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No Sweat

12 Aug

Jodi Whisenhunt wrote a post titled “You Know It’s Too Hot When…” for The Christian Post (8-1-12). Her “You know…” thoughts made me LOL on a very hot day in August.

You know it’s too hot when…

1 ) You fry your morning eggs on the front walk.
2 ) Your neighbor brings over cookies she baked in her car.
3 ) Your swimming pool turns into a hot tub.
4 ) Your hot tub is bubbling and it’s not turned on.
5 ) Your aerosol sunscreen shoots flames.
6 ) Your dog sheds her coat bald when she steps outside.
7 ) You drop two pounds in perspiration just by walking out the door.
8 ) You get a second degree burn when you touch the handle of your car door.
9 ) The hummingbirds are fanning the squirrels.
10 ) The ice cream truck melts.

OK… maybe it’s not quite that hot. But I’m sweating, and I’m not a sweaty person.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “No sweat”? No sweat can mean no trouble, no difficulty, or even “Don’t worry; it’s a done deal.” As I languished in the heat, the thought suddenly occurred to me that there is at least one thing in life where I can honestly say, “No sweat.”

Death? No sweat.

This may seem like a strange topic for an LOL with God post, but hang with me.

The Proverbs 31 woman could “laugh at days to come” because she was “clothed with strength and dignity” (31:25). Although the process of dying may be painful and difficult, there is a kind of joy ~ a sense in which we can laugh at death, knowing we will overcome it in Christ! We can clothe ourselves in strength and dignity, even in our last days.

Many people are afraid of death ~ “sweating out” the end of their lives. If this describes you (you are afraid of death or dying), let me encourage you today with the Word of God. The Word makes a world of difference. I have a friend who lived in fear of death for many years, but as she began to read and embrace the truth of scripture concerning her end of days, she found peace and hope.

I can honestly say, when it comes to my eternal destination, “No sweat ~ It’s a done deal.” Not because of any good I’ve done, but because of the rich, undeserved love of God (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; John 3:16-18) . Because He gave me eternal life in His Son and made me His child (John 17:3; 1 John 3:2; 5:13).

The grave is not the end! The believer knows that death is as simple as “falling asleep” on earth and awakening with God where we will live forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, 17).

Jesus came to free us from the fear of dying ~ the “sting” and power of death (1 Corinthians 15:54-55; Hebrews 2:14-15) ~ but also from death itself (eternal death).  Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die….” (John 11:25-26). We will be united with Jesus in His resurrection (Romans 6:5).

Though there may be a season of suffering before death, because of Jesus’ resurrection, we have true hope for our future (1 Peter 1:3-6; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18). We can face death with confidence and courage. We already have “citizenship” in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and we will be welcome there. I can rest in God’s love both now and forever. One of the joys of heaven is that death will be “swallowed up” forever as God wipes away all sorrow and tears (Isaiah 25:8; Rev. 7:17; 21:4).

One of the struggles I’ve always had concerning death is my fears for those I might leave behind. But God even has an answer for that. He is “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5) and we can hand over our fears, worries, and anxieties for our loved ones to Him (1 Peter 5:7). He loves them even more than we do, and will not forsake them.

Do I want to die? Yes and no. I understand Paul’s pull toward heaven, even while deeply involved in ministry and love for the people in this life (Philippians 1:21-25). I want to go home to heaven, but I am so attached to friends and family here. The truth is, whether on earth or in heaven, I belong to the Lord and live for His purposes (Romans 14:8); and it’s my job to figure out the works God has prepared for me to do before He calls me home (Ephesians 2:10).

But death itself? No sweat … I am secure and satisfied in the One who loves me, redeemed me, and has eternal plans for my life.

Can you say “No sweat!” as you look toward the end of your days? Can you laugh at your future, knowing you are safe with God? Or do you still have some concerns? Do you know someone who faced death with incredible peace and hope? I’d love to hear your story.

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I Love Happy Endings

28 Jul

DaisyThe other day when I visited my “granddogger,” Daisy, (a female pup my son owns), I had to laugh when my son and his wife talked about the cost of Daisy’s haircut. It reminded me of this cute joke:

A friend took her dog to the parlor for a haircut, and asked what it would cost. Being told that it would cost her $50, she was outraged.

“I only pay 30 bucks for my own haircut!” she said.

The groomer replied, “That may be true. But then, you don’t bite, do you? (1)

Daisy has a long, swishy tail that acts like a propeller when she’s happy.Daisy on grass

That reminds me of young Jonathan, who had been promised a new puppy for his tenth birthday. He had a tough time choosing one from the dozen likely candidates at the neighborhood pet shop.

Finally, he decided on one nondescript, shaggy pup who was wagging his tail furiously.

Explained Jonathan, “I want the one with the happy ending!” (2)

Happy endings. We all love it when stories end well, don’t we? There’s that sigh of joy … the “aaaaaah” factor when a tale ends well.

Unfortunately, although that might work well in Hollywood, in real life, some stories don’t have happy endings. There are divorces that destroy whole families, financial struggles that overwhelm, and problems with no easy solutions.

Jesus said that we would have tribulation and trials in life (John 16:33). It’s just part of the human condition, brought about by the entrance of sin in the world (Romans 5:12). But in that same verse, Jesus said we can take heart because He has triumphed. In Jesus, there is hope (Titus 1:2) … He is our Hope (1 Timothy 1:1). There is hope and encouragement for our days on earth (1 John 3:2-3), and an ultimate future reward (Ephesians 1:181 Peter 1:3).

Hope in Jesus ChristOur happy ending is sure because of Jesus’ resurrection. It’s not a fairy tale happy ending to a story about a wise teacher, but a sure hope based on the truth surrounding who Jesus is ~ God, the Son.

Jesus died for our sins, but the resurrection is what makes Christianity distinct from mere religion. Other leaders of religions may have lived exemplary lives, led great movements, and even died a martyr’s death ~ but not one of them was raised from the dead.

The resurrection proved that God’s purpose for mankind in redemption was accomplished (1 Corinthians 15:13-20). (Evidence for the Resurrection.)

We have peace, power, victory, security, hope … and we will be with Jesus throughout eternity. Because Jesus lives, we, too, will live (John 14:19) ~ that is our happy ending!

(1) http://funnyjokes4me.blogspot.com/2009/07/clean-jokes-dog-haircut.html

(2) Michael Hodgin, 1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking, (Zondervan, 2004), #305, p. 128

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