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Life is precious

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–The ice hockey world had a scare recently as the skate of an upended teammate nearly severed the carotid artery of Richard Zednik, forward for the Florida Panthers. While blood poured from the wound on his neck, Zednik calmly skated to a trainer who immediately applied a towel and pressure to the wound. The following day, doctors said they never considered Zednik’s life to be in jeopardy, despite losing five pints of blood.

Life is precious. Our time on this earth is so short. We should never take a single day for granted.

Sammy Gilbreath is in a research group of one at the Mayo Clinic. He’s carrying a large blood clot on the base of his left ventricle. In addition, he has an aneurism running the length of his left ventricle. One day the aneurism is going to rupture. If Gilbreath was on an operating table, doctors say they couldn’t save his life. His doctor said, “Sammy, you’re going to die and you’re going to die very quickly.” How would you like to hear that message from your doctor?

Gilbreath, the Director of Evangelism for the Alabama State Board of Missions, is taking every opportunity he has remaining to tell people how precious life is.

According to Gilbreath, his vocabulary has changed. He no longer uses the word “got.” As in, “I’ve got to go to work today,” or “I’ve got to go to a deacons’ meeting.” Instead, he has replaced it with the word “get.” “I get to go to work today,” or “I get to go to a deacons’ meeting.”(To hear Gilbreath’s sermon “Live Like You are Dying,” go to www.LBC.org/multimedia and search for his name.)

Life is precious. Our Lord has given us the privilege of seeing the sun rise this morning. He has given us another day to bring glory to Him.

Meanwhile, Southern Baptists recently lost a friend many didn’t even know they had. Permelia Creamer, wife of North American Mission Board Construction Coordinator Randy Creamer, lost her battle with cancer.

I met Permelia in New Orleans. She came with Randy to help me and other pastors get back on our feet after Hurricane Katrina. I can’t tell you how many times she had the right words to encourage me or to make me laugh. Her ministry of encouragement was as important as any hammer she ever swung.

We had a running joke about “albino buzzards.” I tried to convince her that the small herons she saw in New Orleans were a rare albino buzzard, not found anywhere else in the world. She thought about it for a minute, and then informed me she had lived with Randy’s jokes far too long to fall for my foolishness.

I e-mailed Randy and Permelia after learning about her illness. I reminded her of the “albino buzzards” and promised to pray for her every time I saw one. Now I pray for Randy and their two sons when I see one.

When the doctors informed Permelia about her tumors she told them, “I’m not worried about the outcome. Either way, I’ll win.”

As the prognosis of her disease became terminal, her message to her friends and family about heaven focused on the phrase, “Be there.”

Permelia knew she would be in heaven when she died because she trusted in Jesus alone for her salvation. Others have shared her story and repeated her message that you can trust in Jesus and “be there” too.

Life is precious. Use your gift of life to encourage and point people to our Savior today.
Keith Manuel is an evangelism associate on the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s evangelism & church growth team.

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  • Keith Manuel