LI FE

It begins with LOVE and ends with ETERNITY with a big IF in the middle. By Susan Crouch SMASHWORDS EDITION ***** LIFE Copyright © 2010 by Susan Crouch All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. Smashwords Edition License Notes This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author's work.

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LI FE

It begins with LOVE and ends with ETERNITY with a big IF in the middle.

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Life, what is it? What exactly are the elements that make up our life? What is considered a “good” life? How do you live your life? Do you feel content and satisfied? What do you or did you want to do with your life? What do you need out of life? What do you want out of life? What is the purpose for your life? These are some very common questions we often ask ourselves. Webster's Dictionary gives many definitions for the word life. I am going to only use two of those definitions. The first one being, the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual. The other one I want to use is, spiritual existence transcending physical death, meaning the period of time between your birth and your death. We consider our birth the beginning of our life but it really isn't. The bible says in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I made you in your mother's womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (NCV) This means God knew us long before we were born on earth. Our life existed in Heaven before it existed on earth. So now that we are here what does it all mean. Life begins with LOVE and when you die your life on earth is over and ETERNITY begins. Where you spend that eternity depends on the IF in between. If you know Jesus and accept Him into your life you will spend eternity in Heaven. If you don't believe in this or accept Him then you spend eternity in Hell. Either way when you die your time here is over and eternity begins somewhere. Let's take just a moment and look at what eternity really is. I am reminded of the cliché I used to hear as a child about the ant and the steel ball. Imagine the earth as a solid steel ball, then place a tiny ant on it. As the ant walks around and around the steel ball will begin to wear down. When the ball is the size of a pea that is just the beginning of eternity. It is very hard to grasp the concept of eternity because everything in our life is

measured by time, hours, days, weeks, etc. Everything starts and ends so it is hard to understand the full magnitude of eternity and that it NEVER ends. We do not die, go somewhere for a little while and then get a do over. When we die that is it, no second chances, no do overs, nothing. We are going one of two places and the decisions you make while you are alive will determine which place it is. There are all sorts of ideas about what happens when you die. Some say your spirit is reincarnated and you come back as something else or that you just simply die, your buried, and nothing else happens. Personally I believe a person will either spend eternity in Heaven or hell. In the book of John Jesus is talking about how He is the only way into Heaven. John 10:9-11 says,“I am the door, and the person who enters through me will be saved and will be able to come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I came to give life—life in all its fullness. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” (NCV) In this scripture Jesus is referring to Himself as the “door” and we can only be saved by and through Him. There is not a back door you can sneak in, like a teenager after curfew, no plan B, and Heaven is not for sale. People actually believe they can “buy” their way into Heaven with good deeds or large donations to the church. People in America are always looking for a quick and easy fix. One that doesn't require them to give any of themselves because we live in such a selfish society that people can not stop thinking about themselves long enough to think about someone else. We want to be able to do as we please and just toss a few crumbs to God and expect to get into Heaven. Toss Him a little here and there just enough to make us look good to the rest of the world and then have the audacity to think that because we did more good than bad we should get into Heaven. If we try to be “saved” any other way or by any other means such as sacrifices, money, or good works then He considers us thieves and robbers. We are trying to sneak in and steal our salvation. You are ultimately saying you do not need Jesus and you can do it by yourself. This is absolutely absurd and incorrect. Isaiah 45:5 says, “I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God...”, so if you just took another breath you need Jesus. Just the mere fact you are reading this means you need Jesus. Nothing you have. nor can you do anything without Jesus. So many people today are so caught up in trying to obtain material things to

increase their self worth. Your accountant calls it your net worth but it has become so misguided we truly believe it is our personal self worth. In the process of obtaining things we get so busy and distracted we have no time for relationships let alone one with God. We have voids in our lives and we are running around chasing everything trying to find the very thing that will fill it. In all our intelligence and intellectual, analytical, and reasoning knowledge, we can not believe we can be made whole by one person and that is Jesus. We have to make things complicated in order for them to appear real. Then there are those who do know about Jesus but don't want to change the way they live. Sometimes it seems as though as Christians we have to give up everything, we can't have any fun, we have to suffer and so on. Christians have been given a bad name I believe because there are people out there who are portraying themselves as Christians but aren't and it has given people a false reality as to what it truly means to be a Christian. You have people who are just pretending to be a Christian. They are using God, trying to manipulate Him and His word to meet their current need. You have others who pretend but have ulterior motives for their belief. Such as pastors who will only preach feel good messages in order to gain a larger congregation and more money. All the while people are dying and going to hell because they want to look good and satisfy their egos. Jesus talks about how He is the good shepherd and that he gave His life for His sheep, we are the sheep. He loved you so much He was willing to die for you. Would you be willing to die for someone or what about the whole world? Would you die for someone who lived on the other side of the world so that they may be saved from their sins? How about a family member, spouse, child, would you die for them? Most of us would at least take a moment to think about it for the ones we love, but a stranger, no way. We would not give up our own life to pay for someone else's sins. Let's think about this in another way that most of us can relate to. If your child or spouse did something legally wrong, for instance, stole a candy bar from the store, ate it, and was then arrested for stealing. This does not seem like a very big deal, just a candy bar, should be an easy fix. They go to jail and at the trial the judge tells you that candy bar they stole was very valuable and worth $25,000. Now the judge says that unless you make restitution and pay the debt your loved one will die. Wait a minute, they are talking about all this money I must pay or my loved one dies. This is crazy, but worse yet it is not going to be an easy thing to fix.

You know you do not have the money to pay the debt and you plead your case with the court and ask to spare the life of your loved one. Taking some time to think about it, the judge tells you he will allow your loved one to go free if you take their punishment. This means that now YOU must die. Would you die so they could be set free? Would you pay their debt with your life? Would you pay for the debt of others? We all want to believe we would say yes, yes we would do it, but in all reality we would not. We would say, “They must answer for the wrong they did.” Or we might say “They must reap what they sow”, or maybe “They made their own bed now they must lie in it”. No matter how you say it, we all have our own judgmental saying, but thank God He didn't. We have all done something wrong in our life at one time or another. To be honest it is an every day occurrence. We sin everyday. We may not realize it because so many times when we think of sin we think of big things like murder or adultery. We don't think about the little things like lying to our boss about being late, or taking that pad of sticky notes home because you use them, justifying it by saying the company owes you because they do not pay you enough to begin with. Sin has no size limit to it. There is no such thing as big sin or little sin. Sin is sin and we are all guilty as charged. Romans 6:23 (AMP) says, “For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord.” What this is saying is that when we sin we deserve to die. It does not say only big sins, it talks about all sin. The greatest part of this is the second half of the verse where it says, “...but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord.” Just as the piece of candy was very valuable in the earlier story, our life is very valuable to God. We are so loved and precious to God that He gave us His only son as payment for our sins. He loved us so much He offered Jesus to take our place on that cross. Jesus loved his father so much He wanted to obey His commands. He knew He was going to die on that cross. He knew He was sent to save the world from sin. To overcome death, hell and the grave. Even knowing this He still chose to obey His father (God). He could have been selfish and decide he wanted to live and not die. He could have had the same judgmental attitudes that we have to others who have done wrong. We measure wrongs from little to big and with that we decide if someone is worth

forgiveness and mercy. I mean we are quick to forgive a little lie and offer mercy but let someone harm our loved one and it is a completely different story. Would you be as quick to forgive and offer mercy? More than likely you would be wanting “justice” done and to see them be punished. You would not be able to forgive them. You would want to see them suffer just as you have suffered. Now don't get me wrong I do believe in our justice system and I am not talking about the legalities of it. I am talking about a person's heart. God sees our hearts. If Jesus would have had the same attitude I would shutter to think about how my life would be today. I would have no hope for eternity spent in Heaven, for a better tomorrow, for a love that is never ending, for a friend who is closer than a brother. I would have no hope period. I can not imagine what a sad miserable life that would be. Something to have hope in, this is what makes Jesus so special. A life full of hope, that is what He gave us. He gave up His life so we could have ours. “I have come so that you may have life and have it more abundantly” John 10:10 (AMP). The death of Jesus is so precious because He DID love me and you enough to die for us. I can not say that. I have to be honest and say I am selfish. I would not want to give up my life and die so that someone else could be set free to live theirs. I would want them to suffer not me. But not Jesus, He was the gift God gave us. “For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life” John 3:16 (AMP). How could anyone not love someone who loves you that much. We spend our whole lives looking for people to love us, children, spouses, friends, family members and so on like only Jesus can love us. We keep going from relationship to relationship looking for that someone who will not disappoint us or leave us. We are all looking for that “one true love”. The good news is that He has been found and He is available to everyone. You don't have to search for it anymore, all you have to do is look up toward Heaven and there you will find the one who truly loves you. They say 'the eyes are the window to our souls', well our hearts are our window to God. God is the only one who can see into our hearts to know what is truly in there. People say they wear their 'heart on their sleeve', but that is not true. We only allow people to see what we want them to see, no more, no less. But God can see everything

about us. I mean He even knows how many hairs we have on our head. “But [even] the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Luke 12:7 (AMP) God is always concerned about the condition of our heart because “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34 (AMP). What do you treasure? Where is your heart? Is your treasure in Heaven? Is your heart in Jesus? “...The mouth speaks the things that are in the heart..” Mathew 12:34 (NCV). See why God is so concerned with the conditions of our hearts. It is vital to our life. Look up, He will be waiting with open arms, waiting to pour out His love just for you. Again I ask, would you be willing to take the place of someone who has done wrong (sinned) and die for them so they may be saved and live. I wouldn't but thank God He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins and save us. He is our savior and He gave us salvation. I had a debt I could not pay, Jesus paid a debt He did not owe. He paid the debt of my sins with his life so that I would be forgiven and have eternity in Heaven with Him. God's desire was for you to have a blessed and fulfilled life. He wants you to have abundance in your life. “I have come so that you may have life and have it more abundantly” John 10:10 (AMP). The message I want to share with you is it does not matter what you do God still loves you. He is patiently waiting for you. He wants to accept you but first you must invite him in. He will meet you right where you are. He is a gentleman and will not force himself in your life. He has given us all freewill so when we come to him it is because we want to and not because we are forced to. No matter what you have done or not done with your life it is never too late to experience the love that God has for you. We are God's children and He is our father. He feels the same way. He is lovingly waiting for us. "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does He not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until He finds it?" Luke 15:4 (NIV). He will leave ninety-nine just for you. That is how much you mean to him. I was once the "one" He left ninety-nine for and I am so thankful He found me. No matter what we have done, He wants to cleanse us and make us whole. He wants to bring peace, joy, and happiness into our lives. Matthew 11:28 (NIV) says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

If after reading this and you find yourself wanting to experience all that God has to offer you. His love, peace, joy, happiness, and purpose for your life, all you have to do is say these few words. Pray, "Dear Heavenly Father, I acknowledge to you that I am a sinner. I am truly sorry for the things that I have done. I want to repent and turn away from my sins. Have mercy on me, cleanse me, and forgive me of my sins as I forgive those who have sinned against me. I ask for the strength to love you more than anything else so I won't fall back into my old ways. Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my life. This very moment I acknowledge that Jesus Christ is my Savior and according to His Word, right now I am born again. Write my name in the Lamb's book of life. Thank You, Jesus, for coming into my life and hearing my prayer. I ask all of this in the name of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen." If you prayed these words, and you meant it from your heart and believe what you said is true then I believe you were saved and born again. You have now entered the gates of Heaven through Jesus. It will not always be easy. “If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you....If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you;...” John 15:18-20. You are going to face trials and tribulations but praise God it is only temporary. “For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) ....” 2 Corinthians 4:17 (AMP) What a small price to pay considering the price Jesus paid for our eternity in Heaven. May the Lord keep you and bless you in all that you do. May you find peace and happiness that surpasses all. May the Lord shine His light in you that all may see. May He grant unto you the desires of your heart according to his riches in heaven. Walk out your journey in victory with Jesus Christ.

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About the author:
Susan stays busy writing and taking care of her family. She founded Starting Over Again (www.startingoveragain.org). She wants to help women discover their real beauty and value. The real woman that lies within. The beautiful woman God Himself created.

Connect with Me Online at Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php? id=100001662614941&v=wall

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