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Archive for the ‘death’ Category

A message for complainers from  Justin Peters.  Another article that complements the video is Far Too Easily Displeased – Jon Bloom admits he is a grumbler by nature and reflects on what it is that makes us grumble.

Mothers tell their abortion stories: Sunday’s New York Magazine features testimonials from twenty-six women who have had their unborn children aborted. The stories are raw and revealing. These are not stories of feminist liberation and power. They are the stories of women who have pangs of conscience over what they have done. Some of them have muddled through the aftermath by suppressing their consciences. One woman even says, “There’s no room to talk about being unsure.” Other women aren’t able to pretend and are obviously living with a heavy burden of grief and regret.

Dr. Albert Mohler writes about this article in the New York Magazine in Their Abortions—What Do These Abortion Testimonies Really Reveal?

Effective Personal Evangelism – Jeremy Walker has completed his series of articles on effective personal evangelism. He gives us a lot to think about!

Fred Zaspel writes about the death of their 29-year-old daughter:

Surely a day will never pass, in this life, without sensing this deep, gaping hole in our hearts. We just cannot imagine life without Gina. How we loved her.

I have often suspected over the years that Christians who romanticize death have likely never experienced the loss of a close loved one. Death remains a dreaded and a devastating enemy, and there is just no way to make it pretty. It still stings, deeply so, and when it comes close like this it leaves us feeling all but completely undone.

Yet for Christians there truly is a difference. And during this past week since Gina passed, agonizing as it has been, we have learned first-hand that we really do not sorrow as those who have no hope. The weighty promises and massive truths that God has revealed to us in his Word truly are life-shaping and soul anchoring, and they provide a sure point of reference for even the most hurting heart.  You can read the whole thing here.

Are These Enemies of Marriage in Your House?

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According to reliable sources the last words of Venezuela’s dictator Hugo Chavez were as follows:

“I don’t want to die. Please don’t let me die.”

Read this commentary by Denny Burk and ask yourself:  What will be your last words before you die? Are you ready to die?  Will you be ready?

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A plea to parents from Kate Merrick, whose 8-year-old daughter Daisy is now with Jesus:

Love your babies, your husbands, mothers, sisters.

Love each day like it’s your last.

All you mamas out there, you have been entrusted with the precious gift of a human life who depends on you.

Enjoy your gift.

Breathe in the scent of your child’s hair, breath.

Let them cook with you and make a mess of the kitchen.

Play hide and seek with them, build sand castles with them, take them on picnics, read to them!

Listen to them, value and respect them, never shame them.

Your words they will carry with them their whole life and you have the power to give them wings or stunt their growth.

Motherhood can be tough but it’s worth it.

It can be exhausting, boring, tedious, but never for long.

You blink and they’re grown.

It has been my honor and privilege to love Daisy these last 8 years.

I’m thankful for every minute; the joyful and the terrible alike.

 

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Mike Wittmer has written a book called The Last Enemy: Preparing to Win the Fight of Your Life.

David recommends this book as one of the best to get ready for something we all will face one day.  He even calls this book “entertaining” and “enjoyable”–which is saying something about a book on death. Read this review and grab this book. I have read lots of other comments about this work as well.

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Jesse Johnson mentions three lessons he has learned from the death of David Brainerd, a man of God whom we know much about because Jonathan Edwards published this man’s journal after he died.  Brainerd died young and suffered much.  Johnson writes of some takeaways from this life/death:

1) In the earthly sense, we simply don’t suffer like Brainerd/Edwards, et. al. The sacrifices pastors made then were simply different than now. My greatest trial yesterday was that my car’s battery died. I could have walked to church and instead a neighbor gave me a ride. That is not quite suffering for Jesus.

2) We are not sinning by not suffering. It’s not my fault that I live in 2012 and not 1747. It’s not my fault that my congregation loves me, while Brainerd was expelled. It is not a sin to not suffer. I feel willing to suffer, but I know it is easy to feel that way when the sky is clear. God’s providence has placed me in a country with blessings like Starbucks, police, and a plurality of pastors. My ministry mirrors Brainerd’s gospel, but not his afflictions.

3) Even the slightest complaining from me is totally and wholly out of bounds. Brainerd left Yale for Indians and death. Edwards left a thriving ministry for suffering on the frontier. The Apostle Peter left everything in this world to follow the Lord. As John Piper writes, “Jesus was not impressed with Peter’s sacrifice.” Our Lord left heaven to come to earth—and he did so without complaining. We can bite our tongues when we make 21st century kinds of sacrifices, and we can be thankful for the era of human history in which we live.

Read more about Brainerd in this post by Jesse

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For those who are grieving

Paul has an outstanding collection of recommended resources for those who are grieving or ministering to those who do.

And here is one more from a mother whose daughter was killed four years ago. . . She admits she still grieves.

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Read the following from Mike Wittmer.  Then immediately take one minute (or longer) to think about death and hell.

“Last week I spoke to the adult campers about death and then last night I spoke to a high school group about hell. You’d think such topics would be entirely depressing, and you’d be right. But I’ve discovered something else too. These topics are actually inspiring, for they provide the opportunity to speak about Jesus. Indeed, they supply the only opportunity to speak about Jesus, for if we don’t begin with sin, death, and hell, then we will have no reason to bring up Jesus.

If we try anyway, people will wonder why we’re talking about him. What does Jesus even mean to someone who is untroubled by sin, death, and hell? Why would they ever think they need him?

I didn’t start out to write books and preach on these depressing subjects, but I’m glad I have, for Jesus is more precious now than he ever was before. When your love for Christ begins to cool, stop and think about death and hell. That is the fastest way I know to recover the joy of the Lord.”

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If you are grieving the loss of a loved one or friend, then may I suggest you go over to Justin Taylor’s post “Loving Those Who Grieve” and look at some of the resources available there.

If you really want to love those who are grieving, I would also suggest that you listen to what a few people who experienced deep grief have to say about what is helpful and what is not helpful to those in sorrow.

Justin post include personal reflections, books and some video as well.  Gracious resources for those grieving or those who really want to minister in love and not make things worse.

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I haven’t read this book yet but the more I excerpts I see from it, the more I think I want to buy it.

Michael Wittmer, from The Last Enemy (pg. 71):

I once attended the funeral of an infant who had died in a tragic accident. The pastor offered the usual words of comfort: “We can rejoice for this child is better off than we are. He isn’t really dead. He is more alive than he’s ever been, safe in the arms of Jesus.” There is precious truth in these words, though they seemed to skate past the grief of the numb parents. Couldn’t we acknowledge that something horrible had happened?

I appreciated more the words of the grieving father, who with quivering voice declared that no parent should ever have to bury their child. He pointed out that every death is ultimately the result of sin, and that when he held his dead son in the hospital, he thought he saw the face of sin. The mask of sin had been ripped away and he saw sin for what it is, the enmy that will one day steal from us everything and everyone we have ever loved.

The father didn’t try to make us believe that all was well, but from the depths of despair he raised a fist of defiance. “People tell me that someday I will make peace with Jack’s death,” he said. “I will never be at peace with death. Scripture tells me that one day I will be at peace, but only when death is no more. I will not be at peace until I see my son again.”

That is the Christian view of death.

HT: Kingdom People

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Nathan Bingham writes a piece that should make us pause and consider:

I recently had the burdensome responsibility of writing the words that would memorialize the life of a loved one—the words on their tombstone. It was a heavy responsibility because, at least from a human and earthly perspective, I was being asked to sum up a person’s life in what amounts to no more than a tweet. In this sense, cemeteries across the world serve as guardians protecting what is for many all that remains of their earthly life—those few words etched in stone.

I walked away from this experience thankful that I’m not responsible for writing my own tombstone. After reflecting on it, I still can’t decide what I would write—what would be my final tweet. Then pride filled me with despair as to what might be written by others. Loving husband or ungrateful husband? Loving father or distant father? An honest appraisal of my life is that of a sinner drowning in the sea of sin, desperately trying to fool onlookers that he can swim. I can’t. I need grace. I need Jesus. And so do you.

I walked away from this experience reminded afresh of where hope lay. Hope is not found in perfect prose on a tombstone, but in the perfect One who performed the perfect work. Jesus said, “It is finished.” Sweeter words had not before echoed through the cosmos. His mission was complete and it is in Him that His creatures should all trust.

Someday, someone will write your tombstone. And it will happen far sooner than you imagine. In life will you have trusted in the One who said, “It is finished”? In death will you hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Life is but a tweet.

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