I ran across something that I had written. It seems like I penned the words just yesterday, and I thought I would use it for this week’s blog.
"The time on the clock is 3:50 AM. The date is July 26, 2008. I just had a dream that woke me up. I’m laying in bed wide awake now. There’s a cool breeze coming from the outside deck through the screen door into our bedroom. Outside, the local night sounds are going on: the train up the river through Tarentum in the distance, crickets, a banging from the mill. There is a song in my garage playing quietly... 'I will sail my vessel til the river runs dry...' Occasionally my youngest daughter’s rooster doesn’t know it’s night, and my darling wife’s snoring isn’t letting me go back to sleep. Like most of us who can’t sleep, my mind starts to wander after 46 years of living in this valley. I’ve seen lots of ‘changes’ and I start thinking about these times.
My mom used to take my brother, sister, and me to New Ken shopping before the centers and the malls appeared. I remember the drive-in in Lower Burrell and it being torn down for Montgomery Wards. Now, it’s getting ready to be replaced by something else. I remember when Burrell Lake Park was Holtzour’s pond, and we had to sneak in to fish it. I remember tarred streets and Tesso’s Gas Station. Things are changing and time is flying. I worked out at Com-Fab in Allegheny Township for a while, and I remember my buddy Fred Mazur standing there next to his milling machine with that cigar stub hanging from his lips describing time: “Joe, you can’t stop it. You can’t even slow it down.”
Since then, both my parents and in-laws have passed away, grandparents have passed. The owner of Com-Fab, Pinky Beck, who was with me and Fred that day, has passed. He was one of the dearest friends I’ve ever had. My kids were ages 2, 4, 6, and 8 then. Now they are 16, 18, 20, and 22. In other words, things are changing, and time is flying. We don’t know how much time we have. I had the blessed opportunity to do my mom’s funeral service, and I opened with the Bible verse 1 Peter 4:7, “But the end of all things is at hand.” Sober up your thoughts and get to what’s important.
There was a religious man named Nicodemus who came to Jesus one night (he probably had a daughter with roosters and a snoring wife) to talk about some things he was pondering about. But Jesus didn’t waste any time on small talk. He told Nicodemus exactly what he needed to hear. John 3:3, 16, 17, "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
I’m not writing this letter to you to preach at you or condemn you, but to let you know that all of our lives will soon be required of us, and we will spend eternity somewhere, forever and soon. The Bible says that we can’t earn our way into heaven. Ephesians 2:8, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." I’m not good enough anyway, because God said in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." If you accept Him, He will come into your life. Romans 10:9-10, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
You’ll not find a better Friend and Savior. I’m writing this to let you know there is a purpose and hope for this life and an eternal life to look forward to. I hope and pray that you will stop and think about these things and accept God’s free gift. Get His ‘letter’ to you, the Bible, and read it daily. Find a Bible-believing church to attend - my recommendation is Harvest Baptist Church.
Well, there goes my daughter’s rooster again, except this time it’s breaking daylight at 5:50 AM. Maybe the best two hours I’ve ever had. I hope you think so too. Thank you for your time.
It’s funny how I look at this letter and rethink what I wrote. It’s been over twelve years since I’ve written this. The sounds in the middle of the night are the same. But I’m 58 years old now. My kids are 28, 30, 32, 34, and are all married. And now my non-snoring, but still beautiful wife and I have six grandchildren that we didn’t have when I penned the letter. Back then, Harvest Baptist Church was located on Kenneth Avenue in New Kensington, now it sits on top of a hill surrounded by God's beautiful creation. There are so many other things that have changed. But the point of my words, most importantly God's Words, has not changed. It’s a reminder that life goes by quickly. Don’t waste a second. Jesus is still the answer for hopelessness and receiving Him gives purpose to life and eternal never-ending glory with a loving Creator. Hit the reset button. Remember, one life will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.