I trust you are being greatly blessed as we continue this subject. Again I want you to be blessed with the following devotions on the subject of death and life. I pray you will be fully ready when that moment of departure comes. These are very exciting and refreshing.
I want to add the following devotions by Charles Haddon Spurgeon. I could not say it as well as he. So please read the following.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92) was England’s best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1854, just four years after his conversion, Spurgeon, then only 20, became pastor of London’s famed New Park Street Church. The congregation quickly outgrew their building, moved to Exeter Hall, then to Surrey Music Hall. In these venues Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000’”all in the days before electronic amplification. In 1861 the congregation moved permanently to the newly constructed Metropolitan Tabernacle also known as ‘Spurgeon’s Tabernacle.
Charles Spurgeon is my favorite historical preacher. I even had the honor and pleasure of preaching in that church and pulpit in 1972.
Spurgeon wrote what is now known as ‘Morning and Evening’ devotions. My wife Denise reads these every day.
The following will help you with instruction and inspiration and the Word of God to deal with death as well as to live life to the fullest.
WITH THE LORD. 1 THESSALONIANS 4:17
God will be with us even in death. “For I know that You will bring me to death “ (Job 30:23). He leads me beside the still waters that so many fear (Psalms 23:2). “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me’ (Psalms 23:4). Dear friends, we live with God. Shall we not die with Him?
Our life is one long holiday when the Lord Jesus keeps us company. We go out with joy and are lead out with peace. The mountains and the hills break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12). Will they not be equally glad when we rise to our eternal reward? It is not living that is happiness, but living with God. It is not dying that will be wretched, but dying without God.
The child has to go to bed, but she does not cry if mother goes with her. It is dark, but the mother’s eyes are the child’s lights. It is lonely, but he mother’s arms are the child’s company. It is quiet, but voice is the child’s music. Lord, when the hour comes for me to go to bed, I know that You will take me there and speak lovingly in my ear.
Dismiss all fear of death. Even though the shadows deepen, the Lord is your light and salvation (Psalms 27:1). Though our bodies will sleep for a little while in their lowly resting places, our souls shall be forever with the Lord. “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first’¦.And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words’ (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
I HAVE FINISHED THE RACE. 2 TIMOTHY 4:7
It is my desire that death will perfect my entire career, that death will be the capstone on the building, so that nothing is needed to complete my life’s work. Is it this way with you? Suppose you were to die at this moment, would your life be complete? Or would it be a broken column snapped off in the center?
May our death not be one that needs flurry and hot haste to make us ready. Some die in that fashion, but they have so little grace as to be only “saved, yet so as through fire’ (1 Corinthians 3:15). True Christians stand ready for death; they know the Bridegroom is coming soon and they keep their lamps well trimmed (Matthew 25:4). This is the way to live, and this is the way to die. Our home-going will be a simple matter if the Holy Spirit puts us in such a condition that the death angel may not catch us by surprise.
It must be sad to be taken unwillingly, plucked like an unripe fruit from the tree. The unripe apple holds fast to its place, and many hold hard to their riches. They cling so fondly to earthly things that it takes a sharp pull to separate them from the world. Ripe fruit, however, adheres only lightly. When a gentle hand comes to take it, it yields freely, as if willing to be gathered.
God made you unworldly. May He forbid you to cling so resolutely to things below, that your departure be not violent and full of terror.
FINALLY. 2 TIMOTHY 4:8
Our Master taught us how to die as well as how to live. He could say, “I have finished the work which You gave Me’ (John 17:4). Triple blessed is the believer who, in permanently laying down the shepherd’s staff or the carpenter’s plane, or in putting aside the ledger or the schoolbook, can exclaim, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me’ (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
They asked good old Mede, the Puritan, how he was doing. He answered, “Going home as fast as I can, and bless God I have a good home to go to.’ Dear aged saint, so near home, faith will transform death from an enemy to a friend as it brings the glory near. You will soon be in the Father’s house and leave me behind. But I am not sure. I remember that the other disciple outran Peter and came first to the tomb (John 20:4), and so may I. You have the start on me in years, but I may be called home first.
Let death come. We will not be afraid. Jesus, who loved us and gave His life for us, is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). Why should we not want to go? What is here that we should want to wait? What is there on this poor earth to detain a heaven born and heaven bound spirit? Let us go. He, our treasure, is gone. He whose beauties have enthralled our love is not here. Why should we linger? He has rise (Matthew 28:7). Let us rise.
LOVED ONES TAKEN AWAY. HEBREWS 10:9
From some of you, the Lord has been taking away considerable portions of your family. Dear children are now with Him in glory. Father and mother have also gone, so too husband or wife, brother or sister. Some dear ones are now home, and you may be left alone. You begin to count the friends of your youth on your fingers. God is evidently taking away “the first’ (Heb 10:9), but do not forget how blessedly He is establishing “the second.’ When you enter heaven, you will be no stranger inside those pearly gates. There will be many there whom you knew and loved on earth, whom you will know and love above. They will meet you at the gates and they will rejoice with you before the great Father’s throne.
“Alas,’ says one, “I have lost all my family, and I am alone and desolate.’ If you are a child of God, remember what the apostle wrote, “I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named’ (Ephesians 3:14-15). Though God has taken away that first family. He has established the second, and it is a far more numerous and glorious one.
“God sets the solitary in families’ (Psalms 68:6). This is what He has done for you. He has taken your first family connections, your first bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood, to establish the second, higher, relationships. He has dissolved the ties of blood, that you may find better spiritual relationships. Jesus spoke of this when He said, “Whoever does the will of My father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother’ (Matthew 12:50). Today, we say of the saints on earth and the saints before the throne of God in heaven, “These are sister, and brother, and father, and mother to us.’
He takes away the first that He may establish the second’ (Hebrews 10:9).
SEEING HIM. HEBREWS 11:27
Many are called to suffer much in daily life. What a world of misery there is in this great city, even among good and gracious people. You might study London until it turned your brain. The suffering and poverty even of godly people would be a subject too harrowing for those who have tender hearts.
Let us not forget those members of Christ’s mystical body that are in the fire. “His feet were like find brass, as if refined in a furnace’ (Revelation 1:15). Few, if any, are without sorrow, and many saints have a double portion of grief in their pilgrimage. Sitting here with your brothers and sisters in Christ, you look cheerful, but I ma be addressing one whose life is a protracted struggle for existence. Assuredly, you will not hold out without a great deal of true faith. You must endure as “seeing Him who is invisible’ (Hebrews 11:27). You must rejoice in God, or you will not rejoice at all. Earthly comforts are not yours. But if you grasp the spiritual and the eternal, you will not worry.
If only in this life you have hope, you would be most pitiable (1 Corinthians 15:19). But having the hope, you are among the most happy. The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for you, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose (Isaiah 35:1). Commend me to firm faith for power to bear the daily cross. He that believes has everlasting life and the joys that come of it (John 5:24).
Trust in your God, in His love and care of you, and you will be like the lilies of the field, which neither toil or spin and yet are clothed. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow (Matt. 6:28-34). Know by faith that heaven is prepared for you. Know for certain that you will soon be there among the angels, and you will defy cold, hunger, nakedness, shame, and everything else.
IT IS EVEN A VAPOR. JAMES 4:14
St. Augustine used to say that he did not know whether to call it a dying life or a living death. I leave you the choice between those two expressions. This is certainly a dying life, or its march is marked by graves, and nothing but a continuous miracle keeps any of us from the tomb. Were Omnipotence to stay its power but for a moment, earth would return to earth and ashes to ashes.
It is a dying life, and equally true, it is a living death. We are always dying. Every beating pulse leaves the number less. The more years we count, the fewer that remain. While we are sitting still in this house, the earth is revolving around the sun, carrying us through space at an amazing rate. We are all moving, yet we do not realize it. AT this moment, you are being carried toward eternity at lightning speed. Though we dream that we are constant, we never rest; the stream is carrying us onward. Ever must we obey the mandate, “Onward, onward, onward.’ From childhood to youth, from youth to manhood, from manhood to gray old age, we march in ranks from which none can retire. We do not linger, even when we sleep. Then what is our life?
Our verse gives us an instructive answer. It does not so much tell us what life actually is as what it is like: a vapor. James compares our life to a subtle, unsubstantial, flimsy thing: a vapor (James 4:14). If you live on a height, from which you can look down on a stretch of country, you see in the early morning a mist covering all the valleys. It marks the tops of the great elms, like islands in a sea of clouds, with perhaps a church spire rising like a pyramid from the mist. In a little time the vapor has vanished. It was so think, so fine, that a breath of wind scattered it. Such is your life. This is the picture James presents to us. “What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.’
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt