Thursday, October 20, 2011

Devotional - Snapshot 87- Death

"The Bible speaks of two ways of dying. The people of God...die in faith, and enter that place God has prepared for His people from the foundation of the world. The only other way one can die is to die in one's sins...and the worst calamity that could ever befall a human being is to die in that state." R. C. Sproul

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints." Psalm 116:15

On September 23, 2011 my mother died. It was a glorious moment for her as she left her labored body and entered into the beauty, peace, joy of heaven. Jesus, whom she trusted as her God and Savior on May 3, 2011 at the age of eighty, was there to wipe every tear from her eyes.

Our son sang a song at the funeral--"It Is Not Death To Die" by Bob Kauflin. Here are some of the verses.

It is not death to fling aside this earthly dust,
And rise with strong and noble wing, to live among the just.

It is not death to hear the key unlock the door,
That sets us free from mortal years, to praise You evermore.

O Jesus, conquering the grave.
Your precious blood has power to save.
Those who trust in You will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die.

So my, dear sisters, there are two ways to die...with Jesus or without Jesus. I tell you the truth, your mind can not conceive what awaits you when you die trusting Jesus as your Savior. To die is to gain!!! One dies to live! The grandest, most glorious home is ready for you and I. Joy unspeakable, love most divine, no insecurity, no guilt, no fear, no worry will be ours in the presence of Christ. For those of us who believe, it is not death to die.

But wait, if you do not believe Jesus is who He says He is ---fully God and fully man, the great I AM, God come in the flesh---you will die in your sins. And that will not be pretty... but terror unspeakable, gnashing of teeth, weeping and crying for eternity.

As Joshua said in Joshua 24:15 "Choose you this day whom you will serve! But as for me and my house we will serve the LORD!"

My husband and I thank you for all your love and support at this time, but we are not weeping as the world, for mother has Christ. Do you?

Devotional - Snapshot 86- You are You

"Just remember, no matter how cool you think you look, everyone will be laughing at that picture of you in ten years." Chris Brooks, Student Life Camp Pastor

"For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13, 14

My mother had just come to live with me. I had guests over for Sunday dinner and she asked to help. "Yes," I said, "you can put the silverware on the table."

I was whipping around the kitchen putting the final touches on the meal while my friends leisurely chatted. I opened the oven door to get the meat out and forgot Mother was standing there with the silverware drawer open retrieving the necessary utensils. I never do anything slowly, so "CRASH!" went the oven door against the silverware drawer. Mother gasped, the guests grew quiet. I turned and looked at Mom and I perceived she was angry, though she said nothing. I told her I was sorry and then I sheepishly looked at my guests and said, "I move too fast."

They continued their conversation, Mom resumed her task, but a wave of inner shame came over me. My mind began to recriminate me. "You move too fast!" "You are making your company uncomfortable." "Why do you do that?" "You are not a good hostess." "You are an embarrassment."

I brought the meat out on top of the stove, holding back tears. I couldn't shake the bad feeling I had about myself at that moment. The negative thoughts were coming fast and furious swirling around my head. Then a still voice began to intrude---"I made you fast."

"What?" I silently whispered.

"It's okay, Carol, I made you fast."

A settled, sure peace washed over me cleansing me of the dirty, muddied thoughts about myself. God had seen and heard and had intruded in my thoughts. "My frame was not hidden from You...Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, ..How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!" Psalm 139: 15-17

Isn't it wonderful the wide range of temperaments, personalities, gifts, weaknesses, appearances, God has made in each one of us. What you don't like about someone may be the very thing God put into them to display His diversity and love. Oh sure, I do need to be sensitive to how my personality affects another, so I can moderate myself for Christ's sake that Christ might be glorified. But we shouldn’t feel shame for moving fast, or moving slow, or speaking with a squeaky voice, for laughing loud or never laughing, or being organized or scattered, being spontaneous or liking predictability, being a planner, being a thinker, being a doer, liking hymns or contemporary music, comfortable raising hands in church, not comfortable, being shy, being a talker, seeing the big picture, seeing the details. We could go on and on. The list is endless because God's creative energies in us are endless. To feel shame for being Carol or for being you is to not appreciate God's workmanship.

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

"Lord, help us to see ourselves and each other with eyes of creative wonder in You."