Friday, December 22, 2017

Die to Live

Life and death are serious issues.  Some people live as though they will never die, carelessly casting away any thought of what will happen as they pass from this life.  Some live their lives fully every minute of every day because they know this life matters and the choices we make in this life will matter for all eternity.

I recently attended the funeral of my sister's elderly mother-in-law.  It was an poignant celebration of love of family, but even more of her love for Jesus.  Those who shared about Donna during the service all spoke of her tender, gentle, caring ways and they knew without a doubt she chose her demeanor because of her belief in Jesus.  She infused Jesus into her routine conversations and served him faithfully.

Jesus said in John 12:24-28,

When you think of this passage as a metaphor that compares our lives to wheat, you will see a powerful lesson.  I'm really struck by that first verse describing the grain that does not fall to earth and how if it doesn't it will remain alone.  I'm not sure people deeply understand the absolutely aloneness of a life and death apart from Christ.  It is through Christ that all deep connections and relationships are given, both to each other and to God.  Living in Christ is truly a complete surrender of our lives.  We must fall to the earth...give away everything that is the carnal person, die to the person we are without Him and in so doing, we gain new life, real life.  Because life without Christ isn't much of a life at all. 

In order for my life to matter, in order that I might bear fruit, I must first die to myself, and allow the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to get into that carnal, sin-sick soul and do His miraculous cleansing. 

Attending that funeral was both a time of rejoicing and sobering.  We rejoiced that Donna followed Jesus and served Him faithfully.  But funerals are always very clear reminders that this life in us will pass away.  Eternity is on the other side.  We just have to make a choice now where we will spend eternity...whether we will hold onto all the things we crave that are temporal and be all alone in eternity, in a dark void where no light penetrates, where no hands reach out to hold or comfort.  Or...we can choose Christ and choose life.  We can choose to live a life that matters, that bears fruit for Him, and that leads ultimately to the most amazing fellowship with the Creator of the universe and with all those who shared our faith in Christ alone. 

As Christmas approaches and we celebrate the joy, peace, hope that Jesus brought into the darkness of the world, we cannot escape the eternal significance of this miracle.  Jesus came that we might live through His death.  I pray that each of you will have a heart that rejoices in the newborn King, the King who now sits at the right hand of the Father waiting for the moment to gather all of His own unto Himself.  

As we lay our lives down, die to self, we like Paul can say, " live is Christ and to die is gain."  (Philippians 1:21)

I used the brand new set, Scene Silhouettes: Tall Grass from Sweet and Sassy Stamps to create the wheat at the bottom of the page.  I used water color paints to create the background, just splashing them on and allowing to dry before stamping the silhouette.  The margin is hand lettered.  I accented the page with a couple of pieces of washi tape.  I put sparkly shadows on some of the lettering using a Spica Glitter pen. 

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