Monday, September 7, 2015

Courage to Face Death

Chuckle: "You know you're getting old when you bend over in the morning to tie your shoes and realize you didn't take them off the night before!"
Quote: "It is we ourselves and not outward circumstances who make death what it can be, a death freely and voluntarily accepted." -- Deitrich Bonhoeffer
"For we are not our own masters when we live or when we die. While we live, we live to please the Lord. And when we die, we go to be with the Lord. So in life and in death, we belong to the Lord" (Romans 14:7 NLT). "Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where O death is your sting?" (I Corinthians 15:54-55 NLT).
The Bible has much to say about death: it's certainty, its meaning, and its defeat for the Christian. For those facing imminent death and suffering severe pain, death often becomes a welcomed relief. But most of us want to avoid death as long as possible. The will to survive has to be the strongest instinctive human trait.
As Christians, I think we are most afraid of the process of dying rather than death itself. We often talk about having no fear of death, but most of us want to live in this life as long as possible. Having said this, every one of us should be planning for the day our lives will end. Life is so terribly brief, fragile, and uncertain. We have no guarantee of tomorrow, much less next month or next year. "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that'" (James 4:14-15 NIV).
It takes faith and God-given courage to look death in the face and see it for what it is: the transition from this earthly physical life to our eternal life in God's presence in a place the Bible calls heaven. And the truth of God's Word is that when we know God through faith in Jesus Christ, we should not waste our time worrying about or dreading death. We should not be afraid. Instead, we should spend our time preparing for it. By his resurrection, Jesus was victorious over sin, death, and the grave.
How then can we have the courage to face our death without fear? It's really very simple -- we must surrender our lives totally to Jesus Christ and trust him completely in death as well as in life. As we claim his promises of our resurrection and eternal life, he will give us all the courage we need -- even to face death. "Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me." (Psalm 23:4 NLT).
"There are many instances of those whose faith has triumphed in the hour of death. D. L. Moody, the great evangelist of the past century, said on his deathbed, 'Earth is receding, heaven is approaching. This is my crowning day!'"
In summary, the reality of death casts a frightening shadow over our lives because we are entirely helpless to prevent it. Death may be delayed by healthy living habits, but it cannot be avoided and comes to each of us. ". . . it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment . . ." (Hebrews 9:27 KJV). But there is One who promises to walk with us through death's dark valley and bring us safely to the other side. We, then, should have the courage to fearlessly follow the Good Shepherd who has promised us eternal comfort and peace.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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