The Last Goodbye

 While speaking at a Family Retreat last week, I was reminded of the times I  drove my son to the airport to make his journey back out to Wisconsin at the end of spring break or to begin another year in college.  We had enjoyed wonderful opportunities for fellowship, but when it was time for him to return, I got that familiar lump in my chest that had accompanied every goodbye since my little boy had become a man.  I thought it might get easier with time, but I was wrong, I hate to say goodbye.

  Maybe you can relate, but if not, you can rest assured, your day is coming.  Perhaps your first experience will be like the one that I have described here, or it could be that sad goodbye to a loved one who is smitten with a fatal illness.  Or maybe you’ll bid farewell to a brother or sister, son or daughter whose career choice, or stint in the military, will move them to a different hemisphere.  Oh yes, your day is coming.

  This is certainly a sad observation, but it’s not without purpose.  The scriptures teach that for those who place their trust in the Lord, Jesus Christ, the last goodbye is followed by an eternal reunion.  This wonderful promise can be seen in many Bible passages, but none more clearly than 1Thessalonians 4:13 where the child of God who is grieving over the death of a loved one is encouraged, “…sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.”   The promise is contained in the word hope.  This word is not the common “hope so” that we are accustomed to; the Bible word hope suggests confident expectation of a thing promised.  In the case of the death of a believer, the Bible assures us that our loved one is secure in heaven and that death only separates us for a season.  There is coming a day when the word goodbye will be forever forgotten to those who live in God’s eternal presence.

  God’s family is not terrorized by the thought of the last goodbye.  Won’t you join us?  Until then, I’ll just say, See you later!

The Perfect Union

  Recently, I have been studying through the book of Ephesians. I especially enjoy chapter five in which our Lord provides practical instruction to husbands and wives. To illustrate the marriage relationship, the Lord points to another relationship that is dear to His heart, that of Jesus Christ and His Church, which He refers to as His Bride. (Ephesians 5:32) The passage teaches that as Christ is head of the Church and loves it more than life, so should husbands love their own wives. (5:23) As the Church is subject unto Christ as its Head, so should wives be to their own husbands. (5:24) It has been my experience and observation for many years that when marriage is done God’s way, it works. We truly can experience the ultimate marriage as it was designed by our Creator God.

  Now, about that other relationship—Christ died, was buried and rose from the dead as payment in full for our sins. He is alive and promises eternal life to all who will place their trust in Him for forgiveness of sin. Everyone who has accepted Christ as their personal Savior is “set apart” for an eternal, spiritual union with Christ.

  The Bible declares that one day, without notice, Christ will return to earth to claim His Bride (the Church) and be united with her forever. The event is called the RAPTURE; it is described in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4.

  “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).”

  The Bible warns that there will be scoffers (2 Peter 3:3) who reject the promises of Scripture and discourage those who would believe. Are you ready for His coming, or are you a scoffer? I choose to believe!

Give Me Liberty

  At this time of the year, the voices of great American patriots whose contributions made ours “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” still ring in our ears.  Perhaps none rings louder than the voice of the great statesman, Patrick Henry, who said, “Give me liberty, or give me death.”  Without knowing it, Henry uttered a powerful phrase that is as applicable in the spiritual realm as in the physical.

  According to the scriptures, all men are born servants of Sin.  “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. (John 8:34).”  Our taskmaster, Sin, desires only to bring us to eternal ruin.  “For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23a).”

  But, seeing our plight, God has provided a ransom, that we might be set free.  “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28).”  As our national freedom came at the cost of much bloodshed, so our spiritual freedom was purchased with blood—the blood of Jesus Christ.  “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold,…  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (1Peter 1:18-19).”

  The Apostle Paul put it like this,  “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:  (1Corinthians 15:3-4).”  We are told simply to, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, (Ac 16:31).

  Patrick Henry’s words, “Give me liberty or give me death” still ring true in the hearts and minds of men who love freedom.  In the spiritual realm, eternal death is sure unless we accept the liberty afforded us by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, who said, “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10).”