It has been a while since I posted anything on line, and it seems difficult to get thoughts to flow as I would like. My father died a few days ago and it has caused me to do some heavy thinking. This happens to most of us when we face the death of an acquaintance, friend, or especially when it is a close family member. Chronologically, my dad was 86 years old, but physically it seemed that he would outlive most of the rest of us. He came through his last doctor’s visit with flying colors. He was still working long hours every day, even though officially retired for many years. Yet…without warning, he died. What was odd was how it happened. He set his chainsaw down, laid down on his side like he was going to take a nap putting his hands under the side of his head, pulling one knee over the other to be comfortable, and closed his eyes. That is exactly how he was found. He had apparently been dead for a couple hours or so.
There are a lot of details to the story I am leaving out, but there is a reason I am telling this story today. Life as we know it, is a fleeting thing. When talking with one of my grandsons about dad’s death, I mentioned to him how it is not really a tragedy when someone like his great-grandfather dies, because he had lived a long life, and he had made his peace with God. Actually, he had done so when young. His great-grandfather knew where he was going. A tragedy is when a teenager suddenly loses their life, especially if they are not ready for eternity. This happened just this last week in his school. Five teenagers were involved in a car crash that left two girls dead and three boys in the hospital. In this case, I don’t know anything about the kids.
Quite often on this blog-site I’ve spoken about the signs of the times, and how they are pointing to the fact that we are the terminal generation. The Bible describes our time in great detail, and if one takes enough time to read and understand the information that God has left us, it’s not too hard to see that the world is hurtling toward the apocalypse. But, that is not what this post is about. This post is about life and death. There are some things that we as humans have little or no control over. One of these is death. God has never given us control over death, but he has given us the way to be prepared for it when it comes our way.
It was because of my dad’s sudden death, I have spent days thinking about how many people are concerned about everything…except that one appointment none of us can escape. There is nothing at all wrong with planning for the future, buying and selling, marrying and giving in marriage, as the Bible says, but what is infinitely more important than any of these things, is whether we have made our peace with God. That can only come through the Man Jesus, who as God, took on the form of a man in order to put Himself into position to pay the price for sin and human failure that mankind has no way of paying himself. It had to be God.
In a week, I’ll take part in a funeral that is going to put a casket into the ground that does not contain my father. It only contains the shell of what used to be the man. The real man, who was my father on this earth, is now in the Presence of the God that created him. And that is because my father had been willing to humble himself and accept the free gift of forgiveness offered to him. God offered a really good deal, and dad took it.
I also took this same deal about 57 years ago and am today a totally forgiven man, although full of flaws. My life belongs to the One that created me, and He can do with me anything He chooses. How about you? That one sacrificial death on the Cross in Jerusalem nearly 2000 years ago, spilled the most potent blood in the universe. It was potent enough to cleanse every single human being of every sin and stain. It just takes acceptance of the free gift of forgiveness and let Him be Lord of your life. It’s that simple.
In the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy God spoke through Moses and told the people that they had life and death; blessing and cursing before them, and that they should choose life and blessing. It really is our choice! Hell was not created for humans; it was created for the devil and his evil minions, but there will also be humans in that horrible place. It will be those that chose badly! People ask how God could be so cruel. We need to remember that there really is only one All Powerful, All Knowing, Ever Present God, and He is the only true source of all that is good. If a man takes the God-given privilege of choice and chooses to ignore the sacrifice made to set him free and give him a relationship with God, God will sadly turn him over to the consequences of his choice. Jesus came and died so that humanity can be free, but God will never force anyone into serving Him. The problem is that there are only two ways to choose. If a person chooses God’s way, he chooses well. If however, he chooses to try and go his own way, he will stay at enmity with his Creator. There is no third way!
So, until I get something more written, choose well! In fact, if something happens and I don’t have the opportunity to write again, finish well. My father finished well, and his task on this earth was over a little after lunch time, February 4, 2012. God called him home. I don’t know about you, but as for me, finishing well has never been more important to me than it is today!
Keep Looking Up,