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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

To Die is Gain

And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you." (Mark 5:18-19 NKJV)

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. (Philippians 1:21-24 NKJV)

Precious in the sight of the LORD
Is the death of His saints.
(Psalms 116:15 NKJV)

The man healed of his demons desired to remain with Jesus, who had set him free. Paul likewise earnestly desired to depart and be with Christ. Both remained behind as messengers of the Gospel, willingly, for Paul said to live is Christ. He counted his existence as no more and no less than the manifestation of the Lord Jesus.

This man beaten, imprisoned, stoned, shipwrecked, who labored "in weariness and toil," with sleeplessness, hunger and thirst, had good reason to desire death. He knew to die is gain—the receiving of his reward, and the commendation, "well done, good and faithful servant." Yet his great love for others commissioned him to a life of suffering which he did not resist.

In heaven, we will know the glorious presence of Christ. On earth, we have the privilege to be the presence of Christ. It is a worthy reason to wait patiently for the day we look upon Him.

Lord Jesus, how heaven can beckon when You draw us close! One of these days, surrounded by Your glory, when we finally see the hands which took our nails, and touch the face of You who made us, what will our hearts feel? Give us strong hearts, to make Your presence known until that day.

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Copyright 2008, Anne Lang Bundy

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