Archive for January 2014

1Corinthians 15 caught me by surprise today…

January 25, 2014
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About a month ago my 86 year old father felt winded and fatigued in spite of generally having had good health except for a weak heart and feebleness in his legs.  On January 4 he went to the ER because he was then feeling some pain in his abdomen.  A CT scan revealed that there were issues in his lungs and liver, but the doctors thought his most immediate need was for his gall bladder to be removed. When that procedure was done, it was discovered that his liver was much worse than the CT scan had revealed.  It was completely overtaken by cancer. The Lord took him home two days later, on Thursday, January 9, and the funeral was last week.

So, 1 Corinthians 15 caught me by surprise today as I read it as part of my daily reading.

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;  and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.  Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;  and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep  For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.  But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,  then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” (1Corinthians 15:12-26 NAS)
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These verses were an encouragement as I reflected on the loss of my Dad from this life and the fact that I miss him, and on the fact that since he belongs to Christ, he too, will rise again.

Events in the last three weeks have kept me from having time to post here or on Facebook.  I haven’t had the heart or interest in posting light or trivial things, but today I am reminded and encouraged afresh that death is not the end.  At age 40 my Dad put his trust in the Lord and wrote the following in an open letter in 2001.  Hours before he died, on Thursday afternoon, Jan 9, he asked us to pass out copies of the letter to every one who came to his funeral.  We did.

If You Die Today, Where Will You Be Tomorrow?
 
            The tragic death of so many in the September 11 th World Trade Center disaster is a reminder that we each face the certainty of death, and along with it, an eternity in either Heaven or Hell. We do not know when death will take us, but it will take us. I’d like to tell you about my views on death, Heaven and Hell.
 
            In my late “teens” I did not believe in either Heaven or Hell. I believed that when I died I’d be buried and then decay into dirt and dust and that all remembrance of me would fade away. This anticipated eternal future didn’t bother me since I was an optimist and didn’t expect to die till I was older anyway. God was just a word in my vocabulary.
 
            In my “twenties,” I studied a little bit about the “atom,” its structure, the way it works and the fact that we cannot see it even though everything was made out of atoms. I also studied a little bit about the universe … its size, its beauty, its design and its orderliness, along with its total predictability and the fact that it too was made out of atoms, which we cannot see. I developed a strong belief that there had to be a God of creation to make all these things that I could see. I knew that these things didn’t just happen all by themselves.  My God however, was not a personal one. He was just the creator of all things.
 
            In my “thirties,” when I pondered the depth/shallowness of my belief, I concluded that the Bible was a good book but that it was nothing else. I did not believe in its content, its miracles, nor the story about Jesus Christ being the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary, nor that He died for my sins and rose from the grave on the third day. However, I did believe that the Bible was a good common denominator for all “races” to show us how we are to live good, clean, moral lives. Without the Bible, our world would be utter chaos. Even at this stage of my life, I still didn’t believe in Heaven or Hell.
 
            In May 1967, at age 40 (again pondering my beliefs), I realized that if my God could create and control all those incomprehensible things that I can see, accept and believe, He could easily create the virgin birth of His Son, Jesus Christ (a fact that I could never believe previously), just as easy as flicking His little finger. Slowly, within two to three weeks, I began to believe that Jesus Christ did die on the cross of Calvary and shed His blood as a sacrifice for my sin, that He rose again on the third day and now sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, interceding for me. I then received Him as my Lord and Savior and have followed Him ever since.
 
            One day each one of us will stand before God. If He asks the question: “Why should I let you enter Heaven?” What would you tell Him? It’s important that we know the answer. I’m still a dirty, rotten sinner who never has been, nor ever will be worthy of anything better than Hell. However, I am a sinner saved by Grace. I have never done anything nor ever will do anything that would merit Heaven. However, that’s where I’m going when the Lord is done with me.
 
            You can decide whether you will go to Heaven or Hell when you die. The information regarding how to make that decision is clearly explained in the enclosed pamphlet titled, “Have You Considered This?” Please read it, pray about its applicability to your life and act accordingly, keeping in mind that: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).  And Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
 
            God bless you as you ponder and pray about your eternal destiny.
 
                                                         Bill Buchanan, Dec. 3, 2001
                                                         RememberGodAlmighty.com