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The article captured my attention simply because I was interested to know where my state, Mississippi, ranked. The title of the article was, “10 Worst States to Live In.” I quickly glanced over the article and started going down the list. It was ranked 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1; only to discover that we did not make the top ten. According to the article they looked at numerous factors including crime rate, local attractions, healthcare, environment, and we, in Mississippi, did not get in the top ten. Now I’m not going to give you the list here because I am afraid that if I gave you the list I’d have to stop and comment on some of them and I refuse to do that. I was pleased to see, though, that several of them were northern states and I wholeheartedly agree with their assessment, but, of course, a number of them were our southern states and southeastern states.
It is amazing to me that in the top five were found some states that were among the favorites of my thinking, including the number one worst state to live in, they said, not I said, was Tennessee. Where did these people go? What did they look at? Well, according to the article, the FBI stats from 2012 show that they were not in good favor with law abiding folks. Healthcare was not looked on favorably and their high rate of diabetes and obesity did not put them in good standing, either. The fact that many of the adults were smokers was a negative also. But, again, I was so elated that we didn’t make the list, I could hardly pay attention to what they were looking at in these other places.
Most of you know this, but in case you don’t, I would just share with you and the whole world that I love Mississippi. I love her people, her places. I love her river, her coast, her mountains. I love her weather, especially when it’s hot and humid. I just love Mississippi. I’m thankful the Lord has given me the privilege and blessing of living in Mississippi most of my life. I’ve lived in some other states, but if I could just make a choice on my own just to be somewhere, I’d be where I am. I’m blessed by the folks in this state, their hospitality, their kindness, their love. All that said I’m still glad we didn’t make the “10 Worst States to Live In.”
As I thought about it, I thought about the fact that so many people do not get to decide where they are going to live. I suppose that’s all of us, pretty much, that our circumstances or influences that would pull us in one direction or another even if we could say I’d rather live somewhere else. But think about it, the day is coming when everyone of us can and must decide where we’re going to live for eternity. There are only two choices, but you’re going to decide. Heaven or hell and there is no in between. Your destiny will be decided by your decision related to the provisions of God in His Son, Jesus Christ. Just imagine heaven with all of its provisions and joys. Heaven – where there is no sickness and there is no death and there is no sin and no broken and ruined relationships and no separation and no storms and no grief and no uncertainty or anxiety. The list of all of the good things that are going to be there and the bad things that are not going to be there are almost limitless to the point that the Scripture says, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor. 2:9). It will be forever incredible.
The other destination, hell, is everything that heaven is to the extreme opposite. Sorrow and pain, crying and unfulfilled desires and hopes, to say that it is indescribable is an understatement. Here is one of the most profound truths about heaven and hell. Once we are there, we will see the unbelievable reality of the fact that it was our decision to be there. It is a Jesus decision. John in his gospel, opens his book by saying, “He (Jesus) came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:11-12). Throughout His lifetime here on this earth and far beyond as He sits at the right of the Father, Jesus offers life everlasting. It is free. It is for all. It is for you. And this very day you can receive Him or reject Him. Choose Christ today. Choose heaven forever.