by Harold Smith
from Jerusalem, Israel
"He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life." John 12:25
Isn't that an encouraging topic to begin an article with? But, it is the truth. Every single one of us will not escape this existence with our flesh intact. The world is in an all out, frontal assault to try to convince us otherwise. That we will live forever, or that the best existence is to try to prolong our life for as long as possible; but, the truth is - we are all going to die.
Y'shua said if we are to be worthy of Him, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him in the example He lived out before us with His Life
(Matthew 10:38 ;
I knew a man for the better part of two decades who, when his body began to fail and the best the medical profession had to offer told him that to preserve his life he would have to allow the doctors to carve him up (and even that would not guarantee his existence), told them "No thanks. My time is up. I would rather to begin spending eternity with the Life Giver today."
I spent a final few hours with this grand saint before he just went to sleep, never to awaken. So noble and courageous was his exit, just stepping across the threshold without fear because He knew in whom He had believed - I wondered then and have since often thought, "How will I behave in the face of my own death?" We don't ever know - really know - how we will act in certain situations until we actually GET there. This question has been one that has always lingered in the back of my mind, leaving me wondering, "Will I be able to even approach that kind of stature when it comes my turn?"
On September 9, 2007, two days prior to my 60th birthday, My Lord gave me the best birthday present I could have ever wished for. He gave me the opportunity to clearly know what was in my heart concerning this issue of life and death as the most intense pain this old body has ever endured gripped by chest, ran down the inside of my left arm, made sore the tightened muscles in my jaw, and left me, literally, breathless.
My first reaction, what immediately leapt out of my spirit, was to say, "Lord, if this is it - if my time on earth is done - I am ready. I have had all of this earthly experience I care for." There were many things that transpired that day, but the one that I was most aware of was - because I was not concerned about preserving my life - I had no fear. I could have easily embraced fear if I had given over to the "what if's" that began their arguments in my mind - but it was clear to me that was my choice.
Fear is a choice - not a feeling, not a spirit - a choice. Fear can expand into feeling or a spirit but, initially, it is a choice. From both sides of the book we are admonished over and over to Fear not, Fret not, Be not discouraged, Be not dismayed. These are commands, not entreaties. Those who will not inherit the Kingdom are listed in (Revelation 21:8). At the top and first on the list are "they that fear." What is it they are fearful of? Losing their life - and these come before the unbelieving.
This pain in my chest went on for several hours. I had called a friend who just quit the medical profession after over 20 years to be available to the Lord in His Service. After telling him what I was experiencing, he said, "Harold, I have seen this hundreds of times and what you are describing to me are classic, textbook symptoms of blockage in your heart." He went on to say, "As a physician, I would have to tell you to call the paramedics (there was a brief pause); but as your brother I need to ask you - what is the Lord saying?"
If we allow it, fear will motivate us into action to try to preserve our life in some way when we should be motivated only by His Voice. Y'shua said He didn't DO anything unless He first heard and saw the Father do and say it
(John 5:19 ,
John 8:28 ,
This was the example He set for us to follow (Mark 8:34 ,
Over the years, waiting on the Lord in this fashion has become an integral part of my life. Not that I have become perfect in it, but having been exercised in waiting on Him has taught me that if I don't hear His Speaking in a situation, the best thing for me to do is - to do nothing.
My youngest son, who was living with me at the time called the paramedics. I had to tell him to call back and cancel them from coming because I had not heard the Father say to do that. So, while my friend felt led of the Holy Spirit to pray for a new heart in my body - I laid down and took a nap. After all, it is because of Him we even have life.
When I awoke, I found I was still here and the words that were living in my spirit were from
I got up the next day and drove 100 miles to spend the next few days with my daughter, something my doctor friend said just doesn't happen with people who have just experienced the kind and length of strain that I had. He called me as I was driving (I think just to see if I was still around) and continued to pray, being led of the Holy Spirit, for a new heart. I wish words could describe the Spirit of Rejoicing that accompanied us that day just knowing that the Lord was answering the prayer of my friend, placing a new heart in this old body for my birthday - not for my sake, but to be an encouragement to you.
This is the manner in which the Body of Christ should operate; not being concerned with our own existence, trials and troubles, not seeking our own aggrandizement, but looking upon the things of our brethren as being of more importance than our own.
We have stepped over the threshold into an epochal era in which we are witnessing the fulfillment of all scripture. How we behave with our lives in this era will determine our station for all eternity. If we are to be prepared for what is before us, we must have settled in our heart where our treasure lies. I leave you with this article written over thirty years ago by a dear, departed saint who was acquainted with death and hardship more than a few times in her life - Corrie ten Boom. The article is "Prepared for Tribulation" and to read it will place a unique perspective on your life for the days to come. Click Here to Read the Article.
|"These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them." Revelation 7:14-15|