December 12, 2012
Last month, I visited a museum whose premier exhibit featured mummies from around the world. I wasn’t surprised to see their bones and teeth, but didn’t expect to see that some still had eyelashes, braided hair and fingernails. I learned about the mummification process and its effects on skin. There were even some natural mummies, people whose bodies were preserved due to the climate at the burial site. Each specimen had a story to tell. But we, the observers, could only really learn a fraction of the true tale.
It was fascinating to see those ancient people who had been preserved for “eternity.” Some bore imprints from the weaves and dyes of fabrics that had been part of the wrapping process. Many bodies were buried along with other objects. There were amulets (small good luck charms) to help protect them from danger. Copies of The Book of the Dead were tucked in to give the person spells, hymns, and instructions to reach the ultimate goal, the “afterlife.” Mummified fish, cats, and dogs had been placed alongside the bodies to be used by the dead as offerings to the gods.
What struck me as I wound my way through the displays was that there was a universal concern for what comes after this life. But the time to consider that part of our future is right now. Sure, we can live to the fullest, enjoying all the world has to offer, but that is no guarantee of happiness now and it certainly doesn’t ensure happiness after death. People turn to all kinds of “truth” only to find that nothing offers lasting satisfaction. King Solomon gave “everything under the sun” a shot to find peace and fulfillment, only to come up empty as he warns us in Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible.
Only the God of the Bible offers lasting truth. Only He loves us so much that He provides a way for our sin to be forgiven and forgotten. Only the Lord God sends His Son to take the punishment we deserve, and offers it to us as a free gift so that we can live forever with Him in heaven when this life is over. No special spells, no good luck charms, no more sacrifices in the afterlife to woo the gods. No need to wonder if you’ll find heaven. No more wondering or wandering before or after death. Just accepting God’s gift of eternal life. Just believing that God will be true to his word. This promise and glorious assurance brings so much peace especially in adverse circumstances, including dying itself.
Today, ask God to show Himself to you. Then, open up his instruction book, the Bible, and read for a few minutes. (It will be easier if you read from one book of the Bible instead of jumping around.) Start in Ecclesiastes as Solomon, who had everything, tells us it is all worthless if we don’t have God. If you don’t have a Bible at home, look for one on the web. You may think this is an exercise with no benefit. But I know you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Preparing for the afterlife now or waiting ‘til tomorrow or after you die is your decision, so choose well.
Dear King of Kings, You are the God who forgives me and who loves me. You’ve been waiting for me to turn my attention towards You and now You have it. Lord, thank You for loving me and making a way for me to be with You in heaven, forever. Please help me to read and understand Your word, your instruction manual each day. I can be forgetful and easily distracted, but I want to do this, and with Your help, I know I can do it. I long to know You better and I am thankful that I am learning more about You every day. I pray in the name of Your son, Jesus, who took my punishment, so I could be with You forever. And all God’s children say – AMEN!
Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. Ecclesiastes 12:11-12
Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever! Psalm 111:10
What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:9-11