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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
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Monday, November 15, 2010
Mortality.
It isn't that I was ever living on the edge or anything. I lived a more or less quiet life. People died now and again, but by and large I didn't really have to deal with death very often. For my daily life, death was not something I really had to deal with. I knew my own death was coming "one day" but like everyone else, I was taught that thinking about your own death was just depressing and morbid - and was something entirely discouraged by everyone in the culture.

As someone who grew up Catholic, I believed that there was a God, and that Jesus died for sins. I didn't know the gospel, but I believed that if I was more good than evil when I died, I stood a pretty good chance of getting a better afterlife. In fact the very first time I ever took a serious look at my own mortality was when an evangelical pastor shared the genuine gospel with me.

I had showed up asking to be a missionary because I had broken up with a girlfriend, and though the best way to get over her, and look cool at the same time, would be to spend a few months in Africa digging wells or something like that. I opened the phonebook, called the first church that used the word "missionary" in their ad, and made an appointment that very day to come down and talk about becoming a missionary.

I naively thought that you just showed up, and said, "I am willing to go" and they just sent you off somewhere, but the pastor had a lot of questions for me. First he wanted to know how long I had been a Christian. I didn't understand what he meant, I had been a (non practicing) Catholic all my life. Did me mean to ask me how old I was? I explained that I was baptized as a baby. So he asked me specifically when I had been born again. He may as well have been talking another language. Born again? What?

So because of my confusion, he asked straight up if I knew whether I was going to go to hell or not when I die. I said I sure hoped not. He said I could know for sure - that the bible tells you whether or not you will wind up in hell. I was a little put off by that because it seemed quite arrogant. The idea that you could "know" how God was going to judge you seemed to me to be the most presumptuous thing on earth.

I have wrote of my conversion before, so bear with me if this old hat...

Well, because he had said something about the bible, I allowed him to continue, and opening the scriptures to the third chapter of the book of Romans, the pastor began to systematically prove from scripture that everyone is a sinner, and in short order, I was quite convinced that I was guilty before God on account of my sin. The pastor then showed me that the judgment was already pronounced; that the wages of my sin was death, not merely the death of the body, but the "second" death - being cast into the lake of fire.

I think this was the first time in my life that my own mortality meant anything to me.

I mean, I had been careful not to die - I mean, we all work to preserve our own lives, and not only the life itself, but the quality of it - but in that moment when I realized that I was one breath away from God's judgment - in that moment I suddenly was aware how very mortal I was.

Not to dwell on my conversion, but the pastor then shared the true gospel with me, and I surrendered the entirety of my life to Christ in His office, and thereby was reconciled to the very God that moments ago I hated with all my being for condemning me on account of my sin. At the time I had no idea how love suddenly overwhelmed me so that I was willing to turn from my sin even at the cost of every earthly pleasure, and submit myself to God's just rule - but I was overcome in a heartbeat and in that same heartbeat, I repented, I believed, and I stood up justified.

There is something that happens in your thinking whenever your own death becomes a suddenly real possibility. Many an unbeliever, like my former self, has come to his senses by being suddenly waked from their dough-headed slumber, to take not only this life, but the afterlife seriously.

It is one thing, then, when an unbeliever stares down the barrel of his or her own mortality - to turn to God; but quite another when a believer suddenly finds themselves near death and realizes that their profession of faith isn't giving them any comfort as death draws near.

I write for you believers out there. If you had a week to live, would you be praying and asking God to please, please, please, give you more time? What if you were dying slowly, and in great discomfort? Would you be begging God for comfort, and healing? What then when your discomfort increases? Do your prayers make you feel like God is far away or near?

Most of us have a picture of our own passing that is preciously ideal. There we are on our deathbed, tired of living, ready to go, and more or less waiting for death to suddenly take us. Perhaps we are surrounded by loved ones, perhaps we picture ourselves saying something awesome just before we go - you know, like, "I see my Lord!" then Plop! we keel over.

Few of us imagine ourselves dying over the course of months of increasing discomfort. Few of us imagine that this is going to be the greatest challenge to our faith that we will likely face in this life. How will I respond to God when I cry out to Him in my distress and nothing happens? When my prayers for deliverence from death bounce off the ceiling. When I am satisfied to die, but my life lingers painfully on. Where is my God when I am suffering the last fight of faith?

You see, your typical genuine, but sadly shallow, Sunday morning faith isn't ready for that. Believe me, there are believers who come to the end of their life unprepared, who lack assurance to begin with, and disintigrate when they find themselves suffering - believing that God has abandoned them in their hour of need - because all they want is to get well, they don't want to go home. Or maybe they want to go home, but they are made to tarry here and suffer.

If God is not your *real* comfort today, you are going to be hard pressed to find that comfort when your every thought is monofocused on the ending of your life. I am writing to you believers who somehow manage to get through every day without prayer, without a real certainty that God is not only with you, but for you. Work at that relationship today, so that you are not scrambling to piece it together when you need it most. It doesn't have to be your own demise - it can be some other great suffering.

It is like the parable of the virgins and the lamps. You have an opportunity that diminishes each day that you fail to take advantage of it. Today if you begin to invest your time in the Lord, you will be thankful tomorrow - but if you put it off, and put it off, you will remain shallow, and when your need comes upon you, you will find yourself abysmally unprepared.

Consider therefore your own mortality, consider that you will face not only death one day, but profound temptation to despair; I don't believe that the time before you leave this earth is going to be a time you want to feel utterly alone.

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posted by Daniel @ 1:16 PM  
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