JUST HAPPY TO BE ALIVE                                                                                                        Andy Hollifield 1-27-18

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed once to die, but after this the judgment.

Luke 12:18-20 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. (19) And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. (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 hast provided?

Luke 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man died also and was buried;

John 10:10-11 The thief cometh not, but for to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (11) I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

According to my count, 103 people have passed away and have obituaries listed in 6 funeral homes in Buncombe county since January 1, 2018. I know there have been more because there were 2 homes that I couldn’t find any for. That has been in the last 26 days. There were people of all ages included in that number. Some died after battles with disease but there were others that when they woke up on the day of their death probably had no idea it was coming. I am not saying all of this to bring anyone down but simply to help point out just how precious and fragile our lives really are. All it takes is missing that next heartbeat and next breath and we will pass into eternity to give account of the deeds done in this life. James 4:14 says, “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.” Job said in Job 14:1 “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” In the scriptures listed above, I am sure not one of those people woke up that day planning on not seeing the next day. The good news is that Jesus said he came that we might have life and have it more abundantly.

Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The word “life” appears 450 times throughout the bible beginning with creation in Genesis 1:20 and concluding in Revelation 17:8 speaking of the book of life. Death was first mentioned by Hagar in the wilderness as she asked God not to let her see the death of her child. It concludes with 1 Corinthians 15:54-56 “….Death is swallowed up in victory. (55) O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (56) The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” Death came when Adam sinned in the garden but was swallowed up in victory when Jesus came forth from the grave with “the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18).

Jesus paid the ultimate price so that we could have an abundant life. According to John 10:11, he already gave his life for us, his sheep. John 15:13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” I am ever so thankful that he did give his life for me that I could have an abundant life. Me: something as insignificant as I am, yet heaven’s best laid aside his glory and came to this earth for the purpose of sacrificing himself for my sins. We all know John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave….” That is the bottom line. God bought us with a great price and he is definitely going to take care of us and protect his investment.

I said all of that to say this: Life really isn’t all that bad. We live in a time of uncertainty but I hope to live till I am 95 unless the rapture takes me first. I woke up this morning and sat up and put my feet on the floor under my own power. I can walk on my own and I don’t have a feeding tube to keep me alive. I can still talk and have a reasonably sound mind. Life is good! That can all change in a minute but I am going to do my best to enjoy the time that I have. Life is too short to go around with your lip dragging the floor. Besides, we aren’t apt to win anyone to Christ if we look like being a Christian is killing us. We all have troubles of our own but we drew that last breath and there are a lot of people who didn’t have that privilege. Our heart is still beating and our lungs are still pumping air in and out. We have really got it made! I have been to the brink. To the place where I finally realized death comes at any age and was coming my way at a young age if it hadn’t been for the Lord. Nothing good that I have done or ever could do to deserve the least of God’s blessings much less the death of his Son for my salvation.

This may be kind of a strange post but sometimes you read on Facebook about all that is wrong in our friend’s lives. I wanted to write something to remind us that the life we have didn’t come cheap and can be snuffed out at any time. Remember; no matter how much trouble and disappointment we may have; the fact that we have life is still God’s gift. Growing old is a privilege denied to many. I am so thankful to have lived long enough to be getting old, that I don’t even want to color my hair. I am proud of every year and every birthday that God lets me celebrate. I have often told my wife that if she didn’t like a gift I got her, I would take it back. I am thankful that God hasn’t adopted my attitude and took my life back when I have complained. There is an old adage that says it takes 43 muscles to frown and only 17 to smile. I don’t know if that is true or not but I do know this; a smile is contagious and it is also of no use until you give it away. It is also a universal language that can be understood even when words can’t be. It is also the easiest and fastest form of encouragement there is. You never know what someone is going through and a smile might just give them hope and turn a bad day into a good one. Besides, we as Christians need to keep in mind that we have a lost world watching us and looking for some reason to have hope. So, put on a smile and appreciate the life that you have. It may not be perfect but it is still God’s gift and I am sure that overnight a lot of people have had it taken from them. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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