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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Smoky Mountain waterfall (Photo by Jason Oberholtzer)
Smoky Mountain waterfall
(Photo by Jason Oberholtser)

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"Our Death Due Date"

"Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him"  (Hebrews 9:27,28).

Benjamin FranklinA friendly public service announcement from the staff at Daily Encouragement Net: Today in America taxes are due. Fellow Pennsylvanian Benjamin Franklin noted: "In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes."  Well, Franklin certainly paid taxes during his lifetime and when he died on April 17, 1790 he personally proved and experienced the other certainty.  Here we are, over 200 years later, and there's no change in Franklin's two certainties. Today Americans are reminded of and likely dealing with the certainty of taxes! For my entire life April 15 has represented the tax due date.

Death due dateWhat if we all had a prominently displayed death due date printed on our forehead?  I imagine women would wear bangs all the time and hats would be a given for men everywhere. It's interesting to think of how conversations would go. You meet someone and you try to politely avoid looking at their death due date but curiosity overrules and you find yourself discreetly noting their due date (they're doing the same with you.) You see it and, as you feign interest in your conversation, you're actually doing some mental calculating, determining how much longer they have.

Well, of course we were not born with this date notably engraved on our bodies. Aren't you grateful for that!  The date has not been revealed to us, but we most certainly have one and we can be certain that God knows it.  Our death due date is expressed in Scripture in the straightforward phrase: "Man is destined to die once."  Other versions use the word appointed or ordained.  It's in the present tense indicating a fact which is continually true.

Black wall phoneNearly forty years ago I very specifically recall my dad receiving the news that his dad, my grandpa, had passed away.  We had a black, wall-mounted phone in our kitchen at that time and I vividly recall watching him lean against the wall. In brokenness he quietly wept as he received the news.  Ten years ago it was my turn to deal with my dad's death.  I know, generationally, I will be the next to pass on but I have no idea when my due date is.  Simply stated, death is the God-ordained transition from this present life to the next.*  We are all born destined to die.

Hearse with Uhaul
Another certainty is expressed by the Apostle Paul, "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out" (1 Timothy 6:7). But most people really don't live their lives as if this were true!

The main question is this: Are we ready to die?  Are we prepared for the judgment?  This is a certainty that Benjamin Franklin didn't note. God has given us a will to decide and there is absolutely no decision we make in our lifetime that is greater than this one.  As important as it is that we select the right marriage partner, our life's vocation, or other major life decisions, these pale in comparison to our decision regarding our eternal destiny. 

The decision is to personally believe in Christ, receive Him as our Lord and Savior and daily live our lives for Him. This leads to another wonderful certainty: "I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life" (John 5:24). I hope you have all made this decision to personally believe this essential truth.

But if somehow you have come across this brief message and haven't done so, or you are uncertain of your salvation through faith in Christ, let me strongly urge you to examine your heart today. Remember, we all have a death due date!  God’s instruction from His Holy Word properly prepares us for the most important date of our human existence.  Make sure you're ready!!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Jesus, it will take my entire life on earth and all of eternity to express my love and devotion to You.  In Your great love and compassion You saw my need for redemption and paid the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the Cross in my place.   You paid in full the sin debt You did not owe so that I could receive complete forgiveness which I did not deserve.  What indescribable peace this brings to my life on this earthly pilgrimage.  Although I do not know my death due date I have an assurance of eternal life when You have destined to call me home, not because of what I've done or who I am, but because You gave Your all for me!  I receive that incredible gift from You today!  Amen.

There are many excellent online presentations of the gospel. Here's one of them.  Or call 888-NEED HIM. 

* I am aware that there are two individuals mentioned in Scripture (Enoch and Elijah) who did not die in the usual sense and also that the generation alive at the time of the coming of the Lord will pass directly to heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Note: The model who volunteered the forehead for our death due date photo chooses to remain anonymous.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"My Jesus I Love Thee"
Video by Avalon or Audio instrumental by Joel Rosenberger.

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Oberholser Family

Today's top photo was taken on the Smoky Mountains by Jason Oberholser. Jason and his wife Rebekah are preparing for mission service among the Navajo Indians and were in North Carolina for training. The Oberholser family blog is here. Rebekah was in our church in northern Pennsylvania as a little girl and her parents Greg and Linda Burns remain friends.  It is a great joy to see a young couple establishing their home for Christ based on Biblical principles.

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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