When we opened our eyes this morning

empty-bedOne out of eight Americans die in their sleep. Surprisingly, one study found that people with sleep apnea are no more likely to do so than others. There’s a perception that the elderly die in their sleep more often than others. And, of course, there’s the dreaded Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

In the Bible, people died in war, from sickness, of old age, and from personal violence such as murder. Just like today. The first sin we have record of outside of Eden was premeditated murder. Many died as a direct result of sin — think of Nadab and Abihu, Korah, Achan, Ananias and Sapphira.

All death is a consequence of sin in the world. It was not a part of God’s original design.

When we pillowed our heads last night, God had given us another day of life. When we opened our eyes this morning, God gave us the promise of a new day. That promise is the opportunity to repent of sin, to draw near to God, to grow in faith, to serve in love. Let us be thankful.

We have no guarantee of life. Even though we make plans for the future, for the days, weeks, months, and even years that we believe we have ahead of us, we are given only the present.

The urgency of those old-time meeting invitation songs was spot on. “Be saved, oh, tonight!” For indeed the time is now.

“Look, now is the right time! Look, now is the day of salvation!” 2 Cor 6.2 CEB.

Twice Paul says “Look!” (Old versions: Behold.) But isn’t that truth something we prefer to ignore? We’d rather not look at it. We are averse to this reality of possessing only the present.

The work of all ambassadors of reconciliation is to make us look. Only when we face this truth will be be moved to obey the Lord.

And remember: the apostle wrote those words to Christians. Here is the urgency to immediately accept God’s grace. And if we have the grace of eternal salvation, here also is the urgency to preserve it in ourselves and to extend it to others.

***

¶ Psalm 1 is a wonderful introduction to the whole book. It presents the two ways. (The word “way” [Heb., derek] appears three times.) So from the beginning we are presented with the choice of which we will take. The two ways are incompatible.

  • One gets advice from wicked peers; the other finds pleasure in God’s commands and meditates on them.
  • The wicked way produces nothing and doesn’t last; the godly way yields fruit and never loses its vigor.
  • The wicked way cannot enjoy fellowship (it’s inherently selfish); the godly way belongs to real community.
  • The godly way has the Lord looking over it to protect it; the wicked way ends in destruction.

¶ Last night our neighbors across the street brought over a risotto made with leeks, very tasty. They’re a young couple, friendly and helpful. They’ve invited us over a couple of times for meals. It’s pleasant to have good neighbors. We’re blessed that way, on all sides, pretty much.

¶ Do you ever have trouble finding material that you’ve written or information you’ve jotted down? If it’s a habitual problem, it can cause no little havoc. Besides my Bullet Journal, I’ve come to rely more and more, as age advances, on my TiddlyWiki software to find stuff. Check that out here.

¶ The Missus says I’ve gone viral. That’s evidently a good thing, especially (pun alert) since I don’t feel sick—no virus. People are liking a short video of me lifting weights on one of those snoopy social-media sites. The owner of the gym posted it, and the Missus has shared it. I guess folks find it funny, or inspirational, or something.

¶ Our Brazilian dictionary of biblical teaching is coming along, as we prepare the first fascicle for publishing. People who live or have extensive experience on five continents have written for it: Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and the Down Under. (We’re translating contributions sent in English.) Know of any good and faithful writers in Africa?

This dictionary project is a long time in coming. A number of the entries were written by friends who have passed on. Makes me grateful to have these fragments of their thinking that they left behind which I can share with others.