2.28.2019

A challenge in LIFE to consider DEATH.

Once a month we go for a walk through this cemetery.
It is a lovely, tranquil setting for a stroll, allowing for quiet reflection or good conversation.
It is also the perfect setting to ponder the truth of Ecclesiastes 7:2
It is better to enter a house of mourning than a house of feasting, since death is the end of every man, and the living should take this to heart.
Do you see the challenge?
It is BETTER to attend a funeral than to attend a party.
When we laugh and play and hop from one emotional high to the next, we are not still or quiet long enough to think about reality. And Scripture says that death - is - a reality. "Death is the end of every man." 
Because there are far more parties than funerals in the everyday pieces of life, we must be intentional about finding a place and a time to think on the truths written on the pages of Scripture about life and death.

Life is precious.
Scripture describes the beauty of how we were intimately formed by a loving Creator long before we took our first breath on this earth.
Psalm 139:13-18 declares,
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.


Death, too, is precious.
While it may not be pleasant, there is no fear of what lies on the other side of death for the believer. For on the other side - is CHRIST!
~ For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. Philippians 1:21-23
~ Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Psalm 116:15

I love these walks we take together as a family in such a sacred setting. There is a unique sense of awe and respect that possesses each member as we look at the gravestones, reading the names and number of years given to each person. Every name etched in stone was precious to someone - because every life is precious. Not only to those who knew and loved them but to the God who gave them life. 

After our walk this week, I found this wonderful writing by Thomas Watson that heightens the challenge of Ecclesiastes 7:2. I pray it will cause each of us to stop and ponder - truly ponder - this life we have been given. How we spend our time. With whom we spend our time. What we place in front of our eyes and what we allow to flow into our ears. How we speak. And above all else, how we reflect the beauty of a holy and loving God to those around us. When people look upon us, who do they see? Us? Or Christ?
Oh, friends, how I pray it is the latter!

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"We were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow!" Job 8:9

"My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass!" Psalm 102:11

"Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time."   Ephesians 5:16

How you spend your time is a matter of great importance. Many people fool away their time - some in idle visits, others in recreations and pleasures which secretly bewitch the heart, and take it away from holy things. What are our golden hours for - but to attend to our souls?

Time misspent is not time lived - but time lost!

Time is a precious commodity.

Think of your short stay in the world. "We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a shadow, gone so soon without a trace!"
1 Chronicles 29:15

There is but a span between the cradle and the grave! Solomon says there is "a time to be born and a time to die" - but mentions no time of living, as if that were so short, it was not worth naming!

Time, when it has once gone, can never be recalled. "My life passes more swiftly than a runner. It flees away, filled with tragedy. It disappears like a swift boat, like an eagle that swoops down on its prey."
Job 9:25-26

The serious thoughts of our short stay here in this world would be a great means of promoting godliness. Whoever considers how flitting his life is - will hasten his repentance.

"What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes!" James 4:14

"Show me, O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life!"
Psalm 39:4

"So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

- Thomas Watson (1620-1686)