This post is in two parts.
I urge you to read Part 1 and part 2 of this post, to get even more excited about ‘The INEVITABLE!’
I was asked to do a tribute at the memorial service of my cousin Raymond Middleton who was an amazing trophy of grace, and who will have been welcomed with a ‘well done faithful servant.’
Raymond’s death was totally unexpected. His attractive and youthful seventy two year old wife Janet, had her fit and healthy hubby one minute and not the next. Their marriage was a happy and blissful one. Ray was a minister, and both he and his wife faithful servants of the Lord. What comfort could I possibly bring to Ray’s grieve stricken wife and sons, Carl, James, and Ian?
We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t grieve or shed tears for the loss of a loved one. Jesus wept at a graveside. God created us with our emotions of tears, laughter, sadness.
Make no mistake, death is no respecter of persons. All the great heroes of the Bible were not exempt. But unlike the unsaved, Janet can draw comfort from the fact that she will see her Ray again. Yet there are still Christians who adamantly believe that we will not recognise one another in heaven because of a verse in Ecclesiastes 1:11 “There is no remembrance of former things.”
But how cruel it would be for a mom and dad to lose a little daughter never ever to see her face again! Or for a husband to lose a wife or a wife a husband to be told ‘that’s the end!’ But because of the Lord’s compassion, he has given loving clues in His word that we will be joyfully reunited with our loved ones again. This fact helped King David with his grief on the death of his child.
God had taken David’s son because it was conceived in some sin David had committed. The child became sick so David fasted for him to live but his prayers went unanswered. David had to live with the pain of losing a son, but he did draw some comfort that he would see him again, “I will go to him, but he will not return to me” (2 Samuel 12:23).
David wouldn’t have found such comfort if he wasn’t going to recognise his child!
*The rich man recognised Lazarus in heaven!
*The disciples recognised Moses and Elijah in the transfiguration even though they had died years before!
*The disciples recognised Jesus after He had risen from the dead.
The Lord’s Resurrection shows how we will know one another after death.
If we are looking forward to meeting our heroes of the Bible whom we have never met, such as blameless Job, faithful Jeremiah, & meek Moses, why would we not meet up with our loved ones again? There would be no point to ever having known them! The Scripture in Ecclesiastes that some Christians take to believe that we will not know our loved ones says ‘no remembrance of former ‘THINGS’ not people! And that ‘lack-of-remembrance’ will be all those not-so-nice ‘THINGS’ that marred life here due to sickness, selfishness, sin, jealousy, rebellion, strife, stress and worry! (I realise there will be no ‘given in marriage’ because it will be something far better!).
God did not design the family unit for death to separate forever! The very reason He came from heaven was to banish that ugly thing called ‘separation by death!’
He didn’t come to earth to abolish sickness, as sickness is a natural outcome of disobedience, and although I do believe in Divine healing having experienced it firsthand, the Lord was crucified to abolish the result of sickness – the ‘INEVITABLE’ and ‘death’ was mocked in the very face of Satan… “O death where is your sting? O death where is your victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). “He will swallow up death for all time” (Isaiah 25:8).
Heaven will not be sitting on a cloud bored! Heaven is a world. A real ‘other’ world. A tangible place enjoying a perfect life with our loved ones and hero’s of the Bible. A place of bliss and never-ending inexplicable joy, that God Himself has prepared for us, and the ‘Inevitable’ will be the start of living – that even a multi billionaire’s lifestyle couldn’t come close to!
That’s what is so wonderful about being born again. The free gift of Salvation brings about everlasting life that does away with death. These days everyone craves to live for as long as they possibly can to avoid death for as long as they possibly can!
God couldn’t be kinder than to give us assurances that we will not be dead!
“He who believes in me will live EVEN IF HE DIES” (John 11:25).
“Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14).
I’m looking forward to seeing my Godly parents again. But I also want to shake the hand and have a chat with some of my favourite people of the Bible such as Abigail, the long-suffering wife who tolerated a fool of a husband called Nabal who’s mother must have had trouble bringing him up, as his name means ‘fool’. And I must speak with Mary, who was the chosen vessel to carry the Lord for 9 months, and I long to meet the Apostle Paul who endured so much brutality to bring us the Gospel.
One day I’m going to join my parents, my cousin Ray, and others, in what they’ve already had the privilege of seeing before I have! The Creator. The One who made the world. The One who allowed cruel people to cat whip Him and drive nails into him to destroy what puts fear into people most – DEATH, that ‘devastating thing’ that cruelly removes a loved one from us. THAT is what He came to earth to do! To destroy that!
Satan’s very first lie in Genesis 3:4 was about death! He said, “You surely will not die!” Yet he was unwittingly telling the truth as we will not!
God left the glory of heaven to banish that incident called the ‘inevitable’ that causes so much pain on the loss of a loved one.
There is so much emphasis these days on how to stay young. We are bombarded with adverts about products that promise to keep us living longer. Chemists are full of such products.
But there is a warning in Psalm 90:10 so that we can be prepared for the inevitable, “As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years. Or if due to strength eighty years.”
The Scripture says “life is a mere breath and like a tale told” and this is so true as we look back and ask ‘where did those years go?’
Our real, true, perfect home is one of never ending pleasure and is somewhere called PARADISE – heaven! A real tangible place of uninterrupted contentment that nothing can spoil. Whatever luxury cruise, or ten star hotel, in the most exotic of places here on earth, is nothing to what God has prepared for us!
Revelation 21 describes a little of what our permanent home will be like, and it is breathtaking.
So never fear death dear Christian! Your body is only the ‘pod’ that keeps you intact on earth, your ‘earthly house.’ Your soul lives on. Your soul is as visible and real to God as your body is to other bodies!
Jesus wasn’t a ghost when he came out of that tomb of death making clear in His compassion to us that we will also be visible and tangible after death! He looked like an ordinary person, so much so that Mary thought he was the gardener, all to show us that we too will be real people! He had a real body. He walked. He talked. He ate. He conversed.
“This perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:54), meaning that the corruptible (that which dies due to the curse) will be changed to the incorruptible (that which will never die again).
The Thessalonians were worried about being separated from their loved ones. So Paul comforted them with this…
“We do not want you to be uniformed (i.e. oblivious, unenlightened, ignorant) about those who are asleep so that you WILL NOT GRIEVE AS DO THE REST WHO HAVE NO HOPE. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 18).
There is no doubt that we will be reunited with loved ones again, and that we will KNOW them. The unsaved do not have such comforting knowledge as they simply don’t believe it. Unbelief robs of truth. Of course, I realise there may be relatives you may prefer not to be reunited with! Not that you didn’t love them, but maybe because they weren’t too nice, or caused you stress or heartache! Don’t worry! Those will be the ‘THINGS’ in Ecclesiastes that will be absent as we will have perfectly renewed relationships, without all the flaws and niggly things that ruined them here on earth.
The Apostle Paul knew just how exciting heaven was, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain and I do not know which to choose, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is much better, yet to remain is necessary for your sake” (Philippians 1:21-23).
Paul wouldn’t have been excited about death if it wasn’t something better than life on earth! And Paul wouldn’t have preferred to be with Christ if he thought it meant waiting under the dirt for 2000 years until the Lord returned again. Paul knew that death just did not didn’t exist for a Christian!
God could not be kinder than giving us this promise… ‘absent from the body present with the Lord!’
When we are truly born again death should never haunt us.
My husband often bemoans that I talk of heaven far too much because he doesn’t like to think he may have to live without me one day; and it is true that death does cause pain to those who are left, but it is only temporary pain compared with the everlasting glory to come! Everything here is temporary; and when I was preparing for this tribute for my cousin Raymond, it got me even more excited than ever about heaven, much to my husband’s dismay!
I have a song for my funeral (even though I won’t be in attendance!) if the Lord doesn’t return prior…
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
I looked over Jordan and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home
I saw a band of angels coming after me
Coming for to carry me home
If you get to heaven before I do
Coming for to carry me home
Tell all my friends, I’ll be coming too!
Coming for to carry me home.
‘Home’ is where my heart is!
Someone asked Billy Graham, ‘Will there be golf in heaven Billy?’ Billy answered, ‘if golf is necessary for your joy, then there will be golf in heaven’
If ever God called me to take out a message it would be this: to excite Christians about their inheritance as I know so many Christians who are afraid of dying. Yet it is going to be such a reunion, such a celebration, such a party of happiness and laughter, it will make the glamour of the Hollywood awards with their red carpet, million dollar cars, mansions, sequin frocks, diamonds, and banquets, look like a boot sale on a miserable grey rainy-day in a muddy field!
We often hear people ask, ‘what’s life all about?’ ‘Why are we here?’ ‘Is this it?’ And we need to get the message out that thankfully, NO this is not it because being born again means we have an unearned ticket that says, ‘I am not dead, I am more alive than I have ever been!’
Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, TODAY you shall be with Me in PARADISE” (Luke 23:43).
This next Scripture is almost too exciting for me to take in! “When He appears, we will be like Him” (1 John 3:2). Can it be that our humble Saviour is going to make us like HIM!!? Well God doesn’t lie!
What is the deepest desire that most Christians have? It’s a longing to be used of Him. And this next Scripture not only shows how humble our God is, but reveals how we will be used of Him in a way we never thought possible…
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he/whoever believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12).
Greater works than His!? How can this be!?
>He raised the dead. Jairus’s daughter. Lazarus. The widows’ son.
>He healed lepers and ten all at one time!
>He put the ear of Malchus back where it had been since birth!
>He made the blind see.
>He told the sea to stop causing a fuss.
>He created enough bread & fish to feed thousands with lots left over (a good lesson in waste).
>He made water ferment in seconds.
>He made a withered hand unwithered.
>He put money in a fish’s mouth.
>He cast out demons.
>He healed a man who was paralysed.
>He withered up a fig tree.
Jesus doesn’t lie, so what can that Scripture mean? Even though the disciples did perform miracles, they weren’t ‘greater’ than those of Jesus. And the Lord wasn’t addressing this statement to only the disciples as it says ‘whosoever.’
Let’s be honest, we do not see ‘greater works’ these days. So are we waiting for that special person to come and do these ‘greater works’? What worldwide news that would be! But I don’t think so. That one person would not be able to handle such power and would become the biggest celebrity this side of heaven, something so contrary to God’s humble nature. That person would find it impossible to keep humble or hidden, and people would begin to idolise them and see them as God! And how would they cope with the protection needed when doing ‘greater works’ as Jesus had to preach from a boat due to the crowds.
This Scripture has to be futuristic. It has to be prophetic because it says, “WHEN He appears, we shall be like Him”
The Scriptures teach that we will reign with Him! “If we endure, we will also reign with Him” (2 Timothy 2:12).
Dictionary definition of reign: when a King or Queen reigns over a country; to control it; to rule over it.
What will we rule? Kingdoms! God will need to give His authority and power to His children to perform ‘greater works’ which will be much greater works than healings.
But like most promises in God’s word, there are conditions to them. And this promise too has a condition… “if we endure.” Endure what?
“Endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3)
And aren’t we all enduring here? Whether it be bereavement or feeling like an alien in this crazy world. “I am a stranger in the earth” (Psalm 119:19). This world’s new ideology pains me more every day and I dread every day what further nonsense will be dreamed up next for our children to have to conform to.
This world’s standards are so contrary to Gods that He called the world ‘the enemy’ because the world’s views and standards are the opposite to the teachings of the Christ and we are seen as ‘stupid’ if we dare believe, and want to adhere, to God’s word, so we don’t fit in it and are like fish out of water.
Don’t get too comfortable! You don’t belong here if you are born again!
And the ‘INEVITABLE’ will be the beginning of PARADISE! “Our Saviour Jesus Christ Who ABOLISHED DEATH” (2 Timothy 1:10).
But better than all the luxury in Paradise, and the joy of seeing our loved ones again… will be to actually see the risen Lord – who paid the price to save our soul to deliver us from ‘the inevitable’!
See you there sometime!
“I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3).
God bless. Christine.
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