Tag Archives: Life and Death

Is this the day?

Mortality looms in the shadows of every day. It’s there and we try to not see it or simply assume it will have a long wait before stepping into our life. Until we fall suddenly ill!

In the past 24hrs I went from felling discomfort that I assumed was work related to preparing for death. Sounds dramatic, I know, but having been in a place of sudden sharp chest pain and other symptoms typically associated with a heart attack was startling. The uncertainty caused me to draw on my faith. I prayed that I was ready. I prayed for my wife. I prayed that I might make it thru this trial so as to take care of unfinished business. In a way I also, selfishly, wanted to go home.

Thankfully or unfortunately I am fine and still here and will be for a long time – at least my doctor said so. I did in fact hurt myself at work picking up a desk. I strained muscles in my chest. My heart is strong and I’ll recover. No heavy lifting for the near future. 

But, the experience was like no other. I mean sure I’ve been scared before. Even had some bad health issues. But there’s a difference between having the flu and wanting to die just to feel better and thinking you’re about to die and having time enough to consider the concept.

Paul tells us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” Phillipians 2:12 NKJV

Work it out. To me that means self examination. Where am I in my walk with God? How close am I with Jesus? Am I being honest with me? With Him? 

Is today the day? Well, for me this day. This 24hour period is over and I’m still here. Today is not the day that I leave here. 

Today is not the day…..but one day will be the day for me ….and for you….work it out before that day ends!

Thanks and be blessed, Al

Sticks and Stones….

Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me!

As a child growing up in the 60’s this was a mantra used when kids would, well be kids. We didn’t call it “Bullying” then even though we knew who the bully’s were. We knew how to avoid them and we knew how to deal with them. But weather you ran from a bully or stood up to one, we always said that “names will never hurt us.”

Truth be told, they did hurt. Even more than the cuts, bruises or broken bones that may have been caused by sticks and stones. That’s because words, and name-calling, have power. Maybe even more then we can know.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat it’s fruit                                                                                                                                                             Pr. 18:21 NKJV

Death and Life! Really?!

Yes. Words really do have that much of an effect, both on us and those whom we speak to. What would you give in order to have someone speak positively to you? How much would it mean to you to have your father speak to you about your future?

Two brothers were born into a family. The firstborn son was in line to inherit from the father. The second son wanted his brothers inheritance. Desperately! So much so that he tried to take advantage of his older brother in a moment of weakness and trade him for it. The older brother half-heartedly agreed to the trade not thinking anything of it. Still not sure that he obtained the inheritance, the younger son impersonated the older brother and stood before his near blind and dying father to get the coveted gift. He did indeed receive the fortune.

Here it is –

“Surely, the smell of my son
Is like the smell of a field
Which the Lord has blessed.
 Therefore may God give you
Of the dew of heaven,
Of the fatness of the earth,
And plenty of grain and wine.
 Let peoples serve you,
And nations bow down to you.
Be master over your brethren,
And let your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you,
And blessed be those who bless you!”

Yup! That’s it! The coveted inheritance that Jacob tried to steal from his brother and deceived his own father, Isaac,  for was a blessing – words. Words spoken over him by the man in authority over him that he allowed into his heart. Words that sealed his future and set the course of his destiny.

If only we were not so advanced a civilization and would remember these lessons from the Old Testament. The lesson that a father or a mother or a teacher or any authority figure,  real or perceived, can speak into the heart of a child and shape their future. Like it or not. Believe it or not. Words are that powerful.

Romans 10:9-10 tells us how powerful our words are –

 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those that love it will eat it’s fruit. Proverbs 18:21 NKJV

What does that mean? It means that your words affect your life. Whatever you have, or don’t have in your life today is a result of yesterday’s speech. How can our speech have such a significant impact on the reality of our circumstance?   Because it’s a reflection of ourselves brought about by our own creative ability working in conjunction with one of the forces around us. God or evil.

For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks Luke 6:45 NKJV

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved Romans 10:9 NKJV

For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Mark 11:23 NKJV

So, here we have examples of how powerful what we think/believe and say has on our lives. Luke, Paul and Jesus all showed us how important it is to “guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life” Proverbs 4:23 HCSB

Isaac blessed Jacob and Jacob believed in his heart that those things would come true. I’m sure he even told people that they would come true. God told Abraham that he would be the father of many nations in spite of his old age. God even changed his name from Abram to Abraham which means “father of many” so when ever he told someone his name he was saying “Hi, I’m a father of many!” Imagine that! It is recorded that  “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” He was “in-right-standing” with God because he believed what God said to him about being the Father of many nations.

He believed it and spoke it and it came to pass. He co-operated with God in the creative process and it came to pass.

There’s examples of how unbelief and doubt stopped or could have stopped the hand of God. Yes, it’s true – when the angel came to Zacharias to tell him that he would have a son in spite of his obvious age he doubted and questioned it’s possibility.

And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” Luke 1:19-20 NKJV

Shutting Zacharias up did not change his heart but it stopped him from speaking against the plan of God. Once the child was born his mouth was opened and his heart was changed. God’s will was done.

Likewise, even Jesus was unable to perform many miracles in His hometown because they did not believe He could.

He went to His hometown and began to teach them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “How did this wisdom and these miracles come to Him?    Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t His mother called Mary, and His brothers James, Joseph,  Simon, and Judas?  And His sisters, aren’t they all with us? So where does He get all these things?”  And they were offended by Him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his household.” And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. Matthew 13:54-58 NKJV

Imagine that! And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief!! They tied the hands of God!

If only God would shut our mouths sometimes so that we do not tie His hands with our doubt filled words and unbelief. What do you believe about yourself? Your life? Your God? Your Savior? Search your heart or better yet, look around you? Do you have a medicine cabinet full of drugs? Do you stress out over your checkbook balance? Do you shake your head at the promises of God found in His Word because you don’t think they apply to you? Just how far does your faith in Jesus go? How much do you believe? Does your words agree with His?

He loves you and died for you and has a future and a hope for you not just to live this life but to have it more abundantly. But you have to believe. The Word of God tells us that God Himself asks us to remind Him of His promises!

I, even I am He that blotted out thy transgressions for Mine Own sake and will not remember thy sins. Put Me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified. Isaiah 43:25-26 KJV

Trust in Him Who died for thee and shed His blood to set you free. Be blessed, Al

*This post is dedicated to the memory of one of the gentlest, most compassionate and humorous men of God that I have ever known. While at The Word Of Life Ministries in Freeport, NY I had the pleasure of knowing Brother James Orr who lived from January 12, 1934 – until he went home to be with the Lord on February 21, 2001. Along with his love of God and His Word, Brother James had an infectious smile, and a answer for “Hey, Brother, how are you?” “How am I doing?!? Is that the question? Why I’m blessed and highly favored! I am a child of the Most High God! I’m a child of the King! How am I doing!!!”

I laugh at the memory of how many times he stopped me to answer that question – which, I asked in passing as easy as saying “Hi”

Brother James Orr understood the power of the tongue and I will always remember that lesson he taught me.