photo credit: Leap Kye <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/10581663@N08/5883964562″>Matchbox – ’63 Cadillac Hearse</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Conversations about death and dying make many people uncomfortable.
Trying to relieve tension, they crack jokes about the afterlife. If unsure about where they will spend eternity, scoffers laugh off the truth about a literal heaven and hell. Living only for today (and what money can buy) the foolish forget you can’t take it with you.
Maybe you’ve heard what was sent with famed Frank Sinatra. I read interesting trivia in urbo.com. Sinatra’s friends tucked rolls of his favorite candy inside his casket. Someone put in dog biscuits for man’s best friend. I found one item very interesting; a roll of dimes was placed inside. Dimes? He made millions.
There was a time when dimes paid a crucial role in Sinatra’s life. His son, Frank Sinatra, Jr. had been abducted and held for ransom. The kidnappers feared phone tapping and said they’d only communicate through pay telephones. Frank Sinatra ran out of change during a conversation and panicked. Fortunately, he was able to get back in contact with the men holding his son.
To make a long story short, Frank Sinatra, Jr. escaped. The kidnappers were nabbed by the police and justice was served. It’s said that Ole’ Blue Eyes carried rolls of coins with him till his death. That explains the send off with rolled coins. So, some might say that he lived and died doing it ‘his way.’
“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content (1 Timothy 6:6-8 NASB).”
photo credit: wuestenigel <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/30478819@N08/41809020075″>View of beach through orange lifesaver</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB).”
Saved, saved! Jack P. Scholfield, 1911 [Public Domain]
- I’ve found a Friend, who is all to me,
His love is ever true;
I love to tell how He lifted me
And what His grace can do for you.
Saved by His pow’r divine,
Saved to new life sublime!
Life now is sweet and my joy is complete,
For I’m saved, saved, saved!
- He saves me from every sin and harm,
Secures my soul each day;
I’m leaning strong on His mighty arm;
I know He’ll guide me all the way.
- When poor and needy and all alone,
In love He said to me,
“Come unto Me and I’ll lead you home,
To live with Me eternally.” “… and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one (John 10:28-30 NASB).”
photo credit: muhammad_elarbi <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/132357290@N05/24877953329″>The Fiery Dragon</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Though not a fire breathing dragon, he was once as deadly…
“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem (Acts 9:1-2 KJV).”
Saul (Apostle Paul) He received the transforming breath of the Holy Spirit.
“And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?
But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ (Acts 9:3-22 KJV).”
“Fill er’ up!”
My best girlfriend’s dad owned and operated a Sunoco gas station in our rural Mycenae neighborhood. I’m sure ‘Fill er’ up’ was music to his ears. Back in those days, a dollar went a long way. The decision to fill the tank when stopping for gas was using common sense. Why put it off?
Why do people have a tendency to wait to make the most important decision of their lives?
“For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2 NKJ).”
He will fill you.
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:14-19 NKJ).”
Words of someone ready to admit their guilt.
He or she is ready to come clean.
Words of one who confesses Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior. Seeking Him, and His forgiveness; they are ready to receive His cleansing.
“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:15-16 NKJ).”
‘I confess. ‘
Born again, a new creation in Christ. Is that possible? Yes, forever yes and Amen! Look at the conversion of Saul, from violent aggressor to Apostle Paul, victorious messenger. It is nothing short of miraculous. God transformed him on a Damascus road. He was no longer a zealot persecuting Christians; he became a zealous witness and missionary serving as a demonstration of God’s mercy and grace.
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord because he trusted me and gave me this work of serving him. He gives me strength. In the past I insulted Christ. As a proud and violent man, I persecuted his people. But God gave me mercy because I did not know what I was doing. I did that before I became a believer. But our Lord gave me a full measure of his grace (1 Timothy 1:12-14a ERV).”