Originally published July 16, 2009, revised and updated August 22, 2011
Someone has said there are three great days in the life of a person. There is his birth, his wedding day, and his death. I had been praying about writing this article and sharing these very personal thoughts. Now I have decided to update it. In July 2009 I preached a message to our church with the same title. On March 4, 2009, which is my wife, Kim’s, birthday, I was very close to God calling me home. I had been feeling very bad for about three months. I was having horrible pain all over my body and especially my legs. I could barely walk and stand to preach. I had noticed that my sugar levels were going up. I just attributed the changes to my diabetes. Although I was greatly concerned, I was praying daily and just blocking out the pain and going on. I was waiting on my normal 6 month checkup. Finally, I decided that I could not take the pain any longer and called my doctor to make an appointment. His next available appointment was a week away. (Tough to get in when you are sick!)
March 4, 2009 was a Wednesday. I was able to see my doctor in the morning. We had a very frank discussion, and he decided to take several tests and then we would decide what to do in a couple of days when the test results came back. When they took my blood pressure it 90 over 60. I thought that was low, but I also thought well, I do not have any problem with my blood pressure! The doctor did not seem concerned about it.
Being Wednesday, I preached on Wednesday evening. All the while I was feeling bad, but praying and blocking out the pain. After the service I went home. I told Kim I was just not feeling well. I went into the bathroom to take my nightly medicine which included a blood pressure medication and an oral diabetes medication. I had them in my hand and the Lord said, “Do not take the medication.” So, I put it down and thought I might take it later after I ate something. I am very faithful about taking my medication. Therefore, this was very different for me not to take it. I will share with you later why the Lord did not want me to take it.
I walked back into the living room and sat down in my chair. Kim brought me something to eat and I told her I could not eat it. She wanted to know if something was wrong with the food?! (She is a very good cook.) I told her no, that I was just not feeling well. The next thing I knew the room went totally bright and I felt like someone was standing on my chest. I told Kim to call someone, something is not right. My body started to shake and gyrate. I could not breathe. I thought I was having a heart attack.
The next thing I remember, was an EMS guy saying, “Is this a diabetes issue?” Kim said, “No, he just took his sugar and it is not out of range.” He took my blood pressure and said, “Oh my gosh it is 60 over 20! We have a real problem here.” I could hear people, but not respond. He took my oxygen level and said, “Oh my gosh, he is barely breathing, we have to get him out of here fast.”
The next thing I remember, was being in the EMS unit, and hearing him tell the hospital this was serious and we could lose him here. He was right over my face, yelling, “Stay with me, stay with me!” Needless to say I recognized this was serious.
I began to think about my wife and children and what this was going to mean to them. I began to pray and I had perfect peace in my soul. I thanked the Lord for all He had done for me. I thanked Him for my wife, my children, and the opportunity to serve Him. I thought about some things I had left undone and the things I would like to do for the Lord. I told the Lord if He wished to take me home I was ready for that. Only, I would like to complete some things first. The presence of the Lord was very real to me. I am so thankful for Him ministering to me at that very important time.
I knew the next few minutes were going to be very critical to whether I would go to be with the Lord. God had recently answered prayer for me because my father, Francis Coomer, had gone to be with the Lord on December 5, 2008. Because I am an only child, I had asked the Lord many times over the years as my father suffered with Alzheimer’s to please allow me to outlive my dad. I did not want him to be alone and suffer and die alone.
I held my father’s hand as he went out into eternity and had prayed for God to be gracious and take him home to end his suffering. As I finished praying, two breathes later He was in the presence of the Lord. It was a precious and yet sobering moment. So, God had answered my prayer. As I went to the hospital that night, just a few months later, I thanked the Lord for answering my prayer to not allow me to die before my dad, so I could take care of him. I also thought, well, “It did not take long after dad died.”
A lot went through my mind in those minutes on the way to the hospital. However, there was perfect peace that whatever God wanted was fine with me. If God wanted to take me home I was prepared and had peace in my heart. On the way to the hospital I heard the EMS crew member say, “We are losing him here.” He also kept saying to me, “Stay with me, stay with me!” There was a whole crash crew on hand when I went into the hospital doors.
It was not too long until my son-in-law, and my daughter, arrived. As I lay there my son-in-law asked to come in and he held my hand and prayed that God would help me. My body was still gyrating and I could not breathe. By the look on Ron’s face he knew this was a serious matter, and he asked God to spare my life. The doctors were saying, “Try to take deep breathes.” My family kept saying to me, “Try to take deep breathes.” I was trying, but it wasn’t happening!
The doctors were very confused about what was going on. My blood pressure was not responding and my chest felt like someone was standing on it. After a multitude of tests they determined that my kidneys were not working and my total vascular system was shut down. Everything stopped, but my heart. I am thankful my heart hung in there!
The determination was that a combination of blood pressure medicine and oral diabetes medication had shut down my kidneys. I had taken these medicines for 12 years. The doctor told me later if I had taken the medication I had in my hand in the bathroom at home, I probably would not have survived.
The next day, my blood pressure was still not responding well and was only 80 over 40. So, I had some time to think and pray while I was in the hospital. The Lord made it plain to me that He had some things left for me to do. However, since I was out some, I found that over the next few weeks and months I have been struggling to remember things.
The doctors told me, it would take some time for me to recover and fatigue was going to be a real factor. “You will think you can do things, but you will find out soon that you can’t.” They were right. I am so glad my kidneys did respond and came back to full functioning. It took a while for some other things to come back. So, they did a constant battery of tests. I did not preach for a few weeks. Finally, I preached a Sunday morning. Everything I did was killing me. I could not sing at all for several weeks. I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I never realized how much I missed singing praises to God until I could not. The doctor asked me if I had preached the Wednesday evening I went into the hospital? I said yes. He said, “I cannot imagine how you did that. Did they understand you?” I said, “You will have to ask them because I do not remember what I said!”
I did a Hope Biblical Living Conference in Michigan, June 14-17, 2009. In those meetings was the first time I sang a special music number. A young man from our church, traveled with me and we sang together. The pastor was gracious enough to let us sing. We did not do well, but we tried. The first time I sang a solo was Sunday, June 28, 2009 at our church on a Sunday evening. It was very difficult fatigue wise. I did not try to sing for a while after that, because I just could not. The Lord was gracious and I got stronger each day. I am doing much better, but still not “over it.” I still feel the effects of this instance.
It was and has been a time of deep thought for me and reflection and still is today. The devil always uses these times of physical weakness as well to challenge your life. For the first time in years we had a church problem in our church during this time. It saddens me greatly to see folks, not be willing to deal with sin in their lives. Sometimes, they even get support from others to not deal with sin and handle themselves in a Biblical proper manner.
I have learned that nothing touches my life that God is not in control of. However, I really did not need at this point people to be selfish, carnal, deceiving, and disobedient, but we still had to deal with it. It goes with the job. One of these people told my wife, while I was in the hospital, “we will always be here for you if there is anything you need.” The Christian life is about making obedient choices. We never will have the blessing of God in our life by making sinful, deceiving, disobedient, and wrong choices. We dealt with this issue and went on.
It was also during this time, that God made it plain to me He had something else for me to do. Kim and I have started several churches in our ministry. The last church, we were there for 20 years and had pretty much decided to be there the rest of our lives. During this time, God continued to speak to my heart that He wanted me to leave and move on. God made it plain He wanted me to look in the southern part of the United States and look at a metro area.
Our ministry has always been about helping people. I guess I am amazed at the lack of spiritual discernment and church foolishness that is going on today. Many churches are in chaotic messes and the people are being hurt by the sin, disobedience, and denial involved. We receive e-mails all the time here at Hope Biblical Counseling Center with people asking us if we know a good church in their area because they cannot find a good church.
God made it plain to me that He wanted me to move. After much prayer and consideration, Kim and I started Hope Baptist Church in North Little Rock-Sherwood, Arkansas because of the need of people. God made it plain what we should do and we have been obedient to Him. Since Kim and I arrived in North Little Rock on March 14, 2010, things have went like a house on fire! I feel like God has made it plain to me I am on borrowed time. The task He has given me to do I cannot waste time.
What has happened here in 1 1/2 years is nothing short of a miracle. God has proven that what He spoke to me about is what He is doing. We have seen God work in powerful ways and we have visitors each week from the community. Souls have been saved, lives changed, and God has miraculously provided a new church building for us. We purchased it by raising $11, 667.00 in 24 days and we moved into it on May 30, 2010. The funds came from all over the world through Hope Biblical Counseling Center and our church folks here. Our sending church has been tremendously supportive as well. Then on May 29, 2011 we voted as a church to proceed with a mortgage on the building. The Bank gave us 90 days to raise $14,500.00. Four days prior to the 60 day offering we had set we had $14,500.00. We ended up raising $17,500.00! Another miracle for our gracious Lord. The church continues to grow at a dramatic rate with visitors on a weekly basis.
We have now knocked on or flyered more than 24,000 doors and continue to let people know we are here. We had one lady who lived in Sherwood, Arkansas tell me she has been praying for an independent Baptist Church for years. She and her husband became members. I am glad that God left me here to see the miracles He has done here. Another miracle this week, as our daughter and son-in-law told us she was pregnant with a baby boy! This after 11 years of not being able to have children. Another wonderful answer to prayer. Again, I am glad God has allowed me to see it. I savor each day now as an opportunity to see my Lord work. We serve a wonderful Saviour.
As always, when you are obedient to God, the devil uses others to try to hurt you. People have written numerous things about us down through the years good and bad. Someone said to me recently, “If you are doing nothing people won’t write about you.” People have written and said false things about us in starting this church and sent it on to others. By the way if you want to know anything about what we do call or write me, don’t listen to gossip. It is amazing that people will hear or read something written or said and never bother to check out the facts, but just believe it and then pass it on to others as a fact. Shameful, sinful, and improper behavior.
Proverbs 18:13, “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Proverbs 25:9, “Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another.” Passing something on just because you heard it from someone else without knowledge of the facts is sin. James 3:15-16, “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
I want to share three things the Lord has laid upon my heart in this matter of “If I Should Die Today?”
Life moves along very quickly. It seems like the days just fly by and soon we are to the point where we are looking back thinking where have all the days gone?
Many people look back at their life and spend much time thinking about their failure, or things they should have done or things they should not have done. The Bible is very plain about the future of each of us. Hebrews, 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” God has already appointed our death. God knows the day and has appointed it. But did you notice here it said, “after this the judgment.” If you die today you will eventually be looking at God’s judgment. By the way, everyone will stand before God’s judgment. No one is excluded.
If you have never received Jesus Christ as Saviour, and you die today you are looking at the Great White Throne Judgment. All unbelievers will go to that judgment, Revelation 20:11-15. Why would God have a judgment for lost people? Simply to determine their degrees of punishment throughout eternity. John 3:36, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” God takes a dim view of those that reject His Son.
You know folks we can make a lot of mistakes in our lives. The one mistake we do not want to make or anyone else to make is have an opportunity to receive Jesus Christ as Saviour and to reject the opportunity. The decision and the results are eternal. Dying apart from Christ and going to hell is the worst nightmare ever possible for a person’s life. The pain and agony will be for all time and eternity!
If you are saved and you die you are looking at a judgment as well. The Judgment Seat of Christ or the Bema Seat Judgment. II Corinthians 5: 10-11, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest unto in your consciences.”
What are the three things I want to share through my experience? The Lord laid on my heart three things:
1. Make sure your life counts for God.
There are a lot of things we can waste time doing. Ephesians 5:15-16, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Did you notice in verse 15 that there are Christians who walk as fools in their lives? They are blinded so much by their own idols of the heart, that they waste their life and the affect they can have on others for Christ. You know folks, the incident on March 4, made me realize I cannot waste time! I may not have tomorrow.
Many folks get involved in churches that do not have a godly, holy focus. I am greatly concerned about Independent-Fundamental Baptist Churches today. The sadness is there is a wide spectrum within the ranks of Independent-Fundamental Baptists. You can have churches that do Contemporary Christian music, Southern Gospel music, the Bible version of the day church, no moral or dress standards, yet we are Independent-Fundamental Baptists? Two very glaring things come out folks, depending on whose statistics you read and how they were taken 60 to 80 percent of all children who grow up in an Independent-Fundamental Baptist Church, never go on to serve God after the age of 18. That is utter failure! I am sure that the heart of God is breaking over this.
Secondly, we accept way too much. In my conversations with pastors I am just amazed. I recently spoke with a pastor who said, “You know, we throw all kinds of things on the wall and see what sticks.” To that I say, hog wash! Where is the cry for real revival where people are repenting of sin rather than supporting it and hiding it? Well, Brother Coomer, “You know people have different opinions about things.” No, my friend it is only one of two ways. Either you will live for the flesh or you will live by what God says from His Word. Romans 6:13,16, “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; but yield yourself unto God, as those that are alive form the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
I submit to you there is a lot of yielding ourselves unto sin. You see folks, the word yield means submit. The average Independent-Fundamental Baptist today does not have an intimate, personal, and passionate relationship with God. Therefore, their children do not as well. The average child who grows up in the church learns how to live for the flesh, in the home and the church, and not how to have a real relationship with God! They are not learning how to submit themselves to God, James 4:6-10. It is a sad thing for a child to grow up in a home with a parent who has never learned to obey, and submit themselves to God and to those who have the authority over them, Hebrews 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves:…. I f a person is not submitting themselves to God they will never submit to others who have authority over them.
The child has gone through every program and activity under the sun in the church to entertain them. I hear the same thing all the time, “what happened here? My child went to this church, Christian school, we home schooled them and they live a rebellious wicked life.” They live selfishly and live for themselves. They are arrogant, non- teachable, and disobedient to the things of God. Folks, I speak to Bible College graduates every week who are living like the devil. Why, because they did not have a real relationship with God.
Quite frankly, I am just amazed when I talk to Christian leaders and pastors. I recently talked with a Christian leader who was talking about the Christian college he was the leader of. He told me about wanting to turn things around. He talked about right music, right dress, and right stand on the Bible. These are very admirable things. Yet, the leaders of the school do all the things I just mentioned in their churches. I ask you how can a man take a stand for dress standards when he has none? How can a man take a stand against Southern Gospel music when he does it right in his church or allows those to come to speak that do it? How can a man take a stand for the Bible when he believes all texts are okay? The answer is he cannot and he allows these things in his church because it appeals to the flesh, Romans 6:12, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Revival can never come to a church or a nation as long as the leadership lives their lives dictated by the “lusts of the flesh”, Romans 6:11-19. I want you to know the Bible calls these things sin, not a difference of opinion! Romans 6:11-12. It is the compromise of this wicked apostate hour!
Folks, the real need today is not for more programs, but real Christian holy living. We have a mutual admiration society of compromise today. Let me be clear our church takes a stand against the things above and will not compromise them. However, I want to also be clear, that does not mean people need to be enemies. Yet, there are things I cannot and should not participate in and just call it a difference of opinion. Now, some may not like you because of your desire to live correctly. While I understand that, if a person has a real desire to change and asks for help, we help them and provide information through Hope Biblical Counseling Center to help them. The idea though that I have Biblical compromisers preach in my church to try to help them or be a political person is utter non sense. Many do this under the guise of they do not understand yet. No, my friend they are a Biblical compromiser and if you do that you are participating in their “living for the lusts of the flesh life.” It is a serious flaw that is killing the spiritual desire of our, churches, church people, Bible colleges, and our children. We now are teaching them it is okay to live for the lusts of the flesh and to live a compromising life. It is shameful and a direct violation of the Scripture and is willful sinful disobedience. It is called apostasy!
We need to remember that some day, maybe today we will stand before God and give an account for how we have lived our lives. Titus 2:11-12, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”
So, my friend my question is where is the living today, that this verse describes? The living today is to live for worldly lusts, carnally, unrighteous, and ungodly. The thing that God made clear to me was to proclaim and remember for my own life, is to make sure your life counts for God! It will not count if we hide sin, compromise with people who wish to live after the lusts of the flesh, and do not want to have a real relationship with God.
2. We need to have compassion for others.
There are many Bible ignorant people in this life. The Bible gives us extensive instruction on how to live for God, how to rear our children, how to have a godly home and marriage, and how to have a godly church.
Colossians 4:5-6, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Have you noticed that God is interested in how we spend our time? Notice the phrase, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without.” God is interested in us spending time in sharing the gospel with the lost. If you die today would you be satisfied with the effort you have made to win the lost? What I hear all the time on For the Love of the Family and in our community is how unhappy people are with their lot in life. Most of it is because of their direct disobedience to the things of God. Most of the current judgment of God in people’s lives is already outlined in God’s Word.
Proverbs 13:13, Whoso despiseth the word (means does not give proper attention to) shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” It is our responsibility to diligently seek God in our life. Part of that diligence is to seek out and have compassion on the lost. The Christian who never seeks the lost will never have a peaceful life with God. His desire is for us to have a diligence toward the lost and diligence in seeking Him in our life.
3. Would we be able to give a good account of our relationship with God?
When we stand before God what will we have to report? Would it be that we would report a life of selfishness, self-interest, and self-serving? Or would we report a life of seeking to have an intimate, personal, passionate relationship with the Lord? Colossians 1:10-11, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness. Giving thanks unto the father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”
What happens if we die today? We will give an account of ourselves to God. What will our account be?
- That our life counted for God?
- That we had compassion on others?
- That we had a real relationship with God?
You have been sent this message today in hope that you will seek Biblical godly change in your life. That is your opportunity. You only have one life to live. What if you wasted time, effort, and portions of your life? You can change today. It is a matter of deciding today to submit yourself to God. No person can do the will of God without having a submitted right heart. Ephesians 6:6, “Not with eye service, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”
Proverbs 15:31-33, 16:3, “The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.”
I have shared these very personal thoughts with you as I seek to be obedient to what God desires for me to do. It is the desire of my life to be obedient and to help as many people as I can in their walk with God. The avenue of Hope Biblical Counseling Center has several thousand subscribers. The need for godliness and holiness has never been greater than where we are today. There needs to be godly Christians and Christian leaders who will stand for righteousness rather than compromise with sin. Many people today will say, I am a fundamentalist, but they do not practice being a fundamentalist. It is one thing to say I am a fundamentalist; it is altogether another thing to practice it. Many are deceived in this hour as to their practice, Galatians 6:7-8. It is our desire and practice to not compromise with sin, but to proclaim godliness and holiness to a world that needs it and to the Christian who must hear it.
If I should die today would the three things above be the testimony of our life?