Don't Take One Day for Granted

Well, another sleepless night chronicle. Hopefully, the continuation of this spontaneous series will be short-lived. :)

One year ago tomorrow, I lost my dearest friend in this life. I thought I’d be fine tonight, yet it hit me harder than I thought it would.
Thus, this is why my lantern burns at this hour and my quill is dipping into ink and scratching across parchment.

We hear it said all the time. “Don’t take for granted time with your loved ones.”
Painfully, I can testify to the truth of this statement.
I’d trade every inch of this office, every technological gadget, every film & every resource for just one more day with this dear friend.

Listen, I know our world is freaking out with COVID-19. There is a lot of talk about economical ruin and the like.

Yet, may I be so bold as to say our jobs, careers, educations, money & possessions are worthless. May I be even more bold and say our religious activities, i.e. our Bible studies, prayer meetings, Sunday gatherings, and the like, are also worthless.

Now, before you stone me for being a heretic, please allow me to finish. None of the above things are bad per-say and we are certainly told in Scripture to gather together as believers.
Yet, the concern in our world seems to be less about living for Jesus and more about getting back to our normally scheduled programming.

When will our nation, when will the church of America, wake up and realize all that matters is Jesus and the eternal souls of men, women and children?
When will we wake up and realize all our activities are so often a chasing of the wind, as we sideline the above two realities?

My dear friends, Nathaniel Mervar is going to be dead in a maximum of 80 years and it will much more likely be a shorter window than that.
As I seek to build up BOJF, I realize I am building a sandcastle. Eventually, the tide will come in and sweep my sandcastle away. It will be gone and fade once again into the multitude of sand on the beach of life and history.

Now, that isn’t going to stop me from building the best sandcastle I possibly can to the glory of God. Yet, I realize it is temporal and I am okay with that. I realize my life and my work will not last forever.
That is why here at BOJF we are constantly talking about living for Jesus and to God alone be the glory. We understand our lives are a mist, here today and gone tomorrow.
Yet, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

That is why this is Because of JESUS Films. He alone is worth living for and truly, He alone is all there really is to live for. Everything else, wonderful as it might be, is temporal.

A year ago tomorrow, I lost my best friend and with that loss, the unraveling of my world began. Since that day nearly a year ago, I have lost more friends than I care to count in every area of my life.
Living for Jesus has finally seriously cost me something.

Every day I must rise up and fight yet once again, the attack of bitterness and anger that seeks to wash over me.
Bitterness and anger for the many friends who said they’d always be there for me and in the darkest hour of my life, left me high and dry. Bitterness towards the many Christians who have counseled me in their own opinions, causing more hurt & confusion than help, because they didn't take the time to hear what the Lord's call is on my life. Bitterness towards the many Christians who have disappeared from the battle lines of this spiritual war we are in or worse yet, have taken their swords to hack at their own lines.
Oh, the struggle of this forgiveness thing!

A song entitled
7x70 by Chris August has recently become very special to me. In the chorus he sings, “7 times 70 times, I’ll do what it takes to make it right. I thought the pain was here to stay, but forgiveness made a way.”

Allow me to be blunt and honest, I DON’T want to forgive the people in my life who have hurt me the deepest, I don’t. I want to hold on to anger and bitterness towards them. Humanly speaking, I want to see these people pay for their actions towards me.
Yet, my Savior DEMANDS I forgive them. Why?
Because He shed His blood on calvary for someone who treated Him in ways infinitely more horrible than I’ve been treated. This person treated Jesus with the most shameful of behavior and rejoiced to see Him die on the cross, even though this person deserved the punishment Jesus was enduring for him.

That person was me.

What Jesus has forgiven me is infinitely more than anything all these people have done to me or ever will.
For me to hold on to an unforgiving spirit, it would be like the servant in Jesus’ parable who was forgiven millions upon millions of dollars of debt and then went out and choked his fellow servant for a few bucks.

Is it hard to forgive? Yeah, but that is why we are called to live this life in the power of the Holy Spirit, not in our own power.
So by God’s grace, 7x70, forgiveness without limit, I will live by, hard and painful as it might be.

“7 times 70 times, If that's the cost I'll pay the price.”

Dear friends, I say all of this to circle back around to the best friend I ever had in this life that I have lost.
Don’t take one day for granted.
You aren’t guaranteed another day with your spouse, kids, parents, grandparents, friends, pastor, teacher, you-fill-in-the-blanks with the person(s) of your choice.
You and I aren’t guaranteed tomorrow.
I don’t say this to drive fear into your heart by any means.
We don’t live in worry of the what-ifs in this life. We are told in Scripture over and over again not to fear or worry.

Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I have the perfect hope that whatever happens to me on this earth and no matter who I lose or what difficulties I go through, this isn’t the end. The intense pain I experience on this earth is temporal. One day, the shattered, broken heart of Nathaniel Mervar will be restored once for all when I leave this earth and see my Savior face to face.

Yet until that day, I press on in His strength, seeking not to take any day for granted, because indeed, my time is short.

So yes, I realize a lot of people are going stir-crazy from this quarantine and the social distancing with this virus.
Yet, might I encourage you, don’t take this time for granted. Don’t waste it.
Reach out to that friend or family member or even one’s enemies.

With whatever time you and I have left on this earth, let’s use it to the hilt for the glory of God. In Christ’s power let us love as He loves, family, friends, enemies and yes, even those who have deeply hurt and wounded us.

Nathaniel can’t love like this, but his God can. Nathaniel is weak, but his God is not. Nathaniel is unable, but his God is able.

So go forth my friends and love like there isn’t a tomorrow, because sometimes, there isn’t.

Eyes on the King and onward in His strength, loving others in His power!