July 27, 2012
I asked you guys to pray for my friends the other day and I am grateful to all who did. I have to give you an update, and at first it seems sad. James died of complications of his illness last night. Because of this, I ask you to continue to praying for his wife and kids. As much as this sucks for them right now, I know that time and God’s grace will allow for things to get better.
James was a Christian. That means now he is better. No more sickness or pain, for him. That sounds great and is true according to what the Bible teaches and in that case I am jealous. But on the other hand, family and friends are left to deal with the sorrow and heart-break of his death. Nothing but time will help that and it is easy to begin to doubt God. That is okay though; God can handle that. He knows what it is like to have someone close die.
God knows that death is an enemy and we are told that the last enemy to be defeated is death. It is a momentary hiccup in the fabric of time that separates what we know and what God knows. Eternity is that close, and wow, in times like this, it is closer than I ever thought. But we are not left to guess what happens after someone dies. For those who believe in this stuff, God says if you have asked Jesus to take your sin penalty for you, you go to heaven. James made that decision several years ago and handed death over to God and accepted the gift of life.
James and I were really getting to know each other in the last year. I thought I knew him, but didn’t. He was really an intense guy who had a wacky past like me. He was funny, while at the same time kept it real. I found out that his faith was stronger than I thought and that was so refreshing.
While we didn’t have enough time with James for my satisfaction, God has promised us an eternity when this life is over. Now, his faith is no longer about what he believes. He has seen it for himself that God is real. He understands what we don’t; the answer to the question, why? He is laughing at our doubts and if I know James, laughing at me and some of the ways I struggled giving answers to things in the Bible that make no sense to us, but now make perfect sense to him. He has seen the beginning of life and knows that there is now no end. He is probably not worried about whether the chairs in the worship center are lined up straight or not. He knows the words to songs that Wanda tries to get us to sing louder and knows the words to songs that only those in heaven can sing. He even knows why that stupid video system doesn’t always work that drives me and Sheila crazy. Somehow I don’t think we will let it bother us as much anymore. (Hey James. Could you at least ask God to let it all work together just once for us?)
There is still a need for prayer. There is still a need for time and for sure, a need for God’s grace. I thank you all for your part. I thank God for the grace and for the time we had with James. I will straighten the chairs this week James, I am sure you have more important things to do.
So long my friend.
April 26, 2011
I am going to have to stop asking for inputs on topics for my blogs. Some of you are purposefully messing with me, I think. Why can’t you give suggestions like, what is the meaning of life, and where do babies come from? (If these two topics show up in the suggestions, I will not respond now)
So I was asked about my feelings on the death penalty. I feel like I am about to lose a few more readers, but I can live with the remaining two or three.
First let me say that the death penalty was not man’s idea, it was God’s. So, I am for the death penalty. What I am against is injustice or misuse of the system. Because man is now the administrator of the law, there are going to be mistakes and abuses. But that does not justify doing away with a system of justice that God put into place.
One of the purposes of the law is to show us our flaws as humans. God knew that we could never be a lawless people because it would allow us to become nothing more than animals. He also knew that we could never keep every law and that allows us to see that we are not perfect and the we need a justice system. When we break a law, the completion of that law comes when the justice is administered and the penalty is paid. In the worst of cases, that penalty was death. The purpose of these penalties was to discourage breaking the law and to restore to those who are victims a sense of justice being served.
Death was the penalty for the most heinous crimes. The ones that if you committed, you were a more dangerous to the community than the risk of keeping you alive was worth. When the death penalty was first given it was to be administered quickly and publicly. Quickly because you were a risk to society and you did not deserve to continue living because of the crime you committed and publicly to allow people to see that if you were considering committing this crime, you faced death.
The death was also usually a very painful and cruel death. Stoning, beheading, and hanging were the most common. There was not a concern for the feelings of the criminal who just murdered an innocent human. Humans are precious to God, and even though Jesus died to save all, He also abhors evil and murder is evil.
Today the death penalty is not much of a deterrent to murder. Few ever face it. In states where it is still allowed, it takes 20 plus years for it to ever be administered. The victim’s families often die before the convicted murderer does. The criminal lives a protected life while the victim’s life ended premature. Not to mention that there is an attempt to make the murderer’s death “humane” by using a drug to put them to sleep before they use the drug to stop there beating heart. Not very scary to someone who has the nerve to kill another human being. And I won’t even get into the costs of keeping a murderer alive for all those years.
I believe that God was right. There are some crimes that warrant death to the convicted. I think if we are going to give the death penalty it should be administered quickly after the legal system has had its proper time to work.
My suggestion would be to give the convicted murderer one year with a team of lawyers and all the resources needed to appeal, research, provide evidence that this was not the proper verdict. At the end of the year, a team of judges would review all the information for a week, if it was not enough to overturn the verdict, the convicted dies the next day.
Anyone who thinks that the death penalty is wrong, needs to consider that we all face the death penalty for our sins against God. Unless the Judge finds that our penalty has been paid in full on our judgment day, we will immediately receive our just reward.
Jesus got the death penalty and He was innocent. But he was our payment and our sacrifice for our sins, the only one that God will accept. God the Righteous Judge, has only one way that He will accept for us to avoid the death penalty. Jesus Christ, His forgiveness, His sacrifice, His grace, for our sin. We do not deserve this love, but He gives it. We deserve the death penalty.