"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (E.S.V., 2001, Philippians 1:21). Yes, dear Lord Jesus, protector and restorer of my soul, to live for you is glory. To die for you is to live with the king in heaven throughout eternity. I reflect on this passage of scripture today as I and brothers and sisters in Christ mourn the loss of Dr Timothy Keller, a great man and teacher of God's word.
Tim Keller has had a great impact on me like on many others. His teachings have been insightful and full of clarity and wisdom. I pray for his wife, Kathy and his children as they continue to live here on earth as it is in heaven, knowing that one day they will be with Jesus and see Tim once more.
Jesus said, "Do not be anxious about your life" (E.S.V., 2001, Matthew 6:25). I know that my Jesus will shepherd and watch over me and my beloved family. Yet, I must do my share, working for the kingdom through faith in my king because "the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few" (E.S.V., 2001, Matthew 7:14). Dear Lord Jesus, I pray for your godly wisdom and discernment as I navigate this world, serving you and you alone, for I am dead to myself but alive in Christ, for your purposes and your glory, in Jesus' name. Amen.
"For whoever loses" their life for the sake of Jesus Christ will find it (E.S.V., 2001, Matthew 10:39). I realise more and more as I ponder and reflect on these words that my life is full of purpose and joy as I "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness" (E.S.V., 2001, Matthew 6:33). It is a transforming power, the power of God's Holy Spirit working in and through me, revealing an eternal hope, guiding me throughout my days on planet earth and I thank my God the Father, in Jesus' name.
"Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life" (E.S.V., 2001, Matthew 19:29). I realise that this scripture is difficult for some to understand. Leaving what and who is familiar behind is challenging, especially when one has established and planted oneself in a community. However, Jesus said:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (E.S.V., 2001, Matthew 28:19).
This is a command from the king and I must obey for I am his sheep and he is my shepherd. What am I to do or say to him if I disobey when my king returns?
And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (E.S.V., 2001, Matthew 25:33-46).
Therefore, I pray that I, my wife, my children and their children may live a holy life, resting in the knowledge of our salvation, even though we are not perfect we are being transformed in the likeness and beauty of Jesus Christ, "for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything"(E.S.V., 2001, 1 John 3:19-20). For "whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us" (E.S.V., 2001, 1 John 3:24). By this knowledge and truth, I recognise that "no one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God" (E.S.V., 2001, 1 John 3:9). And so, I have peace in Jesus, I continue to live for him, running "with endurance the race" that is ahead of me, looking to my saviour and Lord, "the founder and perfecter" of my faith (E.S.V., 2001, Hebrews 1:1-2).