“We get only one chance to make the most of our calling.”
Life is No Joke, No Laughing Matter!
“Mourning motivates a person toward sober contemplation of his own mortality, which tends to affect the wellspring of our thoughts, words, and conduct effectively and positively. The wellspring of conduct is the heart, which is why “heart” is mentioned four times in these verses.”
Matthew 15:18-19 “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man. 19For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander.”
“Dr. Ernest Becker, made this telling comment, confirming what the Bible clearly states: “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 fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny for man”
Author Susan Sontag wrote, “Death is the obscene mystery, the ultimate affront, the thing that cannot be controlled. It can only be denied.” Our language of death clearly shows society’s attempts to soften, hide, or even deny it by using euphemisms, such as calling the dead person “the departed” or by saying that he “passed away” or “is not with us anymore.” This is done to avoid saying the words “death” or “dead.”
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 Rather, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10But God has revealed it to us by the Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of man except his own spirit within him? So too, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”
“God deals with it in His Word by showing that it is best for us to deal with it directly. This allows us to understand more fully that death is indeed the way of all flesh and to lay it to heart, shifting the balance of our thoughts about its reality toward more serious thinking on it.”
“God is saying that sorrow tends to make us better people.”
“Martin Luther also made an insightful observation on preparing for death: “It is good for us to invite death into our presence when it is still at a distance and not on the move.” The time to learn about rock climbing is not when hanging from the edge of a precipice but well before starting up the side of the cliff. It seems, though, that many do most things on the spur of the moment, a practice that is not good, especially concerning something like death that absolutely no one escapes.”
2 Corinthians 7:8-11 “(8) For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. (9) Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. (10) For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (11) For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”
2 Corinthians 7:10 “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
“The result of a parent disciplining a child in a timely manner and in appropriate measure is a good illustration. Is not some measure of pain and its accompanying sorrow inflicted? Proverbs frequently tells us to spank our children. Why? Is not it to produce the sorrow of separation from one who is loved to accomplish a change in attitude and behavior?
God is saying through Solomon, then, that sorrow—in a morally and ethically beneficial way in which laughter cannot—penetrates and influences the heart, the very center of our being and from which conduct flows. So important is godly sorrow that II Corinthians 7:10 states, “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
The second point Solomon touches on is that a person must prepare for his death (Ecclesiastes 7:1). That we will die is a reality. Especially during youth, we easily overlook the reality of approaching death as we focus on the present. More importantly, Ecclesiastes is written primarily for the benefit of the converted, which means we get only one chance to make the most of our calling. Thus, when we die, there is no changing our reputations from the reality of how they turned out to what they might have been. Proverbs 10:2 tells us bluntly, “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death.”
The third element Solomon broaches is that we learn more from difficult times than from the times we would consider “good” (Ecclesiastes 7:2). We may not enjoy days of difficulty, but if we are seriously considering the consequences of our choices, we find that the difficult times force us to consider our ways and make corrections. “Fun,” on the other hand, influences us to remain as we are.
“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
“The apostle Paul sharply charges us by his example in I Corinthians 9:26-27: “Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
Acknowledgement and thanks to author John W. Ritenbaugh
What the Bible says about Preparing for Death
(From Forerunner Commentary)
Brother in Christ Jesus,
Lawrence Morra III
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5 thoughts on “We All Die it’s Just a Question of When”
I find there are two groups of the dying.
Group one are the ones that have rejected Christ. They are filled with terror and gloom because they know they are going to Hell. ( oh they know if they repent their sins will be forgiven but they are to proud to do so ).
Group two are the few that accept Christ as their Saviour, friend, and King. They go off peacefully.
I have seen it in palliative care and in seniors homes.
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Oh without a doubt; and we can see it in others all around and in high places what this Scripture tells us clearly!
1 Timothy 4:1-2 “1Now the Spirit expressly states that in later times some will abandon the faith to follow deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, 2influenced by the hypocrisy of liars, whose consciences are seared with a hot iron.”
Their fate is sealed and there will be no escaping it, so when they are actually dying as you said, some you witnessed; when those are actually on deaths doorstep and the end is absolutely imminent they panic like a caged wild animal being poked with hot irons; they freak out and feel the hopelessness of there being no escape or freedom of any kind, not ever, and that is all that is awaiting them. Horror!
The first group have lived most or nearly all of their lives in grave sin not caring because their pride and selfishness went unchecked until it owned them, and like being in an ocean’s whirlpool they have no will or conscience to enable them to actually escape their coming doom; they are owned by sin and pride.
Group two are the polar opposite being on the side of salvation and where the impossible is always made possible through Jesus Christ, for “all are not worthy” as Scripture tells us and would be doomed to damnation. But, through the New and Everlasting Covenant that God by His grace and ocean of mercy, which He gave to those who believe through His gift of the Redemption and Salvation through the shed blood of His only begotten Son for the cleansing and atonement of our sins.
Like the character in the film who is a vile criminal desperado who lived only for his sinful nature says to John Russell before they all die, “just what do you figure hell is going to look like.” That vulgar man knows and doesn’t care that hell owns him in his lifelong arrogance, he thinks that he is brave and can face it; but when he is facing God he will be smaller than a frightened mouse! That classic film was well written and has some very strong truthful messages throughout, and is well worth watching it.
I had the added bonus of meeting Paul Newman years ago on a film set and he was a genuine considerate man to me. I thought about this film upon meeting him which I loved watching several times since I was a kid; it did instill some values in me; and they don’t make films that way anymore, where the writing and life message is so fundamental, only on rare occasions are films focusing on these things! Paul Newman of Hungarian Jewish and Polish Jewish ancestry playing an Apache raised frontier orphaned boy character would get ripped to pieces by today’s crazy woke cancel culture that is so evil and destructive!
The newly added photos in my posting “Some are Saying that Something Strange is Going On,” are the epitome of the unsaved/unforgiven by choice. For them there is no way they can atone nor want to try for all the death and evil they have caused! They caused so many to suffer on this earth, and yet they are proud of themselves for being so powerful and mighty in earthly terms, to have such controlling ability, gloated with ego on steroids; zero humility! The adage “Drunk with Power” is what they are in spades!
“Be drunk with power cliché To be consumed with notions of one’s self-importance and apt to exercise one’s authority in a domineering, arrogant, and reckless way. The new political leader is clearly drunk with power. He seems poised to turn the small country’s government into a dictatorship. She spends all day ordering us around.” idioms.thefreedictionary.com
We of faith can easily see who the truly damned are, our work is to make sure we are not one of them; and a word to the wise should be sufficient in this matter!
This comment is one of thousands made about Paul Newman over the years and like I said he was very considerate in our conversation, and if I had asked at the time or even later for any possible professional help in my own career he was the kind of kind man that would have offered it to me!
3 years ago
“A gracious, humble man and philanthropist who quietly helped many others.”
This is a true and highly accurate perspective of the man. He was “one of the best of the best” and I’ve always said that about my own dad so that is very telling in itself!
Excellent! I believe we have become divorced from death and no longer see it as the cycle of life. Victorians had a very pragmatic approach to death, who saw it quite sensibly as part of living and not necessarily as the big horror the modern world sees it as. Memento Mori, which we see as a macabre fad of the Victorians were very helpful tools to not only remember a loved one but to accept loss. To live is to accept death. It should not only come down to how well you lived but how well you die.
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Thanks Eva and I’m happy that you found this to be worthy and insightful; as I hope resonating in your own heart. I find all you’ve said here stimulating and your closing to be very important to focus attention on; because living well is as I see it bandied about in typical relative “Ways of The World” terms also depending on one’s frame of reference and even physical locality, as for example I just mentioned in my long comment here that many people of high stature in “The Ways of The World” think of themselves as living so “high and mighty” or “high on the hog” as it goes; being of lofty powerful stature they think they have “conquered the world” and “have it all!” So to them they live better than most of us along with their selfishly judging us as less than them: but truth be told as I see and understand them, they “haven’t lived at all,” but are “already dead” long ago; and only awaiting their ultimate reward! Which won’t be pretty or anything they will have any control or power over; they will then be the “ultimate helpless victims” for eternity, “who continually cry out and are never heard!”
Luke 13:27-28 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers.’ 28There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves are thrown out.”
So now to the perfect point of “how one dies” is the crux of it, the way I understand life; because I have come to understand that “dying is a very big thing” and actually “bigger than being born” in the first place! When I was born it was a miraculous gift, as it is for any of us human beings!
1 Corinthians 13:10-12 “but when the perfect comes, the partial passes away. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I set aside childish ways. 12Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
But then the learning curve begins and trials and tribulations are inevitable, as we find our way through this life full of “agony and ecstasy” in which we have countless thoughts and decisions we make, and learning as we should, we either become “enlightened to God’s truth” or we “fall short and miss the meaning and point of our having been born to begin with!” It’s not just relative depending on location, politics or earthly gains and prominence, but is rather an accumulation of “all those experiences and decisions” we made that we “ultimately” arrive at “the sum total of who and what we are.” And we have no control over death just like we have no control over the “bottom-line judgment or determination” of “who we are,” which can only be made by “the One who made us and all of this to begin with, God.” It’s out of our hands, but, our decisions are our own and those we can make through our own choices as a preparation for dying; so that when our final moment comes we can “die with a clear conscience knowing full well that we trusted divine guidance more than not;” and “that is a good way to die,” as I see it!
Psalm 131:1-2 “A song of ascents. Of David. My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty. I do not aspire to great things or matters too lofty for me. 2Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with his mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
And what you notably bring out, as history demonstrates to us clearly; all the players have continually changed but the rules or terms always remain constant, just like “death proclaims; it will take and claim all!”
You see how John Russell died well, as he became “a good and worthy sacrifice” for several others with him there in that “showdown” if you will, but, then a “Nation of People” who needed relief, fairness, justice and peace with their brothers and sisters; which would then at that juncture because of John Russell and his unselfish act, get the opportunity to continue being worked out, and corrections made where needed!
It comes down to where do each of us fit into the long story being told and playing out in reality, this “Greatest Story Ever Told,” the choice is ours to make as to which side of the “inevitable ultimate paradigm” we will fall into alignment with!
Thank you for this inspiration!