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Parish Edition

Heaven Bound Afraid of Death? Don’t Be! Two of the most familiar Bible passages read at a Christian’s funeral are: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4) I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; (Job 19:25,26) C l e a r ly C a r i n g 1

God’s promises of the Savior were fulfilled. Jesus came to earth as true God and true man, lived the perfect life and paid the ultimate price to earn our salvation from the sins that would destroy us. Today, when a Christian reads about death in the New Testament, it shows the historical reality that the Savior had come. We are told: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our FLord i r s t Jesus Q u a r tChrist. e r 2 0 1 0Therefore, my dear brothers,


stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:55-58) When the Apostle John received his incredible revelation of what life was like in heaven he was given this remarkable description: These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 7:14-17)

Yet, does the thought of death still rattle your nerves? A sainted seminary professors once said, “Sometimes I think about dying and I am scared to death and other times I can hardly wait.” That’s life in this “veil of tears.” The Apostle Paul said, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) In considering the death of a fellow Christian or the prospect of your own death, cling to the promises of Jesus who said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1,2).

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First Quarter 2010


Still Afraid? – Don’t Be! The descriptive words about heaven remain familiar to those of us who have sat in church or attended a funeral. We know about its beauty and perfection. We even know that heaven is waiting for us because of what Jesus did. The problem is that we can’t seem to shake our fears, doubts and apprehensions. Face your fears. Some people, tormented by their sins, feel unworthy. Life in a sinful world has indoctrinated us to believe that in the end we still must earn it ourselves. We look back on our life, knowing it was just not perfect enough. Our professions of faith were never bold enough. We can’t shake those memories of the times we shamed God with our own sinfulness. Take the truth, and expel the lies. Yes, you and I are unworthy of heaven. Left to ourselves our sinfulness makes it impossible to stand in God’s presence. God’s words to Moses are clear, “No one may see me and live” (Exodus 33:20). The Apostle Paul stated it just as clearly, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

As Paul considered his own life of sin he said, “So I find this law at work: “When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!’” (Romans 7:21-25) “Thanks be to God.” We are not saved because of our natural goodness. Rather, despite our sins – even those really terrible ones that haunt us – God saved us through Jesus Christ. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21) There will always be something about this world that may cause us to question and doubt. That is too bad, really. Think about the needless worry, the wasted tears and the disabling sorrow we experience when we forget that we are merely strangers here and that heaven is our home. Stop doubting and believe.

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A Lingering Fear

Even the strongest Christian can hold out one lingering fear about the prospect of facing death: concern for those left behind. Perhaps those nearing the end of life have become the oracle of wisdom for grandchildren walking through the minefield of temptations. Maybe that person is the reliable spouse and companion who handles the everyday details. As the rock in a rocky family and the steady hand for those frightened by the challenges around them, how will loved ones get along without those who are now facing death? The Apostle Paul said this: I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body (Philippians 1:23,24). Paul was not making a choice between living or dying, but he was able to choose how to view death and life. In death, eternity with Christ in heaven is understood as “better by far” when viewed through the eyes of faith. During Paul’s life, he found that his faith compelled him to serve others. Each new day of life on this earth served as evidence to Paul that, in God’s eyes, it was more necessary for him to remain – if even for one more day.

When death approaches, the Christian can no more ignore those who depended on him in life’s closing moments than in the prime of life. It is natural that the care of family weighs on one’s mind, and with each breath of life it is obvious God feels the necessity to allow a person to remain with those they love and serve. But the God who sacrificed His own Son for a Christian’s salvation and who committed to work all things out for their good, certainly would not forget about family. That is a given. Yet, we still doubt and worry. That is where fellow Christians come in. What have we done to assure others that when death approaches, we will care for those left behind? Have we demonstrated our concern in the best of times to assure that we will also be there in the worst of times? Death should not be clouded with apprehensions of how our survivors will handle their lives when we are gone. God’s promises are certain, and He cares. The love of fellow Christians ought to be equally certain which demonstrates a lifetime of loving acts so that in death there are never any lingering fears.

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Witness to Your Faith in the Face of Death

When you enter the hospital or nursing home, you can expect to be asked a familiar question, “Do you have an advanced medical directive?” If you don’t have such a document, each state has a sample document you can fill out. You can do better than that. Christian Life Resources has created medical directive statements that not only meet the needs of the institution but meet your needs as a Christian ambassador and servant of Christ. The Christian medical directive statement provides direction for your medical care

if you cannot make your own decisions. It enables you to designate a health care agent. It reflects your own wishes for your care near the end of your own life. Best of all, it provides that direction while witnessing to your faith in God and in Jesus Christ as your Savior. You can purchase this document by calling our Family Treasures and Gifts Store at 800-478-2719. Better yet, you can download this document for FREE from the Christian Life Resources website at: www.ChristianLifeResources.com.

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Clearly Caring Chris tian Life Resou rces

Clearly Caring – Home Edition offers a Christian perspective on life and family issues. Learn about the issues in more detail! Published 4 times per year. To subscribe, visit www.ClearlyCaring.com or call 1-800-729-9535. C l e a r ly C a r i n g - pARI S H E D I T I O N

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Home Edition Second Quarter 2010 Volume 30 / Number 2

Car ryi ng Bur An Alt ern ativ den s – e to Sui cid e 4 What’s So New about Love?

Robert Fleischm

6 “They Shoot

ann

Also... Is it Time

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Horses...”

Mark Braun

to Go Home?

8 Making the

Most of Time

Tim Snyder

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TRUE TO LIFE:

CLR’s life curriculum for Christian schools (Available for purchase at www.FamilyTG.com)

When Does God Take Care of Me? Materials:  Large piece of paper for book page (preferably larger than 81/2" x 11")  Cardboard circle to trace for a clock face

 Illustrating materials

Ask your child what time it is now and what they are doing. Then ask the child if God is watching over them. Draw a clock showing the time. For example: At 3:00 God watches over me while I am learning how to write a book. Give more examples, asking for child’s input as needed. Demonstrate how to make the clock by first filling in the 12, 3, 6 and 9 to aid in spacing the remaining numbers properly. Direct the child to check a clock in your home for an example. • The child is going to make a book showing times when the Lord watches over them. This activity will show the children that God is watching over them all the time. • Each child should pick a time of the day to write about. Depending on the level of your child, they can choose from the hours, half hours, quarter hours or less. (Each time should be used only once.) • Each child should think of a way that Jesus watches over them, corresponding with the time they picked. • A clock should be traced on the top, left-hand corner of the page to begin their word. • A sentence should then be written to explain the time, as seen above. • The child should then illustrate their sentence below the clock and sentence. • Have the child help arrange all the pages in chronological order. • Add a cover with the date listed. C l e a r ly C a r i n g - pARI S H E D I T I O N

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Recipes Just as CLR offers “food for the soul” in bite-sized insights about Christian living, we also offer “food for the body” with recipe favorites. Enjoy this issue’s selection. DANISH PUFF 1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup butter

2 T. cold water

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup butter

1 cup water

1 tsp. almond flavoring

3 eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Measure 1 cup of flour into bowl and cut in ½ cup butter. Sprinkle with 2 T. water and mix with fork. Round into ball; divide dough in half. Pat into 2 strips, 12” x 3” and place 3” apart on ungreased baking sheet. Mix second ½ cup butter and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add flavoring. Beat in 1 cup of flour, stirring quickly to prevent lumping. When smooth, add one egg at a time – beating well after each addition until smooth. Divide in half and spread one half evenly over each piece of pastry. Bake about 60 minutes. (Puff has tendency to shrink while cooling, leaving a custardy portion in center.) Cool and frost with a confectioner’s sugar icing and sprinkle with sliced almonds, if desired. VARIATION: Place fresh blueberries on top of dough and cover with custard mixture before baking.

Informational articles written by Pastor Robert Fleischmann, National Director of Christian Life Resources. 3070 Helsan Drive • Richfield, WI 53076 800.729.9535 • www.ChristianLifeResources.com C l e a r ly C a r i n g - pARI S H E D I T I O N

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