The Brink

Ever since the war in Ukraine started, the world has been on the brink of WWIII. A cursory look at the last two world wars shows us that these wars don’t always start immediately when a conflict begins. Sometimes it takes several months for different countries to be pulled into the skirmish. In this day and age, when combatants are using smart technology, we know that a bomb or drone can get off course and accidentally strike the wrong target. It wouldn’t take much, perhaps a bomb exploding over the border in Poland or Romania, to draw NATO into the conflict and then voila, thirty more nations are involved in the conflict. It could happen today, tonight or tomorrow. We hope and pray that it doesn’t, but it is a real possibility.

When we think about the possibility of a wider conflict, knowing we are on the brink of another world war, we feel sober. Yes, very sober indeed. Our way of life could change in an instant and we could be the ones facing shortages, famine, and exploding ordinances on our own soil. This idea certainly diminishes any sense of security we might be feeling being a continent away from the current war.

When we think about our own sense of security, we base it on many variables: where we live, work, drive, our economic status, our health, etc. When we think about our lifespan, we look at our parent’s lives, i.e., how long did they live and what might our chances of a long life be? As a believer in Jesus Christ, I get a lot of my security from knowing Him and from the words in the Bible. In this case though, the Bible does not give me a lot of security. It doesn’t tell me that I will live a long life; in fact, it tells me a different story. It tells me that I also live on the brink in this world. Only this brink is the brink of eternity. Over and over, I am reminded that my life is short, very short indeed in light of eternity. James 4:14 says, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

In light of this particular brink, am I even aware of it? Do I believe that my life is short in an eternal sense, or do I feel I have lots of time to make decisions that may affect my eternal destiny? None of us are guaranteed tomorrow; any decision we need to make had better be done today. So, I would urge you to make those choices that will ensure a positive outcome in eternity. In the words of Isaiah, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”

On the brink. Yes, it is a sober thought. But there is something we can do about it that will give us a greater sense of real security while we watch the events around us unfold.

Which Tree are You Eating From?

From the very beginning, God gave man a choice of eating from two trees. Our very existence would be determined by the tree we ate from. Before we decide which tree to eat from, we should probably look at the fruit that each one offers and the consequences from eating from each tree.

THE TREE OF LIFE

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Type of Tree: SPIRITUAL 

Fruit: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS AND SELF-CONTROL. Galatians 5:22

Emotional Result from Eating from the Tree:  CONTENTMENT  “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:1

Motivational Driver: HUMILITY

Path to the Tree:  DELIBERATE CHOICE. “Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Ultimate Result from Eating from the Tree: ETERNAL LIFE

 

THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL

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Type of tree: FLESHLY 

Fruit: SEXUAL IMMORALITY, IMPURITY, DEBAUCHERY, IDOLATRY, WITCHCRAFT, HATRED, DISCORD, JEALOUSY, FITS OF RAGE, SELFISH AMBITION, DISSENSIONS, FACTIONS, ENVY, DRUNKENNESS, ORGIES. Galatians 5: 19-21

Path to the Tree: DEFAULT SETTING AT BIRTH. “Behold, I was shaped in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psalm 51:5

Emotional Result from Eating from the Tree:  LUST  “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.” 1John 2:16

Motivational Driver: PRIDE

Ultimate Result from Eating from the Tree: Eternal Death

 

THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN TWO TREES SET BEFORE US:  CHOOSE LIFE

Which Tree are You Eating From?

From the very beginning, God gave man a choice of eating from two trees. Our very existence would be determined by the tree we ate from. Before we decide which tree to eat from, we should probably look at the fruit that each one offers and the consequences from eating from each tree.

THE TREE OF LIFE

torrent-3119822_640

 

Type of Tree: SPIRITUAL 

Fruit: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS AND SELF-CONTROL. Galatians 5:22

Emotional Result from Eating from the Tree:  CONTENTMENT  “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:1

Motivational Driver: HUMILITY

Path to the Tree:  DELIBERATE CHOICE. “Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Ultimate Result from Eating from the Tree: ETERNAL LIFE

 

THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL

tree-736885_640

Type of tree: FLESHLY 

Fruit: SEXUAL IMMORALITY, IMPURITY, DEBAUCHERY, IDOLATRY, WITCHCRAFT, HATRED, DISCORD, JEALOUSY, FITS OF RAGE, SELFISH AMBITION, DISSENSIONS, FACTIONS, ENVY, DRUNKENNESS, ORGIES. Galatians 5: 19-21

Path to the Tree: DEFAULT SETTING AT BIRTH. “Behold, I was shaped in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psalm 51:5

Emotional Result from Eating from the Tree:  LUST  “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.” 1John 2:16

Motivational Driver: PRIDE

Ultimate Result from Eating from the Tree: Eternal Death

 

THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN TWO TREES SET BEFORE US:  CHOOSE LIFE

If You Had Your Choice: How Would You Prefer to Die?

If you had your choice, have you ever thought about how you would prefer to die? It may seem like a strange question, but it is one that is worth thinking about and answering. 

knight-321443_1280photo by jaymethunt courtesy of Pixabay

For me, the most noble way to die is defending or protecting others. Jesus said in John 15, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” So the soldier, the policeman, the fireman, the teacher, the crossing guard, whoever dies trying to protect others, they die the most heroic death. We honor them for the nobility of their sacrifice.

On the other end of the scale is the inglorious death. A life lived selfishly without thought for others, one who lives solely for oneself. We all know people who have passed and no one missed them. They lived their lives in a total self-gratifying way. Surely none of us would want to pass that way.

There are a lot of ways in the middle of the scale to die. You can die doing something you love. I have known of a couple of young men who have died climbing mountains. The only consolation their families had was, “They died doing what they loved.” At best, it is little consolation when you see a young life cut off while in its prime.

I don’t think any of us wants to die because of our own foolish choices. No one wants to go to a bar and die on the way home because we were drunk. We don’t want to die  from an overdose of drugs. We don’t want to die from lung cancer because we chose to smoke our entire lives. We don’t want to die because we were texting while driving.

When we truly think about how we would want to die, it should give us motivation about how we should live. If we want to die in service to others, we should prepare ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually so that we have the mindset we need if we are ever in that situation. It should make us want to make right choices so that we could add to the lives of others for the short while we are here on this earth.

If we look at our lives and see we are heading down a road of dissipation and addiction, we might want to take a day or two off of our drug of choice and really take stock of where we are. Do we need to get help to get sober or clean? There is no shame in admitting we need help. It is one of the bravest and most courageous things we can do.

Are we spending our entire lives solely trying to please ourselves? While it may feel good at the moment, in the end our selfishness will add only a hollow ring to our lives. Remember the question put to the man at a funeral, “How much did he leave behind?” The answer was and is always, “All of it.” We need to learn to share what we have with those less fortunate than ourselves. It will give our lives true meaning and purpose.

Let’s look at our lives and our lifestyles and see if we need to make any adjustments. After all, our lives are but a breath here, and we will soon be gone. So again I ask, “If you had your choice, how would you prefer to die?