I was recently invited to dinner and saw the following, hanging on the dining room wall:
Rules For Today
1. Do nothing that you would not like Jesus to be doing when He comes.
2. Go to no places where you would not like to be found when Jesus comes.
3. Say nothing that you would not like to be saying when Jesus comes.
I thought it was indeed a good motto to begin each week and each day with. The Lord Jesus may come before the day or the week is over. What will you be doing? Where will you be going? What will you be saying?
A vessel on Lake Superior caught fire two miles from shore. The only means of escape was by the boats, but when filled almost to sinking there were still left on board a man, his wife, and little daughter. He looked at the distance to shore and said, “I think I can do it.” He got his wife to hold on to his shoulders with the child, and started to swim. After a while he was exhausted, and said, “I cannot save you both.” Without a word the wife loosened her hold and sank to her death. By tremendous effort he managed to keep the child afloat till they were rescued.
In after years a young woman used to sit and gaze at a large portrait which hung on the wall of her home, and with tears in her eyes she would say, “She gave her life for me.”
Today we have the privilege of remembering the one, “Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14). How wonderful that in remembrance we can echo with the Apostle Paul, “The Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
I fly a lot, and as a result I am part of a frequent flyer program whose slogan is,
“Live For The Moment!”
While this slogan is simply a catchy phrase to encourage people to take advantage of the perks of travelling a certain network of airlines, yet it seems to sum up the spirit of the world and the age in which we find ourselves today. Sad to say, many people are only living for the moment…without Christ and without any thought of eternity and having to meet God. The famous entertainer, Bob Hope, was asked, shortly before his death, what he would do if he knew he only had a month to live. His reply was, “I would live every day to the full!”
What a sad, empty resolve! And how awful to end up in a lost eternity as a result. Don’t be like those who say, “Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32). We need to consider things in view of eternity, not just for the moment! “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).
Q. What Scriptures tell us something about the state of those believers who have died before they get their glorified bodies?
A. There is perhaps very little told us about the believers who have died, but certainly enough to comfort us in the realization that they are in the conscious enjoyment of the Lord’s presence. Here are some verses in that regard:
To the thief on the cross, “Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Paul said, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain… having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Philippians 1:21,23).
These verses show that “the dead in Christ” (1 Thessalonians 4:16), are waiting for the resurrection when they, like us, will have bodies “fashioned like unto His glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). In the meantime we can say, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord” (Revelation 14:13).
“My God shall supply ALL YOUR NEED according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?…for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” (Matthew 6:31-32).
“For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings” (Ephesians 1:3).
“According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (1 Peter 1:3).
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Keep your eyes on the Lord of glory!
Sometimes we seem to just drift along not giving much thought to the Lord and what really pleases Him. However, He is faithful, and often gives us a “wake up” call, by allowing something in our life to stir us up so that we stop and “consider Him” (Hebrews 12:3). It is good to listen and to heed when He speaks in this way.
Life seems to fly by and things don’t seem to slow down or get any easier, but we have a wonderful Saviour and Friend who has been here in this world as a man, and who not only carries our burdens for us, but also carries us along, fully understanding and entering into what we go through and feel.
He is also now at the right hand of God in Heaven as our object and resource, and we can count on Him every step of the way, no matter how hectic daily life becomes.
We hear a lot today about the pressures of life, and sometimes, perhaps we wonder how we are going to get along and face another week, or the near or distant future. But it is wonderful to know that we don’t have to carry the burdens alone, or face what seems to be looming on the horizon by ourselves. Our Lord Jesus Christ has promised to bear it all with us, and to never leave us until we are safe home and at rest in the Father’s house. He has told each of His own: “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22). He has also said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).
As we start out this week, let’s go forth with a renewed sense of His everlasting love, His mighty power, and His divine presence with us. This will give us the confidence and strength to meet whatever comes our way, be it good or bad, hard of easy.
“Thou hast laid Me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps” (Psalm 88:6).
The Lord suffered untold agonies at the hand of God. On the cross of Calvary the suffering of the Lord from man was nothing compared to what He felt when God forsook Him in those three hours of darkness, and He cried, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34).We will never know the extent of His atoning sufferings. We just get some heart-rending words in the Scripture that show how bad it was. Thankfully Jesus bore the punishment for our sins and we have the wonderful privilege of a full and free salvation through faith in Him.
Here is another verse that describes for us something of what the Lord Jesus felt when He experienced the wrath of a holy God against sin. “Thy wrath lieth hard upon Me, and Thou hast afflicted Me with all Thy waves” (Psalm 88:7).
Jesus was forsaken by His God. God turned His back while He was punished for our sin. Awful sin—awful suffering—awesome Saviour.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
Distressed that the subject of death and dying was becoming taboo in our western culture, Bill and Judith Moyers produced a television series showing that an honest discussion of the subject helps many die with calm acceptance. However, no mention was made of faith in Christ or His resurrection.Therefore, it gave no example of anyone dying triumphantly.
When Stephen was being stoned by his enemies, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59). Only those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are able to die with joy and triumph, and anticipation. Because Jesus died for our sins and rose from the grave, we who believe on Him can die with a living hope and that certainly goes far beyond just calm acceptance.This is because, for the believer, it is “to be with Christ; which is far better” (Philippians 1:23).