This year, more than any in recent history, we’ve been confronted by the mortality of man on a global scale. It has been emotionally exhausting at times getting daily updates of how many lives were lost the day before; and yet it has forced many of us to reflect on death and eternity. A few weeks ago the much-loved and respected apologist Ravi Zacharias passed away.
During the months leading to Ravi’s passing, a social media campaign #ThankyouRavi gained momentum, as people shared their appreciation for Ravi’s ministry, dedication to defending the Gospel and discipiling others to do the same. I could understand the sentiment, but I felt like people were already saying goodbye to Ravi (he was still with us) and it made me feel uncomfortable.
Death makes all of us feel uncomfortable. The last few months of the Covid-19 outbreak have confirmed the tragedy associated with death. There were times during these past weeks where it felt unending, but as lock down restrictions are beginning to lift, here we are coming out on the other side in Jesus name.
Whenever I read through the book of Acts and the Gospels, my heart sinks everytime I read about disciples being martyred. No matter how many times I read through the Gospels, there is always a minute part of me desperate for Pilate to reject the Jews unlawful and unjust sentencing of Jesus to death. Within myself I murmur Pilate stand your ground don’t let them do this, their making a mistake, He is the King of the Jews. But the reality is regardless of how “nice” or “noble” my internal petitions may sound, it would mean no crucifixion, no resurrection and that would mean no salvation for us today. Jesus Christ had to die.
In Sarah Davis’ tribute to her father Ravi Zacharias on the RZIM website Sarah said something that really made me stop and think.
“My father is more alive than ever before”
I had to ponder on this statement for a while. Then suddenly I started to grasp what the Apostle Paul was saying in 1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Sarah’s loving tribute to her father reminded me of the ultimate hope of every follower of Christ. As Paul rightly points out in 1 Corinthians 15:19 the Christian’s hope is not to live forever on this earth. We are not pursuing immortality in a finite world. But instead our hope is to fulfil God’s call for our lives here on earth, and ultimately inherit eternal life with Him in heaven.
Sometimes I wrestle with difficult questions when someone dies, whether they’re high-profile or not. “Why God, why did You allow this person to die? What about those left behind? Couldn’t You have spared their life?” I’ve never received a direct response to these questions. But when my grief becomes to heavy to bear , and drives me to the presence Of God – then I see Jesus and I’m comforted. I’m reminded that death is not the end, nor is it tragic for the believer. Because what awaits us is incomparable to what we see now. 1 Corinthian 13:12
I’m not trying to trivialise death. It is devastating. Death is horrible, especially if preceded by suffering, sickness or injustice. Even now there are many mourning loved ones lost during the outbreak, and they deserve to be comforted and supported through their grief. But let’s also remember that death is not the end, and for every believer in Jesus Christ – life, abundant – indescribable in comparison to the standards of this world, is only just beginning.
So here is a challenging thought, perhaps this taboo topic of death, may be a path way into a discussion about life, eternity, salvation and God’s redeeming love. This also is Good News.
Lord we bring before you every person heart broken and grieved by the loss of a loved one. We bring before you Lord every person who feels the loss is unbearable. We pray that You minister Your peace to every heart, we ask You to carry them in their weariness, and envelop them with your presence, to comfort and renew them in Jesus name amen.
A raucous scene, a battlefield, contention on every side. Bodies throw against one another. Who but who will surrender? Who will stand?
And there in the midst of it all, one stands, a solace surrounding him. In the chaos, the quiet abides with him. Soon they notice, the tranquil site on the battlefield.
He holds a sword, but this will not stop them from tempting him.
I have often imagine myself, in a complete suit of armour, walking slowly along the seashore, the sea air clean and clear, in the shadow of my Father. His peace quietens me, but still I hold in my hand the sword ready to fight.
Simply holding a sword on a battlefield will not fend off opposition, it certainly won’t win the war. And like this man, sword in hand, we cannot simply have the Gospel and persevere. At all times we must use the Gospel, put it to use as shield, armour and weapon.
It is the good fight of faith.
1 corinthians 15:1 – 3
Even in trials and tribulations, may God continue to renew in our hearts, the Good News of the Gospel and a revelation of Himself, that we may continue to stand and persevere in Jesus name amen.
Peace & Love
I could say a lot about how Christ has redeemed me, how His majesty is the only thing great enough to overshadow a past like mine. But sometimes I ask the question, what did Christ actually give up for us? Why did He do it? This is the scripture the Lord gave me.
The REAL Easter message.
8 Unjustly condemned, he was led away.
No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream.
But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people.
9 He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.
10 But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.
12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels. (NLT)
How do we say thank you?
We live a full life in honour of His life, shortened for our sake. We know that our righteousness is incorruptible, that it cannot be tarnished or defiled by anything in this world, because our righteousness was purchased at the price of His life, our righteousness is of the LORD forever.
Peace and Love and HAPPY EASTER
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Peace is so scarce in this world – it can only offer to its inhabitants temporal and artificial peace. The kind of peace that many seek in relationships, experience artificially through drug abuse, some are so overwhelmed by the struggle to find peace in this world that they decide to take their own lives, whether it be intentionally by suicide or more subtly by various forms of addiction and substance abuse.
It’s unlikely that “world peace” as the pageant girls often add to the end of their speeches will ever be achieved by mankind, especially when most individuals have yet to discover peace: not within themselves, but within Christ. He is the Prince of Peace. Any hope of having peace in this life, can only be realised through Christ.
There are many thought-provoking quotes, which talk about man’s pursuit for happiness, but in actuality, man’s spirit does not desire happiness, man’s spirit desires peace. If you have peace, you will be happy – sometimes, but being happy doesn’t mean you have peace and having peace doesn’t mean you will be happy all the time.
Even if you accomplish every aspiration, you’re rich, famous, look the way you want, have everyone in the world following you on twitter, all of the above, even when you think – I’m happy – your heart gives that off beat that lets you know your spirit is not, because you don’t have peace.
Christ for instance, endured scrutiny, constant criticism, many times crowds gathered with the intention to stone him and he saw his own crucifixion ahead of him, he wasn’t always happy, yet in Christ there was peace, because he knew there was something greater to look forward to. Beyond this temporal world is – everlasting love, peace and joy in heaven.
Its kinda like when you watch a film, and the hero is hurt and you think 😮 will he make it, but deep down you’re not worried because you know, the hero will not and cannot die. Of course 21st century cinema brought much pessimism and many hero-less films into existence. But life with Christ cannot end with a cliffhanger.
If as a Christian you struggle to keep your peace at times, have faith in the God you serve, the God whom if you call, he will answer. Always remind yourself that you are under the covering of the Prince of peace. I leave you with this:
These things I have spoken unto you that ye might have peace.
In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
May Christ’s peace be with you x
You Only Live Once
How many people here have heard that saying?
Who doesn’t know what the acronym YOLO represents?
You only live once
You only live once
It came to me as I was watching some inspiring Christian poetry
I realised how the devil really works
How he can take a strong warning and distort it into the end of every joke
The excuse for every foolish and selfish act
Who benefits from your yolo-ing?
Don’t you know that there is only one beneficiary to sin, the devil,
He gains another soul in hell
Do we even listen to the things that come out of our mouths?
Christ told us, this is what defiles a man
You only live once
Do you understand what that means,
That means that if the floor were to separate and swallow us all,
No clubbing tomorrow,
You won’t have the opportunity to complain about your weight
Or the fact that your new iphone five, causing suicides in China,
Selling at prices enough to feed villages in Africa,
You won’t be able to worry about who is or is not whatsapping you
where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth
And I guess I’m a hypocrite because my phone cost me over £400
How ironic that I should struggle to pay my rent some months and carry the value in the palm of my hand.
You only live once,
Try weed, try drugs, have sex with him and her too
Do whatever you want to do because you only live once
Tattoo only God can judge me
Just to show how daring and creative you can be
But only God can judge you and don’t worry he will
You’ll have the opportunity to explain to him why you felt so strongly about judgement that you needed to permanently mark it on the walls of his temple
Cause our body is his temple
We don’t even think about what those four letters mean
If you’re given the grace to understand then please understand
Yes its true this body only survives one life time, but your spirit is eternal
It would have been better for some if they hadn’t been born because by being born you’ve enter a contract forever
You’ll always be in existence
I’m not saying yolo-ing is wrong, I yolo often
Saying things I don’t want to say because of human fear, that I know I have to say because of God because I’ll only live on this earth once
I won’t have the opportunity to come back and do things the right way having learned of hell
The guy you spent half of your teenage years chasing, the image you almost killed yourself for,
They won’t matter once death comes
Is it me or does it seem sensible to utilize this life on earth, that we only have to live once, to do things that will save us from burning for eternity
In fact I am mostly talking to myself here
Because I know I’ve ended a stupid decision with the word YOLO!
Do you know how many people have taken some drug just once and died, they know the true meaning of YOLO
Said the wrong thing and been in the wrong place at the wrong time and had life snatched away from them
You Only Live Once