Archive for the ‘Death and Dying’ Category

The True Word

It rained again, just when we were thinking it was time to water the lawn. If you have been battling wet weather while trying to harvest your hay, I understand the frustration. Been there, done that! Nevertheless, rain is always better than drought.

On a personal note, I went for a CT scan this week, to check on the aneurism that is on my aorta. Those results came back as ‘condition stable’, and I am to have another checkup in a year. This is good news, and one more thing I am thankful for. Also, we had a brief visit from my brother and sister-in-law from Colorado on Friday. It’s always good to see them, if even just for lunch.

If there is one thing that disturbs me as a preacher, it is when someone passes along so-called spiritual advice that is not in the Bible. You may call it false teaching, misinformation, or borderline heresy. This is especially troubling when the “information” is disheartening to the individual to whom it is directed.

There are those who would have us to believe that Christians who die do not go to be in the presence of the Lord at their death, and must wait in the grave for the Lord’s return at some future time. Folks, this is a lie, and there is judgment ahead for those who teach these things. The Bible does have something to say about this.

On the cross, the dying thief asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom. Jesus replied, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42-43). This does not indicate waiting in the grave for an unspecified time.

“The apostle Paul wrote, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). In Philippians 1:23 he expressed his “desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better.” Those statements teach that believers go directly into the Lord’s presence at death.” [MacArthur New Testament Commentary].

I am again reminded of Paul’s words to Timothy… “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine… They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Friends, that time is here. Be encouraged. God’s Word is true.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

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Don’t Wait

Hello friends,
Finally, we have seen some warmer weather. It was followed by a really big storm. Chalk up one for the weather man.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw my dermatologist for a 6-month checkup. She thought a spot on my arm needed attention, and a biopsy showed some cancer cells. This week, I returned for surgery to remove more tissue. Now I’m wearing stitches in my arm. Hopefully this is the end of it.

Much of what we see in the news provides material for commentary. In fact, I could probably write more than one article a week, if I so desired. This week has been no different.

A week ago now, there was a false alarm in Hawaii about a missile attack. We can glean at least two important lessons from this incident.

First, we are reminded that our lives could end without warning, or at least on short notice. I’m sure we have been reminded of this many times, but how often do we actually think about the possibility? What preparations have we made for our families to continue on after we’re gone?

The second point, is that millions of people have disregarded the most important warning of all. That warning has eternal significance for all people. Jesus is going to return and judge the world. Those who know him as Savior and Lord will go with him to glory, and those who have rejected him go to eternal damnation. I know there were times in my own life, when God gave me another opportunity to trust in Jesus Christ for my salvation. In His grace, I eventually made the right choice.

I know of at least two instances recently, where individuals have been close to death, and recovered. To my knowledge, neither one has any personal relationship with the Lord, nor have they shown any inclination to place their faith in the Lord Jesus. This is sad.

Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.” Scripture also reminds us that it is appointed to man, once to die, and after that the judgment. We are also told, “today is the day of salvation.” This is not a false alarm. It is truth. Tomorrow may not come. Today is the day of salvation. Do not wait.

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

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

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