Good day reader! It's been several weeks since I posted and I certainly have missed you. I know you missed me too. My absence was not intentional. November was a productive, and challenging month filled with surprises. As I anticipated the Thanksgiving holiday I prepared and planned as normal; I'd make the candied yams, macaroni and cheese, my mom would make the collard greens, hush puppies and the ham, my sister Kim would fry the turkey...you get the picture.
No one was prepared for the news.
My mother recieved the call one week before Thanksgiving; her mother had passed due to heart failure. So it was. The Friday after Thanksgiving she and her sister arranged a wake for my grandmother, Della Mae Gatlin, and the following day my mother eulogized her mother.
It's not easy for me to see death as an extension of life. Not in the flesh anyway. However, in the spirit, I can see quite easily how death is as much a part of life as breathing is to our daily routine. We all, no matter how hard we try, will leave the life we live on earth. There is no magic potion, diet or anything that will stop the aging process. Sure, we can make changes to live longer, but regardless how long we live, we all must pass away into our next life. As morbid as this sounds, this is probably the best news a believer could hear. Why? I'm glad you asked.
We believe in Jesus the Christ, and that he was not only a prophet, but the healer, deliverer and savior of the world. We know and believe Jesus is The Son of God. We believe that the purpose of his life and subsequent death was to teach us how to live and ultimately die to ourselves. I love reading about Jesus' life because it was exciting. His life wasn't long, but he lived every moment to the fullest. He went to weddings (John 2:1-2), he had friends that were a little unconventional: Matthew (Levi) was a tax collector-he was extremely popular with the community...not! (Luke 5:27). Bartholemew (whom Jesus called Nathaniel) was a skeptic, Simeon (whom Jesus called Cephas, or Peter) was slightly aggressive with serious anger management issues (Matt 26:72), James and John, the sons of Zebedee were both high-minded and presumptous (Luke 9:54). Jesus himself was noted as being hungry after his resurrection from the dead (Luke 24:36-43)!
I call these traits to mind in order to point out the fact that Jesus is as much alive and divine now as he was then. He lived so diligently and intentionally in front of his disciples that their lives were changed from servants to friends (John 15:15). Just as Christ lived and illuminated the dead lives of those around him to the hope of life incorruptable, so he does in our lives when we surrender to him. The challenge today is for us to live. So I speak into the atmosphere: live your life!
Got trouble with violence? No problem. Jesus can fix that, ask Peter.
You say you have issues with doubt? Faggettaboutit! Ask Didymous (Thomas) what Jesus can do for you. Unbelievable story. Trust me. It's a page-turner.
Is intelligence standing in the way of your spiritual growth? King Solomon and the apostle Paul can help you understand the power of one encounter with the Holy One. You'll see how all knowledge is vanity and dung respectively (Eccl 1:14-17, Phil 3:8).
How can I live? you ask. You don't know what I've been through, you say. You're right. I don't. Jesus does. He knows more about you than you know about yourself. He's waiting on you to gather up all your heavy baggage of complaints, excuses and bad habits and lay them at his feet so you can get busy living (Matt 11:28-30). Since it is appointed that we all leave here one day, shouldn't we focus on living while we still can? Before I close out this blog I'll ask these questions: Are you satisfied with your life right now? Do you know for certain that you're living a purposed life? The answer to these question will determine the steps you need to take next. Think about it.
We'll talk more about this soon. In the meantime pray, and always remember to...