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"The Last Day Of Your Life"

"To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die"

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Have you ever considered what the last day of your life might look like and what you will be doing that day? Have you contemplated if you will be selfish or living sacrificially for the lives of others? Will you be kind that day or will you go out in a bitter ball of fire? Will the people in your life know that you love them or will they be left with regret, words unspoken and relationships un-repaired? I cant help but ask myself questions like these today because today isn't just another ordinary day. Today marks the fourteenth anniversary of Danielle Marie Gould's homecoming as it was on this day August 20, 2004 when Danielle "left" this earth to be with Jesus, killed in an automobile accident on her way home from our house after spending the evening with our daughter Bree, who was Danielle's best friend.

As I think back fourteen years this morning I thank the Lord for the gift of Danielle's life and the indelible mark she has made upon mine and in the lives of so many others. The number grows each year following the Legacy event held in her honor as new lives are touched by her story. In John's Gospel it tells us in chapter one verse four, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." Danielle was so full of Jesus life, to say she could light up a room when she walked into it is far from an exaggeration. She loved to dance and to her the world was her stage but not in a self centered way trying to bring attention to her self but rather she danced in such a way that turned the spotlight on Jesus as she wanted all the glory to be His.

Obviously, Danielle didn't know August 20, 2004 would be her last day on earth or that she would be meeting Jesus face to face that night. She just lived her life each day as if she would. Danielle pretty much lived life the way anyone who loves Jesus would want their last day on earth to end which brings me to the question I felt the Lord was wanting me to ask of myself and others today. Let me ask you, loved one, if today was the last day of your life, how would you want the day to go? To help put that question in perspective go back one day and think, what if yesterday had been the last day of my life? How would my life on earth have ended and what kind of memories would my last day make? Are there changes I would want to make today? Would I do anything differently?

As I think about Danielle's life and specifically her last day on earth and all the things that filled her day from start to finish I am blown away at just how closely her walk with Jesus was and how the steps she took that day remind me so much of His. As I look back and recall the last day of Danielle's life it becomes my prayer, for me and for you as to how we will choose to live each and every day of our lives until we too meet Jesus face to face one day. 

Like Danielle's last day hopefully your morning will begin with the first words coming out of your mouth, "I love you" along with a radiant smile that comes up like a beautiful sunrise even though your eyes can hardly open yet. Hopefully your day will begin with a bible study and prayer time with some of your closest friends. Hopefully for lunch that day you will make contact with that person you have been faithfully sharing Jesus with and praying for. Desiring to show your unsaved friend the proof of your love you take them to lunch and share Jesus one last time with them and then before lunch is over you go as far as to give them their very own bible that you purchased with your own money which at seventeen isn't much. 

Hopefully you will get to spend your afternoon with your best friend, talking, goofing around and just being silly, taking pictures together and making memories that will last forever. Hopefully you too will decide the best way to spend your last Friday night on earth is at an event like a poolside bible study that your churches youth group hosts, hanging out with all your friends, living and laughing and loving as you eat and worship God on your last night this side of heaven growing together in God's Word. And then, finally, as your very long last day on earth comes to an end, hopefully, you get that one last chance to hang out with your best friend for just a little while longer and then leave them with as your last words the same as your first words were that morning, "I love you".

You see, friend, it was just after 10:30 p.m. that fateful Friday night on August 20, 2004 that Danielle got in her car and was driving home when she was killed in an automobile accident less than a mile from her house. Hopefully you wont die in an automobile accident but if by chance one day you do, I can only hope and pray that what the first responders discover is the same thing they did when they came to render aide to Danielle that night. Hopefully, when the first responders arrive on scene of the accident and approach your vehicle they don't discover the smell of alcohol coming from within the vehicle nor do they find beer bottles in the car. Hopefully like in the case of Danielle, as she didn't consume alcohol, the first thing they do notice about you is that you have a hand written bible passage like the one she had written on her hand from 2 Corinthians 8:24 scrolled on your own that the fire captain writes down and that when he reads it later on back at the fire station believes with conviction and certainty that it was a message from God Himself to the fire captain and his men personally. And to think they didn't even know who Danielle was before that night but now, like us, they will never forget her. I know this is true as at Dinner last Saturday night celebrating Danielle's Legacy event this year the fire captain and his wife were at the restaurant and he and Danielle's parents Tink and Sherrill shared a sweet moment together as friends now recalling the night that has now connected them forever. Hopefully, if you do happen to go meet Jesus face to face in an automobile accident that when the police search your car and go through your belongings one of the first things they find is a very well worn bible amongst your possessions along with all kinds of ministry minded materials that lets the world know where your treasure is.

Yes, loved one, all these events are absolutely true and are what filled the action packed last day of one amazing seventeen year old girl that day. And to think, she had no idea that August 20, 2004 would be her last. Like I said, Danielle just lived her life every day like it was and what a life she lived. The question that begs to be asked of me and you today, loved one, is how will we live the last day of our life? 

Will we like the famous Tim McGraw song sings, go sky diving or rocky mountain climbing? Will we seek to ride a bull named Fu Manchu? Or, will we like Danielle, seek to love God and to love people, to know Him and make Him known? Hopefully our last day on earth will look a lot like Danielle's that when you think about it reminds me of the life of Jesus and how He spent His days too. My greatest prayer is that our last day on earth starts and ends like Danielle's and like Jesus too with our words and our life saying from the moment we awake until we take our last breath, "I Love You!" That's the way I want to spend the last day of my life! How about you?

"Therefore show to them, and before the churches the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf."

2 Corinthians 8:24


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