In HOPE

  In HOPE 6.17                                  back to home                        David Timms

Ministry Resource

Eugene Peterson's Eat This Book (Eerdman's, 2006; 180 pages) is the second part of his five-volume work on spiritual theology (the remaining three volumes are still in progress). It may well change the way you read Scripture. Peterson also gives the "inside story" behind his own popular Bible translation, The Message .

Hope Happenings

For the next 10 days, President John Derry is in South Korea. He will speak at Dongseo University in Busan, Korea, and attend a conference of 27 university presidents from around the world on the topic of higher education in the global network era.

 

 

Hope International University
Fullerton, CA 92831

 

"Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? ... Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ ." (1 Cor 15.54b-57)


Death's Deception

Death taunts us and controls us by inciting deep fears within us.

We control each other with threats of exposure, embarrassment, failure, pain, or judgement. Indeed, entire nations have been intimidated into subjection. And death uses this same weapon.

Some of us fear death because we fear the unknown that lies beyond it. Words like heaven and eternal life settle the nerves a bit, but part of us still stresses about the unknown.

Others of us fear death because we fear the consequences for those left living. If I die, what will happen to my spouse and children? We seem to think, at such times, that our lives singlehandedly bring life to those around us. God's grace and provision will only suffice while I'm on deck.

Yet others of us fear death because we fear the process itself - pain, suffering, loss of control, or loss of dignity. O death, thine enemy at rest; thy tools of trade and grip on life, make thee a dreaded guest.

Little wonder then, that we have such attachment to life in the present, even as believers and followers of Christ.

The consequences are grave and far-reaching.

First, we justify violence to protect ourselves and our "interests." We bear arms, resort to aggression, and make preemptive strikes because death casts a shadow larger than its reality. And she chuckles. She receives the ill-prepared and controls the living.

Second, we fight death when it threatens us in sickness. We cling to this life as though there is none on the other side of the veil. We wrestle to prolong our time and defer the inevitable, for fear of the transition or fear for those we love.

Third, we may compromise values or even abandon faith to avoid death. History tells the stories of countless people who buckled in the presence of this nemesis. We'll do whatever it takes, stem-cell research from embryos or the rituals of paganism, to squeeze out an extra day.

Death's crippling weapon is fear. Our solution is love - God's love. We will always yield to the toxicity of death, until we take the hand of Christ. His love alone sucks out the poison of death and gives us hope. Such hope does not make us passivists, apathetically carried along by the tide of each day. On the contrary, it gives us a foundation for truly living. Instead of fighting death, we're free to embrace life (see Rom 8.35-39)

As our confidence deepens in the sovereignty of God, and as we confront death with assurance in the resurrection power of the Father, perhaps we'll see the swords turned back into ploughshares (Isa 2.4) and find ourselves better prepared to be overcomers - steadfast in the face of death (Rev 2.7,11,17, etc).

Death is but our doorway to glory. To live is Christ; to die is gain (Phil 1.21). Ironically, our fear of death destroys our lives.  Only the genuine banishment of this fear will at last allow us to live life to full despite its brevity.

In HOPE -

David

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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.

For back issues of In HOPE, see http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/