During the American Civil War, a farmer in New York was drafted for the Union Army. Selective Service was not what it is today. His wife had died and he was the sole support of his young children. But then an unmarried man in the town who had no dependents came to his home and offered to go to war in his place.
For the sake of his children, the farmer accepted the offer. The generous friend marched off to battle, and in the first engagement he was shot and killed.
When the farmer heard what had happened, he went to the scene of the battle and brought back the body. He buried his friend in the village churchyeard, and had these words engraved on the headstone: HE DIED FOR ME.
The Bible relates that to us. Paul said of Christ: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Think about this today.
Tags: Civil War, death, substitute
Yesterday morning Anita and I had a disturbing task to take care of. One of our two cats came home after two days missing. It appears she had been hit by a car. She was walking about but was in terrible shape. Because that cat never liked me, Anita had to pick her up and put her in a box.
We took her to the vet, who agreed with us that the damage was beyond repair and the best option was to put her to sleep. So he did that and we took her back home and buried her in our backyard. That was a sad occasion, as this cat was a faithful friend to my wife.
The death of a beloved pet is a great opportunity to learn about life from a Christian perspective. Death is the process of a Christian entering heaven. Our old, worn and weakened body falls to sleep and a believer’s soul is escorted into heaven by angels (ministering spirits). Those who remain mourn the loss, but we understand the departed is in a better place. So, death is bittersweet for a believer.
Whose passing have you recently mourned and what did God reveal to you in that process?
Tags: death, loss, mourning, pets
Sarah Winchester’s husband had acquired a fortune by manufacturing and selling rifles. After he died of influenza in 1918, she moved to San Jose, California.
Becuase of her grief and long-time interest in spiritism, Sarah sought out a medium to contact her dead husband. The medium told her, “As long as you keep building your home, you will never face death.”
Sarah believed the spiritist, so she bought an unfinished 17-room mansion and started to expand it. The project continued until she died at the age of 85. It cost 5 million dollars at a time when workmen earned 50 cents a day. The mansion had 150 rooms, 13 bathrooms, 2,000 doors, 47 fireplaces, and 10,000 windows. And Mrs. Winchester left enough materials so that they could have continued building for another 80 years.
Today that house stands as an oddity tourist attraction, with stairways leading to no place and doors that open into a literal brick wall. It is a silent witness to the dread of death that holds millions of people in bondage (Hebrews 2:15).
You don’t have to be afraid of dying. If Christ has paid for your sins, only blessings lay ahead. That’s life because of the Resurrection. Do you know someone who is paranoid about dying?
Tags: build, death, fear, spiritism, Winchester
Easter is known as ‘Resurrection Day’ around the world. Resurrection gives us hope for the future regardless of our today. When famous scientist Marie Curie, who along with her husband, Pierre, discovered radium, learned that her husband had just died in an accident, she exclaimed, “It is the end of everything, everything, everything!”
When German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer was sentenced to be hanged in 1945 by the Nazis the next morning, he declared, “For me, this is the beginning.”
Do you see death as the end of your existence or the real beginning? That’s where faith comes in.
Tags: death, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Easter, Marie Curie, resurrection
Today is Good Friday and the local community service is tonight at New Hope from 7-8PM. I would love to see you here.
Winston Churchill (1874-1965) was British Prime Minister during World War 2. He stirred a war-weary people to fight and made international alliances that helped to win the war.
He made some specific requests regarding his funeral service. He asked that it begin with the playing of “Taps”, the traditional military signal played at the end of the day or the end of life. We often hear “Taps” played at graveside services for veterans in our country.
But when Churchill’s funeral service was over, those in attendance were startled to hear trumpets play the familiar strains of “Reveille,” the stirring call that awakens troops at the beginning of a new day. Did Churchill have it backwards, or did he have a keen insight into his own future?
Paul wrote: “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
Tags: death, funeral, resurrection, Winston Churchill
Tomorrow is Good Friday, the day we recognize Christ’s death on the cross. Don’t forget about the Good Friday Community Service, hosted at New Hope, from 7-8PM. Pastor David Mathews, of the United Methodist Church, will be speaking.
What do you think about death? Do you see it as a good thing or a bad thing? No one knows for sure what Benjamin Franklin believed about life after death. He remained conspicuously silent about it, except for what he wrote in his own epitaph:
The Body of
B. Franklin, printer,
(like the cover of an old book,
its contents torn out and stripped of its lettering and gilding)
lies here, food for worms.
But the work shall not be lost;
for it will (as he believed)
appear once more,
in a new and more elegant edition,
revised and corrected
by the Author.
This epitaph confirms Paul’s statement in Philippians 3:20-21 that the risen Lord will transform our corruptible bodies, making them like His own glorious body. What will your epitaph say about your hope?
Tags: B. Franklin, body, death, resurrection
John G. Paton (1824-1907) was a pioneering missionary who worked in an area that was inhabited by cannibals. The depth of his commitment to Christ was demonstrated by his reply to what an elderly acquaintance said to him as he was making preparations to leave for the field. His friend expressed a fear that Paton might be eaten by cannibals.
Paton responded, “Mr. Dixon, you are advanced in years now, and your prospect is to be soon laid in the grave and to be eaten by worms. I confess to you that if I can but live and die serving the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by cannibals or worms.”
That’s a great example of what Paul meant when he wrote, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Live life to the full today.
Tags: cannibal, death, life, missionary