Plague of Death

 

I’m not sure how old I was when my Great Grandma died. I just remember the grief of my family. I think that may have been my earliest memory of someone near me dying. Now that I’m older, I been near death many times. I still struggle with the reality of death. It seems so final in the context of my life hear on earth. When I learned that my son had cancer a few years ago, I was so broken and seized by fear of him dying. My stomach gets in knots just thinking about it now. As I walk through my journey with the Lord, I’ve had lots more conversations about death with Him because He will walk with me through whatever I face in life or in death.

Moses and Aaron had warned Pharaoh about letting the Israelite people go into the desert to worship. I’m pretty sure everyone involved knew that there was not a “return to Egypt” plan. When the nation of Israel left Egypt to worship, they would not be back. Pharaoh was resistant to 8 other plagues that were designed to show him the Power of the God of Israel. The Lord prepared Moses, Aaron and the nation of Israel for what was about to happen. I can’t put my head around what the Egyptians went through that night. Check this out…

29 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. 30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead. (Exodus 12:29-30 NIV)

It’s one thing for a neighbor or acquaintance to have a death in the family, but for every family in the country of Egypt to have a death of the firstborn son as well as the first born of their livestock. This was absolutely devastating to this country. I can’t wrap my head around what it would be like to loose one of my children to death. My heart grieves deeply for any parent who has had that experience.

I believe in God – the Creator of Life. I also believe Him when He speaks of eternal life – life after death on earth. I believe that His Word is true. I believe that when I die here on earth, I will awake in eternity with Him. He makes it clear that the pathway to eternal life is through the ultimate sacrifice of His Son. He knows something about death, but He has defeated it. I no longer need to be afraid of it. I have hope that there is life that is so much bigger and more significant that life here. My life here should look different because of my hope. I should no longer be paralyzed with fear of death, but live my life here to the fullest for the One Who gives me eternal life. Now I’m trying to make my days count for Him rather that be stressed out and count my days that I have left. I don’t mean to do that, but after I passed 50, I realized that I’m pretty sure I’m over half-way home. Death is not a plague, but it is the closing of one chapter and the transition to another. I plan to face death with the help of the Creator and Giver of Life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Life & Death

Life and deathI’m not sure that there is a middle ground on this one. I’ve heard people say that they are “half-dead”, but I’m not sure I’ve heard anyone say that are “half-alive”. I’m actually not sure you can be in the middle on this one. Alive is alive and dead is dead – seems quite obvious to me.

 

Jeremiah was this shy young prophet who was given a very unpopular message to give to the people. He couldn’t keep quiet because the message was burning up inside and he had to share it. The king of Israel was being attacked by Babylon and he wanted to ask the Lord to take care of his attacker as he had done before. But the Lord said no and offered two choices. Check this out….

 

8 “Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. 9 Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives. (Jeremiah 21:8-9 NIV)

 

I’m not sure that these two choices have changed much. Life is found in the hand of the Creator of Life and death is found in His enemy. God created life – He gives me life. He sustains my life. He directs my life. He shows me the way to life forever.

 

If I choose another path other than life, I’m essentially choosing death. I may live it up for a while here on earth, but death will catch me. I can follow my own selfish desires and wants. I can do whatever I want, but if I choose anything other than life – it is really a choice leading to death. I know it sounds morbid and dark, but it really comes down to that. The Lord wants my heart to pursue His heart. That pursuit leads to life. When I follow my flesh and it’s desires – I’m on a clear path that leads to death. There isn’t room for gray here – I’m in one camp or the other. I’m choosing life every time – the outcome is much brighter and full of promise. I am aware that death here on earth is ultimately the end for everyone, but for those who know the Lord there is life eternal after death on earth.

 

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Wicked & Righteous

businessman making decisionWhen it comes right down to it, these are the two categories of people. It’s a simple division of people before a Holy God. I will confess that I’ve played on both teams in the two categories. There is fun to be had on both sides, but the consequences on the side of the wicked are ultimately devastating. In fact the wicked often get punished in the short term with consequences and then there is the eternal punishment.

I believe that I was created to bring honor to the Lord with my actions, attitudes and words…all of me for Him. This is not rocket science or complex chemistry. It is really a simple and basic choice to follow the Lord. Check this out….

8 Jerusalem staggers,
    Judah is falling;
their words and deeds are against the Lord,
    defying his glorious presence.
9 The look on their faces testifies against them;
    they parade their sin like Sodom;
    they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
    They have brought disaster upon themselves.
10 Tell the righteous it will be well with them,
    for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.
11 Woe to the wicked!
    Disaster is upon them!
They will be paid back
    for what their hands have done. (Isaiah 3:8-11 NIV)

 

I have choices every day – many choices in one day. My thoughts are sometimes not pure and clean, but I must bring them to the Lord. I can’t act on my thoughts – I must bring everything I think, say or do under the leadership of the Lord. I want to live a righteous life. When I stumble He lifts me back up and puts me back on my feet. His Mercy and Grace are beyond amazing. He promises me fulfillment in the midst of the struggle of this life because I look forward to a life that will not end.

I want to be known by the Lord as a righteous man who runs after His heart.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Endless

plane llI do understand beginnings and endings. Someone once said, “All good things must come to an end”. I’m not sure if the person who coined that idiom really knew the Lord. I’ve witnessed life being born and I’ve witnessed death. I do have a hard time wrapping my head around eternity. Everything I know and everything my life touches is temporary except for God.  He is eternal. He doesn’t have an ending. He also doesn’t have a beginning either. That is hard for my human brain to process. Check this out….

1 The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;

    the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength;

    indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
2 Your throne was established long ago;

    you are from all eternity.
3 The seas have lifted up, Lord,

    the seas have lifted up their voice;

    the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
4 Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,

    mightier than the breakers of the sea—

    the Lord on high is mighty.
5 Your statutes, Lord, stand firm;

    holiness adorns your house

    for endless days. (Psalm 93:1-5 NIV)

 

I’ve known the Lord for a long time now. I’ve heard about eternal life for years. When I actually take a moment to process this idea, it blows my mind. The Word teaches and speaks of eternal life with God. It also teaches and speaks of eternal punishment for those who don’t know Him.

There’s a lot of things in life that I don’t understand, but I believe in them. It blows my mind how these airplanes carrying 750,000 pounds or more can take off and get into the air on less than two miles runway.  Atlanta’s airport can have as many as more than 90 landings and over 100 takeoffs in an hour. I don’t understand how all of this works, but I’m not afraid to fly. I’ve learned to trust in things I can’t explain. I’ve also grown in my trust of the Lord even when I can’t totally explain endless or eternal life.

I’m grateful for His Word that keeps building and teaching truth into my heart. While I can’t explain all that I believe, I know what I believe.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Kingdom Come

JesusI remember hearing that as a child in a “son of a gun” kind of contest. I don’t always have my mind on Kingdom Come, but I certainly should. These two words speak of eternal life as well as abundant life here on earth. It speaks to me of God’s Kingdom here on earth (His church) as well as our heavenly home called heaven. I remember two specific lines in the Lord’s Prayer that speak of Kingdom Come as well: “Your Kingdom Come; Your Will be done…”  These are the words of Jesus. The words from Revelation are from heaven – probably the Son of God as well. Check this out….

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power

    and the kingdom of our God,

    and the authority of his Messiah.

For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,

    who accuses them before our God day and night,

    has been hurled down.
11 They triumphed over him

    by the blood of the Lamb

    and by the word of their testimony;

they did not love their lives so much

    as to shrink from death.
12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens

    and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,

    because the devil has gone down to you!

He is filled with fury,

    because he knows that his time is short.” (Revelation 12:10-12 NIV)

 

I want to triumph over the evil one because of the blood of the Lamb as well as the word of my testimony. I want to be strong in the face of temptation that seeks to take me out.  I also loved the line that they didn’t love their lives so much that they were afraid of death. This hit me a bit – I’m not really afraid of death, but I kind of am. I love my life here on earth and when I turn my attention to my life here, I then take my eyes off the Lord Who promises REAL life forever. This life has an ending, eternal life doesn’t.  While I’m here I can live the abundant life in the Lord with my eye on the eternal life. I don’t have to get too distracted looking toward my eternal home that I’m not present here and useful to the kingdom here. I want to be strong in the face of temptation and I want my life to bear testimony to the love of God to others. I want His Kingdom Come to be obvious in my life.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Death Can Be A Friend

death Grunge TextI have seen people suffer from a debilitation illness and it can be absolutely horrific for the one experiencing the suffering and for the one ministering to them. I remember being with a family as their family member fought bone cancer – death was a welcomed friend. I’ve been by the bedside of a dying family member who lived for days in a comatose state – death was welcomed friend. I know that this is a bit of a dark topic, but I came across a part of John’s Revelation vision that had people who disobeyed the Lord being punished in the last days.  Check this out….

They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them. (Revelation 9:5-6 NIV)

 

I want to walk in the Light of the Word of God. I want to follow Jesus and continue on a life-long journey of following Him. I ‘m not going to let the fear of death paralyze me from living life today. I want to make my life count so that in death God will be honored. I don’t believe that death here on earth is all there is. I believe in eternal life after death and I can spend eternity in my heavenly home.  I also believe in a place of eternal destruction and torment where people will want to die, but can’t. I choose life here on earth through Jesus Christ so that death is not an enemy.

Pressing On!
Dwayne