On the eve of the holiday that Abraham Lincoln established to give thanks to God for all of His many blessings, it seems appropriate to share this reminder to be thankful, as we see in this new trailer for The Ultimate Life movie, a sequel to The Ultimate Gift (here’s the full movie):
Pay special attention around the one minute mark of The Ultimate Life trailer when the train jumper changes the main character’s life with his “10 things.”
So despite a difficult year, or maybe even a difficult five years, we all have at least 10 things to give thanks for tomorrow.
1. My faith in Jesus Christ, who “Psalm 40’ed” me when I didn’t care about Him.
2. My wife, who is a true gift from Him.
3. My kids, both wonderful people who I am very proud of every day.
4. Our health is not an issue.
5. Other than our home mortgage, we have no real debt.
6. My writing ability (from Him), and finishing a book and a screenplay.
7. Getting to see my mom and dad again, as well as some very famous people like Lincoln, the Apostle Paul, Lee, and Stonewall Jackson.
8. Being able to approach His throne of grace any time I want with any request, and knowing He hears me, and like any good father…longs to give me my desires.
9. My childhood, and my parents who made it so wonderful, especially my brothers.
10. Death isn’t scary anymore… just a door to an eternal life of Paradise:
A Door, A Jar
What made hospitals smell so bad?
I stepped off the elevator and turned left. It wouldn’t be long now.
The doctors thought Monday at the latest. We hadn’t discussed it much, not at all really. Perhaps that was my fault. Maybe it was mutual. Probably wishful thinking on both our parts; trying to ignore the inevitable, I guess.
But we both knew it now.
You could feel it in the room the last time. It was almost like “it” was an unseen person. We couldn’t pretend anymore. Sort of eerie, like something was slipping away, something that you couldn’t stop. I was glad that I’d taken the time to write it all down. With a deep, unconscious breath, I pushed against his heavy door.
“How ya’ feelin’ today?” I asked with a cautious smile, pulling up a chair. It felt awkward and stiff.
“Not much different.” He sighed heavily. “Physically, anyway.” He seemed to know how bad he looked.
He was very matter-of-fact. No real emotion. Almost as if he’d just resigned a chess match. I probed a bit more.
“Are you afraid at all? I mean, have you thought about….”
“Yeah. I guess.” He cut me off, thankfully. “More like curious excitement, mixed up with…fear.”
There was a long, long silence. And then, just as I opened my mouth, he spoke again. Slow and deliberate.
“Ya’ know, Phil.” His voice cracked a little. “We’ve never really talked about dying, not in a real way. Whaddya’ think’s gonna’ happen first? I mean, as a pastor, what do you think goes on? Will I see Him…right away?”
Our eyes met. Mine watered. I think I sniffled a little too.
That’s when I handed it to him, the same paper you’re reading now. It felt like it weighed fifty pounds, then.
I cleared my throat. “I thought it might be easier to read about it, instead of trying to talk about it; so I put this together.” I lifted it up tentatively toward his bed, not sure if he’d want it. His eyes fell on the first sentence….
In the movie Patton, with George C. Scott, the general is reflecting on the glory of battle and makes a stunning remark to one of his officers. Amidst the haze of battle smoke, he says, “Did you ever stop to think that death might be more exciting than life?”
What an amazing statement to make on a battlefield strewn with dead and dying men! But precisely what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians: “…to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much the better.” And in Second Corinthians “…to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
Is it possible that to be dead is a good thing? No, a great and wonderful thing?
That’s what Patton wondered. Is it just a door to a better existence with more wonder than this shadow we call “life?”
So what does happen at the precise moment of death? In that twinkle of a millisecond when our heart has just beat and pumped it’s last, what actually takes place?
I’ve often wondered about it, passing into the world of spirits and vacating our clay jar. What actually occurs in that first sliver of true timelessness? Perhaps it’s something like this….
A searing flash of light so bright that your eyes are useless, but you can see it all!
You can make out what you know to be your close friend and you know beyond a doubt that he’s more than that; he’s your angel.
He is so familiar to you! He’s enormous, at least three times your size, and with a smile that’s so reassuring that you feel it more than see it. He’s so real and vibrant, in every detail. It’s like he’s lightening frozen into form. No, more like solid flames in a white-hot fire.
There is such a silent excitement around you! Now a strange sensation of being pulled toward him; but from behind you, a heavy sense, like thick, syrupy water parting from your form. Something has definitely separated itself from the back.
You feel freed from the heaviness and slide joyously closer to your guardian angel. There’s an awareness, an overwhelming air of emotion, like tranquility or gentle peace. But it’s not around you, per se. You are part of it! It’s inside of you.
So nice; refreshing, like something you once knew, but somehow forgot. How?! How could anyone forget this? It’s all so recent, so …perfect. A firm sense of goodness, or is it love? It’s overpowering, like a fragrance.
An inescapable fog of goodness, kindness, and some other emotion that’s new, rushes through you. All of it is gushing quietly and calmly through your form, exhilarating every sense you thought you knew. It feels like you’re grinning uncontrollably.
As you rise toward the angel, an undeniable presence of safety and confidence securely grips you like a vice of velvet. It has a hold on you somehow, by the middle area, or from within maybe. Are you floating? There is definite movement though, of some kind.
There’s a flowing sensation, but no “wind”. Thing’s are passing by, and you’re rising higher. You’re moving together. Are you talking or listening? It’s both.
You know his name, but you don’t know how you know. The stars gleam intensely all around. And then you’re standing…before a great and massive door! It’s mammoth! You’re awed by how tiny and insignificant you are in front of this door.
The whole moment, up to this point, seems like a blink.
It slowly and silently swings inward and there He is!!
At the end of an aisle. It’s Jesus, seated upon a glowing, thundering rainbow throne!
You sense trembling as your angel releases you. On either side of a long runway are millions upon millions of cheering saints–you know them all! You recognize every single face!
But you’re not facing them, yet you see them all. Your “eyes” are riveted upon the most absolutely divine face. It’s Him—-Jesus—sweet, wonderful King! He’s magnificent!
As you near the throne, you’re aware of the cheers from your friends. He rises to His feet and extends a hand…right to you!
There’s brassy music, soothing and silvery notes you’ve never even thought of that are like a memory, from childhood? No, before that. As a baby? Or maybe even before that, if that’s possible.
There’s the scar on his wrist. The music, seemingly alive, pierces like a sword of brass and strings. You can’t stand any longer, but you can’t seem to fall either.
And then He speaks, audible words, like golden crashes of a thousand waterfalls, “WELL DONE, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT. ENTER IN TO THE JOY OF YOUR FATHER.”
What a voice, like your dear mother, tender and firm.
It radiates throughout the hall. A hush falls over everyone, hanging on the melody of God’s pure voice. It seems to echo in your soul.
Everything is right, so very right. It’s as if you’d never been anywhere else. And so, we shall ever be…with the Lord of all, forever and ever.
His eyes, now glistening, look up from the trembling paper. The first real smile in weeks told me I’d jarred him back to the reality of what it means to be a true believer.
Death can be more exciting.
His door, on the way out, never swung so easy. And the busy hallways didn’t really seem to smell that bad anymore. “Oh, death, where is Thy sting?”
I thought, “Yeah…where is Thy sting?”
So, what are your 10 Things?