Monday, January 9, 2012

This is my Uncle Bob and Aunt Barbara with their sons (my cousins) Bob Jr. and Jim.
My Uncle Bob just lost his battle with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma which is a type of cancer of the immune system.  They live in New Jersey, but the distance has not prevented us from having a very special relationship across the miles.  It was our hope that our oldest boys would be able to spend a couple of weeks of their summer vacation with them touring all the battles sites and museums as they share a love of history with their great aunt and uncle, but God's plan was different. 

Of course, we can't know what God's plans for us are until they unfold...or can we?  The Bible is God's Word and tells us that those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior will have eternal life.  (John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.")

A Savior?  What is Jesus saving you from?  Well, from your sin and consequently eternal punishment.  Because of our sin nature and God's perfect standard, we need a perfect blood sacrifice which will cover our sin.  Jesus is that perfect sacrifice and accomplished our covering with his death and resurrection.  (Hebrews 9:22 says, "Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission {forgiveness} of sin.") 

Sin? Maybe you think you are a good person.  After all, you have kept the 10 Commandments or least most of them and you haven't gone to jail or anything.  But sin isn't limited to our actions, but our thoughts as well.  God knows our thoughts, we can't hide from Him. (Psalm 139:4 "Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, Thou dost know it all.")  Romans 3:23 says, "For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."   Like it or not, we are sinners.  We just need to face the facts and admit it.  We blow it. 

Now what?  What's the remedy?  It's really very simple.  Acts 16:31 "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved."   Because He is perfect and sinless in every way, He is the only one that can take away our sin.  There is nothing I can do. "Not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us." (Titus 3:5)

Picture a court of law.  The judge (God) decides the verdict for the offender (us).  He pronouces us guilty.  Our punishment?  Hell.  Eternal separation from God.  But because Jesus loves us so very much.  He doesn't want to see us endure that punishment so He offers up himself as a substitute to take our place.  He is willing to take the punishment we deserve.  That's exactly what the cross accomplished for us.   So "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." (Romans 10:9)

Ok - so this post might seem preachy, but really I just want to offer hope.  If Jesus is your Savior, you have nothing to fear - not even death.

One last thing I wanted to share because I thought it was really so sweet of the Lord.
My aunt really orchestrated all of his care.  It was decided to bring him home for his last days.  Hospice was there in the evenings and my aunt cared for Uncle Bob during the day.  She had gone in to check on him, knelt down and kissed him and told him she loved him.  He smiled back at her.  About an hour later she went in to check on him and he had passed.  Is that not so sweet - the very last words he heard was that his wife of over 50 years loved him. 

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