It was Monday morning, the 27th of July, 2020. For the second day I sat in St Thomas Hospital in Nashville watching my brother Jeff lie gasping for breath, getting ready to leave this world, and be ushered into his permanent home with Jesus in Heaven. Many thoughts go through your mind at times like this. Sadness, sorrow, loss (as I will miss my brother). Joy, relief, excitement (for Jeff was going to a place of no more pain, and he had suffered enough in this world). Thoughts of wishing I had done things differently, wishing Jeff and I had more time together, wishing we hadn't fought so much as kids (and adults). I love my brother Jeff. It's been
a month now. I miss him every day. But if in my power, would I bring him back? Absolutely not!
The Bible, the infallible Word of Almighty God, teaches us that "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord". The Bible tells us of Heaven, of the place prepared for those who love God and have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Jesus himself told us that "he goes to prepare a place for us, and when it is ready, he will come and get us". Jeff's time was up on July 27th around 12:02 Central. He breathed his last breath on this earth. At 12:03 he breathed his first breath in Paradise.
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
The Quinn family has had large Family Reunions since I was a little boy. And even before. For many years now, the Quinn family has had a reunion, a gathering together of generations to share food, fun, and fellowship. Young and old, from around the country, we would come together in small Carlisle or Bear Spring Tennessee and rekindle relationships and laugh about the "good ol' days" while enjoying that moment in time. I will never forget the Family Reunions. And my brother Jeff was an integral part of these Reunions. For many years, Jeff was in charge of the "pig"; the cooking of a whole hog over an open pit (or in later years, a more modern cooker). Many of us worked on "firing the hog" all night year after year, but Jeff was, for the past decade anyway, the one in charge.
Attending the Quinn Family Reunion is an experience. There is no way to share the event. It is one of those things in life that just must be experienced in person to believe it. I won't forget the event, the times we had together, those who were there, and those who have gone on before us who won't attend another here in this world.
But with Cousin Dwayne gone within this year (who was the one who taught Jeff how to take care of the hog) and now Jeff, my thoughts race to another Family Reunion. The Family Reunion in Heaven. What a Reunion that must be! And such a Reunion my brother Jeff began to experience shortly after noon on July 27, 2020.
I imagine when Jeff first arrived in Heaven, there were many people he wanted to see, and many who wanted to see him. I can imagine our Dad, JP Quinn, being among the first to welcome Jeff. Especially since the next day, July 28th, was Dad's birthday, and he always loved a birthday party. Dad probably told Jeff he arrived just in time for his birthday party.
I imagine Cousin Dwayne, his brother David, and his dad, Uncle Hambone, being there to welcome Jeff. Mama Kent was there, smiling as she hugged Jeff and saying how glad she was to see him. Aunt Rita, Aunt Patricia, Aunt Lou, Aunt Carol, Uncle Billy Ford (a recent tenant), Cousin Larry, Cousin Elaine, Uncle Billy, Aunt Betty (who
hasn't been there long herself), Uncle Clay B, Uncle Brady, Uncle Frog, Aunt Jean, Daddy Kent, Daddy Quinn, Mama Quinn, Uncle Dalton, Uncle Tom, Uncle James, Aunt Vesta, and so many others, welcomed Jeff to the REAL Family Reunion. Cousin Gene telling Jeff that Heaven is better than a Sturgis motorcycle trip. Dwayne cutting up, catching up on jokes with Jeff. I can just imagine what a reunion that was.
And of course, the most important ones to see, JESUS CHRIST himself, our Lord, our Savior, and GOD the FATHER. A Family Reunion of the real family, going back to the beginning. The Saints of old, the Prophets, the people of the Bible, and people throughout the ages, your family tree, enjoying daily a Family Reunion with God and Jesus.
The Family Reunion in Heaven is not once a year like the Quinn Family Reunions, or the
annual reunions of our mother's side of the family. The Heavenly Family Reunion is every day, every minute, for eternity. Every day enjoying time with family. Every day seeing new things. Every day experiencing beauty our eyes cannot accept. Every day worshipping God, and thanking our Savior Jesus for His sacrifice to get us there.
There most likely won't be a day that goes by without me thinking of my brother Jeff. It's been a
month now. I've had so many memories flash by. Times of Family Reunions as mentioned. Times of Jeff and my brother Boge and
me working together in Gunblast.com for the past 20 years. The SHOT shows and other trips we made together, and good times we had. Times of us as children. From one of the first pictures of Jeff as a baby, and me kissing him, to many pictures and images of us growing up together. At times we fought. At times we played. We went to church together. We went to school together. We lived in the same room, or later adjoining rooms. We were in the band together. And later we worked together. Most memories are fond. Some
are not so good, but that's life. What I can say is that I love my brother Jeff. He loves me. We always knew we loved each other, even when we fought as kids. We could fight each other, but no one else better fight us! I have two other brothers now that I love as well (Jeff would say "two others almost as good"). I'm the oldest. Jeff was next; roughly a year and a half apart. I miss my brother Jeff.
But one day it will be my turn. I will see Jeff again. In Heaven. The joys he is experiencing now, I will experience when my day comes. No more pain. No more sickness. No more tears. No more sadness. No more missing others. Times of unexplainable joy. Health. Happiness. And Worship of our Lord Jesus. For eternity.
My friends, we were created for this purpose. We were created to worship God. It's difficult to do this in this fallen world. But in Heaven, our REAL home, it is easy. It is why we were created. Jesus loved us enough to die for us. We love Him enough to live for Him.
It is sad to think life on earth is all there is. We see the world today much different, and much worse, than it was when I grew up as a child. Today this world is a very evil place. Sickness, disease, murder, crime, evil bodings, witchcraft, pestilence, storms, poverty, fear; these are the result of a fallen world with Satan at the helm. But this is not why we were created. We are here now to recognize that this is just a temporary dwelling place, and while we are here, our job is to introduce as many other people as we can to the God who loves them and who has prepared for them a place in Heaven. Our job on this earth is to invite as many as we can to the REAL Family Reunion. The Family Reunion that is open to every person on earth, who is and who ever was. But the Family Reunion that is available for attendance by only those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. Do this one thing, accept this free gift, this free ticket, this free invitation to the greatest Family Reunion ever, and one day, like my brother Jeff, you too will enjoy the beauties of Heaven. You too will join the Family Reunion. The Next Family Reunion. The Final Family Reunion. The Only Family Reunion that matters.
I want to take a minute to invite every reader to join Jeff, and later myself as well, and many many multitudes of others, to this great Family Reunion in Heaven. We are all family. So join me one day, will you?
It's easy to get there. We do not know when our time on earth is up. The only way to get to Heaven is through acceptance of Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of the Almighty God, who gave his life a sacrifice for you, who took away your sin with his blood, and who loves you enough to die for you so that you might live forever.
John 3:16 was Jeff's favorite Bible verse; it is fitting that I include it here.
John 3:16 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.
Romans 10:9-10 tells you how simple it is to accept God's invitation to go the REAL Family Reunion one day.
9 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.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Prepare now for the Heavenly Family Reunion, will you? This world in which we live now is not all there is. There is something much better. A place which is your real home. To get there, only accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord. Pray this prayer with me now:
"Heavenly Father, I am a sinner. I do things wrong every day. I don't deserve the great benefits of Heaven, the eternal life, and don't deserve you to bless me every day while I'm here on earth. I admit this. But I know in your Holy Word that you say (and you do not lie) that if we accept your son Jesus that you will save me from my sins. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I believe that Jesus lived a perfect life on earth and died in my place. I believe that Jesus rose from the dead and that even today is beside you in Heaven and has prepared a place for me when my time comes. Today, right now, I accept Jesus as my Savior and Lord. And through the truth of your Word, through acceptance of Jesus and what He did for me, I know that I am saved. Thank you, God, for saving me. In Jesus name. Amen."
If you prayed this prayer, through the truth of God's Word, the Holy Bible, you are saved, and one day, you and I will be together in the Great Family Reunion in Heaven. Every day. For eternity.
My brothers and sisters, I look forward to spending Family Reunion with you.
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