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~ INTRODUCTION ~
"My Dad" . . . by Karen Kasson
My Dad, Karl Ogg, was a WWII veteran, a husband, a father, and a prolific writer of spiritual things....or, as he would call them, "musings."
He was born in 1926 on a farm in Eastern Nebraska, drafted into the Army at age of 18 and did not finish high school. He served in the occupation of Japan and then returned to the US and attended college on the GI Bill. He met my mother in college and they married and had three children: Don, Marty and Karen (that’s me).
My Dad was always a steady influence in my life. He had a strong work ethic and a very deep love for his wife and his family. He was the original bugle boy of Company B and held several jobs over this lifetime.... but if you were to ask him, he would say he was a draftsman.
I’m not sure when exactly, but Dad became a Christian sometime during my teen years.
He died on February 7, 2016 and now resides in Heaven with his Savior and the love of his life, my Mom. He left me the legacy of his writings and it is my desire to collect, sort, rewrite, edit, and produce those writings for others to read and enjoy.
It is my hope, as that as I share my Dad’s writings, and as you read them they will bless your soul, challenge your mind and touch your heart.
“Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die.”
This is the prize of life, truly believing Christians can say. I am not there I’m with the Lord. Psalm 30:11-12 says, “Then he turned my sorrow into joy! He took away my clothes of mourning and gave me gay and festive garments to rejoice in. So that I might sing glad praises to the Lord instead of lying in silence in the grave.” “I am not there, I did not die.” I’m with the Lord. What more do we need to know or understand if we truly believe in God?
In the movie, “Treasure Island”, Charleston Heston said, “Dem dat dies is the lucky ones.” But really, I would rather say, "Dem dat believe in God and dies is de lucky ones!" Isn’t that what the Bible is trying to tell us and is all about? To believe in God and to receive life eternal, living always with God. What does the Bible say? John 3:16, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only son so that anyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Eternal life with God, that is the goal. God has said that he is preparing a place for us in paradise. Why not then shouldn’t we believe that it is true? I am, not there, I’m with the Lord.
“No one can hold back his spirit from departing; no one has the power to prevent his day of death.” Ecclesiastes 8:8.
I feel at Easter time ministers should preach about all three crosses. Not just the one Christ was crucified on, because the three crosses represent death or our separation from this world. Christ died but rose again so that we may live always. We are told over and over again why Christ died on the cross, but, we’re not told of the other two men.
They represent mankind and our acceptance of death and dying. The one man cried out to Jesus, “So, you’re the Messiah are you? Prove it by saving yourself and us too, while you’re at it.” Luke 23:39b. In other words, he was saying, I’m afraid to die. Lets run and get out of here. How many people do you know who are like this man, are afraid to die, and try to run from death or do anything not to think about it?
I wonder what Jesus did when he felt this man’s fear to die? I don’t think I would like to be crucified like this man either. To die on the cross is a horrible death, so I understand. I’m sure Jesus felt sadness for this man because Jesus knew that death is reality. But, will we all receive God’s grace and eternity with him? No! As this man was afraid to die, he also did not believe and so was lost.
Now for the other man; He somehow recognized Jesus as who he was and he too cried out “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Luke 23:42.
Now! The reply Jesus gave this man is one we too should listen for. “Jesus said to the second man. Today you will be with me I paradise. This is a solemn promise.” Luke 23:43.
We too who believe in God look to Christ and call out, “Remember me.” We will also hear Jesus say, you too will join me in paradise; maybe not today or tomorrow, but sometime. We must listen. In place of saying Lord remember me, we may want to say, Lord have mercy on my sinful soul! The results will be the same. We cannot hold back our day of death but, we can look forward to the day we will see the Lord, in all his glory. “I am not there, I am with the Lord.”
Truly believing Christians can take peace in finding joy in the fact that God has made plans for our future with him. To die is not sad, when God’s prize is so great and wonderful. To have gay and festive clothing and sing praises to the Lord. So if we truly believe and have the Spirit of God in our hearts, to die is gain. Be not afraid of death. Yes, to be afraid of life and the pain, agony and sorrow or whatever bad thing that falls upon us that leads to our death, is okay! But, be able to say, “Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die. I’m with the Lord in his splendor this is the prize of life for believers.
Going on, “The day one dies is better than the day he is born! It is better to spend your time at funerals than at festivals. For you are going to die and it is a good thing to think about it while there is still time.” Ecclesiastes 7:1b-2. Isn’t that a statement to twist our minds? I think we may have life turned around. According to the above scripture, we should be sad for the newborn and joyful for the deceased. We should, to bring a newborn into this sad messed-up world, to go through what we have or have seen what others are going through, it is sad. He who has passed away, and believes in God has eternal life, because God has said.
As Jesus told the second man on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise. This is a solemn promise.” Can we expect less to hear these same words? I pray so.
“Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there. I did not die.” I am with the Lord.
(me, my brother's Don & Marty, my Dad & my husband, Gregg)
Karen Kasson is recently retired and a long time resident of the Las Vegas Valley. Married for 17 years to Gregg, a retired Paramedic with Las Vegas Fire and Rescue. Karen leads a weekly Bible study for women and twice a year builds houses for needy families in Juarez Mexico. She has provided devotionals for several publications and in her spare time, enjoys reading and painting. The Kasson's have a dog, Sadie and five pet turtles.