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  • "A Musing Pastor"

You Only Live Once.

Do you have a bucket list? What kinds of things are on it? Bungee jumping, painting classes, hang gliding, guitar classes, and many other things might appear on our lists. Some goals are sought after to enhance our skillset while others draw us toward a challenge of some sort. In some cases, death defying events make us feel more alive. I suppose facing the potential end of life could make the heart and brain go into overload and blood pumping through our bodies would increase exponentially to make us feel alive.

This morning as I pondered the 'verse' of the day, I was reminded of one thing we should all have on our bucket list and another thing we're trying to keep from appearing on it. Deep yearning for connection with our Creator (salvation) is the first thing we desire to keep and facing death would be that which we wish to get rid of or conveniently ignore. The verse from Hebrews 9 does not leave doubt to any alternative outcome for us. We all will die once. Humanity has been trying to figure a way around this death thing for thousands of years.

So, if we all must face death once, then this thought implies that we get to live once. Okay, we have something we can work with here.

Eugene Peterson has a way of paraphrasing scripture that allows deeper insight into sometimes troubling passages. Here in verses 27 / 28 we are faced with our adversaries of sin and death. Formidable and relentless would be two apropos adjectives to describe this two-headed beast. Yet, we understand Jesus Christ to have suffered death once as well. Because he rose victorious over the grave, he lives twice. Herein is a unique possibility for us then. If we believe in the name of the Lord Jesus and confess with our mouth that he is Lord, we will be saved (Romans 10:9).

Friends, this means we do, in fact, all have to die once, but we also can experience life again through Jesus Christ's work on the cross and His victory over sin and death. The unique part of this new life is found in the fact we can experience this new life here and now in our walking around everyday living. We also will enjoy eternal life in the presence of our Creator and Savior at the time of our physical death. This sounds like a guaranteed win in both settings.

Check your bucket list again and see if there is a clearly defined path toward Jesus Christ as your Lord. Be sure to make it number one on the list. All the other things you desire to accomplish in your lifetime will be added. "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

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