To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Archive for the ‘Death’ Category

Place Of Rest.

One of the most distressing things about my recent episode with tooth pain (which I wrote about here) was finding that the place of rest had become the place of pain. There were a couple of days when I was pretty fine whilst going about my normal business, but when I lay down I could feel the pain develop in my mouth.

When we are tired we look forward to the place of rest. We look forward to the refreshment that that affords. But suddenly I was deprived of that, even worse I was given pain instead of pleasure.

We need rest as human beings. The Sabbath principle is a principle which means that rest is granted to us for our benefit. When we are deprived of rest, we do not function well. This experience somewhat mangled my mind. The place of rest becoming a place of pain was a sobering experience.

I am left wondering about this. It is common place to say of someone when they have died that they are “at rest” or they should “rest in peace.”. But what do these phrases, which are used so casually, mean. The alarming thing is that for so many that hoped for rest in eternity may well find it not to be so. The Word says that there is no rest to the wicked. Isaiah observes ‘There is no peace,’ says my God,for the wicked.’  (Is. 57:21). That means no rest! And for those who die as “the wicked”, there is eternally no rest. This statement necessitates defining who the wicked are. The wicked are those who are outside of Christ. In Christ we are constituted righteous by the free grace of our God. Outside of Christ we are still in our sins; we are wicked.

In Matthew 7:21 -23 we read the following words of our Lord Jesus:

‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”

Here we have those presuming they will enter the place of rest, but it is not so. They are declared to be evildoers – the wicked. The place they thought would be for rest becomes rather the place of pain and that forever. I tremble to write such things; but it is true. Which leads me to ask of you if you are reading this; how is it with you?

For all those who are still “wicked” I urge you to flee from the wrath to come. Come to the One who offered and still offers rest (see Matt. 11:2*); eternal rest. Oh to have the blessing of being cleansed from all sin, free of all guilt; accepted in Jesus Christ. How wonderful it is to be no longer wicked because of Christ.  So I urge you again; Come to Him.

Graveyards.

It is good for Christians to visit graveyards. They are good to visit because they are sobering places. They remind us of the reality of death and therefore of the finitude of life. As you wander around a graveyard you can ponder upon long lives and short lives. Whatever the length though, following on from the principle outworked in Genesis 5 death came to each individual and to each generation.

We live in a generation which camouflages death. The latent desire is to avoid death and to put it away into never-never land. But a graveyard tells us that is a deception. Death is real. This life which we are living now is not on a permanent loan, but it is a temporary lease. As we read in Hebrews 9:27-28 death and judgement are appointed to all.

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Then study the gravestones. Consider that the person buried there is not a figment of the imagination, but a real person. A person of history with real relationships passed away. Read what it says of them. Perhaps there are times when you alight on a gravestone and think yes they must have had real faith. Such is the way of the Lord and His grace.

Moreover a graveyard reminds us of what really matters in life. All the “toys” we acquire will soon be gone as Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 6:7:  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

And in the context of our perspective on the needs of others we are reminded through a graveyard that real people around us are all heading into a real eternity. They need to know Christ. Oh how people need to know Christ!

(Original posted at Venabling on 13/10/2014)

Death and Victory

The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. The reality of the gospel triumph most profoundly focusses at death. Here is John Piper praying through the gospel triumph in the context of a young family destined for missionary service.

I Meet The Law.

For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death (Rom. 7:11).

Here when the commandment says “do not steal / do not commit adultery”, yet our sinful nature says: “No!. It will be good and pleasing” (deceived me). And so by committing the crime gets us into the state of disobedience which ends us in death.

These are notes from my wife, May Lin, on this verse which I thought were worth sharing.

Gone…

I was contacted recently by an acquaintance whom I have had little contact over recent times. He contacted me because he had a friend who was old and dying.  This lady, who was a catholic apparently wanted to be “born again”. He asked if I could help? I said I was happy to do what I could. Accordingly, I made myself available. A date was set to go and see her, but it did not work out. It was not me who changed the arrangements. Soberingly two days later I get a message saying that the lady had passed away. She was gone.

I am left sobered by the experience. My conscience is clear, before the Lord, in that I made myself available and did not cancel any arrangement. But to just consider that she is now gone. I do not know if anyone introduced her to Christ as Saviour. I don’t know if she embraced the Lord. But I do know she is now out in eternity, the gospel opportunity days are passed. Is she with the Lord? I do not know. Oh LORD have mercy. And Lord teach me to seize every opportunity to make Christ known.

 

Death and Faith.

Death is the great leveller. Servants and masters, rich and poor, black and white; all are set to die. The principle of Scripture is this: people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment (Heb. 9:27). According to the thinking of the world death is the end. There is no capacity in the world’s thinking to think rationally and reasonably about death and what is beyond. With no ability to see anything outside and beyond this life, life becomes a meaningless thing. Solomon expresses it like this: I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me (Eccl. 2:18).

However, faith views things completely differently. Jacob in Genesis 47:27-48:22 knew that he was about to die. This is stated in 47:29 and 48:21. And yet after his chequered spiritual career as recorded in Genesis with all its mixture of faith and unbelief; scheming and honesty, misery and delight, he is now full of faith. This is confirmed in the Hebrews 11 that chapter of the heroes of faith, it is this part of Jacob’s life, that is when he is dying, which calls attention to his faith (see Heb. 11:21).

There is now no misery with Jacob. He is not morbidly looking back over lost opportunities and wasted efforts. Rather he is a man looking forward. This is what faith does. Faith looks forward, faith is optimistic. Faith can act this way because God is in the future; He is alive and He is working for the glory of His Name and our benefit. Faith is the most reasonable and sensible response to any crisis in our lives. Let us look, then, at some of the reflections of faith in Jacob.

Faith wants to be connected with God’s place.

The land of Canaan had been promised to Abraham’s descendants by God (see Gen. 15:18). Jacob had hesitated to leave the land until God convinced him in a dream that this was right (see Gen. 46:1-4). But now Jacob was going to make sure that in death his connection was firmly re-established with Canaan and so he asked Joseph to bury him there with his fathers (see Gen. 47:29-30). By application we challenge ourselves as regards to where we desire to be. Do we long to know of our connection with the world or with the church? God’s place on earth today is found wherever His people meet together as “church”. This can be in a building, under a shelter or out in the open.

Faith worships.

Jacob got the outcome he wanted. He wanted Joseph to take his remains to Canaan and that is what Joseph promised to do. The worldly way is to say that he was fortunate or lucky to get this commitment out of Joseph. However, faith sees things differently; it appreciates that God is working in this situation. Accordingly, Jacob responds by worshipping the God who is good. Heb. 11:21b records how at this time Jacob worshipped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

Faith appreciates God’s goodness.

The difference between the Christian and non-Christian is very often seen most demonstrably in old age. The non-Christian is inclined towards bitterness. They look back on a life soon gone. Moreover, reduced energy levels and accompanying weakness gives the sense of not being able to enjoy life.

However, the believer has the great privilege of looking back and seeing how good God has been. Accordingly we read of Jacob that he says to Joseph “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me ( Gen. 48:3). Further he says to him in verse 11 “I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too.” And finally we read of the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day. Are you a believer? Is our faith demonstrated by our inclination to speak of God’s goodness towards us?

Faith looks to the next generation.

The believer appreciates that the ongoing mission of the Kingdom of God does not terminate upon their decease. Genesis 48:4 indicates how the LORD had said to Jacob back at Luz that ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.’ Now with Manasseh and Ephraim in front of him he can see how this will have fulfilment. And he asks God to bless these boys. May they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they increase greatly on the earth (Gen. 48:16b).

What of ourselves! Are we focused upon the ongoing mission of God in this world? Or are we just thinking about our personal lot. Regardless of our personal circumstances, let us be fixing our vision of God building His church

Jacob then died in faith. Let us pray that should we be called to pass through death that we would emulate Jacob in having strong faith. But, we need to be reminded that in all circumstances we need to be strong in faith. In doing so we can be numbered among those who through faith see God and therefore have optimism in our hearts.

(Taken from the Feltham Evangelical Church Newsletter of February 2010)

Two Good Places To Visit

A dear brother in Christ at church was speaking to me recently about two good places to visit. The places are good because they enable us to get a right perspective on life. The places are “the dump” and “the graveyard.”

The dump is useful because it teaches us where all our stuff ends up. The graveyard is useful because it teaches us where we end up.

The question then arises what will we do with this information? For the unbeliever who is living for this world they are left in a terrible predicament. The people of this world who are living for that which is of time and sense cope with this with either living in denial or delusion.

Denial comes when they just reject the information presented to them and get on with living. Such living assumes that the more stuff I have the happier I will be and I will be here indefinitely to enjoy it.

Delusion comes when the person convinces themselves that for them, it will not turn out bad. Their doing well in this world will lead to them doing well beyond this world. They have no grounds for such a conclusion, but that is still the position they come to.

For the Believer in Christ. We are reminded:

‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt. 6:19-21.)

and

people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgement (Heb. 9:27)

and

we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due to us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (2 Cor 5:10)

Any stuff that we have should be used for the Lord’s glory. We are not in this world “for ever”.

So make a point of visiting the dump and the graveyard and do some pondering. It should change your life for good.

Tag Cloud