I’m one of the dwindling number of people who still subscribes to the daily, local newspaper. It’s been an important part of my life since my teen years in the early 70s and I hate to give it up. But I also get my news through a customized Google News search on my Kindle every evening so it’s becoming harder and harder to justify the one-day-behind hard copy at $35 per month.
Anyway, part of my daily routine is to scan the obituaries for people I know. I recognize a name every week or two; an old friend, an acquaintance, a distant relative, someone I worked with. Yesterday, there was an obituary for an old Catholic grammar school and high school classmate. Bill and I were never good friends. He was always a bit of a “rock and roll” rebel, the kind of kid that was always in trouble with the teachers and struggled to get a “C.” But Bill found his niche later in life. He happened to get a job in computers in the same factory I worked at, just when computer technology was starting to ramp up and he rode the crest. He had several children, divorced, and then remarried; the typical, American, middle-class success story.
But Bill died of cancer this week at the age of 59. It’s a bit unsettling when one of your school classmates dies at such a relatively young age. Death is a harsh reality we will all encounter. I see from the obituary that there’ll be no religious services. Bill sat through the very same religious indoctrination as myself. Yes, there was mention of Jesus being the “Savior” but it was all about impersonal ritual, tradition, and obeying the Ten Commandments. The Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone was never presented one time in 12 years of Catholic education.
My wife and I are currently reading through the Book of Psalms and this morning I studied our next psalm, number 89, and came across the following verses:
“Remember how fleeting is my life.
For what futility you have created all humanity!
Who can live and not see death,
or who can escape the power of the grave?” – Psalm 89:47-48
Death is barreling down on all of us like an unstoppable freight train. The Bible says death, both physical and spiritual, is the wages for sin. We all sin against God every day and we all deserve eternal judgement. But God loves us so much, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus rose from the grave, conquering sin and death, and offers the gift of eternal life and fellowship with God to all who accept Him as Savior by faith.
You can accept Christ or you can reject Him, there’s no middle ground. Cliches fly at funeral home wakes but there’s no “resting in peace” without Christ and there’s no “He’s in a better place now” without Christ.
The Lord is my Shepherd. He guides me. I follow Him. He will never let go of me. He will never leave me. If I did not have my Shepherd, what would I do? Where would I go? What would I hope in? How could I even live my life? Accept Jesus as your Savior today.
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25-26