Monday, December 9, 2013


The finality of death is so . . . final. So . . . permanent. We can hope that the news we receive about someone's death can be altered somehow. But there is no instant replay or booth review to suddenly reverse "the ruling on the field." Death, no matter if is unsuspected or not, is irreversible. It is unchangeable. It is final. Unless, of course . . .

There ARE actually two ways that death is NOT the end of someone's life. Yes, that IS true. It is possible NOT to die. Both of the ways I am going to write about involve God. And in both cases we are totally dependent on His will, not on our own. And both ways would both be considered miracles by our earthly standard of gaging things.

The first way to survive death would be for God to intervene on behalf of someone's pleading or prayer. And this would only be done to bring glory to God. Just read the story of Lazarus. He was dead for four days when Jesus came on the scene and raised Lazarus back to life.

"40 Jesus said to her (Martha), “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” - John 11: 40-44

Truly Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead was a miracle indeed. But that's what God does. He performs miracles. That brings us to the second way we can not die when it's time to die. Again, this second way, just like the first one, is also a miracle. And guess what. It too brings God glory.

Open your Bibles to the Book of John, the 17th chapter. Just before Jesus was about to be taken away he prayed for His disciples. The third verse that Jesus prays to God contains the key to dying, but not dying.

"3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." - John 17:3

We must KNOW God and KNOW Jesus. So what did the word KNOW mean 2000 years ago? This is from

Thus, biblically to know God is not to know about him in an abstract and impersonal manner, but rather to enter into his saving actions. To know God is not to struggle philosophically with his eternal essence, but rather to recognize and accept his claims. It is not some mystical contemplation, but dutiful obedience.

Do we "know" God in that sense? Are we "dutifully obedient?" I'll let you wrestle with your answer to that one. I know what my answer is. My answer is . . . no. Am I obedient to God in ALL things? My heart tells me that I am not. If you had a similar answer, and we ALL should, here's what we must do.
  1. Pray. We must get down on our knees and ask God's forgiveness. Without that, we are still dead, even though we currently walk this earth, we are dead in our sins.
  2. Believe. We must believe in Jesus and His Father who sent Him.
  3. Repent. We must change. We must become dutifully obedient. And how can we do that?
  4. Follow. Our only hope is in Christ, and in Christ alone. We are to pick up our cross and follow.
  5. Repeat. We all screw up. We all fall short. We must get up and continue on our journey, despite our stumbling nature.
We all have had people in our lives who have died, who we wish were still with us. A spouse perhaps, or a best friend. Even a pastor and his family are not immune from the sting that death can inflict. But the saving grace in the death of a Christian is that their truly is no death at all. Let us remember that as we mourn the death of our brother in Christ, or whom ever we have lost. And in that death, let us rejoice for the memories in our hearts, let us comfort those who mourn, but we MUST rejoice. For we who believe, yet we die, so shall we live.

"8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord." - 2 Corinthians 5:8

This post is dedicated to the family and friends of Pastor Gary Strike, Faith Community Church, Waupaca, WI. If Gary wished one thing for ANYONE it would be that they know God and know Jesus. Until we meet again, my brother . . . my friend.

Pastor Gary
Taps by the United States Navy Band

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Bob. Gary indeed lived his life sold out for Jesus, speaking the truth in love with firm conviction. He went out on top, loved and appreciated by nearly everyone. An imperfect man, saved by the grace of God.
    My favorite line in your blog is number 5. Couldn't go on without it.