Archive for the ‘Death and Dying’ Category

Eternity Is Near to All

Dear friends,
November is under way. Don’t look now, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner, to be followed by another new year.

Once again, the news headlines remind us of the fragility of human life. Once again, we are reminded that we need always to be prepared to meet death. Once more, we are reminded as the Bible tells us, life is a vapor. Once more we see the urgency of making a decision to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior.

A group of people told Jesus about a group of Galileans, brutally murdered by Pilate. His response may have taken them aback. His answer was, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no? But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you thing they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:1-5).

There was widespread opinion in Jesus’ day, that such things happen only as punishment for specific sins. Jesus refuted this notion but nevertheless emphasized that every person must repent or else perish spiritually for eternity. To repent, means to agree with God that you are a sinful being, accept Christ as your Savior, and allow His Holy Spirit to bring about change in your life.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary states; “Jesus’ point was that being killed or not being killed is no measure of a person’s unrighteousness or righteousness. Anyone can be killed. Only God’s grace causes anyone to live. Death is the common denominator for everyone. Only repentance can bring life as people prepare to enter the kingdom.”

Again, His message was repent of your sins and receive His salvation through faith in Him, or you, too, will perish, meaning to spend eternity in hell.

So, in light of this, each person should examine themselves to determine if they have genuinely trusted Jesus for his or her salvation. We do not know when our time on earth is done, but we can have the assurance that when this life is over, our destination is heaven and an eternal home in the presence of God our Savior, through faith in His Son.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

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On Knowing Jesus

Wow! The last few days have been very spring-like, and the ice is gone from the lake. I hope you have been able to get out and enjoy the warmer temperatures. Large numbers of geese have been passing overhead, their v-shaped flight pointing to the north. However, my weather app is showing a change in the works, with a forecast of significant rain, snow and wind. Oh, well, it is still February in Nebraska. We should know it can’t actually be spring yet, although it is coming.

Someone posted this statement recently on Facebook: “Knowing me and knowing of me are two totally different things. Don’t confuse the two.” I believe he was posting from a personal viewpoint, but more importantly, this statement also has a spiritual application.

It is not enough to know of Jesus, it is of great eternal significance that we know him intimately and personally.

We may have knowledge of a person, but until we spend personal one-on-one time with them, we will never really know who they are. What husband or wife could possibly know anything about their spouse without spending much time together?

When Jesus called his 12 disciples, he didn’t call them to follow, and then say, “I’ll see you in a couple of years.” When He called them, they dropped what they were doing, and spent the next three years in constant fellowship with Him.

It is not enough to know about Jesus, the devil and his demons recognize Jesus as God’s Son, but they do not think they have to obey Him. Just believing is not enough. Faith is more than belief. By faith, you accept what Jesus has done for you, receive him as the only one who can save you from sin, and live your faith by obeying his commands. It is called having a personal relationship with Him.

There are lots of people today who talk about Jesus and assume they are going to heaven, but they have no intimate knowledge of him. No one goes to heaven because they know of Jesus. Scripture is quite clear that one must confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, in order to gain entrance to God’s heaven. There is no other name by which we can be saved. Period. Do not be confused. Every day someone dies without Jesus. Please don’t be one of them.

Sincerely,
Pastor Jerry

Life’s End: Who Decides?

Good Monday,
Well, it could be warmer, but still it’s a good day. Monday gets a bad rap, but I’ve never found it to be any more challenging than any other day of the week.

Deer hunting season is underway, and from what I’ve seen, it is mostly hunting at this point.

Turning to a more serious line of thinking, a couple of weeks ago, there was much in the news about a young woman in Oregon, named Brittany Maynard, who was planning to end her own life by way of “assisted suicide.” She had been diagnosed with a terminal brain cancer, and wished to die “on her own terms.” Today, I would like to share some thoughts on this from a Christian world-view.

We should never presume to know more than God when it comes to the length of our lives and the time of the end for us as individuals. He alone should be the final judge of when we die. When a person takes his life by suicide, he is taking on a responsibility that is God’s alone.

From the Christian world-view, death is the enemy. Death is not our friend. We are not to seek death as an escape. It has been said if we want to go to heaven to escape this life, we are wanting to go for the wrong reason. God tells his people to choose life over death (Deuteronomy 30:19).

The right to give life and to take it away is a right reserved for God by Himself (Job 1:21). We are told that we will have trials in this life, but nowhere do we see that we are to seek an early exit from life (James 1:24). Moses, Elijah, Job, and Jonah each asked God to take their lives, but in every case, God refused. The apostle Paul longed to be in heaven, but was content to remain alive, waiting for God to act in His own time.

Finally, we do not know how God might use us for His good purpose in our last days. Intentionally taking our life will definitely interrupt God’s plan for us. When we reach the God-ordained end of our lives as His faithful followers, He is pleased. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15).

God has numbered our days. He doesn’t make mistakes.

Trusting Him,
Pastor Jerry