Papa - Dec 13, 1923 - Sept 9, 2017  Incredibly today Papa is flying again. Having flown in World War II as a tail gunner in a B - 17 Flying Fortress, aloft in the solitudes of space, Papa now fly’s in a far greater country. In darkening storms, he showed no fear, greeted adversity with a smile and if you ever shook his hand you’d know he could wield those mighty twin .50 cal machine guns with ease. A man’s man, if ever I have met one, owned a concrete company, was up at 4 a.m. all the time, loved to work, loved to go to church and even more loved everyone in his family with such a devotion its rarely seen today. There were no coincidences with Papa, only providence and he certainly was the type of individual you wanted to fly with when the storms of life appeared. I can’t wait to have the honor to fly with Papa above God’s celestial’s shores when we all get to heaven - what a great and glorious day that will be.

   I greatly desire to be at Papa’s funeral but due to the recent storms here in the Caribbean couldn’t find my way to Oak Grove Baptist Church in Catoosa, OK. Having spent time with grandpa I know he would be honored if his family and friends would try to finish this sentence. . . For me to live is ___________? Just put it in one word. Oh, you may say, I know what the answer is. It is Christ. No, that was the Apostle Paul's answer. What would be your answer here? You may say, I can't put it in one word. Then use two or three if you have to, but be honest. Nobody else knows what you're thinking while you read this. Would you dare to be honest right now and put it in one word? Some today would say, for me to live is money which could motivate your life. Others might say, for me to live is pleasure. Others still, for me to live is my business, my work etc. Others, for me to live is my family. That is noble and from afar many attending Papa’s funeral, could say that's what they live for. Others might say, for me to live is my ministry. What is your ministry? Could you put it in one word? For me to live is__________?

    Now, if in filling these blanks you put down anything other than Christ, here’s another way to think about this question - "For me to live is (whatever your answer may have been), and to die is loss." Whatever it is, if you didn't put Jesus Christ down for your answer and said money, business etc. - when you die, whatever it might have been, your going to lose it. You can’t take it with you; Well, you say, for me to live is pleasure. Okay, to die is loss, because there are no fun and games in a Christ-less eternity. You say, for me to live is family. All right, then you're going to kiss them good-bye and still go into eternity. You say, for me to live is ministry. Well, dear friend, if you have a ministry without Christ, you can still be eternally separated from God.

    Papa would want you to know today, more than anything else about his life is - if you don’t have the right principle to live by, you don’t have the right principle to die by. The apostle Paul said, "For me to live is Christ." Since I first knew Papa decades ago, Christ was the source of his life. While today he is celebrating in heaven and is talking to Jesus, without a doubt, he would tell you - "For me to die is gain." In my humble opinion this was the main principle of Papa’s life- he was a Christ centered man. He was far from perfect but Christ is what made him great in his grandson’s eyes.

    He was the very first Baptist relative I came to meet in my family which was encouraging to me because I was beginning to think I was the only cRaZy one in the family :). He loved on Regina and I when we were in seminary and challenged us mightily in the faith. Our talks were some of the sweetest, spirit filled memories we have. There is no loss today for Papa, only gain. To truly live is to know and have a personal relationship with Christ. If you are a family member today or a friend, and you have happened upon this - do you know Christ? Have you been born again? Grandpa would want you to know that religion, the church, your good works etc. will not save you. God glorified His love toward us in providing for you a place with Papa in heaven for all eternity if only you will simply -

Recognize God loves you. “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” John 3:16

Understand everyone is a sinner and because of that sin there is a price that must be paid. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God ” Romans 3:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6:23

Believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and that there is no need to be eternally separated from Him. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners. Christ died for us” Romans 5:8

Pray and genuinely ask Christ to forgive you of your sin and trust in the Lord by faith to be your Savior. “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.” Romans 10:9 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

Then we can sing all together with Papa:

I’ll fly away, oh glory,

I’ll fly away.

When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,

I'll fly away.


Just a few more weary days and then, I'll fly away.

To that land where joy will never end,

I'll fly away.

I'll fly away, oh glory, I'll fly away.

When I die, Hallelujah, by and by, I'll fly away.


Tom Franklin - Baptist Bible Fellowship International -

Last modified on Saturday, 30 September 2017 17:05

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