Links Daily Devotional

‘I’ll Fly Away’

The seed sown is natural; the seed grown is supernatural—same seed, same body, but what a difference from when it goes down in physical mortality to when it is raised up in spiritual immortality! (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, The Message)

Last month I wrote a devotional entitled “Death Moves.” The subject concerned the 10 moves golfers make in the swing that kill the success of a golf shot. The devotional then revealed the 10 death moves in the spiritual life.

This devotional is not about death, but about life. Oh, the abundant life for which Paul talked so passionately about—“for me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21, NIV)!

The moment we asked Jesus to be our Savior, we received eternal life. This means that the worst thing that can happen to us today will lead to be the best thing that can happen to us today. As Justin Martyr told the Roman emperor: “You can kill us, but you cannot harm us.” George Washington said, “I die hard but am not afraid to go.”

And now the application of this truth. We always end our Bible studies at one of our Links Fellowships with this question: now, what is the application for us today? We had just studied today’s passage in 1 Corinthians 15. On this particular Friday, our good friend and Links Player, Johnny, joined us as he usually does. Just six days prior, we had attended the funeral for his wife, Twilla, who was such an inspiration in her life and now also in her death because of the real, abounding love of Jesus. God loaned her to us for a brief 51 years.

Twilla spilled Jesus on everyone she met, and the packed church attested to this reality. She had prepared her funeral service and picked out her gravesite the previous week. She wanted all who came to enjoy the celebration of life after death as she flew away to God’s celestial shore. The opening song for her service began with the Cajun rendition of “I’ll Fly Away,” sung by all as the family marched into the church.

I should also mention that this beautiful south Louisiana Cajun made the most fabulous gumbo and the best praline cake in this world (the recipe for this cake appeared on the back of the bulletin for her funeral service). In her brief life, she had taught so many how to live, and now she became a living example of how to die.

She mentioned Jesus to a man once and he quickly responded with, “I am not into all that religion stuff.” She came back with, “Oh, are you into all that hell stuff?”

Back to the Friday morning Bible study. We studied and discussed the verses in 1 Corinthians 15 with Johnny at our side. Tears of sorrow and of joy. We prayed and ended our time together. And then it happened, quite unexpectedly and spontaneously as we were standing in line to pay for breakfast. Someone started singing “I’ll Fly Away,” and we all joined in. The entire restaurant. “I’ll fly away oh glory, I’ll fly away in the morning. When I die, hallelujah, by and by, I’ll fly away.”

Twilla demonstrated the life worth living now and flying away to later. What an application for all of us fortunate enough to know Twilla and Johnny, and more importantly, fortunate enough to know a Savior who guarantees his promise of eternal life with him.

Randy Wolff
April 8, 2014
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