Only Seven Days to Live! [v134]

APRIL 2010

ONLY SEVEN DAYS TO LIVE!
There have been many popular ‘apocalyptic’ type movies in the past [ “When the World’s Collide” (1950’s); “Planet of the Apes” (1960’s); “Omega Man” (1970’s); “The Day After” (1980’s); and “Last Night” (1990’s) ], but it seems that the ‘crop’ of this genre has been increasing tremendously over the past 5 years [ “The Day After Tomorrow” (2005); “Cloverfield” (2008); and “Terminator: Salvation” (2009)], and even more so in just the past year [ “2012” (2010); “The Road” (2010); “The Book of Eli” (2010); “Vanishing on 7th Street” (2010); and “Red Dawn” (2010) ]. It seems that there is a greater interest, or even ‘sensitivity’ for scenarios that depict the END OF THE WORLD, as we know it.

Now and again, I do enjoy a good ‘doomsday’ movie for the suspense and the great computer graphics, but I’m thinking that a movie like “The Bucket List” (2007) will be more like what most of us will experience for the ‘end of our days’—either being told you are terminally ill, thus knowing pretty much when you will die (like in the movie), or you’ve been sick for a while, and it’s not getting any better—so, you know you don’t have too much longer to live.

Since I just discussed ‘how’ to get to Heaven last month, I thought it might be interesting to investigate exactly what people would do if they knew they were going to die soon, and how would that fact might change their daily routines or priorities. Here’s a summary of the most popular comments I found:

– See family and friends
– Write notes to my family and friends
– Travel somewhere—see a ‘one-of-a-kind’
– Do something ‘dangerous’
– Do something for someone I don’t know
– Create a ‘legacy’
– Call a priest or pastor
– Be sure all my ‘important papers’ were in order
– Plan my funeral

Now, of course, there are many more things people think about when they are confronted with a situation like this (a few “bucket list” web sites are below)—and there have been many books written about people’s “last days” (“Tuesday’s With Morrie” by Mitch Albom is one of my favorites:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuesdays_with_Morrie ) —though, most of all of these situations are ones that the people are told they have year(s) to live. But, I wanted to think about a more ‘immediate’ situation—ONLY SEVEN DAYS TO LIVE—something where only the MOST IMPORTANT things are considered.

So, the countdown begins now— T-minus-7. After all my years on earth, I only have 168 hours left (10,080 minutes/604,800 seconds). The clock is ticking—five seconds are already gone…

Well, for me, the FIRST THING that comes to mind is to be sure I’m ‘okay with God’. (The thought of mortality seems to do this for most of us). The Bible teaches that we are all ‘separated’ from God by our faults and failures, and have fallen “short of His glory.” Yet, I know that He cares for me, and I have put my trust in His Son for my ‘salvation’—so I’m going to Heaven—but I still want to be as ‘clean’ as I can be. So, I would ‘confess’ to Him that I wanted my conscience to be ‘clear’ and my heart to be ‘tender’ to His ‘leading’. That would probably take most of the first day for me. Only 6 days left—I’d better get ‘moving’.

After getting myself ‘right’ with God, I would want all of my loved ones to have that same assurance of eternal life as I have. So, I would spend my SECOND DAY telling everyone what the Bible says about how they don’t have to be ‘left behind’. One of the best at telling others about the “Good News,” the apostle Paul, said: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” [Acts 20:24]. I would want to try to follow Paul’s example, and tell as many as I could. I’m sure that would ‘exhaust’ a full day by focusing on this—and the sand seems to be moving much faster through my ‘hourglass’. There’s only 5 days left—I’ve got to make them ‘count’.

In trying to ‘set things right’, I’m sure there would come to mind things I’ve done in the past that have ‘hurt’ people—and I’ve got to ‘mend’ those relationships before I go. This will probably the entire DAY THREE to accomplish. The Bible tells us that, “Above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins” [1 Peter 4:8]. So, I would focus on tearing down ‘fences’, so that both of us are encouraged, restored, and healed. Forgiveness helps both parties.

Day three is past, and I’m planning on  ‘happier’ things for DAY FOUR. Since asking and granting forgiveness in one of my hardest ‘tasks’, expressing my gratitude to others is much easier. In Dr. Robert A. Emmons’ book, “Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier,” he wrote: “Research has shown that grateful people experience higher levels of positive emotions such as joy, enthusiasm, love happiness, and optimism, and that the practice of gratitude as a discipline protects a person from the destructive impulses of envy, resentment, greed, and bitterness.” I have always tried to genuinely say “Thank you” to those who have helped me (my dad ‘drilled’ this into me), but I’m sure I messed up a few times in my past. So, I would try to write a note to all those whose influence I might not have acknowledged properly—like neighbors, co-workers, clients, previous employers, teachers, coaches, church leaders, and others. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some people, but I’ve only got a few hours left today, and I want to again really thank my family and close friends.

Well, it’s getting close now—only three more days—so I’m going to try to be more ‘alert’ than ever for a chance to encourage as many people as I can during DAY FIVE. I know that my ‘problems’ will cease in a few days, and I want to tell everyone I can that their problems can also be ‘temporary’—that the Bible says that we can “cast our cares on God” [Hebrew 4:15]; that “goodness and mercy will follow us all of our days [Psalm 23:6]; that all things work together for good [Romans 8:28]; and that we all can trust Him to “add all things to us” [Matthew 6:33]. I would encourage those with problems to “set their minds on things above” [Hebrews 12:2] for a “peace that transcends all understanding”—something that I’m still amazed about, how ‘calm’ I was throughout some of the deep ‘valleys’ I had experienced.

Well, who could sleep with only two days left?—not me—so, I’ve got to step it up—into ‘high gear’—since I still have a few things I’d like to accomplish [ at least I don’t have to ‘pack’ for this ;^D ]. No time is left for procrastination. So, for DAY SIX, I’m going to borrow Nike’s slogan, “Just Do It!” Today will kind of be a ‘clean up’ day—things I’ve been putting off. Procrastination is kind of a ‘disease’ with some people (I haven’t had much problems with it), so I will talk with the ones I know that do. I will mention that I would very much like to ‘see’ them in Heaven with me, so I would encourage them not to procrastinate in their decision to follow Jesus the rest of their days.

It’s here!—DAY SEVEN—I’m going to ‘downshift’ and take it easy today—as I wait for the final ‘grains’ to flow through my life’s ‘hourglass’. In just 24 hours, my back and knee won’t hurt anymore. I won’t be sick anymore. I won’t be fearful anymore. And I won’t be ‘sad’ anymore.

I can’t wait to see my mom, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. I also can’t wait to talk with Adam and Eve about the Garden, and the ‘snake’; with Enoch about the chariot of fire that took him up to Heaven; to Noah about the flood, and was that ‘anomaly’ on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey really the ark; with Job about talking directly with God; to Abraham about almost killing his son, Isaac; with Joseph being second-in-command in Egypt; to Moses about that ‘burning bush’, the tablets, his staff turning into a snake, the plagues, and parting the Red Sea; with Rahab about how scared she was hiding the ‘spies’; to Joshua about how the Jordan river stopped when they stepped into it, and how the walls of Jericho fell when he blew his horn; to Deborah about being a ‘judge’; with Gideon about the fleece; with Samson about single-handedly taking on 30 Philistines; with Hannah about the amazing birth of her son, Samuel; to Ruth about her grandson, David; with David about killing Goliath, and being ‘hunted’ by Saul; with Solomon about the building of the Temple, and playing “Jeopardy” with him ;^D ; with Balaam about the talking donkey; to Elijah about being fed by ravens, the fire coming down from Heaven, and the ‘whirlwind’ that took him into Heaven; with the widow in Zarephath that saw the flour and oil never run out after making a cake for Elijah; to Ezekiel about seeing those dry bones come alive; with Daniel about the mysterious handwriting on the wall, Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, the fiery furnace, and the lion’s den; to Jonah about being in the big fish; with Nehemiah about how he rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in just 52 days; to Queen Ester about how close it really was for the extermination of the Jews; to Mary and Joseph about seeing angels, and how Jesus was as a child; to John the Baptist about baptizing Jesus; with all the apostles about the miracles they saw Jesus perform, how bad the crucifixion was, and how amazing Jesus’ ascension was (and to Peter specifically about walking on water); to Mary and Martha about Lazarus walking out of the tomb; with Mary Magdalene about her thinking that Jesus was a ‘gardener’; to Paul about stoning Stephen, being ship wreaked, getting bit by a viper, what was that ‘thorn’ in his side, prison, and how bad the siege of Jerusalem was; with John about the ‘end-of-time’ visions he had; and, of course, many more post-biblical ‘saints’, too! (I’ll have a lot of ‘time’ to investigate).

Now, being around an innumerable ‘company’ of angels will be pretty incredible, but, MOST IMPORTANTLY, I’ll be able to ‘see’ JESUS—peering into His strong ‘eyes’, hearing His melodious ‘voice’, and seeing the ‘scars’ in His hands and His side that He endured for me—so I could be able to be with Him forever!

So, what would YOUR FINAL SEVEN DAYS LOOK LIKE? Since none of us knows what tomorrow will bring, it might be a good time to consider what the apostle Paul said: “And do this, knowing the time, that it is high time to wake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand” [Romans 13:11-12].

Let me encourage you—especially during this special time of Easter, where the message of ‘hope’ and ‘new life’ are elucidated—to consider the ‘grace’ God will afford you, and the ‘promises’ you can look forward to when you CONFIRM YOUR ‘RESERVATION’ to Heaven by ACCEPTING JESUS as your Savior. He wants to give that special ‘ticket’ to you!

[Excerpts from: David Jeremiah; Randy Alcorn; Billy Graham; Mart De Haan]

[P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about what the Bible has to say about HEAVEN, visit the following link:

http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q9_d1_1of10.html

Blessings…

Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v134) for APRIL 2010

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

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“BUCKET LIST” SITES
Here’s a couple of web sites that suggest things to do:

http://celestinechua.com/blog/2009/08/whats-on-your-bucket-list-101-things-to-do-before-you-die/

http://www.squidoo.com/100things

http://www.your100things.com/

http://www.43things.com/

http://superviva.com/tags

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“LIVE LIKE YOU’RE DYIN’ ”

A few years ago, Tim McGraw wrote a song, “Live Like You Were Dyin’ ” that reminds us not to wait until you find out you’re dying, to actual start living as if you were:

He said I was in my early 40’s,
With a lot of life before me,
And a moment came that stopped me on a dime.
I spent most of the next days, lookin’ at the x-rays,
Talkin’ ’bout the options and talkin’ ’bout sweet time.
Asked him when it sank in, that this might really be the real end.
How’s it hit ya, when you get that kind of news.
Man what ya do.
And he says,

I went sky divin’,
I went rocky mountain climbin’,
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull name Fumanchu.
And I loved deeper,
And I spoke sweeter,
And I gave forgiveness I’ve been denying,
And he said someday I hope you get the chance,
To live like you were dyin’.

He said I was finally the husband,
That most the time I wasn’t.
And I became a friend a friend would like to have.
And all the sudden goin’ fishing,
Wasn’t such an imposition.
And I went three times that year I lost my dad.
Well I finally read the good book,
And I took a good long hard look at what I’d do
If I could do it all again.
And then.

Like tomorrow was a gift and you’ve got eternity
To think about what you do with it,
What could you do with it, what can
I do with with it, what would I do with it.

Sky divin’,
I went rocky mountain climbin’,
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull name Fumanchu.
And I loved deeper,
And I spoke sweeter,
And I watched an eagle as it was flyin’.
And he said someday I hope you get the chance,
To live like you were dyin’.

To live like you were dyin’.
To live like you were dyin’.
To live like you were dyin’.
To live like you were dyin’.

http://www.emp3world.com/mp3/53018/Tim Mcgraw/Live Like You Were Dying

(Click on “Download Now:” to play the song).

[Tim McGraw (2004)]

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“Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.”

[Martin Luther]

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“I don’t believe in dying. It’s been done. I’m working on a new exit. Besides, I can’t die now—I’m booked.

[George Burns]

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“He not busy being born, is busy dying.”

[Bob Dylan]

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DEEP THOUGHT:

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

[Steven King (Andy Dufresne in the “Shawshank Redemption”)]

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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!

“So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him” [2 Peter 3:14].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are 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.

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