by site founder, Connie Rice
Most likely, we have heard the phrase, “elephant in the room”, referencing something that is obvious, yet ignored by people. Recent culture has put death in this category, not wanting to think about it or plan for it, and in some cases being crippled by loss of a loved one. Throughout history, death was understood as part of life and it was uncommon for a family not to have suffered loss of a close family member. My husband and I have been watching a British WWII documentary series and the scale of death from not only warfare, but the starvation, cold, and intentional murder of people by dictators boggles the mind. Our present American culture has made such strides in medical technology and has been generally prosperous, resulting in longer lives and less hardship than previous generations, and interestingly has also seen much higher incidences of depression and suicide. Of course, dwelling on our own death or the death of those we care about is not helpful either because that can cripple us with fear, but with the panic recently about the possibility of contracting an illness with way less of a probability, it compels me to broach the subject.
It is both rational and healthy to consider the fact that the death rate is 100% – that should not cause us to panic as we are all aware of it, but should prompt us to really think about the decisions we have or have not made and to plan for the inevitable event. My husband’s father sold life insurance and it made him so sad when a family’s wage earner with whom he had spoken would brush off the possibility of dying and later pass away unexpectedly, leaving his family to suffer not only his loss, but also the loss of their home and financial security. As important as it is to consider and plan for our families when our life here on earth is over, there’s something else to consider – what we believe about our Creator. Jesus Christ came to earth to suffer and sacrifice His life so that we as sinful people, as we put all of our trust in Him as our Lord and Savior, could stand before a holy God without judgment and live with the promise of no pain, no sickness, and no evil in heaven for eternity.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”Romans: 23-24
Ironically, more people in recent history are professing that there is no God, when at the same time, science is revealing incredible complexity of the genome, design of animals, plants, and even of the so-called “simplest life forms”. In view of the serious eternal consequences, honest seekers of truth may want to watch this 4-minute interview, “Does God Exist?“, and article from “The One Minute Apologist”, Dr. Bobby Conway, and Ken Boa, author of “Reflections” online teaching letters and the book, “Shaped by Suffering: How Temporary Hardships Prepare Us for Our Eternal Home”.
“And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”1 Peter 5:10
“For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance – now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”Hebrew 9:15
End times prophecy is not something I tend to focus on because so much of the discussion is based on speculation, as the Bible does not spell out every detail. However, knowing what the Scriptures do teach breaks my heart for those who have not yet accepted the free gift offered to them through Jesus Christ, who came to earth as fully God and fully man with the sole purpose of rescuing mankind from their sins. He lived the perfect life that none of us could and endured mocking, torture, and a painful death on the cross so that we can stand before our holy God to give an account for our lives, but not have to stand in judgment of our sins.
“For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”2 Corinthians 5:21
The more time that goes by, the more I see Bible prophecy coming to pass. Throughout human history, God has used trials to get the attention of His people – to warn them of coming judgment, hoping they will choose to return to Him. Unfortunately, many have it backward – creating God in our image instead of understanding how He created us in His image. This is actually idolatry – worshiping a god of our own making, a god we can understand, accept, and fit in a box. God didn’t have to, but chose to reveal Himself to us through His Word (the Bible). If we do not seek Him through His Word, we will not have an accurate understanding of who He is. Although we can never understand Him completely this side of heaven, the more we understand and personally experience our good Shepherd (Jesus Christ) and His holiness, love, care, mercy, patience, faithfulness, grace, goodness, & sovereignty, and acknowledge what He has already done for us, the more in awe of Him we become.
“Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain, and by Your blood You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”Revelation 5:9
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”John 3:16-18
“‘Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this ‘coming He promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’ But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”2 Peter 3:3-13
If you do not yet know the Lord, please seek out what is true. Seek Him with your whole heart, mind, strength, and soul and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Open a Bible and read the book of John, then Matthew, Mark, & Luke, and then the book of Hebrews. Read about the early church in Acts and then finish the New Testament. Then read the Old Testament chronologically – it will provide the background needed to better understand the New Testament and allow you to see how God revealed His plan through particular people over a long period of time. I was not brought up in the church – God used desperation and a miraculous answer to prayer to reach me as an adult. He uses different methods to reach different people; in other parts of the world, especially, some are experiencing visions and dreams. Testimonies of how some people came to know Christ are found on this site. The people below are some of those who sought truth (some of them to prove the Bible wrong), and came face to face with their Savior:
- C. S. Lewis, author & apologist
- Lee Strobel, author & apologist
- J. Warner Wallace, cold-case detective, author & apologist
- Ray Comfort, evangelist & founder of “Living Waters”.
- Kirk Cameron, actor & evangelist
- Marvin Olasky, journalist & editor-n-chief of “World Magazine”
- Alistair McGrath, author, philosopher & apologist
- Dr. Jerry Bergman, scientist
“My people, hear My teaching;Psalm 78:1-8
listen to the words of My mouth.
I will open My mouth with a parable;
I will utter hidden things, things from of old –
things we have heard and known,
things our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their descendants;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
His power, and the wonders He has done.
He decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
which He commanded our ancestors
to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget His deeds
but would keep His commands.
They would not be like their ancestors –
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
whose hearts were not loyal to God,
whose spirits were not faithful to Him.”
Let’s address the “elephant in the room” and use this opportunity of uncertainty to seek what is true and make the most important decision of our lives while there is still time. The choice is simple, but no less serious: Do we face judgment for our shortcomings with no defense before a holy God or do we accept the free gift He offers through the voluntary sacrifice of Jesus Christ so we can be forgiven of our sins and live in God’s goodness for eternity, as well as have access to His power to live a life pleasing to Him while still on earth with the peace, strength, joy, and sense of purpose that only comes through our relationship with Him?
“So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried Me, though for forty years they saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation’; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known My ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest’.”Hebrews 3:7-11
I for one, second what Paul said (below) and look forward to a new heaven and a new earth, a future that is secure in God’s presence with no pain, no sickness, and no evil. As the lyrics of an older hymn by Helen Lemmel state (and more recently a Newsboys’ song) say, “the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace’.”
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’.”Romans 1:16-17
© Constance Rice 2020