“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Today’s Christian Daily Devotional
Death is an unfortunate part of life that is completely unavoidable. Not one person who has walked the face of this earth has ever escaped the harsh reality of death. My family and I have experienced the excruciating pain of loosing a couple of our precious loved ones. We have witnessed their passing onto the other side of life. Both memories are as different as they are profound. I pray that my experiences will cause you to pause and consider the afterlife with a renewed respect and reverence. May your minds, hearts and conversations be open to fresh dialogs about death and the afterlife.
My Grandpa B was not a typical grandfatherly-type of guy. He was a recluse that preferred to spend his time and money on “expanding his mind” with alternative new age cults and practices; rather than with his family or friends. As he got older, we saw him less and less. And every time we did, he would champion his cause of not believing in any god but himself.
About a decade ago, as my Grandpa B lay dying in a hospital bed, poor, friendless and angry, my father grabbed his hand for the last time. He looked into my grandfather’s eyes, pleading with him to turn to Jesus for repentance of his sin and for the salvation of his soul. My Grandpa B was a proud man and stubbornly determined to figure out life and death on his own terms. He refused to open his heart to the love and forgiveness of God.
During the last days leading up to his death, my father continued to stay with him and pleaded the case of Jesus as his only salvation from eternal damnation. My Grandpa B coldly, flatly and determinedly refused the gift of Christ. My father was present and witnessed my Grandpa B’s very last breath of life here on earth. He described it was one of the most horrifying things a son could watch.
As Grandpa B’s labored breathing quickened, his face suddenly startled awake. He looked to the right side of his hospital bed with a horrifying and fearful expression. He shuddered as he shifted his body as far as he could to the left. It looked as if he was trying to avoid a powerful presence that could not be seen with the naked eye. Then his eyes quickly shifted to the left of his hospital bed. His expression got even more panicked and stricken with pure fear and terror. He gripped the sides of his hospital bed— there was no escape. With that realization, his labored, panicked breathing stopped; and his heart stopped with it.
My grandmother on my maternal side was the complete opposite of my Grandpa B. Whenever we would come over, warm hugs and food were offered as soon as our foot touched the entryway. Obachan, a petite Japanese housewife, was humble and subservient in every way. I cannot remember one harsh word or bad memory when I think of my lovely Obachan. She was a practicing Buddhist for over 80 years, a good woman that lived by the standard of karma.
When she got sick last year, we visited her quite frequently in the hospital. We told her how Jesus came to die for the sins that she committed, and all that she had to do was believe Him and receive Him into her heart. I can remember her gently patting me on the hand, and telling me that we will all go to the same place when we die. My heart was so heavy that she refused to believe in Christ. How do you explain to a basically AMAZING human being that they could not make it to heaven on their own? I had trouble sleeping that night, as her health was quickly declining.
The next day, my mother called. “I was sleeping over at the hospital to watch over Obachan. All of a sudden, Obachan woke up out of a dead sleep and looked at me in terror. “Demons!” She said in Japanese. “They are all over me, slimy and slithering all over my body. Help me, Colleen!” My mom grabbed her hand to try and calm her. She prayed that the Lord would take them away.
My grandmother seemed to experience them even MORE after my mother’s prayer. “Colleen, they are not going away. Do something! Pray to that God of yours.” My mother got an instant moment of clarity, her panic and fear subsided. “They won’t go away because you don’t have Jesus to protect you. Remember how we have been saying you must come to Him for salvation?” My grandmother was so desperate for relief. “Yes.” she looked a bit confused. “Well, Jesus died so you would not have to suffer through anything like this in life either. Do you want me to pray with you?”
My Obachan nodded her head in agreement. They prayed together. Immediately after that short and simple prayer of salvation, my grandmother opened her eyes and looked around her. “They are gone! Our God is so mighty. I just want to obey Him.” Peace filled her complexion, and after that, she was not afraid of death anymore. She was actually excited to see Jesus face to face. When my mother witnessed her passing, she said Obachan’s face reflected a hint of a smile.
Many people think that they have all the time in the world to think about death. The truth is, no one does. No one knows how or when he or she will die. Are you ready to die today? Do you know where your soul will go? Will you be escorted into the afterlife by demons or angels?
Take the time to honor yourself and your own eternal future by asking yourself the questions that really matter. Do you know where you will go?
If you want to accept Christ’s free gift as payment for your sins, say this prayer out loud and from the heart:
“Dear Heavenly Father,
I know that I am a sinner that cannot go to heaven on my own merit. You sent your Son Jesus to die a cursed death for me on the cross. His blood was shed as payment for my sins. I accept this free gift. I believe not only in the power of your death; but also in the miracle of you rising again after 3 days. Please live on the inside of me and guide me to make my choices in life in accordance to your will. I want to be baptized in your Holy Spirit so I can experience the power of you. Help me to share with others what you have done with my life and me. Make me a living testimony of the miracle power of you. Thank you for the gift and the joy of my salvation! Amen!”
Do you feel the peace that passes all understanding? Wasn’t that worth it? Share the joy, and pass on eternal life to someone else. That kind of peace is priceless, and it is what the world is searching for.
Thank you for reading today’s daily devotional. Please check back and see what we have for you tomorrow!
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan