Many of us have great memories of those we love that are here with us today and those who have gone on before us. My brother Eric recently went to be with the Lord and I felt it necessary to share with family and friends what I spoke that evening during his memorial service. The spirited words are both comforting and encouraging.
In Memory of Eric Robert Nielsen:
“Many of us have good memories of Eric. One of my most memorable times with my brother was when he picked me up one day from elementary school. I remember walking out the doors and there he was, parked in front of Carlson Elementary in a bright, shiny new car that was blue with white interior. I felt very special that day – one of which I will always cherish.
Over the last few days I’ve had the opportunity to read loving comments to my brother both in phone texts, Facebook posts and comments. Many remember Eric as having a “Big Heart”. He had a lot of Love for the people in his life – both family & friends. Especially toward our mother the late Geneva Girdley Nielsen. While going through photo’s with my brother and sister I came across a post card to that was written to her many years ago by Eric, and in the very first line of his greeting he wrote, “To the most Beautiful Mother in the world”. I know that throughout his life he always had a special love toward our mother – as many of us do toward our own mothers and family members.
The Love we have for one another comes from the Father Himself – for the scriptures say that “God Is Love”. And that God’s love was put in our hearts by His Spirit: We love because God “first” loved us.
Just as Eric had a big heart for others – God has an even bigger heart for all mankind, “For God loved the world so much he gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal Life” John 3:16. I don’t think my brother fully understood how powerful God’s love was for him throughout most of his life – BUT at the end of His life he began to get a glimpse of that amazing Love. And now that He is with Jesus, he has a complete picture and full understanding of God’s Love. (I shared that while my brother was in Vietnam he told me years ago that he had met Jesus. Even though he did not live his life serving the Lord, he began to come back to God just weeks before his passing. I also shared that he asked our sister to buy him a Bible over the summer. As I was looking at the box the Bible had come in, Eric had written and dated his thoughts about it: On June 12, 2013 he first wrote “This is stupid” BUT! ONE MONTH LATER Eric wrote, “Read the New Testament, Very Cool!” Dated July 2013. He referred to my older sister Deliece as the “Mother Hen” and I was referred to at “The Religious One” I have to laugh, because my sister said the other day that he’s up in Heaven saying “Now I get it! She was right!” )
Message continued: “Friends, I have comforting news for each and every one of us this evening: God does not want us living our lives here on earth uncertain of his Amazing Love. He is not up in heaven looking down on us with anger, on the contrary, he is looking at us and reaching out to us with open arms, full of love, mercy and compassion.
Just as God loves us, let us continue to Love those in our lives today – Let us be kind and merciful to each other, because we too need mercy. When we forgive, then we are forgiven, when we are merciful we will in turn receive the mercy of God. God is Love and He loves us so very much and He requires us to love one another. (Jesus teaching in John 15)
At the very end of his life Eric began to come back to God. Not only did he ask for a Bible he was also heard talking to God late one evening at the campground where at approximately 7pm on Monday, August 5, 2013, Eric went to sleep and went on to be with the Lord.
When we choose to believe in Jesus we will leave this “earthly” body just as Eric did – and we will then put on our heavenly body, “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is when we leave this earthly body) we will have a house in heaven – an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands” 2 Corinthians 5:1 New Living Translation.
When we leave our earthly body and take on our heavenly body we will live in God’s Kingdom that only knows Love –
There will no longer be sickness and disease – There will no longer be pain and suffering – Every tear will be wiped away – For in God’s Kingdom there will only be Love.
As Christ’s Ambassador I am encouraging you that if you’ve never experienced God’s love – to take a leap of faith and open your heart to Him. This evening God is offering you a Great Gift of His Kindness – The scriptures say, “Don’t ignore it” – For God says “At just the right time I heard you – on the day of salvation I helped you – indeed the right time is Now..Today is the day of salvation” 2 Corinthians 6:1,2.””
I encourage you today, right where you are, just as I encouraged those listening during Eric’s memorial service: to open up your hearts to a very Loving God. We do not need to clean up our lives to come to him…look at the prodigal son…he left his father and went and lived his “own” life only to find out later that his way of living wasn’t as great as he thought it would be…he found himself in a very hard place and then he realized what he had with his father was much better than his way of life. He headed back toward his father, of whom was already coming toward him with open arms. The story depicts how loving and merciful our heavenly Father is. All one has to do is to believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and Love one another.
Psalm 23 –
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord