Tag Archives: Death

Living Dead or Born Again

Life can leave us feeling dead.  Have you ever felt that way, breathing and exchanging air but starved for life, longing for change but powerless to make changes, longing for a heaven on earth, the kingdom of God in the here and now? Or do you believe  you are living, oblivious to the fact you are really dead?  It might be better for you to be one of those who feel dead and are seeking life!

In the third chapter of the Gospel of John,  we watch and hear Jesus tell the Pharisee Nicodemus, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” Nicodemus is puzzled and wonders, how can this be?  Jesus tells Nicodemus that flesh gives birth to flesh and spirit gives birth to spirit.  He tells him that no one has ever gone into heaven except for the Son of Man who came from heaven.  He tells him that the Son of Man must be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

The apostle John tells us that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.

The apostle Paul proclaims that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  He describes mankind as dead in their sins.  Indeed, the living are the living dead until they believe that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, was lifted up and crucified on a cross to pay the penalty for their sin. Then they are born of God, born of His  Spirit – given His life, an eternal, abundant life that begins in the here and now.

The good news is that you don’t have to be living dead.  You can be born again to everlasting life.  Will you believe in the One who was lifted up and died for you?

 

Did you like this? Share it:

Conformed to The Image of Christ

 

100_3780

I continue to meditate on what it means to be conformed to the image of Christ, not the resurrected, glorified Jesus, but the crucified Jesus.

I read Romans 8 again and again to plumb the depths of its meaning, its truth.  “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (Romans 8:5)

I have a choice every morning to set my mind on either the desires of the sinful nature or the desires of the Spirit of God.  I will live each day, one day at a time, according to how my mind is set.

“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may share in his glory.” (Romans 8:16-17)

Sharing his sufferings is the prerequisite for sharing in his glory.  This is true whether I want it to be true or not.   Twenty-one Christians recently lived and died this reality.  They were conformed to the image of Christ in his death and today share his glory in his Father’s Kingdom.

Although all Christ followers are not called to martyrdom, they are all called to death.  Perhaps I am not called to give up my life for my faith in Christ, but each morning Jesus calls me to take up my cross and follow him. Paul tells me in Romans 8:12-14 that I have an obligation to put to death the sinful nature by the Spirit of God who lives in me.  Earlier in the same chapter, Paul reminds me that the Spirit of God raised Christ from the dead.  This same mighty power is available to me, actually lives inside me.

If twenty-one of my fellow brothers in Christ gave their lives up for the Jesus they loved, I can certainly, by the Spirit’s power at work within me, die countless daily deaths by setting my mind on the desires of God and saying no to my sinful desires and inclinations.  No to pride, jealousy. lust, anger and rage.  Yes to love, mercy, forgiveness and generosity.  No to my dreams.  Yes to God’s dreams.  No to rebellion.  Yes to surrender to the One who knows me best, loves me most, and gave himself to be my sin offering.

Holy Spirit, conform me to the image of Christ.  Let me be like him in his death. Remind me each morning to set my mind on the desires of God.  Give me power each day to say no to my sinful nature – to live as dead to that nature, to live as alive to the God who loves me, saying yes to Him again and again, hour by hour.  Enable me to do this out of my passion for the Lord Jesus.  Let me identify with him, in his death by dying in the flames of my love for him.  Let me do this to honor Christ and the twenty-one Coptic Christians who just gave their lives for him. Amen

Did you like this? Share it:

Reflections On Dying Today

100_3562

My husband has been waiting for the pathology report following the biopsy of the large tumor over his left kidney.   The radiologist who looked at the MRI films thought the tumor was lymphoma, rather than a kidney cancer.   People have told us that the diagnosis of lymphoma might be good news.  They have reminded us that lymphoma is more easily treated than it was years ago.  Someone told me their relative with stage 4 beat the disease and is cancer free.  My older sister beat stage 3 lymphoma when she was 73.   She said, “You tell Howard that I beat it, and he can too.  You tell him that he is going to get better. ”

Even as we brace ourselves and prepare for the battle with cancer,  Howard and I realize that death is one possible outcome of whatever the widespread process in his abdomen and pelvis is.  While we wait, we find we are at peace with that outcome.   I remember some thoughts from a book a fellow nurse gave me in 1971 when I had only been married one year.

The thoughts from Notes to Myself by Hugh Prather resonate in my heart again now when I have been married 43 years:

“She may die before morning.  But I have been with her for four years.  Four years. There is no way I could feel cheated if I didn’t have her for another day.  I didn’t deserve her for one minute.  God knows.

And I may die before morning.

What I must do is die now.  I must accept the justice of death and the injustice of life.  I have lived a good life – longer than many, better than most.  Tony died when he was twenty.  I have had thirty-two years.  I couldn’t ask for another day.  What did I do to deserve birth?   It was a gift.  I am me – that is a miracle.  I had no right to a single minute.  Some are given a single hour.   And yet I have had thirty-two years.

Few can choose when they will die.  I choose to accept death now.  As of this moment I give up my “right” to live.  And I give up my “right” to her life…”

43 years.   I didn’t deserve him for even a day,  and yet I have been given all the days of 43 years with him.   I can’t feel cheated, if I lose him.   I will die today to any “rights”  I think I have on his life.   I open my hands and give him back to The Creator who gifted him with life 68 years ago.

Did you like this? Share it: