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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Brugge Belgium canal (photo by Dresselhaus)
This is a canal in Brugge, Belgium - called the Venice of the North.
Photo by Richard and Elnora Dresselhaus.

"No More Death"

Message summary: Today's message is the second in a series based on Revelation 21:4 of that which we'll not see or experience in heaven when "the former things have passed away". Today we consider death.

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"The last enemy to be destroyed is death" (1 Corinthians 15:26). "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4).

Down the road from our house is an old cemetery established around 1800. We are blessed at expressions of faith on old tombstones, but this one actually posts a warning to passersby:

Remember, friend, as you pass by
As you are now so once was I.
As I am now so you must be;
Prepare for death and follow me.

Helen Keller describes death as, "No more than passing from one room into another. But there's a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see."

Today's message will be more sobering than most but does indeed end with a promise of encouragement. Each day some 151,600 people die.*¹ In fact we are sure that any reader old enough to realize the meaning of death likely knows someone who has died. My first cognizant memory of death was an Air Force plane that went down near our home when I was seven years old on December 19, 1961. My dad drove me out to the crash scene and said, "Stephen, those men had wives and children who will not see them on Christmas." I just couldn't believe that things like that really happened. Several years later the first of my grandparents went on and death became personal. Death is simply part of the present "order of things".

We are regularly reminded of death; death in wars, famines, disease. So many violent deaths such as a recent murder suicide in our own area with a mother killing her two young children before killing herself. In the course of our chaplain visit last week an employee told me the ten year old girl killed was his granddaughter's best friend. Today many in our spiritual family will die as a result of persecution. Just yesterday on Terror Monitor we read of a gruesome execution of 5 young Christian boys in the Philippines by Islamic terrorists. *² In each area of the world there will be accidents that take lives and of course diseases. Undoubtedly some reading this are presently feeling the "sting" of the recent death of a loved one.

Death is God's appointed method of transition to the afterlife, just as conception and birth are His appointed method of transition into life as we now know it. As William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, wrote, "For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity." Forthrightly the writer of Hebrews states, "Man is destined to die" (Hebrews 9:27). Of course we are aware of the supernatural departure of Enoch and Elijah, as well as the wonderful promise of the rapture for those living at that time, however the norm for most will be death.

In today's first text Paul calls death the "last enemy". We look for encouragement and comfort in the truths and promises of the Holy Scriptures. Death will one day be destroyed. The perishable will be clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. Death will be swallowed up in victory. When the old order of things has passed away there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.

Meanwhile we continue to deal with death and grief, but not like those who have no hope, for we have hope based on the Bible's promises. Therefore, we comfort and encourage you all with these words today. When the old order (life as we now know it) passes away, there will indeed be no more death!

The important thing we must each ask ourselves is this, "Am I ready to die"? "Have I accepted the glorious gift of salvation by faith in Christ" If you've answered "no" to the above soul searching questions we welcome you to say this prayer from your heart and begin serving Jesus, who declared, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me."

"Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner and ask You to forgive me of my sins. I believe that You came to this earth and died on the cross as a substitute for me. I place my faith in You and what You have done for me. I receive You into my life and choose this day to follow and serve You. Thank You for hearing my prayer."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Loving Father, some of our readers are grieving the death of a loved one. We pray that You speak peace to these dear folks and nurture their trust, even helping them to grow spiritually in the midst of their grief. May they see You at work even when the answers they seek are not the ones they are given. As believers we trust that You are working for our good, even when we don't understand, for we know that all things work together for good to those who love You, who are called according to Your purpose. Help us to remember that our sorrows and disappointments have a larger purpose than simply to make us miserable. These often come so others can observe our response, to see if we bear witness to Christ's abiding presence in our lives, in the hard stuff of life. Remind us that if we want to share in Your glory we must also share in Your sufferings (Romans 8:17). We don't get to choose what sufferings we must go through, but we do choose our response; whether it glorifies You or glorifies our suffering. Help us we pray. Amen.

Brugge Belgium canal (photo by Dresselhaus)
Another photo of the canal in Brugge, Belgium - called the Venice of the North.
We normally share photos we take here in our region of the world and where we travel. However we also enjoy periodically sharing interesting photos by friends. Today's photos were taken in Europe by Richard and Elnora Dresselhaus.

Pipe organ in Grand Church in Haarlem, Netherlands (photo by Dresselhaus)
Pipes from the organ at the large Grand Church or St. Bavo's in Haarlem.  The organ has 5,068 pipes and was played by Mozart when he was 10 years old and later played by Handel.

Front of Corrie ten Boom's home in Haarlem, Netherlands (photo by Dresselhaus)
The front of Corrie ten Boom's home in Haarlem, Netherlands.  You will note there is presently a jewelry store on the main floor although there is no connection to the ten Booms. But that was where her grandfather opened his watchmaking shop in 1837 and her father carried on the business as well.

We met Richard and Elnora last year in California through a mutual friend. Richard writes a very thought provoking daily challenge here.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"No More Night"  Video  David Phelps

*¹ Daily deaths statistic from here.

Terror Monitor  Monitoring terrorist groups globally. We are trying to develop this as a complete online to inform about terrorist outfits, activities and its impact worldwide.

In the course of studying for this message I came across a couple of sage quotes by William Penn so very fitting for our age.

"Men must be governed by God or they will be ruled by tyrants."

"Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it."

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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