Friday, May 27, 2011

May 27, 2011 … Confidence in the Face of Death

Passage of the Day: Philippians 1: 21 … For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

My Journal for Today: As I read today’s verse, I can’t help but reflect on the last few years of the life of my earthly Dad, who went to be with Jesus in spirit just a few of years ago. My Dad suffered a lot physically and emotionally in his latter years, the last few being in a nursing care facility in his home town of Lebanon, IN. These latter days of his life, Dad became a role model of God’s grace on display in the life of one who suffered much in a broken down body.

At Dad’s memorial service, I read from a passage he used to enjoy having me read for him that last year when I would go to visit him. It was 1st Corinthians 15: 35 – 57; and I’ll leave it to you to check out this hope-filled passage. But the hope found in God’s promises of a new body in this passage was greatly comforting to my Dad as he languished with emphysema, osteoporosis, dysphagia (swallowing difficulties), and other ailments. In the 1st Cor. 15 passage Paul describes the new body my Dad will one day (in God’s time) have in the new Jerusalem.

Today’s verse also reflects on this hope; but Paul was not as down about his temporal life at the time he wrote from a Roman prison to the Philippians living with the threat of his life, just as my dying father kept a hopeful spirit as death approached. Paul saw that for him to live in prison was his life in Christ; but if he were to die there, he would gain entrance into the resurrected life with Christ. So, this says to us that life in the here-and-now is life IN Christ; and the life eternal is life WITH Christ. What a “win – win” deal is that!!! I guess that’s why Paul quoted Job (from Job 13: 16) in Phil. 1: 19

SCRIPTURE: Phil. 1: 19 … for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.

Paul knew, as should all believers, that we, in Christ, will be delivered ultimately to be with Jesus and to be free of our earthly pains, trials, hardships, or temptations. And as Peter proclaimed in 1st Peter 4: 13, we can rejoice in any suffering – even those which might take us prematurely to be with Jesus – because such trials in this life prepare us for our eternal life with our Savior (know also Rom. 8: 28).

My Prayer Today: And to that, Lord, I simply declare, … HALLELUJAH!!! Amen

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