I have an invader at my home. This invader sneaks around and does his vandalism unawares. This green monster brings death and destruction and I am helpless against it. He is known as the Emerald Ash Borer.
I have two Ash trees, one in front and the other in back. Both have this invader. The younger, in the back, is already dead. The older, in the front, is our largest tree and has only a 50/50% chance of surviving, and that’s only if we treat it. With the cost at $150 to treat it and no guarantee, we’ve decided to take it down and replant. How discouraging.
There is another invader that vandalizes our lives. He is called Sin. He bores deep within our hearts and destroys with imaginations like jealousy, fear, doubt, and pride. These infestations erode our faith and we are helpless against him. But Jesus has overcome the world with its emphases on sin. Through Christ we are conquerors. We need a guaranteed treatment by being renewed in our minds (Romans 12:2).
Tags: death, disease, invasion, sin
One of the roles I am called on to fulfill is helping people deal with end-of-life issues. And that’s a difficult place to be in. As a Christian who believes in the supernatural, and who has seen many miracles of healing in people’s lives, how do we accept defeat when death finally comes?
And yet, on the other hand, we are expected to believe that there is a heaven and a Savior waiting to receive us into Father’s House. Do we prolong life or do we eagerly anticipate its end? When doctors say that a person’s condition is ‘terminal’ (incurable and ending in imminent death) do we rejoice or fall into hopelessness, or something in between?
An ethics question that we’ll be hearing more about in coming days will be about helping people pass from this life to the next. Is it really life if a life-support machine is necessary to keep body organs functioning. When (and how) does a loving family ‘pull the plug’ on a loved one? These are questions that physicians and ministers, and families, are asking. And we each need a signed living will down in writing someplace.
Psalm 23:6 sums it up well for a believer: “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” I win if I stay, and I win if I leave.
Tags: death, ethics, heaven, life
A little boy went to the store and asked the clerk for a box of Duz detergent. “What do you need that for?” asked the clerk, and the boy answered, “To wash my dog.”
“That’s pretty strong stuff for washing a dog,”, warned the clerk, but the boy insisted that Duz was what he wanted. So the clerk sold it to him, reminding, “Now be careful when you wash your dog. That detergent is strong, and could kill him.”
A week later the boy came into the store again and the clerk asked, “How’s your dog?” The boy explained that the dog had died. The clerk said, “I’m sorry, but I tried to warn you that Duz was too strong.”
The little boy shook his head and said, “I don’t think it was the Duz that did it. I think it was the rinse cycle that got him.”
Sometimes we hear a warning without really hearing. God gives us enough warnings in the Bible that we really have no excuse.
Tags: clean, death, warning
There is a large country cemetery near a DeKalb County ghost-town known as Fairfield Center. At the main entrance was a yellow caution sign that read: ‘Dead End’. This was placed by the county because the entrance was directly across from a road that ended there. So, people unfamiliar could mistake the cemetery entrance for the continuance of the road. And there was no outlet. And the county wasn’t maintaining the cemetery drives.
For years I would chuckle at the sign every time I officiated at a burial there. Then one day it abruptly disappeared. I asked the funeral director what happened to the ‘Dead End’ sign. He explained that some elderly lady was offended at the sign where her dearly beloved was being interred. So the sign was replaced.
Have you ever chosen a word or phrase that had a secondary meaning, thus unintentionally getting yourself into trouble? What was a compliment from you became an insult to the other. The Bible tells us that our tongues are “a world of evil among the parts of our body” (James 3:6). Watch your tongue today; it might bite you.
Tags: cemetery, death, tongue, words
Steve Jobs said in a 2005 Commencement address: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
We only get one go around in life. Just one chance to make our world a better place. Just one chance to connect with God and make a difference. The years are rolling on and we only have a little time left in this one chance.
Remembering that you’ll be dead soon ought to motivate you to take more risks, stand up bolder and speak a little louder. Its your one chance. What will you do with your chance?
Tags: death, Steve Jobs, success
The great missionary and pastor, Lester Sumrall, once wrote: “Little things can kill.
Mr. James Kruch was aboard the S. S. Titanic when it struck an iceberg in April, 1912. He was miraculously rescued from the frigid waters of the North Atlantic.
James Kruch was also aboard the S. S. Lusitania May 7, 1915 on the same vast Atlantic Ocean when a German sub torpedoed the vessel. Again he was rescued and survived a sea tragedy.
Later, crossing a shallow stream of water, he collapsed and drowned in less than one foot of water.
Little things can kill.
Mr. Berkeley was a famous mountain climber and explorer. He had shot lions and tigers in the wild, but he died not from a man-eating tiger, but from the scratch of a barnyard cat. He took blood poisoning and it killed him.
Little things can kill.
The famous Blondin made the world gasp as he walked across the turbulent Niagara Falls on a tightrope. But Blondin died from an accident, of tripping over a doormat outside his home.
Little things can bring death.”
Let’s be sure we never let little things come between us and God.
Tags: death, little, small
Yesterday Anita and I attended the funeral of an old friend, Rev. Jimmie Olinske. Pastor Olinske used to pastor in Ray, Indiana, right on the Indiana/Michigan border, and then in Marion, Indiana. He once told me there were three spellings for the European surname ‘Olinske’. Germans/Autrians spell it -ski, Russians spell it -sky, and Polish spell it -ske. Pastor Jim was Polish and he loved to tell Pollack jokes. As a matter of fact, he loved to tell any kind of joke. He just made life fun. As we passed the casket to pay our final respects, my wife commented, “Good-bye, my jolly friend”. He was always jolly.
Now, the Bible is silent on whether there is laughter and fun in heaven. Most of what we read about heaven is pretty serious stuff. But laughter and fun are a quality of the soul, and the soul is distinct from the body. Since Pastor Jim’s soul is in heaven with Jesus, I’m convinced there will be laughter in heaven with Pastor Jim there.
What do you think about it? Do you think there will be laughter in heaven? Why or why not?
Tags: death, heaven, laughter