The mumblings of a Christian autistic husband, dad, IT guy and amateur radio operator - Will Brokenbourgh / AF7EC
This morning I received a very sad phone call from my wife: One of my medical providers recently died, very suddenly.
This medical provider was still relatively young, seemed to be in good health and seemed to live a good life. Now their spouse and family are grieving their passing.
When a loved-one, friend or acquaintance dies, it's always hard, and often shocking, but what hurts for Christians is not knowing if those who passed away had a relationship with Jesus.
Oh Will, there you go with that Jesus stuff again!
The "Jesus stuff" I talk about is more important than anything else on this planet! These days, so many people are walking away from their Christian faith because they've become disheartened, they're too afraid of what others may say, they've been subjected to people judging them or they've been hurt by other Christians. Some have walked away because they had a rough start to their Christian life and were too easy picked off by the devil because of shallow roots. Shoot, there are tons of different reasons people walk away from God, but none of them are good.
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have - Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials - gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person's work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames. - 1 Corinthians 3:11
Some people don't walk away from God, but instead put him on the back burner. They will say things like "Well, I got baptized, I accepted Jesus as my savior, I'm saved. I'm good" then they go on living life they way they want, often treating others poorly in the process. Sure, being saved from hell is important, but being a Christian is more than just being saved. We are supposed to grow our roots deeper into Jesus as time goes on. We're supposed to learn to love more and more. We're supposed to love those who hate us, even up to the moment of our last breath! Being a Christian just isn't some label we affix to ourselves, it's a life-long commitment to the Creator of everything and everyone, a life of working hard to love, help and share with others. If we aren't growing deeper in Christ, we're stagnating, and there's the risk of losing any ground we've made in the past.
The last time my wife and I were with this medical provider who recently passed away, we were actively praying for them, right then and there in the exam room! This provider said some things that gave clues to how they believed, and, at least during my medical visit, it didn't see that this medical provider was in a relationship with Jesus. This grieves me and my wife, not just because the provider was knowledgeable and seemed to genuinely care about my health (something that is becoming less common in the health-care industry) but because if they weren't in a relationship with Jesus, they were not going to spend eternity with him.
Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." - John 14:6 (emphasis mine)
While my wife and I often mention God during my medical appointments and other social encounters, it's up to Holy Spirit and the person hearing to make a choice to accept or reject what's being said. Sometimes we sense that we can say even more about Jesus and share even more about our faith. Sometimes the person hearing will acknowledge him, or they will reject what we say, silently or even scoffing audibly. Christians should not judge or condemn people who reject God, but it is these peoples' great loss if they continue to reject him. The thought of being in eternal torture and cut off completely from the love of God should spur anyone from rejecting God, but it happens all the time -- mostly because those who reject God don't believe what they can't see.
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. - Romans 1:20
"They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin." - John 15:22
When my brother-in-law was shot to death in April 1994, this jarred me and shook me. I eventually began to seek God due to my brother-in-law's death, though it did take quite a while to really start learning about and growing in Jesus because I did not have any Christian mentors in my life -- it was just me and God. I was also very stubborn and thick-headed, so God had extra mercy and patience with me as I began to learn about his love, his goodness and his power.
Love each other -- really!
"This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you." - John 15:12
My brother-in-law's sudden and violent death was also a warning -- an important warning that we should love those around us, because you never know when they, or you, will be gone from this earth forever. You cannot love on, talk to, hug, laugh or have fun with someone after they are gone, so now is the time to do those things. What's even more important is settling disagreements quickly, even if the other person is in the wrong.
My brother-in-law, his father and his mother all had got into a horrible disagreement about a simple white t-shirt the very last time they all saw each other. Not long after that sad and fierce argument, my brother-in-law was walking to the store to buy milk for his toddler when illegal immigrants pulled up and gunned him down during a gang-initiation. My brother-in-law's dad and mom would never get to settle the disagreement with him, would never again be able to say "I'm sorry" or "I love you" to him again. Their child was gone forever.
If you died tonight, were would you be?
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. - Matthew 10:28
Just like the Big Daddy Weave song asks, where would you be if you died tonight? Would you be with Jesus, or would you be in hell? What's more, do you even believe that there is Heaven and hell? Do you even believe that a loving God would allow people to go to hell? Let me tell you, there most certainly is a Heaven, and there is hell, and those who haven't given their hearts to Jesus are going to regret it, forever. I for one do not want anyone to go to hell -- that is why I write blog posts about God, about Jesus, about Holy Spirit.
The thing is, though, it is entirely up to you, my dear reader, to accept the invitation -- the invitation to turn your back on an empty life, believe in Jesus and to give your heart to him and to live the life that entails. If you reject God's invitation to believe in him and reject the invitation to give Jesus your heart and you don't later realize the gravity of that choice, that would be a very very bad thing. When you're gone from this earth, those who love and know you will grieve because you're no longer in their lives, but what will be even more painful to them is the fact that you're not in Heaven because you rejected God and didn't choose a forever life with God.
Make no mistake, I'm not giving out 'free hugs' nor am I trying to sugar-coat anything here. This is a very serious thing -- it's about this life and the one that comes afterward. Please don't put off giving deep thought about this! Consider the story Jesus tells of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:19:
"There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and
who lived each day in luxury. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered
with sores. As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs
would come and lick his open sores.
Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet. The rich man also died and was buried, and he went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.
The rich man shouted, 'Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.'
But Abraham said to him, 'Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.
Then the rich man said, 'Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father's home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don't end up in this place of torment.'
But Abraham said, 'Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.' The rich man replied, 'No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.' But Abraham said, 'If they won't listen to Moses and the prophets, they won't be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'"
If you aren't in a relationship with Jesus, please set some time apart right now to think about this. Think about everything you can lose. Think about spending eternity in horrible pain, sadness and cut off from the love of God. And don't think just about yourself, but your spouse, children, family and friends. Yes, living your life for Jesus can be hard, but experiencing endless torment, pain and suffering is much much harder! Also, how sad it will be for the others in your life that you never had the opportunity to share your faith in Jesus with!
Don't let this medical provider's passing away be for nothing -- turn away from an empty life and choose Jesus right now!
"So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you
crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!"
Peter's words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?"
Peter replied, "Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God." - Acts 2:36
I bless you, and love you and hope that you choose life -- through Jesus Christ!
God bless you, and thank you for reading!
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