To Number

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It has been a night to speak about important matters.

I have a family member who has a terminal illness.

While speaking with him, he mentioned this quote by Winston Churchill:

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

It is difficult for our loved one to communicate, but I think I understood why these words were spoken.
As a Christian, the life he has lived here is only the beginning of his eternal life.
His passing from this earth is not the end for him.
It’s not even the beginning of the end.
The Bible says,
“Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.”
—Psalm 90:12
While some people live to be 100 years old and a little beyond while in their mortal state, we all know that the time will come for all people to die.
Understanding that our time is limited–even if we were to live to be 100–we come to the realization that our our days are numbered and they are precious.
With wisdom that can only come from God, we can choose wisely how to spend our time.
Our lives here may be long or they may be short by human standards.
Even so, when we die, it is not the end….
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Even Though They Die

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He had many friends and he invested his life in others tirelessly.

A friend and mentor to one of my sons, died at this time of year awhile back.

His widow recently purchased flowers for the church sanctuary in his memory.

I received a call from the church secretary, telling me that she had asked that I take the flowers home after the Sunday services.

Feeling honored, I did just that.

The arrangement was a beautiful addition to my home for many days.

When some of the flowers began to wilt, I removed the lively ones and placed them into two different vases.

There, they continued to brighten my kitchen for quite some time.

Today was a cloudy day, with soft white light filtered from the sun.

Deciding to take one of the bouquets outside for a photograph, I placed them on the walkway leading to my front door.

My friend’s husband loved the Lord and he loved other people.

I believe he is alive today with Jesus.

How can I know that?

In the Gospel of John, there is the account of a man named Lazarus from a town called Bethany who had two sisters named Mary and Martha.

Jesus was close to all three.

Lazarus became ill and died, so Jesus traveled to their home to see them.

Here are a few verses from that account:

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;  and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

—John 11:20-26

As the passage continues, Jesus tells someone to move the stone from the opening of the tomb.

He then calls to Lazarus to come out.

Very much alive again, Lazarus obeys!

My friend believed in Jesus.

Even though he died, he lives.

In fact, it’s as though he never really died, because he went immediately from life here to life in Heaven with Jesus.

I believe this.

Do you believe this?

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He Was Commended

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Every time I think about it, I become quiet and sad.

I was out of town last night.

Wondering what the weather was going to be like for the evening, I picked up my cell phone to check the forecast.

When I did, I also read something posted on a network site I use.

A friend of mine from my teenaged years had just days before been killed in a car accident.

I thought of memories of him when we were both young.

He was funny.

He was talented.

Since I had moved several hundred miles away from our home town, I had not talked to him in several years.

Feeling earnestly saddened by the news, I chose to read from a Bible app on my cell phone.

It had been awhile since I had last read from it.

Opening it, I found the scripture that I had most recently viewed.

The book of Hebrews, chapter 11, verses 4 and 5 were there.

 

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

 

When I found out about the accident, I looked at an online obituary and read comments there made by his friends and co-workers.

The part of the scripture that read, “And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead,” really stood out to me.

When someone truly serves God with a faithful heart, doesn’t their example live on as a testimony, even though they are dead?

Another part of the passage that was meaningful to me was, “For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.”

Wouldn’t you want that to be said about you?

Wouldn’t you want that to be the truth about your life?

That you were one who pleased God?

I believe the passage from Hebrews was left on my phone for a reason.

God knew that I would find out about my friend and begin reading from His word.

These two verses spoke to me at a time when I was contemplating the end of life’s journey here.

God is like that, you know.

He never leaves us, and when we need comfort or guidance, He can bring it to us in His perfect timing and in His way.

 

 

 

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