20060207

Close to the mark

This morning I laid awake from 2 until about quarter till 5 and I could not sleep. I prayed, walked around the house some, completed a sudoku puzzle, watched the news, prayed some more. And although I could not come up with anything concrete I had a few ideas to blog about (how I met my beloved wife, kids, and a few more that escape me right now), but when I arrived at work this morning there was an e-mail from my National Guard unit. A soldier I had served with for maybe a year or so, had passed away. When I asked about the cause of death there was no definete answer (it was second hand as it was). But I was just sort of shocked. I served with this man until last summer. We had both been evacked (sounds worse than it was really) for heat symptoms. He had transferred to another unit that was more in line with his civilian career. He was only 41 and is survived by a wife of 9 years, and two children. That is only 2 years older than I am today. God's Word states, "...it is appointed for man to die once" (Hebrews 9:27 esv), and I am never totally surprised by a death, but when it happens to one you know - it can sort of make you stop and think. I am thankful that the verse I quoted above does not end there. Here it is in context: For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:24-28 esv) There is no one who will escape death - unless it is due to the return of Christ - and I am very doubtful another Enoch (ref: Gen 5) or Elijah (ref: 2 Kings 2) will be seen again. I might be wrong, and these things are not up to me, but... anyway. So one day I too will die. My wife and children. Only God knows when. Now two thoughts converge while I am typing this... while laying awake early this morning I remember that I dwelt for at least a little while, on the following verses: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46 esv) In the past those words have 'haunted' me. I want to know, and be known by, Christ. I am in faith for what Christ has accomplished in and for me. And I am saved through grace, because I can never earn my salvation, but am I ministering to those whom God has brought to me? Are my works reflecting what Christ has accomplished in me? May I hear "‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’" (Matthew 25:23 esv) - for there would be no better commendation to me. I have quoted several verses, and I think they pretty much sum up my thoughts for today. May God's rich blessings be felt upon each of you this day. :)

1 comment:

Bob said...

Isn't it amazing how God can really communicate with us so early in the morning. I used to think it was a curse to wake up so early and not be able to go back to sleep, but I now see it as a blessing. It seems that in the stillness of the mornings, before the hussle and bussle of everyday living starts up, God seems to speak so clearly. Thanks for such an inspirational blog. May God bless you in all that you do this week..........Bob