"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
Tag Archives: Life After Death
July 16, 2010Posted by on
George Steinbrenner, former owner of the New York Yankees, passed away earlier this week. He is credited with turning around the fortunes of the Yankee organization. His passing was a very sad thing for all of Major League Baseball.
I heard a quote from Steinbrenner once: “Nothing is more important to me than winning… Winning is everything.” This made me think of Romans 8:37 “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” It is not a right mental attitude, shrewd business dealings, awesome strategy, or excellent scouting that makes us such great winners – it is Jesus… I wonder if Mr. Steinbrenner ever became a winner in this way… I certainly hope he did.
I have no idea if he ever gave his heart to Christ, but there is one thing I can guarantee: If Mr. Steinbrenner was able to come back from the grave and offer everyone one piece of advice for becoming a true champion he’d say this: “If you do not know Jesus… Get to know Him – Today! If you do know Him – Live for Him each and every day!”
June 18, 2010Posted by on
I only saw the very end of the US vs. Slovenia Soccer match… but I’ve got to say the US got ripped off by the ref. With very little time left and the score tied, the US had a free kick which resulted in the apparent go-ahead goal, but the referee disallowed the goal because of some mystery call (no one knows for sure yet even what the call against the US was). Strange…
But, like many things, this got me to thinking about life – More specifically, it got me to thinking about the afterlife. And again, I’m amazed by the fact that we will not have an incompetent judge deciding our fate… and unlike the World Cup, our fate will not be decided by our own merit and/or performance either!
From what I’ve heard, the US probably deserved to lose the match because they played so poorly in the first half and fell behind 0-2 (only 21 other times in World Cup history has a team come back from that kind of deficit to tie or win). Like the US… All of us EVERYONE deserves to live life now and in the hereafter separated from a perfect and holy God. Unlike a sports team, however, we cannot just fight back and be good enough to even things out or make things right. Instead, because of God’s justice a penalty must be paid for our sin. Here’s where the good news comes in.
Jesus came and paid the penalty for our sin! He didn’t just even things up… He made us winners… Here’s an abbreviated version of what the Bible has to say about it… Read these out loud, and ask yourself “What does this mean?” – Think about it… It truly is Good News!
Romans 3:23 – all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Romans 6:23 – the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 10:9-11 – 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. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
Romans 5:1 – Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
Romans 8:31-32, 34, 37 – What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Again, the US might have been deprived of a victory because of their bad play in the 1st half and because of a horrendous call from the ref… but those who trust in Jesus are assured of an eternal victory, though they don’t deserve it. Have you trusted Him? If not, will you?
May 1, 2010Posted by on
Hey, Robert and I have intermittantly been encouraging everyone to share their faith… Greg Stier has put together a pretty good list of ways we DON’T advocate (Check it out):
What kind of awkward witnessing moments have you had?
April 4, 2010Posted by on
As dawn broke that morning the shroud of sorrow that had covered them for the past days seemed strangely different. But why should it? Today His body would be prepared with spices by some of the women who had followed Him.
They were still afraid… still hiding, and yet there was something in the periphery of their minds, something just buzzing in and out between their subconscious and coherent thought that would not let them go. Though He had been laid in a guarded tomb, something within them would not let them bury this and just move on.
What had He said before that just wouldn’t come fully to mind? Had He told them this would happen?
Suddenly, Mary burst in the door shouting hysterically: “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
What else could go wrong?!?! Two of them bolted for the place where He was laid. Sure enough, He was not there – Neither were the Roman guards that had been stationed there. Strangely though, the burial clothes rested on the table where his body had been… the cloth that had covered His face was folded neatly aside, but the rest were not unwrapped, instead they were vacated as though the body had disintegrated or vaporized! How could any of this be?
They left bewildered… trying harder than ever to remember His instructions to them. There was nothing left to do but return to their hiding place – hole up, grieve and pray.
Mary interrupted the silent tears again exuberantly, almost incoherently exclaiming something about seeing Him in the garden after they had left. They rationalized that she must have been mistaken and in denial… So they locked the doors and hid… and trembled… and wondered…
That night as darkness fell the anxiety increased in this little group who were huddled behind their locked doors. Suddenly, a voice they never had dreamed in their slimmest of hopes they would hear again pierced the silence and startled them out of their stupor. It said, “Peace be with you!”
PEACE?!?! How could there be peace? He was gone and now they were delusional… because some had seen Him die, the rest had minimally seen the guarded grave – He was Dead, there was no doubt about it… And yet, here He was… Right before them – What in Heaven’s name was going on?
Their hearts nearly stopped from joy and shock when He showed them His scars. It was Him and He was ALIVE!!! It all made sense now… He HAD told them He had to die, but He had also hinted that death would not be the end of the story – He had promised that He would never leave them… Actually, He said that He would never, never, never , Never, NEVER leave them or turn them away!
So, now that He was back and had proved His ultimate power and authority, certainly He would begin the conquest now. But He said that He would not now – not in the way they had expected anyway… But really, had He EVER done things the way they expected?
He instead told them they were to take His message of peace, hope and love to everyone on earth! They could be confident that because of what He had done in dying for them – in dying for the world He had fulfilled all their previous hopes and dreams and had flung open the lanes of fellowship between God and man… And He had validated and sealed the sacrifice by rising from the dead…
No one would retract the story of His death… why should they? He really had died.
Because He was Alive, they now understood… Not only was He the Son of God – He IS God and He always will be! And now He has gone to prepare an eternal home for all who place all their trust in Him…
Now they fully understood this: there was no way to remain silent – there was no reason to hide. Nothing, not even death had power over Him, so it had no power over them! The revolution HAD begun, but it was not a violent uprising – Instead, they began to shout out to all who would give an ear – a continual outpouring of grace, peace, love and hope…
And the refrain has echoed from the hearts and lips of His children throughout the years ever since: “HE IS RISEN – HE IS RISEN INDEED!” Hope Reigns eternal…
All because Jesus is King and He… is… with us!
February 9, 2010Posted by on
We started this blog as an avenue to talk about how the truth about God and His Word ought to affect our lives. One of the most important aspects about God (if not THE most important) is that He is relational – that is He desires to have loving relationships with people. However, another VERY important aspect of God is that He is Holy – that is He hates evil (which all of us practice more often than we’d ever admit). These two seemingly incompatible aspects of God’s character presented a problem that called for a radical solution… Let’s examine the problem and the solution by looking quickly at just one verse, Romans 6:23.
For the wages of sin is death, BUT the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This verse is rich with meaning – it’s full of bad news and good news. Let’s start with the bad:
Notice the first 3 key words in this passage: Wages, Sin and Death. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “Wages” as: “Payment for services to a worker…” It is something that is earned or deserved. Random House defines “sin” as: “any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, lapse, etc.” This is anything we do that is “reprehensible” rebellion against God (and this almost always “regrettably” hurts other people). When the Bible speaks of “Death” it always represents some sort of separation – when the body dies it is separated from the soul – this is what we commonly think of as death, but the Bible also speaks of a greater death… spiritual death (which is separation from God).
So to sum up the first phrase, what we EARN & what we DESERVE for the evil we do is to be eternally separated from the God who loves us and created us.
Scripture tells us elsewhere that if we physically die without our sin problem being fixed by God, we will remain separated from Him in a very real and scary place called Hell (e.g. 2 Peter 2:4-10). This is obviously VERY bad news, because we are all guilty of sin (Romans 3:23) and there is nothing we can do to fix that on our own (Ephesians 2:8-9) – the “wage” was earned and God is so true to His word that He HAS to pay up!
Surprisingly to some, Jesus spoke about this place more than He spoke about Heaven! I think this is because God is relational and He doesn’t want us to have to experience being separated from Him (and all the bad that goes along with that separation).
This is where the good news comes in. This is signaled by the “BUT” in the middle of the verse. It’s like God is saying… “You deserve some really bad news, however, I’ve got some GREAT news for you”… That Good News is found in the next phrase “the gift of God is eternal life”… Let’s break it down like the last phrase.
We all know what a “Gift” is. It is something given to and received by us that was neither bought nor earned. In this case the giver of the Gift (the one who initiated the giving) is none other than God Himself.
The gift is eternal life. If death = separation then life = fellowship/connection. In other words, we have the opportunity to be in relationship with God… not only temporarily, but (in the words of the kids from Sandlot) “FOR-EV-ER!” Did you catch that? This is saying that God has stepped in to solve our sin problem!!!
All that is left to explain is the question of “how?” The Answer: Jesus… specifically a relationship with Jesus Christ and by accepting what He (Jesus) did for us on the cross… Remember, God had to pay out the wage for sin… death – Jesus took upon himself that death verdict for all people who would accept that gift – for all time!
Just like any gift, we cannot merely understand that the gift is for us, we have to receive it. Romans 10:9-11 sheds a little light on how we are to do this.
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
Ann Coulter recently said “It [Christianity] is the best deal in the universe… God sent his only son to get the crap beaten out of him, die for our sins and rise from the dead. If you believe that, you’re in. Your sins are washed away from you… because of the cross… Christianity is simultaneously the easiest religion in the world and the hardest religion in the world…” The simplicity of the Good News I just explained is the “easy” aspect of Christianity. The hard part will be the subject of other forthcoming blogs… But for now let’s just worry about the “easy” aspect.
To get in on the “easy” aspect here’s the questions that need to be answered for each of us:
- Have you ever done wrong in your life? In other words, are you a sinner?
- Do you want forgiveness for your sins?
- Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins, and then rose from the dead?
- Are you willing to surrender your heart to Jesus (as LORD – as seen above at the end of Romans 6:23)?
- Have you ever, or are you ready right now to accept God’s gift of eternal life by inviting Jesus into your life (Rev. 3:20)?
So, what IS the point? It’s all about what each of us will do in light of God’s offer of eternal life. If you have not trusted Jesus as your only hope for eternal life, I pray you will consider taking God up on His offer. If you already have trusted in Jesus, will you please consider talking to someone else about this? It really is the main point of life.