Carried Away…

Image result for open highway     Source: Google Images

Sin fundamentally, is rooted in a lack of faith in the goodness of God. Therefore, every temptation is an invitation to distrust God.

Been a long time since we’ve talked, but there’s no time like the present right?

Have you ever been driving on the freeway for a while and out of nowhere you found yourself in your driveway? I’m talking about the that “I can’t even recall the last 10 miles” type situation. Or is it just me?

I imagine if you’ve had your driver’s license for any extended period of time, it has happened to you.  Somehow, some way, your mind drifted off into outer space or you were so intently focused on some music, a podcast or even your own thoughts, that your subconscious literally carried you home.  It’s a scary feeling because the one time you NEED to be fully engaged and paying attention to what is happening is while driving a vehicle; especially in California. Yet, we’ve all been there and you can’t ever pinpoint exactly when you fell into a vehicular stupor you just know you did.

This is how James, the brother of Jesus, describes the process of sin coming into fruition in a person’s life (believer or unbeliever).  Most of the time when we sin, we tend to focus on the action itself and even more so, we try to find all types of reasons to shirk responsibility, like: 1) Blaming other people; 2) Blaming life’s circumstances; or 3) Blaming God.  James says, “Nah bro/sis!”, it was your own doing.  In fact here’s exactly what he says:

No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away (NASB = ‘carried away’) and enticed by his own evil desires. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death. – James 1:13-15

James intimates (I love this word by the way) that what we really believe about God is revealed in how we respond to temptation/sin.  Ever since the Fall, we humans have become expert blame-shifters, always looking for a way out, but James, pulling no punches, says, “You are to blame!”. Every time we give into temptation it is because we wanted to and have chosen to. Period. And to be clear, when connecting these verses with the previous verses he exonerates God (as if God needed any help) by basically saying, Douglass Moo writes, “God tests, but He never tempts.”  Therefore, the moment we even fix our mouths to blame God, we’ve revealed that our theology (or what we think about God) is deeply flawed.

What helps me in this passage is that James doesn’t just state the obvious end result (which is sin), but he communicates how and why it happens.  In other words, there is a process and that process begins when we allow ourselves to be carried away by our own evil/sinful desires (v.14).  Let the weight of that statement sink in.

Yes, having evil/sinful desires such as lust, greed, pride, are bad and unfortunately a reality we all have to endure until the Day we’re released from the presence of sin when Jesus returns (even so, come Lord Jesus). However, James says, what’s even worse is when we let these desires drag or carry us away so far that it results in the actual commission of sin.

If you notice the order of the passage he doesn’t say we are enticed then carried away, but the other way around. We are carried away and then enticed by our own evil desires.  That means an opportunity to sin presents itself after we’ve allowed our hearts/minds to be carried away.   The imagery is that of hunting/fishing.  You usually catch something after it has drifted off the path or away from the pack. Then you entice it with the bait.   So then, when we take our focus off of following Christ and engaging in healthy fellowship with His Church, our wandering, fickle hearts naturally drift away towards any and everything or to bring it home more closely, “your thing”/”my thing”.  It happens so subtlety and just as it is hard to pinpoint exactly when we drifted off driving, the same applies here.  All we know, according to James, is that it happened and we are the only ones to blame be cause we allowed those desires to simmer until they boiled over into sin. Ouch!

What’s the solution? For James, the answer is simple; trust God. You probably grimaced at that statement. Like how dare me tell you to just simply “trust God” as if it were that easy. I wonder though if our understanding of faith is not all that it should be. We tend to think of faith in terms of passivity, but what if is more of a verb than a noun?  A.W. Tozer defined faith as, “the gaze of the soul upon a saving God” (Ch. 7 – The Pursuit of God). If he is right (and I believe he is), then the way we combat temptation, the way we overcome our innate evil desires and walk in the victory secured by Jesus Christ in His life, death and resurrection, is to constantly fix our eyes on Him, in everything. In our work, in prayer, in the Word, in ministry, in fellowship, in parenting, in marriage, in singleness, in everything! Look to Him (through the Spirit), our all-sufficient, wonderful savior, who reveals to us our good, good Father from whence every good and perfect gift comes; even trials. Trust HIM!

If you’re struggling with sin right (and we all are), identify who/what it is your soul has been gazing upon and quickly now turn your eyes (the eyes of your heart/mind) to Jesus.  Our safety and our victory lies not in the ever-changing seasons, circumstances, desires of life and our hearts, “…but in God’s immutability” (Thomas Manton). He never changes, He never fails and has promised to reward us with what ever we need so long as we diligently seek Him, keep our gaze fixed on Him, rely ultimately on Him (see Hebrews 11:6) and above all don’t get carried away!  When it gets are, ask Him for help.  He stands willing and waiting to supply exactly what we need the moment we need it.  I’m reminded of that old hymn that goes:

Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin
Each victory will help you or some others to win
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue
Look ever to Jesus and He’ll carry you through
Just ask the Savior to help you
To comfort, strengthen and keep you
He is willing to aid you
And He will carry you through
(Horatio Palmer, 1868)
What a good word for all us- “HE will carry us through”.  When we allow ourselves to be carried away by our own evil desires, He loves us more than we love ourselves by carrying us through this life and into the next.
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Re-adjusting my focus,

T.

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He’s a Keeper…

Today we find ourselves on the heels of one of the most polarizing election cycles ever. As a result, a lot has been said, is being said and will most likely continue to be said as the country tries to makes sense of things. In the midst of it all are Christians (on all sides) who are sadly at odds with one another. On the surface, it appears that the Church in America is as divided as the country itself. This post is an attempt to hopefully alleviate some of the tension.

I believe a huge lie that Christians in America have bought into is this notion that because there are two major political parties, each person must pledge allegiance to one side or the other.  An even bigger lie is this idea that one party holds a monopoly on the Church or “preserves” Christianity and its ideals. This latter lie was clearly demonstrated when a prominent White Gospel Music (you read that correctly) singer found herself in hot water claiming that the results of the election were indicative of Jesus returning back to the White House; figuratively (my paraphrase). This sent shock-waves throughout social media and people (predominately black and Christian) “let her have it”. Realizing she made a poor choice, she issued a rather lackluster apology and stated that she did not mean to offend or hurt anyone but was just doing her best to “protect Christianity”.  This, among other things, was the most cringe-worthy statement in her apology in my opinion.  To really believe that statement means one is operating under a dangerously false premise, namely that Christianity or the Church needs our protection. Nowhere in Sacred Writ is that idea supported, in fact, the biblical authors declare otherwise, namely, that God doesn’t need us to protect Him, defend Him, or protect Christianity; we need Him to do those things for us. Now, I won’t flood you with a ton of passages but just enough (hopefully) to drive home my point: good intentions are often ruined by faulty orthodoxy (doctrine) which generally leads to questionable orthopraxy (behavior). 

A Brief Biblical Survey: Concerning Individuals and the Church (Which are Inseparable)

The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore. – Psalm 121:5-8 (the entire Psalm is worth the read)

You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You. – Isaiah 26:2

Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. – Matthew 16:17-18

Jesus answered…My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one. – John 10:27-29

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. 2 Timothy 1:8-12

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5

These are but a few of the numerous texts that convey the wonderful reality that God keeps, preserves, and protects His people. To go further, none of these texts suggest or intimate that God needs us to keep, protect, or preserve Christianity or the Church, but rather we are the ones who need keeping.  We can’t even protect ourselves let alone try to protect God’s Church.  Well maybe you can, but I for sure can’t and I’m a pastor. I’ve tried and failed over and over, but thanks be to God, that He keeps me when I can’t keep myself. (Insert 2-3 tongues and praise break here)  I digress…

The truth of the matter is that God doesn’t need government, politicians, preachers or laypersons to do what only He is able to do which should cause a huge sigh of relief.  The pressure is not on us, but God lays the responsibility on His omnipotent self.  This is by no means a call to abandon politics or the propagation of Christian ideals in the world.God has and God can choose to intervene through government whenever He wants. At the same time it is a call to loosen the grip that the Church has on politics and free ourselves from the arrogance and pride that has consumed us and led us to believe that our survival ultimately depends on our efforts (big or small). Our survival is not contingent on who occupies the the seats of power on earth nor is it contingent on what laws are passed on behalf of the faith. More times than not, the systems of this world are in opposition to the Church and the direction God is taking her. Yet oddly enough, history has proven that the Body of Christ thrives under opposition. So do we look for conflict or seek to create it in order to thrive? Certainly not! We simply (by no means am I suggesting it’s easy, but we do have the Holy Spirit) live out the Gospel and the commandment to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and love our neighbor(s) as ourselves.  We take serious God’s command to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. To care for those who are the voiceless and powerless with or without the help of the government.  The rest we leave to the One who “keeps us from falling!” (Jude 24)

Safe in His Arms,

T.

 

 

Hurting, But Hopeful!

there-is-light-despite-all-of-the-darkness

I love my friends who serve in Law Enforcement, I respect what you do, seriously. At some point though, enough has to be enough. This whole Terence Crutcher situation is the reason why I sit with Kaepernick. This is why I affirm the principle (please read that last word 80 times then keep reading forward) “black lives matter”. This is why I hope the Seahawks lose every single game this season. This is why the anthem means very little to me right now. This is why if you deny systemic oppression, I won’t even engage in conversation with you anymore. Ignorance is one thing, perpetual ignorance is bigotry, especially if you have social media (huge statement, I know).

Suffice to say, I am done arguing facts.

This issue is also bigger than just “my African-American community”; this is about the Kingdom of God for me. So I will keep fighting, keep pushing, keep praying, keep checking myself, keep asking, keep knocking, keep seeking because the Gospel compels me too; with or without you. This isn’t about being right and winning an argument. There is no satisfaction to be found in being right about the realities of injustice and systemic oppression towards people of color. I understand these things may make some of you uncomfortable and may cause your feelings to be hurt. However, black lives > your feelings.

P.s. I could have a change of heart and I’m open to that.

P.s.s I don’t hate white people or America or cops or Republicans or Democrats or Unicorns. Not even a little bit. I’ve said it before, it’s hard to hate people you do life with. Who do you do life with? Not just occasionally play basketball with or see at church or see at Starbucks or sit across from them in a cubicle. I mean genuine relationships. Like you would have them house sit for you and let them eat up to the food in your fridge.

“Worth”

anthonybrown_worth_650

Well, it’s 2016 and  I made a commitment to myself that I would blog more. Especially since I did not blog once in 2015.  I’ll offer the excuses (as wonderful as they are) of planning a wedding, purchasing a home, and enjoying the first 5 months of marital bliss as my reasons for not blogging.  But enough of that, I’m to jump right back in like I never left.

I’ve been a church musician/worship leader for over 10 years now and the older I get and the deeper my relationship with Christ goes, I am more and more critical when it comes to song selections for corporate worship, but also for private devotion.  As a student at Biola University I went through a period of complete disdain for Gospel (African-American style) music because I felt most of it was either self-centered, lacked depth, and/or  I couldn’t agree theologically with the lyrics.  I kept it to myself because I realized most of it probably boiled down to preference and disagreement on “secondary” issues.  Fast forward to the present, and there is still some disdain there, but serving as the Gospel Choir Director at Biola the past four years my love for Gospel music was recaptured. Nonetheless, I still hear music that immediately causes me to cringe, but I just kind of shake it off for the same aforementioned reasons.

Recently, I heard a song on my wife’s (shameless plug) Pandora Station by the group Anthony Brown & Group Therapy called “Worth”.  The crux of the song says (as found on Metro Lyrics):

You thought I was worth saving
So you came and changed my life

You thought I was worth keeping
So you cleaned me up inside

You thought I was to die for
So you sacrificed your life

So I could be free
So I could be whole
So I could tell everyone I know

Some person may read this and go, “Yes! Finally a song that describes how I feel about my salvation.” Not me though and for some reason the first time I heard this song (and every time afterwards) it hasn’t sat well with me.  Therefore, this post is my attempt to flesh out why I believe this song is damaging; mainly that it misrepresents the Gospel: God in Christ, Sovereignly (keyword) reconciling the world back to Himself, for the sake of His glory, to the praise of His glorious grace and for the good of the elect (His chosen people). In fact, I only really take issue with the “cause” (You thought I was worth…) statements of the lyrics and not so much the “effects” (So I could be…) statements.  Let me explain why.

God’s Redemptive Acts in Scripture

I believe Scripture is clear that God’s redemptive history shows that His calling and saving people is never based on any inherent “goodness” or “merit” or “worth” they possess but because of His sovereign choice; according to the counsel of His own will. For instance:

When God called Abram (aka Abraham), he was a heathen who lived among an idolatrous, pagan group of people (see Gen. 11:31 and Joshua 24:2).  Abram was in no shape or form worthy of God’s call.

When Moses asked God to show him His glory, God responded this way: “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” (Exodus 33:19)

God made it plain to the Children of Israel that their selection and His affection for them was purely a matter of grace: “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” (Deut. 7:7-8)

After hundreds and hundreds of years of God’s people falling into sin and coming under His wrath, judgment, and then deliverance time and time again, God made this prophetic statement through Ezekiel saying, “…It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst…I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:22, 24-26)

I could go on and on, but the picture I am trying to paint (and hopefully you are seeing) is that God has never been in the business of calling/saving people based on “worth”. The passage in Ezekiel is a direct link to the New Testament and speaks of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. I can take it a step further and point out that even the Disciples were not men of great honor, great resumes, or great moral character.  The Gospels expose their character flaws and show us many reasons why they shouldn’t have been chosen to be Christ’s ambassadors to the world.

And then there is the Apostle Paul, the self-described “chief of sinners”, he certainly was not a ripe candidate for salvation.  I’m sure there were others with a cleaner track record, yet his writings (God-inspired Scripture for that matter) are riddled with the notion that salvation is based on the grace of God alone.  No one is deserving, no one merits salvation, no one is worth saving. In fact, what all of creation merits is death, namely separation from God for eternity (see Romans 3:22-23, Eph. 2:1-3; cf. Isaiah 53:6). The world because of its sinfulness is worthy of God’s wrath in judgment. So why did God save me? You? Anybody? This is what the Bible says in a few places:

Ephesians 1:5-6 – In love He predestined us for adoption as sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His willto the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.

Ephesians 2:4-5 – But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved

Titus 3:4-7 – But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Re-read those verses slowly and contemplatively…It’s hard to deduce from those passages anything other than the fact that God saves not because He should, but because He wants to. Not because we are so save-able, but because He is so merciful. Not because we are so love-able, but because He is so loving. That my friends is the essence of the Gospel. That is what Scripture teaches. That is what men like Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, John Piper, myself, and countless others believe.

I honestly believe the lyrics to the song “Worth” downplay how great a salvation God has given to the world; a salvation so great and glorious that even Angels are enchanted by it (see 1 Peter 1:10-12).

What I Am Not Saying

Before I conclude let me, in anticipation of disagreement, address what I am not saying.  I am not saying that human beings possess no value or worth. Jesus expresses the value of humans, especially God’s adopted children in Matthew 6:26 and Matthew 10:29-31 (for starters) where He says humans are superior to animals. In the Parables of the Lost Sheep, Coin, and Prodigal Son we see the care each main character displays toward the things lost. All humans are image bearers of their Creator and are inherently valuable from the womb to the grave. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world…”, which shows us that God cares about His creation.  Every life is precious.  There is no one who is excluded from the possibility of receiving salvation. Like Black lives, all lives matter.  Conversely, there is no one who is so valuable that they deserve salvation.

It may seem as if I am splitting hairs or being over-dramatic (it happens), but as previously stated this song, in my opinion, speaks of our worth in terms of meriting God’s love and favor; of which we could never do. To suggest anyone is worth saving is to deny the reality of how deeply sin has radically corrupted our hearts and whole being.  To suggest that anyone is worth saving is to say that God shows partiality: some are worthy, some are not. Both deny the truth of Scripture and undermine the magnitude of God’s saving grace and His sovereignty.  To suggest anyone is worth saving denies the Gospel.  This is why I believe this is a serious matter.  I may be totally wrong in my assessment of this song, but if I’m not, I would re-write it (which sometimes happens admittedly) to go like this:

 I was never worth saving (Rom. 3:23, Eph. 2:1-3)
But You came and changed my life (John 10:10, Eph. 2:4-9)

I was never worth keeping (Rom. 6:23a)
But You cleaned me up inside (Ezekiel 36:25-27)

I was never to die for (2 Cor. 5:21a)
But You sacrificed your life (Isa. 53)

So I could be free (John 8:36)
So I could be whole (Matt. 11:28-30)
So I could tell everyone I know (Matt. 28:20)

What are your thoughts? Feel free to comment below.  In taking the liberty to leave a comment, I would invite you to really read through the passages I have listed in full and simply referenced. Thanks!

Amazed by grace,

T.

 

Real Hope for Real Grief (Part 2)

Lighthouse
I have to admit that when the Holy Ghost (I’m feeling rather charismatic tonight) first put it on my heart to write about death and our response to it, I was very hesitant. Death is such a touchy topic and anyone who is anyone has at some point been affected by its reality. With that being said, I want to start this last post off by conveying that my intentions are not to cause anyone more pain than has already been experienced. I also do not want to minimize or trivialize death by painting this picture that from a Christian perspective, death is “cakewalk”. Instead, I want to paint the picture the Bible paints; a picture that includes suffering and joy, hope and loss, grief and glory.

I really believe that in order to grasp its depth (if that is even at all possible); we must look at both sides of the coin.

The Bad and the Ugly
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:17, N KJV)

These words though recorded by Moses, were spoken by God to Adam, humanity’s representative. Another way to put the latter portion of that verse would go like this, “…for the moment you choose to disobey me, choose yourself over me, choose to commit cosmic treason (as R.C. Sproul puts it), you will be separated/cut off from this world (eventually) and from Me (ultimately).”

Death is a byproduct of sin. It exists because man is sinful and God is holy. Sin demands justice and justice is served by death. God did not intend for death to be a part of His marvelous created order, yet he allowed it. He allowed it because His wrath would only be satisfied by it, but also because He had every intention of using it to “reverse the curse.”

Let this sink in…Our sin is so great and so damaging that it takes the loss of life and separation from God to rectify it. We are all guilty of sin and are affected and corrupted by it. Sin has so radically corrupted everyone and everything, that no one can escape death nor the realities of it. Death stinks! Man and his choices stink!

The Good
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John11:25-26, NKJV)

Talk about a shift in perspective…

This passage in the Gospel According to John is just as real as the passage in Genesis. In John though, we find out that God allowed death to become a reality, but not finality. This passage reminds us that God can take terrible circumstances and use them for the good of His children and ultimately for His Glory. Yes it is true, “ALL things work together for the good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NKJV)

As my good friend and fellow elder John Comfort always point out, here’s another example of the double-edge nature of life. On the one hand, we have this terrible reality that people are removed from this world, separated from God because of sin (in general). Yet, because of Christ there is another reality operating concurrently that screams, “Death is not the end!”

The bridge then is Christ. He makes joy possible in the face of suffering. He brings hope when we’ve experienced loss. He points us to glory while we grieve. It all happens “in Christ”; and in Christ alone.

Our first representative, Adam, led us to sin and death. Our second Adam, Jesus, leads to righteousness and life through His death AND resurrection. Because He satisfied God’s wrath on behalf of humanity death though very real is swallowed up in the victory of Christ’s resurrection (cf. 1 Corinthians 15).

This leads me to the crux and conclusion of this post. Often times when seemingly “good people” and close loved ones die, a lot of Christians tend to send people to heaven because the thought of the loved one or “good person” makes sense and eases the pain. I have gone to countless funerals and read countless posts where people have presumed that because a person has done so many good things or may have said a prayer at some point in their earthly lives, they’re in. Regardless of the person’s theology and lifestyle, heaven is the only option.

Most people would probably never openly pronounce at a funeral that the deceased person’s eternal destination is hell, but why should that give us license to claim heaven for that person, when there is no real indication that is true. In John 11 and in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (the passage I used in Part 1, the writers mention multiple times that the person who lives/will live in eternity with God in heaven, is the person who lived/died “in Christ”. This is the person whose life was hidden in Christ (cf. Colossians 3:3-4). This is the person whose life was radically transformed by Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:15-17). This is the person whose life was characterized by Christ-likeness (cf. John 15:1-11) and the list goes on.

When we disregard a deceased person’s life and send them to heaven presumptuously, we do no damage to that person (for their eternal destination has already been set), instead, we do damage to those who remain alive. What we communicate is that there is no need to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in this life, because “doing good things” covers you. What we communicate is that Scripture is true inasmuch as it doesn’t affect our ability to cope with the reality of death. What we communicate is false hope.

As Children of the Word we must stand firm on the truth of Christ that He is the only way to God and heaven; the only way. Painfully, this means that every family member will not be there on that Day. This means that countless amounts of people, who did good deeds but rejected Christ, will not make it. This means that we must be serious about this life if we want to be with Christ in the next. This means we have to be all the more diligent and zealous to proclaim the glorious, death-defying, soul-saving, bondage-breaking, new life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ to our family members, co-workers, celebrities; everybody. That whosoever will, “come” to the fountain of everlasting life. We must remind ourselves and tell others that if there is to be any hope in grief, any consolation for our pain, any joy in our sorrow, it must be by, through and in Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry, to final breath;
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

Hoping in Christ,
Terry