To Die is Gain

“Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come.” -Isaiah 57:1

God directed me to this verse after I, again, began to grow tired and angry toward something that was promised to us. Authority over illness.

Don’t worry! No one is dying! God was just wanting me to understand that there are factors I can’t understand. He is God and I’m not.

I can’t solely blame my lack of faith, or lack of relationship, or commitment to reading His Word for a healing that wasn’t immediate. Perhaps, our response should be simple, even when the answer isn’t.

But regardless of what happens, whether I see healing or not in this life. God is still good. And my love for Him shouldn’t depend on what I go through or what I feel in the moment, or even by what He does for me.

At the end of the day, we must all evaluate why we follow Jesus and why we love God. Let me put it this way…if God never did another thing for you—would you still love Him?

I’ve learned a lot recently about my own contribution to answered prayer. That my faith is key to allowing the Holy Spirit to move through me in authority.

A friend of mine said it best by quoting someone (comment below if you know!) during a sermon on faith:

He said, “Don’t tell God about your circumstances, tell your circumstances about God!”

This isn’t saying we shouldn’t pray, but that a lot of our prayers would find their resolution through us. If we were to discover what Christ paid for and to take up that authority—we could essentially become the answer to many prayers (through the release of the Holy Spirit power within us).

Or have we forgotten that Christ (God) is in us? That we are now His temple and dwelling place?

Healing is ours… and even the raising of the dead! But there is a reason that such miracles aren’t common place and aren’t always successful.

Perhaps, aside from our lack of faith…the verse at the top is one other answer as to why?

When I read it, I instantly thought of another verse:

“To live is Christ, to die is gain.” -Philippians 1:21

I began to think about what that means in a deeper way. In order to understand the verse we have to understand who Christ was. He was the Son of God yes, but He was also a servant who came to sacrifice.

To live is to sacrifice (lay down our life) like Christ, to die is to (pick up our life or gain it).

Give vs. Receive.

We aren’t here to just take, take, take. This life isn’t about me or you or even your kids. It’s about living as Christ. It’s about sacrifice and service. Fulfilling God’s call and purpose for your life…until He calls you home and gives you the mantel (crown) equivalent to your life’s surrendered-ness to Him.

If we are to take, it is to take back the territory satan has held captive. Healing and other miracles aren’t something we take but something we already have. Gifts. Just as salvation is a gift we can either receive or cast aside.

I’m not sure if this is a word for you today, but if it is, I pray that you too will realize that you have power, that your job isn’t to have all the answers or to get it right every time when it comes to miracles and works. It’s all about Him and living in the moment with Him. Offering our lives as a sacrifice just as Jesus laid down His life daily for us.

Press in, let go, and perhaps, more miracles will happen on accident than they ever did on purpose.

And should life breath it’s last…God’s hand of protection is on those who are asleep, and they have been given their promised inheritance and crowned with victory.

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Death’s Defeat

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“Oh the games people play now
Every night and every day now
Never meaning what they say now
Never saying what they mean
And they wile away the hours
In their ivory towers
Till they’re covered up with flowers
In the back of a black limousine…”
-Song by Joe South, “Games People Play”
We all quietly shuffled into the funeral home that was crowded with people who had lost loved ones over the past year. It was a “Remembrance” night, where we were all invited to share, eat, and be comforted. I had lost two uncles last year, one tragically and the other after years of suffering. My aunts were there, as well as my closest family members. Someone stood up to speak, and what I had thought would be an uplifting hope-filled message left me even colder inside. “Death is a part of life.” He said as if we didn’t know now more than ever. But with the sting of his words, he also stirred up anger in me. Death was never meant to have the final say, nor will it continue forever! I’ve encountered death, and each time it has never felt “natural.” It felt wrong, sickening, gut-wrenching, and unjust!
I know he was trying in his own way to comfort others, but what any mourning person needs to hear is reassurance that death is not the end! They don’t want to dwell on death, but on what’s next for their loved ones. And yet, he isn’t alone in what he told us. We try to make death natural, we accept death as a part of life that is unavoidable and when someone old dies we say, “at least they lived a long full life.” But what about the young children? I’ve been to one of those funerals too, and I will tell you it is NOT ok, or right! Death is not our friend…He is our final enemy.
This life, in this reality, is temporary. Like a blink of the eye compared to the awaited eternity. Everything here that we see, is running on a clock, a timer, that will someday stop. As Christian hymn writer Isaac Watts wrote in one of his hymns, “Death, like a narrow sea, divides that heavenly land from ours.” Though we can experience the eternal unseen realm, we are divided from it physically, until we leave these bodies behind our soul is tethered to this world.

But what do I mean by death being the last enemy?

Easter is the day we remember Jesus’ sacrifice. So many of us stay there, mourning at the foot of the cross when Easter is truly a day of celebration. Jesus rose from the grave! He didn’t stay in the tomb, but came back, forever removing the sting of death. That though we may age and die, we could live fully alive and at peace because death is not the end, but the beginning of eternity. That death would not be a thing to dread, but an assurance that someday we will be with Jesus restored and whole.

I say this to stir up hope, we have all lost someone…but I know that their stories are not over, only beginning. There is always hope for salvation and redemption, who are we to know a person’s heart? Or to understand fully the heart of God? His love is eternal, it is agape love, and His will is perfect.

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

John 11:25-26