How to Die!

I have often thought of writing some columns on this subject. With the passing of my Mother from earth to heaven over the past weekend (July 25th 2003) I have now felt it time to deal with this subject.

Let me state it clearly: You ‘will’ Die! No doubt about it. Your death and my death are approaching with every beat of our heart. We all have a date with death. No matter how rich or poor you are, no matter your age, race or language, male or female your death is drawing near.

The subject of how to die is seldom dealt with by preachers or even pastors in a public message. All ministers have to deal with this in their ministry. There are classes for those planning to get married, classes about how to have a successful marriage, how to lose weight, and classes for almost every subject except for the ‘One’ subject that is relevant to all: How to die!

Well I am going to walk into this very difficult subject. Just remember none of us are experts in this subject. The experts on death have died and the mystery remains for the living.
There is only one expert on death and dying and that is Jesus!
Jesus lived and died and arose again on the 3rd day! He was and is alive and has conquered death and hell and the grave! Hallelujah!

Accept the ‘Fact’ that you will die. Let this become a living reality.
The Bible says “the living know that they shall die’. As sure as we live we shall die. Many people live with an almost total mental block about their approaching death. This is a very foolish way to deal with this subject.
The temptation is to just focus on now and self-gratification no matter the consequence. The wise person confronts death and deals with it and then faces now and the future with trust and faith in God without fear. I urge you to say ‘I am going to die!’ Then say “How am I going to Live?’ “How shall I deal with my approaching death?’ This is freedom to live and be happy and blessed and responsible.

Your friends, family and loved ones will die.
Often we block from our mind the fact that our loved ones will die. The pain of loss is so deep we just try to erase any thought of their passing from our mind. This is not good for you or for them. It leaves you totally unprepared for their passing. My wife Denise and I often speak of what we would do concerning the death of either of us. We live a life of travel and danger so we deal with the subject and plan options of action should one of us die. We also have instructions should both of us die at the same time. This honesty and openness I think is very healthy for us.
Asking a loved one in the proper manner and with love and understanding about the subject can be very helpful when that time comes and you must make decisions for them. Begin now to love and share your love with those you love! Leave no words unspoken!

Prepare to Meet God.
The Bible declares: “prepare to meet thy God’.
Having a right relationship with God ‘Now’ is the best way to prepare for death. For death often comes in the most unexpected moment. On the way to the grocery store, on the way to work, at your favorite restaurant, at home or at night during sleep. For some death seems never to come. Hours and days and weeks of pain and suffering precede the time of departure. So the way and time of death is so different you cannot make a concrete plan for you cannot say for certain how you will die.
So: Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord and commit your life to following Jesus! Seek to glorify God in your living, actions and words. Seek to live in such a way that your last moment will be in harmony with the eternal life in heaven you are about to go into.

Angels will be there to accompany you into heaven.
(Luke 16:22 in the Holy Bible)
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.
(2 Corinthians 5:8 in the Holy Bible)
We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

I must also warn you that there is a real Hell and many will be going there.
(Luke 16:22-23 in the Holy Bible)
“the rich man also died, and was buried;
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments.’
(Matthew 7:13-14 in the Holy Bible)
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
“Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.’
(Luke 13:24-29 in the Holy Bible)
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
“When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’
“then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’
“But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’
“There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.
“They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.’

I would not be honest should I not warn you of hell and that being a place you could spend eternity.
Oh come to the cross. Come and let the Blood of Jesus that was shed for the remission of sins wash your heart and soul and make you clean. Come and follow Jesus as your Savior and Lord. Call on Him now and pray:
“Dear God I need you. I know I am a sinner and believe that Jesus died for my sins and rose again. Please hear my prayer and save my soul. As best as I know how I repent and give my life to Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. Write my name in Your Book and make me a home in heaven. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and fill my with Your love and Presence. Thank you Lord. In Jesus Name I pray.’
Now thank Him. Jesus is ‘in’ you. When you die He will take you to be with Him. The Holy Spirit that lives in the heart of a believer will not take you to hell but heaven.

Make out a Will.
You can make out a Will on just a piece of paper with your signature. It is best to have a witness or two sign it. However I suggest you get an attorney to draw up the proper work and put things in a legal way. Should cost only a few hundred well-spent dollars. My suggestion is that you write down on a paper what you want to do with your home, the things that you posses and how you want it divided after your death. Should you be leaving much behind it is very important to take care of this. Because the more you leave unsaid the more room there is for conflict among those left behind.
Even if you are poor please take care of your loved ones by leaving a Will.
Do not be unclear. Spell out everything you want done.
Consider your wife or husband. What about your children? What about other family members or friends or even a stranger? How could you help a needy ministry or what could you leave behind to help lead others to Jesus? Is there a person that you could bless in a very special way that has been a great blessing or inspiration to you? Your death could be your final way of helping others. Consider all this carefully and then Do It before it is too late.

Do Not Resuscitate?
This is a very sensitive subject but very important in western countries where there are many ways to prolong death. I am not the judge on this subject just bringing up the subject so You can make the decision you feel is right for you.
In most if not every U.S. state the law requires that emergency services use resuscitation when they arrive unless they are presented with a state approved ‘Do not resuscitate’ paper signed by the person and their doctor. When one is admitted into a hospital you must have this form or they are required to put you on life support and seek to resuscitate you should you need it.
I will not seek to persuade you one way or another. Modern medicine is a wonder of advancement but it also presents a huge new problem of how to let people die that do not want to have their life prolonged in a non-natural way.
This is personal choice. I carry with me a “Do not Resuscitate’ Florida card signed by my doctor and me. For me should I face death I desire to die in the most natural way possible. Many others seek to use every method possible to extend it. You make the choice you desire. On this question you do not have to make a decision. In America it is made for you unless you opt out.
I do think it important to consider a ‘Living Will’. This is different but I will not go into it here. Check it out and let your family know because they may have to make these decisions for you should you be incapable. Putting off these important decision puts a huge stress on your family as they seek to make decisions for you concerning your life and death. Often there are conflicting opinions that tear families apart or leave family members guilty for the remainder of their lives. Help your family by deciding about a ‘Living Will’ and ‘Do Not Resuscitate’.

Discuss your funeral plans with someone close or list your desires on paper and keep it with your Will.
This is another of those important decisions that can help your family.
For missionaries and traveling evangelists and people living in other countries you should be very clear with your family as to whether you are to be buried in the nation you die in or your body taken back to your homeland. Some want to be buried where they die, others taken back. The worst time to make funeral plans is at the time of death. That often is when all the plans are made. The family is grief-stricken and very emotional. Please help your loved ones by discussing with them or putting on paper your desires.
Where do you want to be buried?
Who do you want to speak at your funeral?
Do you want a funeral or a memorial celebration?
Do you want to be cremated?
Be careful not to let a Funeral Home sell you a hugely expensive funeral or coffin at an emotionally vulnerable time.

Do not leave anything left unsaid.
Should you love someone in a special way then tell them. Express your love to family and friends. Leave nothing left unsaid should you or they die. Many people live a life of regret having left some things unsaid or undone. You don’t have to make that mistake. I have often seen people go to a funeral home or funeral to see a person that had died and yet it had been years since they had gone to see them when alive. The same thing could be said about talking to someone. Years pass and you never call that person then they die and you have all these wonderful things to say about them. They sure would have liked a call while they were alive.
As for me I am alive now. Should you have something to say to me then do it now I’d like to hear it. Don’t wait for me to die then write. Ha! All we have is now so say it all now.

Live as though you would die today.
I think one of the most important things in life is to live each day as though it were your last. There is freedom in this and joy. Be free and don’t be bound with fear. Even the Bible says in James 4:13-15 in the Holy Bible
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
I just love the above verses. It keeps things in order and focuses on the truth of the shortness and uncertainty of time.

Life is not your God.
I want to make just a short but powerful comment here. I think how you live your life is more important than how long you live it! Some people seem to worship life itself. We are to worship God not life. Think of the fact that all will die and then you face eternity. The older I get the more I come to realize I now have more friends on the other side than I have on this side.
People often make the choice to die rather than live. Think of all the military people that have made a decision to die if necessary for what they believe in. Many people hold values they would rather die for than give up this truth are value or conviction. God gave life so He can also take it.

You don’t have to know the reason ‘Why’ someone died.
It is so naturally human to want to know the reason why. But almost always we don’t know and never will know ‘why’. From accidents to cancer to old age or children or babies we seek answers to the age-old question of ‘why’. I can give you no answer except that the Bible says “it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment’.
(Hebrews 9:27 in the Holy Bible) Somehow come to accept death as an unavoidable part of life.

There is nothing wrong with tears and sadness and grief for the loss of loved ones.
Jesus wept! He cried several times in the Gospel record of His life. Once this was upon hearing of the death of Lazarus a friend of His. So tears are not a sin. Be free and express you emotions. You may not feel like crying and that too is fine. I did not weep when I heard my mother was dead as we were on the way to see her but I did later. Mostly my tears have come as it gets dark because I phoned her almost every night. She has now been gone just a week but I find it even hard to see the computer through the tears of love and loss that flow down my face.
I was holding my father’s hand when he died. I did not cry till I was back on the road carrying the cross and then the tears just poured. We are all different people, so be the person you are.

Now go out and ‘Live’! God loves you. Many people need you. Be at peace with God and with others. Let the world know the glorious news of Jesus.

John 11:25-27
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
“And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt
Luke 18:1