Posts Tagged ‘death’



Revelation 15:1-4 Then I saw another great and astounding sign in heaven: seven angels who have seven final plagues (they are final because in them God’s anger is completed). 

2Then I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and his image and the number of his name. They were standing by the sea of glass, holding harps given to them by God. 3They sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb: “Great and astounding are your deeds, Lord God, the All-Powerful! Just and true are your ways, King over the nations! 4Who will not fear you, O Lord, and glorify your name, because you alone are holy? All nations will come and worship before you
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Palm Saturday?


When did Jesus die?  And what does that have to do with anything?

Well, if you know God, then you know he doesn’t do anything without a plan.  And the timing of Christ’s death and resurrection (and his prophesied entry into Jerusalem) were planned way ahead of time for the benefit of the entire world.

That includes you! You can benefit immensely from the plan that God unfolded on your behalf.  And all it takes from you is repentance and faith.

Unnatural Disasters


I’ve been thinking about the tornado that hit Oklahoma a week ago, and I have read plenty of people’s comments who were trying to make sense of how a good God can allow innocent people, like those school children, to die.  I know people who have struggled with or left the faith because they couldn’t really understand that.  And I think that’s because there have been a lot of bad answers to this kind of problem.  Here are a few of the common bad answers that I hear:

1. God is in control, and no disasters happen unless God specifically makes them happen.  So there must be a really good reason for the disaster.  We’re just too ignorant/stupid to understand the wisdom in causing disasters that kill lots of people.

2. Everybody is a sinner (little kids included) so they all deserve to suffer and die anyway.

3. If there are any innocent people (like little kids), they’re in Heaven now.  So it’s ok that they died in a disaster.

4. God wanted those people in Heaven.  So he used a disaster to kill them off and get them there.

I think people who try to explain things with reasoning like that don’t know who God is.  God delights in kindness and mercy and grace.  It’s true that God does punish sin, and he can and will use fierce judgments to punish evildoers.  But his heart is one of changing people for the better whenever possible.  And he wants everybody to know that.

Jeremiah 9:24 says …”those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things.”

You can know God.  He wants you to know him.  So when people say we can never know why God does things because his thoughts are higher than ours, it’s a total cop-out.  Of course God knows more than us, and always will, but we can know his character and why he does the kinds of things he does.

There are plenty of evil people in this world who do deserve death and punishment, but there are also people who live their lives for God who have been restored and renewed by God’s grace  And there are truly innocent people like babies and little kids who don’t even know what morality is.  Yes, if a little baby dies, it will go to Heaven, but God doesn’t cause abortions just to get babies in Heaven.  And God doesn’t make disasters to do that either.  If God really wants somebody in Heaven right now, he just picks them up and puts them there.  He doesn’t put them through a tragic and painful death.

If you want a good reason for why disasters happen, it all comes down to sin.  Without sin, there would be no death and no suffering in this world.  If a person dies of old age or sickness we call it a natural death.  But the truth is, death is not natural.  Disasters are not natural.  They were never meant to be a part of God’s creation.

When people started sinning, they introduced death and suffering into the world.  Romans 5 talks about that.  People have continued to sin since Adam and Eve, and so people keep on dying.  And it even affects people who have never even had a chance to sin–i.e. babies that are aborted.

Breaking God’s law does nothing but hurt people.  Murder, theft, lying, sexual immorality, gossip, all that kind of stuff not only destroys the soul of the sinner, but does collateral damage to the people around them.  If it wasn’t for sin, we’d all live never ending lives without suffering and death.  But as it is, death has infected our very makeup.  We suffer genetic disorders and cancer and crippling disease because people all over the place have chosen to sin and perpetuated the degradation of what God created for good.

It’s like if you ignore the warning label and try to make toast while you’re taking a bath.  You’re not supposed to use a toaster in the bathtub because it will electrocute you.  In the same way, God designed us to live good lives.  When we ignore God’s warning label in our hearts and fill our lives with evil choices, it kills us.  And it hurts those around us too–like when a drunk driver hits and kills a sober driver.  Sin brings death and destruction every time people do it.

Scientists have said that our DNA is designed to replicate forever, and they don’t know why we grow old and die.   But the plain truth is that we get old and lose our health and eventually die because all of creation has been infected with death.  Even things like earthquakes and tsunamis and tornadoes can be traced back to sin.  It was because the world was steeped in sin that God struck the earth and flooded the whole planet in Noah’s day, and the entire face of the earth was torn apart and rearranged.  And still today we can feel the remnants of seismic and atmospheric instability that never would have existed, had it not been for sin.

So when bad things happen to good people, you shouldn’t blame God.  You should blame bad people.  Because if it weren’t for bad people, good people wouldn’t ever feel the effects of what bad people have done.  And when the innocent do suffer, God is even more brokenhearted than you or me.  That’s why we always tend to hear about little miracles in the midst of big disasters, because God is always at work to save people, to restore and heal, to build character and self-discipline, to shape us into good people. So all those small stories of good things that happen in the midst of tragedy…that’s God.

God is always at work to bring about good.  He might allow destructive forces to run their course, and it ought to be a lesson to all of us to repent and live good lives, because death in this world is just the beginning of blessings for the righteous and punishment for the wicked.

Of course God has used everything from fire to flood to invading army to render judgment on wicked people.  So he can use a disaster to punish the wicked and dissuade evil if he wants to.  But more often, he is finding ways to bring good out of tragic events and disasters and to transform lives in spite of the evil that people do.

So the next time you are wondering how a good God can allow death and suffering, you should instead think about how there would be absolutely no good in this world if it weren’t for God’s intervention and influence in the world, and there would be no death and suffering in this world if it weren’t for the influence of people making sinful choices.

My heart breaks for the people who lost their homes and loved ones.  But God’s heart breaks more.  2nd Peter 3:9 says God does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.  Every single life is valuable to God.  He created them all, and he wants to see them all lived good and filled with his blessings.  But even more important than the short life we live on this earth is our eternity.  I certainly pray for all the people who were affected by that terrible tornado.  And I hope they will be even more affected by the love of a God who wants to save them from even worse disaster caused by sin and rejection of God.

Jesus died on the cross to make it possible for us to find forgiveness if we walk away from sin and walk with him instead.  And the tragedy of his gruesome death on a cross is meant to be the biggest warning label of all time: End your involvement with sin, because it is an indiscriminate killer, and every time you sin just brings more death and suffering into the world.


Get Angry: VBS Report


We had a fun Vacation Bible School in August, and it was cool to wrap all the lessons around the story of Jesus’ friend Lazarus.  Of course with the kids we focused on the positive of how Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead.  But for me, the time when Lazarus got sick and died sticks out as a reminder that Jesus really does know what it’s like to deal with suffering and death, to watch somebody you love pass away.  And even though he had the power to bring his friend back from the dead, it didn’t make the loss any less touching.

Be Worthy


I like at the end of the movie Saving Private Ryan how the main Characters have sacrificed so much to save and protect the life of Private Ryan.  Several have died in the course of finding Ryan, including Captain Miller–whose dying words to Ryan were “Earn this.”  In other words, people have given their lives to save yours, so honor their sacrifice by how you live your life.

The same goes for anybody whose life has been saved by Jesus Christ.  So much has been sacrificed to save people from an eternity in Hell.  And that gracious gift should be honored by the way we live our lives every day.  All true Christians should be living completely pure and dedicated lives, and do everything we can to bless God because he has blessed us so much!

For His Name’s Sake


Have you ever thought about what it means to have the Lord as your shepherd?  Jesus said “I am the good shepherd.”  He said other people might play the part and pretend to be like that.  But nobody will ever care for you like Jesus, because they’re only like hired hands.  When trouble comes they’ll take off and leave you to fend for yourself.  They’ll let the wolves eat you because they’re just in it for the money.  They’re not willing to put their lives on the line for you.  But Jesus already gave his life for you.

It really is good to have a Good Shepherd.

We’re Alive!


I think it’s funny how people portray Heaven as a white cloudy kind of place where people dress in robes and have halos and play harps.  And then people look at that made up idea and say it’s boring, so they’re not all that interested in going.

Of course the reality of Heaven is beyond our imagination.  The Bible says it’s massive and full of color and lights and trees and flowing water.  But it’s also a place of worship.  It will be like church 24/7.  And people will be singing praises to God and worshiping him non-stop.  Of course that idea doesn’t appeal to anyone who doesn’t believe in or like God.  So they probably wouldn’t be interested in Heaven anyway.

of course everybody who admits the truth, understands how great God is and how worthy he is of our worship and obedience, and how limitless the blessings of a relationship with God is.  But they like to hold on to the idea that Heaven is like winning the lottery and doing whatever you want without interaction with God.  Many people think they can con God into letting them into Heaven in spite of their sinful hearts and lives and that somehow their hearts and minds will magically change when they die.  But the scary truth is, your heart and mind are judged for what they are and if you’re not purified before you kick the bucket, you’ll be pitched out and burned with all the other impurities that aren’t worthy of entering God’s presence.

What do you think of that thought?

We’re All Gonna Die!


Are you content with your life right now?  Could you die today, happy?  Are you ready for the end?  Are you ready to meet your Maker?

We’re all going to die, but so many people are completely unprepared for that destiny.  In spite of the fact that we never know when our final day may arrive, so many people live in denial of death.  How about you?  Are you ready to expire, to pass on, to perish, to peg out, to push up daisies, to become extinct, to pull the curtains, to be deceased, to meet your demise, to depart, to be as a doornail, to check out, to shuffle off this mortal coil, to kick the bucket, buy the farm, cash in your chips?

It happens to the best of us?  Are you ready?  Would you like to be?

Death & Taxes


They say that the only sure things in life are death and taxes.  What a crazy thought!  You were born into this world, and all you can really count on is that the government will take your money and you will die.  Sounds pretty hopeful.  Doesn’t it?

What if I told you that you can be sure of something in life that really is hopeful?  Would you be interested?

History of the World – Part II


Do you think you’d get a better report on the Civil War from a modern historian or by spending some time with Abraham Lincoln?  Do you think you could get a better picture of what the Apollo 11 moon landing was like by checking out the NASA website or by sitting down with Neil Armstrong and having him tell you the story about when he took that small step/giant leap?

Obviously, if it were possible to talk to the people who had been a part of events in the past, you’d get some amazing stories about those events.  You could get a feeling for what it was like by talking to the people who were there when it happened.

Did your parents ever tell you about when you were born?  Did your grandparents ever tell you about what it was like to live through the Great Depression or to watch the Apollo Moon Landing on live TV?  Wasn’t it cool to hear those stories from the people who’d seen it happen?

So along those same lines, would it be better to learn about the history of the world from somebody who was never there but had made a guess about what might have happened as the world started or from Someone who was there, Someone who actually built the Earth, Someone who designed the universe as a star spangled backdrop for His favorite creation to enjoy when the sun went down?