Daily Devotional – 3/23/12 “Death is mandatory, living is optional!”

I’ve only experienced a few deaths in my lifetime and no matter how close to home death is it’s still a reminder that we all have to die from this life in order to live again with God. Now, I know that it sounds strange but this is the way God left it. See, we all know that death is the way to get to Heaven and to God but what we fail to realize is that living, here on earth is an option that we have to choose. Let me break this down to you. You get up every day with a fresh anointing that God has placed on your life, with new mercies and with health, strength and a right mind yet you choose to live today mean and depressed because things aren’t going the way you want them to go. You have the option to be happy or sad and you choose sad but why? If you choose to curl up on your couch for 3 days without being bothered by family and friends, that’s your choice but God has given you the option to live which is why he woke you up today. You can choose to be the meanest person in the world every day but God has given you the option to smile, that’s why he allowed those muscles to work in your face. You can choose to take your life, before it’s your time to go, but God has given you the option of living which is why he hasn’t sent the death angel to take you yet. Yea, death is a mandatory thing because in order to see God in Heaven you have to die from the fleshly body in order to be with him in your spiritual body but at this moment you’re living is the option that he has presented to you.

No one can make you live the life that is being given to you each time you open your eyes because it has to be your choice. Just like Baskin Robbins offers 31 different options of flavored ice cream, God gives you the option of living minute by minute and hour by hour everyday but it’s up to you to take it. You have to choose to live. You have to choose to have life. You have to choose whether to be this or be that. You choose to be a drug addict, an alcoholic, a whoremonger, an abuser or just plain unhappy. You choose because just like living, these are all options that you can either choose or not choose. Philippians 1:21-24 says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith.” So you see you do have the option to live and in choosing life, live it. Don’t keep being tied down in unhappy places because they drain the life out of you. Don’t keep being pushed into tight spaces because they suck the life out of you. Don’t keep walking into unsafe territories because then you’ll have to fight your way out and it can possibly snatch your life from you. Choose to live and live to choose. Choose life and let it be a life that is pleasing to God and to you.

When you die on this side you leave sickness and gain singing in the Heavenly choir. When you die on this side you leave pain from worldly mess and gain praise on golden streets that never end. When you die on this side you leave hurt from friends, hate from family and gain the Holy Spirit which never leaves you. Oh when you die on this side you leave tears, struggles, situations, circumstances, temptations, bills and mistakes but on the other side you gain a new life with rejoicing. See in living you get heartache, but dying you gain a never ending heartbeat. In living you get mess but dying you get the Messiah. In living you get pain but dying gives you never ending praise. In living you get sleepless nights but dying you gain rest. In living you get strife but dying gives you shouting. In living you get worldly stuff that can be taken but dying gives you a home that man’s hands didn’t touch. In living you go through hell but dying gives you Heaven. Revelation 21:1-4 says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” See, when you get to Heaven all of the things down here won’t be a thought anywhere in your mind but that’s when it’s your time to go. That’s why you have to live! Don’t rush death because we all have a date set. Yea, life down here can get too hard and it seems like it’s getting too much to bear but you’re strong enough to endure it because God made you in his image and as long as you have him you have the strength to overcome.

So, don’t be afraid the live for Romans 14:8 says, “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord,” and then be afraid to die for Psalm 23:4 says, “ Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” In your living, when your going gets tough and your obstacles seem to get bigger by the minute, keep living because God promised that all that he ordains he’ll also give you the means to maintain it. Even in your living when it seems like dying will be easier, keep trusting in God to give you all that you need. Even in your living when it seems like the world is against you, keep praying for your enemies because when the world turned against Jesus yet he still asked his father to forgive them. You do have the option to live and although you may suffer, don’t let you’re living be in vain. God has a purpose for your life which is why he gives it to you every morning. Choose to live and then live to the best of your ability. Yea, I know that the death of a loved one can hurt you to the bottom part of your soul but its mandatory however your living afterwards is optional. You have the option to keep on breathing, so do it. I know that the sudden death of a brother or sister makes you weak in the knees but you have the option to still stand because God will give you that strength. I know that you thought you’d have a few more years with your spouse because the doctor said the cancer was gone but you have the option to continue living after they are gone by keeping their legacy alive. Choose the option to live because you don’t have a choice in death.

Published by Pastor LaKisha

LaKisha Johnson is an author of thirty Christian Fiction novels, devotionals and journals. She writes from her heart, as she hopes the messages, on the pages, will relate to every reader.  Ask her and she’ll tell you, ”It’s not just writing, its ministry.” Over the course of her career, she’s won the 2018 Drunken Druid Book of the Year Award for her book, The Forgotten Wife, 2019 Top Shelf Christian Fiction Book of the Year for Dear God: Hear my Prayer, 2020 Distinguished Authors Guild Award for her book, I’m Not Crazy and was a 2020 TopShelf Women’s Fiction Finalist for her book, When the Vows Break. In addition to being a self-published author, she’s also a wife of 22 years, mother of 2, Asst. Pastor of Macedonia MB Church in Hollywood, MS; Sr. Business Analyst with FedEx, Devotional Blogger and more. She’s a college graduate with 2 Associate Degrees in IT and a Bachelor of Science in Bible.   LaKisha writes from the heart, and this is why she doesn’t take the credit for what God does. If you were to strip away everything, you’d see that Lakisha is simply a woman who boldly, unapologetically and gladly loves and works for God.

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