Tag Archives: death

I’m a Bit Confused

I was reading in I John this morning and came across some verses I just could not understand. I even when to a couple commentaries written by people I trust, to see if I could make sense of it. Here’s what confused me:

John talks about sin that leads to death, and sin that doesn’t lead to death. (chapter 5) Now all of a sudden I’m thinking – are there degrees of sin after all? But don’t all sins come with a death penalty? Isn’t that why Jesus went to the cross?

The answer is, yes! According to what I know to be true from reading Scripture in its entirety, I know that sin is sin is sin. And the wages of sin is death.

But, according to the commentaries I read, it seems John is talking more along the lines of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) who died immediately and physically for lying to the Holy Spirit. Like Herod in Acts 12. Like the examples in the Old Testament of people who were put to a physical death for sins they committed.

The commentators say John is likely talking about the death penalty imposed on law breakers. The physical punishment required of certain crimes, and in this case, of crimes committed against the Holy Spirit. I’m sure John took for granted that everyone reading his letter understood that Jesus died for all sin, that all sin requires eternal, spiritual death. John is urging us to never stop praying about those sins as long as the person we’re praying for has breath, as long as our own hearts beat within this body we are wearing.

But he seems to be saying we probably shouldn’t pray that the murderer on death row avoids the consequence for his crime. Maybe we shouldn’t ask God to remove any consequences of sins against the Holy Spirit, but rather that those consequences would lead the guilty to their Savior before they die.

I am reminded that all of us will face two deaths. One is physical. We can pray that God would let us live forever in this skin. But that’s a request He won’t fulfill. The other death is spiritual. That’s a prayer God will answer every time, when we ask Him to forgive our sins. That’s a prayer worth praying for ourselves, and our loved ones who still have not met Jesus.

This passage is not an indication that that little white lie you told yesterday is less serious than the mass murders committed last week in California. Don’t be fooled. That little white lie drove a nail into the hands of Jesus.

And this passage reminds me that the physical death we will all face is nothing compared to the spiritual death those who reject Jesus will experience when this life is over. I pray that you will avoid that spiritual death by giving your heart to the Lord. I have every confidence that if you humble yourself, repent of sin, and ask God’s forgiveness, you won’t have to experience that awful eternal death separated from the One who loves you so much He died that death for you.

Dear God, I’m not 100% sure that I understand exactly what John meant by the words he wrote in this passage. But I know that you inspired him to write every one. Thank you for speaking to me today through this difficult passage. I pray that I will be quick to ask forgiveness for sins I commit. I pray that those reading this blog, who don’t know you, will come to you with repentant hearts and accept your gift of eternal life. I pray for those experiencing devastating consequences for sin, like broken relationships, some diseases, or abandonment. May they face their circumstances holding on to You through the blood of Your Son. And thank You, Father, for dying that death so I don’t have to. I love you, Lord.

It’s Not A Common Thing

The book of Hebrews is rich with mind-boggling, heart-thumping truths. I challenge you to read the whole thing, slowly, intentionally, asking God to reveal Himself a little more clearly as you do. I know He will. He’ll convict you, and lift you up in the process.

In chapter 10 of this amazing book, the writer tells us that if we willfully sin after receiving God’s grace, there is a “certain fearful expectation of judgment…” He says, if the Old Testament Jews rejected Moses’ Law and died without mercy, how much more so we who consider “the blood of the covenant by which (we are) sanctified a common thing.”

Let me say that again. If the Old Testament Jews rejected Moses’ Law and died without mercy, how much more so we who consider “the blood of the covenant by which (we are) sanctified a common thing.”

Do you consider what Jesus did on that cross, the suffering He endured, the blood He shed, the humiliation, the death, a common thing? No big deal? A nice gesture like giving someone a puppy? Then why act like you do? Why willfully sin after you have received His grace?

The writer tells us it’s like trampling Jesus under our feet when we take sin lightly.

Ezekiel, in chapter 22, said God couldn’t find any man to stand in the gap, to build a wall on behalf of the land so God wouldn’t destroy it. The picture I get of someone standing in the gap is one with arms stretched out to both sides.

Like Jesus on the cross.

God is serious about sin. God hates sin. God punishes every sin. And every sin results in death. Every. Sin.

Jesus didn’t die on that cross only to say 2000 years later, well maybe homosexuality is really no big deal after all. Or, if you are spiritual you don’t really have to accept Jesus. God hasn’t changed his mind in 2015.

God is as serious about sin today as He was in the garden with Adam and Eve. He’s spelled out exactly what sin is and what the consequences are.

Death without mercy.

Have you ever sinned? Lied? Lusted? Hated? Cheated? Got drunk? Used coarse language? Even just once? Then you are condemned to die without mercy.

Unless you allow Jesus to stand in the gap. Unless you accept the fact that Jesus died without mercy on your behalf. Unless you repent and accept His loving gift of grace. Unless you are as serious about sin as He is.

Heavenly Father, I pray for your people today. May we be as serious about sin as You are. May we hate sin, run from it, stand against it. May we honor what Jesus did on the cross every day with the choices we make. You command us to be holy as You are holy. May you find us eager to accept your holiness, and to live our lives obviously different from everyone else. I, for one, never want to treat what Jesus did on the cross for me as though it’s no big deal. I never want to trample my Savior under my feet by choosing to sin. I want to show you with every breath how much I appreciate You for saving me.

Job’s Hell On Earth

I am reading the book of Job this week as part of my year long plan. I’ve read Job several times, so as I read his words of anguish, I know his turmoil is temporary. Job’s hell on earth will not last forever.

Job is tormented by his thoughts, his memories, his questions, the “what-ifs”. He can find no comfort; not physically and not in his soul. His groans come from deep inside of him.

If you’ve been with me on this blogging journey for very long, you know that in 2012 we lost my 22 year old nephew in an auto accident. I have experienced death repeated times as we’ve buried grandparents, aunts and uncles, parents. But I had never experienced the level of grief that paralyzed me when I got the horrible news of Geoffrey’s death.

I remember sitting in silence in my parent’s family room. My sisters, their families, my dad. Tears flowed freely, but there were no words that could express what we were going through. There were, however, occasional groans.

I can still hear the sound of Geoff’s parents as that mournful sound escaped from their hearts. Our sister, Kathy, Geoff’s aunt, would groan in such a way you never thought could come from a human. I remember hearing a sorrowful groan, then realizing the sound had come from me. I finally understood the definition of “lament”.

That kind of grief cannot be described. It’s too painful, too personal. The sound of that kind of pain comes involuntarily. It’s like the whistle of a teapot. It just comes on its own as a result of the boiling turmoil deep inside. It’s the sound of true anguish.

Dear One, that’s a portrait of hell. Hell is not a giant bonfire. It is the absence of God, the absence of light, of love, of comfort, of peace, of joy. It’s living inside that teapot where thoughts and memories, the “what-ifs” torment. Forever. Where the only sound heard is that of painful, personal groaning.

Job’s anguish was temporary. Even though I still grieve the loss of my dear nephew, the intensity isn’t the same today as it was on June 24, 2012. But here is what God would say to us today: without  accepting the grace God offers to us sinners through the blood of his Son Jesus, eternity will be living with that grief, that agony, that helplessness FOREVER. No relief, no lessening of the pain, no hope that things will ever get better. And if I think my grief was hard to bear, if Job’s grief was devastating, the grief of those in hell, separated from God will be so much more intense.

I can’t imagine living an eternity of June 24, 2012. And hell will be so much more painful than even that day was.

Hell is nothing to joke about, nothing to take lightly. It’s personal, and painful, and devastating, and ugly, and separated from everything good with no chance of reprieve. The good news is, you can avoid that end.

Jesus died so you and I don’t have to ever experience hell. But you need to meet him on his terms. You need to confess your sins and accept his forgiveness. I promise you, he will be faithful to forgive you, to cleanse you, to live inside of you, and one day, to welcome you into his heavenly home where you will joyfully live…


Dear God, Hell is scary. And not the sci-fi kind of scary. It’s real. It’s personal. It’s devastating. Thank you for Jesus, for his willingness to die so that I don’t have to spend one second in that awful place. Life on earth is hard enough, is sad enough. I’d much rather spend eternity in Your presence. I pray for each one who reads these words today. I pray that hearts will be drawn to you, that sins will be confessed, that Your grace will be accepted by anyone who doesn’t already know You. May each of us come to You on Your terms, then look forward to seeing You the day you call us home.

Where Good Intentions Lead

In 2 Samuel we read that Recab and Baanah had good intentions. Ishbosheth was David’s enemy so these two men risked their lives to kill Ishbosheth in his sleep. They cut off his head and proudly presented it to King David. I’m sure they expected a different reception than the one they got. 

David reminded them that it was the Lord who saves him from his enemies. Then he ordered his men to kill Recab and Baanah for being evil men who killed a man in his own bed.

That’s what will happen on judgement day. Some people will stand before God expecting a much different outcome than they will receive. 

“I worshiped Buddha with a pure heart”. “I attended church faithfully.” “I was faithful to my wife.” “I loved the earth and fought for the rights of abused animals.” “I never killed anyone.” “I didn’t go to church because there were hypocrites there.”

Whatever the excuse. Intentions will be meaningless. It’s like holding up the head of Ishbosheth. And the result will be the same.


Eternal separation from God. More agony than you’ve ever experienced.

The only thing that will matter on judgement day is whether or not Jesus is your Savior, if you have repented of sin, if you have accepted his grace.


Father, I pray for everyone who takes time to read this. May your Spirit draw them to you. May we all set aside the things we think we are doing for you, the rules we pride ourselves in obeying, our good intentions, and look to Jesus. He alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and none of us will see heaven unless we accept his forgiveness. Thank you for what you are going to do in the hearts and lives of people today.

December 5

Romans 5:1-8:17

Best. News. Ever!

That’s what I think when I read the first 17 verses of Romans 8. Just look at verses 1&2:

Therefore, there is now NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me FREE from the law of sin and death. (those caps are mine)

When I accepted Christ as my Savior, Jesus took on the guilt of my sin and I became guilt-free. No condemnation for this woman! And to top it off, verses 14-17 tell me I became a child of God, a co-heir with Christ. Paul calls it a spirit of sonship. I like it!

So I have a choice, which in my opinion is no choice at all. I can reject the Lord and live according to what nature desires. Or I can accept Jesus and set my mind on what the Spirit desires. Verse 6:

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.

Death, or life and peace. I choose Christ. It’s a no-brainer.

The Spirit of Christ lives in me. Like I said…

Best. News. Ever!

Dear Jesus, thank you for coming into my heart and life. Thank you for taking the penalty for my sin and setting me free from sin’s control. Thank you for making me your child. I give you my life. I give you my mind. I give you today. Thank you for promising to go with me. Prepare me to do the job you want me to do. I love you, Lord.

November 29

I Corinthians 14:1-15:34

Much of the Gospel is based on the reality that God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus died, was buried, rose again after three drays, and appeared to hundreds of people as the risen Savior. That is the truth. It’s exactly what happened. 

Jesus defeated death and, because of that, death no longer holds the same sting it once had. Even in the death of a loved one, we have hope. And our hope is built on Jesus, who once was dead, and who lives today.

We celebrated Thanksgiving without Dad and Geoff again yesterday. For the second year we felt the hole left in this family gathering. There was laughter and love, great food, and silly games. We cheered my great-niece on as she took a few wobbly steps. We are a family who truly loves being together.

But Dad and Geoff were missed. Even as I was very aware that these two precious men weren’t with us yesterday, I could picture them with Jesus. They are able to look Jesus in the eye and give their thanks. Death did not end their lives. They are truly living today.

That is our hope, our assurance in Christ. When a person gives their heart to the Lord, death becomes a door into a glorious eternity with God. We will see our loved ones again. I am so thankful that they new the Savior and, in doing so, gave us the greatest gift they could give us. That is the ability to rest, knowing they are with the Lord. That’s something to be truly thankful for!

Father, thank you for defeating death. We no longer fear dying when we know you as Savior. What is beyond the veil is unimaginably wonderful. I’m glad Dad and Geoff are with you and that we have the promise to see them again, to worship you right beside them. Mom is there. Grandpa and Grandma, Aunts and Uncles who loved you during this lifetime. Oh, that everyone reading this blog today would have the same assurance, the same hope. May Moms and Dads, brothers and sisters, friends, give their loved ones this precious hope by giving their hearts to you.

October 26

John 11:17-57; Mark 10:32-52; Matthew 20:17-34; Luke 18:31-43

Jesus wept. Our God shed tears over the death of his friend. He cried for Mary and Martha at the loss of their brother. 

As someone who still feels the pain of losing my dad and nephew last year there is a measure of comfort knowing my Savior knows how I feel. When he was sad he cried. And that makes me know my tears are ok.

I’m glad the Bible doesn’t tell us not to mourn. In fact Jesus told us that Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Scripture assures us that as Christians we don’t mourn like those who have no hope. Oh, we mourn. But within that mourning is the blessed hope, the assurance that one day we will be with Jesus and he will wipe every tear from our eyes.

I want to share a verse that has become very precious to my sister since her son’s death. It’s found in Psalm 143:8.

Let the mourning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go for unto you I lift my soul.

Jesus wept. And if you are mourning the loss of a loved one, the loss of your health, a job, or a relationship I pray that you will lift your soul, that you would put your trust in God and allow him to be your Comforter. He knows how you feel.

Dear Jesus, thank you for walking this earth, for experiencing life first hand, and knowing how we feel. I know you didn’t really do that for your benefit, but for ours. It is comforting to know that we can come to you with confidence, knowing you know first hand what we are experiencing. Thank you that we can trust you in our mourning. I pray for those reading this blog today who are sad. May they shed the tears that need to be shed and rest in your comfort. Give strength to meet the challenges of the day and may you be glorified even in our mourning.