Death Defeated!

He is RisenWhen I actually think about death, I admit that I’m a bit afraid. I have not been around a lot of people as they died, but I really miss several people who have already died. I think the reason that there is some fear in my heart, it’s because it’s unknown. I’ve never met anyone who has died and came back to tell me what it’s like. I was speaking with someone just yesterday who’s spouse battled cancer for nearly 10 years before dying. There are lots of questions I have about death that I can’t find the answers for. My journey with the Lord has made my questions a lot smaller and less significant because I do believe that He will be with me – even in death.  I think the thing that makes me a bit fearful is because death is not a respecter of age. People of all ages die. While I’m alive here on earth, this life becomes all-consuming and I lose perspective that eternal life is the big prize! This life is a prerequisite to eternal life – there is no death there.

The big difference in believing in Jesus rather than other religions is that He defeated death. He died as part of a plan to bring forgiveness to everyone who believes in Him. None of the other religious leaders have that claim to fame. Jesus actually didn’t come to reinforce a religion; He came bringing us a direct relationship with God, the Father.  When Jesus died on Friday, His disciples were despondent and disillusioned. When Sunday came, everything changed. Check this out….

Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”

The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.” (Matthew 28:5-10 NLT)

As I get older and ponder death, I realize that I can’t really know what to expect. I have to hold on tight to the Lord as I walk through that valley. I also must remember that I have given my life to the One Person Who defeated death. I think the older I get the weaker my fear becomes. The last time I checked the death rate is 100% here on earth. Jesus faced death. Jesus completed His mission which culminated in death, but then He defeated death once and for all when He came back to life.  I want to live and walk through this life with confidence in the One Who took the sting out of death by defeating death. I want to grow closer to Him as I walk toward that transition from this life to the next.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

When

timer with the words Time is Running OutThis is one of those words in the English language that is often used as an adverb, conjunction, pronoun and noun. I use the word a lot with a question mark to determine time or estimated time of arrival (ETA) with my kids. When they are coming for a visit, I like to know when they will arrive. I’m always anticipating seeing them and giving them a hug. I also have as many of my activities as possible on my calendar so that I won’t forget to meet someone, do something or be somewhere as promised.  I still enjoy spontaneous, unplanned events. I enjoy them a lot on a day off or a time of vacation. This word, WHEN, is part of the family of inquisitive words: Who, What, When, & How. These all mostly have a question mark behind them.

Jesus started telling His disciples about how things were going to end before He comes back. He gave them some detail about “how” things would go down. He did not give them the “when”. Check this out….

40 “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left.41 Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.

42 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43 Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. (Matthew 24:40-44 NLT)

It’s not for me to know “WHEN” – the message for me is to be ready. I must keep my heart prepared and my gaze set on heaven. While I’m here on earth, I have much to do. I must keep one eye on today and the other on eternity. I believe that this life is a stepping stone into eternity. I should live fully and abundantly while I’m here because I have the Presence of God in my heart. I must keep in mind that this life here is NOT all there is. I was at the funeral home last evening as a Mom stood beside the casket of her thirty-eight-year-old daughter who had died of cancer. She didn’t know when. None of us know when. I am living and breathing at the moment, but I could die before today’s end. I realize that this is somewhat morbid, but I am quite comfortable talking about. I’m ready when He’s ready. I have made eternal preparations because I believe God’s Word is true. I don’t know “When”, but there are no “ifs” about it. I must be ready at all times – in any season of life. This world is not my home – heaven is.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Temporary & Eternal

 

john-3-16The older I get, the more I ponder how much longer do I have on this earth. I’m not trying to be negative or morbid, I just want to make my days count and not just count my days. I see people who are attacked with cancer or heart disease and the number of their days here on earth shrinks incredibly. I’m not trying to scare anyone including myself. I’m a bit of a realistic person and while I don’t feel bad, I realize that my life could end quickly in an accident as well. This life is a vapor according to the book of James…

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14 NIV)

As I read Job’s response to his “friends”, it dawned on me that Job is speaking in the here and now. He is not really looking forward to eternity. I guess if I didn’t have hope of eternal life after this life, it would be easy to get discouraged when suffering comes. Check this out…

3 Bear with me while I speak,

    and after I have spoken, mock on.

7 Why do the wicked live on,

    growing old and increasing in power?

8 They see their children established around them,

    their offspring before their eyes.

13 They spend their years in prosperity

    and go down to the grave in peace.[a]

14 Yet they say to God, “Leave us alone!

    We have no desire to know your ways.

15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him?

    What would we gain by praying to him?” (Job 21:3,7-8,13-15 NIV)

I don’t think I ever realized before that Job didn’t have insight into the offer of eternal life. It appears that he understood this life on earth to be all that there is. I would have a totally different view of my life today, if I felt that this is all there is. I would hope that I would be somewhat health conscious. I would look at funerals way differently too. I have believed in heaven and hell my whole life. I didn’t discover until the past few years, the value of the abundant life here on earth and how it folds right into eternal life with the Lord.

When I know Him, my life here looks way different.

When I know Him, my future in eternity looks ways different.

When I know Him, my today has hope and a promise all it’s own.

I can’t imagine pushing through the suffering that I’ve been through or that is possibly yet to come without Him. His Presence in my life now gives me perspective and insight that I need to keep moving. Today is another investment into the abundant life that leads to eternal life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Fundraising

 

In God We Trust from the dollar billThere seems to be several fundraisers going around the office every month. I recently bought a raffle ticket for a fundraiser for a local charitable group. Our church is raising funds for the City Station project. It’s not easy to raise money in our culture where the average household spends more than they earn. We seem to look for immediate fixes to long-term challenges.

2 Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him. 3 The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.

4 Joash said to the priests, ‘Collect all the money that is brought as sacred offerings to the temple of the Lord – the money collected in the census, the money received from personal vows and the money brought voluntarily to the temple. 5 Let every priest receive the money from one of the treasurers, then use it to repair whatever damage is found in the temple.’ (2 Kings 12:2-5 NIV)

King Joash was 7 years old when he became king. He was teachable and trainable by the priest, Jehoiada. He really wanted to repair the temple that had been home to him six of his first seven years.

I remember my Mom telling me that a “penny saved is a penny earned”. I wish I had grasped this concept many years ago. Dave Ramsey came along and all of a sudden I understood the value of saving money. The Lord can be certainly honored with my money and I can be like God as a giver when I save money and manage well. This young king had big ideas and he seemed to really want to honor God.

I have been guilty of pursuing money, wealth and fame instead of pursuing God. I’ve learned some hard lessons in the pursuit of money. All the possessions I have and all the money that I’ve ever earned is temporary. When I take what I’ve been blessed with and I honor the Lord, I’m investing in eternity – a very wise investment. I think I’ll do some more fundraising to be prepared to give when the Lord says give.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Inheritance

 

Bag with inheritanceI thing that this word is a word that can be a synonym with gift. An inheritance is a lot like a gift but it’s given because of some prior relationship. It can be possessions that are left behind by a friend or family member. It can also be characteristic or trait given genetically by ones parents or ancestors. Inheritance is generally something, which we have very little control over. The family of a wealthy person can’t control how generous he or she is to specific individuals. The division of the inheritance is often spelled out in a last will and testament.

The Lord is giving His people an inheritance of the Promised Land. Out of 12 tribes, one will not receive the same inheritance. Check this out…

1 The Levitical priests – indeed, the whole tribe of Levi – are to have no land allotted to them or any inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the food offerings presented to the Lord, for that is their inheritance. 2 They shall have no inheritance among their fellow Israelites; the Lord is their inheritance, as he promised them.

5 for the Lord your God has chosen them and their descendants out of all your tribes to stand and minister in the Lord’s name always. (Deuteronomy 18:1-2;5 NIV)

I think it’s healthy to see the Lord as my inheritance. If I were to be the recipient of an inheritance worth millions of dollars, it will still be temporary. If the Lord is my inheritance, then my eternity is secure. It is so easy to be distracted here on earth with things that don’t last. I need to keep my attention and my gaze upon Him because He is eternal.

It’s interesting to see people’s response and reaction to money. A large inheritance seems to really change some people. I heard a great quote recently that said, “Money magnifies who we already are”. If we were a jerk without money, we will be a jerk when we get money. If we are kind, even though we’re broke, we’ll be kind even when we’re not broke.

I’m reading a series of books called “The Ultimate Gift” by Jim Stovall. The author conveys with this series of novels the value of character and an understanding of the gifts of this life. Our values really are magnified by money. I would be really wise to make the Lord my inheritance and use the resources that I have here on earth to pursuing eternal life with Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Real Property

Parcel PicWhen I list a piece of land for sale, I often note the Good Lord is not making any more land. It is the truest form of “real property”. Houses, barns and even trees can be replaced or replanted, but real property is not being reproduced. During the deep downturn in our economy, I was blown away by some of the land prices. They are starting to climb out pretty steadily right now.

The Lord divided the land He had promised to His people. He obviously thought that having family land together was the proper way to divide it up. He also wanted it to stay in that family forever. Check this out…

1‘“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: if the prince makes a gift from his inheritance to one of his sons, it will also belong to his descendants; it is to be their property by inheritance. 17 If, however, he makes a gift from his inheritance to one of his servants, the servant may keep it until the year of freedom; then it will revert to the prince. His inheritance belongs to his sons only; it is theirs. 18 The prince must not take any of the inheritance of the people, driving them off their property. He is to give his sons their inheritance out of his own property, so that not one of my people will be separated from their property.”’ (Ezekiel 46:16-18 NIV)

 

One of the top considerations of a piece of land that is for sale is the location. It is important how access is gained. The most important consideration to many is the price point per acre. If it’s a commercial spot of land in a very strategic location, it will bring top dollar. If it’s a bit off the “beaten path”, the same piece of land will bring pennies on the dollar.

Land is one of the most permanent components of real estate, but it is also temporary along with everything else in this world. I want my inheritance to be in heaven. I want my children and their children’s children to accept the inheritance that the Lord purchased for His kids.

Pressing On!

Dwayne