“Do not lay
up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust
destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up
for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor
rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal”
It’s been extraordinary to watch the
various services and ceremonies for American President Ronald
Reagan. He was a man who is rightfully being honored
for his service to the United States, and, without doubt,
he performed courageous service that has contributed to
the peace and safety of this world. The services being
performed for him are both beautiful and sad. The
flags, the family, the uniformed men, the music are wonderful
to behold and yet it is sad, not only for his family, but
also for him, because he cannot be with us to receive and
enjoy the honors the world is bestowing upon him.
We were recently in Riverside, California,
to honor four veterans who have passed away. Veterans
and family members were present at other graves, including
a large contingent of motorcyclists bedecked with flags
and other patriotic decorations. We looked at names
on a number of gravestones. Many of them contained
brief epitaphs, but most simply listed a name, a military
rank at time of discharge from service and other brief information,
including date of birth and date of death. These were
dates from not very long ago.
The markers were a reminder of those
under the gravestones, who, as young men and women, full
of life, were about to go off to some war or another.
If they survived the war, they led lives filled with successes
and failures, love and loss, joy and sorrow. The later
years of President Reagan were especially poignant because
he had Alzheimer’s disease and undoubtedly, toward the end,
he could recall NOTHING of his illustrious career.
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain,
a great leader of her time, attended the ceremonies and
“spoke” beautiful words, but it was a recorded message because
she has been experiencing short-term memory loss.
Yesterday they were young. Today,
for that generation, there is grass, flowers, an occasional
tree, a memento on a number of graves, kneeling mourners,
and then silence, as the visitors depart, the celebrants
of special days go elsewhere and the day is over.
I periodically taught on Sunday afternoons
at a convalescent home in Long Beach, California, for five
years, and became close to some of the attendees.
There was a retired medical doctor, a retired Roman Catholic
priest, and others who just “yesterday,” functioned for
society, and today, they are silenced and are gone.
I now teach a Bible study at a 160-bed facility in Norwalk,
California, called Southland, the place where my mother
resides. Each Thursday morning we share the Book of
Psalms, prayerfully touching on the words of David, along
with the sons of Korah and other authors, who wrote 3000
years ago. Just yesterday, they were young, as are
those who reside in Southland and other facilities, and
those in the graves we visited.
My wife, Genevieve Douglass-Beckham,
is Founder of the Agent Orange Widows Awareness Coalition
(AOWAC). Her organization assists widows, veterans
and children who have suffered from the effects of a defoliant
which was sprayed on Vietnam, Korea, and U.S. bases around
the world - farmers used a weaker version of the stuff on
their crops! Millions have suffered from illnesses
and died from exposure – The price of eliminating unwanted
plant life such as weeds can be very high. Recently,
we attended meetings in Washington, DC, where we were in
meeting rooms and legislative offices that were filled with
those who are dying from blood cancers; some caused by Agent
Orange. They were in DC lobbying for additional research
money, desperately seeking a cure, and if there is none,
hoping for new drugs to extend their lives and also to help
Our Friday Study Prayer Team has been
praying for certain new babies that have been at risk.
All three of them were born successfully and we praise the
Lord for their entry into this world, and for the people
who have the skill, intelligence and discipline and it is
hoped, the love, to pursue medical careers to help others.
It is good to thank the doctor, the nurse and the research
specialists, but it is also good to thank the Lord who gave
them those skills. We also thank those who have prayed
for these children: Prayer is real, because the God who
answers prayer is real – He LOVES those in need – He loves
you and me.
Our little ones reveal to us that life
on earth can be wonderful, but we also should see that life
is only a gift for a time. In another month, we will
return to Washington, DC, in part to view the In-Memory
memorial plaque dedicated to the service men and women who
died from cancers and other terrible illnesses due to their
military service. When we are there, it is our intention
to also visit Arlington National Cemetery, where we will
see more graves of those who were young yesterday and are
It has been said that statistically,
100% of our “treasures on earth
will be lost.” Nothing of this world will last.
If we are to have anything at all, it is necessary to look
outside of ourselves, out of this life in order to find
it. When we honestly look into our own hearts, we
find a mixture of thoughts and attitudes that are often
not acceptable to a holy God. How can we have “treasures”
or even LIFE in eternity? How can we be acceptable
The Lord Jesus Christ gave His life
in service to all humanity. Whatever you may think
of His birth, life, teachings, death, and subsequent resurrection,
He has, in fact, “borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). “He
was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our
iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
He was innocent and we are not. He died a lowly criminal’s
death in our place, that you and I might know the glory
of God for all eternity. His death paid the price.
He is an ACCEPTABLE Substitute for you, in the sight of
the Father. He is the Cure who heals you in the sight
of a holy God.
There are many heroes among us, past
and present, and President Reagan is one of them.
The former president lost his memory and he has now lost
his life. For him and all who pass from this life,
what’s important is that we have TRUSTED in the Lord, who
is the “Treasure” we need.
Let’s place our faith in Him:
Father, we reach out to You right now.
We recognize the brevity of life. We see that our
“treasures” on earth don’t
last. We trust in You, Lord Jesus, for You are the
“Treasure” that lasts – Forever!
Thank You, Lord. We receive You now. In Jesus
Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
PO Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131
we were yet sinners, Christ died for us"