The Walking Dead??

There has been a disturbing increase in the fascination with “the un-dead”. TV shows, movies, video games, comics and books are filled with stories of vampires, ghosts and zombies. Vampires are being depicted as sexy and cool! I doubt that zombies with various rotting body parts are considered “sexy” but they sure are considered to be “cool”. I have family members who have taken great delight in being made up as zombies and who go to zombie parties.

Personally, I don’t get the fascination with death. As a former nurse, I have been exposed to death enough to know that it isn’t sexy or cool! Diseased and rotting body parts are not sexy or cool!

Besides being bewildered at the fascination with the bizarre and grotesque, I am greatly concerned about the spiritual ramifications of this fascination.

I believe that the erroneous teaching about the state of the dead has left the door wide open for spiritual deception in this area.

Jesus said that he came to testify to the truth and that knowing the truth will set us free.

Joh 18:37 Pilate then said to Him, Are you a king then? Jesus answered, You say it that I am a king. To this end I was born, and for this cause I came into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.

Joh 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

The standard that we are to use for the truth is the Word of God – the Bible.

First, let’s look at the definitions for “death” and “dead”.

What is death? Webster defines it as this:

1. That state of a being, animal or vegetable, but more particularly of an animal, in which there is a total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions, when the organs have not only ceased to act, but have lost the susceptibility of renewed action.

Webster also defines being dead as:

1. Deprived or destitute of life; that state of a being, animal or vegetable, in which the organs of motion and life have ceased to perform their functions, and have become incapable of performing them, or of being restored to a state of activity.

Just looking at Webster’s dictionary alone shows us that, in the physical realm (outside of divine intervention) there is no possible way for a dead person, especially one in a state of decay, to be “restored to a state of activity”.

Now let us look at what God’s word, the standard of truth, has to say about death and the state of the dead.

Psa 6:5 For in death there is no memory of You; in the grave who shall give You thanks?

Psa 146:4 His breath goes forth; he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

Ecc 9:5 For the living know that they shall die; but the dead do not know anything, nor do they have any more a reward; for their memory is forgotten.
Ecc 9:6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; nor do they any longer have a part forever in all that is done under the sun.

Ecc 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no work, nor plan, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave where you go.

All of the above scriptures tell us that the dead have no memory, no thoughts, no knowledge, no feelings or emotions and no participation with the living world.

God’s Word also uses Hebrew and Greek words that are translated as “sleep” and “asleep” to describe the state of the dead. Those words mean death.

Deu 31:16 And Jehovah said to Moses, Behold, you shall sleep with your fathers.

2Sa 7:12 And when your days are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers,…

Job 14:10 But man dies and is cut off; and man expires, and where is he?
Job 14:11 As the waters fail from the sea, and a river falls away and dries up,
Job 14:12 so man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, they shall not awake, nor be awakened out of their sleep.

Psa 13:3 Look! Answer me, O Jehovah my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

Isa 65:4 a people who remain among the graves, and sleep in the tombs

Dan 12:2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt

Act 13:36 For after he had served his own generation by the will of God, David fell asleep and was added to his fathers and saw corruption. (decay)

1Co 15:6 Afterward He was seen by over five hundred brothers at once, of whom the greater part remain until this present day, but also some fell asleep.

1Co 15:18 Then also those that fell asleep in Christ were lost.

1Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will also bring with Him all those who have fallen asleep through Jesus.
1Th 4:15 For we say this to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall not go before those who are asleep.

2Pe 3:4 and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.

The context of the above scriptures is not about the kind of sleeping we do at night, it is about dying, death and the state of the dead.

So where did the idea that the dead, are not, in fact, dead, come from?

Gen 3:4 And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die,…

The serpent is the devil who is also know as “the father of lies”. He lied when he told Eve that they would not die. This was in direct contrast to what God had told Adam and Eve.

Gen 2:17 but you shall not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

Now obviously Adam and Eve didn’t die on the spot the moment they swallowed the forbidden fruit, but their disobedience to God’s command made them “mooth” a Hebrew word meaning both “worthy of death” and “dead”. They gave up the opportunity to enjoy everlasting life with God and thus began the process of the dying of their bodies.

Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, all humans die.

1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die,

However, when Jesus comes again, we will all be made alive again.

1Co 15:22  even so in Christ all will be made alive.

Joh 5:28,29 Do not marvel at this, for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth,

So until Jesus comes again, the dead are not walking, rather, they are all “asleep” with no thoughts, feelings or actions.

Blessings

 

War Wounds and Battle Scars

Isa 49:16 Behold, I have carved you on the palms of My hands;

 

I like to read historical novels, many of which contain accounts of wars and battles. (I don’t really like to read about wars and battles but unfortunately the world’s history is full of them). Often, there are characters who are described as “rugged” and “tough” and covered with various war wounds and battle scars. These wounds and scars are usually depicted as “badges of honour” earned in battle. The men wore them with pride.

When my son was a young teenager, he tripped and fell headlong through a glass door, impaling his arms on the jagged glass. I praise God that his chest, neck and face were uninjured and no major blood vessels were severed. However, there was extensive damage to the back of his upper arms, requiring over 80 stitches to close the wounds. A number of wounds had chunks of tissue missing so that the edges of the wounds were not able to be sewn together neatly.

His injuries left several large and messy scars and I was feeling very badly for him. I asked him if the scars made him feel very self-conscious. He just laughed and said, “No. They make for a great story at school!” LOL!

Both my sons carry a wide variety of scars gained in both play and work. My husband is both somewhat amused and bemused by the tales they tell when recalling the incidents which led to receiving the injuries. They tell them with some amusement and pride. I just recall the stress of many visits to the Emergency Department!

I too, carry scars on my body. I am probably of the last generation to bear the scar on my arm from the smallpox vaccination I received as an infant. I have scars on my face from impetigo and repeated cold-sore infections. My legs bear some scars from youthful shaving attempts. But my worst “physical” scars are on my abdomen. Two pregnancies have left a veritable spider web of shiny stretch marks across my abdomen. I have also had three major abdominal surgeries which have left scars which criss-cross my belly like highways on a road map.

Maybe it is being female, or extremely self-conscious, or both, but I am not “proud” of my scars and I certainly don’t like to display them!

When I re-married, I was ashamed of my scars and really worried that my new husband would find my abdominal scars to be unsightly, unattractive and definitely not sexy! When I shared my fears with him, he brought me to tears when he gently kissed them and then told me that to him, the scars represented the battles that I had been through and won. They represented some of the tough situations that I had lived through and that I was all the more precious to him because of what I had been through. He said that my scars are part of my life story and that he admires the woman that I am, in spite of, and maybe in part, due to those scars.

WOW! How can you not love a man like that?!

I also bear scars from wounds that were not physical, but rather emotional. My father leaving; my mother’s despair and depression; my own mental health battles; my first husband leaving. All have left deep, emotional scars that people can’t see and I don’t really want them to know about.

I think that it is these emotional scars which have had more influence on my life than the events which caused my physical scars.

The good news is that all my scars, be they emotional or physical, do not affect how my Heavenly Father sees me or loves me. He loved me so much that he sent his only son, Jesus, to die for me. In fact, Jesus bore horrific wounds in his back, head, hands and feet that led to scars, for me, so that I could lay aside my emotional and spiritual wounds and be healed, delivered and saved.

Isa 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was on Him; and with His stripes we ourselves are healed. 

My scars tell the story of what I’ve been – flawed, damaged, wounded, shamed, sick. Jesus’ scars tell the story of what I have become – saved, hopeful, made perfect, healed, delivered, beautiful.

Trade your scars for Jesus’ scars and you will have a wonderful story to tell.

Blessings

1 Have you failed in your plan of your storm-tossed life?
Place you hand in the nail-scarred hand;
Are you weary and worn from its toil and strife?
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand.
Chorus:
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand,
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand;
He will keep to the end, He’s your dearest friend,
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand.
2 Are you walking alone through the shadows dim?
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand;
Christ will comfort your heart, put your trust in Him.
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand. [Chorus]
3 Would you follow the will of the risen Lord?
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand;
Would you live in the light of His blessed Word?
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand. [Chorus]
4 Is your soul burdened down with its load of sin?
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand;
Throw your heart open wide, let the Savior in.
Place your hand in the nail-scarred hand. [Chorus]

B.B. McKinney

The Report Card

I have just returned from a lovely walk around my neighbourhood. The trees are displaying their beautiful Fall clothes.

While out walking, I stopped at our community mailboxes to check the mail. One of the items we received was an energy usage “report card” from the hydro company. This is the third one that we have received this year and in each one we have been awarded a “Very Good” grade; meaning that we have used even less energy than comparable “energy efficient” homes. In fact, we use 59% less energy than the average comparable home! Woot! Woot! (but where’s my gold star?? LOL)

Report cards – you either loved or hated getting them in school. You either waited for them with eager anticipation or discouraging dread. I was one of those kids who actually looked forward to getting my report card. For the most part, I enjoyed going to school and learning. I was a pretty good student and usually came home with good grades and positive comments from my teachers. (yup – I was one of those darned “teacher’s pets)

My mother was always proud of her children’s accomplishments and gave us much encouragement and praise. She often liked to share our accomplishments with others by showing them our report cards.

I had to laugh when she told me the story of how she had shown my report card to someone and they couldn’t understand why she was so proud of her daughter getting a C+! You see, most schools at that time were grading with the well-known “A-B-C-D-E-F” grading system. So according to that system, my C+ would only have been a very average grade. However, my school used a different grading system with the letter “C” standing for “Commendable”, the letter “A” was for “Average” and “NI” indicated “Needs Improvement”.

Getting a good report card was VERY important to me and I couldn’t wait to show it to my parents and hear their praise. However, I remember one time I showed my Dad my really good mark and his response was, “is that all”? I was crushed! You see, my Dad didn’t really know how to give straight forward praise as he had never received it as a child. He was proud of me and his remark was actually meant as a joke, as that was the only way he felt able to express himself. But the comment still stung me as a child.

Even though I am now middle-aged, I still want to do my very best. I still want to do well in achieving “good marks” for all that I do. And yes, I still want to hear people say, “good job Shari – we’re proud of you”. As adults, we don’t seem to get that affirmation very often. I am very blessed in that I have a wonderful husband and a loving mother who are my biggest encouragers in this world.

But more than achieving good marks in the physical, material world, I want to receive good marks in the spiritual world of God’s Heavenly Kingdom. I want to be more concerned about God’s “grading system” than the world’s. When I stand before my Heavenly Father, I want to have “Commendable +” on my spiritual report card. And in the comments section, rather than having had written “is that all?”, I want to be able to read, “Well done, good and faithful servant”. I want God to say of me, “this is my [daughter] in whom I am well pleased.”

So I will keep going to “school”; I will keep listening to my teacher, Jesus Christ; and I will continue to do my homework and meditate upon God’s Word.

BTW – I know that I am not made righteous through my own works, but through faith in who Jesus was and is and by what he has done for me. But, I love my Heavenly “Papa” and I want to please Him.

Blessings