Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Are you Afraid of Dying?

“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.” (Heb 2:14-15 ESV)

I must confess that I am not looking forward to death. I know that I am trusting the Lord Jesus Christ for my eternity. I am going to go to heaven when I die. But still I am not looking forward to dying.

I am also disturbed by the realization of just how short this life really is. I get a melancholy feeling when I think of my past, and realize how long ago some of it has been. It it keeps becoming longer and longer ago!

I believe to some degree, what I have described above is normal. However, when the fear of death becomes a life controlling fear, then life itself has become an idol. People who have no hope for life after this life are particularly prone to become enslaved to this idolatry.

The Lord Jesus Christ became one of us. He subjected Himself to the hardships of this life, and the pangs of an angonizing death. He rose again from the dead. Why? Well among other things to deliver us from the slavery of this life controlling fear of death.

How could the martyrs of the past, as well as those of the present lay down their lives rather than denounce their Christ? Answer: Through faith in Christ they have been delivered from the fear of death.

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we need not fear living or dying. We are the only ones who are truly free.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Remembering the Truths that Bring Hope

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;* his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lam 3:21-26 ESV)

In the first part of this chapter, we find the prophet Jeremiah, really describing how desperate his situation is. He ascribes his bad fortune as coming from the hand of the Lord. Over and over again, he says things like: “I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath;” (Lam 3:1 ESV) “he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation; he has made me dwell in darkness like the dead of long ago. He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has made my chains heavy;” (Lam 3:5-7 ESV)

The very word "lamentations" expressions of regret or disappointment over things considered unsatisfactory, unreasonable, or unfair :

However right in the middle of all of these grieving and complaining, it seems as if Jeremiah remembers some things that bring him hope. He remembers who God is, and what God is like. God's love never ceases. His mercies are new every morning. He is faithful, He is good t those who wait or him, and the soul that seeks Him.

He concludes therefore, that it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of God.

How easily do we forget these things. How we need to remember them, and live in hope!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Mercy and Judgement-Something to Sing About

“I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.” (Psa 101:1 KJV)

At first glance it seems that the two things about which the Psalmist said he would sing, seem to be direct opposites. And the truth is they are! Yet both reside within the perfections of our God.

Our God is a God of judgment, and yet He is also a God of mercy! He has never, nor will He ever exercise mercy at the expense of judgement. And every time that he has ever exercised His judgment, there has been at the same time a demonstration of His mercy.

When he exercised his justice by expelling Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, he demonstrated mercy, in that he kept them from eating of the tree of life, lest they eat and live forever in their fallen state.

When he exercised his justice in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, he demonstrated his mcrcy towards Lot, and his family.

The greatest example is of course the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. While pouring out His judgement upon His Son for the sins fo the world, He was demonstrating His mery for His people.

These are the things of which we should sing! We should be joyous in all of the perfections of our God, but these seem to be of greater significance to us.

May our hearts rejoice in both the mercy and the justice of our God.