Where is Beyond?

Note: My wife is still in the hospital. She is on the mend and may come home tomorrow, Monday. The internal bleeding is much less and her blood count is above the danger zone. For all who have been praying, thank you.

Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

  • Deuteronomy 30:11-20

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
“‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

  • Luke 13:1-9

“The beyond is not what is infinitely remote, but what is nearest at hand.

“Please excuse these rather pretentious ‘pensées.’ They are fragments of conversations that have never taken place, and to that extent they belong to you. One who is forced, as I am, to live entirely in his thoughts, has the silliest things come into his mind—i.e. writing down his odd thoughts!”

  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

Some wonder, “what” is beyond?  Some are convinced there is no beyond.  Of those who claim to have reached the beyond and come back, the non-believers scoff at them.  Jesus was right in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.  If the rich man had been granted a reprieve, he would have returned to warn his family, and they would not have listened.

When we are born, there are cells that are dying within our bodies.  A healthy cells will divide and multiply, but there are some that simply die and fall away, replaced by other cells.  But the cells in our brain do not get that message that we were born to die, and the death process starts essentially at birth.

When you look at a timeline of all time, whether you believe in deep time or Biblical time, our lifetime is a mere speck.  From birth to death, it is just a moment.  Don’t blink!  You might miss it.

But our brain does not get that message either.

We think ourselves immortal.  As Bonhoeffer says, we think our “beyond” is infinitely remote.  For Bonhoeffer, he had less than a year to live, but he did not know that at the time.  A war was raging, and people were dying, and Bonhoeffer saw that more would die.

And when you think that “beyond” is infinitely remote or you think “beyond” does not exist, you can waste “now.”

Jesus said that “now” is the time to repent.  Are they dumping fertilizer around your feet to give you one more year?  Or did they do that last year?

Now is the time to repent and turn to Jesus.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

2 Comments

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  1. Prayers for a full recovery for your wife Mark. Good to hear she will get to go home soon.

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