How Can I Live With My Mortality?

Funerals always reveal the reality that we are mortal beings.  We do not live forever, and whether it is expected or unexpected, no one is ever ready to face the aftermath of the death.

As a pastor’s wife, I have attended many funerals.  Each one is different and yet has similarities. However, they all have one thing in common.  

Someone has died.

Not one of us will live forever in our earthly state, and it forces us to come face to face with our immortality.  The older we get the more we question and the more unsettled we become.  

Alan Lightman explores the idea of humankind’s longing for immortality in his essay The Temporary Universe found in his book The Accidental Universe.  In it, he admits to having no answer for every human’s desire for immortality.   

I don’t know why we long so for permanence, why the fleeting nature of things so disturbs. With futility, we cling to the old wallet long after it has fallen apart. We visit and revisit the old neighborhood where we grew up, searching for the remembered grove of trees and the little fence. We clutch our old photographs. In our churches and synagogues and mosques, we pray to the everlasting and eternal. Yet, in every nook and cranny, nature screams at the top of her lungs that nothing lasts, that it is all passing away. 

Lightman concludes that there is nothing we can do about our pursuit of immortality, and we have to continue to live with that reality.

However, what Lightman fails to address is that we are created beings and the Creator of our lives is the one that put this pursuit of eternity in our hearts from the beginning. 

He has made everything appropriate in its time.  He has also put eternity in their hearts, but man cannot discover the work God has done from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11

God’s Word tells us God is the one who put this longing for permanence in our hearts.  We have a “God hole” in our hearts put there by God Himself.  While we may try to fill it with all kinds of things, the only thing that will fill this longing is God through a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.

Once we have entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ, we then must learn how to live with an eternal mindset while still living in a mortal body.  The question then becomes, 

 

How Can I Live With My Mortality?

The greatest example of how to live with a dying flesh is Christ, the Son of God.  He lived every day, knowing He would die.  Not only did He know He was going to die, but He knew when and how.

This would freak most of us out if we knew the time and circumstances surrounding our death.  But not Christ.  He modeled three ways for us to live while we await our physical death here on earth.  

Fellowship With The Father

Christ spent a lot of time surrounded by His disciples and the people of the cities and towns He visited.  However, this did not interfere with the one-on-one time He had with His Father.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out and made His way to a deserted place.  And He was praying there.  Mark 1:35

This is one of the more prominent verses in Scripture that point to Christ’s desire to meet with His Father, but there are many more.  What Christ’s example encourages us to pursue our relationship with God the Father with the same fervency.

It may not mean getting up before the crack of dawn, but it might.  The question is, do our heart and life reflect that time with God is more important than anything else?

Christ’s first act of living while on earth was the pursuit of spending time with God through His Word and in prayer.  As we spend time with God, the next area Christ models surfaces.  

Obedience To The Father

Living in light of our mortality means living in obedience to God the Father.

So Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing on My own.  But just as the Father taught me, I say these things.  John 8:28

For I have not spoken on My own, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a command as to what I should say and what I should speak.  John 12:49

Christ’s fellowship with the Father resulted in one thing—Obedience.  

His obedience to the Father continued to fulfill and reaffirm the purpose of Christ’s life on earth.

Our lives begin to have greater and greater clarity and purpose as we spend time with the Father.  When people say they don’t know what job they should take, or who they should marry, or where the should move, it is essential to remember that when we spend time with the Father, He will always guide and direct us where He is leading.

Time spent in fellowship with the Father leads to obedience, and obedience is done from a heart of love.

Love For The Father & Others

Throughout Christ’s ministry, we see His love for God, and for the world, He came to save.  

On the contrary, I am going away so that the world may know that I love the Father.  Just as the Father commanded Me, so I do.  John 14:31

This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us.  We should also lay down our lives for our brothers.  1 John 3:16

Christ’s obedience to the Father flowed out of His love for Him.  Also, His love for us spurred His continued obedience even unto death so that we might enjoy eternal life.

It is hard to be obedient if our hearts are not filled with love.  This final act of Christ shows us how important it is for us to keep hearts of love as we journey and live with a dying body.

Conclusion

When we stop and take the time to reflect on our life, it is hard to admit we are dying — every one of us.  The question then becomes, how are we going to live until then?

Don’t be afraid to take some time and fellowship with the Lord today.

Walk in obedience heartedly with love for Him and the rest of the world!

Alicia

How Powerful Is God?

Kaboom!!

It wasn’t even a dark and stormy night, but mid-afternoon.  I stood in the living room, chatting with my nephew, and gazing out the kitchen window.  Two of our sons, along with our nephew, had just recently come through the front door not 3 minutes before.  

When out of nowhere the loudest noise you have ever heard thundered simultaneously with the brightest flash of light, while branches, wood, and limbs went flying.  It happened so fast that I barely screamed the words out, 

“Oh my gosh, lightning just hit our tree!!”

My husband and son came quickly from the back room to see what in the world just took place while my heart raced and pounded in my chest.

We all stood at the window in disbelief.  

There stood our amazing red oak, half-naked and split down the middle.

Anyone who has ever been through a natural disaster understands on a small scale the great power the natural elements contain.  

However, what is unfathomable is the power of God Almighty.  Our wildest imagination doesn’t come close, but this does not excuse us from seeking to understand God’s great power.

Immeasurable Greatness of God’s Power

It was essential to Paul for his fellow believers in Ephesus to know the immeasurable greatness of God’s power, and thus, he included it in his prayer for them.   

This is why, since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength. Ephesians 1:15-19

Paul’s encouragement to the Ephesian believers included a prayer of action.  He desired for them to continue growing in their knowledge of their calling, their inheritance, as well as the greatness of God’s power.  

Not just any power either.  It was the immeasurable greatness of God’s power according to the working of God’s vast strength. 

 But what does this vast strength look like?  Paul continues: 

He demonstrated this power in the Messiah by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens-far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way. Ephesians 1:20-23

God’s Demonstrated Power

Paul lists four ways God demonstrated His power so that believers would see the actions of His vast strength.

1.  God raised Jesus from the dead

Can you name any act more powerful than raising someone from the dead?  

2. God seated Jesus at His right hand

Not only did God seat His Son beside Him, But He also placed Him above every ruler and authority, above every power and dominion, and above every title given in this age and in the one to come.  Christ is over every man, spiritual being, and any title.

3.  God placed everything under Jesus’ feet

God’s power put everything under His Son’s feet.  Not one thing is above Christ.  It is all under Him.  Think about that for a moment.  Christ is at the highest elevation.

4.  God appointed Jesus as head over everything for the church (which is His body)

God’s power extends through His Son over the church.  Christ is the head, and there is no other.  Jesus fills all things in every way.

 God is power and should be revered.  Our reverence for God’s immeasurable great power also produces security and comfort.  

Our Response To God’s Power

God’s power enables us to come boldly before His throne (Hebrews 4:16) because of His great love (Romans 5:8).  

 I am reminded of a scene from C. S. Lewis’ book The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  In it, there is an exchange between Susan and Mr. Beaver.  Susan is inquiring about what to expect when she meets Aslan, the ruler of Narnia.  

“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” 

“Ooh,” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver …” Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

While the great and powerful lion was not safe, he was good.  

So is God Almighty.  

Paul’s prayer is for us to understand greater God’s power because he knows the security and comfort it will bring to us.

As we understand the vastness of God’s power to raise Jesus from the dead, we grow more assured of our eternal salvation and the fact that nothing can snatch us out of the Father’s hand (John 10:28-30).

As we understand the vastness of God’s power to seat Christ at His right hand, we take comfort in Christ’s intercessor role beside His Father (Romans 8:34).

As we understand the vastness of God’s power to place everything under Christ, we have victory in this world, because nothing can stand against Him (Isaiah 14:27).

Finally, as we grow more in our understanding of God’s power through Christ as the head of the church, we can be guided daily through His headship (Colossians 1:18).  

As we press into understanding the vast strength God demonstrates through these four areas, a higher level of reverence rises in our hearts along with greater comfort and security.  

Conclusion

My heart was still racing an hour later.  I felt like I had been in a car wreck from my body tensing up through the whole experience.  

Over a week later, I am still in awe of the great power behind the lightning and the force it struck the tree.  

If that amount of power is contained in a bolt of lightning, can you imagine how much power is in Christ?  

Imagine even further, the same power of Christ is also living in each of us.  

It is hard to believe that we don’t explode!  

As we seek to understand the immeasurable greatness of God’s power, may we also allow it to spill out onto others.  May we hold it in high regard while at the same time taking comfort in the security of His power.  

What portion of God’s power have you been denying or covering up in your life?  

Confess it and embrace God’s love and forgiveness.

Then walk in the power of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  

Additional Resources:

Video: I Survived A Tornado by Mark Lowry

Song: Same Power by Jeremy Camp

Sermon: Jesus Is Better Than Strength by Pastor Scott Zbylot

Where Is The Joy?

If you were to tell me a year ago that I didn’t have joy in my life, I would have protested.  However, what is evident to others is often disguised to the actual person.  

So it was in this particular area of my life.  At the end of 2018, the Lord impressed profoundly on my heart the words Radiant Joy based on the scripture passage Psalm 34:4-5.  The Lord then gently but firmly began the process of revealing the deficit of joy in my Christian walk.  

God helped me see that the real joy of Christ was not penetrating and seeping out of my life onto others.  In fact, people were being turned away from the lack of joy they saw in my life.  

If no one wanted the Christ they were seeing in me, then something was wrong, and something needed to change!!

Thus began the process of dedicating the entire 2019 year towards being intentional in seeing, believing, and being joyful in all circumstances.

Needless to say, as I have become more conscious of joy this year, I get excited when I see the word joy, experience joy, or see others experience the joy of Christ.  

Are you happy?

Last week my children and husband served at Camp Blessing, a special needs camp here in Texas, where they were paired with a special needs child for the week.  Our daughter, Hannah, was paired with a nonverbal young lady whose only words were: 

“I’m happy. Are you happy?”  

Hannah says she spent the entire week telling her camper as well as herself that she was happy.  Before long, Hannah realized that she was not only happy but that she genuinely had joy.

What changed? 

Say It

My daughter discovered that repeatedly saying she was happy allowed her heart to catch up with her mind.  She knew that she has joy in the Lord, but to believe it deep down in your heart and to allow it to spill over onto others was a different story.

By speaking the truth of what she knew in God’s Word, allowed the Lord to let His truth to be heard not only through her ears but also in her heart.  

There is power in the spoken truth of God’s Word.  As we speak the truth, actions soon follow. 

Do It

Hannah discovered as she spoke the truth that she was happy, her actions became an extension of that truth.  She found herself joyful even if they were late to an event or if something didn’t go just right.  The schedule did not have to be kept for them to be happy.

She and her camper could be happy just because they were happy.

Isn’t this the truth of the Christian life?  We are joyful because the joy of the Lord lives inside us.  

Conclusion

I had the opportunity to visit the camp towards the end of the week.  Hannah’s camper was all smiles, and you could tell she was happy.  It was a great reminder to myself that if we are happy and we know it, then our face should surely show it.  

We have all sung the song.  

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. 

Where?  

Down in my heart to stay.

The words reveal great truth about the joy of the Lord and how deep it penetrates the believer’s heart.  

However, if the joy of the Lord only stays deep in our hearts and never shows up on our face, in our speech, or our actions, then how will anyone ever come to know real joy or have a desire to experience joy themselves?

As I celebrate 44 years of life today, I am thankful for a God who continues to reveal areas of weakness in my life that do not look like Him.  I am grateful that He is gentle and kind and good in how He loves His children enough not to leave them where they are at but draws them towards Christ-likeness.

I am still on this joy journey and in the process of learning how to express outwardly the joy that is down in my heart.  Will you join me?  

Leave a comment or join me on Instagram and share how joy manifests itself in your life.