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No Sweat

12 Aug

Jodi Whisenhunt wrote a post titled “You Know It’s Too Hot When…” for The Christian Post (8-1-12). Her “You know…” thoughts made me LOL on a very hot day in August.

You know it’s too hot when…

1 ) You fry your morning eggs on the front walk.
2 ) Your neighbor brings over cookies she baked in her car.
3 ) Your swimming pool turns into a hot tub.
4 ) Your hot tub is bubbling and it’s not turned on.
5 ) Your aerosol sunscreen shoots flames.
6 ) Your dog sheds her coat bald when she steps outside.
7 ) You drop two pounds in perspiration just by walking out the door.
8 ) You get a second degree burn when you touch the handle of your car door.
9 ) The hummingbirds are fanning the squirrels.
10 ) The ice cream truck melts.

OK… maybe it’s not quite that hot. But I’m sweating, and I’m not a sweaty person.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “No sweat”? No sweat can mean no trouble, no difficulty, or even “Don’t worry; it’s a done deal.” As I languished in the heat, the thought suddenly occurred to me that there is at least one thing in life where I can honestly say, “No sweat.”

Death? No sweat.

This may seem like a strange topic for an LOL with God post, but hang with me.

The Proverbs 31 woman could “laugh at days to come” because she was “clothed with strength and dignity” (31:25). Although the process of dying may be painful and difficult, there is a kind of joy ~ a sense in which we can laugh at death, knowing we will overcome it in Christ! We can clothe ourselves in strength and dignity, even in our last days.

Many people are afraid of death ~ “sweating out” the end of their lives. If this describes you (you are afraid of death or dying), let me encourage you today with the Word of God. The Word makes a world of difference. I have a friend who lived in fear of death for many years, but as she began to read and embrace the truth of scripture concerning her end of days, she found peace and hope.

I can honestly say, when it comes to my eternal destination, “No sweat ~ It’s a done deal.” Not because of any good I’ve done, but because of the rich, undeserved love of God (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; John 3:16-18) . Because He gave me eternal life in His Son and made me His child (John 17:3; 1 John 3:2; 5:13).

The grave is not the end! The believer knows that death is as simple as “falling asleep” on earth and awakening with God where we will live forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, 17).

Jesus came to free us from the fear of dying ~ the “sting” and power of death (1 Corinthians 15:54-55; Hebrews 2:14-15) ~ but also from death itself (eternal death).  Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die….” (John 11:25-26). We will be united with Jesus in His resurrection (Romans 6:5).

Though there may be a season of suffering before death, because of Jesus’ resurrection, we have true hope for our future (1 Peter 1:3-6; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18). We can face death with confidence and courage. We already have “citizenship” in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and we will be welcome there. I can rest in God’s love both now and forever. One of the joys of heaven is that death will be “swallowed up” forever as God wipes away all sorrow and tears (Isaiah 25:8; Rev. 7:17; 21:4).

One of the struggles I’ve always had concerning death is my fears for those I might leave behind. But God even has an answer for that. He is “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5) and we can hand over our fears, worries, and anxieties for our loved ones to Him (1 Peter 5:7). He loves them even more than we do, and will not forsake them.

Do I want to die? Yes and no. I understand Paul’s pull toward heaven, even while deeply involved in ministry and love for the people in this life (Philippians 1:21-25). I want to go home to heaven, but I am so attached to friends and family here. The truth is, whether on earth or in heaven, I belong to the Lord and live for His purposes (Romans 14:8); and it’s my job to figure out the works God has prepared for me to do before He calls me home (Ephesians 2:10).

But death itself? No sweat … I am secure and satisfied in the One who loves me, redeemed me, and has eternal plans for my life.

Can you say “No sweat!” as you look toward the end of your days? Can you laugh at your future, knowing you are safe with God? Or do you still have some concerns? Do you know someone who faced death with incredible peace and hope? I’d love to hear your story.

Death Cannot Hold Us Down

8 Apr

Children’s ideas of death and resurrection often surprise us. TV legend Art Linkletter once had a TV show highlighting the funny things children say. One of his funniest stories was about a seven-year-old boy whose dog had died.

To make the teary-eyed boy feel better, Linkletter said, “Don’t be sad, because your dog is up in heaven with God.”

The boy thought about this for a second and then said, “Mr. Linkletter, what would God want with a dead dog?”

Right. No dead things in heaven.

[By the way, we can’t know for sure about dogs’ destination… but Randy Alcorn has a wonderful chapter about pets in his book, Heaven. It encouraged me when my Jack Russell Terrier died.]

The truth is, God is all about giving life. We celebrate that truth on Easter; we celebrate the resurrection.

I got a kick reading about a four-year-old girl’s description of Jesus’ resurrection: “And three days later,” she said, “He snuck right out!”

Cute, but not true. Jesus didn’t sneak out of the grave.

Our Lord emerged triumphant over death, and showed Himself to hundreds of people in 12 appearances after His resurrection!

He appeared to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9; John 20:10-18). He appeared to the women returning from the tomb (Matthew 28:9-10) and to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32; Mark 16:12-13).

He appeared to Simon (Cephas, or Peter) in Jerusalem (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5). He appeared to the disciples and others in a locked room in Jerusalem ~Thomas not being present (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-23). A week later, Jesus appeared again to His disciples, and Thomas saw Him (John 20:24-29).

He appeared to seven disciples at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-24), and to 500 believers at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6). He appeared three more times to various disciples (1 Corinthians 15:7; Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:50-53) before His ascension to heaven ~ and then to Paul after the ascension! (Acts 9:3-6; 1 Corinthians 15:8).

The wonderful consequence of Jesus’ resurrection for us today is this: because He lives, we too shall live (John 14:19). Jesus’ resurrection was more than an event. In John 11:15, He said, “I am the resurrection and the life…” He is the resurrection. He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) ~ the only way to live forever with God.

Just as death could not hold Jesus in the grave, the scriptures say, “whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:26). I echo Jesus’ words: “Do you believe this?”

Christians who are blood-bought and in Christ are heaven-bound, eternal creatures. The glorious truth is, Death cannot hold us down.


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