The Last Day

Yesterday, Bill Sweeney (please take the time to view the short narrative and pictures), went home to be with his Lord and Saviour, Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. If you never came to know Bill and his wife Mary, even in a small way, you really missed something. Bill’s life and testimony to his faith and love for Jesus, should stop most of us in our tracks. And the faithfulness, love and dedication of his wife Mary, is right up there with Bill’s. 

Bill and I ran across one another’s blogs about four years ago and we have often exchanged comments back and forth with one another. I never once heard Bill complain, he never said “why me?”, in any of our exchanges. There were times when he expressed a desire to be once again able to eat and to be mobile but it didn’t have a negative connotation to it, he was just remembering, and who wouldn’t. He loved his wife Mary with all of his heart and likewise his two daughters and their extended families. He knew he was a sinner and he knew he was eternally saved because of his love, faith and trust in Jesus.

Considering all of the limitations that both he and his wife Mary faced, and their two daughters, most of which, very few of us can even imagine, their ongoing faith and example of trusting in God, is really an outstanding testimony to the providence of God. It could have been so easy to become bitter, but bitterness didn’t win here, in fact, the exact opposite won out, the acknowledgement of and trust in, God’s love, mercy and grace, prevailed.

Yesterday, December the 30th, 2020, was Bill’s last day here on earth. He left his broken body behind and his spirit went to be with his Creator. The thing is, we’re all going to have a last day, because we all end up leaving these bodies we now live in behind.

I know some people don’t believe in God and that the name of Jesus is just another name in history that can be ignored. And even though I could give them a hundred reasons why I believe in God and that I know that Jesus is God’s Son, it means nothing to some, because they can give me a hundred reasons why they don’t believe. I understand all that.

Some scientists say that this earth that we live on shouldn’t be here, but it is. And in spite of all that we have come to understand, no one can yet explain or duplicate how life came to be, but we know that we exist and are alive. And we also know that the years that most of us have been given, eventually all come to an end, and they indeed do.

I am 75 years old now and I have been married for 50 years. Sounds like a long time doesn’t it? Sounds like it, but it isn’t. You don’t have to take my word for it, if you live to be my age, or older, you will experience what I mean. Life is short, a lot shorter than you think. And sometimes, in spite of the number of years that we do live, we don’t actually learn all that much.

Did you know that according to Jesus, we can be alive and yet never actually live? That is where our bodies and minds are alive but our spirits are dead, isolated from God, our Creator.

That is why Jesus said that we needed to be “born again” and He wasn’t talking about our physical bodies, He was talking about our internal spirits within us. And why is that? Because Jesus also told us that God, His Father, is a spirit and when God created us, which He did, He made us in His own image, which means we also have a spirit, and that spirit within us, is separated from Him because all of us have either consciously or unconsciously decided to be our god, make our own decisions about what is right and what is wrong and ignore the reality of our Creator or even consider His thoughts or ways.

That may not sound like a big deal now, when you are young or just approaching middle age, but I can tell you, it takes on a whole new perspective as you become older. And the reason for that is this life that we have been given, this gift of being, is designed to make us aware that the physical is superficial and fleeting and the spirit is eternal.

Bill and Mary Sweeney both believed this and it transformed their lives. And Bill was and is my friend and I loved him in Christ and I will see him again. And I am eternally grateful to Jesus, because it is because of Jesus that any of this is possible.

Hard to believe? Only to those who have ears but hear not and only to those who have eyes but see not. There is an awful lot of darkness in this world right now but in this darkness there is light and you can see this light and come to this light if you earnest look for it. Jesus is that light.

Bill would echo what I have just said here on earth right now but he won’t because he’s not here anymore. Right now he is standing face to face with his Creator. And I am oh so happy for him.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

25 comments

  1. A worthy tribute to Bill. A reason to believe in Jesus. A good way to leave 2020 Bruce. Should the whole planet expire before 2022 at this time next year we who know Jesus will be fully alive as Bill is right now. My aim is to live, really live out my days and hear “well done” someday.

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    • Hi Gary. I hear ya. You’re right about it being a good way to leave 2020 behind. Bill is with Jesus, it doesn’t get any better than that. Many years ago God brought me into His presence for about a minute or so, it was unreal, NEVER wanted to leave, so I had a taste of what Bill is experiencing right now. If there was such a thing as soreness in heaven, which there isn’t, Bill’s cheeks would be sore about now from smiling. My prayers yesterday and today were a tad more earnest, because of the realities we face and what is at stake. I don’t care where I am at the Lord’s table, just as long as I am there. Please keep me in your prayers as I keep you in mine. Blessings!

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  2. What a great tribute to a wonderful man, Bruce. Thank you. Wasn’t it such a blessing to have known him? Mary taught me more about marriage than any book I have ever read. Your words brought tears to my eyes. It is good to process this with one another … in this community of believers. Keep going in the new year, my friend and brother. I hope we all get to sit somewhere near each other at the banquet table … I am smiling just thinking about it.

    “For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
    1 Thessalonians 4:14-18

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    • Hi Heidi, yes I’m thinking that both Bill and Mary are gifts. Funny that you mentioned about the banquet table, I was just talking about that to Gary and I am with you on the “smiles”. It’s funny (not ha ha funny) how what I see in this world is changing, I do see it as temporary, as less than. Many years ago God gave me a short vision where it was like I was flying over a small orchard. This happened while I was sitting on the side of my bed while I was wide awake. The clarity of everything was so clear and the colours were so bright and vibrant. It only lasted for a few seconds. I remember saying to myself, “and what was that!” But every since then I have been aware of the fact that even with the beauty that we see in this world, it is nothing compared to what awaits us. And, even though there are so many things that I still do not understand, I really don’t care any more, I know Who does and I just don’t think we can comprehend while we are here. The fact that God created us and loves us and sent His Son to open the way for us just boggles my mind. And my dependency is 100%, my mind, my heart, my thoughts, the words that come out of my mouth, my patience, you name it. And the wonder of it all is that He still puts up with me! Mary said that Bill said he was excited about going home. If that isn’t beautiful I don’t know what is. Thank you Heidi for reaching out to me. You’re not the only one with tears. Blessings sister, we will meet and what a glorious day that will be! Blessings to you and yours for the New Year!

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      • I so agree with every word you say …. It’s all borrowed … absolutely everything. I will share quickly about the “vision” I had (I am always very hesitant to speak this way, since there are so many who have misused that word). I was in bed, dreaming. In my dream I was passing through the corridors of a house with many rooms. In each room were significant things, the stuff of my life. Then I came to a room where a man sat sideways, with his legs crossed. He looked at me as I passed and didn’t take his eyes of me. I immediately stopped. He slowly got up, meanwhile looking me in the eyes with a kind smile. I was unable to say a word. Then suddenly, as he came closer, I felt as if I was completely naked before him, not the natural naked, but he could see all of my life, everything I had ever done, said, and thought. It was as if I was of glass to him. I wanted to get away from him, but couldn’t move. Then suddenly as he got closer it felt as if he was drawing me in. He wanted me by him. He powerfully kept me in his presence. Then that drawing turned into love. A kind of love I cannot explain with words. It was all the loves of the world combined, brother, sister, husband, parent, friend … all of it washed over me, coming from him. My shame was all gone, swallowed up by this momentary, powerful glimpse of love. I then felt the surroundings of my room slowly coming into focus, waking up from a dream. I cried, feeling like this love going away, like being poured from a pitcher onto the ground, into sand. I tried so hard to hang on to it. But it left. I am NEVER claiming to have seen Jesus … it wasn’t like that … I knew it was something spiritual… something to hang on to, to chase and tell others about … in ways they could understand. I feel the tears welling even up, thinking about Bill basking in this endless love of Jesus. His whole Body and Spirit fully being known and fully being loved and fully loving … His reward for all the times he tried to tell us about that here on earth. “Lord, help us to show others how to love and how much you love us!”

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      • That is beautiful Heidi, thank you for sharing. I never saw anything either (excluding the short vision), it was just an awareness of His presence that dwarfed everything else around me (even the other sounds in the room) and like you have indicated, an overwhelming awareness of God’s holiness, how different I was from Him and that totally overwhelming love that radiated from His presence. That love is impossible to put into words. And once you know that God’s love is there, that He is there, and He knows you as you are and still loves you, well you can’t ever let that go. And that is where the sheer grace of God comes in because you can never earn that love, you just can’t, it is a gift, made possible only by faith and trust in Jesus, the Son of God. Thank you again, it’s been quite a day. Blessings!

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    • Hi Mandy, I think that was more God than me. Yesterday when I learned of Bill’s passing, I said a prayer right away, to thank God for taking Bill home and to ask for His peace to be given to Mary and her remaining family. The witness of God’s Holy Spirit was almost immediate and so strong. Bill is home where he belongs. He indeed fought the good fight and it was our privilege to know him. And Mary, I have no words. Her faith is simply amazing. A blessed New Year to you and yours too Mandy!

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  3. It is times like these that make us see this world as the temporary thing it is and not obsess over the things that at other times bother us so much. Instead we shrug and think, “Oh well, this’ll be over soon …” I’m afraid that’s not very well put, but I’ve had a lot of those “Oh well” moments this past year, like not being sure which things are real and which are dreams. I’m glad Bill has passed from the dream into the glorious reality. I’m happy for him, too.

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    • Hi Annie, I know what you mean and you’re right, it definitely has been a year of re-evaluating a lot of things and although I haven’t enjoyed much of it, I think some of it has produced some clarifying results, at least for me. And as far as Bill and Mary go, I think there are few that have walked that narrow road, as they have. I am really happy for Bill too and my heart goes out to Mary. God’s blessings to you and yours for the New Year Annie, if I could hug you I would. Love in Christ – Bruce

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  4. So Amen! Life is fleeting. Life is short. We need to live it in light of God’s will and His purpose in our life because there is eternity. And that’s what matters.

    Thank you for the insightful blog. God teaches us to number our days so we may live a heart of wisdom. 💚

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