Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

Posts tagged ‘death’

God, That Is So Unfair!

baby_pouting-crying

Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography on Flickr

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

The focus of God’s message so far through Ezekiel was to the Jewish people of Israel and Judah. As we read towards the end of the book, the focus spreads out to include the world and the Jews’ neighbors in the Middle East and Africa. Prophecies of destruction were laid out to Ammon, Moab, Edom and Philistia (Ezekiel 25); Tyre (Ez. 26-28), Sidon (Ez. 28); Egypt (Ez. 29-32), Ethiopia, Libya, Lidia (Ez. 30); and Mt. Seir (Ez. 35). The destruction of Babylon was prophesied in Jeremiah 50-51. Don’t recognize some of the countries listed? That is because the prophecies came true; some were utterly destroyed while others like Egypt, Ethiopia and Libya never returned to their ancient splendor.

Why were these countries targeted for the wrath of God? Each played a part in the oppression and conquest of Israel and Judah. God kept His word that was spoken to His people way back in Genesis 12:3:

“I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (NKJV)

In Ezekiel 33:11, God makes His wishes clear, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” He then continues in the next nine verses to elaborate on how He will judge people according to the state of their hearts when they die.

• Righteous people who fall into sin will not be saved on the merits of their former virtue (verses 12, 18)
• Wicked people who turn from their evil ways will be saved because of their new found righteousness (verses 12, 14-16, 19)
• Righteous people who trust in their good works will not be saved (v.13)

God knew the hearts of humanity, because He also addressed the objections that He knew would follow, “The way of the Lord is not fair,” to which God’s response is swift and sure, “But it is their way that is not fair.” (v. 17, NKJV)

We now have the perspective of hindsight to understand that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for all was the most unfair event in the history of humanity. He did not see it as unfair, but essential to restore us to the relationship with God as originally intended. Even though we now live under the law of Grace rather than the Mosaic Law, God expects us to be holy (Leviticus 11:44), and repeats this expectation in I Peter 1:16. What this means is that we should be the same people the other 6 days and 23 hours as we are while attending church.

Many people feel this is unfair and too difficult to even try, given our sinful nature, but if we want God to be fair about that, there is nothing we could do to earn an eternity in Heaven with Him. Despite this fact, God is gracious and provided the Way. THAT is so not fair!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside. Lisa is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon. 

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What Happens in Vegas…

vegas-sign-welcome

Photo by mandj98 on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

…stays in Vegas. This was a tag line from the Las Vegas Department of Tourism a few years ago. What those ads tried to imply was that there was a glitzy place where one could go to do things that would never be found out by one’s family or friends, should that be of concern. The saying caught on somewhat until the CDC came up with a list of diseases that could easily follow one home.

Jeremiah 23 gives a glimpse of God’s exasperation with the false prophets and presumed holy men of Israel who ignored Jeremiah’s prophecies for happier, feel-good projections of what the impending war with Babylon would bring. It wasn’t that these quasi spiritual leaders lacked the correct information; but rather, they refused to listen to the Word of God, who at that time still spoke directly to His prophets like Jeremiah.

“Am I only a God nearby,”
declares the Lord,
    “and not a God far away?
Who can hide in secret places
    so that I cannot see them?”
declares the Lord.
    “Do not I fill heaven and earth?”
declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:23-24, NIV)

It was as if the false teachers thought that God was not aware of what they were telling the people; offering happy thoughts at a time of impending destruction. They seemed completely oblivious to the fact that they were contradicting God’s prophecies through Jeremiah and even tried on several occasions to end Jeremiah’s life.

There are many false prophets out in the world today who soft pedal around eternal life and death issues, fearing that they may offend somebody. Here is what God had to say about their counterparts from the seventh century BC:

 “Yes,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The Lord declares.’  Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the Lord. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:31-32, NIV)

Not all of us are called to stand on the street corner shouting that the end is near, but if we call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to tell others about the sacrifice that He made to save us from our sins. How we convey that message is as individual as we and those to whom we share the message are. We just need to know what the message is by reading and studying the Bible every day and then being ready and willing to speak when God’s Spirit prompts us. And yes, this message is just as urgent as Jeremiah’s call to repentance as the Babylonian army closed in around Israel.

The world as we know it may not end tomorrow, but according to the World Health Organization, about 150,000 people died each day in 2011. For them, that was the end of the world. We do not know when the end will come for anybody, so we do have an urgent message for our friends, family, and those with whom we come in contact each day. Let’s go get the Word out before it is too late!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

You Are Going to Die!

shoreham_church_gravestones

Photo by Elsie esq. on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

This news does not set well with most people, but King Hezekiah’s response was especially passionate. “Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the (Western) wall and prayed to the LORD, and said, ‘Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before you in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly.” (Isaiah 38:2-3, NKJV) Not only did God hear his prayer and heal the King, He told him that Hezekiah would live fifteen more years. God even gave Hezekiah a miraculous sign of His promise by turning back time ten degrees on the sundial of Ahaz. I don’t know how much time ten degrees on the sundial of Ahaz was, but it must have been substantial.

I suspect that many people have prayed similar prayers when given that bad news, but God is sovereign and He can do whatever He wants, including healing or choosing not to heal the terminally ill and raising the dead. This does not mean that those who have been healed don’t die at some point in the future; nobody gets out of this life alive.

Had he died when Isaiah first told him he would die, Hezekiah would have passed peacefully, leaving his kingdom intact. As it was, over the period of the next 15 years, Hezekiah’s head swelled and he made the foolish decision to show the entire treasury to a group of visiting Babylonian emissaries. God rebuked Hezekiah and told him that everything he had shown to the Babylonians would be carried off to Babylon, along with some of his family members. (2 Kings 20:12-18)

Hezekiah also fathered Manasseh during that 15 year remission. Manasseh ascended the throne at the age of 12 after Hezekiah’s death and was recorded as the most evil king of Judah, committing atrocities beyond those practiced by the people who had lived in Canaan before the Children of Israel settled there!

We can never know what might have happened had the story ended differently, but what we do need to grasp is the concept that we are eternal beings who, if we are saved by the precious blood of Jesus, will live forever in heaven. Our eternal life is already upon us; all that separates us from eternity are these earthly bodies that are one step closer to death each day. Rather than being obsessed with cheating death and extraordinarily extending our lives here, we need to focus on the task that Jesus gave us to do and then when our time is up, take that last step into the arms of our loving Savior.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

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