Saturday, May 27, 2006

Another Blessing From God

Rejoice with us again! God is so Good!
I recently posted on the birth of our third granddaughter, Kaylie Joy, born April 26 to my youngest daughter and her husband, and I now take the honor of presenting to you our fourth granddaughter, Chloe Alison, born May 24 to my son and his wife. Please go to this site to see pictures that Chloe's tired, but very happy, dad has put on his site.
Chloe weighed in at 5# 10.5 oz and was 18.5" long when she was born at 4:31 pm. Both mother and daughter are doing well, for which we are most thankful to God for His grace and mercy through another birth. Chloe and Kaylie will be almost twins, being only four weeks apart at birth, so they may be more sisters than cousins, time will tell. Chloe joins her big sister Brenna Leigh, almost 5 years old, and Olivia Ryanne, already 2 years old. Mom and dad will have their work cut out for them for quite a while, pray that God will give them wisdom and strength for this work of love in bringing up these children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
These blessings by God reinforce to me His commitment to us that life will continue on despite all the death we see daily. We bid adieu to our loved ones in death, but not forever when each of us rest in Christ. However, this heart breaking parting that death brings is expotentially magnified when we are separated by death in the present along with no hope for reunion in eternity; all because of the failure of our loved one in coming to Christ in belief for salvation. This grief is without relief in this life, however, God has promised that He will wipe away all tears of grief in heaven, only then will we cease grieving. That knowledge is not all that helpful while living in the flesh, but a grief we will not carry throughout eternity.
Placing ones faith in Christ, the provider of the blood of Atonement, which is necessary for a sin offering in bringing about reconciliation between ones lost soul and Almighty God, is the greatest gain to achieve in this life. All other gains and accomplishments made in life pale in the light of the reality of salvation in Christ; now is the day of salvation. Choose life in Christ; do not remain in the eternal death that already abides in the unregenerated soul we all possess apart from God's amazing salvation provided by God's grace through Christ.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (KJV)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Living Despite the Presence of Death

Our enemy has returned, but the Victory is not his! Praise God for His Salvation! Another family member has passed over the threshold of death and entered into the Glory of heaven and come into the presence of God, our Saviour. Eternal healing for her is complete! All glory be given to the God of Grace!
To bring everyone up to date; one of my wife's brothers, Glen, passed away about a year and a half ago due to an agressive brain tumor; I mentioned it in a post here. I also mentioned in that post that his wife, Dawn, had just been diagnosed with a different form of brain cancer that was inoperable. Dawn made the decision not to seek any other therapy, but to take the time left that was allowed her by God that she could be with family and friends as much as her health would concede. This gift of time has been a blessing for all concerned, yet also a bittersweet time considering the inevitable outcome in human terms. Though we glory in the victory she has been given over death by Christ, we still grieve the loss of her presence from our lives.
As I posted earlier, we all have to deal with death, for it is the normal end of life for each one of us. How do we then live with that end of life approaching? Death seems so much of a defeat that looms before us, mocking all we accomplish or possess. I believe some of us attempt to just ignore death and just grab all we can now, while others have an excessive focus on death in their life which inhibits living well; there ought to be a balance.
With the reality of the physical nature of life and death we must consider the spiritual aspect. I wrote in the aforementioned post of my struggle with death on a human level within a Christian context. We see death manifested daily, it is a reality; within that reality we need to live and experience life. So we try to live life as if we can defy, or deny, death's reality; which is impossible. Recently, in my meditations, the teachings of Christ have confirmed to me that our view of life is backwards, that the spiritual aspect of life teaches us to be looking from the point of death back towards life.
Therefore, I propose that our physical living is enhanced by accepting death's inevitablity and allowing that realization to awaken us to real living in the physical sense by the power of the spiritual life available to us in Christ. I believe this is exactly what Jesus was instructing us in the concept of dying to self; of living as dead already, yet alive with the indwelling presence of God's Spirit. Thus, seeking to save our life, by cramming in as much of the material essence of life as we can, is to actually loose that life, for death swallows all the material gain we accumulate. By receiving life through Christ, by the presence of God's Spirit, we are enabled to look beyond the material and truly live in an eternal sense in this present material life but apart from its demands, and realize that death is just a portal through which we pass as our life continues eternally in Christ.
Christ lived among mankind for 30+ years with the actuality of His death having already happened. Christ was "offered up" in the beginning, at the creation, for the sins of man in the plan of God's salvation. We need to learn to live in the same manner, as dead to the flesh yet alive in the Spirit; only then shall we truly understand life in all its real richness and meaning and truly live despite the presence of death.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:55-58 KJV)