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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Uncle Remus

An amateur genealogical researcher discovered that his great-great uncle, Remus Starr, a fellow lacking in character, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows. On the back of the picture is this inscription:

"Remus Starr; horse thief; sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887; robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives. Convicted and hanged 1889."

In a Family History subsequently written by the researcher, Remus’s picture is cropped so that all that's seen is a head shot. The accompanying biographical sketch is as follows:

"Remus Starr was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1885, he devoted several years of his life to service at a government facility, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed." (www.mikeysFunnies.com)

Funny how we can spin a bad situation making it look and sound so much better than it really was or is. On the surface, we can be pretty convincing and even look impressive. But dig a little deeper and reality catches up.

We try and do this spiritually too. Our conscience faithfully alerts us to our spiritual bankruptcy apart from Christ. Yet many times we just try to spin our way out of it. We crop the picture of our life showing just the parts we like, fooling ourselves that we are really OK. The problem is that not. Reality has a way of catching up with us. Even in the story, Uncle Remus still died a convicted thief.

Death isn't the end. It's just a transition from one life to the next. Like a baby "passing" from his or her world of 9 months to another life much bigger and brighter, we also pass from this life to one that is bigger and brighter; one that will last forever.

The question is "Where will that be?"

The Bible teaches that we'll spend eternity in either Heaven or Hell. Either way we'll live forever. In Heaven we'll forever be with Jesus. In Hell, we won't. In Heaven we'll experience life as God intended before sin and death. In Hell it will be perpetual pain and suffering with no relief. No God. No hope.

It's not just about missing Hell. It's about a relationship. An incredible relationship with God himself. A relationship that is so great that there's never a nead to spin it to make it look better--because you can't. It's life at it's best!

So admit to God that you've sinned. Agree with God that you've made a mess of your life. That you've stolen, hated, lied, or whatever it is you've done. Repent of it. That is, turn away from it to God. Trust him enough to follow him. Jesus died on the cross in your place so that you could live in his place. Put your faith in Jesus Christ today. Then when they write your obituary, they won't have to spin it.