Choose to be Blessed.

    It is my intent to write to you about what God’s Word has to say about death, and about the gift of life. It is always at times like this when we find ourselves once again facing the reality of death, and thinking of our own mortality. Perhaps, like the servant Job in the Old Testament, we too would ask the question; “If a man die, will he live again?” Well, as a minister of God’s Word, I can tell you with full assurance, that the Bible says a resounding – Yes! As a Christian, I can tell you that all who have come to experience the living Christ in their lives can say – Yes!  I have come to believe that life is the gift of God – both this life we live now, and the life to come. And, like any gift, it is freely given out of love; but it must also be received, and opened, and experienced in order to become a true reality in our hearts, minds and souls.
There are only three things that I find in the Bible concerning death; One is found in the Book of Genesis 2:6 where it says “And the Lord God commanded the man; ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but, you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you shall surely die”… Man of course, disobeyed God, which was sin, and the result of sin is the curse of death. “The wages of sin is death” says Romans 6:23…but it goes on to say “but the gift of God is life!” … “Life through Jesus Christ, His Son.”
There was something else that I must point out in this creation story in Genesis; It’s found in chapter 3 verse 22 – “And God said; “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life…and eat…and live forever. So The Lord God banished him from the garden, … and placed cherubim, it says, “with a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” This becomes important in the end…Obviously, from this encounter, Adam and Eve had not yet eaten from the tree of Life in the center of the garden, and mankind lost that opportunity for imortality.
Now, the second thing the Bible says about death is that it is the destiny of every man to die once, and after that to face the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) Let me emphasize something here; Man is destined to die ONCE. This also becomes important in the end…        The third thing the Bible has to say about death is rather interesting – and probably most important –  from the Book of Revelation 20:12-15 – “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
    That’s basically all the Bible has to say about death; #1. Death is the result of sin. #2. It’s man’s destiny to die once…But, #3. if our name is not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life, we face what is called the “second death.”  Basically, that’s it. Because I think that is all God tells us we need to know about death. You see, the truth is God’s Word is concerned from beginning to end about LIFE. Not just eternal, spiritual things as some would believe, but even more so with this life, right here right now. 1 Timothy 4:8 for example says; “godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
Jesus did not come to tell us all about death and dying, he said “I have come that they may have LIFE, and have it more abundantly!”… “I am the resurrection and the LIFE”…he said… “I am the Truth, the Way, and the LIFE”…he said…and he said, “I am the Bread of LIFE”.  The Apostle John in his gospel wrote in John 20:31; “These things are written that you may believe, and that by believing you may have LIFE.”
In the beginning, God speaks our name, and we awaken into this life; And, we find ourselves in the loving arms of someone who knows our every need; we call her “mom”…The days and years go by and slowly but surely we learn the lessons of living; good and bad; Then one day, God speaks our name again, and we step from this life into the next, and we find ourselves in the loving care of the one who truly knows our every need. And His Word says “He will wipe every tear from our eyes” … “There will be no more sickness, no more death, no more mourning nor crying or pain.”
In this life, we are like the chick inside the egg, that has no idea whatsoever what the world is like outside of the shell! But, when the time comes, it bursts forth from that shell into a whole new world of LIFE! “If a man die, will he live again”? Jesus said; “Because I live, you shall live also!”
Finally, let me take you again to Revelation 20 and 21 – Remember, Man was banished from the garden and no longer had access to the tree of life…Revelation 20 speaks of the “Lamb’s Book of Life” and those whose names are not found in the book face the “second death.” I would like to offer you a simple statement for your consideration today; ( “He who is born once dies twice” – But, “He who is born twice, dies once!” )  God says it is only destined for man to die ONCE…It is when we reject God and His Word and refuse to be “born again” and have our name written in the Lamb’s Book, that we are in fact choosing to die twice!
Now, listen to this from Revelation 21:1-7 – “Then I saw a new heaven and a new Earth, for the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  He said to me; “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son… We jump to verse 25 – “On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but, only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life may enter the city.” Chapter 22 – “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life as clear as crystal flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood…the Tree of Life”…” No longer is there any curse.” This means that we will once again have access to the tree of life, and live and reign with Him forever and forever… In verse 14 Jesus says – “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the Tree of Life and may go through the gates into the city”… Verse 17 – “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”
Moses once spoke to the people and said; “See, I have set before you today life and death… blessings and curses… therefore – choose life!” … Choose to be Blessed!

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