A Matter of Life and Death

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” ― Robert Frost

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” ― Oscar Wilde

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” ― Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

A Necessary Reminder
When we take a look at some of the things life has to offer, the conclusion concerning the matter of our choices and decisions comes to light. What more can one do in the ring with right and wrong, good and bad, success and failure, opportunities and misfortunes, joy and sadness, prosperity and poverty, and wisdom and foolishness, just to name a few? All this and more centres around one thing: Management.

Management of time. Management of responsibilities. Management of knowledge. Whether or not these things happen is not the question, but rather what we do with the hand that has been dealt. I love what someone said: There are three kinds of people in this world, those who watch what happens, those who make things happen, and those who wonder, “what happened?”

There is one overlooked factor of life that must be frequently made conscious of, that is the rival: Death. A comment from Bible.org puts it this way:

Death is one of those subjects we don’t like to discuss. That’s why it’s a subject of so many euphemisms. Instead of using the word dead, we say, “passed away,” “returned home,” “gone to a better place,” “sleeping in Jesus,” or “went to be with the Lord.” At least we use those terms around the church and the funeral home. In less guarded moments, we speak of “taking a dirt nap,” “kicking the bucket,” “buying the farm,” “cashing in the chips,” “biting the dust,” or the ever-popular “croaked.” Whether we lean to the reverent right or the flippant left, we shy away from speaking directly of the ultimate enemy

A Harsh Shove
Solomon attempted to analyze death in light of God’s role with humankind, and the impact it has in our lives, especially as it pertains to the difference between existing and living. Some of the things he noted are:

Death is certain. As uncomfortable as it may be to mention or talk about, the reality is its inevitability. A very chilling thought indeed! Solomon saw that there is no one exempt from it, regardless of financial status, social influence, vocational position or anything else, one thing was true of anyone and everyone: one day there will be a complete biological shutdown (is that not a neat euphemism)?

In Ecclesiastes 9:2-4, Solomon does a lot of comparison between great and small things and creatures in the earth, chiefly focusing on dogs. In his day they were loathed, diseased and filthy animals. His unique selling point: a live dog is better than a dead lion. This illustrates that the living will come to terms with the brutality of death and thus value everything life has to offer, including the seemingly insignificant things.

Life is uncertain. In contrast to the first point and contrary to what most may believe, life is not all buns and roses filled with nothing but guarantees! The human life expectancy is supposed to be 120 years in general (Gen 6:3), but thanks to pollution of all kinds, among other things, that has depleted over the years.

As far as Solomon in Ecclesiastes 9:7-12 is concerned, the finer things in life come down to our function, rather than chasing fleeting pleasures and fading fantasies. One will never know when their time may come, therefore maximizing every day to the best of our abilities includes these 3 factors:

i) Eat and drink with cheerfulness. Life is short, and to grasp as much of it as you can, party away. Enjoy the best of it, filling your heart with laughter, and your mind with memories. While you are at it, eat healthy and workout often.

ii) Enjoy your spouse while you can. The world has done quite a number on the beauty of love expressed within the union of marriage. The truth is it’s enviable, to the extent that one should seek it out and treasure it. Spouses must work through their relationship with the mindset of continual development, and avoid complacency regardless of marriage length.

iii) Get work done. In this department, to give those who have a glass-half-empty outlook regarding the job they don’t like, having to imagine walking in the shoes of those who struggle to find jobs should bring their own circumstance to perspective. Punctuality is a huge indicator of work ethic and must be taken seriously.

Whether meeting deadlines, doing admin, overseeing or managing projects and/or people, doing damage control with clients and customers, and communicating payments, know that these positive and negative experiences are what some can only dream of having.

Love your work, whether you own a business, are an employee, self-employed or an investor. Find something in your work you love and create opportunities to experience it repeatedly. Increase the value of your workplace, so that you can increase your value in it.

Conclusion
I am of the greatest opinion that those who have reached the top their game, serve as role models for the rest of us in various industries. The department in which one works is not important, but the benefit to both the recipient (client/company) and the provider. Death brings a painful reminder that not everyone lives to fight another day. It must be faced with praise to the Lord in both good and bad times (Psalm 34:1) and planning for tomorrow while living for today (Matt 6:34; Proverbs 27:1).

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What Does The Resurrection Mean To You?

To me it is the final fulfillment of the Old Testament. Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament by turning into a way of life instead of a set of rules to follow. For example the commandments were combined into two great commandments:

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (Deut 6:5)  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second islike it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Lev 19:18)  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40

Here is the another incident:

 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.  Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.  And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God,  and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:11-19

That was the custom in the Old Testament especially in the book of Leviticus. In the same way, the resurrection was a fulfillment of the Old Testament, not necessarily prophetically though that is true, but rather through the role that it played in the Old Testament.

The Passover
I’m very certain so many people call Jesus the “Lamb of God” but don’t really know why He is called that! To completely understand the resurrection you need to look at what portion of the Old Testament Jesus fulfilled, the Passover. It is also known as the feast of Unleavened Bread. It is generally called the Passover because it commemorates the freedom of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord knew to pass over the first-borns in these homes, hence the name of the holiday. When the Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason it is called “The Festival of the Unleavened Bread.”

Here is basically how the process went:

Exodus 12:3-13
Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire–head, legs and inner parts. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover. 12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn–both men and animals–and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

So that means that:

· The Passover Lamb was to be a male without defect.

· All of the people must slaughter the Passover Lamb.

· There is deliverance for those people who are covered by the Blood of the Passover Lamb.

· Nothing of the Passover Lamb was to be left till morning.

Then in Numbers 9:1-14 we read:

 The LORD spoke to Moses in the Desert of Sinai in the first month of the second year after they came out of Egypt. He said, 2 “Have the Israelites celebrate the Passover at the appointed time. 3 Celebrate it at the appointed time, at twilight on the fourteenth day of this month, in accordance with all its rules and regulations.” 4 So Moses told the Israelites to celebrate the Passover, 5 and they did so in the Desert of Sinai at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. The Israelites did everything just as the LORD commanded Moses. 6 But some of them could not celebrate the Passover on that day because they were ceremonially unclean on account of a dead body. So they came to Moses and Aaron that same day 7 and said to Moses, “We have become unclean because of a dead body, but why should we be kept from presenting the Lord’s offering with the other Israelites at the appointed time?” 8 Moses answered them, “Wait until I find out what the LORD commands concerning you.” 9 Then the LORD said to Moses, 10 “Tell the Israelites: ‘When any of you or your descendants are unclean because of a dead body or are away on a journey, they may still celebrate the Lord’s Passover. 11 They are to celebrate it on the fourteenth day of the second month at twilight. They are to eat the lamb, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They must not leave any of it till morning or break any of its bones. When they celebrate the Passover, they must follow all the regulations. 13 But if a man who is ceremonially clean and not on a journey fails to celebrate the Passover, that person must be cut off from his people because he did not present the Lord’s offering at the appointed time. That man will bear the consequences of his sin. 14 “‘An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must do so in accordance with its rules and regulationsYou must have the same regulations for the alien and the native-born.'”

· The Passover Lamb was to have no broken bones.

· The same regulations apply to alien and native born (Gentiles and Jewish people).

· The Passover Lamb was to be observed from the 10th day until the 14th day of Abib (which is somewhere around March in the Jewish calendar).

This next point is key. Let’s look at Exodus 12:3-6:

 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight

Now Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem on the 8th day of the Passover because he has 3 days before His passion and then 3 days before His crucifixion (Mark 11:1-11). So on the 11th day of the Passover Jesus is on trial and on the 14th day He becomes the sacrificial Passover Lamb.

What then does this have to do with the resurrection?
It plays a huge role in the resurrection! Like I said for me the resurrection represents the victory over death on the Cross. Now that death means freedom for all of us because the lamb, being purest of all animals, had to be sacrificed so that every single person can be cleansed of all their sins. So Christ’s role as the Lamb, not only frees us but also indicates Jesus’ victory over death. After all, you can’t resurrect without conquering death can you?

Colossians 2:15 and Revelations 1:18 to me sum up every aspect of what the resurrection is all about:

Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

So I leave you with this question: What does the resurrection mean to you?


From Good Friday To War On Saturday

It’s interesting to see how Easter either lands on a pagan holiday or actually is one! All I know is that the reason why it ends up getting taken so lightly is because many Christians probably do not really value the events that took place at this time in history. They understand it, but the question is, do they treasure it?

Jesus descended to Hell and broke the chains that bound us and publicly humiliated the enemy so that his defeat would be permanently established!

In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross Colossians 2:15

He went to battle and having slain all that was in His way, He emerged victorious! To me this is what Easter is all about. We cannot forget this vitally important segment of the death if we are to understand the profound impact of the resurrection!

The significant thing about Calvary with reference to the kingdom of darkness was that Jesus lived and died under Satan’s dominion and conquered him, something that Adam was supposed to do in the first place. Having conquered Satan, Jesus took back from him the keys of death and Hell and re-established God’s authority on planet earth. Matthew 28:18Revelation 1:17-18.

As long as we remember that one key aspect about Jesus’ death, then it becomes easier to truly cherish the beauty, magnificence and glory in His resurrection! Let us give praise to our heavenly Father who was loving enough to send His Son to die ( to transfer the sinner’s sin and its inevitable results that humankind could never attain to their perfect holiness and purity through the law given on Mount Sinai), so that we may have life (the transferring of the righteousness of Jesus onto the sinner)!

Something worth thinking about!