Thursday, May 26, 2016


Psalm 116:15 - Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints. 

Excuse me! I have rewritten a draft from 2009! It's still as pertinent today, as anything that comes from God and His Word.

A woman in from a church I once attended had passed away. I was friends with her sister, also from our church. Her death notice stated she "went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." It was a beautiful service. How can I say that? Because most all the people in attendance knew that she was in the presence of the Lord. She wanted to people to celebrate. We could celebrate that she was precious in the sight of the Lord!

What came as a complete surprise was that her sister was not there. She lay in ICU after having suffered congestive heart failure. She came out of that well. Thanks to technology one of her family members was able to transmit the service and even some of the comments of friends and family to her sister in the hospital! She had a front row seat!

So often we read notices that say a loved one is with the Lord. Or they expound on all the person's accomplishments and good deeds. But how many can really say they are with Jesus when they die? Not all churches believe the same thing. Different denominations have different beliefs. Our pastor then even said there have been many who have told him they don't believe in hell because God is a good God and wouldn't send anyone there. He proceeded to explain that yes, He would. We all deserve it…until we receive Christ. Not one of us is righteous on our own. (Romans 3:10)

So, do you know exactly where you will go when you die? How many can say with absolute certainty they are going to heaven? These are the questions our pastor asked as he presided over the service.

What is it that makes a person believe they will go to heaven? Do they believe in God? Are they basically good people? Are they churchgoers? Do they read the Bible every day? Do they sing in the choir? Are they great philanthropists? Are they good employees or employers? These are only a few questions and not one of those things is good enough to get someone to heaven. And we all know someone who we believe is not as good as we are! But what does God think?

Here is what the Bible, not always the Church, tells us: 

Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father [which includes going to heaven] except through Me. (John 14:6)

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it(Matthew 7:13-14)

Our pastor said the Bible tells us that God doesn't want anyone to go to hell--that none should perish (2Peter3:9).  It is not God who sends us there but it is our choice. He went on to say for many people it's taking that step of faith and believing in and trusting in Jesus that is so difficult. For some the mention of the name of Jesus brings conviction and He becomes what the Bible calls a stumbling block...and yet He becomes our chief cornerstone! He can become the Rock of our salvation. (2Samuel 22:47) It was prophesied in Isaiah 8:14 - He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense ... and as a trap and a snare ...  Psalm 118:22 also states The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. And again in 1Peter 2:16 - ...Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame. A person may reject Jesus and His teachings but He won't change. He is still the only way to heaven and life. Rejection is not just outright not believing in Him, but also not believing all He has taught us in His Word. 

It's all about Jesus! Period. I can't ever say it enough. If we stumble in our lives and get to a point where we don't know who we can turn to, Jesus will be there, if we can get past our own pride and selves. That Chief Cornerstone can be our solid Foundation, the Rock of our salvation. But we should not let Jesus be our stumbling block. He's not our weakness, He's our strength. It doesn't mean we have it any easier in life but He alone provides that hope so many talk about. 

With what confidence can we say we are going to heaven? Acts 16:31 says Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household. That means in your heart. That means being open to knowing that some of what you have believed may not always be what God has said is the truth. Those pesky, no deadly, lies only the enemy, satan, would want you to believe. Life after death is only attained through Jesus Christ. And…we can have life even before death, through Jesus. There are not many ways, as even some preachers suggest, but one way. Few find it, as Jesus Himself has stated. It's a narrow, offensive way. Not all churches will say this. 

If we can soften our hearts and believe, let go of stubbornness and pride, letting the Lord do as He needs, giving us His wisdom and understanding…and life...then when we die we can trust in this:

2Corinthians 5:8 - Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these bodies [in death], for then we will be at home with the Lord

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