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On any given morning here in the jungle, you can venture down the trail and see the smoke rising from the rooftops. It is such a comforting scene to me. Sitting down with friends around the fire pit is a daily part of life here in the jungle. Fire is a sweet provision from God. Being from the city, I had never considered this before moving here. Growing up in Florida with a house that runs on electricity, fires were for camping and s’mores. But here it is necessary for life—it is what our tribal friends use to cook their food and warm their houses.
As the smoke rises and fades from sight, it reminds me of how the Bible describes our lives. It says our lives are like a vapor. Our God is outside of time; he can see all of history at once. Our lives are just as fast fading as the smoke rising off the rooftops on my mountain.
Every day souls leave this earth and enter eternity. It is just a fact of life. My grandfather experienced this last week. After lunch he sat down to take a nap. I wonder if he had any inclination that he wasn’t going to be getting up? For over 102 years, he has been walking this earth. What a sweet man he is—I can’t bear to write that in past tense because I know his soul lives on. When I got the news and I spent time reflecting on his life, the word that came to mind was extraordinary. In so many ways, he lived his life in service to others in extraordinary ways.
Two weeks ago my friend here in the village, a young mother of four, also left this life and entered eternity. I wonder if she had any inclination the end was so near the last day we sat and talked? I certainly didn’t. She was working on knitting Mike a new net bag. She had just finished one for Hudson. She said this one was going slow because her joints were so sore. I told her to put it aside for now and that she could work on it after her baby was born. She had a lot of health problems, and I didn’t think that she would live a long life, but I never expected just 10 days later that she would no longer be with us.
With these losses heavy on my mind, only one thing seems important to write about as there is only one question that really matters. Are you confident of life everlasting with God your creator? Do you realize that the sins you committed, the sins you are committing, and the ones you will commit separate you from God? Do you realize that you were condemned even as a child because of the sin you inherited from your father Adam?
Your works and good deeds, money given to charity, attendance or memberships to churches will not make your relationship right with God. Those deeds cannot secure everlasting life with God. You can only be saved by believing that God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, that he perfected what we could not, lived a sinless life, died taking on all of your sin, was buried and rose to life to completely satisfy the wrath of God that was upon you. You must realize that there is nothing you can do, but that everything Christ did was enough to accomplish your salvation from an eternity apart from God. You must trust that Jesus and his righteousness (his perfection) alone is what can be credited to your sin debt. This is what secures our life here on earth with peace and joy, and gives us certainty in the life to come.
Here is a beautiful quote from the Heidelberg Catechism as read in Comforting Hearts Teaching Minds by Starr Meade:
How does the article “life everlasting” comfort you?
Even as I already now experience in my heart
the beginning of eternal joy,
So after this life I will have perfect blessedness such as
no eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no human heart has ever imagined:
a blessedness in which to praise God forever.
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