DJ Gorena

Life as I see it

Month: August, 2015

I Attended a Funeral Yesterday…

I attended a funeral yesterday of a father of a friend of mine. He was nearly 89 years old and had lived a life well-lived. He loved to laugh, sing, and enjoy his family. What struck me about this funeral is what his granddaughter and his two sons had to say about him. He was a loving father and grandfather who cherished every waking moment that he had. He loved his wife for almost 65 years and helped his sons to grow to be really great men who are respected in their given fields and businesses. It appears that he never met a stranger and that everyone was his friend.

But there was another thing that was said about him that I find absolutely riveting. In 1996, when he was 70 years old, his eldest son came to speak to him about something that had changed his life. You see, my friend grew up Jewish and his father was a practicing Jew as well. Everything that they had learned from the Rabbis always raised so many more questions for both of them. My friend, after hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in 1996, believed Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah that the Jews have been looking for generations. When he told his father about his belief in Jesus Christ, his father sat and listened intently to his son. Questions that his father had through the years, just like his son, were being raised–one right after another. Then, unexpectedly for the son, his father accepted Jesus as the Christ, as his Messiah.

It was not too long after their conversion that both father and son were baptized together. The Pastor that baptized both of them preached the memorial service for this man. However, what was most interesting was the way the son spoke of his father’s conversion. He said it precisely, accurately, and unashamed. He said, “My Dad was chosen. He was chosen by the Messiah when he was 70 years old.” He truly knew then what it meant to be part of God’s chosen people. For 70 years he had questions, and it was on that day in 1996, that he found the answer to be his Messiah–Jesus Christ.

I shall never forget this unforgettable testimony of a son for his father. And at the same time, I am rejoicing with him that his Dad found his Messiah.

Dealing with Death

It is a grim subject, death is. In many ways, we really do not like talking about it. Osama Bin Laden said that the difference between his group and Americans is that we love life while they love death. We love life because this is what God has granted us. He has given us a desire to live. This is why we fight for life when we are termed “terminally ill.” This is why we are willing to go to the heights and the depths of medical expertise so we can try to live just as long as we can. But death comes. Death hastens to its next victim.

There was a story I heard many years ago about “death.” It went something like this: Death arrived at a small farm where he was seeking a young man. With fear and trembling, when the young man saw Death coming toward him, he went to his master and requested his fastest horse so that he might flee from Death by crossing over the river. When the master told Death that he had given him his horse so that he might flee across the river, Death’s response was, “Good, I have an appointment with the young man this evening across the river.” Death waits for no one.

When we face the death of a loved one, it comes way too quickly. We want their lives to be lived with dignity, not with the decay of death. We desire to take their pain away, but it is not our pain to bear. We seek to comfort as best as we possibly can, but, for the most part, comfort only escapes the moment. Death steals,destroys, and kills.

Now before you think that this is merely a dreary, disheartening and dismal post, please keep reading. While death is ever seeking one to snatch into its clutches, there is One who seeking to rescue to give life. No, he is not American. I could only wish that all Americans saw life as this One does. He seeks to give life to whoever would believe Him to do so. It is really that simple: just believing Him. There is nothing that can stop physical death. When it is our time to die, we will die. When it is the time of our loved ones to die, they will die. Nothing stops death or the grief with which we suffer afterwards. But life continues to go on. Life continues to be lived. Life is a decision. As Tim Robbins said to Morgan Freeman in the movie The Shawshank Redemption, “You gotta get busy living or get busy dying!” I choose life!

Now I can choose life all day long, but that does not stop death. I can choose to roll out of bed every morning, wake up my boys and ready them for their day. My wife will wake up and be readying herself for her day as well. I ready myself for the day. But one of these days, there will not be a time to wake. That day will eventually come. However, that is not all there is to life. There is much more to life! There is a time after we live this life that is eternal. But we need to make the choice today what life we will have in the hereafter.

Jesus Christ said in John 10:10:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.

Jesus’ concern is with life. He came so that we might have life. Now some critics would challenge Him with this because death still seems to reign in the mortal shells of our lives. We are always trying to forego death, but it is still there. Jesus Christ, however, was speaking of eternal life. Yes, physically we will die. Yes, physically our loved ones have died. Jesus came to give us eternal life and that life does not begin at the point of our physical death. Rather, it begins at the point of our belief in Him to give us life.

Nevertheless, there is a day of reckoning for all. Hebrews 9:27 says:

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment…

That just sounds horrible if that is all there is to this life, but that is not all there is to this life. Read on in Hebrews 9:28:

…so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but Jesus is coming again for those who eagerly await Him. He not only gives life while here on this earth, but then He comes and takes us to be with Him forever by giving us eternal life. Pipe dream? No–reality. When He died and bore your sins and my sins on a cold, cruel cross, He made payment for the wages of sin that is due and in turn gives us eternal life as a free gift! Jesus Christ is concerned with life and giving it away so that we might live!

Let death come. There is nothing that is stopping life…nothing stopping Life.

Colorado

My family and I have been in Colorado for a week now. We left home on Saturday this past week due to our air conditioning breaking down that afternoon while at the grocery store. Hopefully it will be fixed by the time that we arrive back home this coming Wednesday. We drove to Oklahoma where we stayed for a night. Then we drove to Tulsa to catch up with some friends of ours that moved from our town. It was a great time to see Mick and Kelly and to see how God is blessing them where they are. After leaving Tulsa, we drove to Oakley, Kansas and stopped there for the night due to a torrential storm that we drove into on Sunday evening. The deluge was so great that we went from seventy-five miles per hour down to five miles per hour because we could not see the road. The winds were howling and, of course, my wife and children were frightened by the storm and I was stressed to the gills because of driving through the storm. We finally made it on Monday to Denver. While there we visited with my Dad and stepmom and had a great few days with them. He had an angiogram the week before but the doctor is still trying to figure out what is going on with his heart. He looks great but tires towards the end of the day.

Now we are in Canon City, Colorado. We are visiting with our sons grandparents and are having a great time. Today we visited the Royal Gorge and it was absolutely beautiful. I actually walked across the suspension bridge that spans the gorge. Now for me, being that I am very afraid of heights, I was able to walk across and help others who were frightened along the way by showing them that if I could do it they could, too. Well, my knees have finally stopped knocking and my queasiness has subsided. My boys had a great time with Nana as she has fed, watered, and bought all sorts of things for them. My Cheryl is having a great time as well, just seeing how glad everyone is to see her sons and how much they have grown over the last couple of years.

As for me, I am ready to relax, sit outside in the coolness of the day, and keep reading my B.B. Warfield book. I am grateful to have some time to relax after stressing over things that I really should not stress over. After all, God is in control.

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