By Rev Angela C Bosfield Palacious
We continue to hear the sad news of sudden deaths, or slower but still painful deaths. How can we help to prepare ourselves and others?
When you have children you need to make plans for them in case you are the next traffic fatality, victim of crime or something else. Soften the blow for them and let them know (if they are old enough) and feel secure that you are providing for their future:
1. Make a will and minimise the conflicts
2. Create a trust fund or some financial arrangement for them
3. Prepare your service and keep in several safe places to be easily found
4. Arrange for trustworthy persons to be guardians if need be
5. Talk when appropriate about what you believe about death if a pet or a person dies
6. Teach the values they need to survive without you
7. Create a circle of faithful friends to love them if you are around or not.
In 1 Samuel 20: 13-17 (NIV), Jonathan and David speak of the future: "May the Lord be with you as he has been with my father. But show me unfailing kindness like the Lord's kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family--not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David's enemies from the face of the earth."
So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, "May the Lord call David's enemies to account. And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself."
When you have a business, ensure that you leave people, places and things in order. Keep the future as stable as possible for your family:
1. Computerise your information and keep hard copies and online documents
2. Delegate reliable persons to run the business for you in your presence and absence
3. Reveal to your spouse whatever needs to be known if you are not there
4. List all your debtors and creditors and whatever arrangements you have made for payment
5. Balance your time allocation to enjoy family time before you lose the opportunity.
In Deuteronomy 31:1-8 (NIV), we read: "Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, 'Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged'."
When you recognise that you are going to have to answer to the Lord God Almighty for the choices you have made, you put your spiritual house in order, day by day. Today is the day to put God first, to make the Lord your Saviour, and the Holy Spirit your guide:
1. Confess your sins and failures, your weaknesses and temptations
2. Accept the free gift of forgiveness offered on the cross
3. Pray to communicate with gratitude with our good and gracious God
4. Study to know God's mind better as revealed in God's word
5. Worship in Spirit and in truth
6. Serve with love in your heart
7. Be as authentic and as real as you can, honest and transparent in your dealings.
In 2 Samuel 23: 1-5 (NIV), we find these words: "These are the last words of David: 'The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me; his word was on my tongue.' The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: 'When one rules over people in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings grass from the earth.' If my house were not right with God, surely he would not have made with me an everlasting covenant, arranged and secured in every part; surely he would not bring to fruition my salvation and grant me my every desire."
We do not know who will be next, but what we do know is that God will love us no matter what. We know that we all have to die one day unless the Lord comes first. If we prepare to live for the Lord now, then we can die whenever our number is called with no regrets.
Let us do the right thing while we have the time. In John 15: 26-27 (NIV), Jesus leaves us these thoughts: "When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father - the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father - he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning."
• Rev Angela Palacious, a motivational speaker and author of several devotional books, is an Anglican priest. She may be contacted at 393-9000 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.