“Honey, I don’t think I’m going to make it. I’m sorry. I’ve tried.”
These were the last words I heard from my husband on December 25, 2020. Mark, Carissa, and I had all been down with COVID-19, and it had taken a toll on all of us.
I remember spending days wanting nothing but to sleep and be left alone in my misery. The nausea was so awful that I didn’t want to function.
Mark had been taking care of Carissa and me, and I know I was a horrible patient. Uncooperative. Grouchy. Just hard. Yet, he pushed on. He spent day after day making us drink fluids, eat, take medicine. So how could he have gotten so sick so fast? He didn’t. What I hadn’t known was that he had been ill all along. He just put me and Carissa first and himself last.
Until Christmas Day, the day he could no longer bear it.
I woke up super early and found him so sick, and I called an ambulance. I remember watching Mark and feeling like I was in a dream. When the EMTs arrived and put Mark on the stretcher, Carissa walked into the living room. I felt so bad for her. Christmas Day was not supposed to start like that.
They wheeled Mark out the front door, and I sat on the couch with my mind racing. Trying to figure out how to best comfort Carissa and what to say to Cassidy and Logan. I knew there was a chance I would not see Mark again. My mind was all over the place. I wanted to fall out crying. To go back to sleep and wake up when things were back to normal.
But I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. I had to be there for Mark, even at a distance. I had to be a mother to my children. An example.
Death was knocking, and I knew it.
What could I do? I was still so very sick that I could hardly think. But I had to do something. But what was it?
Who did I have to turn to for help? I mean, I understood that nobody would want to come to see us with COVID-19 running rampant in our home. And I didn’t blame them. So, I was on my own to deal with my despair and comfort my children.
But, guess what? I was not on my own. Even in my sick state, I realized I had somewhere to turn, Someone to turn to. Someone who left us the ultimate example. Jesus Christ.
John 16:32: “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.”
What example did Jesus leave? He left us a model for every area in our lives we could ever need. God knew that we needed the church. He knew that there would be those who would show His love and come to our aid. He sent faithful brethren to help us, to love us, and pray for us. God wanted us to rely entirely on Him, and He provided for us in ways we could never expect.
Even amid our trials, GOD WAS THERE! He was watching, loving, and providing!
Realizing that Jesus is my perfect example, I looked to Him for comfort and council, and that is what He gave! His entire life is my example, and looking to Him, I found that regardless of the trials and tribulations Jesus faced… He relied on His Father; He prayed.
Mark 1:35: “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”
Hebrews 5:7: “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;.”
Following the example of Christ is what would get me through. (1Pet. 2:21; Phil. 2:5-8; 1Cor. 11:1; 1Jn. 2:6)
Not only me but my family. It especially got Mark through. I am convinced my prayers and the prayers of other Christians are how Mark ended up leaving the hospital after an almost two-week stay. (James 5:15-16)
So, if you are facing trials, turn to God in prayer. God answers prayers (Psalm 31:19). He knows what’s best for His Children. (Psalm 36:7-9). Make no mistake, yes, death will someday knock on our doors.
Heb. 9:27: “And it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment.”
What if that day were today?
Are you prepared for death to knock on your door? Do you even know what preparations need to be made? God has it all laid out for us in the Bible. Obedience is the key that unlocks the door to heaven (Heb. 5:8-9).
Open your Bible, listen to and obey what God has set forth for all men to do (1Tim. 2:4-6). See what those in the 1st Century did to become Christians, what they did to have their sins forgiven (Matt. 16:13-18; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:36-42, 22;16; Rom. 6:3-7; Col. 2:12-14) what they did to become the sons of God, (1Jn. 3:1, 4:9-10) What they did to have a home in heaven, (2Tim. 4:6-8; 1Cor. 15:58; Rev. 2:10).
What did they do? Let us look at just a few examples in detail:
1. The Ethiopian eunuch
He had a love/desire to obey God (Acts 8:27, we are told he had traveled a very long way to worship God).
He had a desire to learn more about the Word (Acts 8:28).
He had an open heart and was willing to learn/hear about Jesus (Philip preached unto him Jesus in Acts 8:35).
He believed that Jesus is the Son of God and was willing to confess that fact and obey the commands of Jesus by being baptized (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 8:36-38, 22:16).
He rejoiced after he was baptized (Acts 8:39). Because only then were his sins washed away. (Rom. 6:4-6)
2. Simon the Sorcerer
For a long time, he had bewitched the people of Samaria (Acts 8:9).
Philip was in Samaria preaching the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12).
Simon heard this preaching and believed it. (Acts 8:13)
His faith and belief in God’s word led him to render obedience to God, to the things that were said. He was baptized after he believed. (Acts 8:13).
She loved God and prayed to Him (Acts 16:13 we are told there were people by a riverside where prayer was made to God and that Lydia worshiped God).
She had a love/desire to worship and obey God (Acts 16:14 we are told Lydia had come there to worship God).
Lydia listened attentively with an open heart to the words spoken by Paul also in verse 14.
We know without a doubt that Paul preached Jesus Christ to those listening. We see that Lydia and her household were baptized in verse 15 - that tells us that Paul preached baptism and Jesus.
4. The Philippian Jailer
He was the one responsible for keeping Paul and Silas secured in jail (Acts 16:27).
Paul and Silas sang praises unto God, and the prisoners heard them (Acts 16:25). Suddenly a great earthquake shook the prison, and the doors were opened, and all the prisoner’s bands were loosed (Acts 16:26).
The jailer woke up and was prepared to kill himself (he knew he would have been killed if the prisoners had escaped – see Acts 12:19 for an example of this). But Paul cried out loudly, letting him know the prisoners had not escaped (Acts 16:27-28).
The jailer asked the most critical question, “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). Paul and Silas understood he was asking about eternal salvation and not how he could be saved from the Romans.
They answered him in verses 31-32 “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.”
Paul and Silas spoke the word of the Lord to the jailer and his household. (See Acts 8:35-39).
After the jailer and his household heard the Word of God, they immediately were baptized. “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes, and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” (Acts 16:33).
The Gospel or the Good News produces a response (Acts 16:33-34).
The gospel, the word of the Lord, is to be heard, believed, obeyed.
Obedience is faith in action.
Verse 34 tells us he rejoiced! He rejoiced in hearing the “word of the Lord” (Acts 16:32) .
He rejoiced that he rendered obedience to God. (Rom. 6:16-18).
He rejoiced that he was baptized for the remission of his sins. (Acts 2:38, 22:16; Rom. 6:3-19).
He rejoiced that he was saved! Just as the Ethiopian eunuch did in Acts 8:35-39.
We need to look at these accounts and ask ourselves if we can rejoice. Have we followed the pattern of obedience? Have we been baptized for the remission of our sins?
Seriously. Think about it. Make it personal and ask yourself…
Can I rejoice? Have I been obedient to God’s Word? Take a moment and truly answer this question: Can I rejoice? If the answer is no, then you have an opportunity. You have this moment. You may not have another.
Let that sink in. You may not have another opportunity to obey the gospel. If you don’t know who to call to render obedience, send a message to me and I will help you find someone in your area who will study with you and baptize you for the remission of your sins.
It’s a cookie-cutter process!
Like my husband says, when he is preaching, it’s a cookie-cutter process. What made them Christians in the 1st century will make us Christians today. What is that process?
1. Hear the Gospel. (Romans 10:17, John 8:32)
2. Believe the Gospel (Hebrews 11:6, John 20:31)
3. Repent of past sins (Luke 13:3, Acts 17:30)
4. Confess faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:10, Matthew 10:32)
5. Be Baptized (Galatians 3:27, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38)
6. Be faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10)
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Please.
In Christian Love,