Tuesday, July 21, 2009

This is Not My Home

Death and Dying for the Christian

Over the last months in my battle with cancer many have asked me if I am afraid of dying. Some have expressed their own fears of death and one lady admitted she was totally terrified. I can honestly say that I am not afraid of dying. Yes I do hate to leave my family and friends and even this ministry. But I have had a wonderful life especially in my last years as I have grown in faith and trust. The ministry has blessed me far beyond it blessing anyone else. I have had the opportunity to meet so many saints who are being brought by Christ to holiness. He is bringing His true Church together in love.

I have had my times of pain and sorrow and many trials, but I have learned to trust in my Heavenly Father. Each time that God has brought me through a trial in my life it has only strengthened my faith. I have learned how very much He truly loves me. I hardly even have a worry for very long anymore. My life has become a constant blessing. I have studied the promises of God and I have claimed them. If I do let a worry crop up in my mind it doesn't last long because I turn in trust to my God who has all the answers and grants me peace. I am so rich with blessings. My life has become a constant blessing. My children and good friends have been there for me. God has brought people back into my life that I thought I would never even see again. People who had moved away and we had lost contact. They have just showed up at the door. God gave me a chance to share with them what God has done in my life.

If we would all look at the bad times in our lives we will see the hand of God. Most the time we build things up in our own minds before they even happen. That was one of my own faults. God always had a solution if I would just wait. That patience thing is a hard one, but through the years I have seen how He has always come to my rescue. He is only waiting for us to ask.

Joh 8:51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. The Lord is saying that as a Christian when I go to sleep I will not see death, but Jesus. Those who fear death is because they have rejected Christ. Christ has made victory over death. When we keep our minds under the control of the spirit we have peace. Satan is the one who fills us with fear. Satan has controlled the world with the fear of death. Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

It is my choice if I want to listen to the devil or to turn to God in my need. Only the unbeliever need fear death. For when he is raised it will be to destruction and eternal separation from God.

Phi 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

My faith has been continually strengthened as I have watched God working in my life. Things I did not understand before. How He moved me to the right place and brought the right people into my life as He made me ready for the work He had for me to do. I see how He has protected me, removing wrong things from my life, His great love for me. All these made me love Him even more. When you really love someone there is no fear of anything.

1Jo 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

When I keep my eyes on Jesus day by day all anxieties and worries leave my heart and only peace remains. It is only when I take my eyes off Jesus that the devil has the chance to move in and fill my mind with fear. The power and fear of death have been removed for the child of God. Rom 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

I will have a new body that is healthy and whole. Christ has already defeated death and it will be ultimately destroyed. It was defeated at the Cross. Death only means sleep, a temporary sleep in Christ. When I awaken I will be with Jesus. Think of what a glorious day it will be when we get to heaven. You will know me and I you. Oh how I love the great hymn." When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be, when we all see Jesus we'll sing and shout the victory."

1Co 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. What a blessing it will be to meet each of you in person. You have kept me encouraged and for that I am truly grateful. What a family we have in Christ.

My citizenship is in heaven. This earth is not my eternal residence. Think of it as we are just passing through. While I am here I have the opportunity to share with others about my God and my true home. One must decide where we are going. We need to reserve a ticket. Jesus has already paid for that ticket and all expenses are paid. It is our decision as to whether to accept the ticket.

2Co 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. I long for the day He comes to take me home. I will just be changing my address.

Resting in Christ is only the beginning not the end. Psa 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.

Pro 14:32 The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death. There is hope beyond death.

I believe in a life after death. Jesus proved by His own resurrection that I too will live after death. Joh 14:19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

Joh 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Joh 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also Is this not the most wonderful thing to hear! He is going to come again and I will be with Him.

Sir Walter Scott asked, "Is death the last sleep? No, it is the final awakening."

Read Revelation 21 and 22 about heaven and the new earth. How could anyone fear being with Christ in such a wonderful place?

I believe the hardest thing for me to do was to die to self. I have always been a people pleaser. Afraid of what man would think. I am no longer afraid because I want to be a God pleaser. There were things I wanted to do and they did not make me happy. I became happy when I made Jesus the Lord of my life. I was then willing to receive His plan for my life and it has been my very best years. I can no longer understand why I fought it for so long. We need to remember the words of Paul. 1Co 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Dying to self is simply changing my focus from being on myself to that of serving my God and others. Eph 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. This is my beginning prayer that starts my every day, for God to let me die to self so that He may use me.

Do a self-examination. Look at all your unhappiest times. You will find self is the cause of most of our unhappiness. Look at self in the light of Jesus. Phi 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Christ emptied Himself. He was more concerned in serving the Father, not Himself. And that is where dying to self starts. When I take my eyes off self and become willing to serve others my troubles grow so small. Serving God and others helps me to grow and it fills my heart with love. There is nothing that brings more happiness, joy and peace. When I see someone who has no peace or love for others I see someone who is selfish, self-centered and unhappy. They live one miserable day after another searching for something that only God can fill. Money or things will never fill those empty places.

Joh 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Do you understand what this is saying? We must die to self first before we can serve God. Your life cannot bear fruit until it dies. You have got to die to your wants and plans and be willing to go with God's plans for your life. Your motives in the flesh are selfish. Anything you do that you believe is good in the flesh is self-centered. Even in Christianity today much is done in pleasing men. Jesus is entirely left out. We see all these programs but did we ever ask God is this what He wanted.

Being able to love all people is a sign that you have truly died to self. In the flesh we cannot love others, as we should especially those who have hurt us. We love our children with an unselfish love but can you love a stranger with the same love. Christ is our example as He hung on the Cross. Luk 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Many years ago I saw a prayer and I claimed it for myself. Father let my heart break with the things that break Your heart. That is when I began to truly love people and die to self. I stopped looking at past hurts and I stopped judging those who I didn't even know. I began to see that I didn't even know what another might be going through at the time to cause them to act the way they do. I began to pray for God to show me how to help these who were acting so unkind. God began to let me see in another's heart and He showed me how I could love them in spite of how they acted. I gained many friends that way and some of those friendships are still in tact this day. If you can't love then you have not died to self. 1Jo 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. The devil doesn't know how to love and he cannot touch those who do.

Our days are numbered just as this world's days are numbered. If you have given yourself to God then you have no need of fear. If you have not given your life to Jesus now is the time to do it for we know not what tomorrow may bring. Ask Jesus into your heart, confess your sins and make amends to those you have wronged. Let the Lord fill your life with His presence. It is a decision you will never regret and you will spend eternity with the God of life. I hope to see each of you at the throne. Jesus is coming soon!

Heavenly Father I look toward the day that I will be with You for eternity. When I cried out for forgiveness and love You were always there. Help me to always remember that none of my suffering has been in vain. Teach me through every trial that comes my way. Help me to always to rely completely on You for my strength and my needs.

My thoughts are glorious thoughts of You for You are every where loving and caring for even the minutest details of my life. Even in my darkest moments I have felt Your presence and You gave me hope. Even when you have chastened me it has been in a loving way. You have given me life through my Lord Jesus Christ.

Even my unworthy life has been transformed by Your amazing grace. I love you Lord Jesus. Help me to always keep my eyes on You so my faith will never waver.

In adoration I worship You. I can do nothing of lasting value apart from You. There are so many without You Lord. Use me to lead others to You where they too can have the joy and peace that only You can bring. My time with You is the highlight of my every day. I thank You for the truth You have given me and my greatest desire is that all the world could come to know You. I thank you that in heaven I will be reunited with all those that I love. Amen

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