O Death, Where Is Your Sting?

Death.  It isn’t something most of think about too often, really.  However, having lost several family members and a friend this past year, death has been on mind.  I am looking at my time with those dear to me as if it could be my last.  We don’t know when the Lord will call us home.  Be ready.

We have several aging family members that we went to visit this past week in Arizona.  Our reason for this trip was having missed on a couple of opportunities to visit with those dear ones this past year, then to have them die.  We didn’t want that to happen again.  Two of them amazing, beautiful women I know I will see again in Heaven.  They are both at peace, no longer in pain.  Only unspeakable joy.  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”  (James 1:2-3) Although, I did not have the opportunity to tell them how much they mean to me, how much I love them.  But one day I will.

I suppose we expect death in our older family members and friends.  We kind of prepare ourselves for that event.  Not that it won’t still be difficult.  I know it will be.  But we expect it.  Death, however, is not reserved only for the aged.  Anyone of us, at any time, could be called home.  Each moment of our lives matters.  No one moment is more or less important than another.  All moments are precious.

As we were ending our family visit the other night, I wanted to take a few pictures of everyone.  It was important to me.  Pictures are an anchor of memories for me.  I am a visual person.  So all appeased me and moved from one seat to another in the places I had asked of them.  As this process was taking place, I thought of future days, the Lord knows when, some of us won’t be alive anymore.  Those remaining will be able to look back on the photos and remember.  Be able to say, “I remember when….”  That’s why I like take pictures, that’s why I write.  I specifically thought of my daughters. I want those pictures for them and their children.  I also thought of my own dad who died at the age of 57.  He was one year older than I am today.  The few pictures I have of him bring back all sorts of memories.

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Death.  It can be unexpected.  During this particular evening, my oldest daughter told me that one of her good friends just experienced the death of a dear friend’s mom.  A woman 44 years old, mother of 5 children ages 5-17, had died in a car crash.   Sudden.  Tragic.  A sad time for her husband, children and the many lives she touched.  The hope in this tragedy is that she is in heaven with Jesus.  That, I pray will be a comfort to her family in the coming days, weeks and years.  “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-58)

Death.  It is inevitable.  For each and every one of us death will come.  Are you ready?  Do you know for certain that you will be in heaven?  We have no idea when that day for us will happen.  Matthew 24:36 reminds us, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”   Although this verse is specifically talking about Jesus’ return, it can also be said of when He will call each one of us home.  We don’t know when.  I’m glad we don’t.  Then we might be even more carefree and careless.  I want to live today as if it were my last.  How about you?  I’m not saying in a sad or depressing way, but in a way that shows Jesus to everyone we encounter.   I pray, Dear Lord, give me the strength to live today in the manner You desire for me.  Let me live as if today were my last day with each person in my life.  Amen.

Friend, if you haven’t accepted Jesus, I encourage you not to delay.  Romans 10:9-10 tells us how.  “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”  Then, no matter when the Lord calls you home, you will be with Jesus in heaven.  You will also be filled with unspeakable joy, and will want to share this Good News with others.  For the Lord wants none to perish, not even one.  He wants all to have everlasting life.

So, just for today, right now, be grateful for all the ways the Lord has blessed you.  For all the ups and downs No matter how small it may seem, thank Him.  Live out your faith with joy-filled hearts and peace-filled minds.  You can be assured that He knows each and every hair on your head.  He holds every tear you have ever shed or will shed in the future.  He is waiting for you to say yes to Him.  Just for today live as if it is your last day.  Love each person with an eternal love.  See everyone through Jesus eyes, not your own.

Wait and wait and wait some more,
Jesus will show you the way.
And in return your heart no more,
will be anxious any day.

And in this same way you will shout,
of God’s grace and mercy true,
to all who listen, and never doubt,
and faith increase their field of view.

Psalm 23

1     The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3     he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

Philia – Brotherly Love

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“Friendly Face”

No matter what the world may say,
About a friend, devoted and true.
I pray I’ll stand strong and firm
To defend and protect their virtue.

 

Like Jonathan and David,
When David was so wrongly accused.
Without any hesitation- Jonathan
Came running to his rescue.

Have you a friend like this, dear one?
Whose soul you’re deeply joined?
Through such a deep and real connection;
A heart friend, I’ve heard it coined.
Delight in such a friendship,
Let not Satan feed you lies.
For no one is more precious,
Than one for you who’d willing die.

For my few and true heart friendships,
I pray my life sincerely shows,
This kind of genuine devotion,
Your soul knows I’d never let you go.

In all of life’s journeys,
Whether in joy or sorrow, too.
My friend, to you I’m connected,
By God’s love for me and you.

“And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.” 1 Samuel 18:3

“As iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. – Proverbs 27:17

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9