Dying is a topic most us would rather avoid, but Jesus didn’t shy away from the subject. In fact, he focused on it – maybe because He came to die for us.
I guess I would probably be a bit fixated on the subject if I knew that was the fate that awaited me…. Wait a minute…. that is the fate that awaits me!
Well, maybe it was different for Jesus because it wasn’t just the fate that awaited him; it was among the primary purposes for which he became a man. Though he existed in the form of God, He didn’t hold on to His superior position. He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant being born a man. “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8) Simply put – Jesus came to die – for us.
As Jesus neared the time when He would be betrayed into the hands of the tribunal that would seal His death warrant, He said:
“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”” (John 12:27-28)
For Jesus, death wasn’t inevitable. He chose to die. This does make him different than us: He chose to become one of us and die for us. And because He chose it, could it have been any different for Him?
Is it really different for us?
Maybe not. If you believe what Jesus said.
Continue reading “Learning How to Die”
Our focus should be on God, and our direction should be inspired by scripture with the help of the Holy Spirit to discern God’s heart, intention and direction for us in these modern times.
I recall a sermon preached back in the 1980’s in the church I attended at the time in New Hampshire. I don’t remember the scriptural passage or references, but I remember the gist of the message, and it has stuck with me ever since.
The gist goes something like this: As God’s people, we need to be informed and take our direction primarily from God and God’s will as revealed to us in the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit. We are in the world, but we are not of the world, and we should be careful not to be influenced by the world in our thinking.
The key point that I remember, however, is that we can focus so much on trying not to be influenced by the world that we become reactionary to it. If the world goes right, we go left. If the world goes left, we go right. If all we are doing is being reactionary to the world, we lose our focus on God. In the process of trying not to be like the world, we allow ourselves to be defined by the world nevertheless.
If our direction is dictated by nothing more than going in the opposite direction of the world, we are no more directed by God than if we are going in exactly the same direction of the world. Either way, we are focusing on the world and allowing the world to influence our direction.
Continue reading “Hearing the Voice of God for Today”
I can not say it any better than Jon Foreman. This is an unusual TED “Talk” because it is not all talk. Jon Foreman provides some inspiring insight into life and the unique creation that each of us is in the sight of God, made to reflect God in our own unique ways, to appreciate and express some aspect of God’s nature in the unique way that only we, individually, can do.
The end is our fate, but the end is only a new beginning. This is not all there is.
“Terminal” is the beginning and the end of a new project by Jon Foreman, one of my favorite musical artists. (See “The Wonderlands”, (http://www.jonforeman.com) and the video posted online by Relevant Magazine produced at the Guitar Center.)
Jon Foreman, like Bono, repeats the theme in his music that these lives that we live are short compared to the expanse of time. We “die a little every day”. Our lives are terminal.
We all think about it from time to time, though most of us would rather not dwell on it. Yet, there it is: in the back of our minds, nagging. It never quite goes away. Though we try to drown out the beating drum of time marching on, the incessant cadence continues on, always under the surface of our consciousness.
Like many ancients, Jon Foreman does not shrink back from the reality. Unlike most, he embraces it. Continue reading “Living with the End in Mind”