At the Mercy of the Crown

lighthouse07med01Somehow you managed to swing it. You told your bosses how important it was for you to attend this funeral service. They had given you the weekend off, but the brass warned you to be back in your office by Monday. Every moment you were out of your office your firm stood to lose much wealth, and so did you. You’ve spent your entire career climbing the corporate ladder. An MBA from Princeton University helped get the ball rolling. You still had to pay your dues and bide your time as a newbie in your field. But as soon as your keen business sense was noticed by top management, things really started moving fast. Now, you’ve finally arrived. It makes you feel proud that you are the top talent for your agency, and they cannot do without you.

You took an aisle seat in a large modern building, secretly thankful that the church did not look like an old-fashioned chapel straight out of a Currier and Ives lithograph. You couldn’t take a Christmas card church, complete with a bell tower steeple. That brought to mind scary scenes from your childhood. But it is still a Baptist church, and this evokes feelings that had long been forgotten.

When you were eleven years old your parents had been in the middle of a horrendous divorce and mom was determined to deposit you in a bustling, loving environment. She believed it would bring you happiness at least one day out of the week, even if that happiness was against your will. So every Sunday your mother would dutifully hand you over to the Junior Church staff of Highland Baptist Church. The halls of the church seemed to be crawling with children of all ages. The well-intentioned adult shepherds would herd you into a multipurpose room where you would sing songs about Jesus and learn Bible stories.

All useless crap, now that you are grown up and living successfully in the corporate world.

You remembered that every Sunday you felt lonely. Lost and scared among all those singing bodies. You had a hard time making friends. You would rather have stayed home with your mother than endure this weekly torment. But mom insisted, and to make her happy, you went along with the plan. You grew up lonely with a lot of questions about God that mom couldn’t answer.

You met Katherine at the university in your sophomore year on the debate team. She peppered you with questions you couldn’t answer. She would not leave you alone, no matter how hard you tried to dodge her. She was somewhat of a tomboy. She wasn’t pretty in the candy box sense and you hadn’t been interested in getting a girlfriend. Just a friend. This one happened to be a girl, but you forgave her for that. She made you believe she could wrestle alligators. That was so long ago. It seemed like somebody else’s lifetime.

You find small comfort in the sight of the gold cufflink peeking out of the bottom of the sleeve of your well-made, navy blue business suit. It is evidence of your success. You examine the expensive watch around your wrist, but you’re beginning to nervously shift the crystal face and titanium links back and forth until you create a red mark on your wrist..

Your decision to take an aisle seat was pre-meditated in case you needed a way of escape. You know that if you let your guard down you could shred your reputation and cry like a baby. You shoot a glance behind you looking for the exit and your eyes make contact with the three close friends that are standing sentinel on either side of the casket, waiting for the service to start. Too late to get up and move now without embarrassing yourself. You nod an almost imperceptible greeting that is returned. The other three pallbearers are her dad and two brothers.

Her husband was obviously unable to bear the weight of the moment. From your vantage point you can see him sitting in the front pew of the church bent over. It looks like he would fall down if he stood up. The promise of his life had been stomped out.

You could feel the sorrow welling up in your throat as it thickens and you dive for the last two mints in your pocket. You realize you would have shown some foresight to have a bottle of water.

The whole incident had been such a freaking waste that you cannot believe that fate had choreographed such a tragic moment in time. And yet, here you all were. Here was your friend of fifteen years, laying in a silk-lined box, deprived of life in a moment of peak pride. Your mind mused sadly over what might have been.

She had married the love of her life three years ago in a phenomenal Mexican Riviera wedding. You and all the gang had been guests of honor, and the whole trip had been such a blast. And then Wham! Two weeks ago she proudly informed you and your tight group of hard-core professionals that she was leaving the corporate world for a baby. And quickly. Because Zachary was going to be born in four months, and she needed to have time to set up a nursery in her new house. She was getting ready to create a completely non-corporate schedule that would revolve around the baby alone.

Watching one of your best friends go gaga over a baby was inexplicable. You could not put this feeling of high anticipation for motherhood against a girl who swore that she would never destroy her career for a husband and children. Ever. Ever. And in the end a husband and a baby were not the threat to life and limb at all. They had been the promise of the perpetuation of the future.

That bright future ended when she intersected with a sixteen-year-old driver who had not even pretended to yield at a stop sign. The threat had been something unseen but deadly – social media. And it did not kill with a knife or a gun. It killed with virtual words. The teen plowed into the driver’s side of her BMW with catastrophic results. It took rescue personnel hours to extricate her from the crushed interior cage of the car. She died on the operating table after six hours of surgery. You heard that a valiant effort had been made by the doctors to take the child alive, but the baby could not be saved.

That afternoon, the car’s back seat was filled with baby paraphernalia that Katherine had just purchased from Neiman Marcus and every baby boutique she could hit that day. In your mind’s eye, you could imagine her wanting that one quick trip to the Starbucks for an addiction fix. Stopping for the few minutes it took to get something as normal and mundane as a caramel macchiato coffee seemed to have sealed her fate.

You were told that this sixteen-year-old idiot had been inattentively texting some brain-dead drivel to another friend. For the pursuit of nothing, this teen destroyed one of the only true friends you had ever had in your entire life.

Now, Katherine’s husband had nothing but an empty future to look forward to. He could marry again, but you did not think that he was going to. You heard that he had shut the door to the baby nursery and has not entered since the accident. He contacted a high-powered real estate company and now there was a big “for sale” sign in front of their brand new, amazing house that she was so proud of. It was obvious to everyone that he could not bear to live in it any more and was going to down-size dramatically to be alone with his grief.

The teenage driver had lived, miraculously. Lived to text another day. She was being charged with vehicular manslaughter for the two deaths she caused. What a mess she had entangled herself and her family in.

The organ music changed almost imperceptibly to something even more solemn, indicating that the service had started. Out of respect, the congregation stood and turned its attention to the back of the church. The highly polished oak casket borne by your somber friends passed by so close it felt as if you could have reached out and touched it. You were gratified that her family had chosen something that was simple but still beautiful. A huge spray of yellow roses topped its lids. Your girl was born in Texas, after all. Thankfully those lids are going to remain closed because of the car accident. You are relieved that you will not have to be left with the indelible image of someone you have loved for years with a sunken-in face covered in pancake makeup that is supposed to simulate life. That is, if she even had a face to look at.

You steel yourself. That was not a good thought to entertain. Keep calm. By now, you should feel like a veteran of the funeral service. Within the last year you had attended two other funerals. One for your uncle, who lived several states away and who you did not come into contact with that often. He was your father’s older brother. Your relationship with family members from your dad’s side was victimized by your parents’ divorce. And then, more recently, an acquaintance that did business with your company died of a heart attack. You had been friendly with him, but not friends. You congratulated yourself prematurely on the victory of conquering all feelings of fear of death. After all, you had faced down the enemy twice and tucked into big lunch afterward with your friends.

What you really had not given a thought to was that the casket would evoke such an overwhelming feeling of loss and such a desperate need to know where she went. You remember your ninth grade Physical Science class. Mr. Fischer taught an absolute –  You cannot destroy matter or energy.

Matter is a physical substance.
Energy is power, like heat and electricity.

We are flesh and blood. Matter. We are also beings that run on electrical current. Energy.

If you put a log into a fireplace and light it on fire, it burns down. The log is still there, but its substance has been changed into heat and light, and the matter left over is ashes.

You are pretty sure that the energy source inside every human being at the point of death is not put out like a candle. It is finally released from its bondage to the body.

What had they tried to teach you in that Junior Church? Doesn’t the soul survive and go to heaven after the body dies? If so, then that meant she wasn’t really gone after all.

Okay. If that were true, she had to exist somewhere. Her body was in this box here, being prepared to go into the ground, and her power plant had ceased to function. But where is heaven?

Where was she? You can’t just snuff out the life of someone so full of vitality and the desire to live. Someone you felt was so vibrant, amazing and alive. Someone that the world needed in it. How do you just close a book like that before the last chapters are written?

The more you think about this, the more you’re sure that it’s true. It feels like you may have just had an epiphany. Maybe what you had learned was not crap after all. The soul lives on and goes to heaven . . . or . . .

The hairs stand up on the back of your neck. The soul lives on and goes to . . . hell?

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Watching pallbearers slowly march a casket down an aisle in a church house is pretty horrifying, especially when they are carrying someone we love, and we know that we will not see or hear them again on this side. Their voice will never ring out at a party again. You will never hear their infectious laughter and a ribald comeback zinging through the room.

I experienced this intense feeling when a California Highway Patrol officer, who was a very good friend of my husband and mine, was in a minor motorcycle accident but suddenly died as a result of head trauma. No one suspected that he was critically injured, because he was up walking and talking immediately after sliding his personal motorcycle into the side of a vehicle at an intersection. He told the emergency crew that he was fine, and told the responding police officers that the accident was his fault. He had been visiting his mother and was in a hurry to get home. He apparently rolled through a stop sign, hitting a car broadside.

The next day I was told that he was in a coma and had been life-flighted to San Diego. Within hours, his family was making the horrific decision to take him off of life support . . . and then he was gone.

Gone. The life of the party had literally been wiped off the white board of life. I remember feeling that somewhere in the world a light went out. I couldn’t believe it.

He had a voice that rocked a dinner party. Our table would be popping with laughter, nonsense, politics, and interesting conversation. Always. You know what I mean. You can see everyone looking at your table, a little irritated, but really because they’d rather be sitting with your happy little group than their quiet, stuffy table party. Even if you were singing an interesting version of “Partridge in a Pear Tree.” We didn’t mind making a spectacle out of ourselves, although it never quite made it to the lampshade-on-the-head phase.

He had clear, sparkling, gray eyes, full of mischief and laughter. Dark hair cut short, of course. He walked with a CHP swagger. When he retired, he fanned out his severance checks like he was holding a good poker hand. A fist full of aces. He was talking about all of the things he and his family were going to do now that he had so much free time on his hands and the money to make it all happen. We’re talking tens of thousands of dollars.

He never got the chance. He was dead within ten days of this jovial, spirited display of good fortune.

Twenty-five years ago, he and his wife attended our wedding in Coronado on New Year’s Eve, and even though he was not in our wedding party, he came in a tux. My memory adopted him into our wedding party. That tight little group of friends was in our honeymoon suite the night we married, ordering outrageously priced nachos from room service and threatening to never leave the conversation pit in the living room . . .

He died in 2010. He was given an official police burial. It was an intense and formal funeral. I couldn’t believe that a box could actually contain him. I couldn’t believe I’d never see him again.

I know we console ourselves and each other by saying, “He’s in a better place.” “She’s in a better place.” But truly, if God asked us to trade places, we would decline. I mean, come on, we leave a funeral scurrying away in relief. Glad that we got through it. We don’t really connect with the thought that one day, the person in the casket will be us.

I walked around for days asking him, “Where are you? Where did you go? What’s happening to you? Are you all right?”

I am wise enough to know that once that door is closed, it’s closed. Death is an absolute truth that all of us must understand, because we are hurling to that destination at a rapid pace. All of us.

James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.
For what is your life? It is even a vapour,
that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

You may love another person, and you may love them well. But you are ultimately responsible to God for your own life.

Sometimes He gives a person only months, or only a few years to live. He can call home a teen or a young adult who is 26 years old. A forty-year old dies on the operating table inexplicably. A sixty year old who seems to be in good health dies suddenly.

There is no time in your life that God cannot collect you. Remember, you will not live one moment past the time you have been allotted by Him. The date of your death is written in heaven. Only there is a stipulation – God can shorten that time because he is angry at an offender, or He can extend that time because he is showing mercy or approval.

Luke 12:20 “But God said unto him, Thou fool,
this night thy soul shall be required of thee:
then whose shall those things be,
which thou has provided?”

Did you get that? You are alive and sucking in air because, at His discretion, the Crown allows you to be alive. He does not like it when you brag about all of the amazing accomplishments you have done in your life without a mention of Him in your arrogance.

James 1:14-17 “but every man in tempted,
when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin:
and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Do not err, my beloved brethren.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
and cometh down from the Father of lights,
with whom is no variableness
neither shadow of turning.”

The day of death for everyone is unknown to us. If we knew we were going to die today, we would be hiding under the bed, peeking out from underneath the dust ruffle. It becomes crucial for you to understand that we have received a manual from our Daddy on what He expects from us during this short life-time. It gathers dust on the shelf, unopened. Some households have never bothered to purchase that manual and have no idea what is in it. How horrifically dangerous to not know what is in those pages.

It’s called the Holy Bible.

In 1456, this manual was the first book off the newly invented printing press.

It is the parents’ moral obligation to teach their children how to live and how to die. We are afraid to scare our kids with the realities of life and death. We keep our kids home from funerals and shield their eyes from tragedy.

Some people think that death is the end. You go into the ground and it’s over. We simply cease to exist. That is a dangerous pre-supposition. This position should cause the person to investigate further. After all, if the person is right, and we go into the ground, so what? You lived clean all your life with no reward to look forward to, or you lived an evil life with no retribution to fear. In both cases, you died and ceased to exist. But if the person were wrong about the idea of going into the ground being the end , the ancient manual that we were given would testify against us.

So it would stand to reason that you had better be correct about your decision to turn away from Him. If it plays out as He says it will, after death, you will experience a review of your life and you are judged.

Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die,
But after this the judgment.”

From the time you are a little child to your adult years, you are told to live by the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. You think this would probably be enough to get you into heaven. I’ve heard this many, many times. It is what most people think. They can bypass Christ and enter heaven by doing good works.

Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to his mercy he saved us,
by the washing of regeneration,
and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

v If you do not accept Christ, when you die, you will be judged by every law you have ever broken. Even if you have lived a good and honorable life.

v If you accept Christ, you are righteous in the eyes of God. You have clothed yourself in righteousness by your belief in Jesus Christ. You will not be judged under the law.

The first person that I use as an example may be someone good, who has tried to obey all the laws known and done good deeds. I understand that for some, you cannot comprehend why this person is not accepted by God. But what this person has done is reject the gift of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection openly, feeling that his own sacrifices and good life are sufficient enough to get him into heaven.

Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing,
and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;
and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities,
like the wind, have taken us away.”

God will not tolerate the rejection of His Son. It is an insult to Him that you compare your good works to the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross. Jesus’ death gives you and me absolution. Freedom from all the times we have broken the law.

There is another person that was not represented above. He does not believe there is a God and rejects Jesus Christ, or any form of life after death. He believes that when he dies, he goes in the ground. He can do whatever he wants without fearing justice.

You know this person. He lives his life as a little bastard. He makes everyone miserable. You could be married to him or her. He has lived his whole life screwing people out of money and has had a wonderful time doing it. He is very proud of the fact that he can make it out of the restaurant without paying the bill. If his kid has given yours a black eye, he is proud of Junior’s fighting ability and is waiting for you to come and make an issue about it so he can blacken your eye, too. This type is all around you, waiting to take issue with anything you say so he can start an argument and win it by the volume of his voice and sheer number of words battering you.

This person is not trying to do good works to get into heaven. He thinks that Christians are pushy, holier-than-thou types. Besides, doing good for others is for idiots that get taken advantage of.

He plays golf with you. He is the captain of your bowling team. He is the last thing you see before you turn out the light and go to bed at night.

When God calls him for the life review, this person has a problem. How is he going to justify this life that he has lived? He can’t. He has made it his life’s mission to rip people off. God is going to have this one bound and dragged away in chains. He is not covered by the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 22:12-13 “And he saith unto him, Friend,
how camest thou hither not having a wedding garment?
And he was speechless.
Then said the king unto the servants,
Bind him hand and foot, and take him away,
and cast him into outer darkness,
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Christians are supposed to explain the plan of salvation to you, and some churches use their time and resources in service to God to do this. But many churches will barely even talk about Christ’s sacrifice and what it means. They sanitize God’s message to you so they won’t scare anybody. Pass the plate, please. Christians are so busy trying to affect the laws to make everyone as virtuous as they are, that they forget that God does not want to judge us under the law. Do you realize that if we were judged for every law that we have broken in our life, we are going to be found guilty by a heavenly court?

God’s message to all of us is simple – I love you. Please be ready when it is time for you to come home. I will welcome you if you are clothed in the righteousness of My Son, Jesus Christ.

There are laws that all heavenly beings, angels, and spirits, must obey. Your free will is inviolate. You are free to do as you choose, and even though God will do many acts in your life to try to steer you towards home base, He will not interfere if you decide to stop and play in the mud. You may decide you like mud, in which case, He will leave you in it until you die. Then, you have to account for what you have done with your life.

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How many people have died just in the time it has taken me to type this missive?

How many have killed themselves?
How many murdered?
How many deaths from cancer and other diseases?
How many drunk driving accidents?
How many drownings?
How many heart attacks and strokes?
How many drug overdoses?
How many alcohol poisonings?

Ecclesiastes 9:12 “For man also knoweth not his time:
as the fishes that are taken in an evil net,
and as the birds that are caught in the snare;
so are the sons of men snared in an evil time,
when it falleth suddenly upon them.”

God has offered us mercy because He loves us. If He did not make a way for us to qualify for heaven, and extend His hand of mercy, He would hand us over to Satan to be led away in chains.

2 Corinthians 6:2 “. . . behold, now is the accepted time,
behold, now is the day of salvation.”

To obtain heaven you must do this simple task: Acknowledge to God that there is nothing that you could do that gives you the right to access heaven. Nothing. He offers entry free of charge, but at a great price to Himself. That is the death of his Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross.

He allowed His Son to be mocked, slapped, spit on, beaten so badly that you couldn’t tell He was a person, then murdered by a mob that would rather have torn Him apart than allow the Romans to put Him on a cross. Then God turned away from His Son while He was dying, leaving Him completely alone. God is sinless, and He could not look at His Son while the sin of the world passed onto Him.

God allowed Jesus to be a substitute for you. He suffered an agonizing torture and death, then a separation from the Father so that you would not have to suffer a permanent separation from Him in hell when you die. He paid for the laws that you have broken.

I know this is confounding, but it is also simple. God did not require you to climb Mount Everest. Christians have canned this confession into a little prayer. The truth is, you need to do almost nothing. You don’t need to get on your knees. You don’t need to put your hands together.

Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead,
thou shalt be saved.”

The thief on the cross next to Jesus said, “Remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” Jesus replied, “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

There’s no baptism. No christening. No confirmation. There are none of the trappings that organized religion has built around God’s simple plan of salvation. Just a true, pure belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. If you fake being a Christian, you do it at your own peril.

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotton son,
that whosever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on him is not condemned;
but he that believeth not is condemned already,
because he hath not believed in the name
of the only begotten Son of God.”

You do not have to darken the door of a church. You do not have to do anything, nor can you do anything, to attain the prize of heaven.

I do leave you with a warning. The Bible says, “Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth.” If you are adopted by Him into His heavenly family, you are now His son or daughter. Jesus is your brother. If you embarrass the family brand, you will be disciplined. God doesn’t really want crappy Christians for sons and daughters. God knows there are already plenty of them. Just watch and see what happens to them. They will be disciplined, or they don’t belong to him.

Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? It can be. I sure have gotten wacked a few times. The only thing that keeps me safe is that I love Him. But I am afraid of Him too. A healthy respect. He’s my Daddy, but He means business.

Today, your Daddy is offering mercy. Judging by how many people you’ve already seen be put into the ground . . . Tomorrow could be too late.

TKP

P.S. Recommended reading – A very slim volume that can be used to save your life, My Descent into Death by Howard Storm. Let’s start an open conversation about an important subject.

If Only I Had . . .

lighthouse04med3So he killed himself. He actually did it. And you can’t believe it.

Your attempts to help him had been rebuffed, until, you finally just hoped that he’d make it through his depression on his own. Later, you will charge yourself with the crime of squandering the last moments of his life by not giving him the sage advice that would save his life.

And then you got the call. He killed himself. God forbid you find the body yourself and the deed is indelibly burned into the book that is your memory. Now, you are on the other side of a stunning reality.

Your heart had whispered that this act was possible, but your mind overthrew the idea as silly. This was obviously your heart’s overreaction to the openly tortured musings and regrets of a good friend whose life had cracked up in front of the whole world. He’ll be alright, your sound mind had cajoled, and you tentatively went about minding your own business as your friend tried desperately to get traction on the slippery rocks of his life.

You and a small circle of friends wondered together if you could have stopped this horrifying act. After all, you loved him and he loved you. Love conquers all things all ways. Doesn’t it? But the lone thought that you could have personally stopped the suicide feeds on your mind until it sickens you with the disease of what might have been.

If you had just been more available to talk. If you had just been more encouraging. If you had just spent more time with him . . . if only . . .

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Put down the weight. He would still have killed himself. Maybe not today. Maybe three days from now. Maybe a year. Talking this person out of this act is only temporary if the person is intent on the deed. When a person is hopeless enough to destroy himself, he locks himself in a room where wise words cannot follow. You cannot control the acts or thoughts of another person. You are responsible before God for your life, but not someone else’s.

It is truly our personal belief that we can stop someone we love from doing this act. After all, we are close to him and he values our insightful advice above all others.

Instead of battering yourself with what might have been, commit your thoughts and your photos of this person to your amazing memory and remember him as one loved forever. You can acknowledge that this was not what you had envisioned for your friend. Above all, it is not what God had envisioned for him either. Your friend changed the date of his death. God accepted the change and signed the warrant.

When the specter of sadness and hopelessness grabs us, most of us can hold on and wait for the sun to come out after a huge rainstorm. The idea of suicide creeps into almost everyone’s thoughts during depressing times. That is a big problem. Life delivers one crisis after another. When we iron out one, three more are waiting around the corner. If you are alive, you cannot avoid them.

Job 14:1 “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.”

Now, stand up, put one foot in front of the other, and get moving. Life goes on. The sun still comes up in the morning. The birds still sing. Once you have put days, months, years, between you and this sad event, you will be able to look back wistfully and smile. The bad memories will recede, and the fond memories will become more pronounced.

Again. You could not have stopped this act.

It is not a crime to love someone and to have wished the best for him. You could not have physically altered his course. Your friend had a completely different spirit than you do. He was at the helm of the ship that was his own life.

TKP

 

 

The Eyes of the Lord

I am an oracle, though a reluctant one. The work that must be done with you is very important, and we have only a finite amount of time.

The use of the word “oracle” may appear arrogant without proper explanation. I am not claiming to be able to give you next week’s lottery numbers. If I had that ability, I would be kicking it in St. Lucia with my husband. What I can do is advise you through the Spirit of God. He does not lead you down a wrong path.

I am a solitary person living in one of the oddest places in the United States. It is said that if you are born and raised in this valley and you leave, you always come back. I live in Southern California. But before you conjure up thoughts of Hollywood, palm tree lined streets, and sun-kissed Pacific Coast beaches with blondies in bikinis, think again. I am in an agricultural valley that is only two hours from the paradise city of San Diego. In the summer we sport temperatures that would make Death Valley, California blush. As a matter of fact, I recall two Julys in a row several years ago when the temperature reached 124 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s Saudi Arabia in the shade.

The farmers here rely on irrigation from the Colorado River to water their fields, but California’s mountain snow pack is at twenty percent this year.They do not generally pray for rain, even though these days you could probably find them on their knees when no one is looking. Our farmers are in the $2 – $250 million dollar range. They have been known to take Jaguar’s onto the ditch banks to look over their fields. They take private planes to ski in Vail, Colorado in the winter. They own residences in Trump Towers in New York.

Agriculture, cattle, citrus trees, grapes, almond crops . . . nothing survives without water. Almost everything that makes California’s economy prosper requires water.

Water is a basic necessity of life. You can live without food for a little while, but water you must have to survive. People are found dead in our desert all the time. They try to cross illegally from Mexico into the United States. If they had a fist-full of diamonds to trade for a cup of water, they would do so willingly. In the same circumstances, so would you and I.

God’s ways are not our ways.

We place a high value on a sparkling diamond. We are told that diamonds are rare and should be highly desired and fought over. God doesn’t place a vanity value on this mineral that He stashed throughout the crust of this earth when he created it. The truth is that humankind got sucked into a big lie without much difficulty. Diamonds are not rare, they are controlled by an industry that is interested in perpetuating this valuable myth. Diamond is the hardest mineral on earth and God gave it as a gift for use in many industries that require sharp tools that won’t break. We will give six months wages for a diamond to wear ourselves or to put on the finger of someone we love; but water, which is truly life-sustaining, we run down the sink thoughtlessly when we are brushing our teeth in the morning.

God’s ways are not our ways.

Mankind has taken the gift of this beautiful mineral from God and used it vainly over the centuries. We have used it to destroy life instead of as a tool to enhance life. We use this faceted stone purely for human pleasure, to create envy in our friends and as a status symbol of our wealth. To own these stones imperils your life because many people out there in the great wide world are willing to kill you to get your sparklies. We are proud of ourselves when someone wants something that we have. But besides a diamond’s beauty, what exactly do you have? A rock. A useless rock. You can’t eat it. You can’t drink it. It doesn’t serve as clothing. You can’t live in it. It is just a rock that does not sustain life and makes us behave badly towards one another.

Water sustains life. We do not place a high value on water because it seems to be plentiful. A thief does not break into your house to steal water.

Our treasure must be built up on the other side, not here. When we die, our families fight over our spoils. What a shock that we do not take all that accumulation with us! We have spent our entire lives acquiring STUFF. We go to God with nothing. Nothing.

Job 1:21 “. . . naked came I out of my mother’s womb,
and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the
Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” 

My purpose is to introduce you to God. Provoke your thoughts. Challenge what you think you know. Some of you know nothing about Him.

I know that God is love, but I also know that He is very dangerous.
I know that God and Satan are not equal. Lucifer is merely created, not the CREATOR.
I know that Israel is God’s baby, not the USA (which I love dearly besides her warts).
I know that God is not a respecter of persons, countries, boundaries, or flags. He does not see us as individual nations but as the human race.

Isaiah 40:17 “All nations before him are as nothing;
and they are counted to him less than nothing,
and vanity.

I know our days our numbered on this earth and God knows how many days YOU have.
I know that the date of YOUR death is written in heaven; it was ordained when you were born.

Job 14:5 “Seeing his days are determined,
the number of his months are with thee,
thou hast appointed his bounds
that he cannot pass.”  

I know that if I sent my husband to the store for a loaf of bread and he gets killed in a car accident . . . I didn’t kill him. If I had not made him go on the errand, God would have still required him to leave the house for another reason to intersect with his fate. This is a burden that millions of people have unnecessarily suffered under. God, we are too small of mind to understand this truth. If only we had done this . . . If only we had done that . . . If only I had not asked for the loaf of bread he would still be alive. . .

No. “Thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass.”

People, put your burden down. It has been too heavy to carry and it is God’s load to bear. He will require your presence on the day, the hour, the minute, the second that He has ordained this meeting between you and He. It is like the ultimate visit to the Boss’s office to give an accounting of our actions, and go we all must.

No one escapes this meeting.

 If you have gossiped or destroyed someone’s reputation, He will make you eat it.

Proverbs 20:17 “Bread of deceit is sweet to a man;
but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.” 

If you have harmed or hurt someone, God will require it from you.

Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked:
For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

If you are in an adulterous relationship, you have left much wreckage in two families. God knows which one of you has created the damage.

Proverbs 6:27-29 “Can a man take fire in his bosom,
and his clothes not be burned?
Can one go upon hot coals,
and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his

neighbor’s wife; whosever toucheth her shall not be innocent.”

If you bring an accusation against someone, let it be the truth.

Proverbs 19:5 “A false witness shall not be unpunished,
and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.”

If you are quick to judgment, you will be a poor judge of an important situation.

Proverbs 18:13 “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it,
It is a folly and shame unto him.”

I know that your life is a book and every page has an entry that GOD will review with YOU. Some pages are scribbled on. Some pages contain our most painful experiences. Some hold our darkest secrets. Some are filled with our most joyous moments. HE WILL REVIEW THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT WITH YOU.

I know that you cannot afford to rob the 7-11. Your satisfaction is short-lived. You killed the clerk and ran out with a fist-full of money. The problem is that even though the camera may be broken, and nobody got a good look at your face while you were running away with your friends, Angels were there to record the event, and you have branded yourself in heaven as a thief and a murderer.

They are watching us even now.

Proverbs 15:3 “The eyes of the LORD are in every place,
beholding the evil and the good.”

There is much to discuss. There is much to learn.

TKP