LollipopandPearls Theme Song

"Lollipop and Pearls" - Jared Kraft

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Death to life~ A Collision with the Cross~ part 1

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord". Romans 8:28-29

49-years old. Otherwise fairly healthy. Sudden stroke. Died 5 days later....Christ followers, son, husband, father, grandfather, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, friend, co-worker, bus ministry....

"Why, God? Why William?" William would respond, as he has in the past, "Why not me?" After all, a few years back William had a collision with the cross of Christ, and found life~ life everlasting, life more that is Christ, "and to die is gain" (Phil. 1:21, emphasis mine).

William knew where his promise of real life was~ where he is now, walking the golden streets of glory...whole. healed. perfection personified. face-to-face with Christ his Savior! So how can we, as Christians, fret about his home-going? How? In our mortal state, in our selfish nature, in our limited view of "life" we mourn his loss. And mourning is is is necessary for healing. "But God...demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8, emphasis mine). So we grieve, we mourn...but not as those who have no hope.

"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words" (1 Thess. 4: 13-18).

Our souls jealously crave what William now has~ the hope of glory~ all because of his personal and intentional collision with the cross of Christ.

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.

When the woes of life o’ertake me,
Hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me,
Lo! it glows with peace and joy.

When the sun of bliss is beaming
Light and love upon my way,
From the cross the radiance streaming
Adds more luster to the day.

Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,
By the cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
Joys that through all time abide.

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.
(hymn; words by John Bowring, music by Ithamar Conkey)

So, William has died to his earthly body~ that which we see in our mind's eye~ and he will be sorely missed! Yet, rejoice in this and let thisbe your comfort and peace. The real William, his soul with his immortal body, has never been more alive than it is now and forever will be! Now....what will you do with it? Will you choose this day to willfully and deliberately kneel at the cross, where Christ will meet you, providing solace from this storm of life? And will you confess to Him that you are a sinner, that you are lost and wandering aimlessly along in life with no real peace...and that you do not know for certain where you will spend eternity when He calls you home? Will you choose this day to pray this prayer:
"Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I confess I have no idea who you really are.
I don't know where my soul will be when I breathe my last earthly breath. I don't understand you and I am afraid of relinquishing control of my life to You. But God, I know this cannot be all there is. So, I admit I am a sinner, and I ask you to forgive me for all the ways I have failed you and failed others. I accept that you died on the cross for my sins and I thank you for that. I invite you right now to come and make my heart your home, Jesus. Live in me and be my guide, my Lord, my Savior, my Comfort, my Healer, my Counselor...every moment of every day. Help me trust in you, even when I cannot see you or see answers. Grow my faith. Help me realize, Lord, that I am NOTHING without you. Save me from myself and from the enemy of my soul, and give me peace and hope for the now AND eternity that only you can give. I love you, Jesus, and I thank you for your Word that promises to love me always and forever. In Jesus' name, Amen!"

If you prayed that prayer, congratulations! And welcome to the family of God! Please find someone to share it with now; please find a church to call home; and please start reading the book of John in the Bible!

No greater way can William be honored than to know his death is not in vain! His life was lived in proper and Godly order: he placed God first, his wife second, and then his children. What will YOU do with the cross of Christ? Follow William's example or reject the Lover of your soul? It is your decision...and your eternity is based solely on that one decision! None of us know when our time to trade our mortal bodies for the immortal will occur. One thing only is sure: we will pass from this life to the next in the blink of an eye. And when we do we will face our Maker, the Giver of life, God the Father. Will He say, "Well done, good and faithful servant.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you 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: 31-46)

William is waiting to usher you into God's eternal glory and I pray you are ready to be reunited with him there. Please just remember: it is truly your choice! Will you choose HIM today? Please?

Tomorrow's teaser: Part 2 of "Death to Life"~ stay tuned~ you don't want to miss it!

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