Monday, October 9, 2017

The Only Thing Worse than Death...

Where, O death, is your victory?
(I Cor. 15:55b) 
It's been a bloody week for America, both nationally and locally!  News media and their pundits are still speculating on the motives behind the Las Vegas Massacre that took place last Sunday!

Grief-stricken families like many of us are shocked and sickened by all the violence we're witnessing.  Yet I've been trying to keep my thoughts on a higher plane. I'm choosing to blog this week about life rather than death.  The Divine rather than the Devil.  

It's not an easy thing to do in our current culture where bad news is aired 24 hours a day.  I must admit that I frequently check out emotionally refusing to watch the news and instead opting to read something inspirational or engulf myself in a silly or romantic movie. (The made-for-TV Hallmark movies are a guilty pleasure!)

Last night however, I settled down to watch a movie I spotted weeks ago on a free HBO preview.  I didn't know a lot about it except that it was snubbed by the critics even though it had some good actors in it.  I put off looking at it because from what I could tell it was about grief, pain, and death!  Surprisingly, after viewing Collateral Beauty, the profound take-away for me was the value of life!

Will Smith, Kate Winslet, and Helen Mirren are all A-List actors who gave outstanding performances. The supporting actors weren't shabby either.  Without giving away the plot I'll just tell you that its about a grieving father who deals with his pain by personifying Time, Love, and Death writing letters to each one and is eventually given the opportunity to speak to them directly.  Sounds a bit too far-fetched and dark?  Bible readers will tell you that there are similar personifications throughout the bible. The Apostle Paul speaks to Death in I Corinthians 15:55 and the Apostle John visualizes Death, as the Pale Rider in Revelation 6:8.

As mysterious and frightening as Death is to many, for Christians we are assured that it should hold no terror for us! (I Thess. 4:14-14; Rev. 14:13; John 11:25-26, Is. 57:1-2: 2 For. 4:17-18). 

 A Wasted Life is Much More Frightening: 

--A Life Consumed with Coveting and Possessing (It's been established that Stephen Paddock the Vegas shooter was a millionaire! He gained some of the world's riches but lost his soul -Mark 8:36

--A Life in Bondage (Drugs, alcohol, food or any other abuses of pleasures) - Eccles. 2:1-9

--A Life without Purpose, Passion or Hope (Violent crimes by and against black youths are increasing each year.  Pew Research compared 2016 deaths with 2015. Up by 900 the total came to 7,881. I have no stats for 2017). The Thief's purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy.  God's purpose is to give life more abundantly - John 10:10

--A Life spent worrying, grieving over loss to the detriment of viable relationships. A life of anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, and hate. - Phil. 4:6-7; I Thess. 4:13; Ephes. 4:22-24

-A Life of paralyzing fear that prohibits you from taking reasonable risks; that conditions you to accept less that God's best, and allows His wondrous gifts in you to lay stagnant or dormant in the midst of unmet needs -  2 Timothy 1:7; Ephes. 5:20; Ephes. 2:10

When one thinks of the Sanctity of Life, this precious gift God has given that allows us in our humanity to commune, relate, and enjoy all things that are good! We need to do so with more appreciation.  WHY WASTE LIFE ON SELFISH AMBITIONS AND UNKINDNESS? (James 4:3) DEATH INDEED WOULD BE PREFERRED!

Even in grief and the complexities of life and death; God provides ethereal beauty and power.   As His children we can endure it all with a depth and hope many will never understand. (2 Peter 1:3)  Don't Waste Your Life, wondering what could have been! Christ came to give you life and that more abundantly!


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