Being Prepared

Southaven, Ms

By: Mike Upchurch

If you’re reading this, well, you are alive. 

While that statement might seem ridiculous, there are people who have passed in the last two weeks that had no idea they wouldn’t be able to read that statement today. Two of them were close friends of mine. One died in his sleep to the shock and surprise of every one who knew him, and the other died in a Hospital just hours after telling me that we’d do something together he wanted done to a racecar of his “as soon as I get out of here, which should be tomorrow”. Neither friend called me and told me they’d be taking an early flight to Glory, because they didn’t know!  Life was going to continue on for them just like it had in the days before, or so they thought. I still have a text message on my phone from one of those friends who messaged me on a Wednesday telling me he’d call me on Friday.  That Friday came without him on this earth. He had passed earlier that morning.

Now while all this may seem obvious, and certainly others have written ad nauseam about the subject of tomorrow not promised, let me ask you a question…..

Will you be able to read this column next week?

Unfortunately, there’s no way you can answer that accurately. None of us can. We just don’t know. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared. There is still time for preparation today.

There are several ways you can prepare: you can make sure you have an adequate Life Insurance Policy and let your spouse or significant other know the Insurer’s name, the policy number, beneficiaries, etc.    If you’re the man of the house, you could make certain your wife has important instructions regarding things that you as the husband may have always taken care of; like oil changes for the car, where the warranty manuals are for things you’ve purchased, who to call for tree work, where the different money market accounts are, a list of things that always need replacing such as lawnmower blade lengths or A/C filter sizes. Those might be things you may have kept to yourself and never thought about sharing really, because you thought you’d always be around.

Or maybe you’re single. It might be a good idea to let family members know, in a note perhaps, information critical to them in the event of your passing. You might have a safety deposit box somewhere. Maybe you have a burial policy; that info could be vital. There are things you can do so that should you leave prematurely (all death is premature I suppose) your loved ones won’t be left confused and with questions.

And now of course to the most important thing you can do; make sure and certain you’re going to Heaven upon your departure (hey I’m a Pastor, what did you think I’d say?). 

Don’t believe in Heaven or God?  No worries. Your final destination in the afterlife will be decided for you. You might go kicking and screaming, but you’re going. 

We’ve written countless times on how to be certain you’re saved, but there’s always that outside chance someone is reading this for the first time, so let’s review shall we?

The Apostle Paul, in the book of Romans in the New Testament, laid out the simple formula…..

“But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” —that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”‭‭Romans‬ ‭10:8-13‬

Well, there you have it!  Another way to look at being saved is what’s referred to as the ABC’s of salvation…..

A)  Accept the fact you’re a sinner

B)  Believe that Jesus died for your sins

C)  Confess your sins and receive Jesus as Lord of your life.

Couldn’t be any simpler really; Jesus is real and He loves you, and He has the authority to forgive your sins and give you a clean slate to start over. And if you mess up, then He will forgive you for that mess up and give you another clean slate. Cool, isn’t it?

But if you don’t accept Him as Lord and you don’t confess your sins AND turn away from them, well then, there’s also something awaiting you…..punishment and torment.  Forever. 

Let’s read…..

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”‭‭Revelation‬ ‭20:11-15

‬“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.”‭‭Revelation‬ ‭22:14-15
Well, that’s information you need!  God has given you the knowledge you need ahead of time so that there will be no confusion. Your name is written in the book of life if you received His Son Jesus as Lord, turning from sin. If your name is NOT found in the book of life, it means you rejected Jesus as Savior while here on earth.  Black and white. No gray area. Know Jesus, know life eternal. No Jesus, no life in Heaven, but rather torment in Hell.  I didn’t write it He did!  You saw it for yourself!

You have time to prepare. You can make choices. You can be ready; so that if tomorrow does not come for you, then it will be easier on everyone, yourself included, because you planned ahead.

If you HAVE planned ahead, then eternity for you will be better than anything this life could ever offer. Prepare today while there’s still time!

And that’s the way I see it!

Pastor Mike