Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- September 22, 2013
…and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Jesus has conquered death; therefore, followers of Jesus need not fear death. You may have a fear of dying, but not of death. For the believer in Christ, death is a pass through, a transition from this life to the next. Death is not final for it is the doorway to eternity. Indeed, it is the beginning of an eternity in the physical presence of Jesus. Everything we have experienced with Christ on earth is an appetizer of what is to come. Our faith can only digest a mere morsel of what God has in store for those who love Him. Do not let the prospects of death get you down, as it is a commencement to be celebrated. You have remained faithful in this school of life, and now God has a glorious graduation in store for you. Yes, there is some fear of the unknown, but there is a lot we do know that keeps fear in check.
We know that death, for the followers of Christ, places them in an environment of sinless bliss. You can live and breathe without the fear of AIDS, murder, adultery, homosexuality, lying, cheating, pain, hunger, abortion, or poverty. Life in heaven is not good; it is great. Death releases you from the pain of your current suffering. Your suffering has perfected your character and faith in Christ. Now you are ready to be received back home. Your suffering has drawn you into an incredible intimacy with your Savior. As a consequence, many others beyond your comprehension have been drawn close to your Lord. Nurses, doctors, friends, and relatives stand in awe and fall on their knees before your God.
Your death will not only set you permanently free, but will do the same for others who believe. Death is freedom, it is not to be feared. So, in the meantime, make every effort to prepare yourself and others for death. The fear of death creeps in where there has been no preparation. You can ignore its reality but you will still die. You can deny death, but not its consequences. You may have a chance to repent on your deathbed, but why wait? Why take the chance of choosing hell over heaven? Death is not a lottery ticket; so don’t gamble with your soul. Go with God’s sure thing, faith in Jesus Christ. He has died and risen from the dead, so He can be trusted. He has been there, dealt with death, and reigns over all in heaven.
Moreover, love the dying. Everyone is dying; but reach out to those closer to death’s door. The depth of wisdom that comes from the dying has the aroma of heaven. That which is important falls from their lips, as priorities are aligned and lived. Being with the dying prepares you for dying, as it is preparation for the one receiving care and for the caregiver. Death is an absolute. It may come suddenly or at the end of a long process, but either way God can be trusted. You have questions about the timing of death that may only be answered in heaven. Above all, God is good and God is great. Thank him for every breath you take. Enjoy and celebrate death’s release. Because Jesus died and rose again, you will do the same. Fear only God, and enjoy the benefit of death’s freedom. The Bible teaches, “‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ 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” (1 Corinthians 15:54b-57). Walk with the dying for their edification and for your own.
Taken from the September 22nd reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God” volume 1… http://bit.ly/Tv6y9a
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