Musing on life and death

My grandfather passed away on October 14. In a way, it was expected. We knew it was only a matter of time. But in the end, it seemed sudden.

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Years of fading away due to dementia can’t prepare you for the phone call…”you’d better come now, it won’t be long.”

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The family came from far and wide. There were flowers. There was a funeral. There were tears and some great memories shared. There were a lot of conversations with my kiddos about death & heaven.

My Papa was a precise man, into details. He kept the books for his church and could account for every single penny.

He never bought a new item to replace an old one if there was any chance at all that he could fix it. I think he loved the challenge of fixing things, solving the problem.

Perhaps my clearest memory of Papa Jack is his shirt pocket. It was always full. He had the necessities– pens & pencils, toothpicks & cough drops. But he also carried a yellow, laminated card with the “Romans Road” printed on it. Simple truth and always ready to share it.

All of this got me to musing…on death but also on life.

What is life but a vapor, a breath? A finite and temporary existence. Yet often we live like this is all we’ve got. We cling to our stuff and to our loved ones as if this is what it’s all about. We say we believe but we are unwilling to give up our comforts to share Truth, to give others a chance to know Christ too.

We value stuff and having more and convenience.

God’s economy doesn’t work that way. Jesus had IT ALL yet He inconvenienced Himself, gave up every comfort…gave His life. And for what? So we can live in comfort, knowing our “fire insurance” is in place? Hardly.

So what is it all about? Why are we here? It’s the question of the ages, isn’t it?

The answer, for me, is at once simple and impossibly complex.

Simply, we are here for His glory. We are here to worship Him.

Digging deeper, every facet of our lives– whether ‘good’ or ‘bad’– is connected to this purpose. The choices we make should reflect our relationship with Christ. We should be known at work, at school and among our friends and family as Christ followers. In our reactions, others should see the peace that passes understanding. We are to be like lighthouses…letting His light shine through us.

(More on lighthouses another time.)

There are many ways to worship God, to let His light shine through us: Prayer, singing praises, using the gifts that He has given you, expressing gratefulness, telling others about Jesus…to name a few.

That’s why Papa carried that yellow card, always ready to share about Jesus. He probably started by asking, “if you died today, are you 100% certain that you would go to heaven?”

Then the card would come out and he’d share the Romans Road…

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
We all have sin in our hearts. We all were born with sin.
We were born under the power of sin’s control.
– Admit that you are a sinner.

Romans 6:23a “…The wages of sin is death…”
Sin has an ending. It results in death. We all face physical death, which is a result of sin. But a worse death is spiritual death that alienates us from God, and will last for all eternity. The Bible teaches that there is a place called the Lake of Fire where lost people will be in torment forever. It is the place where people who are spiritually dead will remain.
– Understand that you deserve death for your sin.

Romans 6:23b “…But the gift of God is eternal
life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Salvation is a free gift from God to you! You can’t
earn this gift, but you must reach out and receive it.
– Ask God to forgive you and save you.

Romans 5:8, “God demonstrates His own love for us, in
that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!”
When Jesus died on the cross He paid sin’s penalty. He paid the price for all sin, and when He took all the sins of the world on Himself on the cross, He bought us out of slavery to sin and death! The only condition is that we believe in Him and what He has done for us, understanding that we are now joined with Him, and that He is our life. He did all this because He loved us and gave Himself for us!
– Give your life to God… His love poured out in Jesus on the cross is your only hope to have forgiveness and change. His love bought you out of being a slave to sin. His love is what saves you — not religion, or church membership. God loves you!

Romans 10:13 “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved!”
– Call out to God in the name of Jesus!

Romans 10:9,10 “…If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
– If you know that God is knocking on your heart’s door,
ask Him to come into your heart.

Death often comes unexpectedly but even when someone lives to a ripe old age, death can come before we are ready. So I must ask you, are you ready? If you died today, where would you spend eternity? If your eternity is sealed by the blood of Christ, are you ready to share that hope with others?

God was glorified in both the life & death of my Papa. He was ready. Are you?

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Laughter is the best medicine…but it doesn’t clean up vomit

How true is that statement? I mean, seriously! I am making the best use of an unexpected freeing up of my calendar today and blogging…because folding laundry and cleaning up vomit in the same day is simply cruel and unusual punishment. So here I sit, at last with the opportunity to type a bit. I’ll let you know up front, this post will probably ramble and may or may not make any valid points, share information worth sharing or even be worth your time to read. Please understand that the writer inside me has been screaming for some air for weeks now and I’ve just been so gosh-darn busy I keep having to tell her to take a number and wait in line with the rest of my want-tos, should-dos, and when-I-get-around-to-its.

Anyhoo, back to the vomit story…(you were hoping I’d get back to that, right?) 2 of my kiddos woke up not feeling well this morning. After a careful evaluation by Dr. Mom they each decided to provide me with some unplanned cleaning projects. :-/ After cleaning up and getting them set up on the couch with water, blankets, a movie and  throw up bowls, I started making calls to cancel our plans for the day.  This is about the time when I gained a new appreciation for my family, my Mom in particular. You see, a great sense of humor runs strong in my family…and sometimes the things that get us are a little odd. The best part is, we are too busy laughing to care that other people think we’ve lost it!

Case in point, this morning’s convo with my mom:

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Does it get any better than that? Does anyone else have a mom that will finish her silly poem about vomit?!?! Still cracking up! Ha!

Then Mommy Dearest made a comment that, while she still meant it to be funny, got my attention turn to more serious things. “Laughter is the best medicine, but it doesn’t clean up vomit.” That’s some serious truth right there, my friend. Read it again.

Now you may be looking at that and thinking, “well, duh” and I know it is a pretty obvious statement, however, my brain is wired in such a way that I can find a spiritual lesson in almost anything…even vomit. So hang on.

Laughter is awesome. I firmly believe that we all could use a lot more laughter in our lives. Keeping a light-hearted attitude is extremely helpful in many situations, we need to not take ourselves so seriously some times. Have fun, be carefree, joke, laugh, be silly! But while you are at it, don’t forget that when there is vomit on the floor, you might need to just roll up your sleeves and get the stinky stuff cleaned up. You can skirt the issue all day, but it isn’t going to get better. In fact, it is probably going to get worse.

Why do we seem to have such a problem dealing with the gross grime of life? Just elbow grease and a “suck it up and do it” attitude will go a long way to cleaning up any mess…be it physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, relational or whatever.  Pinch your nose and hold your breath if you need to, but get in there and clean up whatever your mess may be!  Then make a joke about how bad it was and enjoy the fact that it is taken care of and you get to move on.

Speaking of getting in there and cleaning it up, I think I hear another mess-in-progress! Gotta go!