Monday, May 29, 2017

No Fear in Death - by Christ's Death and Resurrection

Recently I read an article by a medical doctor who spoke transparently about his own fear of death. He developed a crippling anxiety which resulted in physical symptoms of various kinds. Eventually he was diagnosed with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) - associated entirely with his fear of death.

Death comes to all of us. So what do we do about fearing the inevitable? Christianity’s answer comes through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery (Hebrews 2:14-15). We look to Christ to deliver us from the fear of death that makes slaves of us all.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

How Christ Overcomes the Fear of Death (With Jesus on the Road to Samarra)

A merchant in Baghdad sent his servant to the market one day, but the servant soon returned, trembling with fear. “Master,” he said, “I met Death in the crowd, disguised as an old woman. She made a threatening gesture, and I ran. Please lend me your horse, and I will flee to Samarra to avoid my fate. Death won’t find me there.” The merchant lent him the horse, and the servant raced north, away from Baghdad. Then the merchant walked to the market, found the old woman, and demanded to know why she made the threatening gesture. Death replied, “I wasn’t threatening your servant but was only surprised to see him here. You see, I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”*

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Five Reasons We Fear Death, and How Jesus Gives Us Victory

John Donne famously wrote,
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so*

But, for many people, death might as well be proud. Because death does seem “mighty and dreadful.” People do fear death. They dread their own deaths and the inevitability of their loved ones’ deaths.

The Christian gospel addresses this basic fear.

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Terrible Darkness

We only call this Good Friday because we know the world did not end on Friday. It would not have been a Good Friday at all if Sunday hadn’t been Resurrection Sunday.

If Sunday morning had dawned and that great solemn stone had still been there, guarded by soldiers, sealed by Rome, this would have been a terrible day, the worst of days.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Glory is Not Just a Destination

"I've got a home in glory land that outshines the sun."

I remember singing "Do Lord," and that stanza, the year I became a Christian. "Glory land" means heaven.

It’s true. Believers in Christ are headed to a place where God dwells, a place Jesus prepared for us, where we’ll be with the Lord and with all His redeemed children forever. It is truly “glory land.”

Monday, April 3, 2017

God's Unseemly Behavior

Many people, even some who claim to believe in God, find what He does or what He permits, well, unseemly. Why would an all-powerful, infinitely benevolent God wipe people out in Old Testament times? Why does He let children die of cancer? Or anyone, for that matter? To ordain or even to permit this kind of suffering seems inappropriate - not right somehow.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Woman's Choice - A Reprise

I posted this piece three years ago. It's not easy to read, and it was no fun to write, but sadly it seems fitting to share it again.
I woke up the the other day with this story in my head. It's not the kind of thing I usually post. But the Lord Jesus is Lord of life, and sadly our nation has embraced a culture of death. And where will it end? God's word says, Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. (Psalm 127:3, NLT)

“Beth, you’ve got to help me.” Ally was hunched over on the couch, hands clenched around a wad of Kleenex already damp from her tears. “Please. I know we don’t know one another very well, but I don’t know who else to talk to.”
            Beth scooted her chair a little closer. “Well, sure, I’ll help you. What’s going on?”
            Ally closed her eyes, shook her head, and more tears began to track down her cheeks. Beth sat silently, praying a little, and finally whispered, “Whatever it is, I know we can get through this together.”
            After more tears, Ally took a deep breath and in a strangely emotionless voice said, “I don’t want to be a mother.” She glanced quickly at Beth’s face, and then cut her eyes away, looking down. “It’s probably not right, but I’m just not ready. I just can't do it.”
            “Honey, I understand. I have three, and they are a handful.” She paused, and gently took Ally’s hands in hers. “So what does Bill say?”
            “He doesn’t know I’m struggling. The idea of being a dad is great for him, but he doesn’t have to deal with anything. I’m here all day, and he leaves for work, and it all falls on me.” She started sobbing again.
            “Well, okay. I understand perfectly, and men are men, right? They never do any of the heavy lifting. We women have to stick together and make the hard decisions, don’t we?” Beth smiled, and for the first time Ally looked up and smiled too.
            “So when is the little one due to arrive?”
            “He gets home from preschool at 11:30. I’ve made up my mind. I think it's best for everybody. If you can help me, I was hoping we could do it today, before he has to have a nap.”
“Okay, you just sit tight. I’ll call and set it up. And I’ll be with you the whole way.”
*                      *                      *                      *                      *                      *                      *
“Hi, I’m calling about  a – I think they call it a PPA. Post-partum abortion. You do that, right? Okay, sure…no, for a friend of mine…It’s a little boy, I think he’s three...No, it’s just not working out…Of course, she’ll sign whatever you want…Two o’clock this afternoon? Okay, that’ll be fine. So we just drop him off, and you handle the rest? How long does it take?... It doesn’t, you know, hurt does it? Oh, great. See you at 2.        
*                      *                      *                      *                      *                      *                      *
The front door banged open. “Hi, Mommy, I’m home.”