Tag Archives: Death

I’m gonna live to be…

I’m gonna live to be 85… according to the Longevity Calculator.

You can click the link below and answer a series of just 13 simple questions to find out how long you can expect to live.

It was developed by Northwestern Mutual Life; though of course it comes with no guarantees or promises.

But before you try it, let me ask you something. If you could actually know exactly how much longer you would live on this earth, would you want to know?

What would you do with one week, one month, or one year left to live? What would you change or do differently?

I once heard Tony Campolo mention this years ago. He suggested that if you are living your life centered on God then you wouldn’t need or want to change anything about how you are living life.

One last question.

How will you live today since it could be your last day on earth?

Longevity Calculator – http://media.nmfn.com/tnetwork/lifespan/

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Christianity, Death, God's Will, Health & Wellness, Priorities, Religion and Spirituality

Our ultimate hope

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.  For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

~ 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

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Filed under Christianity, Death, Eternity, Faith, Heaven, Hope, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Serving

Zombies? Really?

This is reblogged from a fellow writer. I’ll leave a link at the bottom in case you want to check out her blog. (Highly recommended!)

If I were to compile a list of possible topics for this blog on connecting dots to God, zombies would never enter my mind.  Ever.  But, after reading an Associated Press news article yesterday about a recent internet interest in ”zombie apocalypse,” I’m going to connect some dots between zombies and God.  Work with me here…

Apparently, the phrase ”zombie apocalypse” is (or was) #2 among Google’s trending search terms

Why? 

Tamara Lush, in her AP article, suggests that recent bizarre and gruesome events have sparked a fascination with a scenario in which a mutant virus, on the loose from a government lab or introduced in an act of bioterrorism, turns people into zombies. It is preposterous of course, but we live in an age in which many absurdities have become reality.

So, whether Google searches for “zombie apocalypse” are done in comic book type fun or out of genuine fear, they reveal a sense of foreboding as described in Lush’s article:

“Symbolic of both infection and evil, zombies are terrifying in a way that other horror-movie iconography isn’t, says Elizabeth Bird, an anthropologist at the University of South Florida.

Zombies, after all, look like us. But they aren’t. They are some baser form of us — slowly rotting and shambling along, intent on “surviving” and creating more of their kind, but with no emotional core, no conscience, no limits.”

Creepy.

Lush goes on to write, “For some, the news stories fuel a lurking fear that, ultimately, humanity is doomed.” 

I find Lush’s article insightful, because there is some truth in the fears she describes. Humanity, in a self-gratifying sinful state, is in fact doomed.  Foreboding is justified.

Zombies are a fitting metaphor for the cultural rot, heartless self-gratification, and soul-less existences that are increasingly evident in this world.

It is creepy.

Thankfully, zombie fiction notwithstanding, sin will not devour humanity because  of the day that the Living God defeated death on a cross.  Jesus Christ offers eternal life in place of spiritually dead flesh and a loving heart instead of an empty emotional core.

Christians understand that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, the antidote for sin and the source of life, and we can share this hope in the face of foreboding.  Maybe zombie stories are an opportunity to do just that.

“‘I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”  John 5:24

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My thanks to Judy for letting me share her insightful article. You can visit her blog here.

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Filed under Christianity, Culture, Death, End Times, Faith, Fear, Hope, Jesus, Sin, Truth

One person can make a difference!

Last friday I blogged about a family who has been on an 11-year road trip involving 145,000 miles and the birth of four children. I concluded it with a challenge to enjoy the journey of life and make sure you’re prepared for the final destination.

On Saturday, the very next day, I conducted a funeral service for an amazing woman who was perhaps more prepared for her final destination that anyone I’ve ever known. She referred to her death as being “Called Home.” And her unwavering faith in God provided peace for every phase of the 89-year journey.

Beulah made sure that both Kent and Don – her sons – knew about a little box that held important information for the occasion of her earthly death. Among other things this box included:

  • Her own obituary.
  • Details about the funeral service.
  • Which dress to put her in; depending on the season of the year.
  • Poems and articles that sustained her trust in a loving Creator during some difficult seasons of life.
  • A code of conduct for daily living.
  • And notes for her boys.

Some of her friends commented afterwards that it must have been difficult for me to plan a celebration service for someone I’d only met a couple of times in passing; but the hard part was trying to include as much as possible about her remarkable life without making the service too long!

One of the things that most impressed me about Beulah was her love for others and the way she used correspondence to encourage them. Don asked the 60-70 folks in attendance to raise their hand if they had ever received a note or card from his mom – every hand in the room went up!

In her personal records she estimated that over a 32-year period she averaged 400 notes or cards a year or 12,800 pieces of correspondence. Simply amazing!

I often feel overwhelmed and helpless to make much of an impact in a world so weighed down by heartache and brokenness. But Beulah inspires me to remember that when we place our trust in God and make ourselves available…

…one person can make a difference!

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Filed under Encouragement, influence with the world, Loving others, Peace, Serving

What really matters

I’ve been in ministry long enough now to have handled probably 50-60 funerals. While they are certainly not my favorite part of being a pastor they offer an opportunity to comfort and encourage folks in their moments of grief. And they serve as a reminder to those of us still living.

It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart. ~ Ecclesiastes 7:2 (NIV)

It’s easy to forget that every day is a gift from God and not to be taken for granted. Funerals remind us to pay attention to those things in life that matter most; namely relationships. The funeral I conducted yesterday was difficult and served as a reminder in two ways.

One lesson was about resolving broken relationships. Though I had never met this family it was very obvious that there were some strong breaches in their relationships. Now that “dad” is gone those issues may never get fully resolved. Don’t wait for the other person to make the first move, do everything in your power to mend broken fences and enjoy life together.

The other lesson has to do with hope. On occasion I get called to conduct a funeral because the family has no church connection. That was the case this time. While the funeral of a loved one that knows Christ is very difficult and heart-wrenching, the despair and hopelessness of losing a loved one with no hope of eternity is horrible!

Do you have family members not in a relationship with God? Pray for them daily and look for every opportunity to share the grace and mercy of God with them. Once they are gone, there are no second chances!

I know today’s blog was a bit heavy but sometimes we need to be reminded of what really matters!

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Filed under Evangelism, Family, Grace, Grief, Hope, Loving others

Facing our biggest fear!

Even if it’s not our biggest fear it tends to rank way up there – facing death. There have been many perspectives on death through the ages:

  • Aristotle called death the thing to be feared most because “it appears to be the end of everything.”
  • Jean-Paul Sartre asserted that death “removes all meaning from life.”
  • Robert Green Ingersoll, one of America’s most outspoken agnostics, could offer no words of hope at his brother’s funeral. He said, “Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the heights.”
  • The pessimism of French philosopher Francois Rabelais was equally cold. He made this sentence his final one: “I am going to the great Perhaps.”

The culture Jesus grew up in was not much better. Traditional Judaism was divided on the topic of the afterlife. Some, like the Sadducees, believed there was no resurrection; that death was simply the end. Others, like the Pharisees, believed in a resurrection but only one that was spiritual – less real than this life.

Jesus completely, radically changed the context for viewing death by providing a new perspective on resurrection and the afterlife. Listen to what He tells the disciples, just prior to His arrest, as He prepares them for His imminent death.

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” ~ John 14:1-3 (NLT)

What’s significant is that Jesus speaks of “going to prepare a place for you.” This was a phrase used in the realm of weddings and weddings are great news; they were reason to celebrate because they marked a new beginning!

When a man and woman wanted to get married, and the families agreed to it, the groom would return to his fathers’ home and add a room so that he and his bride would have a place to be together once they were married. Jesus uses this familiar phrase to give a whole new perspective to death.

Jesus not only promises an afterlife, but a better life. He elevates funerals to the same hope level as weddings. From His perspective the trip to the grave and the walk down the aisle warrant identical excitement. Jesus is taking something that was viewed as an end and turns it into a new beginning; a new adventure. This was a completely new perspective for those listening to Jesus. Because Jesus’ tomb is empty, His promise is not. And because of this…

We can face our biggest fear with hope and courage!

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Filed under Courage, Fear, Heaven, Hope, Trust