Friday, August 22, 2014

Is this the day I die? Am I ready?

Is this the day I die?

He'd asked himself the question every day since he was (his son's) age. Every day the answer had been no. But his father had taught him, “One day the answer will be yes, and on that day you must be ready."

Yesterday I went to the library at church and sought books that might give me new insights to write about. God handed me Safely Home, by Randy Alcorn.
I am excited about God handing me this book to read - it was on the shelf displayed as “new” to the library – and it was authored by a man I admire for his intelligent discussions of difficult issues, so I was immediately drawn to it. I also picked up a second book, but this one seemed to call me to read it first. Then on page seven I found out why: Is this the day I die? Powerful question.

I know where Alcorn is going with this question, but, before I read the rest, I need to dwell on this question awhile. I know the answer for me, but what about for you? Are you ready if this is the day you will die? This time I will not be including myself in the scenarios where I usually use the third person “we.” I do know that if today is the day, I am ready.

When I had my heart attack, I did ask God to consider those who where “under my care” at that moment before he let me die. I felt there was still a need for me here. But I was quite happy to go if that was His plan. It wasn't.

Most of my readers are mothers; and mothers, perhaps, will never be ready to die, so long as their children are alive. That is a God built-in response that mothers will have, always. It is an excellent response. But we all know that even mothers sometimes die before their children; in fact it is, to a point, the accepted way that as the parents get older they are destined to die before their children. No mother can ever quietly accept the loss of any of her children. She never quite gets over it, and carries an emptiness within her that just does not go away.

There in lies an intricate and difficult problem; children also carry an empty place in their hearts that will not go away if they loose their mother, no matter how old they are at the time. Let's face it – no one is truly ready to die when it appears that their time has not yet come. No one. And no one is ever prepared to loose a loved one to death, no matter if it is sudden or long expected. Death is the curse of sin in this world, and we are all born to eventually die; but we have never found delight in this fact. Nor should we.

Is today the day I will die?”

This was a cultural thing in the book. Not everyone grows up thinking that thought everyday of their lives. But it is a thought we all should have now and then. Am I ready to die today, if that is what will happen? Am I prepared to die, knowing that I will be okay if I do? How about you?

There is only one way to be sure about the answer to that question and that is to ask another question: Have I secured my future after death through believing on the Lord Jesus Christ?

In the world view of today (and yesterday) - “to live, live, live until I die,” because that is all there is - we might as well make the most of it and "live it up." But one thing  confuses me: most people think they are making the most of it, but they are really making the least of it by spending their lives drugged or drunk or chasing the fountain of youth or the almighty dollar, while finding 101 ways to sin, and always angry about every little thing; they never actually live life in any full or joyful way.

It seems to me that - if you are going to live, live, live until you die - you should do it with some abandon and glee; not angry and empty and half psychotic. So why don't people do that instead of rioting and rousting and doing damage to each other as much as possible? It certainly seems that not being ready to die is not helpful in actually living joyfully, and in fullness of life, such as it can be known here on earth.

The writer of the Book of Ecclesiastes came to realize this and wrote his findings down for us to enjoy and meditate on. In his time frame verses it is clearly stated that there is “a time' for many things, but all things add up to just one: Life is short and the only way to live happily or joyfully on this earth is: Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man.

The only way to actually have something to live for is to know that Jesus Christ died on the cross to give us all a reason to live and a way to live:

John 10:10 The thief comes to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that (you) might have life, and that (you) might have it more abundantly.

So who is this thief? It is drugs, strong drink, addiction to looking and feeling young, living for sensuality and chasing after the mighty dollar. The thief is Satan with all his tools of distraction which bind us to him instead of to Jesus Christ. He totally robs us of the ability to live life joyfully or abundantly, appearances not withstanding. We are born sinners and as sinners we do not have any chance of living life well until we receive the offer of Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Lord:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

And to find fullness of joy with abundance in this life as well as the next, we must have within us the source of all Joy and Fullness in life: The Holy Spirit who can guide us and teach us and give us the Joy, Peace, and Love that we cannot find for ourselves in this place or the next.

Romans 8:11
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
John 16:13
"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
Galatians 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness...
Romans 8:9
..if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him (Christ).

So... if you desire to live, live, live until you die and not be afraid of dying, you need to take a look at Jesus Christ and his Question of the Day: Who do you say that I am? (Matthew 16:15)

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

May you find the peace, joy and the fullness of life that you desire by listening to Christ's question for you; and answering that persuasive, beautiful voice which is calling you to be one with Christ, now and forever. And may your answer be – Yes, Lord, I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and that He alone can change my life completely. I confess that I am a sinner who needs to be washed in the blood of Christ, forgiven for my sins and forever changed into a person who leans on Him for everything in my life. Amen.

Now go and read His Word, starting in the Gospel of John. If you are not already connected to a Bible teaching/preaching church, find one and get involved with learning more and more about God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, who loves you more than you can ever imagine and who will be there for you always; as you journey on this earth in life and move on to heaven in death. So be it. God bless you.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


I have been thinking of updating my profile on facebook and I grabbed a verse from my reading this morning that just might be my testimony: For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but to suffer for His sake. Philippians 1:29

The suffering is questionable, but the part that fits is that “I was granted the opportunity to believe on Him.” I might say it this way: It has been granted to me on behalf of Christ... to believe on Him!

My conversion experience was not about my sins. I was not raised in fear of death and hell. I was not told anything about my “naughtiness” being sin. What I was told was that Jesus Christ loved me very much and that He lived as a human, died on the Cross, rose the third day and was back in Heaven waiting for me to realize that He wanted me to love Him back and to have Him as my best friend for the rest of my life. That is what I knew, and that is what I accepted.

I was changed that day into a child of God and a friend of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit confirmed that fact with me through my own spirit, and continues to confirm that fact to this day, and will continue to confirm it until I am taken from this earth to be with my Savior in Heaven.

The picture I see in my mind it that of Jesus Christ spreading out His arms and smiling at me (and you) saying please come and be my friend so that I can be your Savior and friend for eternity. Talk about a true BFF. Jesus Christ is the only one who really is that.

My life has been up and down; my faith has been tried; my walk has stumbled big time; but Jesus Christ is a Rock who never leaves my reach; who is never not on my “six”; who has stayed with me through thick and thin. He can be quite the nagger, and quite the super hero. His love never fails - not for one moment. His Mercies are new every morning, and He will nag and push and encourage and comfort and guide us through each day, if we will keep the line open to Him by talking and listening all day long. He is there and His arms are wide open seeking each one of us to come to Him and believe in Him and walk with Him, in Love and Joy.

On Christ's behalf, God the Father is granting us the privilege of knowing and lovng the One who loves us more than any human ever will or can.

Father, may all who read this today be assured that You are seeking them out to be your child through the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. And may we all share this love and knowledge with our neighbors whom we have been instructed to love even as we love ourselves. In Jesus Name, Amen.