There was no one to write about it, and actually, nothing to write about. There was no calendar to record the number of days or years or even centuries or ages. It was a beginning without a beginning and the only Person there was God. He needed no one and was in need of nothing.

But He chose to create the heavens and the earth. And with no pre-existing materials or anyone to help Him, it was the power of His words that brought everything into existence that is or ever will be.

When He said, “Let us make the man,” we know what happened: He formed man’s body from the “dust” of the ground. And we know that this “dust” is a combination of all of the various chemical elements that make up the physical body of a man.

Our bodies did not “evolve.” Our bodies were “built” by God from the earth that He created. God also breathed the breath - or the spirit - of life into that body. At that moment, “man” became a living soul.

We do much to take care of our bodies. Each day we are reminded of the cost of “healthcare” and how very important it is for us to take proper care of our bodies. But we seem to have forgotten the words of Jesus: “What good,” He asked, “will it be for someone to gain the whole world and forfeit their soul?” Why is this an important question?

Our Psalmist said: “When You take away their breath they die and return to the dust.” But not the soul.

Prayer: We thank You Lord, for Jesus, Your Son and our Savior, who gave His life for us to live for You forever. You have always had a plan for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: When You take away their breath they die and return to the dust. Psalm 104:29

Not many of us enjoy the topic of death. In fact, for most of us, it is a topic that we avoid until it is absolutely necessary. But the author of Psalm 116 made a rather significant statement that Christians can rely on with assurance, confidence and the hope that comes from being born again.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” What might this mean?
Certainly, we know that God is in control of our lives and everything that happens to the Christian. Nothing happens by chance because He is ultimately responsible for every event in our lives from our birth until our death. All of us have our individual obligation to Him and until our work is completed, death will not overtake us!
This verse also speaks of God’s compassion. The word “precious” means “costly” or “dear.” The death of a Christian is an object of great value to our Lord. All throughout our lives we have been born into the Kingdom of God and have His guardian angels surrounding us. Their very last responsibility is to carry us to be with Him eternally.
Another gracious implication in this verse is the consequences of death. There will be no more sadness or sorrow or suffering. We will be free from our worries and woes. When we are with our Lord we will enjoy the peace of His presence and the joy of being reunited with our family and friends. There will be no more feelings of separation or loneliness and the longings of our hearts will be filled with the promise of life with Him.
Prayer: How great is the hope in our hearts, Heavenly Father, as we anticipate being with You forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.
Quite frequently a dear, young friend, who is very concerned about my health, comes to my office to visit me. Each time we meet he “reviews” my work schedule and responsibilities in great detail. He wants to know what time I get to work and what time I leave; what I did on each Saturday and Sunday since we last talked. He wants to know the last time I preached at a church, where it was and how long it took me to drive to and from it. His questions are not meant to be invasive or abusive. He is concerned about my health and wants to know whether or not I am taking proper care of myself.
After we conclude his lengthy interrogation, he looks at me and makes the same statements every time we visit: “You’re working too hard. You’re working too much. You need to go on a vacation, or you will kill yourself. Why do you work so hard? Do you want to die?”
Each time we have this discussion I give him the same answer: “Dear friend, I am going to die. But I do not know when. So, I want to get as much done for the Lord as I possibly can. But I promise I will care for myself.”
And then I remind him of Psalm 103:15-16: “As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”
Our days may be few, or they may be many. But one thing is for certain: We have fewer days to serve the Lord after today than we did yesterday. We must seize each opportunity for the Lord!
Prayer: Help us Lord, to realize the importance of each day knowing that we have no assurance of tomorrow. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 103:15-16 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
Christianity is not a religion. Religion is man seeking a god. But in Christianity it is exactly the opposite: it is God seeking man through Jesus Christ. Scripture informs us that God “sent His Son” into the world to seek and to save us that we might have a relationship with Him. It is a relationship that is certain, constant and continual.
It begins with a grip. A visitor to the Alps decided to go mountain climbing with a famous guide. As they ascended the mountain all went well until they came to a dangerous crevice. His guide held out his hand but the visitor was reluctant and hesitated. “Grab my hand,” shouted the guide. “That hand has never lost anyone.” So it is with God. “I am always with you,” said the Psalmist, “You hold me by my right hand.”
It continues with a Guide. God has a plan for each of us. He knows our possibilities and our limitations. Only He can guide us in the right path because He created us to be God-guided in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. We often fall short of what God intended us to be and become but if we are willing he will lead us carefully and safely through life. The Psalmist wisely wrote, “You guide me with Your counsel.”
It ends in glory – not a grave. What a blessed hope! He extends His sure-handed grip to keep us from falling. And with our hand in His, He guides us every day of our lives. Finally we end up living eternally with Him in heaven. All because our Father loves us with an everlasting love.
Prayer: We thank You, Father, for the assurance of Your presence and power in our lives – today and every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 73:23, 24 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. 
“The one inescapable fact of life is death. Yet, man usually refuses to face it,” wrote a psychologist recently. Then he quoted La Rochefoucauld, who said, “One cannot focus on either the sun or death for any length of time.”
But the Psalmist looked at death differently: “Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death!”
Our God, through His Son Jesus Christ, not only saves and delivers us from sin and its consequences in this life but also after death. Salvation, for example, does not assure us of a life of prosperity and worldly success, a life free from sickness and suffering, a life that has no stress or conflict, a life that is all sunshine and no showers. But we do have the assurance of God’s forgiveness and the freedom from the law and its curse, from judgment and fear and guilt and certainly death.
And we do have the assurance of Christ’s presence in our lives that promises us that “He will never leave us nor forsake us,” be with us when we are sick and suffer, will give us His peace “that passes all understanding” when we are stressed and threatened by the challenges of life.
But ultimately and finally “from the Lord comes (our) escape from death.” Escape literally means exit. As Christians we can, with David, be assured that while there are many entrances to death – or many ways that we might die – our exit from death has been provided by God’s grace through Jesus Christ, our Savior.
This exit from death, however, is also our entrance into heaven.
Prayer: Thank You, Heavenly Father, for saving us and giving us peace and hope and the assurance of eternal life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 68:20 Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.

Ready Or Not

September 30, 2017
“I don’t want to die. Please don’t let me die,” he whispered in desperation. He was a world leader – loved by many, dreaded by some, questioned by others. He was a prominent figure on the world’s stage having great power and prestige, wealth and control that could not be denied. But in his final moments everything that he had or had accomplished could not extend the life of Hugo Chavez one moment nor release him from his fear of dying. David wrote of a life that could end this way. “Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold.”
Another man came to the end of his life who was also a world leader. His résumé describes him as a ruler with great power and authority, vast wealth and owner of beautiful buildings, a soldier, a poet, one who cared deeply for others and was “a man after God’s own heart.” When he faced death he said, “When I walk through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid.”
Two different men, two different destinies because of two different choices. One lived his life with no fear of God. He sought fame and the favor of man. The other lived his life in fear of God and sought His favor, often His forgiveness but always His approval.
All of us have these same choices. We can live for ourselves, as Hugo Chavez did, seeking recognition and power and die in fear as he did. Or, we can choose to live for God as David did, serve Him faithfully with great love and passion and die as he did in peace.
PrayerThank You, Father, for the hope we have in You, Your love and salvation and the gift of eternal life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 52:7 “Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others!” 
“You are not prepared to live,” said the professor to his philosophy class, “until you are ready to die.” Few, if any, live with that thought in mind.
When he was twenty years old, David was diagnosed with cancer. After a careful examination the attending physician said to him, “I’m sorry, but you have only a short time to live. At the most, two years.” David took the news without flinching. He had accepted Christ as his Savior six months before he was given the news.
As the disease progressed and his health deteriorated his faith continued to grow. And as his faith grew so did his willingness to witness and he gained a boldness about sharing God’s grace. On one occasion he said, “Cancer brought me to my knees and I realized I had no control over my life – only my mind.”
During a visit with one of his physicians he was asked, “Do you want to live a short time for God or a long time for nothing?” He responded by saying, “Whether I live a short time or a long time it will be for God. My life is in His hands.”
Shortly before his death his mother would walk into his room and ask, “David, are you still here?” Each time he would answer, “Yes, Mother. I’m still here.”
On the last day of his life she went into his room and asked, “David are you still here?” His reply that day was, “Yes, Mother, but not for much longer. I’m going home.” He looked around the room and said, “Mother, faith is a lighted room.”
Where does a faith like David’s come from? “God will redeem my life from the grave,” said the Psalmist, “he will surely take me to Himself.” It comes from faith in Christ.
David lived his life knowing he was ready to die. Are you?
Prayer: We are grateful, Lord, for the confidence we have in You knowing that we are redeemed through the work of Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 49:15 But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself.
All of us are confronted by the passing of time – not only the elderly. It is an issue that all of us face whether we like it or not. Yet, our culture is in massive denial that everyone ages and every life will end.
Our elderly now live in “retirement villages.” More cosmetics than ever are sold to “erase” the lines of aging. There are more products now available to “cover” gray hair that once stood for wisdom. We have surgery to remove the signs of aging that are becoming less expensive and more available. But it is all in vain. Time is the enemy of everyone and judgment awaits us all.
David was aware of the fact his life was passing away. Overwhelmed by its shortness he cried out, “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.” He had questions and wanted God’s answers. His sickness was a result of his sin and knowing that God was displeased with him caused him to be alarmed.
So, he wanted a “date” and the “number” of days he had left to live. He was asking God to give him some assurance of the time he had been allotted. Having that information would enable him to “figure” out what to do “next.” But he didn’t get it.
In this simple verse he admitted that he was frail, that his “days” were numbered and his “life” short. He knew that one day he would certainly face God!
Armand Nicholi said, “Only when we are ready to die can we truly live a fulfilling and satisfying life.”
Prayer: As we face the shortness of life and the reality of death, Lord, may we live lives that honor You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 39:4 “Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.”
The uncertainties of life always end with the certainty of death. We know it is there waiting for us. No one knows when their heart will stop. Yet, when the time comes, most individuals have a few last words.
Cardinal Borgia said, “I have provided in the course of my life for everything except death, and now, alas, I am to die unprepared.”
Tony Hancock, a British comedian said, “No one will even know I existed. Nothing to leave behind me. Nothing to pass on. Nobody to mourn me. That’s the bitterest blow of all.”
Elizabeth the First: “All my possessions for one moment of time.”
Phillip III, King of France: “What an account I shall have to give God. How I should like to live otherwise than I have lived.”
Voltaire, a religious skeptic said, “In twenty years Christianity will be no more. My single hand shall destroy the edifice it took twelve apostles to rear.” Some years later, Voltaire’s house was used by the Geneva Bible Society to print Bibles.
When Jesus died the words of Psalm 31:5 were on his lips, “Into Your hands, Father, I commit my spirit.” As He was ending His life’s work, hanging upon His cross and dying for our sins, He declared His faith, hope, trust and confidence in His Father. There was no fear, no regret, and no questions about life or death. Only the assurance that His spirit was in His Father’s hands.
Prayer: Father, may we face life and death, as Jesus did, knowing that we are secure because we trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 31:5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, LORD, my faithful God.
There is nothing more certain than death and nothing more uncertain than life or the time of one’s death. Although we cannot prepare for the events that will come into our lives, we can prepare for the day that our life will end. So, it’s wise to be prepared for that unknown day when we will meet God face to face.
In Psalm 23 David wrote, “Even though I will walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid for You are close beside me.” David was prepared for “the valley.”
David said with confidence that “I will walk through.” Death was not a dead-end street for David nor is it a dead-end street for the Christian. It is a throughway to heaven.
For many the “shadow of death” is a very frightening thought. Its dampening effect reminds us that we are entirely helpless as we face its uncertain hour. There are many enemies in life that we can face and fight – pain and sorrow, suffering and grief, hunger, rejection and abandonment. But death? Fighting against it is useless. It is beyond our control.
But even though we may be helpless as we face the certainty of death, Christians are not hopeless as we face eternity. There is a Person who will meet us at the “appointed time” and walk us safely though the “valley of the shadow.”
Prayer: We rejoice, Father, in Your promise that for the Christian “to die is gain!” We thank You for Your presence in our lives and the peace that we have in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
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