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To Live Is Christ, to Die Is Gain

March 13, 2018

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To Live Is Christ, to Die Is Gain

I  had a friend who died  just two weeks shy  of her 100th birthday.     In her mid 90’s  she suffered a mild stroke.     With dementia added  to her various problems of aging,  she was unsure  of why she was  in a hospital and,  sometimes, had no clue where she was.     She would repeat herself  seemingly endlessly,  until one sparked a change  of subject.

In all this,  she would cheerily say,  “Getting old sure isn’t fun,  but thinking about Jesus  and the home He has for me  is really something  to look forward to.     It will be worth  my wait.”

That is similar  to what Paul said  to the Philippians  when he wrote  about his problems  in a Roman prison.     He had no idea  how much longer  he would be allowed to live.     He knew  that it was possible  that God could arrange it  so that he would be set free.     But,  on the other hand,  it might soon be his time  to die.

Whatever was to happen,  Paul was certain  that everything was  in God’s hands.     It did not matter  whether he would live on  to preach some more,  or if he would die  at the hands  of the Roman soldiers.     Therefore,  Paul wrote  in Philippians 1:19-21,

For I know  that this shall turn out  for my salvation  through your prayers  and the provision  of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,  according to my earnest expectation  and hope,  that I shall not be put  to shame  in anything,  but that with all boldness,  Christ shall even now,  as always,  be exalted  in my body,  whether by life  or by death.

For to me,  to live  is Christ,  and to die  is gain.

Paul had a deep inner joy  while in prison.     If he were allowed to live,  that would mean more time  to live for Christ  by spreading the gospel.     But,  if he had to die,  he would be receiving his reward  of eternal life  in heaven.

Paul could see living  on this earth  as a greatly desired means  of bringing more people  to salvation,  but being in heaven  is something  he really longed for.    Therefore,  he said  in verses 22-24,

But if I am to live on  in the flesh,  this will mean  fruitful labor for me;  and I do not know  which to choose.

But I am hard-pressed  from both directions,  having the desire  to depart  and be with Christ,  for that is very much better;  yet to remain on  in the flesh  is more necessary  for your sake.

Neither Paul  nor my friend  had life easy.     They loved life  for what it is,  and really looked forward  to being with Christ,  because it is so much better  —  with no pain,  or sorrow,  or sin  of any sort.     There,  all our tears  will be wiped away.

As we live our lives  as a service  to our Lord  and a preparation  for our heavenly home,  we say,  “Hallelujah!     Jesus,  let me live  all my days  in service to You  and have You take me home  when my work is done.”

Love,
Margaret

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A Christian devotional to glorify the LORD of lords and God of gods

 

Pray for our country.

 

This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

 

The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.
Psalm 18:30

 

Sing for joy in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming  to the upright.
Psalm 33:1

 

How blessed are those  who dwell in Thy house!
They are ever praising Thee.
Psalm 84:4

 

Just as a father has compassion  on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
Psalm 103:13

 

Oh give thanks to the LORD,  for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 107:1

 

Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
Psalm 105:3

 

Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that
I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12

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