To Miss The Grace Of God

April 30, 2010

Friends,
Can we miss (fail to experience to the end) the grace of God? Well, we certainly know that non-believers can. Jesus did die for every single human being ever conceived (1 John 2:2 & 1 Tim. 2:6), yet we know that the pardon can only be for those who, in faith, accept the pardon by repenting and then abiding by the law of the New Covenant. (Acts 26:20 & 1 John 1:9 & Rom. 7:6)

But what about believers? –Those who believe that Jesus came to ransom us? What about those who have once repented and asked Jesus to allow the pardon to be applied to them?

Well, first of all, it’s not enough to just believe. (James 2:19) For “a person is justified [made right with God] by what he does and not by faith alone.” (v. 24) Furthermore, we must abide in The Vine (Jesus, who is also the Word of God –John 1:1,14 & Rev. 19:13), or we will be cut off (Rom. 11:22) and thrown away to the fire. (John 15:6) But by abiding in The Vine, we “keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25) and are “controlled by the Spirit” (Rom. 8:6,9), and are thus enabled to “participate in the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4) This nature is called “a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17) by having been “born of the Spirit” (John 3:8) of God. And as 1 John 3:9 states, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin,” for “he who does what is sinful is of the devil.” –v. 8

What does all this mean? It means that to be walking in the grace of God (in His family and on the road called “Salvation”), we must be holy. For God does not abide with anything or anyone unholy. This is why Heb. 12:14 commands, “Make every effort… to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”

Then the very next verse says, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” (v. 15) This says that a bitter root can indeed grow –grow up and defile. Growth implies it was once only a seed. But we know that bitter, corrupt, defiling seeds can come from attacks the enemy sends to our minds, or from the moral pollution in the world. So if this root grows up inside a person (believer or not), he will “fall from his secure position” (see 2 Peter 3:17) –off the righteous road; and having “fallen away from grace” (Gal. 5:4), be disconnected from the grace of God.

Just because we are under a new covenant (that of “the law of the Spirit” –Rom. 8:2), this does not mean the two parties involved have changed. God certainly doesn’t change. He has always demanded holiness. And He has always required that people know Him, worship Him only, and follow Him in obedience. This is why 1 John 2:3 says, “We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands.” And why Jesus says, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15) And why 2 Thes. 1:8,9 say that everlasting punishment awaits “those who do not know God and do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.”

Deut. 29:12-20 say, “You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant the LORD is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, to confirm you this day as His people… Make sure there is no [one]… whose heart turns away from the LORD our God… When such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, ‘I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way.’ … [This is what many under the New Covenant think also. However,] The LORD will never be willing to forgive him; His wrath and zeal will burn against that man. All the curses written in this book will fall on him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven.”

Deut. 30:11-20 continue: “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult fro you or beyond your reach… But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient… I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed… Now choose life…” Then God said in 31:20, “They will turn to other gods and worship them, rejecting Me and breaking My covenant.” And when the “people abandoned the covenant of the LORD… In furious anger and in great wrath the LORD uprooted them… and thrust them [out].” (Deut. 29:28)

For God “is a holy God; He is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after He has been good to you.” (Joshua 24:19,20)

This can definitely happen with those in the New Covenant also! Look again at Heb. 12, now verses 16 & 17: “See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.” So if anyone is immoral, or is careless about their inheritance of salvation, he could be in danger of being rejected by the Father. For sins such as immorality and carelessness toward the promptings of the Holy Spirit (the covenant / law we are now under) deserve severe punishment (Heb. 10:29) –namely, “of judgment and of raging fire.” (v. 27)

For if those “who have shared in the Holy Spirit… fall away”, “it is impossible… to be brought back to repentance…” (Heb. 6:4-6) And 2 Peter 2:20,21 confirm this: “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred commandment…” –to follow, love, and obey Jesus as the Sovereign Lord. For to be immoral and godless is to deny Christ’s Sovereignty / Lordship / Kingship. (Jude 1:4) And such denial is equal to disowning Christ. (Titus 1:16) For which He will then disown that unfaithful one. (2 Tim. 2:12)

And obviously, to be disowned by Christ, is to miss the grace of God. –That grace extended to us through Christ.

Therefore, yes, God’s Word certainly teaches that we CAN miss the grace of God. That anyone can. Anyone who does not continue abiding in His grace. Abiding until either we leave this tent (the body), or… until Jesus comes back –whichever is first. And to abide means to believe and obey –continuously (–even though numerous false teachers within “Christianity” proclaim otherwise.)

So, don’t miss it. Continue to walk the “Highway of Holiness” (see Isa. 35:8), making no allowance for any corrupt root to grow up and defile the temple where the HOLY Spirit has chosen to dwell.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Trials = Joy = Testing of faith = Perseverance = Maturity / Being finished = More joy

This is what James 1:2-4 teaches, does it not? For it says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (NIV)

And in the NKJV: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

In comparing these two versions, I note that the goal God wants for us is for us to be mature, complete, whole, finished, and perfect. And in so being, we will lack absolutely nothing –for what we need spiritually. It is a high goal! It’s like a finished, polished, flawless diamond, set into a perfect gold ring.

This finished diamond ring comes about through perseverance. Or, as many translate it, –patience. And patience is hard, for it means waiting. And waiting, and waiting… often not without being disgruntled about doing so. Therefore, I actually prefer the translation “perseverance”, because that implies more of a steadfast, calm confidence, as well as action –rather than passivity or mere tolerance.

Perseverance comes about through being tested. Tested in what? –Our faith. And to be tested in our faith is no light matter! It can rock us to our core! It can affect our outlook concerning the whole world –society’s functions, the spiritual realm, the afterlife, God’s true character, the problem of evil, disease, and sorrow… Testing implies we can fail. Or get a bad grade. Or pass. Or come out with a perfect score. But with the latter being our goal, we would not strive for it if we weren’t warned about the test results’ consequences; namely, being life, joy, and peace, OR death, heartache and destruction.

So, to be tested in our faith, we must endure trials. But the more trust we develop in our God, the easier it becomes to sail through these sufferings. In fact, they can bring us joy –right in the midst of them. For as we get spun around… smacked to one side… lifted high upon an ominous wave… or be forced to limp through a dark valley… we know that some great things are being formed within us. Lasting things. Things that will count for eternity –for the sake of others, and for the honor of the Lord.

So in knowing this, we should be excited. We should have great joy. And the joy is meant to be within us the whole time –the whole time that the diamond ring is being made.

Furthermore, besides what is being made within us, there are also those things that are being done for us and through us. For as we develop, we shine –increasingly brighter– as a gift to God and that others may see and also desire to worship Him. And what is done for us, is that we come into a life of peace and righteousness. (Heb. 12:11 & Isa. 32:17)

This is why it is sad that even Christians often take extreme measures to avoid trials, suffering, discipline, testings, and pain. Yet we know: “No pain, no gain.” For it is a fact of life, education, and growth –physically, mentally, financially, etc., but also spiritually. There must be work. There must be training. And even the disappointments are God’s tools to stretch us, so that we will apply ourselves even more diligently and whole-heartedly to draw close to Him for comfort and help.

Often, when a person is going through these testings of faith, a fellow-Christian will insist that he or she get out from under the test. “Leave, sue, fight back, don’t endure that!” They try to “rescue” each other through advice –advice given from the world’s philosophies and perspectives– even to the point of belittling each other for putting up with the difficult situation. But this is wrong to do. As Jesus said to Peter in Mark 8 when “Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him [about saying He was going to suffer many things and be killed –v.31]… ‘Out of My sight, Satan!’ He said. ‘You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.'” (v. 33)

Other people’s advice is always to be sifted through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit’s counsel. And likely, it will be the exact opposite. For the world points to the easy, broad road; Christ points to the narrow, hard road. For His road is the one with His teachings, His training, His sufferings… along it. But it is the good road. For He is on it with us. The other road is Christ-less.

Therefore, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame [not caring about the shame it appeared to bring], and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2)

Furthermore, “Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (v. 3) In other words, press on to “run with perseverance the race [the life God has] marked out for us.” (v. 1) For if we do so, we will someday become the finished, mature, perfected vessel God wants, and during the process we will have been filled with joy.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

God, Our Helper

April 28, 2010

Friends,
Do we really believe God’s promises? There are so many. And He invites us to step into them. But we must have hearts that are submitted to His perfect will. If we do, we can ask that the promises be applied to us, individually. And then let Him say, yes, no, or wait.

One type of promise the Lord gives us, is that of just plain help. Help to be delivered from such things as the lash of the tongue, from physical harm, from financial ruin, from fear, or from loneliness, anger, or depression. The Lord wants to help. He wants to come to the aid of hurting people. He is God, and to help is not a difficult thing for Him. But He also wants to be asked. And of course, thanked.

Ps. 30:2 says, “O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.” God is our Helper in healing. Physical healing, but also the healing so many need from emotional pain, from mental anguish due to memories of rejection, abuse, or betrayal. He is a tender God. We can huddle in close to Him, and rest beneath His sheltering wings.

And when the Lord comes to our rescue, let’s not forget to thank Him. As Ps. 31:21,22 say, “Praise be to the LORD, for He showed His wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city. In my alarm I said, ‘I am cut off from Your sight!’ Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help.”

For as God Himself says in Isa. 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My victorious / righteous right hand.”

May we allow Him to do so. –He who is our Helper.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Resting Amid The Storm

April 27, 2010

Friends,
I really like to meditate on the experience that Jesus and His disciples had when they were all in the boat when a storm suddenly came up. Do you know what my favorite part is? Well, yea, besides the fact that He calmed the storm. It’s the fact that Jesus was sleeping –during it! He was at rest… at peace… unafraid. This teaches me a lot.

We’re to be like Jesus, right? –Conformed to His image, His thoughts, His ways… Right? Then if so, it means that I, too, can be at rest through a storm. This is great news! For storms sure do come our way, don’t they? Little ones, big ones, short, long-lasting, unforeseen, sudden, devastating… Yes, storms sure come our way –to all of us.

So how are we to handle them? We are to rest. We are to be calm, at peace, and unafraid. Likely we will be impressed to continue doing / working / moving forward, but even so, we are told to rest. How? It is by being close to Him, trusting Him, hearing Him… and it’s done through –yes, faith. Faith that He is in control. Faith that He knows all about what’s going on. Faith that He’s allowed it, or even caused it.

What?! –Caused the storm? –Caused the grief… the anguish… the rejection… the illness… the loneliness… the heartache…? Yes. Sometimes. Even often. Why? –To stretch our faith. To test us. To train us. To make us strong. Make us empathetic. Make us wise. Teach us endurance, obedience, and trust. Form us into Christ-like vessels.

How can He do this if we drift through life like a piece of wood floating lazily along with the current? –If we have no troubles? No concerns? Needing nothing? How can we even think we are anything close to being Christ-like if we are never confronted with anything difficult? We can’t. And without the stretching, the exercise, the training, we won’t. –Won’t be Christ-like. We will crumble. For the muscles have to be used in order to keep working. Kinda like elastic which must be pulled often, or it gets brittle and its elasticity completely ceases. Same with our character. And the Lord knows this. So it is His kindness that brings the storms.

Look at the Gospels’ record of who initiated setting out in the boat that day. (Matt. 8:23 & Mark 4:35 & Luke 8:22) It was Jesus. Yet did He know a furious storm would come upon them? He must have, because we read that Jesus could read thoughts (such as in Matt. 9:4), and that He could see events even when He wasn’t in the vicinity. (Such as in Matt. 17:27 & Mark 11:1-6 & John 1:48) It’s like He planned this lesson.

So there they all are, crossing the lake, with a sudden storm whipping up around them. Yet Jesus is “in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.” (Mark 4:38) And verse 37 says that the squall was so furious that “the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.” But did Jesus awake? No. The frightened disciples finally had to wake Him! “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” (Matt. 8:25)

Look at His immediate response: “He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” (Matt. 8:26) Mark and Luke record that Jesus asked them about their faith after He calmed the storm, but likely it was both times. Mark 4:40 records, “He said to His disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?'” And Luke 8:25 says, “‘Where is your faith?’ He asked His disciples.” Yes, where? For they were His “disciples” –who had been under His teaching for some time already, and had witnessed His miracles.

Do we sometimes get all panicked when waves of suffering break over our boats –our lives? We do. But we should not. For it shows we lack faith. And having faith is serious stuff to God. As Heb. 11:6 says, “…without faith it is impossible to please God…” Impossible. Impossible to please God. Hmmm…… Then we better get faith!

But how? –when we’re afraid, upset, panicked…? It’s called: Prevention.

We don’t wait until the storm happens to read the Instruction Book. We read it, we study it, we meditate on it, and then… –battle! Then… –hurricane! Then… –a test! Sure, we will falter, stumble, even “go to pieces” sometimes… But that’s at the beginning of our training. Soon we find we are meeting the trials with better expertise –more strength, more faith, more peace, more Christ-likeness.

And that’s the whole point. The trials are in themselves the training. For if there is no training, then there is no skill to be practiced, no victory to be won. And the world needs –desperately– expert spiritual soldiers, Olympians, surgeons, fishermen of men… But it won’t be acquired by walking through flowery gardens or having others feed us. It is acquired by meditating on the Word of God ourselves. For there is where we get to know the Lord –where we learn how He operates, and where we hear His voice speak into our spirits through what He leads us to read that day. Furthermore, soaking in those words brings us comfort, strength, and… –faith.

So faith –faith in Who we’ve come to know, love, and trust– will enable us to relax, sleep, and rest. –Through any and all storms. Even the most ferocious.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Sometimes don’t you just look up to the heavens and say, “Oh Lord, You want fellowship with –ME?” For He is a Great and Mighty King. Yet He is always thinking about each one of us. His eye never turns from watching over us. It is amazing. It is a privilege beyond words.

“The LORD reigns, He is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and is armed with strength.” (Ps. 93:1) “Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and glory are in His sanctuary.” (Ps. 96:6)

So we say, “You are resplendent with light, more majestic than mountains…” (Ps. 76:4) Therefore, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps. 8:4) Yet He does care, He does have His thoughts on us.

“How precious concerning me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.” (Ps. 139:17,18)

The psalmist is talking about a King more glorious and powerful than all kings of the earth who ever lived –put together! He is the One who spoke the universe into existence by His Word (Ps. 33:6 & John 1:1-3,14 & Gen. 1) and is still “sustaining all things by His powerful word”. (Heb. 1:3) He is the One whose one word can break a cedar, can form a galaxy, can command a storm to become calm…

This God… is the One who desires to commune with a human –a mere speck, a flea… –compared to Him. Yet He wants to stoop down and dwell within such an unworthy vessel… unbelievable… –almost. But that’s where faith comes in. Do we truly believe this? That we can have this powerful Most High God’s Holy Spirit come to live inside each person who believes? –Really believes? –Who repents of the filth inside, allows Him to forgive and cleanse… and come in? — Come in to rule? Do we believe this?

We must believe it. Even though it seems so strange to the pride of man. But a child can believe it. “Oh,” she says, “God said it’s possible through what Jesus did for us. So it is. And I believe it. And I want God in ME too.”

This is why Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3,4)

Little children can believe, can trust, and can humbly admit they need help. These are attributes we all must have –in order for God to come into us. For without them, we won’t ask. And God waits to be asked.

But does He desire that all will ask? Yes. He wants fellowship with everyone. But only once they’ve been cleansed. For though He is patient, long-suffering, and not wanting anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9), He abhors sin and defilement.

Well, I for one, will gratefully jump at the chance to have this Majestic and Mighty King come into me, commune with me, and rule me. What a blessed privilege! For He is good and powerful and kind and caring…. Why wouldn’t I? I do not want to hold onto sin! I do want to be cleansed. And He says He will keep me cleansed, and keep me under His watchful eye, and will teach me insights I don’t yet know…? Yes! I find this to be awesome news! I will do it! And I will walk in it! I will abide in Him and His Word so that I can!

So I will say again with the psalmist: “Praise the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty.” And: “You want fellowship with –ME?! Well, here I am, Lord. And I bow in reverence at Your feet. Thank you for choosing me… I choose You too. Here I am –to be Your servant… whatever you command. Let me always be Your faithful daughter. And Your friend. For I count it the highest privilege imaginable. Thank you for extending the invitation, and allowing it to happen. I love You, God.”

May we all more than just glimpse this glorious reality… and say, to Him, something similar.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Why Should God Listen?

April 25, 2010

Friends,
The Lord does answer prayer. However, when a person presents a request before Him, why should He answer? Well, one reason is: He will answer if it’s in line with His will and He, Himself has led that person to pray it. This kind of praying is wonderful, as it often flows out of the human spirit by the Holy Spirit.

Eph. 6:18 tells us to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests…” We can only do this if we have the Holy Spirit in us, and it is done well if we are filled with Him (5:18), and controlled by Him. (Rom. 8:9) For “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what / how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” (v. 26,27)

So, if we are pure before the Lord, we can often tell when the Holy Spirit is praying through us (whether it’s in “groans”, weeping, words, “tongues”, songs, or just quiet communion –spirit to Spirit…), and our faith will be strong, our confidence in the coming answer secured.

But what about times when we aren’t sure God wants to, or plans to, answer? There again, we have to ask, “Why should He?” Certainly, He does tell us to ask. He says this repeatedly throughout Scripture. However, there are some situations when God is not pleased with requests. One is when a person repeatedly asks for something he knows God has said no about, especially if he asks in a complaining, disgruntled way. This was the attitude the Israelites had in the desert.

Another situation when God is not pleased with requests is when the person asking has purposefully spurned His laws (His ways of righteousness). This is seriously offensive to God. As Prov. 28:9 says, “If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.”

God has “laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.” (Ps. 119:4) Yet so many “Christians” who claim to love Jesus make a mockery of God’s Word. While they pretend that God must grant to them His promises found in Scripture, they neglect warnings found even within the same chapters! For example, they will quote Ps. 50:15 about God delivering the one who calls on Him, but they do not fulfill their vows to God, nor thank Him when He does come to their rescue. (v. 14) The thanks they give Him is to just go out and get themselves in a wicked mess again… and then think God should deliver or help them again… and again…. while they offend Him –again and again!

As verses 16-20 say in this same chapter of Psalms, “But to the wicked, God says: ‘What right have you to recite My laws [or promises in Scripture] or take My covenant on your lips [–thinking you belong in the family of the New Covenant]? You hate My instruction and cast My words behind you. When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers. You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit. You speak continually against your brother and slander your own mother’s son…'”

“Oh, we never do those things,” many “Christians” say. Really? How about all the lies, crude talk, condescension, and slander coming from the mouths of these so-called Christ-followers? What about when they turn their T.V. on? And order cable? And go to theaters? And buy unwholesome magazines? Are they not throwing in their lot (their money) toward the thieves and adulterers they are viewing –a lifestyle they condone just by paying to watch it? Not only that, many have for years blatantly disregarded God’s instructions with their own lifestyles –having sex outside of marriage, neglecting to meditate on God’s Word, indulging their selfish wishes, “pursuing their own imaginations” (Isa. 65:2)… yet who still have the audacity to petition God whom they’ve continued to provoke to His very face! (v. 3) It is certainly happening everywhere –like it’s normal Christianity.

Ps. 66:18 says, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” So, again, –Why should God answer a petitioner? He won’t –if that person holds on to sin, loving sin too much to give it up. In fact, the Lord will not even listen. This is why it is really aggravating when people come to us, knowing that we are intercessors (those who petition God on behalf of others), and ask us to pray for them. So we do. We take valuable time –sometimes hours– on our knees… But then they ask us to petition for them often, and after a while we realize that they care little that their lifestyles continuously offend God. To these types of people, God says:

“Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury [in action or in thought], burn incense to Baal and follow other gods [pleasure, money, food, fame, mysticism, etc.]… and then come and stand before Me in this house which bears My Name, and say, ‘We are safe’ –safe to do all these detestable things? …I will thrust you from My presence…” (Jer. 7:9,10,15)

And in verse 16, God then says to Jeremiah, “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with Me, for I will not listen to you.”

What then is it that will catch God’s ear? –That will get Him to listen and answer? It is by loving Him and His Word. And as Jesus says, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15)

Then we can pray to the Lord, “Do good to Your servant, and I will live; I will obey Your Word.” (Ps. 119:17)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
We all will one day die. The body, that is… though not the spirit.

So when everyone gathers for our funeral, what is it that we wish they’d be saying about us? What is one statement or phrase that we’d wish would be a true summarized characterization? What do we wish could be left scrawled across the memories of those who knew us?

Or consider this question: What could be etched upon our tombstone — if everyone who knew us had their say about it?

Hopefully, the following are not things people would consider writing:

Here lies a contentious brat.

Here lies a deceiver.

Here lies a fool.

Here lies an arrogant scoffer and slanderer.

Here lies the body of a unfaithful, immoral liar.

Here lies the body of a jealous, vindictive woman.

Here lies the body of a rebellious, selfish, lazy teenager.

Here lies the body of a spoiled, rotten, greedy, tiresome child.

Here lies a man who gained worldly success by demolishing the lives of others.

Here lies a man who devalued the feelings of others, but considered his own of high importance.

Here lies an opinionated, immature hothead.

Here lies a woman who never ceased to nag and belittle.

Here lies one who had a viper’s tongue.

Here lies a man who found ways to crush the hearts of those he said he loved.

Definitely not a legacy we’d want to be remembered by. Instead, hopefully, this type of thing would come to their minds:

Here lies a kind, sweet, and generous woman.

Here lies a gentle, strong, sensitive man.

Here lies a self-sacrificing family-man.

Here lies a man who by hard work and ingenuity, not by lies or cruelty, rose to prominence and success.

Here lies a teenager who never caved to peer-pressure, and always befriended the underdog and the lonely.

Here lies a girl who showed concern for others at her own expense.

Here lies a boy who valued fairness and peace.

Here lies a man who loved his wife as Christ loves His bride, the church.

Here lies a woman who always gave others the best portion, who praised others while she went unnoticed, and who remained cheerful, strong, and at peace even through the greatest of trials.

Here lies a man whose mouth spoke nothing but kindness and wisdom.

Here lies a child who was obedient, loving, always ready to help, and was mature beyond her years.

Here lies a person who was an absolute joy and blessing to be around.

Here lies one little lamb who adored her Shepherd-King. (This is the one I chose as my favorite and which I wrote down in the front of my Bible a few years ago.)

Here lies a tender man who always spoke and acted in such humble self- assurance, that many mistook him to be Jesus.

We have only one life to live… to influence others toward Christ-likeness. And each day makes up that life. So each day, each minute is important. Each deed we do, each word we say, each attitude we portray, each expression we make, each thought we dwell on… all of it does bring, or not bring, glory to God. And all does influence humankind. For even a microscopic influence can grow and affect… even snowball.

So when it’s all said and done, what will they say? And most importantly, what will Christ say? –That Day when all stand before Him –Him who sits on a great white throne.

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it… 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… and each person was judged according to what he had done… If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:11-15)

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory… He will sit on His throne… All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people… [saying], “whatever you did… [or] did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me. Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matt. 25:31,32,40,45,46)

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10)

“Those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” (John 5:29)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel