by Dee Wieninger

With two daughters living in different parts of the country I try to plan at least one trip a year to visit each of them. Because of distance and my joy of driving - NOT! I "get to" (as opposed to a negative attitude of "have to") fly to Nashville, TN or Lubbock, TX respectively.

During my plans and preparations I have never had one friend or loved one express sadness or regret about my going on these trips. They have even shared in my joy and excitement! I would buy my plane ticket way in advance and make plans for what to pack and things we might do when I got there. 

Where was the last trip you took? Did you make plans and preparations ahead of time? Why did you plan such a trip? Probably because you had a very good idea of what to expect and the joy you would experience. Shouldn't our plans for our very last trip hold those same expectations? Isn't it sad that we all know that some day we are going to die but we live as though we won't, robbing ourselves of the joyful expectations of all eternity?

Planning trips are such fun, although getting there can sometimes be a bit stressful! I have to say the part of the trip I could do without when flying is turbulence! I envision the whole plane rattling apart and think to myself, "This thing could crash and I could die." But please note: *"I don't mind dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens!" But alas, I must! Dying becomes the last greatest testimony I will ever leave my family and loved ones.

It might sound warped, but lately I keep having thoughts that if I died suddenly, say in a plane crash, car accident or heart attack I wouldn't be here to comfort my loved ones to tell them, "It's ok! If I end up with a long term illness and it's looking quite probable that I'm going to die I would want to talk about it with them; not about my fear, but my joy and expectation of seeing Jesus!

Why is it that the very obvious "elephant in the room" part of living i.e. dying, is the hardest thing to talk about and is avoided at all cost? Could it be that the least someone is prepared to die the harder it is to talk about? My son in law and I talk about this topic quite often and both of us consider dying as something to look forward to, as the apostle Paul wrote....For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21. Our faith assures us of the joy of being with Christ upon our last breath. I know they know, but I just want to remind my loved ones right now that if 'I should die before I wake' please find comfort in knowing the joy I am experiencing at that very moment as dying is only my vehicle to my next destination-the arms of God my Savior! Don't plan a wake or memorial, plan a party to celebrate my arrival to my mansion prepared especially for me (John 14:2) where, I'm hoping, that if we have addresses on our mansions my heavenly address will be 444 and the Lord will walk with me along streets of gold near a crystal sea.  (Revelations 21:21; 4:6)

Many of us, whether in church or at the occasional funeral, have probably sung the song **"In the Garden." Have you ever truly listened to the words of that song? Do you believe them? Does your life reflect this special relationship? Will your death?


And He walks with me and He talks with me

And He tells me I am His own

And the joy we share as we tarry there

None other has ever known

This chorus conveys an amazing visit with the Lord. Dying allows me an eternity in that garden with my greatest love!

I know that dying seems so final for those left on this side, but if we could develop an itinerary for that trip ahead of time (now, today) it could be a time of rejoicing and not so much grief. Jesus promised in God's Word John 11:25-26 when speaking to Martha after her brother died, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” He asked Martha, "Do you believe this?" Now he asks you! Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe that He is the Son of God, that He takes away all your sins (as none of us can ever be "good enough" and the Father cannot be in the presence of sin) and will take you to heaven upon your last breath? Let me offer a comparison; when I visit my daughters I have to buy a boarding pass or I'm not going anywhere. Jesus is our boarding pass. You are NOT going into the Father's presence without it!

Get your heavenly boarding pass! Place your faith in Jesus Christ and develop a relationship with Him now! Talk about your love for the Lord and being with Him in eternity. Live a life for Him here so you're already in a beautiful relationship upon arrival there. The only thing missing would be a departure date; everything else would provide a peace knowing that you are in good hands and have an amazing adventure ahead that will last through all eternity.


*Woody Allen quote

** In the Garden - Charles A. Miles 1913 Public Domain

Boarding Pass Front 
 Boarding Pass Back



Matthew 24:36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 

Romans 10: 9-10, 13 - if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 

John 17:25-26 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.  

Accept your free boarding pass! You can't buy it and you'll never earn it with good works. As mentioned in my story God cannot be in the presence of sin and we ALL sin. We cannot ever be “good enough”.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  (Romans 3:23)

The penalty for our sin is death. We are all going to physically die but faith in Christ permits us the right to live with God in eternity as opposed to being eternally separate from Him!

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

BUT Christ took our place and His righteousness cleanse us.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) 

If we confess our sins and trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior recognizing His death as our atonement we will be saved from our sins!

...if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9,10)

For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  (Romans 10:13)

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:36

It is my desire that as many of my friends, loved ones and all others the Lord brings into my life to live eternally in heaven! I know I'm going to heaven because my God promised it when I accepted His Son as my Lord and Savior. Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:18-20 saying: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Not only is it my job to share this with you but why wouldn't I want to give the greatest news and love of my life with everyone? 

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 16:13-17





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