As I ran along in the sermon of my friend Roger Carter…(I say “ran” because you’ll not likely walk through one. Once he starts preaching it’s like he’s been shot out of a cannon. He’s not stopping until he reaches his destination. He’s fun like that!), but along the way he said this, “Death is a change of address.” He had to run ahead without me for a little while because my mind got stuck on that thought and I couldn’t let it go. When someone we love moves a distance away we may be sad for a little while, but most of us adjust to the idea. We talk to them on the phone, or correspond by other means and plan for the next time we see them again; and we get excited in the planning process. But when someone dies the conversation is lost… and that’s tough. I don’t make light of it.
When I lost my Dad, I missed those conversations; his sense of humor, his love of family and music and most of all, his love of God. But because of his love of God and his personal testimony of a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, I might have moments of sadness but I have I eons of hope! My Dad simply got a new address, and I know that I know that I’ll see him again in glory and that makes this journey bearable. And in the mean time I ask God to tell my dad “Hey,” and go back to planning our reunion.
So what about that address?
Living in rural West Virginia has many advantages, but one advantage is our source of entertainment… each other. As I began this blog, my mind drifted back to the 1980’s when I worked as an ad manager for a local newspaper. The editor of that paper had moved to our area after retiring as an editor for the New York Times. He absolutely fell in love with West Virginia! But he did have days which caused him ponder his decision. One such day was when he went across the street to the local post office to mail a book to a friend in Canada. He was informed by our elderly post master that you couldn’t mail anything out of the country (and he was serious). After a lengthy argument with the old man, the editor returned to our office, half angry and half in hysterical laughter. I’m not sure if he ever convinced the post master that you could mail things out of country, or if he took his book to another post office, but none the less made for a great story and one we laughed about for years to come.
There’s no physical address for that country where God dwells with my friends and loved ones who have died, but there’s a spiritual address and it’s every bit as real as Grantsville, West Virginia. Are you planning for the trip?
RETURN TO SENDER
A child of God will return to sender in the blink of an eye when their day comes to leave this world. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:52 “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” That speaks of the day that Christ will call His church home. Many of us will go at once and a lost world will be left in turmoil. That day is likely very near. But for those who pass away before that day Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:8 “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
Confident that he would be delivered, postage paid by the blood of Jesus Christ who paid the price for us to be able to dwell in that city not made of hands but by God Himself.
But what about those who haven’t made preparation?
TURNED TO CINDER
Jesus told a religious crowd the fate of a rich man who died without knowing God in Luke 16:23 when He said “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments”. God doesn’t sugar coat Hell, and just because someone doesn’t believe it exists or chooses not to make a choice doesn’t make it an untruth and their choice is made. Hell is eternal separation from everyone. Look at the people in your life that you care about. Are you prepared to never see them again? It’s not only separation it’s also a place of fire, torment and gnashing of teeth and totally unnecessary. That address was never meant to be on the map, but because of sin and our rejection of God’s forgiveness by and through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, it’s there.
Have you been marked postage paid, or are you lost in transit; having never accepted God’s gift of salvation? It’s the best gift ever! And it’s never undeliverable. No matter where you’ve been in life or what you’ve done, God’s grace is sufficient for all. Don’t spend another second in time without making that decision. Watch the news… and more importantly read the Word of God. Written thousands of years ago and yet they line up together with God’s warning that He’s going to return. Don’t miss the Post Master to Heaven!!!!
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