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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Living Each Day with Your Bags Packed

This world is the only one we can see. That leads many people to believe that it is the only world there is. Of course, that is like saying that microbes don't exist simply because I can't see them. We can't see microbes unless we have a way of detecting them. The next world can only be perceived through the Spirit. He is our "detector." Still, it is easy to forget that this world is not our home. It is easy to make plans like we will be here forever.

What if today were your last day? What if you die today? I know it sounds overly melodramatic but it is possible that this will be your last day. How many people in the World Trade Center towers went to work thinking that September 11, 2001 would be their last day? How many people who are killed in traffic accidents or die of heart attacks today think that this is their last day? Virtually none, I suspect. Even now people who will be gone soon are planning for Christmas, birthdays and retirements that they will never see.

There is nothing wrong with making these plans. You have to. You simply can't live your life without making plans. They are necessary for any business you are in. They are necessary for the church. We, too, are making plans for Christmas, Easter, Vacation Bible School, Camps and other things that will happen in the future.

The real problem comes when we aren't prepared to go onto the next world. We have unsaid things which we needed to say but always thought there was a tomorrow to say them in. We have failed in our commitments.

I remember a relatively young man who died suddenly. His family grieved his passing. His wife was devastated. Then, his mistress showed up at the funeral. I bet the deceased man never saw that coming! His wife and children had a totally different view of him after that. Maybe he could have repented and asked for forgiveness if he knew his shelf life was short. He, like most people, thought they had plenty of time to do whatever they wanted and still make things right later.

How many people walk out of a church service knowing that they should give their lives to Christ? They say they'll do so at a more convenient time. Then, one day they are gone and they never again have this chance.

How many people have angry words with someone which they are never able to correct because one of them passes away before forgiveness can be requested or granted? It leaves both of them without peace.

There have been times that I have refused to take people with me to the Holy Land because they could not truly experience it. They waited until they were sure they had enough money but were so infirm that I knew the trip would be too hard on them. They would not be able to get out of the bus to see the things they were traveling to see. They simply could not walk well enough to enjoy the trip. They waited too long.

I have to live my life like this day is my last. I must make sure that I am one who confesses my sins before my Lord daily. I must spend time with Him daily. I must love Him with all my heart, soul, strength and mind. I must treat people with all the love within me daily. I must make sure that I am ready even when I have no expectation that I will be going today.

It is like anticipating a trip that you know that could come with a moment's notice. Your bags are packed but in the closet so that you simply grab them and go.

Luke 12:16-21 (NIV) 16 And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'

18 "Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry."'

20 "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' 21 "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."


Anonymous said...

This world is not our home, and some days I get so homesick for heaven the longing is palpable. Today is one of those days.

So, when I began reading this post, my internal reaction was, "Oh, May I go now, please?" And that made me chuckle, because it was so not where you were going with this post. :}

AS usual, you have provided excellent food for thought. I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog.

And, my bags are packed! May I go now, please?


Prentis McGoldrick said...

I wish I had called the blog, "May I go now, please?"

Anonymous said...

How many of you know that if you die tonight, you will go to Heaven; put up your hand?

The above question, from time to time, is being asked by preachers or pastors, over the pulpit, but often without follow-through exposition.

Have you raised your hand? If you did, what was your basis of raising your hand? In your mind, was it, "Non-Christians cannot raise their hands, I am a Christian, so I can raise my hand, right?" If that is the basis, is it, so long as, I have accepted Christ Jesus before (entered into salvation), I will go to Heaven, anytime, man! If this is the position, then, you are auto-packed and ready to go, is it NOT!?

I really don't like it that preachers or pastors ask this first question, that I have put here, at the outset of this comment, and NOT go on, to explain, what exactly is it that they are trying to point to or insinuate or whatever.

The overly grace preachers and believers, or maybe I should say, the wholly grace people, when they pop that question, they are probably insinuating, "You still don't know; there ain't a single thing for you to do, or be prepared about, if you believe what I believe; you go to Heaven, this every moment you drop dead!"

For such group of people, to them what Ps Prentis wrote here, is relevant only as far as it pertains to whether or NOT, one is saved (entered into salvation) or NOT; all else, irrelevant.

Ps Prentis, did mention much of soul ties or emotional ties in the world, and stuff like that. For that, it is common for all men; if you try to imagine the last moments of Jesus' lives, how the mother was there, the disciples wanted to be there but dared NOT, be at the crucifixion ground, how Mary Magdalene was there; and the prayers of Jesus, for His disciples and even all disciples, in general, there is all these "leaving-behind, things". I mean if I have to go, and I have still some time to ponder, apart from conversation that I will do with my Lord, I will think of my children I am leaving behind.

So, apart from the common, the more pertinent questions are: Are you ready to meet your Maker, if you die now? Will you make it to Heaven, if you die now? Is there some unfinished business, in relation to God, if you die now?

The last one above, is NOT about unfinished business as it pertains to what you want to accomplish or personal legacy you, NOT God, want to leave behind. Of course, you can always feel short of what you could have done, for your loved ones; these, there are no ends to it.

For the wholly grace or overly grace believers, they don't even believe, or be bothered with those 3, more pertinent questions. For them, basically it is this, "Nothing for you to do, silly!"

But for the likes of us; and I think I am NOT wrong to include Ps Prentis, and even Deb (Deb, you, I only begin to know you from your comments here, but I kind of think you don't belong to the overly grace or totally grace group!); we do take note of such 3 questions. It is possible our comments to all 3 questions do NOT mesh in, exactly, but we do NOT subscribe to "Nothing for you to do, silly!"


Anonymous said...

COnt. from above

So, did you raise your hand for the question at the outset of this comment? How about me? My answer is Yes. It does NOT matter if it is tonight or now, the answer is the same. But what is behind the answer?

I believe I will go to Heaven. By faith, I believe I will make it, to Heaven. Is it because I believe, “Once saved, always saved”, per se? No.

Then how can I come to “I will make it, I think!” Ultimately, it is this: I have entered into salvation; and I love my God (can be loving Him more, most likely, but I do love Him) on a continual basis, NOT I love Him like a single past act; and so, I also obey Him, on a continual basis (NOT that I NEVER sin after entry into salvation, nor that I have NOT sinned since last weekend), and I do ask for His forgiveness for my failures, regularly, even can be more than once, in a day (it is NOT, the how many times per day, that is the key, but the heart condition that is key); and so, I serve Him, and I don’t intend to stop altogether, unless I am too weak to serve, or that He said it is finished; and in my serving, I am being led to love men, inadvertently, for God is loving men; and so, I do love brothers, and my neighbors, generally. I try to observe the conditions (that includes laws, precepts, commands, instructions, promptings) from the Word, and directly from His Spirit (of course, I do fail); for I believe these conditions are meant to direct me; in other words, I endeavor to follow my Lord. I refrain from going legalistic (legal) with my God, and so, I don’t tell God, see, it is written there, in Scripture, I am your child; see, here also, it is written, I am a citizen of Heaven, or “God, you cannot, NOT get my butt into Heaven”. I am appreciative of all “these coming into” that He was gracious to give me, unmerited, so that I can live out these positions of being a child, a home-coming citizen, a servant, a soldier, a royal priesthood, etc, etc; and I walk in them (I do fail, sometimes). I understand the limitations of myself to do all of these, yet I don’t abandon the relationship with my Lord, I will try, with His help, and when I failed (which I did time and time again), I said, “Help me, Lord”. And so, I do know, I have to live out His prescriptions for me (and He has prescriptions for all His children), and that included such thing as to live out the His ways of righteousness and justice, and to influence others through the sharing of His plan of salvation, and through my living out of His ways. In other words, I acknowledge continually, my commitment to follow my Lord, to enforce His victory, and to help in the establishment of His Kingdom on earth, through my living out of the ways of the Kingdom, in this world. And so, when I live out what God meant that I am to be, I truly become what I am to be; in other words, I say to my God, “Am I a good pudding or NOT, you eat, and you decide”. I come to Him according to His terms which include this:

By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother (1 John 3:10 ESV)

I love my God, and so, I WANT TERRIBLY, to make it to Heaven to be with my Lord. I know, NOT people in any condition, can get to be with Him, for His very nature constrains it. I sincerely try hard, to do my best NOT to be disqualified, and it is for God to evaluate my heart-condition. I think I’ll make it; but ultimately, it is for Him to decide.


Anonymous said...

Cont. from above

No, I don’t see this as salvation by works. It is called falling-in or aligning to Who God is. It is about falling in, it is about alignment. You are NOT perfect, and I am NOT perfect; and God knows that. Don’t be fooled by the smooth preachers who tell you, “When God sees you, all God sees, is Jesus, NOT you!” Sorry, only Jesus is perfect, we are NOT, and there is only one Jesus. When God sees me, God sees me, NOT Jesus. When God sees you, if you are fat, you are fat, if you are thin, you are thin, if you are with some strength and some weaknesses, God knows and sees them all. I don’t believe God rejects me based, solely on these. If you are a Christian, the Spirit of God indwells you. By His Spirit, God knows you, a Christian. It is our heart-condition that is most important. There is just no way, a man can hide his heart-condition from God. God is the knower of hearts.

And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all [men], shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, (Acts 1:24, KJV).

The “which knowest the hearts” (G2589 - kardiognōstēs) means knower of hearts.

Is works required or NOT required? Have I done works? How much is needed? If your answer is, none required, you mean you want to sit around and do nothing! I don’t; and I don’t think God does NOT require works from us. We NEVER work our way into salvation, but we are to work FROM our salvation. Eph 2:10 tells us clearly what we are saved for (You only remember Eph 2:8-9; go, read verse 10), and the story of “Who are the sheep and who are the goats”, also points to the need to work. The saying about the axe is at the root of the tree, also points to that. It’s just that how much work, is NOT specified. So, what did I do and what am I still doing, in this regard? I engaged in good works, and I continue to be engaged in them. When do you stop? No, you and I don’t stop, until the Lord indicated it is finished, the work we have to do. Scripture in John 9:4 exhorts us to work while we can work, for a time will come when we cannot. Ones, like Jesus and Apostle Paul, they lived that way; when they finished the work God have, for them, they go to be with God. Both of them expressed that way, in their last days.

If God wants me to go, I go; but until that time comes, as a Chinese, I just continue to assemble a fruit-basket in Heaven; one that I will bring before my Lord, as a token hand-gift (Of course, you don’t have to be a Chinese to do this). My Lord can have everything, but it does NOT mean I should go empty-handed. I have been, and am still working on my token of love. I am letting the Lord decides if He would like an apple or a papaya or even a durian to be in the fruit-basket. How about you?

Now, think about the question at the outset of my comment or the issues Ps Prentis raised, so that, the next time, such a question is popped, you don’t just raise your hand, because you are shy that if you are NOT raising your hand, when your neighbors are, people will “laugh” at you!

Anthony Chia, high.expressions - Professionals don’t have all the answers, all the time, but professionals, be them, doctors or lawyers, they are NOT unguided people or undirected people (if they are truly professionals). If anything, be a true professional, be guided and be directed or submitted, to do your best, based on the Word and guidance from the Spirit, and at the same time, let God be God - He judges.

PS: Deb, maybe your works NOT all done yet. You cannot say, “It is finished”, yet. Ha Ha!