Death, Hope, and Peace
There is a treatment update at the end of this message.
PHOTOPHERESIS ON WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY THIS WEEK
Today's WORSHIP QUOTE comes from a new book edited by Nancy Guthrie with contributions by J. I. Packer, Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther, John Piper, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Jonathan Edwards, Richard Sibbes, Michael Horton, and many others. [Highly recommended.] The title says so much: O LOVE THAT WILL NOT LET ME GO: FACING DEATH WITH COURAGEOUS CONFIDENCE IN GOD. As you know, there are many who are so uncomfortable with death that they can only make jokes about it.
Woody Allen: "It is not that I’m afraid to die; I just don’t want to be there when it happens."
W. C. Fields's tombstone: "On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia."
Mark Twain: "Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint."
Yogi Berra: "You should always go to other people's funerals, otherwise, they won't come to yours."
These pastor/scholars have put forward a beautiful, biblical way of looking at death: exploring and embracing it in a way that pleases and honors God. This excerpt is from the preface to the book.
DEATH, HOPE, AND PEACE
I remember when it hit me. I had been pregnant with my son, Matt, for what seemed like forever. There was so much I actually enjoyed about being pregnant, and so much I looked forward to in having a son. But one day the reality dawned on me that to have that son, I was going to have to give birth. I remember thinking that no one simply stays pregnant forever, putting off the inevitable, and I had little control as to when that time would come. I looked at my growing belly and thought, “This baby is going to have to come out one way or another,” and it scared me. Pregnancy—good. Baby—good. The process of labor and delivery—I was not so sure.
We sometimes have a similar thought process about death. Life—good. Life after death with God—good. It’s that process of labor and delivery into the next life we’re not so sure about. In fact, we’d really rather not talk about it or even think about it. Yet I’m convinced that there is a real freedom, and even joy, in thinking it through, and that exploring death in light of the Scriptures can actually soothe our fears and infuse our thoughts about death with hope and peace.
But I also realize that some people might think reading a whole book on the topic of facing death would be a real bummer. Some may think it a bit morbid. And some people, though they might be loathe to admit it, are a bit superstitious about discussing death—afraid that if they have a conversation about it, or give consideration to it, that it might somehow come a little sooner.
There are others for whom death is so relegated to the realm of the fall, that there is no place in their thinking or theology for exploring what it means to face death in a way that pleases and honors God. They have given little or no thought about what it means to anticipate and prepare for death in a way that evidences a solid, God-glorifying confidence in his goodness, his sovereignty, and his promises.
That is what the brief chapters in this book will help us to do. They will help us to turn away from the pervasive denial about death in our culture, and to face squarely the reality of death through the more beautiful and ultimate reality of Christ. It is Christ, and only Christ, who makes facing death bearable. Christ infuses the most painful and perplexing aspects of the end of this life with hope and peace.
I don’t mean to imply or suggest that death for the believer is always sweet rapture. In spite of its universal nature, it’s still not natural; and it never will be. God has not promised his children an easy death or deathbed visions of glory (although sometimes he is good to give them). He does, however, promise his presence with us. He will be our Shepherd as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. And he will be waiting to welcome us on the other side.
—Nancy Guthrie, editor, O LOVE THAT WILL NOT LET ME GO: FACING DEATH WITH COURAGEOUS CONFIDENCE IN GOD. Wheaton: Crossway, 2011, pp. 9-10. ISBN 978-1-4335-1618-4. www.amazon.com/Love-That-Will-Not-Let/dp/1433516187/ref=sr_1_5_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1302659404&sr=1-5. [Highly recommended.]
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
HAPPY ST. PATRICK's DAY from gettymusic.com
Three FREE Getty/Townend hymns at
"Behold the Lamb" (Communion Hymn)
"The Power of the Cross"
"Come, People of the Risen King"
MP3 recordings, piano scores, vocal charts, and more.
HEALTH UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST
FOR CHIP STAM, CANCER PATIENT
PHOTOPHERESIS TWICE EACH WEEK
April 12 Treatment Update,
Dear praying friends and family,
Thanks for praying for us. Don't stop. I am a very needy patient. I think I can keep this report short. I am EXTREMELY WEAK. Sometimes it takes more than one person to help me up the front steps or to get out of the car. This has led to a new level of asking for help all around. The GvH is still raging my skin. Most of this does not hurt at all, but the bottoms of my feet are INCREDIBLY tender, such that walking six feet is VERY painful.
The photopheresis treatment is done at the nearby Kosair Children's Hospital. These days are very long, and we need for you to pray for real "stamina"; but once we get started with the process, it goes very smoothly until the machine has done it's thing and given my white blood cells their ultraviolet bath and put them back into my body.
POLLUTED POWER PORT
My new Double Purple Power Point is on my right shoulder and all is well with that.
JESUS SAID: "DON'T BE ANXIOUS: STUDY THE BIRDS" (Matt. 6)
I have mostly been watching live video of barn owls, hummingbirds, and bald eagles. Here they are, and they are stunning:
www.ustream.tv/hummingbirdnestcam (Phoebe, the mother hummingbird, sitting on two young hummingbird chicks)
www.sportsmansparadiseonline.com/Oceanside_Barn_Owls (six young hatchlings being fed mice, moles, and gophers, PG13)
www.ustream.tv/channel/decorah-eagles (two bald eagles in Decorah, Iowa, sitting on eggs—amazing!
Well, "God is great; God is good." And the LORD's deeds are both great and good. We see it every day. Don't forget to care for and pray for the cancer patients in your sphere of activity and influence. They are there; I promise you. You will make a difference.
We are trusting Him a day at a time.
Jesus is LORD!
Keep praying. God is at work.