Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Birth of a Savior, The Death of a Saint

1 Corinthians 15:12-23

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

These verses have brought me so much comfort this past week. Chris and I were up late talking last week and I was sharing with him some of the struggles I have related to death. I made the comment about how everything I believe and put my faith into is in God's word. Which is kind of a no duh I realize but particularly when a loved one passes the only comfort I have is in God's word and I wouldn't know what to do if it wasn't true. Chris took me to 1 Corinthians and read the above verses to me. See the Corinthians struggled with the resurrection of the dead so Paul made it very clear that IN FACT Christ has been raised from the dead and those in him will be as well. Those three words, but in fact, comfort my anxious heart. I can know for a fact that Christ was raised from the dead, not just as a spirit but body as well and that I too with my loved ones who believe in the Gospel will also be raised again with him!

A few days later our Sr. Pastor preached the most amazing
sermon from these verses on Sunday morning entitled, The Birth of a Savior and The Death of a Saint. It was by far the most impactful message I've heard on death and Heaven! I sat in the front row with Chris and cried through the entire thing. I'm sure that was encouraging for Rich :-)

Yesterday was Joneen's memorial service. Chris and I had the honor of playing music. As I stood up there playing piano while people walked in, I was well aware of the impact she had on so many. At one point I looked back and there were probably at least a hundred people in line waiting to get in. I realized I better start finding some new songs to play because it could be awhile before everyone found a seat! Someone pointed this out to my dad yesterday and I couldn't agree more. See 25 years ago Joneen quit her job as a nurse and became a wife and stay at home mother. I know I can often be tempted to think how staying at home with my three can make an impact in the kingdom. Well I saw yesterday how it could. Joneen was a faithful mother to three, served her church with passion and without reservation for 25 years and on the day of her memorial hundreds and hundreds of people piled in to thank God for the gift of her life! Oh I pray that my life could have that same kind of impact on others. I pray that my children would be sitting there at my memorial service as believers in the Lord with their Christians husbands (or wife in Trev's case) leading their families in the way of the Lord. And by God's grace alone he will use me to make his will come to pass.

It has been a sobering week indeed.

Chris and I closed the service singing Happy Day. I know what your thinking, you did what? That was my first thought but it was what was requested of us and one of Joneen's favorites. Once the time came for the song I thought it was so appropriate to rejoice in the fact that she was with her Savior face to face because he washed her sins away! Here are the words to the song by Tim Hughes.

The greatest day in history, Death is beaten
You have rescued me
Sing it out Jesus is alive
The empty cross, The empty grave
Life eternal You have won the day
Shout it out Jesus is alive
He's alive

Oh happy day, happy day
You washed my sin away
Oh happy day, happy day
I'll never be the same
Forever I am changed

When I stand, in that place
Free at last, meeting face to face
I am Yours Jesus You are mine
Endless joy, perfect peace
Earthly pain finally will cease
Celebrate Jesus is alive
He's alive

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