I have promised that I would post pictures of what Mr. Marvelous and I found at THE Yardsale last weekend. I will get to that tomorrow. I was impressed today that the following is so important that it needs to come first. Pictures tomorrow, I promise!
If you follow my blog you know that my cousin Danny Carlton died last week. Thursday evening I posted the following statement:
I got a call this afternoon that my cousin Dan Carlton died this
afternoon. Danny is finally, completely and eternally healed. He is in
the presence of our Glorious God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He is
reunited with his parents, our grandparents, and many other family
members and close friends. Most importantly, God who began a good work
in him was faithful to bring it to completion. This afternoon Danny got
to feel the arms of our God wrap around him, and heard His voice
telling him, "Well done, my son!"
I want to be sure that you understand why I said what I said. There are a lot of misconceptions in the world today about death and about heaven. There are a lot of people who believe ~ and sadly who teach ~ that heaven is someplace for the "nice" or "good" or "deserving" people after death. That is a lie and it is a dangerous lie that keeps people from the Truth. NO ONE is nice enough, or good enough, or deserving of heaven. NO ONE. My cousin Danny was a good man. He was kind, he was loving, he was giving. We have all known people like him. Our grandparents were exceptional people. Granny would do anything for anyone. My parents are amazing people who would sacrifice anything to help others out. Again, we have all known people about whom it might be said, "If anyone deserved heaven, it was that person; they were a good person!". Let me make this as clear as I can: That is a lie.
There is only one way in which any person has the hope of heaven and that is through the sacrifice of Jesus the Messiah. Please don't roll your eyes, sigh and say to yourself, "Oh. She's one of those people". Yes, I am but please read on through to the end. Other than Jesus, no one has ever been born perfect. Other than Jesus, no one has ever lived a sinless life. Mother Theresa freely admitted that she was not perfect. So did Billy Graham, Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, John Calvin, Martin Luther, St. Augustine, The Apostles, King David, Moses.....are you getting the picture here? All these "spiritual giants" were very clear about the fact that they were sinners.
Here is more bad news.
God is so perfectly holy that He absolutely can not tolerate sin in His presence.
Heaven is the place where God lives.
Uh-oh. Now what? If that is really true (and it is), then that would mean there is no hope for us??!! Is there any good news?
As a matter of fact, there is!
Jesus Christ ~ who is Himself God ~ became a man and lived a perfect life. No sin ever. When you look at the fact that He himself said that sins of the mind and heart are just as bad as sins of the flesh, that is even more amazing. Not only did he not do sin, he did not even think sinful thoughts. Let that sink in for a minute.
After thirty-three years of being perfect and sinless and living with sinful people (can you imagine how hard that must have been?!), He allowed Himself to be further robbed of His glory by going through a mock trial. He was beaten, shamed, despised, lied about, and then murdered in an incredibly painful and unpleasant way. He did not deserve any of that punishment. Why in the world would anyone do that? He did it for me. He did it for you. And ultimately He did it for the glory of God.
After He was murdered, He was buried. He was dead. His dead body laid in a tomb that was sealed. Creation held it's collective breath. And then came Sunday morning when He rose again. Get that? He conquered sin through His death, and then He conquered death. If the history of Jesus Christ is True ~ and it is! ~ then that turns everything upside down and inside out. He lived, worked, died and then beat death and came back to life to pay the price of sin.
"Wait a minute" you might ask, "wasn't He sinless?"
"So why did He pay the price of sin?"
He was paying the price of our sin.
What are you going to do with this Truth? A cognitive acknowledgement of this Truth is not sufficient. This Truth is acknowledged by the demons and they are still condemned to hell. This Truth is so profound that it requires a profound response. It requires surrender to Jesus as the ultimate authority. When you consider ~ really consider in the core of your being ~ just exactly what He did, you either toss it aside as absurd, or you realize that because of what Jesus has done He has the right to be the boss of every facet of your life. Total and complete surrender to Him. That changes everything about your life. Your life is suddenly a lot less about you and a lot more about HIM. My pastor refers to it as a life that is "making much of Jesus".
This was the life that Danny lived. Danny was surrendered completely to Jesus. His life was all about giving glory to God. Danny was not trusting in his own goodness, niceness or worthiness to get him into heaven. Danny's trust was ONLY in Jesus and the work that Jesus accomplished for him. That is why I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Danny is in heaven.
Being surrendered to Jesus does not mean that we are owed anything. It does not mean that God gives us riches or health or "good things". It is not about what we have. It is about us giving glory to God in every part of our lives. Danny understood that.
Toward the end of his life, speech was very challenging for Danny. One night at dinner his dear Jody heard him say the following: "Dear Lord, thank You for the process that tests me in every way to remember You. Amen"
Please think about this today. Please, if there are things I have written that are hard for you to understand, ask me questions. Read what God has to say about Himself in His word, the Bible. Ask someone you know who professes to be a Christian. Please know that I am praying that God will use these words I have written to help you see Him more clearly.
May His grace, mercy and peace fill your heart and your home.