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Live every day as though it may be your last day and remember, only God never gets sick and only God never dies

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Chris Cookston"So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom."

Psalm 90:12

The sudden and unexpected death of a loved one is horrid. Two weeks ago we experienced this when our uncle died. His doctor didn't expect it. His poor wife and children certainly had no idea that Sunday, Dec. 12 would be the day. It is unreal to us. But why?

Sudden death seems unreal when we've known a person our whole life. Quite naturally we expect they are still living as this was always the norm from our perspective. At the grave the fact of death became real, I wept watching his casket slowly drop into the dirt. He is gone.

No person knows the day of their death, but we know that God knows. Our day of death is written on His calendar. The Scripture says, "it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment," and, "in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me" before any of them came to be (Hebrews 9:27; Psalm 139:16). Another helpful passage is Psalm 90. Psalm 90 is a prayer of Moses. He prays adoring God since He has been their dwelling place in all generations. And he exclaims that even before He created the earth He is God from everlasting to everlasting (vv 1-2). God is eternal. Man is not eternal. Man is ephemeral. We turn back into dust (v 3) and are like withering grass (v 5). Man's life is "a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away" (James 4:14).

"I'm living on borrowed time," one said, as our family congregated in the cold rain at Pine Grove Cemetery. The burial of our beloved and the headstones of grandma and grandpa shouted "Life is short!" And, another year will soon begin but "as for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years" (Psalm 90:10). Our uncle was 75, our last relative who died was 62. That was not their plan. Since no one knows their day of death no one should assume they'll live to see tomorrow. Live every day as though it may be your last day. Remember, only God never gets sick and only God never dies. We need Him because of our limitations. We can't redeem ourselves from our sin — we can't live forever by exercise and diet. So we stick with what we know from God's Word. Here are a few implications:

1. Today is the day of salvation. If you have not yet humbled yourself before God and put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, don't wait another moment. There is no guarantee of tomorrow. We are all sinners. We have no hope of going to heaven without Jesus. Call upon Him today.

2. Remember your life is like a vapor, it is diminishing quickly. So "present" to God "a heart of wisdom" (v 12). Live close to Christ, read and fill your heart with God's Word, and saturate your mind with Christ's Gospel. Bring every temptation to Him (Hebrews 4:15-16), and live empowered by His grace and mercy. Do not live according to the world or as a part of it. Short as they may be, these lives of ours belong to God. Every moment you have is borrowed from God. Every breath you take is a gift from God. And the length of your life is in His hands … this is absolutely frightening to people who do not know Jesus as their Savior but absolutely comforting to those who do.

3. Don't be concerned about the past. The past is gone, don't let it tempt or define you. Many Christians carry a burden of past sin and mistakes, but in Jesus you have rest and forgiveness. If you're looking to Jesus and His death for your sins remember that you are pardoned. When we honestly look to the cross by faith God assures us in our hearts that we've been pardoned. God has already demonstrated His love for us, "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" and we were "justified by His blood" (Romans 5:8, 9). So, find your identity in the Gospel and Jesus Christ and in nothing else.

4. Focus on God and live in the present. Since Jesus Christ is greater than any man or angel, we must love Him more than everyone and everything else. Treasure Him above all. Appreciate Him, worship Him, sing praise to Him, talk to Him, and trust Him. Do not go to bed without forgiving others, or seeking forgiveness from those you've offended. Confess your sins to Him, adore Him, thank Him. Give to Him your needs and your friends' needs in prayer … and watch Him work. And be amazed by Jesus Christ! O' Lord, teach us to number our days that we may present to you hearts of wisdom.

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