A Great Inheritance

Wouldn’t it be great to inherit millions of dollars from a distant relative that you’ve never even met?
Unfortunately, this rarely happens, but I did get an email from Nigeria…

When I was fifteen years old, a great uncle, who I was named after, passed away and left me a gold-plated pocket watch with his/my name engraved on the back and a thousand dollars. I had never met this man, but he instantly became my favorite uncle. I was determined to be responsible with my newfound fortune so I opened a savings account and deposited the check. A few months later I turned 16, got my drivers license, and crashed into a tree in my sister’s car. I had to say goodbye to my great inheritance.

I thought a lot about material wealth while watching horrible images on TV of hurricane’s Harvey and Irma destroying homes and businesses in Texas, Florida, and other states. And, as I’m typing this blog post, I’m glancing at the TV and seeing more horrible images caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and a powerful earthquake in Mexico City. It’s heartbreaking.

We live in Southeast Texas, and we’ve seen the destructive power of these storms. So many people we know were flooded out of their homes from Hurricane Harvey. Thankfully, we were not among them.

A week after Hurricane Harvey destroyed so many homes and businesses in our area, my visiting nurse, Rebecca, came to our home. She visits me every month to confirm that I am still alive. Rebecca is a Christian and a single mother of three young boys. She told us that she and her boys had to flee their rental home as the floodwaters began to creep in. There was no time to move furniture and other valued possessions upstairs. The muddy water quickly engulfed the whole first floor, ruining everything it swallowed up.

Nine years ago, Hurricane Ike swept through Southeast Texas. Even though we live 80+ miles from the coast, we still had hurricane-strength winds at our home. The strong winds left our area without electricity and, because we have a water well, without running water, for seven days. We and most of our neighbors have generators because we’re prone to natural disasters and occasional power outages. My friend, and then next-door neighbor, Les, set up a little window air conditioner in our bedroom and kept our generator running 24/7.

Mary and I were sound asleep in our cool bedroom, while poor Les was yelling for us to call 911; their house was on fire! By the time we made it outside, their beautiful home was fully engulfed in flames; there was little the firefighters could do. We later learned that the cause of the fire was a faulty extension cord running from his generator to a fan in his home. Something so small, took so much. Thankfully, Les’s wife and kids were staying with relatives so everyone, except the family dog, escaped the flames.

How quickly our earthly treasures can be taken from us.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust (earthquakes, floods and fire) destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Where is your heart today?

Jesus gave the Apostle Paul, the disciples, and all followers of Christ our marching orders:

“…open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:18)     

Jesus wants all people to trust and hope in the inheritance that He suffered, died, and was resurrected to secure for everyone who “calls on His name.” This is the Great Inheritance, it’s an eternal inheritance.

We are living in uncertain times, our wealth, and, as I learned 21 years ago, our health, and even our very lives, can be taken from us In a moment.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you…” (1 Peter 1:3-5)

The Bible tells us that everything we see can, and will, be shaken. Only by putting our faith in Christ will we have Unshakable Hope.

About Bill Sweeney

In 1996, Bill was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) and the doctors told him he had 3-5 years to live. He is now completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but by God’s grace, he’s still alive and through his blog shares a message of hope in Christ - Unshakable Hope!

Posted on September 22, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 96 Comments.

  1. This is so true. We often place our faith and love in things that are temporary. Our eternal salvation is the most valuable “thing” we can ever have!
    I have learned in my own experiences how quickly circumstances/finances/health can change. It was a real eye opener. It was also painful, yet it did force me to looking at life in the proper perspective and value my relationship with God that much more. I enjoyed this post as always! 🙂

  2. Hey, Bill —

    You’ve been on my mind lately. I’ve been dealing with some new health issues, and your faith is a great inspiration to me. You are among the “cloud of witnesses” Paul described at Hebrews 12.

    We often suppose our situation is unique. But the world has staggered under suffering for ages. Twenty five million people in Europe are thought to have succumbed to the Black Death. Twenty to fifty million worldwide died in the flu pandemic, just a hundred years ago. Countless others have died of war and famine.

    Of course, our suffering is uniquely important to us. It is intensely personal. God uses it to refine and transform us into the image of Christ. And we can dedicate it to the good of others.

    Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote in “Our Grounds for Hope”:

    “No suffering is wasted!
    As clouds carry rain over mountains,
    So your patience with cancer
    Your resignation to withered limbs,
    Rebounds to some soul in Ceylon
    And helps a missionary in Seoul.

    The greatest tragedy is not what people suffer
    But that they have no one whom they love
    To whom they can offer their cross.”

    Your friend,


    • Hello, Anna,
      I’m sorry you are having health problems.
      I really like what Archbishop Sheen wrote. I also like what you wrote. I think it’s so important to view “our” suffering in the context of human suffering as a whole. It seems that in America (when we have a health problem) we have the luxury of viewing our trial as “it’s all about me.” They don’t have that luxury of denial in third-world nations where the the person having health problems is surrounded by others going through horrible suffering. I am intentional about viewing my trial from a third-world perspective. In this way I can be so grateful to God for blessing me with things most Americans take for granted; air conditioning in the summer, heat in the winter, a really comfortable hospital bed… I have a really long list of things I’m thankful for, and on this list is the many blogging friends I’ve made over the last 5+ years, people like my friend Anna 🙂

  3. Well written and true. On another subject, my wife is a graduate of Conroe High.

    • Thank you, Cowboy. What a small world! I’m from Chicago and Mary grew up in Houston, but Mary’s best friend graduated from Conroe high in 79. She’s probably older than Miss Sugar.
      Have a great Sunday, my friend.

  4. Amen, dear Bill, to investing and trusting ourselves to the Unshakable Hope–Unshakable Inheritance–we have in Christ. Everything else is “fuel for the fire.”
    I recently crashed my car and blew my clean driving record to smithereens. Praise God for no injuries and good car insurance. I guess our time isn’t up yet. 🙂
    Blessings ~ Wendy

  5. Amen. Tragic and lovely…lovely because it points to our One and only True Inheritance, being with Jesus in eternity. Thank you.

  6. The what really matters has again been addressed Bill in your excellent fashion. Thanks for the look upwards…Doug

  7. Thank you Bill, again for sharing what the Lord is doing in your heart and life. Your unshakable hope encourages so many others. We include you and your family in our daily prayers for His continued blessings. It is always good to hear how He is answering our prayers. Much love through our Lord Jesus Christ. Fran

  8. I just finished reading this and your two previous posts. Remarkable. You touch my heart, my memory and my life in ways no one except my sister Diane did. And I marvel at the strength of your voice and your witness. Thank you for sharing from your heart and encouraging us on our way.

  9. Remarkably poignant. Thank you.

  10. Once again, you leave my heart happy. I so enjoy your blogs, your courage and your commitment. God Bless YOU!

  11. Amen, Bill. As always, I appreciate the authentic “been there” quality in your words.

  12. Bill, your knack for seeing the hope in the mess is a blessing. My daughter was in Puerto Rico for two years on a short-term mission–her friends are without power, water, food, fuel and no way of getting through to others. Family friends in Harvey’s path shared how they were rescued from their second floor because their first was flooded. People buried in Mexico’s earthquake–to say nothing of the mudslides in Nepal and other areas. Life has no guarantee that it will work like we want. I so appreciated your insights, especially from the perspective of suffering from ALS for 21 years. It would be easy for you to get cynical and calloused, but God has gifted you with a humble and gentle heart that sees through His eyes. Thank you.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, Dayle. Even for followers of Christ, becoming cynical and calloused is a great temptation when going through a long and difficult trial. It’s only by relying on God’s grace that we can stay in a place of joy and peace, and, hopefully, help others to hope in Christ.

  13. I always know before beginning your posts I will end with something magical ignited in my heart. So grateful I was right, once again! Thank you for continuing to use your gift for igniting in all of us the hope which is indeed ever-lasting. Hugs & Blessing, my blogging-friend!!

  14. Amen! While preparing for the hurricane, I realized my storage unit was in an area predicted to be buried under storm surge. There was no way to move anything and no place to put some treasured items like my great-grandmother’s hope chest full of childhood keepsakes and all the letters and cards my kids and grand kids have given me over the years. But as sad as the prospect was of losing those things, I determined they are that – things. They hold sentimental value because of the memories attached, but the most important treasure is my relationship with Jesus. I’m so glad my eternity is secure no matter what earthly disaster comes. In the end, no water touched the storage facility! A miracle. And I’m glad not to have lost things or had the chore of clearing out a mess, but my joy is because of Christ, not the items in my storage unit or home. Thanks again for another great post!

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Laura.
      I’m so glad your storage unit didn’t get flooded. I have a friend that owns two storage facilities and one of them was flooded by Hurricane Harvey. I feel bad for those who lost keepsakes and sentimental items… But, as you said, our most valuable treasure cannot be destroyed by hurricanes, earthquakes or anything else!

  15. Awesome, AWESOME post!!!! Great Word indeed!! God bless you continually!!

  16. Suffering does re-order our priorities like you point out and as you live day by day. And at age 60, I see my call to encourage those around me, especially women who are growing in their faith and having to battle lots of trials with wobbly trust. The ‘suffering’ my husband and I go through is tailor made for us…and it involves vocation and income. I reminded Mike last night that if God wasn’t using this area to keep us so very needy, it would be in another area. Our faith becomes more valuable as he beats it like silver and heats it up like gold. And it hurts. Thank you for writing and I am aware that it costs you a lot, Bill!

    • Thank you for your comments, Maria. “Wobbly trust,” I like that.” I pictured a “Weeble” (“Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.”). Unfortunately, we do fall down, but with the help of Christ and other Christians, we get back up again and again.
      “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again…” (Proverbs 24:16)

  17. Hey! Hey unshakable hope!
    You live 80 miles from the coast?

    My wife and I live in Katy Texas, and we’re both from Anahuac Texas.

    Are you near us?
    Man I’d love to get to know you personally brother.

    I know you’re disabled and have mobility limits, but I would love to meet you in person.

    Holler at me.

  18. An excellent post, Bill. Thank you for encouraging us to meditate on what is truly important, our eternal Treasure, the Gift of Heaven Who cannot fade or rust, nor ever be stolen from our hearts, and from whose measureless love we can never be separated ~not by any storm, trial, or natural disaster~ our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May God bless you forever, in Jesus name, amen.

  19. Reblogged this on Eternal Blood and commented:
    Wonderful and encouraging. God bless

  20. Hi Bill, keeping our eyes off of the temporal and on Jesus is not always easy but it is so necessary as it changes our perspective on just about everything. Being mindful of the real reality is the reason for our hope. Thank you, as always, for another excellent post.

  21. God sure did give you wisdom!
    Please ask your nurse about the Deanna Protocol.. It is amazing.
    God bless you and your family.

  22. Amen, Bill! Our true treasure and inheritance are with Jesus in heaven. Thank you for the reminder.

  23. Great message as usual, Bill. The one disaster that I never thought would happen was when my ex-wife filed for a divorce. This created a financial and emotional storm that tested everything that I believe as a Christian. I came out of the process with a new perspective on the Church and the way it handles a couple going through what God does not desire for a marriage. Thankfully Jesus does not deal with us the same way. God is good.

    • Thank you for sharing your story, Patrick. I’m sorry that you had to go through that. I’m glad that you (and me) came through the trial with the revelation that “God is good!”

  24. Reblogged this on We Just Look Up.

  25. A moving post, Bill. I’m glad you were not impacted by Harvey. You are so right: everything we see can, and will, be shaken. Our faith can be greatly tested during those times. Whether we are faced with natural disasters or health crises, however, our lives are in God’s hands. Blessings, A.

    • Thank you, Anna. Yes, this unsettled world is testing the faith of millions of people right now, many will turn away from God and many others will come to know Christ. You and I will draw closer to Christ.

  26. Where is your heart today? This is a wonderful focusing question Bill. Today with the belief in multitasking, which I think is near impossible! We cannot focus on any one thing very long.
    Continue to prophetically call us to the truth that God is pouring out his blessings on all of us. We have truly forgotten that good and perfect gifts come from above poured out from the father of lights. Instead we blame God for the other teams evil, what a docile lot we are.

    Another home run Bill. You really put it out of the park in your challenge to believe in the world that we cannot see and invest in God’s market where there is no need for contracts. The work and results are finished already.

    Learning to let go of things for reality,

    • Thank you for your encouragement, Denny.
      I agree with you about the problem of multitasking; it’s a spiritual problem, most no longer have the attention span needed for serious discipleship. I’m just as guilty, I have to constantly remind myself to focus. I have A.D.D. It used to be A.D.H.D., but ALS took the hyperactivity from me 🙂

  27. Steve and I experienced three major hurricanes during our years in Florida. In the hours before the storms hit, I would think, “Tomorrow at this time, all of our belongings may very well be wiped away” (in spite of strong effort to protect what we could). Those verses about treasure on earth (Matthew 6:19-21) came to mind and I told God I was counting on him–not to save our stuff but to save me from grasping at what doesn’t matter. He saw fit to preserve the parsonage in which we lived at the time AND our belongings. I wish I knew why some are spared and others must deal with such tragedy, as Harvey and Irma have created, as well as the earthquake in Mexico City. Even if I did know, I’m not wise enough to understand the ways of God (Romans 11:33-36). My thoughts are better spent contemplating the living hope and the eternal inheritance reserved in heaven for all who believe–when all this earthly strife is over (1 Peter 1:3-5–Love that passage!). Thank you, Bill, for graciously but pointedly turning our minds to the all-important question: Where is your heart today? It IS a question worth contemplating every day.

    • Thank you, Nancy.
      I remember 3 or 4 years ago you moved back to the Midwest. It’s worth the move to be closer to family, especially the grand-kids.
      I agree with you, hurricane and earthquake victims seem to be so random; kind of like the victims of ALS and other horrible diseases. But all trials remind us that this is not our home – as CS Lewis said, “We’re living in enemy occupied territory.”

      • Great quote and great truth, Bill. P. S. There is nothing wrong with your memory!! We did indeed move back to the Midwest 3+ years ago to be near two of our three kids. The two granddaughters are a supreme bonus!

        • Nancy, my long-term memory is okay, but the short-term memory, not so much. 🙂 I would love to be closer to my siblings and their families in the Chicago area, but our daughters and the grand-kids are here in Texas. I’m never moving away from my grand-kids (another granddaughter on the way, just a few more weeks).

  28. Bill, this is beautiful! I am sharing it via email and social media with some friends with a prayer that whoever needs to hear this message of unshakable hope will read it…

    • Thank you, Heather, for reading and sharing my post. (I am praying the thing).

      • I am so glad to hear from you again! It is ironic because I was just sharing your story with a teenager that I am sort of tutoring. She has chronic migraine and is prone to depression, and I shared your “Dispatch From My Cave” post with her both to help her support a point in a persuasive essay and to hopefully inspire her to read more. She is from Texas, too, and is one of the people I shared this post with. May the love of Christ sustain you through all things!

  29. Powerful post. I needed this one today. Thank you.

  30. Great message. Love the “email from Nigeria…” comment

  31. Thanks Bill for reminding us to focus on what really is important in life. Excellent post as always.

  32. Thank you, Bill, for this reminder. It’s difficult to watch the world around us deteriorate. It’s even more difficult to watch people’s hearts do the same. I am grateful that the Bible reminds us to keep watch on our hearts and to secure our faith. You (and Mary) help the Body of Christ do exactly that: point us to the Everlasting and Unshakable Hope of Jesus, our Great Inheritance. THANK YOU!!!!

    • Thank you, Heidi. You are a faith-builder for everyone that knows you; you display the love of Christ, not just in word, but also in deed. I am so blessed by the friends I’ve made through my blog over the last five years.

  33. My husband and I have been watching the news… The destruction causing so much heartache while very understandable, likely is secondary when the human toll is taken into account. I believe most people after the initial shock wears off, will once again begin to rebuild their lives. My heart goes out to all! Diane

    • Yes, Diane, so much sadness. I usually don’t have the volume on during the day, but I keep the TV on in my “cave” and see heartbreaking images throughout the day. I just pray that good comes from this.

  34. Thank you for this Bill. My, how God is using you to touch hearts and lives!
    I live in SW Florida and escaped the wrath of Irma only by the grace of God. All around us is utter devastation,yet we never lost a single shingle or even lost power.
    So much suffering in the world today is heartbreaking. May it lead some to turn to Jesus. Have a blessed day my friend.

    • Thank you, Ron.
      We never lost power from Harvey either, and no property damage… But, the rain! I was thinking I would have to get Mary to build a little ark, just non-stop rain day and night for 72 hours at least.

  35. What a timely message, especially so in the face of the great natural disasters brought on by these hurricanes in the US, the Carribiean islands and the earthquake in Mexico. Such devastation and loss of life, that these people have had to endure, – does bring a moment for us to pause and reflect on what is important in life. Through all this may they lift their heads and catch that Hope that will carry them through their calamaties at this time.

  36. Ahhh I’m staying at friend’s who don’t have internet in the back house. And wrote a long post you inspired but don’t think it posted. Argh!
    (In a nutshell I will say…)
    But loved this post!!!! I can’t wait for the day that I really grasp the temporaryness of this world and truly be okay with it!

  37. Amen. Jesus is our only “security.” Even if we were somehow fortunate to go through our entire lifetimes without a single negative thing happening, we still must face the prospect of eternity separated from God if we have not given our lives to Christ. “Now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

  38. Thank you very much for the re-blog, Bruce.

  1. Pingback: “A Great Inheritance” 9/23/2017 Written by my friend Bill Sweeney, stricken with ALS almost 21 years ago | God's group

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