Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘life after death’

Where Will You Spend Eternity?


Today’s sermon message by our guest pastor, Rev. Phil Taylen at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, Montana, focused on the theological basis for our assurance of Eternity in Heaven.

It was timely, especially given the fact that this is the week my only sibling, my sister Sally, went to her eternal home.

If you die today, do you know where you’re going from here?

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Is it Hell or a Black Hole?

My guess is that the choice is pretty clear. I was looking for a picture of a black hole… because some people believe this is it! We’re here and then we’re nowhere. A black hole… that’s where they think they’re going. They don’t believe there is a place called Hell where they will burn in the fires of an afterlife separated from God.

Or is it Heaven?

Rev. Phil Taylen’s sermon was titled, “Soaring with Eagles.” He began with that question, “Where Will You Spend Eternity?” His answer was part of a movement he called “The Evangelism Explosion.” Even though he grew up in the Presbyterian Church, he was ordained by an Evangelical Ministry – and his sermon lecture today definitely got down to the basics!

The Bible

B asic
I nstructions
B efore
L eaving
E arth

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Heaven by Grace

G od’s
R iches
A t
C hrist’s
E xpense

Grace is God’s Unmerited Favor poured out on us.
Grace can’t be earned or deserved.
Heaven is a free gift.

He cited Ephesians 2: 8-9 as further proof of the point he was teaching and preaching:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God:
Not of works,
lest any man should boast.”

Not By Man

Good works are important, but they will not save us.

I am a sinner.
I can’t save myself.

He cited John 8:24 to prove his message that man cannot save himself:

“Unless you believe that
I am who I claim to be,
you will die in your sins.”

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Only God

God gave us basic instructions to live by before leaving earth.

God is Love.
God is just and righteous.

In the Bible, our instruction book, God told us:

Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God. …

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Heaven Through Christ

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
Jesus Christ is God.

Faith is Belief

Faith is the Connector.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

I don’t see the whole staircase. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Only Begotten Son, but I do not believe God will send all the Jews or Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists to Hell because they do not share my belief in Jesus as a part of the Trinity.

I believe God is bigger than religion. I believe God is omnipotent. I believe God knows all people – and He sees them through His eyes, not mine. That may make me a non-believer in some evangelical eyes. But I believe God is more inclusive than we can fathom.

I find enormous comfort in my faith – my belief in our Lord Jesus Christ – and I want to share that comfort and love with all I meet. I believe 2 Cor. 1:3-5 as quoted below:

Do you believe in Christ?

Thanks for visiting today.
Have a Blessed Sunday.
See ya tomorrow.
Love,
JanBeek

The Corona Whistleblower


The message below was posted on FaceBook by my friend, Marge Derby. It was written originally on this FB page:

Carry The Light
https://www.facebook.com/honorchrist/photos/a.177332439849468/495661498016559/?type=3&tn=H-R

All across China, people are talking about Dr Li Wen Liang. He was the doctor who discovered the novel corona virus and in the early morning of February 7, 2020 at 2:58 am, he was promoted into glory and went home to be with our Father in heaven.

Back in December last year, he was arrested for being a whistleblower ‘spreading rumors’ about a mysterious pneumonia like virus. This morning we found out he was in fact a fellow brother in Christ. Our hearts are deeply moved by his sacrificial choice to spread awareness about the virus despite the risks he faced, especially to his reputation and to his own health.

He continued to care for patients up until he was infected himself. What a legacy to leave behind of what it means to be like Jesus to those hurting in a time of crisis. He chose to be an example of Immanuel, ‘God with us’ to the people of Wuhan.

Can you imagine the joy he must have felt as he entered into eternity and heard the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”?

So today, please pray for his family, especially his wife who is also infected and 8 months pregnant with their second child. May God heal them supernaturally and give them grace, peace, strength and comfort during this time.

Dr Li Wen Liang penned a deeply touching Chinese poem. It is translated below into English. The original Chinese is there, telling of how he would miss his family, his beloved Wuhan, and then he quoted 2 Tim 4:7-8 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

He went on to write, “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

“The Hero Who Told The Truth”
Here is a captivating, heart-touching Chinese poem I’ve tried to translate into English. It was written in memory of Mr Li Wenliang, a Christian doctor and whistleblower who died from the corona virus himself after being punished for issuing the first warning about the deadly corona virus outbreak.
我不想當英雄。
我還有爹娘,
還有孩子,
還有懷孕臨產的妻,
還有許多的病人在病房。
盡管正直換不來善良,
盡管䢛途迷茫,
可還是要繼續進行,
誰讓我選擇了這國這家,
多少委屈,
等打完這仗,
垂淚如雨仰天遠望。
“I don’t want to be a hero.
I still have my parents,
And my children,
And my pregnant wife who’s about to give birth,
And many of my patients in the ward.
Though my integrity cannot be exchanged for the goodness of others,
Despite my loss and confusion,
I should proceed anyway.
Who let me choose this country and this family?
How many grievances do I have?
When this battle is over,
I will look up to the sky,
With tears like rain.”
我不想當英雄。
只是做為醫生,
我不能眼看著這不明的病毒,
傷害著我的同行。
還有那多無辜的人們,
他們盡管已奄奄一息,
可眼睛裏總望著我,
帶著生命的希望。
“I don’t want to be a hero.
But as a doctor,
I cannot just see this unknown virus
Hurting my peers
And so many innocent people.
Though they are dying,
They are always looking at me in their eyes,
With their hope of life.”
誰成想我競死了!
我的靈魂分明在天上,
望著那張白色的病床,
床上分明是我的軀體,
軀體上還是那熟悉的臉龐。
我的父親母親在哪?
還有我親愛的妻子,
那當年我苦苦追求的姑娘。
“Who would have ever realised that I was going to die?
My soul is in heaven,
Looking at the white bed,
On which lies my own body,
With the same familiar face.
Where are my parents?
And my dear wife,
The lady I once had a hard time chasing?”
天上有一道光!
那光的盡頭是人們時常說起的天堂。
我寧願不去哪裏,
我寧願回到武漢我的家鄉。
那裏有我新買的房子,
每月還要還貸的賬。
我怎能舍得,
我怎能舍得!
沒有兒子的爹娘,
該有多麽悲傷;
沒有了丈夫的寶貝,
該如何面對這未來的滄桑。
“There is a light in the sky!
At the end of that light is the heaven that people often talk about.
But I’d rather not go there.
I’d rather go back to my hometown in Wuhan.
I have my new house there,
For which I still have to pay off the loan every month.
How can I give up?
How can I give up?
For my parents without their son,
How sad must it be?
For my sweetheart without her husband,
How can she face the vicissitudes in her future?”
我分明死了。
我看見他們把我的軀殼,
裝進一個袋子。
在袋子的近傍
有許多死去的同胞,
象我一樣,
在黎明時分,
被推進火的爐堂。
“I am already gone.
I see them taking my body,
Putting it into a bag,
With which lie many compatriots
Gone like me,
Being pushed into the fire in the hearth
At dawn.”
再見了,難舍的親人。
永別了,武漢我的故鄉。
但願你們在災難過後,
還記得曾經有人,
努力地讓你們盡早知道真相。
但願你們在災難過後,
學會正直,
不再讓善良的人們,
遭受著無盡的恐懼,
和無奈的悲傷。
“Goodbye, my dear ones.
Farewell, Wuhan, my hometown.
Hopefully, after the disaster,
You’ll remember someone once
Tried to let you know the truth as soon as possible.
Hopefully, after the disaster,
You’ll learn what it means to be righteous.
No more good people
Should suffer from endless fear,
And helpless sadness.”
“那美好的仗我已經打完了,
應行的路我已行盡了,
當守的道我守住了。
從此以後,
有公義的冠冕為我留存。”
《聖經》提摩太後書4:7
“I have fought the good fight.
I have finished the race.
I have kept the faith.
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness.”
2 Timothy 4:7, Holy Bible

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My Prayer

Rest in peace, Dr. Li Wen Liang. God bless you – and God be with your dear family. We all will pray for your wife, your son, and your unborn child. May God miraculously heal her and save your children. Amen

They are not forgotten.

Thanks for visiting JanBeek.

I hope this story touched your heart as it did mine.
Please join me in prayer for Mrs. Liang
and the victims of this deadly virus.
Pray for a cure!

See you tomorrow.

Finding Faith & Forgiveness


Thank you for joining my A-Z journey
to explore ways to add meaning to our lives.

Today is the sixth day – the letter “F.”

F = Faith & Forgiveness

They go hand-in-hand. One invites the other.

man in black long sleeved shirt and woman in black dress

Photo by Jasmine Wallace Carter on Pexels.com

FAITH

Faith is belief in the unseen. To look beyond the obvious and see endless possibilities adds depth and meaning to our lives. It opens us to gifts beyond measure.

In Mark 9:22-24, a father of a mute son said to Jesus, “If you can do anything, do it! Have a heart and help us!”

Jesus replied, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.”

No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts.”

In their book, Spiritual Literacy,
Frederic & Mary Ann Brussat talk about faith,
“Recognize and accept that
there is another dimension to life
than what is obvious to us.
Live with obstacles, doubt, and paradox,
knowing that God is always present in the world.”

FORGIVENESS

And because we believe in the God who is our Creator, and the One He sent to forgive us for our repeated wrong-doings to ourselves and one another, we also have the capacity to forgive.

The Brussats wrote about forgiveness:
“In both your private and public lives,
discover the sweet release
that comes from forgiving others.
Feel the healing balm
of being forgiven and
of forgiving yourself.”

Enjoy the sweet smell
Of receiving and giving
Forgiveness’ balm

UNFORGIVENESS

“I am a wretched sinner! I am going to Hell!” Mark shouted from his nursing home bed.

“Mark, we all have sinned. We all make mistakes. None of us is perfect. You have asked God to forgive you. He has! You need to forgive yourself!”

“I can’t! You don’t know how bad my sin is! You don’t know what I did! I can never forgive myself! I am miserable,” Mark moaned.

My friend, Mark, died later that week!

I don’t know if he was able to forgive himself on his deathbed, but I believe our Lord and Savior died so that Mark could be forgiven. He did believe in God. He professed his belief many times.

John 20:21-23 says,
“Again Jesus said to His disciples,
‘Peace be with you!
As the Father has sent me,
I am sending you.
And… He breathed on them and said,
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive anyone his sins,
they are forgiven’ …”

Are you looking for more meaning, more purpose,
and a peace that permeates your soul?

Live in Faith, my friends.
Know the Holy Spirit lives in you,
and know You ARE Forgiven.

You do not need to end your life crying in misery.
Believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that by believing you will have eternal life in His name.

“Forgive them, for they know not what they do!”

art cathedral christ christian

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There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.
He is risen indeed!

Be at peace!

 

Let His Love Light Shine


Sermon notes from 6/3/18 – Rev. Jean Johnson’s message inspired by Mark: 2:23 – 3:6 – filtered through the ears & pen of Jan Beekman

Let His Love Light Shine

 

We are servants of God,

So, do not lose heart.

The glory of God has shined

In and through us from the start.

 

Jesus Christ is our Lord.

He rose victorious from the dead.

His resurrection assures us

When we die, we’ll live instead.

 

The Lord surely restores us.

He guards and lovingly guides us.

The Lord, our God, is here

In us; seeking, He finds us.

 

Through the Holy Spirit,

God communicates. Hear Him speak.

We are called to carefully listen –

To obey boldly; don’t be meek.

 

Christ’s Glory is the glory of

Truth and Love shining through

In the midst of death and decay.

It’s forgiveness for me and for you.

 

God calls us to continually be

Followers in Truth and Love.

Our job is to live the Gospel message.

Let His Light shine through you from above.

 

Amen?

Amen!

What Do You Believe?


happy-easter-religious-cross-banner

Terminal or Eternal?

T ime on
E arth is not
R evolving.
M inutes spent
I n mortality
N ever repeat.
A lways spend each one
L ovingly and joyfully.

Time on earth is terminal.

Some believe in a revolving door called reincarnation, believing they’ll return as another person if the good deeds they do in this lifetime do not raise their karma above the 50% mark. Reincarnation becomes a chance to try it again. Be better, kinder, more loving and more wise the next time around, and eventually the Karmic Board will judge you worthy. Your life will tip the Karmic Scale and you’ll earn the right to resurrection and life in Eternity.

Others believe when this terminal life as a human being is over, they’ll return as a creature. They talk about what it might be like to come back as a family pet or as a bee, a bird, or a lion.

Acknowledging that life on earth is terminal, some think that this is all there is. When we die, that’s it. From dust we come; to dust we will return. No reincarnation. No resurrection. No nothing. What a bleak, meaningless existence that must be!

As for me, I believe life on earth is terminal. I don’t believe I’ll return as another person. I don’t see myself coming back in the form of another earthly creature. But, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this brief earthly life is not all there is. I want to live in love and peace, to spread joy and hope, and to serve my Maker and others. But, I don’t live giving out blessings because I think I’m earning the right to live eternally. I don’t serve to rack up points and move a notch closer to God in Heaven in the “After-Life.” My place already has been secured. I serve out of gratitude, hopefully with an attitude of generosity – grateful for the fact that the price was paid. Paid by God’s Son.

That’s what Easter is all about. It’s not bunnies and colored eggs, frilly new dresses, fancy hats, and patent leather shoes. It’s about a Man named Jesus, a span of three years of ministry on earth, teaching us how to live and how to treat one another, and a forty day period we call Lent. Lent is the time when Jesus was accused, tried, convicted for our sins, beaten, crucified on a cross, and buried in a tomb. Because He died with, “Father, forgive them,” on His lips, I am assured of my forgiveness. I know because He rose again, and because He lives, and because He promised, “I go to prepare a place for you,” when my terminal life on earth is over, I will take that place in Eternity reserved for me. My soul will live on. This is not the end.

This is what I believe. Easter assures me. This life is only the beginning.

Hallelujah! Happy Easter!

Limited Options


My friend, Jack Murphy, died two days ago. He was a member of the Writers of Madison County in southwest Montana. Suffering heart problems and other ailments, he had been contemplating his own death for several years. He didn’t dwell on the subject often in his writing. Usually he wrote whimsical poetry regarding such subjects as Humpty Dumpty’s tragedy or Little Miss Muffet’s victory over that dreadful spider. Now, after he left us at a much too early age, I am drawn to his shared poems and short stories. His words take on deeper, more profound meanings. I ponder his musings. I want to call him back to us and discuss his premises. He wrote of “Limited Options” and of leaving this earth as “an empty shell, no heart, no soul, no place to dwell,” to “drift away through time and space.” I had no idea in 2009 when he published his poem, Surrender, in the Madison County Writers’ Group Anthology that he really would “go” so soon. I miss him!

Surrender

It’s time to go, I hear the voice.
It’s time to go, I have no choice.

I sense a tug upon my sleeve
telling me it’s time to leave.

I am not sure I want to go.
I thought that at the time I’d know

if I was really tired of life,
the aches and pains and constant strife.

Do I have the strong resolve
or will that needed strength dissolve?

And leave me like an empty shell,
no heart, no soul, no place to dwell.

I don’t yet know if I should fight
to stick around to do what’s right

and let the natural things take place,
then drift away through time and space.

I want to bring Jack back. I want to discuss his eternal options. I can’t. He’s gone from this earth. But, I am praying that he has met his Creator and has learned that he now has the Unlimited Options of Eternity, not the “Limited Options” he anticipated in this poem. This was published in that same 2009 anthology:

I wanted to be the first to go,
make it quick, not too slow.

It does not happen, sad to say,
that life always works out that way.

But, often life does not conform,
it does not follow every norm.

Illness or accident oft is the one,
that gets the unadorned deed done.

The rules are vague, if there are rules at all,
on who will stay and who will fall.

The pain of loss is often deep
and it’s all right for you to weep.

As long as you remember, too,
the joy that they did bring to you.

The fun you had along the way,
and all the crazy games you’d play.

The loves and laughs, and serious times
that make up life and its designs.

If only we could get to choose
who exits first, who has to lose.

But, it is not our choice, you see;
it is not left to you and me.

We’ll love our lives until the end,
then ride the river around the bend.

Thus, when our final days are here
and we slip from life so dear,

We’ll drift toward that distant shore,
the lights gone, sleep now evermore.

Sleep now, dear friend, Jack Murphy. My faith wants to believe you are in the gentle, forgiving, ever-loving hands of our Savior, resting in eternal peace. I do remember “the joy you [did] bring” – and I weep with the pain of our loss. I hope to see you someday again – – – round the river’s band.

See Ya Round the River’s Bend

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