Do you know your life is a gift from God?

For reasons yet I don’t fully understand nor do I need to, I was compelled by the Holy Spirit at 6:45 a.m to get out of bed and write this piece, which my Lord spoke to my heart that it would be a message of profound significance to many. I pray it will speak to each one of you in the way you need it most.

I thank God for all of you. He has been using you to encourage me that my struggles have a purpose beyond my limited human understanding.

Death. It is a subject we don’t like to talk about. Having come close to it many times myself becaue of life-threatening allergic reactions, I  and my beautiful, loving,intelligent and creative wife, Karen, have faced that reality.  I have been intubated eight times.  I have to take at least two EPI pens wherever I go, and sometimes have needed three. For those unfamiliar with what an EPI pen is it is an injector that contains the drug epinephrine, which is also known as anrenaline. It is used to relieve the symptoms of a severe allergy attack  or sometimes in CPR ( cardio  pulmonary resucitation). to get the heart started again.

Yet,  as I came close to death many times the Lord used those trying and soul-searching times to give me a gift far greater than all the wealth of the richest person in the world. He used my near death experiences to call me and all of us  to the wondrous beauty and abounding joy of knowing Him, really knowing Him with all of our heart, mind and soul.

The reality of our death can point us back to life in our Lord. Not a half-hearted life. Not one of a mediocre commitment to Christ. I and all of us who know God and those who yearn to know Him, are called to a life of complete surrender. We are called to a full assurance that no matter what storm we are going through, His guiding hand is there to lead us from the raging sea of our distress to the healing waters of His peace.

The minister, Peter Marshall, was used by His Lord on the eve of America’s involvement in World War 2 to give an uncomfortable message to midshipmen at the Annapolis Naval Academy.  I will let Peter’s wife, Catherine, speak about that experience, because she says it from a heart of love for her Lord and her husband far better than I ever could express.

An experience Peter Marshall, the great Scottish preacher, related during his ministry:

On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, Peter Marshall preached to the regiment of midshipmen in the Naval Academy at Annapolis. A strange feeling which he couldn’t shake off led him to change his announced topic to an entirely different homiletical theme based on James 4:14: For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away. In the chapel before him was the December graduating class, young men who in a few days would receive their commissions and go on active duty. In that sermon titled Go Down Death,Peter Marshall used this illustration.

In a home of which I know, a little boy—the only son—was ill with an incurable disease. Month after month the mother had tenderly nursed him, read to him, and played with him, hoping to keep him from realizing the dreadful finality of the doctor’s diagnosis. But as the weeks went on and he grew no better, the little fellow gradually began to understand that he would never be like the other boys he saw playing outside his window and, small as he was, he began to understand the meaning of the term death, and he, too, knew that he was to die.

One day his mother had been reading to him the stirring tales of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table: of Lancelot and Guinevere and Elaine, the lily maid of Astolat, and of that last glorious battle in which so many fair knights met their death.

As she closed the book, the boy sat silent for an instant as though deeply stirred with the trumpet call of the old English tale, and then asked the question that had been weighing on his childish heart: “Mother, what is it like to die? Mother, does it hurt?” Quick tears sprang to her eyes and she fled to the kitchen supposedly to tend to something on the stove. She knew it was a question with deep significance. She knew it must be answered satisfactorily. So she leaned for an instant against the kitchen cabinet, her knuckles pressed white against the smooth surface, and breathed a hurried prayer that the Lord would keep her from breaking down before the boy and would tell her how to answer him.

And the Lord did tell her. Immediately she knew how to explain it to him.

“Kenneth,” she said as she returned to the next room, “you remember when you were a tiny boy how you used to play so hard all day that when night came you would be too tired even to undress, and you would tumble into mother’s bed and fall asleep? That was not your bed…it was not where you belonged. And you stayed there only a little while. In the morning, much to your surprise, you would wake up and find yourself in your own bed in your own room. You were there because someone had loved you and taken care of you. Your father had come—with big strong arms—and carried you away. Kenneth, death is just like that. We just wake up some morning to find ourselves in the other room—our own room where we belong—because the Lord Jesus loved us.”

The lad’s shining, trusting face looking up into hers told her that the point had gone home and that there would be no more fear … only love and trust in his little heart as he went to meet the Father in Heaven.

After Peter Marshall had finished the service at Annapolis and as he and his wife Catherine were driving back to Washington that afternoon, suddenly the program on the car radio was interrupted. The announcer’s voice was grave: “Ladies and Gentlemen. Stand by for an important announcement. This morning the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor was bombed…..”

Within a month many of the boys to whom Peter Marshall had just preached would go down to hero’s graves in strange waters. Soon all of them would be exposed to the risks and dangers of war, and Peter Marshall, under God’s direction, that very morning had offered them the defining metaphor about the reality of eternal life.

—Catherine Marshall, A Man Called Peter, pp. 230-231, 272-273

Death can be a gift. It points us to the reality that we all will die. The Lord uses it to call us to live a life connected with His heart, that He would be the reason for our existence and our service to Him.

Let us value the life our Lord gave us and not waste it on success at the cost of our families. James is clear that God does not guarantee us even the next second. At any moment any one of us could face the reality of death through an accident, disease or illness.

In the hustle and bustle of making  preparations for Christmas to spend time with family, friends and colleagues, let us also take time celebrating something far more important than our desire to own the latest Tablet, Smart Phone or Ipod. Let us all celebrate the miracle of Christ’s birth. Value the gift of life your Lord gave you. Give to each one and the poor your heart of love and to the  alcoholic, drug addict and the prostitute your outstretched hands of tolerance, compassion and understanding.




About Dr. Kevin Osborne B.A., B.Th., M.A., M.Div., Psy.D., Th.D. (Cand.)

I enjoy spending time with people just having a coffee or talking about life, philosophy, religion, politics or sharing a favorite joke or story. We learn from one another as we interact and share our joys, challenges and even our times of sadness. I enjoy reading, writing, singing and sharing in the blessing of community whether that is one on one or in groups. I'm married and am powned by two kitties named Sir William of Lounge a.k.a. Sir Lounge a Lot and Princess Catherine of Chaos a.k.a. Her Royal Highness Catherine of Englehart. Two years ago I completed my Doctorate in Psychology (Psy.D.) through St. James the Elder University. On Sept. 26th 2020, I graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Canadian Christian Theological Seminary. These journeys were started over 20 years ago. In 1997 I received a Bachelor of Theology degree from Canada Christian College & Graduate School. Between working and studying it took 13 years to finish it. Let us pray for and reach out to each other with kindness, love and an embracing compassion. We can working together be servants with two open hands to those in need so that hate, indifference and inequality would lose and love will win. The peace and abounding joy of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Posted on November 27, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Thank you or the reminder… I was remembering today that over the last years I have been intubated 4xs and always come home the day before Thanksgiving… I am blessed today and so thankful.. I fail to remember this often when the on slaught of life hits… Thank you for the reminder.. Be blessed today..

    • I think we all need the reminder that life is a precious gift not to be sqaundered or frittered away on temporal pleasures. You have faced that reality four times. You are thankful more than many who have not yet been brought face to face with the reality of their death and the reality that God is their creator.

      I thank God that you are still here among us. I have been so abundantly blessed by your comments and the supportive encouragement you have given me.

      You truly know what thanksgiving and Thanksgiving means.

      Sending a river of God’s richest blessings back at you!


      • Thank you Kevin… May you have a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving as well. We both know what it means to truly be thankful!!!! I am learning so much this year on thankfulness and the important stuff.

      • While I am a Canadian and we have already had our Thanksgiving, I’ll kindly and with great appreciation in my heart have my own Thanksgiving, as I thank my Lord for all of His many blessings.

        I thank Him today for so many things, for my beautiful and supportive wife, Karen, for our two kitties William and Catherine, for this laptop, which was a gift from two of my friends; but most of all today I thank my Lord for the gift of knowing Him not just with my mind, but all of my heart, mind and soul.

        Today, with an abounding joy I rushed into our bedroom where my wife was sleeping recovering from a flu bug and sinus infection, to say, “Darling, I have found my calling. It will be to call people to spiritual renewal.” Karen smiled in loving agreement and excitement of that call, which does include her too. She just doesn’t know it yet, but she will. I have no doubt her Lord will speak to her about it in His time.

        I don’t know how that calling will be lived out, nor do I need to know. I and all who are the Lord’s own are simply called to be faithful and available.

        Have a super duper and wonderful Thanksgiving!


      • Will pray that Karen feels much better real soon!!!

      • I’ll pass that loving message along. Let me know how your Thanksgiving went.

        May the Lord shower you with His richest blessings.


      • My Thanksgiving was blessed!!

      • That’s wonderful!! So, how was it blessed?

        May the Lord continue to shower you with His richest blessings!


      • So, my Thanksgiving was good… Even though my peak flow numbers were in yellow zone most of the day (and still are today) I am ok. God is faithful to redeem me and the fact that I am His is enough for me. I had my family, and so that was good. (even if they od on cologne because they smoke and I can’t handle either smell)..But God will work on them as well. Life, Kevin at times gets hard but this is always a great reminder. How is your wife doing? Is she rebounding yet?
        God is good to His children even when we may not understand it. I am grateful that I am not in a hospital at this time and I am very grateful to have folks in my life who are praying for me…

        Be blessed today..

  2. Thank you, Much needed.

  3. A potent message.
    This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for bloggers like you who keep me reading and writing and finding God’s grace along the way.
    Have a blessed holiday season,

  4. Hi Tony

    Thank you for those uplifting comments. Sometimes, as you know as writers, we wonder if how we have expressed something will have an impact. Will it reach the human heart? We all do our best God helping us to communicate God’s truth in a way that will connect, really hit home with those who read what we write.

    You also know as Christian writers our Lord calls us to difficult places in our life experience, that in our humanity we would far prefer remain hidden.

    I was given some wise advice in one of my Christian Journalism classes by Dr. Will Rooen. Will was called home this August after a long bout with congestive heart failure and other ailments. He said to us, “We as Christian journalists are called to be truth tellers. Do not ever engage in sensationalist Hearst journalism that tells a titilating story to get more newspapers sold at the cost of truth.”

    I was blessed that Will selected me out of his class for an intensive journalism internship. I pray the lessons he taught me about being true to the truth and never sensationalizing a story live on in me.

    It’s not an easy path being a truth teller, especially if that truth your Lord calls you to write or speak will gain you enemies. I have lost friends and colleagues because they did not agree with me standing up boldly against injustice wherever I see it. They wanted me to be quiet and bow my head in subjection to these wrongs. I could not and will not cower in the corner and remain silent about people being hurt in the Church, about some Christian leaders who have stopped standing up with courage when they see injustice and especially about Christian leaders hurting the very souls they were charged by God to shepherd. God will have His own justice for them, which includes the availability of His mercy.

    If we remain silent about those who hurt God’s children, what does that say about us as Christians? How do we explain to God that we didn’t want to make waves, we wanted to keep our position in Christian leadership, so we said nothing?

    Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Nothing. Stay silent. How can we say we truly care about the suffering of others if we remain silent to it and even seek to delude ourselves about terrible injustices that are being committed by some of God’s people. Let’s be honest about it and open.

    That’s when true healing will take place in the Church. That’s when walls of denominational division wiill be broken down as we seek by God’s grace to love one another even with our differences.It must grieve God’s heart how there is so much denominational bashing going on. I’ve heard it from the pulpit. It disgusts me and I always pray for the wounded pastor who does it.Those who engage in it need to stop doing it.

    Keep on fighting the good fight, Tony through your writing, which I encourage you is quite engaging and soul-searching. God needs you and so do the hurting souls He is calling you to.

    Have a most blessed Thanksgiving! In Canada we had ours in October.

    I will thank God every time I remember you in my prayers.



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