Live and Die
Philippians 1:18-21 ESV
John 14:2 ESV
Revelation 22:1-5 ESV
Revelation 21:4 ESV
Revelation 21:22-27 ESV
Romans 3:23 ESV
John 3:16 ESV
Thoughts on Scripture and Life
When I read certain scriptures it seems like God has a completely different view of living and dying than humans have. I do believe that when we pass over, when we turn to God…even for one second, God is right there when we are dying.
God surrounds us with His love.
God takes us in His arms.
We SEE God.
In that moment, even though we know those we love didn’t pass over with us, we know that when their time comes, they will have the same experience.
In Philippians 1:18-21, the Apostle Paul wrote, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. To Live is Christ Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
As we receive eternity, God is proclaimed and we rejoice.
Jesus shows up when we are delivered and Jesus is honored because He made the sacrifice on the Cross.
When we live we are fully in Christ and death to our impermanent body is gain to our heavenly body.
Having said all of that, God knows all of life is precious. It’s a gift.
Every life is a gift.
Every breath God gives us has purpose.
In Christ there IS purpose.
“To live is Christ” as Paul said in Philippians 1:21, “To die is gain.”
So why are so many of us afraid of dying?
I think there are several reasons.
First: We sometimes don’t know what life is like in heaven.
In scripture we are told in:
John 14:2, “In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”
Revelation 22:1-5, “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”
Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Second: Going to heaven means change.
Not many people like change. Plus, this change of scenery means you are leaving many family members and friends behind. You have to grieve that separation.
Third: When we are dying we experience anxiety and grief
Grieving life as we’ve known it is no easy task. I’ve written about the dream I had the night before my dad died. He was in a tunnel, walking toward a very bright light. I was outside the tunnel trying to get IN. Because I didn’t want to lose my dad in the dream I wanted to go with him.
God is gracious though and He had more (much more) for me here on earth. My youngest son was four years old. Today my son is 38 years old. I’m glad God has given me time with my children and other friends and family.
Still, I grieved losing my dad. I cried off and on for five years. I didn’t think I would ever stop crying, but I did.
In addition to Seminary, I am a certified Grief Specialist. I learned that tears are emotionally healing. Physical changes occur, “Researchers have established that crying releases oxytocin and endogenous opioids, also known as endorphins. These feel-good chemicals help ease both physical and emotional pain.” (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/is-crying-good-for-you-2021030122020)
God gave us tears as a coping mechanism.
Fourth: Often (but not always) there is confusion about who actually goes straight to heaven.
I believe we are given a choice. The truth is, God won’t MAKE you be with Him. Privately everyone has a choice. Remember the two thieves on the cross were given a choice. One said yes and the second said nothing. He made a choice.
You do not need to say specific words or quote scripture. You only need to think about God and love Him. That’s a form of saying ‘yes’ to God.
We know from:
Revelation 21:22-27, “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.”
And Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” All of us have sinned. All of us have done detestable false things because only God (Jesus) hasn’t sinned. Jesus’ death on the cross gave us a way to be forgiven. When we turn to God/Jesus and make a genuine connection we are forgiven. You might feel better after asking God to forgive you. I’ve found in my life when I turn to God and lean in, I don’t have to speak words. God knows what’s in my heart and I give it to Him. I give God my pain and sin and He takes it.
In John 3:16 we are told,”“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Jesus came so we can have eternal life in heaven.
Fifth: Why do you need to SAY what you want?
God WILL NOT force you to choose to go to heaven. God loves you and respects you so He gives you the right to choose.
It’s because of free will. God loves YOU.
You choose to say yes or no.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Turn to God
Receive what God has for you today.
In God, Deborah