e429

Desiring to build others up & give grace to those who visit

Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

Death comes to us all, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

I’m numb. I don’t know what to think. I feel like I should be feeling more, but I don’t. Not yet, anyway.

At nearly 40 years old, I still don’t expect to lose people around my age. I definitely don’t expect to lose friends I’ve known my whole life. And if it does happen, I expect it to come after a long fight against cancer or some other disease process. I surely don’t expect it to happen suddenly & in a way that looks random from our point of view.

How do you process that kind of break? Especially in these days of social media when you see what’s going on in everybody’s lives so frequently? One moment a life is being lived, posts are being published about that life, & the next…you find out the account will never have another post from that person again. Time will appear to stop at that last published post.

We don’t know our days. We aren’t guaranteed even our next breath. But it’s so hard to live, to really live, in that knowledge. We expect to go to sleep & rise again the next morning. We expect to go about the mundane & not so mundane days of our lives in perpetuity. At least, that’s how I feel most of the time—not consciously, mind you, but practically anyway. Even though I know it’s not true. Even though I recognize that my next heartbeat comes only if the Lord wills.

This life is pointless & death is meaningless if the universe & life are merely random coincidences. If I state the first part of that last sentence without the qualifying clause at the end (“This life is pointless & death is meaningless”), we know on its face, in our guts, that it is a patently false statement. We can suppress that knowledge, but there is a gut reaction to a statement like that which tells us something is wrong with it. When someone we know dies, especially someone we care about, we know life & death are not meaningless. If they were, we wouldn’t ache for the loss we feel; we wouldn’t grieve over that person no longer being here. But we do. We ache because something meaningful is gone from our lives. We grieve over the loss.

There is meaning there. There is meaning in the life as a reflection of the One who created it. And there is meaning in the death because we are reminded that death is not natural, that it is not right, that there is something wrong about people dying.

When death is a drawn out process, we can see the wrongness of it; we can see how disease is unnatural. And we also, many times, get to see how God uses that time to soften hearts, to bring family & friends close, to let people serve one another out of love, to let us see people suffer well which reflects Christ.

But when death is sudden & unexpected? It may seem more unfair because we don’t get the time to say our goodbyes or to process what has happened like we do with terminal illnesses. It hurts. Maybe not more but probably more acutely much of the time.

Life goes on. Sometimes it takes awhile for those closest to the death, but it still eventually goes on. In the meantime, don’t waste the death, the ache, the grief. Use it wisely. Mourn with those who mourn. Serve them (even if it’s just being there). Take the time to think about death & life & what meaning there is in them. Ask yourself the hard questions about this life & about what happens at death. Think about the options & what explains our experience of life on this earth the best. Does it make sense that there is no real meaning to it, that we are just a cosmic accident? Does it make sense that there are a plethora of gods who compete for various aspects of this life & world? Does it make sense that there is a single god who is distant from its creation & impersonal?

Or does is make more sense that there is one God who created all & made it good, but whose creation rebelled against Him resulting in evil touching all aspects of that creation leading to death & destruction? A God who cares for what He has created & takes a personal interest in the lives of His children, who cared so much that He revealed Himself to His creation & went so far as to insert Himself into His own creation to save His chosen ones from destruction?

These are hard things to think about, but they are worthy to be considered. Especially in times like this: when death has come suddenly, unexpectedly; when it has come in a way that seems so unfair to us who are still living; when we can’t help but consider our own mortality.

Think on these things. Dwell on them even as you grieve. Even as you mourn with those who mourn. Even as you love those still living. Even as you serve them.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:3-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Advertisements

A Eulogy Of Sorts

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything, but something happened today that got my mind churning & made me want to share some thoughts. My uncle died today, and I’ve been dwelling on that as well as something my cousin posted on social media. Maybe this is my way of processing his death or maybe this is just a way for me to help organize my thoughts. Either way, I’ve been feeling the need to write this. 

A little background first: my uncle Dave was a wonderful guy to be around. He loved to kid around–poke you in that ticklish spot on your side just below the ribs, give you a cow bite on the thigh, make a good-natured joke about your height or hair or whatnot. When I picture him in my mind, I always see him with a smile on his face or asleep–he could nap just about anywhere. He was a large man, a bit rotund you might say. I can’t recall him being any other way, but it fit him if you know what I mean; he was jolly Uncle Dave. He loved to hunt & his home was filled with the trophies of his sport. But Uncle Dave had a heart condition, had had it since he was a child, a kind of congenital heart disease (CHD). He was having a heart procedure earlier today & didn’t survive it. I don’t know yet all the details, but they’re really not important right now anyway. 
CHD runs in his family, & my cousin has lost two daughters to it as well. After he passed away, my cousin posted [edited]: 

“I HATE CHD!! F— you heart defects!”

That post has been on mind since seeing it almost as much as my Uncle Dave, aunt, & cousins. Why? Because I believe the sentiment is correct. I think we can rightly hate diseases & defects of all kinds: CHD, cancer, asthma, allergies, & on & on & on ad nauseam. These are things that we know aren’t right, that we know deep down don’t belong in this world. And it can create a raw anger when a tragic event like this occurs. 
But what should be the effect of that anger? Or how should it be directed? There are likely a lot of possible responses; some of them harmful & some of them at least somewhat helpful. However, what I propose is the proper effect or what I hope it causes, especially in those closest to the tragedy, is a longing–a longing for something better, a better place, a place that doesn’t have any of this misery. 

If you feel that kind of longing, there’s a reason for it. And it’s not some ethereal floating on clouds, playing harps place the longing is for; that place isn’t real (& let’s face it, that sounds terribly boring; who would really want that?!). 

No, that longing is for something real, someplace tangible. It’s the longing for God’s good creation before sin’s effect began marring all of the created world. It’s harkening back to Eden & forward to the new Heaven & new Earth. It is a longing that can only be satisfied by following One Path. There is One Way to one day gain entrance to that real place in which all disease, all defect, all misery will be naught; all other paths lead to never-ending misery. The only Path that will satisfy your longing is reached through belief in Jesus the Christ: belief that He existed temporally (on this earth), that He exists eternally, that He fulfilled God’s law (lived a perfect life without sin), that He died & in that death took on the punishment for breaking God’s law that we deserve, & that He was resurrected from the dead (which provides the proof that He is who He says He is). 

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

I am thankful for that longing & even that it intensifies during grief. And I am thankful for the hope that the longing will one day be satisfied. 

Please be praying for my family & especially for my aunt & cousins. Pray for comfort in the midst of their grief. Pray that hearts would be softened & not hardened toward Christ. And pray that no matter what, Christ would be glorified. 

Uncle Dave, you will be sorely missed. You were much loved by many people, & many will grieve bitterly over your passing. Though you will not see this, I would that you know I love you & I will miss you!

I am not good

I want to be a good father
I am not
I want to be a good husband
I am not
I want to be a good son
I am not
I want to be a good grandson
I am not
I want to be a good brother
I am not
I want to be a good cousin
I am not
I want to be a good employee
I am not
I want to be a good coworker
I am not
I want to be a good teacher
I am not
I want to be a good friend
I am not
I want to be a good leader
I am not
I want to be a good follower
I am not
I want to be a good servant
I am not

I want to be good
I am not

But…

Praise God!
Jesus was, is, & forever will be!
He is my goodness!
I am not.

Even Now, I Still Have A Long Way To Go

[Originally posted on Facebook on 04/28/2009]

Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about God and what He means to me; this has been going on intermittently for a few months and has become more of a burden in the last few weeks. I’m prompted to write this note because of the recent death of a friend of mine.

I found myself in tears on the way home from the funeral home, and I could not figure out exactly why I was crying. Was I sad because a friend had died? Was I responding emotionally to the song on the radio that spoke of God’s greatness? Were they tears of joy because my friend had accepted Christ? Were they tears of remorse for failing to share the gospel with others? Or was it a combination of all these things & maybe more–I think this is the most likely explanation.

I have been told that she had accepted God’s gift of salvation through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection; and for that I praise God. However, I think back on all the times that I talked to her over the years– all the times that I sat in her chair while she cut my hair (sometimes as often as every 2 weeks), and I realize that I never once spoke to her about spiritual matters.

I am thankful that God saw fit to save her despite my shortcomings, but what might her life or her testimony been like had I even once opened my mouth to share the gospel with her? Or anyone else for that matter? What stopped me? Many things: fear of rejection, fear of offending her, fear that I would say the wrong things, fear that my knowledge of scripture was too poor, and on and on it goes. Do you see the common theme? FEAR. But what should I be afraid of? Or better yet, why should I fear these things? If I speak the truth in love, it is not my place to worry about peoples’ reactions or what they do with that information; if they reject it, they are rejecting God, not me. As long as I stick to what I DO know, I should not worry about saying the wrong things, and if my knowledge of scripture is not what it should be, I can always say “I don’t know” & look something up or find someone who does know the answer. I should NOT fear because the Bible tells me not to fear: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul…” (Matthew 10:28a).

I believe that by God’s grace and with His help I am entering a new chapter in my life; one that I hope will be marked by a greater openness about my faith in Jesus and what He has done. I see this note as the beginning of this chapter, and I hope to write more notes like this in the future. But, I also hope that I become more willing to share with others face-to-face in my everyday life and take advantage of those opportunities that are right in front of me.

I suppose I still haven’t really said WHAT I believe or WHY I believe it so here’s my attempt:

I believe in God (the one and only God). I believe His Son Jesus died on a cross as a perfect sacrifice for my sins and the sins of the whole world. I believe Jesus rose from the dead through His own power on the third day. I believe we are saved from the punishment for our sins (eternity in Hell) by accepting Jesus’ free gift of salvation through belief in Him as our savior. I believe that He has saved me. I believe that just because I am saved does not mean that I am perfect or that I will never sin again.

Here are a few things to consider:

“for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 ESV)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 ESV)

“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 ESV)

I hope that others read this note, and it encourages them, or causes them to ask questions, or think more about God. If you have any questions or comments for me about this note, PLEASE post them or email them to me.

[09/03/2012–Reading back over this more than 3 years later, I realize that I still have a long way to go to get to where I desired (& still do desire) to be in the post. I have changed & I have grown in many respects since then, but I find I am still very hesitant to share the Gospel with others. I can’t really explain it. I know I should. I know I have nothing to fear. Yet I still don’t. I have little difficulty discussing it when someone else brings it up, but otherwise I usually remain silent. I pray God changes that. Heaven forbid I stay this way!]

Not Keeping Up

After starting off this blog with a lot of posts back in February (mostly of links to articles & such that I liked), I have significantly slacked off (probably a bit of an understatement). I don’t have the time, talent, wisdom, or memory required to keep up a regular output on this blog. The time thing is an especially big factor right now, but I don’t want to completely give up on this thing.

I’ve been reading through some of my old notes that I’ve posted on Facebook in the past, & I think that I will repost some or all of them on here over the next few weeks or so. Some of those notes resulted in some very good & lengthy discussions, & I hope they will be an encouragement to anybody who might read them.

Lots & Lots & Lots O’ Links

So I haven’t had much time to post anything on here for a few weeks, but I’ve still been collecting links to things I find interesting, important, &/or edifying. So here’s a whole slew of things I’ve come across…

A little on the gay marriage debate to start with:

A thought on the homosexual marriage debate – Reformation21 Blog.–It is important to keep in mind Romans 1:18-32 when thinking about or discussing homosexual marriage. Let those verses influence your perspective on the subject.

Carl Trueman also has a little blurb on this subject–Around and About – Reformation21 Blog.

Along those same lines Alan Shlemon at Stand to Reason Blog asks  Is Homosexuality the Worst Sin of All?. He makes several good points, not the least of which is

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 places homosexuals among other sinners like thieves, drunks, swindlers, and fornicators. And 1 Timothy 1:8-11 lists them among liars, rebels, slave traders, and other sinners. There’s no special designation for any of these sins

Going Down? Dawkins, Doubters & Debauchery–The problem with holding staunchly to an atheist world-view is that eventually that world-view breaks down & you cannot defend your position.

The Name–We cannot make God’s name greater; it is already great.

Read more…

Comment Policy

I had previously set comments for automatic approval, but the more I think about it, the more I think it would be better for me to moderate the comments & allow or disallow them on an individual basis.

First of all, I wish to prevent potentially offensive things from being posted

Secondly, I want to be able to control the information that is shared via my blog. This is not because I’m just a control-freak, but the nature of this blog could potentially allow for someone to post thoughts regarding Scripture that I don’t believe to be true. And the last thing I want is to be responsible for leading someone astray. This does not mean that I won’t approve every comment that I disagree with because I think discussion can be helpful. So, please, submit your comments because I may want to carry on a private conversation with you even if I don’t approve your comments.

If you have any questions about this or anything else in regards to this blog, please contact me.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: