Day 12 – If You Plan This Much For A Vacation….

Day 12

Read

2 Timothy 4:5

Reflect

I love summer break. Our family spends a good amount of  time planning our vacation.

We plan the time off work.
We plan our adventures.
We plan our packing.
We make sure the cars are in good shape and that our almost-ancient family boat is running.
We save up months in advance.

And then we go.

As strange as it might sound, part of the fun we have stems from the fact that we planned the trip. 2 Timothy 4:5 urges us to keep a clear mind in every situation.

A disorganized trip can kill the vacation – a breakdown on the road, not having the gear you need or even running out of money can make a vacation more than challenging.

Want to know what’s strange?

Most of us spend more time planning a one week family vacation than we do planning for our eternity.

I’ve talked to more than a few people who haven’t spent more than 15 minutes of their life thinking about what happens after you die.

That’s probably a bad idea.

As indelicate as it might be to say, you’re going to be dead a lot longer than you’re alive. I realize that’s not a pretty thought, but its true.

Why wouldn’t you want to plan for it? Or at least figure out – to the best of your ability – what’s probably going to happen?

Here’s what I think.  You owe it to yourself to know why you believe what you believe about the afterlife.

How are you doing in planning for eternity? How much thought have you given it? What could change if you spent more time thinking it through, deeply.

Respond

Belong – Because you can belong before you believe.
To what extent do you think Jesus’ invitation into a relationship with Him might be about more than this life? Do you think he might be inviting you into something that could last forever?

Believe – Because those who belong often start to believe.
Do you know why you believe what you believe about the afterlife? Sometimes clear thinking can move you further toward belief.

Become – Because everyone who believes can become someone new.
Why do you believe what you believe about eternity? Could studying why you believe what you believe about the afterlife actually draw you closer to God? How do you think it might?

Dear God, help me to keep a clear mind in every situation. As I plan even for small things like vacations, help me to apply a stronger level of thinking to eternity. Thank you for inviting us into a relationship that will last forever. Through Christ I pray, Amen.

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4 Comments

  1. Eric Sun says, April 12, 2013 at 1:54 am

    I know – we spend all this time, effort & expense on education for this life, but not a lot on the next….

  2. Yvonne says, April 12, 2013 at 7:56 am

    I think it’s a good idea to examine why you believe what you believe. Everyone of us grew up in an environment that shaped our belief system but not always correctly. As a homely example, last year I began to dig deep into my eating habits. I chronically overate and I knew the issue wasn’t hunger. What it boiled down to was that I grew up in a home where throwing out food was treated as though it were a cardinal sin. We were always made to eat everything so that nothing had to be wasted. I learned to overeat and that learning stuck with me, though I didn’t know it, into adulthood. I had to ask myself, “Is is wrong to throw out food? Isn’t it worse to treat my body like a garbage pail and throw extra food in?” I understand why my parents taught me what they did. They grew up during world war two in a country where food was scarce. Throwing out food was unthinkable. They adopted their parents’ attitude and communicated it to us, their children. The bottom line was that the belief system behind my behaviour was off. I changed the way I think about eating everything in sight and now I eat enough but not too much. I’m at a very healthy weight now. I’m sure a lot of us are carrying around belief systems that really aren’t true or helpful but unless we examine them, we will never know. We’ll just keep on doing something that doesn’t make sense. This is a small example but I’ve looked long and hard at some of the “church truths” I grew up with and some of those had to go too. They simply weren’t true though I am sure they were communicated by well-meaning people.

    • Carey Nieuwhof says, April 12, 2013 at 8:56 am

      Yvonne…that a really good point. Often there’s a belief system, truth or lie under so much of what we do. And congratulations on figuring out why your eating habits weren’t the healthiest for you. Many people never get there.

      As far as theology goes, you’re right. There is a world of difference between trusting biblical principles versus trusting cultural preferences. For example, some of us grew up under the impression that all movies were bad. That’s actually not true. Some movies are fantastic. And some movies are terrible (as in terrible for you). A verse like Philippians 4:8 can help us work through those things – a standard to use when looking at what we watch and read. Others grew up being taught too much on the liberal side of theology (there are many paths to God). The scripture says to always test what we hear again the truth revealed in the scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

      Thanks for making some really good points.

  3. Christopher says, April 12, 2013 at 9:20 am

    “…keep your head in all situations,…discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

    Great instruction. Difficult to practice. I can take solace in knowing that Paul couldn’t get it right everytime.
    *********************
    Why do I believe what i believe about eternity…well, 1) I was brought up in a household that cherished the Word and believe it to be true. 2) I trust the promise of John 3:16. 3) I have born witness to, and heard testimony from, relatives of those who are near death…their descriptions leading up the moment of death are amazingly detailed; something else is happening apart from what we know of in this world. 4) what’s the fool say? “there is no God.” The intricate, intelligent beings that we are; the amazing definition of creation; the thought that nothing else makes sense other than to credit a great designer and creator (aliens? evolution? pffft!)…that the Word tells us that He is pursuing a relationship with US.
    The bible tells me so…..

    Dear Lord,
    I confess to you that I am a sinner and that I rarely get it right. Forgive me today of the many things that I think, say, and do that make you sad. I am grateful that you love me enough to die so that I can be with you one day.
    Today, send your spirit to encourage me to live for you, reaching others with this good news.
    amen.

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