image

Death can be a real challenge for us to deal with in our lives. Whether it is dealing with the absence of a loved one or the reality of our own departure.

Isaiah 25:8 NLT
He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The Lord has spoken!

I have experienced death and loss in my life, buy not as close as many I know around me. I know those who have lost parents,  and friends, and siblings, and yes, even children or grand children. And my heart goes out to them in their pain and mourning.

Loss and absence is difficult. There are no words that we can offer another in those times to heal their broken hearts. And it is not bad that we mourn for the lost,  because this shows that we valued their presence, that we are honoring the unique and wonderful creation of God that they were and the impact that their walk through Thou life had on our own, that we miss the touch of their hand on our own but even moreso the touch of their heart on our own hearts.

The Psalmist even reminds us that the Lord is not blind to the impact of death, nor is He an uncaring God separated from loving attention for His children:

Psalms 116:15 NLT
The Lord cares deeply when his loved ones die.

And we know that God come in the flesh as Jesus Christ demonstrated this himself when his friend Lazarus was dead and he knew the absence and longing for the presence that was felt by himself and his friends.

John 11:35
Jesus wept.

You see, death is a consequence, it is a result of the disease of sin. The consequence was made clear by God to Adam and Eve in the garden,  but they were tempted to chase after what was forbidden, and the consequences are still see today. Don’t we see the negative consequences of sin in our own lives? Don’t we see the negative consequences of sin in the world all around us?

So death is the destination for sin.

HOPE
But that doesn’t have to be our destination.

You see, death has been defeated. There was a victory over death in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And this victory wasn’t just for himself. It was for me, and it was for you. And not only is that an amazing gift and blessing to receive for yourself, but it is also a great comfort to your loved ones when it is your time to depart. It will not eliminate their mourning, because they will miss your presence in their lives.

So have you laid hands on the victory, friend?

The victory has been won for you, but you must accept the gift of victory – it is not forced upon you.

You have a choice – whether you will accept victory over death, or remain in the chains of sin and death.

You see, there is Hope:

Psalms 116:3-8 NLT
Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me.
I saw only trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord : “Please, Lord , save me!”
How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!
The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me.
Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.

Yes, if we call on the name of the Lord, He will save us.

FAITH
And you might ask, but for what purpose is He saving me? Why does the Sovereign Lord of the Universe and of all things, creator of the heavens and earth – why does such a God take notice of me?

And the Psalmist continues, wondering what can we offer this authority over all, this author of all time:

Psalms 116:12-14 NLT
What can I offer the lord for all he has done for me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord ’s name for saving me.
I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people.

We can offer praise and we can keep our promises to Him. Yes, we can offer our hearts.

You see, we have the freedom to choose – with each decision we make daily, with the attitude that we have towards God and towards others and towards the circumstances in our lives.
And we will either be faithfully soft of heart, trusting in God, and grateful for our blessings whether we see the evidence of triumph or trial – or we will be lacking in faith, full of unbelief, and hardened in our hearts towards God and others.

Yes, faith is about what is on the inside. It isn’t about religious practice or honorable works our being honored by others as a good person. No, those things might be done to glorify God or to gain glory for our own selves. Faith is about what is going on in that unseen part of us, within our heart, or spirit, within our very essence of being.
And for those who have salvation, it is not the end of that essence of being – it is purely the separation of that which is eternal and spiritual from that which is temporary and physical.

So if we understand that the physical is temporary, and that the spirit is eternal – which should we be more concerned with? Those things visible and physical and temporary? Or those things unseen, but nevertheless real, that are eternal?

Yes, this is Faith:

2 Corinthians 5:7
For we live by believing and not by seeing.

LOVE
And once we are living by faith, once we are seeing the inside of our cup cleaned and renewed and molded into a new attitude, a new motivation, and a focus on God as the center of our life – the spiritual fruits that are a result of His love in us –

They will overflow our cup and spill out onto others. A change on the inside does not come without eventual change on the outside as well.

If we have received Christ, He is not a genie that we keep trapped in a bottle for those times that we decide that we need to remember to call on Him for help. He is the Almighty God and Creator of all things, who walks with us – and in us and through us, His will is done – helping, serving, encouraging, healing, and leading others by the light that we have in us so that they too will know His light.

We have a great and mighty God. So we have to ask ourselves, are we being used today? Is my life honoring the Lord?

It should be if you have accepted Christ and have Him alive within you.

So either be the vessel carrying His light today – be the loving body of Christ reaching out to a world so in need of light and salvation from the darkness of sin and death.

Or realize the darkness and death that you are walking in.

Don’t buy in to an empty and fruitless life of a religious practicing Christian with no life, no light, no Christ in your life.

WAKE UP FROM YOUR DEATH!

CAST AWAY THE DARKNESS!

LIVE, CHILD OF GOD!

LIVE!