Becky Black is dying. There is no easy or polite way of saying this. I truly wish there was. She has been battling cancer for a number of years now and the Lord has shown he has heard the prayers of the faithful who have been praying for her in many tangible ways – but unless the Lord does a absolute miracle she will die. But, death for her is only a stepping stone in the journey of eternal life.
She has been writing her memoirs, and her husband Dave Black has been editing them and posting them on his blog that is not a blog. He recently posted up chapter 5 which like all the chapters have been a great read. Can I urge you my readers to pray that Becky will have the strength, wisdom and insight to continue and finish her memoirs before the Lord takes her home. Pray for Dave, their children, grand children and many adopted children in the lord. And if you feel led and have the gift of faith to do so, ask the Lord to do a miracle in extending Becky’s life here with health, strength and vitality.
Go and have a read here and be blessed and encouraged in doing so. I know I have been.
Any prophecy that misses the mark of Christ’s grace within the framework of the earth’s demise is bogus. Mind you, there are many bogus prophecies within a so called Christian context that still miss the grace of Christ within the framework of the earth’s demise.
Simply put Christianity is not about fearing and speculating about the worlds end. It’s all about the gift of forgiveness of sins. The gift of eternal life. The gift of new heavens and earth. And its all about being part of God’s recreation processes here in the now: for the earth and all of God’s creation.
Christians are a weird bunch. We talk about loving our enemies. (Whether we do or not is a different story.) We talk about love, hope, joy, contentedness, forgiveness, peace….and we even sing at funerals. And we sing with a measure of joy.
Singing at funerals has to be one of the weirdest things a person can do. It just doesn’t make sense. In many ways it is just wrong. How on earth can someone, or a group of people sing with a measure of joy, that a loved one has passed away and is with them no longer? Death causes pain. It causes numbness. It causes confusion. It causes anger. And it can cause fear. But the one thing its not supposed to cause is joy.
So what is it about Christians, that in the midst of deep heartache and pain, they can sing with a measure of joy at a funeral? That thing is called hope. It’s called faith. And it’s called love. We know that our lives on this earth are only temporary. We know that death is merely an illusion. It’s not real.
Yes, its true that in this lifetime, death is a reality that we all must face. And the reality of death is that, death is the mere absence of life. And the gist of Christianity is all about life. We inherit eternal life. For death could not hold Christ. He died, but he rose to life again. For in him is life. And when we believe on Christ, he instils into us, new life. He instils into us, eternal life. And he promises us a new life, a new hope, a new eternity.
So for us, while we mourn and grieve the passing of a loved one into another dimension. We know that our loss is only temporary, and that that person has only really died to the world, and is in reality, living life to the fullest, in the life that is to come.
While some might think Christians are weirdos, I think non Christians are bigger weirdos. Particularly those who continually reject the message of hope, faith, love – for this message is one of life, abundant life and its eternal life. And so within this context, I ask…who truly are the weird ones?
This morning I woke up with the praise of the lord in my heart and on my lips. Filled with Holy Spirit expectant hope and joy, I know today is a day of triumph, for my God has triumphed over all things and because he is for me, nothing else that is against me can compare to his glory and might…
In saying this, there are times when we go through awful trials and tribulations. We can be the recipients of bad news. It can seem that our lives are falling apart and that there is nothing we can do to prevent it. At times depression, sickness, fatigue, worry and anxiety can wear us down in the journey of life. At times it seems that God is far from us.
We often read in the Psalms, my God why have you forsaken me, hear me, listen to my prayers, come near to me. Often we cry out, or our hearts cry out, God, Why? Or God where are you in this? Within this pain wracked cry for mercy and hope, God does answer us.
He says to us: I will never leave you or forsake you. Because I am for you, there is nothing in comparison to my eternal goodness that can come against you. And as we meditate on this love – hope builds up in our hearts, a cry of hope comes forth from our lips. And out of the peace this brings – we can despite our circumstances, praise our Lord for all he is and has done for us.
Being a peace maker when your surrounded with those who are like minded and those who love you is easy. Being a peace maker when your surrounded with those who are not likeminded and loving towards you is not so easy.
Luk 6:27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
Luk 6:28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
Luk 6:29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.
Luk 6:30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.
Luk 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
Luk 6:32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
Luk 6:33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
Luk 6:34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.
Luk 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
Luk 6:36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
It’s a tough call to walk the walk of a peace maker. Our natural instinct is to raise up and retaliate. Our natural instinct is to raise up and strike back. Word for word. Punch for punch. Action for action.
It’s not natural to turn the other cheek. It’s not natural to forgive those who harm us. It’s natural to give when we know we are not going to get it back. It’s not natural to give to and love those who hate us…and indeed its this very anti naturalism that shows us God’s way.
Christ called out – Father forgive them, for they don’t know what it is they are doing. In the midst of pain, of the cruelty of the cross, he remained merciful and through his mercy we gain the benefit of forgiveness of our sins and reconciliation with God.
This offer of forgiveness, mercy and reconciliation is freely given to all of humanity, there are no exclusions. And because in Christ there is no distinction between gender, class, nationality and age… because of the inclusivity of mercy and forgiveness – we likewise are called to treat all who are offered forgiveness, reconciliation and mercy in the same way.
In doing so, not only do we speak about the love of God through words which are easy to speak…we show the love of God through our actions and we can do this because Christ first showed us the way.
Last night I had the privilege of preaching on the story of the “Prodigal son” from Luke. The theme was Stinken Thinken. Stinken Thinken robs us of peace. It robs us of joy. it robs us of walking in relationship with God. Stinken Thinken positions us as being either morally superior or inferior to others.
Whereas renewed thinking brings about peace. It brings about joy. It helps us to accept what God has done for us, allowing us to walk with him in relationship. Renewed thinking allows us to truly love both our self and others as God intends for us.
2Ti 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and sound mind.
The love of God is a wonderful gift. For love grants us power, love and sound mind. Fear is the opposite of love. Fear produces hatred, it produces timidity and personal weakness, and it produces confusion.
God loves us so much that he promises to grant wisdom to any who ask him. Of course his wisdom is not like our wisdom at times…so we can at times think / say “What are you doing?” God’s wisdom is peaceable; its kind and not easily angered…and of course his wisdom is his love…so through God’s love we can have peace in the midst of pain and confusion. We can draw on his power, which helps us through trying times and we can draw on his love to help us to forgive – when the alternative is to hate.