Optimising connectivity for everyday life

C4L Boosters are here to help you in the spiritual lift-off stage and to bring vital boosters to keep you in the best orbit on your journey.  Unafraid to tackle any topic, C4L Boosters  are designed for you to connect securely with The Infinite, for this is your call to pursue.

Optimising connectivity
for everyday life

C4L Boosters are here to help you in the spiritual lift-off stage and to bring vital boosters to keep you in the best orbit on your journey.  Unafraid to tackle any topic, C4L Boosters  are designed for you to connect securely with The Infinite, for this is your call to pursue.

DYING WELL

There are two things that no one reading this can avoid – birth and death!  It has been said that Christians die well!  Why and how?  It is reported that Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world - the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity says that 900,000 Christians have been 'martyred' in the last decade, equating to 90,000 a year and one every six minutes.  Three hundred thousand Christians in North Korea live in fear for their lives with incentives being offered for information leading to their arrest.  Many other countries have strong opposition and persecution for Christians.  When the church was young, the Roman Empire persecuted Christians for fun.  Stephen was the first martyr and died well because he was filled with the Holy Spirit, walked closely with God and at the end he caught glimpses of heaven, crying out as they stoned him, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit’ (Acts 7:59).  Although we can see no stairway to heaven, there are steps leading there.  Christ Jesus came from heaven so we could eventually join him there and he promises to be with each one who follows him.

Death has been sanitized by the Western world – hospitals, hospices, carers, solicitors and undertakers form a layer of protection!  Denial, humour and separation accompany it along with the most common song played, ‘I did it my way’ by Frank Sinatra.  Perhaps that may be a nice song, even a nice idea to bring a smile, but if you think it through, it is very sad.  Bucket Lists are often referred to as if we must do something in the time left before time runs out rather than getting ready before time runs on.  A selection of quotes from the earth before turning our eyes heavenwards:

  •  ‘A dying man needs to die, as a sleepy man needs to sleep, and there comes a time when it is wrong, as well as useless, to resist’ –  Stewart Alsop
  • ‘Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die!’ – Anon
  • ‘There's something about death that is comforting. The thought that you could die tomorrow frees you to appreciate your life now’ – Angelina Jolie
  • ‘Death is no more than passing from one room to another’ – Helen Keller
  • ‘If you die in an elevator, be sure to push the up button’ – Sam Levenson
  • ‘The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity’ – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
  • ‘It is better to die well than to live badly’ – Jan Hus

Jan Hus was a Christian but was asked to recant his views in 1415. He replied, ‘I would not for a chapel of gold retreat from the truth!’   When he refused, he was put back in prison. On July 6, 1415, he was burned at the stake for heresy. He could be heard singing Psalms as he was burning.   Amazingly, Bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were burnt at the stake in Oxford on 16 October 1555 and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer five months later on 21 March 1556.  They faced this most courageously with Latimer speaking these famous words to his dying friend: ‘Be of good comfort, brother and play the man!  We shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England, as I trust shall never be put out’.  In the 1700s George Whitefield and John Wesley carried this light seeing a mighty revival to help people find the way to heaven.  Then along came Charles Spurgeon still preaching this precious Gospel in the 1880s and giving wise words on dying well:

  • ‘To be prepared to die is to be prepared to live’ – Charles Spurgeon
  • ‘The best moment of a Christian’s life is his last one, because it is the one that is nearest heaven’ – Charles Spurgeon
  • ‘It is a grand thing to see a man dying full of life’ – Charles Spurgeon
  • ‘He who learns to die daily while he lives will find it no difficulty to breathe out his soul for the last time’ – Charles Spurgeon

It seems that Jesus came to prepare us to die, so that we could live.  He encouraged us to take up our cross daily to follow him – this is a personal daily death so Christians get lots of practice!  No death, no life: ‘Very truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me’ – John 12:24-26

It is part of being human to think about death and this is healthy for it brings a proper perspective that the mortal must consider immortality.   Some become obsessed by this and suffer ‘death anxiety’ (Thanatophobia) but the Christian is not to fear it because Christ Jesus has overcome it and removed the sting of death.   People find relief in fanciful thoughts that deny the reality of death - a ship sailing away, a person popping to the next room or a rose finding its way through a gap in a wall!  The Bible is a source of much comfort but rather than being fanciful, it is gritty and real: ‘People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment’ – Hebrews 9:27

Here is the greatest comfort, words from the one who overcame death and gives you these eternal words:  ‘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

The answer to this question is the first step in determining whether you can face death with fear or with confidence. 

  • ‘God never said that the journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile’ –  Max Lucado
  • ‘God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him’ – John Piper
  • ‘All the glories of midday are eclipsed by the marvels of sunset’ – Charles Spurgeon

Knowing that Christ the Redeemer has your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:27) makes all the difference.  Jacob had a vision of a stairway from earth reaching to the gates of heaven (Genesis 28:12) – we know that Christ Jesus is both the way and the gate for all who trust in him.  Let these further verses strengthen you wherever you may be in your journey.

  • NO FEAR:  ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze’ – Isaiah 43:1-2
  • NO MORE DEATH:   ‘Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true”.   He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.  Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children”’ – Revelation 21:3-7
  • ALL GAIN:   ‘For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain’ – Philippians 1:21
  • DEATH DEFEATED:   ‘The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body ...When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory’ –        1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 54
  • NO STUMBLING:  ‘To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and for evermore! Amen’ – Jude 24-25
  • PRESSING FORWARDS :  ‘Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus’ – Philippians 3:13-14
  • IN THE DARK VALLEY:   ‘Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever’ – Psalm 23:4-6
  • A PLACE PREPARED:   ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  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 14:1-3
  • GOD IS WITH YOU :  ‘The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms’ –                 Deuteronomy 33:27
  • GOD’S TIMING IS PERFECT:  ‘My times are in your hands’ – Psalm 31:15
  • THE LORD WATCHES OVER YOU:  ‘The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and for evermore’ – Psalm 121:8
  • YOUR ARRIVAL IS PRECIOUS:  ‘Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants’ – Psalm 116:15

Find your peace in the Prince of Peace.

https://connect4life.org.uk/c4l-boosters/213-hope-because

TAGS – death, dying, martyrdom, life, hope, future