Amazing!

Jeter CardI like to see and be a part of things that are different or extraordinary. Do you? I would say that most people would answer, “Yes.” It is easy for us to get caught up in things that seem amazing. We watch sports on television hoping to see some amazing feat performed by our favorite players or teams. Every now and then something happens that is so amazing that it seems to be a miracle. For instance last night, in his last game at Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter got a base hit in the bottom of the ninth to win the game for the Yanks. Amazing!

In life we hope to mimic amazing feats that we have witnessed. We play baseball hoping to hit that long ball in the bottom of the ninth. In basketball we dream of sinking that game winning three-pointer at the buzzer. Can you imagine the stir of our emotions if we had been around to see true visible miracles performed by Jesus and the apostles? I imagine that we would have desired to have those abilities as well.

In Acts 8 we have just such an account left behind in the Scriptures. A man named Simon who had been some type of sorcerer is the central character. Simon was newly converted by the preaching of Phillip (Acts 8:12-13). However, Simon was overcome by the desire to go back to his old ways when he witnessed the power of miracles performed by the apostles. He even tried to pay them for this ability (Acts 8:18-19).

We should be careful of jumping to judgment in this case. We may not have acted any better than Simon. In fact even the apostles were warned not to get too caught up in miraculous gifts they were given. They were told not to rejoice in the miracles, but rather because their names were written in heaven (Luke 10:19-20).

This is some advice to which we should give some attention. We go to all kinds of trouble to be a part of something great in the realm of sports and business, but what about the spiritual? We have the opportunity to be a part of the most amazing thing that will ever happen. We can have our name registered in heaven (Heb. 12:23). We can be joined there with the perfect and powerful creator of the universe (1 Thess. 4:16-17). Why do we not work harder to be a part of this miraculous event? I want to go to heaven, don’t you?

 

Live Like You Were Dying!

bucking bullA few years back country music singer Tim McGraw released a song titled “Live like You Were Dying.” The character in the song received news that he had cancer. After coming to terms with his illness, he lists some things that he did. He said that he finally read the Good Book, and he took a good hard look at what he would do if he could do it all again. He went sky diving, Rocky Mountain climbing, and he went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Foo Man Chu. He continues to list some other things he did, most of which were not things I would expect a man to do following the reading of the Bible. Later in the song he said, “Someday I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying.”

Perhaps, the man would be surprised to hear that everyone has that chance. I am telling you right now we are all dying. The Hebrew writer said that it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment (Heb. 9:27). Therefore, we all have the opportunity to live like we are dying. However, I would suggest a different bucket list for the man who realizes that he is dying. Consider the following:

  • Reading the Good Book is a good place to start.
  • After reading His word a good response would be to love God with all your heart (Matt. 22:37).
  • You can show your love for God by full obedience to his word (John 14:15, 23).
  • It is also a good idea to love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:39).
  • As a matter of fact go ahead and love your enemy as well (Matt. 5:43-44).
  • You can show your love for these people by sharing the gospel (Rom. 1:14-16).
  • While you are at it you might want to show some charity to your neighbor as well (Matt. 25:31-46).

This is a broad list but if you look at the verses and heed the warnings you will find yourself in a much better standing at the judgment day. The Bible tells us that we are all dying, but we could have figured that out from watching the world around us. We have and will watch those around us pass from this life, and one day our name will be listed somewhere in an obituary. I pray that our obituary can read as thus, “He/She put aside his/her selfish desire in this life and gave himself/herself to the love of God and fellow man.” Are you prepared for death? Live like you are dying!