LOOKING AHEAD                                                                                                                       Andy Hollifield 12-26-16

Most of us get so wrapped up with Christmas that it is today before we really realize that this is the last week of the year. Today is the last Monday in the year 2016. When it is gone, there will never be another Monday this year. Today and six more days and 2016 will be forever gone. It has a certain ring of finality when you put it like that don’t it? For some, this will be the last Monday they will ever have because there will be some that depart into eternity and will never see 2017. The bible says in 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.” Simply put, life is short. The rich man in Luke 12 made big plans on building bigger barns to store his grain in because he had such abundance. Rather than giving anything to those in need, he cared only for himself. This man planned on taking life easy just eating, drinking, and being merry. No regard whatsoever for anyone else or even for God. God then told him “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be?” Things should not be our emphasis but God and people should be. I have a personal proverb that I try to live by. It is simply this: When you come down to the end of your life there are only two things that will be important to you: Number two is where you stand with your family and number one is where you stand with God. And at your last breath, only number one will matter. The bible says in Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement:” The apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:8 “We are confident, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Nothing in between, just death and then we will face a just God. We will go into eternity just exactly how we have lived. Some to a life of eternal glory and some to a life of eternal damnation and separation from God. I am a firm believer in preparation. Whether it be before preaching, going on a trip, or doing some kind of project. I try to get everything together before I start whatever it is I am doing. I believe that God expects us to plan like we are going to live forever but live like today is our last day we will ever live. It very well could be. I had to think a lot about this back in the summer as my wife and I had to make plans pertaining to our son’s care after we are gone. I plan on living to be at least 95 Lord willing but I had to make preparations like I might leave tomorrow.

Regardless of when we leave this world, we will leave something undone. We will always have “stuff” we needed to get done and “things” we never got around to. In Matthew 6:34 Jesus said “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” We are supposed to plan and make provision but not supposed to be consumed with worry. As we go into the last week of the year, we should look ahead not with fear and dread but with faith and anticipation of what God has done and will do in our lives. We should be anticipating the rapture of the church and making preparation for that. We MUST have our heart right with the Lord. He MUST be our personal Savior because without him we have no hope. My prayer for anyone that doesn’t know him as their Savior is that you will not wait because you do not have a promise of tomorrow. The bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:2 …”Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation”. Your next breath could be your last and if it was, where would you spend eternity? Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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