Saturday, July 30, 2011

Who’s Afraid of Death?

Who’s Afraid of Mister Death?
by Brotha DC

A few years ago I was in an office with a bunch of people that liked to get into some deep conversations during slow periods.  Often we discussed the vicissitudes of life... love... etceterra.  But on one occasion, the conversation turned to the concept of death.  “How would you like to go,” the question was asked.
Most wanted to go in some quick and dramatic way... like a skydiving mishap.  Or maybe a quick automobile collision.  The discussion also covered those who were to be executed for a capital crime.  Would a firing squad be preferable to the slow burn of the electric chair?

One colleague finally chimed in.  With a panicked voice, she begged us to please change the subject!  She couldn’t bear the thought of her own demise.  The great unknown of death was terrifying to her... as it seems to be for a lot of people.  Many just try to push the idea aside.  When they do discuss it, the conversation can be like two colleagues I overheard just the other day.  One was concerned that they would be trapped in a paralyzed body with their brain crying out... but nobody hearing. 

I am so happy that I don’t have any such worries or concerns. 


Because I have a great and precious promise... and you can to.  What promise?  The promise in 2 Corinthians 5:8 that the moment that I am absent from this physical body, I will be in the presence of the Lord.  Check it out:

7 For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance.
8 [Yes] we have confident and hopeful courage and are pleased rather to be away from home out of the body and be at home with the Lord.
9 Therefore, whether we are at home [on earth away from Him] or away from home [and with Him], we are constantly ambitious and strive earnestly to be pleasing to Him.
2 Corinthians 5:7-9 [AMP]

For those who who by fath make the quality decision to cling to, trust in, and rely upon God’s free gift of love, death is no longer a threat.  So what is this gift?  How can you get it?

16 For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.
18 He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation--he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ's name.]
19 The [basis of the] judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this: the Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil.
John 3:16-19 [AMP]

The great unknown is now revealed. The mystery of what happens after we die is solved. And for those worried that they might not have lived a good enough life to escape hellfire... the good news is that we don’t have to.  Jesus lived the good life that we could never live.  And when we cling to, trust in, and rely upon what Jesus did... then we can receive the eternal life that we could never earn.  And since Jesus told us in John 3:16 that we shall not perish (will never come to destruction... will never be lost) then we can embrace the promise of eternal (everlasting) life.
But wait a minute.  People who believe and receive Jesus have been put into a pine box and buried six feet under.  How does that work?  Again, remember the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:8 that when we are absent from our physical body, we will be in the presence of the Lord.  So then, what is there to say about Mister Death?

But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I'll probably never fully understand. We're not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it's over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we'll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:

   Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
   Who got the last word, oh, Death?
   Oh, Death, who's afraid of you now?

It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!
1 Corinthians 15:51-57 [MSG]

Wow! When the world has reached the end of its lifespan and the celestial trumpet sounds, those who died in Christ will rise first (after all, they have six feet farther to travel).   Then, those who are alive will rise up with them to meet the Lord in the air. 

Okay, but what happens before the end of the world... before the trumpet blast?

Well, Saint Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:54 that death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever) in and unto victory.  He goes on in the next verse to ask, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The answer for those in Christ is that death has no victory.  For those who have eternal security through Christ, the sting of death has been rendered impotent.

Delivered From the Power of Darkness
by Judy Ann

Father, we thank You for Christ, our Passover lamb, Who has been sacrificed to clear us of sin. You have delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of Your Love. Therefore we will keep the Festival, not with the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the bread of sincerity and truth. Amen.

Purge (clean out) the old leaven that you may be fresh (new) dough, still uncontaminated [as you are], for Christ, our Passover [Lamb], has been sacrificed.
1 Corinthians 5:7 [AMP]

God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public—to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. This is not only clear, but it's now—this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness.
Romans 3:25-26 [MSG]

[The Father] has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love
Colossians 1:13 [AMP]

Life in the Spirit
by Judy Ann

Father, I thank You for strengthening those whose hearts are fully committed to You. You prove Yourself mighty on their behalf. LORD, You have done great things for Your people, and we are filled with joy! We are a happy people, replacing the lower life for the higher life of the Spirit. Thank You for the great things You have done and are doing for us in the name of Jesus, amen.

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars."
2 Chronicles 16:9 [ESV]

It seemed like a dream, too good to be true, when God returned Zion's exiles.
   We laughed, we sang,
      we couldn't believe our good fortune.
   We were the talk of the nations—
      "God was wonderful to them!"
   God was wonderful to us;
      we are one happy people.
Psalm 126:1-3 [MSG]

Whoever finds his [lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life].
Matthew 10:39 [AMP]

Complete in Christ
by Judy Ann

My life is complete in You, Lord Jesus. Every answer, every need, every solution I have need of is available to me. You are Jehovah-Rapha, my Healer, Jehovah-Nissi, my Victory, Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider. You are Jehovah M’Kaddesh, my Sanctifier, Jehovah-Shalom, my Peace and Security. My Shepherd, you’re Jehovah-Rohi, Jehovah-Tsidkenu, my Righteousness, and Jehovah-Shammah, my ever-present Friend. Because I am complete in You, Lord Jesus I can overcome my insecurities and bring maturity and wisdom to every relationship for the good and benefit of others. Amen

And you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead--Father, Son and Holy Spirit--and reach full spiritual stature]. And He is the Head of all rule and authority [of every angelic principality and power].
Colossians 2:10 [AMP]