Life and Death

It’s been a while since I’ve posted… been real busy in my new iteration of life. About a year and a half ago I came off the road and took a local job hauling wood chips. Wow. After nearly a quarter century of being a part time husband and dad, in and out every few weeks for a couple days, it’s a welcome change to be home every night and weekend. Of course it’s also been a challenge as Lynn and I sort through our priorities and relationship issues. We’ve had to re-establish some boundaries and jobs within the house and that’s not always easy, the give and take of any normal marriage.  I’ve also taken some new responsibilities at our church and have started doing an online Bible College to get a degree. You might say I’m busy!

One challenge and blessing (even if it was hard to see at times) is that my Mother in Law has been living with us for the last four years. Now living with anyone requires grace and patience, but mom needed extra from me (and I from her) as she and I never really meshed very well through the years, likely because we’re both bull headed and bossy!

Mom went home to Heaven yesterday. She had had a good Christmas, but had been feeling a bit more tired than usual. While her caregiver was helping her to bed, in the middle of smiling at a joke, she laid down and breathed her last breath. She went easy.

We are sad of course.. but not broken. We grieve for her… and for ourselves. We regret the words left unsaid.. and a few that were said through the years. But we also have hope. Hope that she is with God. Hope that we will see her again. Hope that she is out of pain now.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 (ESV)

Let me tell you about the Hope that we find in Jesus.

Paul, a writer in the Bible said:

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”

1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)

We believe that a life lived with Jesus and in accordance to God’s principles results in a better life. Mom was proof of that. God made her a better person, not perfect of course, but better than she could have been on her own. But that change is more than just changing habits.

It’s more than a self-help program. It requires a deeper change.

Once a man came to Jesus to find out what the secret of life is… and Jesus said this very strange thing:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:3 (ESV)

The change that Jesus desires for us is so great that it looks like we become a whole new person!

Later in the Bible, Paul said:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

Jesus also told his closest followers:

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:4-5 (ESV)

We also believe that when the time comes to leave this world, Jesus will usher us into the presence of the Father God where we long to be.

Once Jesus was at a funeral for a friend and to comfort the grieving sister He said:

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

John 11:25-26 (ESV)

We believe that this life is not all there is. There is something more and better that is waiting for us on the other side of death’s doorway. Mom knows the truth now.

Let me leave you with the most well-known saying of Jesus:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
John 3:16-18 (ESV)

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