Monthly Archives: March 2021

A Lesson In The Desert

 

After reading a very intriguing book by Howard Blum, titled; “The Gold Of Exodus”, it’s about the search for the real Mt. Sinai. It’s a true story and it got my mind wanting to go back and dig deeper into the teaching and lessons we can learn from that epic journey Mose and the Israelites took across the desert. I pray this message that the Lord gave me while reading this book will help you grow in your walk with our Lord. 

Exodus 3: 1-15

The Burning Bush

 Now Moses was pasturing the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. Then the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush, and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not being consumed. So Moses said, “I must turn aside and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burning up!” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

And the Lord said, “I have certainly seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt and have heard their outcry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. And now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them.

 The Mission of Moses

10 And now come, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 And He said, “Assuredly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.”

13 Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” 14 And God said to Moses, “AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “This is what you shall say to the sons of Israel: ‘AM has sent me to you.’” 15 God furthermore said to Moses, “This is what you shall say to the sons of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is the name for all generations to use to call upon Me.

J. B. Phillips in his book “Your God Is Too Small” tells of how he asked a group of young people to give a snap answer to the question, “Do you think God understands radar?” They all said no, and then they roared with laughter as they considered how foolish their answer was. It showed that in the back of their minds they thought of God as an old man who lived in the past and was rather bewildered by modern progress. Nothing is more pathetic than a mature person with an immature concept of God. Such an adult is seldom a dedicated Christian or an active servant of God. More than likely they reject God completely. They mature in all other areas of life, but in their concept of God, they remain childish. To make things worse, they think the rest of us are worshipping the God of their immature conception. They think we are quite simple and unacquainted with the hard facts of life.

These people have not rejected God, for they don’t even know Him. They have only rejected a god who doesn’t exist anyway except in their own mind. What these people need is the true biblical concept of God. This is what we all need, for our conception of God controls our attitudes and actions, and it determines the measure of our devotion to Him and His will.

Is your God just a spare time God you call upon only in emergencies?

You answer that by your commitment to Him. The person who gives his God only one hour a week of his life has a very small God and not the God of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

One cannot stand in the pulpit and hand over to you an experience of the greatness of God any more than one can measure the horizon with a ruler. This can only come when a person says with Moses, “I will turn aside and see this great sight.” A man has to be willing to forsake his old concepts if he would grow in the knowledge of God as He really is.

When Martin Niemoller was in Hitler’s prison he had time to think, and he turned his thought toward God. He had to give up his old opinions about God. He wrote, “It took me a long time to learn that God is not the enemy of my enemies. He is not even the enemy of His enemies.” He had to give up the God he had created in his own image, and he came to see that God is love.

Moses needed to grow in his knowledge of God as well. God had prepared him to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. The first 40 years of his life he gained the best education possible in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, but this knowledge was not enough for the task God had for him. He needed some good practical experience, and so God in His providence saw that he got it, and for the next 40 years, he was a shepherd in Midian where he learned the ways of desert life. He learned about the plants and animals, and about water sources and hardships. Now the second 40-year training period was over, and all Moses needed now was to meet God, and this he did at the burning bush, which is the Damascus Road experience of the Old Testament. We want to look at this experience and draw from it the 3 things which God does that enlarges our concept of Him.

I. HE DEMANDS REVERENCE. v. 4-5

You will notice that God appealed to the curiosity of Moses. Some people feel that faith and curiosity are contradictory, but this is not so. The impulse to inquire and learn is essential to a growing faith. God says, “Come now let us reason together,” and all of nature is a stimulus to an investigation. Curiosity is what made Watts ask why the lid on a boiling kettle bobbed up and down? His search for an answer led to the first workable steam engine. Curiosity is what made Sir Alexander Fleming investigate a mold, which led to the discovery of penicillin. Curiosity is what led Zaccheaus to climb a tree to see Jesus, which led to his conversion. It may have killed the cat but curiosity saved him and many others.

God wants people to investigate, but we see that when Moses came near He stopped him and tells him to take off his shoes. This was a sign of reverence and God demands that. If one is going gain from his search he must come in reverence and humility, for neither God nor His creation will reveal its secrets to the proud and irreverent. “Moses was led through the gates of curiosity into the sanctuary of reverence. Those who come to God or nature in pride to force the truth from them are courting disaster. You can count on it that those working with atomic energy are reverent before its power, and they are not careless and proud as if they needed no caution in its presence. To do so would be as foolish as for a Jewish person of old to stumble into the holy of holies. The great men of science such as Copernicus, Newton, Kepler, and Edison have been men of reverence in their inquiry. Edison said, “I sit down before the law. I try to find out how the law operates. I try to bring my mind and mechanisms into harmony with the way things are, and the more I obey the law, the more the law obeys me and serves my purpose.” Success in science comes through obedience just as success in the Christian life does. This is the only way to know God and His will. You must adjust to reality and not try to twist reality to your proud and preconceived notions.

A proud self-sufficient tourist went through one of Europe’s famous art galleries looking at many great masterpieces. As he was leaving he said to the custodian, “I don’t see anything so great about these paintings.” The custodian replied, “Sir, these pictures are not on trial, those who view them are.” So it is with Scripture, God, and His Word are not on trial, but you are. You must come in reverence seeking to know God if you expect to grow. The poet wrote Earth is crammed with heaven, And every common bush aflame with God, But only he who sees takes off his shoes. The rest sit around it and pluck blackberries.

II. HE PROMISES HIS PRESENCE. v. 11-12

Moses said, “Who am I?” Forty years before Moses felt he could handle things and he killed an Egyptian, but now he is more mature and humble. He wondered how a shepherd like him could walk into the palace of Pharaoh and persuade him to let hundreds of thousands of slaves go free. It can’t be done was his thinking, and he was right if he thought the success of the plan depended on his eloquence and ability to charm Pharaoh. Without the promise of God, “Certainly I will be with you,” Moses could not have succeeded. This is the case with the Apostles as well. Without the promise of Christ to be with them, they could not have succeeded. Nor can we, or anyone else, for we all need God’s presence to be successful. With His presence comes all the other promises. If God wills it then it can be done.

The poet has written, Never say it can’t be done, It simply isn’t true. What you mean my son is it can be done, But can’t be done by you. One of the greatest fallacies in the world is that one does not count. All of history proves it to be a lie, and yet we believe it. What can I do? Problems are too big for any one person to make a difference, and so I ignore the problem and become a part of the problem. It is true that you cannot do any more than Moses could on his own, but could we believe and claim the promise of God to be present with us, then we could say with Paul, “I can do all thing through Christ who strengthens me.” When David Livingston returned to Scotland after 16 years in Africa where he suffered 27 attacks of African fever, had one arm rendered useless by the bite of a lion, lived among a people whose language he did not know, and whose attitude toward him was often hostile, he said, “Shall I tell you what supported me through all these years of exile? It was this, ‘Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.'”

There has never been a power that has been able to conquer people who live and believe in the presence of God. When Julian the Apostate was Emperor of the Roman Empire he did all he could to destroy churches and erect idols. Libanus, one of his friends, asked a Christian one day, “What is your Carpenter of Nazareth doing now?” The Christian responded, “He is making a coffin.” And soon Julian was in it and all the idols were swept away. In his dying breath, Julian cried out, “O Galilean! Thou hast conquered!” The early church believed that there has always been a success where there have been one or more persons who believe that God is with them and that through them God can accomplish His will. Moses said, “Who am I?” But that is beside the point said, God. It is not who you are but who is behind you and with you, that counts.

III. HE REVEALS HIS ESSENCE v. 13-15

To try and define God is to confine Him. Our minds cannot fully grasp His nature. This should not surprise us, for we cannot fully understand anything. The Psalmist cried out, “O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me. Thou understandeth my thought afar off.” But when he reverses the process and considers God he says, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, it is high, I cannot attain unto it.” This does not mean we must join those who think of God as a vague blur. We cannot find out by searching, but we can know who God is if he speaks to us and what he has done.

Paul constantly urges us to grow in the knowledge of God, and we can only do so by searching His revelation. Someone said, “We can never attain a maximum love of God with only a minimum knowledge of God.”

A virtuous godly man may be ignorant of many things, but his ignorance is not one of his virtues, nor is it the cause of his godliness. It would be strange if God could be loved better by being known less. What I am saying is that theology is not just for the theologian, but it is for all believers.

Imagine telling a man who is going to drive across a field and over a hill that he better watch out for the tree just over the hill, and he says, “Don’t talk to me about trees. I’m a motorist and not a botanist.” This is carrying specialization too far, for that tree is not only a fact of botany but a fact of life. Likewise, God is not just a fact of theology, but He is the greatest fact of life.

The first and most basic fact that God reveals here to Moses is that He is a Person and a God of persons. Those who know God only as He is revealed in nature come to think of Him as a power rather than a Person. They call Him the first cause, the unmoved mover, the cosmic organism, or the stream of tendency. It is easy to see how they arrive at this conclusion, for power is what nature reveals. A prominent physicist tells us that if we had to pay for the light bill from the sun at one penny per kilowatt, one-hundredth millionth part of a second would cost us more than World War II. Thank God he doesn’t charge for His power. The Bible tells us that this power has its source in a Person, and it goes further yet and even says He can be known as a Father. God is not a power that is unconcerned for us, but He is a Person whom we can know by faith in Jesus Christ. The Christian attitude to the wonders of the universe is in the words of the hymn, “This is my Father’s world.” All of reality should take on new meaning to one who knows God.

A mother rushed up the stairs as a thunderstorm broke loose thinking her little boy would be frantic with fear, but she found him at the window with his eyes bright with excitement. He was shouting loudly with every clap of thunder, “Bang it again God! Bang it again!” He had no fear of the power because he knew the Person behind the power.

The second thing God reveals about Himself is that He is the Eternal Present One. God never began, but always is. If He began then whatever caused His beginning would be greater than God. When the skeptic asks when did God begin, he is contradicting himself and does not realize it because of his false concept of God. He is asking when did that which had no beginning begin? God by very definition is without beginning. How far down is a bottomless pit?

Bottomless by very definition eliminates the possibility of giving any meaning to the question of how far down? How long is eternity? This is asking when does that end which by definition has no end. If you ask where was God before creation, you are asking where was God when there wasn’t anywhere, and where was God when there wasn’t any when. You might say that you don’t get it, and you are not alone, for eternity is just not part of our experience. About all, we can say about it is that it is not time, and we cannot think apart from time.

Eternity is ever-present, but in contrast, time is never present. You might say that it is right now, but that is not so for even in saying the word now you see the constant flow of time. By the time you say the w the end is already past, and when you finish the word the time you referred to is already gone. The present is so short, and so all of life is either in the past or the future, whereas in eternity all is present. The present is just the hole in the needle through which the thread of time passes for us, but for God, it is where He dwells beyond any of the limitations of time.

What God says to Moses implies many things about the nature of God. The important thing is that we begin to see that the God of Scripture is greater than any concept that man has. The gods that many atheists reject are puny concepts that have nothing to do with the God of Scripture. We do not believe in the gods most people reject either. They are often the product of man’s imagination and not God’s revelation. On the other hand, we do not believe in the many gods that others create in their own image. The god of the alcoholic is liquor and they are deeply devoted to their god. They love neither father nor mother more than it, and they will go to any length for it. There are many such gods that people are devoted to, but they are not the God revealed in Scripture through Jesus. He alone is worthy of our worship and devotion.

God taught Moses that He demands reverence, promises His presence, and reveals His essence to those who seek Him and obey Him. Your God is not big enough if He is not this God who revealed Himself to Moses and more completely through His Son Jesus Christ.

God taught Moses that He demands reverence, promises His presence, and reveals His essence to those who seek Him and obey Him. 

Until we get together again …  Peace and remember … God’s love to you!

My prayer;    

Lord, thank you for standing by us and loving us through our sins. We ask you daily to forgive us and know your heart breaks for those who are lost. Show us how to do more for your kingdom and the strength and wisdom to do it.

In Jesus name, we pray,

AMEN

 

What About Suicide? Here’s The Biblical Truth…

 

Romans 8: 37-39

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In this message today I am approaching a topic that weighs on the hearts and minds of many people. In fact, during this Covid pandemic/lockdown suicides in our country have reached a pandemic state of its’ own. This particular message is the one  ALL believers need to approach with reverence to God’s word, not with what they think or have been misled to believe but to follow the directions in the word.

Suicide has been said to be a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The name suicide comes from the Latin word “sui”, meaning “of oneself”, and –cida, meaning “to kill”. And statistics show us a wide range of people have contemplated and committed suicide. Over 25,000 Americans commit suicide each year. Over one million will try but only one out of fifteen will succeed. It is the tenth highest killer in the U.S. More will die by suicide than by murder. The model age for attempting suicide is 32 for men and 27 for women. The model age of succeeding is 50-54 for men and women. Men kill themselves twice as often as women, but women attempt suicide twice as often as men. There are over 5,000 suicides among teenagers each year. Some 10,000 college students will attempt suicide in a year. It is the second-highest cause of death among young people aged 15-24 surpassed only by accidents. Thirteen young adults each day consider life not worth living. That is twice as many as ten years ago and three times as many as twenty years ago. One report indicated that as many as 12 percent of all school-aged children will contemplate suicide at least once in their formative years. The bad news is these numbers were calculated before Covid 19 hit. Some studies indicate these numbers, in some demographics, have already doubled.

These startling statistics should give us pause, especially as we approach ministry in the church. Too often, the subject of suicide is something that is swept under the rug as a church addresses given needs. We like to talk about other ministry issues, but when suicide is present, the church is nowhere to be found, and experts outside of the church are left to mend the trail of broken hearts. However, I believe the church must recapture its ministry in this important area by addressing both what the Bible has to say and presenting tools to individuals who have suffered through this experience.

While the Bible itself does not include the actual word suicide, there are at least seven different times in Scripture where a person took his or her own life.

In Judges 9, the son of Gideon named Abimelech committed suicide. As a wicked ruler, he killed his seventy brothers in order to rule Israel, and during a revolt, a woman dropped a millstone on his head from a tower above. And before he was to die, Abimelech called his armor-bearer over and asked him to kill him because he didn’t want it said about him that a woman killed him.

In Judges 16, we remember the story of the powerful Samson, who fell in love with Delilah, and eventually allowed her and the Philistines to know that God granted him strength through his hair. After the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes, they chained him to the pillars as they held a great sacrifice to the god Dagon. In one last thrust of power granted by God, Samson pushed the pillars with all his might and collapsed the entire structure. Just before he died, Samson prayed to God, “Let me die with the Philistines!”

In 1 Samuel 31, Saul and his men were also fighting the Philistines, and when the effort grew fierce, the archers wounded him critically. Saul then asked his armor-bearer to draw his sword and run him through, but when his armor-bearer refused, Saul took his own sword and fell on it. And when his armor-bearer saw what had happened, in a state of hopelessness he too fell on his sword and died.

There are also the stories of Ahithophel and Zimri. In 2 Samuel 17:23 when Ahithophel realized his advice had not been followed as a respected prophet, and so he saddled his donkey, went to his hometown, put his house in order, and then hanged himself. In 1 Kings 16, Zimri murdered the king of Israel Elah and took his place. When the rest of Israel learned what had happened, they pursued him, and Zimri retreated to the king’s palace. There he set it on fire and remained inside.

Probably the most memorable to us of all the suicide accounts is the story of Judas, the disciple of Jesus who sold him out to the Roman authorities for his arrest. Matthew 27 tells us that when Judas saw that Jesus was condemned he was seized with remorse and went away and hung himself in his despair.

And so from those in Scripture who committed suicide, we are able to gain a window into some of the thoughts and expressions experienced by a person contemplating suicide. Feelings of hopelessness, despair, utter disappointment, pride, anger, and frustration can all be present.

But there are also other Scriptures that discuss the temptation of suicide. In fact, we learn through the Bible that even the very best of individuals were tempted to commit suicide. Take Jesus for example. During his struggle in the wilderness, the devil took Jesus to a high place and said “throw yourself down”. Some even speculate that since Jesus’ purpose in life was to eventually die for the sins of humanity, that act of his death on the cross could be considered the fulfillment of suicide since he allowed it to happen. Or how about Paul? When he wrote to the church in Philippi he shared, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know. I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but there is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” And so Paul also struggled with his longing to see Christ and expedite matters instead of completing his ministry through God’s timing.

But for those temptations or thoughts that occurred, the Bible states plainly that suicide is unacceptable. As Christians, our lives have been bought and paid for through the action of Jesus Christ. Paul shares in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” And so selfish behavior on our part is not an option. In fact, Romans 14:7 & 8 states, “For none of us lives to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”

When a person commits suicide, it can be a very selfish, unthinking act—designed only to gratify themselves and cause remorse for those around them. In those circumstances, a person does not consider God or his plan for their life. But there are also other times when suicide is the result of a mental illness or incapacity of rational thought. Some people who go through the difficulty of bipolar disorders, or suffer from severe depression can be dangerously susceptible to suicide, especially if they are not receiving medical treatment or counseling.

And so there’s a wide range of thoughts, feelings, and actions that are present in suicide, which leads us to our question of if suicide is unforgivable. Of course, it’s important to point out at the very beginning that this is a slanted question. For many years, the conventional thought of many in the church is that suicide is an unforgivable sin. Augustine argued in the fifth century that suicide was a violation of the sixth commandment, “You shall not murder.” Later, Thomas Aquinas, being catholic and believing that confession of sin must be made prior to departure from one world to the next, taught that suicide was the most fatal of all sins because the victim could not repent of it. This is based on the fact that if a person dies while they are committing a sinful act, they are unable then to confess that sin and ask for forgiveness.

These are incredibly damaging and unbiblical views. Merely from our own personal standpoint, these ideas can be easily refuted. All I need to do is ask you two questions. First of all, do you sin? The obvious answer is yes. And secondly, have you confessed each and every sin that you have committed in your life. The obvious answer is no. There are sins we forget, there are even sins that we commit that we are not aware of. And so by that logic, each of us would still be susceptible to the eternal fires of hell and still unable to receive the grace given through Jesus Christ. But Scripture tells us that is not the case. John 5:24 informs us, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

You see, the problem with the view that suicide is unforgivable is that it represents a gross misunderstanding of eternal security. We are saved by the grace of God, not by works. Ephesians 2:8 & 9 tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” And we are told in Romans in our text for this morning that God has the ultimate ability to bridge the separation between us and him. Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Those who want to say that suicide is unforgivable attempt to make suicide an elevated sin—a sin that is heightened to a status that even God himself cannot forgive. There are two problems with this. First, such a stance limits the conditions by which God can or cannot forgive someone—resulting in us essentially placing God in a box. Secondly, there is only one unpardonable sin that is ever mentioned within the Bible. In Matthew 12:31 Jesus says, “Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.”

Sometimes in our desire to have things cut and dry, black and white, we run headlong into extremist views without allowing compassion and mercy to be present. And unfortunately, the church has frequently erred on the side of judgment rather than mercy. I’ve known churches that have refused to host a funeral service for someone who has committed suicide. In years past, people who committed suicide were not allowed to be buried in the church cemetery next to their family or brothers and sisters in Christ. In those instances, the church has lost critical opportunities to minister and has unfortunately turned people away from the loving presence of Jesus Christ.

But still, it is important to be incredibly cautious of our approach to this issue. Suicide cannot be condoned, and it should not be dealt with lightly. I dare to say that not every person who has committed suicide will go to heaven, and not every person who has committed suicide will go to hell. In essence, those decisions are not ours anyway, they are God’s.

 

It’s important that we minister effectively in such critical times, and if you are contemplating suicide, or know someone who is, there are some insights that can help you in those difficult times. First of all, don’t be afraid to call someone and ask for help. Don’t let pride get in the way. Much of Satan’s power to convince those who feel unloved and hopeless is found in his ability to keep them isolated and removed from those who can lift them up.

Secondly, ask Jesus Christ to give you new hope and to give your life meaning. His life indwells you, and His resources are constantly available in your most desperate moment. If you are not the one struggling with the issue of suicide but have a friend or someone in your family who seems to have given up, there are some things you can do to help that person.

Be able to recognize clues the person may be giving, either consciously or subconsciously. Look for symptoms such as depression, signs of hopelessness, lethargy, and so on. Listen for threats and words of warning, such as, “I have nothing to live for.” Be aware of whether the person becomes withdrawn and isolated from others. Trust your judgment. If you believe there is an imminent threat of suicide, trust your instincts. Don’t let others dissuade you from loving intervention.

Tell others. Don’t worry about breaking a confidence if the person is obviously contemplating suicide or says he or she has a plan. As soon as possible, involve the help of others, such as parents, friends, spouse, teachers, ministers, physicians, anyone in a position to assist the distressed individual.

Stay with the person. If you believe the person is in danger of carrying out the plan, do not leave the person alone. Wait with the person until medical help arrives or the crisis has passed.

Listen. Encourage the person to talk to you. Refrain from giving pat answers that could further depress the person who is on the verge of giving up. Listen and empathize with the person.

Urge professional help. Stress the necessity of getting help for the individual. And finally, be supportive. Show the person that you care. Do what you can to help the person feel worthwhile and valuable to you.

Lewis Smedes, professor of theology and ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary was asked this very question about suicide in the July 2000 issue of Christianity Today. He summarized his thoughts by writing,

“I believe that, as Christians, we should worry less about whether Christians who have killed themselves go to heaven, and worry more about how we can help people like them find hope and joy in living. Our most urgent problem is not the morality of suicide but the spiritual and mental despair that drags people down to it. Loved ones who have died at their own hands we can safely trust to our gracious God. Loved ones whose spirits are even now slipping so silently toward death, these are our burden.” God desires for us to have life, and to live it abundantly. As painful as your experiences are in your days on this earth, we serve a God who helps us overcome those feelings to experience a deeper meaning of his love. The pain of suicide can run deep, for those who have been tempted by it, and for families who have experienced its darkness. In those times of despair and sadness, it’s critical that we allow God to take over and carry the burdens we bear. It is only through God’s grace that sorrow can be turned into joy. And the cross of Christ has the power to heal even the most painful of circumstances.

I pray this message helps those in need that are suffering and need the light of hope to shine. We, here at; “On The Road For Christ” are ready and willing to listen and come alongside to help you work through your difficult time. Nothing is too big for God, give us a call (907.315.3394) or text us. Our email address is prospectorsforgod@gmail.comIf you’re in a ministry we’ll be glad to agree in prayer for your needs too. 

Until we get together again, may God’s mercy and grace abound in your life and all your prayers are answered.

My prayer for you:

Father, forgive us, help us to understand and help the needs of others. Give us a caring heart and always reconize that alone we can do nothing, but through You, we can do all things.

I pray comfort and peace overall in turmoil and if they don’t know you someone will come along and show the way to obtain a peace beyond all understanding. 

We thank you Lord and give you all the praise and glory…

In Jesus name, we pray,

AMEN

 

What Happens When We Die?

 

 

Job 14:14 “If a man dies will he live again?”

Is this all there is to life? What happens when we die? If we die is that it? Are we simply absorbed into the cosmos? What lies beyond the grave? Is there life after death? Death and dying are inevitable parts of human life. We are all going to die? But will we all live again?

What do philosophers and religion say about life after death? What does the Bible tell us? Let’s take a look …

What the world says about Death

  1. Cessation of Existence -“When you’re dead—you’re dead.”
  2. There are those who teach that you cease to exist when you die – you are annihilated. Death ends everything; it leads to utter nothingness. It is the same as never existing in the first place.
  3. Such a belief fosters the Epicurean philosophy of life.
  4. Reincarnation – “You are a cuckoo bird appearing through windows of time in various forms and stages”
  5. Reincarnation is the belief you have lived many previous lives and after you die you will return in another life form. If you have lived a good life, you come back as a higher life form, but if you haven’t, you will be reborn as a bug or snake or even a slug.
  6. Leo Tolstoy – “As we live through thousands of dreams in our present life, so is our present life only one of many thousands of such lives which we enter from the other more real life and then return after death.”
  7. Soul Sleep – R.I.P. – between the time of our individual deaths, and the time of the final resurrection and judgment, we will be in an “unconscious” state.
  8. Soul sleep’ is the idea that after death the soul ‘sleeps’ until the final resurrection. The soul is said to hibernate until the resurrection- when it is then awakened and reunited with its body. A belief held by SDAs, JWs, Christadelphians, and various cults.
  1. Universal immortality – God is good all the time and won’t condemn anyone.
  2. Universalism is a belief that all people will be “universally restored” after they die. In other words, it teaches that everyone regardless of how they lived their lives on earth will eventually end up redeemed in heaven.
  3. Mormonism teaches that “We either go to a Spirit world or to a place called Paradise. People, who received the gospel and were baptized into Christ’s church by someone having authority in this life, go to Paradise to wait to be judged according to the work and deeds in life and to be rejoined with their resurrected (renewed) bodies. If you didn’t have the opportunity to accept the gospel in this life then you have the opportunity to learn more about it in the Spirit World and will have the opportunity to accept it there as you are waiting to be resurrected. Thanks to our Savior Jesus Christ we will all live again.” (copied – mormon.org)
  4. What the Scriptures teach about Life after Death
  5. Luke 16:19-26 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, ’Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ’Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. ’And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.”
  6. There is Eternal Consciousness after Death
  7. Verse 23 – “And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”
  8. Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now; I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal- a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever. – D.L. Moody
  9. When John Owen, the great Puritan, lay on his deathbed his secretary wrote (in his name) to a friend, “I am still in the land of the living.” “Stop,” said Owen. “Change that and say, I am yet in the land of the dying, but I hope soon to be in the land of the living.” – John M. Drescher.
  10. One Retains His Individuality after Death
  11. Verse 24 “”But Abraham said, ’Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.”
  12. After death, Lazarus was still Lazarus and the rich man was still the rich man.
  13. You will still be you after you die.
  14. The Bible says that hell is a place of conscience and memory where should you not come to Christ, you will remember your opportunities to avoid going there and what suffering you could have spared yourself.
  15. You will Either Spend Eternity in Suffering or Comfort
  16. A recent poll reveals that 89% of Americans believe in Heaven while 73% believe in Hell. When asked where they think they will go when they die, 3 out of 4 think they will go to Heaven while only 2% believe they will end up in Hell.
  17. Verse 23-25 “And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. “Then he cried and said, ’Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ “But Abraham said, ’Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.”
  18. Your Decision in Life will Determine Your Destiny After Death
  19. There is no way out. Once you are there that is where you stay
  20. Verse 26 “And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.”
  21. Once in Heaven, always in Heaven; once in Hell, always in Hell. No one can pass from one place to another.
  22. “It’s choice, not chance, that determines our destiny.”–Brian Tracy
  23. In Acts 24 we read that the Apostle Paul presented the Gospel to Felix, and Felix was so convicted by the Holy Spirit of God that he actually “trembled.” He had heard the Gospel and now had to make a decision either to trust the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior, or reject Him, and continue on the broad road to Hell. Well, what was his decision? He said to the Apostle Paul, “Go thy way for this time when I have a convenient season I will call for thee.” Friend, he made the wrong decision… Proverbs 27:1, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” Listen, you and I have no guarantee that we’ll be alive at this time tomorrow. In fact, today’s date may be on our tombstone as the date of our death. Solemn thought, is it not? Yes, and that’s the reason that you, who are still “in the valley of decision,” should make the right decision today, and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your own and personal Saviour. Tomorrow may be too late! 
  24. I pray this message has helped you understand your real future, not this life’s future, we’re only here for a vaper. I’m talking about where you’ll spend eternity… It’s your choice.

Until we get together again stay safe and many blessings to you! 

My prayer:

Father, I ask on behalf of all that read our messages that they will accept you as their Lord and savior and in doing so they will secure their future in your kingdom for all eternity. It’s by grace and not by deed that we can be accepted. We thank you for your Son, only through Him will we enter.

Lord heal our land … our world and bring a great revival over us. We ask these things in the precious name of Jesus … AMEN

 

Disclaimer: No claims of originality are made. Source material for this message has been gleaned from many different sources. I have attempted to acknowledge these sources whenever possible.

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