Greatest ‘Fear’

30 January 23

We are ‘fearful’ of many things: Heights, flying, germs, needles, darkness, enclosed spaces, drowning, thunder and lightning, dogs, mice, spiders, snakes, public speaking, and even the dentist! So then, what is our ‘GREATEST’ FEAR?

INTRODUCTION
Almost 8,000 people DIE in the United States EACH DAY from various causes: cancer, strokes, diseases, accidents, choking, drowning, and so forth (over 150,000+ worldwide). That means, then, that twice as many people died in the United States of “natural causes” on September 10, 2001—and then again on September 11, 2001—than died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks! For every person who died in the Twin Towers, that field in western Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon, two others died in our hospitals, homes, and on our highways. That fact is obscured by the dramatic and heart-wrenching loss of life in Lower Manhattan, western Pennsylvania, and just outside Washington, DC. that sunny September morning. The burning Twin Towers in New York forced us to confront—as it was happening—the reality of death on a massive scale.

[ VIDEO: “9/11: As Events Unfold” ]

The thing is, terrorism’s casualties do not increase the ultimate death toll. Those who did not die in New York on that fateful day would have died at a later time in a different way. That is not to speak lightly of the horror of that day, nor does it absolve the evil men who carried it out that day.

However, we must simply realize that death cannot be avoided because of extraordinary good health or a streak of great luck. We might be able to postpone the event, but it can never be ‘canceled’ altogether!

Death comes to all of us: rich and poor, famed and unsung. No matter how powerful or celebrated we may be, we cannot escape the fact that we will, one day, die. When our moment comes, it will not matter whether we accept death with tranquility, fear, or indifference. There is literally nothing we can do about the fact that someday the “bell will toll” for us!


<<< TABLE OF CONTENTS >>>


GROWING MORE ‘FEARFUL’

‘SCARED’ TO DEATH
– ‘Facing’ Death
– What ‘Not’ To Do
– ‘Why Do We Fear Death?
– So ‘Mysterious’ And So Certain

THANATOPHOBIA
– ‘Reframing’ Death
– How To ‘Treat’ Death Anxiety

‘OVERCOMING’ THE FEAR OF DEATH
– Our ‘Denial’ Of Death
– Fight Or Flight
– How To Avoid ‘Regrets’
– Live A ‘Meaningful’ Life
– Align With Your ‘Priorities’
– Life ‘Assessment’
– Make ‘Peace’ With Death
– Biblical ‘Assuredness’

THE UNKNOWN ‘CAN’ BE KNOWN!

DEATH IS AN ‘ENEMY’
– The Ultimate ‘Intrusion’
– The ‘Heart’ Of The Issue
– Earned Your ‘Wages’?
– Be ‘Free’ Of The Fear Of Death

BELIEVERS ARE ‘NOT FEARFUL’ OF DEATH
– ‘Eternity’ In Our Hearts
– ‘Victory’ Over Death
– Death Shall ‘Die’!

WRAP-UP
– Strong ‘Faith’ Overcomes Fear
– At ‘Death’s Door’
– ‘Saved’ From The Fear Of Death
– ‘Facing’ Death Confidently
– To Die Is ‘Gain’!
– ‘Raptured’ Instead Of Dying


<<< SUMMARY >>>

The following is a collection of ‘snippets’ from the post that aims to give you the overall ‘gist’ of this post.
[ 10-15 Minute Read ].


GROWING MORE ‘FEARFUL’
America was brought into a new era of fear after the “9/11” attacks. America’s level of fear stayed permanently elevated, despite the fact that the world has become arguably safer since then. This is a testament to the subtle psychological ‘power’ of fear.

After 9/11, there was an understandable—but irrational—fear of flying. Accounting for the terrorist attacks, flying was still much safer than driving a car. [ People are still afraid of flying because of 9/11. In a 2011 poll—10 years after the attack—Gallup found 24% of respondents agreed that 9/11 made them less willing to fly on airplanes. ] The thing is, there were 42,116 motor vehicle deaths in 2001 and only 581 airplane-related fatalities. Many who would have flown in near-perfect safety died on roadways as a result of their fear.

Gerd Gigerenzer, the director of the Max Planck Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition, labels this the “indirect damage” of terrorism: “Indirect damage is not under the control of terrorists; it is mediated through the minds of citizens,” Gigerenzer wrote in a 2006 paper. In it, he estimates that 9/11 led to an additional 1,505 fatal road crashes in the 12 months after the attacks. [ Gigerenzer also analyzed transportation data from Spain after the 2004 terrorist attacks on Madrid’s railways, and found that while Spaniards reduced their train travel, they did not compensate with additional road travel. ]

———

So, if I were to ask you, “What are you afraid of?,” what I am really asking is what is it that ‘immobilizes’ you (what is stealing your joy, destroying your hope, robbing you of sleep, and keeping you from living life to its fullest?).

Well, most surveys show that people fear the following, in descending order of ‘intensity’ (The first in the list is the ‘most’ intense):

– Public Speaking
– Heights
– The Dentist
– Snakes
– Flying
– Spiders
– Small, Enclosed Spaces
– Blood/Needles
– Financial Problems
– Deep Water/Drowning
– Mice
– Dogs
– Thunder and Lightning
– Being Alone
– Darkness
– Germs
– Social Situations

Now, EVERYONE is afraid of something—but they are ‘PRIMARILY’ afraid of DEATH!

[ Don’t let anyone ‘kid’ you that it is “public speaking.” Death is sometimes not even mentioned in a lot of these surveys! It’s the ‘unmentionable’ that people avoid talking about at all ‘costs’. When it comes right down to it, DEATH IS the ‘greatest’ fear! ]

‘SCARED’ TO DEATH
Death might be one of the few things we all have in common, and yet the irony is, our fears around it can end up making us feel terribly alone.

Here in the western world, death is still very much a ‘taboo’ subject. It is something we just don’t talk about. This means that when it comes up, we might feel reluctant to share our feelings with the people around us.

In modern Western society, most people have little direct experience of death, and we don’t like to talk about the subject. Our society is organized in such a way that the dead are quickly removed from us, and those traditions that do encourage viewing the dead do so only after careful cosmetic preparation by specialized morticians, often resulting in the dead looking more like an elegant wax model replica of the living person. Attendance of children at funerals and cemeteries is generally not encouraged, adding to the sense of dreaded unfamiliarity with death with which many of us grow up.

‘FACING’ DEATH
At some point, all of us will be faced with fears about death. After all, ‘WHAT’ HAPPENS when the “lights go out” remains one of life’s biggest mysteries.

Not only is it normal to fear the unknown, but in these current uncertain times, we are probably going to find our thoughts turning to our own mortality even more.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, contemplating death can spur us on to make important changes in our lives. It can make us question whether we are living a life that is based on our values—the things that are important to us. In the face of a fatal disease, imaginary or not, most people experience raw gratitude for being alive and a crystallized clarity about what is meaningful to them.

The thing is, every single one of us is walking around with a TERMINAL ‘DISEASE’—we are all going to die someday. Sadly, most of us navigate our lives as if death were the ‘North Star’, a fixed and distant point. We build our entire lives on the wildly presumptuous notion that death is far away and that we will get to live to the statistical life expectancy of 79 years old (in the United States). NOT!

We think we have a ‘lot’ of time, so it is no surprise we postpone enjoying life until reaching some nebulous future date or state: after we graduate; after we get promoted; after we get married; after we have kids; after we lose weight; after we have enough money; after we retire; and ___ (fill in your favorite ‘until’), when everything is ‘perfect’ to finally live the way you want to live. Then, at that time, we will travel, write the book, spend quality time with the kids/grandkids, or pause to mindfully ponder the ‘meaning’ of life.

———

Psychiatrist Irvin Yalom put it this way in his book, “Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death”: “The way to value life, the way to feel compassion for others, the way to love anything with greatest depth is to be aware that these experiences are destined to be lost.”

Our mortality and finitude should remind us of the urgency of living here and now, with full engagement in life and dedication to those around us. When death comes for us, let ‘it’ find us among the living.

[ FYI: For more details about having a sense of ‘urgency’, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/a-sense-of-urgency-v269/ ]

———

Author Kate Manser showed an ‘ad’ (by an unknown author) in her book, “You Might Die Tomorrow, So Live Today,” that nicely sums up what I have been saying:

LIFE*
– Limit (1) per person.
– Subject to change without notice.
– Provided “as is” and without any warranties.
– Non-transferrable and is the sole responsibility of the recipient.
– May incur damages arising from the use or misuse.
– Additional parts sold separately.
– Your mileage may vary.
– Subject to all applicable fees and taxes.
– Terms and conditions apply.
– Other restrictions apply.

*Available for a limited time only.

WHAT ‘NOT’ TO DO
Palliative nurse Bronnie Ware wrote a blog post entitled, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing.” The five ‘points’ were:

– I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
– I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
– I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
– I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
– I wish I had let myself be happier.

Ware continued saying, “These are the top five regrets of the dying, and you have the opportunity right now to embody the wisdom that many realised far too late. You’re here because, deep down, you yearn for something more. Something tugs on your heartstrings and urges you to find courage, open your heart, connect, be happy and enjoy this one precious life.”

———

Musical artist Carsie Blanton wrote a song entitled “Smoke Alarm,” and one of the verses captures what I have been saying:

“Why do we waste our time
Thinkin’ ‘bout an obligation
Runnin’ from a confrontation
Wondrin’ what we ought to say
When everyone we’ve ever known
is headed for a headstone
I don’t wanna give the end away,
but we’re gonna die one day”

[ FYI: The music video—with all the lyrics—is in the “Songs” section below. ]

———

In addition to not doing ‘regretful’ things, one of the ‘practical’ things one can do is to ‘prep’ for death by putting together legal documents like wills and trusts or by just discussing last wishes with the important people in your life. This can make one feel a bit more at ease with all of it. That is because you are “facing the issue straight on” by getting major things done.

[ NOTE: For a lot of details about preparing one’s “estate,” view last month’s “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/preparing-for-the-future-v286/ ]

[ ALSO: You may want to consider using the “Death Over Dinner” website to help you plan some conversations about death. (More details in the “Resources” area below.) ]

Some recent studies suggest that people in their 20s are more prone to anxiety about death. While it is unclear why that is, it could have to do with the pressure to ‘make sense’ of one’s life at that age. So, it is suggested that one make a list of ways that one can live their life with ‘purpose’ (More about this later).

So, if you feel like you haven’t done the things you really wanted to accomplish or contributed to the world in ways that are important to you, thinking about how you can work toward those things might make you feel more at ease with dying. Consider creating a “BUCKET LIST” of ‘what’ you want to accomplish, ‘how’ you want to live, and ‘what’ you would like your legacy to be. Some ideas—from my Bucket List—would be to travel to a faraway land (I would like to go to Israel/Jerusalem), drive on the Nurburgring race course and the Transfagarasan Highway, go skydiving (tandem would be fine), pilot a hang glider, taking a hot air balloon flight, and scanning in all of my 20K+ slides and 10K+ printed photos. [ That’s just ‘page one’! ;^D ].

Now, as exciting as all these things would be, I try not to forget the small, everyday joys, that psychologists say, will make up the greater satisfaction in one’s life. I remember a quote that goes something like, “Live life not in the pursuit of happiness, but as an expression of joyfulness.”

‘WHY’ DO WE FEAR DEATH?
The fear of death almost always has its ‘roots’ in the fear of the unknown. It is natural to want to understand the world around us, and even more to know where we are going to ‘end up’ after we die. That fear is sometimes stoked by professionals who seemed determined to convince us that what happens after death cannot be known, much less proven, while we are still alive. So, not only are we ‘doomed’ to die, we are ‘trapped’ in our fear of the unknown until we do!

Psychologists assure us that fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger. If we never feel fear, we cannot protect ourselves from legitimate threats. Our response to fear itself can, in fact, cause more harm than the original cost of our fear.

Philosopher Dallas Willard observed that, “For most people, perhaps, the thing they most treasure is staying alive on earth. As a result, they live their entire lives in bondage to fear of physical death.”

———

Now, let me assure you that grief is not fear. When a loved one dies, huge, gaping, jagged, painful ‘holes’ can be left in one’s heart and life. So, please do not confuse grief with fear. Sorrow and mourning are natural responses to be embraced—they are not fear.

Throughout human history, people have been anxiously preoccupied with the idea of death and dying. “How can I overcome the fear of death,” and “How can I stop being so scared of dying?” are a few of the common questions that have been asked.

The fear of death is fundamentally fear of the unknown or, as some maintain, the unknowable. Some ask, “What exactly does it feel like to die?,” or “What happens when I die?,” or “Where do I go after I die?” (I will share more details about the concept of the “unknown” a bit later.)

SO ‘MYSTERIOUS’ AND SO CERTAIN
For centuries, authors, playwrights, and, more recently, screenwriters have taken profitable advantage of the fact that death is frightening and unnervingly mysterious. From the dark “Grim Reaper” (14th century) to the suave “Joe Black” (1998), death ‘stalks’ every one of us.

Back in the 16th century, William Shakespeare gave our fear of death a ‘voice’ through his character, Claudio, in his play “Much Ado About Nothing”:

“Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
To be imprison’d in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendent world; or to be worse than worst
Of those that lawless and incertain thought
Imagine howling: ’tis too horrible!
The weariest and most loathed worldly life
That age, ache, penury and imprisonment
Can lay on nature is a paradise
To what we fear of death.”

We fear death because we go where we “know not where.” We fear death because we simply cannot ‘control’ it. We cannot control when we will die or how we will die. Unless we commit self-murder, we cannot dictate the moment or manner of our death any more than we can control the moment of our birth.

So, here’s another paradox: Many of us live in fear of dying. Now, some don’t fear death itself but they fear ‘HOW’ they might die. Fearing the ‘result’ of death and fearing the ‘process’ of dying are two different issues.

For some, the fear of dying can become a condition known as “Thanatophobia,” an extreme and often irrational thought or fear of death. Sometimes it is so intense that it eclipses all other thoughts and starts to interfere with one’s daily life, even to the extent of halting all of one’s activities and even sequestering oneself inside the ‘safety’ of their home!

According to one study, 20% of people are “afraid or very afraid of dying,” making Thanatophobia one of the most common fears people have.

THANATOPHOBIA
Thanatophobia is a clinical term for an intense fear of death or the dying process. Another name for this condition is “death anxiety.”

First off, what is a phobia? Well, it is an intense sense of worry or panic about certain activities, objects or situations. A specific phobic disorder, such as Thanatophobia, is a type of anxiety disorder. [ Other examples of phobic disorders include claustrophobia (fear of small, confined spaces) and aerophobia (fear of flying) ].

So then, what is the difference between Thanatophobia and Necrophobia? Well, Necrophobia is a fear of dead things (corpses) or places that contain dead things, such as graveyards.

———

Then, who is at risk for Thanatophobia? Well, it is more common in people who:

– Are in poor health or receive a diagnosis of a serious illness
– Don’t have religious beliefs
– Feel a sense of dissatisfaction with their life
– Have low self-esteem
– Have other phobias or mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety
– Have parents or loved ones who are elderly, ill, or dying
– Lack close family members or friends
– Witness illness, trauma, or violence in their jobs, such as healthcare providers or social workers

———

A few types of psychotherapy include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure Therapy (ET).

CBT can help you change the way you think about death so it isn’t so scary. You may need to address unrealistic beliefs about death, such as feeling that death is “unfair” or that the dying process is always painful. CBT also gives you techniques to better manage how you react to thoughts of death, such as meditation and deep breathing.

ET is a type of therapy that gradually exposes you to places, thoughts, or situations that relate to death. You might start by writing about how you picture your own death or the death of a loved one. Other exposure techniques could include visiting a hospital, writing a will, reading obituaries, or talking with someone who has a terminal illness.

[ Note: Medication for Thanatophobia or other specific phobic disorders has not proven very effective. But your healthcare provider may recommend anti-anxiety drugs if you have to be in a stressful or fearful situation, like a funeral. ]

‘REFRAMING’ DEATH
Most therapy for Thanatophobia is going to take a CBT-based approach—focusing on fixing faulty or unhelpful thought patterns. In the case of Thanatophobia, this treatment would take aim at reframing the anxiety that death is something imminent, inherently bad, or a worthwhile cause for constant concern. One of the benefits of going to therapy is that you can get professional guidance and an objective viewpoint to help you reorient your thoughts about death.

However, if one is not yet in ‘professional’ treatment for their anxiety—or are not sure they are ready to make that commitment yet—there are CBT exercises that they can practice without the assistance of a therapist. For example, people experiencing Thanatophobia may find themselves in thought patterns that make it harder for them to enjoy their lives. Thoughts like, “If I am focused on death, then I can control it” or “It’s important for me to be worrying about death. I never know when it’s going to happen, so I have to always be on the lookout.”
[ more… ]

HOW TO ‘TREAT’ DEATH ANXIETY
Dealing with death anxiety is a complicated process, whether you are terminally ill or not. Mortality is a hard topic to grapple with, whether you are healthy or not.

If the fear of death overwhelms you, seeking out standard treatments for anxiety, professional help, or learning healthy coping mechanisms can be your ‘ticket’ to relief and control over these emotions.

That said, the following are nine ways to help manage your fear of death:

———

Acceptance of death is a worthwhile pursuit. The fact is, life is short, and every day spent wasted worrying about what comes after is a day lost. Speaking with a healthcare professional about your anxiety can help you learn how to stop worrying about death—and feel better for your days to come.

[ NOTE: Again, Thanatophobia is an anxiety disorder that can disrupt every aspect of your life. Don’t be afraid to talk to a healthcare provider about your fears. They can connect you with a mental health professional who can help you find healthy ways to overcome this condition. ]

‘OVERCOMING’ THE FEAR OF DEATH
Death is universally scary. The goal, then, is to accept the reality that we will die, acknowledge the fear that comes with that, and use it as motivation to live a vital, meaningful life.

Again, psychiatrist Irvin Yalom commented that, “Adults who are wrapped with death anxiety are not on birds who have contracted some exotic disease, but men and women whose family and culture have failed to knit the proper protective

In the 1800s of England, life expectancy for males was just 34 years of age. Around that time, one in 10 babies died before their first birthday. Death, at all ages, was a frequent part of life.

Throughout the 1900s, however, survival rates grew. The infant mortality rate decreased by 90 percent! Worldwide life expectancy today is around 72 years of age (79 in the US). Today, we see death less frequently than they did just 100 years ago. This is a good thing, but it also means that when it does happen, we tend to be more shocked and have less experience in how to process it.

The thing is, 80% of Americans die in a hospital or a nursing home. Modern medicine definitely keeps patients alive, however, often fails to help a patient and family members decide when it is time to allow the patient to die naturally.

It is not all our fault that most of us live in a state of phobic death denial—the fear of death is universal and instinctual. As a result, many cultures have evolved (or maybe more accurately said, devolved) to abstract the notion of death from life. It seems to me like today we are missing the chance to embrace a natural part of life and what it can teach us about how we want to live.

OUR ‘DENIAL’ OF DEATH
Whether we admit it or not the fear of death ‘drives’ us. Grieving expert David Kessler put it this way: “It all boils down to the fear of death, arguably the cause of most of our unhappiness. We unknowingly harm our loved ones out of fear; we hold ourselves back personally and professionally for the same reason. Since every fear has its roots in the fear of death, learning how to relax about the fear surrounding the will allow us to face everything with greater ease.”

Social scientists increasingly conclude that the fear of death drives ALL human behavior. In 1973, cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker published his seminal and Pulitzer prize-winning book, “The Denial of Death.” In it, he wrote that “The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else: it is the mainspring of human activity—activity designed largely to avoid the frailty of death, to overcome by denying in some way that it is the final destiny of man.” Later, Becker said that, “All culture, all man’s creative life-ways, are in some basic part of down a fabricated protest against natural reality, a denial of the truth of the human condition, and an attempt to forget the pathetic creature that man is.”

———

So, why is it that most of us live in ‘denial’ of the reality that we will die, and that it could happen sooner than we assume? Well, it seems that it is simply ‘FEAR’ (“False Evidence Appearing Real”). Well, actually it is not simple, fear is a complex concept that requires drive, curiosity, and bravery to confront. Drive because one must possess a desire to confront a fear. Curiosity because the first step in disarming any fear is to better understand it. Bravery because, well, it is pretty ‘SCARY’!

———

The fear of death is, after all, different from all other fears—it is ‘UNSURVIVABLE’. No matter what we do in life to stay alive, we will eventually die. This produces a “basic psychological conflict” which causes anxiety, and in some cases, terror.

Again, Becker thinks everything—every conscious and subconscious expression of humanity and human culture—stems from our fear of dying and our desire to transcend that expiration.

Becker concludes his book with the idea that acknowledging death and trying to create meaning is the best way to live.

FIGHT OR FLIGHT
Fear is defined as “the emotion caused by the anticipation of unhappiness,” and the human is ‘wired’ to respond to it by either “fight or flight” (and sometimes “freeze” is added to these). It is what happens in our body when that part of our autonomic nervous system—called the “sympathy nervous system”—kicks in and releases epinephrine. Then, our adrenal gland gets triggered by hormones released by the hypothalamus, and a chemical call Cortisol is produced and starts coursing through our bloodstream. Our digesting slows and blood vessels constrict (except for the large muscles, which dilate). Our heart rate goes up, and our mouth gets dry (because the lacrimal gland which regulates salivation immediately gets inhibited). The body is getting more focused and prepared for something ‘big’ to happen. This is your body’s acute stress response, thus the term “fight or flight.”

———

Well, we also ‘fight’ against death by trying to prolong the ‘legacy’ of our name and essence. The idea of “symbolic immortality” was coined by social psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton. It is the idea of that, although our physical bodies will die, we can achieve immortality through what remains of our life after our death. In simple terms, we want to live forever, but we can’t, so while we are alive, we strive to do things that we think will ensure that our name or ‘essence’ lives on forever.

So, like literal immortality, symbolic immortality is actually possible, and it makes us feel better about dying. Lifton has categorized these strategies into biological, religious, creative, unnatural, and transcendent modes of symbolic immortality.

[ FYI: For more details on Lifton’s symbolic immortality, read this chapter in his book:
http://irasilver.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Symbolic-immortality-Lifton-Olson.pdf
(Note: His “Living and Dying” book is in the “Resources” section below) ].

The ‘root’ of our desire for immortality and our fear of dying is the desire to “matter and to be seen.” It is based on the nature of self-esteem, which is our key ‘weapon’ in the fight to feel good answer ourselves in life. Terror management theory (TMT) research shows that humans consistently draw upon our symbolic systems of meaning and value, which are related to a sense of self-esteem, as a coping mechanism for dealing with our fear of death.

So then, what happens when we are faced with a death ‘cue’ while not engaged in a personally meaningful activity? Well, we still grab for meaning and self-esteem as a form of self-protection, but the self-esteem comes from a different ‘source’.

We tend to think of self-esteem is how highly we think of our authentic selves. But, we are also conditioned to draw self-esteem from culturally approved, extrinsic sources like financial wealth, power, status, physical attractiveness, and a sense of belonging to a group. So, whether you get a sense of self-esteem from being American, believing in God, having a lot of money, performing expert brain surgery, being kind, or having strong racing/drifting driving skills (I had to put that in there!), it is your personal ‘constellation’ of values—from both intrinsic and extrinsic sources–which informs how you respond to the awareness that you will die. Our “constellation of beliefs and values” informs so many behaviors in life, including how we respond to the notion of our mortality.

HOW TO AVOID ‘REGRETS’
Author Kate Manser suggests the idea of dying without ANY regrets, and puts forth the concept of the “Deathbed Gut Check” as a practice of visualizing one’s self on their deathbed and, from that perspective, imagining how they would feel having made a particular decision in their life. On one’s deathbed, all is ‘stripped away’. The petty and insignificant factors dissolve, and what is left is what is true and meaningful. Life’s decisions are considered and given an honest ‘grade’. But, when faced with death, life is reduced to ‘simplicity’.

She continues suggesting that one’s life should reflect their core values, and that, at least for her, when she acts out of ‘alignment’ with those values, “everything goes off-kilter and feels out of control.” She feels like she is slogging through the ‘muck’, going through the motions of something that feels wrong, and eventually, turns out to be wrong for her. She said that it is a “sinking feeling, knowing that I’ll regret what I’m doing.” She then says that the Deathbed Gut Check helps her avoid that feeling, helping her tap into her own intuition and dissipate her fear.

Now, her Deathbed Gut Check is deeply personal and varies by person. The thing is, one’s deathbed wisdom might help them ‘process’ how a lingering hurt influenced their life and how forgiving those who hurt them now will help everyone involved—including them.

Now, since you are reading this, I am going to assume that you are not on your deathbed. However, you might be ‘gripped’ with worry and fear about all that you will have to ‘give up’ as a result of a decision you have to make—and whether it is the ‘right’ choice. Well, at the moment of your death—when everything is stripped away—you will wonder why you thought that decision was such a ‘big deal’!

So, remember that to die without ‘ANY’ regrets, while not impossible, is very unlikely. The Deathbed Gut Check might be able to help you to ‘course-correct’ when you start to think about regretting your past.

[ FYI: Get her Deathbed Gut Check “toolkit” here:
https://www.youmightdietomorrow.com/deathbed-gut-check-toolkit ]

LIVE A ‘MEANINGFUL’ LIFE
So, by better understanding the ways we humans deal with our moral reality and the fear that comes along with that, we can now have the opportunity to use that information to our benefit. That life hands and that it is scary to humans can be used productively to create one’s most authentic and meaningful expression of life. The following are suggestions on how to do that:

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Thinking about death motivates one to live more in alignment with their values, and living in alignment with their values makes them less afraid of dying. (It is a complementary circular reference.) So, to minimize the fear of death, live a ‘meaningful’ life!

As an example, in the event that a human encounters an aggressive bear in the forest, that person has three options: run away (flight), run toward it (fight), or stand up to it (face it). If the person chooses the option to run away, the bear is very likely to give chase, catch the human, and rip them to shreds. If one decides to charge and fight the bear, the chances of winning are meager. So, those running and fighting ideas, are not really recommended. In a bear aggression or attack situation, most bear safety experts agree that the best tactic is to calmly face the bear and make themselves as formidable an opponent as possible. Then they say, “Stand on a rock, raise and wave your arms, and loudly yell, ‘Hey, bear!’ Most of the time this will make the bear turn around and leave.” [ “Most”?! ]

So it is with our fear of death. We can attempt to ‘run away’ from our certain mortality, we can try to find it by living consciously or ‘seeking’ immortality, or we can bravely ‘face it’ and live formidably before we die. We have a choice of how to respond to the reality of our mortality. I’m thinking that our only ‘effective’ form of self-protection against—an unsurvivable threat—is to valiantly face it and live out a ‘formidable’ life!

So—at least in my opinion—take the ‘PROACTIVE’ APPROACH, integrate a sustained practice of death awareness into your life, and actively pursue death awareness to change your life for the better!

Among philosophers, death has always been a key topic. Well-known Stoicist Marcus Aurelius said, “It is not death that a man should fear, that he should fear never beginning to live.” Their view was that actions in time are the elements of our lives most within our control and, therefore, humans’ most valuable resource. Seneca noted that we can be tightfisted with our money, but the value of time is probably more important, and we often waste that ‘most precious’ resource.

The writer of Ecclesiastes in the Bible (most likely Solomon) said it well: “For death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart” [ Ecclesiastes 7:2b ].

ALIGN WITH YOUR ‘PRIORITIES’
So then, one should try to live meaningfully, discover one’s true ‘priorities’ in their life, and live in ‘alignment’ with them.

Trying to find one single grand purpose in life has the dangerous potential to create undue pressure and inspire decision paralysis. Meaning, on the other hand, what is something that can be sought and cultivated in every moment of every day. Purpose is an action; meaning is the state of mind.

So, the phrase, “You might die tomorrow” is a call to remind one to live in the present moment. If we only have today, we should chiefly concern ourselves with finding meaning and feeling good about what we are doing today. It is less about seeking one single purpose and more about cultivating a sense of gratification from the ‘way’ we live and ‘how’ we spend our time and energy.

Psychiatrist, neurologist, and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl founded “Logotherapy,” a psychological therapy modality based on the concept that, rather than avoiding death or pursuing power or pleasure, strives to find meaning in life as the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in a person’s life—even amidst misery can constitute a potential solution to human suffering. Frankl’s fundamental principles of Logotherapy are:

– Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones
– Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life
– We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or at least in the stance we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering

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By doing your Meaningful Things, you will begin to feel ‘alive’. You might even feel strong, crazy, fearful, doubtful, different, excited, or vibrant when doing them. Now, whether your meaningful things are all the ‘right’ things in the end, you will always possess the experience, the lessons, and the growth that proceeded from them. You will feel fulfilled by knowing that you did everything in your power to ‘BE’ ALIVE.

Regardless of how things all turn out, you will possess the experiencing gratification of having lived in alignment with YOUR ‘meaning’. That should be enough!

LIFE ‘ASSESSMENT’
So, where are you overspending your time and energy in relation to your values—and where are you underspending?

There are opportunities to do meaningful things every day which we squander in favor of ceding to the daily demands of life—or often, just ‘zoning out’. I can promise you that, at the end of your life, you will not value the time you spend mindlessly scrolling through social media posts [ or, profoundly regret the disgusting quantity of hours that I ___ (fill in the blank) ]. (Just remember what Bronnie Ware said about the ‘regrets’ of her palliative care patients!)

We all have 24 hours each day. The ‘variable’ within our control is ‘focus’, and how we choose to use it within a certain timeframe. You can spend the time zoning out on TV or climbing ‘Mount Everest’ (or whatever your ‘big’ dream is). The allocation of your focus is within your control, and the expenditure of that focus assigns value to whatever you apply to it. How are you spending your time is the clearest ‘reflection’ of your priorities!

It is your responsibility to adjust the time and energy you expend in each area of your life so that your priorities be aligned with your “Meaningful Things.” Sure, there are things we all have to do which might not directly help us in our meaningful pursuits, like emptying the dishwasher, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, etc. However, it is up to you to vigilantly make sure these things are allotted only the exact quantity of time needed to get them done, and no more! Your time is finite, and if you spend too much time on ‘ordinary’ obligations, you will not have the time for meaningful things!

So, how would each area of your life change if you knew you were going to die in a year? Is the life you are living now worth the ‘price’ you are paying to live it?

Hopefully, this will get you thinking about prioritizing, being present in your life moment by moment, and being a ruthless advocate for your values. Remember, that your lifetime is limited!

[ FYI: For more details about determining what matters most, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/what-really-matters-v270/ ]

Living like you might die tomorrow is not just something you ‘do’, it is a way of ‘being’! If you are not actively creating your meaningful life, you are living apathetically. You can give up, zone out, or choose to really live before you die. Which are YOU going to ‘choose’?

SO, don’t wait until you are old to feel ‘desperate’ to live life. Don’t procrastinate! Live today to the ‘max’!

[ FYI: For more details on how not to ‘procrastinate’, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/a-sense-of-urgency-v269/ ]

———

Death and the awareness that it can come anytime should be your ‘kick in the pants’ out of your decision paralysis. What death offers is twofold: urgency to act and clarity about what goes back should be.

[ FYI: A great book I read about decision paralysis—in the late 1980s—was “A Kick in the Seat of the Pants.” More info about is in the “Resources” section below. ]

———

Death is a non-negotiable end of the road with a glaring ‘street light’ that shines away the trifles of life. We all have to answer to it with our soul ‘bared’.

So, set your ‘course’ toward living a meaningful life and start down that path—TODAY! Course correct as you go, iterate, change ‘paths’ entirely, but never give up the dogged pursuit of living authentically before you die! (YOLO – “You Only Live Once”!)

In the words of Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus, “Death is necessary and cannot be avoided. I mean, where am I going to go to get away from it?”

When one finds acceptance with their own impermanence, they realize that all they ever truly have is the present moment. Instead of being afraid of death, they can turn their focus to embracing life, and living each moment in a way that counts. Then, death can become a ‘positive’ driving force for building a life that makes us FEEL TRULY ‘ALIVE’.

MAKING ‘PEACE’ WITH DEATH
So then, when someone tries to ‘make peace’ with something that is dreadful and daunting–like the fear of death—they usually try to make a ‘joke’ about it. So I typed “death jokes” into Google and received 115 million results! (Yep, I guess I was right!)

So, here are a few select jokes that I found funny:

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The following are some funny quotes about death by relatively ’recent’ people:

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But, probably the most popular joke about death by a living person is by Woody Allen. As I mentioned, it goes like this: “I’m not afraid of death. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

BIBLICAL ‘ASSUREDNESS’
In John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” death is pictured as a “dreadful river that surrounds Mount Zion.” However, the river is “deeper or shallower depending on the faith of the one traversing it.”

So then, what does the Bible have to say about overcoming the fear of death?

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Again, ‘practically’, there are things that can help alleviate the fear of death like writing up a legal will, making funeral arrangements, and buying life insurance for family members. Planning ahead of time can also lessen fear of death.

[ FYI: For more details about MANY ‘practical’ things one can do to assuage the fear of death—primarily “Estate Planning”—view last month’s “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/preparing-for-the-future-v286/ ].

———

Now, in our efforts to overcome our fears, we try not to get too overly serious about it, but since it is the ‘GREAT’ UNKNOWN, we still, nevertheless, ‘fight’ against it.

So, to have some ‘fun’, I went back to the Internet to find out what “death-postponing” products were available. Just a few minutes of searching revealed advertisements for some incredible products that included some amazing claims (and these a ‘serious’ products!):

– “Fight aging! Exploring life extension. Request your free copy now.”
– “Fighting aging. It’s all in your attitude.”
– “Ambrosia Anti-Aging Night Serum. That magic molecule that can soberly fight aging.”
– “Immortal Jellyfish Fights Aging.”
– “Antioxidants Reverses The Aging Process. The Secret of Nitric Oxide.”

Now, ever since recorded history, people have been searching for the elusive “Fountain of Youth” so that they could elongate their life span. Of course, we ALL want to life longer, and some want to live indefinitely. Well, I have REALLY GOOD ‘NEWS’ for you is that YOU CAN live eternally and ‘be at peace’ about this great unknown!

THE UNKNOWN ‘CAN’ BE KNOWN!
Well, as I just said, let me give you some REALLY GOOD ‘NEWS’. The fear of death’s unknown is UNNECESSARY! You DO NOT have to fear death! You can ‘KNOW’, in advance, ‘WHAT’ will happen when you die, AND know ‘WHERE’ they will ‘end up’. Then, they can enjoy the peace-giving knowledge of what ‘life’ will be like after they die!

Now, this is not to suggest that we can know every ‘detail’ or every answer to every question we may have about death. But, we can know more than enough to ‘remove’ that fear.

———

Most people try to make things ‘right’ with others before they die—especially family members—which is a really good thing to do. HOWEVER, the most important ‘Person’ you need to get right with before you die is the God of the Bible!

So, until you ‘get right’ with God—through Jesus—that will be the only way you will have peace and lose your fear of death.

The Bible says that Jesus came to earth to deliver you from the very fear that causes you to read this blog post the first place—YOUR DEATH. So then, did you ‘really’ want to lose your fear of death? Well, it is pretty easy. Just honestly repent of your sins, accept Jesus as your Savior (by believing he died on the Cross for the atonement of your sins and rose from the dead to give you new life), and commit to becoming His disciple, obeying everything He taught.

If you do this authentically, God promises that as soon as you die you will be “absent from the body and present with the Lord” [ 2 Corinthians 5:8b ], and you WILL lose your fear of the ‘UNKNOWN’, death!

DEATH IS AN ‘ENEMY’
Death is an ‘enemy’ that is greater than any enemy we know on this earth. Death is a greater enemy than the ‘force’ of evil, Satan himself. It is an enemy that we cannot escape, run from, hide from, or outsmart.

We all have an ‘appointment’ with death and we do not know when that appointment is. Have you ever thought about when YOUR ‘APPOINTMENT’ will arrive?

The thing is, all of us seek to escape it for a time, right? It is probably why most of us don’t like funerals. We prefer not to think about death. We ‘distract’ ourselves with places to go, people to see, and things to buy. But there are moments—such as the passing of a loved one—when we are ‘confronted’ with that terrifying, fearful reality of death.

Death is a dark ‘enemy’. The question is, why is it so? Why is there death, and why is death so fearful, so painful, and so unnatural?

Well, the Bible gives a reason: “The sting of death is sin” [ 1 Corinthians 15:56a ]. SIN is the ‘cause’ of death. The Apostle Paul tells us that, “Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” [ Romans 5:12 ]. All sinned and thus all die.

———

The ‘sting’ of death is NO LONGER and the power of sin is the law: “Death is swallowed up in victory. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” [ 1 Corinthians 15:55 ]. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).

It is my hope and it is my prayer that none of you would finish this post still ‘shackled’ by the crippling fear of death! Hopefully, you know the peace of God that surpasses understanding and guarding your heart in the ‘face’ of the greatest enemy humanity has—death—and give you a hope for an eternity in Heaven when “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” [ Revelation 21:4b ].

[ For more details about the “blessed hope,” view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/blessed-hope-v245/ ]

THE ULTIMATE ‘INTRUSION’
Death is the ultimate ‘intrusion’. It is a massive, ugly ‘elephant in the room’ and is always there to make us fearful.

If you ask most people why death exists, they will shrug their shoulders and tell you that, “It is just the way it is.” They usually say that death is the “end of life.” It is natural. Everyone and everything dies. It is inevitable. To them, death “just is,” and we all have to just “deal with it.”

However, that is not necessary because it is natural or hopelessly inevitable. It is necessary because of the law that demands “The soul who sins shall die” [ Ezekiel 18:4 ].

So, while many in the world say that death is a ‘natural’ part of life and that we have to accept it, the Bible tells a different story. Death is NOT the cessation of life. It is an ‘appointment’ we have to keep: “And as it is appointed for men to die wants, but after that the judgment” [ Hebrews 9:27 ].

Much like earthly judicial courts that issue subpoenas, or summonses, to appear for legal cases, God has issued everyone a ‘divine’ subpoena. In other words, we must appear before Him to face our judgment—and everyone WILL appear before Him! [ Believers will appear before the “Judgment Seat of Christ” to get their ‘rewards’, and the unbeliever will appear before God the Father at the “Great White Throne Judgment just before they are thrown into the “Lake of Fire”—forever! ]

In reality, the divine subpoena leaves us without any choice. Death is coming, ready or not, as the arresting officer. The ‘Grim Reaper’ is going to make sure we appear before the Judge of the universe to stand trial for our many transgressions. However, don’t draw back from the ‘light’ just yet! If you are living—and you have to be because you are reading this post—you still have a chance to ‘skirt’ Hell!

So, let’s ask why we are in this fateful position. The Bible says that the problem of death originated way back in the Garden of Eden: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sand, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” [ Romans 5:12 ]. We were ‘condemned’ to death from the moment we came into this life! (However, as I have said, God sent His Son, Jesus, to ‘solve’ that problem.)

THE ‘HEART’ OF THE ISSUE
The world has tried to soften this reality by giving us alternative words when we speak about it. Instead of saying that someone has died, we say that they have “passed on” and we celebrate their life. They did not get buried in a graveyard, rather, they rest in a “memorial park.” The undertaker has become the “funeral director,” and the hearse has become a “limo.” Despite the changing language, it is still horrific!

However, this ‘dread’ we feel can be beneficial—because not all fear is bad. Sometimes it is there to protect us. It does not feel good to us, but it is good for us. It doesn’t feel good to stand on the edge of a thousand-foot cliff and experience the terror when we look down, but, that discomfort is good because the terror will make you step back from the cliff, if we ‘listen’ to our feelings. Therefore, listen to their God-given fear of death. It is saying, ”Back up! Get yourself out of danger!!!”

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The Bible says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” [ Proverbs 9:10a ]. So, I am going to try to do you the greatest of favors and attempt to put the ‘FEAR’ OF GOD into you!

In our ‘fallen’ state, we have a propensity to think we are right when we are wrong. We quickly pass over important matters, assuming that we know the truth without taking the time to consider it objectively. A typo in a text is just a typo—usually no big deal. However, one can’t afford to be wrong when it comes to the way of salvation: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s an is the way of death” [ Proverbs 14:12 ], and “He who trusts his own heart is a fool” [ Proverbs 28:26 ]. These verses should make you ‘squirm’ if you are an unbeliever!

EARNED YOUR ‘WAGES’?
Death, according to the Bible, is “wages.” The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” [ Romans 6:23 ]. As mentioned earlier, sin is so serious to God that he gives centers the death sentence. It is just like a judge in a court of law whose sentences criminals to death for viciously murdering a person. The criminal has ‘earned’ the electric chair. This is what he deserves. It is his due wages.

However, when we are confronted about our sins, we more often than not try to justify ourselves by saying that, “Everyone sins,” that there is “Fault in the Bible,” or we try to separate ourselves from our sins by admitting that we did sin, but “That was in the past.” The thing is, even human law holds us responsible for crimes done in the past. The old saying is that, “You can run, but you can’t hide.” The passing of time does not ‘erase’ or excuse one’s crimes.

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The Bible tells us that King Solomon asked God for wisdom, and God gave it to him. The summation of his wisdom was that life (without a knowledge of salvation) is utterly futile. He had attained great power and immeasurable riches, and yet, with all of this power, wisdom, and wealth, he said that life is “vanity” or meaninglessness:

“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever”
[ Ecclesiastes 1:2-4 ].

So, ‘glean’ from his wisdom. He is reminding us—from his grave—that death is imminent. But, you have an advantage over Solomon. You have THE ‘WAY’ of salvation through Jesus. So, what are you going to do about it?

God has done so much for us through Jesus. We are not always saved from the terrors of a very real Hell, but we are saved from death itself. There are no words to describe what we have in Jesus!

BE ‘FREE’ OF THE FEAR OF DEATH
People are more burdened than ever with fear. Most of all, they ‘dread’ the end of this life, and they ‘shrink’ from any thought of what comes after.

It is, of course, quite natural for fallen humanity to fear death. As I just mentioned, death is “the wages of sin” and it is our most powerful and persistent enemy. However, the Bible says that when Jesus’ triumph over every last vestige of evil is fully realized, “The last enemy that will be abolished is death” [ 1 Corinthians 15:26 ].

Benjamin Franklin famously wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” The truth is, there are many ways to avoid taxes. But, there is NO WAY to avoid death!

Fear is the appropriate response for anyone who is unprepared for that reality. Not fear of death, per se, but every soul should tremble at the thought of divine judgment. Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are on able to kill the soul; but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell” [ Matthew 10:28 ]. He was saying that God is the one who we should fear. Indeed, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” [ Psalm 111:10a; Proverbs 9:10a ].

However, the Gospel also announces that repentant sinners can find grace and forgiveness such that they can truly face death—not with fear but with FULL ‘ASSURANCE’ of eternal life!

Every well-grounded believer can likewise face death without fear, and the Apostle Paul deliberately stressed that truth. This was the whole reason Jesus entered this world and died as an atoning sacrifice: So that:

“Through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the Devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives”
[ Hebrews 2:14-15 ].

The Bible tells us the cause of death, outlines precisely what happens after we die, and it gives us a wonderful cure—calling it “His unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15). For the millions who have believed God’s Word, death is NO LONGER AN ‘UNKNOWN ‘MYSTERY’—and the ‘cure’ that God has provided is a source of UNSPEAKABLE ‘COMFORT’!

BELIEVERS ARE ‘NOT FEARFUL’ OF DEATH
In the mid-1970s, NASA began developing the space shuttle. Columbia blasted off on April 12, 1981, and orbited the earth 36 times. There were 27 missions that followed that one, but Columbia’s final trip was one of tremendous tragedy.

While reentering the atmosphere on February 1, 2003, the shuttle broke apart. A piece of insulating foam, the size of a small briefcase, had peeled off during the launch 16 days earlier and punctured one of the Shuttle’s wings. The intense heat of reentry causes gases to penetrate the wing, triggering the catastrophe that killed the seven astronauts.

Now, neither NASA nor the Columbia crew ever knew about the situation before their spacecraft broke apart 207,000 feet above Texas. Evidence shows that even in the final moments of the flight, the crew was still desperately trying to regain control of the Space shuttle and safely reenter the atmosphere.

So, hypothetically, what would you do if you knew the crew was doomed? Would you tell them, causing indescribable mental anguish, but give them time to say their “good-byes,” reflect on life, or perhaps ‘make peace’ with God? Or, would you remain silent, making their final hours of time of exhilaration in anticipation of reunion with their loved ones?

[ FYI: The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has a website, “Steps To Peace [With God]: https://stepstopeace.org/ (One of Billy Graham’s most popular sermons, “Make Your Peace With God,” is in the “Articles” section below.) ]

In the same way, the plight of Columbia resembles our own ‘journey’: we are flying through space on a spinning planet, and EVERY person is subject to a sudden death at ANY moment! None of us will escape! The difference is, we all know we are going to die, and we have the opportunity to prepare!

[ FYI: For more details on how to ‘prepare’ for your future (death), view last month’s “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/preparing-for-the-future-v286/ ].

Death is not a favorite subject to discuss for many people. But, death IS the ultimate fear and the ultimate ‘intrusion’. When someone dies, I have heard a lot of people say, “They are in a better place.” (Hmmm… how can they be sure of that?)

Most of us treat death as the ultimate ‘obscenity’. Rather than simply saying, “They died,” we plug in an endless supply of the euphemisms: “Passed on,” “Went to a better place,” “Was called home,” “When to sleep,” or “Departed this life.” (Or, if Shakespeare is your ‘thing’, “Shuffled off this mortal coil.”)

[ There are a variety of web pages that have a list of death euphemisms. One such categorizes them as: Descriptions, Polite, Old-fashioned, Quaint, Snarky, and Humorous:
https://www.usurnsonline.com/oddbits/euphemisms-for-death/ ]

In his book, “The Hour Of Our Death,” historian Philippe Aries notes that death used to be taken more casually as a ‘part’ of life. Young people were not shielded from it. People died at home, and the body was put on display there. People came by to weep and mourn their loss, but no one pretended a death had not occurred, as we often do today when we gather in little groups in the parking lot after funerals and nervously tell jokes.

Because of our discomfort, we ‘airbrush’ the whole death experience. We pretend people are not going to die, and we change the subject when they wish to discuss it. (Are you going to now discontinue reading this post?) We then dispatch them from his life in a white, sterilized hospital corridor, cutting them off from home and the familiar. Most off go to great lengths to avert our eyes from the reality of death. Publishing executive and author Joseph T. Bayly said that, “Death is the great leveler of the mighty in the lowly. It plays no favorites and cuts no deals.”

‘ETERNITY’ IN OUR HEARTS
In every human soul has a God-given awareness that there is “something more” than this transient world—a ‘conscience’. With that awareness of eternity comes a hope that we can one day find a fulfillment not afforded by the “vanity” in this world. The Bible says that God has “set eternity in the human heart” [ Ecclesiastes 3:11b ].

In the Hebrew, the word “olam” refers to God’s placing an eternal longing or sense of eternity in the human heart. This affirms the idea that humans operate in a different way than other forms of life. We possess an innate knowledge that there is something more to life than what we can see and experience in the here and now.

So, through all the ups and downs and vicissitudes of life, we have a glimpse of a future glorious ‘world’—Heaven. Life is but a vapor (James 4:14), but the believer CAN know, for sure, that there is something ‘beyond’ this life—that earth is not our ‘home’—and it is a divinely ‘implanted awareness’ that the believer will live forever with God in Heaven.

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C.S. Lewis also said that, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world” and that one should “Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’; aim at earth and you will get neither.” So, don’t MISS THE ‘MARK’!

[ FYI: For more details about ‘missing the mark’, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/missing-the-mark-v222/ ]

———

Indeed! If you are a believer, then God intends to glorify you for eternity! Let the believer “seek the things that are above” (Colossians 3:1) and “set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming” [ 1 Peter 1:13 ].

The Apostle Paul said that, “For all things are yours… and your are Christ’s, and Christ is God” [ 1 Corinthians 3:21b, 23 ].

‘VICTORY’ OVER DEATH
For those who believe in Jesus, He forever changes the way the believer views death. “Since the children have flesh and blood, he to share in their humanity so that by his death he may destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the Devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fears of death” [ Hebrews 2:14-15 ]. The mission of Jesus, simply put, was to free us from the fear of death! Jesus came to turn and enemy into a friend, and a terrifying journey into the anticipation of a welcome reunion!

So, how could Jesus accomplish this on our behalf? Well, only if He Himself became one of us, so that by His death, He would destroy the fear of death that the Devil used to enslave us. In other words, Satan’s ‘weapon’ of fear was taken from him when Jesus died on the Cross and rose again. The resurrection is proof that death need not terrify—the grave has been emptied of its power!

This is why the Apostle Paul could say, “Where, Oh death, is your victory question mark where, oh death, is your sting?” [ 1 Corinthians 15:55 ]. Just as a bee loses its stinger after a bite, death was emptied of its ‘arsenal’ when Jesus rose from the dead. He freed us from the fear of passing through the parted curtain. “Death,” Paul says, has been “swallowed up in victory.”

Thus, the resurrection of Jesus is the ‘cornerstone’ of the Christian faith. Standing at the empty tomb, we are assured that we will share in the triumph of Jesus on the Cross, when He conquered our most fearsome enemy—death! Even though death can still terrify us, the more we know about Jesus, the more death’s power fades.

Standing in the presence of Jesus, we see death for what it is: a terrifying enemy whose power has been ‘CRUSHED’! As we enter Jesus’ abandoned grave figuratively—but as Peter and John did physically—we both witness death’s vanishing power.

So, I pray that you will join me in going to Heaven after you die. (Without sounding ‘arrogant’—hopefully, just ‘confident’, I will end up there!)

[ FYI: For more details about the ‘assurance’ of getting to Heaven, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/knowing-assurance-v243/ ]

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Billy Graham shared in a 1972 radio message Jesus’ ‘victory’ over the grave and death:

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If your spirit does not go into the hands of God for safekeeping, it will go into the hands of God for judgment. The same ‘hands’ that speak of hope and comfort also speak of terror and punishment. We are warned that, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” [ Hebrews 10:31 ]. The hands that are today outstretched, inviting us to receive His mercy, are the hands that will throw the unrepentant sinner into the pit of loneliness and despair—eternal suffering in Hell!

So, don’t be wrong about whether or not you are in God’s protective hands! We are all invited to trust in Jesus, Who conquered death!

If you have never trusted Jesus as your Savior, I strongly urge you to DO SO NOW! Tell Him that you repent of all of your sins, and are transferring all of your trust to Him as your personal sin-bearer. His promise is that, for those who repent and believe (Mark 1:15), eternal life awaits. Then, you can die with Jesus’ words on your lips: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

DEATH SHALL ‘DIE’!
The English writer and Anglican cleric John Donne is considered now to be one of the preeminent poets of the 16th century. He wrote this:

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Sadly, many believers are not living lives free of fear, and there can be serious consequences when fear is not removed. Author and educator Neil T. Anderson wrote:

“Fear is a thief. It erodes our faith, plunders are hope, steals our freedom, and takes away our joy of living the abundant life in Christ. Phobias are like the coils of a snake—the more we give into them, the tighter they squeeze. Tired of fighting, we succumb to the temptation and surrender to our fears. But what seems like an easy way out becomes, in reality, a prison of unbelief—a fortress of fear that holds us captive.”

Jesus came to “proclaim liberty to the captives,” and I believe that include those held captive by fear (Luke 4:18). For that reason, the psalmist said,

“You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you”
[ Psalm 91:5-7 ].

WRAP-UP
A few years ago, it was the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and the enduring power of the attacks reveals how a badly shaken nation came together, briefly, in a spirit of sadness and patriotism; how the public initially rallied behind the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, though support waned over time; and how Americans viewed the threat of terrorism at home and the steps the government took to combat it.

Americans were enraged by the attacks and fear was widespread. Most Americans said they were very (28%) or somewhat (45%) worried about another attack. When asked a year later to describe how their lives changed in a major way, about half of the adults said they felt more afraid, more careful, more distrustful or more vulnerable as a result of the attacks.

Even after the immediate shock of 9/11 had subsided, concerns over terrorism remained at higher levels in major cities—especially New York and Washington—than in small towns and rural areas.

The impact of the 9/11 attacks were deeply felt and slow to dissipate. By the following August, 50% of U.S. adults said the country “had changed in a major way”—a number that actually increased, to 61% in 2011!

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Dr. Ken Druck, a pioneer in the fields of psychology, aging, and mental health suggests six ways to ‘overcome’ one’s fear of death and summon the courage to come to terms with one’s mortality:

– Treat Conquering the Fear of Death as a Process, not an Endpoint
– Allow a Humble Unknowingness
– Death Is Inescapable: Trying to Outsmart, Outrun or Outmaneuver It Is an Exercise in Futility
– Embrace Uncertainty and “Choose to Believe” in an Organic Faith
– Focus on What You Believe Does Go On After You Die
– Pay the Good in Your Life Forward

———

Psychologists point out that these techniques should help one ease their end-of-life fear or, at least, make the fact of death a little more bearable. However, they also mention that for those who believe in an afterlife, “they have a built-in buffer against the fear of death.”

STRONG ‘FAITH’ OVERCOMES FEAR
Dr. S. I. McMillen and Dr. David E. Stern observed the truth of this in their book, “None of These Diseases” that, “After sitting beside hundred of deathbeds, we have seen this reoccurring pattern. People with a strong faith and to die in peace. People without faith and to die in terror and torment.”

As an illustration of this, I heard of a story about a man who goes to the doctor for his annual physical. As he leaves, the doctor promises to call with the results. A couple of days passed before the call comes:

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Now, calls like this usually happen only in bad jokes but, doctors do make similar calls sharing very fatal news every day. While life has no “two-minute warning,” time does run out—on all of us. So, wouldn’t you want to have your life and your eternal soul ‘in order’ when that moment comes for you?

———

This emphasizes that ‘secular’ people fear death, and that it all ends in the grave. However, the believer has a hope of a bodily resurrection (1 Corinthians 15), and DOES NOT fear death. (Satan could not prevent Jesus’ resurrection, nor will he be able to prevent the believer from gaining their resurrection to eternal inheritance!)

Benjamin Franklin composed his own epitaph before he died and had it placed on his grave at his death. This is what it says: “The body of Franklin, printer, like the cover of an old book, its content torn out and stripped of its lettering and gilding, lies here food for worms. But the work will not be lost, for it will appear once more in a new and more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the Author.” THAT’S the truth for the believer!

AT ‘DEATH’S DOOR’
Countless millions have stood at “death’s door” with great apprehension and great dismay since they were told that time was “running out” for them. To be “at death’s door,” means to be so ill or so badly injured that you may die any moment—at a point where death is imminent. Nothing so alters a person’s thinking as learning that they have a terminal illness!

So, unless life is suddenly ended by some calamity, eventually all who are mentally ‘responsible’ come face-to-face with the knowledge that the end is near. So few are prepared. Knowing all the time that the goal of living is trying to stay alive, they, like Ponce de Leon, continue to search desperately for—as I mentioned previously—a “Fountain of Youth.”

———

Jesus told His disciples (which includes all believers today): “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” [ John 14:2-3 ].

Believers who stand on the threshold of death’s ‘door’ can do so without fear and, rather, with joyful anticipation. Then, as the ‘door’ swings open, they know that the divine light of God’s eternity will pour out upon them. There will be loved ones with hands outstretched, and Jesus will be reaching toward them with a loving greeting: “Welcome home, My child, welcome home!”

‘SAVED’ FROM THE FEAR OF DEATH
Death is not an appealing subject to consider. We do not like to think about how it might be that our bodies and minds will fail us. Driven by a fear of dying, well-meaning people spend vast sums of money in attempts to put off their death and find meaning in life. But, even the best attempts can’t answer life’s essential questions: “Who am I?,” “Where am I from?,” and “Where do I go when I die?”

This is nothing new. Adam and Eve did the same thing in Genesis 3, when they listened to the false hope of Satan’s seductive lie welcoming sin and death into the world: “You will not surely die… you will be like God” (Genesis 3:4-5). We continue to believe the same line today. We try to be like God, longing to construct our own meaning and aiming to live forever. But, that continues to hold terror for us, enslaving us in fear. When signs of old age emerge, when illness sets in, and when the funeral procession passes by, we are reminded that our false hopes have no substance. We must find ‘true’ answers.

Everybody bases their hope on ‘something’. Let the believer base theirs on the enduring strength and authority of God’s word. When they want to run away from troubling thoughts and crippling fears, let them run to the foot of the Cross, where Jesus delivered “all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

———

As believers, we understand death to be the last ‘enemy’, but we also understand that Jesus has conquered that last enemy by experiencing the second death on our behalf—so that when we experience our first death, we do so now without the dread of God’s righteous judgment, but at the beginning of God giving to us that which he created us for in the first place: an abundant life!

See death as it truly is—‘OVERCOME’—and you will be able to see life as it truly is for all God’s ‘children’: Eternal, free, and full of joy!

‘FACING’ DEATH CONFIDENTLY
Believers should welcome death as nothing more than a reprieve, a release, from the dilapidated ‘slum’ we now live in, ushering us into a better home in a far better place.

The believer wants to be here as long as the Lord wants us to be here for useful service to Him. But the longing of our heart is to leave, and be in heaven. As the Apostle Paul said: “I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” [ Philippians 1:23 ]. Unless there is some compelling usefulness that we have to God here, we should be eager, anxious, and prefer to leave this world for the next!

C.S. Lewis famously said: “If you live for the next world, you get this one in the deal; but if you live only for this world, you lose them both.”

———

Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you; I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” [ John 14:2-3 ]. This is what gave Paul confidence in dying. Do you have this kind of confidence?

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We all want to go to Heaven after we die. The question is, “Do you have the ‘CONFIDENCE’ that you will go there after you die?”

TO DIE IS ‘GAIN’!
Many Christians live with little knowledge about what God’s eternal vision is for the believer. We are well versed in the Gospel that deals with our ‘past’, and we are dialed into living Christlike lives ‘today’. The missing piece, it seems to me, is an ‘ENTHUSIASM’ about what comes next.

The Apostle Paul, however, did not lack this enthusiasm. Writing to the church in Philippi, he declared: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” [ Philippians 1:21 ]. Paul was content with either outcome. He would gladly continue serving others during his lifetime or he would die without a shred of dread—just as Jesus did—knowing that what was coming to him was, in every way, ‘GAIN’ RATHER THAN LOSS.

So, how was this possible? Well, for Paul, death was his ‘best case’ scenario. He was not driven to use God’s gifts to ensure he avoided it at all costs. Jesus had transformed his outlook on the future and released him to be generous in the present (and Jesus can do that for you and me, too!) Again, death is NOT something believers need to be scared of!

———

You, too, can become free of any fear, know that every day from now on that death is not something to be scared of, and that to die is gain—you just need to ‘SURRENDER’ YOUR LIFE to Jesus and become “BORN AGAIN.”

[ FYI: For more details about becoming “born again,” view these past “Life’s Deep Thoughts” posts:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/developing-ones-character-v283/
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/what-really-matters-v270/
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/knowing-assurance-v243/ ]

So, if you are a believer, instead of trying to stop thinking about death, every time that thought comes into your head, ‘say’ to that thought about death—like Dirty Harry would—“Go ahead, ‘Death’, make my day!” Then say, “If you let me live, I will make sure Jesus will be honored by my life. If you take away my life, I get to go see Jesus in Heaven. I can’t lose!” [ Now, of course, this trying to be ‘funny’ about this, since God is the One that ‘controls’ the length of a believer’s life ].

Then, get on with your life and have a totally certain ‘uncertainty’ about when you will die!

[ NOTE: As a believer, you are ‘immortal’ until God’s work ‘in’ you is done—making you like Jesus—and the work He has planned for you to ‘do’ is complete! (Consider reading the book “Immortal” by Clay Jones. Info about it in the “Resources” section below.) ]

‘RAPTURED’ INSTEAD OF DYING
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” [ 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ]. The believer is going to ‘disappear’ and be in the presence of Jesus ‘instantaneously’!

This is not some kind of a long, drawn-out ‘metamorphosis’ or some kind of ‘evolutionary’ cycle that one has to go through. It is going to happen in a ‘moment’ (The Greek word for “moment” is “atomos” which means the smallest amount of time of which there is no smaller). In the most finite unit of time, the believer will be changed. It’s going to be so fast that they won’t even realize it.

A scientist measured this and said, “It’s one-sixth of a nanosecond.” So, to help you understand what a nanosecond is, let’s start with a second is. A microsecond is one-millionth of a second. Then, a nanosecond is one-thousandth of a microsecond. (and the believer is going to be gone in one-sixth of that!) REALLY, REALLY quick! Woo-hoo! “Come, Lord Jesus!” [ Revelation 22:20c ].

This is all going to happen “At the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” [ 1 Corinthians 15:52 ].

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Now, this rapture—this great ‘resurrection’ of those that are alive on earth—is spoken of in John 14:1: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions”—it says, but it means rooms; the Greek is rooms. Many rooms. You can’t have mansions in a house. You have rooms in a house. “If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you”—and here it comes—“I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

Now, here Jesus gives us a word regarding the resurrection day: “I’m up there, preparing for you. I’m going to come and receive you to myself.” The great truth of the Rapture is that Jesus IS coming back for His ‘children! The believer is not looking for an ‘event’, they are looking for a ‘Person’!

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In other words, death is defeated from doing any more harm. Paul ‘taunts’ death saying, “O death, where is thy sting? O death” (In the Greek, the word “kentron” has to do with a sting of a bee or a poisonous serpent/snake). Paul is emphasizing that the ‘stinger’ HAS been removed!

So, if you are an UNBELIEVER, you have given Death [the Devil] the right to ‘sting’ you with a fatal blow, and you will be judged for your sins—which will send you to Hell, for eternity!

Poet James Weldon Johnson captured the emotion of Paul’s thought of the victory over death in his poem “Go Down Death” (A Funeral Sermon):

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That’s the experience of the believer—the ‘VICTORY’ OVER DEATH! Death has been disarmed, defanged, declawed, and destroyed. “Death is cast into the lake of fire” [ Revelation 20:14 ] and “In Heaven there is no more death” [ Revelation 21:4 ].

So, BELIEVER, hopefully, your first choice will be like Paul’s, to be ‘raptured’—rather than have a period of waiting for your glorified body—and your second choice would be that you die so I would be with Jesus when your ‘work’ is done.

HOWEVER, I pray for the UNBELIEVER who are NOT ‘READY’ to die—those who do not ‘know’ Jesus—that you would come to a realization that you need to be “born again” to be able to go ‘home’ to Heaven, and ‘miss’ Hell!

So, UNBELIEVER, may this be the day that you ‘bow’ before Jesus, repent of your sins, believe that Jesus is your Savior, and accept His propitiation for your sins! Then, humbly trust in Him to guide you for the rest of your life until He receives you to your ‘real’ home, in Heaven!

If you do this, you still might be fearful of heights, flying, germs, needles, darkness, enclosed spaces, drowning, thunder and lightning, dogs, mice, spiders, snakes, public speaking, and even the dentist BUT, God has promised that you will NO LONGER BE ‘FEARFUL’ OF YOUR DEATH!

Anglican clergyman William Gurnell said it succinctly: “Let your hope of heaven master your fear of death.”

Respectfully, I want to ‘refine’ his words a bit to ‘harmonize’ with the focus of this post:

“Let the Master of Heaven master your fear of death!”

Jesus is the ONLY One that can ‘deliver’ one from the fear of their death:

“By dying could He [Jesus] break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could He set free all who have lived their lives as slaves [believers] to the fear of dying” [ Hebrews 2:14c-15 ] AND “The One [Jesus] who is in you is greater than the one [Devil] who is in the world” [ 1 John 4:4b ].

<<< END OF SUMMARY >>>


<<< ALL THE DETAILS >>>

The following is a comprehensive presentation of the topic that follows the ‘headings’ laid out in the Summary.


GROWING MORE ‘FEARFUL’

America was brought into a new era of fear after the “9/11” attacks. America’s level of fear stayed permanently elevated, despite the fact that the world has become arguably safer since then. This is a testament to the subtle psychological ‘power’ of fear.

After 9/11, there was an understandable—but irrational—fear of flying. Accounting for the terrorist attacks, flying was still much safer than driving a car. [ People are still afraid of flying because of 9/11. In a 2011 poll—10 years after the attack—Gallup found 24% of respondents agreed that 9/11 made them less willing to fly on airplanes. ] The thing is, there were 42,116 motor vehicle deaths in 2001 and only 581 airplane-related fatalities. Many who would have flown in near-perfect safety died on roadways as a result of their fear.

Gerd Gigerenzer, the director of the Max Planck Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition, labels this the “indirect damage” of terrorism: “Indirect damage is not under the control of terrorists; it is mediated through the minds of citizens,” Gigerenzer wrote in a 2006 paper. In it, he estimates that 9/11 led to an additional 1,505 fatal road crashes in the 12 months after the attacks. [ Gigerenzer also analyzed transportation data from Spain after the 2004 terrorist attacks on Madrid’s railways, and found that while Spaniards reduced their train travel, they did not compensate with additional road travel. ]

All this to say that it is difficult for people to make well-reasoned decisions when the emotional response is so strong. This is probably better advice than trying to get average citizens to digest statistical information in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.

So then, what does that fear do to our minds? Well, the following are a few things that it does:

– Fear Heightens Suspicions/Pessimism About Future
Fear ‘colors’ everything we encounter with a tinge of dread. That impacts our behavior and even our politics in surprising ways.

Deborah Small, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania said that, “Fear causes higher perception of risk everywhere, greater precautionary behavior, greater favorability of action policy that prioritizes safety over personal liberty.”

In 2002, Small was part of a research effort at Carnegie Mellon University that asked: “Could reminding participants of their 9/11 fears change their outlook on America?” Their conclusion? They said that, “Experiencing more anger triggered more optimistic beliefs; experiencing more fear triggered greater pessimism.”

– Our Brains Exaggerate A Threat
Ingrid Haas, a political psychologist at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, studies the intersection of two emotions that typically flare in the wake of a terrorist attack: uncertainty and fear.

These are the two psychological weapons terrorists most effectively yield: making us feel threatened going about our daily lives in the places where we feel safe, and the feeling of not knowing where an attack might occur.

Haas predicts that when one feels both uncertain and threatened, and the exact nature of the threat is unclear, “People have a difficult time coping with it.” With that difficulty coping, she finds that terrorist attacks can ‘petrify’ and ‘paralyze’ people. (Some people are just ‘hardwired’ to respond more strongly to negative stimuli.)

– Fear Makes People Bad Decision-makers
In the 2000s, neuroscientist Gregory Berns ran experiments during which participants were intermittently shocked while having their brain scanned in an fMRI machine (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging). The shocks occurred every one to 30 seconds, without warning.

Berns wrote this about his experiment: “Nearly a third feared waiting so much that, when given the chance, they preferred getting a bigger shock right away to waiting for a smaller shock later. It sounds illogical, but fear—whether of pain or of losing a job—does strange things to decision-making.” The 9/11 attacks are an example of that ‘playing out’ in the real world.

So, if you have struggled with fear, you are not alone. Fear is no respecter of people or ages. It strikes the weak and the powerful, and it haunts the young, the old, the rich, and the poor. Even those who seem to have it all—celebrities, heroes, and “fearless” leaders—confessed to a wide array of phobias, like “aviophobes” (the fear of flying), “xenophobic” (being uncomfortable around strangers), and “mysophobic” (haunted by the fear of germs, contaminations, infections, and diseases).

The celebrity with the most phobias is probably Woody Allen. He is afraid of insects, sunshine, dogs, deer, bright colors, children, heights, small rooms, crowds, cancer, and death. He is famous for saying, “It’s not that I’m afraid of dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

Famous people of the past were no different. George Washington was scared to death of being buried alive. Richard Nixon was terrified of hospitals, and Napoleon Bonaparte feared cats. Really?! Phobias are the ‘circus parade’ of mental enslavement.

Now, some fears attack us only momentarily, but others can stay with us for a lifetime. A person with a fear of heights might feel their fear shoot up tremendously when they step into a glass-walled elevator in a hotel lobby. But their fear is over the moment they step out of the elevator into the hotel hallway.

On other hand, our fears of failure, loneliness, rejection, impending disaster, or contracting a major illness never seem to go away. They are lifetime fears that simmer on the mind’s ‘back burner’. They are fears that ‘prey’ on life itself.

These fears can be described as what linguists call a “semantic range” of words: fear, worry, anxiety, intimidation, unsold, dread, aunt ease, alarm, distress, apprehensiveness, and others. Sometimes it is hard to know exactly which one of these words best describes what we are feeling, and it really doesn’t matter. Whatever term one uses, these feelings can all trigger a ‘toxic’ response: immobilization, paralysis, withdrawal, passivity, depression, and psychosomatic disorders—physical maladies with no discernible physical cause.

So, if I were to ask you, “What are you afraid of?,” what I am really asking is what is it that ‘immobilizes’ you (what is stealing your joy, destroying your hope, robbing you of sleep, and keeping you from living life to its fullest?).

Well, most surveys show that people fear the following, in descending order of ‘intensity’ (The first in the list is the ‘most’ intense):

– Public Speaking
– Heights
– The Dentist
– Snakes
– Flying
– Spiders
– Small, Enclosed Spaces
– Blood/Needles
– Financial Problems
– Deep Water/Drowning
– Mice
– Dogs
– Thunder and Lightning
– Being Alone
– Darkness
– Germs
– Social Situations

Now, EVERYONE is afraid of something—but they are ‘PRIMARILY’ afraid of DEATH!

[ Don’t let anyone ‘kid’ you that it is “public speaking.” Death is sometimes not even mentioned in a lot of these surveys! It’s the ‘unmentionable’ that people avoid talking about at all ‘costs’. When it comes right down to it, DEATH IS the ‘greatest’ fear! ]

‘SCARED’ TO DEATH

Death might be one of the few things we all have in common, and yet the irony is, our fears around it can end up making us feel terribly alone.

Here in the western world, death is still very much a ‘taboo’ subject. It is something we just don’t talk about. This means that when it comes up, we might feel reluctant to share our feelings with the people around us.

In modern Western society, most people have little direct experience of death, and we don’t like to talk about the subject. Our society is organized in such a way that the dead are quickly removed from us, and those traditions that do encourage viewing the dead do so only after careful cosmetic preparation by specialized morticians, often resulting in the dead looking more like an elegant wax model replica of the living person. Attendance of children at funerals and cemeteries is generally not encouraged, adding to the sense of dreaded unfamiliarity with death with which many of us grow up.

Perhaps we don’t want to come across as morbid or ‘dampen’ on the mood,  maybe we feel so afraid just thinking about death that we do everything in our power to avoid the subject even coming into conversation.

So what started as natural, healthy thoughts about death can easily lead us into a negative cycle of anxiety. The following are some “death anxiety” symptoms:

– Intense fear or anxiety whenever you think about death
– Thinking or worrying about it on a daily basis
– Avoiding situations where you think you might have to think or talk about it
– Physical symptoms when thinking about death: Heart palpitations, sweating, tummy pains, nausea, etc.
– Difficulties sleeping 
– Fearing the worst every time you come down with something or spending hours symptom-searching on the internet. (Health anxiety and death anxiety frequently come together—both linked to control and a difficulty with tolerating uncertainty.)

Now, while death anxiety itself isn’t a “disorder,” existential fears lie at the core of many anxiety and depressive disorders. This means that it is often linked to these kinds of mental health issues—“Generalized Anxiety Disorder” (GAD) in particular, which is characterized by frequent and uncontrollable worrying. 

It is important to be clear that just because you are thinking about death does not mean that you have a mental health issue. Fears around death become problematic when they arise daily and are very persistent (for a period of six months of more). When this happens, it is likely these thoughts and fears have started to interfere with your enjoyment of everyday life.

So, while thinking about death is normal, worrying about it obsessively is not. If you find yourself stuck in a ‘rut’ of worry and going to great lengths to avoid having to think or talk about death, then it might point to a deeper issue.

Many people start worrying about death after losing someone close to them. Losing a loved one can shine a light on the fragility of our own life. Likewise, a “close call” or near-death experience can also lead to a preoccupation with death.

That said, one doesn’t need to have been exposed to death in order to develop death anxiety. It can also develop seemingly ‘out of blue’.

Psychiatrist Carl Jung famously said, “What we resist not only persists, but will grow in size.” Because we have been brought up in a culture which avoids conversations about death, when we do think about it we might try to ‘quash’ those fears by distracting ourselves from difficult thoughts and feelings by engaging in maladaptive coping strategies like drinking, smoking, watching TV, shopping. etc.

‘FACING’ DEATH

At some point, all of us will be faced with fears about death. After all, ‘WHAT’ HAPPENS when the “lights go out” remains one of life’s biggest mysteries. 

Not only is it normal to fear the unknown, but in these current uncertain times, we are probably going to find our thoughts turning to our own mortality even more.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, contemplating death can spur us on to make important changes in our lives. It can make us question whether we are living a life that is based on our values—the things that are important to us. In the face of a fatal disease, imaginary or not, most people experience raw gratitude for being alive and a crystallized clarity about what is meaningful to them.

The thing is, every single one of us is walking around with a TERMINAL ‘DISEASE’—we are all going to die someday. Sadly, most of us navigate our lives as if death were the ‘North Star’, a fixed and distant point. We build our entire lives on the wildly presumptuous notion that death is far away and that we will get to live to the statistical life expectancy of 79 years old (in the United States). NOT!

We think we have a ‘lot’ of time, so it is no surprise we postpone enjoying life until reaching some nebulous future date or state: after we graduate; after we get promoted; after we get married; after we have kids; after we lose weight; after we have enough money; after we retire; and _______________ (fill in your favorite ‘until’), when everything is ‘perfect’ to finally live the way you want to live. Then, at that time, we will travel, write the book, spend quality time with the kids/grandkids, or pause to mindfully ponder the ‘meaning’ of life.

Perplexingly, we spent a significant quantity of our life rushing towards these societal milestones we believe will allow us to enjoy life and the future—all the while squandering the time we have in the ‘palms of our hands’ to do so right now!

Death is paradoxical. It is an unknown certainty. One can be 100% certain that they will die, but 0% certain as to when.

Novelist and poet Charles Bukowski says that “Most of us don’t prepare at all for death—our own or others’—and are terribly shocked when it happens.” He suggests that we would be better off to keep death in our left pocket and pull it out every now and then and say, “Hey you, how are you doin’?”—and let ‘Death’ know that we are ready.

For most people, the terror of the actual process of dying probably involves a fear of physical pain. It also probably involves fearful incomprehension of the seemingly mysterious process by which the consciousness—that is our “self”—is extinguished, or fades away.

Now, granted, we are all afraid of pain. We have all had much experience of physical pain, some more than others, and we are quite likely to have witnessed more extreme pain and agony in others than we have experienced ourselves. This makes us fear pain.

Physical pain arises from damage to our living tissue. Since death is the ultimate destruction of our living tissues, we naturally assume that death must be the ultimately painful experience. Since nobody who has actually died can tell us what it felt like physically, we naturally have a ‘terror’ of dying.

However, in fact, rationally and from a medical point of view, there is no particular reason to suppose that the intensity of pain (or other forms of discomfort or impairment) from various causes of death is greater than the intensity of pain from various illnesses and injuries that we ourselves may already have previously experienced, or the pain that others have experienced and survived to tell the tale. Furthermore, dying in and of itself does not necessarily involve painful processes—some forms of death are painful and others are not. Many acute injuries are actually more painful afterward (in people who survive them) than they are at the moment of injury.

Awareness of our mortality can be a profound challenge to our self-image of being an all-important, indispensable, independent entity in the world, OR it can fill us with a sense of the preciousness and fragility of this opportunity, the value of a life. It can inspire us and motivate us to live life to the fullest, with a sense that we should not waste our days—to experience, to learn, to grow, to connect, and to contribute to those around us and those who will follow us.

Psychiatrist Irvin Yalom put it this way in his book, “Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death”: “The way to value life, the way to feel compassion for others, the way to love anything with greatest depth is to be aware that these experiences are destined to be lost.”

Our mortality and finitude should remind us of the urgency of living here and now, with full engagement in life and dedication to those around us. When death comes for us, let ‘it’ find us among the living.

[ FYI: For more details about having a sense of ‘urgency’, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:

https://markbesh.wordpress.com/a-sense-of-urgency-v269/ ]

Not thinking about your death does not make it go away. This is a universal human certainty, not yet controlled by science or government (although they are in the process of trying). Now, although death is fixed, one’s ‘attitude’ toward it is malleable. There are usually three, responses to accepting the reality mortality: apathy, anxiety, or productive action. 

When one is ‘apathetic’, they choose to take a perspective that everything in life is meaningless (“Nihilism”). An individual that is living ‘anxiously’ expends great energy worrying and attempting to fend it off, likely resulting in a life that is ‘stunted’. However, when one chooses to respond ‘productively’ to the unknown certainty of death, they usually have a life that is exciting and rewarding.

Most of the time, fear makes people ‘move’. Discomfort begets action. If one lives with the goal of minimizing their fear, it usually becomes self-diminishing. 

Some say that one cannot overcome the ‘fear’ of death, but they can overcome that ‘terror’ of death. One’s fear of death is, in large part, a fear of not ‘living’ before they die. All of us have limited time and energy available to us, and it can be expended fearing—trying to circumvent dying—or it can be spent living with urgency, joy, and meaning. We all make our choice with every action we take, great or small.

Author Kate Manser showed an ‘ad’ (by an unknown author) in her book, “You Might Die Tomorrow, So Live Today,” that nicely sums up what I have been saying: 

LIFE*
– Limit (1) per person.
– Subject to change without notice.
– Provided “as is” and without any warranties.
– Non-transferrable and is the sole responsibility of the recipient.
– May incur damages arising from the use or misuse.
– Additional parts sold separately.
– Your mileage may vary.
– Subject to all applicable fees and taxes.
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WHAT ‘NOT’ TO DO

Palliative nurse Bronnie Ware wrote a blog post entitled, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing.” The five ‘points’ were:

– I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
– I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
– I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
– I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
– I wish I had let myself be happier.

Ware continued saying, “These are the top five regrets of the dying, and you have the opportunity right now to embody the wisdom that many realised far too late. You’re here because, deep down, you yearn for something more. Something tugs on your heartstrings and urges you to find courage, open your heart, connect, be happy and enjoy this one precious life.”

SO, for the LIVING, the five points Ware made are a guide for how ‘NOT’ TO LIVE! Think about each one of these ‘REGRETS’ and consider whether you might have this regret if you continue to live your life as you are now doing. Then, think about how you can change your actions and thoughts to live in a way that will lead to you to feeling fulfilled instead of regretful at the end of your life. The people on their deathbed who expressed these regrets had little time to live differently. However, those of us not on our deathbeds have the gift of the possibility of time to right your ‘ship’!

Musical artist Carsie Blanton wrote a song entitled “Smoke Alarm,” and one of the verses captures what I have been saying:

“Why do we waste our time
Thinkin’ ‘bout an obligation
Runnin’ from a confrontation
Wondrin’ what we ought to say
When everyone we’ve ever known
is headed for a headstone
I don’t wanna give the end away,
but we’re gonna die one day”

[ FYI: The music video—with all the lyrics—is in the “Songs” section below. ]

Ware then goes on to say of her experience with dying patients:

“Deep within, they longed to laugh properly and him silliness in their life again. When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, Long before you are dying. Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose conscientiously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.”

In addition to not doing ‘regretful’ things, one of the ‘practical’ things one can do is to ‘prep’ for death by putting together legal documents like wills and trusts or by just discussing last wishes with the important people in your life. This can make one feel a bit more at ease with all of it. That is because you are “facing the issue straight on” by getting major things done.

[ NOTE: For a lot of details about preparing one’s “estate,” view last month’s “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:

https://markbesh.wordpress.com/preparing-for-the-future-v286/ ]

[ ALSO: You may want to consider using the “Death Over Dinner” website to help you plan some conversations about death. (More details in the “Resources” area below.) ]

Some recent studies suggest that people in their 20s are more prone to anxiety about death. While it is unclear why that is, it could have to do with the pressure to ‘make sense’ of one’s life at that age. So, it is suggested that one make a list of ways that one can live their life with ‘purpose’ (More about this later).

So, if you feel like you haven’t done the things you really wanted to accomplish or contributed to the world in ways that are important to you, thinking about how you can work toward those things might make you feel more at ease with dying. Consider creating a “BUCKET LIST” of ‘what’ you want to accomplish, ‘how’ you want to live, and ‘what’ you would like your legacy to be. Some ideas—from my Bucket List—would be to travel to a faraway land (I would like to go to Israel/Jerusalem), drive on the Nurburgring race course and the Transfagarasan Highway, go skydiving (tandem would be fine), pilot a hang glider, taking a hot air balloon flight, and scanning in all of my 20K+ slides and 10K+ printed photos. [ That’s just ‘page one’!  ;^D ].

Now, as exciting as all these things would be, I try not to forget the small, everyday joys, that psychologists say, will make up the greater satisfaction in one’s life. I remember a quote that goes something like, “Live life not in the pursuit of happiness, but as an expression of joyfulness.”

‘WHY’ DO WE FEAR DEATH?

The fear of death almost always has its ‘roots’ in the fear of the unknown. It is natural to want to understand the world around us, and even more to know where we are going to ‘end up’ after we die. That fear is sometimes stoked by professionals who seemed determined to convince us that what happens after death cannot be known, much less proven, while we are still alive. So, not only are we ‘doomed’ to die, we are ‘trapped’ in our fear of the unknown until we do! 

Psychologists assure us that fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger. If we never feel fear, we cannot protect ourselves from legitimate threats. Our response to fear itself can, in fact, cause more harm than the original cost of our fear.

Philosopher Dallas Willard observed that, “For most people, perhaps, the thing they most treasure is staying alive on earth. As a result, they live their entire lives in bondage to fear of physical death.”

Through the ages, there have been witnesses to those who have experienced stark terror at the moment of death, and then there are others who have witnessed an almost inexplicable peace. The skeptic philosopher Thomas Hobbes is famously quoted as groaning at the moment of his death, “I am taking a fearful leap into the dark.” However, there have been those who have watched their loved ones greet that moment with radiant and smiling faces, sometimes even clapping their hands and excitedly reaching out to others on seen by anyone else in the room.

So, when it comes to death, you have a ‘choice’. You can choose to fear death or not to fear death. When I say that you can choose not to fear death, I am not suggesting some realistic stoic response where you just talk yourself out of being afraid—a “suck it up and be a big boy” kind of thing. I mean address it ‘head on’.

When the threat or event of death emerges in life, there are almost always at least two people who may be fighting fear: the person dying, and the person being left behind. Most of us may have a greater struggle with fear than the actual person dying. The fear of separation, disconnection, or isolation can be overwhelming. The death of a loved one can precipitate, for most of us, what may seem to be the unrecoverable losses of companionship, mutual care, protection, provision, intimacy, and shared dreams.

Now, let me assure you that grief is not fear. When a loved one dies, huge, gaping, jagged, painful ‘holes’ can be left in one’s heart and life. So, please do not confuse grief with fear. Sorrow and mourning are natural responses to be embraced—they are not fear.

Throughout human history, people have been anxiously preoccupied with the idea of death and dying. “How can I overcome the fear of death,” and “How can I stop being so scared of dying?” are a few of the common questions that have been asked.

The fear of death is fundamentally fear of the unknown or, as some maintain, the unknowable. Some ask, “What exactly does it feel like to die?,” or “What happens when I die?,” or “Where do I go after I die?” (I will share more details about the concept of the “unknown” a bit later.)

SO ‘MYSTERIOUS’ AND SO CERTAIN

For centuries, authors, playwrights, and, more recently, screenwriters have taken profitable advantage of the fact that death is frightening and unnervingly mysterious. From the dark “Grim Reaper” (14th century) to the suave “Joe Black” (1998), death ‘stalks’ every one of us.

Back in the 16th century, William Shakespeare gave our fear of death a ‘voice’ through his character, Claudio, in his play “Much Ado About Nothing”:

“Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
To be imprison’d in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendent world; or to be worse than worst
Of those that lawless and incertain thought
Imagine howling: ’tis too horrible!
The weariest and most loathed worldly life
That age, ache, penury and imprisonment
Can lay on nature is a paradise
To what we fear of death.”

We fear death because we go where we “know not where.” We fear death because we simply cannot ‘control’ it. We cannot control when we will die or how we will die. Unless we commit self-murder, we cannot dictate the moment or manner of our death any more than we can control the moment of our birth. 

So, here’s another paradox: Many of us live in fear of dying. Now, some don’t fear death itself but they fear ‘HOW’ they might die. Fearing the ‘result’ of death and fearing the ‘process’ of dying are two different issues.

For some, the fear of dying can become a condition known as “Thanatophobia,” an extreme and often irrational thought or fear of death. Sometimes it is so intense that it eclipses all other thoughts and starts to interfere with one’s daily life, even to the extent of halting all of one’s activities and even sequestering oneself inside the ‘safety’ of their home!

According to one study, 20% of people are “afraid or very afraid of dying,” making Thanatophobia one of the most common fears people have.

THANATOPHOBIA

Thanatophobia is a clinical term for an intense fear of death or the dying process. Another name for this condition is “death anxiety.” 

First off, what is a phobia? Well, it is an intense sense of worry or panic about certain activities, objects or situations. A specific phobic disorder, such as Thanatophobia, is a type of anxiety disorder. [ Other examples of phobic disorders include claustrophobia (fear of small, confined spaces) and aerophobia (fear of flying) ].

So then, what is the difference between Thanatophobia and Necrophobia? Well, Necrophobia is a fear of dead things (corpses) or places that contain dead things, such as graveyards.

Now, it is natural to feel some sense of worry about death or dying. After all, it is normal to fear the unknown (Note: See last month’s post for more details about this). You might think dying will be scary, painful, or lonely. But if you have Thanatophobia, your fear of death affects your daily life. It may make it difficult to function at school, work, or in social situations. You may experience physical symptoms—such as a panic attack—when you think about dying. You might also go out of your way to avoid talking about death or the dying process.

So, how common is Thanatophobia? Well, research suggests that death anxiety is common, though people tend not to report their feelings. One study shows that between 3% and 10% of people feel they are more nervous than others about the thought of dying.

Then, who is at risk for Thanatophobia? Well, it is more common in people who:

– Are in poor health or receive a diagnosis of a serious illness
– Don’t have religious beliefs
– Feel a sense of dissatisfaction with their life
– Have low self-esteem
– Have other phobias or mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety
– Have parents or loved ones who are elderly, ill, or dying
– Lack close family members or friends
– Witness illness, trauma, or violence in their jobs, such as healthcare providers or social workers

One study suggests that elderly people are more likely to fear the dying process, while young adults are more likely to fear death itself. Another study found that the children of elderly parents actually had a higher level of death anxiety than their parents, peaking at around middle age.

So then, what causes Thanatophobia? Well, it is possible for a specific event or experience to trigger Thanatophobia. For instance, you may develop death anxiety if you:

– Have a traumatic experience related to death or dying
– Lose a parent or loved one
– Witness someone having a difficult or painful death

A fear of death can also be at the ‘root’` of many other phobias like:

– Aerophobia (fear of flying)
– Agoraphobia (fear of not being able to escape from an unfamiliar place)
– Aquaphobia (fear of water)
– Arachnophobia (fear of spiders)
– Claustrophobia (fear of crowded, confined spaces)

So, if you have Thanatophobia, thoughts of death may cause intense feelings of panic, fear, dread, or depression. You may avoid places or situations that seem dangerous. You might also become obsessed with your health, constantly checking for signs of illness. It’s not uncommon for people with death anxiety to spend a lot of time looking for abnormal moles, checking their blood pressure or researching medical information. They can develop hypochondriasis, which is a disorder that causes excessive worry about becoming ill.

Other symptoms might resemble those of a panic attack. Intense thoughts of death may trigger:

– Chills
– Dizziness and lightheadedness
– Excessive sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
– Heart palpitations
– Nausea
– Shortness of breath (Dyspnea)
– Trembling or shaking
– Upset stomach or indigestion (Dyspepsia)

Generally, phobias are not diagnosed unless someone’s symptoms have lasted for six months of longer of going out of their way to avoid the object or situation they fear and they have trouble functioning in their daily life due to their fear.

So, if a fear of death affects your ability to function at school, work, or in social situations, seek treatment from a healthcare provider. You may benefit from psychotherapy, which helps you talk through your fear and anxiety.

A few types of psychotherapy include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure Therapy (ET).

CBT can help you change the way you think about death so it isn’t so scary. You may need to address unrealistic beliefs about death, such as feeling that death is “unfair” or that the dying process is always painful. CBT also gives you techniques to better manage how you react to thoughts of death, such as meditation and deep breathing.

ET is a type of therapy that gradually exposes you to places, thoughts, or situations that relate to death. You might start by writing about how you picture your own death or the death of a loved one. Other exposure techniques could include visiting a hospital, writing a will, reading obituaries, or talking with someone who has a terminal illness.

[ Note: Medication for Thanatophobia or other specific phobic disorders has not proven very effective. But your healthcare provider may recommend anti-anxiety drugs if you have to be in a stressful or fearful situation, like a funeral. ]

‘REFRAMING’ DEATH

Most therapy for Thanatophobia is going to take a CBT-based approach—focusing on fixing faulty or unhelpful thought patterns. In the case of Thanatophobia, this treatment would take aim at reframing the anxiety that death is something imminent, inherently bad, or a worthwhile cause for constant concern. One of the benefits of going to therapy is that you can get professional guidance and an objective viewpoint to help you reorient your thoughts about death. 

However, if one is not yet in ‘professional’ treatment for their anxiety—or are not sure they are ready to make that commitment yet—there are CBT exercises that they can practice without the assistance of a therapist. For example, people experiencing Thanatophobia may find themselves in thought patterns that make it harder for them to enjoy their lives. Thoughts like, “If I am focused on death, then I can control it” or “It’s important for me to be worried about death. I never know when it’s going to happen, so I have to always be on the lookout.”

Now, those might not be your ‘literal’ thoughts but they are common ‘messages’ underlying anxious thinking, and it is easy to see how someone experiencing those thoughts could begin to spiral deeper into anxiety and maybe even panic. CBT aims to recognize when those thought patterns are arising and consciously try to reorient them, rather than just ignore them. CBT is not about avoiding or lying to yourself, but making your thoughts work ‘for’ you, rather than ‘against’ you. Some alternatives might sound like, “Death is a fact of life, and I can’t control that. However, I can control how I live and use the time given to me” or “Death is not a good reason to spend my days of life worrying. Instead, I can use those days for more worthwhile things.”

Death is a ‘tricky’ subject because, unlike other phobias like a fear of heights or flying, it is ULTIMATELY ‘UNAVOIDABLE’. Accepting that, while also acknowledging that it is not useful or healthy to fixate on things you can’t control, you can begin to practice self-correcting those negative thoughts when they arise. Lastly, it is important to acknowledge that CBT practices can take time to get used to, but that they ARE ‘PROVEN’ to be effective in treating phobias and have helped countless patients.

An Exposure Therapy-based approach ‘forces’ the patient, to put it bluntly, to “face their fears.” The point is to engage with the phobia in a safe enough environment that you can build a tolerance for your fear, in this case death. Some possible routes to take for Thanatophobia would be to visit a cemetery or a hospital, to talk to someone who has recently lost someone close to them, or to simply spend time engaging calmly with your phobia through meditation or journaling.

An extreme fear of death rarely ‘crops up’ on its own. Most often, there are underlying factors which then manifest themselves on the surface as a severe fear of death. Therapy can be a very helpful tool in not just helping you cope with your phobias, but also to treat the kinds of thinking that lie ‘beneath’ them.

[ Note: Online therapy helps make those treatments accessible and affordable, giving anyone easy access to the help they deserve. ]

Now, it is ‘natural’ to fear death, and in many ways that fear can be ‘healthy’. But if our death anxiety is getting in the way of living a happy, fulfilling life, it becomes vital to address the problem rather than ignore it. More often than not, there are ways to ‘reframe’ our thinking about death to create a positive mindset, or at least one that doesn’t impact our ability to function. Finding ways to shift toward a “death-positive” outlook can be challenging but there are plenty of strategies that can help you begin that journey. Therapy is one way that has proven effective, and can be practiced online or in person, and in some cases even on your own.

[ Note: If one is open to trying CBT or Exposure Therapy, they should take the time to talk to a therapist for advice on how to best proceed. ]

HOW TO ‘TREAT’ DEATH ANXIETY

Dealing with death anxiety is a complicated process, whether you are terminally ill or not. Mortality is a hard topic to grapple with, whether you are healthy or not. 

If the fear of death overwhelms you, seeking out standard treatments for anxiety, professional help, or learning healthy coping mechanisms can be your ‘ticket’ to relief and control over these emotions. 

That said, the following are nine ways to help manage your fear of death: 

Exercise
Studies show exercise can help in the management of anxiety. It may also help your body stay healthier for longer, which can increase life expectancy.

Meditation
The inevitability of death has been a cornerstone topic for many religious and spiritual philosophies, and it’s no surprise that a search for peace has led in many cases to meditation practices. 

Meditation is a great way to employ breathing techniques and other tools to quiet those intrusive thoughts about death over time.

Talk Therapy and Support
If your inevitable death is a source of anxiety, talk to someone about it. A therapist or close friends and family are great resources when you’re having these feelings, and someone you trust can be a great person to air these thoughts to in a safe and healthy, supportive environment.

Change Your Habits
Exploring what triggers your thoughts about death and how you end up having those thoughts can be a great way to notice patterns and avoid future anxious thoughts. It may not make sense to avoid these triggers altogether, but knowing they exist will give you more agency when they occur in the future.

Learn to Spot When You Are Getting Anxious

Even if you can’t prevent triggers from sending you into an anxious spiral, being able to recognize the signs of anxiety in your own daily life can help you spot attacks earlier and learn to temper those feelings with coping strategies.

Exposure Therapy
Take this for example: Spending time with spiders is a great way to address your fear of spiders. So when it comes to death, learning to be comfortable in the discomfort is the same thing. 

Exposure to death doesn’t have to look like a near-death experience. Whether it’s conversations about death or the afterlife, visualizing the aftermath of a funeral, or just talking about a terminal diagnosis, exposure might be the solution to quell anxious thoughts.

Seek Professional Support
Getting help for anxiety may take one of many forms, but it all starts with a conversation with a healthcare professional about your symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider or ask them for a referral. You can also find help online through Hims’ mental health services.

Get Therapy
Once you seek professional support, you may be directed to the path of psychotherapy. Therapy for anxiety is common these days and, once again, one popular form is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). 

CBT is a system that teaches you how to identify and ultimately begin regulating anxious patterns of thought, and it can work for death anxiety just like with any other kind of anxiety. 

Consider Medication
Generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and other forms of anxiety are effectively treated with the category of medications commonly referred to as antidepressants. 

As with depressive disorders, these medications help your brain better regulate your mood by affecting certain neurotransmitters, and they’re really effective at it, to the point that they’ve become a go-to solution for anxiety. 

One might be prescribed Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) as they are considered the most safe and effective medications for anxiety on the market today, though other types of medications may be employed if those aren’t a fit for your needs.

Acceptance of death is a worthwhile pursuit. The fact is, life is short, and every day spent wasted worrying about what comes after is a day lost. Speaking with a healthcare professional about your anxiety can help you learn how to stop worrying about death—and feel better for your days to come.

[ NOTE: Again, Thanatophobia is an anxiety disorder that can disrupt every aspect of your life. Don’t be afraid to talk to a healthcare provider about your fears. They can connect you with a mental health professional who can help you find healthy ways to overcome this condition. ]

‘OVERCOMING’ THE FEAR OF DEATH 

Death is universally scary. The goal, then, is to accept the reality that we will die, acknowledge the fear that comes with that, and use it as motivation to live a vital, meaningful life.

Again, psychiatrist Irvin Yalom commented that, “Adults who are wrapped with death anxiety are not on birds who have contracted some exotic disease, but men and women whose family and culture have failed to knit the proper protective clothing for them to withstand the icy chill of morality.”

In the 1800s of England, life expectancy for males was just 34 years of age. Around that time, one in 10 babies died before their first birthday. Death, at all ages, was a frequent part of life.

Throughout the 1900s, however, survival rates grew. The infant mortality rate decreased by 90 percent! Worldwide life expectancy today is around 72 years of age (79 in the US). Today, we see death less frequently than they did just 100 years ago. This is a good thing, but it also means that when it does happen, we tend to be more shocked and have less experience in how to process it.

The thing is, 80% of Americans die in a hospital or a nursing home. Modern medicine definitely keeps patients alive, however, often fails to help a patient and family members decide when it is time to allow the patient to die naturally.

It is not all our fault that most of us live in a state of phobic death denial—the fear of death is universal and instinctual. As a result, many cultures have evolved (or maybe more accurately said, devolved) to abstract the notion of death from life. It seems to me like today we are missing the chance to embrace a natural part of life and what it can teach us about how we want to live.

OUR ‘DENIAL’ OF DEATH

Whether we admit it or not the fear of death ‘drives’ us. Grieving expert David Kessler put it this way: “It all boils down to the fear of death, arguably the cause of most of our unhappiness. We unknowingly harm our loved ones out of fear; we hold ourselves back personally and professionally for the same reason. Since every fear has its roots in the fear of death, learning how to relax about the fear surrounding the will allow us to face everything with greater ease.”

Social scientists increasingly conclude that the fear of death drives ALL human behavior. In 1973, cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker published his seminal and Pulitzer prize-winning book, “The Denial of Death.” In it, he wrote that “The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else: it is the mainspring of human activity—activity designed largely to avoid the frailty of death, to overcome by denying in some way that it is the final destiny of man.” Later, Becker said that, “All culture, all man’s creative life-ways, are in some basic part of down a fabricated protest against natural reality, a denial of the truth of the human condition, and an attempt to forget the pathetic creature that man is.”

Similarly, philosopher Stephen Cave wrote in his book, “Immortality: The Quest To Live Forever and How It Drive Civilization”: “I aim to show how we, like all living things, are driven to pursue life without end; but also how we, a loan of living things, have him in the process created spectacular civilizations, with stunning artworks, Rich religious traditions, and the material and intellectual achievements of science. All of this is because people are following ‘paths that promise immortality’.”

The authors of the book “The Worm at the Core” state that, “The awareness that we humans will die has a profound and pervasive effect on our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in almost every domain of life—whether we are conscious of it or not.” They later added that, “This fear of death is one of the primary driving forces of human action.”

So, why is it that most of us live in ‘denial’ of the reality that we will die, and that it could happen sooner than we assume? Well, it seems that it is simply ‘FEAR’ (“False Evidence Appearing Real”). Well, actually it is not simple, fear is a complex concept that requires drive, curiosity, and bravery to confront. Drive because one must possess a desire to confront a fear.Curiosity because the first step in disarming any fear is to better understand it. Bravery because, well, it is pretty ‘SCARY’!

There are so many aspects of death that frighten us. It is unsettling and it is unknown in that we do not know how or when we will die, but also that humanity and science have little knowledge of what the dining experience is like. We are afraid that it could be painful or scary, and that it may become unexpected. We fear that we will leave behind the people we love, and we feel sad that our death will create pain for others. We fear that we may not have lived well or meaningfully while we were alive. Since all we have ever known is existing, even the very notion that we will expire and no longer exists is frightening.

Again, cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker said in “The Denial Of Death,” that, as narcissistic creatures, humans naturally fear the reality of mortality (or nonexistence), and any fear of death is the greatest influence on human behavior. He asserts that everything humans do stems from the basic drive to assuage the fear of death. He quotes William James, who calls death the “worm at the core” of the human condition.

Three psychologists, heavily influenced by Becker’s work—Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, and Tom Pyszczynski—further dug into the psychological ‘root’ of why we are so afraid of death. They said that we humans have an innate self-preservation instinct, and that this natural survival instinct is at odds with our cognitive awareness that our survival efforts will ultimately prove futile—and that this paradox “freaks us out.”

The fear of death is, after all, different from all other fears—it is ‘UNSURVIVABLE’. No matter what we do in life to stay alive, we will eventually die. This produces a “basic psychological conflict” which causes anxiety, and in some cases, terror.

Again, Becker thinks everything—every conscious and subconscious expression of humanity and human culture—stems from our fear of dying and our desire to transcend that expiration.

Becker concludes his book with the idea that acknowledging death and trying to create meaning is the best way to live.

FIGHT OR FLIGHT

Fear is defined as “the emotion caused by the anticipation of unhappiness,” and the human is ‘wired’ to respond to it by either “fight or flight” (and sometimes “freeze” is added to these). It is what happens in our body when that part of our autonomic nervous system—called the “sympathy nervous system”—kicks in and releases epinephrine. Then, our adrenal gland gets triggered by hormones released by the hypothalamus, and a chemical called Cortisol is produced and starts coursing through our bloodstream. Our digesting slows and blood vessels constrict (except for the large muscles, which dilate). Our heart rate goes up, and our mouth gets dry (because the lacrimal gland which regulates salivation immediately gets inhibited). The body is getting more focused and prepared for something ‘big’ to happen. This is your body’s acute stress response, thus the term “fight or flight.”

Now, keep in mind, this is supposed to be temporary, just to allow us to manage the immediate situation, save ourselves, then move on and get back to normal life. So, it is therefore good, but it needs to be temporary.

The thing is, living in this state for long periods of time, or having it triggered in inappropriate situations (like traffic jams, business meetings, and school exams), creates negative psychological and physiological repercussions. For example, it can give rise to anger, depression, anxiety, chest pain, headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, and a suppressed immune system—just to name a few.

Some people, without intending to, automatically turn on this fight or flight mechanism too often in their lives, because they do not know how to manage stressful situations. So, especially for those who have a fixation on the fear of death, this trigger of a fight or flight response can be very debilitating. 

So, from a neurophysiological standpoint, the key is learning how to turn on the ‘opposite’ of the fight or flight mechanism. It ‘balances’ these kinds of people allowing them to develop a more balanced mental, emotional, and physical state so their fight or flight response only gets turned on when it needs to be, and not activated it when it is not supposed to be.

The thing is, death, as yet, has been unable to be ultimately fled or fought off—and to ‘freeze’ or become paralyzed in response to fear does nothing to negate the threat.

The futility of self-protecting against death, however, does not really stop our persistent attempts to fight, flee, or freeze. One way we flee our ‘finitude’ is to take care of our health and safety. This is the “I will die eventually, but I want to avoid it for as long as possible” philosophy so we wear sunscreen and don’t try to get our golf ball out of the alligator’s mouth  ;^D

Well, we also ‘fight’ against death by trying to prolong the ‘legacy’ of our name and essence. The idea of “symbolic immortality” was coined by social psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton. It is the idea of that, although our physical bodies will die, we can achieve immortality through what remains of our life after our death. In simple terms, we want to live forever, but we can’t, so while we are alive, we strive to do things that we think will ensure that our name or ‘essence’ lives on forever.

So, like literal immortality, symbolic immortality is actually possible, and it makes us feel better about dying. Lifton has categorized these strategies into biological, religious, creative, unnatural, and transcendent modes of symbolic immortality.

[ FYI: For more details on Lifton’s symbolic immortality, read this chapter in his book:
http://irasilver.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Symbolic-immortality-Lifton-Olson.pdf
(Note: His “Living and Dying” book is in the “Resources” section below) ].

The ‘root’ of our desire for immortality and our fear of dying is the desire to “matter and to be seen.” It is based on the nature of self-esteem, which is our key ‘weapon’ in the fight to feel good answer ourselves in life. Terror management theory (TMT) research shows that humans consistently draw upon our symbolic systems of meaning and value, which are related to a sense of self-esteem, as a coping mechanism for dealing with our fear of death.

So then, what happens when we are faced with a death ‘cue’ while not engaged in a personally meaningful activity? Well, we still grab for meaning and self-esteem as a form of self-protection, but the self-esteem comes from a different ‘source’.

We tend to think of self-esteem as how highly we think of our authentic selves. But, we are also conditioned to draw self-esteem from culturally approved, extrinsic sources like financial wealth, power, status, physical attractiveness, and a sense of belonging to a group. So, whether you get a sense of self-esteem from being American, believing in God, having a lot of money, performing expert brain surgery, being kind, or having strong racing/drifting driving skills (I had to put that in there!), it is your personal ‘constellation’ of values—from both intrinsic and extrinsic sources–which informs how you respond to the awareness that you will die. Our “constellation of beliefs and values” informs so many behaviors in life, including how we respond to the notion of our mortality.

HOW TO AVOID ‘REGRETS’

Author Kate Manser suggests the idea of dying without ANY regrets, and puts forth the concept of the “Deathbed Gut Check”  as a practice of visualizing one’s self on their deathbed and, from that perspective, imagining how they would feel having made a particular decision in their life. On one’s deathbed, all is ‘stripped away’. The petty and insignificant factors dissolve, and what is left is what is true and meaningful. Life’s decisions are considered and given an honest ‘grade’. But, when faced with death, life is reduced to ‘simplicity’.

She continues suggesting that one’s life should reflect their core values, and that, at least for her, when she acts out of ‘alignment’ with those values, “everything goes off-kilter and feels out of control.” She feels like she is slogging through the ‘muck’, going through the motions of something that feels wrong, and eventually, turns out to be wrong for her. She said that it is a “sinking feeling, knowing that I’ll regret what I’m doing.” She then says that the Deathbed Gut Check helps her avoid that feeling, helping her tap into her own intuition and dissipate her fear.

Now, her Deathbed Gut Check is deeply personal and varies by person. The thing is, one’s deathbed wisdom might help them ‘process’ how a lingering hurt influenced their life and how forgiving those who hurt them now will help everyone involved—including them.

Now, since you are reading this, I am going to assume that you are not on your deathbed. However, you might be ‘gripped’ with worry and fear about all that you will have to ‘give up’ as a result of a decision you have to make—and whether it is the ‘right’ choice. Well, at the moment of your death—when everything is stripped away—you will wonder why you thought that decision was such a ‘big deal’!

So, remember that to die without ‘ANY’ regrets, while not impossible, is very unlikely. The Deathbed Gut Check might be able to help you to ‘course-correct’ when you start to think about regretting your past.

[ FYI: Get her Deathbed Gut Check “toolkit” here:
https://www.youmightdietomorrow.com/deathbed-gut-check-toolkit ]

LIVE A ‘MEANINGFUL’ LIFE

So, by better understanding the ways we humans deal with our moral reality and the fear that comes along with that, we can now have the opportunity to use that information to our benefit. That life hands and that it is scary to humans can be used productively to create one’s most authentic and meaningful expression of life. The following are suggestions on how to do that:

– Acknowledge That Death Is Scary
The first step to making your fear of death productive is to acknowledge that death and fear are inextricable. The idea of dying in nonexistent will always be scary to some degree.

We can actually ‘rewire’ our brains and change our response to a fear through exposure therapy. By actively choosing to expose oneself to a fear, you can mentally prepare for it, improving your chances of a more positive response. As you continue to call late approach her fear and repeatedly experience more positive responses, you recondition your brain fear response to it.

So, when you consistently push yourself to face your fears in gentle, mindful ways, you may find that, eventually, it is largely replaced with a calm awareness of a natural fact of life.

– Enjoy Your Life
When confronted with a reminder of mortality, our natural reaction is to assert ourselves through meaningful action, like those who flocked to help people after the 9/11 attacks in New York. As a result, more recent and advanced studies on the effects of mortality awareness on human behavior have been exploring the positive, prosocial effects.

Every person finds meaning in living in a ‘good’ life, then doing so can make them feel better about dying. Because self-esteem is a natural anxiety buffer, if we have the sense that we are doing ‘great’ in life, we feel better about dying.

The idea of living each day meaningfully may feel daunting, but it will feel easier if you strive to enjoy your life and have some ‘fun’ every day. If you are enjoying yourself along the way—in a way that fulfills you and that has meaning to you—then you will feel good about it when it comes time to look back at your life when you are on your ‘deathbed’.

Thinking about death motivates one to live more in alignment with their values, and living in alignment with their values makes them less afraid of dying. (It is a complementary circular reference.) So, to minimize the fear of death, live a ‘meaningful’ life!

As an example, in the event that a human encounters an aggressive bear in the forest, that person has three options: run away (flight), run toward it (fight), or stand up to it (face it). If the person chooses the option to run away, the bear is very likely to give chase, catch the human, and rip them to shreds. If one decides to charge and fight the bear, the chances of winning are meager. So, those running and fighting ideas, are not really recommended. In a bear aggression or attack situation, most bear safety experts agree that the best tactic is to calmly face the bear and make themselves as formidable an opponent as possible. Then they say, “Stand on a rock, raise and wave your arms, and loudly yell, ‘Hey, bear!’ Most of the time this will make the bear turn around and leave.” [ “Most”?! ]

So it is with our fear of death. We can attempt to ‘run away’ from our certain mortality, we can try to find it by living consciously or ‘seeking’ immortality, or we can bravely ‘face it’ and live formidably before we die. We have a choice of how to respond to the reality of our mortality. I’m thinking that our only ‘effective’ form of self-protection against—an unsurvivable threat—is to valiantly face it and live out a ‘formidable’ life!

So—at least in my opinion—take the ‘PROACTIVE’ APPROACH, integrate a sustained practice of death awareness into your life, and actively pursue death awareness to change your life for the better!

Among philosophers, death has always been a key topic. Well-known Stoicist Marcus Aurelius said, “It is not death that a man should fear, that he should fear never beginning to live.” Their view was that actions in time are the elements of our lives most within our control and, therefore, humans’ most valuable resource. Seneca noted that we can be tightfisted with our money, but the value of time is probably more important, and we often waste that ‘most precious’ resource.

The writer of Ecclesiastes in the Bible (most likely Solomon) said it well: “For death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart” [ Ecclesiastes 7:2b ].

ALIGN WITH YOUR ‘PRIORITIES’

So then, one should try to live meaningfully, discover one’s true ‘priorities’ in their life, and live in ‘alignment’ with them.

Trying to find one single grand purpose in life has the dangerous potential to create undue pressure and inspire decision paralysis. Meaning, on the other hand, what is something that can be sought and cultivated in every moment of every day. Purpose is an action; meaning is the state of mind.

So, the phrase, “You might die tomorrow” is a call to remind one to live in the present moment. If we only have today, we should chiefly concern ourselves with finding meaning and feeling good about what we are doing today. It is less about seeking one single purpose and more about cultivating a sense of gratification from the ‘way’ we live and ‘how’ we spend our time and energy.

Psychiatrist, neurologist, and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl founded “Logotherapy,” a psychological therapy modality based on the concept that, rather than avoiding death or pursuing power or pleasure, strives to find meaning in life as the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in a person’s life—even amidst misery can constitute a potential solution to human suffering. Frankl’s fundamental principles of Logotherapy are:

– Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones
– Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life
– We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or at least in the stance we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering

The majority of Frankl’s personal and professional work on human meaning occurred during his horrific internment and after his liberation from Nazi death camps during World War II. This dramatic experience, however, is what help him see that meaning can come from suffering. Frankl’s three main avenues through which one arrives at meaning in life are:

– Creating a work or doing a deed
– Experiencing something or in encountering someone
– The attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering

Frankl’s theory helps usto see that the very act of choosing an attitude of growth, in the face of our suffering, can be a source of meaning.

So, to help one to do this, author Kate Manser suggests that one should create a “Meaningful Things” list that is a reflection of what is important to you. Meaningful things are simply actions or state of being in life which aligned to your car personal values and make you feel ‘fulfilled’. They can be big or small in importance.

‘Big’ meaningful things are sweeping life actions. Things like getting married, quitting a job, starting a business, having, adopting or fostering children, taking a overseas trip, forgiving or family member, and so on. You will know that they are big because they kind of ‘freak you out’.

‘Small’ meaningful things, on the other hand, our everyday actions and practices. Some examples are regularly appreciating nature, making sure the people you love know you love them, spending time with people that are close to you, being a positive influence to other humans with whom you cross paths with, taking time to engage in activity which brings you joy, and taking at least one moment each day to really feel and enjoy being alive.

Small ‘micro-actions’ and shifts in perspective make up our greatest sense of satisfaction in life. Sure, the big stuff gets all the attention, but while big stuff can be invigorating and life-affirming, that exhilaration fades. Big stuff is effective, but rare. Life gratification comes from opening oneself to the ‘everyday joys’ of being alive.

Not, that the little stuff can be profoundly meaningful doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have big goals and dreams. However, it would be a tragedy to focus on those at the expense of the profound impact we can have in the pursuit of the little ways we can show up for ourselves and for those around us along the way.

By doing your Meaningful Things, you will begin to feel ‘alive’. You might even feel strong, crazy, fearful, doubtful, different, excited, or vibrant when doing them. Now, whether your meaningful things are all the ‘right’ things in the end, you will always possess the experience, the lessons, and the growth that proceeded from them. You will feel fulfilled by knowing that you did everything in your power to ‘BE’ ALIVE.

Regardless of how things all turn out, you will possess the experiencing gratification of having lived in alignment with YOUR ‘meaning’. That should be enough!

LIFE ‘ASSESSMENT’

So, where are you overspending your time and energy in relation to your values—and where are you underspending?

There are opportunities to do meaningful things every day which we squander in favor of ceding to the daily demands of life—or often, just ‘zoning out’. I can promise you that, at the end of your life, you will not value the time you spend mindlessly scrolling through social media posts [ or, profoundly regret the disgusting quantity of hours that I _______________ (fill in the blank) ]. (Just remember what Bronnie Ware said about the ‘regrets’ of her palliative care patients!)

We all have 24 hours each day. The ‘variable’ within our control is ‘focus’, and how we choose to use it within a certain timeframe. You can spend the time zoning out on TV or climbing ‘Mount Everest’ (or whatever your ‘big’ dream is). The allocation of your focus is within your control, and the expenditure of that focus assigns value to whatever you apply to it. How are you spending your time is the clearest ‘reflection’ of your priorities!

It is your responsibility to adjust the time and energy you expend in each area of your life so that your priorities be aligned with your “Meaningful Things.” Sure, there are things we all have to do which might not directly help us in our meaningful pursuits, like emptying the dishwasher, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, etc. However, it is up to you to vigilantly make sure these things are allotted only the exact quantity of time needed to get them done, and no more! Your time is finite, and if you spend too much time on ‘ordinary’ obligations, you will not have the time for meaningful things!

So, how would each area of your life change if you knew you were going to die in a year? Is the life you are living now worth the ‘price’ you are paying to live it?

Hopefully, this will get you thinking about prioritizing, being present in your life moment by moment, and being a ruthless advocate for your values. Remember, that your lifetime is limited!

[ FYI: For more details about determining what matters most, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:

https://markbesh.wordpress.com/what-really-matters-v270/ ]

Living like you might die tomorrow is not just something you ‘do’, it is a way of ‘being’! If you are not actively creating your meaningful life, you are living apathetically. You can give up, zone out, or choose to really live before you die. Which are YOU going to ‘choose’?

SO, don’t wait until you are old to feel ‘desperate’ to live life. Don’t procrastinate! Live today to the ‘max’! 

[ FYI: For more details on how not to ‘procrastinate’, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:

https://markbesh.wordpress.com/a-sense-of-urgency-v269/ ]

Life is made up of moments, minutes, hours, and days how you choose to spend these units of time is how you choose to spend your life. This VERY ‘IMPACTFUL’ video by Ze Frank titled, “The Time You Have (In Jelly Beans)” visual shows how LITTLE time we actually have to do “meaningful things.”

It depicts, in a rainbow of more than 28,835 colorful jelly-beans, the number of days in the typical American life expectancy. Then, a hand removes groups of jellybeans to represent the days spent taking care of work, sleep, going to the bathroom, and all other necessary responsibilities of being alive. What is left is a small pile of jellybeans—for “laughing, swimming, making art, going on hikes, text messages, reading, checking Facebook, playing softball, maybe even teaching yourself how to play the guitar.”

The hand halves that pile and asks, “What would you do different?”

Then, the hand halves that pile and asks, “What about half of that? How much time have you already spent worrying instead of doing something that you love?”

Finally, it asks, “What if you just had one more day? What are you going to do today?”

[ VIDEO: “The Time You Have (In JellyBeans)” ]

Wow! This really shows us that we need to ‘REFINE’ that “Meaningful Things” list… NOW!

The philosopher Seneca said it well: “While we are postponing, life speeds by.” ‘Burn’ that into your daily thought process!

Death and the awareness that it can come anytime should be your ‘kick in the pants’ out of your decision paralysis. What death offers is twofold: urgency to act and clarity about what goes back should be.

[ FYI: A great book I read about decision paralysis—in the late 1980s—was “A Kick in the Seat of the Pants.” More info about is in the “Resources” section below. ]

[ VIDEO: “Life Is Short: How To Add A Sense of Urgency” ]

Death is a non-negotiable end of the road with a glaring ‘street light’ that shines away the trifles of life. We all have to answer to it with our soul ‘bared’.

So, set your ‘course’ toward living a meaningful life and start down that path—TODAY! Course correct as you go, iterate, change ‘paths’ entirely, but never give up the dogged pursuit of living authentically before you die! (YOLO – “You Only Live Once”!)

In the words of Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus, “Death is necessary and cannot be avoided. I mean, where am I going to go to get away from it?” 

When one finds acceptance with their own impermanence, they realize that all they ever truly have is the present moment. Instead of being afraid of death, they can turn their focus to embracing life, and living each moment in a way that counts. Then, death can become a ‘positive’ driving force for building a life that makes us FEEL TRULY ‘ALIVE’.

MAKING ‘PEACE’ WITH DEATH

So then, when someone tries to ‘make peace’ with something that is dreadful and daunting–like the fear of death—they usually try to make a ‘joke’ about it. So I typed “death jokes” into Google and received 115 million results! (Yep, I guess I was right!)

So, here are a few select jokes that I found funny:

“I went to visit my friend’s sick grandpa. He was lying in a hospital bed connected to a lot of tubes. When I approached him he kept repeating “Yr sndg n mi oxgn tb!’ Suddenly right in front of me, he passed. Later that night I translated his last words, and they were ‘You’re standing on my oxygen tube!’”

“Why are there so many old people in church these days? Well, they’re cramming for the final.”

“Grandma: young people your age are married by now, why aren’t you?
Me: old people your age are dead right now, why aren’t you?”

“The number one cause of death is too many birthdays.”

“A death row prisoner was told how he was going to be executed. Needless to say, he was shocked.”

“After you die what part of your body is the last to stop working? Your pupils. They dilate.”

“My granddad gave me some sound advice on his deathbed. He said that. ‘It’s worth spending money on good speakers.’”

“The inventor of throat lozenges has died. There’ll be no coffin at his funeral.”

“The guy who invented autocorrect has just died. Rest In Peas.”

“At weddings, I was always poked and told, ‘You’re next!’ So, I went to funerals and poked the person next to me and said, ‘You’re next!’”

“How did Superman’s enemies do him in? They put him in his crypt tonite!”

“I was at a funeral today and I asked the pastor for the Wi-Fi password. He said, ‘Have some respect for the dead!’. So, I said, ‘Okay, is that all lower case with no spaces?’”

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

“A wife decided to leave for a vacation, leaving her husband in supervision of her mother and her cat. After a few days, she called her husband and asked, ‘How is everything going?’ He responded with, ‘The cat is dead.’ She cried out and said, ‘Why couldn’t you’ve broken the new slowly? You could have said the cat is playing on the roof or on the first day, and the next say it broke its leg, then the next that the poor things dead! Anyways, how’s my mom?’ ‘She’s playing on the roof.’”

“At the boss’ funeral, a disgruntled employee kneeled next to the coffin and whispered, ‘Who’s thinking outside the box now, Gary?’”

“A cartoonist was found dead in his home. The details are sketchy.”

“The whole reason that he is dead is because he kept hitting ‘Remind me later’ on his Windows Updates.”

“It’s strange that, despite all the warnings, I’ve never seen a tombstone that read: ‘Died from not forwarding that e-mail to 10 people.’”

“What’s the difference between a corpse and a shirt? One’s a casualty and the other is a casual tee.”

“Corpses aren’t very funny—they’re dead serious.”

“Speaking badly of the dead is a grave mistake.”

“My skeleton puns are very humerus.” 

“What is Mozart doing right now? Decomposing.”

“After seeing an ad for burial plots, I thought this was the last thing I needed.”

“The will is the dead giveaway.”

“Did you hear the news about the graveyard? There are people dying to get in there.”

“The grave digger spent many hours practicing his craft because he was so dead-icated.”

“Will glass coffins be a success? Remains to be seen.”

“A pun walked into a room and killed ten people. Pun in, ten dead”

“The seven ages of man: spills, drills, thrills, bills, ills, pills and wills.”

The following are some funny quotes about death by relatively ’recent’ people:

“There are more dead people than living, and their numbers are increasing. The living are getting rarer.”
[ Eugene Ionesco (playwright) ]

“I’m rather relaxed about death. From quite an early age, I’ve regarded it as part of the deal, the unwritten guarantee that comes with your birth certificate.”
[ Doug Benson ]

“My father was from Aberdeen and a more generous man you couldn’t wish to meet. I have a gold watch that belonged to him. He sold it to me on his deathbed. I wrote him a cheque for it, post-dated, of course.”
[ Buddy Hackett ]

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
[ Bob Monkhouse ]

“At a formal dinner party, the person nearest to death should always be seated closest to the bathroom.”
[ George Carlin ]

“The worst time to have a heart attack is during a game of charades, especially if your teammates are bad guessers.”
[ Demetri Martin (comedian) ]

“I’d like to die on Mars. Just not on impact.”
[ Elon Musk ]

“Either this man is dead, or my watch has stopped.”
[ Groucho Marx ]

“Always go to other people’s funerals. Otherwise, they won’t come to yours.”
[ Yogi Berra ]

“As soon as you’re born, you start dying. So you might as well have a good time.”
[ John M McCrea ]

“I intend to live forever or die trying.”
[ Groucho Marx ]

But, probably the most popular joke about death by a living person is by Woody Allen. As I mentioned, it goes like this: “I’m not afraid of death. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

BIBLICAL ‘ASSUREDNESS’

In John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” death is pictured as a “dreadful river that surrounds Mount Zion.” However, the river is “deeper or shallower depending on the faith of the one traversing it.”

[ VIDEO: “Pilgrim’s Progress: Journey To Heaven” – Final Test to Get to Heaven ]

So then, what does the Bible have to say about overcoming the fear of death?

Well, first off, the greatest antidote to the fear of death is to be ‘assured’ of going to Heaven when this life is over.

Secondly, when we learn about the joys that await us in Heaven, we should long to be with Jesus and all the believers who have gone before us. I’m thinking that would help the believer have less fear of death.

Third, the Bible says that, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” [ 2 Corinthians 5:8 ]. When one knows this truth, hopefully, they will have less fear of death.

Then fourthly, but sadly, a believer’s fear of death is often associated with their disappointment of ‘falling short’ of their personal goals. So, here’s what the Apostle Paul had to say about that: “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” [ Philippians 3:13-14 ].

Again, ‘practically’, there are things that can help alleviate the fear of death like writing up a legal will, making funeral arrangements, and buying life insurance for family members. Planning ahead of time can also lessen fear of death.

[ FYI: For more details about MANY ‘practical’ things one can do to assuage the fear of death—primarily “Estate Planning”—view last month’s “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/preparing-for-the-future-v286/ ].

Now, ultimately, Jesus (and the Holy Spirit) is the one who can remove our fears, including the fear of death. Those who ‘know’ (believe) Him, are growing (disciplining) in Him, and living (serving) for Him can anticipate the afterlife with great joy, knowing they will be with Him forever:

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls”
[ 1 Peter 1:8-9 ].

Now, in our efforts to overcome our fears, we try not to get too overly serious about it, but since it is the ‘GREAT’ UNKNOWN, we still, nevertheless, ‘fight’ against it.

So, to have some ‘fun’, I went back to the Internet to find out what “death-postponing” products were available. Just a few minutes of searching revealed advertisements for some incredible products that included some amazing claims (and these a ‘serious’ products!):

– “Fight aging! Exploring life extension. Request your free copy now.”
– “Fighting aging. It’s all in your attitude.”
– “Ambrosia Anti-Aging Night Serum. That magic molecule that can soberly fight aging.”
– “Immortal Jellyfish Fights Aging.”
– “Antioxidants Reverses The Aging Process. The Secret of Nitric Oxide.”

Now, ever since recorded history, people have been searching for the elusive “Fountain of Youth” so that they could elongate their life span. Of course, we ALL want to life longer, and some want to live indefinitely. Well, I have REALLY GOOD ‘NEWS’ for you is that YOU CAN live eternally and ‘be at peace’ about this great unknown!

THE UNKNOWN ‘CAN’ BE KNOWN!

Well, as I just said, let me give you some REALLY GOOD ‘NEWS’. The fear of death’s unknown is UNNECESSARY! You DO NOT have to fear death! You can ‘KNOW’, in advance, ‘WHAT’ will happen when you die, AND know ‘WHERE’ they will ‘end up’. Then, they can enjoy the peace-giving knowledge of what ‘life’ will be like after they die!

Now, this is not to suggest that we can know every ‘detail’ or every answer to every question we may have about death. But, we can know more than enough to ‘remove’ that fear.

In 1976, the “Rolling Stone” magazine named the “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” song by rock band Blue Öyster Cult, the song of the year. (and in 2004, number 397 of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”)

The Reaper is about the inevitability of death and the foolishness of hearing it. The lyrics say, “Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity,” leading you to believe there is a continuation of life after death. The song continues that, “We can be like they are.” The refrain goes like this:

“Come on, baby (don’t fear the reaper)
Baby, take my hand (don’t fear the reaper)
We’ll be able to fly (don’t fear the reaper)
Baby, I’m your man.”

Now, some people—like the members of the band—believe that the afterlife is attainable for everyone (which would be really great, if it’s true). Believing this makes one feel better for a time, but the problem is that disbelief is subjective. These people cannot take away their fear of dying, because there is no ‘foundation’ upon which their belief ‘rests’, other than their own opinion.

Others believe that when you are dead, you are dead—the end. Their view is that all religions are result of ignorance and superstition.

Now, the death of a loved one can be heartbreaking, and even contemplating our own death can produce anxiety. So, it is perfectly understandable that many wish that they—and those close to them—could somehow survive our deaths. However, ‘wishes’ are not the best guide for life!

Despite their assurances that life after death is a vain hope, the atheist cannot prove their position. (I guess they will find out for sure someday.) However, most people believe that there has to be something more, and every religion in the world believes that there is (However, they vary on ‘what’ happens and ‘where’ one goes).

The thing is, all the religions—except Christianity—have a sort of “DO-It-Yourself” kind of program. One has to do ‘this and that’ to get to Heaven. However, not one of them can ever tell you when you have done enough!

However, Christianity says that all the work has been DONE, by Jesus. It is a free ‘gift’ that cannot be earned, just accepted:

“By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified… ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’ Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin”

[ Hebrews 10:12, 14, 17-18 ].

What Jesus has already ‘done’ IS enough to save you from going to Hell, give you eternal life in Heaven, and ‘quash’ your fear of death once and for all!

Most people try to make things ‘right’ with others before they die—especially family members—which is a really good thing to do. HOWEVER, the most important ‘Person’ you need to get right with before you die is the God of the Bible!

So, until you ‘get right’ with God—through Jesus—that will be the only way you will have peace and lose your fear of death.

The Bible says that Jesus came to earth to deliver you from the very fear that causes you to read this blog post the first place—YOUR DEATH. So then, did you ‘really’ want to lose your fear of death? Well, it is pretty easy. Just honestly repent of your sins, accept Jesus as your Savior (by believing he died on the Cross for the atonement of your sins and rose from the dead to give you new life), and commit to becoming His disciple, obeying everything He taught.

If you do this authentically, God promises that as soon as you die you will be “absent from the body and present with the Lord” [ 2 Corinthians 5:8b ], and you WILL lose your fear of the ‘UNKNOWN’, death!

[ VIDEO: “What does it mean to believe in Jesus?” ]

DEATH IS AN ‘ENEMY’

Death is an ‘enemy’ that is greater than any enemy we know on this earth. Death is a greater enemy than the ‘force’ of evil, Satan himself. It is an enemy that we cannot escape, run from, hide from, or outsmart.

We all have an ‘appointment’ with death and we do not know when that appointment is. Have you ever thought about when YOUR ‘APPOINTMENT’ will arrive?

The thing is, all of us seek to escape it for a time, right? It is probably why most of us don’t like funerals. We prefer not to think about death. We ‘distract’ ourselves with places to go, people to see, and things to buy. But there are moments—such as the passing of a loved one—when we are ‘confronted’ with that terrifying, fearful reality of death.

Death is a dark ‘enemy’. The question is, why is it so? Why is there death, and why is death so fearful, so painful, and so unnatural?

Well, the Bible gives a reason: “The sting of death is sin” [ 1 Corinthians 15:56a ]. SIN is the ‘cause’ of death. The Apostle Paul tells us that, “Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” [ Romans 5:12 ]. All sinned and thus all die.

It is everyone’s fault that death reigns in this world. It is because of the moral corruption of the human heart that death is a reality. This is why death feels so unnatural and painful—we were not made to experience it! It was because of the first act of idolatrous human rebellion against God that death entered the world—Adam and Eve.

BUT, you think: “Surely not me! I could not be the cause of such anguish!” Well, the Bible says that, “And so death spread to all men because all sinned” [ Romans 5:12 ]. NOT ONE of us is ‘exempt’ from the indictment of sin: “There is no one righteous, not even one there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” [ Romans 3:10-12 ].

Sadly, it gets worse! “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law” [ 1 Corinthians 15:56 ].

So, we all try to ‘appeal’ to God: “I did not intentionally ever rebel against You, God! Surely, I should not be subject to death for I am, after all, a ‘good’ person!”

Because the law of God is written upon every person’s ‘heart’ and clearly revealed in His Word, it stands as a ‘witness’ against you that you have broken it. None of us can plead ignorance for every single one of us has heard the law of God—whether through the warnings of your conscience that have reverberated in your heart or through the explicit warnings of Scripture itself.

So, every single one of us has willfully chosen to break it. “For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power” [ 1 Corinthians 15:56 ].

Why then is death such an ‘enemy’? Why is it so fearful? Well, the writer of Hebrews said that, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” [ Hebrews 9:27 ].

The “judgment”? Well, awaiting one’s exit from this body through the cold, turbulent, pain-filled waters of death is the “judgment seat” of God. Immediately following your last breath, you will ‘stand’ before God Almighty to be judged: “For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” [ Ecclesiastes 12:14 ].

So then, with what standard will God judge you? Well, it will be by His holy law (and that ought to terrify you!).

You may perhaps think: “I’ll be approved! Look at all the good I have done. I have given money to church, charities, and to the poor. I have been a good child to my parents and a good parent to my children. I am really generous and attend church faithfully every week. I’m a really ‘good’ person!”

The thing is, Jesus said that, “Not all who sound religious are really godly people. They may refer to me as ‘Lord,’ but still won’t get to Heaven. The decisive question is whether they obey my Father in Heaven. At the Judgment many will tell me, ‘Lord, Lord, we told others about you and used your name to cast out demons and to do many other great miracles.’ But I will reply, ‘You have never been mine. Go away, for your deeds are evil’” [ Matthew 7:21-23 ]. Wow!

God’s law is not satisfied by ‘good deeds.’ God’s law requires much, much more: God’s law REQUIRES ‘PERFECTION’! “Trying your best” is insufficient law-keeping and such a testimony of attempts is unsatisfactory in the divine ‘courtroom’ of God’s justice!

The point of all this? Well, you CANNOT ‘KEEP’ God’s law! The law will keep you ‘shackled’ and bound by the power of death! Like shackles that bind the condemned prisoner, so too, clamped upon the ankles and clenching the wrists of the human soul, is the crippling fear of death. The Bible tells us that, “Through fear of death” the whole world is “subject to lifelong slavery” [ Hebrews 2:15 ]. 

So, is there any hope in death? Well, might I say, enthusiastically, YES! “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law, BUT…  “But?” But what? “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” [ 1 Corinthians 15:57 ].

Taking upon Himself a human nature, Jesus left His throne of glory above and entered this fallen, broken, sin-plagued, death-doomed world to live among us—to live ‘with’ us, to live ‘for’ us.

Jesus, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant—by taking on humanity: flesh and bones, weakness and frailty (Philippians 2:6-7).

Jesus, the Word of God, became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). So, “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” [ Galatians 4:4-5 ].

Jesus lived the life you and I could never live and He was not crushed by the weight of the law’s demands. He upheld those demands in perfect obedience!

BUT, that is NOT ALL He did. Jesus “Was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities” [ Isaiah 53:5 ]. He went to the Cross of Golgotha after having lived a life that we could not live, and He died the death that WE ALL ‘DESERVE’ to die!

Jesus ‘stands’ in the place of sinners, taking upon Himself their sin. This was a ‘substitution’—God in the flesh come to save you from His own divine wrath!

Then, three days later, the pangs of death were loosed by the power of God and Jesus rose from the grave, triumphant over sin, ‘VICTORIOUS’ OVER DEATH!

So now, He extends that victory TO ‘YOU’ today!  He says, “Come to Me, I will give you rest for your soul” [ Matthew 11:28 ]. All you need to do is repent and believe. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel” [ Mark 1:15 ].

Repent? That means to believe God about what He says about you—that you are a sinner who has turned, in your rebellion, against Him and his law, and therefore, you are a sinner who deserves to be judged for your sin.

Repentance is agreeing with God that you can never keep His law, having already broken it, and turning away from your sin in your heart and with your feet, and toward God to worship, serve, love, and live for Him.

Believe? Genuine, saving belief—saving faith—is ‘casting’ your soul upon Jesus to save you from your sin knowing that He, and He alone, can ‘rescue’ you from an eternity in Hell!

In addition to this, there is peace and hope. Peace with death—with no fear of it anymore—and as the Apostle Paul said—with hope teeming from his soul—“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” [ Philippians 1:21 ].

The ‘sting’ of death is NO LONGER and the power of sin is the law: “Death is swallowed up in victory. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” [ 1 Corinthians 15:55 ]. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).

It is my hope and it is my prayer that none of you would finish this post still ‘shackled’ by the crippling fear of death! Hopefully, you know the peace of God that surpasses understanding and guarding your heart in the ‘face’ of the greatest enemy humanity has—death—and give you a hope for an eternity in Heaven when “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” [ Revelation 21:4b ].

[ For more details about the “blessed hope,” view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/blessed-hope-v245/ ]

THE ULTIMATE ‘INTRUSION’

Death is the ultimate ‘intrusion’. It is a massive, ugly ‘elephant in the room’ and is always there to make us fearful.

If you ask most people why death exists, they will shrug their shoulders and tell you that, “It is just the way it is.” They usually say that death is the “end of life.” It is natural. Everyone and everything dies. It is inevitable. To them, death “just is,” and we all have to just “deal with it.”

However, that is not necessary because it is natural or hopelessly inevitable. It is necessary because of the law that demands “The soul who sins shall die” [ Ezekiel 18:4 ].

So, while many in the world say that death is a ‘natural’ part of life and that we have to accept it, the Bible tells a different story. Death is NOT the cessation of life. It is an ‘appointment’ we have to keep: “And as it is appointed for men to die wants, but after that the judgment” [ Hebrews 9:27 ].

Much like earthly judicial courts that issue subpoenas, or summonses, to appear for legal cases, God has issued everyone a ‘divine’ subpoena. In other words, we must appear before Him to face our judgment—and everyone WILL appear before Him! [ Believers will appear before the “Judgment Seat of Christ” to get their ‘rewards’, and the unbeliever will appear before God the Father at the “Great White Throne Judgment just before they are thrown into the “Lake of Fire”—forever! ]

In reality, the divine subpoena leaves us without any choice. Death is coming, ready or not, as the arresting officer. The ‘Grim Reaper’ is going to make sure we appear before the Judge of the universe to stand trial for our many transgressions. However, don’t draw back from the ‘light’ just yet! If you are living—and you have to be because you are reading this post—you still have a chance to ‘skirt’ Hell!

So, let’s ask why we are in this fateful position. The Bible says that the problem of death originated way back in the Garden of Eden: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sand, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” [ Romans 5:12 ]. We were ‘condemned’ to death from the moment we came into this life! (However, as I have said, God sent His Son, Jesus, to ‘solve’ that problem.)

THE ‘HEART’ OF THE ISSUE

The world has tried to soften this reality by giving us alternative words when we speak about it. Instead of saying that someone has died, we say that they have “passed on” and we celebrate their life. They did not get buried in a graveyard, rather, they rest in a “memorial park.” The undertaker has become the “funeral director,” and the hearse has become a “limo.” Despite the changing language, it is still horrific!

However, this ‘dread’ we feel can be beneficial—because not all fear is bad. Sometimes it is there to protect us. It does not feel good to us, but it is good for us. It doesn’t feel good to stand on the edge of a thousand-foot cliff and experience the terror when we look down, but, that discomfort is good because the terror will make you step back from the cliff, if we ‘listen’ to our feelings. Therefore, listen to their God-given fear of death. It is saying, ”Back up! Get yourself out of danger!!!”

The tragedy is, that most people feel the fear, and yet they do not move back from the cliff. They think that death is natural—that it is part of life or that there is nothing they can do about it. They believe it is inevitable. It is NOT inevitable!

Death is NOT ‘natural’. It is NOT your ‘friend’. The Bible says it is your ‘enemy’ (1 Corinthians 15:26), and if we don’t fear an enemy, we are not wise. We should fear death not just because death itself is fearful, but because after death, we will move out of the ‘frying pan’ into the ‘fire’! We have to face a holy God on that day of judgment—and that is a fearful thing! Jesus said to those who were his friends:

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him”
[ Luke 12:4-5 ].

When we speak of a guilty criminal “falling into the hands of the law,” the inference is that when we fall into something, we have no choice and the way to escape—and that is the predicament of EVERY human: “How shall we escape if we neglect so greatly salvation?” [ Hebrews 2:3 ].

The Bible says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” [ Proverbs 9:10a ]. So, I am going to try to do you the greatest of favors and attempt to put the ‘FEAR’ OF GOD into you!

In our ‘fallen’ state, we have a propensity to think we are right when we are wrong. We quickly pass over important matters, assuming that we know the truth without taking the time to consider it objectively. A typo in a text is just a typo—usually no big deal. However, one can’t afford to be wrong when it comes to the way of salvation: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s an is the way of death” [ Proverbs 14:12 ], and “He who trusts his own heart is a fool” [ Proverbs 28:26 ]. These verses should make you ‘squirm’ if you are an unbeliever!

EARNED YOUR ‘WAGES’?

Death, according to the Bible, is “wages.” The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” [ Romans 6:23 ]. As mentioned earlier, sin is so serious to God that he gives centers the death sentence. It is just like a judge in a court of law whose sentences criminals to death for viciously murdering a person. The criminal has ‘earned’ the electric chair. This is what he deserves. It is his due wages.

However, when we are confronted about our sins, we more often than not try to justify ourselves by saying that, “Everyone sins,” that there is “Fault in the Bible,” or we try to separate ourselves from our sins by admitting that we did sin, but “That was in the past.” The thing is, even human law holds us responsible for crimes done in the past. The old saying is that, “You can run, but you can’t hide.” The passing of time does not ‘erase’ or excuse one’s crimes.

So, don’t try to cover up your transgressions or attempt to justify yourself. That WILL NOT WORK on Judgment Day. You have earned your wages and the Bible says that all liars will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). No thief, no adulterer, no blasphemer will inherit the kingdom of God. Does that make you fearful? If it does, that is good. Fear is doing is ‘beneficial’ work. Is being your ‘friend’, not your ‘enemy’—by showing you that you need God’s mercy.

Hopefully, the truth about your sinful condition is humbling you so that you will be able to understand the ‘Good News’ of the Gospel—that you cannot save yourself but that God kindly offers you a ‘parachute’ in the person of Jesus.

[ NOTE: if you are not sure of how to repent for your sins, here is a model prayer of repentance, given to us in the Scriptures, when King David had his sins exposed by Nathan the prophet (Psalm 51:1-4):

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.” ]

The Bible tells us that King Solomon asked God for wisdom, and God gave it to him. The summation of his wisdom was that life (without a knowledge of salvation) is utterly futile. He had attained great power and immeasurable riches, and yet, with all of this power, wisdom, and wealth, he said that life is “vanity” or meaninglessness:

“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever”
[ Ecclesiastes 1:2-4 ].

So, ‘glean’ from his wisdom. He is reminding us—from his grave—that death is imminent. But, you have an advantage over Solomon. You have THE ‘WAY’ of salvation through Jesus. So, what are you going to do about it?

God has done so much for us through Jesus. We are not always saved from the terrors of a very real Hell, but we are saved from death itself. There are no words to describe what we have in Jesus!

BE ‘FREE’ OF THE FEAR OF DEATH

People are more burdened than ever with fear. Most of all, they ‘dread’ the end of this life, and they ‘shrink’ from any thought of what comes after.

It is, of course, quite natural for fallen humanity to fear death. As I just mentioned, death is “the wages of sin” and it is our most powerful and persistent enemy. However, the Bible says that when Jesus’ triumph over every last vestige of evil is fully realized, “The last enemy that will be abolished is death” [ 1 Corinthians 15:26 ].

Benjamin Franklin famously wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” The truth is, there are many ways to avoid taxes. But, there is NO WAY to avoid death! 

Fear is the appropriate response for anyone who is unprepared for that reality. Not fear of death, per se, but every soul should tremble at the thought of divine judgment. Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are on able to kill the soul; but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell” [ Matthew 10:28 ]. He was saying that God is the one who we should fear. Indeed, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” [ Psalm 111:10a; Proverbs 9:10a ].

However, the Gospel also announces that repentant sinners can find grace and forgiveness such that they can truly face death—not with fear but with FULL ‘ASSURANCE’ of eternal life!

Every well-grounded believer can likewise face death without fear, and the Apostle Paul deliberately stressed that truth. This was the whole reason Jesus entered this world and died as an atoning sacrifice: So that:

“Through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the Devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives”
[ Hebrews 2:14-15 ].

The Bible tells us the cause of death, outlines precisely what happens after we die, and it gives us a wonderful cure—calling it “His unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15). For the millions who have believed God’s Word, death is NO LONGER AN ‘UNKNOWN ‘MYSTERY’—and the ‘cure’ that God has provided is a source of UNSPEAKABLE ‘COMFORT’!

BELIEVERS ARE ‘NOT FEARFUL’ OF DEATH

In the mid-1970s, NASA began developing the space shuttle. Columbia blasted off on April 12, 1981, and orbited the earth 36 times. There were 27 missions that followed that one, but Columbia’s final trip was one of tremendous tragedy.

While reentering the atmosphere on February 1, 2003, the shuttle broke apart. A piece of insulating foam, the size of a small briefcase, had peeled off during the launch 16 days earlier and punctured one of the Shuttle’s wings. The intense heat of reentry causes gases to penetrate the wing, triggering the catastrophe that killed the seven astronauts.

Now, neither NASA nor the Columbia crew ever knew about the situation before their spacecraft broke apart 207,000 feet above Texas. Evidence shows that even in the final moments of the flight, the crew was still desperately trying to regain control of the Space shuttle and safely reenter the atmosphere.

So, hypothetically, what would you do if you knew the crew was doomed? Would you tell them, causing indescribable mental anguish, but give them time to say their “good-byes,” reflect on life, or perhaps ‘make peace’ with God? Or, would you remain silent, making their final hours of time of exhilaration in anticipation of reunion with their loved ones?

[ FYI: The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has a website, “Steps To Peace [With God]: https://stepstopeace.org/ (One of Billy Graham’s most popular sermons, “Make Your Peace With God,” is in the “Articles” section below.) ]

In the same way, the plight of Columbia resembles our own ‘journey’: we are flying through space on a spinning planet, and EVERY person is subject to a sudden death at ANY moment! None of us will escape! The difference is, we all know we are going to die, and we have the opportunity to prepare!

[ FYI: For more details on how to ‘prepare’ for your future (death), view last month’s “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/preparing-for-the-future-v286/ ].

Death is not a favorite subject to discuss for many people. But, death IS the ultimate fear and the ultimate ‘intrusion’. When someone dies, I have heard a lot of people say, “They are in a better place.” (Hmmm… how can they be sure of that?)

Most of us treat death as the ultimate ‘obscenity’. Rather than simply saying, “They died,” we plug in an endless supply of the euphemisms: “Passed on,” “Went to a better place,” “Was called home,” “When to sleep,” or “Departed this life.” (Or, if Shakespeare is your ‘thing’, “Shuffled off this mortal coil.”) 

[ There are a variety of web pages that have a list of death euphemisms. One such categorizes them as: Descriptions, Polite, Old-fashioned, Quaint, Snarky, and Humorous:
https://www.usurnsonline.com/oddbits/euphemisms-for-death/ ]

In his book, “The Hour Of Our Death,” historian Philippe Aries notes that death used to be taken more casually as a ‘part’ of life. Young people were not shielded from it. People died at home, and the body was put on display there. People came by to weep and mourn their loss, but no one pretended a death had not occurred, as we often do today when we gather in little groups in the parking lot after funerals and nervously tell jokes.

Because of our discomfort, we ‘airbrush’ the whole death experience. We pretend people are not going to die, and we change the subject when they wish to discuss it. (Are you going to now discontinue reading this post?) We then dispatch them from his life in a white, sterilized hospital corridor, cutting them off from home and the familiar. Most off go to great lengths to avert our eyes from the reality of death. Publishing executive and author Joseph T. Bayly said that, “Death is the great leveler of the mighty in the lowly. It plays no favorites and cuts no deals.”

‘ETERNITY’ IN OUR HEARTS

In every human soul has a God-given awareness that there is “something more” than this transient world—a ‘conscience’. With that awareness of eternity comes a hope that we can one day find a fulfillment not afforded by the “vanity” in this world. The Bible says that God has “set eternity in the human heart” [ Ecclesiastes 3:11b ].

In the Hebrew, the word “olam” refers to God’s placing an eternal longing or sense of eternity in the human heart. This affirms the idea that humans operate in a different way than other forms of life. We possess an innate knowledge that there is something more to life than what we can see and experience in the here and now.

So, through all the ups and downs and vicissitudes of life, we have a glimpse of a future glorious ‘world’—Heaven. Life is but a vapor (James 4:14), but the believer CAN know, for sure, that there is something ‘beyond’ this life—that earth is not our ‘home’—and it is a divinely ‘implanted awareness’ that the believer will live forever with God in Heaven.

The Bible also speaks of a heavenly home being prepared for the children of God (John 14:2-3). We are encouraged, here and now, to “lay up treasures” in Heaven, by investing our resources in things of eternal value (Matthew 6:19-20). Again, love will be a key factor there.

Perhaps we have loved ones awaiting us—which will be a great ‘reunion’. HOWEVER, above all, Jesus, whom we dearly love, will be there! To be in His presence will make Heaven just ‘heavenly’! (Philippians 1:23; Revelation 21:3).

Our earthly homes may be lavish and beautiful, or plain and run down. Even so, if those we love are there, it is a wonderful place. But, we realize it is not Heaven and nothing can compare with that—and it is there, as believers, that we long to be!

In his book, “The Problem of Pain,” lay theologian C.S. Lewis wrote, “Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”

That is a similar focus of the message of Albert E. Brumley’s hymn, “This World Is Not My Home.” It begins and ends like this:

“This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through;
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue;
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world any more.
.
.
.
“O Lord, You know I have no friend like You,
If heaven’s not my home, then Lord what will I do?
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,

And I can’t feel at home in this world any more.”

C.S. Lewis also said that, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world” and that one should “Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’; aim at earth and you will get neither.” So, don’t MISS THE ‘MARK’!

[ FYI: For more details about ‘missing the mark’, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/missing-the-mark-v222/ ]

Believers understand that it is rational to want to live—humans have souls, and the Lord has imbued these souls with a ‘sense’ of eternity. Is King Solomon put it: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end” [ Ecclesiastes 3:11 ].

Author C.S. Lewis beautifully captured in this longing for eternity—this longing for a better place—in his novel “Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold.” Lewis’ favorite of his own works tells the story of a young woman who was going to her lover (i.e. Jesus). The woman tells her sister, “The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing—to reach the Mountain (i.e. Heaven), to find a place where the beauty came from. My country, the place where I ought to have been born… Four indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back. On my life that God of the Mountain has been wooing me.”

Lewis also wrote in his book  “Mere Christianity”:

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be on thankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in my self the desire for my true country, which I shall not find tell after death.”

Believer, your “true country” awaits you! Death is a triumphal ‘graduation’ for the saved! Death is not an ‘upgrade’! “He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” [  Revelation 2:7 ].

Although physical death ends every literal immortality attempt, physical death, not eternal punishment, humiliates all symbolic immortality at times and reveals the hopelessness of coping with death without Jesus. As Hebrews 9:27 says, “People are destined to die wants, and after that to face judgment.” Ecclesiastes 12:14 tells us that, “God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

The Apostle Paul tells us, “He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury” [ Romans 2:6-8 ]. All believers would do well to seek for glory and honor and immortality.

The Holy Spirit proclaimed that, “The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death” [ Revelation 2:11 ]. If the believer stays faithful to Jesus, eternal life in God’s Kingdom awaits them! If the believer strives to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength then they cannot miss out! At the Fathers right hand are “pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). A glorious eternity awaits all those who trust in Jesus! Death is defeated, and they are going to live with him forever and ever!

Again, C.S. Lewis, in his lecture “The Weight of Glory,” impart some wisdom on this topic:

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”

Indeed! If you are a believer, then God intends to glorify you for eternity! Let the believer “seek the things that are above” (Colossians 3:1) and “set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming” [ 1 Peter 1:13 ].

The Apostle Paul said that, “For all things are yours… and your are Christ’s, and Christ is God” [ 1 Corinthians 3:21b, 23 ].

‘VICTORY’ OVER DEATH

For those who believe in Jesus, He forever changes the way the believer views death. “Since the children have flesh and blood, he to share in their humanity so that by his death he may destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the Devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fears of death” [ Hebrews 2:14-15 ]. The mission of Jesus, simply put, was to free us from the fear of death! Jesus came to turn an enemy into a friend, and a terrifying journey into the anticipation of a welcome reunion!

So, how could Jesus accomplish this on our behalf? Well, only if He Himself became one of us, so that by His death, He would destroy the fear of death that the Devil used to enslave us. In other words, Satan’s ‘weapon’ of fear was taken from him when Jesus died on the Cross and rose again. The resurrection is proof that death need not terrify—the grave has been emptied of its power!

This is why the Apostle Paul could say, “Where, Oh death, is your victory question mark where, oh death, is your sting?” [ 1 Corinthians 15:55 ]. Just as a bee loses its stinger after a bite, death was emptied of its ‘arsenal’ when Jesus rose from the dead. He freed us from the fear of passing through the parted curtain. “Death,” Paul says, has been “swallowed up in victory.”

Thus, the resurrection of Jesus is the ‘cornerstone’ of the Christian faith. Standing at the empty tomb, we are assured that we will share in the triumph of Jesus on the Cross, when He conquered our most fearsome enemy—death! Even though death can still terrify us, the more we know about Jesus, the more death’s power fades.

Standing in the presence of Jesus, we see death for what it is: a terrifying enemy whose power has been ‘CRUSHED’! As we enter Jesus’ abandoned grave figuratively—but as Peter and John did physically—we both witness death’s vanishing power.

So, I pray that you will join me in going to Heaven after you die. (Without sounding ‘arrogant’—hopefully, just ‘confident’, I will end up there!)

[ FYI: For more details about the ‘assurance’ of getting to Heaven, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/knowing-assurance-v243/ ]

So, why can believers face death with the common assurance that Heaven awaits? Well, the answer is, of course, because of the resurrection of Jesus. The tomb that was provided by Joseph of Arimathea was “forsaken” by the Jesus of Nazareth. This fact motivated the poet Alice Meynell to write:

“No planet knows that this earth of ours…
Bears, as its chief treasure, one
Forsaken grave.”

This ‘forsaken’ grave lies at the heart of the Christian faith. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, Christianity collapses like a house of cards. Vance Havner, a preacher of a past generation, said perceptively, “If the resurrection of Jesus is a myth, then I am mythtaken, mythstified, and mytherable.”

The thing is, believers shall actually ‘GAIN’ by their death. They shall be free from the physical and psychological trauma of this life, and be joined, in fellowship, with Jesus and their previous earthly friends.

Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote a song, “Because He Lives,” and a portion of the lyric emphasizes this truth:

“And because He lives I can face tomorrow;
Because He lives all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future.
And life is worth the living just because He lives.”

The forsaken tomb is an affirmation that life continues after death. God does not waste human personality—He does not create our minds and aspirations only to have them cast aside through a stroke, heart disease, or cancer. Through Jesus we have eternal life of such quality that our physical existence is but a ‘stepping stone’ to our future eternal fulfillment!

Billy Graham shared in a 1972 radio message Jesus’ ‘victory’ over the grave and death:

1. Death is no accident.
“The death of a Christian is unlike the tragic passing of the unrighteous. Though the Christian has no immunity from death and no claim to perpetual life on this planet, death is to him a friend rather than a foe, the beginning rather than the end.”

2. Death is a rest from labor.
“It is as if the Lord of the harvest says to every weary laborer, ‘You’ve been faithful in your task. Come and sit in the sheltered porch of my palace and rest from your labors. Enter now into the joy of your Lord.’”

3. Death is a departure.
“Everything which happens prior to death is a preparation for the journey. Death marks the beginning, not the end. It is a solemn, dramatic step in our journey to God. … Separation always brings a tinge of sadness. But there is the high hope that we shall meet again.”

4. Death is a transition.
“Death to the Christian is the exchanging of a tent for a permanent palace. Here we are as pilgrims or gypsies living in a frail, flimsy home subject to disease, pain and peril. But at death we exchange this crumbling, disintegrating tent for a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

5. Death is an exodus.
“We speak of decease as though it were the end of everything. But the word ‘decease’ literally means ‘exodus’ or ‘going out.’ The imagery is that of the children of Israel leaving Egypt with its bondage, slavery and hardships. So death to the Christian is an exodus from the limitations, the perils and the bondage of this life.”

So, the question is not whether we will die, but HOW we will die.

The believer can look to Jesus and His last moments on the Cross as their example. He taught them how to live, but He also taught them how to die. He who went before them and showed them the way invites them to join Him in the world beyond. The darkness was forever over and the suffering was finished—and now he was finally able to commit his spirit into the hands of His Father. Jesus left us the legacy of a “good death.”

Jesus’ last words were, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” [ Luke 23:46 ]. He commended His spirit to the Father, placing Himself, with assurance, into the Fathers care. The good news is, that you and I can die with the same confidence!

The thing is, Jesus’ death was not the end but the beginning of new relationship. If we learn from Him, we will be ready when our final hour comes. He died in faith, and was rewarded with a resurrection—and so shall the believer!

In ancient times, a “forerunner” helped a vessel enter the harbor safely. He would jump off the ship, wade into the harbor, and fasten the strong rope of the ship to a rock along the shore. Then, by means of a winch, the vessel was brought in safely. This is the imagery use by the author of Hebrews, who views Jesus as the One who has gone to Heaven to prepare the way for the believer: “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf” [ Hebrews 6:19-20 ]. Storms will tear our sails to shreds, the floors will creak, the gusts of wind will attempt to blow us off course, however, the redeemed shall arrive safely in the ‘port’ (Heaven). Each day, the believer is pulled up a notch closer to the ‘Harbor’ by the One who has proved that He is stronger than death!

As has been said, the ‘prospect’ of death is rather frightening. It is something we have not done before and it is something that cannot be undone. The thing is, the actual ‘process’ of dying can also be quite frightening, too.

César Malan’s 1832 hymn, “It is Not Death to Die” captures, with great feeling, the eternal truth surrounding our deaths:

“It is not death to die,
To leave this weary road,
And ‘midst the brotherhood on high
To be at home with God.

“It is not death to close
The eye long dimmed by tears,
And wake in glorious repose
To spend eternal years.”

[ Note: A lyric video of this hymn is in the “Songs” section below. ]

Now, for the believer, death ‘begins’ the life they have always longed for.

Like every other unknown, the ‘lynchpin’ of our steadfastness at the prospect of death is FAITH. The prospect of death ‘tests’ one’s faith. It is in many ways the ‘ultimate’ test of faith. Now, just like all tests of faith, it is unsurprising if we falter at times. However, Jesus is available to help. “Lord I believe, help my unbelief” is not a one-time cry on our lips.

In short, the fear of death is a conflict between our trust in Jesus and the natural fears that emanate from our minds. Which will ‘take over’ your ‘heart’? The stronger one’s ‘vision’ of Jesus, the more intricately His love for them and their love for Him has wound itself around daily joys and sorrows, the lesser their fear of death will be. For every believer, death is a path they must walk, but it is the path to meeting our greatest ‘Friend’, Jesus!

Jesus teaches us that death is the ‘door’ by which we are admitted into the presence of God. He also reminds us that it is possible to die young and yet to have fulfilled the will of God. The more closely one walks with God, the more easily they will believe that He can be trusted with their spirits—that part of them that is the ‘seat’ of their thinking, willing, caring, and feeling.

Come what may, the believer WILL be welcomed into the inner sanctum of the Father’s presence. John Ryland said it well in his hymn, “Sovereign Ruler of the Skies”:

“Plagues and death around me fly,
Till He please I cannot die
Not a single shaft can hit
Tell the God of love sees fit.”

If your spirit does not go into the hands of God for safekeeping, it will go into the hands of God for judgment. The same ‘hands’ that speak of hope and comfort also speak of terror and punishment. We are warned that, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” [ Hebrews 10:31 ]. The hands that are today outstretched, inviting us to receive His mercy, are the hands that will throw the unrepentant sinner into the pit of loneliness and despair—eternal suffering in Hell!

So, don’t be wrong about whether or not you are in God’s protective hands! We are all invited to trust in Jesus, Who conquered death!

If you have never trusted Jesus as your Savior, I strongly urge you to DO SO NOW! Tell Him that you repent of all of your sins, and are transferring all of your trust to Him as your personal sin-bearer. His promise is that, for those who repent and believe (Mark 1:15), eternal life awaits. Then, you can die with Jesus’ words on your lips: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

DEATH SHALL ‘DIE’!

The English writer and Anglican cleric John Donne is considered now to be one of the preeminent poets of the 16th century. He wrote this:

“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.”

In this poem, the speaker affronts an enemy, Death personified. This enemy is one most feared, but in this sonnet, the speaker essentially ‘tells him off’. The way the speaker talks to Death reveals that he is not afraid of Death, and does not think that Death should be so sure of himself, and so proud. 

Such power is merely an illusion and, in the end, Death thinks it brings to men and women a ‘rest’ from world-weariness for its alleged “victims.” The poet criticizes Death as a slave to other forces: fate, chance, kings, and desperate men. Death is not in control, for a variety of other powers exercise their volition in taking lives.

Although it is obvious that Death is real, and that people who experience Death do not come back to earth, the speaker reveals his reasons for claiming that Death is weak and easily overcome. He claims that Death is only “one short sleep” and that those who experience Death “wake eternally.” Then, he claims that, “Death shall be no more.” Finally, he tells Death, “Thou shalt die.” The speaker has not only told Death that he has no real power over anyone, but that he will experience the end of himself when all wake in eternity and death will be no more.

The confident tone throughout the poem provides an ironic sense of comfort to the readers by implicitly suggesting that Death is NOT to be feared at all and, in the end, “Death, thou shalt die.” Death will be overcome by Someone even greater—Jesus!

Sadly, many believers are not living lives free of fear, and there can be serious consequences when fear is not removed. Author and educator Neil T. Anderson wrote:

“Fear is a thief. It erodes our faith, plunders are hope, steals our freedom, and takes away our joy of living the abundant life in Christ. Phobias are like the coils of a snake—the more we give into them, the tighter they squeeze. Tired of fighting, we succumb to the temptation and surrender to our fears. But what seems like an easy way out becomes, in reality, a prison of unbelief—a fortress of fear that holds us captive.”

Jesus came to “proclaim liberty to the captives,” and I believe that includes those held captive by fear (Luke 4:18). For that reason, the psalmist said,

“You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you”
[ Psalm 91:5-7 ].

WRAP-UP

A few years ago, it was the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and the enduring power of the attacks reveals how a badly shaken nation came together, briefly, in a spirit of sadness and patriotism; how the public initially rallied behind the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, though support waned over time; and how Americans viewed the threat of terrorism at home and the steps the government took to combat it.

Americans were enraged by the attacks and fear was widespread. Most Americans said they were very (28%) or somewhat (45%) worried about another attack. When asked a year later to describe how their lives changed in a major way, about half of the adults said they felt more afraid, more careful, more distrustful or more vulnerable as a result of the attacks.

Even after the immediate shock of 9/11 had subsided, concerns over terrorism remained at higher levels in major cities—especially New York and Washington—than in small towns and rural areas.

The impact of the 9/11 attacks were deeply felt and slow to dissipate. By the following August, 50% of U.S. adults said the country “had changed in a major way”—a number that actually increased, to 61% in 2011!

Over two decades since the terrorist attacks on 9/11 has, in many ways, reshaped how Americans think of war and peace. The physical and symbolic void left by the destruction of the Twin Towers was filled on November 3, 2014, with the opening of One World Trade Center, a 1,776-foot skyscraper, after the memorial plaza, and a museum were previously opened (completed in 2011 and 2014, respectively).

In the museum’s Memorial Hall is a quote from Virgil’s poem “The Aeneid”: “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” Virgil’s Aeneid reminds us that as we contemplate such things, so we should expect to have to persevere, not only against opposition from without, but also against our own failures. In doing so, it reminds us that we can recover much better than what was lost.

Some 2,750 people were killed in New York, 184 at the Pentagon, and 40 in Pennsylvania (where one of the hijacked planes crashed after the passengers attempted to retake the plane). In addition to these fatalities, all 19 terrorists died and more than 400 police officers and firefighters were killed. 

The thing is, twice as many people died in the United States of “natural causes” every day than died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks! For every person who died in the twin towers, that field in western Pennsylvania, or the Pentagon, two others died in our hospitals, homes, and on our highways.

The thing is, terrorism’s casualties do not increase the ultimate death toll. Those who did not die in New York on that fateful day would have died at a later time in a different way. That is not to speak lightly of the horror of that day, nor does it absolve the evil men who carried it out that day.

However, we must simply realize that death cannot be avoided because of extraordinary good health or a streak of great luck. We might be able to postpone the event, but it can never be ‘canceled’ altogether!

Death comes to all of us: rich and poor, famed and unsung. No matter how powerful or celebrated we may be, we cannot escape the fact that we will, one day, die. When our moment comes, it will not matter whether we accept death with tranquility, fear, or indifference. There is literally nothing we can do about the fact that someday the “bell will toll” for us!

Worldwide, almost two people die per hour, 106 per minute, 6,393 per hour, 153,425 per day, and over 56,000,000 per year! [ Based on the “World Death Clock” – Last updated 23 FEB 22 ]. If there is nothing else that connects you to every other human being on this planet, there is, of course, death. You are touched by death every day of your life. Somewhere, someone dies, and that death somehow impacts you—maybe imperceptibly—every day.

Now, within certain limits, it IS ‘normal’ to be afraid of death. To a certain degree, a “normal” fear of death can be a good thing because it makes us more cautious, helps us cherish meaningful experiences, and evaluate the values that guide us. 

Contemplating your own mortality and wondering what happens when you die is not abnormal, and if the thought of it makes you a bit uncomfortable, you shouldn’t be worried. Death is not an easy topic. However, if death is constantly on your mind, and death anxiety is affecting your everyday life, to the point where you experience physical symptoms and feel overwhelmed by it, that could be a sign you need some help.

However, there is a growing amount of “death anxiety” (also called Thanatophobia or “fear of death”) happening. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines this as the “emotional distress and insecurity aroused by reminders of mortality.” Generally speaking, anyone can have a little anxiety around death, and it is not a clinical diagnosis. Though, technically, if you have a persistent, irrational fear of, say, flying because you are scared of dying in a plane crash, you could be diagnosed with a ‘specific’ phobia.

Sometimes, anxiety about death can be ‘sparked’ by a personal health scare or by the loss of someone you care for—which is normal. However, it can also show up for people with mental health conditions like generalized anxiety disorder or for people who have anxiety about their health (as seen in conditions like illness anxiety disorder or somatic symptom disorder)—since they are already prone to stressing about uncertainty or getting sick.

The thing is, death anxiety is a natural experience that one can learn to control with a few types of psychotherapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure Therapy. [ Details were shared in the “Thanatophobia” section above. ]

Dr. Ken Druck, a pioneer in the fields of psychology, aging, and mental health suggests six ways to ‘overcome’ one’s fear of death and summon the courage to come to terms with one’s mortality:

– Treat Conquering the Fear of Death as a Process, not an Endpoint
– Allow a Humble Unknowingness
– Death Is Inescapable: Trying to Outsmart, Outrun or Outmaneuver It Is an Exercise in Futility
– Embrace Uncertainty and “Choose to Believe” in an Organic Faith
– Focus on What You Believe Does Go On After You Die
– Pay the Good in Your Life Forward

He goes on to say that the following ideals—that he calls “courageous living”—can be of great help when facing down the fear of death:

– Stay humble, and find peace in your unknowingness
– Cultivate a calm mind that allows naturally arising fears and doubts to come and go
– Keep the faith that whatever you believe in your heart is true
– Have faith in a divine truth without apology or justification

Druck says that when it comes to accepting the inevitable, we are all “works-in-progress” and a certain amount of existential unrest is part of being human. Summoning courage, faith, understanding, and humility requires great determination. Allowing for, and accepting, life’s terms, as well as voicing our objections to the parts that are sad and scary, however, it is all part of life’s  ‘journey’.

Other psychologists suggest a variety of tactics to help one accept the reality of death:

– Use the fear of death as motivation to lengthen your life by practicing healthy habits
– One will become less fearful as they age
– Open up to gratitude
– Create a legacy
– Keep you purpose top of mind
– Express your creativity
– Let the knowledge of death help you appreciate the sweetness of life
– Find social support and talk about your anxieties
– Indulge in a little humor

Psychologists point out that these techniques should help one ease their end-of-life fear or, at least, make the fact of death a little more bearable. However, they also mention that for those who believe in an afterlife, “they have a built-in buffer against the fear of death.”

STRONG ‘FAITH’ OVERCOMES FEAR

Dr. S. I. McMillen and Dr. David E. Stern observed the truth of this in their book, “None of These Diseases” that, “After sitting beside hundred of deathbeds, we have seen this reoccurring pattern. People with a strong faith and to die in peace. People without faith and to die in terror and torment.”

As an illustration of this, I heard of a story about a man who goes to the doctor for his annual physical. As he leaves, the doctor promises to call with the results. A couple of days passed before the call comes:

The doctor says, “Are you sitting down? I am afraid I have some bad news for you.”
The man turns pale and tells the doctor to continue.
The doctor says: “I examined your reports, and I have bad news and worse news.”
The man says, “Well, what do you mean?”
The doctor responds, “Well, I have bad news, and I have worse news. What news would you like to have first?”
The man says, “Well, give me the bad news first.”
So the doctor says, “Well, we have looked at your tests, and you have 48 hours to live.”
The man shouts, “What could be worse than that? What is the worst news?”
The doctor says, “We have been trying to contact you since yesterday.”

Now, calls like this usually happen only in bad jokes but, doctors do make similar calls sharing very fatal news every day. While life has no “two-minute warning,” time does run out—on all of us. So, wouldn’t you want to have your life and your eternal soul ‘in order’ when that moment comes for you?

Well, there are only TWO ‘WAYS’ to face the future: With FEAR or with FAITH. Those who live by faith ‘in’ Jesus (Galatians 2:20) will find all of their fears—especially the fear of death—‘consumed’ by His security and His promises.

Believers who are committed to a biblical perspective have no reason to treat death as their greatest enemy (“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory” – 1 Corinthians 15:55). They see it just as another ‘journey’ that calls for some preparation. They say their “goodbyes,” they get their affairs in order, and they prepare their spirits for their new existence.

Many people today believe that this life is all that there is—that at their physical death their entire existence will come to an end. So, for people who believe this way, it is perfectly reasonable to fear death. They think death is the final ‘curtain’. Believing this life to be all that there is, they ‘clutch’ to it tightly. To these people, life must be a source of deep frustration and even despair, because it has so many limitations and so many disappointments. You come into the world, you are young and strong, you reach ‘top of the hill’, and then begin a long, sad decent—and at the bottom lurks nothing but ‘darkness’.

However, believers live more ‘expectantly’ since the Bible tells them that everything in life has a reason and will be, in some way, used for their ‘good’ (Romans 8:28). The ups and downs point to an eternity that will fulfill all of their hopes and repay all of their frustrations. They are ‘citizens’ of Heaven, ‘ambassadors’ of a bright eternal reality.

Now, we must remember that for believers and unbelievers alike, death is not the end. We are all ‘eternal’ creatures. The distinction is whether one’s eternity will be brighter than a ‘Googolplex’ of suns (Heaven) or darker than the deepest cave with the lights turned off (Hell).

This life seems like the real one, but it is only a ‘preface’—and we have yet to see the first ‘chapter’. Hungarian composer Franz Liszt expressed this in the introduction of his symphonic poem, “Les Preludes”: “What else is our life but a series of preludes to that unknown Hymn, the first and solemn note of which is intoned by Death.”

Many think their ‘story’ ends with death, but the truth is, death is only the beginning. The Bible assures us that what follows is too wonderful for us to understand now: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived—the things God has prepared for those who love Him” [ 1 Corinthians 2:9 ].

In the seven books of C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia” series, four children explore another world, ruled by Aslan the Lion. In the first six books, Aslan sends them back to their home in England after each adventure. However, as the final book draws to its close, the children find themselves in a brilliantly enhanced Narnia, and they don’t want to leave. Their own world seems pale by comparison. But, Aslan has a surprise. He reveals that the railway accident that brought them to Narnia this time was a real accident, and they have, in earthly terms, died and left their everyday world for the last time. “The term is over,” Aslan says. “The holidays have begun. The dream is ended. This is the morning.”

The Great Lion (depicting Jesus) then begins to transform into something that is—like the adventures facing the children—two wonderful to write about. Their lives on earth and in the old Narnia were only “the cover and the title page,” and now they are truly beginning the first chapter of their real ‘story’. It is a story that, “No one on earth has read—which goes on forever—in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

[ VIDEO: “The Life and Death of Lucy Pevensie” ]

English poet Thomas Gray, considering the subject of death, said:

“The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”

This emphasizes that ‘secular’ people fear death, and that it all ends in the grave. However, the believer has a hope of a bodily resurrection (1 Corinthians 15), and DOES NOT fear death. (Satan could not prevent Jesus’ resurrection, nor will he be able to prevent the believer from gaining their resurrection to eternal inheritance!)

Benjamin Franklin composed his own epitaph before he died and had it placed on his grave at his death. This is what it says: “The body of Franklin, printer, like the cover of an old book, its content torn out and stripped of its lettering and gilding, lies here food for worms. But the work will not be lost, for it will appear once more in a new and more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the Author.” THAT’S the truth for the believer!

AT ‘DEATH’S DOOR’

Countless millions have stood at “death’s door” with great apprehension and great dismay since they were told that time was “running out” for them. To be “at death’s door,” means to be so ill or so badly injured that you may die any moment—at a point where death is imminent. Nothing so alters a person’s thinking as learning that they have a terminal illness!

So, unless life is suddenly ended by some calamity, eventually all who are mentally ‘responsible’ come face-to-face with the knowledge that the end is near. So few are prepared. Knowing all the time that the goal of living is trying to stay alive, they, like Ponce de Leon, continue to search desperately for—as I mentioned previously—a “Fountain of Youth.”

The records of those who are suddenly faced with the prospect of dying are often remarkably similar. At first, there is a confusion of despair and unbelief mingled with a hope that somehow a mistake has been made, or that by some miracle or scientific discovery the process of dying may be reversed. Along with the ‘black despair’, there comes a mind-shaking fear because of the unknown. Is there something beyond? Is there just the blackness of nothingness as some would have us believe? Are we just trying to escape from something we neither know nor understand?

Time does not diminish the despair and fear. There are nagging thoughts of tasks unfinished, future plans all ended, and important projects begun but never completed. These add to the hopelessness of the helplessness against an ‘enemy’ that cannot be controlled or conquered.

Not only is there the physical agony of dying, but the mental pain increases as loneliness creeps in. Friends seem embarrassed to communicate—they do not want to talk of death and neither do they have words of comfort. Sometimes they have words of comfort, but sometimes they make trite remarks such as “You’ll make it,” or “Things will work out all right.” So the suffering is a lonely ordeal.

Sometimes concerns for the family, concerns for the anguish of the suffering of others around the world, and concerns for a world in turmoil, especially as related to loved ones, rest heavily on the mind. But from an isolated, purely selfish viewpoint, these things seem remote and do not matter much anymore. They have no real relationship to the great distress immediately before a dying person. The pleasures of living have ceased to excite or delight their senses. Each moment of every day should be precious, but time offers little more than waiting for the final ‘curtain’ to be brought down.

So, must dying be only a time of suffering and despair? Is there no alternative? As the grim ‘door’ of death is before them, nothing that they ‘have’ can help them—their wealth, power, political influence, top-notch health plan, or even their family members.

HOWEVER, the Bible has something today about this. King David wrote about a shepherd leading his sheep (which can be understood as being Jesus). When he wrote, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” the same fear clutched his heart that causes all of us to tremble today. Every ‘shadow’ hid an enemy that sought to destroy him, and his fear was great since the end would be an unknown death. However, he made a great discovery. He continues: “I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.” He recognized the One who could lead him through—God. He knew there was a glorious never-ending future ahead that had safety, love, and peace: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever” [ Psalm 23:6 ].

Hospice nurses say that it is curious how many patients are not fearful about dying—and often, the family members are more afraid of the patient’s death than the patient is for themselves.

The patient will say, “I know very well what is happening to me. I know my life is almost over but I’m ready. It’s how my daughter will cope that’s worrying me.”

The fact that those who are dying are less anxious about their demise than their children should give one hope about their own share of death anxiety. Over and over, patients focus less and less on themselves, and more and more on those who will be left behind, particularly when young children are involved.

Hospice nurses have asked their patients why they are so much at peace with their approaching death. Of the patients that are ‘most peaceful’, they answer that they are a “born again Christian” and that they know ‘where’ they are going!

The thing is, this is a promise for ALL believers! Beyond the death of the body is everlasting life. The fear of the blackness of death is replaced by the joy of a life without end with Jesus in Heaven: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them” [ John 3:36 ].

At another time, Jesus said to Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” [ John 11:25-26 ]. Dying and death are no longer a problem because the believer is PROMISED the free ‘gift’ of eternal life, losing the ‘blackness’ of death and gaining a glorious ‘light’ of eternity!

Jesus told His disciples (which includes all believers today): “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” [ John 14:2-3 ].

Believers who stand on the threshold of death’s ‘door’ can do so without fear and, rather, with joyful anticipation. Then, as the ‘door’ swings open, they know that the divine light of God’s eternity will pour out upon them. There will be loved ones with hands outstretched, and Jesus will be reaching toward them with a loving greeting: “Welcome home, My child, welcome home!”

[ VIDEO: The Good Shepherd – The “Pilgrim’s Progress” movie ]

‘SAVED’ FROM THE FEAR OF DEATH

Death is not an appealing subject to consider. We do not like to think about how it might be that our bodies and minds will fail us. Driven by a fear of dying, well-meaning people spend vast sums of money in attempts to put off their death and find meaning in life. But, even the best attempts can’t answer life’s essential questions: “Who am I?,” “Where am I from?,” and “Where do I go when I die?”

This is nothing new. Adam and Eve did the same thing in Genesis 3, when they listened to the false hope of Satan’s seductive lie welcoming sin and death into the world: “You will not surely die… you will be like God” (Genesis 3:4-5). We continue to believe the same line today. We try to be like God, longing to construct our own meaning and aiming to live forever. But, that continues to hold terror for us, enslaving us in fear. When signs of old age emerge, when illness sets in, and when the funeral procession passes by, we are reminded that our false hopes have no substance. We must find ‘true’ answers.

Everybody bases their hope on ‘something’. Let the believer base theirs on the enduring strength and authority of God’s word. When they want to run away from troubling thoughts and crippling fears, let them run to the foot of the Cross, where Jesus delivered “all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

Jesus came to “destroy the works of the Devil” [ 1 John 3:8c ]. By Jesus’ death and resurrection, He drowned out the seductive voices of all false hopes, He took all our sin and rebellion and made our record clean, and He delivered the believer from all fear—even the fear of death itself. In taking our sins from us, Jesus has taken away Satan’s ‘voice’. There is nothing left for him to accuse us of, and there is nothing left to stand between us and the presence of God forever!

Death should therefore hold NO ‘FEAR’ for the believer. As the Apostle Paul wrote: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” [ Romans 10:9 ]. So, some people ask, “Saved from what?” Well, saved from sin, from judgment, and from an eternity in Hell!

This is the eternal life that the world longs for but can never find. It is not an escape ‘from’ death but an escape ‘through’ death. It is the reason that Jesus left the glory of Heaven and became a human like you and me, and died a criminal’s death—to atone for all of our sins!

So, if you are tempted to base your hope on the things of this world and are blinded by temptations, or if you find yourself considering your aging, frailty, and approaching death with a rising fear, tell yourself, “Jesus has destroyed the one who has the power of death. Jesus has delivered me from the fear of death!” 

As believers, we understand death to be the last ‘enemy’, but we also understand that Jesus has conquered that last enemy by experiencing the second death on our behalf—so that when we experience our first death, we do so now without the dread of God’s righteous judgment, but at the beginning of God giving to us that which he created us for in the first place: an abundant life!

See death as it truly is—‘OVERCOME’—and you will be able to see life as it truly is for all God’s ‘children’: Eternal, free, and full of joy!

‘FACING’ DEATH CONFIDENTLY

Believers should welcome death as nothing more than a reprieve, a release, from the dilapidated ‘slum’ we now live in, ushering us into a better home in a far better place.

The believer wants to be here as long as the Lord wants us to be here for useful service to Him. But the longing of our heart is to leave, and be in heaven. As the Apostle Paul said: “I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” [ Philippians 1:23 ]. Unless there is some compelling usefulness that we have to God here, we should be eager, anxious, and prefer to leave this world for the next! 

C.S. Lewis famously said: “If you live for the next world, you get this one in the deal; but if you live only for this world, you lose them both.”

The Apostle Paul faced death with good courage, confidence, and eagerness—and he tells us why:

“Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord”

[ 2 Corinthians 5:2-8 ].

Paul tells us ‘what’ his attitude was, and the rest of the passage tells us ‘why’ he had that attitude. Even though he faced death on an almost daily basis, death was no ‘threat’  to him. Death was a welcome ‘friend’. Death would take him where he would rather be, and make him what he would rather become. So, the reality of death, the threat of death, never affected his boldness in proclaiming Jesus’ message of salvation, nor the courage to do so in less-than-optimum situations.

In fact, if anything, it only ‘motivated’ him even more, since he desired to die so he could be in Heaven with Jesus. Unlike our society today, with an obsession to escape death, Paul rather sought it. At the end of his life, he said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” [ 2 Timothy 4:7 ]—“I am ready to go!”

Paul knew the next body is going to be the best one—so, he LONGED for his resurrection body. Paul also longed to be ‘like’ Jesus and ‘with’ Jesus. He, along with all other believers, was ‘groaning’ for the redemption of his body, and he knew that his ‘glorified’ body was going to be ‘perfect’ and imperishable.

Paul wanted what was mortal to be ‘swallowed up’ in the fullness of the perfections of eternal life—an immortal life with the full richness of the eternal life which God had prepared for His own. “For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” [ 2 Corinthians 5:4 ].

Paul is saying, “I want the fullness of everything God has for me. I want to enter into my full and perfect condition in my glorified humanity. I want to be literally swallowed up by the fullness of all that eternal life can bring.” That’s why the Apostle John said: “When he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure” [ 1 John 3:2b-3 ]. The believer can have that hope—the hope of a glorified, resurrection body!

Paul essentially is saying that, “The believer needs to look at death confidently.” Not only because the next body is the best, and the next life is perfect, but because the next existence ‘FULFILLS’ God’s purpose for the believer’s life! (There is, in a sense, that we are ‘separated’ from God, and we long for that separation to end. It is kind of a heavenly ‘homesickness’ – Psalm 73). Paul is saying Heaven is a better place and every believer should desire to be there.

What makes it a better place—the best place—is that it is the believer’s ‘real’ home. When one is away from their home, here on earth, for a long period of time—a prolonged absence—there is just that ‘something’ in one’s heart that longs to be home, to be with the ‘special someone’.

I hope you have that ‘unrelenting’ desire to be in Heaven, and that you so much long to be in the presence of the Trinity that you have a tenacious heavenly homesickness. Paul says, “We would prefer to leave the body and to be at home with the Lord” [ 2 Corinthians 5:8 ].

Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you; I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” [ John 14:2-3 ]. This is what gave Paul confidence in dying. Do you have this kind of confidence?

The believer has been making their way—like Christian was going to the Celestial City in “The Pilgrim’s Progress”—and we long to be there. This world holds nothing for us.

[ VIDEO: “Welcome to the Celestial City” ]

We all want to go to Heaven after we die. The question is, “Do you have the ‘CONFIDENCE’ that you will go there after you die?”

TO DIE IS ‘GAIN’!

Many Christians live with little knowledge about what God’s eternal vision is for the believer. We are well versed in the Gospel that deals with our ‘past’, and we are dialed into living Christlike lives ‘today’. The missing piece, it seems to me, is an ‘ENTHUSIASM’ about what comes next.

The Apostle Paul, however, did not lack this enthusiasm. Writing to the church in Philippi, he declared: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” [ Philippians 1:21 ]. Paul was content with either outcome. He would gladly continue serving others during his lifetime or he would die without a shred of dread—just as Jesus did—knowing that what was coming to him was, in every way, ‘GAIN’ RATHER THAN LOSS.

So, how was this possible? Well, for Paul, death was his ‘best case’ scenario. He was not driven to use God’s gifts to ensure he avoided it at all costs. Jesus had transformed his outlook on the future and released him to be generous in the present (and Jesus can do that for you and me, too!) Again, death is NOT something believers need to be scared of!

Christian author Lee Strobel wrote about Clay Jones, a guy who had surrendered his life to Jesus at the age of 12, after hearing Billy Graham preach about going to Hell. Over time, Jones grew in this faith, and became a pastor and a professor at a seminary (Talbot). One day, he was diagnosed with a virulent form of cancer. Getting the news, Clay and his wife hugged, wept, and prayed.

Jones said that, “This is going to sound strange, but I was not afraid of dying… Yes, I morn that I would be leaving my wife. But, you see, I had a robust view of Heaven—and that’s what made all the difference.”

Jones’ initial diagnosis proved to be in error, and he was successfully treated for a milder form of the disease. However, he has never forgotten the ‘peace’ he felt knowing, for certain, that “too live is Christ and to die is gain” [ Philippians 1:21 ]. Because of God’s love for us and the promise of eternity with Him, it should change not only how the believer lives but also how they face death. For the believer, the hope of Heaven should be far greater than the uncertainty of death! (2 Corinthians 4:11-5:10, 12:1-10 / 1 Corinthians 15:54-56; Philippians 1:21-23 respectively).

You, too, can become free of any fear, know that every day from now on that death is not something to be scared of, and that to die is gain—you just need to ‘SURRENDER’ YOUR LIFE to Jesus and become “BORN AGAIN.”

[ FYI: For more details about becoming “born again,” view these past “Life’s Deep Thoughts” posts:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/developing-ones-character-v283/
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/what-really-matters-v270/
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/knowing-assurance-v243/ ]

So, if you are a believer, instead of trying to stop thinking about death, every time that thought comes into your head, ‘say’ to that thought about death—like Dirty Harry would—“Go ahead, ‘Death’, make my day!” Then say, “If you let me live, I will make sure Jesus will be honored by my life. If you take away my life, I get to go see Jesus in Heaven. I can’t lose!” [ Now, of course, this trying to be ‘funny’ about this, since God is the One that ‘controls’ the length of a believer’s life ].

Then, get on with your life and have a totally certain ‘uncertainty’ about when you will die!

[ NOTE: As a believer, you are ‘immortal’ until God’s work ‘in’ you is done—making you like Jesus—and the work He has planned for you to ‘do’ is complete! (Consider reading the book “Immortal” by Clay Jones. Info about it in the “Resources” section below.) ]

‘RAPTURED’ INSTEAD OF DYING

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” [ 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ]. The believer is going to ‘disappear’ and be in the presence of Jesus ‘instantaneously’!

This is not some kind of a long, drawn-out ‘metamorphosis’ or some kind of ‘evolutionary’ cycle that one has to go through. It is going to happen in a ‘moment’ (The Greek word for “moment” is “atomos” which means the smallest amount of time of which there is no smaller). In the most finite unit of time, the believer will be changed. It’s going to be so fast that they won’t even realize it.

A scientist measured this and said, “It’s one-sixth of a nanosecond.” So, to help you understand what a nanosecond is, let’s start with a second is. A microsecond is one-millionth of a second. Then, a nanosecond is one-thousandth of a microsecond. (and the believer is going to be gone in one-sixth of that!) REALLY, REALLY quick! Woo-hoo! “Come, Lord Jesus!” [ Revelation 22:20c ].

This is all going to happen “At the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” [ 1 Corinthians 15:52 ].

The “last trump” ends the “Church Age.” Someday, all that are in the graves are going to hear that trumpet, and they are going to come out and be joined with those who are going to be transformed on the way up in the resurrection.

Can you just imagine what it is going to be like in that day when the graves start releasing their victims? An illustration of this is like something that happen during the Civil War:

“During the Civil War, a regiment of soldiers was compelled to sleep in the open field one winter night. In the early morning, the chaplain arose and saw a very strange sight. During the night, several inches of snow had fallen, completely covering the tired, slumbering soldiers who were bundled in their blankets and thus caused the entire field to be filled with many small mounds like newly-made graves.

“The bugler sounded Reveille and almost instantly a soldier came forth from each mound. And the chaplain thought of 1 Corinthians 15:52, ‘The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.’”

The Apostle Paul said, “Don’t worry about those that are dead, and don’t worry about those that are alive; they’re all coming out!”

Now, this rapture—this great ‘resurrection’ of those that are alive on earth—is spoken of in John 14:1: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions”—it says, but it means rooms; the Greek is rooms. Many rooms. You can’t have mansions in a house. You have rooms in a house. “If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you”—and here it comes—“I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

Now, here Jesus gives us a word regarding the resurrection day: “I’m up there, preparing for you. I’m going to come and receive you to myself.” The great truth of the Rapture is that Jesus IS coming back for His ‘children! The believer is not looking for an ‘event’, they are looking for a ‘Person’!

Passages in the New Testament related to the Rapture (John 14, 1 Thessalonians 4, and 1 Corinthians 15) say that if you are dead, that’s fine; you are going to come out of the grave and receive a glorified, transformed body. If you are alive, you just get changed on the way up—the great transformation. What a day that is going to be, right?! “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” [ 1 Corinthians 15:53 ]. This is all because a saint can’t occupy the Kingdom in their mortal, corruptible ‘frame’.

So, Paul is saying that when the transformation comes, the triumph can be proclaimed. Death is swallowed up forever—and the term “swallow” has to do with total destruction, the total ‘end’ to death. “When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality,” then “Death is swallowed up” [ 1 Corinthians 15:54 ].

Bible commentator Richard C. H. Lenski says that, “Death is not merely destroyed so that it can’t do further harm while all the of harm which it has wrought on God’s children remains. No. The tornado is not merely checked so that no additional homes are wrecked while those that were wrecked still lie in ruin. The destruction of death is far more intense. Death and all of its apparent victories are undone for God’s children. What looks like a victory for death and like a defeat for us, when our bodies die and decay, shall be utterly reversed so that death dies in absolute defeat and our bodies live again in absolute victory.”

In other words, death is defeated from doing any more harm. Paul ‘taunts’ death saying, “O death, where is thy sting? O death” (In the Greek, the word “kentron” has to do with a sting of a bee or a poisonous serpent/snake). Paul is emphasizing that the ‘stinger’ HAS been removed!

So, if you are an UNBELIEVER, you have given Death [the Devil] the right to ‘sting’ you with a fatal blow, and you will be judged for your sins—which will send you to Hell, for eternity!

Poet James Weldon Johnson captured the emotion of Paul’s thought of the victory over death in his poem “Go Down Death” (A Funeral Sermon):

“Weep not, weep not,
She is not dead;
She’s resting in the bosom of Jesus.
Heart-broken husband–weep no more;
Grief-stricken son–weep no more;
Left-lonesome daughter –weep no more;
She only just gone home.

“Day before yesterday morning,
God was looking down from his great, high heaven,
Looking down on all his children,
And his eye fell on Sister Caroline,
Tossing on her bed of pain.
And God’s big heart was touched with pity,
With the everlasting pity.

“And God sat back on his throne,
And he commanded that tall, bright angel standing at his right hand:
Call me Death!
And that tall, bright angel cried in a voice
“That broke like a clap of thunder:
Call Death!–Call Death!
And the echo sounded down the streets of heaven
Till it reached away back to that shadowy place,
Where Death waits with his pale, white horses.

“And Death heard the summons,
And he leaped on his fastest horse,
Pale as a sheet in the moonlight.
Up the golden street Death galloped,
And the hooves of his horses struck fire from the gold,
But they didn’t make no sound.
Up Death rode to the Great White Throne,
And waited for God’s command.

“And God said: Go down, Death, go down,
Go down to Savannah, Georgia,
Down in Yamacraw,
And find Sister Caroline.
She’s borne the burden and heat of the day,
She’s labored long in my vineyard,
And she’s tired–
She’s weary–
Go down, Death, and bring her to me.

“And Death didn’t say a word,
But he loosed the reins on his pale, white horse,
And he clamped the spurs to his bloodless sides,
And out and down he rode,
Through heaven’s pearly gates,
Past suns and moons and stars;
on Death rode,
Leaving the lightning’s flash behind;
Straight down he came.

“While we were watching round her bed,
She turned her eyes and looked away,
She saw what we couldn’t see;
She saw Old Death. She saw Old Death
Coming like a falling star.
But Death didn’t frighten Sister Caroline;
He looked to her like a welcome friend.
And she whispered to us: I’m going home,
And she smiled and closed her eyes.

“And Death took her up like a baby,
And she lay in his icy arms,
But she didn’t feel no chill.
And death began to ride again–
Up beyond the evening star,
Into the glittering light of glory,
On to the Great White Throne.
And there he laid Sister Caroline
On the loving breast of Jesus.

“And Jesus took his own hand and wiped away her tears,
And he smoothed the furrows from her face,
And the angels sang a little song,
And Jesus rocked her in his arms,
And kept a-saying: Take your rest,
Take your rest.

“Weep not–weep not,
She is not dead;
She’s resting in the bosom of Jesus.”

That’s the experience of the believer—the ‘VICTORY’ OVER DEATH! Death has been disarmed, defanged, declawed, and destroyed. “Death is cast into the lake of fire” [ Revelation 20:14 ] and “In Heaven there is no more death” [ Revelation 21:4 ].

So, BELIEVER, hopefully, your first choice will be like Paul’s, to be ‘raptured’—rather than have a period of waiting for your glorified body—and your second choice would be that you die so I would be with Jesus when your ‘work’ is done.

HOWEVER, I pray for the UNBELIEVER who are NOT ‘READY’ to die—those who do not ‘know’ Jesus—that you would come to a realization that you need to be “born again” to be able to go ‘home’ to Heaven, and ‘miss’ Hell!

So, UNBELIEVER, may this be the day that you ‘bow’ before Jesus, repent of your sins, believe that Jesus is your Savior, and accept His propitiation for your sins! Then, humbly trust in Him to guide you for the rest of your life until He receives you to your ‘real’ home, in Heaven!

If you do this, you still might be fearful of heights, flying, germs, needles, darkness, enclosed spaces, drowning, thunder and lightning, dogs, mice, spiders, snakes, public speaking, and even the dentist BUT, God has promised that you will NO LONGER BE ‘FEARFUL’ OF YOUR DEATH!

Anglican clergyman William Gurnell said it succinctly: “Let your hope of heaven master your fear of death.”

Respectfully, I want to ‘refine’ his words a bit to ‘harmonize’ with the focus of this post:

“Let the Master of Heaven master your fear of death!”

Jesus is the ONLY One that can ‘deliver’ one from the fear of their death:

By dying could He [Jesus] break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could He set free all who have lived their lives as slaves [believers] to the fear of dying [ Hebrews 2:14c-15 ] AND The One [Jesus] who is in you is greater than the one [Devil] who is in the world [ 1 John 4:4b ].

[ VIDEO: “How Can I Overcome The Fear Of Death” ]

[ Excerpts by: Brian Resnick; Arteo; Kate Manser; Wondermind; Cleveland Clinic; Lisa Fritscher; Katelyn Hagerty; Erwin Lutzer; Ligon Duncan; Jack McElroy; Dan Vander Lugt; John MacArthur; David Jeremiah; Jeremy Vuolo; John Piper; Clay Jones; Joe McClatchey; Michael Williams; Nate Brooks; Alistair Begg ]

RELATED POSTS:

‘Fearful’ Of World War III?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/fearful-of-world-war-iii-v278/

Achieving ‘Contentment’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/achieving-contentment-v282/

What Really ‘Matters’?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/what-really-matters-v270/

‘Protection’ Removed?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/protection-removed-v256/

Got Your ‘Attention’ Yet?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/got-your-attention-yet-v255/

‘Blessed’ Hope”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/blessed-hope-v245/

Knowing ‘Assurance’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/knowing-assurance-v243/

‘House’ Of Horrors”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/house-of-horrors-v237/

Definitely ‘Scary’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/definitely-scary-v228/

Your Hope Resides Where?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/sep-06-v91/

Where Does Hope Reside?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/sep-02-v43/


‘PRAYER’ OF REPENTANCE
In the Bible, there is a parable that Jesus told about a Pharisee and a tax collector praying the Temple. He notes that the tax collector didn’t even dare to lift his eyes toward Heaven as he prayed. Instead he “beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner’”—and Jesus said that the tax collector “went home justified,” he had been “born again” and ‘reconciled’ by God. (Luke 18:9-14).

If you are ‘sensing’ something like that right now, let me strongly encourage you to HUMBLE YOURSELF, CRY OUT to God, and PLEAD for Him to mercifully ‘SAVE’ YOU! None of us have a ‘claim’ on our salvation, nor do we have any ‘works’ that would cause us to deserve it or earn it—it is purely a gift of Divine grace—and all any of us can do is ask. So, CONFESS YOUR SINS and acknowledge to God that you have no hope for Heaven apart from what He provides through Jesus. [ See Psalm 51 ].

There is no ‘formula’ or certain words for this. So just talk to God, in your own words—He knows your ‘heart’. If you are genuinely sincere, and God does respond to your plea, one will usually have a sense of joy and peace.

Jesus said, “He that comes to Me, I will not cast out” [ John 6:37 ].

[ FYI: This is a great sermon on the “Call to Repentance” by John MacArthur from his book “The Gospel According to Jesus”: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-22/the-call-to-repentance (Transcript: http://www.spiritedesign.com/TheCallToRepentance-JohnMacArthur(Jul-27-2019).pdf) ].

[ NOTE: If you have ‘tasted the kindness of the Lord’, please e-mail me—I would love to CELEBRATE with you, and help you get started on your ‘journey’ with Jesus! ].


<<< RESOURCES >>>


The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

By: National Commission on Terrorist Attacks

Nearly three thousand people died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In Lower Manhattan, on a field in Pennsylvania, and along the banks of the Potomoc, the United States suffered the single largest loss of life from an enemy attack on its soil.

In November 2002 the United States Congress and President George W. Bush established by law the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission. This independent, bipartisan panel was directed to examine the facts and circumstances surrounding the September 11 attacks, identify lessons learned, and provide recommendations to safeguard against future acts of terrorism.

This volume is the authorized edition of the Commission’s final report.

—————-

Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11

By: Mitchell Zuckoff

“Better and more comprehensive than any prior account. . . . Those of us who lived through those days will find the book cathartic; those rising generations who were too young to remember 9/11, or who weren’t yet born, will find it revelatory.” — John Farmer, senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission and author of The Ground Truth

“With his rigorous research and moral clarity, Mitchell Zuckoff has provided us with an invaluable service. He has deepened our understanding of what happened on 9/11 and recorded the voices of the victims and the survivors. What’s more, he has ensured that we never forget.” —David Grann, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon

Years in the making, this spellbinding, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting narrative is an unforgettable portrait of 9/11.

This is a 9/11 book like no other. Masterfully weaving together multiple strands of the events in New York, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Fall and Rise is a mesmerizing, minute-by-minute account of that terrible day.

In the days and months after 9/11, Mitchell Zuckoff, then a reporter for the Boston Globe, wrote about the attacks, the victims, and their families. After further years of meticulous reporting, Zuckoff has filled Fall and Rise with voices of the lost and the saved. The result is an utterly gripping book, filled with intimate stories of people most affected by the events of that sunny Tuesday in September: an out-of-work actor stuck in an elevator in the North Tower of the World Trade Center; the heroes aboard Flight 93 deciding to take action; a veteran trapped in the inferno in the Pentagon; the fire chief among the first on the scene in sleepy Shanksville; a team of firefighters racing to save an injured woman and themselves; and the men, women, and children flying across country to see loved ones or for work who suddenly faced terrorists bent on murder.

Fall and Rise will open new avenues of understanding for everyone who thinks they know the story of 9/11, bringing to life—and in some cases, bringing back to life—the extraordinary ordinary people who experienced the worst day in modern American history.

Destined to be a classic, Fall and Rise will move, shock, inspire, and fill hearts with love and admiration for the human spirit as it triumphs in the face of horrifying events.

—————-

Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11

By: Garrett M. Graff

“This is history at its most immediate and moving…A marvelous and memorable book.” —Jon Meacham

​“Remarkable…A priceless civic gift…On page after page, a reader will encounter words that startle, or make him angry, or heartbroken.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Had me turning each page with my heart in my throat…There’s been a lot written about 9/11, but nothing like this. I urge you to read it.” —Katie Couric

The first comprehensive oral history of September 11, 2001—a panoramic narrative woven from voices on the front lines of an unprecedented national trauma.

Over the past eighteen years, monumental literature has been published about 9/11, from Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower to The 9/11 Commission Report. But one perspective has been missing up to this point—a 360-degree account of the day told through firsthand.

Now, in The Only Plane in the Sky, Garrett Graff tells the story of the day as it was lived—in the words of those who lived it. Drawing on never-before-published transcripts, declassified documents, original interviews, and oral histories from nearly five hundred government officials, first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends, and family members, he paints the most vivid and human portrait of the September 11 attacks yet.

Beginning in the predawn hours of airports in the Northeast, we meet the ticket agents who unknowingly usher terrorists onto their flights, and the flight attendants inside the hijacked planes. In New York, first responders confront a scene of unimaginable horror at the Twin Towers. From a secret bunker under the White House, officials watch for incoming planes on radar. Aboard unarmed fighter jets in the air, pilots make a pact to fly into a hijacked airliner if necessary to bring it down. In the skies above Pennsylvania, civilians aboard United 93 make the ultimate sacrifice in their place. Then, as the day moves forward and flights are grounded nationwide, Air Force One circles the country alone, its passengers isolated and afraid.

More than simply a collection of eyewitness testimonies, The Only Plane in the Sky is the historic narrative of how ordinary people grappled with extraordinary events in real time: the father and son caught on different ends of the impact zone; the firefighter searching for his wife who works at the World Trade Center; the operator of in-flight telephone calls who promises to share a passenger’s last words with his family; the beloved FDNY chaplain who bravely performs last rites for the dying, losing his own life when the Towers collapse; and the generals at the Pentagon who break down and weep when they are barred from trying to rescue their colleagues.

At once a powerful tribute to the courage of everyday Americans and an essential addition to the literature of 9/11, The Only Plane in the Sky weaves together the unforgettable personal experiences of the men and women who found themselves caught at the center of an unprecedented human drama. The result is a unique, profound, and searing exploration of humanity on a day that changed the course of history, and all of our lives.

—————-

102 Minutes

By: Jim Dwyer

“102 Minutes does for the September 11 catastrophe what Walter Lord did for the Titanic in his masterpiece, A Night to Remember . . . Searing, poignant, and utterly compelling.”―Rick Atkinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of An Army at Dawn

Hailed upon publication as an instant classic, the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller and National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction is now available in a revised edition to honor the anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

At 8:46 a.m. that morning, fourteen thousand people were inside the World Trade Center just starting their workdays, but over the next 102 minutes, each would become part of a drama for the ages. Of the millions of words written about this wrenching day, most were told from the outside looking in. New York Times reporters Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn draw on hundreds of interviews with rescuers and survivors, thousands of pages of oral histories, and countless phone, e-mail, and emergency radio transcripts to tell the story of September 11 from the inside looking out.

Dwyer and Flynn have woven an epic and unforgettable account of the struggle, determination, and grace of the ordinary men and women who made 102 minutes count as never before.

—————-

From the Inside Out: Harrowing Escapes from the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center

By: Erik O. Ronningen

Erik Ronningen was on the 71st floor of the North Tower on September 11, 2001 when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the building. After an incredible, near miraculous journey down through the acrid, smoke-filled building, Erik tried to get to the Security Command Center in the South Tower. Unable to do so, he was the last person to make it out of the South Tower alive.

Here is the story of his harrowing escape interwoven with the accounts of fourteen others who were lucky enough to be able to recount them.

Altogether, these accounts document the bravery and heroism, selflessness and generosity demonstrated by hundreds of people when their normal everyday lives were suddenly plunged into a fiery scramble for survival.

The astonishing photograph on the cover of this book was taken by survivor Jim Usher as he lay on the concrete outside the WTC losing consciousness, so his family could see what he saw during what he thought were the last moments of his life. And yes, that flag was really there! This photograph has never before been made public.

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In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror

By: Tom Pyszczynski, PhD, Sheldon Solomon, PhD, and Jeff Greenberg, PhD

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In the Wake of 9/11 explores the emotions of despair, fear, and anger that arose after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the Autumn of 2001. The authors analyze reactions to the attacks through the lens of terror management theory, an existential psychological model that explains why humans react the way they do to the threat of death and how this reaction influences their post-threat cognition and emotion. The theory provides ways to understand and reduce terrorism’s effect and possibly find resolutions to conflicts involving terrorism.

The authors focus primarily on the reaction in the United States to the 9/11 attack, but their model is applicable to all instances of terrorism, and they expand their discussion to include the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This fascinating book has practical implications and will be an irreplaceable resource for mental health practitioners, researchers, and anyone concerned with the causes and effects of terrorism.

Preface

Acknowledgements

– Terror in America: The Day Our World Changed

– Terror Management Theory: An Evolutionary Existential Account of Human Behavior

– Terror Management Research: Coping With Conscious and Unconscious Death-Related Thoughts

– Terror Management Research: Prejudice and Self-Esteem Striving

– Black Tuesday: The Psychological Impact of 9/11

– Managing the TerrorThe Roots of Islamic Terrorism

– Giving Peace a Chance

– In the Wake of 9/11: Rising Above the Terror

References

Author Index

Subject Index

About the Authors

https://www.apa.org/pubs/books/431700E?tab=1

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Death: The Final Stage of Growth

By: Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Ours is a death-denying society. But death is inevitable, and we must face the question of how to deal with it. Coming to terms with our own finiteness helps us discover life’s true meaning.

Why do we treat death as a taboo? What are the sources of our fears? How do we express our grief, and how do we accept the death of a person close to us? How can we prepare for our own death?

Drawing on our own and other cultures’ views of death and dying, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross provides some illuminating answers to these and other questions. She offers a spectrum of viewpoints, including those of ministers, rabbis, doctors, nurses, and sociologists, and the personal accounts of those near death and of their survivors.

Once we come to terms with death as a part of human development, the author shows, death can provide us with a key to the meaning of human existence.

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On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy and Their Own Families

By: Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Fifty years after its original publication, a commemorative edition with a new introduction and updated resources section of Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s beloved, groundbreaking classic on the five stages of grief.

One of the most important psychological studies of the late twentieth century, On Death and Dying grew out of Dr. Kübler-Ross’s famous interdisciplinary seminar on death, life, and transition. In this remarkable book, Dr. Kübler-Ross first explored the now-famous five stages of death: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Through sample interviews and conversations, she gives readers a better understanding of how imminent death affects the patient, the professionals who serve that patient, and the patient’s family, bringing hope to all who are involved.

This edition includes an elegant, enlightening introduction by Dr. Ira Byock, a prominent palliative care physician and the author of Dying Well, as well as Congressional testimony given by Dr. Kübler-Ross on death with dignity.

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Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing

By: Bronnie Ware

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Revised edition of the best-selling memoir that has been read by over a million people worldwide with translations in 29 languages.

After too many years of unfulfilling work, Bronnie Ware began searching for a job with heart. Despite having no formal qualifications or previous experience in the field, she found herself working in palliative care. During the time she spent tending to those who were dying, Bronnie’s life was transformed. Later, she wrote an Internet blog post, outlining the most common regrets that the people she had cared for had expressed. The post gained so much momentum that it was viewed by more than three million readers worldwide in its first year. At the request of many, Bronnie subsequently wrote a book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, to share her story.

Bronnie has had a colourful and diverse life. By applying the lessons of those nearing their death to her own life, she developed an understanding that it is possible for everyone, if we make the right choices, to die with peace of mind.

In this revised edition of the best-selling memoir that has been read by over a million people worldwide, with translations in 29 languages, Bronnie expresses how significant these regrets are and how we can positively address these issues while we still have the time. The Top Five Regrets of the Dying gives hope for a better world. It is a courageous, life-changing book that will leave you feeling more compassionate and inspired to live the life you are truly here to live.

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YOU MIGHT DIE TOMORROW: Face Your Fear of Death to Live Your Most Meaningful Life

By: Kate Manser

This book will light you up to live every day with urgency, zeal, and meaning.

“What a gift Kate Manser has given the world: a reminder to live. This book is inspiring, motivating, and honest. Kate’s passion and courage make everyone in her path more aware of the beauty of being alive.”

–BRAD MONTAGUE, NYT Bestselling Author & Creator of Kid President

Forget the idea that death is morbid, and start using it as your greatest source of motivation.

Whether your dream is to quit your job, write a book, be more present with your children or partner, or just really enjoy your life, remembering that you might die tomorrow is the perspective you need to start really living before you die.

Part I: THE STORY

Part II: THE REASONS WHY

Part III: WHAT TO DO TO LIVE YOUR MOST MEANINGFUL & ALIVE LIFE

Who is this book for?

– Procrastinators

– Dreamers

– When you’re feeling stuck

– People who want more out of life

– People anxious about dying

– People worried about not living a good life

– People in need of some real talk & a fat dose of perspective

With humor, steady research, and actionable suggestions, Manser leaves readers with a life-changing perspective: that death makes life worth living.

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Free Yourself from Death Anxiety: A CBT Self-Help Guide for a Fear of Death and Dying

By: Rachel E. Menzies and David Veale

Death anxiety can underlie many different mental health diagnoses at all stages of life, including depressive disorders, panic disorder, health anxiety, specific phobias, OCD, agoraphobia and more. This self-help guide will help you to better understand your fear of death and give you the tools to overcome it.

Using proven cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques, including exposure and response prevention (ERP), this book will help you to:

– Understand death anxiety and how it develops

– Undertake specific evidence-based steps to develop alternative ways of thinking about death

– Conduct exposure exercises to act against your fears

– Reduce your anxiety so that you can live life to the fullest.

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Be Not Afraid: Overcoming the Fear of Death

By: Johann Christoph Arnold

Fear of accidents or acts of terror, illness or dying, loneliness or grief – if you’re like most people such anxieties may be robbing you of the peace that could be yours. In Be Not Afraid, Johann Christoph Arnold, a seasoned pastoral counselor who has accompanied many people to death’s door, tells how ordinary men, women and children found the strength to conquer their deepest fears. Drawing on stories of people he has known as pastor, relative or friend, Arnold shows how suffering can be given meaning, and despair overcome. Interspersed with anecdotes from such wise teachers as Mother Teresa, Henri Nouwen, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Arnold’s words offer the assurance that even in an age of anxiety, you can live life to the full and meet death with confidence.

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The Cure of the Fear of Death

By: Nicholas Byfield

Many are familiar with Nicholas Byfield (1579–1622). This is a tragedy. Byfield was a Calvinistic puritan divine with a sweet preaching and writing style akin to that of Thomas Watson with the practicality of Jeremiah Burroughs. He was an extremely popular puritan in his day.

This work “The Cure of the Fear of Death” is an eminently practical work for every Christian young and old. It shows the course Christians may take to be delivered from various fears about death, which are found in the hearts of most of God’s children. Byfield covers how we may be freed from the fear of death through various considerations and cures, one way by meditation, the other by practice. He also covers seventeen privileges of a Christian in their death, and the objections men make about death, and the objections there answered. This is an exceedingly useful work that should not be missed.

This is not a scan or facsimile, and contains an active table of contents for electronic versions.

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The Denial of Death

By: Ernest Becker

Winner of the Pulitzer prize in 1974 and the culmination of a life’s work, The Denial of Death is Ernest Becker’s brilliant and impassioned answer to the “why” of human existence. In bold contrast to the predominant Freudian school of thought, Becker tackles the problem of the vital lie — man’s refusal to acknowledge his own mortality. In doing so, he sheds new light on the nature of humanity and issues a call to life and its living that still resonates more than twenty years after its writing.

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Death is Nothing to Fear

By: Haris Dimitriadis

A mathematician, economist and former corporate officer Haris Dimitriadis has devoted the last two decades of his life to studying, updating, and practicing the ancient Philosophy of Epicurus. Stunned by its effectiveness, he felt compelled to stimulate people’s interest in and practice of the natural philosophy of Epicurus by publishing his book Epicurus and the Pleasant Life in June 2017. In Death is Nothing to Fear Haris addresses the terror of the end of life in depth and offers effective means to cope with it, in view of the fact that this particular fear stops people from enjoying a pleasant life worldwide.

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Making Peace with Death and Dying: A Practical Guide to Liberating Ourselves from the Death Taboo

By: Judith Johnson

Making Peace with Death and Dying dissolves death anxiety and equips readers to encounter death peacefully and well-prepared. Readers learn to: appreciate death as a natural part of life, be of greater service to the dying and grieving, live with greater purpose and passion, be more peaceful in the presence of death, and to approach death on one’s own terms with wisdom and competency.

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The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life

By: Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, and Tom Pyszczynski 

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A transformative, fascinating theory—based on robust and groundbreaking experimental research—reveals how our unconscious fear of death powers almost everything we do, shining a light on the hidden motives that drive human behavior

More than one hundred years ago, the American philosopher William James dubbed the knowledge that we must die “the worm at the core” of the human condition. In 1974, cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker won the Pulitzer Prize for his book The Denial of Death, arguing that the terror of death has a pervasive effect on human affairs. Now authors Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, and Tom Pyszczynski clarify with wide-ranging evidence the many ways the worm at the core guides our thoughts and actions, from the great art we create to the devastating wars we wage.

The Worm at the Core is the product of twenty-five years of in-depth research. Drawing from innovative experiments conducted around the globe, Solomon, Greenberg, and Pyszczynski show conclusively that the fear of death and the desire to transcend it inspire us to buy expensive cars, crave fame, put our health at risk, and disguise our animal nature. The fear of death can also prompt judges to dole out harsher punishments, make children react negatively to people different from themselves, and inflame intolerance and violence.

But the worm at the core need not consume us. Emerging from their research is a unique and compelling approach to these deeply existential issues: terror management theory. TMT proposes that human culture infuses our lives with order, stability, significance, and purpose, and these anchors enable us to function moment to moment without becoming overwhelmed by the knowledge of our ultimate fate. The authors immerse us in a new way of understanding human evolution, child development, history, religion, art, science, mental health, war, and politics in the twenty-first century. In so doing, they also reveal how we can better come to terms with death and learn to lead lives of courage, creativity, and compassion.

Written in an accessible, jargon-free style, The Worm at the Core offers a compelling new paradigm for understanding the choices we make in life—and a pathway toward divesting ourselves of the cultural and personal illusions that keep us from accepting the end that awaits us all.

Praise for The Worm at the Core

“The idea that nearly all human individual and cultural activity is a response to death sounds far-fetched. But the evidence the authors present is compelling and does a great deal to address many otherwise intractable mysteries of human behaviour. This is an important, superbly readable and potentially life-changing book.”—The Guardian (U.K.)

“A neat fusion of ideas borrowed from sociology, anthropology, existential philosophy and psychoanalysis.”—The Herald (U.K.)

“Deep, important, and beautifully written, The Worm at the Core describes a brilliant and utterly original program of scientific research on a force so powerful that it drives our lives.”—Daniel Gilbert, Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of Stumbling on Happiness

“As psychology becomes increasingly trivial, devolving into the promotion of positive-thinking platitudes, The Worm at the Core bucks the trend. The authors present—and provide robust evidence for—a psychological thesis with disturbing personal as well as political implications.”—John Horgan, author of The End of War and director of the Center for Science Writings, Stevens Institute of Technology

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Courageous Aging: Your Best Years Ever Reimagined

By: Dr. Ken Druck

In Courageous Aging: Your Best Years Ever Reimagined, Dr. Ken Druck uses examples from his life and work to free readers of the destructive and limiting myths, biases, stereotypes, and misconceptions of getting older. Dr. Druck shows how all people can make peace with, and find joy in, every stage of life. His practical and inspirational approach speaks to anyone who wants to redefine what it means to age and embrace the transition of a new decade in one’s life.

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Overcoming the Fear of Death: Through Each of the 4 Main Belief Systems

By: Kelvin H. Chin

Woody Allen once said, “I’m not afraid of dying. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” For those of us who will be there when it happens, Kelvin Chin is providing insight, caring support and a warm life philosophy. A much needed book on more than fear, but of really living.

– Pen Densham, Oscar Nominated Filmmaker

ARE YOU AFRAID OF DEATH?

What is death? Is it the end, the beginning, or a transition?

Why are we so afraid of death? After all, death is inevitable.

“Overcoming the Fear of Death: Through Each of the 4 Main Belief Systems” helps us reduce and overcome our fears without having to change our beliefs about death.

It is written for:

The Devout, the Agnostic and the Atheist

Baby Boomers, GenX’ers and Millennials

Everyone!

What you will discover:

The 4 Main Belief Systems About Death that cover all religions and cultures

How to overcome your fear of death through your belief system

Kelvin Chin is a speaker, author and meditation teacher. Executive Director and Founder of the Overcoming the Fear of Death Foundation and TurningWithin.org, he has worked on death and dying issues since the 1980s. Born in Boston, he has lived in 6 countries, and lectures world wide.

“I couldn’t put it down. Very insightful. Loved the personal stories. Everyone can benefit from it. Because one thing is certain. We are all going to die.”

– Donna Carpenter, Caregiver

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Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death

By: Irvin D. Yalom

Written in Irv Yalom’s inimitable story-telling style, Staring at the Sun is a profoundly encouraging approach to the universal issue of mortality. In this magisterial opus, capping a lifetime of work and personal experience, Dr. Yalom helps us recognize that the fear of death is at the heart of much of our anxiety. Such recognition is often catalyzed by an “awakening experience”―a dream, or loss (the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job or home), illness, trauma, or aging.

Once we confront our own mortality, Dr. Yalom writes, we are inspired to rearrange our priorities, communicate more deeply with those we love, appreciate more keenly the beauty of life, and increase our willingness to take the risks necessary for personal fulfillment.

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Living and Dying

By: Robert Jay Lifton

Examines the psychological and cultural significance of death.

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Let’s Talk About Death (Over Dinner)”

By: Michael Hebb

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“These are the conversations that will help us to evolve.”

–Arianna Huffington on Death Over Dinner

“Wise, poignant, compelling–Hebb tackles hard issues with honesty and good taste.

This book is food for the soul.”

— Ira Byock, MD, author of Dying Well and The Best Care Possible

Death is one of the most important topics we need to discuss—but we don’t. We know why—it’s loaded, uncomfortable, and often depressing. But what if death wasn’t a repressed topic, but one filled with possibility, a conversation capable of bringing us closer to those we love? 

In Let’s Talk About Death (over Dinner), Michael Hebb encourages us to pull up a chair, break bread, and really talk about the one thing we all have in common. His practical advice and thought-provoking have led hundreds of thousands of discussions—and they will help you broach everything from end-of-life care to the meaning of legacy to how long we should grieve. There’s no one right way to talk about death, but with a little humor and grace, you’ll transform your difficult conversations into an opportunity of celebration and meaning, changing not only the way we die, but also the way we live.

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When Breath Becomes Air

By: Paul Kalanithi

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • This inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?

NAMED ONE OF PASTE’S BEST MEMOIRS OF THE DECADE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • People • NPR • The Washington Post • Slate • Harper’s Bazaar • Time Out New York • Publishers Weekly • BookPage

Finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction and the Books for a Better Life Award in Inspirational Memoir

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

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The Vanishing Power of Death: Conquering Your Greatest Fear

By: Erwin W. Lutzer

DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY?

DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?

It has been said that death is one of the last taboos. Even Christians confident of their salvation are often uncomfortable with thoughts of death.

With his trademark compassion, pastoral wisdom, and insightful biblical exposition, Dr. Lutzer guides the reader to a deeper understanding of the meaning of the empty tomb, addressing issues like:

Can Christians believe and still doubt?

Death: The end that comes to us all

Dying in the care of Jesus

Your resurrection body

This honest discussion about the end of our earthly lives—and the beginning of our glorious, eternal lives—will comfort and encourage, as we learn how Christ has replaced death’s terror with triumph.

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How to Be Free from the Fear of Death

By: Ray Comfort

Some people admit to their fear of death while others lie awake at night silently suffering over thoughts of their mortality.

In How to Be Free from the Fear of Death, Ray Comfort addresses the subject head on.

Overcome your fear as you

• understand why we suffer, age, and die,

• recognize God’s power over death,

• develop habits to maintain your peace, and

• share your newfound joy with others.

Rest peacefully knowing that death is not the end but a wonderful beginning.

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What Are You Afraid Of?: Facing Down Your Fears with Faith

By: David Jeremiah

For many people, worry, anxiety, and fear are constant companions: fear of death, fear of danger, fear of disease. And too often, these fears are crippling, keeping us from the life God has called us to live.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, says Dr. David Jeremiah. As Christians, we have been given all we need in order to face down even the most frightening, unexpected, and overwhelming obstacles in life.

In his new book, What Are You Afraid Of? Dr. Jeremiah explores the top ten fears that are holding so many of us back from the life God has called us to live and shares the supernatural secrets for facing down these fears with faith.

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At Death’s Door: End of Life Stories from the Bedside

By: Sebastian Sepulveda MD and Gini Graham Scott

At Death’s Door: End of Life Stories from the Bedside tells the powerful story of Sebastian Sepulveda’s experiences in working with patients at the end of their lives. In some cases, death came quickly, after the patient was first diagnosed with a terminal condition and entered the hospital. In other cases, patients had a long, progressive illness that got increasingly worse over the months or years until they were in their final days. In some cases, patients were able to fight off death for many years. Hard decisions are often made—whether to resuscitate or not, whether to choose hospice or not, who makes the decisions when a patient cannot, and whose decision to follow when several family members are involved in decision making. Written from the perspective of a medical doctor from years of experience, this personal approach to the end of life explores the many options available to patients and their families and reveals how real people have come to those decisions, and how they play out. With insight and sensitivity, Sepulveda offers families an important window into how life can end with compassion, care, control, and dignity.

At Death’s Door features over fifty stories drawn from Sepulveda’s experience as a doctor dealing with these patients and families. As states debate the legality of assisted suicide and other end of life rights, real people make real decisions every day regarding end of life. Their stories come to life in these pages, and readers with similar concerns will find relief, comfort, and company as they face these decisions themselves.

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Death’s Door: Modern Dying and the Ways We Grieve

By: Sandra M. Gilbert

“The most comprehensive multidisciplinary contemplation of mortality we are likely to get.”–Thomas Lynch, New York Times Book Review

Prominent critic, poet, and memoirist Sandra M. Gilbert explores our relationship to death though literature, history, poetry, and societal practices. Does death change–and if it does, how has it changed in the last century? And how have our experiences and expressions of grief changed? Did the traumas of Hiroshima and the Holocaust transform our thinking about mortality? More recently, did the catastrophe of 9/11 alter our modes of mourning? And are there at the same time aspects of grief that barely change from age to age? Seneca wrote, “Anyone can stop a man’s life but no one his death; a thousand doors open on to it.” This inevitability has left varying marks on all human cultures. Exploring expressions of faith, burial customs, photographs, poems, and memoirs, acclaimed author Sandra M. Gilbert brings to the topic of death the critical skill that won her fame for The Madwoman in the Attic and other books, as she examines both the changelessness of grief and the changing customs that mark contemporary mourning.

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At Death’s Door: When Death Is Near, Life Is Still Possible

By: Dr. John W. Wade, II

This is my wife’s journey through an unexpected ruptured aneurysm. Our lives were turned upside down and I thought on several occasions, there is no way out! I share our arduous journey to recovery. Not only did we survive and come out of this “Attack,” we now thrive. There was a plan and a purpose for our pain. This book will lift you and leave you standing with hope and expectation. Let our pain, suffering, doubt and fears be a place of hope!

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Decisions at Death’s Door

By: Tom Bogner

There is a purpose for your life, and there most certainly is an afterlife. That is what the author discovered after a near-death experience some years ago. The details were chronicled while still vivid in the author’s minds and, after fighting a serious illness, are now shared with you in Decisions at Death’s Door.

The story should be especially intriguing to the doubters and nonbelievers among us, who will be given an opportunity at death’s door to choose God and Christ over all else.

Can you communicate with your loved ones who have gone before us? The answer is yes, and inside this book, you will learn to watch for signs from deceased family or friends and, in the process, discover your mission here on this earth.

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At Death’s Door: A Christian Perspective on Death

By: David F Burt

The book examines what the Bible teaches about death and the after life.

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Breaking Free from Fear: A 6-Week, No-Homework Bible Study

By: Kay Arthur

Break free from Fear

Life is filled with all sorts of fears that can assault your mind, trouble your soul, and bring untold stress. But you don’t have to remain captive to your fears.

In this six-week study you will learn how to confront your circumstances with strength and courage as you live in the fear of the Lord—the fear that conquers every other fear and sets you free to live in faith.

40 minutes a week could change your life!

The 40-Minute Bible Studies series from the teaching team at Precepts Ministries International tackles the topics that matter to you. These inductive study guides, designed to be completed in just six 40-minutes lessons with no homework required, help you discover for yourself what God says and how it applies to your life today. With the leader’s note and Bible passages included right in the book, each self-contained study is a powerful resource for personal growth and small-group discussion.

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The Power of Praying Through Fear

By: Stormie Omartian

Is Fear Affecting Your Life?

Does it Ever Steal Your Peace and Disturb Your Sleep?

In today’s world, fear has become epidemic. It takes away our sense of well-being; stresses our mind, body, and soul; and can keep us from doing what we need to do.

The good news is that you can enjoy freedom from damaging fear by establishing your heart and mind on the comforting truths of God and learning how to pray in power. Stormie Omartian shows you what to think, say, and pray the moment you sense fear in your heart, and what you can do to combat anxiety. She offers help for overcoming such life-inhibiting fears as:

fear of rejection

fear of evil

fear of suffering

fear of death

fear of loss

fear of the future

As you rely on the Lord’s strength to conquer fear, you will discover the distinction between the fear God does not want us to have, the fear God allows us to have, and the fear God wants us to have. Learn to pray and claim the power, love, and sound mind God has for you.

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After the Rapture: An End Times Guide to Survival

By: Dr. David Jeremiah

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What if you or someone you loved missed out on the Rapture? What happens to those who are left behind? Trusted Bible teacher Dr. David Jeremiah shares the help and hope people will need as they face the End Times in this timely, easy-to-understand guidebook.

In After the Rapture, Dr. David Jeremiah equips you to understand End-Times theology and Bible prophecy. Many people want to understand how the Rapture unfolds, and this is the perfect handbook to share with your unsaved friends and loved ones so they can prepare themselves or cope with the challenges they’ll face after the Rapture. With trusted biblical insight, this book will provide the hope and confidence you need and can share with your loved ones.

An ideal witnessing tool and a resource of biblical direction for those seeking answers about what is to come, this life-changing book includes:

– A detailed look at what the Rapture is, how it happens, and what happens afterward

– Eye-opening sections on the Rapture, Judgment Day, and the Great Tribulation

– The information you need to clear up your own confusion and prepare for Christ’s return

– A unique, compelling way to share Jesus with those in danger of being left behind

– Valuable questions and answers, Scripture verses, life application, and more

An epic and vital guide to life after the Rapture, this book is a must-have resource for you to buy for those you fear might be left behind. Help your loved ones understand the End Times and guide them to accept Christ as their Savior.

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Fear Not!: Death and the Afterlife from a Christian Perspective

By: Ligon Duncan

“Fear Not!, which covers extensively all aspects of death, including what happens to believers immediately after death, the resurrection, the final judgment and then the eternal state…This is a book to inform and encourage every Christian. All of us will be edified by its pages. It is my pleasure to commend it to every Christian reader.” Jerry Bridges

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How I Lost My Fear of Death and How You Can Too

By: Jack McElroy

What if there was a way you could get rid of your fear of death once and for all? There is. All you have to do is find a reason why you don’t need to be afraid anymore. That reason is provided in How I Lost My Fear of Death and How You Can Too. And the solution to your problem is presented in an interesting and informative way. First, all the major world religions are spread out on the table. Christian Religions: Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Protestantism, Jehovah’s Witnessism, and Mormonism, Christian Science; Plus non-Christian Religions: Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, Atheism, Humanism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shintoism are reviewed. The book focuses–and then only briefly–on what each major world religion says about what you must DO in order to obtain life after death. All other detailed theological beliefs are omitted. These are compared to what the Bible says about life after death and EXACTLY what you must DO to inherit eternal life. This book written for you or someone you know is scared of dying. Also written for Christians looking for something they can give to anyone of any religion without fear of insulting them. You will like this book because nobody’s beliefs are insulted and readers are encouraged to make up their own mind based on the evidence presented. The book’s conversational style and over 50 pictures and illustrations immediately connect with readers from age 12 to adult. More importantly, over 110 Scripture references explain Biblical truth. Readers get an easy-to-understand answer to the fear that’s plagued them their whole lives. They’ll discover that their fear of death can be done away with once and for all by simply believing what the Bible says and doing it.

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Conquering the Fear of Death: First Corinthians Chapter Fifteen – Exegetical Commentary Series

By Dr. Spiros Zodhiates

Chapter Fifteen in the Exegetical Commentary Series on First Corinthians. Spiros Zodhiates expounds the Greek New Testament text for a verse-by-verse analysis of this chapter.

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The Christian in Complete Armour

(3 Volume Set)

By: William Gurnall

Written in the 17th century by Pastor William Gurnall and compiled into 365 readings by Bell, this collection supplies Christians with a soul-searching supplement to the Bible. Gurnall gives readers eternal knowledge that can be embraced daily, providing extra strength for victory.

The Christian in Complete Armour is certainly one of the greatest of all the Puritans’ practical writings. This 3-volume paperback set is a modernized abridgement of the Puritan Classic by William Gurnall.

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Man’s Search for Meaning

By: Viktor E. Frankl

Enjoy a great reading experience, with a $2.50 credit back to spend on your next Great on Kindle book when you buy the Kindle edition of this book. Learn more about Great on Kindle, available in select categories.

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl’s theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos (“meaning”)-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

At the time of Frankl’s death in 1997, Man’s Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a “book that made a difference in your life” found Man’s Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America.

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A Kick in the Seat of the Pants: Using Your Explorer, Artist, Judge, and Warrior to Be More Creative

By: Roger Von Oech

When was the last time you had a creative idea? This morning? Last month? Last year? Sometimes you need A Kick in the Seat of the Pants to get your thinking going. This book does just that by taking you on a guided tour through the four roles of the creative process-Explorer, Artist, Judge, and Warrior.

When it’s time to seek out new information, adopt the mindset of an Explorer. Get off the beaten path, poke around in outside areas, and pay attention to unusual patterns.

When you need to create a new idea, let the Artist in you come out. Ask what-if questions and look for hidden analogies. Break the rules and look at things backwards. Add something and take something away. Ultimately, you’ll come up with an original idea.

When it’s time to decide if your idea is worth implementing, see yourself as a Judge. Ask what’s wrong and if the timing’s right. Question your assumptions and make a decision.

And when you carry your idea into action, be a Warrior. Put a fire in your belly, eliminate your excuses, and do what’s necessary to reach your objective.

Kick provides exercises, stories, tips, and Roger von Oech’s proven techniques to help you strengthen each of your own creative roles.

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

SPECIAL ‘GENERAL’ RESOURCE

ApologetiX Songbook
(An interactive PDF)

It features the lyrics to every song on every CD and every “download” from 1992-2022

At last, the new digital interactive ApologetiX Songbook (1992-2022) is here. And It’s almost 1200 pages long!

Special features:

  • Indexed by original song title, original artist, and year original was a hit
  • Indexed by parody title, topics it pertains to, and Bible verses covered
  • Each song’s page has icons showing what albums it appears on
  • Each song’s page has a commentary from lyricist J. Jackson
  • Each album’s page includes liner notes and track listing
  • J.’s original handwritten rough lyrics to 40 ApX classics
  • Print any pages you like or use for slides in church
  • Photos from ApologetiX’s first and last concerts
  • List of ApX parodies most likely to be redone
  • List of the first ApX concerts in each state
  • Discography of out-of-print cassettes
  • DVD discography and synopses
  • Downloadable in PDF format

New features in this edition:

  • 1,186 pages long (184 more pages than the previous edition)
  • Over 95 new parodies and journal entries
  • Three new full-length feature articles
  • Never-before-seen rare photos
  • Lyrics for 802 parodies

Interactive features:

  • Click on any page number in indexes or TOC to go to that page
  • Click on any album icon to go to its liner notes and track listings
  • Click on any song title on an album page to go to that song

Note: This e-book is a download only (380 MB) and doesn’t include sheet music.

The songbook is available for a donation of $50 or more. After we receive your donation, we’ll send you a follow-up email with the link.

Get the Songbook for a donation:
http://www.apologetix.com/store/store.php#songbook

Songbook Demo Video: https://rumble.com/vfazhl-apologetix-songbook-2020-demo.html


“THE SEARCH FOR MEANING” WEBSITE

This site presents discussions on the 12 most commonly asked questions about the Christian faith.

The 12 discussions are accessed by the “tabs” at the bottom of the page. The tabs are numbered 1-12. Roll your mouse over them and you will see the question displayed at the right. Click on the number to select that question.

Within each question (i.e. tabs 1-12), there are subtopics (or dialogues) to select that appear as smaller tabs underneath the numbered tabs. Roll your mouse over them and the title of these topics is also displayed to the right. Click on the open rectangle to select that dialogue.

For each question (1-12), a link to related resources and an optional flowchart is provided. To access this material, click on the respective words, “Related Resources” or “Options Flowchart.”

To play a more detailed discussion of the subject, between two people, select the desired dialogue and click on “Play Audio Dialogue.”

In the upper right-hand corner of the page, there is an icon that looks like binoculars looking at a question mark. Click on this icon to return to the homepage.

In the upper right-hand corner of a “Related Resources” page, there is an icon that looks like some books. Click on this icon to get to an “overview” page that has links to all of the resources for all of the questions. There also are additional “appendices” for most of the questions.

In the upper right-hand corner of a “Flowchart” page, there is an icon that looks like an Org chart. Click on this icon to get to an “overview” page that has links to all of the flowcharts.

http://4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q1_d1_1of10.html

[ Content by: Bill Kraftson and Lamar Smith; Website by Mark Besh ]


“FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES” WEBSITE
(The ATTITUDES of Jesus that produce the CHARACTER of Jesus)

CLICK ON THE LINK to view:
http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/

FACEBOOK PAGE:
https://www.facebook.com/FruitsOfTheBeatitudes/

[ Mark Besh ]


[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about what it really means to “believe,” visit the following link:
http://4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q10_d1_1of10.html ].


<<< ARTICLES >>>


9/11: As Events Unfold

The events of 9/11 as they unfolded through actual audio of First Responders, Air Traffic Controllers, Dispatch Personnel, Airline Employees, Pilots, Citizens, Pilots, and Terrorists.

[ TSA ]

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEogeIIOJzU


September 11 Attacks

September 11 attacks, also called 9/11 attacks, series of airline hijackings and suicide attacks committed in 2001 by 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda against targets in the United States, the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil in U.S. history. The attacks against New York City and Washington, D.C., caused extensive death and destruction and triggered an enormous U.S. effort to combat terrorism. Some 2,750 people were killed in New York, 184 at the Pentagon, and 40 in Pennsylvania (where one of the hijacked planes crashed after the passengers attempted to retake the plane); all 19 terrorists died (see Researcher’s Note: September 11 attacks). Police and fire departments in New York were especially hard-hit: hundreds had rushed to the scene of the attacks, and more than 400 police officers and firefighters were killed. [ more.. ]

[ Britannica ]

ARTICLE: https://www.britannica.com/event/September-11-attacks


Remembering 9/11
Smoke rises from the site of the World Trade Center in New York City, September 11, 2001. (Photo by Paul Morse; National Archives Catalog ID 5997250)

Large US flag on Pentagon after 9/11
The National Archives safeguards many records related to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, including those of the 9/11 Commission, the 9/11 Federal Aviation Administration records, and the records of the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

Most of us remember where we were and how life changed that day. As an agency with facilities in Washington, DC, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and California, the immediacy of the events felt that much closer to our homes and workplaces.

Left: Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry render honors as firefighters and rescue workers unfurl an American flag at the Pentagon. (Photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Pendergrass)

[ National Archives Catalog ]

WEBSITE: https://www.archives.gov/news/topics/9-11-anniversary


Sorrow and Resolve
September 11, 2017

Like all Americans, my memories of that day are vivid: The unbelievable sight of the burning towers, the horror and despair of the jumpers, the shock of realization when the Pentagon was hit: America is under attack.

And as the towers fell – first one, then the other – time seemed to stop as I slumped forward in my chair and felt the cries of a thousand souls from a black void.

Then something else swelled up: Fury.

Over time, it became clear to me that until then I’d been living in what now seems like my own little world, concerned with my own petty little problems. I’d taken so much for granted. In particular, I realized I’d never fully understood what it meant to be an American. I had no personal experience with the concept that our country was something worth living – and dying – for. It was a kind of Pinocchio moment: “Now I know I’m a real boy, because I can feel my heart breaking.”

What I didn’t know then is that a heart can break a thousand times.

Although 9/11 is often called ‘the day the world changed’, the fact is that for most Americans, our lives since then have changed in what are essentially inconsequential ways. But for almost 3,000 families – killed in an act of terror simply because they went to work that day, or because they responded to help their fellow citizens – every minute of every day for the past 16 years has been lived with the painful loss of a loved one.

And as the global war on terror that began as a result of 9/11 started, brave men and women stepped up to risk their lives to protect America and prevent future acts of terrorism. Their families stepped up with them, enduring long, multiple deployments filled with challenges, loneliness, and worry.

Over 50,000 warriors have sustained life-altering physical injuries, and many more suffer from invisible wounds. About 7,000 have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country since then, and 7,000 more families joined the original 3,000 in suffering every day from their indescribable loss.

For all of them, the world truly did change after 9/11.

It is said there is no greater love than that of someone who is willing to lay down his life for another. As a volunteer at Landstuhl, I have had the privilege to be in the company of Heroes, for whom the words Duty, Honor, Country are a way of life.

Sixteen years later, each and every time I see a Wounded Warrior, my heart still breaks with sorrow – and swells with pride and resolve.

“Today is a day to be proud to be American!” cried a warrior from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

September 11, 2017 is a an even prouder day to be American.

“Those who say that we’re in a time when there are no heroes, they just don’t know where to look.”
– Ronald Reagan

[ Soldiers’ Angels ]

WEBSITE: https://soldiersangels.org/sorrow-and-resolve/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIjcP14Lfb_AIVahetBh171g_BEAAYASAAEgLIfPD_BwE


Twenty years later, how Americans assess the effects of the 9/11 attacks

In a recent survey, 93% of Americans ages 30 and above said they can remember exactly where they were or what they were doing the moment they learned of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. During the past six decades, only the Kennedy assassination had such a pervasive and enduring impact. It is hardly surprising, then, that in 2016, more than three-quarters of American adults named 9/11 as a top historical event of their lives, nearly twice as many as for the second most-cited event.

There is no evidence that this sentiment has faded during the past five years. A survey released earlier this month found 64% of Americans—the highest share ever—said that 9/11 has permanently changed the way we live our lives. Significant minorities are less willing to take flights, go into skyscrapers, attend mass events, or travel overseas than they were before 9/11. [ more… ]

[ William A. Galston ]

ARTICLE: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2021/09/09/twenty-years-later-how-americans-assess-the-effects-of-the-9-11-attacks/


Two Decades Later, the Enduring Legacy of 9/11

Americans watched in horror as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, left nearly 3,000 people dead in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Nearly 20 years later, they watched in sorrow as the nation’s military mission in Afghanistan – which began less than a month after 9/11 – came to a bloody and chaotic conclusion.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
– A devastating emotional toll, a lasting historical legacy
– 9/11 transformed U.S. public opinion, but many of its impacts were short-lived
– U.S. military response: Afghanistan and Iraq
– The ‘new normal’: The threat of terrorism after 9/11
– Addressing the threat of terrorism at home and abroad
– Views of Muslims, Islam grew more partisan in years after 9/11

Chart shows 9/11 a powerful memory for Americans – but only for adults old enough to remember

The enduring power of the Sept. 11 attacks is clear: An overwhelming share of Americans who are old enough to recall the day remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. Yet an ever-growing number of Americans have no personal memory of that day, either because they were too young or not yet born.

A review of U.S. public opinion in the two decades since 9/11 reveals how a badly shaken nation came together, briefly, in a spirit of sadness and patriotism; how the public initially rallied behind the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, though support waned over time; and how Americans viewed the threat of terrorism at home and the steps the government took to combat it.

As the country comes to grips with the tumultuous exit of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan, the departure has raised long-term questions about U.S. foreign policy and America’s place in the world. Yet the public’s initial judgments on that mission are clear: A majority endorses the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, even as it criticizes the Biden administration’s handling of the situation. And after a war that cost thousands of lives – including more than 2,000 American service members – and trillions of dollars in military spending, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that 69% of U.S. adults say the United States has mostly failed to achieve its goals in Afghanistan. [ more… ]

[ Pew Research ]

ARTICLE: https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2021/09/02/two-decades-later-the-enduring-legacy-of-9-11/


The Time You Have (In JellyBeans)

How much time we have in jellybeans.

[ Ze Frank ]

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOksW_NabEk


“The Time You Waste (In JellyBeans)”

How much time we waste in jellybeans.

[ Akilah Obviously ]

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60BvXtUSGTo


“What Makes Life Worth Living In The Face Of Death?”

In this deeply moving talk, Lucy Kalanithi reflects on life and purpose, sharing the story of her late husband, Paul, a young neurosurgeon who turned to writing after his terminal cancer diagnosis. “Engaging in the full range of experience — living and dying, love and loss — is what we get to do,” Kalanithi says. “Being human doesn’t happen despite suffering — it happens within it.”

[ Lucy Kalanithi ]

PRESENTATION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5-yBjKKicA


“At The End – Dying Explained”

Summary
Read the full fact sheet
People have different levels of knowledge about dying.
People may or may not want to know what happens when someone dies.
There are things you can do to prepare for a person’s death.
There may be spiritual matters to consider when a person is nearing the end of life.
There are some common signs when a person is nearing death.
On this page
The last few weeks of someone’s life
Preparing for the end of someone’s life
Spiritual care at the end of life
Nearing death
Dying
Immediately after a death
Where to get help

People have differing levels of knowledge about dying. They also have differing views about how much they want to know. Some want to know what to expect; others prefer not to know.

Unlike other big events in life such as birth, a new house or a new job, dying is not often discussed. Talking about dying can be hard. There is no right or wrong way to deal with death and dying. Your beliefs, values, culture, experiences and circumstances will shape your own view.

If this information stirs up emotions for you, ask for support from those around you, or contact your doctor, the palliative care team, or the Palliative Care Advice Service for further information about support.

The last few weeks of someone’s life
The last few weeks of someone’s life can be full of physical and emotional changes. If you are a carer it will help if you understand what to expect. Your role will change as the person becomes less able to do things for themselves.

As people approach the end of their life, new issues can arise. A new symptom may become apparent or an existing one may get worse. A person approaching the end of life is likely to be less able to do the things that they did before.

Keep in touch with the palliative care nurses and other health professionals to talk about what is happening. This can help you to feel less alone.

With the palliative care team in close contact with you and assisting with issues as they arise, there shouldn’t be any need for the person to be admitted to hospital. By having things in place with the palliative care team, such as after-hours contact numbers, you can avoid the need to call for an ambulance.

You may want to talk about end of life arrangements to ensure they are in order before your relative or friend dies. This could include:

making sure they have an up-to-date will
making sure that they have told someone where their important paperwork is
knowing any particular wishes for their funeral.
This information may have already been documented in an advance care directive. The person may have also already appointed a medical treatment decision maker. There is more information on recording wishes for future care and related matters in the section on advance care plans.

Preparing for the end of someone’s life
You can do things to prepare yourself as someone approaches the last few weeks and days of life. You may want to sit with the dying person, sometimes for hours. This does not mean that you will be there when they die. The person may die when you are out of the room. This happens a lot. You shouldn’t feel guilty about this.

Often there are signs that death is imminent and you can get family and friends together. Sometimes, a person will die quickly without some of the warning signs.

You may have seen someone die before but every death is different and you cannot predict what will happen. You may feel that you just want it all to be over. This doesn’t mean that you wish the person dead. It may mean that you just want them to be relieved of their distress.

Sometimes the person says they are bored or depressed, or are tired of being a burden or just ‘want it to end’. Comments like this can cause concern for others but are very common. Often just acknowledging your relative’s feelings can help. If unsure what to say or do, ask a palliative care team member; they have good skills at dealing with this stage of life.

Spiritual care at the end of life
Spiritual care refers to any support related to questions about life’s meaning, depending on the person’s values and beliefs. It is broader than formal religious practices. A person facing death may have more questions about their own mortality or what happens after death.

If the person is not religious, there may be other things about their life’s meaning that provide comfort such as family or friends gathering around, favourite music or pets being present.

If spiritual issues become a concern, seek guidance from the palliative care team or a pastoral care worker. While these matters are usually very personal, palliative care staff regard spiritual issues as a very important part of the care they provide.

You can find more information under Emotional, spiritual and cultural care.

Nearing death
This can be a time when relatives and friends feel they are waiting with a sense of anticipation. You may feel like you’ve ‘had enough’. Thoughts and feelings like this are normal and very common among family members and people providing care.

Sometimes the dying process happens over a few days. This can be distressing for some people. If you are in a hospital or residential care facility, ask what they have available for visitors. Access to tea and coffee or extra chairs can make your time more comfortable.

As someone approaches the end of their life they may become more drowsy. As a person is dying they will have less energy and become easily tired. They are likely to become weaker and may spend more time asleep.

They may become detached from reality, or unaware of what is happening around them. They may be less interested in eating and drinking. They may need changes in medications and visits from health professionals.

No one can give an exact answer of when someone will die. However, the timing of someone dying can be easier to predict the closer the person is to death. Rather than dwelling on how long it might be, this time is best used to express feelings and share cherished moments together.

There are some common indicators that death may be near, within days or weeks. Usually more than half the following signs will be present:

spending large amounts of the day in bed
being unable to move from bed to chair without help
difficulty swallowing solid food
sleeping for many hours
not talking very much
occasional confusion with time, the past and with people
restlessness
being unable to ask to go to the toilet
changes in breathing.

Ask the palliative care team if you want more information or help identifying if death is close. Sometimes death may still occur without much warning, with some or many of these signs not occurring.

Dying
For many people, dying is peaceful. The person may not always recognise others and may lapse in and out of consciousness. Some people have phases where they wake again and can talk, and then slip back into unconsciousness. There can be a change in colour, in circulation or in breathing patterns as the body begins to ‘let go’ of life.

The person will usually slip slowly into complete unconsciousness. They can’t be woken at all but may still be able to hear and be aware of the people around them. Each person’s death is individual, just as their life is.

For some people, dying may include restlessness. This and any other concerning symptoms can usually be treated. The palliative care team will expect to spend more time with you in these later stages, so ask for help if you are concerned.

You can bring great benefit to a person dying, just by being there, sitting with them, holding their hand or speaking in a calm and reassuring way. These simple things should not be underestimated. Even when the person does not respond, they can probably hear you.

Immediately after a death
Immediately after a death is often a peaceful time. You, family and friends may just want to sit with the person. You may or may not want to be alone. Family and friends can help you during this time, sometimes just by being there.

An expected death is not an emergency. You don’t need to call for the police or an ambulance. A doctor will need to come and certify the death. If the person was expected to die this is not urgent. The palliative care team can give you more guidance on what to do.

At home there are things that you will need to organise. A written plan of action prepared in advance will help. This could be a list of things to do, with names and phone numbers. Consider which family members and friends you would ring.

For more detailed information visit the BHC End of life and palliative care services page, under the ‘What to do after someone dies’ tab.

Where to get help
Palliative Care Advice Service
For more information about the final weeks, days and hours of life, visit Caresearch.

Visit Palliative Care Australia for the resource The dying process.
For more detailed information about caring for someone as they approach the end of life download the booklet Supporting a person who needs palliative care.

Acknowledgment:
Adapted from Hudson P and Hudson R 2012, Supporting a Person who needs palliative care – a guide for family and friends, Palliative Care Victoria and Caresearch.

[ Palliative Care Australia ]


“Death Over Dinner: What is Death Over Dinner? And why in the world would I want host one?”

In the modern world we don’t talk about death and our mortality very often, sometimes not at all. We set out to change that by offering an inspiring and beautiful model to explore what each of us wants in our last chapter, and more importantly: how we want to live!

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akS6w7Bi66s

——–——–——–

WEBSITE: https://deathoverdinner.org/

How we want to die – represents the most important and costly conversation America isn’t having. We have gathered dozens of medical and wellness leaders to cast an unflinching eye at end of life, and we have created an uplifting interactive adventure that transforms this seemingly difficult conversation into one of deep engagement, insight and empowerment. We invite you to gather friends and family and fill a table. Click Get Started to plan a test dinner. We call it a test dinner because trying out this process in no way commits you to follow through with an actual dinner.

——–

On August 24, 2013 we launched Death Over Dinner and in a single night we tracked over 500 dinners in 20 countries. Since then there have been over a hundred thousand #deathdinners around the globe.

This adventure began when we learned that 75% of Americans want to die at home, yet only 25% of them do. When we learned that how we end our lives is the most important and costly conversation America is not having. And when we realized that a conversation among loved ones, friends, and even strangers could begin to change these numbers, and bring the conversation about death back into mainstream culture.

It all started with a University of Washington graduate course called Let’s Have Dinner and Talk About Death, taught by Michael Hebb and Scott Macklin, which quickly grew into a beautiful website designed by Seattle agency Civilization with content developed by Angel Grant. Our platform has now grown into a global project with an Australian Edition, a Jewish Edition, and even a Doctors and Nurses Edition currently being designed and built. We are thrilled to announce that we are now part of the RoundGlass family of initiatives, which will allow us to expand this project to millions of individuals and dinner tables.

This project was created as a gift, an invitation and a simple set of tools to help families and friends address the basic human fact that we are all, at some point, going to die. We suffer more when we don’t communicate our wishes, we suffer less when we know how to honor the wishes of our loved ones. As we build greater comfort and literacy around this important topic, every single one of us wins.

You might ask: Why would I have this conversation over dinner?

The dinner table is the most forgiving place for difficult conversation. The ritual of breaking bread creates warmth and connection, and puts us in touch with our humanity. It offers an environment that is more suitable than the usual places we discuss end of life.

So we raise a generous glass to you and your loved ones and humbly submit version 2.0 of Death Over Dinner!

[ RoundGlass ]


“Let’s Talk about Death (over Dinner) | Michael Hebb | Talks at Google”

Michael Hebb is the founder of Death Over Dinner, a partner at global wellbeing organization RoundGlass and the founder of Convivium, a creative agency that specializes in the ability to shift culture through the use of thoughtful food and discourse-based gatherings. Convivium has worked closely with thought/cultural leaders and many foundations/institutions including: The Obama Foundation, TEDMED, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The World Economic Forum, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy.

What if talking about death wasn’t the loaded, uncomfortable conversation we’ve come to dread? What if death wasn’t a repressed topic, but one expectant with possibility, a conversation capable of bringing us closer to those we love? Let’s Talk About Death (Over Dinner): An Invitation and Guide to Life’s Most Important Conversation is out to spark a revolution—to change the way we talk about death, one conversation at a time.

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8A0TYUaYBxw


“What happens when death is what’s for dinner?”

Breaking bread has historically been a step toward social progress, says Michael Hebb. How can we use the power of home and hearth to change healthcare?

[ Michael Hebb ]

PRESENTATION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DT0aMfFtuw


“What I Learned About Life from Death”

Jane lost her husband at the age of 47. This experience transformed every aspect of her life. She believes this level of transformation is available to every single person out there. When we don’t talk about death and remind ourselves daily, (maybe hourly) that we are going to die, we run the risk of taking this magical gift called life for granted and getting all tangled up in caring about what doesn’t matter. Jane Whitlock, aka, Doula Jane, is an end-of-life doula. Whitlock provides guidance and emotional support for individuals and families through the end-of-life process. Why is it okay to ask strangers at the supermarket about their pregnancy but not about their impending death? Doula Jane spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about how she can normalize death. You could say that she has a healthy fascination with death, grief, and dying. Recognising the need for an impartial and compassionate perspective during her husband’s terminal cancer battle in 2013, Whitlock launched her practice to help others in dealing with the fragile and fleeting constants of life and death. Whitlock declares that Death and its sacred rituals have many gifts to offer us. The gift of living our best lives while we face dying. The gift of finding meaning in our lives. The gift of having the opportunity to tell loved ones: I’m sorry, I forgive you, thank you, and goodbye. When we know we are dying and time is short there comes an opportunity for deep transformation for both the departing and their loved ones. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community

[ Jane Whitlock ]

PRESENTATION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZ-LI68xS8g


“For whom the bell tolls”

This expression was originally from a sermon by English poet and Anglican cleric John Donne. Donne said that because we are all part of mankind, any person’s death is a loss to all of us: “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” The line also suggests that we all will die: the bell will toll for each one of us.

Then, in 1940, Ernest Hemingway published a novel titled, “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” It tells the story of Robert Jordan, a young American volunteer attached to a Republican guerrilla unit during the Spanish Civil War. As a dynamiter, he is assigned to blow up a bridge during an attack on the city of Segovia.

[ The book’s title is taken from the metaphysical poet John Donne’s series of meditations and prayers on health, pain, and sickness (written while Donne was convalescing from a nearly fatal illness) published in 1624 as “Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions,” specifically “Meditation XVII.” Hemingway quotes part of the meditation (using Donne’s original spelling) in the book’s epigraph. Donne refers to the practice of funeral tolling, universal in his time. ]


“LIFE IS ROOTED IN DEATH”

Stephen Jenkinson is a American Storyteller, Teacher and Author.

He holds a masters degree in Theology from Harvard University and a masters in social work from the University of Toronto.

During two decades of working in palliative-care, he counselled over 1500 people at their deathbeds.

His work led him to identify a “death-phobic society”, which provided the framework for his award winning book Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul.

His most recent book, Come of Age: The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble, explains that we must birth a new generation of elders, willing to be true stewards of the planet and its species.

[ Stephen Jenkinson Interviewed ]

OVERVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQBzLq8RPfs

INTERVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tlr90e8B_As

INTERVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OSGVkpyRfw


“WHY PEOPLE ARE AFRAID TO DIE”

[ Stephen Jenkinson Interviewed ]

INTERVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0VD58JGAfk


“Jordan Peterson on the Fear of Death”

Recorded live on 11 June 2021 with Jordan Peterson and Heather Heying

[ Jordan Peterson ]

INTERVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLnL51kjqnY


“Google vs. Death”

In person, it can be a little hard to hear Larry Page.

That’s because he has nerve damage in both vocal cords: one was paralyzed about 14 years ago, the other left with limited movement after a cold last summer. This rare condition doesn’t slow him down, though it has made his voice raspy and faint. You have to listen carefully. But it’s generally worth it.

Page, 40, is the co-founder and CEO of one of the most successful, ubiquitous and increasingly strange companies on the planet. Google is, of course, in the search business, and more important for its profitability, it is in the online-advertising business. But it’s also in the mobile-operating-system business, the Web-browser business, the free-e-mail business, the driverless-car business, the wearable-computing business, the online-map business, the renewable-energy business and the business of providing Internet access to remote areas via high-altitude balloons, among countless others. Google’s corporate strategy is one part mainstream services and one part risky long shots.

Page prefers to refer to Google’s more out-there ventures as moon shots. “I’m not proposing that we spend all of our money on those kinds of speculative things,” he says during a rare interview at the Googleplex, the company’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. “But we should be spending a commensurate amount with what normal types of companies spend on research and development and spend it on things that are a little more long term and a little more ambitious than people normally would. More like moon shots.” This is why Google, in Page’s words, is not a normal type of company. [ more… ]

[ Time Magazine – HARRY MCCRACKEN AND LEV GROSSMAN ]

ARTICLE: https://time.com/574/google-vs-death/


“5 Powerful Ways To Overcome The Fear Of Dying”

Description: Many health anxiety and generalized anxiety sufferers ruminate over the fear of dying. The lead up to dying, the moment we pass on, what happens in the afterlife, a multitude of what if’s that cause cause large amounts of uncertainty and chronic anxiety.

The target of this video is to give your tools that you can use to turn your focus from the what if’s when it comes to the fear of dying, to concrete replacements. Replacements such as re-incarnation, comfort with the cycle of life, and the 12 states of attention (Based Around The NLP teachings) are just a few powerful ways we’re going to eliminate the fear of dying anxiety.

For years I looked for the meaning of life, created irrational stories of what might happen to me after dying, and such. I realized that through the process of intellectual insight, there was a different way to think about things. This for me was step one in the process of overcoming the fear of dying anxiety. After this came emotional insight which was the understanding that not only was there a new way to see myself and the fear of dying, but I could also take new actions that would promote further change in my life, and get further away from my anxiety.

So make sure to implement what you listen to in this video. Because if you understand it, and begin taking action to raise your new vibration daily, you will overcome the fear of dying anxiety starting today and live the life you want to.

[ Dennis Simsek – The Anxiety Guy ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTz2sYU8nX8


“Facing Fear of Death: 4 Skills for Anxiety and Fear of Death and Dying”

Are you afraid of dying? Does thinking about death or dying make you so anxious that you avoid any and all aspects of it? Or do distressing thoughts about death bother you? Or are you just in complete denial, trying to pretend that it won’t happen? In this episode we’re going to talk about four psychological skills for facing a fear of death, the anxiety around death, and some strategies that may be helpful for you. And I’ll tell you why I once took a bunch of depressed teenagers to a cemetery.

*If you’re thinking about suicide, this video may not be for you. In one way, a fear of death can serve a function: to help us avoid things that might kill us. A healthy and functional fear of death can help us make safer choices and choose to live a better life. Suicide is an act that harms others. It’s not the way you want to leave the world. So if you’re feeling suicidal, perhaps instead of watching this video, reach out to someone who can help you or learn some new skills to work through emotions. You could check out my anxiety skills or grounding skills playlist, for example.

A dysfunctional fear of death, on the other hand, can lead to avoidance behaviors that make us feel worse, lead to higher anxiety, and prevent us from living life the way we would choose. So these things are what we’re going to address today.

[ Emma McAdam ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWZh5aZh9dc


“How to Overcome the Fear of Death – Health Anxiety”

In this video I discuss how to overcome the fear of death that many of us deal with when having health anxiety. Whether you have health anxiety, GAD, depression, panic disorder/panic attacks, or general stress, the thought and fear of death probably crossed your mind. Even if you do not suffer from a mental illness, the fear of death or fear of dying might have come across your mind. My fear of death started at the age of 12 and lasted for 2 months into my 7th grade year of junior high. I became obssessed with how i would die and when i would die. I was so afraid of death it made me sick to my stomach and would just take long walks to think about something else. I didnt get any support from my family and was told I was too young to worry about death. Eventually school became busy and I returned to my normal thinking. When I had my first panic attack at 21, my life changed completely for the worst. I thought I was dying from a heart attack and from there continued into a health anxiety spiral of disaster. I was a hypochondriac and terrified of death. I thought I had every type of disease whether it be heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or hiv. Eventually I started to google what it was like to die. Surprisingly most people claimed it to be the most peaceful and natural thing in the world. This gave me hope. I then read of my many who had near death experiences who said the same. Some even claiming they were upset when they came back to life because they were so at peace after passing. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. This quote makes so much sense here. I should have just feared the fear of dying. The process might be painful, but I go through pain now and deal with it as it happens. When you fear death, you cripple yourself, stay unmotivated, you arent as productive, you are more unhealthy, and are more volunerable to stress and anxiety. Live each day like it is your last and live in the present. I wasted 4 years thinking about dying and now im doing alot more living!

[ Trey Jones ]

COMMENTARY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAIU-GLYofc


“Death Is Not to Be Feared”

[ Joe Rogan interviews Kevin Smith ]

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwAiKwnpwWI


“How can I overcome the fear of death?”

Even the most secure, devout believer can have occasions when he fears death. It is hard-wired into our systems to avoid death. And death was not an original part of God’s plan for His creation. We were made to be whole and holy, living in paradise in communion with Him. The introduction of death was a necessary response to the admittance of sin into the world. It is a grace that we die. If we didn’t, we would have to live in a sinful world for all eternity.

Knowing that in your head doesn’t necessarily counteract the visceral reaction to the thought of your own mortality. The fragility of our physical bodies and the sudden cessation of life are violent reminders of our lack of control in a large, dangerous world. We do have a great hope, that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). And He did go to prepare a place for us so that we can join Him (John 14:2). But it might help to consider the more immediate, practical considerations we’re faced with.

Beginning with, what is the actual fear? There are several aspects of death that can potentially cause fear. Fortunately, God has an answer for each of them.

Fear of the unknown
What exactly does it feel like to die? What can you see as your life leaves your physical body? How will it come about? Is it anything like people have reported—a bright light? A group of relatives?

No one knows for certain what it feels like, but the Bible does describe what happens. Second Corinthians 5:6–8 and Philippians 1:23 say that when we leave our body, we are at home with the Lord. What a reassuring thought! We will stay in this state until Christ comes and resurrects the believers (1 Corinthians 15:20–22; 6:14) when we will be given a new, glorified body.

Fear of loss of control
By the time humans reach adulthood, they have a pretty good idea how to interact with the world around them. They know how to find what they need, get to where they want to be, and interact with others in a way that fulfills their intent.

Many though, even those who profess a trust in God, are so fearful of not getting what they need that they feel they have no choice but to manipulate their surroundings and the people around them to their benefit. We have all met men and women who abuse and grasp out of fear. They don’t trust God to provide for their needs, so they take care of things themselves. They don’t trust others to give them consideration, so they demand what they think they need.

How much more they must fear the loss of control upon their deaths. As Jesus said to Peter, describing how he would die, “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go” (John 21:18). Before Peter got this warning, he denied Jesus out of fear. Directly after the warning, he reacted by demanding to know how John was going to die. But after Jesus returned to heaven, Peter took the gift of the Holy Spirit and became a new person—one whose passion for Christ’s message far out-stripped his need to control his surroundings (Acts 5:17–42). The Holy Spirit alone gave him the strength to face whatever challenges he might face.

Fear for those left behind
The Christian view of death is “separation.” Ultimate death is separation from God. With physical death, we will be separated from our loved ones on Earth for a time. If they are also Christians, we know that the separation will be a short blink of an eye compared to the eternity we’ll spend with them in heaven. If they are not Christians, that will not be the case. Our commission, then, becomes to use this time together to talk to them about where they will go when they die. Ultimately, however, the decision rests with them. Just as God gives them the room to choose, we must also.

Fear of the act of dying
Few of us know how we will die. Quick and painless, in our sleep, a long, drawn-out illness—the mystery of it, the inability to prepare, can be frightening. If we do know, if we’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness, it can still be scary.

But it is only a moment. A moment nearly everyone has gone through or will go through. And, when that moment is over, we can claim Philippians 3:20–21: “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

Often, being informed and actively participating can help assuage fear. You can take steps to prepare yourself and those around you.

Overcoming the fear of death — Practical steps
Many people believe they shouldn’t die because they have too much to live for. Often, this means they have responsibilities and unfinished business that wouldn’t be taken care of if they were gone. But having people and things you are responsible for won’t keep you from dying if it’s your time. Doing what you can to make sure they’re seen to can alleviate fear.

If you have a business or children or other dependents, consider their care. Decide who will take over your role and work with that person to come up with a plan. Look into a will or a trust. Make sure all of your necessary paperwork is organized and easy to find. Reconcile broken relationships before you’re unable to. But don’t live for dying. There’s a difference between taking reasonable steps and obsessing.

Overcoming the fear of death — Physical steps
If you have strong feelings about what you want to happen to you should you become incapacitated, express them now. It’s entirely possible that during the course of an illness or injury, you’ll lose control over the situation and be unable to make your wishes known. Get a living will. Let those closest to you know what you want—or at least tell them where it’s written down. Choose someone you trust to be authorized to make decisions for you should you become unable.

Overcoming the fear of death — Spiritual steps
These are all steps to keep up responsibilities or maintain a measure of control in the worldly realm, but they don’t get to the meat of the matter. The most important thing to remember regarding death is the truth about life. You love your family and care for them, but God loves them more. You may worry about your earthly legacy, but God’s more concerned with a kingdom perspective. All the paperwork in the world won’t bring the peace of mind of one simple action: abide.

In the middle of living this life, with these people, in this world, it’s difficult to keep in mind that this is just a temporary condition, and not a very good one at that. First John 2:15–17 says, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” How we remember this is by abiding (1 John 2:24). Staying in the truth of His Word, believing what He says about us and the world around us, will give us the proper perspective regarding this life and the one we will receive.

When we are able to keep that kingdom perspective, we’ll be able to fulfill 1 John 3:1–2: “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” It will be so evident that we do not belong in this world that others will see it, too. We will so take ownership of our position as children of God that we will actively seek the day we can be like Christ and see Him as He is.

[ Got Questions ]


“Here’s how to get rid of your fear of death once and for all…”

I know how you feel.

I used to be scared of dying too.

And if you’re like I was, then you’re afraid to die because nobody ever gave you a good reason why you shouldn’t be.

That is, until now.

My book, How I Lost My Fear of Death and How You Can Too summarizes the story of my 2 year search to uncover the truth about what happens to us after we die.

And once you found out what it is and follow the simple instructions in the book, you won’t need to fear death anymore either.

[ Jack McElroy ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8TAxdgXhdg


“The Truth About Death”

I would encourage you to open your Bible to the passage I read earlier, Luke chapter 12. As I go before the Lord and seek His will and plan for sermons I don’t necessarily know in the planning what one week after another might bring, but He does; and the Lord knew that this passage was for this day in His purposes: lessons about death from Jesus. I don’t think in my lifetime I’ve heard the word “deadly” as many times as I’ve heard it in the last five months. This is the only time in my lifetime that you get a daily score – no sports scores, but you get the death score every day. And I will admit, as we all must, that life is a terminal illness for all of us.

Every year sixty million people die in the world. Three million every year die in our own country. And they all will live forever, either in heaven or hell. The difference is their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Is He their Savior or is He their Judge? The popular perception of the Lord Jesus is that He is a figure who is to be defined by love and peace. Certainly that is true. That is true for those who believe in Him. For those who repent from their sins and acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior, there will be eternal love and peace and joy. But that’s not the full picture. What about those who reject Him? This is the most important message the world will ever hear, and the church is the proclamation center for this message of salvation.

In verse 51 of Luke 12, Jesus asks a question to the crowd. It’s a large crowd. If you go to the beginning of chapter 12 and verse 1, it says, “So many thousands of people.” Literally the word there means ten thousand. Tens of thousands of people were listening to Him. He says to them in verse 51, “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on the earth? Is that what you think?” After all, that’s what the Jews would think. Isaiah called Him the Prince of Peace. Zacharias the priest who was the father of John the Baptist said that when the Messiah came He would lead us into the way of peace. Jesus said to His followers in the upper room the night of His betrayal, the night before His death, “My peace I leave with you.” He actually declared that He was going to bring to the world a spiritual kingdom of peace, Romans 14, and one day an actual earthly kingdom of peace. [ more… ]

[ John MacArthur ]

SERMON: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxKRH-9IRCg


“Facing Down the Biggest Fear of All”

5 ways to conquer your fear of death and age courageously

(Editor’s note: This essay is part of a series from author and speaker Ken Druck, based on work in his book Courageous Aging, which is about how all people can make peace with, and find joy in, every stage of life.)

Our fear of death begins when we’re kids. Perhaps we had to face the mystifying idea of impermanence when a beloved pet, parent or grandparent died. The stark reality that this loved one was really gone — and gone forever, was both devastating and terrifying. From early childhood, when we’re introduced to the concept of “futureless-ness” — that is, old age and eventually death, there are few things as difficult for us to deal with. Facing down the fear of dying requires great strength, humility and spiritual fortitude. But, as you will see, it’s worth the effort.

Summoning the courage to quell our fears and come to terms with our mortality may be one of the most challenging things we ever do — but it may be one of the best things we can do. Freeing up the space in our minds and hearts where fear has resided and replacing it with newfound peace, courage and understanding is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves.

5 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Death
Here are several things that have helped me, and those I’ve had the honor and privilege of working with over the years, to make peace and even find joy as they near the end of their lives:

  1. Treat Conquering the Fear of Death as a Process, not an Endpoint
    Loosening the grip of death’s terrifying, paralyzing and often, depressing hold on us comes with learning to calm our hearts, deepen our faith, bolster our courage, surrender our need for control, give a voice to our fear and reimagine the greater possibilities. The goal is not to obliterate our trepidation about dying or to never again be afraid. This may not even be attainable for most folks. We can, however, learn how to contain, channel and ease our fears. And this alone will be enough to lighten our hearts and improve the quality of our lives.
  2. Allow a Humble Unknowingness
    We do not know with 100 percent certainty what happens when we die. Or where, if anywhere, we were before we were born. Unknowingness is a natural part of the human experience. We can try to fight it, pretending we know exactly what’s going to happen when we pass, or we can remain humble, seek deeper understanding and keep the faith that there is something greater and more important that we will be privy to at some point in our evolution.
  3. Death Is Inescapable: Trying to Outsmart, Outrun or Outmaneuver It Is an Exercise in Futility
    The fear of death resides in our DNA. We’re programmed to live … and to do everything in our power to survive. Since the thought of dying can be overwhelming, we try to run and hide from it. Opening ourselves to the possibilities of life after death is natural. And so is conducting honest inquiries into the true nature of life and death.

Attempting a spiritual or religious bypass, however, by blindly adopting a faith, can get us into trouble. Some even believe the fear of death and need for a savior have served as the inspiration for the founding of some religions. When the only means of finding peace and quieting our fears of death is to adopt a religion and/or spiritual path, we can become rigid and inflexible. Our capacity for true inner strength, faith, reflection and spiritual awakening weakens if the only thing we do is recite rituals and pray to be saved by a higher power. Assured a ticket to life everlasting in heaven, we cling to blind faith and forgo the opportunity to cultivate faith from the inside.

  1. Embrace Uncertainty and “Choose to Believe” in an Organic Faith
    That we undergo a transition from this life when we die is indisputable. There are “believers” and “nonbelievers” who claim to live with a clear sense of certainty about exactly what that is. And then, there are people like me, who are uncertain about the true nature of life and death — but choose to place our bets anyway. I choose to believe, for example, that when I die, I’ll be reunited with my daughter Jenna, who died tragically while studying abroad at age 21. I remain vigilant and patient, hopeful and humble, in my uncertainty about the mysterious nature of death.
  2. Focus on What You Believe Does Go On After You Die
    I have found some measure of peace, and my heart is calm most of the time. But there are times when I’m visited by fear, doubt and profound sorrow. Staring into the abyss, scared that I might be telling myself a story to stave off sorrow and fear… I find the idea of a great nothingness to be quite frightening. However, these occasional lapses into despair, when I feel defenseless, are offset by the times when I feel at peace.

Accepting life’s terms, reconciling that we don’t get to live forever and being eternally grateful for the blessing of having lived, gives me peace. So does being intimately connected to my daughter in the spiritual realm, bonded by an undying love. From the day of her death in 1996 to this very moment, I’ve experienced the love that never dies. Telling Jenna that I cherish her — feeling her love, and even her presence, has soothed my heart and assured me that love is greater than death. And that love does go on. While it has been a source of unspeakable pain in my life, my daughter’s passing has also calmed my fears about death. Whatever that transition is, I believe that I will be joining her, my parents, grandparents and others I have loved someday. And that’s OK.

  1. Pay the Good in Your Life Forward
    When we make strides in reconciling the fact that we’re here on lease, we can decide to live from gratitude and pay the good fortune, blessings, gifts and miracles we’ve been able to experience forward to our kids, grandkids and future generations. Leaving a legacy of love is in direct contrast with living from fear, jealousy, bitterness and resentment. Those who fail to face down their fears of dying think nothing of taking it all down with them when they die. They become reckless and/or indifferent to the kind of future they’re leaving behind for future generations. The peace afforded to those who choose to look beyond their own lifetime and pay the good in their lives forward allows them to let go when it’s time.

And keep in mind, the following ideals of what I call “courageous living” can be of great help when facing down the fear of death:

Stay humble, and find peace in your unknowingness. You’re a part of something so big that it is unfathomable. The true nature of the universe — where life comes from and where it goes when you die — is an unfolding mystery. Just ask the stars.

Cultivate a calm mind that allows naturally arising fears and doubts to come and go. Learning to breathe and release even your primordial fears is a form of surrender. You can make peace with life itself as it really is.
Keep the faith that whatever you believe in your heart is true — or what you wish to be true. It’s okay to abide by a hoped-for narrative without knowing if it’s entirely accurate or not.
It’s also just fine to have faith in a divine truth without apology or justification. Do so while respecting and honoring the rights of others who may have a different view.

The Process of a Lifetime
Dealing with death occurs over the course of a lifetime. When it comes to accepting the inevitable, we’re all works in progress and a certain amount of existential unrest is part of being human. The seasons, changes, losses, and transitions of life demand upgrades in our operating systems. Summoning courage, faith, understanding and humility requires great determination. Allowing for, and accepting, life’s terms, as well as voicing our objections to the parts that are sad and scary, is all part of the journey.

[ Ken Druck ]


“How Christians Face Unexpected Death | Welcomed By Jesus #1”

Everyone will die but no one knows when or how their time will come. Is there more to death than meets the eye? Pastor Lutzer indicates three truths from the death of the first Christian martyr, Stephen. Whether grieving a sudden loss or considering our own death, Christians possess an enduring assurance.

[ Erwin Lutzer ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yGe5BAl3nw


“How Christians See God’s Glory At DEATH | Welcomed by Jesus #2”

Death is not the way it was supposed to be. Yet at death’s door, the first Christian martyr, Stephen, gave us a glimpse into the heavenly realm. Pastor Lutzer contemplates seeing God’s unfathomable glory, both in this life and the next. Could it be that death, and even the sorrow it brings, helps us see what life’s all about?

[ Erwin Lutzer ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gu4ZVt8GzFo


“How Christians CONFIDENTLY Prepare To Die | Welcomed By Jesus #3”

We all wonder what it will be like to die. The martyr, Stephen, embodied the Christian hope as he was welcomed by Jesus into heaven. Pastor Lutzer ponders God’s will in death, as we commit our souls to the Lord. Although we can’t know how our death will take place, can we know with certainty that we are in God’s hands?

[ Erwin Lutzer ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6m7GwZv86c


“Clay Jones Says We’re Going to Die. How Should We Respond?”

Clay Jones joins me to tackle the topic many Christians are afraid to face: death. We talk about his new book, Immortal: How the Fear of Death Drives us and What we can do About it. Why are Christians so afraid of death?

[ Alisa Childers interviews Clay Jones ]

INTERVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvIquYLV5f8


“17 Ways to Overcome Fear of Death”

On the show, you will see and hear live witnessing encounters, discussions of tough theological issues, and Christian commentary on current events. We might even make you laugh.

[ Todd Friel – Wretched Radio ]

COMMENTARY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwk9DqzHpYI


“Death: The Fear of Death”

Moira sits down with Dr. David Jeremiah to discuss the ninth chapter — ‘Death: The Fear of Death’ of his book, ‘What Are You Afraid Of?’

[ 100Huntley interviews David Jeremiah ]

PART 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF-bh7ooAAs
PART 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjAfeRuV5VI


“DEATH is SCARY, but THIS should WORRY you MORE!!!”

So many things in this world have come about as a result of man’s fear of death. That’s understandable for many reasons, but physical death isn’t the thing that we should be worried about. Undoubtedly, there is something far more disconcerting than physical death. Here’s what you should know about that!!!

[ James Kaddis ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJ-Am3mRNeE


“Bible Fear of Death”

The fear of death mentioned in the bible is the source of all fear, and symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks, such as shortness of breath, heart pounding, body shaking, feelings of going crazy, etc. etc.,are related to this fear.

[ Pat Buckley ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6bCFBrdYqQ


“THE FEAR OF DEATH”

[ John MacArthur ]

Q&A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti4BjY6Mhv0


“Fear of Death”

[ BTWN News – Looks at John MacArthur’s sermon ]

COMMENTARY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRRiDg3eO8Q


“FEAR OF DEATH IS AN ENSLAVING CHAIN FROM THE DEVIL–Jesus Wants us to Live in Hope NOT FEAR”

There will also be global distress (Luke 21:9–11). “Be not anxious!” is Christ’s admonition to us, and we must take it to heart.

Luke 21:9 But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.”

  1. SURVIVAL GUIDE: I will—Trust God’s Promises so I won’t live a fearful life.

2 Timothy 1:12-14, For this reason, I also suffer these things; nevertheless, I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

[ John Barnett ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKzRbjxYCq0


“How to Be Free from the Fear of Death”

When our ministry sells 10,000 copies of a new booklet in the first three months, that’s a good response. If we sell 20,000, that’s phenomenal. Our new booklet, “How to be Free From the Fear of Death,” sold 137,000 in the first three months! That made us realize, because of the coronavirus, many are thinking about their mortality—perhaps for the first time in their lives. So we made a video of the same name, because we believe it is needed for such a time as this. We pray this blesses many

[ Ray Comfort ]

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOfHJmHIG44


“How to be Free From the Fear of Death book”

[ Ray Comfort ]

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LlzSbeYtTw


“Overcoming Fear of Death”

One day death will come to us personally. It is unavoidable that each of us will one day be buried and celebrated. But the question is, how do we know the power over death or even the fear of death? [ more… ]

[ Paul Lawler ]

SERMON: https://www.christchurchmemphis.org/stories/how-to-overcome-the-fear-of-death


“Should Christians Be Afraid Of Death?”

There is a difference between healthy fear and unhealthy fear. Regarding the fear of death, we are to be confident in our salvation, to be convinced that God will raise us up, and that we will receive a new and perfect body.

[ John Schoenheit ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IU8hnC2bvyM


“Scripture Helps Us Overcome the Fear of Dying”

Join Dr. David Jeremiah as he looks at what the Bible says about death. Knowing that God awaits us at the end of our earthly lives can give us unmatched peace and comfort.

[ David Jeremiah ]

SERMON: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbAFbk2CdmI


“Why Christians Need Not Fear Death”

[ John MacArthur ]

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mx-EIiIGH-g


“Why Christians Don’t Fear Death | Romans 8:9-11”

Christians have been given the power needed to fight against fear and worry, but how does that power work? Hear this week’s message from Pastor Andrew on Romans 8:9-11, “Why Christians Don’t Fear Death.”

[ Pastor Andrew ]

SERMON: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJTO9NrgqsY


“Why Do So Many Christians Fear Death?”

Post-surgery thoughts on life, death, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. What happens after we die?

“Prior to my surgery last week, I had to sign a consent form. Even before that, I was told of all the possible risks and complications including a torn heart muscle, punctured lung, torn artery, partial paralysis, stroke during the operation or even death.”

The list of possible risks was long, but the absolute greatest risk we can take in this life is denying God by refusing to believe in His Son, Jesus, and not accepting the free offer of the forgiveness of our sins.

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

[ David Fiorazo ]

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hijUlCO1FSE


“Stormie Omartian’s Story: I planned to die (and I almost did)…then God…”

“I have a burning desire to tell people who are hurting that there is a way out of their pain…There is hope for their lives.”

Stormie Omartian tells her compelling story of a childhood marred by physical and emotional abuse that eventually led her into the occult, drugs, and tragic relationships.

Finding herself overwhelmed by fear and on the verge of suicide, she shares with us the turning point that changed her life and reveals the healing process that brought freedom and wholeness beyond what she ever imagined.

[ 100Huntley ]

INTERVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeAhlzvPIQU


“The Answer to the Problem of Death”

Ray Comfort, of Living Waters, joins Yvette Hampton and Aby Rinella to talk about the transforming power of the Gospel. We know that homeschooling isn’t the Gospel, so we dig deep into the truth about the good news and Ray gives practical tips for sharing the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ with our friends and neighbors.

[ Ray Comfort ]

INTERVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBe2Vxf2qyc


“DWELLING WITH THE GOD–WHO WENT TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU”

God wants to dwell with us and us to dwell with Him.

Jesus is named Immanuel, God with us in Matthew 1.

Heaven is described as the dwelling place of God with men at the end of the Bible.

Today we are confronted with what it means to dwell with God. God’s purpose is to dwell with us until we can dwell with Him. The start of the Tabernacle Scriptures states:

Ex 25:8 (NKJV) And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.

In Exodus, God sent the plans to build a portable Doorway to Heaven where humans could come face to face with God, by way of substitutionary sacrifices. Coming before God is awesome.
That is what we need to think about more often, what it means to come face to face with God, which is only through Christ.

The Tabernacle was a reminder for us who live on Earth, of the reality of God upon His Throne. Today, what response does God expect of us when we see Him as He is this moment, seated upon His Throne?

MEETING THE KING OF THE UNIVERSE AT THE DOORWAY TO HEAVEN

The plan for the Doorway to Heaven that God gave is a guide for us to understand Christ’s work.

When God came down from Heaven to the Earth, the mountain began quaking, a cloud of fire surrounding God was burning the top of the mountain, and a pillar of smoke rose like from a blast furnace.

Each of the elements surrounding God’s Holy Throne, speaks of a scene so awesome, and so massively powerful that frail creatures like we are as humans would have trouble surviving.

God left a visible plan of salvation for the world. For 500 years it was a tent that Moses built. Then it was in a Temple that Solomon built. Both portrayed:

THE PLAN GOD DISPLAYED

[ John Barnett ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTdGM3t_piU


“HEAVEN: From Misconceptions to Hope”

Do you have the hope of eternal life in Heaven? Nathan Jones shares what Heaven is like!

[ Nathan E. Jones ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnDR1FK0g2k&t=374s


“Fear Not – Overcoming Fear of Death”

Many Christians through the ages have shown that they had overcome the fear of death. They did not get there by accident. Today, Pastor John explains three things you can do to overcome the fear of death.

[ First Church – Pastor John ]

SERMON: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBSKE4JEBrA


“How Can I Overcome the Fear of Death?”

The fear of dying, as well as the fear of death is a reality many deal with. It is the fear of the unknown that causes many to ask questions like, What happens when you die, and how can I overcome the fear of death? Being scared of dying and afraid of death can be dealt with by knowing what happens when you die through the truth of the Bible. In this video Pastor Nelson answers the question, how can I overcome the fear of death?

[ GotQuestions ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlHsvbhYw1Q


“What does it mean that we have eternity in our hearts?”

What does it mean that we have eternity in our hearts? How is it that God makes everything beautiful, and in what ways has God set eternity in our hearts? The meaning of Ecclesiastes 3:11 helps us understand these things, providing us a better understanding of God’s timing. Ecclesiastes 3 11 states, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” In this video, Pastor Nelson with Bible Munch answers the question, “What does it mean that we have eternity in our hearts”.

[ GotQuestions ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyrCJL089lM


“How Do I Overcome My Fear of Death?”

The fear of death keeps people off jets and into cars, a more deadly form of transportation. The fear of death exerts tremendous force over people in this world. It makes us irrational. So what counsel do we have for Christians who live under a perpetual fear of their own mortality? The question arrives from a woman who has not given us her name. [ more… ]

[ John Piper ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9HsSoOZERk


“How To Overcome Fear Today”

[ Daniel Vander Klok ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Sa2ttUG7c


“This Life Is Only the Cover and Title Page”

Randy shares the conclusion of C.S. Lewis’ “The Last Battle” which reminds us that when our life on this earth ends it will only have been “the cover and the title page” of the real story that will go on for eternity.

[ Randy Alcorn ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w75gh_uAYmU


“Make Your Peace With God”

In this classic sermon from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Billy Graham explains Christ’s victory over death and what it can mean for your life.

[ Billy Graham ]

SERMON: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfEG2RsvKXg


“Viktor Frankl: Logotherapy and Man’s Search for Meaning”

In this video we explore the school of thought founded by Viktor Frankl called logotherapy, which claims that the primary motivation of humans is to actualize meaning in their life. We do so by exploring his famous work Man’s Search for Meaning.

[ Academy of Ideas ]

TEACHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okJ3KQ4S-ts


“Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth”

America’s first colony

TIMELINE OF SIGNIFICANT EVENTS AT THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK PROPERTY

1513: Ponce de Leon sights La Florida at 30º 8’ and comes ashore at a Timucua village tucked safely into a small harbor off the Atlantic Ocean. Believing the area to be an island, Ponce so named this beautiful “new land” La Florida because it was sighted during the Festival of Flowers at Easter time. The village of Seloy was centered here at the Fountain of Youth and extended about one mile to the north and one mile to the west, up to the San Sebastian River. He Sailed with three ships Santiago, Santa Maria & San Cristobal. [ more… ]

WEBSITE: https://www.fountainofyouthflorida.com/history/

The Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine is legendary, known as the place where Ponce De Leon discovered the healing waters that magically maintain your youthful appearance.

WEBSITE: https://www.floridashistoriccoast.com/things-to-do/history/fountain-youth/


<<< SONGS >>>


It Is Not Death To Die

VERSE 1
It is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who’ve found their home with God
It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne
Delivered from our fears

CHORUS
O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

VERSE 2
It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just
It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore

[ Sovereign Grace ]

SONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sna3Fp4LZ9g


I Will Fear No More

Every anxious thought that steals my breath
It’s a heavy weight upon my chest
As I lie awake and wonder what the future will hold
Help me to remember that You’re in control
You’re my courage when I worry in the dead of night
You’re my strength cause I’m not strong enough to win this fight
You are greater than the battle raging in my mind

I will trust you Lord
I will fear no more

I will lift my eyes I will lift my cares
Lay them in Your hands I’ll leave them there
When the wind and waves are coming You shelter me
Even though I’m in the storm the storm is not in me
You’re my courage when I worry in the dead of night
You’re my strength cause I’m not strong enough to win this fight
You are greater than the battle raging in my mind

I will trust You Lord
I will Fear No More

I will fear no more
I will fear no more

No power can come against me
Cause You have overcome
No darkness can overwhelm me
Cause You’ve already won
No power can come against me
Cause You have overcome
No darkness can overwhelm me
Cause You’ve already won

You’re my courage when I worry in the dead of night
You’re my strength cause I’m not strong enough to win this fight
You are greater than the battle raging in my mind

I will trust You Lord
I will fear no more

I will fear no more
I will fear no more
I will fear no more
I will fear no more

[ The Afters – “Fear No More” album ]

SONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMmmbJlWhtk


Sovereign Ruler of the Skies

Sovereign Ruler of the skies!
Ever gracious, ever wise!
All my times are in Your hand,
All events at Your command.

His decree, who formed the earth,
Fixed my first and second birth;
Now my life Him to owe
Where He leads me I will go

CHORUS
Ever Faithful
Ever True
Keep my heart to only You
Since I cannot part from Thee?
Sovereign Ruler ever be

Plagues and deaths around me fly,
Till He bids, I cannot die:
Not a single shaft can hit
Till the God of love thinks fit.

Times the tempter’s power to prove,
Times to taste a Savior’s love:
All must come, and last and end,
As shall please my heavenly Friend.

CHORUS…

He that formed me in the womb,
He shall guide me to the tomb;
All my times shall ever be
Ordered by His wise decree.

CHORUS…

Thee, at all times, will I bless;
Having Thee, I all possess;
Since I cannot part from Thee?
Sovereign Ruler ever be

[ Foto Sisters ]

SONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fp322KgvjvM


In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

[ Travis Cottrell – “iWorship Connect” album ]

SONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpFQIH1CQ50


Because He Lives

God sent His son
They called Him Jesus
He came to love
Heal and forgive
He bled and died
To buy my pardon
An empty grave
Is there to prove
My savior lives

And because He lives
I can face tomorrow
Because He lives
All fear is gone
Because I know
He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives

And then one day
I’ll cross the river
And I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then
As death gives way to victory
I’ll see the lights of glory
And I’ll know He reigns

Because He lives
I can face tomorrow
Because He lives
All fear is gone
Because I know
He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives (He lives)

Hallelujah
He lives

[ Bill & Gloria Gaither – “Bill Gaither’s 30 Favorite Homecoming Hymns” album ]

SONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB3un06HUSY


This World Is Not My Home

This world is not my home
I’m just a-passing through
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue

The angels beckon me
From heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore

Oh Lord, you know
I have no friend like you
If heaven’s not my home
Then Lord, what will I do?

The angels beckon me
From heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore

I have a loving mother
Just up in Gloryland
And I don’t expect to stop
Until I shake her hand

She’s waiting now for me
In heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore

Oh Lord, you know
I have no friend like you
If heaven’s not my home
Then Lord, what will I do?

The angels beckon me
From heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore

Just over in Gloryland
We’ll live eternally
The saints on every hand
Are shouting victory

Their songs of sweetest praise
Drift back from heaven’s shore
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore

Oh Lord, you know
I have no friend like you
If heaven’s not my home
Then Lord, what will I do?

The angels beckon me
From heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home In this world any more

[ Jim Reeves (Written by Albert E. Brumley) ]

SONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3eX9prTb7Y


Come, Lord Jesus

VERSE 1
When the war is over and the battles are done
We shall see our Savior shining like the sun
Every tear He will dry, every shadow will flee
All those in Christ Jesus will be made complete
Will be made complete

CHORUS
Come, Lord Jesus
Listen to creation groan
Come, Lord Jesus
Come and take Your people home

VERSE 2
Every tongue will praise Him, every knee will bow
When we see our Savior riding on the clouds
Riding on the clouds

BRIDGE
Now we see in part, then we’ll see in full
Your glory, Jesus, will satisfy our souls

[ Sovereign Grace Music – “Prayers of the Saints” album ]

SONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fNNIYs8dEY


Smoke Alarm

He said “Baby what’s the big deal
Feel what you want to feel
Say what you want to say
You’re gonna one day
For example, I could kiss you
Just because I want to
What’s the difference if you turn away
I’m gonna die one day
Why do you waste you time
Thinkin’ ’bout your reputation
Tryin’ to meet an expectation
Wondering what they’re gonna say
When everyone you’ve ever known
Is headed for a headstone
I don’t want to give the end away
But we’re gonna die one day
Your body is an animal, doesn’t ask for much
A little music and a soft touch
Why don’t you let it out to play
Your heart is in a bird cage
Singin’ in your chest
You want to shut it up but give it a rest
You’re gonna die one day
Why do we waste our time
Thinkin’ ’bout an obligation
Runnin’ from a confrontation
Wondrin’ what we ought to say
When everyone we’ve ever known is headed for a headstone
I don’t want to give the end away
We’re gonna die one day
We’re gonna die one day
We’re gonna die one day
So baby what’s the big deal
If you want to be free
Say what you want to feel
Spend the night with me
I’m gonna take you up in my arms
And if we must go down
We’ll go singing to the smoke alarms
We’ll dance into the ground

[ Carsie Blanton ]

SONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2BAyY7SDkw


<<< APOLOGETIX SONGS >>>


Death
(Parody of “Beth” by Kiss)

Death, I hear you callin’
But I can’t come over right now
Me and the Lord are prayin’
And it just came time to bow
Guess you’ll lose your powers
And I’ll free my soul from you
The sting I feared is stolen
O, death, what can you do?
Death, what can you do?

This grave will be so empty
But now Hell just ain’t my home
‘Cause I’m goin’ somewhere else
Where the Lord’s always on the throne
Yes, you’ll lose your powers
And I feel my soul renewed
Your kingdom here has fallen
O, death, what can you do?
Death, what can you do?

Death, I know you owed me
But my hope’s in Jesus Christ
And me and the Lord will be stayin’ — alive
Uh-huhhhh

[ ApologetiX – “Soundproof” album ]

SONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwHKeJohEmA


Shepherd’s Paradise
(Parody of “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio)

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I will not fear for my life — I realize that God’s with me
His rod and staff have been with me so long
He’s been keepin’ me from all the places that I might go wrong But He’s the shepherd, I’m the lamb and dinner He serves me Lets me eat it right in front of foes who would hurt me
They better not touch, they watch me, but they can’t touch me They do and they know that they’ll be fighting with God
He filleth up my cup and it overflows
It’s no joke, come see yourself, see my cup is so full
I’m the kind of sheep that’s where the grass is always green Still waters He leads me beside, stayin’ there is a sweet life
The Good Shepherd rules my life

I’m givin’ Him the thanks for Paradise You can spend eternal life
Livin’ in the Shepherd’s Paradise

Look at the declaration that God is makin’:
“I will give my own life in exchange for the sheep.”
And he’s got it written down in the Good Book
Turn the television off a while and take a look
He’s a shepherd who is good to everybody in His flock Chapter 10, verse 11 in the Gospel of John
Yes, the Lord’s my shepherd — what could be better? And my home is a mansion in His house forever (Cool!) Death ain’t nothin’, so I’ll not be afraid
His lovingkindness with follow us all the way
Psalm 23 tells you all of this but there’s plenty more You may even know it — I don’t know

Tell me why is He so kind to His sheep When we wander away so easily?

An hour is a-coming — coming in a while where
He will make divisions — by His mighty power
Shepherd’s gonna come and decide between the sheep and the goats And we’re all gonna listen as final words are spoken
He’ll say you goats deserted me when I was poor and needy
A naked, hungry, stranger — how did you treat me?
I guess they failed, I guess they’re goats,
I guess they flunked, that’s why I know I like it in the sheepfold

The Good Shepherd rules my life
I’m givin’ Him the thanks for Paradise You can spend eternal life
Livin’ in the Shepherd’s Paradise

The Good Shepherd rules my life
I’m givin’ Him the thanks for Paradise You can spend eternal life
Livin’ in the Shepherd’s Para(dise) Tell me why is He so kind to His sheep When we wander away so easily?
Tell me why is He so kind to His sheep When we wander away so easily?

The Good Shepherd rules my life
I’m givin’ Him the thanks for Paradise You can spend eternal life
Livin’ in the Shepherd’s Paradise
The Good Shepherd rules my life
I’m givin’ Him the thanks for Paradise You can spend eternal life
Livin’ in the Shepherd’s Para(dise) Tell me why is He so kind to His sheep When we wander away so easily?
Tell me why is He so kind to His sheep

[ ApologetiX – “Ticked” album ]

SONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Io1Tc42c45U


Don’t Fear the People
(Parody of “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult )

Fallen times have come. We can’t turn and run
Stephen didn’t fear the people,
Not even when they stoned him to death
We can be like he was
C’mon, baby
(Don’t fear the people)
Baby, take your stand
(Don’t fear the people)
And be ready to die
(Don’t fear the people)
Baby, they’re just men

When the fire was done, Nero burned Christians
Rome of old was full of men
Martyred for their Christianity
(Rome of old was full of men)
Although they tried they couldn’t kill them anyway
(Rome of old was full of men)
The more that died the more that came to take their place
(Read in your history book)
And now the Coliseum is an empty place
(We can be like they were)

CHORUS

Harken to the one — who was God’s own Son:
Fear not man in his madness
Who if he killed your body couldn’t go on
The Lord’s the only one that you should fear
The person who first put you here
Who can certainly do something more severe
(When you’re thrown in the grave)
C’mon baby
(That’s the one to fear)
Defend the faith
(Like the martyrs who died)
Let’s get back to the faith they had
(We can become like they were)
They had taken a stand
(We can become like they were)
C’mon baby
(Don’t fear the people)

[ ApologetiX – “Grace Period” album ]

SONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXYI4Ut6Xig


Fearful
(Parody of “Vehicle” by The Ides of March)

Hey, well, I can sense the danger of an accident
A-when I hop inside my car
I’ve got scriptures that tell me
God will never abandon me
I’ll take Him with me near and far

I’m not fearful, baby
He’s with me everywhere I’m gonna go
I’ve had fearful moments
But I found my Lord you know
When God loves ya (loves ya)
He keeps ya (keeps ya)
I know that lots can happen now but
Praise God in Heaven, I know I’ll come through

Well, if you want to see a move of God
I’m gonna take you to the Holy Book
And if you wanna pray to let Him in your heart
You know I think you really should

I’m not fearful, baby
He’s with me everywhere I’m gonna go
I’ve had miracle moments
I found my Lord you know
When God loves ya (loves ya)
He keeps ya (keeps ya)
I know that lots can happen now but
Praise God in Heaven, I know I’ll come through
Oh, you know it’s true

Well, I can sense the danger of an accident
A-when I hop inside my car
But God’s scriptures tell me
He will never abandon me
I’ll take Him with me near and far

I’m not fearful, babe
God’s with me everywhere I’m gonna go
I’ve had tearful moments
But I found my Lord you know
When God loves ya (loves ya)
He keeps ya (keeps ya)
I know that — a lot can happen
Praise God in Heaven, I know I’ll come through
And I’m not fearful, babe — oh, alright
You know, when God loves ya (loves ya)
He keeps ya (keeps ya)
I know that lots can happen now but
Praise God in Heaven, I know I’ll come through

[ ApologetiX – “Loaded 45s” album ]

SONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZgMuceEKPk


I’ll Prepare For You
(Parody of “I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrandts)

So Jesus told His disciples, I’m gonna go away
But where I go you know. They all cried, Please explain.
He said, You’ve all been stuck in second grade
If you haven’t seen the Way, the Truth, the Life is here in your face … but
I’ll prepare for you … prepare a place up above
I’ll prepare for you … ’cause I’ve been there before
I’ll prepare for you … and you prepare for me, too.
I’ll send another friend to help you on your way
You’ll learn from Him, you’ll go far. Please don’t be afraid
The Father helped me do the things I did
But you even will do greater works than that if you believe — that

CHORUS
The world could never know Him — The world could not receive Him
So you’re the only ones who know what it’s like to know Him
There’ll come a place and day when He’ll come to live inside you
Soon when all of this happens you will know the words I said were true.

LEAD
Seems like you’ve all been stuck in second grade
If you haven’t seen the Way, the Truth, the Life is here in your face, but

CHORUS

[ ApologetiX – “Jesus Christ Morningstar” album ]

SONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pa-TworQD


Good News/Bad News

This is a Gospel presentation and personal testimony of J. Jackson, lead vocalist of ApologetiX from their 20th anniversary concert. It’s available on 20:20 Vision.

VIDEO (audio only): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q21Jnaq-EL8


<<< DEEP THOUGHTS >>>


“I cannot escape death, but at least I can escape the fear of it.”
[ Epictetus ]

“It’s better to conquer grief than to deceive it.”
[ Seneca ]

“It is not death that a man should fear, but rather he should fear never beginning to live.”
[ Marcus Aurelius ]

“That man lives badly who does not know how to die well.”
[ Seneca ]

“You may leave this life at any moment: have this possibility in your mind in all that you do or say or think.”
[ Marcus Aurelius ]

“For it is not death or pain that is to be feared, but the fear of pain or death.”
[ Epictetus ]

“No man can escape his destiny, the next inquiry being how he may best live the time that he has to live.”
[ Marcus Aurelius ]

“Given that all must die, it is better to die with distinction than to live long.”
[ Musonius Rufus ]

“Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore?”
[ Marcus Aurelius ]

“Don’t behave as if you are destined to live forever. What’s fated hangs over you. As long you live and while you can, become good now.”
[ Marcus Aurelius ]

“Death is necessary and cannot be avoided. I mean, where am I going to go to get away from it?”
[ Epictetus ]

“No one knows whether death, which people fear to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good.”
[ Plato ]

“To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew that it is the greatest of evils.”
[ Socrates ]

“For to fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise without really being wise, for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For no one knows whether death may not be the greatest good that can happen to man.”
[ Plato ]

“Just as when we come into the world, when we die we are afraid of the unknown. But the fear is something from within us that has nothing to do with reality. Dying is like being born: just a change”
[ Isabel Allende ]

“You can’t possibly be afraid of death, really, you can only be afraid of life.”
[ Carl R. Rogers ]

“Death is terrible for anyone. Young or old, good or evil, it’s all the same. Death is impartial. There is no especially terrible death. That’s why death is so fearsome. Your deeds, your age, your personality, your wealth, your beauty: they are all meaningless in the face of death.”
[ Sunako Kirishiki Shiki ]

“Each person fears death in his or her own way. For some people, death anxiety is the background music of life, and any activity evokes the thought that a particular moment will never come again. Even an old movie feels poignant to those who cannot stop thinking that all the actors are now only dust.”
[ Irvin D. Yalom ]

“People die more in fear of death than death itself.”
[ Abhijit Naskar ]

“When the fear of death goes… Bondage goes.”
[ Bert McCoy ]

“Dying may be the way of all things flesh, but living is too. Never let death shroud life with fear. Live beyond it, lad. Only then can the memory of those ye’ve loved and lost be rightly honored.”
[ Micheline Ryckman ]

“When I was younger, I would cling to life because life was at the top of the turning wheel. But like the song of my gypsy-girl, the great wheel turns over and lands on a minor key. It is then that you come of age and life means nothing to you. To live, to die, to overdose, to fall in a coma in the street… it is all the same. It is only in the peach innocence of youth that life is at its crest on top of the wheel. And there being only life, the young cling to it, they fear death… And they should! …For they are in life.”
[ Roman Payne ]

“Fear of death makes us want to engage in activities that render us unique, allowing us to reach a level of putative immortality. Death anxiety, Becker believes, is the powerful undercurrent stirring human behavior.”
[ Erika Hayasaki ]

“The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for here’s no risk of accident for someone who’s dead.”
[ Albert Einstein ]

“Death is so awful to contemplate that it can make us love life and value it with such passion that it may be the ultimate cause of all joy and all art.”
[ Paul Theroux ]

“While I thought I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.”
[ Leonardo da Vinci ]

“Depend on it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”
[ Samuel Johnson ]

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
[ Mahatma Gandhi ]

“The idea is to die young as late as possible.”
[ Ashley Montagu ]

“In a moment the fruits of patient toil, the prospects of material prosperity, the fear of death itself, are flung aside. The more emotional Pathans are powerless to resist. All rational considerations are forgotten.”
[ Winston Churchill ]

“Life tis pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.”
[ Isaac Asimov ]

“Death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way to the new.”
[ Steve Jobs ]

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
[ Mark Twain ]

“We are so afraid of the sight of death . . . As soon as someone dies in a hospital, they pull the sheets up over their head, and they wheel the body to some chute and push it down. . . . It’s not contagious, you know. Death is as natural as life. It’s part of the deal we made.”
[ Mitch Albom ]

“What do we say to the ‘Lord of Death?’ ‘Not today’.”
[ George R.R. Martin ]

“I think people believe in heaven because they don’t like the idea of dying, because they want to carry on living and they don’t like the idea that other people will move into their house and put their things into the rubbish.”
[ Mark Haddon ]

“You cannot transform yourself from being dead to being alive, only God brings life out of death.”
[ Alistair Begg ]

“We pilgrims walk the tightrope between earth and heaven, feeling trapped in time, yet with eternity beating in our hearts. Our unsatisfied sense of exile is not to be solved or fixed while here on earth. Our pain and longings make sure we will never be content, but that’s good. It’s to our benefit that we do not grow comfortable in a world destined for decay.”
[ Joni Eareckson Tada ]

“The reason God revealed to us in the Bible what will happen when we die is that knowing what happens to us when we die takes away fear and fills us instead with hope and confidence and anticipation. And when fear goes and hope in God overflows, we live differently.”
[ John Piper ]

“It is hard to have patience with people who say “There is no death” or “Death doesn’t matter.” There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn’t matter.”
[ C.S. Lewis ]

“Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.”
[ Helen Keller ]

“When it comes to life and death, there’s no third option.”
[ Woodrow Kroll ]

“Take care of your life and the Lord will take care of your death.”
[ George Whitefield ]

“They, then, who are destined to die, need not be careful to inquire what death they are to die, but into what place death will usher them.”
[ Augustine ]

“For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.”
[ William Penn ]

“You’re born. You suffer. You die. Fortunately, there’s a loophole.”
[ Billy Graham ]

“We cannot enjoy peace in this world unless we are ready to yield to the will of God in respect of death. Our times are in His hand, at His sovereign disposal. We must accept that as best.”
[ John Owen ]

“Never fear dying, beloved. Dying is the last, but the least matter that a Christian has to be anxious about. Fear living [ that is a hard battle to fight, a stern discipline to endure, a rough voyage to undergo.”
[ Charles Spurgeon ]

“I don’t so much pray that my death will be without pain, but that it will be without doubt.”
[ John Piper ]

“Where sin has been removed death can only interrupt the earthly life and usher in the heavenly.”
[ John MacArthur ]

“It is grace at the beginning, and grace at the end. So that when you and I come to lie upon our death beds, the one thing that should comfort and help and strengthen us there is the thing that helped us in the beginning. Not what we have been, not what we have done, but the Grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. The Christian life starts with grace, it must continue with grace, it ends with grace. Grace wondrous grace. By the grace of God I am what I am. Yet not I, but the Grace of God which was with me.”
[ Martyn Lloyd-Jones ]

“Death may be the King of terrors… but Jesus is the King of kings!”
[ Dwight L. Moody ]

“We see his smile of love even when others see nothing but the black hand of Death smiting our best beloved.”
[ Charles Spurgeon ]

“As I go into a cemetery I like to think of the time when the dead shall rise from their graves. … Thank God, our friends are not buried; they are only sown!”
[ Dwight L. Moody ]

“Let them fear death who do not fear sin.”
[ Thomas Watson ]

“We want to reach the kingdom of God, but we don’t want to travel by way of death. And yet there stands Necessity saying: ‘This way, please.’ Do not hesitate, man, to go this way, when this is the way that God came to you.”
[ Augustine ]

“Christ never preached any funeral sermons.”
[ Dwight L. Moody ]

“Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now; I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal[ a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body.”
[ Dwight L. Moody ]

“Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.”
[ Martin Luther ]

“Men in general do not live as if they looked to die; and therefore do not die as if they looked to live.”
[ Thomas Manton ]

“Spend your time in nothing which you know must be repented of; in nothing on which you might not pray for the blessing of God; in nothing which you could not review with a quiet conscience on your dying bed; in nothing which you might not safely and properly be found doing if death should surprise you in the act.”
[ Richard Baxter ]

“Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather that it shall ever have a beginning.”
[ John Henry Newman ]

“Let your hope of heaven master your fear of death.”
[ William Gurnall ]


RELATED SCRIPTURE VERSES:

Fear Of Death:
https://www.openbible.info/topics/fear_of_death

Fear Of Dying:
https://www.openbible.info/topics/fear_of_dying

Death and Dying:
https://www.openbible.info/topics/death_and_dying

Preparing For Death:
https://www.openbible.info/topics/preparing_for_death


“A quick summary of the Christian “Gospel”:
JESUS’ PROPITIATION made our SINS FORGIVEN and IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS to us so that we have GOD’S ACCEPTANCE into His Heaven and receive ETERNAL LIFE.”
[ Mark Besh ]


Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ’pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing. I would like to give credit where credit is due!


<<< FOCUS VERSES >>>


“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
[ Psalm 23:6 ]

“You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.”
[ Psalm 91:5-7 ]

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
[ Psalm 111:10a ]

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
[ Proverbs 9:10a ]

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s an is the way of death.”
[ Proverbs 14:12 ]

“He who trusts his own heart is a fool.”
[ Proverbs 28:26 ]

“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.”
[ Ecclesiastes 1:2-4 ]

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
[ Ecclesiastes 3:11 ]

“For death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.”
[ Ecclesiastes 7:2b ]

“For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
[ Ecclesiastes 12:14 ]

“The soul who sins shall die.”
[ Ezekiel 18:4 ]

“Was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities.”
[ Isaiah 53:5 ]

“Not all who sound religious are really godly people. They may refer to me as ‘Lord,’ but still won’t get to Heaven. For the decisive question is whether they obey my Father in Heaven. At the Judgment many will tell me, ‘Lord, Lord, we told others about you and used your name to cast out demons and to do many other great miracles.’ But I will reply, ‘You have never been mine. Go away, for your deeds are evil’.”
[ Matthew 7:21-23 ]

“Do not fear those who kill the body but are on able to kill the soul; but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.”
[ Matthew 10:28 ]

“Come to Me, I will give you rest for your soul.”
[ Matthew 11:28 ]

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.”
[ Mark 1:15 ]

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him.”
[ Luke 12:4-5 ]

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
[ Luke 23:46 ]

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”
[ John 3:36 ]

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
[ John 11:25-26 ]

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
[ John 14:2-3 ]

“He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”
[ Romans 2:6-8 ]

“There is no one righteous, not even one there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
[ Romans 3:10-12 ]

“Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”
[ Romans 5:12 ]

“The wages of sin is death.”
[ Romans 6:23 ]

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
[ Romans 10:9 ]

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived—the things God has prepared for those who love Him.”
[ 1 Corinthians 2:9 ]

“For all things are yours… and your are Christ’s, and Christ is God.”
[ 1 Corinthians 3:21b, 23 ]

“The last enemy that will be abolished is death.”
[ 1 Corinthians 15:26 ]

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed”
[ 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ]

“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
[ 1 Corinthians 15:53 ]

“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
[ 1 Corinthians 15:54 ]

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
[ 1 Corinthians 15:54d-55 ]

“For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.”
[ 1 Corinthians 15:56 ]

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
[ 1 Corinthians 15:57 ]

“Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
[ 2 Corinthians 5:2-8 ]

“When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
[ Galatians 4:4-5 ]

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
[ Philippians 1:21 ]

“I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.”
[ Philippians 1:23 ]

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
[ Philippians 3:13-14 ]

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
[ 2 Timothy 4:7 ]

“How shall we escape if we neglect so greatly salvation?”
[ Hebrews 2:3 ]

“Through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the Devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.”
[ Hebrews 2:14-15 ]

“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.”
[ Hebrews 6:19-20 ]

“It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”
[ Hebrews 9:27 ]

“By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified… ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’ Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.”
[ Hebrews 10:12, 14, 17-18 ]

“By dying could He [Jesus] break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could He set free all who have lived their lives as slaves [believers] to the fear of dying.”
[ Hebrews 2:14c-15 ]

“It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”
[ Hebrews 10:31 ]

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
[ 1 Peter 1:8-9 ]

“Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming.”
[ 1 Peter 1:13 ]

“When he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.”
[ 1 John 3:2b-3 ]

“destroy the works of the Devil.”
[ 1 John 3:8c ]

“The One [Jesus] who is in you is greater than the one [Devil] who is in the world.”
[ 1 John 4:4b ]

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
[ Revelation 2:7 ]

“The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.”
[ Revelation 2:11 ]

“Death is cast into the lake of fire.”
[ Revelation 20:14 ]

“In Heaven there is no more death.”
[ Revelation 21:4 ]

“There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
[ Revelation 21:4b ]

“Come, Lord Jesus!”
[ Revelation 22:20c ]


If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

Disclaimer: All the above jokes and inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright is used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

Mark

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