Don't take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you're goin'
Don't forget turn back around
Help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind.~ Tim McGraw
Watch and listen to Humble and Kind here

As we turn the page into fall, I’m reminded that as the trips around the sun add up, I realize more that life is always about seasons changing.  Giving thanks for the clear blue skies God grants today, I know they will at some point turn to storms that he allows- at times for His purposes that aren’t always evident in the moment (Proverbs 19:21).

According to Bible Gateway, the Lord makes 5,467 promises in the Bible. I encourage you to read all of them for yourself and maybe memorize a few including John 16:33 that says “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  What that means for us is that storms don’t last forever; take heart, bluer skies are on the way. If you’ve asked Jesus to be your Lord and savior, you’ll have eternal blue sky.

Soon the school of our heavenly Father will close for us, for the end of the school term is closer every day. Richer will be our crown, and sweeter will heaven be, if we cheerfully endure to the end. Then we will graduate in glory. ~Theodore L. Cuyler, Streams in the Desert

Over these past few weeks I’ve personally been in a season of watching some people close to me graduate from God’s school on the present earth.

For Steve, Larry and Jake, and those that love them, this final season has been difficult.

But, thankfully, the story isn’t over. They have eternity to look forward to.  For myself and all those they touched during their life, we have the lessons and love God taught through them on the journey.

As difficult as it is, if I had to narrow down the top 2 lessons I learned from these men through all their seasons of life they would be:

Always stay humble and kind.

Story after story were retold at Steve’s celebration of how he always made time for others to teach and play, especially with his nieces, nephews and children.

Each time I visited with Larry following his stage 4 cancer diagnoses over a year ago, I’d ask him how he’s doing? Without hesitation, he’d say, “I’m doing great! God has blessed me a great life and I have Heaven to look forward to. I’m mostly concerned about your mom and her health. I feel so bad for her and I pray for her healing every day.”

Jake and I became friends about 9 years ago. From that day on, despite challenges throughout his life that would rival the biblical story of Job, Jake’s passion revolved around serving others, especially the caregivers of people that have aging and sick family. God used Jake to reach countless thousands of people. He took the Great Commission very seriously in every facet of his life.  Jake’s personal mission statement that is still in effect even though he is at Jesus side on a daily basis now is- “One more mission despite my condition”.

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.~2 Corinthians 4:15-18

Always stay humble and kind.

Alan Smith